Saturday, February 8, 2014

My 2014 election (at a glance)

[For my history prior to February 2014, click on the "B. My history before Feb. 2014" label to the right.]

[Update 7/12/14. I have extended my efforts to a write in campaign for the November election. If you want to jump to that, go to On Nov. 4, 2014, write in Rob Shattuck for Congress in AL06.]

This entry portrays my campaign "at a glance."  It is dynamic and will be revised on an ongoing basis. Links are given to other blog entries, which expand on this entry or give more campaign information.  (You can get back to this entry from any other blog entry by clicking on the "A. My 2014 election (at a glance)" label to the right.)

[Update 5/11: After you have gone through this entry once, returning to this entry is probably not the best way to keep current with my campaign. One way to stay current is to click on the above blog name "Be An Alabama Rootstriker With Rob Shattuck". Entries will appear on the page in reverse chronological order, with the most recent entry at the top, and you can scroll down through entries going backwards in time to keep up with recent entries. Alternatively, you may use the "Blog Archive" tool at the right side of the page. Click on a month in the "Blog Archive" tool, and you will see a list of the entry titles for the entries made during the month.]

Introductory video

If you cannot see embedded video below, the youtube link for the video is:

In early February, I filed papers and paid the filing fee to run in the Republican primary election for the Alabama 6th Congressional district. The primary election is on June 3, 2014.  For a map of the 6th Congressional district, go here.

I filed my papers to run after sending these two letters to the Alabama GOP and Democratic parties.

The information packet for filing my papers alerted me to campaign financial reporting requirements and other electioneering rules that I needed to learn about and comply with.  I made an initial determination that, until I exceed $5000 in campaign fundraising/spending, I am basically exempt.

I am conducting my campaign via the Internet. My Internet political campaign consists of this campaign blog and emailing.  I am developing my LinkedIn connections (my LinkedIn page is here).  I expect to make my Facebook page more active.  Also, I expect to make more use of my twitter @BamaRootstriker.  For more about my Internet campaign, see the entries An Internet political campaignGovernmental blocking of my political emailPolitical spamming, and My emailing.

I am tracking the progress of my campaign by means of page view information.  See Tracking my campaign's progress.

I have started an entry Voter discussion and debate, in which I am quoting, on a non-identified basis, reactions and feedback I receive from voters about my campaign.

I responded to a questionnaire from the Birmingham Business Alliance.  I have posted  my response at My response to Birmingham Business Alliance questionnaire.

The Blount Countian provided a candidate profile questionnaire for me to respond to, which I did.  I have posted my response in the entry The Blount Countian profile questionnaire.

I was one of four 6th Congressional district candidates who spoke at the Mid-Alabama Republican Club monthly meeting on March 8th.  The other three candidates will be provided an opportunity to speak at the April or May monthly meeting.

The Shelby County Republican Women and Eagle Forum held a candidate forum for the 6h Congressional district candidates on March 21, 2014 in the auditorium at Westminster School at Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church. See my Eagle Forum video.

I participated in a televised debate among the 6th Congressional district candidates sponsored by the Jefferson County Republican Party, which was held at Samford University Wright Center on March 31st and carried live by Channel 13. See (i) March 31st 6th Cong'l debate on Channel 13, (ii) My 30 second answers, (iii) Making sure my candidacy is understood, (iv) Questions panelists should ask, (v) My answers to questions panelists should ask, (vi) Debate video; commentary, and (vii) Answer the questions, 6th district candidates.

I did radio talk show interviews with Matt Murphy and Richard Dixon on April 2 and 4.  You can listen to the interviews at Matt Murphy and Richard Dixon interviews.

I did an interview on Birmingham's Morning News w/ JT , which aired on April 10.  A podcast has not been posted on that Birmingham's Morning News w/ JT website.  I refer to my interview in the entry "Press release" re Congress stopped functioning 3 years ago.

In mid-April, I made extensive comment on the campaign positions on issues of the other candidates. See
"Press release" re Rep. DeMarco's issue positions"Press release" re Will Brooke candidacy, and Positions of Beason, Mathis, Palmer and Vignuelle .

I participated in a WERC candidate forum on April 21st, held at Hoover High School.  See WERC candidate forum preview.  WERC's podcast of the forum is in two parts:  Part 1 and  Part 2.  Plus My Fox clips.

The Editorial Board had a meeting with the candidates on April 21st. Following that meeting, submitted a question to each of the candidates, and requested that the candidate reply with a 600 word essay, to be posted on the website, with opportunity for reader interaction. Go to questions and answers.  My essay answer to my question is posted on here, and I included a link back to a series of entries in this campaign blog, which series of entries can be accessed starting here.

The Editorial Board made a further request for submission to the Editorial Board. See editorial board candidate endorsements.

I did radio interviews with Dale Jackson on April 24 and May 1. Links for audios of these interviews may be found at Can Dale Jackson Handle the Truth? and A must listen podcast.

The Birmingham Federalist Society solicited a possible forum with the candidates. I sent a reply email. See
Possible Federalist Society discussion with the candidates.

As of May 11th, there has been a steadfast refusal of the other candidates to respond to my campaign charges or to comment on anything else I have said in my campaign, and the other candidates have essentially ignored me. This is documented in numerous entries in this campaign blog. Some of these entries can be found by going ot the entry Dear Cheryl re RWOT May 1 candidate forum and following links set forth in that entry.

Further, no panel moderator has asked any candidate to respond to my campaign charges or comment on anything else I have said in my campaign. Also, to my knowledge, no newspaper, radio talk show, or TV news has asked any of the other candidates to respond to my campaign charges or comment on anything else I have said in my campaign.

"Press releases"  

Go to  "Press releases"

My campaign platform 

My campaign is focused and unitary.

In brief form, my campaign statement is this::
My campaign charges that, in Washington DC, there is NOT government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
My campaign further charges that the causes of that condition are also causes of Congress being dysfunctional and not able to do its job properly for the American people.
I have posted these charges on the Internet, in an Open Letter to the Alabama Legislative Delegation in Washington
The open letter can be found on the Internet at this link Open letter to Alabama delegation in Washington.
Senator Shelby has made a non-response response to my charges. For more information, go to Response of Senator Shelby to open letter..
Neither Senator Sessions nor Representative Bachus has made a response to my open letter.
The six other candidates in the 6th district (Scott Beason, Paul DeMarco, Will Brooke, Gary Palmer, Chad Mathis, and Tom Vigneulle) have thus far been silent about my charges. 
Voters in the 6th Congressional district should demand that the validity (or not) of my charges be debated by the candidates, and the voters should decide what they think about my charges and take their conclusions into account as they see fit in casting their vote on June 3rd.
I am endeavoring to press the other candidates in the 6th Congressional district. On February 27th, I sent this email message to them:
Dear Fellow 6th Congressional District Candidates (except Scott Beason, who has not provided me an email address):
Senator Shelby's Washington office called me and provided me a telelphonic response to my "open letter" to the Alabama legislative delegation in Washington. I have memorialized Senator Shelby's response in this blog entry Senator Shelby's response to open letter.
Senator Shelby's response to the open letter, it seems to me, provides no help in deciding whether my campaign platform has substantial validity for 6th district voters and whether debate about my campaign platform should or should not be considered important by the candidates and voters in the 6th district.
It remains to be seen whether Senator Sessions or Representative Bachus will respond and help the 6th district candidates and voters in trying to decide whether my campaign platform is important to debate.
Our lawmakers in Washington have the greatest knowledge and understanding about how the political system and Congress work in Washington, but if they are not forthcoming, the 6th district candidates and voters will need to try to understand and decide on their own, as best they can.
I am continuing to develop in my blog my diagnosis and explication of why there is not government "of, by and for" the people in Washington and why Congress is dysfunctional and unable to do its job properly for the American people.
I continue to urge that this should have primacy, because, until these conditions are improved, a dsyfunctional Congress will continue impaired and unable to act on good ideas for addressing the country's pressing problems. The country does not lack for good ideas, including good ideas that some of you began to present at the two candidate events that have taken place thus far. The problem is not lack of ideas, but rather a dysfunctional Congress.
"Dysfunctionality" of Congress is not a brand new thing. Congress has been failing to do its job properly for the American people for more than a decade, and the failure is getting worse. In the vernacular, "cans" have been "kicked down the road" too long (i.e., Congress has failed to do its job properly to proactively manage pressing problems confronting the country), and there comes a point of abrupt and shocking externally driven developments (e.g., the rest of the world becoming unwilling to buy U.S. debt except at sky high interest rates, and the Federal budget becoming an ultimate nightmare), that largely dictate "solutions," and "management" of the problems is no longer in the hands of Congress.
I continue to press the 6th district candidates to react to my campaign platform. Thus far, there seems to be only silence on your part. If I am overlooking something in your campaign that I can put on my blog as your view or position, please let me know.
I have been strenuously exerting myself to publicize my platform to 6th district voters and will continue to do so. I hope you will express yourself at some point for the benefit of the voters.
[Update 3/27] See also (i) Second open letter to the Alabama delegation in Washington; (ii) Contacting AL Democratic party chairs, and (iii) Alabama Republicans and independents.

[Update 4/2]  See Time for Shelby, Sessions and Bachus to respond.

[Update 4/6]  See Answer the questions, 6th district candidates.

[Update 4/7]  See Representative Bachus' response.

What needs to be debated

1.  Is it valid to say that, in Washington DC, there is NOT government of the people, by the people, and for the people?  If there is not government "of, by and for" the people, what has caused that?  (I have initiated giving my answers to these questions in my entry What is government "of, by and for" the people?.)

2.  Are there causes of government NOT being "of, by and for" the people that are also causes of Congress being dysfunctional and not being able to do its job properly for the American people?  (This question suggests I think there is a close connection here.  I am working on my diagnosis of this in this entry The dysfunctional Congress problem.)

3.  What is the primacy and urgency for the American people for improving the foregoing conditions, because, until the conditions are improved, there will be great failures to act by Congress and/or great errors in actions that are taken by Congress and government?  (This calls for an evaluation of how "bad" the problem is.  This will be covered in the other entries mentioned here.)

4.  What should the country do to try to fix the problem?  (I am working on this question in this entry:  What the country should do.)

In this debate, it is pointed out there are many organizations and persons who believe that something is fundamentally broken in the political system, and they are making advocacy from a place outside of the Democratic and Republican parties.  There are commonalities and there are differences in the advocacy that these organizations and persons are making.  I too believe something is fundamentally wrong that the country needs to try to fix, and I have commonalities with these other organizations and persons.  I will post information about these other organizations and persons, which can be accessed by clicking on label A4.1 Activities of others.

My primary citation to voters in this debate is Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Lessig's short book Lesterland: The Corruption of Congress And How To End It and  his 20 minute companion video that is here.  I am also compiling other resource material that voters should consider reading in posts under Label A4.2 Resource materials .

It is appropriate to tip my hand in the debate.

I believe the problem at bottom is the age old bugaboo of money in politics, and that this bugaboo has become a monster that is destroying the ideal of government of, by and for the people, and causing Congress to be dysfunctional and not able to do its job properly for the American people is.

I also say that I believe the First Amendment right of free speech is of paramount importance for the country, and I do not advocate a solution of public funding of elections that has the effect of abridging the right of free speech.  I believe the money monster in politics can be tackled, while preserving the right of free speech.

In this debate, I think incumbent lawmakers are most knowledgeable about the problem, I have disseminated this Open letter to the Alabama legislative delegation in Washington to try to obtain their views about the problem.  Currently, only Senator Shelby has responded, and his response was not enlightening.  Go to Senator Shelby's response to open letter.

The political class in DC will not fix it

Central to my campaign platform is that the political class in Washington DC and the cohorts of the political class (lobbyists and others) personally benefit from there NOT being government of, by and for the people, and from the dysfunctionality of Congress and government.

Because of their personal benefit, the political class in Washington will not undertake of its own accord any serious examination of, and discussion and debate about, these matters that are of primacy and great urgency for the American people.  Only the citizens, acting in concert, can force the political class to participate in a national debate about the same and to propose something to the American people to be tried to correct the problems.

What should the country do to try to fix the problem?

Deciding what the country should do entails first evaluating how "bad" the problem is for the American people.

If it is agreed that there is a "bad" problem, the hard part is figuring out what the country should do to try to "fix" the problem.

My candidacy seeks to engender discussion and debate about how "bad" the problem is for the American people and, based on that, what the country should do to try to make government in Washington "of, by and for" the people and to lessen the dsyfunctionality of Congress.  I am developing my own thinking in the entry What the country should do.

Addressing the country's many other serious problems

I have described above and in the linked entry The dysfunctional Congress problem how the political class benefits from and exploits and exacerbates the dysfunctionality and engenders  an "us against them" mentality, which turns every issue, and positions on issues, into being part of an "us against them" war.  Dialogue, debate, and the taking of positions are warped.  This must be examined and understood, both at the top and the bottom.  On numerous important issues, I advocate that the warp and distortion get cleared out from both sides, and then for a properly functioning Congress to address and pass laws about the issues, under government that is  "of, by and for the people."  [I will elaborate this is a separate entry that  I will compose in due course.].

My campaign strategy

The population of the 6th Congressional district is close to 700,000.  In largely uncontested general elections over the past decade, the number voting in the general election in the 6th district has been 200,000 to 300,000.  In the 2012 primary election,  about 105,000 voted in the Republican primary, Spencer Bachus getting about 60,000 votes, Scott Beason about 30,000 votes, David Standridge 12,000 votes, and three others splitting the remainder.  About 7500  voted in the Democratic primary.  In the general election in November 2012, about 310,000 voted, with about 220,000 voting for Spencer Bachus and 88,000 for Penny Bailey, the Democratic candidate.

There are seven candidates in the 2014 Republican primary.  I am an unknown.

The approval ratings of Congress are abysmally low (a 10% approval rating or less).  It is fair to say that Americans are disgusted with their Congress, but they are resigned that they can't do anything about it.

A Congressional campaign based on the disgust of American people for their Congress lacks viability, because it will be seen as a losing cause, if not a joke.  Those persons who have vested interests in who is elected, and who are a source of campaign funding (put these persons at about 1% of the electorate), will be assiduously working on identifying and supporting a candidate who they think has a decent chance and will best support their respective interests.  The remaining 99% will largely vote according to their inertia, which will include voting their side of "us against them" purveyed by their political elite, and are a hard, hard case to budge out of their inertia.

Under the foregoing mentality, I have zero viability.

I have an advantage.  I don't care about that.  I believe I have a campaign statement that has a chance of catching on so that I do have a chance on June 3rd and I am extremely curious to find out what my Internet political campaign is able to produce.

To have I chance, I have to catch on.

First, I have to catch on in the 6th Congressional district before June 3rd.

If I can catch on in the Alabama 6th Congressional district before June 3rd, notice may be taken outside the Alabama 6th Congressional district about what is going on here.  If that happens before June 3rd, there is no telling what will happen on June 3rd.

So, my paramount purpose is to "catch on" in the 6th district before June 3rd.

I am and will be pushing as hard as I can to catch on in the 6th district before June 3rd.

What you can do to help

If I have caught on with you, you can help me catch on with others.  Just contact me at, and we can easily come up with a way for you to help.

If you don't want me to know you are helping, you can obviously proceed to email your friends and acquaintance about my candidacy.

If you are on LinkedIn, invite me to be a connection.  My LinkedIn page is here.

See the entry Getting the other candidates to respond.

What I will do if elected  

I would say that, if the voters in the Alabama 6th Congressional district voted for the platform in the primary election on June 3rd, that would make for a significant message that would get publicized nationally and that could affect the general Congressional elections in November around the country.  If I win on June 3rd, I would expend great effort urging Congressional candidate around the country s to espouse a similar platform as mine.

If I win on June 3rd, I would urge voters in the 6th Congressional district to pay attention to what is going on in the rest of the country leading up to the November election. 

If I am elected to Congress in the November general election, I would be at the bottom of the Congressional totem pole in Washington and the effect of my platform on what happens is entirely dependent on how much support the platform has among voters around the country and how that is manifested in the general election in November.

There is a good chance my platform will have zero effect in Washington, and further I will be viewed with disfavor by those at the top of the Congressional totem pole (assuming they even know who I am).

Let's say my platform results in zero effect in Washington, and my job is to represent the interests of the voters in the Alabama 6th Congressional district as best I can.   Currently, I know little about what voters in the 6th Congressional district consider important to them that I need to know about in doing my job in Washington.  I would want voters in the 6th district to tell me what they consider important and that I should be paying attention to.  I would hope retiring Representative Bachus would give me the benefit of the knowledge and experience he accumulated from his years in Congress.

Voters in the 6th Congressional district will, in some cases, have conflicting interests.  I would want to do weigh and balance the conflicting interests.  Banks and bank regulation is as an example, regarding which, in casting any legislative vote related to the same, I would try to weigh and balance.

I would should for as much transparency as possible regarding what I do in my job.

To help me with a sense of the job of a Congressman, I have read and am thinking about a letter that Congressman Mo Brooks has on the front page of his campaign website and that I have copied and pasted here.

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