Do you want a United States Senator -- your Senator -- to have words like Honor and Duty be the first words out of his mouth when he speaks? Do you want him to know in his bones, that being a Senator is a sacred trust between him, the people he represents, and the history and legacy of the United States?
I know I do.
You have GOT to meet this man. Not only is he made out of the right stuff. He believes it is a matter of duty to retire three-term fat cat leftist powerhouse Russ Feingold. And he has a plan.
Meet David Westlake
I had the pleasure of speaking with Westlake for about 45 minutes the other night. He is a West Point graduate and served several years as a United States Army officer. He speaks of his 4 years at the Academy as having been haunted by the hallways there: by the great men who had walked those halls, and left their mark on history. He was determined to give no less than they had. He believed then and now that America's taxpayers had not sent him to West Point merely for the years of military service he might provide. His whole lifetime was owed in service to his country.
Duty. Honor. Giving. A debt of service. John Adams, George Washington, and James Madison talked like that. So did Nathan Hale. Ditto Chesty Puller, Nimitz, and Patton. The Arlen Specters of the world cynically say "that is my Senate seat". Fake military heroes like Rich Blumenthal demand respect even after their lies are exposed. Feingold runs around crowing about what great things he's done for Wisconsin by playing an instrumental role getting the health care takeover shoved down America's throat (yeah....uh.....thanks, Russ).
David Westlake says that he owes America and Wisconsin his life, his time, and his future.
I like that better.
This is a magnetic, sharp, articulate, driven man. And make no mistake. He's a three-prong conservative in the Fred Thompson and Jim DeMint mold, a fiscal, social, and national security conservative. Read all you want at his campaign site. He's preaching small government, less regulation, low taxes, Peace through Strength, securing the borders, 2nd Amendment, free market health care reform that starts with lawsuit reform. Shall we go on? Read the "Issues" pages of his campaign site. Tell me he's just winging it, or saying what people want to hear. He clearly knows what he believes and why he believes it.
Russ Feingold: far left zealot
You know, I was going to run down the roster of ways in which this three-term machine politician has done a disservice to Wisconsin and to America. I don't feel like it. Water is wet. We know plenty about why he needs to go down.
The primary competition: Terrence Wall
Westlake faces a primary opponent named Terrence Wall. Wall is a successful businessman, and has a well-financed campaign with a large war chest. His issues page reads like it came off the NRSC-approved template, and I have no particular objection to it. Truthfully, in a year that was not 2010, this might be the guy. After all, Wisconsin is a purple-blue state, and Wall is a squish who talks one way and acts another. Perfect for a swing state.
You see, Terrence Wall has a history of donating to Democrat candidates (including $500 to the odious David Obey, on 1/25/07 [search opensecrets.org]) that seems to track his real estate ventures. In particular, he pimped a Democrat-backed commuter railroad project (he actually wrote a puff piece in Madison's "In Business" magazine), that would have built a train station on property owned by.......you guessed it, Terrence Wall. Fortunately, Wisconsinites fought it and it fell through. This is not ancient history. This is 2007.
There's more, and I have details. What I am telling you is that while Westlake and Wall may espouse the same issue stands for the most part, there is a wide gulf between them. One of them is a core conservative and the other is a convenient conservative.
Taking down the Feingold machine
Normally you simply could not take on an entrenched three-term machine politician with national name and power, and take him down. You cannot possibly match him dollar for dollar, grassroots worker for union thug, housewife for dishonest election worker. So you better have a different plan than dollar for dollar, punch for punch.
But this is 2010. Obama has happened. Feingold is in lock-step with a bunch of anti-American yahoos, publicly married to a hard-left, tax-and-spend, freedom-stealing agenda, while America is reeling with 10% unemployment (Wisconsin is at 9.8%), and getting pretty tired of Washington politicians shoving their unwanted agenda down America's throats.
He's vulnerable to a smart campaign by a charismatic conservative with a compelling story and a message of honor and duty about himself, and for Wisconsinites a message of lower taxes, less government, a robust market-driven economy, and more freedom. A campaign that reaches the grassroots, that engages Wisconsin's large center. He wants Wisconsin to know that he is running to represent the whole of Wisconsin, and not just the right.
Westlake recently met for a full day with a room full of liberal young bloggers in Milwaukee. At the end of the day they were not necessarily converts, but they came away with a great deal of respect for him and his issues. They all signed his shirt (long story). He and his campaign have toured the state, meeting business groups, college students, bloggers, firemen, bankers.........and people. Lots of people. His message does not change according to who he meets. The conservative message, when championed by a powerful and articulate advocate, is ALWAYS a message of hope and freedom. It resonates everywhere. Reagan knew that. Bush did not.
In his early phase, he's been building a grassroots organization. When ordinary people hear the conservative message like this, your organization does not have to buy its advocates. They come volunteering. The second phase began May 1, and that is taking the campaign to the larger public and the airwaves. You can donate here, if you want to be a part of it in that way.
But there are many ways of supporting David Westlake. In months to come, there will be a great need for on-the-ground help.
Making the hard call
Remember how in the last few years, certain otherwise "conservative" Senators would pull a brain fart - like voting for TARP, voting against John Bolton for UN Ambassador, or failing to filibuster the Eric Holder nomination, joining that Gang of 14, stuff like that? You understand why that happens, right? It's because some of these guys are more talk than actual conservative. They haven't studied John Adams and Russell Kirk: they study the polls and try not to incur media wrath.
Pitcure this. There's a tough issue being fought in the Senate in 2011. The press is jumping up and down all over those "party of no", those racist meanie Republicans. Snowe and Collins have predictably folded, and McCain and Graham are negotiating with the Dems for a handful of meaningless amendments. They are certain to eventually go with the Democrats. The final swing vote comes down to the junior Senator from Wisconsin. Who do you want that to be?
Wall or Westlake?
Take that to heart. In the primaries, it's no longer good enough to vote for the guy with deep pockets and name recognition (Crist, Fiorina, ......and Westlake's primary opponent). This is 2010. We vote the conservative. Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey are our first wave. They already carry bloodied swords.
Feingold can be taken down. Westlake is the one to do it.
[h/t Rott Dawg]