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Archive for the month “October, 2012”

The Undecided: By Charles Robertson, Co-founder Broward Tea Party

The Undecided: By Charles Robertson, Co-founder Broward Tea Party

After the last presidential candidate debate, TV coverage on FOX and CNN shifted to focus groups of undecided voters.  My thought was, “how in the world can people be undecided at this point?”  The two candidates, Obama and Romney, are ideological opposites. What are these people looking for in the debate; style points, a slip of the tongue, maybe some free special offers?  I have a beef with these people and some explanations that they won’t like.

The first explanation is laziness; they simply won’t make the effort to learn what the candidate’s platforms are. Their approach is, skip the work and go straight to the Cliffs Notes – the debates.   This superficial judgment process ignores the fundamental differences and focuses on the fluff.  To these undecided voters, all politicians are the same and whoever looks, sounds, and acts the most presidential wins!  Many of these undecided voters will tell you they’re looking to see how the candidates respond to voter questions.  Really! I’ve yet to hear anything from either candidate that they haven’t said before.  Every question has been anticipated and answered with a canned response that has been crafted by focus groups and a team of PR experts. This may be new to our undecided voters, but only because they’ve just joined the game.

Another reason there are fence-sitters is that they like to feel politically important.  These people relish the attention as if their single vote would create victory.  They enjoy talking, usually armed with superficial talking points, about the pros and cons of each candidate.  Maybe they want others to plead with them for their vote, maybe they enjoy appearing to be an even-handed centrist, or maybe these are the type of people who just can’t make a decision. 

No one can argue the importance of the debates.  Romney’s poll numbers took off after the first debate.  It was as if millions of Americans saw him for the first time.  “Where were these people during the primary?”  Apparently, Americans like the spectacle of debate, as if it were just another reality TV show.  In Round One, Mitt Romney did a great job of laying out the president’s record.  What I find amazing though, is that we’ve all been living with that record for the past 3 ½ years.  Do Americans need someone to condense our history and feed it back to us in bullet points?  It scares me to think how fragile a candidate’s campaign is when one verbal blunder can conceivably destroy their chances.  How easily the masses can overlook a candidate’s experience, record, and political philosophy. 

My final theory on undecided voters is simple; they’re bandwagon-jumpers.  They want to wait until the last minute so they can side with the most likely winner.  The “Strong Horse Principle” comes into play; people are drawn to winners because that makes them feel like a winner.  Many among us are attracted to a movement that is gaining momentum.  For these emotionally invested individuals, their underlying reason for their vote is as simple as – “it felt right.”  If pressed, they’ll offer various reasons, but really they’re just following their heart.

As Election Day draws near, I suppose I should temper my frustration with the reality that is unfolding.  Those same independents that were swayed by the hope and change of 2008 are now shifting to Romney.  I believe Romney will win by a 3-4 point margin and we’ll be faced with a new challenge.  Assuming I’m correct, the next Tea Party challenge will be holding our next group of politicians to deliver on their promises, to do the hard work that needs to be done.  The Tea Party needs to continue to press on to elect more conservatives that represent our core values.  We need a congressional majority to deliver a balanced budget, restore fiscal responsibility, and secure our future.  I hate to be a pessimist, but I’ve seen this happen before.  Conservatives gain power and Tea Party interest declines as most people think the work is done.  This will be the time when the Tea Party needs to grow and push harder than ever to forward our agenda.  We will finally have a sympathetic leadership that can accomplish our work.  This will only happen if we keep the heat on.

We need to make the most of our time and work smart.  Towards that goal, in my last blog I sent out a request to my readers; I asked for replies to measure our readership and I asked for your estimate on respondents.  There were 11 replies.  Thanks go out to:  David Brundage, Tammy Donley, Melanie Marshall, Lee Levin, Kate Andrews, Jim Weber, Sandy, Frank Sarli, Rosetta Bailey, Loretta Hedberg, and Wei Li.  Based on the numbers you provided we estimated a 47% response rate which means I’m actually reaching an estimated audience of 17.  This tells me I need to shift my efforts to a more productive activity.  The only thing that would have me reconsider my decision is if I saw a handful of our readers step up and contribute some blogs, also.  Seeing others join your efforts is invigorating and just what our movement needs.  We are a team that needs to hear other voices.  Please step up and let’s keep this going.  You can forward your blog entries to: mail to:info@thebrowardteaparty.com

“Our success only happens if committed individuals like you make it happen!”  

The Test: By Charles Robertson, Co-founder Broward Tea Party

The Test

By: Charles Robertson, Co-founder Broward Tea Party

This is a test, but relax it’s not graded and there’s no studying required.  The purpose of this test is to measure our blogging effectiveness.  I’m going to find out our readership number which is important for several reasons.  First of all I want to be sure I’m reaching enough audience to make the effort worthwhile.  I’m not a naturally gifted writer, as though I had to point that out, and these blog entries generally take me a few hours each.  That’s time that might be better spent elsewhere.  On the other hand, if our readership is reaching a sizable audience we can promote that number to attract more writers and expand our outreach.

So how do I conduct this test?  The simplest way I know is to ask everyone who reads this to send me an email.  Of course for a variety of reasons, not everyone will comply, so I’ll ask your help in coming up with a number.  The number I’m asking you for is what percentage of readers will respond.  I’ll average this out from all respondents and use a multiplier to estimate the readership.  For example, if 35 people respond and the average of their numbers is 50 we’ll assume that to be correct, that we’re getting a 50% response rate.  Applying that percentage to our number of respondents, we arrive at an estimated readership of 70.  So at the end of this article, my request is this, send me a quick email (email provided below) with your number, I’ll publish the results.

Reaching a large audience is great but who are we reaching?  Probably not the ones we’d like to reach.  Our blogs and those who pick them up are read by fellow conservatives.  So, how do we reach independents and liberals?  I’m thinking – trade, we can approach a liberal or conservative blog site and offer an even exchange of blogs to be posted on each other’s sites.  I recall Point Counterpoint or Hannity & Colmes; we could pick a topic and go at it.  The big question is would we have any impact, would we change minds?

My theory on your political viewpoint is this: You are what you read.  Tell me what you read and where you get your news and I’ll tell you your political inclinations.  People gravitate to those news sources that support their perspective.   We like affirmation and support for our point of view, which is why it is so hard to break through to people with a contrasting ideology.  Any information that comes to us from a source outside of our trusted sources is suspect.  Statistics can be spun and manipulated to support any position.  Even if liberals are reading our words, are they accepting our facts and considering our points?  So the challenge remains, would this approach get through, would we change minds?

“The pen is mightier than the sword,” so the saying goes, but this was written at a time before TV, Internet, and Twitter.  Is it still relevant?  When this adage was coined in 1839, and for a century thereafter, the print media was the primary source of news.   Today we get our news wherever and whenever we want it.  Unfortunately, to the detriment of society, we’re getting less news and more opinion.  A new generation forms their political opinions from shows on political comedy; rather than quoting a TV Anchor, this generation is far more likely to refer to Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, or Stephen Colbert.  Not only is print media suffering with newspaper subscriptions declining everywhere, but our traditional TV news sources are losing ground to pseudo sources.  Political news is now packaged in funny sound-bites with an overwhelming liberal bias.  Go ahead, Google: top 10 Political Comedy.  If not for Dennis Miller it would be a 10-0 liberal sweep.

I included Twitter among the listed news sources as this growing trend is symbolic of our media and cultural decline.  Let’s start with the superficial limited length of 140 characters.  Blogs go slightly further but these are no editorial length pieces that scrutinize an issue in depth.  This condensed news delivered in the new fun-size, is crafted for our dumbed down culture and their limited attention span.  The other main problem is that with so many media options, political news has become something one must seek out.  The problem is we used to get political news by default; it came with our limited choices.  Now that you have to look for it, most people don’t.  Ironically, there are now more sources for political news (which has become more opinion) and fewer options for unbiased, no spin, factual reporting.

Now that we’ve identified our media problems and limitations, the question comes full circle.  Is it worth a few hours to compose a blog entry?  Is this the best use of time and the best approach?  The answer will come from you and maybe some suggestions, too.  Perhaps we should start our own internet radio-talk show; maybe that would reach more people.  The only thing I can promise is at least one more blog entry where I discuss the results, share your input, and deliver my future course of action.  Please email your number (% who you think will respond to this) and ideas to: info@TheBrowardTeaParty.com

“Eyes Wide Open”, Blog by Kristin Matheny- #9 “A Shakespearean Happy Ending (But This One Involves Karen Harrington and Mitt Romney)”

“A Shakespearean Happy Ending (But This One Involves Karen Harrington and Mitt Romney)”

“Eyes Wide Open”, Blog by Kristin Matheny

10/3/2012

“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.”

Macbeth, Act I, Scene iii

I just had a conversation with my husband about reading Shakespeare.

Of course, it was only a matter of time before he would receive the inevitable “it’s actually really fantastic if you give it a whirl” bit. I spent years convincing video game-loving, “rather be outside on my skateboard” high schoolers that Shakespeare was worth the trouble. My husband, however, has proved himself to be my toughest customer of all. Eight years, no Shakespeare. Not even a whiff of Iago. Or Hamlet, for that matter.

“Look. Start with Macbeth. I chose it as a class reading when I taught ninth grade English for a good reason.” It is my absolute, hands-down favorite Shakespeare work. Not only is it the bloodiest of Shakespeare’s plays (guaranteed to illicit a few “aw, gross, AWESOME!” responses from the ninth grade boys, who were especially tough-to-sell), but it incorporates lots of the paranormal, lots of lunatic characters (Lady Macbeth, anyone?). It’s a wonderfully hot mess!

The best part of the story, though, is the ending. It is, by far, one of the most satisfying endings of any story ever written. Good truly triumphs, and rightful, moral characters retain power and glory. It is the way I wish life was.

My point here is that this conversation had me thinking. Yes, I could stoop to Liberal-esque, sensationalist levels and I could make terrible, mean-hearted comparisons between the more sensationally-depraved characters and various politicians and pundits around the country. But I won’t do that. Instead, I’m going to focus on the idea that Good really should triumph over everything else. It’s about time that we start looking ahead towards our own “Shakespearean Happy Ending”.

——————–

I live right down the street from Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The first time I took my 22 month-old son for a walk around our neighborhood, we passed her house and I got a lump in my throat. Her car is plastered with Obama stickers, liberal social issue stickers. “Wasserman Schultz” signs currently lie in piles around her garage, I’m guessing for neighbors to take and display.

I cringed. My stomach actually flipped a little. Somewhere, I prayed that she’d come out to welcome us to our new neighborhood…and I prayed that I’d have the strength to welcome her to MY REALITY.

I devised exactly what I’d say in my head.

My husband, who supports our family because we’ve made the choice for me to stay home with our son, pays exorbitant small business taxes that she voted to raise, time and time again. She practically led the charge with Mr. Obama himself to effectively punish successful, industrious small business owners. Then she completely backhanded the millions and millions of us that suffer and struggle to be the lifeblood of this economy when she emphatically backed up her buddy when he claimed that we “didn’t build that” ourselves. Please.

I’d introduce her to my beautiful son, who is faced with inheriting this ball-and-chain of an economy that is gradually becoming more socialized, less American Dream-oriented, thanks to her policies and the policies of the President and cronies in Washington she so fiercely supports.

I’d say that my husband is Jewish, and we’ve chosen to raise our son Christian (like me), but to love, honor, and respect Jewish traditions and practices. As a conservative who is fervently protective of Israel, teaching my son the same thing will be difficult as our current Administration is, without question, the most anti-Israel of all time. Our relations with our strongest ally have become increasingly strained thanks to her friend Obama’s continuously shameful attitude towards the Israeli people and diplomacy with its leaders…and her constant votes and efforts to deny Israel access to weapons and jets in order to defend itself (and us) against our shared enemies abroad.

I’d also bring up the fact that her track record of voting in favor of limiting state and local law enforcement power and increasing unbridled amnesty for illegal immigrants is essentially destroying the very schools we had planned to send our son to, not to mention that law-abiding, tax-paying members of our society (and in her very own district) are taxed to death, struggling to offset the enormous amount of bleeding our economy is experiencing at the hands of these illegal immigrants. At this rate, there will be no school left suitable for us to send our son to, and no money to enroll him in the type of school he deserves to attend.

(Not that she would know or appreciate any of this, as she rarely visits her home district- yes, I know this for a fact- and she is not actually FROM here, anyway. No one is more phenomenally out-of-touch with their constituents than our very own DWS.)

Then I’d finally interject that the only- I mean ONLY- regret I maintain when it came to having our son was the fact that he was born into an Obama Presidency, in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s district.

I felt like a Shakespearean character in one of his famed tragedies- downtrodden, riddled with fear. Who wouldn’t feel that way? After all, those of us who live in this country, and in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s District, have every right to feel this type of misery.

——————–

I met Karen Harrington very briefly in March of 2011, right after she had finally made the decision to run against Debbie once again. She impressed me then, but it wasn’t until a year later that I got to know who Karen really is and what she stands for- and why I support her wholeheartedly.

Throughout the primary process, I personally met all of the other Republican candidates running against Karen, and while most seemed personable, Karen’s background, personality, and real sense of “fight” spoke right to my soul. Karen comes from a family-oriented, small business background. She has had to deal with the same setbacks and crippling taxes that that I was all too familiar with. Her values and beliefs are right in line with mine- conservative to the core.

She is the only candidate who can answer any question you throw at her with facts and comprehension, and is much more than a “one-trick pony”. She is unbelievably well-versed in just about every classic conservative AND Tea Party issue, from taxes to tradition. She is staunchly pro-Israel, she is staunchly anti-illegal amnesty. She weathered a barrage of unfounded (and sometimes just laughably inane) attacks from her opponents with dignity, not engaging in smear tactics of her own…only to very decisively win the nomination and continue on to defeat DWS next month.

She has challenged her opponent to a series of debates, which her opponent has declined to address or take part in…

…an opponent who has called herself “an open book” (try not to laugh if you’ve been following her financial and tax-related  exploits or any of her tabloid-worthy rants about Tea Party rallies she criticized but never actually attended, among other “fun facts”).  She just loves to talk of transparency and her so-called “record of victory”. Frankly, I’d call it a “record of”…well…something else.

You’d think a person with that kind of confidence, three terms in office, and a such high-level position with the DNC would not be fearful of confronting the issues…or her opponent. Right?

I decided to volunteer for Karen’s campaign last spring, and one day I actually got to ride with Karen herself while we went door-to-door. She was laughing right along with me as I told “kid stories”. She went on and on about Davie, about Broward, about how much she loved the place we both call home. She’s from here, she raised her kids here, and most importantly, she would be serving the very community that gave her so much to begin with. She absolutely did not have to “sell” me on anything- I was already a devoted Karen fan- but her tone changed and she became angrily resolved when she talked about the direction in which our country is headed.

It’s easy to forget that you’re talking to Karen Harrington, the person who is trying to (and deserves to) unseat the all-powerful, much-maligned Debbie Wasserman Schultz. There is no snobbery, no unnecessary explanatory tactics, no vocabulary meant to confuse. No smear campaigns with her endorsement, never a razzle-dazzle website meant to spread lies about her opponents. She is wicked smart, seriously funny, truly kind, and genuinely determined future Congresswoman. She relies on her ideas, and she can because they’re great. She’s not afraid to speak her mind. She’s the real deal.

She is the opposite of her opponent.

——————–

At the end of Macbeth, the Scottish empire is restored to righteousness from the grip of a greedy, selfish man. I’m certainly not drawing direct comparisons between life and art. Perhaps life is not as dramatic as Shakespeare’s works.

But perhaps it is.

We have our own Shakespearean tragedy taking place, the stage being set in Florida’s very own District 23. Not only are we suffering at the hands of a supremely out-of-touch President, a gang of liberal lawmakers (and even some useless “conservative” ones, too) who push their socialistic agendas- or do nothing to stop them, certainly. Our representation right here in our very own District (and in my very own neighborhood, for crying out loud!) is pathetic and nonexistent. What representation? Who is Debbie Wasserman Schultz representing, other than herself, a tired and backwards ideology, and a Presidency that has been nothing but a series of unmitigated disasters…and, as DNC Chair, a party that will stop at nothing to ignore logic and truth?

I’m now pregnant with our second son, due on January 24th, right after the Inauguration.

Nothing will upset me more than if I have to watch Barack Obama retain the power that he should have never had in the first place. I will not stand for it, and I will not wait around to watch Debbie Wasserman Schultz make even more heartbreaking decisions that further degrade our futures from her seat in the House of Representatives. All our kids and grandkids deserve better than that. A happy ending must come.

I plastered my car and our home windows with Karen Harrington signs, Romney stickers, American and Tea Party Gadsden flags. I ignored our HOA regulations when I saw that Debbie and her neighbors had stuck signs in their yards…and I put a big, glossy Karen Harrington sign in my yard, right next to my big Romney sign. If she won’t play by their rules, I won’t be forced to either. I have no problem admitting that we’re trying to make a point. I freely wear my Karen Harrington for Congress t-shirt in my neighborhood. I wore it proudly with my Romney/Ryan baseball cap today- with my son sporting his brand new “Wee-publican” shirt! I want Debbie to know exactly who has moved into her neighborhood, and I want her to know exactly who will be defeating her in November and taking her seat in Congress shortly after.

By the way, many of my neighbors have expressed their quiet solidarity.

I hope she does come out to welcome me to the neighborhood. I can’t wait. I’d love to have a conversation with her.

I can’t wait to tell her about Macbeth, and about exactly how this Shakespearean tale is going to end.

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