MEMOS TO REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES,
GET MAD, GET THE FACTS, AND GET AGGRESSIVE
By: Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen US Army, retired,
June 30, 2023
The purpose of this article is to send a message to the so-far twelve announced Republican candidates for president.
Why? So far, at best you are getting no better than a C-minus on your campaign messaging. Too many BGOs, Blinding Glimpses of the Obvious, such as, “We have to secure the border.” “The economy is a mess.” “The Democrats have weaponized the federal government.” Stop with the generalized sound bites for the evening news. Stop the sniping of fellow candidates because the voters hate it, and if a candidate is unqualified, the voters will figure it out on their own.
Author’s note: last year I published a how-to book entitled, Fix the Systems, Transform America. My purpose was to select some of America’s most pressing issues, define the problems and present a concept of operations on how to solve each of them. I believe this is what the currently announced Republican candidates for president should be doing; concentrate on transformational issues that are on the minds of most Americans right now. I believe this is what the voters want because they believe this country is on the wrong track and at a turning point like no other time in modern history. This article is not about selling books; it is about selling ideas that I believe the candidates should be focused on if they want to be president. I will present them to you in the form of 12 memos to the candidates.
MEMO #1 To the Candidates:
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO.
One, invoke President Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.”
Two, decide on a list of major issues that desperately need to get fixed; e.g., education, election reform, illegal immigration, etc. Then campaign on the details. Be able to explain the who/what/when/where/why/how for each. Let the facts create the headline for the nightly news.
Three, stop with the generalizations; get specific and load your campaign speeches with facts, facts, and more facts about everything that has happened in Biden’s first disastrous two years in office. Educate the American public. Tell them things they have not heard before. Attack Biden by feeding all of his insulting fact-less assertions about Republican racism, extremism, and domestic terrorism back to the American people and explain exactly why he does not have a clue about what he is reading on the teleprompter. Get your staff working on a comprehensive list of Biden’s lies and throw them back in his face with facts and the truth. Republican candidates, should, day after day, challenge Biden to produce supporting facts to back up his insane assertions. Challenge him on a definition of “Maga extremist.” Explain to the voters that Biden’s constant blame game is the last vestige of a failed leader and this country cannot survive four more years of his nonsense.
Four, begin every campaign speech with this sentence (keep it updated with new polling data through the next 16 months): NBC poll released 25 June 2023 reveals that “just 20 % of Americans believe we are on the right track, while 74% believe we are on the wrong track.”
Five, take on Biden and everything he says. He will undoubtedly provide you with enough misstatements, just plain dumb ideas, and outright lies to keep you busy. Have a research team standing by at all times to provide you with fact-checked data to keep the president off-balance. For example:
Biden has already made “race” a central issue as he begins his campaign. By just looking back over some of his quotes we can see a picture emerge:
“Domestic terrorism rooted in white supremacy is the greatest threat to our homeland today.”
“Trump and the Maga Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.”
“Republican forces, loyal to Donald Trump, fan the flames of political violence.”
“The MAGA crowd” is the most extreme political organization that’s existed in recent American history.”
The combination of these ridiculous thoughts leads us to one conclusion; by repeated inference, Biden is suggesting to the American people that the seventy million citizens who supported and voted for Trump in the 2020 election are white supremacists, racists, extremists, domestic terrorists, and an existential threat to America in general and our democracy in particular.
The Democrats have been through this type of pathetic, ignorant, insulting campaign strategy once before. Recall in 2016 when Hillary Clinton lectured to America that at least “half” of Trump supporters, “They’re racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.” How did that work out for the Dems?
Every day on the campaign trail, pose this question to Biden; are the Maga extremists the seventy million Americans who strongly believe we need a do-over of making America great again because you have screwed it up so badly in just two years? Challenge Biden in every campaign speech by asking: Is it Maga extremism and an existential threat for Americans to want:
ü To have $2 gas again?
ü To have a 1.4% inflation rate again?
ü To be Energy independent again?
ü To have secure borders?
ü To not have 300 young Americans dying every day from China/Mexican drugs?
ü To have sufficient strategic oil reserves?
ü To have a strong, respected, combat-ready military?
ü To have respect from our allies and fear from our enemies.
ü To believe in meritocracy, the backbone of the greatest nation on earth?
ü To have record unemployment for women and minorities?
ü To put North Korea’s threatening nuclear and missile program on hold?
ü To have renewed confidence in Saudi Arabia as a decades-old major friend and ally in the Middle East?
ü To have Arab countries again lining up to make peace with Israel?
ü To continuously reach out and respect Israel as our greatest long-time democratic ally in the Middle East?
ü To attack the regulation-nation federal bureaucracy?
ü To reduce taxes which in turn will increase government revenue?
ü To be able to safely walk the streets of our once-great cities.
ü To know that NATO members are under U.S. pressure to meet their military requirements?
ü To recognize Iran for what it is; the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.
Republican candidates could end that speech by asking the crowd, is that the America you want to live in? If so, you should be proud to be a Maga extremist. Get aggressive, get mad, use facts not sound bites, and shove Biden’s stupid Maga extremist rhetoric down his throat.
MEMO #2 To the Candidates:
EDUCATE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ON SLAVERY, RACISM, AND THE DEMOCRAT PARTY.
I’m reminded of Senator Tim Kaine’s speech as Hillary’s Vice-Presidential candidate in 2016; Kaine said:
“The first African Americans sent into the English colonies came to Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619. They were slaves. They had been captured against their will. But they landed in colonies that didn’t have slavery. There were no laws about slavery in the colonies at that time. The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it. It got created by the Virginia General Assembly and the legislatures of other states. It got created by the court systems in colonial America; we created it.”
While we all recognize that man’s inhumanity in the form of slavery has been one of the great travesties in the history of mankind, it did not originate in the U.S. Slavery has existed in almost every civilization, dating back as far as 3500 BC. Although slavery is no longer legal anywhere in the world, human trafficking remains an international problem and an estimated 25-40 million people are enslaved today, the majority in Asia.
The slavery issue led the U.S. to the Civil War, 1861-1865. Author Ron Chernow’s book, Grant, is arguably the best history ever written about America during the 30 years from 1845-1875. It deals with the run-up to the Civil War, the war itself, and the post-war period. General, and later President, Ulysses S. Grant is the central figure.
Grant believed in abolishing slavery. He was a champion of African Americans and throughout the Civil War he used his influence and leadership to assist slaves escaping from the Confederate states. President Lincoln, a Republican, agreed with General Grant and advocated for the abolition of slavery, and signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1st, 1863.
During the siege of Richmond Virginia in the final months of the Civil War, General Grant and President Lincoln met frequently to discuss and plan for what freedom and equality should mean for the freed slaves at the war’s end. Their plan included the right to own property, vote and hold office. The freed slaves would have access to all educational opportunities, public transportation, and commercial activities; everything white citizens had. That was the Republican Party plan.
The Civil War ended when General Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House on April the 9th, 1865. Five days later President Lincoln was assassinated. The vision President Lincoln and General Grant had for the freed slaves died with the President.
Lincoln’s Vice President, Andrew Johnson a Democrat, was sworn in as President. Johnson was a weak, indecisive President and sided with the powerful Democrat leaders in the Confederate states to restrict the freedoms of the freed slaves. The grand Lincoln/Grant plan for post-war reconstruction never came to fruition.
Not only were African Americans denied equal rights, they were, for the most part, economic and social captives in the southern states and subjected to one of the darkest periods in American history. The rise of the Democrat-sponsored Ku Klux Klan was dramatic and literally threatened the lives and livelihood of all freed slaves without fear of retribution or law enforcement. It is estimated that there was a KKK organization in nearly every county in the former Confederate states. President Johnson turned a blind eye to the KKK’s devastation. KKK chapters still exist today in 41 states. When was the last time you heard Biden speak out about the KKK?
The single most obvious and despicable racist overt action is to deny Black Americans the opportunity to live where they want to, to dine in whatever restaurant they choose, or to stay in any hotel they want. It’s called forced and then enforced segregation.
For 99 years following the end of the Civil War, the centerpiece of the Democratic party was segregation and all that it entailed. From 1865 to 1964 the Democrats were the party of the south. They demanded, got, and enforced segregation of African Americans for 99 years.
As a young adult, I recall TV coverage of the Democratic Party’s pledge to continue segregation and keep African Americans riding in the back of the bus, drinking from “blacks only” fountains, from ordering a cup of coffee in a restaurant, or attending a white school. Two examples:
Orval Faubus, Democrat Governor of Arkansas, from 1955 to 1967; defied an order to desegregate the Little Rock School District and ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent black students from attending Little Rock Central High School. His order was in direct violation of the unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision made in the 1954 desegregation case of Brown v. Board of Education.
George Wallace, Governor of Alabama, sought the United States presidency as a Democrat three times. He is best remembered for his staunch opposition to desegregation and declared in his 1963 Governor’s Inaugural Address that he stood for, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
I will take the liberty here to speak for the nearly 20 million U.S. military veterans alive today; most, I believe, share my feelings.
I care about African Americans. I know African Americans. While serving 32 years in the U.S. Army I stood shoulder to shoulder with them every single day. I served under and was mentored by outstanding Black leaders. I led them, trained with them, and fought beside them. I respect their courage, capabilities, and commitment. Here is what I know to be true; the only difference between white Americans and Black Americans is the color of our skin. Period. I believe most Americans throughout this great country feel this way and when Biden casually and ignorantly paints tens of millions of us with his racist paint brush for political gain, respect for him as a person and especially as a leader is simply not possible. My president calls me a racist simply because I believe an adult living in the U.S. should be willing to show proof of their voter eligibility.
Some will counter this conclusion by saying, yes, but if you go into a predominantly African American community, you will experience a different culture. Certainly, you will, just as if you entered a predominantly Italian, Polish, or Jewish community. Differences in culture do not translate to inferiority.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended the 99-year Democratic Party hold on segregation; sort of. The “colored only” signs went away and Democrats could no longer publicly embrace segregation as a pillar of their party platform. Did that mean there was an instant cleansing of the Democrat’s abhorrent attachment to segregation? Apparently, not as only 7% of the Democrats in Congress from the former Confederate states voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act compared with 90% from the former Union states. Overall, 64% of Democrats in Congress voted yes for the Civil Rights Act while 80% of the Republicans did.
So, almost 60 years after the Civil Rights Act, what is the Democrat Party agenda? Look at the state of African American communities in Detroit, Baltimore, Washington DC, East St Louis, and Chicago; it’s a long list, and they all have one thing in common; decades of continuous Democratic Party control. It is called “identity politics.” That is, the Democrats identify a segment of the population, Black communities, for example, provide government programs that create a dependency on the government for life’s essentials; housing, heat, food, child care, etc. They then convince the African American voters that the Republicans want to take away their benefits.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The United States is the most benevolent country in the world. For those who are incapable of providing for themselves, there will always be a government helping hand. The difference between the two parties is that the Republicans want to create a business-based economy in the Black communities. The Republicans do not want any identity group in a state of dependency but rather in an environment where they can be self-sufficient, live their lives believing in self-worth, higher esteem and properly providing for their families.
Yes, the Republicans want to do away with some government handouts but ONLY, only, when they are no longer needed.
The community of East Lake is about five miles east of downtown Atlanta, Georgia. In the mid-1990s, only 13% of the residents of the East Lake Meadows housing projects had a job; 87% UNEMPLOYMENT. The high school graduation rate was about 30%. The crime rate was 18 times the national average.
Through an array of Republican-led community efforts working together, the nightmare for East Lake is history. Of the first graduating class from Charles R. Drew Charter School (pre-K through grade 12) 100% were accepted into college in 2017. The streets are safe, the gangs are gone, and the government housing project has been removed. East Lake is a model community studied by groups from across the country who want to move away from Democrat government-controlled poverty.
During Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016, he addressed the African American community and summed up their potential future with a single phrase, “What the hell do you have to lose?” In eight words he made the case I have been trying to explain in the above paragraphs. As President, he accomplished more for African American communities in 18 months than any other President. Black American unemployment was at an all-time low. Americans on SNAP (food stamps) decreased by about 2 million with the rise in employment, better pay, less taxes, and full-time jobs. This is an example of taking away a government handout when, and only when, it is no longer needed. Self-sufficiency and self-esteem in Black communities were on the rise.
I believe all of the Republican candidates should vigorously attack Biden for his lies about systemic Republican white supremacy and racism. Just consider the FACTS; historically, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery, the party of the Ku Klux Klan, the party that held up post-Civil War freedom and equality for 99 years, the party of segregation, and the party that did not wholly embrace The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the party with emphasis on identity group government dependency. Lay out these facts and educate the American people as to what slavery was, is, and the Democrat’s role over the last 150 years.
MEMO #3 To the Candidates:
Biden is campaigning on how great the economy is, how it is growing, and how his economic plan is better for every American, and he has made it happen. The truth is that the subjects that he will brag about are the low-hanging fruit. What you, Mr. and Mrs. Candidate, need to do is get your staff looking inside Biden’s narrative and tell the American people the real economic story. For example.
October 2022, Biden said, “Today, my administration announced that this year the deficit fell by $1.4 trillion, the largest one-year drop in American history.” Not so fast with the smoke-and-mirrors, Mr. President. Fact, The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, CRFB, is a non-profit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. that addresses federal budget and fiscal issues. They explained that in the previous fiscal year, there were multi-trillion-dollar expenditures for Covid relief that, under the law, was one-year-only authorized spending. CRFB also noted that “Even after this post-pandemic drop, deficits will remain historically high. The President’s actions to date have not reduced deficits but instead increased them. Between the American Rescue Plan, the bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and various executive orders, we estimate at least $2.5 trillion has been added to deficits through 2031 over the President’s term so far.” This is classic Biden double-speak that borders on outright lying to the American people.
Biden: “There are two leading causes of inflation we’re seeing today. The first cause of inflation is a once-in-a-century pandemic. And, this year we have a second cause, Mr. Putin’s war in Ukraine.” The presidential blame game in full force.
Facts, the two major contributors to the rapid rise in the inflation rate in 2021 were a $1.9 trillion Covid Stimulus Bill, in March 2021, which most economists saw as a needless and dangerous infusion into the economy. Simply stated, when people have more money, they spend it. Demand for goods rises, driving inflation.
Secondly, the self-inflicted wound that Biden, strictly for political reasons, inflicted on all Americans at about 4:00 pm on inauguration day when he signed an executive order that caused immediate chaos throughout the energy industry and propelled the price of a gallon of gas from $2.32 on 21 January 2021 to $4.31 14 months later. Many factors add up to the cost of producing and getting a product to the marketplace. Multiple transportation means from raw materials to finished products is a huge cost factor. Simply stated, when the cost of fuel almost doubled over a short period, the price of every single thing we buy got priced up.
Fact: The consumer price index, the most common measure of inflation, hit a peak of 9.1%. When Biden took office, the annualized rate was 1.4%. Wages and inflation both have gone up, but real take-home weekly wages, adjusted for inflation, declined 2.2% for tens of millions of Americans. By comparison, consumer price index increases in the first 27 months of their terms in office: Bush + 6%, Obama (first term) + 2%, Obama (second term) +5.5%, Trump +4.9%, Biden +15.2%.
Inflation negatively impacts everyone. But, while the day-to-day impact on the wealthy is negligible it impacts increasingly for descending income levels. At the lowest income levels, families can no longer afford life’s necessities, food, shelter, and transportation.
Biden’s response to all of this misery is, “We’re doing everything we can to keep gas prices down, and the Republicans are against it all.” Always back to the blame game; as stated earlier, the last vestige of a failed leader.
In another attempt to explain away his ineptitude and the failure of his economic plan, Biden has enlightened us with these words of wisdom, “It’s (inflation is) mega MAGA trickle-down; the kind of policies that have failed the country before and will fail it again”.
Furthermore, to add insult to injury, the readily accepted antidote for inflation is to raise interest rates. Rich folks don’t worry about a house mortgage or car payment. But the middle- and lower-income classes do and Biden’s inflation has caused interest rates to more than double, negatively impacting tens of millions of Americans every day.
OK candidates, with the above as a starter, get your folks doing some research and every time Biden gets behind his bully-pulpit and tells you how great things are for the middle-class and lower-income groups, be ready to tell the American public the truth. And don’t be shy about calling a presidential lie just that. A lie is a lie no matter your position in life.
MEMO #4 To the Candidates:
FIX EDUCATION AND RACE RELATIONS.
Before we move towards a solution it may be instructive to look closer at some verifiable statistics on our nation-wide education problem. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is the only assessment that measures what U.S. students know and can do in various subjects across the nation. Also known as The Nation’s Report Card, they grade mathematics, reading, science, writing, technology, arts, civics, geography, economics, and U.S. history for grades 4th and 8th every 2 years and 12th grade every 4 years.
Pre-covid NAEP report card: In 2019 NAEP tested 150,600 grade 4 students, 143,100 grade 8, and 26,700 grade 12 students. Here is a summary pulled from a large comprehensive report:
Reading: The assessment measures reading comprehension by asking students to read selected grade-appropriate materials and answer questions based on what they have read.
Grade 4 Grade Grade 12
NOT proficient: 59% 66% 76%
Mathematics: The assessment measures both mathematics knowledge and the students’ ability to apply their knowledge in problem-solving situations.
Grade 4 Grade 8 Grade 12
NOT proficient: 65% 66% 63%
The NAEP recently published the 2023 results and proficiency in math and reading have declined further.
Other subjects were even worse. Of high school seniors:
88% NOT proficient in history,
77% NOT proficient in writing ability and
78% NOT proficient in science.
Generally speaking, two-thirds of our high school graduates are not adequately prepared to be all they can/should be. And that says nothing about the 7,000 students who drop out every school day. By the way, there is a correlation here; nearly 80% of prison inmates are school dropouts.
The concept to fix education and race relations is to use the home-room time first thing each school day for volunteers to lead character education discussions with a class of students that will remain together each school day K-12. They will mold into a “gang”, know and respect each other, have each other’s back, and be steeped in the following subjects: ACCOUNTABILITY, CITIZENSHIP, COMMITMENT, COMPASSION, COURAGE OF CONVICTIONS, COURTESY, CONFIDENCE, HEALTHY HABITS, HONESTY, HONOR, HUMILITY, INTEGRITY, JUDGMENT, LEADERSHIP, MORALITY, PERSEVERANCE, PUNCTUALITY, RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, SELF-RESPECT, SELFLESS SERVICE, SPORTSMANSHIP, AND TRUST.
That is, teach and talk about values. Call it the Character Curriculum. There will need to be three versions of the curriculum; elementary K-5, middle school 6-8, and high school 9-12. Out of this will come an overpowering culture of accountability, respect, and trust. There is proof that this concept is transformational for youngsters and hence entire generations in so many positive ways.
It’s called Campaign Home Room. With 180 million adults in households with children under age 18, about 60 million K-12 students, and 4.5 million teachers, about three of every four Americans, will, in some way, be involved in this campaign.
Three things you should understand about Campaign Home Room.
One, it will save tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money per year.
Two, there is proof of concept that character education is transformational.
Three, the elements of this program that will fix education are the same ones to set in motion to simultaneously drastically improve race relations throughout America.
Fixing education and race relations is Chapter One in the reference book, Fix the Systems, Transform America.
MEMO #5 To the Candidates:
FIX ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION.
A nation without secure borders is a nation in crisis. The staggering statistics speak for themselves; over 6 million illegals have entered the U.S. since Biden took office. Last year an estimated 500,000 “gotaways” entered illegally. The gotaways are those who do not willfully surrender to the Border Patrol because they are criminals, gang members, drug and human traffickers, terrorists, and Mexican cartel members who can and are doing great harm to America.
Biden’s open border policy is the most egregious national security threat ever willfully inflicted on America by any president. Additionally, the VP and all Department heads are in chorus with the President when he repeatedly tells us, “The border is secure.”; another outright lie.
If we were to brainstorm what an immigration system should do for us, the result would probably include the following wish list:
ü Institute a policy that will voluntarily shut down the masses of illegals assembling on the U.S./Mexican border to cross into the U.S.
ü Free up the Border Patrol agents to fulfill their intended mission; catch illegals and stop the flow of drugs, terrorists, gang members, and human trafficking.
ü Create a path to citizenship for the hard-working, law-abiding illegals already in the U.S.
ü Provide a clear identification of the illegals that ICE should locate, arrest and deport.
ü Do all this with a program that pays for itself; saving taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
Every one of you Republican candidates should campaign on this issue, not with some sound bite, but with facts and a solution.
All of these results are easily doable and should be enacted by Congress in a law that would be less than 20 pages long. This concept of operations is Chapter 2 in the reference book.
MEMO #6 To the Candidates:
FIX VOTER FRAUD.
For every eligible voter in America to be comfortable in the belief that his/her vote counts (once), and that none of the parts of the system are easily subverted by fraudulent actions/activities is right up there in importance with free speech. If we cannot consistently hold free and honest elections, what does that say to us and the world about our status, our morality, and our honesty? Without those attributes how can we be a model for the remainder of the world? The sad truth is that too many Americans believe our election processes are compromised.
Voter registration, primary election process, campaign finance, election day timing, and vote counting/security; are all broken systems that can be easily fixed with a simple act of Congress.
Three-quarters of voters, and even two-thirds of Democrats, said they would be more confident in election results if every voter was required to show government-issued identification at the polls. Contrary to what the American people are saying, Biden, the VP, and senior Democrats across the nation are telling us that voter ID is racist.
Every one of you Republican candidates should campaign on this issue, not with some sound bite but with facts and a solution.
There is a very simple fix that should be enacted by Congress in a law that would be less than 50 pages long. This concept of operations is Chapter 3 in the reference book.
MEMO #7 To the Candidates:
FIX THE FEDERAL BUREAUCRACY AND
YOU WILL FIX EXCESSIVE SPENDING.
A mammoth, sprawling, uncontrollable federal government was never the vision or intent of the founding fathers. Organizations have a propensity to grow to a point of diminishing returns; it ceases to be efficient, and effective, and/or no longer perform the functions for which it was created. At that point, a large organization will tend to look inward and become self-perpetuating rather than value-added.
Some or all of that could apply today to the Departments and Agencies in the Executive Branch of the federal government. This results in two major problems that must get fixed.
First, a too-large organization is very expensive to maintain. A more effective and efficient Executive Branch will be much smaller and less expensive. Every 1% reduction in end strength equals about a $1.5 billion saving in annual salaries plus billions of dollars more in long-term retirement pay and benefits.
Secondly, and more importantly, the annual U.S. budget boils up out of this massive organization. Every government-funded program is maintained and sustained inside these bureaucracies. These programs are this organization’s PRODUCT. General Motors’ product is vehicles; the Executive Branch’s product is taxpayer-supported programs. The question is, what is the value added of those programs?
An in-depth review will undoubtedly find programs that have existed for decades, their original purpose no longer relevant; programs that sounded good at their inception but have failed in execution; programs to solve a problem that should have been the purview of state or local officials; programs initiated to solve a short-term problem but live on forever. The list is long; President Reagan summed up the problem with this statement, “Government is like a baby, an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other.” We must get government spending under control. This is the place to start.
Republican candidates should take this on as a campaign promise; it will be well received by the voters. Go on to explain that, as their number one job, the Vice President will put together a task force consisting of deputies in all of the Federal Government Departments and major Agencies. They will begin at the lowest level branches and divisions and with a thorough review of mission, organization, and product, determine the value added of that particular organizational piece. Having worked their way to the top, they may even determine that the entire Department (Dept of Education, for example) should go away. This will take at least six months of intense work but the outcome will be a slimmer, more efficient, more effective, and more economical government to perform the people’s bidding. This initiative will save hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars in both the near and long term.
This concept of operations is Chapter 4 in the reference book.
MEMO #8 To the Candidates:
FIX CONGRESSIONAL OPERATIONS.
The manner in which our Congress goes about performing its daily and mandatory annual duties is dysfunctional, erratic, and to the casual observer just plain pathetic. But don’t take my word for it; look at some polling results.
Respect for Congress as an organization: Since 1973 Gallop has published the results of an annual poll that seeks to list, best to worst, the organizations in which we-the-people have confidence. The results for 2020: Thirteen percent say they have “A Great Deal/Quite a Lot of confidence” in Congress while 45% respond, “Very Little/None.
Respect for Congress as a profession: In another survey of the most/least respected professions, Congress is dead last. “Low/very low” 58%, “high/very high” 8%.
Respect for Congress on honesty and ethical standards: You guessed it, Congress is again dead last at “High/very high” 8%, “low/very low” 63%.
Wouldn’t one think, with an analysis of these survey results year after year, that Congress would, out of sheer embarrassment, at least try to improve? Nope, not happening.
Why is Congress rated so low? Here is a good example:
In 2020 when the pandemic was beating up every aspect of our society, Congress concocted a 5,593-page-bill monstrosity for Covid-19 relief, The Cares Act. Of course, it passed; nearly everyone could use a little relief from Covid and the taxpayers were stuck with the bill, all $1.8 trillion of it. But here is the pathetic part; under the guise of helping Americans through the pandemic, members of Congress took the opportunity to pork-up the bill with dozens, if not hundreds, of earmarked funding directives that had absolutely nothing to do with Covid or Covid relief. Here is a sampling:
· $10 million for gender programs in Pakistan,
· $300 million for fisheries,
· $100 million for NASA,
· $300 million to Endowment for the Arts,
· $300 million to Endowment for the Humanities,
· $300 million to Public Broadcasting,
· $500 million for Museums and Libraries,
· $720 million to Social Security Administration,
· $315 million to the State Department,
· $90 million to the Peace Corps,
· $492 million to National Railroad Passenger Corp,
· $526 million grant to Amtrak.
· $4.7 billion in foreign aid to nine countries.
The takeaway from this example is that under different circumstances, each of these expenditures should have seen the light of day in one or more congressional committees where expert witnesses would have testified to the pros and cons of passing the funding.
The second takeaway is that the Covid Relief Act was not a one-off occurrence. Producing multi-thousand-page bills has become the norm. No one who votes for them has actually read them and therefore does not know what they are voting for or against. Should we be borrowing money for earmarks that have never been exposed to public scrutiny?
For years politicians have been emphasizing the need for infrastructure spending. So, in 2021 Congress finally passed, in a bipartisan vote, a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which, by the way, is also funding universal pre-K, child care, enhanced child tax credit, earned income tax credit, Affordable Care Act subsidies, Medicaid expansion, medical hearing benefits, affordable housing, Pell grants, children’s nutrition, immigration, state, and local tax deductions, etc., etc., etc. Only about 25% of the expenditures actually exist for real infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and airports.
Additionally, every year Congress fails to pass a budget by 30 September and therefore takes the nation through the “continuing resolution” process for months into each new fiscal year.
Why has Congress become so continuously inept? Simply stated, they do not have a set of established operational standards, and any organization without standards is a failed organization. Establish and enforce a set of simple standards and a lot of things in Washington can get fixed, quickly.
I am suggesting institutionalizing a set of seven operational standards for Congress. The concept of operations is a 15-page who/what/when/where/why/how for candidates to run on. Fixing Congress operationally will result in hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars saved every year thereby at least reducing deficit spending and possibly leading to a balanced budget and possibly debt reduction. This concept will resonate with the electorate.
This concept of operations is Chapter 5 in the reference book.
MEMO #9 To the Candidates:
CHANGE THE LENGTH OF EACH TERM,
LIMIT THE NUMBER OF TERMS, AND
CHANGE AMERICA FOR THE BETTER.
January 20, 2017, while the nation watched the inauguration of President Trump, I recall one of the talking heads on TV filling up some air time during the parade by launching into a diatribe about what President Trump needed to do to keep from losing the House and/or Senate majorities during the 2018 midterms.
So what? The so-what of it all is that every day we see national issues, security issues, economic issues, and crisis issues that are all tainted, delayed, and debated in light of what it will “mean for the midterms”. The debate is too often not about what is best, or in some cases, what is necessary for the nation, but rather how it will impact the November midterm election results. Sad but true.
The unfortunate nature of politicians is that the next election is their top priority and everything else, no matter how important to the nation, is a distant second. To protect the nation from our politicians we need to change the environment, and hopefully, it might change their behavior.
This suggested new concept of operations for senior members serving in the federal government will be like a deep breath of fresh air to the voters. It is a valid concept with far-reaching implications as to how our elected officials from the president on down, look at their responsibilities and priorities.
Term limits and number of terms:
President, 6 years, one term.
House of Representatives, 4 years, four terms.
Senate, 6 years, three terms.
Supreme Court Justices, 20 years.
The justification for each recommendation is in Chapter 6 of the reference book.
MEMO #10 To the Candidates:
UNIVERSAL SERVICE FOR AMERICA, (U.S.A.)
What has become alarmingly common today is reporting on increased anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and actual suicide among teens and young adults throughout our country. There is much to be gained by each individual and the country as a whole by requiring all young Americans following their 18th birthday to enroll in Universal Service for America.
Why should we do this? Gangs in the U.S. is reason enough alone to have a viable U.S.A. program. The FBI reports, “Some 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs with about 1.4 million members are criminally active in the U.S. today. The average number of members per gang is 42. About half of all homicides in the U.S. are gang-related.” The Justice Department reports that “The average age of gang members arrested in the U.S. is 17 or 18.” These statistics are reason enough to get these young adults off the street for a year and get them on a positive track to a productive life. Also, the 7,000 teens who drop out of school each school day need a new direction. Also, with a new look on life, U.S.A. graduates will be less likely to choose a future on government welfare.
The U.S.A. mission will be to annually engage all 18-year-old Americans in a program that will immediately change their environment, enhance their education, build character, strengthen their self-determination, and set in motion a lifelong appreciation for community service, all while internalizing and learning to live in a culture of accountability, trust, and respect
This campaign with its character development, daily emphasis on values, and teamwork, participants can ultimately change how a nation thinks and acts, from the bottom up, for generations to come.
Why, Mr. and Mrs. Candidate, should you campaign for a U.S.A. program? To paraphrase a French political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, who came to America in the 1820s to study our nation, he concluded in his book, Democracy in America, that America is great because it is good; when it ceases to be good it will cease to be great. There needs to be a time and a place wherein all Americans can contemplate goodness and thereby plan to live a more fulfilling and productive life by being all they can be. That time is now and that place will be as a participant in Universal Service for America. Goodness doesn’t just happen; it is a work in progress. Our intent has to be focused on refreshing and perpetuating America’s goodness by building a rite-of-passage national service program that will transform America forever.
This concept of operations is Chapter 7 in the reference book.
MEMO #11 To the Candidates:
ELIMINATE WORLD AGGRESSION AND GUARANTEE WORLD PEACE.
Russia invaded the sovereign nation of Ukraine, in February 2022. The world watches, in real-time, levels of destruction not seen since World War II.
This ongoing invasion is a game changer invoking questions like, “How could this possibly happen today? Why have we not stopped it? What can we do? How can they deliberately target women and children? Who can help? Should some collective group of countries join forces and counterattack Russian forces? What should NATO do? Who would/should lead such a force? etc. etc. etc.”
How can we institutionalize a faster, better, more organized, more aggressive, and all-inclusive plan for preemptive actions that would preclude this ever happening again? We need answers and actions.
The UN is an established international organization perfectly positioned to be a greater force for the greater good of the collective world. The UN’s mission is to, “Ensure international peace and security.” But, in its current state, it has been a complete failure in deterring conflict for over 75 years. This is principally because of the one-nation veto power by any permanent member nation of the all-powerful Security Council. With Russia and China as permanent members, standing up any type of deterrent force is impossible.
In the absence of the UN, the U.S. should take the lead in signing up most of the UN member nations to be part of an independent International Deterrence Force, IDF. The “D” in IDF does not stand for Defense. The IDF will not be designed for defense; it will send an undeniable message to any nation that is contemplating an offensive action that within seven days an overwhelming world force can be in place for a counter-offensive. That is the real-world definition of deterrence. NATO, in being since 1949, is a perfect example of deterrence in action. The IDF could borrow NATO’s Article 5 concept, “An attack on one member is an attack against all members.”
The U.S. could initiate actions to seek support from most of the 195 current UN member nations to join a new organization called United for World Peace. Each member nation would be assigned a piece of the offensive force, be it air transport, tactical air, naval forces, ground forces, or special operations forces. The 34 nations without a military could provide medical and logistical elements. Every member nation would maintain its share of the force at a high state of readiness and immediately deployable anywhere in the world.
The organization would look like this:
A small headquarters anywhere in the world.
An elected president of United for World Peace for one, six-year term.
A fully operational International Deterrence Force as described above.
Its only mission is to ensure international peace and security by requiring every contributing nation to exist in a state of continuous high readiness in one of four different readiness conditions.
-IDFCON 1: Normal peacetime condition. A completed plan will be in place in every member nation. Readiness standards will be in force for every IDF element.
-IDFCON 2: The United for World Peace president and IDF Commander, having identified a potential threat to a member nation, will tailor a force for deployment and place them on 24-hour alert at their home base.
-IDFCON 3: All personnel and equipment for the designated units will move to assembly areas. Deployment aircraft will move to their first pick-up airfield.
-IDFCON 4: Deployment of all designated deterrence elements to the target area and prepare to initiate an overwhelming counter-offensive.
For example, in the months leading up to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, the IDF force would have sequentially moved from IDFCON 1 to 2 to 3 and been deployed under IDFCON 4 and ready to initiate immediate counter-offensive actions against Russia.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the unprecedented civilian casualties, and the wanton destruction of civilian property have become a wake-up call for the world. Now is the time, and it may never be more relevant, to strike with a plan that will, to the greatest extent possible, guarantee world peace.
The United for World Peace organization could conceivably consist of 150-190 countries. Therefore, for any nation contemplating an aggressive military action, the conflict could immediately become 150 or 190 to one contest; in a nutshell, deterrence. Here are two examples of IDF actions:
An attack on small-country “A” in Africa appears imminent by a larger neighboring country “B”. The IDF Commander determines that inserting a couple of infantry battalions on the ground could sufficiently deter the attack. Using the concept of always having an overwhelming advantage, the commander may deploy two full combat-ready infantry brigades along with combat-supporting forces and tactical air support. Result, Country “B” packs up and goes home. Deterrence is a powerful force for world peace; the only force for world peace.
A more serious and far-ranging scenario might look like this: China continues to threaten Taiwan with aggressive air and naval operations. It is determined that the demonstrations are a rehearsal for an actual attack. The United for World Peace president and IDF Commander agree to go to IDFCON 3. China’s Achilles heel is imported gas and oil. China must import over 10 million barrels of crude oil per day. Inform China that a combined naval force from dozens of IDF nations is en route to the South China Sea to create an impenetrable blockade of all incoming gas and oil tanker ships. Additionally, IDF missiles and aircraft capable of taking out the gas and oil pipelines from Russia to China will be immediately forward deployed. Execution of this scenario could shut down China’s economy in a few weeks. The UN Secretary-General could request China publicly sign a pledge to acknowledge that forevermore Taiwan will be considered an independent nation free of all ties to China and provocative military actions against Taiwan are forbidden. Deterrence in action in support of world peace.
Throughout the world today there is tremendous redundancy of military forces. Hundreds of billions of dollars in worldwide defense spending could be saved. Additionally, the IDF would supersede the need for multi-national alliances such as NATO.
With a proactive International Deterrence Force in place, no nation would ever need to feel alone or stand alone.
There is currently a lot of discussion about the New World Order. Well, here is a new twist on The New World Order, call it World Peace.
This concept of operations is Chapter 8 in the reference book.
FINAL MEMO, 12
TO ALL OF THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT.
Let me reiterate, I’m not trying to sell books. I am trying to advance ideas that I believe can transform America into a better place for us all. And I am trying to convince each of you candidates that the above transformational issues can and will resonate with voters of all party affiliations. As President Trump likes to remind us, “What the hell do you have to lose?”
Although the reference, Fix the Systems, Transform America is copyrighted material, any Republican Candidate for president in 2024 may use the information as they see fit for their campaigns.
Note to subscribers: If you know or can contact any of the Republican candidates or someone on their campaign staff, please forward this to them. Thank you.
Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen US Army, retired, is the author of Vision to Execution, a book for leaders, Fix the Systems, Transform America as well as the author of a blog, WeThePeopleSpeaking.com.