Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of presidential candidate and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, brought his particular brand of bible driven politics to the PBCTP on Saturday at the library branch in Palm Beach Gardens.
Pastor Cruz was introduced by Kiwi pundit Trever Loudon, who yearned for another Reagan to emerge and save us (“Now have Carter on steroids and need a Reagan on Meth”), and doesn’t think much of some of the choices, such as “illegal immigration is an act of love, common core loving” Jeb Bush. While stopping short of an outright endorsement of Ted Cruz, Loudon made it clear he is a fan, and suggested that Senator Cruz should pre-announce his cabinet selections. (See sidebar).
With an overall theme of the urgency of action leading up to the 2016 election, Pastor Cruz’s remarks were less a campaign speech for Ted Cruz as much as a call to action to save the country from the destroying influences that under the banner of social justice, encourage dependence on government rather than self reliance.
Using Common Core as an example, brainwashing created by the secular humanists with a political agenda, he tied it to the 1934 “Humanist Manifesto” which features situational ethics, values qualification, and the rights of the group over the individual – all concepts in opposition to the values of the founders.
“America is worth saving” he declared. If the most exceptional country on the face of the earth were to succumb, where would people go if freedom is lost?
He recalled the days of the “black robe regiments” when the American Revolution was driven and nurtured from the pulpit all across colonial America. If the evangelical voters stay home next year, as they did in 2012, we will lose. We are on the edge of a precipice in 2016, with a corrupt political establishment and a lack of values in many institutions. Pastors need to stop hiding behind their pulpits and the liberal’s view of separation of church and state, and find the courage to stand up for America.
Although it’s been said before, Pastor Cruz clearly left the audience with the impression that the next election is truly “the most important of your lifetime.”
In a quickly expanding field of GOP Presidential hopefuls, several candidates stand out for what they are not.
Most have been in the political arena for much of their careers and currently are sitting (or former) Governors or Senators, and few of these have made much of a mark in the private sector.
Only two – Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, are known for their accomplishments outside of politics and have not held public office. Carson, a leading neurosurgeon, was inserted into the national psyche when he took on Obama at a national prayer breakfast. Fiorina, well known for being the first woman to lead a Fortune-50 tech company, made an unsuccessful attempt at a Senate seat from California. One of these, Carly Fiorina, visited Palm Beach County on Wednesday and spoke to a good size crowd of party regulars.
Considered a long shot, barely registering in the polls, Ms. Fiorina should not be overlooked. Since her debut on the national stage, she has rained fire on the presumptive Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton, deftly turned the tables on snarky media types like Chuck Todd and Katie Couric, and staked out her own territory in the emerging campaign narratives.
For whatever reason, Clinton is getting a pass from most of the other candidates, in spite of hiding from the press and having new scandals emerge on a regular basis. Carly Fiorina on the other hand, is not shy about pointing out Clinton’s most outrageous failings, from the Benghazi coverup, to the server in her basement, to the “pay to play” aspects of Clinton Foundation slush fund collecting millions from foreign governments as she handed out favors as Secretary of State. Mrs. Clinton will not be able to hide behind the “war on women” shield with this candidate.
Speaking forcefully on the characteristics of leadership and what she can bring to the table, Ms. Fiorina’s themes are compelling.
There is an uneasy feeling in the country she says, that we are losing something precious. The country that has offered the most opportunities to all people, regardless of who you are or where you came from, has lost its way. Oppressive regulations like Dodd-Frank have consolidated the too-big-to-fail banks, while driving smaller regional and community banks out of business. Crony capitalism is alive and well, and only the larger companies have the financial and legal resources to effectively deal with big government. Our foreign policy is in disarray as we curry favors with adversaries like Iran while turning back on our traditional allies like Israel and Egypt.
Carly Fiorina lays out a reasoned case that our government needs change, making the arguments without resorting to red meat and applause lines. Whether her campaign will catch fire is anybody’s guess, but she brings a new perspective and should liven things up as we go forward into the debate season.
Colleges and Universities today are overwhelmingly liberal. They indoctrinate their students and punish conservative thought. They have been like this for many years and we all know it. The old saying that “everyone is a liberal until they start working and paying taxes” is partly because of this academic conditioning, and refusing to be suppressed by it takes courage and determination.
Our speaker at the Boca and Wellington chapter meetings this month, Lauren Cooley, refused to drink the Kool Aid. Now 22, she became an activist while attending Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina. As a campus leader of Furman’s Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow (CSBT), she became nationally known for pointing out the hypocrisy of a school that would deny student credit for a lecture by Anne Coulter (which she organized), but provide it for race baiter and shake-down artist Jesse Jackson (who was lauded as a “historical figure”). At the Jackson event, she distributed a pamphlet listing many of Jackson’s actual quotes that led to a battle with the administration. Attacked by the student paper and her professors, she involved the media in a project to illustrate the curious “qualifications” of those speakers for which credit was granted and for those where it was not, and filed a Title 9 complaint alleging harassment.
Now working as a Florida field coordinator for Chicago based Turning Point USA, she maintains a presence on campus at many South Florida schools, engaging the students to consider conservative points of view. Beginning the conversation with “Big Government Sucks”, or talking about “generational theft”, she presents an alternative to the insidious bias experienced in the classrooms. The organization also distributes a pamphlet to recent high school graduates that gives them a “heads up” as to the political conditioning they can expect when they arrive on campus.
If you would like to learn more about Lauren and her work, you can visit the Turning Point USA website. A 501(c)(3), donations are tax deductible. She also asks that if you know of young people of a conservative bent that would be willing to participate in her campus outreach, to hook them up. Lauren is on twitter @laurenacooley and facebook and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The meeting was held in a new location – the conference room at the recently completed Bethesda Hospital West. Besides use of the room, the hospital graciously provided light refreshments, and a health oriented “goodie bag” for all participants, and their hospitality was well received.
The January meeting of the Jupiter chapter featured Colonel Arthur DeRuve and PBCGOP Chairman Michael Barnett.
Colonel DeRuve, a regular participant at tea party events and other civic groups in the county, gave us an appreciation for veterans and the large role they have played in our history. From those who sacrificed at Valley Forge during the revolution, the early sailors and marines under President Jefferson who triumphed over the Barbary Pirates (“to the shores of Tripoli” – our first encounter with radical Islam), through the War of 1812 against the British, the Civil War, the Spanish American war, through two world wars, the cold war and now the fight against today’s Radical Islam, it is the veteran who deserves the thanks for keeping us strong and free.
The Colonel’s historical narrative also put our battles in an ideological context, defending the cause of liberty against the oppressive “isms” of the past – Fascism, Nazism, Imperialism, Communism, and now Islamism, pointing out that all of today’s opponents with different names – Al Queda, ISIS, Boko Haram …, share a common goal of world domination and the oppression of freedoms everywhere.
Mel Grossman, Birthday Boy
The new chairman of the Republican Party of Palm Beach, Michael Barnett, no stranger to the tea party, gave an optimistic assessment of a future where grass roots preparedness will be a key goal. Pointing out the tea party roots of the new county GOP board (including Pam Wohlshlegel and Calvin Turnquest), and the new RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, Michael made it clear that the party belongs to the rank and file, and the elected officials (including the Governor in the case of the RPOF election) don’t always get their way.
Also at the meeting were possible future congressional candidate Carla Spaulding, and the Martin County GOP Chair Don Pickard.
The day of the meeting also coincided with two special occasions – Ground Hog Day, in which we learn that the rest of the country will suffer through another 6 weeks of ice and cold, and the birthday of President Mel Grossman, who didn’t want a cake but got one anyway.
“I am a Frederick Douglass Republican” – thus begins K. Carl Smith’s method for penetrating the walls that separate conservatives from minority voters.
On the premise that many minority families hold conservative values (eg. school choice, life, self reliance) and have much in common with us, yet are conditioned by upbringing and / or liberal propaganda to reject conservative thought, Mr. Smith explained how for many, “Republican”, or “Conservative” means “Racist”. Starting from that perspective, it is no wonder that “outreach” efforts are difficult.
In order to “retake control of the narrative” with Black and Hispanic constituencies from the liberal media and the Democrat party, we must expose their ongoing practice of rewriting history and routine accusations of racism against any who oppose them. Example: Lincoln (a Republican) ended slavery, and was opposed by the Democrats who were invested in it, yet the DNC website claims that “Democrats have been the champion of civil rights for 200 years!”
Frederick Douglass, a Black contemporary of Lincoln, has said “The best representation of slavery in politics is the Democrat Party”. He was a strong supporter of the Constitution, life, the limited power of government, and personal responsibility. By identifying with Douglass, in K. Carl Smith’s view, we can begin to explain that conservative principles are color blind, and knock down the wall that limits dialogue.
Mr. Smith holds seminars on his methods, and has helped local GOP groups do effective outreach, and his lectures at the three PBCTP chapters this month were well received. For more information, check out his book: “Frederick Douglass Republicans: The Movement to Re-Ignite America’s Passion for Liberty”
The United West founder Tom Trento, began his talk by asking Mel to walk to the western door of the meeting room, “you know what to do” he said. Holding the microphone near a speaker playing an air raid siren, 15 seconds went by before he declared “you’re dead”.
Thus he began an exposition of life in Israel under the constant threat of Hamas rockets coming from Gaza. Fifteen seconds is all the time you have to seek shelter when the rockets are incoming and the slow can pay a price.
With charts and maps, he described the types of rockets, the tunnel systems, and the over 70% of Israel which is threatened. Pictures of the multi-millionaire Hamas leaders who live in luxury in Egypt or elsewhere while the war rages Gaza, and excerpts from the Hamas founding principles that proclaim the end of Israel put it all in perspective.
Broadening his discussion beyond Israel, he made a compelling case that the most critical threat to western civilization is not a rising China or re-emergent Russia, but Global Islamic Jihad. Until the leaders of the west realize that we are in a war for which there is no negotiated settlement, the outlook is grim. Current Obama half measures against ISIL and his weak support for Israel are the wrong path, and the next election (2016) may be our last chance to meet the threat.
Also speaking was House district 82 candidate and incumbent MaryLynn Magar. Running in 2012, she found the most pressing issue in the district was jobs – and that has not changed two years later. Holding 2 or three part time jobs and desparately seeking health care for their families, people are struggling, however the administration paints the “progress” of the recovery. In favor of “all of the above” on energy, she supports drilling off the Florida coast, as long as it is far enough off shore to not be visible and interfere with tourism, opposed the medicaid expansion, and is against Common Core and All Aboard Florida.
Returning to Jupiter almost exactly a year from his last appearance, author, videographer, frequent guest on the Blaze and Fox News, and possible presidential candidate Dennis Michael Lynch brought an enthusiastic crowd up to date on his last year’s activities.
After a brief update on the southern border, accompanied by a video clip and a description of his role (as documented on Fox) in the Clive Bundy affair, Dennis joined PBCTP President Mel Grossman and Wellington Chapter Leader Marion Frank on the stage for a Q&A.
The questions ran from the light and fluffy (“What is Megyn Kelly really like”), to the substantive (“How long can unchecked immigration continue before all hell breaks loose?”).
The solution to the immigration crisis he said, is to eliminate the incentives to come here. Employers of illegals should be fined, and “real” deportations should occur. The current administration practice of counting “turnbacks” – people who are captured at the border and immediately returned, as deportations has inflated their record and more in-country deportations should occur to send the right message.
If continued unchecked, he believes the current influx will permanently depress the job opportunities of all Americans. Once legalized, the farm worker will move up to sheet rock installer, the construction laborer to driving the UPS truck. La Raza will demand equal opportunity, and sue to insure that all jobs are open to the newly legalized. If President Obama proceeds with the executive amnesty he has threatened, the chaos that ensues will be his real legacy.
Tentatively suggesting his interest in running for President in 2016, while a picture of his photogenic family posed among the sand dunes was displayed on the screen, Mr. Lynch gave his view of the current crop of candidates. Marco Rubio “will not be re-elected to the Senate”, let alone the Presidency. Chris Christie “is not an effective leader” if he didn’t know about the bridge lane closures, Ted Cruz “will be completely destroyed by the mainstream media who despise him”, Rand Paul has been pandering and opposes voter ID laws, and Ben Carson “does not want the job”, as well as being in favor of full legalization. On the mention of Jeb Bush, his comment was drowned out by the laughter in the room, most of whom oppose our former governor’s views on common core and immigration reform. Regarding the Presidency, unlike Dr. Carson, Dennis does “want the job”.
A good number of candidates were in attendance, including Calvin Turnquest, Alan Schlesinger, Brian Lara and Beverly Hires for CD18, Paul Spain in CD22, Senator Joe Negron for SS32, CC6 candidate Andy Schaller, and Kesnel Theus for Port of Palm Beach. County GOP Chair Anita Mitchell was also in the audience, along with St. Lucie County Chair Bill Patterson.
Forums are never predictable. You issue invitations to the candidates that will be on the ballot in the local area (in this case for both the August and November elections), and see who responds and/or turns up.
In Wellington, the candidates for School Board district 6 were in attendance (incumbent Marsha Andrews and challengers Joseph Moore and Carla Donaldson), joined by one candidate from district 3 (John Hartman, who also attended the Boca event). Having the four of them allowed moderator Steven Rosenblum to solicit contrasting answers on key topics like Common Core, teacher tenure, and the roll of parents in influencing district policy and curriculum.
Clockwise from the top left: John Hartman, Joseph Moore, Carla Donaldson, Marica Andrews, moderator Steve Rosenblum, Stuart Mears, Andrew Schaller, Emmanuel Morel.
There were single candidates for other races as well, which allowed some discussion that spanned local, state and federal levels, but no way to contrast answers in a particular race. Democrat Emmanuel Morel, who is challenging Ted Deutch in the Congressional district 21 race participated, as did Republican candidate Andy Schaller for the open seat in county commission district 6 and Stuart Mears, the Republican challenger to Democrat Mark Pafford in State House district 86.
The district 6 school board race is interesting in that Marcia Andrews, herself a very capable and influential board member, has drawn two formidable challengers. Joseph Moore is a recently retired school district employee who served as both Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operation Officer, providing an insiders knowledge of business and finance functions. Carla Donaldson, is an “activist mom” who has been an advocate for various school issues since 2001. Incumbent Andrews, like Moore, is a long-term district insider, with 35 years experience as a principal and as a teacher in a variety of district schools.
On many issues the three are mostly in agreement (unhappy with common core, problems with teacher tenure, and the importance of parents in affecting policy). On the latter, Andrews said it best: “Parents are powerful”, and can exert control. They should take a stand. One area where they differ is on the quality of the schools. A question from the audience – “why are the schools so bad”, drew defensive answers from insiders Moore and Andrews, and a critique by outsider Donaldson who said the system should focus on the needs of the children, not what the adults want.
Asked what they would change about the system, Andrews would emphasize the basics – reading and math, and do less testing. Moore would formalize mentoring so institutional knowledge could be retained when good teachers and administrators leave. Donaldson would stop promotions before students are ready and bring in more specialized reading programs.
The candidates in the other races gave their views on All Aboard Florida (Morel: we should do “big things”, Schaller: the junk bond status of their loan tells you all you need to know), climate change (Morel: it is real, Schaller: don’t believe it, Mears: no shovel ready jobs in green energy), medical marijuana (all support the ballot issue as configured), and offshore drilling (Morel: “oil is not the answer”, Schaller: oppose, Mears: we can do it and make it safe with technology).
The elections are August 26 (primary, school board and Judicial), and November 4. For more information about the candidates, see the Palm Beach County 2014 Voters Guide.
- Moderator Steve Rosenblum
- Former Sheriff Candidate Joe Talley and Fred Scheibl
- Delia Menocal and Mercedes Garcia
- Iris Scheibl, Doreen Baxter, Dennis Lipp
- Barbara Grossman with Team Andrews
- Laura Hanley with Marcia Andrews
- Laura Hanley with Andy Schaller
- Chapter Leader Marion Frank
At a table that spanned the width of the West Boca branch library meeting room, a good mix of candidates showed up to answer questions posed by moderator David DiCrescenzo. The candidates were sent a questionaire in advance of the event, and those and additional questions were posed appropriate to the type of seat sought. (See Candidate’s Position on Issues for the written responsess that were returned).
Congressional candidates participating were David Wagie and Paul Spain who will face each other and Andrea McGee in the August 26 CD22 Republican Primary for the seat currently held by Democrat Lois Frankel. For the county commission we had Democrat Paulette Burdick (who has won her district 2 seat by default but chose to participate for the constituent feedback), and Republican Steven Abrams who will face Democrat Andrew O’Brien in November. School board district 3 incumbent Karen Brill and challengers David Mech and John Hartman filled out the table, and we were joined briefly by Senate 34 incumbent Maria Sachs who in November will face the winner of the Republican primary between Ellyn Bogdanoff and Joseph Bensmihen (neither of who showed up).
Clockwise from top left: Paul Spain, David Wagie, Steven Abrams, Paulette Burdick, Maria Sachs, Karen Brill, John Hartman, David Mech, moderator David DiCrescenzo.
Starting the questions with immigration, both Spain and Wagie gave the expected response for tough enforcement of the border. Senator Sachs on the other hand, who pointed out that we are both a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws, stressed assimilation – that new immigrants should learn the language, learn civics, and forge cultural homogeniety. This was a popular answer for the mostly conservative crowd, and Democrat Sachs may have won some votes with this appearance. Before stepping out to another engagement, she invited all to visit her Boca office. “I am a STATE senator, she said, and when someone calls they get a hearing, regardless of what district they are in or to which party they belong.”
In other areas, the congressional pair had some interesting answers. Paul Spain is in favor of a federal budget freeze, combined with a 10% reduction in federal employees and a 5% pay cut. Favoring the posibility of a flat or fair tax, David Wagie would do away with the IRS, while Paul Spain would only cut it in half.
At the county commission level, Paulette Burdick went against the grain a little, speaking in support of Seven/50 – the sustainable development plan that many in PBCTP have argued against at commission meetings. It is a body of research that is a resource on which to draw – why should we reject available data? Both Burdick and Abrams told of their actions to hold down county spending, with Paulette pointing to her opposition to the out of control Sheriff’s budget and Steven listing the sales tax proposals he has opposed.
The School board candidates were a study in contrasts. Although these races are non-partisan, Republican Hartman makes no secret of his conservatism, and David Mech trumpets his in-your-face libertarianism. Mech, a small business owner whose background in the adult film industry is an interesting beginning on which to launch a school board bid, begged off on some of the questions, admitting he has not had time to research them. Hartman, whose major policy position is based on opposition to common core, saw many issues as black and white. Brill, with the advantage of 4 years in the job, had an understandably nuanced view. On Common Core, she said “that train has left the station” (referring to the standards themselves) as it has been in the implementation stage for several years. But we now have the ability to influence the assessment and the curriculum, she said, and that should be where the focus is. Hartman wants to roll back the program, as if the school board had that power. Mech said he supports Common Core.
On School choice, Brill supports the “full choice” proposal also supported by district 1 member Mike Murgio, which would let any student in the district choose the school they want to attend (subject to available space). Hartman supports choice outside of the district schools (ie. charters), but would look carefully at them for educational values beyond their business basis. Mech opposes school choice, believing it should be “all or nothing” – if we are going to have public schools, then money should not go to alternatives.
The district 4 candidates (who would represent parts of the south county area) did not participate.