places to focus...
Whether you're organizing for a campaign, a group or just an issue you care about, there are three areas that it pays for conservatives to focus their time. And each area has different benefits as well as challenges.
Organizing by precinct
Organizing by precinct is more geographically focused and as a result it can have a more direct and greater potential impact on a specific area. Plus, the American political system is built around the precinct. Meaning that elections are held in districts which are built on different combinations of precincts, and if you're organized in the precincts you can influence an election - or an elected official who wants to run for re-election.
Organizing in churches
Organizing in churches allows you to work with people you're probably more familiar with, and are likely to have more in common with. It also has the benefit of involving people across multiple neighborhoods (or precincts), which can "sow seeds" of activism in more than one area.
Online organization can exist on its own or as a compliment to church and/or precinct organization, (ex. online "groups" via Yahoo, Google, Ning or Facebook; or online petitions and campaigns at AktNow - or a combination). And when you organize online, you make it easier to share informatoin with others and for others to find you.
Where to focus your time?
In order to determine where you should focus your time and efforts, ask yourself the following questions: read more »
2010 was a banner year for conservatives. Beginning with the election of Scott Brown in January, we then saw major Republican primary victories in the summer, dozens more conservatives elected to the US House and several more to the Senate. Add to that a record number of victories in state houses all across the country.
It’s a hard record to top. The danger of moments like these is that it is easy to rest and lose sight of what to do next. In short, conservatives need to stay focused.
With that in mind, here are three resolutions for conservatives in 2011.
First, conservatives must work to hold elected officials accountable.
Truth be known, many in the GOP’s leadership are worried about the newfound energy in the conservative movement because they have no control over it, and they instinctively know that many of the people generating that energy have no love lost for those who are currently running the show. Self preservation is an instinct that runs deep.
They’re worried that we seem “too angry”. But those who spend most of their lives in the Beltway don’t have a palpable sense of the frustration out in flyover country. And in many ways, they don’t even understand it. No matter.
What’s important is that the frustration is real and that the people it represents now have a better understanding of how to take political matters into their own hands. They have better access to the tools that can connect them with one another, to organize and become more effective – which is exactly why the elites are so concerned. read more »
Dr Daniel Fine explains: Santa Fe New Mexican
With the Republican Party's newly won control of the House of Representatives, national energy policy could be rolled back to 2005, with all legislative advances under a Democratic Party majority at risk. Republicans could adopt a dual-track strategy that attacks energy regulation through budget reductions of the Environmental Protection Agency that de-fund efforts to impose carbon emissions on industrial infrastructure, at a minimum coal-burning utilities and the gas and oil complex of extraction and refining.
With a Republican House majority, no further loss of tax code advantages for the oil and gas industry is anticipated. While the Oceans Management remake of the Department of Interior's Mineral Management Service can be indirectly restrained through the Interior Department budget, originating in the House of Representatives, its existence and mission as a regulatory enforcer of off-shore oil and gas development is beyond a roll-back. This is a permanent institutional change as a direct consequence of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
No consideration of carbon cap and trade is even remotely expected. In New Mexico, oddly enough, with a Republican majority in the House opposed to a federal cap-and-trade law, conditions for a state version will in theory become more favorable. However, the rejection by both candidates for governor of the current initiative should block local efforts to fill the federal void.
The new Republican majority could impose restrictive legislation on renewable energy strategic tax incentives which provide Treasury Department cash pay-outs of 30 percent of construction investment costs of solar energy and other renewables. This could be done in several committees holding hearings on the dependency of renewables manufacturing and capacity expansion on continued government support in conflict with market conditions of abundantly cheap natural gas as a price-setter and competitor.
Partial repeal of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 will be a target of the new Republican majority. Although approved by President George W. Bush, the mandate for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022 could be subject to revision. There is currently popular resistance to the ethanol requirement of 10 percent from 5 percent per gallon of gasoline because of consumer issues with the risk to pre-2007 engines. A Republican majority could attempt to cap the requirement at 16.3 billion gallons, which is scheduled in 2013, freezing the 10 percent change and avoiding further consumer problems at the pump.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, leading a Democratic Party majority in the Senate, will be compelled to defend both renewable energy and the moderate renewable portfolio standards (15 percent by 2021) he has proposed in the remnant of the current session of Congress. He could invoke a call to Republicans for a bipartisan consensus to recognize what has been done and avoid the bitter and costly fight to roll it back. Some Republicans might consider this opening as preparation in 2012 for the contest over the White House: a consensus position avoids the tag of anti-renewable energy and environment in that presidential campaign . A consensus framework would stabilize at least $275 billion in renewable energy research, investment, finance and development costs.
Some of this is carried on the books of major oil and gas companies. New Mexico research universities and national laboratories have established innovative technology capabilities along with student career commitments in renewable energy. Whatever the direction of the market, a Republican majority in the House of Representatives could discover national economic and energy security value of supporting renewable energy basic and applied research.
World green energy technology leadership has been taken by China. With the exception of final technical mastery in solar power, China is now the dominant low-cost developer, producer and exporter. A Republican majority in the House of Representatives could find itself defending renewable energy against China in much the same way as it rejected China's bid to buy UNOCAL (oil and gas) five years ago — on national security and energy security grounds.
A roll-back to 2005 could revive the compromise that former Sen. Pete Domenici achieved that year under a strategy of energy diversity that emphasizes national energy output expansion from all sources without political discrimination. To roll-back to a fossil fuel policy preference would violate 2005.
Daniel I. Fine, Ph.D., is a research and energy policy associate for New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, New Mexico Tech.