PLUNKETT: Koch-Fighting In Mississippi: AFP Slings Dough To Stage Political Strut

By Keith Plunkett | June 7th, 2017 at 4:41 pm

BY: Keith Plunkett / Managing Editor

Keith Plunkett is the Policy and Communications Director for the United Conservatives Fund, and the Founder and Publisher of MississippiPEP.com.

Filed Under: AFP-Mississippi, Campaign Finance, Contributor, Culture, Elections, Endorsement, Ethics, Feature Stories, Inspirational, Keith Plunkett, Legislature, Mississippi, Mississippi PEP, Mississippi State House, Mississippi State Senate, MS State Government, Politics, Progressivism, Public Service, Republican, Russ Latino, Social Justice, Taxes

There’s Political Preening And Then There’s Results. It’s Important To Know The Difference.


Many people may or may not know I’ve been on extended leave from the political scene for a while. I still monitor it all and keep up, and I still occasionally write an article. But, I haven’t been busting my rear-end to stay on top of all the daily chatter. I’ve attended only 4 scheduled meetings and was the speaker at only one other event in the past year.

This is because I have a whole lot more chatter to keep up with these days. Nearly two-years ago my wife and I decided we were going to buy a few milk goats to keep on our property here in Flora. The few ended up being quite a few. Providing milk for the family and friends turned into a sixty head breeding operation.

Somewhere along the line our little goat “project” became an goat operation, and plans expanded as we unexpectedly found a new friend and business partner running a log-standing quality breeding farm out of Texas.

It’s been the most aggravating, sweat-drenching and incredibly rewarding thing I’ve done in a very long time. And not wholly unlike political work in that there is always something chaotic and unpredictable going on, something is always broken or soon to break, and the ones in my immediate network have the potential to make one hell of a mess!

Needless to say, I haven’t been “fully present” online for a while. I found out the hard way that smart phones are easily made inoperable by the pounding of dozens of tiny hooves, and I wasn’t all that interested in hurrying to be reconnected.

Due to the lack of engagement, I was initially confused when I did finally check in to review a backlog of email alerts, only to find as I read on that, once again, the hounds of political hell had been released on social media and the blogosphere. Apparently, things were getting out of hand for what appears to be no good reason except for the usual no good reason. The usual being heads and chests swollen from the self-importance that is a trait found more and more often among self-described “conservatives”. These actions show a pridefulness and a tendency far from what traditionalist conservative thinkers would ever countenance to be fitting of the description.

Americans For Prosperity’s Mississippi Club had reported to media outlets via a Press Release that they intended to spend a lot of money to thank Lt. Governor Tate Reeves for being the Lt. Governor and holding the big wood hammer. According to the press release had it not been for Reeves, Mississippi would have been taken over by wild dogs, the sun would not have come up, and every household would have lost access to the internet.

I had no idea things could get so out of hand in the course of just a couple of weeks. But, I guess I had better be thankful Tater-bug was holding that wood hammer. I have enough ammunition to kill wild-dogs, and I have a few flashlights to ward off the darkness, but I can’t function in life without being connected to such important information as this. Whew!

Obviously, this is not really what AFP’s head Mississippi Koch-star Russ Latino wants to thank the Lt. Governor for. But I wish I could report that it wasn’t just as silly and, frankly, a prime example why everyday working folks choose to disconnect from civic participation.

Latino–who reminds the public he is not, in fact, a “Latino,”– was instead saying ‘thank you’ to the Lite Guv for single handedly halting legislation of such unadulterated evil that it would have given the state Department of Revenue authority to collect a sales tax on internet purchases.

As a mere mortal I had no idea the disturbing threats that are battled singlehandedly by the Lt. Governor behind the scenes.


Tater VS. The Internet Tax–An Epic Battle

Amazingly, the bill had made its way past state Capitol security undetected. It then snuck into the House and used mind-waves to put Speaker of the House Philip Gunn into a trance-like state. Gunn then invited the entire House Republican Caucus up to his office. They arrived to find Gunn had laid out a huge spread in the usually off-limits upstairs Mounger Suite.

Because they had been in Jackson a month, the House Republicans were famished from having to live off of what was left of such a small daily stipend. It’s nearly impossible to manage more than a small bag of chips once a legislator has purchased his or her alcohol for the day, and kept wardrobes up to date with snappy new suits, accessories and the dry-cleaning required to keep them pristine.

Gunn invited the legislators to dive in to the feast, and they chowed down until not a morsel was left.

They left dinner extremely thankful to Gunn for feeding them. What they didn’t know is that the little bill, that little seemingly insignificant piece of legislation, was hiding behind the life-size statue of a young, muscular, Greek god-like Billy Mounger. From a hidden vantage point just behind Mounger’s loin cloth, this evil tax increase used its super powerful abilities to quietly place them all in a hypnotic state. And so, the vote for legislation to raise taxes was passed thanks to the cunning little bill’s mind manipulation powers, and it was sent to the Senate.

The legislation was sent to a Senate Committee, where it laid in wait for the next days meetings. But, it didn’t account for the dedication of one man. Late that night the evil tax increase was discovered by the always vigilant Lt. Governor as he was making his rounds shutting out all the lights in the Capitol to save on the electric bill. The tough struggle lasted all night long, and the next morning Reeves was found lying under a pile of rubble that was once the conference room table. Lying next to him was the badly battered and lifeless body of HB 480.

It was an epic battle. The power of the tax increase was strong. It had overcome every other person that could have possibly stood in it’s way with ease. But it didn’t count on one thing. He may not get to cast a vote for or against anything. But he is always on watch.

Tater-bug had killed the internet tax.


This is the story of legends. It must be remembered. It must be retold.

So you can clearly see why it was so important to thank the Lt. Governor in a very special way for sacrificing to protect the taxpayers of Mississippi. He underwent a very tough struggle against a crafty foe–with super powers no less–and it was Reeves who emerged victorious.

AFP-Mississippi decided it was the perfect time to show “good policy makes good politics” and it was decided that they would sling a Koch-load of money around for a “Not-Associated-With-Any-Election-Because-Our-Tax-Status-Won’t-Allow-It” Campaign.

That sounds expensive–you know, having to work to disguise a campaign so it won’t look like an early launch election campaign, especially for a person who’s been running for Governor since he was a cheeky little 14-year old state Treasurer.

Boy, I bet he misses those times. It must’ve been good days back then; not having to always hold the big wood hammer; spending time getting paid to pretend to be a pirate protecting treasure for bankers and bond attorneys. Back then a kid could be a kid and didn’t have to always wait around to single-handedly protect taxpayers from evil Sith Lords who disguised tax increases so well that nobody else could see them.

But, as Tate’s Uncle Ben once told him, “With great power comes great responsibility.” And lucky for us he never forgot it.


Koch-Fighting–Proving Who’s The Biggest, Baddest Rooster In The Yard

The post on social media that brought the ire of AFP’s lead Koch-leberry Latino was a relatively straightforward post that could have been answered by a relatively straightforward response. United Conservatives Facebook Page posted a link to a report on AFP’s plans for the 2017 TaterFest Parade of Superstars. The post questioned how it could be true that AFP was honoring the Lt. Governor for killing the internet tax when the Department of Revenue had already gone around the legislature and implemented the tax as a new rule through the Secretary of State’s office.

What!? That sneaky . . . You mean to tell me that there was another one!? An internet tax bill clone?

Not only was there a clone, but there had been legislation introduced to keep the Department of Revenue from proceeding with getting the clone a permanent job in the tax code. Turns out the same guy who we thought battled the evil internet tax bill, the same guy who can’t vote but somehow finds ways to singlehandedly pass legislation and kill legislation, that same guy killed the one bill that could have stopped the Department of Revenue from proceeding with the plan to tax the internet.

If this is true then that means our hero story is a lie. And our last line of defense failed. And . . . Oh my lord!!

We already paid for the party!!

Apparently in that two-week period when I was enjoying life and not subjecting myself to the moral depravity on Facebook, Russ went from a nice guy who I never thought I would see try to grow facial hair, to a nice guy who did try, turned into a bear, and then wasn’t allowed to hibernate so wasn’t very nice anymore.

Geez dude! What happened? Come to Flora and relax. We’ll turn the internet off. It’ll be okay. I’ll show you how to milk a goat.

But when somebody is just itching to be offended then it’s a good chance they’ll find an offense against them. And when someone has just dropped 5-figures to pay for a “Not-Associated-With-Any-Election-Because-Our-Tax-Status-Won’t-Allow-It” Campaign, that itch to be offended can become terribly hard to scratch.

Of course, as is the case with social media, faux outrage begets faux outrage. It turns into everybody’s excuse to be a sore-tailed bear who didn’t get to hibernate.

It’s like the Holmes County Courthouse on the day the judge hears traffic violations. Somehow each and every ticket represents a driver who was doing nothing wrong. The police just had it out for them. Somebody wanted to hurt them. That’s the only reason why the police would have been asking all them questions and why people brought up all them nasty facts. How dare they.

HOW DARE THEY BRING UP FACTS!!!!

My first thought was to just shut off the computer and go get some ice-cream. Ice-cream is better than grown-ups acting like little spoiled children, which I guess is why children are sometimes given ice cream as a reward for not acting like spoiled grown-ups. But I decided to troll the whole conversation, instead, and see to what wonderful conclusions these ‘always constructive conversations’ had arrived.

Nothing.

Just a bunch of folks talking past each other and making a lot of accusations and bringing up whose supporters were for the lottery and who was the real person behind the post and whether Chris McDaniel gave them permission and . . .

‘I know your are but what am I?’ Blah, blah, blah.

Everybody typing away. Flinging accusations about who was to blame for what, and not one damn person addressing the fact that the internet tax–that sneaky little evil bill that tricked everybody except for the guy that was going to get a parade in his honor–was actually still alive. Not just alive, but already added to state regulations!

And here’s the real kicker. Most of the commenters already knew that little fact. But you see, the difference is this: Some people are focused on politics, and some people are focused on results.

Some people are looking for props and to get patted on the back for being a good dog. Some actually want to accomplish these things we talk about accomplishing.

I want to kick the government out of everything, and I don’t want to celebrate or talk about what a good job any government official has done in cutting this or building that. That’s asking for heroes. I don’t need any heroes. I already know my heroes. They aren’t politicians. 

Many of them have gone on, but I thank God every day I had the opportunity to know them and feel their love and see their example.


While You Were Trying To Strut Your Political Stuff…

You want to know who believes in their mission with such passion that they don’t let anything or anybody stand in their way or divide them with politics?

Liberal Progressives.

Liberal and Progressive non-profits aimed at promoting the factionalism of “social justice” are working together. They approach varied demographic groups with targeted messages. They form communities of interests and assign roles and responsibilities. They work across-disciplines to target varied demographic groups and train the next generation.

They are teaching, organizing, advocating in diverse communities, and convincing others with narratives perfectly crafted through collaboration and timed to fit pre-determined themes. They use their collective might to grab the publics attention about issues they want to promote, and then at the precise time, they all heave in the same direction to force impressions upon people and the general public.

They use the connections they make to further invest in the growth of their network, and when they have supporters of their ideology in positions of influence, they use that influence to gain more influence. They aren’t stopping to throw a damn thank-you parade!

And then, when the time is right, they are positioned for results.

Liberal Progressive groups don’t approach their work as a manufacturer might look at the construction of an end-use product. There’s is a constantly higher goal raised with every repetition of innovation and outreach. And they keep on climbing.

They know they will never “arrive” to be escorted into victory lane. Their race is never over. And they keep on climbing.

And they are creating converts every day.

Progressives have broken down the walls between their organizations because they are dedicated to results, while Right-Leaning bubble-dwellers seeking coronation are too busy borrowing bricks, feverishly slathering mortar and stretching-out razor wire to keep any harm from coming to their hall of mirrors that reflect only their individual beauty and perfect talents.

It is the height of arrogance, and the depth of idiocy that drives the monopolistic thinking behind such isolation. Isolating proposed action doesn’t make that action stronger. It makes it weak. In fact, it proves its weakness.


Build Coalitions, Not Walls. Face The Scrutiny That Strengthens The Message

There are always going to be flimsy attempts by some to convince the public of their superiority. And they will try to keep unflattering details from becoming known. In the case of movements and public service, those conclusions and claims will be scrutinized and tested for veracity. And if anybody is scared of that happening, well, that’s because your message sucks!

If it can’t stand in the face of scrutiny then it needs to fall.

It is better to do this testing early rather than late. This is especially important when it comes to the presentation of ideas and policy that purports to reform the law. It can reveal an agenda that is exactly counter to the stated goal.

So, for goodness sakes guys, build a coalition instead of a wall. If you’re serious about doing what you say you are and for the right reasons, then you won’t get po’d when somebody shows you how unprepared you are, especially if they want it, too. Thank them and ask them if they will join you to make it better.

But if you aren’t doing it for the right reasons then it’s going to show. And if your honoring a champion who isn’t then people are going to know.

We Conservatives like to talk a lot about removing government from the lives of the people, freeing them to seek their own God-given purpose in life and to keep the fruits of their labor. Shouldn’t we make darn sure that’s the result we are going to get? I, for one, intend to do exactly that. Nothing gets my support or my money, otherwise.

History is littered with examples of lost opportunity because of the lack of concern for details. As the eternally quotable Ronald Reagan taught us, it’s irresponsible to blindly trust without doing the work of verifying. If you’re a Conservative and you want Liberty, then it comes with responsibility. It’s not just a responsibility to make phone calls, or knock on doors or devote a monthly amount to keep an organization afloat because somebody told you to. It’s also the responsibility to fight the temptation to take-off in lock-step blindly following a herd.

I don’t know why it is–maybe because I spent so much time there–every time I hear the old saying, “if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen,” I think of my Mamaw Lucy Plunkett. Her kitchen was always a hive of activity. It started at about 6:30 every morning and came in waves until 9:00 or 10:00 in the evening. Her’s was quite literally an open-door policy, And, boy did it got hot in there!

I’ve never thought the euphemism was intended as a demand to “get out of the kitchen”. It certainly wasn’t intended to evoke the response of grown men and women pouting like 4-year olds on social media, crying about hurt feelings or blaming a person for pointing out they have a hole in their bucket.

It is unfortunate how quickly the politics of greed, envy and pride alters a person from the inside, and how fast they run back to their hall of mirrors to “circle the wagons”.

So, before you go getting too Koch-sure over planning your next 5-figure “Not-An-Election-Related-Campaign” Campaign, it might be a good idea to tell the marketing department in Arlington, Virginia you’re also going to need to do a little more rooting for grass down here. It’s been raining every day, and it sprouts in Mississippi so fast you can almost hear it growing.

And it will only get harder to handle if you allow yourself to be convinced that you’re the only one who can do it.

Some may trust blindly. But without a doubt, many won’t until they’re given a chance to verify that there is an actual plan to get real results, and not just a celebration of self-congratulations and posing for political popularity. That will require much more than piecemeal directives, spoon-fed statistics and market-tested memes.

The kitchen door is open. If you can be open and accountable enough to answer some questions, listen to some doubts, and take a little bit of heat without resorting to a tantrum then you’re welcome to come on in. If you’re selling something that isn’t what you say it is, try another sucker.

I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.