Trump consiglieri Steve Bannon has been involved politically since 9-11, and is spectacularly successful. But he only understands politics as an outsider, and he really doesn’t know squat about the inside game. He’s never run for anything, been elected to anything, and never served in elected office. He can be the greatest political guru in the world, but that doesn’t mean he knows anything about getting a bill through Congress.
Bannon is like a number of people I’ve known who are very good at what they do. They think they know everything and can do anything. Bannon knows how to win a Presidential election. What does he know about being a member of Congress? He knows only what he reads in books.
But I thought Bannon was a very smart guy, and it turns out he’s not. Anybody who tells a room full of Congressmen that they “have no choice”, they must vote for your bill, is a fool. I’ll give Bannon the benefit of the doubt, and call it taking a temporary leave of his senses, probably from stress. But that’s brain dead dumb. I was in a State Legislature for eight years, and if anybody ever told me I had no choice, I had to vote for a bill, I would have either cursed him or laughed at him, probably both. In a legislature, your vote is your manhood, and you don’t let anybody take it from you.
Rand Paul’s got the right approach. Keep talking, trying to find common ground. There are a lot of ideas out there. Let them percolate, and try putting something together that could pass in a Reconciliation Bill, not subject to filibuster, at the end of the fiscal year in October.
One of the attractions of the September Nashville Convention of States is that it will be a dramatic, physical manifestation of federalism. The delegates will be seated by State, as at national political conventions. After the chamber has been brought to order the first order of business is the alphabetical roll call of the States, from Alabama through Wyoming. Each delegation will have a spokesman, who will identify himself and his delegation, and may have a few remarks he would like to make.
Once a State has identified itself a green light will be illuminated under its name on an electronic tally board. All 50 of the States will be listed, but the names of the States who have chosen not to send a delegation will remain dark. On all votes taken, the roll call of the States will be repeated, with yeas and nays reported on the screen, State by State. This all reinforces the perception that this is a true meeting, or Convention, of the States.
We want it to be a pleasant experience, for everyone involved. An experience they’d like to repeat.