Primaries Bring Fresh Air to Foul Odor Emanating From GOP Establishment

Monday, July 22nd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, News

Conservatives have been ill-served by a prevailing conventional wisdom pertaining to flaccid incumbent Republicans.  The conventional wisdom dictates that every incumbent should automatically enjoy a rubber stamp for 6 more years in the Senate unless he/she is plagued by some egregious scandal or overtly votes with the Democrats on almost every major issue.  If we continue down this path of reauthorizing failure in the primaries, elected Republicans will never have an incentive to represent the ideals of those who elected them.

One of the most underappreciated political dynamics of this cycle is that the entire fight for the Senate will be fought in states Mitt Romney carried by a healthy margin – states like Alaska, Montana, Louisiana, Arkansas,  and South Dakota.  Moreover, almost all of the Republican incumbents up for reelection this cycle are from solid red states.  Presumably, the composition of the electorate in 2014 will be even more favorable for us in these states than in a presidential year.  Perforce, Obama and the Democrats will be on the ropes, especially if they continue to promote an agenda headlined by Obamacare, amnesty, and abortion on demand.

As such, we are confronted with two choices.  We can continue automatically rubber stamping the reelection of every Republican in office or we can use the next few months to encourage competition in the primaries so as to best utilize our most conservative states to elect principled conservatives in the general election next year.  We are now entering a historic period of competitive primaries, and that should be our focus for the remainder of the year.

Now that conservatives have been tantalized by real leadership from conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, there is no turning back.  This is what we should aim for in every primary, especially in the states that are in play this cycle.  Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have shown the difference between merely voting conservatively at the very end of the fight vs. giving voice to conservatives before the battle is over.  Every legislative battle is won or lost long before the voting begins.  So all these unprincipled con men in the Senate who vote the right way during the sixth year of the cycle, all the while doing nothing to fight the battle in the media and on the Senate floor, should be forewarned.  As Erick Erickson noted earlier today, we must beware the Hatch Effect.

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We’re All Social Issues Voters

Monday, July 22nd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, Issues

In a recent Politico piece on Marco Rubio and his mega-donors that was the literary equivalent of throwing a brick through a front window, Kellie Rose Ferguson, executive director of Republican Majority for Choice, warned,”When we start focusing on the social issues, we give the electorate a really bad taste for the Republican Party. We’re about limiting government in all aspects and we want to make sure it’s applied to social issues.”

That was the last quote in the article and I’m sure it was intimidating to the rabbit-hearted and perpetually backpedaling in the GOP. This is what most elected Republicans, and certainly the fossilized Congressional leadership, do not understand: So long at it’s our money being used and our votes being courted and counted; every issue is a social issue.

Granting amnesty to the world’s population of unskilled laborers and thereby depressing the wages of American citizens is a social issue.

TSA screeners copping a feel on everyone from toddlers to grannies while disordered national security agencies miss the Boston Bombers, the Times Square Bomber, the Fort Hood Slaughterer, and the Panty Bomber is a social issue.

Losing the war in Afghanistan and wasting the lives and limbs of our soldiers is a social issue.

Heaping debt, that is certain not to be repaid, upon the backs of our children and grandchildren is a social issue.

Breaking faith with the millions of Americans relying upon Social Security and Medicare in their retirement years because meaningful reform is off the table is a social issue.

Taking public money and stuffing it into the pockets of green-crazed donors and supportive unions is a social issue.

Using the IRS to stifle political speech and action is a social issue.

The Attorney General lying to Congress and federal judges is a social issue.

Get it, now?

The GOP does not know how to frame the dreaded “social issues” and heeding advice from the executive director of a seemingly leftist front group won’t help. Limited government is just another shibboleth phony conservatives –who spring from the deep pockets of culturally Left mega-donors — have mastered in order to garner votes.

We have to put an end to the parade of knock-off Republicans marching to Washington. The tightening federal grip will only be loosened by legislators that know the limits of government, how to explain those limits, and how to govern within them.  It will require politicians who are steeped in the traditions and wisdom of American self-government. Politicians not cowed into accepting left-wing constructs of what constitutes a social issue.

Author Wendell Talley

Lamar Alexander Votes to Rubber Stamp Another Radical Obama Executive Nominee

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues, News

For Immediate Release:

July 18, 2013

Contact: Daniel Horowitz

Daniel@madisonproject.com

Lamar Alexander Votes to Rubber Stamp Another Radical Obama Executive Nominee

Washington, DC – The Madison Project PAC made the following statement today with regards to Senator Lamar Alexander’s cloture vote on Wednesday for Tom Perez to serve as the next Secretary of Labor.

“Once again, Senator Lamar Alexander has shown that he has been in Washington too long and is out of touch with the conservative values of his Tennessee constituents,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project.  “While the president is often afforded flexibility in filling his cabinet, Tom Perez is unqualified and unacceptable.  As head of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, Perez violated his commitment to apply the law equally.  He has used his position to promote a radically liberal agenda, serving as the point man in the administration to attack Voter ID laws passed by sovereign states.  He has also worked for a radical pro-illegal-alien group in Maryland that aids and abets illegal immigration in the state of Maryland.  Unfortunately, those views are consistent with Senator Alexander’s support of amnesty and his disregard for the rule of law.”

“Although Senator Alexander voted against final confirmation today, his vote for cloture on Wednesday paved the way for Perez’s confirmation.  Had he voted against cloture, Democrats would have been denied the 60 votes needed to proceed.  Hence, his vote today was a typical empty gesture we have come to expect from Lamar Alexander.

“Working with Tea Partiers within the state, we have received positive feedback from grassroots conservatives ever since we announced our desire to find an alternative Republican in next year’s primary,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “We are confident that Tennessee voters want to be presented with a bold contrast to the status quo, which is a weak Republican who rubber stamps the Obama agenda.”

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 Wheels Begin to Come Off Mitch McConnell’s Circus

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

For a number of years, Mitch McConnell has orchestrated a duplicitous dynamic in which he engineers a Republican capitulation but ensures that he is not faulted for it.  In fact, McConnell always makes sure to vote against the capitulations he sets into motion, so as not to stir up the “rubes” in his conservative home state.  Well, the wheels are starting to come off that circus.

Conservatives have already seen a glimpse of the McConnell duplicity during the amnesty debate.  He refused to lead the fight against it and even praised the bill, only to vote against it in the 11th hour.  It was becoming clear even to those unfamiliar with his shenanigans that Mitch is the invisible hand behind the wall.

This week’s disastrous capitulation on the fight over Obama’s radical nominees has completely exposed McConnell as a feckless and duplicitous leader.  As always, McConnell tapped a group of backbencher RINOs to negotiate the terms of surrender with Reid and Schumer on the fight over nominations.  He sent Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, and Roger Wicker to do his bidding.  As always, they were happy to do so, and the surrender played out according to plan.

But then something happened.  The media realized how pathetic Republicans looked after the deal; they even started feeling bad for Republicans.  After all, Republicans agreed to rubber stamp the nominations of Richard Cordray for the new Dodd-Frank agency, Gina McCarthy to head the EPA, Tom Perez as Secretary of Labor, and replace the two vacant slots at the National Labor Relations Board with anyone Obama chooses.  He chose two stooges of Richard Trumka.

The result was so embarrassing that all the newspapers in DC began reporting on how McConnell had his clock cleaned.  Roll Call reported on a “new governing majority” of Schumer and the RINO Republicans that make McConnell look irrelevant.  McConnell went into panic mode and started disavowing the deal.  He reportedly told his members in a closed-door conference that he would have negotiated a better deal and that he was kept in the dark on this surrender.  Then, all hell broke loose:

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House Conservatives Beware the New Whipping Strategy

Thursday, July 18th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, News

Over the past few years, the number of conservatives in the House has grown exponentially.  Well, at least to the extent that you can’t count them on your fingers.  Unfortunately, House conservatives are about to become a victim of their own successes if they fail to change course.

In a sane world, Republicans would have more leverage than the Democrats over the legislative process.  They have full control over the House and a filibuster-strength minority in the Senate.  Consequently, they have the ability to block bad legislation from passing the Senate, while jamming the Democrats with good bills from the House.

But such a process is predicated on a Republican leadership that actually stands for Republican values.  The reality is the opposite.  We have Mitch McConnell outsourcing his leadership to McCain and Graham so that a number of bad bills pass the Senate (McConnell makes sure to vote against the bills, of course).  Then, instead of ignoring unpopular bills that pass the Senate, House leaders work indefatigably to see how they can pass Senate bills.

Here is how the cycle of capitulation plays out.  House conservatives balk at leadership’s initial attempt to pass bad legislation.  Leadership is defeated.  Conservatives prematurely view this as a sign of strength.  Then, McCarthy and the whipping team come to conservatives and “whip” up general principles from conservatives.  They ask them what it would take to get them to a “yes vote.”  Conservatives mistakenly perceive this as a conciliatory gesture form leadership, when in reality, it is an attempt to get them to sign on to bad bills.  Conservatives offer some general principles.  Leadership commits to those general principles.  Then they offer a new bill that employs a subterfuge in which those principles are addressed on paper in general terms, yet they are completely voided out by the specifics of the bill or the strategy behind the process.  But because those principles are addressed in a superficial way, conservatives feel as if they had already given their word to vote for the bill.  Repeat and rinse as needed.

During the 2011 debt ceiling fight, conservatives rallied behind Cut, Cap, and Balance as a precondition for raising the debt ceiling.  Leadership had no intention of abiding by that condition.  They offered a new plan that gutted the spending cap and initial cuts but retained a balanced budget as part of the second tranche of the debt ceiling hike.  All but 22 conservatives signed onto it because it officially contained a balanced budget amendment, as promised, even though it wasn’t CCB.  As we all know, they ultimately caved on that deal and passed a new plan to merely require a vote on a balanced budget amendment, not passage.  Leadership hoodwinked conservatives into abjuring their principles because their ridiculous plan was supposedly “in the spirit of cut, cap and balance.”

Last January, leadership confronted another debt ceiling and a CR that contained funding for Obamacare.  They asked conservatives what they needed to get to yes.  Conservatives said they wanted the sequester cuts and a budget that balanced in 10 years.  The sequester cuts were going to be enacted by default anyway.  So what did they do with the budget?  They repackaged last year’s Ryan budget, which balanced in 2040, to include all the new revenue from Obamacare tax hikes, fiscal cliff tax hikes, and overly optimistic CBO revenue projections, and poof….they had a balanced budget in 10 years.  The budget actually called for more spending than the previous iteration.  So they manipulated conservatives into a trap where they co-opted their general principles with a crap sandwich.  Moreover, they never committed to actually standing behind that budget as a pre-condition for raising the debt ceiling this fall.

Last week, leadership asked conservatives what they needed to get to yes with the farm bill.  They asked to split up food stamps and the agriculture subsidies.  Now the entire purpose of splitting up the bill is so we can reform both sides without the legislative logrolling.  Instead, leadership added massive new subsidies and made all the programs, including the sugar subsidies, permanent law.  So while conservatives got what they wanted on paper, making it difficult for them to say no, they were forced to vote for something even worse.

Why am I going through all this “inside baseball?”

Leadership plans to do the same thing with immigration.  Here is a very troubling report from National Review’s Robert Costa:

McCarthy’s message in those sessions was simple: “You bring people together and you tell them, ‘This is like sitting in the exit row.’ You have to see who is willing, at some level, to support it,” he says. “Then you go around the room and get people engaged. We quickly found that by splitting up the bill, we’d be able to get to our number. Once we got there, it was a huge shot in the arm, but you’ve got to get there first.”

McCarthy believes the farm-bill experience has consequences beyond alleviating internal tensions. He says House Republicans, who have long been cautious about moving forward on immigration reform, are now more open to considering such legislation. Before the farm bill, there was resistance to pursuing a piecemeal strategy and doubts about the leadership’s cloakroom clout. Since the farm bill passed, “I’ve felt momentum,” McCarthy says. “We’re able to do things on our own terms.”

He argues that the farm bill’s passage, though arduous, also gives Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia leverage for negotiations with Democrats on immigration, since they proved that they still have the support of a majority of House Republicans on big-ticket items. “The speaker’s hand is strengthened,” he says. “In politics, you’ve got to show that you can get bills through without the other side. We did that, and we got back to where we needed to be as a Republican team.”

Keep in mind that Eric Cantor and Bob Goodlatte are already crafting piecemeal amnesty bills and Paul Ryan is working on promoting a House gang bill.

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Compromise, Senate GOP Style

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

Who could have predicted the outcome of the latest filibuster imbroglio in the Senate?  Republicans paid the full ransom.  What else is new?

Once again, Mitch McConnell outsourced his leadership position to the McCain-Graham duo.  He tapped them, along with Bob Corker and Roger Wicker – all from solid red states – to negotiate a compromise with Reid and Schumer over the filibuster and executive nominations.  What could go wrong?

The outcome produced a compromise similar to the deals the Israelis cut with the Palestinians.  In other words, it was all one-sided.  Republicans agreed to allow Richard Cordray to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Board, even though he was originally appointed illegally.  The following senators voted for cloture:

  • Ayotte (NH)
  • Blunt (MO)
  • Chambliss (GA)
  • Coats (IN)
  • Collins, S. (ME)
  • Corker (TN)
  • Flake (AZ)
  • Graham, L. (SC)
  • Hatch (UT)
  • Hoeven (ND)
  • Isakson (GA)
  • Johanns (NE)
  • Kirk (IL)
  • McCain (AZ)
  • Murkowski, L. (AK)
  • Portman (OH)
  • Wicker (MS)

The entire purpose of the CFPB  is to limit the choices of consumers in financial markets, making it harder and more expensive to obtain credit.  This unaccountable agency will operate autonomously within the Federal Reserve and will not be subjected to congressional appropriations or oversight.  Now Republicans will have no leverage to preclude this time bomb from taking root.  Worse, they gave away their bargaining chip to strike down all the illegal rules that were issued by the agency while Cordray was illegitimately serving at its helm.

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Mitch McConnell Begging for Amnesty Again

Monday, July 15th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

What does an undocumented supporter of amnesty look like?  It’s someone who publicly votes against amnesty so as not to raise the ire of the unwashed masses in his state, but lobbies hard for it so as to placate his special interest bundlers and consultants.  In other words, he looks like Mitch McConnell.

You see, while Obama is embroiled in multiple scandals, an Obamacare meltdown, and the crashing and burning of his foreign policy, there is nothing more important to Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders than bringing some sort of immigration bill to conference.  Why let Obama stew in his misery?  Mitch wants to bail him out like he bailed out the failing banks.  What better way to do so than by giving him his biggest legislative victory since Obamacare?

Here’s the latest and greatest from Mitch McConnell, courtesy of The Hill:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Sunday urged Republicans in the House to move on immigration reform legislation.

Even though McConnell voted against the Senate immigration reform bill, he hopes the House will pass something that can be melded with the Senate proposal in conference negotiations.

“I don’t think anybody’s satisfied with the status quo on immigration,” he said in an NBC “Meet the Press” interview. “And I hope the House will be able to move forward on something and we can get this into conference and get an outcome that will be satisfactory for the American people.”

What exactly does it mean that anything is better than the status quo?  It’s like saying, “well, what we have now is defacto cap and trade from Obama’s EPA, so let’s go to conference with Barbara Boxer on compromise comprehensive energy reform so we can solve the problem.

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Bill Shuster Receives Donation from Former Chairman of PA Democrat Party

Friday, July 12th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, News

In response to our radio ads educating voters about Shuster’s big-government voting record, Shuster is touting his fundraising success.   His spokesman told PoliticsPA that he was proud  “to have the support of hard working conservatives across the country.”  He touted his ability to raise money “from likeminded voters who are proud to stand with us to fight Obamacare, and oppose the big spending policies that have led to record debt and deficits like the stimulus, and rebuild America’s roads.”

Let’s put aside for the moment the fact that he voted 8 times to raise the debt ceiling and numerous times to fund Obamacare in appropriations bills.  He wants us to believe that “likeminded” conservatives across the country are rallying to this committee chairman, a career-politician who is the epitome of an establishment Republican.  His campaign finance report reads like a who’s who list of every special interest on K Street.

Art Halvorson, on the other hand, is committed to ending the sinkhole of federal transportation policy, which is controlled by all of Shuster’s special interests who waste state priorities on labor and environmental regulations.  There might not be a lot of money involved in supporting such a position, but it is consistent with the views of constitutional conservatives – the antithesis of special interests.

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Ted Cruz is Serious About Defunding Obamacare. What About Your Senator?

Thursday, July 11th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, News, Obamacare

There’s a reason why all the candidates we interview for 2014 say they want to be like Ted Cruz.  All Republicans talk a good game about conservative policy, but few of them have the gumption to fight for it.  While Republicans like Mitch McConnell will rail against Obamacare, and even create a photo op with the tower of regulations, most of them have voted to fund the beast through the appropriations process.  Ted Cruz, on the other hand is leading the fight to defund it.

Earlier today, Ted Cruz introduced a bill to defund Obamacare and issued the following statement:

“Consistent with my long-standing position that no continuing resolution or other appropriations measure should fund Obamacare, I am introducing a bill to permanently defund the law.

The Administration’s recent announcement to delay the onerous and unpopular employer mandate until after the 2014 election, coupled with its announcement to delay income and health status eligibility requirements in favor of an honor system for the most expensive entitlement for our generation, confirms what has been obvious from the start—this law is a colossal mistake.

Yesterday, all 46 Senate Republicans called on President Obama to permanently delay the law. This legislation would guarantee that result by ensuring not one more taxpayer dime is wasted in its establishment.

House Republican leadership is resorting to optics and messaging by pushing for a vote to repeal only the individual mandate.  None of this will ever pass the Senate, so the only way to halt implementation is by refusing to vote for any bill that doesn’t contain a rider defunding Obamacare through the IRS and HHS.  Moreover, half-baked measures will only provide cover to Democrats for retaining the remainder of the law, as Cruz notes in his statement:

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Why We Need New Leadership

Thursday, July 11th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Debt, Elections, Immigration, Issues, News

Many conservatives are placing false hopes in the GOP-controlled House to do the right thing on policy issues.  They are being fooled by some superficial concessions leadership has made to conservatives on some of these issues, misplacing their actions for sincere motivations.  We are seeing this both with the farm/food stamp bill and the amnesty bill.

Conservatives won a major legislative victory last month when over 60 Republicans banded together to defeat the $940 trillion Food Stamp/Farm Bill.  We have long maintained that it is better to extend current policy than to pass a long-term bill that creates more programs and precludes real reform for another 5 years.  Leadership has finally agreed to split up the farm and food stamp components into separate bills.  They are claiming that conservatives got what they wanted with the new bill.  But again, let’s take a look at their motivation.

It’s not that these people have discovered a newfound affinity for phasing out welfare and eliminating corporate welfare.  They want both of them.  It’s just that our numbers and degree of influence has increased to the point that they are forced to offer that concession and split up the bill.

So who cares what is motivating them, you might ask.

Well, once they are finished with the head fake and pass an agriculture-only bill, they plan to go to conference with the Senate and re-sow the food stamp portion back into the bill.  Moreover, even if they sever the two portions of the bill, they should not bring them to the floor without major reforms.  The point of separating them out, as conservatives have noted all along, is so we can actually reform them individually without the robust alliance they enjoy when bundled together.  What is the point of separating them without reforms?  We will just get two separate welfare bills – one individual and one corporate – instead of a combo bill.  And ultimately, we will get the grand combo in conference.

It’s all about trust, and there is no trust with them.

And speaking of trust, yesterday’s immigration conference should serve as a stark reminder that we can’t trust House leadership. Despite the conventional wisdom that the bill is DOA is the House, I have been concerned about 3 things – all of which were confirmed in yesterday’s conference.  1) They won’t pass the Senate bill, but they will pass their own pale-pastel version that agrees to the premise of legalization first. They will strip out or delay citizenship, but still agree to some sort of legalization before enforcement. 2) They will take good enforcement bills and go to conference with the Senate. 3) They will go for incremental amnesty like the Dream Act.

Based on what I’ve heard from members in the meeting, all those sentiments were expressed.  More broadly, there is a maniacal and incorrigible obsession to pass “something.” That is all you need to know.  All the other statements from leadership are not born out of conviction, rather out of fear from the conservative members of the conference.  They want this amnesty badly.  There is not a single consultant in town who doesn’t want it.  It’s a matter of how to get there.

[ To digress a bit, amidst all of the incoherent drivel and platitudes propagated in favor of amnesty, read this piece from Rep. Tom Cotton in the Wall Street Journal.  It is the most cogent position I’ve seen on this issue from a member of Congress.]

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