Tag Archives: shutdown

Sun Tzu predicted Republicans’ and Tea Partiers’ defeat over 2,500 years ago

suntzusartofwar

Well before the government shutdown had begun, I knew it was a supremely stupid idea and a fight that would gain nothing for Republicans and the Tea Party (other than further damage of their image in the American people’s eyes), and I warned my friends on Facebook who thought it was a good idea they were wrong.

On October 11th, after 10 days of the shutdown, CDN published my article explaining, in detail, why the government shutdown was a foolish idea, why there was nothing to be gained from it, why it was impossible to repeal or defund Obamacare while Obama is still wielding a veto pen (and a 55-seat Senate majority), and why Republicans need to first win the argument, then win the vote, and only then make policy. I also predicted Republicans would eventually cave in.

I was right, and those who argued otherwise, including Tea Partiers, were dead wrong. But another man had predicted Republicans’ and Tea Partiers’ defeat much earlier – in fact, over 2,500 years ago. His name is Sun Tzu.

Yes, that Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese general and strategist who authored the world’s first military treatise, the Art of War, a masterpiece that inspired leaders as diverse as Emperor Qinshi Huangdi, Oda Nobunaga, Togo Heihachiro, Douglas MacArthur, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Stormin’ Norman Schwartzkopf.

Contained in this succint treatise that would fit on 13 pages of A4 paper today are the keys to victory in all competitive endeavors – war, business, sports… and politics.

And this masterwork, completed sometime in the 6th century or the early 5th century BC, explains nicely why various battles and wars throughout history have ended they way they have. Including Republicans’ and Tea Partiers’ recent Obamacare debacle.

Basically, in virtually every case in history, the losing side ignored at least one, if not more, of Sun Tzu’s teachings, or the winning side successfully utilized the principles he taught.

In this case, we can see that going into the government shutdown battle, Republicans and Tea Partiers cavalierly disregarded not one, not two, but SEVERAL of Master Sun’s teachings, to their detriment.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.” – Chapter XII, verse 17

“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” – ch. III, v. 17

“There are roads which must not be followed, armies which must be not attacked, towns which must not be besieged, positions which must not be contested, commands of the sovereign which must not be obeyed.” – ch. VIII, v. 3

Yet, Republicans started a battle they never had any chance of winning, a battle they were doomed to lose, at the wrong time and the wrong place against a much stronger, well-entrenched enemy, a battle from which there was nothing to be gained.

Intelligent people, such as Dr. Charles Krauthammer and this writer, warned Republicans even before the shutdown that there was no way they could’ve defunded Obamacare from one house of Congress, because the Senate would never pass, and Obama would never sign into law, a bill or resolution defunding his sole legislative “achievement” – so there was no way they’d agree to doing so even if the shutdown took place – which it did, and Obama still didn’t agree to defund Obamacare.

Indeed, Obama and the Democrats, not Republicans, were the only side that could’ve gained anything from the shutdown – an opportunity to portray Republicans as extremists who want to send the country into havoc.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

These are:

(1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.

The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.” – Ch. I, v. 3-4.

These aqre the five constant factors governing warfare and determining who wins and loses. It is no coincidence that the first factor Sun Tzu lists is “Moral Law” – or, as translated by Samuel Griffith (I’m otherwise quoting the Lionel Giles translation here), “Moral Influence” – in other words, popular support, i.e. moral support from the general populace.

This is a crucial factor for victory in virtually every war, even for dictatorships – this is why America had to withdraw ignominiously from Vietnam and Iraq and is now withdrawing from Afghanistan – because the American people no longer support these wars. Even Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, under popular (and financial) pressure, had to withdraw Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989 after 10 years of fruitless fighting.

Popular support is even more important for those fighting in the political arena, especially in democratic countries (i.e. those with democratically-elected governments). If Republicans want to ever retake the Senate and the White House, let alone enact their policies, they must enjoy thef support of a majority of Americans.

Yet, by starting the government shutdown, Republicans and Tea Partiers have only alienated large swathes of the American electorate, already largely unfriendly to them in 2012. Most Americans do oppose Obamacare in principle – but not to the point they want the federal government to shut down.

Moreover, according to Gallup, a significant majority of Americans wants Republicans and Democrats to compromise (yes, that dreaded c-word), and according to another poll (not by Gallup), 51% of Americans say Republicans should just “get over the fact that Obamacare is the law.” Also, according to Gallup polling, by far the biggest criticism levied by most Americans (and a plurality of Republicans) against the GOP is that it is too inflexible and too unwilling to compromise.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“If the enemy occupies high ground, do not attack him; with his back resting on hills, do not oppose him.” – ch. VII, v. 26 in the Griffith translation

Yet, Republicans have attacked a much stronger enemy who was occupying high ground – a President Obama wielding a veto pen and controlling the whole executive branch and a 55-seat Senate majority. In addition, the public opinion sided mostly with Obama on the government shutdown, even though it does not approve of Obamacare itself. Even before the shutdown, Obama had approval ratings much better than those of Congressional Republicans and the Tea Party, above 40%. Today, Obama still has approval ratings above 40% – at 43% according to Gallup. While these ratings are nothing to boast about (his disapproval ratings vary from the high forties to the low fifties), they are still way better than those of Congressional Republicans, their leaders, and the Tea Party.

Republicans made the same foolish mistake they made in 1995: they tried to implement a radical change (in this case, repeal or defunding of a newly-enacted major law) while controlling only the Congress, and without a veto-proof majority, while a Democratic president wielded a veto pen. This time the mistake was all the more foolish, because Republicans controlled only one chamber of Congress.

Republicans were hardly the first “army” to attack an enemy occupying high ground. The Union Army did so in 1862 at Fredericksburg and the Confederate Army at Gettysburg in 1863. That latter battle arguably, in the long run, cost the Confederates the war. The Confederacy is no more any longer. The same could very well happen to the GOP.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is insubordination. ” – ch. X, v. 16.

“If soldiers are punished before they have grown attached to you, they will not prove submissive; and, unless submissive, then will be practically useless. If, when the soldiers have become attached to you, punishments are not enforced, they will still be useless.

Therefore soldiers must be treated in the first instance with humanity, but kept under control by means of iron discipline. This is a certain road to victory.

If in training soldiers commands are habitually enforced, the army will be well-disciplined; if not, its discipline will be bad.

If a general shows confidence in his men but always insists on his orders being obeyed, the gain will be mutual.” – ch. IX, v. 42-45.

“When the common soldiers are too strong and their officers too weak, the result is insubordination. When the officers are too strong and the common soldiers too weak, the result is collapse.

When the higher officers are angry and insubordinate, and on meeting the enemy give battle on their own account from a feeling of resentment, before the commander-in-chief can tell whether or not he is in a position to fight, the result is ruin.

When the general is weak and without authority; when his orders are not clear and distinct; when there are no fixed duties assigned to officers and men, and the ranks are formed in a slovenly haphazard manner, the result is utter disorganization.” – ch. X, v. 16-18.

Clearly a big factor in Speaker Boehner’s and Leader McConnell’s defeat was the large, undisciplined, insubordinate contingent of radical Republicans (Tea Party Republicans) in Congress, led by Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz in the Senate and by Congressmen Raul Labrador, Justin Amash, and Mick Mulvaney in the House. With soldiers like that, no military commander, not even Sun Tzu, would’ve been able to win any battle.

These Congressmen and Senators – most of them very young and very inexperienced (Cruz has been in the Senate only since January, Paul since 2011) – are arrogant, overconfident, and very aggressive in their demands. Yet, despite their junior status, they have been able to hold the GOP Congressional Leadership hostage due to their large numbers. So in the Republican “Army”, the common soldiers are too strong and the officers are too weak. There is disunity in Republican ranks. The commanding generals – J0hn Boehner and Mitch McConnell – are weak and without authority within their contingents.

That is so because they – at least until recently – have failed to keep their troops “under control by means of iron discipline”, which, according to Sun Tzu, is “the certain road to victory.” They have failed to insist on the GOP’s leadership’s orders being enforced with stern discipline; they have failed, until recently, to punish those radical Republicans who aren’t team players, insist on unattainable non-negotiable demands, disrupt the work of the Congress, and don’t support the party’s agenda.

In January, the GOP House Caucus removed four such insubordinate, disruptive Republicans (including Justin Amash) from key committees. Conservative media hysterically called it a purge; in fact, it was a minor and long overdue correction. A purge would’ve meant removing all insubordinate and disruptive Congressmen from all key committees. Likewise, Mitch McConnell has only now belatedly begun to fight back against pseudo-conservative groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund, the “Club for Growth”, and FreedomWorks by denying NRSC contracts to companies that also do business with these groups. These radical organizations claim to be conservative, but in reality, they only serve to get more Democrats elected and to advance their agenda by targeting mainstream-but-not-radical Republicans whom they don’t consider “pure enough” and by ensuring that totally unelectable fringe candidates (like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Ken Buck) win GOP primaries and then lose general elections.

And yet, it was not until this month that McConnell began taking action against these groups.

One’s own soldiers must be treated humanely, but also kept under control by means of iron discipline, as Sun Tzu wrote.

Sun Tzu wrote:

“Sun Tzu said: The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy. To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. (…) Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.” – ch. IV, v. 1-2 and 15

Yet, Republicans started a battle before devising any plan to win it. They went into battle without any plan to win. Like all other vanquished armies in history, they first fought and then sought victory – exactly the wrong order.

Had Republicans and Tea Partiers been wise people, they would’ve first devised a plan for victory, then would’ve created the conditions for triumph (which would necessarily mean retaking the Senate and the WH), and only then would’ve fought.

Thus you can see why Republicans lost – and were doomed to lose – the government shutdown battle against Obama, and how Sun Tzu predicted their defeat over 2,500 years ago. Republicans and Tea Partiers will continue to suffer further defeats if they continue to recklessly ignore Sun Tzu’s wise advice.

Let Master Sun have the last word here, across 2,500 years of time:

“The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat:–let such a one be dismissed!”

How Advice from Three Frenchmen Could Have Won the Shutdown Battle

Don't let the floppy hats fool you. The Three Musketeers could have helped during the Shutdown fight.

Don’t let the floppy hats fool you. The Three Musketeers could have helped during the Shutdown fight.

Speaker John Boehner is the Adm. Karl Dönitz of Republican politics. Hemmed in on one side by the pounding batteries of the Mainstream Media and on the other by a mob of howling leftists eager to send him to a self–criticism session on MSNBC — Boehner desperately tries to negotiate a surrender to Supreme Commander Obama that will leave him with a shred of dignity and continued access to the Congressional tanning bed.

What really sticks in Boehner’s craw is the realization he’s going to be stuck with the blame for the shutdown defeat! He warned the caucus what would happen if they followed a strategy designed by crazy people. But no, they were intoxicated by the crowds at the rallies and stem–winders on the Senate floor. Victory was at hand!

Yet now the loonies are out of the picture and here Boehner sits in the ruins of the Shutdown Bunker wondering if Harry Reid will allow him to smoke at the signing ceremony.

That’s what Boehner gets for trying to fight a two–front war. The struggle over Obamacare should have been either the continuing resolution shutdown or the debt ceiling. Not a bizarre push–me­—pull–you that blurred the two issues and made the public think the country hitched a ride with Thelma & Louise.

Giving credit where credit is due, Boehner started out well. The House GOP passed the initial continuing resolution with everything funded but Obamacare and sent the bill to the Senate where is disappeared like it was term limits legislation. So the government was at impasse.

It’s possible that if Boehner had donned a turban and started enriching uranium, Obama would have agreed to negotiate with him, but there wasn’t enough time to install the necessary number of centrifuges in the Rayburn office building.

During past shutdowns our leaders attempted to limit the inconvenience. This was a policy the Obama Administration could not afford to follow, as I pointed out last week, because after losing the sequester a painless shutdown would help make the case for even smaller government.

That’s why the Spite House made sure this shutdown hurt as many civilian bystanders as possible. Collateral damage was the order of the day. In total disregard of negative publicity Obama used his human drones in the Park Police to close the WWII monument, national parks, private businesses, roads, athletic fields and anything else they could get away with.

It drove Obama’s approval rating down to Jimmy Carter Land at 37 percent, which is an all time low for the light bringer. Yet he held firm, ironically enough employing the Nixon “madman” strategy. As Nixon once said, “I call it the Madman Theory… I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war. We’ll just slip the word to them that, “for God’s sake, you know Nixon is obsessed about communism. We can’t restrain him when he’s angry—and he has his hand on the nuclear button.”

The only difference is Obama — totally lacking a foreign policy — uses the Madman theory to intimidate his Republican domestic opposition. It’s remarkable that a fellow who wears mom jeans and would probably have trouble bench-pressing a juice box, is so eager to roll the dice when other’s futures are at stake.

So as the nation’s busy borrowers at the Treasury threatened to crash into an unyielding debt ceiling, Boehner was genuinely worried that Madman Barack might actually cause the country to default, if it meant he would win the confrontation.

So Boehner blinked and surrendered.

Here is where the Frenchmen could have provided the margin of victory.

If only Boehner had employed the Three Musketeer Strategy the county and the GOP would have won in the long run. The Three Musketeer’s motto was: One for All & All for One.

Instead of allowing craven porkmeister Sen. Mitch McConnell (R–I’m not for sale, but I rent cheap) to seize the agenda and pass a combination government funding and debt ceiling agreement, Boehner should have had the House pass a bill that did that AND required everyone, every company and every member of Congress and their staff to submit to Obamacare this year without any waivers.

One for All & All for One; with the “All” in this instance being Obamacare. That way the fight is still about Obama’s signature bill, the one he shut down the government to save, but in a brilliant bit of political ju–jitsu his bill is turned against him.

Making the entire country suffer under the full Obamacare this year would have resulted in a disaster at the polls for Democrats in 2014. What’s more, the administration knows it, which is why it exempted employers from the mandate until AFTER the election.

Even better the Three Musketeer bill has the virtue of simplicity: all the money and all the Obamacare. With only two elements the MSM could not bury coverage of the Obamacare waiver removal, as it buried Obama’s plunging poll ratings. (Most poll stories trumpeted declining GOP ratings in the headlines and only mentioned the new low for Obama as a passing aside.)

A Three Musketeers bill would have been a poison pill for the administration. Signing it means a disaster at the polls next year. Not signing it and defaulting because Republicans were too bi–partisan and Obama didn’t want his signature bill to take effect for everyone would be a PR disaster even the MSM could not ignore. And Democrats would still face a wipeout in 2014. All victory would have required was for Boehner to hold fast regardless of Obama’s choice.

If the signature bill of the president is so good for the country, as the MSM claims, then Republicans should have done their best to make sure the nation gets it, as H. L. Mencken used to say, “good and hard.” After all, what’s wrong with using “settled law” to unsettle the populace?

Why the government shutdown is the worst idea ever

johnboehner

House Speaker John Boehner flanked by his House colleagues. Photo credit: Associated Press/J. Scott Applewhite.

Never, ever shut down the federal government again.

– President Bill Clinton, 1996 State of the Union Address

 

As everyone knows, on October 1st at midnight, the federal government shut down for the first time in 17 years. This event has had and will have lasting, serious, negative consequences for the entire country, and even moreso for the two political parties. This article will explain why, looking from a conservative Republican perspective, shutting down the federal government is the worst idea possible for the GOP, the conservative movement, and the country that my fellow conservatives claim to care about first and foremost. In short, the shutdown is bad policy AND bad politics.

Why it’s bad politics for the GOP and conservatives

Contrary to what many of my fellow conservatives think, nothing good can come out of this conundrum for conservatives or for the Republican Party (regardless of whatever future you wish for that party). This is a battle we simply cannot win, and no amount of throwing the RINO epithet at everyone who disagrees with you will change that fact.

Some have pointed out to polls supposedly showing Barack Obama’s approval ratings as being at 40% or lower, and disapproval ratings going over 50%. Even if these polls are scientific and accurate – and depending on who commissioned them, they might not be – these people completely ignore the fact that Congressional Republicans and the Tea Party have even lower approval ratings in the eyes of the American people.

According to polls commissioned by Fox News – hardly a liberal outlet – Congressional Republicans had only a 23% approval rating in June and August, with disapproval ratings of 67% and 66%, respectively. That means that fully TWO THIRDS of the American public view Congressional Republicans – especially their conservative wing – negatively.

By contrast, Congressional Democrats’ approval ratings, while still dismal, were better than Republicans': 32% approval and 60% disapproval in both June and August.

Moreover, Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell has the worst ratings of any major party leader in America today: 22% approval, 42% disapproval in October.  John Boehner has 27% approval and 51% disapproval ratings (in April, he had 31% approval and only 41% disapproval). Even Harry Reid now does better at 27% approval and 43% disapproval) in the same month. Nancy Pelosi is at 35% approval, 47% disapproval (whereas in April, she was at 31% approval and 48% disapproval, so her image has improved since then).

Barack Obama, meanwhile, while having seen his approval ratings slump somewhat, still enjoys much higher popularity than anyone in Congress. His approval ratings, according to various polls, average at 45%, and range from a low end of 40% (Fox News, 54% disapproval) to a high end of 47% approval and the same amount disapproving.

So no matter what poll you take, Barack Obama, while hardly at the peak of his popularity, is STILL seen far more favorably than anyone in Congress, ESPECIALLY Congressional Republicans, ESPECIALLY their conservative wing.

It is inevitable that this government shutdown will take a heavy toll on the Tea Party’s, the conservative movement’s, and the GOP’s image in the American public’s eyes, and it may well prevent Republicans from retaking the Senate and the White House in 2014 and 2016. Even before the shutdown began, polls were warning that more Americans would blame the GOP than Barack Obama for the shutdown. Now, after it has happened, the veteran political analyst Charlie Cook warns us that the shutdown could cost the GOP future elections.

Despite the garbage that the Tea Party and its allies on talk radio like Rush Limbaugh probably feed you, the reality is that the absolute majority of Americans wants moderate policies from the GOP and wants both parties – including Republicans – to compromise. Gallup has demonstrated this repeatedly over the last several years, over and over again, including here, here, here, here,  here, here, and most recently here. In fact, as the shutdown drew closer, Americans’ desire to see the two parties compromise increased.

According to that most recent poll, published just a week before the shutdown, 53% of all Americans (an absolute majority), as well as 56% of moderates, 65% of liberals, 55% of indies, 61% of Democrats, and even a plurality of conservatives (42%) said, just a week before the shutdown, that it was more important to compromise and avert the shutdown than to “stick to principles.” Just 25% of all Americans, and only a third of conservatives, said it’s more important to “stick to principles.”

The two groups most hostile to compromise were Republicans (only 38% supported it) and Tea Partiers (39%). 36% of Republicans and 40% of Tea Partiers said it’s better to “stick to principles” even if it means shutting the federal government down.

This fact is not lost on the American people; by far their biggest criticism of the GOP is that it is “unwilling to compromise.” This is the biggest criticism levied at the GOP by Dems, independents, and even Republicans themselves.

The current government shutdown will only aggravate this problem. The longer it continues, the heavier the toll on the GOP’s and the conservative movement’s image will be.

Contrary to what the Tea Party and the likes of Rush Limbaugh tell you, the GOP is not “Dem lite” or “not conservative enough” and does not want to “surrender” on Obamacare. The GOP is, in fact, criticized by American voters, including a plurality of Republicans, for being too unwilling to compromise. And compromise is not nearly the same thing as surrender – under a compromise, EVERYONE has to swallow unpalatable stuff, Republicans as well as Democrats.

The biggest damage will be in the eyes of moderates, women, youngsters, and minorities – the very voters the GOP will need to win future elections, or to even stay relevant as a party.

Why it’s a bad policy

The shutdown is not only bad politics, it’s bad policy too. The GOP’s objective, as we all know, is to get rid of, or defund, Obamacare. However, that – or any other meaningful policy change – CANNOT come about while Obama is still in office and controls the Senate. Republicans simply CANNOT govern the country from one half of Congress – as the astute Charles Krauthammer, Brent Bozell’s MRC’s latest award recipient, has rightly remarked in a column warning Republicans against the shutdown.

To defund Obamacare, Republicans can do only two things: either shut the entire government down, as they have done, or somehow convince Senate Democrats to pass, and President Obama to sign, a bill defunding Obamacare.

As Krauthammer has warned in his seminal column, there is NO WAY IN HELL Obama will sign into law a bill defunding, or delaying the implementation of, his singular legislative “accomplishment” – the Dems had been waiting for over 50 years to check this item on “FDR’s Unfinished Business List”, as Ann Coulter calls it.

Obama will never agree to anything that defunds his sole legislative “achievement”, the sine qua non of a liberal welfare state, liberals’ Holy Grail. Nor will Senate Democrats, marching in lockstep with Harry Reid, vote for defunding or otherwise gutting Obamacare.

And short of them agreeing to the impossible, the only way to defund Obamacare is to shut the federal government down completely.

Republicans have already tried this, in a way. In 1995, under Newt Gingrich’s leadership, they offered President Clinton a budget funding parts of, but not all, of the federal government; cutting spending faster than he was willing to accept. When Clinton said no, Republicans shut the federal government down – and that killed their chances of winning in 1996. Eventually, Republicans had to agree to a budget on terms not much different from what Clinton offered before the shutdown.

So no, there is no way Republicans can win this shutdown battle – or to defund Obamacare while Obama is still in office.

And let’s use some common sense. Does ANYONE really believe that Republicans can undo ANY meaningful Obama policy – ANY significant part of Obama’s “legacy” – while he’s still in office, wielding a veto pen, a bully pulpit, and a 55-seat Senate majority?

Margaret Thatcher famously said “first you win the argument, then you win the vote.” What she forgot to add is “and only then can you make policy.” Thatcher would’ve never been able to make any policy changes had her party not won a clear majority in the Commons. And that, in turn, would’ve never happened if she had led her party to the right fringe of British politics, alienating the vital center.

Republicans first need to convince a clear majority of Americans that Obamacare still can and should be repealed, then win back the Senate and the White House, and ONLY THEN can they make any policy changes, like repealing Obamacare.

So the shutdown, however it ends, will CLEARLY fail to achieve the GOP’s objective: defunding Obamacare.

The damage to the military

In addition to the damage the shutdown will do to the GOP’s and conservatives’ public image, it will also wreak havoc on the US military, adding greatly to the damage being done by the sequester.

A government shutdown means that eventually, when the money runs out from previous years’ approps, there will be nothing to pay the troops with, no money for their and veterans’ care, and no money for current training and equipment maintenance, operations (like protecting the skies over the US), and the development and acquisition of new equipment, nor to pay DOD civilian employees (the majority of whom are not pencil-pushers but real hard workers, like mechanics at military depots).

Why shut the government down?

The ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu advised against fighting on ground, or at a time, disadvantageous to you, or when the enemy is too strong. He further wisely counseled (The Art of War, ch. 12, v. 17):

“Move not unless you see an advantage; use not your troops unless there is something to be gained; fight not unless the position is critical.”

So how did America get into this mess in the first place? If the shutdown won’t achieve any conservative policy objective and will only do damage, why was this stand-off started?

Because the fringe of the GOP, including the Tea Party, which views any compromise as betrayal and anything other than scorched-Earth tactics as surrender, demanded that Republicans shut the government down over Obamacare. And most Republicans in Congress, scared to death of a Tea Party primary challenge, listened to the Tea Party and followed suit – thus driving America over the cliff.

Most House Republicans and many GOP Senators, including Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, come from single-party GOP monopolies where most people are hardline conservatives who see any compromise as treason. These politicians live in single-party conservative cocoons and are thus totally detached from reality and out-of-touch with most Americans (as is the Tea Party itself). Just check the PVI ratings of Raul Labrador’s district (ID-1) and of the states of Texas, Utah, and Kentucky. Their districts and states are no more representative of America than Nancy Pelosi’s SF district.

Thus, they have no incentive to compromise, and far more to fear from a Tea Party primary challenger than a general election Democratic opponent. So they continue pushing the country to the brink, as the Tea Party demands, the consequences be damned.

Sadly, they may well take the GOP, and not just the country, over the cliff with them.

A Disgrace Worthy of a Resignation

It is unconscionable. It is rude, insensitivity, callus and unacceptable. With the news that family members of fallen soldiers killed in Afghanistan are not only being denied death benefits, but are being denied transportation to Dover AFB for the arrival of the caskets containing the remains of their loved ones, the Obama Administration has crossed a “red line” with the American people. Progressives in Washington and across the nation, you are now on notice: We – regular, rank-and-file, hard-working American every-men and -women – are not going to take the “pain” of your ideological agenda anymore.

Few things are sacrosanct among all Americans, the proper treatment and respect of the men and women of the Armed Forces – and their families – one such thing. But Mr. Obama, his administration, and the sycophants who voted for and support them have disrespected and caused unnecessary pain for these patriots, both fallen and family. Just as in the 1960s, these very same people and people of the same mindset, are once again spitting in the faces of the American soldier, this time extending that vile discontent to the survivors and their children.

FOX News reports:

It’s another ugly symptom of Mr. Obama’s partial government shutdown — and this time it impacts the families of soldiers who are dying for their country.

The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that, as long as the budget impasse lasts, it will not be able to pay death benefits to the families of troops who’ve been killed in combat.

“Unfortunately, as a result of the shutdown, we do not have the legal authority to make death gratuity payments at this time,” said Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a Defense Department spokesman.

House lawmakers, though, are planning to vote Wednesday on a bill to restore funding for the payments. And Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), on Tuesday accused the Obama administration of needlessly withholding the money…

The Pentagon says it has specific instructions from its budget office not to make payments for deaths that occurred after 11:59pm on Sept. 30, 2013.

And that’s about enough…We should all demand – demand – the name of the imbecile who made this decision (I am certain that it came from Mr. Obama’s inner-circle) and demand – demand – that person’s resignation, terminating that person’s governmental career complete with withheld benefits.

President Obama is the Commander in Chief and that position mandates a responsibility to care for the whole of the military family. This responsibility is absolute and non-discretionary. That this situation even exists must – must and without question – rest on Mr. Obama’s shoulders personally.

In fact, if one of the duties of the Presidency is being Commander in Chief, this abdication of responsibility to our soldiers and their families (they are considered military families and many live on military bases, shop at military base PXs, etc.) for political purposes should be deemed an impeachable offense; disavowing any aspect of the position of Commander in Chief must be considered a “high crime and misdemeanor.”

We, as a nation, have been subjected to the arrogance and bully-tactics of Mr. Obama’s Chicago Progressive political mindset long enough. We have been subjected to the sycophancy of a Progressive mainstream media continuously lobbing softball questions to this president; ignoring not only the execution of poor government, but scandals that – in more than one case – have cost Americans their lives. I contend that this is too high a price for a country to pay just because Progressive ideologues insists on executing the politically correct, “social justice,” Marxist transformation of our nation, purely for power, fame and fortune.

It is time to define Progressivism for what it is: a destructive force that is antithetical to our Founders’ vision of a limited government and a free people. It is also time to confront Progressivism at every level, in every governmental chamber, on every street corner and in every individual.

Progressivism is not unlike Islamofascism in that the ideology is not – not –compatible with the Natural Law right to individual liberty and the overall concepts of self-reliance and freedom. It also stands as just as lethal a threat to our nation.

That Mr. Obama has not already addressed the subject of getting the fallen soldiers’ families their promised death benefits and respectful transportation to Dover AFB for the arrival of the caskets is beyond disgraceful. If Mr. Obama had a shred of decency; an once of honor, he would have already ordered a solution to this problem from the available Pentagon funding (and yes, there is money there to satisfy this situation). That he hasn’t should result in his resignation from office…immediately.

Yes, it is that much of an issue.

CNN having a really bad week

Tanjila Ahmed (CC)

Tanjila Ahmed (CC)


CNN really isn’t having a very good week, thanks to the government shutdown and the opening of the ObamaCare insurance exchange websites. While the headlines have been full of unintended consequences of both of these events, from WWII veterans “storming” the monument to their service, to complaints about glitches on the ObamaCare websites, CNN has been forced into a corner over both of these stories.

Normally the network is extremely friendly to the Obama administration, so when the news is full of situations that are less-than-flattering for the president and Democrats, that spells trouble for CNN. Third quarter ratings put CNN between Fox News and MSNBC, but it’s not an enviable situation, given that MSNBC has been struggling to keep even a small share of viewers interested in viewing a 24/7 cable news source. Beyond the ratings issue, there is the news of the day dogging the network.

The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol went after CNN’s Piers Morgan and Mark Lamont Hill over the government shutdown. Liberals have been trying to maintain that the shutdown is purely the fault of “Tea Party radicals” in the GOP, however those claims are going at least a little flat in the face of the fact that the GOP has been repeatedly making new offers and legislation to resolve the issues, and offering to sit down Democrats to negotiate a resolution. The primary bone of contention is ObamaCare, which the GOP is determined to halt, or at least slow down severely. And the ObamaCare system itself seems to be conspiring against liberal politicians and media like CNN in that battle. Attempts to access the ObamaCare website on-air at CNN and MSNBC failed, leaving anchors with no choice but to give up trying. But maybe those anchors should be happy they failed – McAfee, the internet security giant, issued a warning about potential phishing scams on the government websites. Their glitches make them a prime target for hackers, in the opinion of McAfee’s vice president, Gary Davis. All in all, it’s not a good week for CNN.

Government Shutdown?…Blame Obama & Reid

There are two statements one can make with certainty about the current situation inside the beltway. First, truth is a rare commodity. What was promised to be the most transparent administration in American history has proven to, by comparison, make Richard Nixon’s Administration look like Wikileaks. And second, the Republican Party, at its highest level, has a lethal messaging problem. These two truths combine for a moment in time when the United States government is not only susceptible to Progressive despotism, but well down the road to succumbing to it.

Where the transparency and honesty of the Obama Administration is concerned, the examples of dishonesty are many. From using the Internal Revenue Service to cripple their ideological and political opponents to advancing fiction as the cause of the slaughter of four Americans by al Qaeda operative in a quest for an election victory, the list of matters ringing dishonest emanating from this administration is profound:

▪ The IRS scandal
▪ Benghazi cover-up
▪ The NSA surveillance scandal
▪ Spying on the media
▪ Fast & Furious
▪ Being able to keep your current coverage under Obamacare
▪ The Pigford debacle
▪ Sebelius violating the Hatch Act
▪ The use of secret emails by agency heads
▪ Solyndra
▪ Dropping prosecution of the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation

The list goes on and on and on, all the while the mainstream media provides cursory coverage at best, even as they provide rhetorical cover for the administration’s misdeeds.

But perhaps the most dishonest misinformation emanating from the Obama White House – and from the Democrat and Progressive controlled Senate, for that matter, is that Republicans want to shut down government. This out-and-out lie was false in 2011 and it is false today.

Since Republicans wrestled control of the US House of Representatives from the talons of Nancy Pelosi and her Progressive coven, the House has satisfied its constitutional obligation to craft and pass a budget, on time, each and every year, including for 2014. Conversely, Democrats and Progressives in the Senate have manufactured gimmicks and excuses to elude their budgetary obligations.

On January 7th, 2013, The Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote:

“Tuesday marks the 1,350th day since the Senate passed a budget. The law requires Congress to pass a budget every year, on the grounds that Americans deserve to know how the government plans to spend the trillions of taxpayer dollars it collects, along with dollars it borrows at the taxpayers’ expense. But Majority Leader Harry Reid, who last allowed a budget through the Senate in April 2009, has ignored the law since then.

“There’s no mystery why. The budget passed by large Democrat majorities in the first months of the Obama administration had hugely elevated levels of spending in it. By not passing a new spending plan since, Reid has in effect made those levels the new budgetary baseline. Congress has kept the government going with continuing resolutions based on the last budget signed into law.

“While Reid has forbidden action, the House has passed budgets as required. Senate Democrats have been highly critical of those budgets, designed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. But under Reid’s leadership, Democrats have steadfastly refused to come up with a plan of their own.”

Yet the narrative advanced by Reid, his Democrat Senate cronies and the White House is that it is Republicans who exist as “the party of ‘no’” in the US Congress. The facts, as they present, prove otherwise.

Which leads us to the current misinformation spin being advanced by the Progressives in Washington, DC: The Republicans want to shut down government over Obamacare. Truth be told, even the staunchest TEA Partier in the House and/or Senate has gone on record as not wanting to shut down government.

Article I, Sections 7, 8 and 9, respectively, of the United States Constitution states mandates that the “power of the purse” resides solely with the US House of Representatives:

“All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills…”

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States…”

“No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”

A plan being advanced by the fiscally responsible in the US House proposes to fully fund the US federal government, devoid of any funding for the notorious and ill-crafted Affordable Care Act. The facts surrounding the proposal are thus:

▪ Government funding through the Continuing Resolution will expire on September 30th.

▪ The House should pass a Continuing Resolution to fund the entire federal government, except for Obamacare. To do so, the Continuing Resolution should include the Defund Obamacare Act (HR2682/S1292) to explicitly prohibit mandatory and discretionary Obamacare spending.

▪ If Republicans stand together, with 218 votes in the House and 41 in the Senate, we can win. House Republicans should send the Senate a Continuing Resolution that fully funds the government without funding Obamacare, and Senate Republicans should ensure that no Continuing Resolution providing Obamacare funding is signed into law.

▪ If Republicans do this, President Obama and Harry Reid will falsely accuse Republicans of threatening a government shutdown. But only they control whether to shut down the government just to implement their failed law.

To date, more than 60 House Republicans and 14 Senate Republicans have joined in this effort. The likes of Richard Shelby (R-AL), John McCain (R-AZ), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Roy Blount (R-MO), Richard Burr (R-NC), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Bob Corker (R-TN), and Orin Hatch (R-UT) have come out against the measure for what can only be construed as purely political reasons.

Given that the Progressives of the Obama White House and the Reid Senate have no issue with crafting falsehoods to advance their political power, Conservatives, Republicans, Libertarians and fiscally conservative Democrats should admit this inevitability. Whether fiscally responsible Republicans fund government devoid of Obamacare or not, Progressives and Democrats – including their sycophants in the mainstream media – are going to blame the GOP for any and all push back on the budget, the debt ceiling and the implementation of Obamacare, no matter what Republicans do.

This makes it all the more frustrating, if not infuriating, that Republicans at the national level – both elected and not – are miserable at messaging. In the last decades Republicans have shown not only a weakness in being able to message; to convey simple cognitive thoughts, to the American people, they have displayed a complete inability to craft and take control of “the narrative,” pre-emptively.

And while “establishment Republicans” (many of whom are Progressive elitists in their own right) blame their inability to communicate to the American people on a “facture within the party,” this avoids the stark truth that the national Republican party hasn’t had a coherent message or employed a potent counter-measure to the Progressive message since the days of Ronald Reagan.

(A note about the “facture within the party: It is more a confrontation between moderate Republicans who have allowed the party to be “nudged” to the ideological Left continuously and without reciprocation during their tenure, and those loyal to the party’s charter and tenets circa 1856; those identified as the TEA Party faction of the Republican Party; those advancing the “Defund Obamacare” movement in Congress. To wit, establishment Republicans didn’t want Ronald Reagan as their nominee either. He would have been considered a TEA Partier had the movement existed in his day.)

That said, the only thing keeping the Defund Obamacare initiative from saving the country from economic devastation and a nation devoid of individual rights is intestinal fortitude; courage and conviction.

On August 21st, 2013, a gunman, armed with an AK-47 and over 500 rounds of ammunition, entered a Georgia elementary school. Michael Brandon Hill, a 20-year-old man with a history of mental health issues, proceeded to take the school bookkeeper, Antoinette Tuff, hostage, in what could have been yet another senseless tragedy; another murderous rampage. Instead, the situation resolved in Mr. Hill being taken into custody unharmed, the children of the school safe and sound, all because Ms. Tuff had the courage to try to do the right thing. Ms. Tuff talked the would-be gunman into surrendering and seeking medical attention. Because of Ms. Tuff’s courage, because of her willingness to put the good of the children before her own self-preservation, everyone involved in the incident lives to see another day: Hill gets the help he needs and the children live to embrace their futures.

That the “establishment Republicans” on Capitol Hill would display the same courage as Ms. Tuff when it comes to doing the right thing; when it comes to making a decision to take a stand; when it comes to placing the good of the people about political self-preservation. Sadly, there are very few Antoinette Tuffs on Capitol Hill. Sadly, there are very few Antoinette Tuff’s in the Republican Party.

But there was a time when this was not the case.