Friday, April 5, 2013

Post Campaign Thoughts - Part II

Continued from Part I:

From the outset, Curtis would tell me that our prayer needed to be that God would breathe life into what we were doing, that we would stay behind Him and let Him either give life to what we were doing and find favor with it, or we would know that it was not meant to be. In earlier blogs I described to you instances that reveal the true godly character of Curtis, one titled “Observations Worth Considering” and another entitled “Conjecture Or The Rule of Law”. I encourage you to take the time to read those, not so you can find out more about Curtis, but rather so you can see what kind of traits you should look for in a candidate.

When it became clear to the other candidates that the Bostic campaign was beginning to surge, things began to happen that one should I guess expect in a political campaign but nevertheless became a real eye opener for me. We began to take fire, lots of fire. Polling told us we were climbing through the ranks, but the heat from the other top tier candidates was an even greater indicator. I have always considered facts and truth to be fair game to use against another candidate. But probably the most difficult thing for me was to watch flat out lies and mischaracterizations being hurled at my friend. What was even harder to take was the source of most of it, definitely not where I expected it to be coming from. Politics and the quest for power can bring out the worst in individuals and I got to see it firsthand. Conversely, from our side we did everything we could to just run on our record and let the chips fall where they may. It is difficult to do that when the record is continually distorted and you don’t have the means to use media to combat it the way that the other larger political machines could do.

At the outset of our campaign, we were given little to no chance of making much of an impact. I learned a tremendous amount about running a campaign for elected office. Candidates that I thought were men of integrity at the outset, severely let me down with their action when they came under pressure or perceived that they saw the election slipping away from them.

As for me, I have given the last 15 years of so of my life pouring my time and passion into teaching and mentoring high school kids about the United States Constitution and limited government from a biblical worldview. In the last few years I have developed courses and seminars to be taught in churches or other local activist groups so that adults that have never been taught these “1st Principles” of the founders can be equipped to elect good, constitutional, limited government candidates and so they can have the knowledge and understanding to hold them accountable once they are in office.

I knew what Curtis stood for and I knew that we shared the same heartbeat for bringing our nation back to the Rule of Law. I stood shoulder to shoulder with a man of enormous integrity in the face of withering personal attack. The undertone in a lot of this attack was nothing more than anti-religious bigotry, although those that perpetrated it would probably never admit it. It’s almost as if today, we see so little of what people like Curtis Bostic represent, we see so very little of it, that when it shows up, people feel like it’s just too good to be true and have to tear it down.

I’m disappointed that we lost an opportunity to elect someone with what I consider to be the most important qualities necessary for federal elected office; strong biblical worldview, mastery of the United States Constitution, and the rock solid integrity to execute the office that would be entrusted to him. Before we wrapped things up at the campaign office  this past Tuesday night, Curtis asked me if I would do it all over again. Without hesitation, I told him that I would. Our Constitution, our nation, and our hard fought liberties are worth our time, efforts, resources, and toil.

There are a few people you meet in life that you know you could charge the gates of hell with using a water pistol; Curtis Bostic is one of them. It was an honor to team with Curtis in this campaign. In my opinion, for whatever its worth, he might have been one of the best candidates for federal office I have seen in my lifetime. If I have one regret it would be that I was unable to convince more people of that fact.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Post Campaign Thoughts - Part I

It was a little over three months ago that I determined that it was not the right time for me to run for Congress and that I would, at the request of my friend Curtis Bostic, team with him to help him become the next United States Congressman from the 1st Congressional District of South Carolina, the seat previously held by our mutual friend, now Senator Tim Scott.

You can read all about the events leading up to that day by reading my previous blogs in recent weeks. What I want to do here is paint somewhat of a picture of what has happened since then.  When Curtis and I determined to team up for this run, we had been friends for about six or seven years. Over the last three months, through the good pleasure of our great God, a deeper friendship has been forged in the trenches of an extremely fast paced political campaign that was sometimes exhausting, but more oftentimes a blessed experience. From the first meeting we had together, Curtis made it very clear that he wanted a true teammate, the joining of our skills, our expertise, our love for Christ, our desire to return our nation to the Rule of Law under the United States Constitution, and our like-mindedness of vision for what the founders intended for a member of the “People’s House”. It was absolutely amazing to watch God work out his ways in the building of a true grassroots effort of the people, people with the same vision.

People from literally all over the district came to join this effort, people we had never met before that saw what I saw, the opportunity to put up a superb “peoples” candidate. From Charleston to Beaufort, people were energized for the opportunity to help elect Curtis Bostic. Over 50 local pastors from all over the district were bold enough to openly individually endorse Curtis Bostic. Think about that, think about what it means about a candidates integrity and reputation when that many pastors are willing to place their reputations on the line to make a statement about a candidate for political office.

Early on, we knew that we needed to develop a true grassroots effort. In a field of 16, our strategy quickly became clear; we needed to get in front of people, lots of people. With that in mind we devised a strategy to get into people’s homes, living rooms, and community centers. We attended as many of the forums as we could, but frankly…we quickly realized that those were nice, but most of the time the same people showed up…and it was very obvious most already had their minds made up. On advice from our mutual friend, a certain United States Senator, we made a tactical decision to forego a few of the smaller events and focus on getting into homes and in front of everyday people. In essence, bypass the political machinery, and take our message straight to the voters and everyday folks. That is, “grassroots” grassroots if you will. Scores of awesome volunteers opened their homes and invited hundreds of friends, neighbors, and family members to come out and meet the candidate. We published these events on our facebook page and on our webiste. Some groups were small, some were large, but we did this almost every night of the week for three months, and we did it as a team. Curtis would explain his positions and answer questions and with my passion for Biblical Worldview and the United States Constitution, I would talk to the people about the unique qualification of this candidate. People got to meet the candidate in person and get their own questions answered without having to depend on a moderator asking their question. We were criticized heavily for this, some of the other candidates that realized what was happening, began to grumble about us and then started to float the idea that “Bostic is avoiding the forums and avoiding answering questions”. The funny thing is that the exact opposite was true; because of the dozens and dozens of drop-ins and meet and greets, no candidate was more accessible to the masses and answered more direct questions from voters than Curtis Bostic. Anyone and everyone that wanted to find out about Curtis positions were able to find an event to attend to meet the candidate and ask him their own questions.

In a campaign with an unprecedented 16 candidates, it was certain from the outset that there would be no clear winner with over 50% vote in the primary, so everyone knew there would be a runoff.  The polling suggested that Gov Sanford would be a lock for the 1st position, the same polling however showed him vulnerable in a runoff. The Bostic campaign was written off very early and given little chance to make the 2nd position, in fact most political pundits cast us as a 2nd and in some cases a 3rd tier candidate. Therefore, we considered if we could find a way to get a 2nd place finish, it would be a huge win for us and we felt confident that we had a good shot of beating Gov Sanford in the runoff.

To be continued in Part II....