Saturday, March 13, 2010

A weekend grazing in the grass(roots)

2010 remains the great opportunity for We The People to turn things around in Washington, DC.  Democrats are in control in the White House and in Congress.  The budget deficit is the largest in history and there are more unemployed people now that we have ever seen.   Obviously the Democrats are spending money that neither they nor we have.  So other countries are buying, in effect, our debt and therefore buying a piece of America.  They are gambling on a stupid and uninformed electorate who will just allow them to keep on doing what they are doing and frankly that crowd is not yet done.  They want to enact a monstrous Health Care Bill that will grow government massively and destroy the best health care system in the world. 

This blog often posts Republican information provided by members of the local party or perhaps the county or state-level Republican folks and it will continue to do so.  But this post is by AmericanVet and must not be construed as an official Republican press release of any sort.


The weekend of March 11-13 provided several opportunities.   Within these experiences there are some points for Republicans and those who are considering voting for Republicans...thus I will recount the two very disparate meetups attended thus far this weekend.

We were invited to a meetup sponsored initially by the Libertarian Party locally but also promoted on the Northwest Indiana Patriots website known as Liberty Straight Up.   NOT! 

Correction:  Liberty Straight Up has not been sponsored by the Libertarian Party, I was misinformed.  (Sometimes people tell you something with no intent to deceive but are simply wrong and I was therefore under a misconception that I can fortunately corrct).  Allow me to correct this mistake and publish an invitation to the next event:

Liberty Straight Up is a splendid mix of grass roots activism, libations, and good conversation. We are a group of citizens who endeavor to limit the reach of government into our personal lives, to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

We are a non-partisan, social organization that seeks to unite liberty-minded individuals not only with one another, but also with freedom-based organizations within their local communities. Many local group leaders are introduced during the evening.

On April 9th the Liberty Straight Up Happy Hour will be extended to include our first Freedom Candidate Forum. We will be meeting in Sheffield's Banquet Room for this event. Please see the meet-up graciously posted for us by the organizers of the Northwest Indiana Patriots for more details.

Details for attending the next Liberty Straight Up!

This meeting (labeled as starting at five and ending at nine) had been held once a month at Uno's Chicago Grill but one patron's complaint to the corporate office caused Uno's to break their agreement to hold the March event and so the organizers moved the event to a nearby Hooters.   The Hooters in question is located near the intersection of I-65 and US 30 in Merrillville, Indiana.

Hooters is a very loud place, loud music playing that forces one to virtually yell in order to have a conversation.  Television screens were everywhere, all turned on this evening to college basketball tournament games.  Several young ladies, all of them beautiful, were wearing shorts and tank tops and smiles and were very busily dispensing drinks and wings to a very big crowd.   The parking lot was overfull and we had to park at a neighboring building.  One section of the place was dedicated to the Liberty Straight Up crowd.   By the time my wife and I had come some had left but still we had at least fifteen tables and probably more filled with Patriots.   We came halfway through because of my work responsibilities but still had an opportunity to meet and discuss issues with a pretty good number of fellow citizens.  More about that later.

On Saturday we had a very different meeting sponsored by the Lake County Tea Party.   John Hostettler, candidate for the Republican nomination for US Senate, was scheduled to meet up with Tea Partiers at the Conservative Cafe in Crown Point, Indiana at one PM.   We were right on time for this one, knowing that the room assigned to the task was too small for the expected crowd and we were right.  Despite being fifteen minutes early, we still wound up out in the hall watching through an open door albeit very close to the candidate himself.  Without the added ingredient of alcohol the crowd was able to ask Hostettler very specific questions and receive specific answers.

John Hostettler served six terms in the US House, having come in with the 1994 Contract with America crowd and, unlike many of his compatriots, did not lose his way but rather was beaten by a Blue Dog Democrat, Brad Ellsworth, in 2006 when an anti-Bush sentiment helped sweep quite a few incumbent Republicans out of office.  You can go to his website to see what he has to say about himself. 

On this day, Hostettler as usual brandished his very thorough knowledge and understanding of the Constitution and recent legislative history.  In large debate forums, Hostettler had come across as almost a judicial law instructor berating his opponents and talking down to the crowd as if he was a step above the rest of the people.  I had heard him more than once in that forum and I felt that was a weakness of his but in the setting of a town hall meeting with perhaps a hundred attendees that manner was not apparent.  John Hostettler came across as friendly and while well-versed in Constitutional facts and history he was not in the least bit superior or overbearing but rather simply open to questions and patient with all forms of feedback.  It was an impressive day for him as a candidate.

Once Hostettler finished his opening remarks, he allowed the questions to lead the discussion and made several key points:

1- The deficit is the first problem he and his fellow 2010 legislators need to address and fix.
2- Judicial activism is a problem and is in opposition to the government set up by our Founding Fathers.
3- Dan Coats cannot represent himself as a conservative when he voted to approve of Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the Supreme Court, voted for NAFTA, voted for the Clinton Gun Ban and the Brady Bill and also voted for the approval of Sotomayor to Appellate Court and for taxpayer funds to go towards counseling and medical services associated with abortions in foreign lands.
4- "I am not so sure that the Constitution was not inspired." - John Hostettler named the top four referenced works mentioned by the Founding Fathers and the Bible topped the list, which is historically correct.  He then mentioned three other major sources, all of whom had built much of their positions on scripture.  Those sources were Montesquieu, Locke and Blackstone.  He also mentioned that 28 of the Founders were graduated from Seminary and while he did not go further down that road, he frankly put himself squarely on the side of Biblical authority being written into the Constitution and that fallen man needs government to keep himself in check.  Good stuff!
5- He firmly asserts a pro-life position.
6- He firmly asserts a 2nd amendment supporting position and has voted accordingly.
7- He firmly asserted a need for a pro-marriage legislation and suggested that the Marriage Protection Act that was proposed in the House during his term and approved but killed in the Senate would be reintroduced by him should he be elected to the Senate.

My personal preference for the Republican candidate for Senate for 2010 has been Marlin Stutzman.  I have talked at length with Marlin on various issues and I have been impressed by him.   But John Hostettler has moved right up into second place in my mind after this meeting. 

John Hostettler told me he preferred to try to fix things via legislation first and defunding second if possible but left open defunding of agencies if necessary.   He does present governance as a matter of ethics and foundational beliefs and in that I must agree.  Although one meeting with Hostettler was not enough to move me from the Stutzman camp it did convince me that either Stutzman or Hostettler would be a great addition to the Senate and a massive improvement over Evan Bayh.

On a personal note, when he asked me if I knew who Brian Bosman first thought was Brian Bosworth(?) and I said no...he then informed me that Brian Bosma (I had heard him wrong) is the minority leader of the Indiana House.   Well, I had heard of Bosma but since this established me as being kind of uninformed and a bit of a dumbbell it was Hostettler's opportunity to lecture me or correct me but he just carried on and we moved forward in the conversation, talking about a particular Indiana legislative situation that my wife and I are researching.  In looking kind of dumb I actually got a valuable lesson about John Hostettler.  He was willing to carry on a long conversation with me and two or three others without talking down to anyone.  So by mistake I actually learned something worth knowing.  Now I am quite sure there are at least two candidates for Senate on the Republican side worth supporting.

The crowd at the Tea Party meeting consisted of Republicans, independents and even a few Democrats.  A few had not thought much about politics in the past.   The theme of that group seems to be that we need conservatives who will support the Constitution and that the way to attain to this is to support the best candidate in the primary.

Republicans have in the recent past made the mistake of the Big Tent.   Ronald Reagan was most happy to open the door to the Republican Tent and let people in but lately we Republicans have moved the stakes and moved the tent towards the middle and, in doing so, have left much of the base behind.   In my personal opinion is that Republicans need to be conservative Constitutional people first and at least friendly to the idea of our heritage as One Nation Under God rather than the bogus idea of separation of church FROM state.   We need to take a step firmly and permanently to the RIGHT and stay there.   If you do not stand for anything you will fall for everything, right?


Now, the Liberty Straight Up people includes many who are disgruntled with both parties and quite a few who believe that there are conspiracies afoot that must be revealed and stopped.  There is a great deal of frustration but no concensus on how to fix the problems or even which problems are most pressing.  Here more than even in Tea Party meetings is a sense of disenfranchisement.   There are a lot of people who feel powerless against "Them" and are seeking to find a way to change that feeling.

There is the danger of a third party movement starting up that would split conservatives into two factions and allow the most leftist of Democrat agendas to be promoted.  One thing I have tried to bring into every conversation is the need for us to find places of agreement.   We The People can make great and important changes within the system by getting off our butts and gettig down to the ballot box on primary day and selecting the right people, not by splintering off and voting for a candidate who cannot win as some kind of Don Quixote-like tilt at establishment windmills.

My experience with Republicans in Lake County both at the local level and in a general way based on attending the Lincoln Day Dinner and discussing ideas and ideals with a host of folks is that Republicans have not yet learned to recogonize a RINO (Republican in name only) and realize that a RINO is harmful to the Republican brand, so to speak, and to learn how to recognize RINO's and keep them out of positions of power.  We have gladly welcomed one and all into the party, which is just fine, but we have also allowed people who do not reflect our value systems to run for office under the Republican flag and by doing so have diminished all that we supposedly stand for...the kinds of things Ronald Reagan would tell us about.

This year a great mass of voters are gathering in groups calling themselves Patriots and Tea Party People and 9/12'ers and many other labels that all mean "We are mad and We are the people and We want things to change!"   Are we, as Republicans, going to join the majority of these people as Conservative Constitutional Traditionalists instead of seeking the murky middle ground?  It is obvious to me that these folks want to join us on the Right if we are willing to stand our ground there and pound in the stakes of that Ronald Reagan Tent.   We do not budge on values but our tent flap is open and welcoming to all who wish to consider the principles and values we espouse.   If that is our story then 2010 will be a great return to a Constitutional America.


  1. I too have found John Hostettler a possible 2nd place choice for Senate. Marlin is hands down a better choice though. He has all the conservative positions without the talking down his nose thing that Hostettler will inevitably battle in public settings.

    Marlin Stutzman for me.

    As for Brian Bosma, be careful getting too excited about his ambitions for Speaker, word is that he doesn't have the support of the entire House Republican conference in Indiana. May be a change of leadership there too.

  2. Well, at least he isn't Brian Bosworth! Heh heh.