Editor’s Note: Robert West sat down with Texas Horn contributor Garrit Blizzard for an interview. West is a Texas native and Navy veteran who currently works as an avionics engineer. He is the author of “The Five Star Plan,” a book about Texas politics The interview took place on June 25, 2021. This is part one of a two-part interview.
Garrit: So I just have a few questions that I’d like to ask you. So first, can you tell me about yourself?
Robert: I was born in Texas. About a third generation. I’m a veteran…a navy veteran. My grandfather fought in World War I from the time he was 14 to the time he was 16. He came back and went down to the Alabama-Coushatta Reservation at 15. Got into a poker game and won against my grandmother…
Robert: Yeah, she was off the reservation. So, my father and his brothers were all half Native American. When my father got back from World War II and he knew my mother from growing up in that area, they had to move to Corpus Christi to get married. Otherwise, he would have ended up as a tree ornament. So, I joined the Navy. My son joined the Marine Corps. My daughter joined the Army. So, a military family. I’ve traveled around working on aircraft electronics for 30 years. So, I’ve been all over the world. 6 months in Saudi. 6 months in Singapore. I’ve seen all kinds of different places, people, and systems. I feel blessed to be here.
Garrit: As you said, your family has a military background. How has that played a role in your belief system?
Robert: Well, I don’t know if it’s played a huge role in developing my belief system. I think my belief system led me to defend the Constitution and defend the country. That’s just grown stronger over the years. I’ve always had a keen interest in history and various forms of government. I think over 60% of the American public cannot name the three branches of government and what that leads to is if you don’t know the differences between the various forms of government. Well, none of them can be superior. If you know nothing about cars, they’re all cars. No one is better than the other. That would be impossible for one to be better than the other. So, once you study the way the different systems are set up through the ages, you realize how unique our little experiment is at just putting the average citizen at the top of the totem pole. Even the fact that we call all of our elected representatives public servants. Too many people on both sides of the equation have forgotten what “servant” means. That is what’s unfortunate and that is what has led us to where we are now.
Garrit: Yeah, it is. What would you say, going off that, was the breaking point? When did you realize, talking about your book, that we need to replace politicians with patriots?
Robert: I think when Greg Abbott instituted mandates. There is no way that you can look at those mandates and not know that they have, like, 14 different violations between separation of powers and the first articles of the Texas Constitution—that being our Bill of Rights. You look at that and go “the man (Abbott) is educated, he can read, farmers wrote [the Constitution].” You know, it is not that hard. You can’t do this, this, and this. And, he did those things. Including, shutting down the churches and all of the rest. You look at his career and, well, he’s been in office for 25 years. Well, let’s go down the list of people that we admire in the Texas government. You’ve got Bob Hall—never held an office before he was a state senator—you have Representative Slaton—never held an office before we sent him to Austin—you have President Trump—who never held an office before he was elected President—these are all people we like and they did the right things, they work hard, and they do what we expected them to do. List all of the people who have been in public service their entire life, it’s just a list of horrible representatives. If you can even call them representatives. So, when you put those two things together, when I was growing up in Texas, you didn’t see a Republican unless you paid a dollar at the state fair and looked into a jar. Ronald Reagan changed that. So, we changed out Democrats for Republicans. We haven’t seen a change. In 20 years, we haven’t seen our legislative priorities paid any attention to. You start thinking about it, well we changed from Democrat to Republican and it didn’t solve it. Well, maybe it wasn’t the Democrat/Republican thing that’s the problem. Now you look at the people who have been in office and have made a career out of it, as opposed to people who just serve. It’s night and day. I think at this point we would be better off with a lottery system. So, that became my moment. It was like “well there’s nothing else that’s worked and this is the solution, then I need to work for this.” If I am wrong about this then I don’t know what’s next. You know, MacArthur once said that “all courage is based on optimism.” So, if you lose hope then there is no hope in trying and I haven’t lost hope yet.
Garrit: I would have to agree with you. I interned this past session, down at the Capitol for Representative Slaton—great guy and a solid conservative. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I realized that…you know…that the Republicans are the problem in the legislature. You’ve got a lot of career politicians that have been there for years. My state rep is Chris Paddie and we’re never going to support him ever again. I was just dumbstruck by it. He (Paddie) was blocking Representative Slaton’s border wall bill…him and Dustin Burrows. There’s just really a lot of limp-wristed cowards in my opinion. This goes on to my next question. What is a politician and what is a patriot? How would you define those terms?
Robert: Myself, I would put myself in the patriot column. I put my hand in the air. I said that I would risk my life for this document, this country, and these people—that is my priority. It’s over party. It’s over whatever job you care to offer me. It’s over whatever amount of money you would care to offer me. I love this country. These career politicians care about their next election. They don’t care about the people. They don’t care about the party. They’ll switch parties just to keep their job. They’ll move to keep their job. They’ll betray you, me, beliefs, wives, children, anything to keep that job. The most important thing to them is their next election and the one after that. To me, that is despicable. I can’t even imagine that thought process. When you realize it, if you think about it, you don’t have a career…you’re a student…what do you plan on going into?
Garrit: I intend to run for office after college, but before that, I would preferably try to find something in the private sector. I really like economics. So, something along those lines.
Robert: Fan of Thomas Sowell I take it?
Garrit: Yes, I am.
Robert: Brilliant man…brilliant man. His biography is so inspiring. What I was trying to get at is that somebody who went through engineering school or medical school, we’re not just going to roll all of the tools of our trade into the river and start a brand new career. In most cases that would be ridiculous. It would be a waste of time. We would have to start all over. These career politicians who pick out a college, and I don’t want to put you in this category because you seem like a nice person, but if you pick out a college based on their political science program in high school, most of these people don’t have deeply held beliefs when they’re teenagers. They plan their career out. So, they’ve got their political science degree, they have their law degree, they’ve won a few smaller offices, and now they’re going for something that will pay the bills. Say it’s congress, say it’s senate, once you’ve set your life up around that, and it’s a career, it is very hard to say, well rather than go against my beliefs and my morals and my constituents, I will switch jobs now. It’s just that much harder to stay pure and to stay true to yourself. So, that is what I look at in a career politician.
Garrit: That leads into my next question. I know in your book, I don’t know how many you said, but I had the same feeling while I was working at the Capitol. There are only a handful of good representatives. So, who would you say are the patriots and who are the politicians?
Robert: I could rattle off a few. You’ve got Representative Slaton, Senator Hall, Representative Tinderholt (most of the time), but even with these people, you know once you’re down there for a while they get to be…I don’t know if you’ve ever heard about the behavioral experiment with the monkeys in the 50s but they put five chimpanzees into a room with clean food and water if you don’t mind eating dog food all of the time, and they hung bananas from the ceiling and put in a bunch of crates. Well, of course, the monkeys started stacking up the crates to reach the bananas, but every time they would touch a crate they would get sprayed down with cold water. The chimpanzees hate that. So, eventually, they stop touching the crates. They pulled one of the chimps out and put a new one in. Well, the new chimp sees the bananas and goes for the crates and the other monkeys beat the new chimp up because they don’t want to be sprayed with cold water. Eventually, they took out the last monkey that had ever seen the cold water (they did this one at a time ). So, now you have five new monkeys that have never seen the cold water being sprayed on them. The new one goes directly to the crates and the rest of them jump on him and beat him up. At some point in the process, I’m sure in monkey talk, he said “what are you doing” and all of the rest of them went “well, that’s just the way we have always done it around here.” So, after someone is in that environment for a while things become…their reality changes. A good example of that is Bob Hall was giving a speech about the Sunset Commission. He said theoretically these agencies that no longer serve a function will go away, but nothing is more permanent than a government agency. So, we can trim them or we can change their goals. We can trim around the edges, but we realistically can’t get rid of them. That’s the first time I have ever heard him utter those words. Before, when he went in there, his goal was to get rid of these useless agencies and now he has realized that it’s just not possible. As much as I admire Bob Hall, as soon as you have that mindset that it’s not possible, you’re just not going to try as hard. So, that’s sort of sad. That’s what I’m looking at, even for someone who’s been in as…as much as I admire the man (Bob Hall) and in as short of a time he has been in Austin, it has already affected how he looks at things. At that point, I think we need to trade people out and send more people down there. The other problem is that a majority of people down in Austin are attorneys. There’s nothing wrong with attorneys per se, but you have one mindset looking at every problem from every different direction. Attorneys from a career standpoint get paid more the longer something takes to fix. There is no completion bonus for an attorney. If it gets dragged on for years they get paid for years. Somebody like Bob Hall, he is an engineer, he sees the process he wants to change it so the bad things don’t happen again and again. Bryan Slaton has a ministerial background, so he wants to change things so it helps people out—he wants to keep the churches open. I’m a repair person, I see things that are broken and I want to fix them. If it’s a useless part, I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I want to throw it away. So, everybody has got a different view and all of us working together can do better than just a bunch of repair persons or just a bunch of engineers or just a bunch of attorneys. That variety is important to me.
Garrit: Absolutely, I have never really thought about attorneys in that way. As you have stated in your book, you are in favor of term limits. I know that you ran for congress here in the 4th Congressional District of Texas. Do you ever plan on running again for any office?
Robert: My wife never plans on me running again. I don’t plan on running again, and I definitely am not running again any time soon, but never say never. Two years ago I was on this property, I’ve got 28 acres in the middle of nowhere. I’ve got a dirt road that if it rains I don’t get mail. My closest neighbor is half of a mile away. I planned to stay here, lock the gate, and enjoy time with my wife now that both of my kids are grown. If you want to hear the beautiful sound of God’s laughter, find a quiet place and carefully explain your plans to him. So, when the CD 4 selection process came up, I looked at the people that were running and I didn’t see people that live around here. I didn’t see people that I work with. I didn’t see anyone that ever worked with their hands. I mean, some great people were running, we eventually had 22-24 people in the process. But, the ones that I saw were attorneys and they were from Rockwall. We’ve had an attorney from Rockwall in Congress for about 60 years. Rockwall has been very well represented for the last half of a century. However, when I went to Texarkana they said “well, they’ve forgotten about us,” and I said “you’re being optimistic. Those people have never even discovered you.” It was true. I didn’t see my congressman. I never saw my congressman. He was an attorney. John Ratcliffe was by all accounts if you look at his voting record, he did a good job. If you listen to the things he said, he did a good job. But, when you look at the committees he served on…uh foreign affairs, intelligence, anti-terrorism, border issues…they had nothing to do with Northeast Texas. I think one committee he sat on was timber. Ok, I’ll give you a point. Now, you know and I know that to get on these committees there is a lot of hard work and horse-trading that goes on to get these assignments. These assignments only apply as a checklist for his resume for the job that he really wanted—which was Director of National Intelligence. So, for five years on our dime, he built his resume to get that job. Then, he left for that job. Well, where do your loyalties lie? All that hard work and horse-trading should have been for our benefit not for his own. When I said that in Rockwall, I was surely expecting people to throw rotten fruit at me because that is not what they want to hear about their own guy. That’s not the reaction I got. I got the reaction of “thank God somebody said it.” So, that was refreshing and a surprise to me. You look at Pat Fallon (who eventually won that selection process). Here’s a man who was a State Senator in the middle of Covid, and he abandoned that job to spend months running for congress in a different district than where he lived. Well, Bob Hall was up on the stage—Bob Hall had been traveling the state contacting doctors, putting together videos, saving lives, taking our governor to court to protect our rights. I call him the James Brown of state senators because the man never rests, he works harder than I do—and people in the audience would look up at Bob Hall and say “man, that is the best state senator ever. He’s working so hard.” I said “yeah, all through Covid he didn’t stop. He just worked hard. He represented his people. He traveled everywhere and did all of these things. I wish we had another state senator that could have backed him up a little bit—maybe Pat Fallon?” They just looked at me weirdly. They were all just Pat Fallon supporters. How do you think you’re going to take a bad state senator and come up with a good congressman? The other delegates couldn’t explain it, but Ted Cruz said to go and vote for Fallon, and they did. It was saddening to me. So, I don’t know, I was a bit relieved that I didn’t get it. Now, I am happy about not getting it. I try to look at the glass half full. God is in charge. He set this up for a reason. What’s the reason? You know what, we’ve got almost two years where we don’t have to worry about the “emerald city.” We don’t have to look at DC. We can spend two years cleaning up Texas without the distractions, and that is what I set out to do. We have for the last few months been concentrating on Texas. We’ve gone to several counties, as a voter, just to ask these counties to censure Greg Abbott for his constitutional violations. Some of these countries did it on their own and some of them needed a little push. So far we are up to 14 counties and I am very hopeful that we will have several more this month.
Garrit: Yeah, hopefully. That brings me to my next question. You’ve been quite outspoken in your opposition to Governor Abbott, to say the least…
Robert: That’s a polite turn of phrase.
Garrit: Yeah, and you’ve endorsed his primary opponent Don Huffines. So, to our readers, why should Republican voters not support Greg Abbott in his reelection bid?
Robert: Greg Abbott violated his oath of office that ended in “so help me God.” If a man won’t keep his oath to God, it’s not worth anything to me. I can roll through the Bill of Rights of Texas, I can roll through equal protection under the law, where he woke up one morning and decided that 3 million Texans, looked them in the face basically, and called them non-essential and put them out of work. So, that’s not equal protection under the law for a man, even an elected man, to decide who can work and who can’t work. That’s a violation. Maintaining the court system is a constitutional requirement. He closed those court systems down. Dallas County Appellate Court handled 1700 cases the year before Covid. During Covid, they handled 9. If I wanted to challenge the man’s actions in court, it would be very difficult. One of his actions was to close the courts down. Closing public beaches to the public—very strongly worded right in our Bill of Rights. You can’t block ingress to or egress from or close the public beaches for any reason—he did that. He sees private businesses…you don’t have to pick something up and move it to seize it. You don’t have to change the paperwork. The Texas Constitution gives you three reasons that the government can seize your property. Those three reasons are the use or enjoyment of the state or public, urban blight, or another entity that has eminent domain. The disease is not one of those reasons. So, it’s unconstitutional. The other thing is that that Section of the Constitution goes over very clearly, that restitution shall be made before the taking. We didn’t write checks to these people. They still haven’t written checks on these people. 40% of those businesses are gone forever. They’re never going to recover. Some of the people that own those businesses, looked at the kids they had in college, looked at their mortgages, looked at their bills, and decided their life insurance policy would be the solution. They took a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Because the math was simple. Either they could survive or their family could survive. But it couldn’t be both. Greg Abbott might as well have pulled the trigger on those people. That’s why I’m against it. He stands against everything I believe in about this country. He spits on the grave of everybody that gave us those freedoms. So yeah, I wouldn’t vote the man for dog catcher. And I can go on and on about constitutional violations, closing the churches down. That’s unconscionable. You know, I’ve seen tyrants that would shoot people in the back of the head. He did worse because those churches were in a time where people were lost and lonely and desperate, and they didn’t get a chance to be saved before they passed away. He didn’t sentence them to death, he sentenced them to eternal damnation. That’s not allowed under our system for a reason. Do you think of your historical figures that have outlawed churches, outlawed public gatherings, and seized private property on that biggest scale? That’s Mao, that’s Lenin and Stalin, that’s Castro. People get upset when I add Greg Abbott’s name to that list, I tell them, I didn’t add his name to that list. Greg Abbott added his name to that list. And it’s still going on. He hasn’t lifted his mandates, he has only modified them. Do you want to take a chance on reelecting a man, so he can reinstate it the next time we have a bad cold season or a variant? No, you can’t trust them. Worse, you can’t trust our representatives to rein them in. So that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been finding people who are patriots, who hold offices at whatever level and getting them to pass censure against them.
Garrit: Absolutely, so why Don Huffines and not Chad Prather?
Robert: Well, the Five Star Plan allows us to endorse as many candidates as meet the requirements. It is an odd situation to be in a place where there’s more than one candidate that’s a great guy. So I spoke to Don Huffines. He came across Dallas to meet with me for half an hour, which again two years ago if he would have said that to me, I wouldn’t believe the man would have returned my phone calls. Now he’s driving across town to meet with me. I’m like, Okay, cool. And again, I’m just a voter. So I met with him, I talked with him. He doesn’t want the position so much as he’s willing to do it. And if somebody wants one of these jobs, they probably should never be allowed to have it. But he is willing to do it. And so he read the book, he agreed with the legislative priorities. And he got that endorsement. Chad Prather is in the process of reading the book. He’s provided a review, and his review and picture and endorsement, co-endorsement, if you will, will go up on the site. There’s a Kurt Schwab that’s declared that he’s running for governor. And if he reviews the book and agrees with the legislative priorities and endorses the Five Star Plan, his name and picture will go up there. So right now, last I checked, there were about 36 million Texans more qualified to be governor than Greg Abbott. They violated zero of my rights. They violated zero their oaths to the Constitution. And they’re just better all-around candidates than Greg Abbott. He’s proven who he is and what he is. So I’ve told everybody I put out an article on it on my blog, that whoever you decide to vote for, in the republican primaries, there’s challenging Greg Abbott, send money to every challenger. The more unique voters we attract, the harder it is for Greg Abbott to get to 50% and avoid a runoff. And when it comes down to the fact that maybe my guy is running against your guy, and Greg Abbott is out of it completely. Well, then we can go to town and argue, you know, this guy voted this way or my guy did this. That’s great. Until that point until Greg Abbott is out of the running. I’m not gonna say ill about anybody running against Greg Abbott.
Garrit: As you know, Greg Abbott has been endorsed by President Trump. So, how do you convince Republicans to vote against Trump’s endorsement?
Robert: Trump was a great president, but he’s lousy at picking candidates. I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember this. But there used to be a great band called the Dixie Chicks. And I love their music. They should have kept to that. President Trump should have kept being a president and stayed out of Texas politics. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. When it comes to this. You might as well just feed a stray pitbull biscuit with gravy on your fingers just to get involved in our politics without any knowledge. I don’t think it helped Greg Abbott as much as it hurt Donald Trump. If Ted Cruz comes out and endorses Abbott, I don’t think it’ll help Greg Abbott as much as it’ll hurt Ted Cruz. True conservatives, true people that believe in the Constitution and the rule of law. They’re never going to support Greg Abbott. And you look at the results from CPAC in Florida, Greg Abbott pulled a 0, with .02% of the vote. He finished behind Mitt Romney, another great pick from President Trump. So when you finish behind Mitt Romney, you need to re-evaluate your career choice. I got part of the Zoom call. Where Karl Rove was telling Greg Abbott that he just didn’t bring enough Texans with him to Florida, and that’s why he did so poorly. And a staffer with no name spoke up out of turn and said “Excuse me Mr. Rove, 33% of the attendees were from Texas. That’s how Greg Abbott wound up with .0 2%. If 100% would have been there he would have gotten .06. Oh, and that’s assuming that the point .02 came from Texas.” Yeah, he went from angry to I can’t argue with the truth, to yeah, we’re gonna have to reevaluate how we’re doing this. So I don’t know if she has a job anymore. But boy, I bet that felt good.
Here ends part one of the interview, part two will be published next week.
Garrit Blizzard is the Editor-In-Chief of The Texas Horn. He is a senior studying government at the University of Texas at Austin. Garrit enjoys reading, listening to music, and discussing politics and economics.