Failure of Current Pro-Life Tactics, Border Security, and Nebraska Water
Todd’s Weekend Journal…Random musings from scanning the papers after a busy work week and being snowed in.
- The Failed Political Tactics of the Pro Life Movement (2 pages)
- GOP Scraps Bill on Border Security (half a page)
- Giving the GOP some Love on Debate (half a page)
- The Ogallala Aquifer Stats from the USGS and A Thank You to the NRD’s (1 page)
- The Crisis in North Omaha (half a page)
- Congrats to UNO Hockey and Coach Brown (one page)
- I will be speaking Tuesday in Lincoln
The Failed Political Tactics of the Pro Life Movement
Saturday was the annual big day in Lincoln where the state celebrates the Pro-Life movement of which I’m a life-long believer in. This blog is not going to take on the merits of the Pro-Life argument today. My blog is going to take on the failure of the movement in how they play politics. My critical comments are meant to challenge and improve the progress of the cause.
The 20 week abortion ban bill failed this week in Washington after being as close to a guarantee by the Republicans after the November election. The Pro Life camp bet heavy on Republicans in 2014. Of course this makes logical sense when you only deem two options exist and only 5 out of 236 Democrats are deemed Pro-Life (see stat below) by a Democratic loyal group. Did anyone ask how we got to this polarizing point in the Democratic Party where little dissent exists?
In 2009, Representative Stupak (D-MI), a Pro-Lifer, led an amendment to take out taxpayer funding from the Patient Protection Act. 100% of Republicans voted for it. It would not have passed on GOP votes alone. However, 25% of the Democrats voted for the provision and the amendment passed. This 25% of Democrats supporting Pro-Life was key to victory. It is gone today. The party have pushed them out and the Pro-Life groups have politically turned their back on Non “R” Pro-Lifers. Only 3 Democrats voted for the latest bill due to the change in party make up and abandonment by the ideological groups in support. Any platform should be able to appeal to more that 2% of a group and highlights the lack of diversity that exists in the polarizing opinions of two parties. Any person with a solid voting record should be supported.
The Pro-Life movement worked hard to push out formal support of any Pro-Life candidates without an “R” (including me in 2014) and back a pure “R” ticket. It did not work. They did not have the votes within the party needed to win. They needed the Democrats to win the vote. It does not help when you look at the other aisle and have no allies you can count on. The “Gulp” moment should be the realization that the movement took actions to alienate people who can make decisive swing votes to win.
People no longer being judged/supported by the content of their actions/character but by the letter behind their name is Mistake One by these Pro-Life groups. They need outside “R” help to win a vote.
The party loyalist action is understandable but mistaken. The “D’s” have pushed out any Pro-Life individuals from their party and become a Pro-Choice party. When people are pushed out of a group—it is a great time to seek out and meet those individuals—not pull away. Pro-Life “D’s” stand in isolation and have little to no support from party or Pro-Life ideological groups. Pro-Life D’s should be Independents based on how the party treat their own with these values. Pro-Life organizations should embrace Pro-Life D’s because they don’t have the votes with Republicans alone. They should embrace these individuals out of ideological principle until actions/statements prove to the contrary.
In a very rare procedure, the R’s pulled the 20 week abortion bill that was up for a vote. When a bill is scheduled to vote — it takes place. Cancellation of a scheduled vote is extremely rare. It is an extraordinary sign that something is very wrong when the vote is pulled by the Party.
Pro-Lifers who think the “R” party stands for Pro-Life is Mistake #2. This reality is not new with proof existing over a decade. During the Contract with America era, the Pro-Life platform was not put on the agenda because they could not garner the percentage of Republicans necessary per Contract with America guidelines to make this a platform issue. Many thought the party changed the last decade. As I warned you before the election—it has not. Proof was in the pudding this week.
Yes, Republicans are clearly a better Pro Life party then Democrats (that is a low bar in 2015). However, Republicans campaign on the topic to secure the pro-life votes for power, but fail (usually at the beginning of a term so they can rebuild image/support for the next election) in pushing the agenda at vote time.
The R’s backed down to a watered down bill that eliminated the tax funding of abortions. A win, but not the victory the Pro-Life movement was counting on. In fact, this win was the concept advocated and started with the 25% of Democrats I mentioned in 2009. The Republicans did not achieve much more. The GOP delegation for Nebraska would have come through to be fair, but their party failed in delivering the goods they promised their base of voters.
A few quotes from GOP/Pro-Life loyalists –
Jill Stanek (GOP/Long Time Visible Pro-Life advocate) ”…it was beyond the scope of my imagination to think GOP House leadership could be so traitorous, weak, and stupid as to pull a publicly supported landmark pro-life bill they’d publicly promised to sign the following day…”
Beyond your imagination Jill? Hopefully Jill is awake now on who the national party really is and is not. She had multiple examples in history to prevent her from making this failed judgment. Jill’s failure is the same failure many other Pro-Life followers make. They listen to speeches, look for party labels, and don’t research historical votes. Republicans have members who are strong Pro-Life. However, the Party is far from being a Party of Pro-Life. If you need more evidence just watch Romney preach Pro-Life to garner the Republican bid for President and fool the country who did not know his record. He was well on the record (watch debate online) to defend choice when running for Governor in Mass. Ignore the speech and focus on voting record. However, this awareness is not achieved when followers of a movement observe letters in front of names over actions/character of individuals on the record.
RedState (GOP loyalist site), Editor-in-Chief Erick Erickson declared Pro-Lifers, “Whores of the Republican party. They return predictably to the GOP for more abuse and disappointment.” His strong words—not mine.
Again, we tried to warn people to not put their faith in the GOP party for Pro-Life values. The GOP consolidates Tea Partiers, Pro-Lifers, etc. for votes at election time but turn their back on their key voting groups when key votes present themselves. The establishment runs the show. It amazes me how long it is going to take for people to realize the truth. These fractional groups are just as ignorant by giving their power to a larger group who will not pull their main interests in the halls of Congress but will preach the line before the election.
What will make the difference towards a winning vote for Pro-Life?
One. Pro Life groups around the country should stop alienating sympathetic Democrats and Independents. 29% of voting Democrats still claim a “Pro-Life” stance. 29% of Democratic votes in the halls of Congress would make all the difference in pushing bills like the 20 week abortion ban forward. Embrace and build a Democratic/Independent flank in the movement. Can a minority movement really afford to alienate friendly supporters? They thought so. I don’t. This week’s vote proved my point.
Two. Understand putting 100% faith in the GOP fails. Ironically, the movement was treated like a minority group by the GOP in a similar fashion of how the movement treated fellow minority party supporters of the ideology like myself. “What goes around comes around” – Mama Watson. She is right. It is time to rethink strategy of embracing all Pro-Life followers based on the merits of their votes or on the record pledges/statements.
Three. Citizens must change their votes. Wake up and realize what national party stands with you and what national parties do not (both). It’s time to support people and not parties. Do not consolidate your power to a group who will not vote your values. Accept responsibility and change your behavior.
GOP Scraps Bill on Border Security
The abortion bill was the only key “GOP” legislation that was scraped….right? Wrong. A bill was pulled off the floor to deal with border security because the Republicans could not agree on terms.
GOP representative Michael McCaul said on the pulled bill, “For God’s sakes, if we can’t unite around border security what can we unite around?”
GOP representative Mo Brooks from Alabama said, “And as such, it is an effort to convince the American people that we are doing something substantive to secure the border when in fact nothing substantive is being done.”
In our Senate race and others, no complete plan would be presented by a GOP candidate. The only stance a GOP candidate would take in concrete is “Nothing can be done until the border is secured.” Today, the Republicans cannot agree on their only solid plank in the immigration debate — securing the border. Your party–not mine. Actions speak louder than words.
I supported Securing the Border but many thought the GOP was the answer on the issue. I don’t think our representatives from Nebraska are the problem in this scenario but their party is now the latest road block in the next step to border security. As I cited in the debates the GOP and journalists did not attend at Nebraska Wesleyan, “When nothing happens, something happens”. That is the predicament this country voted for.
Giving the GOP Some ‘Love’ They Deserve
Time to balance out the negative with the positive. The GOP in the Senate has allowed debate and a number of amendments in January that already surpassed the number of amendments the Democrats allowed from the GOP in 2014. This is a big reversal of a dangerous trend. Like a loyal dog that desires their praise, they need to be scratched behind the ear and told “Good Job” for their efforts.
This is a good step for our Democracy. Allowing a minority group to speak, propose amendments, and debate is healthy for our country. You don’t have to agree or even support their view. However, let the argument offered in good faith (not meant for endless filibuster) be heard. Hopefully, the Democrats do not forget this gesture the next time around. Silencing elected officials from being part of the legislative process is not American.
Independents like myself, Jim Jenkins, and most all the other Independents around the US made ‘Debate’ a central point in 2014. Independents had a big part in challenging the culture to get these main parties to talk, debate, and legislate as a body again. Not every Republican believes in open debate, but it looks like the powers at be are changing and got the message. Please learn Democrats. Silencing a group from speaking is a horrendous action. Amen GOP for being the bigger group to change the course instead of retaliate.
Water – Our Most Precious Resource—The Good News
If we do not want the government to control our lives, we must make sure we take responsibility for ourselves and the resources given to us (including our votes). We cannot allow good arguments to be given to those who want to usurp powers of the people to the government. Buried in small print on the back pages of our paper was a story that demonstrates Nebraskans are managing our natural resources well.
From the Journal Star on January 24, 2015 –
“The average water-level change in Nebraska’s portion of the aquifer from the 1950s to 2013 was minus 0.3 feet.
By comparison, the average water-level declines in the other five states that overlie a significant portion of the Ogallala were: minus 41.2 feet in Texas; minus 25.5 feet in Kansas; minus 16.5 feet in New Mexico; minus 14.3 feet in Colorado; and minus 12.3 feet in Oklahoma.
The USGS report said that in 2013, there were about 2.92 billion acre-feet of water in the aquifer. That’s enough to cover the U.S. with more than 15 inches of water.”
Contrary to the propaganda and belief or several voters—the vast majority of Nebraskans care about the water. It is the lifeblood of our existence, our economy, and our way of life. We owe a big thank you to the important efforts of our NRD boards and officials to sustain these consistent water levels reported by the USGS.
Let’s take a moment to give those involved in our water situation a thank you for their efforts. 63 years of stewardship gives the next generation the same opportunity. That is stewardship at its best. The same can be said on our state budget. Well done.
Let’s also realize that the water concerns in other states are warranted. They are not taking care of their resources themselves to provide long term sustainability to the next producers/people. I understand environmentalists screaming when all the water is gone. At the same time, I get tired of hearing environmentalists yelling when the stewardship is going well at a local level. Give credit where credit is due.
One of the single reasons our beef industry passed Texas was our management of water. The loss of cattle in Texas due to the last drought really put a large dent in their industry. Wells were dry and pastures dried up. We used more water during dry times but cut back irrigation 30% when the precipitation returned. That water made the difference for many farmers not on dry land to seize the opportunities presented in the markets at the start of the decade. Cutting way back to refill the levels used during wetter seasons just makes sense. Water management is one solid reason we are #1 in beef and lead in agriculture! Let’s not lose that edge and be educated when we use and when we replenish.
We still have work to do. Nebraskans in the South, Central, and Northern part of the state experience and view water very differently (on the whole—some share same views). It would be helpful to unify those views into a workable long term plan. Maybe a long term water plan can be an issue that moves up the priority list over poker and mountain lions from each party? Furthermore as a state, it would be helpful to deal with the 1 or 2 out of a 100 that spoil the reputation of the whole. There are bad apples in every bunch, but one bad apple does not warrant ceding control to the Feds.
We can police ourselves. If we don’t manage our situation—the Feds likely will. The last thing we want is the government to manage non navigable resources that Nebraskans can manage. I know our representatives are fighting against current over-arching rules. Let’s back up their fight by being proactive in getting ahead of the game and have plans for the long term that give our children the same water resources/opportunities for their future.
Nebraskans need credible information to make the appropriate plans to manage. We should be sharing knowledge with other states so they can improve their own situation. These states are giving the government good reason to think they can’t manage the water for themselves. I’d be upset too if my livestock all died from no access to water caused by overuse of previous generations who knew better. I’d be upset if I was a young Ag businessman and knew the previous generation depleted the water source for my products. Some of the stats out of Texas and California are appalling with regard to water. Thank you NRD members for your valuable contributions to water sustainability in Nebraska. Job well done!
The Crisis in North Omaha
Speaking of taking care of ourselves…the continued gang shootings in Omaha is very troubling. It was great to see community organizers come out against this problem. Domestic Tranquility is the last resort job of Federal government. However, they often overkill the situation with the continued militarization of a government force to deal with domestic situations (don’t get me started on this disturbing trend). The citizens of North Omaha and local authorities need to work expeditiously to rat out the problem people in this situation. Omaha needs to get the few bad apples under control so domestic tranquility reigns for peaceful North Omaha residents again.
My prayers are with the forces across Nebraska. May they attack the situation with courage and God given security. May the citizens who live peacefully with their neighbor and care about their community take back their neighborhood. My hope is Nebraskans spend some time in prayer, moral support, and involvement to make North Omaha a non-violent place again. Gangs have no place in Nebraska life. Thank you volunteers who invest in the lives of young men in North Omaha to keep kids out of gangs and moving forward. I’m very encouraged at the programs Metro is putting together to get local citizens inexpensive training to obtain local well-paying jobs that are readily available and remain unfilled. My day on campus in October was incredible. Well done officers, volunteers, coaches, and teachers making a difference in the situation! My prayers are with you.
Congrats to UNO Hockey and Coach Brown
It was great to see the UNO Hockey team with a monumental win against the #1 team in NCAA hockey. The town was rocking. The fan support was amazing. What a great scene! It is exciting to see another dominant team arise in this state. Great job Mavericks!
Finally, thanks Ron Brown for all you did and do for Nebraska. I loved and admired what Coach Brown did for the State of Nebraska. On a personal level, he was a local inspiring figure who gave me confidence to be bolder in my faith views. So many don’t have the guts to say “God” outside the walls of their church or home. The “Silent” ones are as much at fault then those pushing an alternative agenda in the change of this country. Silence is speech as Bonhoeffer, Dr. King, and Abe Lincoln identified.
Secularists should not criticize Ron as his ministry work did not hurt his paid for work. Doing both jobs well is very Biblical (Paul) and American. His pupils are going pro with the help of great teaching by Ron. It is impossible to argue against the merits of his for profit work by observing the prospects of his pupils. Success story after success story in their craft is Ron’s working legacy! Even Ameer (Great Sr. Bowl!), who Brown dissenters were hoping would speak out against Ron due to different belief sets, liked Ron. Ron treated people well regardless of belief sets and that makes him a testament to the faith. Never compromising principles but always caring for people was what I viewed from Ron.
As a criticism of a few Christians, many turned their back on Pelini after his comments. Who wants to associate with someone who conducts themselves like that (we all heard it)? You know who will associate and work with people “Like That”—Ron. We are all imperfect and Ron gives that grace and genuine love to others that many will not give based on public perception. God bless him for it.
Granted Pelini’s comments were not flattering or honorable but Ron (in my opinion) does not run from people who are not like himself. He runs to them. Ron is working for and with Pelini. Ohio is so very lucky to have Coach Brown. Ron has patience with people. We can all learn from Ron’s patience, boldness, and love.
The UNL administration did not only turn their back on Pelini (there were some nuggets of truth in the tirade) but they turned their back on Ron as well. I’m not here to give an up or down vote on Pelini. Furthermore, I’m not up or down on Riley. I understand he needs “His Guys” to do what he was hired to do.
However, it was well understood that UNL did not like Ron’s speech on issues of conviction and faith. Free speech is a dying value and virtue held by those on top of the pyramid. I too was silenced by many “On Top” in this societal game based on my outspokenness and views. Many institutions try to make people of faith one dimensional or appear as Neanderthals to discredit their being/views and push their agenda forward.
A lack of coverage, non invites by groups, etc. is very real. Thankfully, those trying to control speech are still a minority (but unfortunately growing). Unfortunately, the minorities who try and control speech have large influence and control of the Public Square and view it as a tactic when they should be more worried about fighting the rights given to us by God.
Ron helped advocate more than good football and ministry. He was a strong example of free speech (whether that was his intention or not). We need to continue to fight for the free exercise of religion and speech.
His legacy is well established and will live on in Nebraska. FCA is pioneering a dramatic change in helping coaches assist young athletes. Ron was strongly behind this movement. I think the best fruit the FCA program will yield in individuals and Nebraska Football is just beginning.
Thanks Ron! You will always be a Nebraskan and a person of admirable boldness to me.
I Will Be Speaking in Lincoln on Tuesday
I will be speaking at Valentino’s on 70th for breakfast (Yes – Breakfast is served at Vals) on Tuesday morning from 6:30 to 8 in Lincoln. I will be talking faith, business, and a little politics. I’ll be sharing my story of the idols that held me back, God’s humbling of “Me”, my background in business, and my ongoing faith journey. Get up early and join us!