Tag Archives: Conservatives

Speaker Boehner – What Are You Doing Up There?

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 2.37.23 AM

Is it revenge of the squishy Republicans?  It sure isn’t the reaffirmation of conservatism within the Republican Party.  On December 4, Matthew Boyle at Breitbart reported that the House GOP had begun purging conservatives from various committees.  In a time when Republicans need strong, principled conservatives to thwart the aggressive expansion of the state under Obama, Speaker Boehner and company inanely decide that they’re the problem.  Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  Squishy Republicans are part of the problem.  President and CEO of FreedomWorks Matt Kibbe aptly said at BlogCon Charlotte last spring that sometimes “you need to beat the Republicans before you can beat the Democrats.”

Kibbe made the same statement at a Young Republican event in Franklin County, PA in February of 2012.  It’s a saying that’s starting to become axiomatic, especially as these debt negotiations continue to have a repetitious character of a bad deal being countered by a delusional one.  The first salvo was fired at Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) on December 3 when “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other top Republicans were huddled in a Steering Committee meeting… that panel, which is controlled in large part by Boehner, decides who sits on the various House committees,” according to John Bresnahan Jake Sherman of Politico.

Sherman and Bresnahan added that ” Schweikert — who was en route from Arizona to Capitol Hill on Monday — will now serve on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee. Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) will replace Schweikert on the Financial Services Committee. Michael Steel, a Boehner spokesman, said a member’s voting record isn’t the sole determinant of his or her committee assignments. ‘The Steering Committee makes decisions based on a range of factors,’ Steel said” – or ones grounded in a purge list. Boyle wrote that:

in remarks to the Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers Briefing on Tuesday [Dec. 4], Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp confirmed the existence of such a list. “We’ve heard from multiple sources that someone walked in with a list of votes and said if you didn’t reach a particular scorecard of what was considered the right vote – which by the way, in most cases, was not the conservative position – then [they said] ‘we’re going to have to remove you from the committee,’” Huelskamp said.

“All that took place behind closed doors, which is again a problem with Washington, D.C. – whether it’s the budget negotiations, whether it’s everything else, it’s usually done behind closed doors,” he explained. “I think, as conservatives, this is where we can win: We’ve got to be willing and able to talk about things in public instead of being afraid of actual public scrutiny.”

Huelskamp later told Breitbart News he thinks House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Whip Kevin McCarthy owe it to the American people to be transparent about this decision making process – and that they should publicly release the list.

Breitbart’s Boyle noted that the criteria within the list is unknown.  And the name of the person who initiated the purge is unknown. FreedomWorks has been urging conservatives to demand answers from Speaker Boehner.

In the final days before the start of a new Congress, John Boehner and the Republican establishment is quietly purging crucial House committees of strong fiscal conservatives, including:

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (KS) – House Budget Committee (96% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)

Rep. Justin Amash (MI) – House Budget Committee (100% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)

Rep. David Schweikert (AZ) – House Financial Services (96% FreedomWorks Lifetime Rating)

These three principled legislators have stood with the Constitution even when it was unpopular to do so. Their dedication to the principles of lower taxes and limited government is now being punished by a Speaker who would rather concede to the big spenders in Congress instead of making the tough choices.

Call John Boehner and tell him to restore these genuine fiscal conservatives to their respective committees.

Call House Speaker John Boehner Now

Office Phone Number: (202) 225-0600

Amanda Terkel at Huffington Post wrote the conservative butcher’s bill on December 4 listing:

Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas) from the House Budget Commtitee. Reps. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) [who] lost their positions on the Financial Services Committee.

The four members are known for occasionally bucking leadership and voting against Boehner’s wishes. Amash, Huelskamp and Schweikert are popular with the conservative movement, while Jones has made a name for himself by speaking out against U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

Huelskamp and Amash were also the only GOP votes against Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget plan this year, arguing that it didn’t cut spending enough. The Steering Committee recently recommended that Ryan stay on as Budget Committee chairman.

Luckily, the Senate is safe from Boehner’s reach.  At least principled conservatives, like Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), remain in a blocking position.  Chris Moody of The Ticket, which reports on politics for Yahoo! News, wrote yesterday that Sen. DeMint “slammed House Republican leaders for the “fiscal cliff” proposal they offered earlier this week.”

“Speaker [John] Boehner’s $800 billion tax hike will destroy American jobs and allow politicians in Washington to spend even more, while not reducing our $16 trillion debt by a single penny,” DeMint said in a statement. “This isn’t rocket science. Everyone knows that when you take money out of the economy, it destroys jobs, and everyone knows that when you give politicians more money, they spend it. This is why Republicans must oppose tax increases and insist on real spending reductions that shrink the size of government and allow Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

I know I’ve said I’ll stomach slight tax hikes for now, but it seems Democrats aren’t going to budge on their end relating to families making more than $250,000 a year.  In fact, Moody wrote “Democrats dismissed it quickly, calling for a bill that would increase taxes on households earning more than $250,000 per year and more federal spending on infrastructure, which were not included in the Republican plan.”

While caving for tax hikes is one thing, purging conservatives in various House committees is another.  It’s simply irrational for Speaker Boehner to rid himself of the most vociferous defenders of freedom and limited government in Congress.  Conservatives are the vanguards against the usurpatory nature of government, and the implementation of a hyper-regulatory progressive state.  Does any rational person feel that a squishy Republican will exude the same amount of tenacity and steadfastness exhibited by a conservative?  No, they’ll cave, Democrats will gain ground, and the American taxpayer will pay for it.

Republicans can play with who is saddled with the tax hikes, and as I’ve said previously, a slight hike on anyone making over $1 million isn’t insane. But the spending cuts that follow need to be deep and enacted immediately.  Furthermore, most of those cuts need to be focused on curbing the welfare state.  However, with the climate becoming more toxic and Republican moderates declaring war on the conservative wing of the party – I’m starting to lean towards being more intransigent towards tax hikes.  If Democrats won’t come halfway, then we shouldn’t indulge them.

Nevertheless, Speaker Boehner seems to be making it all the more easier for Democrats to expand the size and scope of government.  What are your doing up there, Speaker Boehner?

Originally posted on The Young Cons.

 

 

Spielberg’s Lincoln Isn’t Pro-Obama

Screen Shot 2012-11-22 at 1.22.37 PM

As most people, I went and saw Lincoln.  I’m no fan of biopics, but this one was rather good. In fact, it was excellent.  Daniel Day-Lewis will probably win another Academy Award for Best Actor, and it was not a pro-Obama film.  Many conservatives feared that the movie would be allegorical about the 44th president.  Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner, and Doris Kearns Goodwin are liberal, but the film focused on how the 16th president delicately maneuvered to have slavery abolished in this country.  There is nothing liberal, or conservative, about this point in history.  I hope both sides would agree that slavery is unjust.

When Lincoln is told that the 13th Amendment was two votes shy of the 2/3 majority needed, he reminded the congressman, and some members of his cabinet, that those votes must be ascertained.  When questioned how to do that Lincoln said, “I am the President of the United States, clothed with immense power, and I expect you to procure those votes.”  Some of my conservative friends say that it’s a pro-Obama scene. I disagree.

Lincoln was a war president – and war presidents wield extraordinary power.  This isn’t controversial. It’s fact.  Furthermore, this film was in production for over ten years.  Spielberg bought the rights to Goodwin’s book in 2001, which is long before Barack Obama was on the national stage.

What should be noted is that the film shows how Lincoln was uncompromising on his position about slavery and its abolition.  He employed political operatives who used unscrupulous methods to secure votes for the amendment’s passage in the House.  Furthermore, it showed the political genius of Lincoln.  He carefully maneuvered through the dynamics of the 13th Amendment and the planning of the Hampton Roads Conference – which was a failed attempt to end the war in February of 1865.  The Confederate delegation insisted on their independence, and no deal was made.

However, Lincoln knew that if such news would break, the amendment would be finished.  Why pass such a poisonous amendment that everyone knew would be a deal breaker with the Confederacy?  Nevertheless, Lincoln’s considerable political acumen prevented disaster, and slavery was outlawed.

As I mentioned before, the film shows how compromise isn’t always the best option.  Furthermore, in politics, you’re going to have to get down into the gutter to get things done.  Barack Obama is always talking about compromise, or gives off the veneer that he’s willing to do so, but fails miserably at achieving his goals. He’s a loser.  Whereas, Lincoln saved the country, won the Civil War, and abolished slavery.  If liberal Hollywood wanted to make this film as a comparison to Obama, then they should have picked someone else.

Second, Obama would’ve hated the tactics Lincoln used to pass the amendment.  Third, Goodwin’s book was called Team of Rivals.  Lincoln had one of his political rivals in his cabinet, Edwin Stanton, to serve as Secretary of War, which was, and remains to be, a very powerful position since its reincarnation as Defense Secretary.

Do you think Obama would appoint a Republican to an equally powerful position under similar circumstances?  Lastly, Lincoln, as I’ve said before, accomplished his legislative goal.  The keyword is accomplished.

In the end, Lincoln is our greatest president.  Not only because he abolished slavery – but he also began the process that developed into the national identity we hold today.  After 1865, Americans began viewing themselves as Americans.  Prior to 1865, an intense regionalism was ingrained into our socioeconomic fabric where states were viewed as separate countries.  As such, without the evolution of such a uniting force, Americans wouldn’t have come together as strongly as we did during the Spanish-American War, World War II, or on 9/11.  Barack Obama is never, and will never, set forth a new identity like the one Lincoln managed to construct after winning the Civil War.  He simply can’t since he’s not American.  He is a citizen by birth, but concerning understanding the social dynamics and traditions of America – he’s as hopeless as Jefferson Davis.

Originally posted on The Young Cons.

Fear Thy Primary

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 3.13.37 PM

Sen. Saxby Chambliss has decided to part company with Grover Norquist.  In so doing, he invites a primary challenge.  Representatives Paul Broun, Tom Price, and former secretary of state Karen Handel have all been maneuvering to oust Chambliss from his Senate seat in 2014.

Joshua Miller at CQ Roll Call reported on November 19 that conservatives just aren’t happy with Chambliss. Debbie Dooley, national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, did not equivocate: “Senator Chambliss is not very popular among a lot of the conservative grass roots.”

Conservatives “don’t feel he’s as conservative as the base is,” said Virginia Galloway, the state director for the Georgia branch of Americans for Prosperity. “Sometimes when he sees himself being a statesman, conservatives see him as being a sellout.”

CQ roll call continued:

The crux of the base’s concern is Chambliss’ history of reaching across the aisle to work on solutions to issues such as immigration and federal debt. Another thing that rankled some of the base: his involvement in the bipartisan effort to come up with a solution to the debt ceiling crisis as part of the “gang of six.”

Chambliss will almost certainly have a primary challenger from the right. But over the next months, the decisive factor in determining his true vulnerability is whether a GOP congress member will run or whether Chambliss will face off against a less-formidable challenger.

Heck, even conservative blogger Erick Erickson considered challenging Chambliss, but decided to take a pass last week. Aaron Blake at The Washington Post listed four reasons why Chambliss is a vulnerable incumbent on November 30.

1. While it’s not clear who might have the wherewithal to challenge Graham, there are plenty of candidates ready to challenge Chambliss. Price and Broun both have very conservative records, and Handel, of course, has a statewide resume.

2. Chambliss had a weak showing in 2008. Despite being an incumbent, he ran a few points behind Sen. John McCarin (R-Ariz.) at the top of the ticket and actually needed to go to a runoff to keep his seat against Democrat Jim Martin, who wasn’t seen as a top-tier opponent. (Chambliss did beat Martin by double-digits in the runoff, for what it’s worth.)

3. He’s from South Georgia. Chambliss is from Moultrie, which is very far from Atlanta and from most of the state’s population centers. Thus, it seems logical that a candidate from the Atlanta area could beat him by regionalizing the race.

4. He’s got a tone problem. While Chambliss has got a largely conservative record, he’s hardly a conservative favorite. In fact, when it comes to the National Journal vote ratings, Chambliss has scored more conservative than Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) the last two years, and he was tied for the most conservative senator in 2010.

While I’m not so up in arms about him filing a petition for divorce from Grover Norquist, the reality that Chambliss unpalatable to the conservative grassroots is a problem.  The power of the incumbent is omnipresent in elections; but if he, or she, finds that their relationship with the grassroots is shaky – then they should either update their resumes or quickly get cozy with them.

Money is a powerful asset, but former Senator Dick Lugar (R-IN) outspent his Republican challenger, Richard Mourdock, by a 3-to-1 margin and still lost the primary.  In fact, Lugar was shellacked.  This is what happens to representatives that anger or become disconnected with grassroots organizations.

Mr. Chambliss isn’t a conservative favorite. But to say that his conservatism poses a liability, as stated by Blake, is wrong.  Republicans should primary each other based on that notion.  However, if they have a history of selling out, or working too closely with the other side, then by all means initiate the purge.  We have an American party and a European one.  Bipartisanship is very overrated under these circumstances.

Obama, GOP Throw Their Dogs In The Ring

Screen Shot 2012-12-04 at 2.48.19 PM

I’m sure a lot of you exuded similar reactions to the president’s laughable fiscal proposal to prevent the nation from going over the cliff.  He asked for $50 billion in additional stimulus and $1.6 trillion in tax hikes “as part of any ‘fiscal cliff’ deal,” according to CNBC.  In all:

The plan calls for $1.6 trillion in new tax revenue over the coming decade, extending the 2 percentage point payroll tax deduction or something comparable to it, and $50 billion in stimulus spending on infrastructure projects.

The White House seeks $960 billion over the coming decade by increasing tax rates and taxes on investment income on upper-bracket earners, and $600 billion in additional taxes.

The only new spending cuts in the plan would come from administration proposals curbing health-care programs by $400 billion over the coming decade and modest cuts from non-health programs like farm subsidies and cutting Postal Service costs and through higher fees on airline tickets.

The plan would also boost spending by extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, deferring looming cuts to Medicare payments to physicians, and helping homeowners refinance “underwater” mortgages.

Geithner also requested the equivalent of a permanent extension of the government’s borrowing ability to avoid wrangling over the issue as in last year’s summertime crisis over raising the so-called debt limit.

Tax increases, more stimulus, and a black check on raising the debt limit.  Yeah, hell no.  It never ceases to amaze me how the president seems to forget that his mandate, if he had one, is a hollow shell.  Obama was re-elected by the 47%, who don’t pay federal taxes, while most of the Tea Party caucus in the House were re-elected as well.  Thus, the tax hike fire Obama stoked on the campaign trail was tempered by the fact that the American people re-elected a vociferously anti-tax Republican majority.  According to The Hill, they reported on December 3 that the Republican counteroffer included “$2.2 trillion [in cuts] with a combination of spending cuts, entitlement reforms and $800 billion in new tax revenue.”  Both dogs are in the ring.

Republican officials said their offer amounted to $4.6 trillion in deficit reduction when compared directly to the White House offer, which they emphasized was more than what the White House had put on the table.

In its own deficit plan, the White House counts legislation that has already been enacted, savings from future interest on the debt, and savings from the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Republicans do not count those as new savings, so their offer amounts to $2.2 trillion in future deficit reduction.

The $800 billion in new tax revenue matches what Boehner offered Obama during their 2011 negotiations for a grand bargain. Republicans are keeping to their opposition to tax rate increases, and aides said Monday they believe that $800 billion can be raised from the wealthy through other means, which their offer does not specify.

Senior Republican aides argued that their offer represented a “fair middle ground” because unlike the White House, they did not use their budget proposal as their opening bid. The House budget contains no revenue increases and included far-reaching changes to Medicare and Medicaid that Democrats consider non-starters.

So, there we have it.  We have two deals.  One is bad. The other is delusional.  Concerning Medicare, we all know that the program poses the most serious threat to our long term financial solvency.  As ABC’s Cokie Roberts said on This Week last Sunday, the nation lacks an appropriate amount of young people to keep the elderly on these programs at the current rate.  Alas, a liberal agrees that Mr. Arithmetic, not Mr. Ryan – or Mr. Republican – is the enemy of Medicare.  However, forty-two liberal members of the House have signed on to a bill that prohibits any spending cuts  to the welfare state.  It’s a game of give and take, as well all know – and I’m hoping a deal be finalized before December 31.  Furthermore, I’m hoping more Democrats see the way of Cokie Roberts when it comes to entitlement spending.

Glenn Reynolds (aka Instapundit), had a few suggestions for the GOP in his op-ed column featured in USA Today on December 3.

1. Adopt the Bowles-Simpson Plan. The plan was the product of a bipartisan commission, chaired by Democrat Erskine Bowles and Republican Alan Simpson, appointed by President Obama to address America’s ballooning deficits and national debt. Most experts agree that it’s a pretty good plan. President Obama didn’t like it because it shrinks government too much.

Tough. It’s a plan, which is more than President Obama has offered, and from a bipartisan commission he appointed. Can Obama get away with vetoing that? Can Senate Democrats get away with rejecting it and bringing on the automatic cuts and tax increases of the sequester? Doubtful. Plus, though the press tends to cover for Obama and blame Republicans, media types love Bipartisan Commissions.

2. Tax the revolving door. I mentioned earlier that Washington is getting richer while the rest of the country gets poorer. (And others are noticing this). One reason why this happens is the revolving door — people shuttle between government, where they make rules governing business, and lobbying, where they make money by taking advantage of those rules.

Well, if you want less of something, tax it. So I recommend a 50% “excess salary” surtax on the earnings of government officials on the Executive Schedule — cabinet and subcabinet officials, mostly — in excess of their government salaries for the first five years after they leave. So, leave a cabinet job paying about $200,000 for a job paying $1 million a year, and the government will take half the $800,000 difference.

[…]

3. Make Hollywood Pay Its Fair Share. At the DNC, actress Eva Longoria offered to pay more taxes. Well, back during that Eisenhower era that the Dems are so nostalgic for, there was a 20% excise tax on movie theater revenues. It was established to help pay off the post-World War II debt. Now we’re in debt again. Bring it back. For added fun, extend it to DVD sales, movie downloads and music on CDs and over the Internet. As a great man once said, at some point, you’ve made enough money. If we need more tax revenue, who better to pay it than Hollywood fatcats with their swimming pools and private jets?

In the meantime, the clock is ticking.

Republicans Will Have to Swallow Tax Hikes

Screen Shot 2012-11-29 at 12.21.57 PM

As I’ve said previously, I hate tax increases, but I’ll settle if a 10:1 deal is reached.  Ten dollars of spending cuts, including welfare state cuts, for every one dollar raised in revenue.  It’s a rational deal.  If we can retake the Senate, and maintain our majority in the House; then perhaps we can discuss making other changes more palatable for the job creating and investing class.  However, in this brief time where I am open to such compromise, the chances of such a deal is unlikely.  But I’m still holding an optimistic grin.

Yes, Democrats will get what they want of we go off the cliff – and Republicans will be blamed for it. Joel Pollak at Breitbart described how Republicans were failing ‘negotiation 101.’  In his November 27 post, he wrote that Republicans need to focus on:

Framing the debate. The negotiations are now about the meaning of “revenue,” rather than about how to reduce runaway federal spending. President Obama says “revenue” and means increases in tax rates for the wealthy; when House Speaker John Boehner uses the same term, he means cutting loopholes and deductions while keeping rates the same. But both sides are talking about making the rich pay more to close the gap.

Aside from the fact that the wealthiest Americans bear a disproportionate share of the federal income tax burden–disproportionate even to their disproportionate wealth–and the fact that taxing the rich at a 100% rate would not solve the deficit and debt problem, there is a principle at stake here: that the government does not have an inherent claim to wealth and income that Americans have earned through their own labor and risk.

Arguably, the wealthy–like the rest of us–owe only for what provides the opportunity for all to earn and enjoy income in safety. Furthermore, too much of today’s public spending hurts the public–creating waste, reinforcing cronyism, and building dependency. But Republicans lost the chance to frame the debate around spending last year when they dropped the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan after obstruction from the Democratic Senate.

It’s true.  The job creating and investing class pay a disproportionate share of the taxes, but Mitt Romney lost.  President Obama campaigned heavily on raising taxes on the wealthy, and he won that argument on November 6.  This was due to Republicans not making the argument against such hikes.  Furthermore, there wasn’t even a single ad in the ’12 cycle that hit Obama on his hypocrisy surrounding the Bush tax cuts.  He extended them in December of 2010, which was a tacit agreement of Republican economic policies, regardless of the ‘hostage’ talk – which was pure drivel. I agree with Pollak that the government is taxing too much of Americans’ hard-earned money, and that it’s immoral for members to say that those monies are government property, but there was an election about this – and we lost.

In short, the reason why Republicans will be forced to raise taxes is due to the fact that we have poor leadership and bad messaging.

Media and culture. Democrats blocked “Cut, Cap, and Balance”–but the Tea Party was blamed for obstructionism. Obama destroyed a grand bargain by insisting on increased tax rates–but House Republicans suffered more media criticism when ratings agencies lowered the U.S. credit rating a few days later. Today, more Americans blame the GOP for the fiscal cliff impasse even though the sequester was Obama’s original proposal.

More is at work here than simple media bias. The Democrats have consciously pursued a media and cultural strategy to reinforce the idea that Republicans are the guardians of the rich–even though the wealthiest are actually a Democratic constituency. In the summer and early fall of 2011, for example, after the downgrade and with the economy creating net zero jobs, Occupy Wall Street began–and the Democrats latched on.

The movement failed, but Democrats salvaged the “99% vs. 1% meme,” setting a trap that Mitt Romney fell into with his comments about the “47 percent” last spring. Obama has also made the effect of spending cuts visceral for many Americans; Republicans have failed to describe the cost of debt in similar terms. That media and cultural edge allows Obama to rig the game in his favor. It’s time Republicans found an answer.

Here is the answer is simple.  It’s time to have a Reagan throwback.  Not necessarily on everything during the Reagan administration, but reconnecting with  middle class Americans.  Conservatives and Reaganites were a coalition of blue collar, middle class, ordinary, and right-of-center Americans – who took a liking to a lot of Republican policies.  For example, it explains the Arkansas bleeding of Democratic voters until Bill Clinton came into the picture.

Shifting away from Wall Street will also have a positive impact on our Hispanic outreach, since Latinos view Republicans as the party of the rich.  Yes, it’s an incorrect assumption, but it’s not to say that we can do better with the folks in the American middle class.  It’s time to challenge Democrats’ core constituency.  I’m not saying we should be anti-wealthy, or engage in class warfare, but we need to find candidates who are popular both on ‘main street’ and ‘Wall Street.’  Let’s face it.  Wall Street isn’t, and shouldn’t, come off scott-free from the ’08 financial meltdown.  On the other hand, they didn’t deserve Dodd-Frank either.

Coming back to the fiscal cliff, Republicans should insist on entitlement cuts.  After all, the president agrees with this position as well.  It’s also put him at odds with his fellow party members – forty-two of which signed on to a deal that called for zero cuts to the welfare state.  Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), in Napoleonic stature, has found her Waterloo by leading a coalition of cliff jumpers in the U.S. Senate.  To counter this, Republicans may have to take flak from the base by insisting that tax rates only rise for millionaires.  There is a winnable argument to be made that $250,000 isn’t rich when all of the mitigating elements are factored in, such as location, utilities, property taxes, state income taxes, sales tax etc.  For example, urban residents making this kind of money, and they should be congratulated on it, don’t feel rich once all the bills are paid – and they’re right.  The GOP has a winning narrative in this period between elections.

On the other hand, they can fight to keep the 2% cut in payroll taxes.  James C. Capretta wrote in National Review on November 27 that “this tax cut lowered the Social Security payroll tax from about 12 to 10 percent on all earned income (up to a limit of just over $100,000 annually). In January, if the cut is not extended, all 155 million American workers will see this two-percentage-point hike in their taxes. The Obama administration is ready to let it expire because it fears a long-term cut might create pressure for additional Social Security reform — which is precisely why the GOP should support keeping payroll taxes, as well as income taxes, as low as possible.”

Concerning entitlement reform, Capretta added that:

There should be no deal on long-term taxes without far-reaching reforms to health-entitlement programs. And what’s far-reaching? For starters, the entirety of Obamacare should be on the table for revision and retrenchment. The law sets in motion the largest entitlement expansion in a generation. It’s far better to scale the program back now before it gets started than to wait and hope it can be scaled back later.

Republican governors have substantial leverage in these negotiations because they can opt out of the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare, thanks to the Supreme Court. If 25 or so Republican governors refuse to put more people into an unreformed Medicaid program, it will put tremendous pressure on the Obama administration, which is desperate to see the Medicaid expansion occur during the president’s second term. The congressional GOP should use this leverage to move Medicaid toward fixed financing and maximum state flexibility.

Most importantly, if there are any cuts, they need to be immediate.  Conservatives stress this because in such fiscal deals during the Reagan and Bush 41 days, they were promised –  but never implemented.  While those on the left, like Matt Yglesias, think a grand bargain is impossible, and negotiations towards one is hurting the country.

Jennifer Stefano, PA State Director for Americans for Prosperity, stated in a news release on November 20 that she thinks:

 …it is funny people are criticizing the president for being abroad in Asia during this crisis. The President can be abroad in Asia and do exactly what he has been doing in the White House; which is absolutely nothing to prevent the economic calamity that will come on all Americans because of his fiscal policies..at the end of the day there are issues.  And on the issues there are things that are right and there are things that are wrong.  President Obama’s tax hikes are going to continue to crucify small businesses in this country… along with Obamacare, it is a crushing blow to the entrepreneurial spirit and as well as to the bottom line.

Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, aptly noted in Forbes on November 29 that such reforms to get our fiscal house in order will take more time, and that Congress should extend all the tax cuts for one more year.  This would provide a buffer from the cliff, and give representatives the necessary cushion to come up with a comprehensive long terms plan to tackle our debt and deficit.

This is why FreedomWorks has activated its grassroots members to call Congress with a two-part message. 1) Keep your promise on the sequester savings. 2) Pass a one-year extension of all current tax rates, so America has time to pass serious tax and entitlement reforms.

By the way, there is some good news hiding in all the dust of the “fiscal cliff” fracas. The coalition of committed fiscal conservatives in Congress has grown in the past two elections. Constitutional conservatives in the House held on to the historic gains of 2010, while the Senate just picked up three principled fiscal conservatives in Ted Cruz, Jeff Flake, and Deb Fischer to replace GOP establishment types Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jon Kyl, and Olympia Snowe.

This new generation of legislative entrepreneurs is re-populating Washington with innovative energy. Expect these principled leaders to put real specifics on the table, craft thoughtful budget solutions, and carve pathways to needed tax and entitlement reforms next year – all things Senate Democrats haven’t seen fit to do for the past 3 years.

Fiscal conservatives are once again at the table, but we won’t bargain with ourselves against an arbitrary deadline. Your move, Harry Reid.

Extending the tax cuts for one more year – I’m for it! However, there’s a fat chance that will happen.  Reid, Pelosi, and liberal Democrats won’t back a deal with such extensions.  As I’ve said, politically, Republicans have little to stand on without getting blasted by the media, and the American people.  We need to stand our ground with the spending cuts for sure.  No compromise there, but concerning taxes – they’ll have to go up.  It’s time to face reality for now.  Come 2014, hopefully, we’ll have a comprehensive tax reduction and reform plan that is palatable to everyone, and we can return to a sense of fiscal sanity.

Is It A Woman’s World?

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 4.21.15 PM

I won’t lie.  I found Suzanne Venker’s piece about the ‘war on men‘ interesting, thought-provoking, and controversial.  In the process, she has reaped a whirlwind of left-wing hate.  It’s no surprise that today’s economy is better suited for women.  Manufacturing, the lynchpin of male labor, has collapsed – and now scores of men are left without the skills necessary to maneuver in the services economy.  Women are out-educating us, out-earning us, and out-performing us in the workforce.  In short, Venker says men are being stomped on, and we should be angry.  I couldn’t disagree more.

As Angela Morabito at The College Conservative wrote on November 28, women are just more ambitious at the moment.  Also, she disagreed with Venker, with whom she says got ‘gender politics wrong.’  As such, she injected a little Adam Smith into her argument.

It is true that women are getting more college degrees than our male counterparts.  That’s not because we are angry. It’s because you have to compete to get into college and the majority of the recent winners have been female. It is not because we are female that we have won: Competition drives the application process. Competition is what also should drive the economy. When we compete based on merit, and one team wins, all competitors improve in the process.

However, I would say that affirmative action policies also had a part in increasing women’s enrollment into higher education.  Yet, that’s a separate debate.  Furthermore, Morabito added that:

We  [conservatives] cannot be – nor should we be – the side that thinks women are too ambitious, too smart, or too driven. America needs all hands on deck to pull us out of this recession.  Individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom can still work for us today. These principles are strongest when everyone, including women, participates.

This is real conservative feminism: Women have the same freedoms as men and the same responsibilities as men. Wealth is allocated according to what we do with our freedoms and how we manage our responsibilities.  Gender doesn’t need to enter the equation.  The Left is going to freak out about it because they think women need special government “help.” But what we’re seeing now is that it’s just not true – we aren’t some feeble, marginalized group that flounders without Big Brother.

Yet, I feel inclined to defend Venker for a moment.  she mentioned in her column – and it’s true – that men worked to sustain themselves, find a woman, love her to death, and start a family.  We’re then happily burdened with providing and protecting our families, and that’s what we’ve been doing for nearly ten thousand years.  The system worked, and I liked it.

I’m the product of a household where Dad worked and Mom stayed home caring for me, loving me (to death), feeding me, and fussed over me.  She did this with my older brother and sister as well.  As a little tyke, I was King Tut.  Life was good.  However, the dynamics have changed, and we must adapt.  We’re a nation of two income households, but women have increased their share of bacon they bring home.

Liza Mundy has written about this shift in her new book, The Richer Sex, where she predicts that women will be the majority of breadwinners by 2030.  She calls it the ‘Big Flip.’  However, there have been many ‘big flips’ in socioeconomic history.  The Industrial Revolution, the invention of the Cotton gin, and the transition from an agrarian to a manufacturing-based economy in the U.S. are all prime examples of such shifts. But women were never as involved as they are now.  Hence, guys, and some conservative gals, shouldn’t freak out as much.  This is all part of the cyclical life of economic progression.  We shouldn’t be afraid.

Where Venker, I think, freaked out women, especially left-wing women, is her assertion that they’re the ones responsible for being incompatible with marriage due to their focus on building a career.  To be precise, Venker said that “fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs. If they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork.”  This is troll city.  I can only imagine the uproar that would ensue if a woman told men to surrender their masculinity to be successful in the 21st century economy.  My response would’ve been similar: “like hell I will!”

On this rare occasion, I actually agree with what Lauren Boyle’s November 27 column on Huffington Post, where she noted that Venker’s piece degrades men.

So, if you’re keeping score at home, Venker has 1) implied that young men are pathetic, 2) flat-out stated that they don’t want to compete with women and 3) suggested that, if not corralled, all men want is sex and meaningless relationships without responsibility. If that isn’t offensive to men, what is?

Venker refers to the hundreds of men upon which she bases her opinions. But these men she describes bear no resemblance of the young men I know, who celebrate the successes of women in their lives and value them for their professional contributions.

Well, that’s because we know our existence depends on it! No, just kidding, but given the Republican Party’s abysmal stance with young, single women – we should embrace female advances in the workplace.  It’s very much aligned with conservative values.  After all, we’re the party that supports free market achievements.  Morabito puts it succinctly:

Conservatism, at its core, means equality of opportunity. We’re not there yet in this country, but we get closer every time we cut bureaucracy and improve our schools. This is, after all, what makes it easiest for more people to achieve at a high level. In a free market we all compete with one another. In a free market workers are valued for their skills, and not because of any union or demographic group they may belong to. The free market cares about cost and value. It does not care about male versus female.  Venker’s “war on men” is unfounded, just like the “war on women.” It’s time for men and women on both ends of the political spectrum to call for a ceasefire.

YES! Taking a step back from the gender politics for a second, the emphasis on the equality of opportunity is highly salient.  Both Republicans and Democrats used to agree on this.  However, we’ve seen a perverse reversal within American liberalism that stresses equality of outcome, which is indicative of the liberal dependency agenda. An agenda that is being implemented aggressively at the federal level by this current administration.  The more people on food stamps or any government program, equalizes the playing field, and enhances the public good.  Our constitution was never meant to be compatible with social dynamics of this nature.

Morabito sets the ground work for a winning narrative ahead of the 2014 elections.  Democrats needs to divide, identify, and exploit groups to win.  Hence, why they have a fetishistic attitude towards the ‘war on women,’ abortion, contraceptives, MediScaring, and racism – which are all tools that are successful in galvanizing a rabid liberal electorate.  That’s how Obama won in 2012.  Then again, it also helps the opposition when your side doesn’t make the argument.  Nevertheless, if Republicans can convey a message that is malleable with the 21st century economy – it will shatter the ‘demography is destiny’ narrative liberals are peddling right now.  Furthermore, telling women to not be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen in order to be marriageable also helps.

Granted, there are still jobs that are better executed by a specific gender.  Case in point, Morabito aptly says men are better suited for professional football and women are better Victoria’s Secret models. Yet, these examples are rare.  Nevertheless, I would say the Venker does focus too much on being ‘doom and gloom.’  As I’ve said before, we, as guys, need to adapt.  Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, aptly made the observation that women are more flexible, and men are cardboard in this new economy.  That’s ok.  We just need to stretch more.

Like modernizing the messaging of conservatism, I look at this challenge with optimism.  Bring it on! As Barney Stinson would say, “challenge accepted.”

On a more personal note, it’s not a bad thing women are more ambitious to get into the trenches.  I have a sister, who is a mother of two, that works full-time in the human resources department at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  My sister-in-law does the same work at a non-profit in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  I have two nieces, ages 13 months and two years old, and I hope they’re offered the same opportunities that were afforded to me. After all, they’re Vespas – and hard-work is a cornerstone of our family.

So, for the guys who are part of the ‘pissed off coalition,’ which Venker alludes to in her piece.  I suggest look at your family dynamics.  Are you really going to tell members of your own family, who are female, that they should surrender her femininity in order to get married?  That would be absurd.  It’s not a woman’s world, then again it’s no longer a man’s world either.  It’s not the end of men, but a beginning of an equilibrium amongst men and women in the workforce.  To keep the balance, guys need to get more animated, and stop slamming reading as a ‘girly’ activity.  When did that become a hallmark of masculinity?

Finally, let’s think of it in these terms.  As men, we’ve ruled the world since the beginning of time.  I don’t know about you, but I would be exhausted.  Thank God for women to help us pick up the slack.

Originally posted on The Young Cons.

Sarah Palin in 2016 Presidential Race is no laughing matter

Sarah Palin - Public

With Sarah Palin America should be ready for a true conservative voice in the White House

The presidential campaign of 2016 was launched as soon as the last light dimmed on the stage after Mitt Romney gave his concession speech, in losing his presidential bid to Barack Obama. With the new battle now warming up amongst the GOP hierarchy there are many Republican leaders who want to point the party leftward, away from Ronald Reagan and his heir apparent Sarah Palin.

That is correct. There is no stuttering here. Sarah Palin may appear to liberals, leftwing pundits as well as GOP Washington leaders as yesterday’s news. Yet Mitt Romney’s loss was not due to conservative steel in his campaign. What is clear is that nearly two million conservatives did not embrace Romney’s attempt to skedaddle to the middle road by running away from conservative positions and values. They simply stayed home.

Consider the results of Palin’s steadfast 2012 primary season effort as she crisscrossed the nation campaigning on behalf of conservative congressional, senatorial officials. The results of Palin’s efforts are notable, beginning with backing Texas U.S. Senator-elect Ted Cruz. Combine that with eight congressional candidates being elected to congress out of 14, due to Palin’s endorsement.

Now examine Romney’s results. In a general election where Republicans were expected to be more competitive in U.S. Senate races. Republicans actually lost two U.S. Senate seats. There are many who have engaged in a lot of finger pointing in order to place blame for the loss. But the buck does stop at the top with Mitt Romney.

To refresh everyone’s memory, it was Romney and his Boston campaign brain-trust, who said to Palin back in July, “Thanks but no thanks.” They denied her a prime time speaking role before the GOP National Convention and the nation. Mitt was bound and determined to place both Palin and the Tea Party organization supporters on the sidelines and go it alone to seek more moderate political pastures.

Romney may have listened to comedians like Bill Maher and political pundits like Chris Matthew who found no end in skewering the non-candidate Palin during the campaign year. There is a lesson in Romney’s loss that reminds conservatives that Ronald Reagan was the 1976 version of Sarah Palin. He too had his many detractors as well as liberal and Republican pundits who scoffed at Reagan’s notion of a new conservative under current building in America.

Ronald Reagan was held at arm’s length by Washington GOP insiders and derided in liberal circles as a joke. Many in the mainstream media poked fun of his film character that played opposite a Chimpanzee in the 1951 “Bedtime for Bonzo” movie. While the democrats and the Washington insider pundits laughed, Reagan beat President Jimmy Carter with nearly 51 percent of the vote to Carter’s 41 percent in the 1980 presidential election.

Now no one is laughing, including President Barack Obama, who saddles up to Reagan-like comparisons when he’s feeling a little light in the accomplishment department.

It is far more important for Americans who are earnestly concerned about the direction of the nation and its drift away from conservative values. They want to support a true bona fide conservative leader like Reagan.

Sarah Palin like Ronald Reagan understands that presidential elections are won in the grassroots campaign trenches found in Ohio counties and Pennsylvania coal fields. Conservative leadership is nourished in the farmlands of Iowa, Indiana and Illinois and in the kitchens of homes in Nevada and Colorado. Presidential elections are solidified with the commitment of Reagan Democrats in Macomb County, Michigan and Tea Party patriot all over this nation!

It is the power and strength of conservative ideals that when fully embraced will see a repeat of the 2010 elections, where the Tea Party grass roots movement resulted in Republicans gaining 63 congressional seats. Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi loss the Speaker’s gavel to Sarah Palin’s tireless effort to create a new conservative history which is still being made in America.

The keys to the White House Oval Office do not lie in the hands of the political power elite in Washington. They instead belong squarely in the firm grasp of Americans in the Heartland. There, with conservative families in states all over this nation the fate of America will be determined.

In 1980 America no longer wanted to be trapped in what President Carter called a “crisis of confidence” in his now famous July 1979 “Malaise Speech,” Instead, Reagan determined that America wanted to be freed up from government. He firmly gripped the reins away from moderation and liberalism. He grabbed the American microphone and said, “I paid for this microphone.”

America’s conservatives know full well that Sarah Palin also knows how to use a microphone. Much like, Reagan, Palin is committed to let millions across the nation speak through it in 2016!

( Click – Let me know what you think )

How Falling Off The Fiscal Cliff Impacts You

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 4.42.34 PM

I’ll say it again, Democrats want to go off the fiscal cliff.  They’ll get their tax increases – $600 billion dollars worth– their revenue increases, and cuts to defense, which has been a goal of theirs for the past ten years.  Goodbye Bush tax cuts, Hello Obama tax hikes.  With the fledgling coalition of ‘cliff jumpers’ led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), let’s see how the impact will affect us who aren’t on Capitol Hill.

According to Paul Katzeff at Investors Business Daily, he wrote on November 16 that ending the Bush tax cuts will also be detrimental to the middle class.  Contrary to popular belief, the Bush tax cuts has beneficial mechanisms, like credits for lower income households and reductions to the marriage penalty, all of which help the middle class.  While conservatives know this, it’s hard to break the deafening noise of the liberal media.

Katzeff added:

The typical American family will be hit with an extra $3,222 in taxes, the [Tax] Foundation says. That’s based on a two-child family with median income of $74,563. The tax increase will amount to 4.32% of that family’s income. The Foundation’s analysis compares that family’s tax bill in 2011 — the latest year that an AMT patch existed — to what it would be in 2013, assuming all Bush and Obama tax cuts expire, the AMT remains unfixed and the 2% payroll tax cut also expires. The AMT keeps hitting more middle-income taxpayers because the standard deduction and certain itemized deductions such as state and local taxes do not reduce its bite. Also, its exemption does not grow automatically with inflation.

Families in high-individual-income states such as New Jersey would be hit hard by currently slated AMT changes. The AMT exemption level would revert to what it was 12 years ago: $45,000 for married joint filers vs. $74,450 in 2011. And credits such as the child tax credit would no longer be allowed to offset AMT liability.

But, contrary to political conventional wisdom, families in lower-income states, like Arkansas, would also take an outsized hit. That’s because three tax cuts that everyone will lose — the cut in the child tax credit, end of the 10% bracket and reduced standard deduction for married filers — are fixed increases that do not hinge on income. As a percentage of income, those increases will be biggest for lower-income families.

New Jersey is set to take the largest blow, with a looming tax increase on the typical family totaling $6,933.

As more Republicans flee Grover Norquist, Founder of Americans for Tax Reform, and his anti-tax pledge – it’s a forgone conclusion that revenue increases will occur IF there is a deal.  However, Republicans should ask themselves why swallow such a demand when it’s been over 1300 days since the Democratic Congress has passed a budget.  It’s not logical or moral for Republicans to cave to the soulless, rotten liberal cadre of robbers this easily during the negotiations.

The only acceptable outcome, which I would still be unhappy with, is a deal that calls for at least eight dollars in spending cuts for every new dollar in revenues.  The ten-to-one deal is even more “palatable.”  I hate tax increases – but the outcome of the election will make it hard for conservatives to hold their ground.  Yes, the Tea Party Caucus was re-elected, with the exception of a couple of members, and Obama was re-elected by the 47% who don’t pay taxes, so there isn’t a mandate – but the clock is ticking.

Concerning revenue, Republicans should push to raise the rates on those making $500,000 or more.  I’m not a fan of Warren Buffett at all – but his plan to increase the rates on the incomes of those people is reasonable for now.

  • First, he only calls for raising taxes on Americans earning more than $500,000 a year, not the $250,000 that President Obama is focused on. Families who earn $250,000 and live in major cities justifiably point out that this salary does not leave them feeling “rich.” So, raising the definition of rich would go a long way toward making these tax hikes more palatable.
  • Next, he calls for a minimum 30% tax on Americans making $1 million to $10 million or more, regardless of how this income is generated. One of the most egregious elements of the tax code is that some of America’s highest earners pay much lower tax rates than average earners, because they generate their income from capital gains or dividends or have figured out how to shelter it by taking advantage of various loopholes. This tax would ensure that most income is treated the same way.

Americans living in urban areas, with rent and other utilities, see their $250,000 income dwindle rapidly, and don’t feel rich.  They’re right.  As George Will aptly noted, a Chicago school superintendent with twenty years experience, who is married to a police captain with twenty years experience is almost rich within the tax increase parameters of the Obama administration.

As I’ve said, I hate raising taxes, but we cannot be the party that is blamed for going off the cliff.  Democrats have planted their flag on the side of willingly going off.  That’s perverse, and wrong.  Let’s be the party that said NO!  We’re the part of no.  We don’t want to cut defense by the hundreds of billions.  We don’t want $600 billion in tax increases for the American taxpayer.  We have an opportunity to blunt the trauma of falling off the cliff.

However, I also understand the political ramifications if we do have a deal – and history hasn’t been to kind to us.  John Fund wrote today in National Review that:

many old Washington hands recall that Republicans agreed on tax-increase-for-spending-cuts deals in 1982 under Ronald Reagan and in 1990 under George H. W. Bush. These deals politically damaged the party in the short run, and they also proved to be bad policy. The 1982 budget deal, which promised seven dollars in spending cuts for every three dollars in tax increases, was never honored. Congress agreed to less than 27 cents in spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases, and President Reagan came to bitterly regret his decision to approve the deal. Ed Meese, Reagan’s senior counselor at the time and later his attorney general, recalls that the 1982 deal ‘was the worst domestic-policy mistake of the Reagan administration.’

So, this time Republicans must insist the cuts be enacted immediately.  Furthermore, I like the idea Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has concerning transparency if a deal is reached.  A week-long debate on any aspect of the bill, including amendments, edits, and revisions.  All will be televised on C-SPAN for the public to see –  if they don’t fall asleep first.

Yet, we cannot forget back when “Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner admitted [last February] in congressional testimony that the administration lacks a long-term plan to deal with the nation’s soaring $16 trillion debt. “We’re not coming before you today to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem,” he told House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan. ‘What we do know is, we don’t like yours.”  I’ll try to temper my cynicism, but being optimistic about government is difficult.

I hope for a deal, but, at the same time, will start cashing out my investments in the stock market in preparation for the day of reckoning.

Flashback: Do You Remember Those Racist Condi Rice Cartoons?

Screen Shot 2012-11-24 at 5.36.23 PM

As liberals continue to counter the criticism directed towards Ambassador Susan Rice with the race card, Eliana Johnson at National Review aptly noted how similar criticism was lobbied at Condoleezza Rice when she was nominated for Secretary of State.

In my previous post, “Deciphering Susan Rice without Being Racist” – Katrina Vanden Heuvel was exposed as using the terms “incompetent” and “liar” to describe Rice —  Condoleezza Rice. Vanden Heuvel is the editor and publisher of the far left magazine The Nation. Eliana Johnson detailed on November 21 how left-wing media outlets and members of Congress were hurling similar accusations of incompetence and politicking at Condoleezza Rice that are we seeing ahead of Susan Rice’s possible nomination for Secretary of State.

Johnson wrote that:

[Condoleezza] Rice’s nomination, noted the Washington Post, garnered “the most negative votes cast against a nominee for that post in 180 years.” As the Senate debated her nomination, Senator Barbara Boxer charged that Rice “frightened the American people” into supporting the Iraq War; Senator Jim Jeffords accused her of being part of an effort to “distort information” in the service of “political objectives”; and Senator Pat Leahy, who voted in her favor, endorsed her by saying that her tenure as national-security adviser lacked “strong leadership, openness, and sound judgment.”  

Hey, that’s racist.  But so is this cartoon by Ted Rall, who has the then-Secretary of State saying she was Bush’s ‘house nigga.”

 

Jeff Danziger, whose cartoons are syndicated in The New York Times, had a caricature of “a big-lipped, barely literate Condoleezza Rice, nursing the aluminum tubes cited by the White House as evidence of Iraq’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Johnson is dead on in her assessment that there’s a difference when someone calls you a “house nigga,” and when someone calls you incompetent.  One is blatantly racist, while the other is isn’t.  It’s not that hard to comprehend.  Ambassador Rice misled the American people  – and we deserve answers.

Deciphering Susan Rice Without Being Racist

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 11.07.44 AM

I’m almost at the mark! I’m so excited.  I just have one more jar of Ovaltine to drink before I’m able to send in my application for the James Clyburn Racial Code Word Decipher.  It’s going to be useful – as we all try to make sense of the various racial code wards that have been hurled at Ambassador Susan Rice for her incompetence less than adequate job performance.

Racism is, and will always be, an effective tool employed by liberals.  Racism is anathema to American society.  So, when one person cries racial discrimination – Blacks, Whites, Asians, and Martians come out of the bushes, like perverted voyuers, to listen.  Additionally, the person who has been accused must explain how they aren’t racist to the public.  In politics, that’s perfect.  One candidate hammering away at the opposing side’s economic record, like in the case of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, is inhibited from continuing to do so once the racism accusations start flying.

In the case of Ambassador Rice, she’s been accused of being ‘incompetent’ and ‘lazy’ from Republicans.  Democrats say that’s racist and sexist. However, no one dares think about the alternative situation where a Republican Ambassador to the UN would have been chastised heavily from Democrats – and rightfully so.  There’s no excuse to misled the American people on the Sunday morning talk shows.

Concerning Rep. Clyburn, this is how he frames the whole situation:

“You know, these are code words,” Clyburn said. “We heard them during the campaign. During this recent campaign, we heard Senator Sununu calling our president lazy, incompetent—these kinds of terms that those of us, especially those of us who were grown and raised in the South, we would hear these little words and phrases all of our lives, and we’d get insulted by them.”

The Washington Times’ Kerry Picket noted this as well.  In fact, she even went into the past, and dug up liberal accusations of incompetence that were thrown at then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  Of course, you have to cite the worst of the worst, which is what Picket did quoting left-wing blowhard and editor of The Nation Katrina Vanden Heuvel – who wrote in November of 2004.

Last July, the Washington Post devoted much of its front-page to a well-reported story indicting National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice for her role in misleading Congress and the public in the run- up to the Iraq war. The bottom line: Rice was either incompetent or a liar.

Even sources described as “generally sympathetic” to the NSC adviser questioned her many shifting and contradictory statements regarding Iraq’s alleged uranium purchase and the WMD (non)threat. But Rice’s dogged loyalty to Bush served her well, and she stayed put.

Gasp! Ms. Vanden Heuvel – that’s racist!  However, this plays into the mindset of liberals, which is conservative women, especially those who are minorities, aren’t really people.  They’re the confused ‘others’ wondering through the woods, and looked down upon as semi-mentally retarded.  It’s how liberals view most people who aren’t of the liberal persuasion.  Hey, some people like to work hard, and pay taxes – I don’t blame them.

This perverse untermenschen category liberals have for conservative women extends to their affiliates in the D.C. non-profit and lobbying circle with groups like NARAL Pro-choice America and the National Organization of (some) Women.  As far as I’m concerned, conservatives should continue to hammer away at Ambassador Susan Rice, and do everything possible to block her nomination for Secretary of State.

Originally posted at The Young Cons.

Sen. Leahy – What Are You Doing!?

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 2.43.56 PM

Do Democrats see the United Kingdom as a model for their version of the surveillance society?  What on earth could Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) be thinking offering legislation that gives authorities access to personal information with no more than a formal written request and the contents of those communications with nothing more than a subpoena?

According to Declan McCullagh of C|Net, Sen. Leahy thinks it’s perfectly fine for law enforcement officials to troll your emails, twitter, and Facebook without a warrant.  It’s a perverse exploitation of the law, which hasn’t caught up to 21st Century standards – and any American who values their liberty should be appalled by this gross incident of congressional overreach.

McCullagh wrote today that:

Leahy’s rewritten bill would allow more than 22 agencies — including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Communications Commission — to access Americans’ e-mail, Google Docs files, Facebook wall posts, and Twitter direct messages without a search warrant. It also would give the FBI and Homeland Security more authority, in some circumstances, to gain full access to Internet accounts without notifying either the owner or a judge.

It’s an abrupt departure from Leahy’s earlier approach, which required police to obtain a search warrant backed by probable cause before they could read the contents of e-mail or other communications. The Vermont Democrat boastedlast year that his bill “provides enhanced privacy protections for American consumers by… requiring that the government obtain a search warrant.”

Leahy had planned a vote on an earlier version of his bill, designed to update a pair of 1980s-vintage surveillance laws, in late September. But after law enforcement groups including the National District Attorneys’ Association and the National Sheriffs’ Association organizations objected to the legislation and asked him to “reconsider acting” on it, Leahy pushed back the vote and reworked the bill as a package of amendments to be offered next Thursday. The package (PDF) is a substitute for H.R. 2471, which the House of Representatives already has approved.

Here are the revisions:

✭ Grants warrantless access to Americans’ electronic correspondence to over 22 federal agencies. Only a subpoena is required, not a search warrant signed by a judge based on probable cause.

✭ Permits state and local law enforcement to warrantlessly access Americans’ correspondence stored on systems not offered “to the public,” including university networks.

✭ Authorizes any law enforcement agency to access accounts without a warrant — or subsequent court review — if they claim “emergency” situations exist.

✭ Says providers “shall notify” law enforcement in advance of any plans to tell their customers that they’ve been the target of a warrant, order, or subpoena.

✭ Delays notification of customers whose accounts have been accessed from 3 days to “10 business days.” This notification can be postponed by up to 360 days.

Now, this afternoon, The Hill reported that the senator had no such intention to support a bill with warrantlees searches.

CNET has it wrong,” an aide tweeted from Leahy’s account.”Sen. Leahy does NOT support an #ECPA exception to search warrant requirement [for] civil enforcement [for agencies] like FTC, SEC.” A Judiciary Committee aide confirmed to The Hill that Leahy “does not support broad carve-outs for warrantless email searches.” Leahy is pushing a bill that would revise the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986. The Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Leahy’s measure next week.

But we must remain vigilant. As long as Federalism remains under threat, we must keep a close eye on bills, from both parties, that seek to make us safer – while sacrificing our freedoms in the process.

After The Election, Pro-life Americans Find Themselves in the Minority

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 12.31.31 PM

On May 23, 2012, Gallup released a poll that showed that people who identify themselves as ‘pro-choice’ was at a record low of 41%.  Additionally, Americans who described themselves as pro-life, at the time, constituted 50% of the population.  That nine point margin in America’s ongoing culture war has flipped.  Pro-choice Americans are now 54% of the population, compared to 38% who are pro-life, according to Rasmussen.  As Allahpundit of Hot Air posted on November 15, “elections have consequences.”  However, it begs the question, where did all the pro-lifers go?

For one thing, we’re a liberal democracy – a republic to be exact.  As such, governments are based on public opinion, and opinion is shiftable sand.  Therefore, there are no permanent victories in democracy.  Conservative commentator George Will has spoken about this ad nauseum, and aptly made the observation that Sen. Barry Goldwater, who lost in the ’64 presidential election, knew about this aspect in American society.  Hence, why people say Goldwater didn’t lose in 1964, it just took sixteen years to count all the votes.  Reagan’s win in 1980 was the reaffirmation of Goldwater’s conservative conscience.

However, it cannot be denied that some Republican senate candidates made rather irresponsible remarks about rape and abortion on the campaign trail, which hurt the pro-life movement.  Richard Mourdock in Indiana and Todd Akin in Missouri are the two names that comes up frequently in this discussion.  Without a doubt, they paid a heavy price for their poorly constructed narratives that moved those leaning towards the pro-life argument, towards the pro-choice camp.   Allahpundit reaffirms this claim, citing a CNN poll from last August showing that, “[Abortion was] nice and steady there in the mid-20s for ‘legal under any circumstances’ over the past five years — until suddenly, in August of this year, the number jumps. Why? Well, what else happened in August this year? Right: Todd Akin opened his yapper about “legitimate rape” and women’s supposed biological defense mechanisms against it and that was the beginning of the end for Republican chances to take back the Senate. How big a deal was it? Weeks later, the NYT poll was seeing more support for the idea that abortion should be “generally available” than it had in over 15 years.”

So, if some people, who are pro-life, are wondering why they lost popular support, they need only to look at some of the politicians selected to support their cause in Washington D.C.  We need to be smarter.

 

Health Care Reform = More Money, Bigger Hospitals, and Less Private Practices

Screen Shot 2012-11-20 at 12.26.09 PM

For a while, conservatives have known that Obamacare would be a dose of bad medicine.  However, given the axiom that bog government helps big business, the same could be true with the medical industry.  Tim Carney at The Washington Examiner aptly pointed out today, from Bloomberg, Obamacare favors big hospitals, and smashes small practices.

In his column, Carney wrote that “Bloomberg report[ed] today on how Medicare payment rules have led to hospital consolidation, with small practices selling out to big hospitals.”  Additionally, Carney cited the point about consolidation:

Simon Gisby, a principal in the life science and health care practice at Deloitte Corporate Finance LLC in New York, said the trend fits with changes starting to take place under the 2010 Affordable Care Act designed by the Obama administration to overhaul health care.

This consolidation means higher costs, the article explains. Some academic studies have confirmed that hospital consolidation means higher costs, and at least one has pinned some of the blame on Obama’s Affordable Care Act:

hospitals are able to extract higher private payments when they hold more market power…. Now provisions of the ACA are encouraging further consolidation of hospitals and physicians, and the final antitrust review regulations from the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have eliminated the proposed mandatory review of certain prospective ACOs.

So, at the end of the day, it’s business as usual – with a splash of dependency.  Big government helping big business gain more power at the expense of the taxpayers.   Can we all agree that this overhaul of American health care was never meant to curb costs?

Sen. Mike Lee and Senator-Elect Ted Cruz: ‘Our Ideas Work, Their Ideas Don’t’

Screen Shot 2012-11-17 at 3.26.14 AM

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Senator-Elect Ted Cruz (R-TX) were adamant about two things when they addressed The Federalist Society’s discussion about constitutional law and the Supreme Court yesterday: “our [conservative] ideas work, their [ liberal] ideas don’t.”  Furthermore, our ideas have been winning the argument, which explains why law schools are limiting the amount of speakers – invited by Federalist Society – chapters that can come and articulate such views across the country.  Both men viewed that we must return to the government our Founders envisioned, and must guard against the progressive regulatory state advocated by our adversaries in Congress.  With the re-election of Barack Obama and the full implementation of Obamacare – the stakes couldn’t be any higher to keep the Madisonian experiment alive.

Sen. Lee first remarked about his election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, after beating incumbent Republican Bob Bennett at the state party convention.  Then, he went into rather humorous anecdotes about how security didn’t recognize him as a senator for the longest time during his first session in Congress.  However, he looked forward to two events this year that he thought would transform government, and make it more palatable to the Founder’s vision.

The first event was on June 28, the day of the Obamacare decision, which he received – along with most conservatives – warmly at first.  The court was articulating a position defining limits on the Commerce Clause – making this the third time in the last seventy-five years where the Supreme Court has done so.   However, as the reading of the opinion continued, more wind was blowing in liberal sails, as the senator described it.  The Court rewrote the law.  To make a long story short, the penalty was constitutional under the taxing authority, which was a position that wasn’t argued by the government.  Concerning the Medicaid expansion provisions, the Court ruled that the government had unjustly coerced states into accepting stipulations on the program’s funding, and that the Secretary for Health and Human Services cannot cut off the revenue stream – which funds the program – to states who refuse to expand coverage. In all, it was a limited purpose victory.  The second event was on November 6, which we know did not turn out well for conservatives.

Sen. Lee agreed that we won the argument for a limited proposal victory, but we also lost a lot too.  It showed that the Court can rewrite laws, and we lost the opportunity to write laws of our own choosing.  The checks on Congressional power was stipulated by judiciary and political restraint.  The judicial restraint has been compromised.  They seem, as Senator Lee put it, “unwilling” to exercise that check on power.  Second, the political check is rendered useless since Congress can pass unconstitutional laws, but if the Supreme Court can rewrite it – then what’s the purpose of that check on government power.

Sen. Lee believes that the Court acted in a manner where everyone got a little of what they wanted – but ended up hurting the American people as a result. Nevertheless, he feels that America’s best days are ahead.

Senator-Elect Ted Cruz also reiterated anecdotes on the campaign trail.  His win is almost a miracle.  He was polling sub 5%, and within the margin of error when he first began.  This highlights the trials and tribulations of any statewide campaign, especially one where you’re outspent three to one in a $ 50 million dollar primary, as in the case of Cruz, which is somewhat of a well-known characteristic within political circles.  It can be nasty, and Cruz’s opponent, David Dewhurst, dished out $35 million dollars in attack ads – but failed to clinch the nomination.  Why? He didn’t have the grassroots infrastructure needed to win.  This is the way politics should be decided, according to Senator-Elect Cruz.

Cruz is a good friend of Sen. Mike Lee, and thanked him for his early support in the beginning of his candidacy for the U.S. Senate.  In the wake of conservatives’ devastating defeat on Nov. 6, he said we much ask ourselves what went wrong, and what does this mean for the future of conservatism?  He was steadfast in the view that what conservatives have done in politics – we must now do in the law.  First, we must win the argument, which conservatives are doing – albeit very slowly.

The Senator-Elect was amused by the fact that the media was detailing how Republicans lost in 2012 because they weren’t like Democrats.  If they had acted, like the political left, things would’ve been great.  Well, conservatives lost because we didn’t make the argument.

The president said that he inherited a bad economy, and that it was all George Bush’s fault.  This message was pervasive. However, Cruz said that President Obama forgets history.  Between 1978-79, unemployment was in double-digits, interest rates were at 22%, gas lines around the block, and the Iranian hostage crisis – which probably left then-President Jimmy Carter regretting leaving peanut farming. But, Ronald Reagan won in a landslide in 1980.  He reduced taxes, regulations, and the scope of government, which led to an economic boom.  Again, playing into the narrative of these two men being “our ideas work, their ideas don’t.”

However, there’s a reason why Obama voters believe this economy is still Bush’s fault.  Why?  Mitt Romney’s campaign team didn’t respond.  Concerning the fatuous ‘war on women,’ the Senator-Elect vociferously denied Republicans want to curb or deny contraceptives to America’s women.  He doesn’t know a single Republican who thinks that way.  He quipped that he has two daughters, and he’s glad he doesn’t have seventeen.  However, you cannot own, change, or destroy a damaging narrative, if you don’t respond. First, win the argument, then you win the election – which is what Senator-Elect Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee plan to do in the U.S. Senate.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »