Archive for March 19th, 2011

Kibbutzim Go Private

Not much of a surprise, at this point, as noted by Claire Berlinski over at Ricochet:

Beit-Oren was founded as a die-hard socialist settlement in 1939. Predictably, it went bankrupt, because socialism doesn’t work. By the 1980s it had no means of subsistence, and the world’s ideological tides having turned, the larger kibbutz movement cut it off. In 1987 about half the population of the kibbutz decided to leave, an event known as the Beit Oren Incident.

In 1988, after an intense period of discussion and decision, the New Kibbutz was on its way with renewed strength and vigor, and many new members. The kibbutz’s financial situation improved, empty apartments were rented to new residents, the kitchen and dining room became an events hall, and various kibbutz enterprises recovered. In June 1995, the decision was taken to privatize services and individual income. This was to be the first in a series of privatizations. Within a short time after this decision, most kibbutz members expressed satisfaction with this arrangement.

As socialisms go, Kibbutzim were among its more humane manifestations.  Unlike residents inmates of the Soviet bloc, people were free to go any time they wanted, and join the majority of Israel that was at least somewhat more capitalist.  The country may have been conceived of and run by socialists, but actual kibbutzniks were always a small minority, and capitalism was a vital, if largely latent force in Israel from its beginnings.

In fact, as Sol Stern points out, Tel Aviv was a very capitalist enterprise from the beginning.  And since Netanyahu, as Finance Minister, began privatizing large swatches of the economy, its entrepreneurial spirit has been given free rein.

So while it’s not surprising that Israelis are innovators when it comes to water, it’s at least a little ironic that a major Israeli venture capital firm, specializing in water projects, would be located in “Kibbutz” Lavi.

All this must be giving Haman fits.

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Jon Hotaling & Ted Harvey

For some people, you just can’t be socially conservative enough to vote for. Not Jeff Crank:

Jeff, of course, is the head of the Colorado branch of Americans for Prosperity.  Hardly RINOs, that’s one of the national organizations that’s help Tea Parties achieve success.

Not Ken Buck.

And now, apparently, not Mark Waller.   Yeah, that Mark Waller, the Representative who’s held down the fort on little things like taxes, TABOR, spending, and coming from Colorado Springs, doesn’t exactly have the social views of Arlen Specter.

And it’s all over a bill that isn’t even about abortion.

Rep. Waller introduced HB-1256, which was intended to provide legal recourse to women whose unborn children were killed in automobile accidents. It was intended only to address this lacuna in the law, had nothing whatever to do with abortion, and went out of its way to make sure that was understood. It’s a gap in the law that even pro-choice Democrats understand, and the bill, according to Waller, had broad bipartisan support.

The architects of this fratricidal strategy are Mark and Jon Hotaling, the social absolutists’ less-effective answer to the Koch brothers.  Mark headed the Colorado Christian Coalition at the time they produced the above flyer about Crank, and Jon has a long association with Colorado Right to Life, a group that was effectively tossed out of National Right to Life for being too radical.

Colorado Right to Life, the Judean People’s Front (or is it the People’s Front for Judea?) of Colorado politics, decided that since the bill didn’t address abortion, it had to be killed.

RTL issued the following mailer, calling the bill “monstrous:”

They then went on to say that the correct bill would have just implemented the Personhood Amendment, leaving this letter for Rep. Waller:

Since the bill was written not to touch existing abortion law in any way, it also didn’t touch parental notification. But that didn’t stop RTL from using that inaccuracy to whip up opposition to the bill, creating such a political hot potato that Rep. Waller finally had to pull it.

If that’s all it was, it would be another self-defeating act by Colorado Right to Life.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Remember, Jon Hotaling has a long history with Colorado Right to Life. The same Jon Hotaling who:

was manager of (State Senator Ted) Harvey’s short and unsuccessful race against 6th District Congressman Mike Coffman and Wil Armstrong in 2008.

Sen. Harvey still owes Hotaling almost $20,000 for his work on that campaign.

And here’s what he recently had to say about Mr. Hotaling:

Rumors persist that Harvey, if elected chair, will hire the Hotaling brothers to run the state party office. That, his detractors fear, would also mean the party’s candidates would be screened to pass ultra-conservative principles. If so, that might doom the party to failure in more moderate races.

“If only we could be so lucky to hire Jon Hotaling, nobody has a better track record for winning campaigns than he does. Jon would have to take a pay cut to work for the party”, said Harvey.

Look, politics, especially in a middling-size state like Colorado, is a small pond. And the higher you go up the pyramid, the more people know each other. There’s nothing the matter – necessarily – with Harvey using a friend of his to manage his campaign.

But this is absolutely not the sort of thing we want out of a State Political Director. There is a legitimate debate to be had about abortion, but state level-politics requires coalition-building and teamwork, not casting out everyone who doesn’t agree with you 100% on particular issue.

I know plenty of people who, unlike me, voted for the Personhood Amendment, and still voted for me – twice – for State House of Representatives.  They don’t want to purify the party, or use good bills like Rep. Waller’s to push their position, to the exclusion of progress on another front.

So, given that, I think it would benefit the party, in advance of next Saturday’s vote for State Chairman, to know his answers to the following questions:

  • Will Harvey condemn these style of attacks on Republicans?
  • Will Harvey commit to not hire Hotaling?
  • If he does hire Hotaling, how will we know that it isn’t payment for his Congressional debt?
  • I’m on record in this space arguing that parties are coalitions, and that coalitions need to be big enough to win majorities. Not every election, not all the time. But big enough so you have a chance to implement your ideas and promote your ideals.

    Moreover, Ted Harvey has secured considerable – although far from universal – Tea Party support, by focusing not the social issues, but economics and the promotion of liberty. He has a chance here to make a concrete promise that would give credibility to that campaign claim, and to show that those really are his priorities for the state.

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