Expect all judges to follow the law and constitutions
Will support the Clear the Bench effort in 2010
Strong supporter of initiative process
Want a majority in the legislature
Maslow and Politics (for political junkies)
The conventional wisdom is that a fiscal conservative who is not a social conservative should do poorly in this district. When I found that 90% of Republicans whose doors I knocked on wanted the social conservative inspired fratricide to stop, that stat didn't fit conventional wisdom.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs suggests an answer. Religion is on his third level. All of the Tea Party issues are on his second level. He postulates that humans don't care about their higher level needs until lower level needs are fully met.
When social conservatives try to purge fiscal conservative Republicans on religious issues alone, as they have been doing for several years, they are directly attacking voters on their second level of need to promote a third level need. Along come Obama and Ritter to highlight the folly of past purges.
My opponent is a strong proponent of these purges, saying to The Gazette that the pro-life plank of the party justifies them. Maslow would disagree.
Are Fiscal Conservatives Being Used And Ignored?
When social conservatives dominated the Congress in this decade, they couldn't control their own spending. That allowed Obama to campaign as the more fiscally responsible candidate.
When we had a social conservative President, he couldn't bring himself to veto bloated spending bills in his first term. Three years in, the first bill he vetoed was a bill his social conservative allies didn't like.
Rush Limbaugh and others, including my opponent, would like to purge any Republican who is not a social conservative. They frequently use the claim that their targets are not fiscally conservative enough for them when their real objection is that they don't oppose abortion.
James Dobson routinely encourages his "values voters" not to vote for Republican fiscal conservatives who aren't social conservatives.
My opponent would prefer a "pure party" in the legislature over a majority that could stop the growth of government. He publicly celebrated the defeat in the 2004 general election of a fiscal conservative who wasn't a social conservative.
The Colorado Catholic Conference just issued an "action alert" urging social conservatives to lobby their members of Congress during the August recess in support of socialized medicine. No social conservative politician has criticized this action alert.
At some point we have to ask if many of the more vocal social conservatives, including my opponent, really believe in fiscal conservatism. They seem to be insincerely cloaking their politics in its terminology to leverage themselves into power.
Back to the Big Tent
In 1980, Ronald Reagan won in a landslide. He brought eight Republican US Senators into office on his coattails. One was Arlen Specter.
Republicans controlled the US Senate for the first time since the mid 1950's. Reagan saw more of his tax cutting agenda enacted than would have been the case if the Democrats had held the Senate.
Does anyone recall any attempt by Ronald Reagan to purge or tolerate the purge of any of those Senators and hand control back to the Democrats?
Those who want to argue that Ronald Reagan was a selective big tent Republican point to his inviting an unelected political operative who opposed him to leave the 1980 convention. That happened, but it wasn't repeated with any member of Congress at any time in Reagan's Presidency.
In 1994, Republicans won control of both houses of Congress. They hadn't controlled the House for 40 years. Rush Limbaugh was such a big cheerleader that the newly empowered Congressional Republicans formally honored him.
Does anyone recall Rush Limbaugh saying that we voters should elect this Republican candidate and shun that one in 1994? He wanted every Republican possible elected and was giddy the day it happened.
Fiscal conservatism had its heyday in the period immediately following each of those elections. No one could claim that the social conservatives running Congress were in any way fiscally responsible from 2000 onward.
After the 2000 election, social conservative activists and commentators began targeting fiscal conservative Congressmen (for their state or district) who were not social conservatives.
They never use that argument or admit that is their motive. They claim as cover for what they are doing that their targets just aren't fiscally conservative enough. They invariably hand the seats over to Democrats with these tactics.
Note that these activists never try to remove a social conservative congressman from power, no matter how fiscally irresponsible, homosexually promiscuous, or unfaithful to his wife he has been. They just wait for the voters to punish the whole party, as they always do.
These tactics have hurt fiscal conservatism, whose proponents need to hold power in only one house of the legislature or Congress to succeed.
Getting into power is a numbers game. If we had 4 liberal Republican Senators elected to liberal districts in Denver, those four would help the 14 conservatives take power. A conservative, not any of those four liberals, would name the committees, and direct tax and spend legislation to friendly committees where it would die.
My opponent doesn't want to do that simple thing. He would rather have a pure party and a legislature controlled by Democrats than be in the majority with people he detests. He has said that plainly. He celebrated when another social conservative, Bob Schaffer, took actions to cause a Republican legislator to lose in the 2004 general election.
We are all paying for that short-sightednes. Once big government programs are enacted by the Democrats helped into office by these social conservatives, they are difficult, if not impossible to revoke.
We Republicans need to go back to the big tent model of 1980 and 1994. We need to celebrate the election of Republicans of any variety. That is what my campaign is about.
You Can Effect Change
Not long ago, I spoke to a group of precinct leaders from HD-14. It was a short talk, and I led off with the comment that my opponent wanted a small pure party and not a majority.
My talk was met with silence. After the meeting, no one wanted to talk to me. A few days later, I met one of the attendees in another venue. I gave him my impression.
"The voters love Schultheis," he explained. I told him that I had found that they didn't even know who he was. He said, in response "The activists love Schultheis."
This illustrates that we have a situation where the El Paso County activists are content to be in the minority, even if the voters are not.
Last Spring, my opponent and two other legislators held a town hall meeting. Toward the end, they were asked what it would take to get a majority in the legislature.
One gave only the numbers. The questioner asked the question again, looking for a strategy to take back the legislature. They had no answer. One of those with no answer was Amy Stephens, who as caucus chair is supposed to be working this very problem.
This summer, I happened to be on a call with Josh Penry and Amy Stephens. I think I was on it because I am a precinct leader. (I am neutral in that race.) Penry was asked how we could take more legislative seats around Denver. His answer was something to the effect that Denver was becoming more conservative! Amy Stephens had no response, but in fairness, Penry didn't give her a chance to respond.
Anyone who follows politics at all knows that we're not going to elect social conservatives in Denver, so that answer was disappointing.
There is a pattern here. No compromise social conservatives want to dominate the party but have no realistic plan to make it more successful. It is not clear that they have a plan, realistic or not.
To be fair, a lot of social conservatives, activists and voters alike do want to make the party a successful big tent party again.
If you don't like what is going on, you can do what these no compromise social conservatives did a long time ago--show up at caucuses and get elected to replace them. Or...you can just gripe about how successful the Democrats are at raising your taxes and let the no compromise crowd run rampant in the party they are willing to let stay in the minority.
They are, and will remain, big fish in a very small pond.
I'm running against a no compromise social conservative. I'm trying to do something. Won't you?
Misleading Labels in Politics
I have always considered myself a conservative, and more specifically a fiscal conservative.
I want smaller government and lower taxes. My candidacy came about because I don't believe that the fratricide practiced by a small group of social conservatives will ever result in smaller government or lower taxes. They don't care if they have a majority in the legislature or Congress and are bold enough to say so.
I have two business degrees and have been both an Army Officer and an entrepreneur. Most people with those credentials tend to be conservative and think of themselves that way.
Imagine my surprise when I began running for office to learn that I am a "moderate," and have been all of my life. A moderate? The language of politics has become so skewed that anyone who is not anti-abortion isn't conservative at all.
It is worse. Rush Limbaugh would describe me as a "northeastern liberal." His only criteria is abortion. If it were not, he e wouldn't be trying to replace fiscally conservative (for their state) Republicans with Democrats who aren't in any way conservative.
The social conservative bloggers who have formed themselves into the Rocky Mountain Alliance and have yet to admit that I am a candidate for election, or why, style themselves "center right."
If they claim to be "center right," that must mean they think they are close to the center. Anyone who simply wants smaller government and lower taxes without being anti-abortion must, by their definition, be a left winger. He can't possibly be a conservative.
I find it particularly funny that some will write on their blogs "I am a social conservative first and a Republican second" and then feel free to call others "Republicans in name only."
Not long ago, Wayne Laugesen, the editorial page editor of The Gazette, opined on a blog that I am a RINO and am running a "progressive campaign." His view as a catholic social conservative seems to be that anyone who promotes Republican fratricide is a strong conservative, and anyone who actually wants Republicans to seek a majority is a RINO running as a progressive.
My opponent has said that "only liberals will vote for" me.
If you vote for or against me based on the label assigned to me by the friends or foes of fiscal conservatism, you are doing what those who are assigning the labels hope. But...are the labels accurate... or twisted?