Skip to comments.Homeschoolers hit campaign trail; GOP leader: 'By far, the best grass-roots workers in the nation'
Posted on 09/13/2004 10:17:48 PM PDT by JohnHuang2
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
By Art Moore
© 2004 WorldNetDaily.com
As labor unions once again mobilize activists to campaign for Democratic candidates, a small, but increasingly potent grass-roots force on the other side of the political spectrum is emerging from the burgeoning homeschool movement.
Students campaigned for GOP candidate Jay Dickey in Arkansas two years ago.
The army of eager teen activists is called Generation Joshua, a program launched this year by the Virginia-based Home School Legal Defense Association.
Generation Joshua director Ned Ryun son of the famous track star and Republican Kansas congressman, Jim Ryun believes homeschool students have the activist traits that make outstanding citizens and leaders because of their hands-on experience in the battle for homeschool freedom.
As WorldNetDaily reported, an unprecedented new study of 7,300 adults who were homeschooled showed homeschool graduates work for candidates, contribute to campaigns and vote in much higher percentages than the general population of the United States.
Estimates of the number of homeschoolers in the country range as high as 2.5 million.
Ryun said the "Joshua" is a reference to the biblical hero who led the nation of Israel into the Promised Land.
"The adult generation of the homeschool movement are the 'Moseses' who brought the people out of Egypt," he told WorldNetDaily. "The young, second generation, are the 'Joshuas' who will help defeat the giants of abortion, same-sex marriage and judicial activism."
Generation Joshua's aim, to "help tomorrow's leaders elect today's," is carried out through civics education, voter registration and Student Action Teams, which campaign for candidates.
"We want to give the young people a vision and a hands-on opportunity to make a difference now, including young people who are not even of voting age," Ryun said.
Members, who sign up online, can participate as much or as little as they wish, he added.
The program is designed for students 14-19 years of age, but those a year or two younger and anyone older can join.
"We encourage and welcome all students, home, private and public schooled," the group says on its website.
The most active students join Student Action Teams, which are funded by a political action committee, HSLDA PAC.
Ryun said about 1,300 have signed up for the teams, and he hopes to have about 50 to 200 campaign in each of more than a dozen races.
'Allowed us to win'
While Generation Joshua is new, already, like-minded students have a proven track record, in evidence by the accolades from candidates assisted by the seven teams of homeschool and Christian college students that worked on federal House and Senate races in 2002.
Republican campaign official Jim Terry said, according to Ryun, "By far, the best grass-roots workers in the nation are homeschoolers. They will give you 100 percent, 10 to 12 hours a day."
Terry's National Republican Congressional Committee, a 527, or "soft money" group, supports the election of Republicans to the House through direct financial contributions to candidates and Republican Party organizations.
In 2002 in Kentucky, House candidate Geoff Davis said his team of homeschool and college students was worth four to eight points in a race he ended up losing by a slimmer margin than expected. Based on his promising run, Davis is back again this year vying for the District 4 seat.
GOP officials in Missouri two years ago credited a team of 90 students with putting Sen. Jim Talent over the top. A party official said the student project "allowed us to win," increasing voter turnout by at least 15 percent in southwest Missouri.
A team of 60 in New Mexico helped turn a neck-and-neck race into a 12-point win for Republican Steve Pearce in a Democrat-dominated district.
Michael Farris, founder of the HSLDA, says Generation Joshua will carefully screen the races in which it places volunteers.
"Only candidates who are pro-homeschooling, favor the original intent of the Constitution, and possess a strong loyalty to liberty and self-government will receive our assistance," he wrote in a letter to supporters earlier this year.
Ryun said some are selected because "we think we can make a difference" but others, like Geoff Davis, "may be a long shot but we help set them up for next time."
This year, Senate campaigns by Tom Coburn in Oklahoma and Jim DeMint in South Carolina are a couple of possibilities, and some students will campaign for President Bush in the crucial swing states of Ohio and Florida.
Some students are involved in non-partisan activities, including working with their pastors to mount what the group describes as "the largest church-based voter registration drive in modern history."
Members of Generation Joshua, based on their participation and achievement, can earn awards such as scholarships to Patrick Henry College, the four-year school launched by Farris.
Membership in the program is $10 a year for HSLDA members and $20 for non-members, a fee required by federal regulations.
I want to hear about home-schoolers who are tirelessly campaigning for Democrats!
I have this group already bookmarked for my sons when they turn 14. I'm going to use it as credit towards Civics.
Great, but with this caveat: Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint are going to win. They should be working for candidates who really need the help, even if they're less pure. Politics is a game of inches, and some inches actually matter.
People who CHOOSE to send kids to government schools or "mainstream" private schools are sending the kids by choice to liberal indoctrination centers.
The only time that I would seriously work for or donate to a candidate who doesn't closely reflect my convictions is if I know or have the opportunity to get to know that candidate (i.e. local politics), and feel that I will have the opportunity to communicate my views and concerns to him after they are elected.
I will agree with you on this, though -- in general, if a candidate is sure to win or sure to lose, one's efforts are better spent on competitive races where the good guy needs help. I would just say that one can find candidates who fit this bill AND who light one's fire a little. Perhaps a candidate for Congress or the State Legislature who is in a neighboring district rather than one's own. Perhaps in a low-profile state office race...
I feel that those of us who are politically active should always be "on the hunt" for great conservative candidates who are going to be able to go to the next level of politics in our states. I'll vote for anyone I agree with -- my more serious money goes to candidates I agree with AND who have the personal characteristics and energy that are necessary to take it to the next level. While I'll take a lukewarm conservative over a Dem anyday, I'm not particularly keen on working to promote either one's political career.
This is all perfectly reasonable, but let me ask you:
What about Daschle versus Thune? Nothing I've read about Thune suggests to me that he is any better ideologically than the typical congressional Republican. But wouldn't it be a great victory -- not only psychologically, but in terms of political consequences -- if we offed Tom Daschle?
In other words, we have to look at how bad the opponent is, not only how excellent our guy is.
Makes for a good start in life.
Go Joshua Generation!
GenJosh had better go: those 2.5 million homeschooled kids are going to be paying 70% of the total take on US income taxes.
What I would point out, though, is that there is no reason why it had to be Thune this year challenging Daschle -- a much more conservative guy who had Thune's likeability, experience, and charisma would be challenging Daschle just as strongly. The problem? That individual didn't exist in SD -- and I find that fact appalling.
South Dakota's GOP is dreadful at identifying and grooming good conservative politicians. South Dakota's Democrats, on the other hand, are masters at identifying, grooming and dressing up electable liberal candidates. I think GOP conservatives in general aren't terribly good at it, but we need to get good at it if we hope to have conservative Republicans in high office.
Look at SD's neighbor, Montana: Marc Racicot chose as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor a bozo named Judy Martz. She was then the "heir apparent" when he was term limited and went to Washington to lobby and run the Bush/Cheney campaign. She was elected Gov, and has been an absolute disaster for the GOP in Montana. The GOP will probably lose the governor's slot in that state because of this disastrous choice.
Lieutenant Gov is a stepping stone to higher office in any state: lots of name recognition, etc... Why was that spot wasted on a poor candidate? You can't tell me that there wasn't a single interested smart, telegenic, conservative Republican in the entire state. Marc Racicot would have been elected with Ho-Ho the Clown as his running mate -- this was a perfect opportunity to introduce a great future rising star to Montana politics -- any rising star.
I'll stop ranting -- I'm obviously not ranting at you, but at the ineffectiveness of conservatives. I just refuse to buy any longer the wholesale "electability" justification for lukewarm Republicans, and plan to use what little time, effort, money, and influence I have to promote, at the local level, good guys who can climb the ladder and keep winning races. We need 'em.