If yesterday’s news of “Battleground Texas” was an attempt to put Texas Republicans on the defensive, Texas Democrats might need to rethink the strategy. After all, when has Rick Perry ever played defense?
After waiting maybe a nano-second, Texas Republicans are striking back against Democratic claims that the Lone Star State will turn blue in our lifetimes. And they aren’t holding back.
“They can bring it on,” Gov. Rick Perry spokeswoman Catherine Frazier told Breitbart News, “they will be hard-pressed to make much progress with the proven success conservative policies have had in our state.”
Gov. Perry came out of the gates today with the same bold turn of phrase used by former president George W. Bush when he was declaring war on terrorists worldwide.
“Gov. Perry has remained vigilant in working with Republican state leadership to ensure we don’t back down,” Frazier told Breitbart News.
Jared Woodfill, chairman of Harris County Republican Party, told Texas on the Potomac that he doesn’t see “Battleground Texas” as a threat because the numbers point to continued Republican success.
“2010 was the best election cycle in the history of the Harris County Republican Party,” Woodfill told us. “I don’t think you can say anything but that Texas is red and getting more red.”
Although Woodfill said he doesn’t fear the challenge of “Battleground Texas,” he isn’t backing down. Woodfill’s goal over the next two year is to grow the GOP by making inroads into Democratic demographic strongholds, including the African American and Hispanic communities, which are among the identified targets of “Battleground Texas.”
Woodfill said he agrees with Gov. Perry’s statement, and that he doesn’t see a shade of purple appearing in the near future.
“He’s right, his point is and my point is, that we are ready for the fight, and we’re going to be more ready,” Woodfill said.
Gov. Perry and his supporters seem to be confident that sticking to conservative principles and policies will ensure continued dominance for Texas Republicans.
Matt Angle, director and founder of the Democratic “Lone Star Project,” said that he intends to work cooperatively with “Battleground Texas” to turn the state purple, on its way to blue. In response to what Angle described as Gov. Perry’s “arrogant and cynical” statements, the veteran Democratic strategist said it will ultimately benefit the Democratic cause.
Angle said that almost anywhere Gov. Perry campaigned last year, it helped Democrats more than Republicans. His reasoning: Perry doesn’t reflect the people of Texas. Angle said the Lone Star Project will work with Battleground Texas to promote a message for the everyday Texan.
“With Battleground Texas in place, the Lone Star Project is able to convey a message about how dramatic one party Republicans in Texas have failed,” Angle said.
by Ned Ryun
It’s time for conservatives to get over it. That’s right—it’s time to move on. We need to stop moping around, pointing fingers over the 2012 elections and start planning for 2014, now. Conservatives need to learn what the progressives took to heart long ago: In America, the winners of the elections never stop campaigning and organizing.
If we really want to fix this nation’s debt and economic problems—and stop the Obama agenda—it starts with the 2014 US Senate races.
We can fire Harry Reid if we start planning right away. Planning now means setting up field offices and funding coalitions outreach in every state we can win, taking a page right out of the Obama playbook.
The Obama campaign was ultimately successful because it combined 21st data and technology with on the ground door knocking and talking with voters. Using real people and having real conversations and personal contact with voters, not robocalls and TV ads, conservatives must message to a wider range of audiences about the issues that are important to them.
The good news is that every incumbent Senate Republican running in 2014 is in a safe seat. If conservatives and Republicans develop volunteer, technological, and candidate infrastructure, we can pick up more than a dozen seats from vulnerable Democrat incumbents who will be on the ropes in a mid-term election.
Here are the races conservatives should target, starting with the most winnable first. They’re all incumbents, but there is a path to victory in each of these 13 races.
1. Mary Landrieu, Louisiana
She voted for ObamaCare (remember the “2nd Louisiana Purchase?”), the Stimulus, TARP, and just about every bill Harry Reid wanted her too. In a state that rejected President Obama 58 to 41 percent, she’ll have some explaining to do. Though there are no indications that Governor Bobby Jindal would run against her, if he did, she wouldn’t stand a chance.
2. Kay Hagan, North Carolina
Hagan was pulled across the finish-line by Team Obama’s 2008 victory in North Carolina. In 2014, President Obama’s support won’t help her re-election chances in the off-year election in a right-of-center state. She voted for all the major liberal bills, and a strong, well organized challenger should win.
3. Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia
Republican Congresswoman Shelly Moore Capito has declared she’s running, and she’s already beating Rockefeller—a West Virginia icon—by four percent. Most suspect Rockefeller might call it quits after 36 years in the Senate. While West Virginia loves incumbents, a Republican can win this seat.
4. Mark Pryor, Arkansas
The Arkansas Republican Party embarrassed itself in 2008 when no candidate filed to challenge the then-freshman Senator. In 2014, they won’t make that mistake again, and hopefully, they’ll field a strong candidate. If either Congressman Tim Griffin or Tom Cotton were to run against Pryor, it would be a highly competitive race and a strong pick up possibility. There are other dark horse candidates as well, including a young energy executive out of the south part of the state. Remember, Obama got trampled 61 to 37 percent in Arkansas this year, and Pryor has voted for every major Obama policy proposal, most notably ObamaCare.
5. Tim Johnson, South Dakota
The last time Johnson had a serious challenger, 2002, he only won by 500 votes. After his two-decade long record of voting to the left of his constituents, Johnson will have a tough time against popular former Governor Mike Rounds—who announced his intent to run last Friday morning.
6. Jeff Merkley, Oregon
Oregon is a generally liberal state, but Public Policy Polling, a Democratic pollster, shows Merkley trailing potential challenger Congressman Greg Walden. No one is paying attention to this seat yet, but we should.
7. Mark Begich, Alaska
Don’t let Alaska fool you. It’s a conservative state, but its citizens love incumbents. Alaska is addicted to federal earmarks and will always vote with their pocketbook for the most bacon. Some conservatives think he’ll go down easily, but I’m not so sure. If Governor Parnell runs, we probably have the best chance. If former Governor Palin runs, it’ll be the most-watched race in the nation.
8. Al Franken, Minnesota
Yes, he’s a joke, but Minnesota is known for loving goofy candidates. Either Pawlenty or Coleman will be our best shot, and voters may especially be sympathetic to Coleman, considering the seat was won by more-than-apparent fraud in 2008.
9. Mark Udall, Colorado
With a wide array of decent challengers, this race has the potential to be close. Early polls show some challengers within four percent, so it’s worth paying attention to.
10. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire
Shaheen has raised the lowest amount of funds out of any incumbent, and she only won 52 percent of the vote in 2008. The GOP primary could be colorful, and some have speculated former Senator Scott Brown might change his residency (he has a house in New Hampshire).
11. Tom Harkin, Iowa
Early polls put Congressman Tom Latham within the margin of error, should he decide to run. Iowa went for Obama, but in an off year, it’s much more red.
12. Mark Warner, Virginia
Warner’s polling is strong, but if Governor Bob McDonnell runs, the race will be close. Both men are wildly popular in the state and could raise millions.
13. Max Baucus, Montana
Republicans have an outside shot at this Democrat incumbent in a heavily red state. As the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Baucus uses that excuse to rarely visit his “home” state, but it will take a strong candidate (which are hard to come by in Montana) to unseat him. Keep in mind that we only need to win half of these races. Control of the Senate is Republicans’ to lose in 2014.
We must invest in better data, better technology and conservative infrastructure now, and we need to move into these states—even before the primaries—to start laying the groundwork against these incumbents and developing a network to mobilize our own people.
Grassroots wins elections. The trick is recognizing as Obama has that grassroots: coalitions, ethnic outreach, and targeting aren’t things you do in the four months leading up to an election. For conservatives, especially, we must start now and never stop.
by Ryan Murphy
Editor’s note: The following November 9th article is reposted from The Texas Tribune.
State and federal candidates and their political committees spent more than $175 million during the 2012 election season. While many candidates had little or no general election competitions, others had to spend up to $60 a vote to secure victory in districts with tiny voting populations.
The biggest per-vote spender in a legislative race was House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who spent $3.2 million and won 50,408 votes, a cost of $63.67 per vote. But Straus had no major party opposition, and $500,000 of his expenditure total was a transfer of funds to his officeholder account, along with other contributions made to Republican candidates in the state. Those contributions technically count as part of campaign spending. His only opponent, Libertarian candidate Arthur M. Thomas IV, spent $1,599.45 and got 12,412 votes.
Among competitive legislative races, Rep. J.M. Lozano, R-Kingsville, who spent $746,000 to defend his seat in HD-43, was the highest per-vote spender. He received 24,059 votes, for $31.04 per vote. Lozano, who switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party this year, faced much stiffer competition than he had in 2010. His Democratic opponent, Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles, spent $108,000 for 22,625 votes, or $4.80 per vote. In the State Senate, the top cost-per-vote total goes to state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who narrowly held off Rep. Mark Shelton, R-Fort Worth. The $3.5 million Davis spent was nearly three times more than her opponent spent. Davis, who got 147,005 votes, spent $24.37 per vote.
In federal races, candidates spent $120 million, with nearly one-tenth of that from Ted Cruz, who won the U.S. Senate contest. Much of his $11.4 million total was spent during the heated Republican primary battle with Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Cruz picked up 4.4 million votes, spending only $2.57 per vote. His Democratic opponent, Paul Sadler, spent $427,000 for 3.1 million votes, or 13 cents per vote.
The close 23rd Congressional District race between U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, R-San Antonio, and state Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, was one of the costliest contests, based on dollars per vote.
Canseco spent $1.8 million on the general election and got 87,255 votes, and his cost of $21.33 per vote was the highest of any federal candidate who lost. Gallego, who received 96,477 votes, spent $1.4 million, or $15.19 per vote, the fifth-highest total of a congressional candidate in Texas.
At the efficient end of the spectrum was Steve Stockman, a Republican who claimed the seat in the new 36th Congressional District with the lowest dollar-per-vote expenditure of victorious federal candidates in Texas. He spent $290,579 on 165,388 votes, or $1.76 per vote.
by Korey Clark
Editor’s note: The following November 12th article is reposted from State Net Capitol Journal.
In the 2010 elections a Republican wave swept the GOP into control of 11 state governments. In 2012 there was only a backwash from that GOP wave which gave Democrats back some of the ground they lost. And in general this year’s elections followed the broader trends of previous election cycles.
BY THE NUMBERS
Prior to the election, Republicans controlled 59 state legislative chambers, including both houses in 26 states, and Democrats controlled 36 chambers, including both houses in 15 states, with Alaska’s Senate, Oregon’s House and Virginia’s Senate all tied. (Nebraska’s unicameral Legislature is non-partisan).
But last week the Democrats—pending final tallies and recounts—took control of both chambers in Maine and Minnesota, which had all swung to GOP control two years ago, along with Oregon’s House, New York’s Senate, Colorado’s House and New Hampshire’s House, where Republicans had held a 288-102 margin going into the election. Republicans, meanwhile, took control of both chambers in Arkansas for the first time since Reconstruction, shifting the last of the 11 once solidly Democratic states of the Old South to GOP leadership, as well as Alaska’s and Wisconsin’s senates, the latter of which had briefly switched to Democratic control after a recall election in June. (For a district-by-district breakdown of the state legislative races [click here].
All told, eight chambers shifted to the Democrats and four swung to the Republicans, which Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures said was one less than the average number of chambers that change party hands in even-numbered years, when most states hold their legislative elections. This year’s changes leave the Republicans with control of 56 chambers, the Democrats with control of 41 and only Virginia’s Senate split between the two parties.
In 20 of the past 28 presidential election cycles, the party winning the White House has gained seats in the state legislatures, according to NCSL’s Storey. This year’s election brings that statistic to 21 out of 29, thanks mainly to the Democrats’ big gains in New Hampshire, which some attributed largely to Republican efforts this session to pass right-to-work legislation, repeal gay marriage and restrict abortion rights. But others chalked the result up to the Democrats’ effectiveness at getting voters to the polls in the state, where turnout reportedly topped 70 percent, and the success of the candidate at the top of the ticket.
“Once [voters] get those check marks going [on the ballot], they just keep going down,” said veteran New Hampshire Rep. Gene Chandler, one of the state’s Republican lawmakers who managed to win re-election.
President Obama actually won in all six states where the Democrats took control of legislative chambers and lost in two of the three states where Republicans took control of chambers; Wisconsin was the exception.
Last week’s election results also seem to reflect an increasing polarization of state government. Before the election, there were eight divided legislatures where Democrats held one chamber and Republicans the other. Now there are only three such legislatures: Iowa’s, Kentucky’s and Virginia’s. And Virginia’s is only nominally divided, as the state’s Republican lieutenant governor can cast tiebreaking votes in the Senate, split 20-20 between the two parties, effectively placing that chamber, like the House, in GOP hands. At any rate, it’s the fewest number of divided legislatures since 1928, when there were two.
The trend holds when governors are thrown into the mix. In 2010 there were 20 divided governments where the governor’s office was held by one party and at least one chamber of the legislature was controlled by another party, while 18 state governments were unified Republican and 11 were unified Democratic. As a result of last week’s elections, the number of divided governments will drop to 12, the lowest number since 1952, when there were eight. Twenty-three will be unified Republican and 14 will be unified Democratic.
The election also ratcheted up the number of legislative supermajorities, freeing up the majority party from having to obtain minority party support to pass measures including tax increases. The Democrats seized that power in both chambers of California’s Legislature, along with the Illinois Senate, while the Republicans did the same in both chambers in Tennessee, as well as Georgia’s Senate and the lower chamber in Indiana, Missouri and Oklahoma.
IMPACT OF REDISTRICTING
Last week’s elections were the first since legislative district lines were redrawn in accordance with the 2010 Census. And how those lines were drawn had a major bearing on party control of legislative chambers. Democrats claimed chambers in states where the lines were drawn by courts, as in Minnesota, and independent commissions, as in Colorado. But they generally failed to do so in states where Republican elected officials were in charge of the redistricting process. That was true even in states where Obama did well, including Ohio and Wisconsin. The Democrats undoubtedly also helped themselves, however, in states where they controlled redistricting, such as California and Illinois.
But the impact of redistricting did have limits. District maps drawn by the Democrats in Arkansas, for instance, didn’t stop the GOP’s steady march through the Old South. And a favorable map didn’t allow the Republicans to hold on to New York’s Senate, although some were claiming last week that absentee ballots would still enable them to do so. A poll by Siena College in late October had shown that 55 percent of New Yorkers wanted Democrats to control the chamber while only 36 percent wanted it to remain under GOP control. But even if the Democrats’ majority holds, there is some question about whether they’ll have the votes to choose a majority leader to control the chamber. Last year, four Senate Democrats who were dissatisfied with the chamber’s Democratic leadership declared themselves members of a new Independent Democratic Conference and have since been working closely with Republicans.
Editor’s note: Now that the dust has settled from the general election, this week’s website returns to informing on several serious issues on the coming year’s agenda. As patriots have been nauseated to read over the past two weeks, the Obama administration has wasted no time giving us reasons to worry about what is to come:
- a dramatic drop in the stock market the day after the election shows the confidence business has in the President’s reelection;
- revelations on Iran firing (before the election) missiles at one of our drones made public (after the election);
- a secret investigation of the CIA chief, also revealed only after the polls closed, and the President claims to know nothing about it (do these people ever talk?);
- another senior military leader is found to be flirting via hundreds of emails with a Florida socialite;
- contradictory information on what really happened at Benghazi (who’s in charge here?);
- Israel, realizing it won’t be able to count on U.S. support for the next four years, decided to unilaterally remove a known terrorist leader before he attacks Israel;
- emboldened by the election, union leaders’ excessive demands drive Hostess company into bankruptcy … and 18500 workers into unemployment just before the holidays (“I guess we showed you, corrupt business bosses!”);
- the President using his election mandate (?) to push ahead to raise taxes on the “wealthy” (we believe we will all qualify as “wealthy” before this is over); and
- trial balloons of UN Ambassador Susan “misinformation” Rice and Senator John “I’m not proud of my military service” Kerry’s possible nominations for Secretaries of State and Defense, respectively.
Looks like it’s going to be another hard four years ahead! As the SATP works at various levels—national, state, and local—we’re fortunate to have patriots who have interests across these areas to keep us informed and influence policy and actions consistent with our values.
With Thanksgiving only days away, we thought it would be good to pause a moment and reflect on that special day. The past months have been stressful; much in this country needs correcting; too many will suffer through another holiday with no job; all of us, whether we realize it or not, sit on the verge of economic collapse; and the recent election outcomes have provided little cause to celebrate. And yet, there does remain much to be thankful for. The employment and means many of us have, a still-great nation God has given us, freedoms that many in foreign countries cannot imagine, families and health—these are blessings we cannot, or should not, ignore.
Join with us during the coming holiday to give thanks for those many blessings, even as we vow in coming months to work even harder defending them for future generations. To help us focus, enjoy the following 2008 article from David Barton of WallBuilders, entitled “Celebrating Thanksgiving in America.”
The tradition introduced by European Americans of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and His blessings dates back well over four centuries in America. For example, such thanksgivings occurred in 1541 at Palo Duro Canyon, Texas with Coronado and 1,500 of his men; in 1564 at St. Augustine, Florida with French Huguenot (Protestant) colonists; in 1598 at El Paso, Texas with Juan de Oñate and his expedition; in 1607 at Cape Henry, Virginia with the landing of the Jamestown settlers; in 1619 at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia; (and many other such celebrations). But it is primarily from the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving celebration of 1621 that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving Day.
The Pilgrims set sail for America on September 6, 1620, and for two months braved the harsh elements of a storm-tossed sea. Upon disembarking at Plymouth Rock, they held a prayer service and then hastily began building shelters; however, unprepared for such a harsh New England winter, nearly half of them died before spring. Emerging from that grueling winter, the Pilgrims were surprised when an Indian named Samoset approached them and greeted them in their own language, explaining to them that he had learned English from fishermen and traders. A week later, Samoset returned with a friend named Squanto, who lived with the Pilgrims and accepted their Christian faith. Squanto taught the Pilgrims much about how to live in the New World, and he and Samoset helped forge a long-lasting peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians. Pilgrim Governor William Bradford described Squanto as “a special instrument sent of God for [our] good . . . and never left [us] till he died.”
That summer, the Pilgrims, still persevering in prayer and assisted by helpful Indians, reaped a bountiful harvest. As Pilgrim Edward Winslow (later to become the Governor) affirmed, “God be praised, we had a good increase of corn”; “by the goodness of God, we are far from want.” The grateful Pilgrims therefore declared a three-day feast in December 1621 to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends – America’s first Thanksgiving Festival. Ninety Wampanoag Indians joined the fifty Pilgrims for three days of feasting (which included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods), of play (the young Pilgrim and Wampanoag men engaged in races, wrestling matches, and athletic events), and of prayer. This celebration and its accompanying activities were the origin of the holiday that Americans now celebrate each November.
However, while the Pilgrims enjoyed times of prosperity for which they thanked God, they also suffered extreme hardships. In fact, in 1623 they experienced an extended and prolonged drought. Knowing that without a change in the weather there would be no harvest and the winter would be filled with death and starvation, Governor Bradford called the Pilgrims to a time of prayer and fasting to seek God’s direct intervention. Significantly, shortly after that time of prayer – and to the great amazement of the Indian who witnessed the scene – clouds appeared in the sky and a gentle and steady rain began to fall. As Governor Bradford explained:
It came without either wind or thunder or any violence, and by degrees in abundance, as that ye earth was thoroughly wet and soaked therewith, which did so apparently revive and quicken ye decayed corn and other fruits as was wonderful to see, and made ye Indians astonished to behold; and afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing.
The drought had been broken; the fall therefore produced an abundant harvest; there was cause for another thanksgiving. The Pilgrim practice of designating an official time of Thanksgiving spread into neighboring colonies and became an annual tradition. And just as those neighboring colonies followed the Pilgrims’ example of calling for days of thanksgiving, so, too, did they adopt their practice of calling for a time of prayer and fasting. The New England Colonies therefore developed a practice of calling for a day of prayer and fasting in the spring, and a day of prayer and thanksgiving in the fall.
The Thanksgiving celebrations so common throughout New England did not begin to spread southward until the American Revolution, when Congress issued eight separate national Thanksgiving Proclamations. (Congress also issued seven separate proclamations for times of fasting and prayer, for a total of 15 official prayer proclamations during the American Revolution.)
America’s first national Thanksgiving occurred in 1789 with the commencement of the federal government. According to the Congressional Record for September 25 of that year, the first act after the Framers completed the framing of the Bill of Rights was that:
Mr. [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. With this view, therefore, he would move the following resolution:
Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer. . . .
Mr. Roger Sherman justified the practice of thanksgiving on any single event not only as a laudable one in itself but also as warranted by a number of precedents in Holy Writ. . . . This example he thought worthy of a Christian imitation on the present occasion.
That congressional resolution was delivered to President George Washington, who heartily concurred with the request and issued the first federal Thanksgiving proclamation, declaring in part:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor. . . . Now, therefore, I do appoint Thursday, the 26th day of November 1789 . . . that we may all unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection.
That same year, the Protestant Episcopal Church (of which President Washington was a member) announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks, “unless another day be appointed by the civil authorities.” Following President Washington’s initial proclamation, national Thanksgiving Proclamations occurred only sporadically (another by President Washington in 1795, one by John Adams in 1799, one by James Madison in 1814 and again in 1815, etc.); most official Thanksgiving observances occurred at the state level. In fact, by 1815, the various state governments had issued at least 1,400 official prayer proclamations, almost half for times of thanksgiving and prayer and the other half for times of fasting and prayer.
Much of the credit for the adoption of Thanksgiving as an annual national holiday may be attributed to Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, a popular lady’s books containing poetry, art work, and articles by America’s leading authors. For nearly three decades, she promoted the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day, contacting president after president until Abraham Lincoln responded in 1863 by setting aside the last Thursday of that November. The Thanksgiving proclamation issued by Lincoln was remarkable not only for its strong religious content but also for its timing, for it was delivered in the midst of the darkest days of the Civil War, with the Union having lost battle after battle throughout the first three years of that conflict. Yet, despite those dark circumstances, Lincoln nevertheless called Americans to prayer with an air of positive optimism and genuine thankfulness, noting that:
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the Source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . . No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, Who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
That remarkable Thanksgiving Proclamation came at a pivotal point in Lincoln’s spiritual life. Three months earlier, the Battle of Gettysburg had occurred, resulting in the loss of some 60,000 American lives. It had been while Lincoln was walking among the thousands of graves there at Gettysburg that he first committed his life to Christ. As he later explained to a clergyman:
When I left Springfield [Illinois, to assume the Presidency], I asked the people to pray for me. I was not a Christian. When I buried my son, the severest trial of my life, I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg and saw the graves of thousands of our soldiers, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ.
The dramatic spiritual impact resulting from that experience was not only visible in Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation (and also his 1864 call for a day of prayer and fasting) but especially in his 1865 Second Inaugural Address.
Over the seventy-five years following Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, presidents faithfully followed Lincoln’s precedent, annually declaring a national Thanksgiving Day (but the date of the celebrations varied widely from proclamation to proclamation). In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began celebrating Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of each November, and in 1941, Congress permanently established that day as the national Thanksgiving holiday.
As you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, remember to retain the original gratefulness to God that has always been the spirit of this – the oldest of all American holidays. (Below are representative examples of the scores of Thanksgiving proclamations penned by various Founding Fathers.)
[Congress] recommended [a day of] . . . thanksgiving and praise [so] that “the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and join . . . their supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, to forgive [our sins] and . . . to enlarge [His] kingdom which consisteth in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Continental Congress, 1777 – written by SIGNERS OF THE DECLARATION SAMUEL ADAMS AND RICHARD HENRY LEE
[I] appoint . . . a day of public Thanksgiving to Almighty God . . . to [ask] Him that He would . . . pour out His Holy Spirit on all ministers of the Gospel; that He would . . . spread the light of Christian knowledge through the remotest corners of the earth; . . . and that He would establish these United States upon the basis of religion and virtue. GOVERNOR THOMAS JEFFERSON, 1779
[I] appoint . . . a day of public thanksgiving and praise . . . to render to God the tribute of praise for His unmerited goodness towards us . . . [by giving to] us . . . the Holy Scriptures which are able to enlighten and make us wise to eternal salvation. And [to] present our supplications…that He would forgive our manifold sins and . . . cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth. GOVERNOR JOHN HANCOCK, 1790
by Dr. Manny Alvarez
Editor’s note: The following November 7th article, originally titled “An open letter to the Republican Party,” is reposted from FoxNews.com. Dr. Alvarez is a frequent contributor to Fox News, writing on medical and political issues.
My dear fellow Republicans, we need to go back to basics. The result of the election yesterday, at least for me, was a wake-up call. And this wake-up call reflected three fundamental principles: One, my love for America; two, the principles that built the party of Lincoln; and three, my Latino heritage.
There is no way to avoid dealing with the fact that 16 percent of the American population, which represents over 50 million people, are of Latino descent. I can tell you as a Latino myself, we may love our salsa music and our spicy food, but many of us desire the same things that all immigrants who have come to this country also wanted – a strong work force, a good education for our children and a place to take our sick.
For many Latinos like my father, growing their own businesses was also a big dream, and as we see today, small business growth is still quite significant in Latino families that have settled in many states of this great country.
I know as a member of the party of Lincoln, that Republican founding principles are the best way to achieve this dream for many of my compatriots. So, I ask this question: Why are we failing in our message?
The answer is very simple. We’re not listening.
I’ll use a relevant example from medicine. Not so long ago, we needed to improve our patient satisfaction scores in my hospital, so we brought in a consultant, and we asked, ‘What are we doing wrong?’
After reviewing our data, the consultant said the following, ‘You’re practicing great medicine. You guys have great outcomes. But patients feel like you’re not listening.’
I was very surprised by that. But yet, the fact that our scores were not reflecting the quality of medicine we were practicing told me we had to make some changes.
One thing that we changed was when a doctor walks into a patient’s room to speak with them, he or she now sits down. In the past, most doctors would usually come in and out of the room, answer one or two questions, and then leave. But by sitting down, the patient feels the doctor is actually taking the time out of his or her busy schedule to share a moment.
Another practice we implemented is calling the patient for follow-up after he or she has left the hospital to see if things are going OK. Again, that keeps the patient connected to us, and the patient and the patient’s family are gratified.
I think that if the Republican Party wants to change, the way that we transmit our message has to be fundamentally recalculated. You literally have to go out and identify with the real problems of many Latino families. You have to alter their perceptions. And whenever possible, you have to execute solutions, which have measurable outcomes to them – and then follow it up. Further, you must take these steps not only during an election cycle, but at every single opportunity possible. Right now, we have three Latino senators and 17 Latino congressmen. We need to go back to basics. And I’ll bet that at the end of the day, many Latino families will choose the freedom of the Republican Party over any other.