The Hard Truth

  It’s time we conservatives here in Delaware face the hard truth, that being, the conservative movement in Delaware is not just fractured, it is completely broken.

   I sat in a room last night with a group of Republicans and listened as they spoke of how we can win elections and actually govern.

  Unfortunately, in my opinion, their focus on national politics is misguided and will doom the GOP and the conservative movement to further defeats in the future. The obsession with the office of the president blinds many to the real problems facing the citizens right here in Delaware.

  Yes, I agree that currently our national government is a complete failure, it is big government gone wild. Both parties at the national level have bought into the idea that government is the solution to all problems facing the American people. When in reality, it is government that has created the majority of the problems facing the American people.

  Now the common view is, that to fix the national government, we must focus on national elections, such as for president and U.S. Senate and House races. That we must fix the problem from the top down. That when we hold elections, the so-called, “TOP”, of the ticket should and will set the agenda. The old idea is that the rest of the ticket will ride the coat tails of the top of the ticket.

   Personally I think that it should be the exact opposite, that to change things at the national level, we must first change things at the local level.  And that the candidates at the local level will bring out the votes for the so-called, top of the ticket, and will have more input into setting the agenda since they are closer to the people.

  We need not look to Washington to see bloated government, we need only look to Dover. We need not look to the U.S. Congress to see an over reaching government, we need only look to Legislative Hall. We here in Delaware have seen government trampling the property rights of farmers and private land owners through regulations from DNREC. We have a county council here in Sussex County considering limiting the number of feather flags a business can display, we have a  town council in Harrington infringing on the rights of a small business based on an ordinance restricting whether an electronic sign can scroll or move in a certain way.

  It is this type of over reaching government at the state and local level, that is reflected in the larger problems facing the federal government.

   Here in Delaware we must find conservative candidates to run for school boards and town councils. We must build a roster of potential candidates to then move on to county council races and state representative and senate seats.

  The conservative movement in Delaware must understand that it is more important, at this time, to focus on local elections, to find candidates that understand, that if we are ever to break the chains placed upon the states by the federal government, then the state must be willing to stand on its own. The state must be willing to refuse the seductive influence of the federal money that is used to bind the state to the federal agenda.

  The only power the federal government has over the individual states, is through the power of blackmailing the states with federal dollars.

  The first goal of the conservative movement should be to elect fiscally conservative candidates at the state and local level, who will cut the purse strings that have bound the state to the federal government.

  Now some will say that an individual state cannot afford to do without these federal dollars. But is that true? How many dollars can a state save by refusing the grant money from the federal government? That’s right save, because every dollar the federal government sends back to a state, comes with unfunded mandates that the state must then fund with state taxes. Many of these mandates are things that the people of the state do not want nor need, but in order to receive the federal dollars, they must abide by the mandates. For that matter, how many dollars can a local school district save by refusing state and federal funding that come with the same types of unfunded mandates? Remember, those state and federal dollars first had to be taken out of the pockets of the people at the local levels to be filtered back into the communities.

  The citizens of Delaware must understand that this is not something we can do in one election cycle, or two, or even three. It will mean taking the long view of the game. It will take time to find and build that roster of future candidates, and in some cases we may have to cut some loose and look elsewhere.

  Before we can focus on national races, we must first be able to win right here within our home state. Let’s win some state rep. seats in New Castle, and some senate seats in Kent, let ‘s win a state-wide race like Treasurer or even Insurance Commissioner.

  Once we can do that, then we can sit around talking about impeaching presidents, but until then, we are wasting our time complaining about the bloated federal government, when we can’t even get our own state under control.


24 Comments on "The Hard Truth"

  1. Renata says:

    Amen! In my opinion you have hit the nail on the head. True and positive change can never be from the top down, but only from the bottom up.

  2. William Holt says:

    Frank, if conservatives are looking to win friends and influence more people it’s important not to exaggerate or sound extreme. Nobody likes a BS artist. Your assertion that “our national government is a complete failure” is an example of a wild assertion with no basis in fact. People read that and say goodbye.

  3. freeper says:


    You have identified a major problem (The state must be willing to refuse the seductive influence of the federal money that is used to bind the state to the federal agenda.

    The only power the federal government has over the individual states, is through the power of blackmailing the states with federal dollars.) And you have pointed the way to a solution (elect fiscally conservative candidates at the state and local level, who will cut the purse strings that have bound the state to the federal government.)
    We are working toward that goal here in Sussex.

  4. William Holt says:

    Interesting. You state the only power the Federal Government has over States is the power to blackmail us with funding. I don’t think that is a correct reading of the Constitution.

    Can you explain what would be gained by cutting the binds to the Federal Government? What funds are you suggesting we refuse, and how would the average citizen benefit from such cuts?

    You are suggesting a plan of action, but you have not explained what your goal is.

  5. Dave says:

    Additionally, Delaware receives approximately $.77 cents in federal dollars for every $1.00 we send to Washington. Meaning, there isn’t a lot of federal blackmail going of Delaware.

    In fact, it might interest you to know that the top ten states that receive more in federal dollars than they send to DC are:

    New Mexico $2.03 1
    Mississippi $2.02 2
    Alaska $1.84 3
    Louisiana $1.78 4
    West Virginia $1.76 5
    North Dakota $1.68 6
    Alabama $1.66 7
    South Dakota $1.53 8
    Kentucky $1.51 9
    Virginia $1.51 10

    Delaware ranks 44 on the list. How many of the top ten are conservative (red) states?

    Still you have a point about starting at the grass roots level. But rather than rail against regulations (i.e. feather flags) start by understanding the problem and then propose alternative solutions that make more sense.

    Feather flags, while I’m on that track, are not really the problem. The problem is that it is difficult to an attentive driver while trying to find a business establishment and feather flags create visual clutter that increases the difficulty in locating the place you are trying to get to. What businesses don’t seem to understand is that feather flags seek to call your attention to something, but if everyone has them, no one pays any attention OR they soon escalate with brighter lights, bigger flags, in a desperate attempt to get your attention. It is real problem. It may not be very high on the list of issues, but rather than dismiss the discussion (before there is even proposed regulations), why not engage in a conversation about the issue and the potential solutions.

    In short, while you understand that it is at the local level where action needs to take place, your response is anti rather than engaging. My suggestion is that at the local level, the GOP ought to stop being the Party of No and start being the Party of Here’s How.

  6. William Holt says:

    Bingo! Excellent comment.

  7. Duke Brooks says:

    The U.S. government, which has violated every one of the 10 Amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights, has failed the American people in every way except two: Beating the bad guys in major wars
    (Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, WW1 and WW2) and landing men on the moon. Virtually every other thing it has done has been a spectacular, massive and monumental failure.

  8. Frank Knotts says:

    William Holt, my assertion that the federal government is a complete failure at this time, is my opinion, not a wild claim. In my opinion a government that has multiple trillion dollar deficitis and debt, is a failure. A national government that seeks to inject itself into every aspect of its citizens lives at the local level and even the personal level with things such as health care mandates, is a failure. But let me return to my theme, the problems we are seeing at the national level in large part begin at the local and state level.
    Where local officials seek out the federal funding that then ties them to federal agenda driven mandates.
    And Dave, it is not about feather flags, its about property rights, if the flags are not creating a hazzard by blocking vision at an intersection, then the owner should have the right to advertise as they see fit, the value of the return for such advertising should be up to the owner. And let’s be honest, it is not about inforcing any regulation that they may come up with, it is about creating a permit process that they can generate revenue from.
    As for the benefits of refusing federal dollars? Well it is called sovereignty, the freedom for a state to decide on issues such as seat belts based on local opinions of its citizens. How long before we see federal highway dollars tied to gun control laws?
    I believe that we should pay the highest tax rate to the government closest to out front door knob. The government that we have the greatest influence over with our single vote. I should be paying more and getting more in return from Sussex County then I do the state or the federal governments.
    but instead I pay out the nose to the feds so that they in turn can send my money to Alaska for a bridge to no where, and maybe send back .77cents of every dollar. How about we keep the entire dollar in state? We just earned .23 cents. That is the benefit and would lower the cost of running the federal government if it were no longer involved in state issues.
    And yes some states will be better off then others, but that will create a sense of compitition that will motivate states to find solutions on their own, instead of continuing this quasi- welfare system for states that has led to the deficit and debt we are experiencing today at all levels of government.

  9. William Holt says:

    If you are trying to win friends and influence people for the GOP here in Delaware, you won’t do it with the kind of extremism expressed here. I commented because I thought this was a new site aimed at helping the Delaware GOP. This will hurt. Just a thought.

  10. Jeff Cragg says:

    Love the discussion, Thanks. In response to Dave’s comment, and I agree with much of what you say, but the difficulty lies in the message. I believe in a limited government. Why? Because as an institution its horribly inefficient. One example, and there are many, is Markell’s decision to ride the Dept. of Energy’s investment in Fisker. Just under $200 million in U.S. Debt. of Energy loans and $21 million in Delaware loans/grants. I object because both entities are awful venture capitalists. The deal allowed the real venture capitalists out of Silicon Valley to get paid, up-front, at the time of the investment. It was a hail-mary pass from the beginning, investing in the auto industry as GM and Chrysler had just declared bankruptcy. It’s tied up the Boxwood Rd plant for over 4 years, and now has the plant tied up in Fisker’s future, which is bleak. I believe in markets, that plant would have a production facility there, if Delaware and The Dept. of Energy just stayed away. It’s a world class property with access to a East Coast Port, not many exist. My Point, Sometimes NO is the answer. It’s easy to classify the right as the No Guys, but I really do believe private business interest will be much more productive and helpful to the economy in the long run, than Government agencies that are over their heads and get taken advantage of by slick hucksters sucking your and my money out of the Government. Remember the #1 reason for the Fisker investment was Delaware jobs and we have a total of 0. If green energy was the goal, and that’s another argument, a series of targeted tax breaks would be more appropriate than direct Government investment. No isn’t always being the “jerk” party, sometimes it represents the “smarter” party, because the goal at the end of the day is to improve peoples lives.
    Last April when I announced for Governor there were 30,611 unemployed, as of the last release we have 30,500 unemployed. We are not making progress. Why? If Boxwood remains shuttered for another 2-3-4 four years, tied up by Fisker, how smart does that $21 million investment look? If we’d encouraged a private investment with targeted tax breaks would we be farther ahead?
    It’s not Fisker, per se, that I want to argue/discuss, it’s sometimes that No is the right public policy.
    Government does somethings very well, like provide a safety net, somethings it sucks at, like building a business. Let’s keep Government in its proper role.

  11. Jeff Cragg says:

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, and our party will take more than a week to fix. Thank you for being here and participating. Let’s talk again in a few months and see what progress were making.

  12. Dave says:


    The federal government has over two hundred years of failure. A very long and slow death spriral I suppose. Not really of course.

    Time and time again, America has pulled itself up by its bootstraps doing the improbable. The government (which is made up of Americans by the way) has been a part of that success. We’ve had our share of debacles that’s for sure but this grand experiment that is America keeps on chugging along, making mistakes; correcting them; making peoples lives better; securing their freedom with their blood. I’m proud of my country. I’m proud of my government. In a world where true tryanny continues to exist, every four years we hire a new leader and kick the old bum out – and the most powerful person in the world quietly walks away, sometimes never to be heard from again. The people give and the people taketh away. That’s not tryanny.

    What many people fail to comprehend is that much of the conflict in our country arises from the differences between densely and sparsely populated areas. Once upon a time, there were few people in America. Society and it’s rules refected that rural character. The rise of cities both large and small demanded that different rules need to apply. I’m not going write a treatise on this since it should be clear to everyone, but Sussex County is a prime example of the cultural, social, and political conflict that arises from differences between those in what I call Western Sussex versus those who live in Eastern Sussex.

    If you live and work on your farm and you want to put up a feather flag forest, then have at it and enjoy yourself. But when you have neighbors on either side of you that are ten feet away, different rules need to apply. Your perception of the failure of the federal government seems to reflect that sparsely populated Americad, where a man had to live by his own wits and put out his own fires because there was no fire department. There are still places like that in America. Most of us don’t live in those places though because we like living near other people and for that society to work we need different rules.

  13. You gentleman have some good ideas for a long term fix. But, I’m 70 years old, and may not have the time it would take to fix the Feredal Government. So sorry, I’m not as nice as Senator Rubio, who is worried about his neighbors, I’m worried about me and my family. You memtion the fed sucked for years, but not this bad. The President, as aways, spoke very well the other night. I liked that he toned things down abit, like on guns, he went with just mentioning Bidens recomendations, he’s getting smarter, and again, he lightened up on makeing illegal citizens before those wainting legally. When he started memtioning all the goals he has; I’m sitting there saying to myself, if you add the cost of all this, it can’t be done, and then same old Bull. Just before Rubio, Karl for FOX shows; Whitehouses’ cost , as shown in the past for each of these Presidential programs. At this point, we can not afford any of them. I have conservative and less then conservative site’s on my Facebook, to see what is being said by both sides, isn’t it sad that there are only two sides. What supprises me the most is how many people that are conservative or have turned on this administration, are now showing up on the non-coservative sites. This President has caused this country to divide, people have shown by their comments, that they have lost confidence in him. In my opionion, it has little to do with race, but all to do with a saleman, that will say anything to sell you his product, and we found out he can not produce. If we already have to pay $47,000 per living person or whatever the high figure might be, how can he, as he did in his speech, advocate asking China and Japan for more money. Back to my neighbors, and ME. Things I’m sure of as long as he is President; my net income will be reduced each future year, all cost of living will go up, only to get worse, when inflation starts picking up, and I don’t like his additute or the priority of and some of his ideas. I think our President lies, he knew he could not do all of his goals mentioned, and even though he toned things down in his speech, in my opinion, on guns and illegals, he will go back to his original goals when some of the smoke clears. A fellow employee at one of my jobs, said to me today; after Obama was elected a second time, if I could afford it, I would move out of the Country for the next four years. She is not a racist,That’s pretty sad, that this man has made Americans feel this way. I hope he follows the Pope’s lead.

  14. Frank Knotts says:

    Mr. Holt, I am not sure what part of what I said you consider extreme. That I find running trillion dollar deficits and debt a failure of government?
    Dave, I agree we have been through bad times and good times, times when things were broken and times when we fixed them. The two are a matter of perception.
    I would point Mr. Holt to this fact as well. Currently I feel that we are broken, but can be fixed, if we apply conservative values and principles to solve the problems and if we attempt to work together and not simply write off another’s opinion as some have done after reading one article.

  15. Frank Knotts says:

    Mr. Kederis, your point of not having time to fix the federal government goes along with my view that we must first fix the government closest to our homes. This would more quickly benefit you and your neighbors.
    If the states would show more independence, then the federal government would have less influence upon our personal lives, and we as individual citizens would have more influence upon the government making the important decisions in our communities.

  16. William Holt says:

    Mr. Knotts, let’s not complicate things. I said your assertion that – “currently our national government is a complete failure” – is extreme. It’s false as well as extreme. That’s a big part of our GOP problem: too many conservatives making extreme statements that are obviously false. Truth is the first principle of good politics.

  17. Frank Knotts says:

    Mr. Holt, I am sorry you feel that way. Obviously you feel that running trillion dollar deficits and debt is a successful way to run a government, I see that as extreme. Please tell me what part of the current administration’s agenda and policy that you see as being a success, or even having the potential for success.

  18. kavips says:

    If republicans would just chase the middle class with as much ardor as they chase money, this topic would be far removed from their minds …

  19. kavips says:

    i question your private ownership principle on the grounds that it is unconstitutional. For the opinions of the majority matter.

    Government is accountable to We the People. If our elected officials don’t do what we want, we fire them. That said, if the majority of people do want those flutter flags controlled, then the majority of of people should get their way.

    There is no clause in the Constitution that says person can express his freedom at the expense of all others…

    Now if the majority of voters don’t care about fluttering flags, and this is just one official’s own personal opinion, if it is that much of a big deal, the people can replace him/her with another official who thinks fluttering flags are cool….

  20. Mike Rowe says:

    Mr. Holt- Calling Frank extreme is so 2010.

  21. Frank Knotts says:

    Kavips, I have rights up until they impinge upon the rights of others. If my flags can be shown to be impinging upon the rights of others then we need to take a look at that. I am not sure what rights that a flag on my property impinges upon my neighbor’s.
    Look we all know what is happening here, we are getting the old “I received complaints” line from the council members, when all this is really about is revnue through a new permitting process. The council has already said that the flags fall into a grey area, meaning that they are not signs that need a permit, yet people are using then in place of signs. Some smart council member has thought of a way to generate revenue.
    The question then becomes, should we allow another local government body go down the road of living off of the backs of small businesses when we need every small business we can get. And no I don’t think that a business will close shop simply based on the loss of feather flags, but it is the growing anti-business attitude of government through more and more regulation and fees that deter new businesses.

  22. kavips says:

    The question is whether that government action was decided by a bureaucrat on this own, or formulated by government body such as Sussex County Council in a proceeding open to the public. If the decision was open to the public, and both sides were given opportunity to state their case, then the decision that was made should be binding. Democracy works when the majority rule. The rights of property owners are only valid up to the point where laws made in open bodies, are levied against them.

    If these flags are being used to generate revenue, based on unacknowledged complaints by unknown citizens, then you have a case to challenge them. If they are the will of the people, then you don’t…

  23. Frank Knotts says:

    Kavips, you are correct that in a democracy majority rules, but our rights are to protect the minority from the majority.

  24. Jon Moseley says:

    The post is absolutely correct.

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