Why We Need More Conservatives

Friday, June 29th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

Every Republican swears up and down that he/she supports limited government, a balanced budget, and free markets.  Yet, once again, only a fraction of Republicans in Washington were able to stand for those ideals.  The House and Senate passed the Obama highway bill/student loan stimulus with overwhelming majorities.

Just 52 Republicans, 21% of the conference, voted against this budget buster that violated several tenets of the GOP Pledge to America.  Only 19 Republicans in the Senate voted no.

Here’s a color-coded spreadsheet of the House vote sorted by Cook PVI.  We’ve got a lot of red state Republicans who have no interest in balancing the budget, limiting government, or restoring free markets.  It’s votes like this that separate the men from the boys.

After the Supreme Court failed to uphold our Constitution, we must focus our attention on Congress.  We applaud the 52 GOP House members and 19 senators for supporting limited government.

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Thomas Dissents: It’s All Unconstitutional

Friday, June 29th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

Oh, how far we’ve deviated from our Founders in just over 200 years.

The entire country is pouring over an incoherent, internally contradictory, ill-conceived and politically motivated decision by Chief Justice Roberts, which grants Congress the power to regulate anything that moves and the power to tax anything that moves and anything that doesn’t move.  Yet, many conservatives are running around cheering this as a dictum of enumerated powers and limited government.  Wow – James Madison must be rolling over in his grave.

If we take the reasoning of Roberts to its logical conclusion, Congress would be able to coerce individuals to buy broccoli once a week, so long as they levy a tax on those who fail to comply with the law.  Putting aside the facial absurdity of Roberts’s tax power jurisprudence, his opinion on the Commerce Clause is nothing to cheer.  While Roberts clearly stated that the Commerce Clause does not grant the federal government the right to regulate inactivity (although it can evidently tax inactivity), he obliquely upheld their authority to regulate any activity under that misconstrued clause.

Amidst the garrulous analysis from the conservative pundit class on the Roberts decision, there is a one-page dissent from Justice Thomas (in addition to his joint dissent with the other 3 conservatives) that has been overlooked.  The joint dissent with Scalia, Alito, and Kennedy focuses primarily on taking down Roberts’s tax powers jurisprudence and Ginsburg’s opinion on the unlimited power of the Commerce Clause.  Thomas felt there was a need to add one point.  Not only was Roberts way off the reservation by rewriting this law as a tax and concurrently expanding the tax power of Congress, he was also wrong about the Commerce Clause.


Take a look at this paragraph from Thomas’s dissent (last two-pages of pdf):

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Why John Roberts Did It

Friday, June 29th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

While I don’t totally agree with Charles Krauthammer’s piece, “Why Roberts Did It,” I have to confess, it comes closest to my reaction regarding yesterday’s ruling on ObamaCare. In essence, John Roberts was defending the Constitution when he wrote, “The Framers . . . gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it,” in his decision yesterday, thus destroying the Obama Administration’s argument that ObamaCare was and is a valid exercise of the Commerce Clause. It is clearly not.

But bottom line, Robert’s message to the American people (and conservatives) yesterday was, “If you want to roll this back, you will have to elect a new President and new Congress. That’s not my job.”

Will George Will Be Proven Correct?

Friday, June 29th, 2012 and is filed under News, Obamacare

In a fascinating piece, George Will dissects why Chief Justice John Roberts ruled the way he did yesterday. In Will’s view, the conservative movement will be the better for it in years to come and the Left, while cheering what they thought was a major victory yesterday, may end up empty handed.

I confess. I want to believe George Will. I am just not sure.

Why Yesterday’s Ruling Potentially Handed The Senate To The Republicans

Friday, June 29th, 2012 and is filed under News, Obamacare

The New York Times has a great piece today on how The Ruling yesterday has the potential to change the dynamics of several Senate races across the country. The outcome of these races will dictate who controls the US Senate come January of 2013.

More importantly, the question of, “Who will the Republican Majority Leader be should this happen?” looms large in people’s minds because if one thing is certain, it is that the man conservatives do not want at the helm when it comes to repealing ObamaCare is Mitch McConnell.

10 Reasons to Oppose Highway/Student Loan/Flood Insurance Omnibus Bill

Thursday, June 28th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy, Taxes

While everyone is focused on how to deal with the impending government takeover of healthcare, we must continue to battle the forces of big-government in Congress.  Yesterday, in another display of venerable bipartisanship, leaders from both parties agreed to roll the $120 billion Democrat highway bill, subsidies to fuel the Big Education bubble, and a 5-year extension of government-run flood insurance into one omnibus bill, H.R. 4348.

The House and Senate plan to vote on the bill tomorrow.  We’ll be keeping score.

Just to rehash some of the main points, here are 10 reasons why conservatives must oppose this bill:

1)      Highway Trust Fund: This bill creates a permanent framework that vitiates the integrity of the highway trust fund as a pay-as-you-go system.  Instead of pegging spending to the gas tax revenue, it relies on a patchwork of tenuous and extraneous offsets that have nothing to do with highway spending.  The bill authorizes $15 billion more in annual spending than annual revenues.  This will set the stage for a future bailout that will be larger than the $35 billion bailout in 2008.

2)      Inefficient Infrastructure Policy: This bill continues the inane policy of sending every state’s gas tax money to Washington only to see 35% of it spent on waste and mass transit.  There’s no reason why states should have to hire lobbyists to beg for pork for every last road project when every state has such diverse transportation needs.

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Question for GOP: Will You Vote to Fund Obamacare

Thursday, June 28th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare almost in its entirety, there will be copious pages of commentary written about the legal arguments, the precedents for the future, and the politics of the Supreme Court.  None of that matters for us and our community of liberty-minded activists.  The most salient question is where do we go from here?  Are we willing to let this travesty stand?

There is nothing we can do about the Supreme Court.  Justices, even those who are political conservative, will buy into quirky legal rationale and exhibit unique jurisprudence.  What we must do now is focus on the elected branches of government.

When Republicans took over the House last year, they promised to repeal Obamacare.  They also promised that in the likely scenario that their repeal bill is blocked in the Senate, they would refuse to fund Obamacare in the annual appropriations bills that fund the various agencies that oversee Obamacare.  They passed the “Ryan budget,” which defunded Obamacare.  But then as the clock wound down to midnight, September 30, and the threat of a government shutdown scared them to death, they caved and agreed to an omnibus bill that included funding for Obamacare.

That must change now.

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Rothenberg: Dems in Trouble in PA

Thursday, June 28th, 2012 and is filed under Elections, News

Political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg says that despite the number of vulnerable Republican House members in Pennsylvania, there is no easy pickup for Democrats.

Double Capitulation Alert: Say No to Highway and Student Loan Bills

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Debt

While everyone is waiting breathlessly to see whether the Supreme Court will strike down Obama’s egregious power grab in the healthcare sector, a bipartisan group of congressmen and senators are working to grow government in several other sectors of the economy.  We must not be complacent.

In our battle to shrink the size of the federal government, there have been a number of issues on the agenda over the past few months.  Two of those issues are the extension of subsidized Stafford student loans and the Senate surface transportation leviathan.  Now, thanks to a deal cut between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, they will converge as one package to be voted on before the end of the week.  Both items are set to expire June 30, and will be extended without any serious reforms unless House Republicans act.  And no, despite promises to the contrary, the Keystone pipeline is not part of the deal.

All too often, Congress focuses exclusively on the cost of a bill to the government instead of the cost to the free market.  Ultimately, they fail to deal with either problem in a prudent manner.  This is quite evident in the case of the student loan deal.

In 2007, the Pelosi-Congress reduced interest rates on government-subsidized Stafford loans from 6.8% to 3.4%.  Like every stimulus measure during that era, it was supposed to be temporary.  Now there is a bipartisan deal to ostensibly make it permanent (they say it’s only for 1 year, but we’ve seen that rodeo before).  They only care about the $6 billion annual cost to the government, but fail to focus on the more fundamental problem – the fact that government subsidies will continue to fuel the education bubble, engendering a further need for larger subsidies.  Hence, the circuitous cycle of government intervention and inflation will continue unabated.

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The Simple Lesson of John Sullivan’s Defeat in OK-1

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Elections

In what was supposed to be a snoozer election night, a little known conservative candidate, Jim Bridenstine, came out of nowhere to unseat 10-year veteran John Sullivan in conservative Oklahoma District 1.  He did so by a 7-point margin, even though he was outspent 4-1 and nobody gave him any hope of succeeding.

Even among many politicos who woke up to read about this astonishing sleeper upset, there were murmurs of “John Who?”  Well, there is a poignant lesson in John Sullivan’s loss that will go unnoticed in the media and political commentariat.

Last week, as part of a revolutionary project of the Madison Project, I helped develop the Madison Performance Index.  We wanted to shed light on just how many members of solid Republican districts are supporters of big government.  The biggest criticism we received went something like this:

“Yes, many of these members might represent strong Republican districts, but do you think their constituents really oppose their efforts to secure subsidies for rural special interests?  These guys are actually good fits for their districts.”

The answer is very simple.  Of course, any constituency that is acclimated to the allure of government subsidies for decades will not voice strong opposition to the pork chops they receive.  But that cuts to the core of our problem with the Republican Party.  We will never elect limited government conservatives from blue urban America.  If we are going to co-opt the rural red districts – districts that are naturally suspicious of the federal government – with special interest dependency favors, we will never elect limited government conservativeanywhere.  The reality is that we need members to speak honestly to these constituencies – that we will not over-tax and overregulate you, but we will not subsidize you either.

That is exactly what Jim Bridenstine did in Oklahoma District 1 (R-16) this year. Read More