Setting the National Agenda

One of the many things that make Republicans and conservative unhappy these days is that we can no longer set the agenda in the country. In other words, we have virtually no say in the ongoing debates and discussions about national and international policy.

With the democrats in control of not only the White House, House and Senate but also the so-called Mainstream Media, they decide what to talk about, who does the talking - and, most importantly - which ‘opponent’ to quote. That way they can mis-quote or take out of context something Rush says or some GOP Senator says and make the GOP out to be ‘mean-spirited’ or angry. (And sometimes we do sound men-spirited or angry!)

Yes, we have talk radio and Fox to air ‘our‘ side - but the problem is that we are talking to ourselves! Period! The same 30% of the American electorate are talking to each other - with the other 70% watching other networks or listening to other shows.

Simply stated: we don’t count - at the moment.

And we will only count when our side - that 30% - grows into the 40’s and the other side drops into the low 50 percentile category.

So we have to wait. And it is an odd feeling. Do you/we actively root for the Democrats and Liberals to fail? Because that means the country fails. Or do we root for success- knowing that that success means that we will remain in the “wilderness” for years or perhaps decades to come?

Here is one thing we know: Obama’s Lurch to the Left cannot work in the long run. Failure in the form of massive inflation, cheapening of the dollar, high interest rates is certain to come from this type of massive federal involvement.

When does this failure happen? Soon enough to derail Obama in 2012 - or does he leave a devastating legacy after he has his face engraved - at US taxpayers’ expense - on Mount Rushmore?

No one knows. But one-party rule - with virtually rubber-stamped media coverage - can only lead to disaster.

Let’s just hope we can survive it.

John LeBoutillier on “Imus in the Morning” Tomorrow

John LeBoutillier will be on “Imus in the Morning” tomorrow, Thursday, May 21 - at 6:30 AM EST.

Please listen on your local affiliate, or through, a great website

An Emergency Memorial Day 2009 Message to an Unknown Vietnam Vet from Former U.S. Reps. Bill Hendon (R-NC) and John LeBoutillier (R-NY)

Do Not Harm Anyone on Capitol Hill or Anywhere Else

Sir (officer or not, angry or not, you earned the title in Southeast Asia, but for God’s sake, man, listen to us): We have been informed by U.S. Postal Inspectors that you read about America’s abandoned POWs in “Cold Case,” the cover story in the Jan/Feb 2009 edition of The VVA Veteran, and became very angry. And why not; for the article chronicles how our prisoners were knowingly abandoned by U.S. officials at war’s end; how they were almost saved but then again abandoned in the early 1980’s; how their fate was covered up throughout the 1980’s, and how the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs finally doomed them to a lifetime of captivity in 1991-1993. It shows how U.S. officials purposely and with malice of forethought ridiculed, discredited, manipulated and/or explained away all intelligence about these men, and how in the end (1) every one of the nearly 1,000 credible witnesses were declared liars or confused about what they had seen (those who were confused, officials said, actually saw Russian troops, American POWs who were released in 1973, western tourists or, in one case, not ten American POWs in forced labor as the eyewitness who had seen them testified, but instead two Amerasian buffalo boys); (2) how every postwar radio intercept about our POWs was declared false, and (3) how not one of the numerous postwar satellite images that proved the POWs’ existence was believed. Bottom line: as “Cold Case” made clear, our government says our POWs are not really POWs at all, but are – officially – figments of someone’s imagination.

Disgraceful? Sure, utterly, and a lot of readers got very angry over what they read. But according to U.S. Postal Inspectors, you not only became angry, you wrote to and threatened to seriously harm one or more Capitol Hill officials whom you believe are responsible for this tragedy. Sir, after weeks of unsuccessfully trying to find you, as this most hallowed of national holidays approaches we implore you – we direct you - DO NOT HARM ANYONE, ON CAPITOL HILL OR ANYWHERE ELSE. Rather, turn yourself in immediately to local law enforcement officials, make amends and do your time – and let us get on with our work here to get these brave men home.

Former U.S. Rep. Bill Hendon (R-NC)
Former U.S. Rep. John LeBoutillier (R-NY)

The Conservative Savior is Coming

The Republican Party—and the conservative movement—are indeed “in the wilderness” at the moment. They may be there for quite a while. Their resuscitation depends on two factors:

A) The success or failure of The Obama Program; and

B) The ability of the GOP/conservatives to present a new and winnable face to a country sick of the Bushes and the perceived nastiness, dishonesty and incompetence of the Republican Reign since 2001.

These two factors have nothing to do with each other - and, in an odd way, everything to do with each other. Let’s explore:

President Obama has a total stranglehold on the federal government. He can do virtually anything he chooses. And, with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid riding shotgun for him, there is no one to check the Democrats and keep them from going too far.

The House Republicans cannot stop Pelosi and her forces. Period. They have tried - and failed - on the stimulus. And since then more and more GOP Congressmen have thrown in the towel and supported Obama bills.

In the Senate there is always the rare filibuster on a matter of principle, but other than that the U.S. Senate is made to compromise - and most of the Senators will end up going along with a President who today is sporting a 66% approval rating.

What always happens when one party has total control?

They go too far - and begin to alienate the all-vital, all-important center of the political spectrum.

Obama and the Democrats today have control of that center - but the seeds of trouble have already been planted. Their massive government spending is looked upon with a skeptical eye by independents and moderates - and, of course, conservatives - and may turn out to be Obama’s biggest problem.

And if inflation comes - a political killer of the first degree - it will be pinned directly on Obama and the Democrats. The GOP - by the obvious fact that they are totally out of power - can escape blame for that economic pandemic which hurts us all, especially the poor and middle class.

The bailouts, the move to give amnesty to illegal aliens who cut the immigration line, the looming federal meddling in health care, the take-over of parts of corporate America - these are all potential mine-fields which could trip up the Democrats - and give the Republicans/conservatives an opening to stage a comeback.

Not to mention the whole range of foreign policy nightmares which may rattle Team Obama - from Iran and Pakistan to Russia, China and the always-unforeseen ‘event’ which personifies an Administration’s character. For Carter it was his naivete and weakness as seen in the hostage crisis; for Reagan it was the steady weakening of the Soviet Union and the ultimate vindication of decades of lonely crusading against the evils of Moscow.

However, the Republicans and conservatives have to do much to take advantage of a Democratic slip-up: the Republicans/conservatives need a new persona, a new face on their message. They need pleasantness, not meanness; they need smiles, not sneers; they need to project credibility not duplicity. And they need a new leader - someone not tainted by the last decade of Republicans failures.

In short, they need their own version of Obama!

A rock star. Someone brand new. Someone seen as above party.

And someone who can unite the various factions of the Republican and conservative movement - and then move into the center and get those vital voters back.

And, like Obama and Howard Dean in 2004, this new leader needs to be able to harness the Internet for fund raising and organization. (So far the GOP is a generation behind when it comes to using a medium which is actually more friendly-to-the-Right than it is to the Left.)

Who is this person? This savior? This new Obama?

We do not know - yet - nor do we need to.

We need not worry about it either.

First we need to re-dedicate ourselves to what used to distinguish us from the Left: fiscal responsibility and a smart foreign policy based on superior strength.

Everything we do on a federal level should be to support these two basic principles. Campaign on these in the 2010 mid-term elections.

The Savior? He’ll show up in the future. So, too, will some pseudo-Saviors.

Our job will be to sort them out and find the right new leader of the Republicans and conservatives - who can then be the right leader for our country.

Memorandum for Sen. John S. McCain, III

DATE: 5 May 2009
MEMORANDUM FOR: Senator John S. McCain, III (R-AZ), Holocaust denier
FROM: Former U.S. Reps. Bill Hendon (R-NC) and John LeBoutillier (R-NY)
SUBJECT: Inspection by the three of us of this underground prison in Vietnam during the upcoming Memorial Day recess.

Dear John,

When the 2007 NYT bestseller An Enormous Crime, The Definitive Account of American POWs Abandoned in Southeast Asia exposed the seminal role you played in the abandonment of our POWs in Southeast Asia, you refused all comment.

When we posted an internet message last year warning all U.S. combat troops worldwide that because of what you did to these men and the key role you have played in their continuing imprisonment you were unfit to serve as Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Armed Forces, you refused all comment.

(From "TWO FORMER GOP CONGRESSMEN TO U.S. COMBAT FORCES WORLDWIDE: MCCAIN IS UNFIT TO SERVE AS YOUR COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. Former Congressmen Warn Troops: As Senator He Abandoned American POWs Trapped in Indochina; as President He'll Abandon You")

Now we find that Speaker Pelosi, taking a page from your playbook, has ignored the following letter from a group of concerned Vietnam vets. Given her refusal to address this letter, we send it to you in the attached file and ask that you read it carefully and, though you were recently in Hanoi and while there toured Hoa Lo Prison, ("McCain returns to infamous Vietnam POW prison"), that you make immediate arrangements to return to Vietnam with us over the Memorial Day holiday to inspect a super-secret detention facility for U.S. POWs buried deep underground several blocks northwest of Hoa Lo.

Holocaust denier no more, John? Prove it by going with us to inspect this underground prison where U.S. POWs have undeniably been held in large numbers, or resign your seat in the U.S. Senate.

We await your favorable reply.

The Republican Party Needs a Leadership Shake-Up at All Levels

Newsday, April 30, 2009.

The defection of Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter from the Republican Party has sparked a national soul search among members of the GOP. But New York Republicans have their own identity crisis to manage.

After almost a month of ballot counting in the too-close-to-call special election for the seat vacated by now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Republican James Tedisco bowed out of the race last week. Democrat Scott Murphy has won the heavily Republican 20th congressional district.

This contest was the first opportunity for the state Republican Party to make a strong case against the new Obama administration's spending and bailout bonanza and the leftward lurch toward bigger government in Washington and Albany - and to clarify what exactly we Republicans stand for.

What happened is a template for what ails the GOP statewide.

First, the Republican Party picked a 58-year-old candidate, then-Assemb. Minority Leader Tedisco, who didn't even live in the district. And it ran a miserable, negative, sour campaign that served to raise the name identification of a young, unknown but attractive Democratic newcomer.

Given the overwhelming Republican registration advantage in the district, Murphy's win means that the GOP is turning off Republican voters. And a party that cannot get its own voters to the polls to vote for its candidates has no chance of success. Period.

Second, the state Republican organization has abandoned the grunt work and shoe-leather approach that makes a party successful. Absentee ballots decided this race, and in a Republican district, they should have heavily favored Tedisco - provided the party assiduously contacted every registered Republican and conservative in the district, asked them if they wanted an absentee ballot, and then sent them one. This little detail must have been ignored, while the Democrats executed the game plan with perfection.

Then there's the message, and a question that stretches beyond our state borders: What exactly do Republicans stand for these days? Is it the fiscal conservatism that had long been our hallmark - until Gov. George Pataki here and President George W. Bush nationally spent like liberal Democrats and turned the Republican Party into a Democrat Lite Party? Or is it angry negativity, with no positive solutions for what ails the state and the nation - and the reason more voters across the nation now identify themselves as independent instead of Republican?

All of this points to failed leadership, and we see it at the national, state and local levels. Even in Nassau County, we have seen what was once the greatest Republican political machine in the nation reduced to near irrelevancy. And with the once-unthinkable loss of control of the New York State Senate, the Republican Party has become a non-factor in Albany.

The average age of the remaining GOP state senators is 62. The image of the party is of an old, tired, backward-looking group of white guys. Where's the farm team? Why aren't young, potential rising stars for the GOP being groomed and encouraged to run?

I've had many well-publicized disagreements with Joseph Mondello, who heads both the state and Nassau County GOP. But perhaps my single biggest disappointment in his tenure as chairman in Nassau is that Democratic voter registration has surpassed Republican. The basic function of a political organization is to use old-fashioned, block-by-block hard work to register voters for your party.

But in addition to the door-knocking, we need a massive technological upgrade. Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign showed that fundraising and organizing on the Internet is the future of American politics, yet Republicans are a generation behind.

The Republican Party, which under Bush helped launch this "bailout era," needs to return to Abe Lincoln's credo - "Government should only do for people what they cannot do for themselves" - and recognize that among our many rights is the right to fail. At all levels, we need to become again the fiscally responsible party that knows government can't solve all problems. And we need to follow a more libertarian-conservative social philosophy that attracts - not repels - voters.

Until the GOP installs visionary, technologically savvy and hungry-to-win new leadership. we will remain irrelevant.