• Eight Unbreakable Rules for Hard-Core Tea Party Activists (or Any Other Special-Interest Coalition)

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    I joined the conservative movement in 1956 when I joined Fred Schwarz’s Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. I wrote an anti-FDR high school term paper in 1958. I supported the Goldwater for Vice President movement in 1960. I voted for Goldwater for President in 1964. I voted for Reagan’s Republican primary gubernatorial challenger in 1966, William Penn Patrick, because I thought Reagan was too liberal. (I was right; he imposed income tax withholding in his first term as governor.) I was Ron Paul’s first research assistant in 1976.

    I am hard core. I have been hard core for a long time.

    I am writing this for those of you who are equally hard core.

    Here are ten facts of American national politics that you must understand to get meaningful change.

    1. You can’t beat something with nothing.
    2. 80% of politicians respond only to two things: (1) fear; (2) pain.
    3. Bureaucrats (tenured) respond only to one thing: budget cuts.
    4. Political reform never comes as long as the tax money flows in.
    5. The #1 goal is to reduce the government’s funds, not re-direct them.
    6. Congress’s club system sucks in 80% of new members by term #2.
    7. Politicians listen to their peers, not to their constituents.
    8. Money from the government buys off most voters.
    9. Most citizens care little about politics and know less.
    10. This gives influence to organized swing-vote blocs.

    The political system was summed up a generation ago by the man I regard as the elder statesman of the hard-core wing of the American conservative movement, M. Stanton Evans: "Evans’s Law of Political Perfidy."

    When our friends get into power, they aren’t our friends any more.

    To this, I add North’s Law of Partisan Politics:

    When a movement is in either political party’s hip pocket, it will be sat on.

    If you do not believe this, then you are a sheep for the shearing — and then, after several shearings, the roasting. You are on some politician’s menu.


    These are eight basic rules of engagement. There may be others, but these are fundamental. If you do not believe these, you are headed for disappointment.

    1. Vote for a hard-core challenger on the other side against a squishy incumbent. This rule separates the hard core members from the soft core members. It has a corollary: A first-term incumbent next election is easier to beat than a squishy incumbent this election. It is always hard to defeat an incumbent. Do what you can to defeat any incumbent, no matter which party he belongs to, if he is squishy on the issue you regard as fundamental. Why is this so important? Incumbents must become deathly afraid of your movement. Take out a few dozen of them in the next election and the one that follows, and many others will cooperate. As Sen. Everett Dirksen put it so long ago, "When we feel the heat, we see the light." In short, you do not settle for the lesser of two evils. You eliminate them both, one election at a time: first the softie, then the newbie.

    2. Hold your newly elected politician’s feet to the fire the first time he breaks ranks on a key vote. He is like a puppy. When he leaves a mess on the carpet, get out the switch. "Bad dog! Bad dog!" Let him remember that switch. Let him fear that switch. The second time he does it, warm up the car. You and he will be taking a trip to the pound. You are his voter only for as long as he is your representative. Politicians respond to only two things: fear and pain.

    3. Get him to sign a resignation letter. Before you work for him, make sure he has signed a resignation letter. This letter says the following:

    To the voters of [district, state]:

    I am making this public. If I ever vote for [whatever], I will turn in my letter of resignation to the [government body] within 24 hours.

    If I fail to do this, I expect voters to vote against me at the next election, since I clearly cannot be trusted.

    I expect my opponent in the primary to defeat me next time, and if he doesn’t, my opponent in the general election will. And should.

    Very truly yours,

    Name Candidate for [whatever]

    This is a political suicide letter. You will see who is serious and who is not by means of a signed resignation letter. Post it online. If he refuses to sign it, start working to undermine him after he defeats the squishy incumbent. Above all, do not trust him.

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    Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit http://www.garynorth.com. He is also the author of a free 20-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

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