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.


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 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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House Republicans Ready to Use Military as Dumping Ground for Open Borders

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration

Republicans are planning to retaliate against Obama for his high crimes and misdemeanors of letting out violent illegal aliens onto the streets.  They plan to bring the ENLIST Act (H.R. 2377) to the floor next week, using the military as the first stomping grounds through which to pass amnesty and get the ball rolling for comprehensive open borders.

Take that, Obama.

Instead of asking what degree of enforcement they will demand from Obama, Republicans are debating over how much amnesty they will concede.  And what better place than to start with the military – the most respected institution in the country?

Next week, the House will take up the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Conservatives already fought to keep Rino Rep. Jeff Denham’s (R-CA) military amnesty bill out of the underlying legislation in committee.  But he plans to bring it up as an amendment to the bill on the floor.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • The military is just the beginning.  Senator Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) strategy has always been predicated on getting his foot in the GOP door in order to kick it wide open.  Once they pass an amnesty inviting illegals into the military, they can go to conference and pass comprehensive amnesty.
  • Even worse than the Dream Act, this bill would grant illegals immediate legal status with an open-ended promise for expedited citizenship.  Their families will also obtain legal status.  This is a recipe for unsuitable low-skilled chain migration.
  • As the Obama administration dramatically cuts back the military of those who have served honorably, they are now filling those positions with illegals?
  • While the left would like to conjure up an image of an illegal Navy SEAL killing al-Qaida members, the reality is that most of these individuals would be used simply for the purpose of creating a visa mill.  There is no age limit for eligibility, so this has nothing to do with service in combat.  Also, in addition to now diverting focus from killing the enemy to social engineering, the military will now have to focus on amnesty.
  • This law ostensibly creates a guaranteed issue of citizenship for enlistees.  Even if for some reason the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would reject an application, you can bet there would be endless lawsuits overturning the decisions.  What message does this send to terrorist cells who want to infiltrate our military?  Inviting in thousands of people with murky backgrounds and notional legal recourse to utilize in rejecting them will only invite in dangerous elements.

So what should conservatives do?

First, we must make it clear to Members of Congress that if amnesty is slipped into the NDAA, especially at a time when Obama is nullifying the rule of law, they must oppose the procedural rule to consider the bill.  That is the only way to defeat this travesty.  Democrats typically oppose the procedural motion to call up a bill, even if they intend to vote for final passage.  In this case, most of them will support the bill along with many Republicans.  Voting against the procedural rule will ensure that the bill does not make it to the floor.

Second, we must continue to do everything in our limited power to take down the Chambercrats in primaries.  If they no longer fear competitive primaries there is nothing to stop them from supporting the Obama agenda.

Finally, we must continue bringing Members out of the shadows and documenting their position on next year’s leadership elections.  In light of the current leadership supporting Obama’s violation of our sovereignty, we have a right to know whether they will join the effort to elect a new leadership slate.

Ultimately, this is a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party – one that will determine whether we have a viable alternative to an agenda that disrespects our borders, sovereignty, rule of law, and the American taxpayer.

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There is a Fire Raging

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration

Here is what happens when Republicans exhibit an insouciant attitude towards the administration’s appalling and dangerous open borders policies:

36,000 murderers, rapists, and kidnappers are let out of jail in 2013.

Obama unilaterally suspends deportations and changes visa laws.  He also openly refers to immigration enforcement as “not smart.”  This, as our visa screening system has already failed to root out terror threats.

Meanwhile, the vocal bipartisan consensus to erase our borders engenders a new surge in illegal immigration from Central American countries and even from Mexico.

Many of us have our pet peeve issues that we feel are not being addressed by those who claim to represent conservatives in Washington.  But it is fairly safe to say that no issue reaches the magnitude of this one in terms of the immanency of the problem.  While Republicans negotiate with themselves over the non-sequitur and non-pressing issue of what to do with those here illegally for a long time, they are telegraphing the message to Obama that whatever he does to shred the Constitution and engender a new wave of illegals is just cool.

Put simply, the silence on the part of Republicans, and even some prominent conservatives, is appalling.

Letting out thousands of dangerous aliens and creating a new wave of illegal migration is more of an imminent and ongoing problem that will affect the security, fiscal stability, and social fabric of this country in a more deleterious way than the Benghazi scandal.  Not to diminish the importance of investigating that scandal, but if Benghazi warranted a select committee, Obama’s dangerous open borders policies and belligerent abuse of power should spawn a full-scale funding battle for those executive agencies responsible for these dastardly illegal acts.  As passionately as many of us felt about using the power of the purse vested in the House to fight Obamacare and the debt, those issues look relatively small as compared to the brush fire at our borders.

It is sickening to hear one Republican or phony conservative after another not only ignore the 10-alarm fire at our border and actually refer to Obama’s pyromania as “immigration reform.”  We are the true advocates of immigration reform; our opponents are the ones who want to exacerbate everything that is broken with the system.  It is unforgivable for Republicans to wink and nod and even give aid and comfort to those who are endangering the country and erasing our sovereignty.

Just this morning, Senator Reid and Schumer took to the Senate floor to push for amnesty.  As we’ve learned from the past, there is no better coordination in Washington than the kabuki theater choreographed by Schumer and Republican supporters of open borders.  They are timing this effort in conjunction with Obama’s new illegal acts, Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue’s remarks, Grover Norquist’s announcement of a weekly open borders call with the media, and Sal Russo’s op-ed cheering on Obama’s malfeasance.

Much like any other policy debate, reasonable people can disagree over what to do with those here in the long run or the level of legal immigration and guest workers.  But for Republicans to cheer on Obama while he violates the Constitution, breaks our borders, engenders a new increase in illegal immigration, and releases criminal aliens onto the streets is beneath contempt.

Cross-posted at RedState

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Did the NRSC Vet Thad Cochran?

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

The media, GOP lobbyists, and the NRSC think that as long as a senator properly executes the pay-for-play and grows government for several decades, there is nothing more to learn about them.  After all, they are members-in-good-standing of the permanent political class, there cannot be any baggage.  Conversely, every conservative challenger who threatens the foundations of the establishment is immediately tainted and fully defined by puerile oppo hits, irrespective of that individual’s solid reputation in his or her community or line of work for years.

Thad Cochran is a stealth senator from Mississippi who has done nothing for conservatives during his 42 years in Washington.  On second thought, it would have been better for him to do nothing as opposed to working with Democrat appropriators to expand the role and reach of the federal government into every aspect of state government.  But evidently, that has inoculated him from any scrutiny about how he and his campaign conduct business.

There are two stories that have surfaced that have painted a less than flattering image of  Senator Cochran’s ethics, but the rest of the media is not interested in cannibalizing one of their own in the way they do to our candidates.

The media might want to explore why Senator Cochran is travelling with his executive assistant on taxpayer dollars to 42 countries since 2002, as reported by Breitbart:

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) lives in the basement apartment in a house owned by his executive assistant, Kay Webber, which he has listed as his primary address on official forms. Now public records show Webber accompanied Cochran on dozens of taxpayer-funded trips overseas.

According to the Congressional Record, where trip details including cost are listed, Webber has traveled with Cochran at taxpayer expense to 42 countries across five continents since 2002. […]

Other documents show that in 2005 and 2007, the Wine Institute, a trade association that represents the California wine industry, paid for Cochran’s and Webber’s travel to Sonoma, California for what a disclosure form described as “a fact-finding program on issues of importance to the wine industry.” No other aides attended the trip.

This relationship is so bizarre, even McConnell has declined to defend Cochran.

Members of the media might also want to dig into this Roll Call story showing how a local Mississippi bank has given a pro-Cochran super PAC a bizarre unsecured loan:

In an unusual transaction, a financial institution has given an unsecured $230,150 loan to a Super PAC to use for making independent expenditures in the 2014 primary elections.

The Mississippi Conservatives, a Republican-oriented Super PAC supporting Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., in the June 3rd Republican primary, reported it had receipts of $717,993 during the first quarter of 2014, including a $230,150 loan from Trustmark Bank in Jackson, Mississippi. Trustmark (NASDAQ:TRMK) is a publicly traded corporation.

Harry Walker, a regional President of the bank signed the agreement on January 29, 2014. The loan is due on June 3, 2014, and the interest rate (APR) is 2.86%. The forms indicate there are no other parties secondarily liable for the debt incurred, and there is no pledged collateral for the loan.

The most unusual aspect of the loan is there are no future contributions or future receipts pledged as collateral for the loan. This may be the first reported unsecured bank loan to a Super PAC, especially to one that was only two weeks old. With no committee track record, and no collateral, it is hard to understand how this loan could have been made in the normal course of business. The committee has only repaid $20,000 of the loan.

As it turns out, Walker also serves on Cochran’s fundraising committee.  And both Walker and Richard Hickson, the former CEO of Trustmark Bank, have donated to Cochran.

So what happens after the primary?  Do they just default on the loan effectively converting it to a massive contribution from a bank?

As conservatives, we strive to focus on the issues that are concerning the voters.  But I would imagine that if we hired as many professional hit men as they do for our candidates, we would find exponentially more skeletons in the closets of their candidates.  It would be nice for the media to join the vetting process.

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Madison Project Airs Radio Ad in Support of John Ratcliffe in TX-4

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

Fort Worth, TX –The Madison Project PAC released a new, 60-second radio ad encouraging Republicans in northeast Texas to vote for John Ratcliffe in the May 27 Republican runoff election primary for the U.S. House Fourth Congressional District:

To listen to the ad click here.

“While all Republicans run as conservatives in GOP primaries, few have the record to back up their rhetoric like John Ratcliffe,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “As a small-town mayor of Heath, TX, Ratcliffe was one of the few local leaders who balanced the budget during the recession without raising taxes.  He imposed term-limits on himself as mayor and he is pledging term-limits again as a Member of Congress.

“Most importantly, as GOP leadership is prepared to rubber stamp President Obama’s open borders agenda, Ratcliffe brings an impressive skill set and much-needed passion for secure borders and the rule of law to a Congress that has shirked one of its core responsibilities.  At a time when establishment Republicans are retreating from the fight against Obamacare and opting instead to push for amnesty, Ratcliffe is the right man at the right time to represent this conservative district.”

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 K Street Revolving Door Continues Turning

Monday, May 12th, 2014 by and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

A few weeks ago, we noted that House GOP leadership has carefully picked which partial Obamacare bills come to the floor.  Notably, only those aspects of repeal that are fully supported by the health care lobbyists on K Street ever see the light of day for a floor vote.  The example from last month was a bailout of Cigna’s calamity with expatriate health insurance plans for American executives serving overseas.

The health care industry spent a lot of money campaigning for Obamacare, but now they don’t want to deal with the consequences of the law, at least not those aspects that affect their bottom line in the near-term.  It’s no surprise that Senator Marco Rubio’s “risk corridors” bill, which would eliminate the slush fund to bail out insurance companies from revenue losses due to the Obamacare mandates, never received a vote in the House.  It is vehemently opposed by the health industry lobbyists.

To illustrate just how strongly Republicans are controlled by K Street look no further than today’s news that Brendan Buck has accepted a position as the top spokesman for the health insurance industry.  Buck, a longtime spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, will become vice president of communications at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).

As the Washington Post notes, AHIP is a supporter of Obamacare and a big force behind opposing the elimination of the “risk corridor” bailout.

Over the next few months, we will begin to see a number of stories about how repealing Obamacare is a thing of the past.  Just today, The Hill observes how “the GOP goes quiet on Obamacare,” as there is no more pending legislation going through committee or coming up for a floor vote.

Indeed it has become clear that the battle over defunding Obamacare last fall was not just a disagreement in strategy.  If we fail to get rid of leadership and elect more fresh conservative blood, passing amnesty will supplant repeal of Obamacare as the cause célèbre of the Republican Party.

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