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October, 2012                    Vol. 2:3




bob sittingIn just a few weeks the debates will be over; the last of the seemingly endless political television and radio ads will have aired; and we will finally be able to enjoy a peaceful evening at home without the distracting telephone calls soliciting our support for candidates in every race one might imagine. The American people will have spoken and we will know the winners and losers. We will also have a much better idea as to which vision for the nation carried the day.


In this issue of Capital Sense, Linwood Bragan and Matt McKinney take a look at some of the competing voices and visions in American government. Linwood has does a great job introducing the reader to the competing visions courting your allegiance in "Occupy, Reset, or Status Quo?" And with Congress having consistently been under 40% in its approval rating, I think all of us can relate to Matt's take on big-spending government in "Political Vampires".


Speaking of Matt, we just welcomed him on board last month, as the Associate Director of Capstand and he is already having a huge impact. Matt brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our team and we are excited to have him serving with us. (Learn More About Matt and CapStand) He and Linwood are quickly increasing the scope and reach of Capstand and I am confident their impact will be far reaching.


The CapStand team will be in Washington DC for the election and afterwards so they can report back to our readers the important ramifications we might expect based on the election outcome. While there or gaol is to also be looking for a headquarters for a DC office.


To get that office up and running by the first of next year, will naturally require some additional startup costs. If you can help offset some of these by investing in their work, it will be greatly appreciated. You can send a check designated "DC Office" or give online by clicking on the donation button below.


Let me thank you in advance for any help you give us in this important effort. Should you have any question or if we might be of assistance to you in some way you can connect with us by email at:


With Best Regards,

Bob Signature

Bob Waldrep

President, Crosswinds Foundation


PS: If giving by check, mail to:


P.O. Box 12143

Birmingham, AL 35203



Occupy"Occupy, Reset, or Status Quo"

By Linwood Bragan

Some consider this year's election to be like that of 1980, with an outsider - Ronald Reagan - staring down - former outsider, turned insider - Jimmy Carter. Others see it as in 1860 when society was in upheaval and a conflict of visions that ultimately led to secession and war? Whether or not one agrees with either of these, I think we can all agree this election represents a struggle between competing visions for America.


One is held by a small minority of government leaders, an Establishment Elite, who wish to maintain the status quo. A larger segment is those who believe the solution to our problems will be found in even bigger government. In contrast, a growing segment of the population would say we need a reset that returns us to our traditional standards, lifestyle and the "American Dream." Naturally, there are those who represent other views, but the aforementioned approaches are the ones we most commonly encounter. The impending election will say much about which view prevails.


Desperately wanting to run the show, the Elites, Left and Right, will periodically trade control of the driver's seat knowing that their fellow insiders are safely holding the wheel. Their larger self-serving interests are: control of the government; ensuring their very healthy incomes; and maintaining luxurious standards of living. If along the way, their various operating theories of government spill over into good economic times or an occasional success in governance - then let the people have those crumbs.


 Another vision is that represented by the Occupy Wall Street Movement (Occupy Movement). Their call is for a new American Revolution - a redistribution of wealth and power, based on a new set of values founded on Social Justice Theory of how life "ought to be." They view the less wealthy, uneducated and those with lower incomes as dispossessed of any real chance to succeed in our current culture. Their battle cry is for radical change to society, business and government. Their preferred targets of opportunity are the social mores and customs upon which culture is based. In their scheme, the traditional family structure is obviously, not the highest priority.


The other new competing vision is that represented by the Tea Party, Values Voters, and Constitutional Libertarians. These three groups form a general alliance seeking a restoration of traditional American values: a rugged self-reliance - "Don't tread on me!" attitude with a common moral philosophical basis. As with the others, this coalition also faces its own problems and detractors.


The mainstream media seems to go to great lengths to discredit them, rarely having any praiseworthy news to report about their efforts. The elites fear them because they are largely self-sufficient and cannot be bought with government bailouts or contracts. The left despises them because they believe them selfish and their values old-fashioned.


Not only does it face attacks from outside, but there are internal stresses as well. Foremost are jealousies that cause them to keep an ever watchful eye on one another; lest one group becomes the "tail wagging the dog." They fear a narrow focus on one group's agenda, may cause the alliance to miss its main objectives.


Three visions for America seek to gain control through the political process. The important question, facing voter and nonvoter alike, is which vision will control the US government in January of 2013?


The Democrats dream of President Obama in the White House and the restoration of Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. With control of the entire federal government once more safely in their hands, they will be able to again pursue their objectives undeterred. The biggest question for this scenario is what will they do with the Occupy Movement?


Even the Democrat Establishment fears this movement with its extreme zeal and proposed anarchy challenging the very control the Establishment exerts. While, both groups share the goal of greater social justice; getting there - prying the control of the levers of power - is anathema to the powerful of Washington DC.


The competing dream scenario for Republicans is that Mitt Romney is elected; they seize the Senate, and continue in power in the House of Representatives. The danger for the rank and file is that Establishment Republicans may return to an explosion of government spending making their control of government a distinction without any difference.


Establishment Republicans are scared to death by the influx of new supporters. Tea Partiers have found themselves just as unwelcome as the Values Voters who have given the GOP their energy and votes since the 80s. Taking their support meant staying competitive, as opposed, to being a permanent minority party begging for crumbs. But the party bosses chaffed at the moralizing of the religious voters.


When combining Tea Partiers and Values Voters with Ron Paul's Constitutional Libertarians, you have the equivalent of three leper colonies showing up at the Republican Country Club Gala Banquet, expecting to be invited to membership. Establishment nerves are rattled, because true believers want input on policy, not just work assignments during campaigns.


Without question, the greatest opportunity for the country lies in the path of a final option - one that we will most likely see - continued divided government between Republicans and Democrats. This opportunity will be lost if both Establishments coalesce to maintain control of all the levers of power: jealously protecting their interests and allowing the nation to stall as they fight over who gets the corner office. Divided government will only work if the Establishment elites are deprived of control.


Instead, we must have a coalition of common sense Republicans and Democrats not motivated by Left and Right but seeking a distinction of "right not wrong". Only then can they truly seek practical consensus solutions to the problems facing America. Competitive problem solvers face the individual crises and act to resolve them, just as was true from our Founding Fathers through to the end of the Cold War.


Such governance will not exclude social activists Left or Right. However, it will require them to get deeply involved in the problems. It will require actual solutions to resolvable problems of the hopelessness that plagues so many Americans. For it is here that opportunity lies. It is here where people can unite in a new crusade. Here where a better day dawns. Here where political swords are broken and our cultural plows breakthrough to a spring of hopeful cultural reset.


 Linwood Bragan

Linwood Bragan serves as the Executive Director of CapStand.  Mr Bragan has an extensive background in political activism having served on numerous political camnpaigns and, most recently serving on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Counsel and Legislative Assistant. He has lectured in 20 states on political activism, finance, organization and elections. He can be contacted at:




VampiresPolitical Vampires

By Matt McKinney

As the contributions roll in, I can't help but hear the Count from Sesame Street, "One contribution check! Two contribution checks!" followed by his ominous laughter. If only it was really the Count I was hearing. No friends I'm talking of those pasty vampires that reside in the dark Halls of Congress. The ones we voted to send to Washington to "fight" and to "make changes".


There seems to be a ton of fighting up there; unfortunately, very little of it seems to be for the American people. Some days I don't know if I am supporting a boxer or a policy maker, but I digress. Yes, ladies and gentlemen the ones we trusted with our votes are now the ones who are sucking our accounts dry.


Many years ago when I got in involved in politics, I was a true believer. I went to DC much like Mr. Smith: overwhelmed with excitement and determined to shake the good ol' boy system. Did I ever see something different!


When I lived back home, I got the letters begging for me to join the cause, and I even contributed. But once in Washington, I realized politics is a business-a big business. Yes, some of the things you have suspected all along are true! A lot of the time, votes are hinged on how it can be spun back home in order to build up the war chest. In fact, in many instances, the war chest is what's driving the whole machine. I don't know when or how this came about, but I would like to know at what point they started buying elections; and better yet, why do we lie to ourselves and believe that isn't really the case.


I recently read an article that 47% of the Members of Congress are millionaires. I realize that some have come in independently wealthy; however, this year a popular book, Throw Them All Out, by Peter Schweizer, revealed that if they didn't come in wealthy, they surely have the opportunity to leave wealthy - there's nothing like insider stock tips to pad the wallet! Thankfully, they passed an insider trading bill forbidding the practice; interestingly, they didn't pass it until after they got caught. Apparently, "Thou Shall Not Steal" wasn't clear enough.


This begs the question, why did it take getting caught to put up a road block? I'm not saying they are all vampire bats; in fact some are just ding bats that also need to be smoked out and sent back home.


I understand that it takes money to run a campaign. I've been there, done that. But here is a novel idea: Why don't members of Congress really put their money where their mouths are? Cap your war chest at about $100,000 and run on your message. If you have been in Congress for 20 plus years, surely the good Congressmen and women have built a solid reputation on more than immorality and tax evasion.


Could you imagine the popularity of Congress if all 535 Members took their excess slush funds to pay down the debt? For the first time in years, we might be able to utter the words "I'm proud of Congress." There is a first time for everything!


On nearly every campaign stump and town hall event I have ever been a part of, I've heard "Congress holds the check book. All money is appropriated in the House." How we sit through those meetings with smiles on our faces blows my mind. If this is true - and we know it is - why aren't we running them out of town on a rail? With all due respect, we should be throwing tomatoes at these meetings; but instead we keep throwing cash.


At what Trillion are we going to wake up? Is $16 Trillion not enough? Our debt is greater than our GDP. WAKE UP AMERICA! Ladies and gents, it's up to us to change Congress. They surely won't, and they have certainly shown us a thing or two to prove it.


We are weeks away from an election that I keep hearing is "the most important election of our lifetime." I agree with them on that one. It reminds me of the Einstein quote - "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Increasingly, voters are coming to the conclusion that it is absurd to keep electing the same self-seeking Representatives. I think they've got it right. In fact, if we continue to do so we really don't have to worry about the Mayan calendar ending the world, the Congressional Rules Committee will have it covered.


Matt McKinney serves as the Associate Director of CapStand. Mr. McKinney interest in policy and government began as a teen. He brings a wealth of experience to his position having served as a staff assistant on Capitol Hill, the Campaign Manager for US Congressman Cliff Stearns, and as a Special Assistant to the Solicitor at the Department of the Interior. He can be contacted at:




CultureCulture Trends


Statistical Data from Gallup Annual Governance Polling


74% Americans expressing great or fair amount of trust in local government


65% Americans expressing great or fair amount of trust in state government 65%


Federal Government:


34% Americans expressing great or fair amount of trust in legislative branch


56 % Americans expressing great or fair amount of trust in executive branch


67% Americans expressing great or fair amount of trust in judicial branch


38% of Americans favor the same party controlling both the presidency and congress


23% (record low) of Americans say it is better for President and Congress to be from different parties


44% of Americans say government should promote traditional values (first time under 50%)


65% of Republicans (down from 79% in 2004) say government should promote traditional values


29% of Democrats (down from 34% in 2004) say government should promote traditional values


41% of Independents (down from 44% in 2004) say government should promote traditional values




ReligionIn the News: Religion and Politics


Polling by Pew Research found Romney and Santorum in a virtual tie in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. What is interesting is the rise of Santorum appears to be tied to white evangelical voters, 41% of whom now favor him compared to 23% who favor Romney. 20% favor Gingrich and 6% Ron Paul. The big question all along has been whether or not evangelicals would vote for Romney, who is a Mormon. Apparently the answer is, no - that is, unless he wins the nomination and is running against Obama in the general election. Under that scenario, 76% of white evangelicals favor Romney. This is consistent with the support Gingrich (70%) or Santorum (74%) would have with this group were they the Republican nominee.


Among religious groups, the President finds his greatest support among those who identify as religiously unaffiliated. Among this group he has a 40-point lead over Romney, a 44-point lead over Santorum, and a 50-point lead over Gingrich.


This poll also found that the more often one attends a religious service the more likely they are to vote for Romney or Santorum rather than Obama. Of those who attend a religious service at least once weekly, 58% favor Romney and 55% favor Santorum. Gingrich just barely outpolls the President with this group at 49% to 45%.


Those who rarely, seldom, or never attend a religious service, favor the President by anywhere from 19 to 38-points over Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich.


One final item that is worth noting; the poll found that while 56% of white evangelicals believed Romney to be a strong conservative in November of 2011, this number dropped to 42% in February. It is interesting that this coincides with the rise of Santorum.


It appears that how one view himself "religiously" does factor into ones politics. The Pew poll may also indicate that sometimes one is willing to alter their religious conviction to accomplish their politics.


Read the Pew Report  

In This Issue

Occupy, Reset, Status Quo

Political Vampires

Culture Trends

Featured Article

Featured Article


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