America is not a Dumping Ground

Thursday, May 29th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration

Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on issues related to immigration and border security.  There is probably no department through which Obama has pushed his lawlessness more than Homeland Security, as he has completed shredded our immigration laws and erased our borders.

Republican members of the Judiciary Committee should make this hearing the beginning of a sustained effort to shame and embarrass the administration into enforcing the laws, preserving our sovereignty, and protecting our national security.  As we head into the appropriations season, they must use the power of the purse as a weapon to batter these law-breakers into submission.  If they do not receive satisfactory answers from Johnson and DHS officials, they should cut the salaries of top officials in the DHS appropriations bill.

It’s time for Republicans to unite behind one common theme – preventing a new wave of illegal immigration.  Reasonable people can disagree about what to do with those who remain here illegally after we reinstate our laws and stop the new flow of illegal immigration.  We can certainly debate the level and type of legal immigration we desire to promote in the coming years.  But any Republican who shares a modicum of Republican values should put aside those ideas and stop giving aid and comfort to the President by helping him provoke a new wave of illegal immigration.

The notion that we must debate about the future of those already here while those very debates are fostering a gushing flow of illegal migration, particularly from Central America, is absurd and dangerous.  It is analogous to a homeowner mulishly focusing on what to do with the water in his basement while ignoring the torrent of water seeping under the door.

There is an overall surge in trespassing into the southernmost tip of Texas.  The public push by the administration to grant citizenship and benefits to children of illegals has spawned a surge in juvenile border crossings.  In fact, calls for amnesty have invited in so many juvenile border crossings that DHS is setting up emergency shelters for them in TexasHHS estimates that about 60,000 unaccompanied minors will enter the country illegally this year, a ninefold increase from 2011.

The memo that is being telegraphed to the Third World is that America is a dumping ground; come drop off your poverty on our doorstep.  Countries have gotten so brazen with their tactics that they are refusing to repatriate their citizens after we deport them.  Yet, the administration has stopped enforcing the law requiring the State Department to withhold visas from countries that refuse to repatriate their illegal migrants.

That is why it is so irresponsible for Republicans to begin talking about the Dream Act before the enforcement measures are in place, much less at a time when Obama is suspending all law and order.  Instead of demanding true immigration reform, which starts with enforcing our laws like every other country would do, Republican leaders refer to Obama’s bad behavior as immigration “reform.”

The willful disregard of our border security and immigration laws at the hands of this administration goes far beyond the broader debate over immigration.  Republicans need to unite on this issue, and that should start today by getting some answers from Jeh Johnson.

It’s time for Republicans to embrace the issue and champion our national security instead of running from it.

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Abolish the Economic Development Administration

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, Economy

As the season of appropriations begins in earnest, Congress will take up the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) appropriations bill.  This bill (HR 4660), which funds the Departments of Commerce and Justice, as well as NASA and other related agencies, provides $51.202 billion in discretionary budget authority.

Obviously, from a conservative perspective, the entire Department of Commerce is a waste of money and should not exist.  But at the very least, we should cut back on failed programs.  Instead, this bill actually provides $3.8 billion in extra spending relative to last year’s House bill.  The Heritage Foundation has already detailed $2.6 billion in additional spending cuts that should be included in the bill.

A number of conservative members will be offering amendments to cut spending.  One of the most important amendments that has been proposed so far is Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R-KS) amendment to abolish the Economic Development Administration (EDA).  The EDA is a failed Great Society program that serves as a stimulus/pork slush fund for special interest communities under the guise of assistance to economically distressed areas of the country.  It’s nothing more than a fund for corporate welfare and a way of picking winners and losers in the market.  It has been as successful in creating jobs as Obama’s stimulus.  Senator DeMint wrote a great piece on the EDA two years ago analyzing its history of failed promises.

Anyone who claims to oppose earmarks and stimulus must oppose the EDA.  This bill appropriates $248 million for the EDA, a slight increase from last year’s enacted level.  Call your members and ask them to support the Pompeo amendment to end the EDA.  If we can’t close down this failed agency, we will certainly never eliminate any major agency or full department.

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Madison Project Congratulates John Ratcliffe

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC made the following statement regarding John Ratcliffe’s stunning victory in tonight’s 4th Congressional District of Texas runoff:

“It’s no surprise that John Ratcliffe is the first challenger to succeed in the daunting task of knocking off an incumbent this year,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.   “Ratcliffe ran a phenomenal campaign focused on the need for new leadership, term limits, and ending illegal immigration. His strong conservative message appealed to the voters and they knew that a 34-year incumbent has been engrained in the special interests of Washington for too long.

“We’re excited about John Ratcliffe’s win and look forward to fighting together to repeal Obamacare, limit the size of government, and protect our borders.  We also thank Rep. Ralph Hall for his distinguished public service.”

To read our full endorsement of John Ratcliffe click here.

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/

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Thoughts for Memorial Day

Monday, May 26th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy

Those of us who live a civilian life can never fully appreciate the degree of sacrifice borne by those who wear the uniform, especially those who serve in dangerous theaters.  We certainly can never fully relate to those families whose loved ones have given the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation.

But as we remember those fallen heroes this Memorial Day, we must commit to doing everything in our power to advocate for policies that ensure that fewer people make that ultimate sacrifice.  We must also commit to alleviating the dysfunction that awaits those veterans who suffer injuries and sickness as a result of their service.

Obviously, there is no magic policy to ensuring that casualties are kept to a minimum in the heat of battle.  But both sides of the political divide need to join in the following commitment.  We may disagree on foreign policy, but we should never send our troops into a war setting without a clearly defined objective and overwhelming force – with the first priority always focused on protecting the lives of our soldiers.

Our pattern of sending the troops into a meat-grinder with no objective and egregious rules of engagement is unacceptable.  If our mission is just and the cause prudent, we should not worry about collateral damage and gratuitously risk the lives of our soldiers in order to prevent that damage.  If, on the other hand, we are so concerned about killing civilians in a war theater, then we shouldn’t go to war.  We should internalize the motto of George Patton: “The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.”

Equally as important as minimizing casualties is the need to ensure that our veterans our taken care of after serving in dangerous corners of the world.  It’s easy to blame the VA healthcare scandal on the incompetence and malfeasance of this administration.  However, the problems within the VA go far beyond a couple of bad apples within the bureaucracy.  They are endemic of any government-run healthcare system.

Instead of trying to tweak a failed system, we need to look at opening up the VA system to competition from the private sector.  The federal government must definitely take care of our veterans, but locking them into a government-run bureaucracy is not doing them any favors.  The VA is a superlative example of the failures of government-run healthcare, and our wounded warriors deserve better.

We need a system that fully pays for disabled veterans to purchase private health insurance and other healthcare services while subsidizing other veterans in varying degrees based on time and scope of service.  Liberal demagogues taint a voucher system as throwing veterans out in the cold, but it is actually their failed policies that are underserving them.  Besides, why should our veterans be confined to a limited array of healthcare providers and have to drive hours to a VA facility when they need care?  We would always have military hospitals for those who are severely wounded in action or have sustained wounds unique to a war theater, but the general population of veterans would be better served in a private healthcare system.

We are supporting candidates who have moved beyond the platitudes and are willing to boldly advocate private reforms for the VA.  Two candidates in particular, Col. Rob Maness and Dr. Bob Johnson, have served in the military with distinction and are willing to speak the truth about the failed VA system.  You can read more about Maness’s run for Senate in Louisiana here and Dr. Johnson’s run for Congress in GA-1 here.

Such a small percentage of American citizens have volunteered to serve in the military, particularly on dangerous missions. The least we can do is ensure that they do not become victims of politically correct warfare or government-run healthcare. Read More

Pat Roberts Disrespects his Constituents

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

We’ve witnessed a new level of hubris from the career politicians this cycle.  Instead of employing the typical ‘duck and hide’ from their records when challenged, these moss-covered politicians actually embrace their vulnerabilities….and lie about them.

We’ve seen a number of them undermine the effort to defund Obamacare and then run ads saying they worked to defund the law.

We’ve seen people like Mike Simpson, who voted for TARP, run an ad saying he voted to repeal TARP.

We’ve seen many candidates who have actively supported amnesty and open borders policies run ads touting their leadership on border security.

Virginia’s third senator, Pat Roberts, is seeking to outdo all of them.  He is going up on the air with an ad that, among the many other distortions, refers to himself as a “lifelong Kansan.”

This is a man who has never lived in Kansas in any meaningful way since 1962.  He ran for office for the first time in 1980 based upon ownership of a vacant lot in Dodge City.  He later switched to a rental property, and most recently, a laz-y-boy that he rents on the property of his big donor.  He has barely spent any time even visiting the state.   When challenged about his residency, Roberts claimed “he has a long history of intending to be a resident of Dodge City.”

Even if by some convoluted measure he can meet the legal standard for obtaining a place on the ballot, it is incontrovertibly clear that he is not a lifelong Kansan.  Hence, you would think that he would at least avoid the issue in his media buys.  Instead he has the temerity to lie straight to his constituents.

If Pat Roberts ca’tn be trusted to tell the truth about his place of residency – the fundamental prerequisite for running for office – how can he possibly be trusted as a U.S senator?

Additionally, he has the nerve to tout his Heritage Action score as one of the top five conservatives for this past year.  Amazingly, he fails to mention that prior to the primary challenge from Milton Wolf he scored a failing grade or a D from conservative organizations.  In fact, now that he admits that Heritage Action is right and he was wrong all those years, he should run ads thanking Dr. Wolf for his cathartic change.

Indeed it is incensing to watch these sleazy politicians lie to their constituents, as they are not man enough to run on the veracity of their true convictions.  And sadly, they are often successful.  But the thing about running on a pack of lies is that it eventually catches up to them.  They can only pull that trick once.

Let’s not wait another six years until Roberts betrays us to find a real conservative from Kansas.  Let’s rally to the man who has shown the courage to challenge the outrageous behavior of the political class.

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If You Like the Political System You Can Keep it

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration

The current debate within the Republican Party boils down to one question: is politics a means for promoting liberty and economic growth through the confines of the U.S. Constitution or is it an end to itself?

Democrats don’t have to answer this question because their policies of creating dependency, paying off special interests, and class warfare also benefit their individual members politically and help cement their power.  They can have their cake and eat it too.

Republicans, on the other hand, are presented with the dilemma of pursuing policies that don’t empower themselves or playing the special interest political game.  The special interest political game consists of a candidate or member failing to take a potent position on any major issue, telling each special interest what they want to hear, collecting millions of dollars so they can further say a bunch of nothing, and rinse and repeat for the next election cycle.

Almost every elected official from both parties either starts out playing the political game from day one or is quickly sucked into it upon taking office.  Aside from a few flag-waving issues, most politicians are not motivated to run for office because of core convictions that burn inside their soul. They are motivated to run because their mothers told them they were fit to be a senator one day.  That becomes an ends to itself.

And that is exactly what everyone hates about politics.  That is why these elections have had such low turnout.  That is why Congress has such a low approval rating.

This sense of apathy is bipartisan and clearly cuts across all ideological lines.  Yet, a grassroots conservative movement that has, more or less, been labeled as the Tea Party, is the only faction dedicated to changing the political system and throwing out the career politicians.

But it is precisely because they desire not to play the political game that these candidates are confronted with an almost insurmountable task.  Everybody in the system, including the talking heads and thumb-sucking pundits, feel threatened by the movement.  Every business interest is motivated to destroy the movement.  As such, it is so difficult to raise enough money for the challenger to define themselves before they are defined by the incumbent.

It is not very hard to run against the tea party movement.  Again, if politics is an ends to itself, career politicians will make themselves scarce, never take a stand on a contentious issue, and only put out carefully-crafted statements through professional staff – statements that are meaningless. See Mitch McConnell for an example. But the path of least resistance is always the easiest path to power if that is the ultimate goal.

As we’ve noted before, these career politicians hide behind slick ads aired on the backs of special interests money, often promoting a message antithetical to the one privately espoused in order to obtain that level of campaign funding in the first place.  Hence, the path to victory is keep the candidate scarce, lie to the voters through the filter of a high-dollar campaign apparatus, define your opponent with lies, and celebrate on election night with a speech full of platitudes.

Some of the political class pundits seem to be impressed by this process, but this is the very system that has helped create a post-constitutional country.  It’s not impressive, it’s immoral.

On the one hand, we’ve made so much progress over the past five years that establishment candidates, even those universally recognized as moderates, are forced to run on our platform.  This would have never been the case if not for the constant threat of primary challenges.  But to actually expose these people and raise enough money to throw out the political class is a long process.  It will not happen in one election cycle, but we must start somewhere.  People tend to forget how hard it is to actually succeed in throwing out an incumbent in a primary.  It has only been done once in the Senate in recent years when Senator Richard Lugar was downed in Indiana (Mike Lee won in a convention dynamic).

Seats with no incumbent Republican are not any easier.  The establishment candidates always have exponentially more money and they run as conservative challengers against the status quo.  It’s not that the conservative choices lost; it’s that they never got on the field.  Thom Tillis was the only candidate in North Carolina up with sustained penetration media buys.  His allies bought him ubiquitous name ID.  Greg Brannon and Mark Harris never cracked 30% in name ID.

In Georgia, David Purdue and Rep. Jack Kingston spent over $5 million apiece between their campaigns and outside groups.  As of the last FEC filings, Karen Handel – the third-place finisher – spent just over $700,000.  And more importantly, the two establishment candidates ran away from party leadership and even signed a hard-core pledge against amnesty and open borders.  You spend the most money and run as a conservative you will always win the primary.

But to what end?  That is the unanswered question.

If the ultimate goal is just to win an elected office with no intention of fulfilling their campaign promises, in other words, governing like establishment Republicans, their game will come to an end at some point.  You can’t fool the people all the time.

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Madison Project Congratulates Dr. Bob Johnson on Making GA-1 Runoff

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

Fort Worth, TX The Madison Project PAC made the following statement regarding Bob Johnson’s strong showing in the Republican primary election for the 1st Congressional District of Georgia:

“Dr. Bob’s strong showing in the first round of the Georgia primaries is an amazing accomplishment for a newcomer to politics such as he is,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “Republicans in south Georgia are clearly starving for new leadership within the party.  Dr. Bob is the only candidate who is willing to stand up to the failed leaders in both parties to push a conservative reform agenda on an array of issues, ranging from free market reforms, to agriculture and taxation, to relieving our veterans from the appalling mismanagement of the V.A. and government-run health care.  Unlike his opponent, state Sen. Buddy Carter, Dr. Bob will not be a tool for the K Street special interests who support crony capitalism and preservation of Obamacare.”

To read our full endorsement of Bob Johnson click here.

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/

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Madison Project Congratulates Barry Loudermilk on Placing First in GA-11 Primary

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, News, Press

Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC made the following statement regarding state senator Barry Loudermilk’s strong showing in the Republican primary election for the 11th Congressional District of Georgia:

“Even though he was heavily outspent, Barry Loudermilk has become the consensus choice for the grassroots by uniting both fiscal and social conservatives,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “The contrast between Loudermilk and Barr could not be starker.  Whereas Barry has been consistently conservative on all social and fiscal issues, Bob Barr has waffled on so many issues throughout his career.  When Barr had the chance to show leadership, he instead led the charge to praise Eric Holder.  We need more 21st century conservative fighters, not a step backwards.”

 

To read our full endorsement of Barry Loudermilk click here.

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at http://madisonproject.com/

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The Defeat of Enlist Act Amnesty and Why #Primaries Matter

Monday, May 19th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration

On April 10, Breitbart reported that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) had made a pledge last year to help Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) pass his ENLIST Act amnesty.  This bill would essentially invite illegals to join the military and turn our armed forces into a visa mill for open borders.  As Denham made his push to add the ENLIST Act to the NDAA in committee, he claimed that Cantor was very “supportive” of his effort.

Well, after five weeks of conservative fury about this odious iteration of amnesty, the effort to pass ENLIST is officially dead.  And the man who killed it was Eric Cantor.  Evidently, Cantor has not only committed to blocking amnesty in the NDAA, he will oppose efforts to bring this bill to the floor as a stand-alone legislation.

Cantor’s bold opposition to this bill is all the more peculiar given his past support for similar proposals.  He has not been shy about holding up the DREAM Act – a related amnesty proposal – as a “priority” for the future of the GOP.

However, there is no enigma about what transpired this week with Eric Cantor.  Whenever you witness a sudden shift to the right in a Republican member, look no further than electoral politics.

Despite the bravado from amnesty supporters who claim ubiquitous support for their proposals, they know that their views don’t sell with the electorate, certainly not with GOP primary voters.  That is why they keep searching for surreptitious means of passing amnesty.  They know that once the electorate is fully mobilized for several weeks against the proposal, they will face serious backlash.

In Cantor’s case, he has a primary challenger, Dave Brat, who has been gaining more traction in recent weeks.  Although Brat faces a monumental task with such little money, Cantor felt threatened enough to go up on broadcast television and attack Brat as a liberal.  Moreover, Cantor badly wants to be Speaker next year, and even a minor primary challenger will focus too much attention on his pro-amnesty positions.  Hence, the U-turn on ENLIST.

But if Cantor is really serious about fighting open borders instead of winning the next election, he would swear off all amnesty and join the fight against Obama’s administrative end-runs around Congress.  In fact, it is precisely the support of the Dream Act from people like Cantor that is likely triggering a new surge in border crossings by young people from Latin America.  It has gotten so bad that DHS is setting up emergency shelters in south Texas to deal with the influx of people invited into the country by the open borders crowd.  Will Cantor swear off his amnesty proposals until border and interior enforcement is properly implemented and Obama commits to restoring the law?

Don’t hold your breath.

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Shift Power Back to the States

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, Taxes

Anyone who reads the plain language of the Constitution and the writings of James Madison would come away with the unambiguous impression that the Founders vested the federal government with very few powers – powers that they felt could only be executed by a central government.  Much of what the federal government does in this post-constitutional era is not only superfluous but deleterious to economic growth and free market fairness.

However, there are other functions that are vital and important, albeit best left up to state and/or local governments to administer.  On this day 88 years ago, President Calvin Coolidge delivered a speech at the College of William and Mary echoing this very sentiment:

“We must also recognize that the national administration is not and cannot be adjusted to the needs of local government …

The States should not be induced by coercion or by favor to surrender the management of their own affairs.

The Federal Government ought to resist the tendency to be loaded up with duties which the States should perform.

It does not follow that because something ought to be done the National Government ought to do it.”

Two major issues that fit into this category are authority over transportation and education.  Both of those issues are in the news today, and conservatives should take note if they plan to effectively advance a conservative reform agenda in the coming years.

Transportation

With regards to transportation, once again the Senate is doubling down on the failed transportation policy of the federal sinkhole.  The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a $265 billion highway bill, which dictates full control over transportation policy for all 50 states.  Each state has its own unique population, geography, topography, and transportation needs, yet it is all centrally planned in one 5-year bill from Washington.  Naturally, when you couple the inefficiencies with federal labor and environmental mandates, along with $43 billion spent on mass transit, the revenue collected from the federal gasoline tax can no longer cover the full cost.

Instead of taxing or borrowing our way out of the quicksand of inefficient federal policy, we should devolve most transportation authority to the states.  Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) have companion bills (S. 1702/ HR 3264) to do just that.  Each state would levy its own tax to purvey highway projects and can easily prioritize the level of taxation and spending based upon its needs.  This is not even a left or right issue.  More liberal states would naturally levy a higher gas tax to fund infrastructure projects, while conservatives would cut other functions deemed unnecessary or harmful.  But that should not be decided by the federal government.

Education

Education is also an important function that should be controlled by those closest to the classroom, particularly local governments.  While our ultimate goal must be to remove the federal government from K-12 and higher education altogether, there are two promising bills from Senator Lee that would empower state and local governments with control over some aspects of education.

After a half century of producing no positive results, Senator Lee and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) want to devolve the $8.6 billion budget for the Head Start program to the states (S. 2119/HR 4481).  The program has done nothing but self-perpetuate and create jobs for special interests.  There is certainly nothing to lose by letting the states experiment with the money already appropriated.

Another bill (S.1904), sponsored by Senator Lee and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), would reform accreditation for institutions of higher education.

One of the major problems with the Department of Education is that is distorts the “education market” much like any other government intervention in the private economy.  The current higher education accreditation system is controlled by the federal government and creates a one-size-fits-all system that is heavily slanted towards conventional four-year college degrees.  This system does not work for everyone, but the accreditation process has forced many people into this framework, even if they would like to pursue other educational training.  In turn, it has contributed to the “education bubble,” in which federal bureaucrats work with leaders of higher education to over-utilize and over-emphasize the current system, thereby driving up the cost of an education – and by extension – student loan debt.

Senator Lee’s Higher Education Reform and Opportunity [HERO] Act would allow states to create their own system of accreditation, which could grant students the same benefits and status for pursuing alternative coursework, apprenticeships or vocational training.

Every Republican publicly decries the growth of the federal government, but many decline to divulge which functions they would eliminate other than rooting out waste and fraud.  Senator Lee’s bills on education and transportation provide conservatives with a solid opportunity to advocate limited federal government, federalism, and changing course from decades of failed policies by the federal government.

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