Barry Loudermilk for Congress in Georgia’s 11th District

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

If conservatives ever hope to build an enduring majority within the House Republican Conference, they must capitalize on opportunities to win open seats in addition to knocking off fair-weather moderate incumbents.  Georgia’s open Senate seat has created a number of vacancies in the House delegation, one of which is Georgia’s 11th district.  With Rep. Phil Gingery (R-GA) retiring to run for the U.S. Senate, there’s no reason this “red” district should elect anyone other than a conservative all-star and make it a conservative stronghold for years to come.  There is no better man to do this than state Senator Barry Loudermilk.

We are in the midst of a battle for the heart of the GOP party.  There are many factions that want to jettison traditional values from the party’s platform.  There are other factions who want to support endless amnesty and open borders.  Some want to turn our party into the Libertarian Party.  And there are others who are pro-life statists, politicians who give lip service to social issues but support the growth of government.

Barry Loudermilk is one of those candidates who is inviolable on every policy issue.  He feels just as comfortable advocating for abolishing the Department of Education and reforming the Federal Reserve as a he does speaking about traditional values and the civil society.  Hence, Barry does not believe in ‘pick-and-choose’ conservatism.

More importantly, he understands the political dynamic in Washington and has committed to completely fighting against the GOP establishment and seeking new leadership within the party.  While we often look for political newcomers to run for Congress, Loudermilk’s experience in the Georgia state House and Senate are actually advantages – he has a record of standing up to the big government bosses within the Republican Party.

After serving in the Air Force for eight years, Loudermilk developed a burning passion for his country and the Constitution.  In 2004, he was elected to the Georgia House of Representatives and served until becoming a state Senator in 2011.  Fighting officious government starts at the local level, and in the state House Loudermilk led the way on privacy issues, such as red light cameras.  He fought the corporatists who stood to benefit from the cameras and passed a law drastically curtailing their use (he tried to eliminate them completely).  He also fought “nanny state” laws such as smoking bans and draconian driving laws.  In 2009, he helped lead the fight against a bipartisan sales tax increase, under the threat of losing his position on the House Transportation Committee.

In the state senate, Loudermilk fought for cutting benefits for illegal immigrants, expanding right to carry laws, and clamping down on abortion clinics.  He also worked against a bipartisan bill to establish an electronic database of all prescription drugs dispensed in the state.  Throughout his time in Atlanta, Loudermilk has voted against numerous tax increases and efforts to grow the size of state government.  He was one of only three Republicans to oppose the governor’s hospital bed tax scheme, and faced reprisal from party officials for leading the opposition.

While serving in the state Legislature, Loudermilk has remained focused on his own small business, an information systems technology company.  Loudermilk is a true citizen legislator.

What is unique about Barry is his depth of knowledge about our founders, founding documents, and founding history.  He is particularly scholarly and articulate in educating the public about the role of Judeo-Christian values and the importance of the civil society in our founding documents and how they are indispensable to preserving liberty today.  His passion for these values is best encapsulated in his inspirational book, “And Then They Prayed.”

Speaking with many conservative activists across the country, there is always a fear that newly-elected conservatives will become part of the establishment after a year or two in Washington.  With Loudermilk’s solid foundation and record, we are quite certain he will help change Washington instead of Washington changing him..  That is why we are honored to make Barry Loudermilk our first endorsement in an open congressional seat for 2014.

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Chamber of [Government-run] Commerce Circles Wagons Around McConnell

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

It’s not surprising that the Chamber of Commerce is running ads on behalf of Senator Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.  After all, the Chamber of Commerce is Mitch McConnell – in the sense that they both share an ideology of power instead of principle.

As we’ve explained before, the Chamber of Commerce is not conservative, pro-free-market, or even necessarily pro-growth.  They support the special interests of big business.  Period.  When those interests intersect or overlap with free-market, pro-growth policies, such as advocacy for tax cuts and lower regulations, they will side with conservatives.  But when those interests require the stewardship of big government intervention, they will side with the forces of statism.  Hence, they are not paragons of free-market commerce; they support government-run commerce, albeit with tendentious policies towards their interests.

Their special interests support illegal immigration, corporate welfare, increased gas taxes, and an internet sales tax.  It’s not surprising that Chamber money pours into K Street coffers to lobby for those goals.

That is essentially the same description of Mitch McConnell’s tenure in the Senate.  Birds of a feather flock together.  It’s no surprise that many of McConnell’s former staffers work or lobby for the Chamber.

The bizarre thing about their ad touting McConnell as a warrior for coal is that they overlook his biggest failure in halting the war on coal.  Earlier this year, Republicans had the opportunity to force the EPA to stop administrative cap and trade on the coal industry by holding up the nomination of Gina McCarthy as director of the EPA.  McConnell cut the deal to allow her through by delivering 60 votes to Harry Reid.

Now, of course McConnell was not one of those votes, but he made sure not to whip against her.  Had he been a man of honor and respected among his conference, he could have appealed to the moderate within the conference to hold up the nomination until Obama agreed to halt the war on coal.  He could have had private conversations with Senators Susan Collins and Lamar Alexander explaining the painful job losses in Kentucky as a result of the War on Coal.  But, alas, those conversations never took place.  McConnell had no desire to fight the war on coal using the only leverage point Republicans held.  He just wanted to personally vote against McCarthy and give speeches.

It is clear that the war on coal will never abate until we have new leadership within the party.  And the coal industry will never grow again unless it places it’s faith into fighters for free markets, not the Chamber of Commerce.

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The GOP: A Choice, not an Echo

Monday, December 2nd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

Well, it appears that we are on the same page as the establishment with one important goal.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told the Richmond Times-Dispatch  “America needs a Republican Party.”

Amen!  We’ve been saying for years that America needs a bold choice, not a faint and pathetic echo.

Unfortunately, it seems that Cantor plans to achieve that goal by counterintuitively acting more like the Democrats.  After discussing flat wages and anemic job growth with the Times-Dispatch, Cantor said that one of his first priorities is to pass amnesty for young illegal immigrants, opening up the spigot of welfare and Democrat voter registration for years to come.

Ironically, we will never raise the level of income unless we end this circuitous cycle of illegal cheap labor from the third world.  Granting citizenship and benefits to the children before shutting off the current flow (which has grown stronger thanks to promises of amnesty) will only exacerbate the problem.  Moreover, this is not exactly why we need a Republican Party.  If the goal is to pass amnesty before enforcement, let’s leave it to the professionals in the Democrat Party.

Let’s walk through the logical conclusion of the so-called Kids Act.  Once all of the kids are granted amnesty by Congress, there is no way the immediate family members will ever be sent back.  Also, any illegal can potentially be a guardian of an amnestied child.  Hence, the Obama administration would immediately suspend all deportations, and enjoy an act of Congress to buttress their administrative maneuvering.

What would this mean for the future?

We would basically extend our anchor baby policy to include anchor teenagers, essentially telegraphing the message that as long as you come here illegally with children; the entire family is welcome forever.  This will cause a mad rush for the border and engender an epidemic of visa overstays.

Additionally, once they obtain green cards or citizenship, they will be eligible to bring in more family members and spawn more chain migration.  Again, Republicans might start out with something blocking family members and chain migration, but that will never stand in the long run.  Those provisions will either be inserted into conference, or inevitably revised down the road.

What’s the next item on Cantor’s agenda?

He also said that he does not expect a 2014 repeat of this year’s partial government shutdown. He is not optimistic about reaching a grand bargain on the federal budget, in part because of Democrats’ insistence on more tax increases, but he is hopeful that a deal can be struck to lift some of the sequester cuts, especially those hitting the Pentagon, in exchange for an equal amount of longer-term savings in areas such as six-day postal service and federal employee benefits.

So House leadership has joined Senator Mitch McConnell in jettisoning any demands on Obamacare for the budget bill in January.  Cantor is now  also part of the ‘repeal it in 2017’ crowd.

So there you have it, folks.  If we merely hold our fire during the primaries and just elect anyone with an R next to their name, we will have Mitch McConnell as Senate leader and possibly Eric Cantor (if Boehner calls it quits) as Speaker of the House.  What an encouraging thought.  Poignantly, McConnell also shares Cantor’s alacrity for amnesty, according to George Will.

Last week, in a wide-raging interview with the Washington Examiner, McConnell insinuated that he will fight back against the Tea Party.  He is enlisting his amnesty associates at the Chamber of [government-run] Commerce.  McConnell suggested that conservative groups led by Senate Conservatives Fund are misleading Republicans about unrealistic outcomes with a Democrat Senate and Democrat president.

What he doesn’t tell you is that Democrats lack 60 votes in the Senate, and he has ostensibly handed over the conference to Harry Reid whenever he needs the votes.  This is not going to change with superficial GOP control of the Senate…unless we first change the Republican Party and make it an actual second party, one that will fight the Democrats with as much gusto as they dish out.

The Cantor/McConnell vision of pre-emptively surrendering every budget battle, using Obamacare as a vacuous talking point, and passing amnesty might please the Chamber of Commerce and D.C. Special Interests.  But it doesn’t pass muster with those who are looking for a choice, not an echo.

As Eric Cantor said, “America needs a Republican Party.”

We need a Republican Party that will end Obama’s immigration lawlessness and protect America first – before pandering to special interests.

We need a Republican Party that will categorically write off corporate welfare and phase out the current regime of subsidies across many sectors of the economy.

We need a Republican Party that will make it clear to the opposition party that they will never blink first, and that they will do everything it takes to vanquish Obamacare.

We need a Republican Party that will fight just as hard, if not harder than, the Democrats to restore our Republic.

It’s time we create one in the 2014 primaries.

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Jack Kingston has Surrendered on Obamacare

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

Democrats are stewing in the misery of Obamacare’s disastrous side effects.  We have a solid point of leverage coming in January to fight Obamacare in the budget.  As we’ve explained, we have stronger leverage this time around than we did in October.  However, that leverage is only predicated upon a united Republican Party committed to getting rid of Obamacare.  Sadly, the recent comments by Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) suggesting that we should help fix the law serve as a vivid illustration of why we failed the battle to defund the law:

“A lot of conservatives say, ‘Nah, let’s just step back and let this thing fall to pieces on its own.’ But I don’t think that’s always the responsible thing to do,” he added.

“I think we need to be looking for things that improve healthcare overall for all of us. And if there is something in ObamaCare, we need to know about it.”

Kingston was speaking prior to a field hearing in Gainesville, Ga., of the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight focused on ObamaCare.

While he had some criticism for the law — he said he believes the demand on Medicaid could overcrowd the system — he also expressed hope that Democrats would bring to the hearing some good feedback they’ve received on ObamaCare.” [The Hill]

Good feedback?  According to the latest polling on Obamacare, Americans disapprove of the law 65-32%.  Nothing in the country ever polls worse than that.  Almost as many people believe in UFOs.

Sure, we should go on offense with healthcare policy and explain how anti-market interventions are hurting the uninsured.  We should make insurance portable by allowing a national market and by eliminating the government-created disadvantage for those who buy insurance on the private market.  We should expand tax-free health savings accounts.  We should have less mandates like community rating and guaranteed issue, not more.  But we should never acquiesce to a permanent structure of government-run healthcare.

Coming to terms with Obamacare is nothing new for Kingston.  At the beginning of the year, he said “I don’t want to go in there saying, ‘By golly, there’s a new sheriff in town.’” “Obamacare has been the law of the land, and it is getting implemented. We have to work in that context.”

The scary thing is that Kingston is the chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on healthcare.  What is ever scarier is that he wants to be the next U.S. Senator from Georgia.  We all know that the Senate has a way of turning those who are conservatives into statists.  See Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for a vivid example.  If Kingston is starting out his campaign with a mindset of surrender on Obamacare, it is clear he will never move this seat one inch to the right from Senator Saxby Chambliss.  And that is an extremely low bar to cross.

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Obama’s Iran Deal: If you Like your Nukes you can Keep Them

Monday, November 25th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, News

Evidently, when negotiating with Iran, President Obama thought he was dealing with Obamacare.  He ostensibly told them they can keep their bombs if they like them.  Indeed the Iranians like their centrifuges, and now that the sanctions will be suspended for six months, they can continue creating bombs and exporting terror with more breathing room.

Let’s first recognize the most salient part of the Geneva deal.  Iran is not required to destroy a single centrifuge it has already produced.  Even with the future promises to curtail their nuclear program, the Iranians probably have enough material to create a bomb.  They are just working on a warhead and delivery capabilities, which will not be curtailed by the Geneva deal.

Moreover, are we supposed to believe the promise of the world’s most prolific terror funders concerning future uranium enrichment?  What will happen if they violate the terms of the agreement after six months?  Does anyone think that Russia and China, which have permanent veto power over any sanctions, would agree to re-impose the international sanctions on a rogue Iran?  This deal is eerily reminiscent of the one Bill Clinton cut with the North Koreans in the ‘90s.  That did not work out too well.

This deal is also an imprecation to the many American soldiers who were killed by Iranian bombs in Iraq.  It is a disgrace to all those who perished in the Beirut bombing in 1983.  This deal fails to recognize all of Iran’s other terror-related activities that are killing Americans around the globe even today.  We are ostensibly rewarding their international terror with economic benefits that will further facilitate their proliferation of Islamic jihad against the West.

If Reagan’s motto was peace through strength; Obama’s motto is chaos through feebleness.

It’s amazing how Obama said during the government shutdown that he would not negotiate with terrorists.  Well, maybe if we change the name of the Republican Party to the Republic of Iran he would change his tune.

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Senate Republicans Can Retaliate. Will They?

Friday, November 22nd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues

Who can blame Harry Reid for pulling the nuclear option, eliminating the filibuster on judicial nominees?  He has punched Senate Republicans in the face all year and they have failed to respond.  In fact, Senate Republicans have turned around and fought their fellow Republicans in the House, jamming them with bad legislation which they helped Harry Reid pass out of the Senate.

Throughout the past few years, aside for a few judicial nominees, Republicans have been willing to grant Democrats a super-majority on major liberal initiatives.  They helped Reid pass amnesty.  They gave him the votes for the massive farm/food stamp bill.  They were all in the tank for the deceptively-named Violence Against Women Act.  They recently gave him the 60 votes for ENDA.  And most importantly, they stood shoulder to shoulder with Reid against House Republicans during the most important time when conservatives were united behind defunding Obamacare.

So why would Harry Reid fear reprisal from Republicans?  What would stop him from pulling the nuclear option?

When he threatened the nuclear option earlier this year, Republicans agreed to let through the most radical nominees for Obama’s second term cabinet.  Reid figured he’d go all the way this week.

And based on Mitch McConnell’s reaction, his wager was correct.  Instead of fighting fire with fire, McConnell is basically saying we can’t do anything until after the elections:

“The solution to this problem is an election,” McConnell said at a Thursday press conference after the Senate voted to go nuclear, changing the rules of the filibuster.

“The solution to this problem’s at the ballot box,” McConnell said. “We look forward to having a great election in November 2014.” […]

“I don’t think this is a time to be talking about a reprisal,” he said. “I think it’s at time to be sad about what’s been done to the United States Senate.” [Daily Caller]

I’m sure Harry Reid is scared to death.

There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate.  They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues.  They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.

How would Harry Reid respond to a complete shutdown of the Senate?  Would he abolish the filibuster even for legislation?  Let him try.  But for now, he has nothing to fear from just eliminating the filibuster on judges because he knows Republicans will not retaliate.  Reid knows that there is not a single issue where McCain, Corker, Graham, and Alexander will now withhold support simply because they were stiffed with the nuclear option.

Just an hour after Reid blew up the Senate, Republicans rewarded him by not objecting to the first unanimous consent.  Every day, standing committees need consent to conduct hearings.  This is a prime opportunity to grind the Senate to a halt until Reid changes his ways.

Harry Reid has identified a soft target.  And until we change GOP leadership in the Senate, he will keep punching.

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Al Qaeda in Kentucky and our Failed Refugee Policy

Thursday, November 21st, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy, Immigration, News

One question about our broken immigration system that cuts across all ideological lines is why we continue to let in people from countries and regions that represent a security risk.  That is the obvious question that comes to mind when examining the story at the top of Drudge last night about Al Qaeda in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

In 2011, two Al Qaeda terrorists were arrested in Bowling Green for allegedly shipping weapons to the insurgents in Iraq.  The two terrorists were Iraqis who were let in through our front door under our ridiculously abused refugee policy.  Yesterday, ABC News obtained the FBI video showing these terrorists in action in heartland Kentucky.

An al Qaeda-linked terrorist, who was resettled in the U.S. as an Iraq War refugee after allegedly killing American soldiers, was caught on camera in Kentucky handling heavy weapons that the FBI said he believed would be sent to insurgents back in Iraq.

The 2010 video, obtained exclusively by ABC News, was part of a broader ABC News investigation into the flawed refugee vetting program, which officials said may have let “dozens” of terrorists into the country.

In the video, Waad Ramadan Alwan is seen expertly field stripping what the FBI identified as a Russian PKM machine gun. Other still images provided by the FBI from hours-worth of surveillance footage show Alwan and an accomplice, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, handling a Stinger missile launcher and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher.

The amazing thing is that the entire GOP establishment and donor class is pushing the Obama-Senate amnesty bill, which exacerbates our already-flawed refugee and asylum policy.  The Senate bill expands refugee status in a number of ways, including for those “whose resettlement in the United States is justified by humanitarian concerns.”  It also creates a new category for “stateless persons.”  And it allows all illegal aliens who have been in the country for one year to apply for refugee status.

In light of the new focus on the Bowling Green terrorists, it is important to remember that the senior senator from Kentucky privately supports the Senate bill.  Many of his donors, alumni, and associates are invested heavily in the amnesty lobby.  His former chief of staff, Billy Piper, along with former NRSC Executive Director Rob Jesmer, lobbies for Zuckerberg’s group, which has now resumed a barrage of deceptive ads touting the Senate bill.

Even when McConnell begrudgingly voted against the bill at the last moment (after praising it), he lauded the legal immigration provisions in the bill as a move towards merit-based criteria.  Never mind that only roughly 7.8% of future flow over the next 10 years under this bill – about 2.5 million of 30 million – would be merit-based.  The bill completely blows up our refugee and asylum policy and worsens our national security problems.

The ticking time bomb of radical terrorists in our country is just another casualty of a political class that cares more about special interests than the American people and our security.

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A Second Chance for Republicans

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, Obamacare

Now that the entire country sees the ten-alarm fire that has set our healthcare system ablaze, Democrats feel compelled to do something.  Their Mr. Fix It plans are akin to an arsonist posing for a photo op with a 2-liter pitcher of water to put out the wildfire.  Will Republicans continue to pose with them in the photo op or will they kick them aside and smother the fire?

There are two clear observations about Obamacare at this point: it cannot be fixed and it will not collapse on its own.  As we are now seeing from the cancelled insurance plans, the industry has been working on revamping the insurance market for three years.  Obamacare has already collapsed the healthcare system.  It can only be rebuilt by completely repealing the law.

Similarly, the law won’t go away by itself.  They will fix the website one day, and the mandates and regulations on insurance will continue to force people into dependency on subsidies and  Medicaid expansion.  Worse, on the actual healthcare side of the equation, scores of doctors will leave the field of medicine due to the onerous burdens that go well beyond the insurance regulations.  Yes, in some sense you can refer to this as a collapse of the system, but that is exactly what Obamacare was designed to do with its inexorable path towards single-payer.

As we’ve said many times, we cannot afford to wait until the website is fixed and the dependency takes root.  It’s tempting for Republicans to just sit back and enjoy the polling data, but polling data will not get rid of the law.  Polls are not elections.  And even 2014 will not save us.  In the best case scenario, we will have 51 seats in the Senate with a unified filibuster-strong Democrat minority that, when coupled with the wayward Republicans, will give Senator Harry Reid a defacto majority.  Moreover, President Obama will still be president.  Waiting until 2017 is simply unacceptable.

In a sane world, Republicans would utilize this time to force the issue on Obamacare using our leverage points, not just to talk about it or help Democrats fix it. One challenge conservatives had with making Obamacare the centerpiece of the October budget showdown (aside for Senate Republicans sabotaging the effort) was that Republicans failed to prep the ground for the fight over the past few years.  In fact, thanks to Mitt Romney, Obamacare was not part of the political discourse for an entire two years.

That has all changed over the past month.  While we were stymied by fellow Republicans during the actual showdown, we did succeed at restarting the national discussion on Obamacare. The ensuing breakdown of the private insurance market has given us tailwinds like never before.  For the first time in Obama’s presidency, even some of the low-information voters have finally realized the failure of Obama and his signature legislation.   Moreover, we know now that the shutdown polling was off base and superficial.

Accordingly, it makes no sense why Obamacare should not be a part of the budget discussions.  Most people have forgotten or don’t know that the budget impasse was not solved last month.  The new budget deadline is January 15 and the new debt ceiling is February 7.  The deadline for reaching a budget conference deal is just two weeks after Thanksgiving.

But, alas, we have no leverage.  Senator Mitch McConnell has made it clear to Senate Democrats that he would never fight any budget or debt ceiling.  They have completely echoed the scandalous Democrat talking points about default.  In fact, they have publicly declared that they will lash out at conservatives who try to fight Obamacare and prevent endless increases or “suspensions” of the debt ceiling.

Consequently, even with Obama’s approval rating sinking into the 30s, and Obamacare as toxic as ever, Democrats have no reason to fear the budget deadlines next year.  The only points of contention are locking in the sequester cuts that were already locked in and extending super-long-term unemployment benefits for yet another year.  When it comes to fighting Obamacare, it’s all hat and no cattle.

At the very minimum, conservatives need to push for two concessions:

  • Even if they already surrendered the budget battle, they must secure an agreement from Democrats to pass all of next year’s 12 appropriations bills in regular order and go to conference on each bill individually.  This will lay the groundwork for fighting Obamacare in one or two bills without having the rest of the government as collateral damage in a shutdown.  That would give us the opportunity, at the very latest, to fight Obamacare right before the mid-term elections without the specter of a full government shutdown.
  • Republicans always said they wouldn’t mind fighting just the debt ceiling because there is no direct government shutdown.  Well, now is the time to start debunking the myth of default and committing to ending this practice of suspending the debt ceiling law.  The debt ceiling fight will coincide with the period of time when American workers begin to receive their first paychecks for 2014.  Most people will incur a large bite out of their pay due to the increased withholdings for higher premiums. This will augment the public disquiet that is already brewing from the destruction of private insurance.

Any Republican who blithely ignores Obamacare when it really counts and when we really have leverage does not deserve your vote.  Obamacare will not collapse on its own.  We must force the fight once and for all – without the full-scale sabotage campaign from the GOP establishment.

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Chris McDaniel Making Waves in Mississippi

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections

It’s not too often that a new conservative candidate surges to a near-tie with a 35-year incumbent in a Senate race.  But Chris McDaniel, who we were proud to endorse last month, is nipping at the heels of Thad Cochran, and is leading other potential candidates in the event that Cochran retires.  Here are the topline numbers from Politico:

There’s still no official word on whether Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran will retire, but a poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling suggests he’d have a real fight on his hands if he decides to stay in the race. In a two-way race against Chris McDaniel, Cochran would have just a 6-point lead, 44 percent to 38 percent. When asked if they want to vote for Cochran or “someone more conservative,” 55 percent of GOP primary voters chose the generic more conservative option. If Cochran retires, McDaniel would lead primary voters’ list of ideal candidates to replace him: he takes 25 percent, compared with 23 percent for Delbert Hosemann, 15 percent for Gregg Harper, 13 percent for Steve Palazzo, 8 percent for Alan Nunnelee, 5 percent for Stacey Pickering and 3 percent for Tate Reeves.

As we’ve noted before, the GOP Conference in the senate is completely broken.  Anyone who doesn’t enter the senate with that mindset is bound to become part of the cesspool.  Chris McDaniel is the only candidate committed to changing the status quo of the failed GOP establishment.  You can listen to our radio ad here:

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No Better Time to Slay Ethanol Beast

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Economy

There is nothing that exemplifies the feckless and deleterious effects of government intervention in private enterprise more than the Renewable Fuels Standard.  Using the boot of government to mandate that private enterprise use an inefficient product of a special interest to the detriment of consumers and job creators is the worst form of tyranny.  James Madison is rolling over in his grave.

Yet, much like Obamacare, the ethanol mandate has become unworkable even from a liberal perspective.  Given that most car engines cannot handle more than a 10% ethanol blend, there is simply not enough demand to fill the targeted quota of 18.15 billion gallons in 2014 as prescribed by the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).  As such, the Obama administration was forced to lower the standard to 15.21 billion gallons.

Many conservatives are heralding this as the first victory over the intractable ethanol lobby.  However, rather than celebrate an infinitesimal decrease in the mandate, we should work to repeal the remaining 15 billion gallons worth of statism.

Last year, PricewaterhouseCoopers published a study detailing the harmful effects of the ethanol mandate.  They found that the increase in food prices from the ethanol mandate costs a restaurant $18,000 per year.  Needless to say it hurts the average consumer at the grocery store.  When you take 40% of the corn crop and shove it into our engines, it creates an undeniable inflationary effect down the food chain.  Had food prices continued on the same downward trend-line since 2005 (when the ethanol mandate was enforced), families would be paying $2,055 less for food every year, according to a study cited by the Heartland Institute.

Only in Washington can the prevailing wisdom dictate that corn be used in our engines instead of on our kitchen tables.  Only in Washington can they raise the cost of food for the average family by over $2,000, and then increase spending on food stamps to cover the poverty they engender.

It’s time to kick the ethanol beast while it’s down.  If ethanol is really God’s gift to the world, as industry lobbyists suggest, why do we need a government mandate to push their product?  Fuel blenders would clamor for it on their own.

The House is considering several good energy bills this week.  They should add in a full repeal of the RFS.  Do they stand with free markets, consumers, and small businesses or do they stand with Soviet-style central planning and special interests?

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