Thursday, March 6th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Economy
The reason many of us don’t trust the current crop of Republicans to actually downsize existing federal programs is because they often agree to create new government interventions into the private sector.
Case in point? Yesterday’s obscure vote to create a new program within the Department of Energy.
It has become clear this year that House Republicans have no interest in forcing a fight on must-pass legislation nor do they have the stomach to pass stand-alone bills that draw a sharp contrast on contentious issues, such as illegal immigration, religious liberty, and gay marriage. They don’t want to address other conservative solutions, such as devolving transportation and education to the states or repealing the pernicious ethanol mandate, which raises the cost of food and fuel – all great issues to promote during an election year. Instead, they want to run out the clock and squander their time in the majority passing the most innocuous bills.
To that end, they have spent most of their time pushing these “non-controversial” suspension bills, which need a two-thirds majority to pass. One of those bills that passed the House yesterday was H.R. 2126 – Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2014, sponsored by liberal Republican David McKinley (WV) and Reps. Peter Welch (D-VT). Here is a synopsis of the bill from CRS:
Amends the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to require the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to study the feasibility of: (1) significantly improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings through the design and construction of separate spaces with high-performance energy efficiency measures, and (2) encouraging owners and tenants to implement such measures in separate spaces. Requires the Secretary to publish such study on DOE’s website.
Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a voluntary Tenant Star program within the Energy Star program to recognize tenants in commercial buildings that voluntarily achieve high levels of energy efficiency in separate spaces. Requires DOE’s Administrator of the Energy Information Administration to collect data on categories of building occupancy that consume significant quantities of energy and on other aspects of the property, building operation, or building occupancy determined to be relevant to lowering energy consumption. Prohibits the impact on climate change from being a factor in determining energy efficiency of commercial building tenants.
Talk about picking winners and losers! This opens the door to the government collecting data on construction of private buildings and incentivizing specific behavior through green venture socialism. As always, these things start out as voluntary propositions, but quickly morph into full-blown mandates.
Also, like most green energy programs, the DOE will carefully craft the grant programs to benefit liberal crony capitalists who can’t sell their sub-par product or service in the free market without the extra boost from government.
Moreover, why are we adding another program to a department that Republicans [were supposed to] believe serves no constructive purpose?
At some point we need to ask why Republicans feel so uncomfortable being in the majority that they have to fill their time passing Democrat bills.
And unlike some of the other suspension bills, this is not an isolated measure that will stall out in the Senate. The Welch/McKinley bill overlaps with a broader Shaheen-Portman bill that has been percolating through the Senate for the past few years. They recently introduced another iteration of the bill and can now point to the fact that 86 percent of House Republicans supported much of the foundation for their legislation. Rep. Welch has already said that passage of this bill “provides a clear path to conference” with the Senate. They might take up this bill as early as next week.
Passage of this bill marks a new milestone for the GOP establishment. First they gave Senate Democrats a de facto super-majority with a number of Republicans voting with them on key issues. Then House Republicans began rubber-stamping some of their bad bills, often in violation of the Hastert Rule. Now they are pre-emptively passing Senate Democrat legislation in the House even before Reid takes up the bill!
At some point we are going to learn that a GOP majority does not have much utility unless we replace the current roster of failed leaders.
Monday, March 3rd, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
From listening to proponents of open borders speak about immigration, one would come away with the impression that we have just experienced a protracted period of low immigration. They contend that our “limited legal immigration” has engendered a need for people to migrate here illegally. However, the Census Bureau published new numbers illuminating a fact that is self-evident to anyone who has studied immigration: we have already gone through a “second great wave of immigration.”
Here is the key takeaway from the Census update, which was cited by Alex Bolton in The Hill over the weekend:
Many Americans can trace their ancestral roots to the “great wave” of immigration that occurred during the late 1800s and early 1900s. This is not surprising, as the foreign-born population grew rapidly during this period, doubling in size from 6.7 million in 1880 to 14.2 million in 1930. Between 1880 and 1930, the foreign-born population represented between 12 and 15 percent of the total population.
As immigration to the United States slowed after 1930 and the resident foreign-born population either died off or emigrated, the size of that population continued to decline, falling to 9.6 million in 1970, the lowest level in the 20th century. Less than 5 percent of the total population in 1970 – or less than one in 20 people – were foreign-born.
However, over the last four decades, the United States has experienced what many are calling the “second great wave” of immigration. Since 1970, the foreign-born population has continuously increased in size and as a percentage of the total U.S. population. The foreign-born population quadrupled after 1970, reaching 40.0 million by 2010, and about 13 percent of the total population – or one in eight – were foreign-born.
Once again, the country is approaching a percentage of foreign-born not seen since the late 1800s and early 1900s. Will this proportion continue to increase, perhaps exceeding the high of nearly 15 percent achieved in both 1890 and 1910?
This is the simple historical context that has eluded 90 percent of the politicians in Washington. With over 1 million new immigrants every year for most of the past three decades, the foreign-born population is now approaching 41 million. Obviously, the sheer size of the current wave of immigration is unprecedented, while the percentage increase is approaching the proportion of the Great Wave era – a time when the country was relatively new and underpopulated.
During the ‘20s, there was a broad consensus of the need to cool down the pace of immigration to allow for absorption and assimilation. Remember, we did not have a robust welfare state or separatist lobbies like La Raza at the time. The ensuing “cool-off” period clearly netted positive results, as the immigrants from the Great Wave became absorbed into the fabric of America and helped build the country into what it is today.
It’s not surprising that the presidential elections from 1968-1992, which represent the GOP’s most auspicious political era at the federal level, overlapped with the period of time when the first great wave had completely assimilated and the second great wave had not yet affected the outcome of elections in a significant way. If not for Watergate and Jimmy Carter running as a southern conservative, Republicans would have won every election in a landslide.
Fast-forward three decades, and GOP policymakers and politicians are living in a dream world. In terms of policy, the second great wave matches or exceeds the magnitude of the first wave in every respect. Also, we now have a robust welfare system and separatist lobbies to ensure that newly arrived immigrants, many of them impoverished and from the third world, don’t seek upward mobility or absorption into the broad population.
The policy vices of doubling the current record-baseline of immigration should be sufficient to give Republicans pause about passing a Democrat version of “immigration reform.” However, because they often sell amnesty and immigration expansion as an electoral boon for the party, it’s important that we challenge their agenda on political grounds as well. With the level of immigration approaching record-high levels under the current trajectory, from which what planet have these people originated to suggest that doubling immigration will do anything other than create a permanent Democrat majority?
As the national average of foreign-born residents exceeds 13 percent, many states have a much higher concentration of immigrants. According to CBO, Nevada, Florida, New York, and New Jersey all have an immigrant population higher than 18 percent of the respective state’s population. California tops out at 26.1 percent as of 2012.
As the Census report notes, it’s unclear whether the population swell from the second great wave has already crested or whether there is more to come. The accompanying report on the immigrant population under the age of 35, seems to suggest that the trend could continue and that it has already grown since 2012. Any Republican who thinks they can win by doubling that baseline is not grounded in reality.
Obviously, the most important issues pertaining to immigration include an end to illegal immigration, protecting our national security from terrorists, and finally ending the cycle of open borders. But at some point, Republicans will have to address the issue of immigration in terms of quantity. Immigration benefits a country at large. And for those who benefit the broad population (as opposed to narrow special interests), we should make the process easier and cheaper. But how much? Over what period of time?
There is no simple answer to that question. But those who seek to address it should not be dismissed as “anti-immigrant” by those who peddle special interest policies without the best interests of the country in mind. And either way, coming off the longest expansion of immigration in American history, should we really consider doubling the current level without batting an eyelash?
To quote John Boehner, “are you kidding me?!!”
Friday, February 28th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
At the beginning of the year, Speaker John Boehner made it clear that he wanted the Republican Party to provide an “alternative” agenda – one that would be distinct from Obama’s policies. Sadly, as we have all witnessed over the past few months, the party leadership serves as nothing but a faint echo to Obama’s agenda, obsequious to his every whim.
Earlier today, Boehner met with Obama at the White House to discuss several policy issues. The following tweet from ABC’s Jonathan Karl tells you everything you need to know about Boehner and the broader agenda of the GOP establishment:
It is quite evident that if we don’t get rid of Boehner and his bootlickers, we will face a bipartisan oligarchy pushing amnesty and a permanent Democrat majority. And we will have nobody to blame but ourselves.
Meanwhile, this bipartisan consensus on amnesty is actually breaking our borders as we speak. The L.A. Times reported last week that there has been a surge in border crossings of Central American youths. Presumably, they have gotten the message on their smart phones that there is now a consensus to allow in any illegal who comes here as a youngster. The Times also reports that 125,000 of those youths granted amnesty by Obama are now eligible for Medi-Cal. I guess a few million more on the welfare rolls won’t make a difference.
And remember, the surge in impoverished youths will benefit our economy beyond measure.
John Boehner is wondering out loud why conservative groups are “beating up on him,” but privately he knows exactly why we are upset. He has declared war on conservatives. It’s time we return fire.
Thursday, February 27th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Economy, Taxes
Yesterday, Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI), the House Ways Committee Chairman, released his draft proposal for comprehensive tax reform. The mere proposition of positive tax reform is a welcome development. Even though we clearly lack the votes to enact any tax reform until at least 2017, it is still important to stand on bold colors and offer an alternative vision to the current socialist path from this administration.
On the other hand, if we are going to propose Republican ideas for tax reform just for messaging purposes, we should put forth the boldest tax plan possible – one that embraces completely the concepts of fair and flat and not one that is tendentious or punitive towards any group of people or individual. It’s not that a compromised version of tax reform isn’t better than the status quo, but because this is an exercise in messaging, we should propose a bill that fully adopts conservative principles and eschews every premise of class warfare. The purpose is to talk about ideas and principles, not try and win points for being measured in our approach.
The conservative principle of any tax reform – short of wholesale repeal of the 16th Amendment and implementation of the Fair Tax – should have the following goals in mind: it should tax everyone at the same low rate (at least on all income above a certain minimum), that rate should be just enough to net the minimal amount of revenue to sustain a constitutional government, and done so in a way that engenders the least amount of disincentives to produce and invest in the economy.
Obviously, we have to deal with a short-term reality that we don’t have a constitutional form of government and the current obligations require a certain level of revenue. But the closer a tax plan gets to following those principles, the more utility it will have in uniting us behind a starting point for future negotiations.
With these principles in mind, it is fair to say the Camp proposal is, at best, a mixed bag. Here are some of the key proposals for the tax code pertaining to individuals:
- Individual Marginal Rates: Camp’s bill would collapse the current system of seven tax brackets into just two levels of 25 percent and 10 percent. Hence, the top marginal rate would be reduced from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. It’s not the preferred flat tax, but at least it’s headed in the right direction. The tax cut is further enhanced by expanding the standard deductions to $11,000 for individuals and $22,000 for married couples – up from $6,100 and $12,200 respectively. [However, a portion of that tax cut would be offset by repealing the $3,900 personal exemption.]
- It abolishes the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax).
- The deduction for state and local taxes would be eliminated. In theory, this is a good thing because we don’t need the federal government to soften the blow of high taxation in blue states, thereby shielding bad actors in local government from the wrath of their constituents. However, as is the case with the mortgage interest deduction [see below], eliminating deductions is only a net positive if marginal rates are dropped low enough to engender a decrease in the effective tax rate. Under this plan, it’s conceivable that some people will see their effective tax rates increase.
- The plan gets rid of all the green energy social engineering in the tax code.
- Surtax: If Camp would have stopped at lowering the top marginal rate to 25%, it wouldn’t be perfect but it would represent serious progress. However, his plan would impose a 10 percent surtax on certain types of earned income over $450,000 a year. This is a big shout-out to Obama-style class warfare and fundamentally accepts their false premise that the tax code is not progressive enough. What’s worse this surtax would apply to healthcare benefits (and the deduction for self-employed), contributions to retirement accounts, and untaxed Social Security benefits. If the point is messaging with this plan, including this provision does nothing but solidify the class warfare argument as an accepted premise.
- Mortgage Interest Deduction: Under this proposal, the $1 million limitation on the mortgage interest deduction would gradually be lowered to $500,000. The mortgage interest deduction is the biggest market-distorting provision in the tax code, inducing an inflationary effect in the housing market. In a true limited government/free market system, we would have a perfectly flat tax at a very low rate, and then completely abolish this deduction. However, the Camp plan only reduces the rate to 25% with those earning over $400,000 paying a de facto rate of 35%. So cutting down on the deduction could represent a massive tax increase, especially when coupled with the elimination of other deductions. Although conservatives would like to see this deduction repealed, under the Camp system it would be better to leave it alone. There are also a number of phase-outs of itemized deductions and the standard deduction for higher income earners.
- Although Camp would make cuts to the Earned Income Credit, he would expand the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 per child to $1,500, and increase it with inflation. If we would abolish the refundable nature of the credit (the ability to make money after zeroing out the tax liability), this would represent pro-growth, family-oriented reform. However, this change would increase the cap on the refundable portion of the tax credit from 15 percent of earned income [under current law] to 25 percent.
- Capital Gains: Under current law, investment income is taxed at a flat rate of 20 percent. Under this proposal, 40 percent of one’s annual investment income would be completely exempt but the other 60 percent would be taxed at the rate of the filer’s income. This is a surreptitious way of raising capital gains taxes on those in the new 35 percent tax bracket.
Overall, the basic components of the plan are a step in the right direction. But when you cut through the changes in deductions and phase-outs, it is clear that many people at the top – those who already pay 38 percent of the income taxes, will be hit with higher effective tax rates. Additionally, it’s likely that the plan would make the tax code even more progressive.
A flatter, lower tax rate without deductions is the best path to real tax reform, but it all depends on how low the marginal rates are dropped and how severely the deductions are cut. The balance in this bill is a bit concerning. And the myriad of proposals used to sneak in tax hikes actually run counter to the original purpose of the Camp bill – to make the tax code simpler.
Camp should be applauded for moving beyond platitudes and actually proposing a specific reform plan. But if this is meant to be used as a messaging tool, much of the proposal is not grounded in conservative principles of tax reform.
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
Unlike many modern-day functions of the federal government, caring for our wounded warriors is a core responsibility. But as is the case with other government programs, liberals think that doubling down on a woefully inadequate VA system and throwing more money at the problem will improve care for veterans. And similar to most other big government initiatives, Democrats are now using a highly-respected group of Americans as political human shields to obfuscate the harmful effects of their policies.
After 50 years so-called war on poverty, and after flushing roughly $20 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending on mean-tested programs, the poverty rate has increased from 14.7 percent to 16 percent. Yet, liberals want to invest even more in the same failed programs in order to create dependency and perpetuation of their own power. So they dub any opponent of their failed policies as working against “the poor.”
The same applies to their use of children to justify the failure of our endless federal education spending. As the Cato Institute notes, inflation-adjusted spending for a complete K-12 education has tripled since 1970 while educational scores have remained stagnant. Yet, Republicans have always been reluctant to push for real reform by devolving authority of education to the states because they don’t want to be “anti-children.”
This week, Democrats plan to take their exploitation show down the road and blow up the VA system – all to help veterans. They know that as long as they shout “veteran” in a crowded theater, their opponents will run for the hills. The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits Pay Restoration Act S. 1982, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT), will expand and overburden the already-fledgling VA system and jeopardize the quality and access of healthcare for wounded veterans.
Under current law, all wounded veterans are fully covered under the VA healthcare system. All those who leave active duty remain in the system for a few years until they transition into new coverage in civilian life. But every veteran is potentially eligible for VA services – even those without disabilities – as long as they agree to co-pays. The VA has a tier system to prioritize service to those who suffered a disability or are most in need of the care.
The Sanders bill would make two major changes: 1) it would expand full VA coverage even to those who have no disability if they get their insurance through an Obamacare exchange. Thus, the potential addition of millions more in the system would prevent the VA from prioritizing those who are wounded in combat or suffered a disability through their tour of duty. 2) the bill will expand the scope of coverage for veterans to include gym membership, weight loss programs.
Let’s step back for a moment and analyze the repercussions of the bill. Despite an increased budget from $85 billion to over $138 billion since 2008, the VA is as dysfunctional and woefully inadequate as ever. According to the Washington Examiner, VA hospitals have, once again, been caught falsifying records in order to cover up the scandalous backlogs in care. Now, Democrats are proposing to clog the system of poorly treated wounded veterans with millions more of lesser priority. There is no way they could ever build enough facilities quickly enough to properly care for the exponential increase in responsibility – effective immediately.
CBO estimates that this bill will cost over $23 billion, but it is hard to imagine that placing millions more into single-payer healthcare would not cost hundreds of billions more.
Instead of exacerbating a failing system, we need to streamline the bureaucracy of the VA and structurally reform the programs before we waste more money. In the long-term, 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.
A private option for veterans would not only save money and reduce the size of the government, but more importantly, it would deliver better quality and faster care to our wounded warriors. Together with general free market healthcare reforms, it would reduce the need for veterans to be dependent on government – the antithesis of the Democrat approach.
Monday, February 24th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections
The unambiguous strategy of the GOP establishment this year has been to avoid any and all confrontation in the hopes of gliding into a Senate majority in 2015. To that end, they have capitulated on all of the major leverage points, passed a number of Democrat spending bills, and are in the process of pushing “small-ball” legislation in the House so as not to rock the boat before November.
This pusillanimous strategy is predicated on the false hope that a bare-minimum Senate majority – comprised of the same Republicans who support these Democrat priorities – will somehow alter the landscape in Washington. They are misleading conservative and GOP activists into thinking that as long as the GOP can hold tight on the status quo until 2015 we will enjoy robust power to push for conservative priorities thereafter.
The reality is that nothing will change in 2015. Irrespective of the outcome in November, Republicans will control the House and have the ability to block bad legislation. On the other hand, President Obama will still be in the White House for another two years. Consequently, the addition of six more Senate seats with the current incumbent leaders and rank-and-file members will not change the legislative dynamic.
Republicans who lack the will or principles to fight on major issues will still use Obama’s obstructionism as the baseline for excuses not to advocate bold initiatives. Whether it’s a debt ceiling or a budget bill, they will fear brinkmanship with Obama as much as they do now.
What about blocking bad bills? Certainly Republicans will have the power to do so if they win back the Senate, won’t they?
Well, they already have the power to stop bad bills with control of the House, yet, time and again, we have seen a de facto Democrat super-majority in the Senate pass harmful legislation only to be rubber-stamped by the House – or at least open for consideration.
Unless we elect the right candidates for Senate, a weak GOP majority would still net enough votes to pass amnesty, an internet sales tax, omnibus bills, highway bills, or the anti-liberty “ENDA” bill.
Moreover, in some respects, these same Republicans will be even more frightened to fight for a bold conservative agenda in 2015. As much as they would have us believe that a GOP Senate-majority is the road to the Promised Land, it will be overshadowed by the presidential election the minute they take office.
If Republicans are recalcitrant to stand for anything ahead of a midterm election, imagine how fearful they will be to even stick their fingers in the wind with the White House at stake.
“Well, we can’t get anything done without the White House anyway,” they will contend. “Let’s not undermine the effort to win the presidency by picking fights with Obama.”
The entirety of the 114th Congress will be driven by fear of 2016.
Ok, but wait until 2017 when Republicans control everything. Then they will really fight for a decisive conservative agenda and will overturn every inimical policy of the Obama administration.
Maybe in some dreamland, folks.
With control of all branches of government, and the undivided responsibility that comes with such power, Republicans will be even more indisposed to roll back big government. “How can we risk losing power?”
Furthermore, let’s remember that many of the same arguments promulgated by Republicans in the minority will persist even when they are in control of the White House. These same hackneyed politicians have already agreed to the Democrat premise of default. So they will feel compelled to raise the debt ceiling even with full control of the government.
The current crew of GOP leaders has already agreed to the Democrat premise on immigration. That will not change when they are in the majority.
They have already accepted the notion of a permanent federal control over transportation and agriculture policy. That will not change when they are in power.
Republicans have made it clear that they will not publicly fight back against the growing anti-religious–liberty agenda forcing alternative lifestyles on private citizens and organizations.
In fact, these same non-leaders tend to be at their best specifically when they are in the minority. The allurement of power only moves them to the left when they are the majority party in Washington.
Hence, whether we are talking about 2015, 2017, or well beyond, there is never an end-game for these politicians. The pursuit of power over principle; the quest for authority for its own sake is a circuitous cycle of failure.
The only way to end the failed cycle of politics is to change the way we approach primaries. This year would be a great time to start.
Friday, February 21st, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, Family Values
Yesterday, Matt Bevin posited a basic argument against redefining marriage – one that should be shared by any conservative concerned with the inane effort to change a fixed definition. Bedrock legal definitions are necessary because they have far-reaching ramifications. Once we change the basic definition of marriage to include same-sex relationships, what is the legal rationale for not including any other loving relationship?
For example, a son or daughter might want to collect the Social Security benefits of one parent in place of a spouse. Why can’t they define their relationship as a marriage and be entitled to collect those benefits?
This was the gist of Bevin’s argument in his own words From The Janet Meffered Show:
“If it’s all right to have same-sex marriages, why not define a marriage—because at the end of the day a lot of this ends up being taxes and who can visit who in the hospital and there’s other repercussions and things that come with it—so a person may want to define themselves as being married to one of their children so that they can then in fact pass on certain things to that child financially and otherwise.
Where do you draw the line? And if in fact a person can arbitrarily draw it here why not could someone else draw it arbitrarily somewhere else? There needs to be rule of law. Marriage has for millennia been defined as between a man and a woman universally. And it’s something we should recognize.”
Pretty simple argument – one which the left has declined to answer for years.
Instead of debating Matt on the substance of the argument, the far left has chosen to willfully distort his words to focus on an absurdity. The liberal Talking Points Memo cited an extremist group, Right Wing Watch, suggesting that Bevin was predicting gay marriage could lead to incest. Obviously, anyone with half a brain could see that he was making a legal argument and not suggesting that the social relationship of a gay marriage will lead to incest, especially given the fact that, by definition, same-sex couples can’t procreate.
Yet, amazingly, Mitch McConnell’s Chief of Staff (who also happens to be a top gun at the NRSC) tweeted out the left-wing article and compared Bevin’s comments to those of Todd Akin about rape and pregnancy.
Is there something Team Mitch would like to share with us? Do they think there is anything offensive about pointing out the folly of redefining marriage? Are they that out-of-touch with the mainstream of the very party McConnell seeks to lead?
Well, maybe so.
Remember Mitch’s articulate response to Justice Kennedy’s egregious ruling on DOMA, which in part, led to a Kentucky federal district judge forcing gay marriage on his home state?
“Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell issued no statement at all.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) simply flashed a smile and ignored a reporter’s question about the court’s decision Wednesday. (Politico)
And speaking of the ruling in Kentucky, Judge Heyburn was a McConnell staffer whom he recommended for the judicial appointment. During his confirmation hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee, McConnell noted that Heyburn was a “progressive Republican” and cited the Louisville Courier Journal calling him “far from a right-wing ideologue.”
Did McConnell know something at the time about Heyburn’s “progressive” jurisprudence?
This is not the first time Heyburn shredded the Constitution in order to inject his progressive views on Kentucky. In 1998, he overturned the state’s law banning partial-birth murder.
Matt Bevin is right to be outraged by this rogue judge appointed by McConnell.
Once again, Team Mitch is making it clear that they are just as fraudulent social conservatives as they are fiscal conservatives.
Thursday, February 20th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration
One of the most frustrating things in politics is when you find someone who supposedly agrees with you on all of the policy issues, yet passionately supports politicians who undermine those exact policy goals. The most peculiar example is Ann Coulter and her new-found love for the GOP establishment.
Ann Coulter has written extensively about the policy and political ramification of open borders for years. Most recently, she has argued that the immigration policies pushed by Democrats and establishment Republicans will serve as the death-knell for the GOP. Because of the grave consequences of the issue, Coulter declared herself a single-issue voter on immigration last year at CPAC.
Like many of you, I agree with her that we will cease to exist as a party if we don’t stop the open borders lobby.
And that is exactly why we are pushing competitive primaries against the ChamberCrats who plan to saddle us with amnesty. All of these challenges are in solid conservative states.
There is no issue that reflects a wider bifurcation between the party establishment and the grassroots than immigration. And there is no issue for which a lack of competitive primaries will affect the outcome more than immigration.
There is not a single establishment Republican who does not support amnesty. The ship has sailed on that long ago. All of the GOP lobbyist, consultants, and donors are inexorably behind an immediate push for amnesty. To the extent we stave off immigration deform this year, it is precisely due to efforts by grassroots groups to foster competitive primaries. Establishment Republicans have made it quite clear that they will have a free lane to promote amnesty after the primaries.
With most other issues, the cheerleaders for the establishment are able to hide behind the fact that Republicans don’t control all of government. But with amnesty, these people have made it clear they intend to push it precisely when they control the U.S. Senate.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is literally the king of the Chamber of Commerce and the Karl Rovian branch of the party. He supports open borders because his donors, associates, former staffers-turned lobbyists, and consultants are some of the biggest and most obnoxious supporters of amnesty, particularly those staffers working for Zuckerberg’s scandalous group.
The Chamber has made it clear that they will reward those who support amnesty and punish those who oppose it. After investing hundreds of thousands into McConnell’s reelection, they are clearly confident he would bring amnesty legislation to the Senate floor were he to become Majority Leader next year.
Again, it is incontrovertibly clear that our only path to stopping amnesty during the final years of Obama’s presidency is to have a strong showing in this year’s primaries. If we fail to do so, by Coulter’s own account, the Republican Party will self-destruct.
Sadly, in an egregious example of disconnect with her own stated views, Coulter has been attacking those who are leading the fight for competitive primaries against amnesty supporters.
Once again, Coulter was on with Hannity last night trashing conservative groups fighting to replace establishment Republicans. Her entire message was about electing “Republicans,” irrespective of their views.
Well, Ann, even those who support amnesty?
The irony is that she talks about groups who mislead Republican voters when it is McConnell’s former staffers who run those sleazy Zuckerberg ads for FWD that lie about amnesty. I’m sure Coulter is just as outraged by those ads, yet she is assailing those who don’t support McConnell.
Ann is so concerned about everything Republican, yet spits on those who are seeking to preserve the Republican Party from the amnesty-pushers she so boldly claims to oppose.
It appears that through her support for the failed GOP establishment Ann Coulter has indeed become a single-issue voter – in favor of enabling the most passionate supporters of amnesty to win reelection and destroy the party.
Then again, we should probably take her endorsements with a grain of salt after she peddled the ultimate shyster and con-man – Chris Christie – on her readers.
Wednesday, February 19th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Family Values
With full control of the House but not the Senate or the White House, Republicans lack the ability to enact positive legislation; yet they have the power to stop bad bills. Unfortunately, GOP leaders have made it clear they are willing to pass much of the Obama/Reid agenda because they don’t want confrontation with Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. For conservatives, that pretty much leaves us with the strategy of attempting to pass good bills out of the House just for messaging purposes.
With unelected federal judges and administration bureaucrats forcing gay “marriage” on sovereign states across the country, now would be a good time to show that we stand for federalism, religious liberty, and yes – even the social conservative platform to which so many members pay lip service during primaries. Abandoning the fight on this issue now could bring the death knell of concession because liberals have the infrastructure in place and are fighting harder than ever.
First the social liberals pushed their agenda in blue states through the court system. Then, with the help of Justice Anthony Kennedy, they forced the federal government to recognize gay “marriage” at first for exclusively federal purposes, such as for immigration status. Now, federal judges are forcing gay marriage on the states where the people and the legislatures voted decisively against it. To make matters worse, Eric Holder is now using the federal government to promote his agenda in those states.
As we all know, the radical homosexual agenda will not stop with forcing states to recognize just the marital status. They will not be happy to merely accept their piece of paper and “live and let live.” They are seeking to force private citizens and individuals to cater to their beliefs. And based on recent court decisions like the New Mexico Supreme Court’s edict, forcing a private citizen to perform her services at a homosexual marriage, we have a fight for religious liberty on our hands.
We are down to the last remaining straws in the fight for marriage. If Republican leaders can’t stand boldly for marriage, states’ powers, and religious liberty at a time when the other side is achieving one victory after another (without any resistance from Republicans), they should publicly admit that they are completely jettisoning social conservatism from the party’s platform.
Ironically, you don’t even have to be a social conservative to understand that there is no federal constitutional right to a gay marriage, which would thereby force states and private citizens to recognize one.
There is no better time for House Republicans to bring legislation to the floor affirming their support for states and religious liberty in the face of an officious onslaught by the anti-religious left. The State Marriage Defense Act (HR 3829), sponsored by Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), is an example of a bill that affirms states’ rights, on both sides of the issue, and doesn’t allow one unelected judge to legislate federal law across a myriad of states. The bill would require the federal government to recognize the definition of marriage within a state as that state determines it. This law is consistent even with Kennedy’s egregious decision on DOMA, and creates equitable federalist treatment of marriage. Senators Cruz and Lee have recently introduced a similar bill in the Senate, S. 2024.
Another bill is Rep. Raul Labrador’s (R-ID) Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, HR 3133. This bill would protect individuals and organizations from the federal government’s encroachment on their private contracts in an effort to force them to violate their religious beliefs. The companion bill in the Senate is being sponsored by Senator Lee – S. 1808.
It’s not enough to merely co-sponsor these bills. The House should vote on them, and Senate Republicans should force amendment votes tacked onto other bills in an effort to expose Democrats for their anti-religion and personal freedom agenda.
While there is no chance of passing these bills out of the Senate and having the president sign them, they allow conservatives to talk about the issues on our terms. They force leadership to talk about and prove they are protecting states’ powers and religious liberty in an election year. Messaging this sort of legislation is precisely how you win back the majority. It is something to be embraced in an election year, not avoided, especially if they are going to continue pretending to support social conservatism and religious liberty.
Looking back at this brutal winter, it’s important to remember another debate that seemed lost just a few years ago. Towards the end of President Bush’s presidency, most Republicans started buying into global warming and green energy socialism. The media joked about Senator Jim Inhofe being the last man standing against climate fascism. Then, buttressed by Climategate, we fought back against the farce and showed how their agenda was built upon a false premise. Now you can’t find a Republican who is willing to promote global warming, and even many Democrats have shied away from the issue.
We might not have the votes to enact marriage protection right now, but we still have a voice. We should use it.
Cross-posted at RedState.com
Friday, February 14th, 2014 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections
We all agree that Sen. Harry Reid must be dethroned. Even from a liberal perspective, he has completely destroyed the structure of the Senate by shutting down the open amendment process, thereby eradicating the most important difference between the upper house and the lower house of the legislative branch.
This year, we have the opportunity to vanquish Reid by defeating his liberal lieutenants in conservative states like Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Alaska. However, if you think that our policy woes with Washington will change one iota if the current crop of Republicans lead the majority, you haven’t been paying attention. And if you buy into the bromide about not letting “purity tests” get in the way defeating Democrats, you are willingly blinding yourself to the reality that has played out over the past few years.
The entire conglomerate of consultants, donors, and lobbyists who control the bulk of Republicans in Washington, and the leadership in particular, do not share our values. This is not a difference in strategy, tone, or a casualty to being the minority party in Washington. We have witnessed this with one issue after another. These people regard the party faithful with as much contempt as the Democrats. And that will not change when Republicans win back the Senate – if the House and Senate are controlled by its current cadre of leaders.
This goes far beyond any legislative scorecard or analysis of voting records. As we witnessed this week with the debt ceiling vote, most of the elected Republicans spend their time plotting political cover and manipulate their votes to ensure that our side loses, albeit without their public stamp of approval. We don’t need votes to tell us who is on our side. You can tell who is with us and who is against us simply by listening to them, watching their actions, and observing their associations.
Indeed, despite the allegations that we seek purity within the party, it is clear that what we want is a bold party of contrast – whether in the majority or minority. We want a party that will offer a bold stance on immigration and the debt ceiling, for example, and fight for it with equal and opposing force. We want loyal conservatives that share and fight for our conservative values the same way elected liberals fight for the Democrat party platform. Instead we are given a pale pastel version of Republicans who placate conservatives during election years, and then enact the liberal Democrat talking points through clandestine political efforts.
We know who is with us and who is with the political class. Everybody takes bad votes once and a while. Even Ted Cruz recently voted for a bad flood insurance bill. None of us are demanding purity from him because we know that on almost every issue he is not just a vote but a courageous and effective voice for the millions of us who are disenfranchised by the ruling class oligarchy. He fights every day in Washington for us.
Jeff Sessions is another good example. He has cast a laundry list of bad votes, and probably doesn’t believe in limited government and free markets to the same extent we do on some issues. But he is an inimitable statesman when it comes to his core issues of immigration, budget, and welfare. On immigration, he has offered more selfless, indefatigable leadership – both on a political and policy level – than almost any member on any issue. He has stood as the Elijah on Mount Carmel against the entire universe of sleazy politicians and consultants in Washington who seek to subvert our civil society. Despite his bad votes on some other issues, none of us are looking to replace him because indeed we are not purists. We just want people who fundamentally represent our values, and Sessions has shown that his heart is with the Country Class over the Ruling Class.
The leaders in the House and Senate, along with their boot lickers, are fundamentally against us. Many of us have known and observed this privately for years, but the debt ceiling vote – both in the House and Senate – brought their devious subterfuge out in the open.
In the House, leadership got together and agreed to pass it with Democrat votes, thereby letting almost their entire conference off the hook to vote against their true beliefs so they can play their Republican constituents like fools.
In the Senate, McConnell attempted to do the same, but was thwarted by Senators Cruz and Lee. Then he tried to get others to vote for something he badly wanted to pass, but lacked the conviction to own. Roll Call explains in plain English how Democrats and Republicans worked together to fool the American people by instructing the clerk not to call their names publicly and then by switching their votes.
Remember, this is just a rare glimpse into how these guys operate on most other issues. This will not change by simply voting Republicans into the majority, especially on the critical issues of immigration and debt.
Even with the best of leaders in Washington, there will always be differences of opinion on strategy, tone, and minor issues. But what is happening now is far beyond a strategic disagreement. Democrats might have internal squabbles once and a while, but they are united in goose step for the inexorable promotion of their liberal values. There is no effective dissent from even one member. And to the extent a couple of red-state Democrats vote against the liberal agenda, it is just a two-faced game for their conservative constituents. Whereas Republicans are just the opposite. They privately agree with the Democrats and only vote the right way to dissuade a potential primary challenger.
As we head into the primaries over the spring and summer, we must ask ourselves the following questions: do we want to build a GOP majority on quicksand or on a solid foundation? Do we want to go into the voting booth on November and vote for Republicans with our heads held high or with our fingers on our nose?
The right candidates are out there. The opportunity is calling. The choice is ours.
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