The Anti-Kaepernick

Probowler Cardinal, Patrick Peterson, Scores a Touchdown for School Choice

As the 2018 football season begins to stir in the hearts and minds of every red-blooded American, fans inevitably begin to hear stories of poor character, poor behavior and poor political crusades from our gridiron heroes. Has-been players, like Colin Kaepernick, dominate headlines with their on-field, anti-American antics and leftist politics. Unfortunately, this seemed like the “new normal” in the NFL (no fun league).

This year, however, conservatives (and all who wish to see a better life for future generations) can rejoice in the off-field activities of the Arizona Cardinals’ superstar cornerback, Patrick Peterson.

Peterson is officially both the best defense player in the League as well as the greatest celebrity champion of school choice in America. In a newly released public service announcement for the American Federation for Children, a bi-partisan nonprofit dedicated to school choice, particularly for low income families, Peterson shines in explaining how school choice “give[s] your child all the tools they need to win.”

Just this year, Arizona (already a national leader in school choice) passed comprehensive expansion of their empowerment scholarship accounts (ESAs for short). Those who qualify will be able to utilize the account to help facilitate the educational choices that best fit that individual child.  The program, while under attack by teachers unions and the Left, is one of the greatest school choice accomplishments in history.  Arizona’s rock star conservative Governor, Doug Ducey, was dedicated to making the bill a signature part of his first term, focusing on low-income families and closing the achievement gap for poor and minority students by expanding educational opportunity.

Peterson begins the video with a statement that should warm all our hearts:

“The most important job for me is being a dad.” He goes on to proudly endorse Arizona’s ESA program, stating, “In Arizona, you can choose the best education for your child from all kinds of preschools: public, charter, and even private schools.”

With the Cardinals in the hunt for a Superbowl championship and with Peterson dominating on and off the field, we all should rise up and cheer for #21. Peterson exemplifies all that is right in the NFL and all that is right in America. Watch the video and see for yourself.

Adam Kwasman is a former AZ state Legislator and die-hard Cardinals fan.

Arizona Governor Signs Nation’s Most Significant Pro-Life Bill of 2017

In what is being hailed as “one of the most pro-life pieces of legislation in the United States,” Arizona’s rock star, conservative governor, Doug Ducey recently signed SB1367 into law, protecting babies who are born alive and requiring healthcare professionals to act in order to save the life of the baby.      

Another important milestone in this bill is its first-in-the-nation definition of what it means to be “delivered-alive.” By not placing age limits on a baby when it is born-alive, this definition correctly assigns personhood to babies at any age. It is a definitional flag-planting from Arizona, making it clear that the state will fight to protect life at any age.

The bill’s author is State Senator Steve Smith, who has consistently been the Arizona’s legislative leader on protecting life. Sen. Smith stated. “In light of recent cases in Arizona, where babies survived an abortion and were born alive, and no care was provided to them by clinic staff, it was time for the Legislature to take action. In Arizona, a baby lay on a cold steel table for over an hour before the baby died. In a second case, a baby survived an abortion but the facility didn’t have the requisite medical facilities to provide the necessary care, and the baby died on the way to the hospital.”

Senator Smith (whom insiders view as the early favorite to challenge Democrat U.S. Rep. Tom O’Halleran for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District) went on to say, “I want to thank Gov. Ducey for having the courage to sign this most important legislation. I believe his actions will literally save lives of the most vulnerable among us. He’s the kind of pro-life leader this nation can look to in every other state.”

Those of us in the pro-life movement can rejoice in what Gov. Ducey has done in Arizona. From Phoenix, a fire of life can spread throughout the nation. Gov Ducey exemplifies the type of successful pro-life leadership that acts as an example to the entire nation.

Trump and the Battle of Ideas

    This weekend the LA Times released its first and second pieces in a four-part assault on President Donald Trump. Entitled, “Our Dishonest President,” the editorial board has (potentially unintentionally) placed its finger on the pulse of the Left’s long-run strategy to win the battle of ideas in 21st century American politics. The strategy: Associate conservative policy with Trumpism, thereby conflating the two and poisoning the well for future conservatives at every level of politics.

            In its opening paragraph, the Times uses hyperbolic words like “unprepared” and “unsuited,” calling his presidency a “trainwreck.” For the Times (and the Left) however, this trainwreck is far different from the conservative perspective of failing to keep conservative promises from the campaign trail. Rather, the Times purposefully conflates the President’s unpredictability with rather standard conservative policy prescriptions.

            Before discussing Trump’s mind, the editors chose to link the president’s nascent presidency with Obama-era climate change rollbacks, school choice and healthcare reforms, citing that “In a matter of weeks, President Trump has taken dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart, foul rivers and pollute the air, intensify the calamitous effects of climate change and profoundly weaken the system of American public education for all…His attempt to de-insure millions of people who had finally received healthcare coverage and, along the way, enact a massive transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich has been put on hold for the moment”.

            This is important and warning light for conservatives. By intentionally conflating conservatism with Trumpism, Liberals are sowing the seeds for political victories for future generations.

            In my first piece for the Resurgent, I argued that if Trump accomplished a full repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, navigated a conservative through the Supreme Court confirmation process, and funded the border wall, he would cement his place in the pantheon of American conservative successes. Why would he be successful? Because, conservative policies, when enacted, grow the economy, increase freedom and build America’s confidence in itself. Reagan wasn’t popular until his policies were in full swing and Americans began to reap the fruits of the President’s labor. Likewise, for Trump to be successful, Americans have to see, feel and taste the fruits of the Republicans’ labor.

            If Trump and Congress fail to pass a meaningful ObamaCare repeal and replacement (which is becoming all but certain), if Congress fails to secure the border, (which, as of Thursday, is looking more and more problematic), and if Trump can’t get through meaningful and sweeping tax reform, (which has been already called D.O.A.), Americans will never be able to experience real conservative reform. They won’t feel richer, they won’t feel freer and they won’t feel confident. Moreover, they have only one party and one ideology to blame: Conservatism and Republicans.

            How does this fit back into the LA Times hit pieces on Trump? By purposefully conflating conservative reforms and Trump, those on the left may be able to permanently break the link between the ideology from Reagan and conservatism as a recipe for American success, thereby binding it to Trump and failure. The time of the teenage/twenty-something millennial is over. Millennials are beginning to settle down and have children of their own. They don’t remember a world born from Reagan’s conservatism. Today’s thirty year olds have truly only seen two Republican presidents. One of them is completely defined by war and economic downturn. The other is Donald Trump. It is on the president’s shoulders to show America that conservatism works. The battle for ideas depends on it. He can’t fail. 

The Article V Movement Picks Up Steam

In the wake of the RyanCare debacle, it has become blatantly obvious that draining the Washington swamp will likely never come from the White House nor the Capitol. To that end, states have taken it upon themselves to solve the largest issues facing our nation. This week, the Arizona and North Dakota legislatures became the ninth and tenth states in the union to pass the Convention of States, utilizing the Constitution’s Article V authority for states to call an amendment convention to pass major reforms in the structure and function of our government. Arizona also passed the Compact for America, joining other member states through an interstate compact to call for an Article V convention for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Both of these bills are gaining nation-wide momentum, and it’s putting DC on notice. From the Koch brothers, to Mark Levin, to the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro, to former Sen. Tom Coburn, the potential for monumental constitutionally conservative change is finally on the horizon.

Article V of the US Constitutiona allows two ways to amend the document. The only method utilized in our nation’s history is by way of a bill from Congress, passed by supermajorities in both houses before being sent to the states for ratification. The second method is through a convention from the states themselves, thereby bypassing any legislative approval by Congress. States can call an amendment convention, if 2/3 of the states apply for such a convention. If the requisite number of states call for an Art. V, Congress is bound to facilitate the amendment convention. Proponents of this methodology call this the best tool to reign in a federal government that simply refuses to place substantial limitations on its own power.

The Convention of states hopes to be passed in seven other state legislatures this year. In a simulation of how such a convention may play out, over one hundred representatives gathered for a simulated convention, proposing amendments that included state supermajority approval for tax increases, congressional term limits, and reigning in federal bureaucratic overreach.

A more novel, yet potentially more politically safe approach comes by way of the Compact for America. By filtering an Article V convention through the established and utilized interstate compact system, the Compact for America seeks specific language for a single amendment: a constitutionally conservative balanced budget amendment that places taxing and spending power in the hands of state approval after Congressional passage. This places the states in a “Board of Directors” role over the whims of Congress. Opponents of the Convention of States fear a “runaway convention,” where progressive amendments can poison our document. The Compact for America’s language is so specific that any deviation in the process can blow up the compact, thereby solving the “runaway convention” problem.

With so much power and failed policy centralized in Washington, it’s looking more and more like states are beginning to finally recognize the role provided for them by the Framers over two centuries ago. Whether its through meaningful tax reform or regulatory reform, the fifty “laboratories of democracy” are achieving far better results than we can ever expect out of the Capitol. An Article V convention is a lofty yet achievable goal in cementing America’s bright future. It is the states, after all, who are united.

Arizona Rising

One hundred and five years ago today, Arizona entered the Union as the 48th state. Fast-forward just over a century, and this Valentine’s Day baby has truly come into its own. Move over, Texas, here comes the Copper State!

Arizona’s title as one of our most successful conservative states comes by way of bold leadership, an eye for modernization and a deep-seeded love for western rugged-individualism that would make Barry Goldwater smile from the Great Beyond.

Governor Doug Ducey, who took Cold Stone Creamery from a mom and pop ice cream shop to a billion-dollar corporation, has entered his second legislative session with tremendous popularity and a litany of policy success in his short tenure. Ducey pledged tax and regulatory reform…and delivered by eliminating and consolidating entire departments while reducing the burden of government over Arizona’s citizens’ lives. Like Texas’ Gov. Abbott, Ducey has stood fast against the rise of sanctuary cities. When it comes to job creation, Ducey has regular announcements of Arizona’s economic expansion, most recently joining President Trump’s elation over Intel’s $7 Billion investment plan…located in Arizona. When pointing to his success, the Governor speaks of stability and free market principles, coupled with the fact that California’s bottomless pit of big government happens to be right next door. As California sinks, Arizona rises.

Ducey’s successes couldn’t be possible without an Arizona legislature fully committed to limited government as the best path to prosperity.  House Speaker JD Mesnard is Arizona’s Marco Rubio. Young, thoughtful and committed to the vision of economic and social conservatism, Mesnard has shown maturity beyond his years and has gone a long way in tempering Arizona’s “wackobird” reputation, yet moved meaningful big ideas through his chamber. This includes weaving an agenda of statewide fiscal responsibility, school choice and a preservation of life, while shepherding Arizona’s commitment to an Article V convention for a balanced  budget amendment to the US Constitution. You name the important issue, Arizona is taking a front seat at the state level in its implementation.

On the legal front, the Goldwater Institute and the Alliance Defending Freedom continue to fight for liberty at the Courts. Both organizations’ successes have far-reaching influences outside of the Copper State. From Right to Try to Religious Freedom, all of us can live a little freer because of these two Arizona gemstones.

Outside of politics, one cannot mention Arizona without appreciating its unbelievable natural beauty. From the Grand Canyon up north to the blooming Tucson desert, Arizona, on its birthday, can truly lay claim to being the jewel in the crown of our fifty great states.

Sunstein Jumps The Crimson Shark

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor and intellectual heavyweight on the left has perfectly encapsulated the cavernous divide between the battle of ideas and the fight for the soul of the American judiciary.

In a recent article, Sunstein claims to accurately represent originalist Constitutional thought and goes so far as to list specific policy provisions he purports to exclaim Originalism can “easily lead to.” The list includes: banning the sale of contraceptives, federal and state racial discrimination, state establishment of religion, and the invalidation of the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act.

By making these claims, the venerable professor unleashes a hyperbolic verbal diarrhea usually reserved for BLM protestors and Occupy Wall-Streeters. A cursory understanding of originalist judicial philosophy betrays Sunstein’s entire fear-mongering diatribe, and for his students’ benefit, I’d like this mere ASU law student to lay out the basic case for a constitution of liberty:

The Founders, inspired by the classical liberal political economic philosophies of Locke, Hume, and Montesquieu, coupled with their own contemporary intellectual giants, like Adam Smith, sought out to create a federal constitution of limited, enumerated powers granted to the federal government, all while reserving the natural rights of citizens. This natural rights approach is perfectly illustrated in the Declaration of Independence’s proclamation that “government is instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Far from being a mere democratic proclamation, Jefferson’s “just powers” statement reflected that government should not exceed any authority not afforded to it by individuals who form a social contract from the state of nature. Put simply, if an individual does not posses a given authority on his own, he is unable to grant that authority to the government. Government exists to protect rights that an individual possesses through his or her existence, namely, the right to life, liberty and property. “Positive rights” (like the right to healthcare) to the classical liberal, are not rights at all, but an abuse of power granted to government by individuals who do not possess a redistributive authority before entering into the social contract.

This brings us to constitutional originalism:

The originalist sees the constitution as a structured document meant to protect individual “natural” liberty from a democratic governmental entity. The enumeration of powers in Art 1 Sec 8, coupled with the federalist 10th amendment creates a firewall against government overreach into our lives. The civil war amendments to the Constitution correctly applied this natural rights approach to the states and were meant to preclude government intrusion into our commerce, civic participation and private undertakings at a more local level.

Originalism is NOT a judicial philosophy that wants to bring us back to the 18th century. In framing originalism in this way, Sunstein is either extremely intellectually lazy or intellectually malevolent. If it’s the former, perhaps it’s time for him to retire and enjoy less-rigorous pursuits. If it’s the latter, it’s perhaps prudent for Harvard Law School should reconsider his employment at such a revered institution.

To the left, intellectualism has become an excuse to promote certain ideology by any means necessary. From Paul Krugman to Cass Sunstein, demagoguery replaces serious discussion and fear-mongering hyperbole supersedes dialogue. Professor Sunstein’s views are vapid and off-base, and the longer he argues in this manner, the easier it will be for those professing a constitution of liberty to ultimately win the battle of ideas.

Beware the Walking Dead (Economists)

Halloween has been over for nearly three weeks, but something evil is brewing in the bowels of the Capitol and the basements of Trump Tower. Congressmen and Senators are reading incantations. Government contractors are drawing pentagrams in chalk. Their goal: to resurrect the undead zombie of failed economist, John Maynard Keynes! Get ready to run, it’s stimulus season!

George W. Bush called his $168 billion stimulus a package “a booster shot for our economy.” Barack Obama’s $825 billion stimulus included $90 billion for infrastructure and $32 billion to fortify the electricity grid. Now, it’s 2016, and the incoming administration has floated a $1 trillion dollar spending package to “fix our crumbling infrastructure.” The measure is also seen as a bipartisan outstretch of the hand from the Trump White House to Democratic Congressional Leaders. Republicans should beware the economic consequences of the peace when dealing with the Left.

The truth of the matter is the same today as it was in the 1930’s: Government spending to boost the economy is a Keynesian myth. Conservatives need to beat this zombie back to the bowels of Hades from whence it came.

Proponents of the package see “cheap” money by way of low interest rates as an opportunity to “invest” in infrastructure. From FDR’s New Deal to Obama’s Stimulus, the principles behind government expenditure in the economy comes chapter-and-verse from Keynes’ 1936 opus, the “General Theory of Employment Interest and Money.” Those in favor of the spending truthfully point to areas that have seen neglect, but they refuse to understand that basic laws of economics still apply when calculating the costs of increased deficit spending. Cheap credit and government spending furthers the downward economic spiral we currently find ourselves mired in. Public spending crowds-out private investment in the economy, disrupts capital markets and ultimately decreases our standard of living through the stimulus’ inflationary effects. We need only look to the failed stimuli of the past two administrations to see that this simply doesn’t work. For a more formalistic approach, I recommend picking up a copy of the greatest Keynesian zombie hunter to ever live, Henry Hazlitt, whose The Failure of the New Economics utterly destroys Keynes like a chainsaw through the neck of a brain-devouring monster. Pick up a copy over the holiday weekend, and be the life of party at the Thanksgiving table.

Adam Kwasman is a former Arizona state legislator. He holds a masters degree in economics, from George Mason University, and is currently completing his law degree at Arizona State University. He resides in Scottsdale, with his family. Follow him at facebook.com/adamkwasman.

Donald Trump’s Road To Rushmore

“Thy road, the right, toward Pluto’s dwelling goes, and leads us to Elysium. But the left speeds sinful souls to doom…” –Virgil’s Aeneid

President-elect Donald Trump can wake up every morning with a yuge grin on his face. He happens to be in a position that comes along once in a Super Moon. With substantial majorities in both the House and Senate, Trump can become a legendary president. #MAGA be damned, we should be talking monuments.

The truth is that Trump need only accomplish three simple tasks to become the conservative hero of this generation: (1) Appoint a conservative justice to fill Scalia’s seat, (2) Repeal and replace ObamaCare, and (3) Sign an appropriations bill that funds the construction of a border wall. It really is that simple. After those three basic accomplishments, Trump creates a veritable “legacy floor,” from which he could ostensibly spend the rest of his term playing golf at Mar-A-Lago.

The Conservative movement has been nearly devoid of a substantial policy victory since the Bush Tax Cuts of 2001. While we’ve seen some legal successes at the Supreme Court, and we’ve witnessed scores of political wins in election after election, conservatism as a federal legislative success story was on the verge of extinction. President-elect Trump is in a unique position: he will be legitimately able to claim victory for battles fought long before his candidacy. He is embracing an eager Congress, plagued by abysmal approval ratings for failing to deliver on promises to their constituents, led by Speaker Ryan, who has yearned for years to see his policies actualized. If Ryan’s “A Better Way” reforms were bullets, they’d be locked, loaded and ready to fire.

Regarding the first two accomplishments, one can argue that any elected Republican president could accomplish those tasks. However, when it comes to funding the wall, Donald J. Trump is in a unique position. His electoral mandate will force the hands of many dovish Republican members of Congress who would otherwise balk at being seen as a hardliner on immigration. It’s Trump and Trump alone who will have made the appropriation happen; and to the victor goes the spoils.

When I said that the wall need merely be funded and not completed, I meant it. A perfect case study of how political legacy can be formed independently of a policy’s outcome comes by way of my home state of Arizona. Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed SB-1070, the famed, nationally known, conservative immigration bill in 2010, rocketing her to national fame as a border hawk. The truth is, Brewer signed the bill only after polling the legislation, seeing how it would politically benefit her, and signing it with minutes to spare before it would have “pocket-passed” without her signature. Conservatives didn’t associate the bill’s lack of implementation with Brewer’s legacy. Nor did Brewer’s subsequent support for Medicaid expansion, Common Core, tax increases, or billion-dollar budgets seem to interfere with her conservative bona fides. She could do no wrong. Fellow Arizona politicos refer to this as the “Brewer Rule,” that is: If you sign a bill that’s tough on the border, you’re a conservative, never mind all other evidence to the contrary.

Once President-elect Trump accomplishes the three aforementioned tasks, it by-no-means precludes him from building upon his legacy. By signing tax reform, regulatory reform, and energy reform legislation, Trump can arguably become the most conservative president since Calvin Coolidge, surpassing even his Holiness, St. Ronald, himself. On the other hand, Keynesian spending, coupled with tariffs and trade wars, can place him squarely on a more Nixonian policy path. Yet, even with a trillion-dollar Obama-style stimulus infrastructure bill, the “Brewer Rule” holds true. Put a conservative on the Court, repeal and replace ObamaCare, and sign a funding bill for the border wall and our children may very well be visiting Trump Monument along the Washington mall.

Adam Kwasman is a former Arizona state legislator. He holds a masters degree in economics, from George Mason University, and is currently completing his law degree at Arizona State University. He resides in Scottsdale, with his family. Follow him at facebook.com/adamkwasman.