And So It Begins…

November 6, 2008
Friends, Patriots and Political Malcontents of all Persuasions.

Conventional political wisdom says that campaigns begin the day after the election. That will be one of the rare times I subscribe to the political conventional wisdom. As we have seen tonight this is a historic moment in American history, I’ll grant any pundit that, but was it a good moment for America’s future? In my heart of hearts, I wish it were but find myself full of trepidation for my country’s future. I find myself in a place that I believe many Americans as well as my fellow Nevadans find themselves. We feel something is desperately wrong.

The idea of naming this blog The Third Rail comes from the metaphor in politics to denote an idea or topic that is so “charged” and “untouchable” that any politician or public official who dares to broach the subject would invariably suffer politically. We The People ARE the third rail. When we unite and demand leadership and accountability and responsiveness from our elected officials, we are where all the power is! But as long as we do not demand what is best for America, they have nothing to fear.

We look to Washington for leadership and see no presidential captain at the helm and the congressional crewmen making sure they have reserved spaces on the life rafts for themselves, lobbyists and power brokers first and everyday Americans left to squabble amongst ourselves for the remaining life rings, deck chairs and whatever else will float. Among the majority of Republicans and Democrats, the biggest difference I see is which groups get the pork.

I was recently posed with the question of whether I thought the Republican party was beyond repair and whether I felt that I should leave and focus my efforts elsewhere and maybe come back when it fixes itself or stay and try to help change things from the inside. Its a bit like being in a failed marriage, do you separate and try to work things out from the outside in or do you stay faithful and try to work things from the inside out. Tonight on the heels of an Obama victory and government bailout run amok, I feel a bit like a what a battered spouse must feel. The “neocon” borrow and spend faction of the Republican party, has abused its position and taken advantage of its power. The so called leadership has abandoned the vows it took to the conservative ideals that generated their very own political clout. Perhaps what was ignored in 2006 will now be too big to sweep under the rug.

Which brings me to the point I am now at, do I stay or do I go. Beginning with the renegade campaign of Congressman Ron Paul and seeing a new generation of conservatives asserting themselves such as Michael Steele and others have, it gives me hope that this may be an opportunity to set right the course of the Republican party and return it to its core values and principles. After much soul searching, reflection and prayer, I believe it is an opportunity to take a stand and return the party to the people it claims to represent by running for Congress in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District in 2010.

My platform and beliefs which I will share with you over the coming weeks and months are based on the fundamentals upon which our country was founded, not what is expedient and feels good today and is reported in the latest Zogby poll. I hope to share with you the insights and ideas that come from this journey and your support in both the failures and successes yet to come. The conventional wisdom would say that what I’m attempting to do is destined to defeat, I have no war chest, I have no political ties or lobbyists, I have no union connections or country club memberships. Already the few people I’ve told about my decision have asked me, how can you fight the system the way it is, you’re trying to buck the system of established political machines? I’m reminded of one of the heroes of the Korean War remarking on the fact that his Marine division was surrounded by 22 Chinese divisions, “They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!”- Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller, USMC. If we dare to harness that third rail, we cannot fail.

I place my political faith in the genius of the founding fathers, the ingenuity of the common man and the God given blessing of the American dream.


The GOP Must Take Out the Trash (Cross Post –

December 10, 2008


As the nation absorbs the depth of Democrat political corruption in Illinois, the Republican Party has an opportunity to claim the mantle of reform, but only at the cost of turning against some of our own.

The impressive 15-point runoff victory of Saxby Chambliss has removed the prospect of the GOP losing its final shreds of influence in the legislative branch. But it has not relieved conservatives from answering the question of how we got into this position in the first place. Since 2000, the GOP has lost 15 senatorial seats, a number, I believe, that stands as a political record. The party has slid from predominance to the very verge of losing its filibuster powers. As a result, one of the more desperate moments in the last campaign involved waiting to see whether Alaskan senator Ted Stevens could eke out a victory against Democrat Mark Begich.

Begich won, which is no bad thing for the Republican Party on a number of levels. Stevens, of course, had at the peak of the campaign been convicted on seven counts of the cheapest form of graft — offering political favors in exchange for payoffs in the form of house renovations and the like. He was, simply put, a criminal. So the GOP was waiting on tenterhooks to see if its chestnuts would be pulled from the fire by a convicted felon. And nobody found this the least unusual — that’s how far the Republican Party has skidded.


Voting for a felon is an act of shame. All the same, enough Alaskans found themselves capable of that act to make the 2008 campaign an actual race. Some of them voted for Stevens out of habit, some out of party loyalty, some out of pure ignorance. Fortunately, there were not enough of them. Stevens at last went down to defeat, sparing the GOP the agony and embarrassment of piercing his self-esteem and conceit forcefully enough to persuade him to resign (he had already refused to allow himself to be replaced during the campaign), the same distasteful and demeaning process that was required with Larry Craig and Mark Foley.

It’s also fortunate that it was wrapped up quickly enough, with no recount or court squabbles, so as not to affect the Chambliss runoff. Stevens — and the others of his kind — had already done enough damage. Chambliss would very likely not have faced a runoff, or Norman Coleman a recount, if they hadn’t been tarred with membership in the Trash Party.

All of which underlines a fact so unpalatable that it has scarcely come up in discussions concerning GOP reform. Namely, that voting for the Democrats in 2008 was a rational act. Not a very smart act, and in the fullness of time definitely to prove a mistaken one. But rational because the alternative was to vote for the party of Ted Stevens, Larry Craig, Duke Cunningham, Mark Foley, and a gaggle of beggars drooling for earmarks and willing to throw small children onto train tracks to get them. In 2008, the party of Trash went up against the party of Change. That brand of Change is no doubt empty, specious, and dangerous, but you can’t argue with the fact that it smells better than trash.

You pay a price for tolerating trash. Perhaps not an obvious one, perhaps not an immediate one, but you always pay a price. The GOP is now paying that price, after getting its wakeup call in 2006 and refusing to roll out of bed. As for current efforts at reform, everything else is on the table except this one factor, despite the easily comprehended fact that everything else will be totally irrelevant if this one factor is not dealt with. Corruption cannot be ignored. As has been demonstrated time and again this past decade, sane, moral, and intelligent voters will not settle for a party comprised of the reprobates that have populated the GOP in recent years.

I am well aware that the Dems are corrupt to the point of delirium. At this moment alone, in addition to the Blagojevich sewer, we have William “Cold Cash” Jefferson, Alcee Hastings, one of the few judges to confront the criminal justice system from both sides, and figures such as Dodd and Frank, engaged in forms of corruption involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac so esoteric that nobody knows quite what to make of them. This very week, Charlie Rangel is fighting for his political life for pulling the oldest real estate and tax scams in the book, while Tony Rezko, friend and mentor of… somebody or other, awaits sentencing in Chicago, perhaps to share a cell with Governor Blago.

But none of that matters. The Dems have been corrupt as far back as anyone cares to look, reaching to the days of Tammany Hall and the Locofocos. The Democratic reputation is well known and factored into decisions made by voters. They are the charming rascals who may steal a few rolls of quarters now and then but bring home the political bacon. The Republicans, on the other hand, are the Eagle Scouts brought in to straighten things out once they get out of hand. When the roles of rascal and Scout start to blur, you get trouble in the form of voter rejection. This may not be fair, but it is the American political dialectic and there’s no getting around it.

Democrats may protest and bring up the Grant and Harding administrations, to mention only two instances. But these are recalled as exceptions, as opposed to the corruption-as-a-way-of-life of the Democratic Party. That has held true for over a century and a half, and it holds true today, despite present circumstances. (I have personal reasons to believe this to be the case. I had an uncle who did time after serving as a Massachusetts state senator — or did I just repeat myself? Today the sole question among Boston Dem regulars is whether or not to name the new Dorchester recreation facility in his memory. That is the Democratic Party, as it was and shall be.)

But what happened to the GOP this time? Quite simply, Ronald Reagan happened.. Not that Reagan was in any way corrupt, or would have tolerated corruption among his following. But Reagan was a watershed in more ways than one. Not only did he end the predominance of New Deal liberalism, he opened up a new epoch of success for conservatism as well. For decades, liberals had called the shots and scooped up the rewards, leaving only the dregs for the Republicans. That ended with Reagan. Suddenly it was smart to be a Republican and to profess conservatism. For the first time in generations, conservatism became a path to worldly success.

Inevitably, with political success came corruption, in the person of individuals looking for easy pickings, a smooth hustle, a way to get over. These people (along with closet liberals looking for a foot on the ladder — another, closely-related form of corruption) moved into the party in force during the mid to late 80s. I recall one GOP politician in New Jersey who campaigned on the accepted conservative platform, mouthing all the customary slogans, only to be heard to say following his election: “Now it’s our turn to belly up.” And so he did — so they all did, leaving the state today bankrupt, hopeless, and Democratic, the Louisiana of the Eastern Seaboard.

Conservatives, unused to success, proved to be bad judges of character. They welcomed these hustlers with open arms, believed in them, trusted them, and promoted them. And now, twenty years later, we have the end results.

Several factors smoothed their way. The normal give and take of politics — the necessity of making deals with people you might not want to see walking down your street after dark. Then we have the “friends” syndrome, the impulse to excuse inexcusable behavior with a remark such as, “He’s not really a bad guy — he’s a friend of mine.”

One unique element was a contribution of Ronald Reagan himself, the 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” While certainly well-intentioned and useful in many circumstances (such as dealing with the media, which I’m convinced was Reagan’s primary concern), it has been commonly utilized as a shield to prevent close scrutiny of the activities of the hustler class.

And there was the numbers game, particularly after the GOP triumph of 1994, when it was considered crucial to pack Congress with as many warm bodies as possible to assure that all those vital conservative policies would be passed. (Which policies were those? I’ll get back to you on that…)

This environment gave us Duke Cunningham, with his immortal bribe menu, Mark Foley, of the pathetic attempts to groom congressional pages as sex partners, Larry Craig and his more successful forays into various men’s rooms, and others who really aren’t worth the bother of looking up how their names are spelled.

And we cannot overlook those who viewed politics as a kind of resume-building effort, happily serving when the going was good in the late 90s and early zeros, but cutting and running for greener corporate or lobbying pastures when things got rough after 2004. Or those who said all the right things and were perfectly willing to fight the good fight until there was actually a fight to be fought, one example being Rick Santorum, who scampered out of town rather than be seen with George W. Bush on a presidential visit to Pittsburgh. A short time later, Republicans inexplicably failed to turn out for his 2006 re-election attempt.

Such a situation could not have prevailed without the contribution of the nonentities at the top of the pole, who played the “see no evil” role to perfection. Particular thanks must go to Bill Frist and Dennis Hastert, who ran the Senate and House, respectively (or maybe it was the other way around), creating a legacy of sloth that will be hard for future party heads to match.

The rot is not limited to politics per se, but is prevalent throughout the conservative world, in think tanks, party and advocacy organizations and the like. Though not necessarily guilty of direct corruption, many activists can be accused of careerism and averting their eyes from the more criminal elements. Special attention needs to be paid to the commentariat, the interface between conservatism and the public at large. While happy to talk the talk during the years of plenty, some are now considering jumping ship. They should be encouraged.

This last example reveals that to some extent the problem will solve itself. Now that the snows have come, the summer soldiers are sneaking off to warmer climes. No sense being a hustler where there’s nothing to hustle. This process will send large numbers of future indictables home to the Democrats where they belong.

But plenty of rotten apples will remain. What can be done with them?

The simple answer is: expose, expose, and expose. Somebody — possibly everybody — knew what Foley, Cunningham, and Stevens were up to. Somebody should have spoken up. Forget the excuses. The numbers? We’ve seen how well that strategy works. Those seeking to protect corrupt “friends” need to find new ones. The 11th commandment must be repealed until further notice. Shining a spotlight on these people and running them out will pay dividends in the long run. The GOP’s major appeal lies in its probity, its steadiness, its sense of virtue in a fallen world. These have been cast aside in favor of ephemera.

The voters and breaking events have given us a good head start; it is up to us to take up the slack. This is in no way a recommendation for a purge but a call for the restoration of the simple, honorable methods of dealing with such types that should have been practiced for the past twenty years and have not been. This is a role that conservatives must take on — to become the watchdogs of the party and its representatives. While taking action may well mean the end of several “promising” careers, that will represent no loss in the long run.

All the other “urgent” questions — who is a RINO and who is a true conservative (whatever that might be) and whether social conservatives or moderates would better be dropped from helicopters, are trivia compared to this one. The voters are not stupid. After four years watching the Democrat’s nightmare combination of the Chicago and Clinton machines (and what a soap opera that is going to be!), they will be ready for something better. We must be ready to give it to them.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker.

In Search of Apollo Creed (Cross Post of Excellent Blog from

December 9, 2008

In Search of Apollo Creed

The days of chasing chickens are over.

In the days since winning the election, Barack Obama has established, the first-ever Web site dedicated to providing information regarding the transition between one presidential administration and another (actually, Bush had a rudimentary version in 2000 — Jeff). This effort is only the latest step to use technology to inform, involve and motivate his supporters, and is reminiscent of several ways Obama revolutionized the ground game in presidential politics.

Last night, for example, I was looking at a friend’s iPhone and, fooling around with the various applications available for instantaneous and free download, I stumbled across an application entitled “Obama ’08,” which allows the iPhone owner to organize telephone contacts used to spread the word about Obama’s campaign. Similarly, Obama supporters who preferred to use a laptop or desktop PC could download software which literally turned their home computer and home telephone into a campaign phone bank. For liberals interested in advancing Obama’s socialist policies, gone were the days of driving to the local campaign headquarters, parking their hippie butts into a folding chair, and working the phones for six hours or more.

Barack Obama, like him or not, completely transformed the traditional approaches taken by presidential campaigns in rallying and mobilizing the vote. For the sake of comparison, I received a robo-call at my house from Rudy Giuliani on Election Day, urging me to get out and vote — nice, but the call came at 7:50 p.m., ten minutes before polls were to close in Pennsylvania.

It dawned on me a few minutes ago that Barack Obama is like Clubber Lang, the mysterious new fighter on the scene with an inexplicable stranglehold on the media, while the Republican Party is more like Rocky Balboa — morally and substantively superior but much slower, much more encumbered by tradition, and equally upset and motivated after the new heavyweight caused, in an embarrassingly easy victory, the demise of the stodgy old man at the heart of the party’s corner.

Four years from now, the GOP will once again have to go toe-to-toe with Barack Obama. The defending champ will be ready, but unless things change between now and then, the GOP will not.

We need Apollo Creed.

At the beginning of the third installment of the Rocky franchise, Rocky Balboa was fat and happy, having successfully defended his heavyweight belt against a bunch of nobodies. He took for granted the hard work and sacrifice, the blood, bruises and sweat he originally put forth to get the belt in the first place, and was surprised by upstart Lang, who effortlessly got the better of the slower, more traditional, more distracted veteran in their first match. For the re-match, Balboa needed help, and he got that help from a longtime rival, Apollo Creed.

The days of chasing Mickey’s chickens to gain speed were over. Creed–The Master of Disaster! The King of Sting! The Dancing Destroyer! The Count of Monte Fisto!–taught a reluctant Rocky the merits of balance and footwork and did so the old-fashioned way, through hard work, sacrifice, and the need to step outside the comfort zone.

It wasn’t easy. Rocky couldn’t move like Creed, he couldn’t dance his way around the ring. In the past, he had relied solely on his power, his stubbornness and his high threshold for pain, but in order to have even a remote chance of beating Clubber Lang in the rematch, he needed more. Creed spent hours working Rocky over in the gym, jumping rope and hopping around in various ways. They ran on the beach, with Creed easily out-sprinting Balboa at first. Finally, after the musical training montage was almost over, Rocky beat Creed in the slow-motion footrace and the two shared a Barney Frank-type moment in the frothy surf.

If Barack Obama was able to be so efficient this time around, if he was able to mobilize the youth vote in such an unprecedented fashion, if he was able to foster turnout so effectively, what can we expect out of him in four years? As the incumbent, as the one wearing the heavyweight belt, he’ll likely be better. His ground game will likely improve. And, unless the good guys can do the same, they won’t stand a chance.

We need Apollo Creed.

We need to get younger. We need to get sleeker. We need to get faster, smoother, more efficient. We need to get quicker, smarter, more punishing, and less apt to retreat into our corner.

We need to stick to conservative principles, package those principles and sell them to the American public. It starts with the tenets of fiscal conservatism, stressing the end of big government, of higher taxes, of growth-stifling regulation. Create jobs by fostering economic growth, protect wealth by reducing taxes. Let America know that government has no business in the auto business, in our hospitals, in our homes. Talk to your kids, to your neighbors, to your co-workers, to people you meet in the supermarket. Challenge them to footraces, if necessary.

Regardless, the Ward Cleaver perception of conservatism must be replaced by concrete, practically-applicable examples of situations and institutions where conservative principles work. States and municipalities must lead the way, the private sector must do their job as well. The new media must do the job that the old media will not, and consistently report on the successes of conservatism alongside the failures of the Obama administration.

Republican Party leadership in Washington, D.C. must be gutted as well. Over the past two dozen years, we’ve seen that conservative republicans win elections, while moderate republicans do not. The tenure of the big government, spend-happy wing of the GOP must end. Young, forceful, vibrant leaders in the conservative movement must be supported and given exposure. Jindal. Palin. Ryan. Cantor. Sanford. DeMint. Huckabee. Romney. Bachman. Pence. When the dust settles in the weeks and months following Tuesday’s election, we’re going to see signs of one of two things from our party — either we’ll see the down-in-the-mouth, lazy fighter who refuses to adhere to the basic principles of hard work and sacrifice, or a lean, mean, fighting machine ready to take down the reigning champion in 2012. If it’s the former, we’re doomed; if it’s the latter, we’ll surely win.

So, who is our Apollo Creed? Certainly, the people behind Ron Paul’s unlikely success know a thing or two about getting the word out. Certainly, the tech-savvy crowd do not all vote democrat. Let’s take a free-market approach to redefining the Republican Party in the conservative mold. Let’s reward those with new, viable ideas about public relations and voter outreach with positions in the party. Let’s put out an all-points-bulletin for young people who know the merits of conservatism as well as they know how to articulate them across various channels to a wide-ranging group of people. Let’s foster grassroots programs and organizations in our higher education institutions, and reward them with support from party leaders.

News of the death of conservatism has indeed been widely misreported. The beating we took on Tuesday will serve to make us–and America as a whole–stronger if and when we choose to learn from it, if and when we choose to once again recommit ourselves to doing the right thing and taking the right approach not because it is easy but because it is hard.

A leaner, meaner, more efficient Republican Party, strengthened by a core rooted in conservative values, will not lose in four years. Rocky Balboa did it. He surprised everyone with how much sleeker he was, with how much more efficient he was, with how much faster he was, with his mastery of the ring. Apollo Creed got him there with a simple, principled approach to training — hard work, balance, core strength, footwork, blood, sweat and tears.

When the final bell had rung on the rematch, it was Clubber Lang who lay in a heap, beaten, broken, bloodied, and still surprised by the quickness and effectiveness of the older, wiser Balboa. The people were stunned. The commentators were stunned. When it was all over, Rocky reclaimed the belt he had lost due to apathy, and was a better fighter for it.

And, not to mention, do you remember what he did next?

He knocked out a Russian.

Posted by Jeff Schreiber

A Little More About Me

November 10, 2008

Christopher Wiseman

About Me

I am a 31 year old proud dad of four and have a wonderful girlfriend. I was born and rasied in Hayward, California and now live and work in Henderson, Nevada. I am a former Marine and Eagle Scout. I started this blog as a way to express my political frustrations and beliefs which is esspecially important to me as I have decided to run for Congress in Nevada’s 3rd Distict in 2010. My political beliefs are genuine but very difficult to fit into a box. I am a registered Republican but I find myself very much a Conservative on fiscal matters, the economy and defense. When it comes to powers of the government, I am very much a Constitutionist, when it comes to individual rights, I am very much a Libertarian. I’m proud to be a political ‘heretic’.

Why don’t you ever wear a scarf? It doesn’t need to be cold outside for your neck to feel naked.

Very true. When I lived in England for a year as an exchange student, I got into the habit of wearing a “football scarf” to signify your favorite team(s). In my case it was the Chesterfield Spireites and the Liverpool FC.


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Hello world!

November 6, 2008

Thank you for the opportunity to share my blog with the world on all things political.