We at Jumping in Pools are proud to present the 42nd interview in our series. 'Haystack' writes for the excellent website Hickpolitics, a small but growing site. I have to admit, this is one of the best interviews we've had. So, thank you to Haystack and enjoy everybody.
Why did you start hickpolitics.com?
I got into politics and writing because of the “Father’s Rights” issue. Way back when, I was drawn into the Yahoo groups world; connecting with like-minded men (and women in some cases) struggling with a legal system that had become more concerned with giving politicos a few choice sound bites and brownie points with the “women’s vote” than in truly trying to find legislative solutions that could genuinely address “the best interests of the children.” We found and pursued State legislators…HARD…to enact more level-headed legislation to address Family Court and divorce/custody/child support laws. This was around the time so-called 50-50 custody was first coming into vogue.
I literally “fell” in to a newly launched National political website, Redstate, because some of the Yahoo group members found it and suggested we see what help their connections might give our own state level cause in NH. One thing led to another and I became hooked…and eventually became a Front Page Contributing Editor. My initial user name was “estrangedad”, and my political blogging career had begun.
Over time, I convinced myself I had enough talent (and enough to say) that I should go it alone, and start my own gig. Hickpolitics, and haystack, were born. The site ran for about three years, and then was turned off for most of the last year because my personal life came to a screeching halt. I had some pretty dark moments I had to endure, but with the many prayers from friends, family, and loved ones… and the abundant sustenance from God (and a little bit of my own dogged determination), I decided to come back and lend my voice to the debate.
“Why” I started it is simple enough-I needed a place where I could say and do whatever I wanted…outside the otherwise reasonable boundaries of a larger community with rules and requirements I didn’t always want to have to follow.
What has been the most interesting thing that you have learned or done since you've been running your site?
From hickpolitics came a side project called No End But Victory (now closed)…a totally mil blog focus that sent me to Fort Hood; interviews with Soldiers and time with their friends and families as they were awaiting deployment or re-deployment through the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters. Along the way, I did a segment on a radio show called “Troop Talk” for a while with an Iraq veteran/artillery Captain/West Point graduate that I spent the 4th of July with at Ft. Hood…THAT was interesting.
What I learned was that the American spirit, however much impugned or accosted, rests comfortably in our bellies waiting for the moments when we are called upon to express and display and act upon it. I am no more proud to know a fellow human being than to know a Soldier. They truly are what the rest of us can only dream of being.
President Obama has been in office for almost a year now. What do you think has been his biggest failure so far?
The shots at bad policy are too easy, and don’t really tell the Obama story. His biggest failure in my mind is how far he’s fallen and how fast-from his followers as well as the promises he made about how we were all going to “feel” about being Americans if we would only put him in the position to make it happen. We’re worse off as a “people” now. He and the Democrats have gone to such great lengths to accomplish campaign promises that they are writing bills we can’t read and jamming them through Congress without allowing sufficient debate and amendment. And now…this closed door nonsense with health care…Feeling better about being an American is impossible when our elected officials consider us with impunity and disdain, and convince themselves they know best what’s good for us while refusing to allow our participation in the process.
His greatest failure is that he has taken “we, the People” out of the game…and forgotten that it was OUR game to begin with.
Do you believe that the President has any plans in the works that will help the country?
I believe HE thinks he does. Unfortunately it looks and feels and smells like socialism, and it’s been shown to fail every time it’s been tried. What we know of the agenda suggests that, after healthcare, cap & trade and immigration will be next. Neither of these is going to help bridge the partisan divide, and they are certainly not going to give anyone any confidence that runaway spending and larger Government takeover of the private sector are going to be eased.
What is an important issue today in American politics that you believe is being overlooked by the Administration?
Absolutely, I believe the employment situation is being vastly overlooked. To my mind, having everyone working brings in tax revenue FAR more effectively than in taking more from those that ARE working in order to redistribute it to the growing number of those that aren’t. There’s only so much blood you can squeeze from a stone. Were the Administration to focus first and foremost on jobs, a great number of the other problems we’re all facing would be greatly eased.
The year 2010 is finally here. Do you sense that Democrats will lose seats in Congress this year, and if so, how many and why?
I’m not good at this game. Calculating seats, following polls, and watching trends have never been my strong suits. I DO, however, think Democrat seats will be lost in large enough numbers to change the dynamic in DC. In the Senate, we already know two Democrats aren’t running for re-election potentially lowering their number enough to kill the 60 vote majority they used to cram health care down our throats. It’s fair to assume some other Democrats are going to be “fired” for their stimulus, bailout, and health care votes by some of the more moderate constituencies. It’s also fair to assume we will gain seats in the House, though-as the eternal pessimist in such matters-I don’t think we’re going to re-take the majority there.
Do you miss George W. Bush as President?
I don't miss W, per se. He trended way too far to the middle in his last 2 years and got silly with spending. To my mind, he abandoned the principled among us with his immigration and prescription drug silliness. I DO miss what GWB brought to the American table though-strength, honor, America first…we’ve forfeited that through a man convinced his presence alone would re-define the office of President. Heck-I’d even take Bill Clinton back over this youngster, with no experience and a pitiful record on leadership.
Anything else you would like to add?
First and foremost, I appreciate being invited to participate in your interview series. It’s an honor. Second, I admire your site and what it is trying to accomplish. I think all of us- bloggers, writers, pundits, and every day citizens- have been drawn more directly into the national debate over our futures and those of our children and grandchildren. This is a very good thing. Sites like yours, and others, are perhaps the greatest things to look forward to in the fight ahead. “Taking America Back” starts with real Americans taking the fight to those that got us here in the first place-OUR employees, the politicians on the Hill-and we need more voices like yours and others to make that happen.
I hope Jumping In Pools continues to grow and be even more successful in the months ahead. Best of luck to you all...and to ALL of us engaged in this bloodsport called "politics."
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