The Beltway Bubble

By Sam Stone

There’s no recession in Washington, D.C. Massive building and construction projects blossom like D.C.’s famous trees. Vast, unending snakes of luxury automobiles slither along the streets. On any given day, many of D.C.’s myriad pricey boutiques and restaurants are standing-room-only.

It’s a different world.

Even the commercials are different. City buses grind around town plastered in messages sponsored by the AFL-CIO, imploring Congress to avoid cuts in federal spending programs. Ads designed not to appeal to the masses, but to provide one more avenue for lobbyists and special interest organizations to bend the ear of our elected officials, run endlessly on television.

It’s a glitzy, seductive high-profile bubble.

Spend time in D.C. these days, and it’s easy to see how so many well-intentioned Congressmen and Senators get trapped by the system. It’s not just Washington politics; it’s D.C. life. Elected officials are treated like kings: car services, staffers catering to their every need, posh apartments. The most succulent, extravagant dinners served, because of ethics laws, on a stick. And free booze. Lots and lots of free booze.

But it’s a lie.

People on Main Street are suffering. Despite one optimistic forecast after another, the recession really hasn’t gone anywhere. Although the White House and Federal Reserve Bank keep parroting the line that inflation is stagnant, prices for basic necessities like food, gasoline and heating fuel have more than doubled in recent years. Official joblessness rates grossly undervalue the problem by including people working part-time or seasonal jobs, and by assuming that anyone who hasn’t had a job recently is no longer interested in finding one. Real national unemployment is probably closer to 15% than the 7.9% our government is willing to admit to.

At home, still stuck in the bubble

Members of Congress rarely – if ever – even get to see the truth. When they do return to their State or District, it’s usually for a quick weekend of campaigning. They’re hustled from place to place, rarely stopping anywhere for more than an hour or so. They’re still surrounded by staffers whose job it is to cater to their every whim.

Even during longer breaks when Congress is in session, the routine doesn’t really change. Campaigns these days essentially never close up shop. One of the great advantages of incumbency is access to the enormous cresting waves of PAC, union and special interest donations an incumbent can secure for their reelection war chest. So while Congress may be on recess from time to time, the business of staying in Congress doesn’t stop. Instead of spending time talking with everyday citizens when they’re home, elected officials are stuck on the phone soliciting donations from groups who are only too eager to assist – so long as the recipients of their cash remember those debts the next time a vote comes down on the floor.

What’s the answer?

Term limits sound great, but until everyone agrees to play by the same set of rules, term-limiting yourself is just a way to ensure your Party leadership doesn’t take you seriously. No one becomes Chair of Ways and Means in their first term.

No, the best thing we could do is ask Congress to work less. Six months out of each year in D.C. should be plenty and, if our Representatives had to spend half of each year at home surrounded by their constituents, it’d be a lot harder for them to miss (or simply ignore) what’s really going on in America. Voters would have far more opportunities to get in front of our elected officials. And, as we saw with the Obamacare Town Halls across the country in 2010, they might be more than a little surprised at what they find.

Of course, less time in Washington also means that our elected officials would have to do less. Which, considering the mess they’re making of our nation, might be the biggest improvement of all.

Reposted from Southern Arizona News-Examiner

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FreedomWorks Key in Jeff Flake Victory for U.S. Senate!

Outcome of Senate election in Arizona proof that grassroots campaigns are critical to winning elections.

MESA, AZ – Congressman Jeff Flake will become Arizona’s 11th U.S. Senator after defeating former US Surgeon General Richard Carmona. After months of polling that showed Flake trailing in the race to fill outgoing Senator Kyl’s seat, momentum began to swing toward Flake in the closing weeks. As early ballots were returned Richard Carmona held an early 1.5% (2500 votes) lead on Jeff Flake. The overall results changed on Election Day when Flake closed the gap beating, Carmona at the polls by 10,000 votes. This shift, due in part of a larger than normal election day turnout, accounted for a net 9% gain on Election Day for Flake. Hundreds of thousands of provisional ballots statewide have yet to be counted which should only add to this lead.

Despite what many political pundits predicted, Romney did not carry Flake’s victory. Nearly 100,000 votes for Romney did not go to Flake. While Romney’s Election Day percentages dropped from early return ratios, Flake’s increased by double digits.

“Given the news that Jeff Flake has been elected our Senator, it’s impossible not to recognize the efforts of our organization and our volunteers,” said Freedomworks Field Director Stephen Viramontes. “After opening our office in Mesa right as early balloting began in October, we were able to produce and deploy the largest grassroots army this State has ever seen.”

As can be seen from the raw numbers, grassroots wins elections! In just a short 5 weeks, the accomplishments for Flake were tremendous along with support from various organizations.

  • 389,000 phone calls to voters
  • 193,070 doors knocked with placed literature
  • 11,026 signs placed
  • 102 completed precinct walks
  • 2,309 volunteer hours

FreedomWorks is the nation’s largest Conservative grassroots political organization. Its focus and purpose is to help Conservatives get elected all across the country. This was the first cycle in which FreedomWorks had a grassroots presence in Arizona. With results such as these and a solid coalition built, it is likely to continue to focus efforts on future races in Arizona.



Ron Barber – Rubberstamp to Obama

Ron Barber believes that President Obama’s policies have benefited the middle class. With 23 million Americans out of work, 46 million Americans on food stamps, and the country $16 trillion in debt…have Ron Barber and the President helped you?

Richard Carmona: Wrong for Arizona!

Richard Carmona has no respect for the taxpayers and is wrong for Arizona. Learn more at

Five Reasons to Vote NO on Proposition 204

The No New Taxes, No on 204 campaign committee released the following new ad this morning. The ad takes 30 seconds to describe five reasons why Arizona voters should vote NO on the proposition.


Congressional Leadership Fund Releases Leeches Against Kyrsten Sinema in AZ-09

Congressional Leadership Fund Launches $600k-Plus Ad Campaign in AZ-09 

Over $600,000 Television and Digital Advertising Campaign Against Kyrsten Sinema for Final Week

WASHINGTON – The Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) released today the first and only ad of an over $600,000 television and digital ad campaign in Arizona’s 9th congressional district in the final week. The ad, “Leech,” highlights Kyrsten Sinema’s troubling views of stay-at-home moms. “Leech” will air on broadcast television in the Phoenix media market and will be accompanied by a digital advertising campaign.

“Kyrsten Sinema’s comments are not only offensive to millions of hard working women but also illustrate how out of touch she is with Arizona families,” said CLF spokeswoman Brook Hougesen. “Sinema is an embarrassment.”

“Republican” Leadership in Arizona Hangs Senator Frank Antenori Out to Dry

Gilbert Watch recently reported on how Arizona Republican leaders in the Legislature are betraying Conservatives.  At the end of that article was a Press Release from Stephen Kohut, Chairman of the Pinal County Republican Committee, taking the unprecedented action of recommending a change in leadership:  Steve Smith for Speaker of the House, and Andy Biggs for Senate President.

Now, here’s an article that provides just one example of the intentional misuse of the Republican Victory Fund.

Senator Frank Antenori in LD10, a strong Conservative, is fighting against Democrat David Bradley.  As of the last count, nearly $150,000 in outside money has come to the aid Bradley.

This is a perfect opportunity for the Republican Victory Fund to come to Antenori’s rescue to fend off a liberal Democrat.  What have they given to Antenori?

NOTHING.  They are standing by doing nothing, letting the Democrats do their dirty work for them.

This story continues to unfold with more investigation on where the Victory Fund scam money is being spent by S.H.I.E.L.D.  Stay tuned.


Outside groups have poured $147,388 into the state Senate race in Tucson’s Legislative District 10, trying to oust incumbent Sen. Frank Antenori, a Republican.

60 Plus Association Releases New Ad Exposing Kirkpatrick and Sinema as Extremists CD-1 and CD-9 Races

What do Ann Kirkpatrick and Kyrsten Sinema have in common? Both support higher taxes and spending. Kirkpatrick voted to gut Medicare by $700billion while Sinema thought the law didn’t go far enough. They are both wrong on health care and too extreme for Arizona.

VoteVets Dedicated to Attacking Republicans, Not Advocating for Veterans

Jeff Flake

Group Spending Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Distorting Jeff Flake’s Strong Record of Supporting Veterans

PHOENIX – While claims to be dedicated to ensuring that “troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home,” their true purpose is to run attack ads against Republicans.

In 2006, after VoteVets ran a false ad lying about Senator Jon Kyl’s record, the Arizona Republic said this: “The group ( can be just as unfair as it wants to be. And with this deceitful, brutal ad, the group strains the limits of even that generous standard.”

Now VoteVets has turned their sights on Jeff Flake.  Despite the fact that Flake has a strong record of supporting veterans, they group continues to run an ad cherry picking and distorting Flake’s record.

For instance, while the group slams Flake for voting against the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill, it neglects to mention that Flakesupports the benefit created by the bill but objected to using a veterans bill to pass extraneous spending, like funding for the Department of Agriculture and the National Science Foundation.

“These ads are baloney,” said Senator John McCain, a former prisoner of war and chairman of Veterans for Jeff Flake.  “Jeff Flake has a strong record of supporting our veterans, and veterans can be assured that Jeff will continue to fight for them in the Senate.”

For more information on Jeff Flake and why he’s running for the U.S. Senate, please visit his website at