Steve G.

Posts Tagged ‘strategy’

The Primary Base of an LP Campaign

In Libertarian on December 8, 2009 at 12:54 pm

The Primary Base of an LP Campaign

By Donald Meinshausen

An important lesson that we have learned in decades of elections is most of the public, as well as most of the media don’t pay attention to third parties. They only pay attention to Republican and Democratic, not Libertarian Party campaigns. The reasons for this have little do with libertarian theory or the competence of the LP. However the LP’s fortune can change with the emergence of the new media and the coming collapse of the economy, the schools, the wars overseas and the rise of other problems.

But for now we all can learn something from the Ron Paul’s great GOP race for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. In terms of libertarian political efforts this race stands out as the most successful in libertarian ideas presented as an election campaign of a presidential candidate. Much of the public and even skeptical media reacted well and in record volume. One reason for this is because he was admitted to the GOP debates and a very large audience. There he got acceptance and publicity with his principles, practicality and presentation. This resulted in more vetting which meant more votes and volunteers and volume of money than all previous LP presidential efforts combined. This also includes Ron Paul’s 1988 bid as the LP presidential candidate.

This is not to detract from other heroic efforts. We have done better in LP races in terms of percentages in state and local campaigns. We have even elected good candidates for local office and should continue to do so. We as libertarians should engage in LP runs for president with a Ron Paul gold standard of purity.

Far from discounting LP results, Ron Paul built up a lot of support from liberty-minded individuals who were recruited in previous LP campaigns for his primary effort. Many are now also involved in the Campaign for Liberty, the newly emergent the tax revolt and other causes. All of this activism has reinforced our role in the drug legalization movement, the anti-war movement, gun rights groups, the truther movement and other outreach opportunities. What I’m talking about here is repeating Ron Paul’s success all over again, state-by-state, in 2010 and further elections, to help the LP. This is what I call our Primary Strategy.

There are now several campaigns all over the country to nominate and elect Ron Paul type Republicans all over the country. The most known is Rand Paul, who is a son of Ron Paul, and is running for US Senate in Kentucky in the primaries as a Republican. He is a doctor like his father, a visionary physician and an ophthalmologist. He is head of a state taxpayer group where he has made several media appearances attacking government waste before running for office.

This is his first run for office. Rand already has raised over a million dollars tying his primary opponent’ money raising efforts. He has done this through a tactic from his father’s campaign of having on-line money-bombs, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in one day. He is publicly shaming his opponent by calling on him to refuse money from senators who supported the bailouts. In on-line polls he is now beating his GOP opponents handily. He is doing especially well among conservative activists.

He is now leading in the official opinion polls.  He has just broken into the lead by 3% over his main rival, Trey Grayson, a former Clinton delegate, who is now the GOP Secretary of State. They are competing for a soon to be vacated seat that will be left by the retirement of Jim Bunning. Senator Bunning is by most accounts a decent conservative who opposed the Bush bailouts. He is unlike and not liked by senior senator, Mitch McConnell, who supported the Bush bailouts and controls the state GOP. This establishment supports Grayson over Paul.

The LP is wisely publicly not endorsing Rand. But many astute LPers are encouraging their friends to register Republican so as to vote for him in the primary. Several are also going to campaign stops, county fairs and GOP events and such to pass out material and do outreach for him. This way we learn how a large grass roots campaign is run. Since Rand has a real chance of winning we don’t have to deal with the “wasted vote” argument. Now we can present our libertarian ideas to a new audience from a position of strength. This makes his campaign a great opportunity to spread our ideas and experiment with our newly acquired strength. This is a first in our history.

There are also similar possibilities here with investment guru Peter Schiff who is running for the GOP nod in the Senate race against Senator Dodd in Connecticut.  Debra Medina’s run as a Ron Paul Republican against Governor Perry for the nod in the Texas GOP primary for governor is another example. And there are other races such as Adam Kokesh in a House race in New Mexico and the AJ Harris race for Congress. More of these may surface soon as the races heat up and the economy tanks. I’m not saying that all those listing themselves as Ron Paul type Republicans will be worthy of support. But getting involved now, especially with our own candidates, promises to be an exciting opportunity to popularize or elect people who speak our language of liberty.

At the very least it’s a way to educate the public about how to diagnose and cure the statist ills brought about by the Democrats and Republicans. Here we can say this in a debate among equals to their face with the public watching. Many libertarians and even Republican conservatives would pay good money to see a big spending Republican or a Democrat get a good tongue-lashing and their comeuppance in such a campaign.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that previous electoral experience; name recognition and party support are no longer so necessary to get a GOP or a Dem nomination. Against a candidate old and tired, cold and mired in scandal and sold and wired to horrible voting records there is much voter resentment. This anger can be a motor to change things. A primary battle where we just get 20%-40% looks a lot better than an election where an LP candidate gets less than 2%. And we can get much more than 40% and even win in many primaries

This process of a one-two punch against powerful incumbents can invoke some real political power. For a hard primary campaign can greatly weaken an incumbent. The attacks on our enemies can hurt their image in their potential base. These attacks will be seen as coming from within his party rather from outside marginalized forces and therefore be seen as much more damaging. It also drains money, respect and other resources that could be spent on the election itself.

A club to aid in batting against Bush league sellouts is the Club for Growth. This free market group is admired for its fund raising ability. It is also known for contributing to campaigns of challengers against big spenders in the GOP. There are other groups that have organized to unseat those Republican congress critters that voted for Cap and Trade and other defective defectors. We should pick interesting winnable races.

We can expect and hope to be “blamed” or credited if these bad Republican candidates loses because of our efforts. There is a need to compile a list of these RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who were defeated by us in elections where the LP candidate was the margin of difference. These should be displayed as scalps or trophies to be waved in front of those who try to suppress us.  The list should contain a sum of all the monies spent by the RINOs in their losing elections. This is then given to strategists, the large donors and fundraisers for the GOP and to the media as well so that they will no longer ignore us. I know of several US senate seats that were lost because of Libertarian Party efforts that drained GOP votes. This alone means the totals are in the tens of millions of dollars. Some LP candidates put a deliberatively conservative tone to their campaign to attract conservatives and to defeat Republicans.

In areas that are socially liberal such as the northeastern and northwestern US we can recruit this voting bloc that still votes GOP. In Maine we can unite with social conservatives to defeat RINOs such as Republican Senator Olympia Snowe who is bad on economics as well as civil liberties. A libertarian Republican could defeat her. The conservatives will thank and help us for doing so. These remaining liberal Rockefeller Republicans need to be defeated in order for us to assert our power.

This process will help define the complementary roles of the Campaign for Liberty, which raises issues in the public; Liberty Caucus of the Republican Party, which runs candidates and raises issues in the GOP and the Libertarian Party and the Constitution Party which run campaigns as a third party. All these groups work with a lot of single issue and other educational or other sympathetic groups.  Many will belong to some or all of these groups and can explain these roles so as to reduce confusion and possible friction. We do not need to publicly acknowledge these roles but we should understand them. Rather than competition there can be a co-operation in punishing bad incumbents or candidates as well as gathering support in helping good candidates and causes.

There are good people who will now not vote Republican because of the Bushes and other RINOs and there are good people who will only vote Republican because they can see no one winning without GOP support. These primary processes can help these types to work together and helps to resolve that argument. The arguments here may or may not be openly acknowledged.

Another tool that we can refer to is the referendum. Placing an initiative on the ballot allows us to define the issues of the campaign. This will require and also mobilize an activist base that will force our positions into the media discussions whether the politicians like it or not. Therefore our issues can become the campaign itself.

What we want is well written ballot questions that will hold up in court challenges and yet be easily understood by voters. They should be on issues that are hot topic, winnable and pro-liberty, as we understand it. There are groups that write and fund these and help put them on the ballot that are not part of the GOP or LP process and work with libertarians, conservatives and others. Recall is a similar effective strategy that also can be employed in states that allow it.

These strategies will also strengthen the libertarian role in gaining Democratic and independent support in elections. We all know of people who are independents or on the anti-war left and drug law reformers who have had kind words for us in the media. Some even supported Ron Paul or even LP candidates. The media in covering the Ron Paul campaign of 2008 has noted this. Many of these people could be recruited to support Rand Paul’s campaign in Kentucky, as well as in other races as a way to show dissatisfaction with the Dems support for the war, continued civil liberties violations and the bankster bailouts. This has happened before in history as the Democrats have routinely sold out their most ideological supporters. Getting Rand Paul nominated or elected would also be seen as a slap in the face of the Republicans who would amBUSH our liberty as well as to the Democrats.

Since we as libertarians are much better in reaching these voters and media that gives us a source of power in the GOP that others involved in primary battles cannot touch.  This new option for the Left would at the same time strengthen their hand within the Democratic Party as well. For this option would give them another reason to support us, in primaries especially and even in elections. The Left would then see other alternatives than being captive handmaidens of the Democratic Party or empowering socially intolerant war making Republicans through Naderite campaigns. This new option exercised by the left Democrats could end up wiping out the right /left spectrum once and for all.

And there is yet another reason for this strategy. Let’s say our candidate loses in the primary and that victor is seen as much worse than the Democrat challenger. We can then hit our target once more with an LP or independent campaign. Sometimes the RINO will negotiate with us for support. This could be a good deal or a moral dilemma. But at this point I’m not counting on any concessions. There is the possibility of getting our defeated candidate in the primary to endorse our LP or independent candidate in the general election. But even if that person demurs we could still get our primary candidate’s lists of good media contacts, volunteers and donors. If the target or incumbent has waged a dirty, false or insulting campaign many of the primary voters will support us so as to punish that person. This makes the LP candidate look more attractive to voters even if our contender in the primary does not endorse us. .

Don’t expect many people to come over the first time we try this. It took the GOP thirty years to change voting patterns in the South. We have less resources and powerful enemies. This, like all successful changes, is a grassroots process. But it needs to started now and measured for effectiveness

Moderate Republicanism or moderate Democratism has been greatly discredited and has so for a long time. These are not grass roots or principled movement. But there are still many congresscritters and state legislators who identify themselves by these labels. Since they are despised by both left and right as well as by us these moderates could also be targets.

Avoiding any label and any philosophy elects many more disgusting candidates. Some get elected on just charisma, family, money and the luck of being less hated. The worst are re-elected by something called “experience” which is based on the bidding of bureaucratic beltway banditry and those who benefit by it.

What we are trying to do is to make as many elections as possible issue oriented on our issues. What is more is that these issues and the solutions we agree on are the ones to be the deciding factor in decision making. Now in this current wave of nationalizations we must frame the label of “No” attached to the GOP by the Dems to mean less government and toward more liberty and therefore a positive. We can’t expect the current GOP to carry this message. So we have to go inside and outside the Republican Party and the conservative movement to get our message out.

We can do this also in the Democratic Party as well. I have worked in successful Democratic campaigns such as the city of Hoboken, NJ mayoral campaign in 1985. I ran the opposition research and coordinated volunteers where we won on the issues of fighting corruption and high taxes. This can happen again even in overwhelmingly Democratic urban areas where voters are repulsed by the economy, the war, violation of civil liberties and corrupt incumbents.

Both parties are losing their moorings and therefore losing identification and support among their traditional supporters.  Respect toward politicians is declining overall as the new media allow people learn more. People are now voting more and paying more attention to politics, war and the economy.

The amount of voters calling themselves and listening to independents is growing into a chorus. They are looking for good conduct and a conductor who knows how to co-ordinate talented players who know the score. Those who participate in such a concerted effort must know and play with all styles as well as the new technology. By making the theme of an election an anti-authoritarian one we can make contending candidates dance to our tune. We can now write this music but need to know how to make it popular. To weed out bad, incompetent productions and performers we need to get our record out. In the new media we expose the bad and promote the good. For we must make hits of our own or suffer the hits of others. If we don’t compose ourselves to play together we will not be heard. If you have any recommendations, let’s hear them.

.  .

HOW SERIOUS IS THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY ABOUT BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY?

In Congress, Democracy, Democrats, Libertarian, Libertarian Party-US, Libertarian Politics, Local Politics, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Republican, US Government on November 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm

When I was 20 years old and preparing to vote in my first Presidential election, a man came to speak on the campus of Texas A&M University about his new party and his campaign for the Presidency. That man was Ed Clark, the first Libertarian candidate on the ballots of all 50 states. He spoke of a vision of government which combined fiscal responsibility with social humanism. Ed Clark made such an impact on my personal view of politics that now, 30 years later, I still call myself an Ed Clark Libertarian. Unfortunately, since then I have watched the Libertarian Party move to the far-right with no coherent message to the point where, instead of creating a viable third party in American politics, it has become seen a ‘lunatic fringe’ of the extreme far-right, religious conservative wing of the Republican Party, a neo-Republican Party, if you will. After 30 years, it has still never made a serious impact on American politics at either the national or even the state level. The fault is our own but, I personally believe that could be realistically changed… starting with the 2010 elections.

Right now, politics in America might be more volatile than it has been at any point in its history since 1860. The Republican Party faces the real possibility of splintering into two or more parties; divided by their extreme far-right Christian conservatives who view politics as a religious struggle with them battling for the glory of heaven by exerting “his will’ on Earth. Because this faction is fighting what they see as a battle for the next world, they see those who “oppose” them as inherently evil. They cannot compromise in what they see as a very real battle between “good” and “evil”. As such, they can be counted on to focus their efforts on stopping the “advance” of “ungodly” issues in America. They will even turn on their own, on other Republicans, who they see as weak in the face of their enemy… and make no mistake, they see those who do not agree with them as true enemies.

This internal conflict within the Republican Party, however, offers the Libertarian Party a very real chance to become a viable alternative party for the American voters. To do that, however, requires us to change ourselves into a viable party. Over the course of the last 30 years, the Libertarian party has moved backwards instead of forward. What was once seen as party with an interesting view of what government could be has become a perceived lunatic fringe of right-wing tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists. We, ourselves, have marginalized our Party in American politics. We have no one to blame for our lack of achievement other than ourselves. As such, only we can change the perceptions of us by the American voters. To do that, we need to develop a strategic plan for 2010 and the following decade. We cannot possible devise winning tactics if we do not have an overall strategy for ourselves. We also need to give the American voters confidence that if they do elect any of us that we can participate and function in a real world government.

So, what are some things that the Libertarians need to do or change to become a viable third party in America? One is that we need to move beyond having a general philosophy about what government should be and become a political movement with an actual vision of what government can be AND an actual plan for how that can be accomplished. The question isn’t why SHOULD voters support us, it is what keeps them FROM supporting us. Remember, no voter owes a candidate or a party their vote; it is up to a candidate or party to earn their votes.

Another is that we need to stop running candidates for Executive offices until we can support those candidates by holding enough Legislative seats to help them. Politics, like life, is a gamble. Not only should you never make a bet you are unable or unwilling to lose, you should never make a bet you are unwilling or unable to win. Realistically, if ANY third party or independent candidate were to win the Presidency or a Governorship without having any Legislative support, their administration would be a complete failure. In addition, that failure would become generalized as an argument against ever again voting for candidates who are not party of one of the governing parties. It would actually damage us rather than help us.

Yet another is that we have to stop spreading our very limited resources so thin that we accomplish nothing. Imagine that we are farmers trying to grow a crop, like roses. Roses require a LOT of water in order to grow and become something that can be sold. What we have is a very limited amount of water. It would be better to focus on a few plants instead of trying to raise all of the plants by spreading our water so thinly that NO plants have enough to grow. Now, let’s ask ourselves “What is the quality of the roses that we raise?” In order to increase the resources we can use to raise more roses in future years, we need to be able to sell a few today. We need to develop a “long game” strategy for the future.

On the national level, we need to be focusing on a realistic few races for Legislative office, and we need to start doing so immediately. It would also be better to win seats in state legislatures this year than it would be to win Congressional seats in 2012. Why? In one word, the answer is ‘redistricting’. Most states with more than one member of the US House of Representatives seem to have mostly gerrymandered safe districts, which makes it almost impossible for candidates who are not from the two main parties to win. We need to have legislators at the state level that can fight for non-partisan maps with NO safe districts. This is a very real way to tell the voters that their legislators work for THEM. I advocate a map which starts in each corner of a state and only looks at numbers of voters to create compact, regularly shaped districts without regard to race, creed, color or party. This would create districts that cannot be seen or used to promote ANY specific person or party. The reasons for this should be obvious. Not only will it help us in the future by giving third-party candidates a fair chance to win, it will also allow us to demonstrate that our primary interest is in giving power back to the voters.

We also need to understand that it is not necessary to win a majority, or even a plurality of seats to make a difference. Let’s look at Texas, as an example. Texas is in political turmoil right now. It functions on inertia… there is a government because there has been a government and it operates because it has operated. It is too big of a juggernaut to stop and it is simply rolling over everything in its path. The Texas Republican Party is eating itself right now. Our sitting Governor, Rick Perry, will have to fight against one of our two Senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison, just to win his own party’s nomination. This is not only internally destructive, when you understand how Texas operates; it is absurd because, constitutionally, Texas has a weak Governor system. The two most powerful offices in Texas government are the Lt. Governor, who presides over the Texas Senate, and the Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. So, Texas has a strong legislature to really run the state, but that legislature only meets every other year and for a very limited number of days. In addition, the 2009 legislature threw out the sitting Speaker and chose a new one in a tough internal battle. At the state Senate level, our Lt. Governor is likely to try to get Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seat in the US Senate. Texas is in political crises and, as the White House Chief of Staff so famously said, never let a crisis go to waste.

Right now, the 150-member House is almost evenly divided between the Republicans and the Democrats. The Texas Democratic Party right now is going to make a serious effort in the 2010 elections. They are actively recruiting candidates and have already held week-end long ‘mini-camps’ to educate potential candidates AND campaign staffs on how to campaign, how to fundraise, what the legal requirements are, fill out the forms, etc. These camps also allow potential candidates and the state party staff to get to know each other. They only need a few seats to wrest back control of the state House and they are determined to accomplish that. In a situation like what is facing Texas in the 2010 elections, if we could elect just 5 members of the state House, neither party would be likely have a majority. If we could elect just 2 members to the state Senate out of the 31 seats (half of which are up for election in 2010), we would have almost 7% in that body. If we could accomplish those two challenges, we would have a say in what happens in Texas AND the chance to work for a politically neutral district map.

The LP needs to be PRO-active about the 2010 election. If we wait until the state conventions in July 2010 we shouldn’t even bother. We need to get out AHEAD of the political season and start the discussions ourselves so that they will take place on our terms. We need to lead the discussions rather than respond to them. We need to have state and national party leader who are actively speaking around the state and promoting what our party offers that is different than what the other parties offer. All of our focus needs to be on the state legislatures this election. To make a difference, we have to be able to say WHAT we will do, and then DO what we say. It isn’t enough to be against what the other parties do, we have to offer a vision of what we CAN do. We need to find 5 – 10 House candidates and 1 – 5 state Senate candidates in 3 – 5 states to put our national efforts behind. It isn’t enough for these people to become known in their own districts… all of them must become known statewide. The people need to have speaking engagements across the state now, and they need to be speaking to full houses, not nearly empty rooms. They need to be where people are. This will not only help recruit new members and other potential candidates, it will get these people in the news where they can be seen by the voters in their districts as BEING recognized throughout the state.

We need to formulate strong, serious and realistic plans and timelines for what will be done between now and the election. We cannot keep operating on the serendipitous hope that voters will choose us because, gosh, we aren’t the other guys. We need to find a few key issues that the state candidates will uniformly speak to. Beyond that, we need to find candidates who cover different interest areas, different experiences and bring different skill sets to the table. We need to offer our disparate candidates as a real slate, working together. Even if we do this, however, we still must operate with the recognition that we can NOT win more than a handful of seats, at best. That is ok, though, because it GIVES us a message and a strategy.

Our candidates must offer very real differences between our party and the status quo. Remember, we are fighting inertia here. Without an extreme effort to shift that inertia, voters will continue to do as they always have. We need to also remember, we that cannot beat the Republicans by being Republicans. Right now, we have more in common with the Democratic Party than we do with the Republicans. We need to find common areas upon which to build cooperation. We have to make the voters see benefits to bringing us to the table. I think that in districts that are represented by good men and women of the Democratic Party, we should consider not running candidates against them and, instead, do what we can to help them. For the bulk of the legislatures, we just want to be allowed in… which will NOT happen with Republican wins and/or majorities. WE need to be seen as a unified and MAINSTREAM team that is working to make a better government than what we currently have. We need to also be seen as the team that can bring the other loose members of the political community (greens, independents, etc.) to the table where, through us, they can be part of the process. If we do that, for example, then we can garner statewide support (particularly financial support), and possibly nation support for simple district elections.

Libertarianism must end its stunted childhood. To become meaningful, we must move it beyond a simply philosophy into a practical vision for realistic government. As we move forward, we must ask AND ANSWER some difficult questions, including:

  • There WILL be government, so how can we improve it?
  • There WILL be taxes, so how can we make them beneficial rather than draconian?
  • A movement can NOT succeed simply by being against things, so what are we FOR?
  • What IS the role of government?
  • What IS the purpose of laws?
  • FOR whom do we speak?
  • TO whom do we speak?
  • How do we become perceived as BEING inclusive and NOT exclusive?

Ronald Reagan famously stated that “Government is not the solution to our problems; it IS the problem.” When he said that, he identified government as something that CANNOT be seen in any kind of a positive way. The idea that we need to promote is: “Government is not the solution to our problems; it is the problem, WHICH WE MUST LEARN TO SOLVE.” That change turns it from being a negative declarative statement into a positive challenge which we can all be unified behind as we work to build something better for the future. Our challenge, as a party, is to figure out how to make the government change so that we will have one that serves the people rather than one which terrifies them.

Sincerely,

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

P.S. – I asked my step-father, a center-right Republican, to look over my first draft of this. He gave me this comment from his perspective:

As an outsider to the Libertarian party, I would be more likely to vote Libertarian if the candidates did not look like mass murderers. The male candidates that I remember had long necks with Adam’s apples that looked like basketballs. The women were over 300 pounds with greasy, stringy hair. They had jobs like gooseberry farmers or manger of a gecko rescue center. What I’m trying to say is that they looked like some kind of fringe people and had no background for the positions for which they were running. Granted, there are some in Congress that makes me wonder what the people who elected them look like.

P.P.S. — Since I originally wrote this, on a recent Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert demonstrated his mastery of satire as a way to point out how ridiculous things in this world or or my seem to be. In one of his stories this week, he was talking about candidates and the third one he named (the spot of shame in comedy) was “… and the Libertarian Party’s last Presidential nominee… Drinky Bird” while behind him flashed a picture of a classic Drinky Bird in a top hat toy and the caption “Drinky Bird ’08”

HOW I THINK THE CONSTITUTION CAN BE FIXED (Part II: The Preamble)

In Activism, Congress, Constitutional Rights, Democracy, History, Law, Libertarian, Libertarian Politics, Military, Politics, US Government, War on May 26, 2009 at 8:00 am

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

At 53 words (1.15% of the total words in The Constitution), The Preamble to The Constitution of The United States is, not counting any of the Amendments, the shortest section of The Constitution after Article VII (Ratification). It has never, to my knowledge, ever been used as a basis for any constitutional court case, or for any decision (majority, dissenting, or separate) made by The Supreme Court. The Preamble is essentially considered to be the ‘pretty words’ before the ‘actual’ Constitution. That is kind of like seeing it as a short, light poetry reading for entertainment purposes before the start of the ‘real business’ part of the program. I think that such a view is a tragic mistake.

First of all, The Preamble is fully a part of The Constitution, written with it and subjected to the same ratification process as every other part of The Constitution was. It is a shame, at best, and short-sighted, at worst to not give it the same respect and standing as every other part of The Constitution. For example, for the hawks and for those in the Bush administration, it provides the best justification in the entirety of The Constitution for their aggressive military views and focus on defense issues (“We the People of the United States, in Order to…, provide for the common defence). In my view, the ‘Commander-in-Chief” clause (which I will talk about in my part of this article which will deal with Article II – The Executive Branch) does NOT give the Executive Branch the power or authority that it wants to claim under that clause. Their best arguments can be made using the relevant words in The Preamble.

Unfortunately, for those same hawks and those conservatives who are against progressive social policies, if they want to use the ‘common defence’ wording of The Preamble upon which to build a case, they must also concede equal standing to all of the other provisions of The Preamble. To me, The Preamble is an active part of The Constitution which establishes objectives which our government under The Constitution is obligated to strive to try to achieve. I will discuss this idea in more detail in the part of the article which will deal with Article I (The Legislative Branch) but, briefly goals and objectives are the same as strategies and tactics. Objectives / tactics are the broad, general, rather nebulous overarching purpose of something which cannot be quantifiably measured or ever be truly achieved… we will make the world a better place, we will create a more perfect union, we will explore space, we will end sickness and disease, etc.… these are all objectives. You cannot measure them, you cannot quantify them, you can ONLY work towards them. What helps you work towards achieving your objectives / tactics are your goals / strategies. Goals / strategies are the specific, quantifiable and measurable and specifically achievable progress points which are established as as ways to help us achieve our objectives / strategies … we will reach the moon by the end of the decade, we will give the vote to eighteen year-olds, we will defeat Hitler, we will wipe out smallpox, etc…. these are all goals.

For my section on the Legislature, I will advocate, and give my rationale for making goals and objectives a specific part of the legislative process. For this section on The Preamble, I will simply say that it is where I see the founders listing the objectives which they wanted us to work towards. To me, this makes The Preamble one of the, if not the, single most important parts of the entire Constitution. All that WE need to do is pay attention to it and give it the same respect and standing that we give to any and every other part of The Constitution.

The lack of consideration given to The Preamble is yet another shining example of what I see as the base hypocrisy of those who cry and scream that The Constitution needs to be read literally and without interpretation (the second part of which is, of course, impossible) but do not practice what they demand. The Preamble is just as much a part of The Constitution as any other part is. It was subjected to the same ratification procedure and cannot be changed without such changes going through the same amendment procedure as any other changes to The Constitution would have to go through.

The only change that I would make with regards to The Preamble would not be to change any of its words, it would be to change what respect and legal standing we give those words among our other laws and constitutional provisions.

Rhys M. Blavier

Romayor, Texas

Truth, Justice and Honor… but, above all, Honor

© copyright 2009 by Rhys M. Blavier
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Thank you for reading this article. Please read my other articles and let me know what you think. I am writing them not to preach or to hear myself think but to try to create dialogs, debates and discussions on the nature of our government and how we can build upon and improve it based on what we have seen and learned over the course of the 225 years of The American Experiment.