The Peanut Gallery

My view of life from the cheap seats… Art Chartier

“Put me in coach” – Follow up – Public Catholic – “Stop Slogan-Voting Pt 2 – High Dollar Campaigns”

Peanut Gallery: Every coach knows that building a deep bench is essential to winning. You never know what will happen… and you never know when an opportunity will arise. A winning team has players who are just waiting on the sidelines for their chance to show their stuff.

Mordecai had Queen Esther – if somewhat reluctantly – on his bench -

“For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14 NKJV

This post is a follow up to my earlier comment on Public Catholic – Stop Slogan-Voting Pt 2 – High Dollar Campaigns. If you haven’t read Rebecca Hamilton’s original post, please do so now. Click here.

Grassroots “insurgency” movements – e.g. Pro-Life, Tea Party – will not be politically successful over the long haul, unless they develop a deep bench with folks who are prepared to step in when opportunities arise. Rallies, marches and protests can capture public attention – for a while – but they don’t translate into legislative action… and ultimately nothing much changes.

If you read Rebecca Hamilton’s next blog in this series – “Stop Slogan-Voting… Pt 3 – Puppet People” – you’ll understand her frustration in dealing with politicians who say they are 100% Pro-Life, are elected as 100% Pro-Life candidates, but don’t vote Pro-Life at crunch time when it counts. I’d like to address this in a future post.

In this post, I don’t want to get into the weeds of Oklahoma politics but I do want to ask – “Who does the Pro-Life movement have on the bench in Oklahoma to replace Rebecca Hamilton in 2014?” She is term-limited.

And… where are the grassroots folks in Oklahoma, South Carolina and around the country who will step up – when insurgency opportunities arise? We need some skilled players like Esther and wise coaches like Mordecai to prepare them to come off the bench.

I use the words “grassroots” and “insurgency” because Pro-Life and Tea Party folks are considered “the great unwashed” by Establishment elites of both parties. Their hand-picked candidates need our votes to get elected and their political consultants cleverly craft their sound bites to con us into voting for them. But after the election, they shake the dust off… take a shower… and return to their Country Club friends who paid for their high-priced political consultants.

Hamilton makes the point that the deep pocket Country Club folks spread their money around freely to ensure that they have a deep bench. And they’re not stupid.

Stop and think for a minute. Why should it cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to get elected to an Oklahoma House seat that pays $38,400 in salary and represents around 35,000 people? Who would invest that kind of money in something with such a minuscule return?

The answer is that the return is not minuscule; at least not for the money men behind the scenes. They’re not making an investment. They’re certainly not “supporting” a candidate. They’re buying. And what they are buying is control of our government. In exchange for a few hundred thousand dollars they get control of a vote on a budget that runs into the billions; on other votes on bond issues that will put hundreds of millions of dollars through their companies; on tax breaks, government give aways and competitive advantages that, over time, become an endless river of government money.

Why would corporations in Florida and New York, Texas and Mexico care about who represents a single senate or house district in Gotebo Oklahoma? Because money is fluid; it flows from one place to the other. That, and because these legislative seats are the seed corn for bigger crops. They supply the candidates when it’s time to re-load at the national level, where the money goes from huge to unimaginable.” - Public Catholic

In this high stakes political game, grassroots insurgents with “do-it-yourself” campaigns are at a considerable money disadvantage.  In our SC Congressional District 7 primary, the “do-it-yourselfers” were outspent by more than 10 to 1 and an equal amount will be spent to win the general election in November.

What to do? Start small and work your way up.

“Do-it-yourselfers” can win seats on local school boards. Even seats on town, city, or county councils can be won with smart, hard working candidates who have stories to tell and think strategically. But it gets increasingly more difficult as you move up the political ladder… and increasingly more expensive.

SC Governor Nikki Haley is a good example of a “do-it-yourself” insurgent who worked her way up. She tells her own story in her book “Can’t Is Not an Option: My American Story.” I knew her when she was “Nikki who?” running for Governor on the issues of transparency and recorded voting in our State Legislature – the “good-ole-boys” have been well entrenched here for a long time. They hated her… and did everything they could to destroy her.

I’m guessing that state-wide office is about as far as you can go on your own… and even then you will probably need some Country Club backers to get you over the finish line. Haley ended up needing big bucks in the end to compete in the take-no-prisoners media wars of three elections – primary, runoff, and general.

Romney donated at least $10,000 to her 2010 election campaign. And she later endorsed his candidacy for President in the 2012 SC Primary… against a grassroots GOP rebellion that ended up selecting Gingrich. I didn’t agree with her endorsement, but she’s still the best thing that has happened to South Carolina in a long time.

Grassroots insurgents can win do-it-yourself elections, but it’s not for the faint of heart – it takes hard work, considerable skill, and strategic thinking. Wins will not come easily against the power elite. What we need are thousands of Mordecais to prepare thousands of Esthers who are ready to come off the bench when opportunities present themselves.

I’m guessing that there was a “Mordecai” in this ball girl’s life too – someone who instilled a passion for the game, someone who prepared her and practiced with her. She had no idea what would happen at that ball park when she arrived, but she showed up with her glove. And when the opportunity afforded itself, she was ready. Check it out -

Way to go girl!!! This could be you.

All you have to do is prepare yourself or someone you know. Wait for an opportunity. And go for it. God bless you.

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