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I Call BS On Tip O’Neill's Claim 'All Politics Is Local'

The late Democratic Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill may be best known for his oft repeated comment that “all politics is local.”

What O’Neill really meant was that focusing on local issues is what wins elections for Democrats, because they can’t campaign on their state and national agendas of raising taxes, opening the borders, enabling sanctuary cities, giving benefits to illegal aliens, reducing our national defense, forcing multiculturalism on us, turning over control of schools to Leftist teacher unions and nationalizing health care and anything else they Richard Vigueriecan get their hands on.

Democrats are the party of the delivery of ever-increasing services, and they know that Republicans, even establishment Republicans and so-called moderate Republicans, will never outbid them for the votes of special-interest groups or payments to the aggrieved, nor should they try.

So, the Democrats and their enablers in the media use the old time Irish pol’s dicta to sell the idea that filling pot holes, building parks, and delivering social services are what wins elections.

This is complete nonsense and a recipe for defeat for Republicans, especially in big national elections, such as the 2018 midterms.

As I pointed out in my book TAKEOVER, Republicans never win the big elections unless they nationalize them and draw a sharp contrast between the Democrat worldview and the conservative worldview: 1980, 1984, 1988, 1994, 2000, 2004, 2010, 2014 and 2016 were all contrast campaigns where the Republican candidates ran as conservatives.

Even though George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush later showed they were anything but conservatives, and many of the Tea Party candidates of 2010 joined the establishment once they got to Washington, their successful campaigns were fought and won on conservative issues and policies.

Unfortunately, the Republican establishment, especially their principle-free political consultants, are only too happy to buy into Tip O’Neill’s formula for Republican defeat because it saves them the embarrassment of admitting that they agree with the Democrats and oppose conservatives on the big agenda items that motivate conservative voters.

If you wonder why Republican congressional candidates are facing a 12-point enthusiasm gap going into November, the answer is that building the border wall, apprehending and deporting illegal aliens, fighting the war Islam has declared on the West, defunding Planned Parenthood, renegotiating unfair trade deals to protect American workers, banning sanctuary cities, making the tax cuts permanent, and protecting the President from partisan impeachment are missing in action on the congressional calendar, and on the campaign trail with the Republican establishment’s candidates.

Fortunately, it is not too late for conservatives to save the election and prevent Democrats from impeaching the President, raising taxes and rolling back the MAGA agenda.

A recent poll commissioned by the Club for Growth and conducted by respected polling firm WPAi shows that the midterm election is far from lost – if Republicans will draw a sharp contrast with Democrats and campaign on those contrasts.

Club for Growth President David McIntosh was gracious enough to share with me the strategy memo covering the 41 most competitive Republican-held Congressional races in America, and the poll and memo put some objective data behind the insights I have gleaned from over 50-years of being active in the conservative movement at the national level.

The pollsters tested some non-economic messages and found that banning sanctuary cities was a strong message at persuading swing voters to support Republican candidates.

They also found that among several messages and issues that can help Republican candidates in these highly competitive districts persuade voters and motivate more Republican voters to turn out, the strongest of these was defending the tax cuts and making them permanent.

Defending the tax cuts and making them permanent was both the strongest persuasive message in moving swing voters to vote for Republicans and the strongest message in creating additional interest in the election among Republican voters.

Finally, they found that Democrat efforts to impeach President Trump and the need to elect Republicans to protect the President from partisan impeachment was a strong message for mobilizing additional Republican votes.

In other words, the Club for Growth polling found that the Democrats’ real agenda of raising taxes, empowering sanctuary cities and impeaching the President would motivate swing voters to vote Republican, and Republicans to turnout.

Little wonder Democrats have tried to stuff impeachment obsessed Rep. Maxine Waters back in the closet and want to campaign on filling potholes and “constituent services” like getting people signed-up for government benefits. If voters knew what Democrats really stand for they would vote Republican.

So, why is it so hard for Republicans to figure out what I’ve been saying for years, and the Club for Growth poll demonstrates?

Part of the reason is that the same consultants who convinced Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney to run content-free biographical campaigns are still advising Republican leaders like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise.

And part of the reason is that McConnell, Ryan, McCarthy and Scalise agree with Democrats on many of our issues, such as the border wall and fighting the war Islam has declared on the West.

Which means we must do what we did in 1994 and 2010 and bypass the Republican establishment and nationalize the election on our own by telling voters what Democrats really stand for, and, if possible, forcing or embarrassing Republican candidates into talking about and campaigning on those issues.

How can we do that?

The first thing we can do is use email and social media to tell our family, friends, fellow church and club members and other contacts what Democrats really stand for: sanctuary cities, higher taxes, impeaching the President and ending the remarkable economic growth of the first two years of the Trump era.

One resource for doing that is the information I have posted on my nationalize the election website (, that you can reach through this link.

Another proactive step you can take is to encourage any conservative organization to which you belong or support to do the same thing on the issues that concern them. Be it a pro-life organization, pro-Second Amendment organization or organization battling in the culture wars every conservative organization has a stake in this election and no one can sit on the sidelines in this important fight.

You can also meet with your Republican candidates, share this article with them, ask them where they stand and demand that they campaign on drawing a contrast between the conservative Republican worldview on these issues and the Far-Left Democratic world view on these issues.

Finally, you can exercise your First Amendment rights by writing letters to the editor of your newspaper, calling talk radio or even taking an advertisement out yourself to tell voters what the real Democratic agenda is for this election.

Two examples from the Reagan years that remain relevant to the 2018 election should suffice to demonstrate the point that following O’Neill’s advice only benefits Democrats. The first is the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982, which increased taxes on the unfulfilled promise that Democrats would cut spending, and the second is the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which amnestied millions of illegal aliens on the promise of border security improvements Democrats are still fighting tooth and nail.

Republicans who are inclined to take advice from Tip O’Neill would do well to recall President Reagan’s experience with the late Speaker, who hid a hard-left agenda behind his Irish bonhomie.

There are 48 days until the midterm election, there is too much at stake to either give up or let up, or to allow Democrats to hide their real agenda behind the smokescreen of “all politics is local.”

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