Thursday, June 7, 2012

Big Education

Radford University approved across-the-board tuition, fees, and room and board increases recently. Tuition will go up by 3.2% on top of last year’s 8.1% increase. The total average cost for a full time, undergraduate, in-state student for the 2012-2013 academic year go from $15,909 to about $16,600 depending on what room and meal plan is chosen. UVA had a 3.7% increase recently for the up-coming school year. The total average annual cost there for a full-time student is now $25,400. At Tech, it’s $17,365. According to a report from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), the average annual cost for a full time undergraduate resident in-state student in 2002 – 2003 was $9648. That’s an average for all of the Virginia state supported colleges and universities, so we can’t compare it to any individual institution; but, if we do a little quick math we see that the average annual cost next school year for Tech, UVA, and RU will be $19,558. Compared to the 2002-2003 data from the SCHEV report, there has been about a 100% increase in the last ten years. On average at those three institutions, a four-year college education will now cost roughly $80,000. If this trend continues, as is likely, the cost will double again in the next ten years. We’ll be up to $160,000 on average for a college degree at Tech/UVA/RU. In other states, the picture is similar. By way of contrast, I estimate that my total four-year college education in the Engineering School at UVA cost in the range of $12,500. Total, for everything. In this environment of skyrocketing costs, one would presume that colleges are having to drastically cut back on everything. However, if you visit any of these college and stroll around, you notice something odd. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of money. These institutions don’t seem to be living on any a restricted budget. Quite the contrary, they seem to have plenty of money. At RU, a Taj Mahal of a building is being completed, at a cost of $44 million, to house the College of Business and Economics. Other RU buildings have undergone major renovations in recent years costing many millions of dollars. You see similar phenomena at Tech and UVA. There doesn’t seem to be any concern about where the money is going to come from. Meanwhile, tuition has gone ballistic. Given all of this, do you hear any talk about “greedy big education” or “fat cat” college executives? Do you hear about price gouging? Are the “occupy” groups protesting ? Are there any calls for congressional investigations? Are college presidents being summoned to Washington or Richmond? Is anyone in the educational system being called to task? No, none of that is happening, as with those evil Wall Street fat cats or with “big oil”. Big education is somehow immune. The reason for this disparity is that big education is full of left-wing liberals and Marxists. Not all college and universities are dominated by liberal extremists, but by and large they are. Many college professors eagerly use their classroom to indoctrinate impressionable minds about the mean conservatives and the good liberals. Liberal politicians aren’t about to attack big education for out-of-control costs or for anything else. Liberal politicians know the vital role big education plays in furthering their political goals and in keeping them in office. However, even the politicians can’t ignore those high tuitions. Their solution is to throw more money at colleges via the student loan program. Here’s how it works. Politicians take taxpayer money and loan it to college students so they can pay the sky-high costs. Students are encouraged to do this; you hear ads on radio and TV about the availability of government money for student loans. As a result, the students run up huge loan balances that will be a severe financial burden to them for the rest of their lives. The politicians then talk about the need for very low interest on those huge loan balances, or that the loans should be forgiven outright, or other relief programs. The former students then love those politicians for getting them out of their financial nightmare and they keep voting for those same politicians. The net result is that vast sums of money, much of it coming from the taxpayers, are shoveled toward the colleges. There is no significant public outcry about the ever-rising tuition and other costs, and the colleges roll merrily along turning out those liberal voters to perpetuate the whole thing.

Friday, April 13, 2012

It's Deja-vu All Over Again

Here we go again. When I filled my car’s gas tank yesterday, I paid $4.05 a gallon.

High gas prices are a big drag on the economy, for many reasons. Closest to home, when we pay more at the pump, we have less to spend elsewhere, and that slows down the economy. People don’t drive to Myrtle Beach or other such places, they don’t buy airline tickets, thus hurting the leisure and tourist industries.

There’s more. When you drive on I81, or almost any major highway anywhere in the country, what do you see? You see trucks, a lot of them. Almost everything that is in our house, barn, yard, garage, apartment, store, place of work, or anywhere else was on a truck at some point. Whatever can’t be moved on a truck gets put in a train or an airplane. Sometimes two or three of these modes of transportation are used for a single item (Fed Ex – UPS). When gas/diesel/aviation fuel prices go up, the additional cost is passed on to the price of all those things that get moved. Again, those higher prices of everything hinder the entire economy.

Obama and his apologists have spent a lot of time recently saying that there is very little the President can do to lower gas prices.

However, the law of supply and demand has not been repealed. Everyone who has taken Economics 101 knows that if you want bring down the cost of something, you increase the supply.

The United States has the largest recoverable resources of oil, gas, and coal of any country in the world. When you combine all of these, we are number one in the world! Consider:

• America’s greatest concentration of untapped oil – an estimated 10 billion barrels – lies near the edge of Alaska’s 1.6 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR).
• We also have large untapped oil reserves off shore and in the Gulf of Mexico
• The U.S. is home to the richest, thickest oil shale deposits in the world. Estimates show that we have four times more recoverable oil resources in oil shale than Saudi Arabia’s proven oil reserves.
• The U.S. has the world’s largest coal reserves, nearly 29% of the world’s proven coal reserves.
• The U.S. is the world’s largest coal producer. If the total coal resources of the lower 48 states could be completely mined, it would be enough coal to last an astonishing 3900 years at current consumption rates.
• Our natural gas reserves, also found most commonly in underground shale formations, have grown significantly in recent years due to the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
• In North Dakota, we are already accessing the productive Bakken Oil Shale Reserve, with an estimated yield on 500,000 to 750,000 barrels per day.
• The Michigan Basin is estimated to hold more than 282 million barrels of oil and 2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
• The Marcellus Shale field in New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio and the Utica Shale in Ohio are just beginning to be studied.

There is another drama playing out now that is very telling with regard to this claim that Obama can’t bring down the price of gas, and that is Obamacare. The Supreme Court is hearing a legal challenge to Obamacare, but that’s not the part of it relevant to this discussion. You will recall that during the extensive debate over Obamacare when it was being considered by Congress, one of the main reasons, if not the main reason, given as to why we must pass this law was that Obamacare would bring down the cost of health care overall. Obamacare was needed because it would lower the cost of health care, we were told over and over.

Here we have the situation that back then Obama was absolutely sure he could bring down the cost of something as economically large and intractable as the entire health care system with his Obamacare, but now he is completely impotent when it comes to doing the same for energy and gas prices.

The key to understanding this incoherence from Obama and crew, as I have said before, is to recognize that they WANT the price of gas and other conventional sources of energy to go up, so that then people will be willing to move to the much more expensive “green” energy. Obama’s Secretary of Energy even admitted this in 2008 when he told the Wall Street Journal, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe.” Obama has said that he wants to bankrupt the coal industry and that gas prices must necessarily skyrocket in order for his "cap and trade" scheme to work.

That’s why Obama recently refused to approve the Keystone Pipeline that would bring much oil to us from Canada, and why he refuses to allow additional off-shore drilling and has cut the number of drilling permits issued per year in half. He doesn’t want more oil and the lower prices that would go with it. He wants less oil and higher gas prices, the economy be damned.

After all, what’s more important - low energy prices, jobs, and economic prosperity; or following the dictates of the environment extremists about how our way of life must drastically change in order to “save the planet” in a manner that they find acceptable?

November is coming.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

America's Nero

When I was in grade school, we were taught what to do if the U.S. came under nuclear attack. When the alarm was sounded, we were to get underneath our desks and look away from the windows. We even practiced this!

Back then, bomb shelters were designated, usually in the basement of a large building, where people were to go if atomic bombs started falling.

Atomic bombs are based upon the science of nuclear fission in which an atom is split into two smaller atoms, releasing large amounts of heat and radiation in the process. An atomic bomb generates heat measured in the hundreds of million of degrees and 500 miles per hour winds from the shock wave. At ground zero, everything is incinerated.

The first use of an atomic bomb occurred on Aug. 6, 1945 when the U.S. Army Air Corp. dropped “little boy” (the bomb's nickname because of its shape) on Hiroshima, Japan, which was considered to be a legitimate military target.

The resulting blast from “little boy” over Hiroshima was the equivalent of 13 thousand tons (kilotons) of TNT. It is estimated that 80,000 people were killed instantly and that 76% of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed or severely damaged. By the end of that year, total casualties were in the range of 90,000 to 140,000 (due to subsequent deaths from burns and radiation). This was from one primitive atomic bomb using now-obsolete technology.

Today, hydrogen bombs have a destructive force equivalent to million of tons of TNT (compared to “little boy’s” 13 kilotons). That means that a modern nuclear bomb would be the equivalent of dropping 1000 Hiroshima "little boys" all at once.

Iran is working hard on developing the capability of building a nuclear bomb. To cite only a couple of the more recent points of evidence, during the quarterly board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, the Director General restated his concern that Iran might be testing weapons at a military site south of Tehran, and another secret Iranian nuclear site was discovered near Qom. There is no serious disagreement among the experts on what Iran is up to; the only difference of opinion is with regard to how close Iran is to achieving it’s goal of nuclear weapon capability and whether Iran will actually build a nuclear bomb once it has the capability, or be content with just the ability of doing so. Opinions on the time frame for this range from a few months to a few years.

Iran is a rogue state. In 1979, Iran took hostage 52 Americans working at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Tehran and held them for 444 days. Over the years, the Iranians have attacked oil tankers in the Persian Gulf, provided weapons to terrorist groups (Hamas and Hezbollah), brutally attacked it’s own citizens when they took to the street to protest the Iranian’s government’s stealing of the election in 2009. Iran’s leaders have vowed to wipe Israel off of the map, and denied that the Holocaust ever happened. Not too long ago, Iran allowed the British embassy in Tehran to be overrun last November by street thugs, no doubt ginned up by the Iranian government, when Britain said some things that Iran didn’t like. Iran is, according to the State Department, the world’s greatest exporter of terror. Iran is systematically killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan through Iran’s proxies. And so on.

The Obama administration’s obsession with a “diplomatic solution” to the Iran nuclear bomb program has been an abject failure, yet he dogmatically continues with it, recently agreeing to more open-ended negotiations with no pre-conditions. Yes, Obama is still negotiating, despite Iran’s history of blatant stalling and unseriousness in all previous negotiations.

“Negotiations”: That means talking to them. Does Obama really think that at this point we can talk Iran out of building a nuclear bomb? More such negotiations will do nothing except give Iran valuable time to move past a point-of-no-return in its quest for nukes.

How about sanctions? That’s more than talking, so sanctions will work, some, including Obama, say. But Obama’s own director of national intelligence told the Senate intelligence committee that sanctions have had no effect whatsoever on the course of Iran’s nuclear program. None. Sanctions have hurt Iran’s economy, but have not deterred Iran’s nuclear program in the least, according to Obama’s own expert.

Israel, meanwhile, has more to worry about than esoteric debates about the capability of producing a nuclear bomb verses actually building one. Israel faces an existential threat from a nuclear Iran. Would any sane leader in Israel trust that Obama could talk Iran out of building a nuclear bomb once Iran actually has the capability?

How hard is it to connect the dots: Rogue state; wants to wipe Israel of the map; developing nuclear weapons. Unless someone intervenes to stop it, Iran will no-doubt nuke Israel as soon as it is able. If that happens, does anyone think the U.S. will be able to stay out of it?

Nevertheless, more talking and more sanctions, both of which have already failed repeatedly, are Obama’s current plan for dealing with Iran’s unabated nuclear ambitions.

I think I hear a fiddle.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Abbott and Costello on Unemployment

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were one of the all time great stand-up comedy teams from the 1940’s and 50’s. Their “Who’s On First, What’s On Second” routine is a timeless classic. If they were around today, the unemployment numbers coming out of Washington would no doubt give them ample material with which to work.

Abbott: The unemployment rate is stuck above eight percent. Times are tough; a lot of people are out of work.
Costello: Over eight percent of the workforce is still looking for work?

Abbott: No.
Costello: But you just told me the unemployment rate is over eight percent.

Abbott: It is.
Costello: So how many people are out of work?

Abbott: Sixteen percent.
Costello: (Looking perplexed). Sixteen percent of the workers are not working, but the unemployment rate is 8.3%?

Abbott: Right.
Costello: (Looking determined). OK, so I go out and count all of the idle workers, turn that into a percent, and what number do I get?

Abbott: 16%.
Costello: And that’s the unemployment rate.
Abbott: No, the unemployment rate is 8.3%

Costello: (Grimace). The unemployed, they’re out of work, right?
Abbott: Right.

Costello: So if you’re out of work, you’re unemployed.
Abbott: No.

Costello: Someone can be out of work but not counted as unemployed?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: There’s more than one way to be out of work?
Abbott: Yes. You can be out of work and out of work, or you can be out of work and unemployed.

Costello: If I’m out of work, I’m not necessarily unemployed?
Abbott: Correct.

Costello: (Agitated). How can someone be out of work but not unemployed?
Abbott: If you’re out of work but you quit looking for work, the government no longer considers you to be unemployed.

Costello: Alright, if I’m out of work and I give up looking, I‘m not considered to be unemployed.
Abbott: (Smug look). According to the government.
Costello: They take me off of the unemployment role.
Abbott: Yes.

Costello: So if I’m out of work and I want to get off of the unemployment role, I can either get a job or stop looking.
Abbott: That’s what the government says.

Costello: (Looking brilliant). Here’s how we solve the unemployment problem: Everyone who’s out of work stops looking, and the unemployment rate goes to zero!
Abbott: You should work for the government.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What Obama Didn't Say

President Obama’s recent State of the Union address was more notable for what he didn’t say than for what he did say.

The most glaring and telling example was Obamacare. At the time it was being debated and passed, Obama told us that his health care bill was vitally important to the nation; that if it wasn’t passed, the health care system in this country would collapse and people would die en masse in the streets; that his bill would save trillions of dollars in health care costs; that the quality of care would rise; that millions of uninsured people would have coverage; that finally we would have affordable, high quality health care for all. The bill was debated for months. It finally passed late at night on Christmas Eve after the Democrats in Congress considered resorting to such chicanery as “deeming” the bill to be passed without actually voting on it. And it finally did pass. The Democrats erupted in jubilation. At the signing ceremony, VP Joe Biden (Democrat) made his famous remark: “This is a big f****** deal”. It was Obama’s signature accomplishment.

After all of this and with the provisions of Obamacare now starting to take effect, Obamacare was barely mentioned in passing in the State of the Union address. I guess it wasn’t such a big deal after all, since it was all but ignored by the President himself in his major speech on where we stand as a nation.

And what about the stimulus? You remember that one, don’t you? At the time, we were again told that instant action was essential in the form of this $800 billion stimulus in order to save the economy as we knew it. It had to be passed immediately, that day, in order to avert financial calamity. It too was passed, and the economy was presumably saved, by Obama. Not mentioned in the State of the Union address.

Unemployment at 8.5%? The underemployment rate estimated to be at 16%? One in five men of prime working age and nearly half of all persons under 30 not working? The unemployment rate of African-Americans at 15.8%? Teen unemployment at 23.1%? A total of 13.1 million unemployed Americans? None of this was mentioned by Obama.

The national debt ballooning to $15 trillion during his administration and being projected to go even higher? Not mentioned by Obama.

The Keystone Pipeline which would have created tens of thousands of high-paying jobs and reduced our dependence on Mid-East oil and which Obama blocked? Not mentioned in his speech
The failure of the United States Senate, controlled by Obama’s own party, to pass a budget, as required by law, for 1000 days now? Not mentioned by Obama.

The financial chaos in Europe with rioting in the streets in Greece and a potential collapse of the Euro? Not mentioned by Obama.

The complete failure of Obama’s “outreach” to Iran to get them to stop their nuclear bomb program, and what Obama has learned from this in dealing with Iran going forward? Not discussed in his speech.

The violence that has erupted in Iraq after the departure of U.S. soldiers? Not mentioned.

Specifics about how Obama’s continued draconian budget cuts to the military in this time of worldwide unrest are going to result in a stronger military, as he claims? Not presented in his speech.

2011 GDP growth (a measure of economic expansion and the overall health of the economy) at a mere 1.7%, a little more than half of the 2010 number? Not mentioned.

Social Security on a path to only be able to pay only 77% of promised benefits by 2036 and even less thereafter? Not mentioned.

It’s almost as though Obama just arrived from Pluto and had no involvement with or knowledge of any of this.

The President did say that the state of the Union is getting stronger. Really? God help us of he ever tells us it’s getting weaker.

The Tyranny Of The Left

The Susan G. Komen Foundation recently announced that it was going to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood, and the events that transpired thereafter are highly instructive.

Now, in order to understand this episode, you need some background information.

First, it is very significant to keep in mind that Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation is a charity whose mission is to find a cure for breast cancer. It collects donations and then gives money to various organizations that are somehow involved with fighting breast cancer. They have been giving hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to Planned Parenthood to be used for breast cancer screening. And they decided to stop.

Left-wing liberals started squealing like a stuck pig. Abortion, and therefore Planned Parenthood, are sacrosanct to the left, so they sprang into action. Public condemnations of Komen poured forth from the left. Phone calls were made to Komen threatening to cut off their donations. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City announced that he was personally giving $250,000 to Planned Parenthood as a show of support. Within twenty-four hours, Komen caved and retracted their announcement of ceasing donations to Planned Parenthood.

What are the lessons learned from all of this? One thing we have clearly seen is that the Komen Foundation is run by wimps. Rather than stand by their decision, which no doubt they must have considered carefully, they immediately caved in.

More importantly, we see the tyranny of the left on full display. We see that they absolutely refuse to allow anyone to have a different opinion than they do on anything, but especially on abortion. Where was all of the tolerance and inclusiveness of liberals with regard to the Komen Foundation?

What we saw here was actually a lot worse than intolerance from the liberals. Keep in mind that Komen is a private charity; it’s not any sort of a government institution. Thus, in this episode we see the liberals excoriating a private charity over a decision by that charity on what to do with its own money. The liberals are not only totally unwilling to grant this private charity the right to use its money as it sees fit, the liberals actually demand that Komen give its money to the liberals’ favored institutions! Failure to comply with the liberals’ demands on how a charity is to use its own money results in a public campaign to demonize that charity. Remember, the institution that the liberals viciously attacked in this whole sorry affair is a private charity whose mission is to find a cure for breast cancer!

Exhibit B of the intolerance of the left is the recent decision by the Obama administration to force Catholic institutions, under Obamacare, to provide contraception services in their employees’ health care plan, even though the Catholic Church is morally opposed to contraception as part of its religious views and teachings. But the Obama administration said no matter, you have to do it anyway.

Again, in order to fully understand what is going on here, we need to review some background material.

Liberals talk a lot about the separation of church and state, going to such extremes as saying that having a prayer before a high school football game violates this separation.

So let’s dissect this decision by the Obama administration in light of the principle of separation of church and state.

We have religious freedom in this country thanks to the concept of the “separation of church and state”. This is a principle written into our nation’s constitution, but those words are not there. The Founding Fathers wanted to set up a form of government under which there would be no official government mandated national religion, but rather a government where people would be free to practice their religion s they so desired. This principle of religious freedom became known as the separation of church and state, meaning that churches and the government are completely independent of each other and neither is allowed to control the other.

Thus, churches in this country pay no taxes. That’s because if they did, they would be under the control of the government. The government could just tax churches out of existence, for example, or use the tax laws as a way of controlling churches in one way or another. So, as part of our principle of the separation of church and state, churches pay no taxes. That’s how important it was to the founding fathers to ensure that the government would not be able to find a way of controlling churches; they are totally exempt from taxation. Even sales tax. If you go to a store and buy something for your church, that store must provide a mechanism whereby no sales tax is paid on that transaction.

Enter the Obama Administration. It has decided to dictate to church institutions (such as colleges) the specific provisions of the health care benefits they are to provide to their employees, even if those provisions violate a church’s religious beliefs. Did you get that? Obama’s government is demanding that church institutions provide government specified health care to employees. If that isn’t the government controlling the churches, nothing is.

So “separation of church and state” has come to mean that the government can’t control churches by taxing them, but the government can control church institutions by dictating to them what kind of healthcare benefits they must provide to employees.

Why aren’t the liberals up in arms over this egregious violation of the separation of church and state, as they were over something as innocuous as a prayer at a high school football game?

The answer is, again, the intolerance of liberals, which trumps everything. Liberals are extremely intolerant of people being allowed to openly practice their religious beliefs, and “separation of church and state” is a very useful way of shutting that down. But when this same “separation of church and state” gets in the way of liberals imposing their views concerning abortion on everyone else, “separation of church and state” is suddenly gone and of no concern to liberals. Imposing their views on society is what really matters.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What The Tea Party Needs To Learn

The tea party movement has been one of the most encouraging developments in the political arena for a long time. When I went to my first tea party rally back in 2009, I was struck by a couple of things. One was the number of people present who made comments such as, “I’ve never done anything like this before, but I just felt I had to speak out.” Another notable point was that no elected officials or candidates were invited; it was strictly an event for non-politicians. I was impressed by how peaceful, calm, and sincere it all was. After the speeches from the organizers, we threw bags of tea into the nearby creek (with a string attached so we could pull them back out and not be litterers).

Yes, the tea party types can have a “million man” march on the Mall in Washington with no violence whatsoever, or even any rude behavior to speak of, and then leave the place cleaner than when they arrived. The “Occupiers” can’t even comprehend something like that.

And the tea party has had an impact. Their voice has been heard; they have changed the debate in Washington; some of their candidates have been elected.

One of my favorite “tea party” candidates is Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina. I don’t know if she was so much a tea party candidate as a grassroots candidate, but it doesn’t matter. I heard her speak at an event in D.C. not too long ago, and her story is remarkable. When she first ran for a seat in the South Carolina legislature, she defeated a thirty year incumbent in the primary election (for which the local part bosses have never forgiven her) in a true grassroots campaign with no money, no name recognition, but a lot of passion and energy. She went on to win in the general election by the same means. She was then ostracized by the career politicians in the legislature to the point of them not even giving her an office; she had to work in the hallways. The governor also was making life difficult for her, so she decided to run for governor! And she won that one, too. One of her first actions as governor was to put in place a “report card” program where she as governor rated the performance of every member of the legislature, and published the ratings. Don’t you just love it!

In spite of these and other successes, I see the tea party movement now starting to become less effective. This is 2011, not 2009; things have changed. The people still want a new direction for the country, but they aren’t as prone to simply continue going to rallies. A new approach is needed. Anti-establishment fervor is no longer enough. The movement is maturing.

Staging rallies only gets you so far. In order to really have an impact on actual government policies, you have to be able get people elected in this new, more mature, “tea party” era. The tea party needs to move from being reactive with protests and rallies on various issues to being pro-active by getting the right people nominated and elected in the first place so we don’t have to continually pressure them into doing the right thing.

Here’s the problem with accomplishing that. There are only two ways to get someone elected, beyond local elections: 1) Via the Democrat Party, or 2) Via the Republican Party.

Don’t talk to me about a third party. Yes, there are one or two Independents in Congress, but that is the clear exception. No third party candidate has ever been elected President.

Look at some fairly recent history. In the Presidential elections of 1992 and 1996, there was a third party candidate, Ross Perot. People were so fed up with George Bush the elder (of “Read my lips. No new taxes” fame – he raised taxes after saying that) that many people, mostly Republicans, bolted to Perot. In 1992, Perot received 19% of the vote, more than any third party candidate since Teddy Roosevelt and the Bull Moose Party in 1912. But it was still just 19%; Perot wasn’t elected, of course. What he did was throw the election to the Democrat, Bill Clinton, who received only 43% of the vote. That was more than Bush’s 38%, so Clinton was elected. Something similar happened in 1996 when Bob Dole was the Republican candidate, although not as dramatically. The effect of third party candidate Ross Perot was to throw the election to Clinton twice.

Today, some people think Ron Paul may run as a third party candidate if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination. If so, the result will be the same- the election will be thrown to the Democrat (Obama).

No, if you want to get elected President, or to Congress other than as some sort of an anomaly, you’re going to have to do it through one of the two national political parties.

That’s what the tea party doesn’t seem to realize. You have to have a national political organization behind you; rallies and protests won’t do it. Rallies and protests can be effective in influencing the vote of some elected officials on certain issues, but those activities won’t get you elected.

The tea party needs to bring its energy, viewpoints, and conviction into the Republican Party to influence the party establishment and move them in the right direction. The tea party needs to work within the party to get good conservative candidates nominated, and then use the party resources and organization to get those candidates elected.

Jamie Radtke, a prominent tea party activist, is running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Virginia. She went on a bus tour throughout Southwest Virginia not too long ago. In setting up this bus tour, she or her campaign did not contact any Republican County Committee Chair or the Republican Ninth District chairman. She just completely ignored them. How does she think she will get the Republican Party behind her by snubbing the party activists? Even if she get’s the nomination, she can’t win in the general election without the part’s full support.

I understand the problem with career politicians and the complacent party establishment that wants mainly wants to go along to get along. But the way to deal with all of that is to build a fire under the establishment and/or overwhelm it, not alienate it.

The tea party also needs to understand that it matters who the nominee is. They need to put forth candidates who are astute politicians and who can appeal to non-tea party voters.

This was the problem with Sharon Angle in Nevada and Delaware Girl Christine O’Donnell. The tea party got them the Republican nominations for U.S. Senate, but then couldn’t get them elected because they were, well, poor candidates. Remember the infamous “I am not a witch” news conference of Delaware Girl?

All in all, if the tea party doesn’t get a little savvier and do a better job of using the resources of the established political parties, I fear it will lose momentum.