Jenny Beth Martin’s Speech at the Western Conservative Summit
Who here wants elected officials to vote based on principles and convictions, regardless of the consequences? Regardless of whether they will lose their chairmanships, committee appointments, and other perks of office? Who here is proud of Congressman Ken Buck for standing and voting on principle since he took office in DC in January?
I’m proud of Ken Buck and the others who stood on principle and faced consequences in the last 2 weeks like Mark Meadows, Trent Franks, Cynthia Lummis, and Steve Pearce. Thanks to you for making calls this week, the Republican “Leadership” reinstated Congressman Mark Meadows’ subcommittee chairmanship and the Freshman class did not revolt and remove Ken Buck from his position as Class President.
It is a pleasure to be with you, who elected such a principled fighter as Ken Buck. Thank you for electing Ken Buck to represent Colorado’s Fourth District. And, thank you for having me speak here this evening. Thank you John for having me back and for organizing another fantastic Summit. Thank you Mary for the kind introduction. You are the future of our movement.
Knowing many in Congress were depending on the Court to save us from ourselves rather than leading the way to the future we envision, it is clear we need more elected officials like Congressmen Ken Buck and Mark Meadows, who are willing to stand up for Constitutional principles and lead our country.
In light of the Supreme Court decision yesterday, many of the emails and conversations I am hearing today are ones of defeat and fear that things will never be better.
For the last six years, our side has been defined in negative terms – because most of the time, it seems, we’ve been working to stop bad things from happening.
We organized during the Stimulus fight, and opposed it.
We fought against the bailouts.
We fought as hard as we could against the Affordable Care Act, and then fought to block funding for it.
More recently, we fought to stop the President’s executive amnesty.
So much of it is negative. We were always fighting AGAINST something. It’s exhausting. Sometimes it’s hard to see any of the positive when we have had to fight so hard.
BUT, we have also had some wins. In fact, we’ve won an astonishing number of election battles.
At the state level, conservatives have taken over many state legislatures. Consider this: Republicans now control 68 of the 98 partisan legislative chambers around the country. 68 out of 98! That is the highest number in the history of the Republican Party. That’s a direct result of tea party activism and tea party influence.
And we’ve had even greater success at the federal level.
Since the tea party movement was born, we’ve had three federal elections – 2010, 2012, and 2014.
In two of those elections, tea party issues like repealing ObamaCare and blocking amnesty for illegal immigrants dominated the campaign discussions, and the result was two of the biggest electoral landslides of our lifetimes. There are more Republicans in the House of Representatives than at any time since HERBERT HOOVER was President.
On the other hand, there was ONE recent election where our issues and agenda did NOT dominate the campaign conversation – 2012, when the Republicans nominated Mitt Romney for President. And we lost.
There’s a simple message there – so simple even a reporter from The New York Times can understand it: Tea party issues are winning issues, and the tea party agenda is a winning agenda!
It is easy to be frustrated, scared, angry, and hopeless about the future of our country. Watching what happened with the Supreme Court is heartbreaking, because we see the Court writing laws and changing the way our government is supposed to work.
I could hardly sleep at all on Wednesday night/Thursday morning because I was so worried about the ruling. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night on the verge of tears out of frustration.
I have this unofficial club of people around the country I email and text message with in the middle of the night because we don’t sleep. A lot of our emails and text messages in the middle of the night are pessimistic and can sound fatalistic in light of our concerns for our country.
During the day, that is not what I think about. I put the pity party aside and despite the thoughts in the dark hours of the night, I focus on the thoughts that get me out of bed – that get each of us out of bed to keep on going – Those thoughts are the ones that show we have faith that today we can make a difference …
that our country is tougher than any single President …
or any bad law passed by Congress …
It’s stronger than any 4 bad sessions of Congress …
and our country is bigger than any handful of bad Supreme Court decisions – ok, maybe more like a truckload rather than a handful.
We are determined to live free and to leave a free and prosperous country for the next generation.
Our country and freedom are greater and more powerful than those chipping – hacking – away at our freedom. I have faith that our country will survive this.
I envision a better future for our country. Close your eyes for a minute.
Imagine with me an America …
where parents and teachers decide how best to teach their children and federal funding is not tied to Common Core education standards …
where our federal budget is on its way to balancing because the Penny Plan has passed …
where our economy is growing and we have a simpler, flatter, fairer tax system with lower tax rates …
our borders are secure …
we have enacted term limits for Congress …
and we have better quality health care at lower costs because Obamacare is fully repealed.
That’s the future Tea Party Patriots envisioned. Now we have an opportunity to reach it. President Obama will be leaving the White House in about 18 months … and the United States will have the chance to chart a NEW course, with a NEW President.
We very much want that new President to share our concerns, and our values … our hopes, and our dreams. We want more Congressmen and Senators who share our vision too.
To get that future, we need to continue to elect people who champion our values while campaigning, and will follow through with votes based on our Constitutional principles.
Even with more of the right people in office – even with the historic majorities Republicans enjoy, it’s become clear to us that the underlying problem is that the pressure in Washington to do the WRONG THING is incredibly strong, and it’s difficult – and sometimes nearly impossible – for even the GOOD men and women in Congress to do the RIGHT THING.
Relying only on electing the right people is not enough. There’s one more step.
We have to make all the candidates see that what we want for America is not only in our best interests or even in the country’s bests interests, we must show that what we want can be in the candidate’s best interests too.
That embracing our vision, values, and solutions will help get them what they want most, which is winning their election.
So that even if the WRONG person is elected, they will do the RIGHT thing.
And with that in mind, we at Tea Party Patriots have spent the last six months developing a Winning Agenda for the American Dream.
We call it the Yellow Card Project. Through this project, we will make our agenda the driving force in Washington. Because winning the communications war isn’t about having the BEST argument, it’s about controlling WHAT the argument is ABOUT …
Remember in 2010 and 2014 when we controlled the debate, we won? But in 2012 – not so much.
It’s about DEFINING the TERMS of the DEBATE.
And because we define our core values as PERSONAL freedom, ECONOMIC freedom, and a DEBT-FREE FUTURE, it should come as no surprise that we’ve developed this agenda with those values in mind.
Let’s start with PERSONAL freedom.
We want the Affordable Care Act repealed.
This law does more to destroy personal freedom than any law enacted in my lifetime. It destroys the doctor-patient relationship, destroys medical privacy, destroys our right to spend our own money as we see fit.
And it doesn’t work!
Here’s what’s worse: Most Americans are shocked when they learn that Congress enjoys a special, one-of-a-kind exemption from Obamacare, treatment that no other American citizen enjoys.
We need to repeal the congressional exemption – not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it will increase the pressure INSIDE congressional offices.
Republicans in Congress are beginning to realize after yesterday’s Supreme Court decision they cannot rely on the Court to address the problems with Obamacare.
The fact is, to repeal Obamacare, we are going to need Democrat votes in addition to Republican votes. You want a Democrat to vote to repeal ObamaCare? Make his or her spouse and staff live under it!
Now, what about ECONOMIC freedom?
Let’s start with illegal immigration – because illegal immigration is an attack on your ability to earn a good wage at a good job. We know the crony capitalists at the Chamber of Commerce want to import low-wage workers to compete with U.S. citizens, and we know that’s one of the major causes of wage stagnation.
So let’s secure our border and enforce the laws that are ALREADY ON THE BOOKS – like a new exit-entry visa system.
But even if we succeed in getting a handle on illegal immigration, that’s not necessarily enough to help you find a good job. Essential, but not enough.
If you want to be able to compete for a good job in the economy of the future, you’re going to need a good education. And that means NO COMMON CORE. It means breaking the connection between federal funding and Common Core standards.
I’m the mother of 12-year-old twins. And I’ve seen their homework. And I wish my next door neighbor was Albert Einstein … but I’m afraid even HE wouldn’t be able to understand it!
And when it comes to economic freedom, I can’t think of anything we need more than an overhaul of our tax system – because increasing the amount of money in your pocket is the best ticket to economic freedom I know.
We want tax reform that moves our country towards a simpler, flatter, fairer tax system with lower tax rates.
Finally, the issue that brought many of us out of our kitchens and into this movement in the first place – the fight for a DEBT-FREE FUTURE.
Our debt is more than $18 trillion, and still growing – that’s almost $60,000 for every man, woman and child in this country.
It’s clear we need a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, to tie Washington’s hands.
And it’s got to have a spending limitation provision in it, otherwise they’ll just balance the budget by raising taxes.
But we can’t wait to ratify a Balanced Budget Amendment. That fight will take years.
So let’s pass a budget based on the Penny Plan. Just have Washington spend one penny less next year out of every dollar they spent this year. We could balance the budget in less than five years.
It’s simple. It’s easy to understand. It’s popular. AND IT WORKS.
And if you REALLY want to get a handle on the national debt, you have to get a handle on Congress. The culture of Washington is so corrupt that research shows that the longer you stay, the more you spend. It’s just that simple.
Solution? Let’s not let them stay that long – pass a Constitutional Amendment establishing TERM LIMITS. Get the members out of Congress and Washington DC before they become so used the corrupt cesspool that they forget who they represent and who elected them in the first place.
That’s the winning agenda. It’s broad and it’s ambitious. It’s also hugely popular with voters. We’ve polled, and Americans across the political spectrum support these issues and want our agenda adopted.
Our agenda transcends party lines, and our success depends on gaining support from both sides of the aisle.
This problem of how to actually get members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to vote together for the kinds of things we need to move the ball forward isn’t new. In fact, it’s been around for a long time, and some of our nation’s greatest minds have been vexed by it.
Thinking about this very problem, Milton Friedman once wrote:
“I do not believe that the solution to our problem is simply to elect the right people. The important thing is to establish a political climate of opinion, which will make it politically profitable for the WRONG people to do the RIGHT thing. Unless it is politically profitable for the WRONG people to do the RIGHT thing, the RIGHT people will not do the RIGHT thing either, or if they try, they will shortly be out of office.”
In short, that’s exactly what the Yellow Card is about. It’s about changing the political climate and making it politically profitable for everyone – on BOTH sides of the aisle – INSIDE and OUTSIDE of Washington DC – to do the right thing.
So we’ve laid out our agenda, and we’re training people all across the country. We are recruiting those who agree with us to help drive the political conservation. We want the next election to be an election devoted to a discussion of OUR core values, and OUR hopes for the future.
But we cannot do it alone. We need your help.
Just go to yellowcardproject.com and give us your email address, or text “yellowcard” (that’s all 1 word yellowcard) to 313131. Take your phone out right now and text yellowcard to 313131.
Edmund Burke famously wrote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Ladies and gentlemen, you are good men.
You are doing something.
You are here today because you want to be better activists and make a difference.
Because of you and people just like you across this country, evil is not going to triumph.
A better future is ours, and is waiting right around the corner for us.
Keep your faith in America, in our freedom, in our fellow citizens, and in God.
Together, we will increase economic freedom, and have a debt-free future and when we do, personal freedom will be cherished once again in America and all Americans will be treated equally assuring our ability to pursue the American Dream.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.