Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Family Values
There is something fundamentally wrong when 5 individuals in black robes have the ability to rewrite the laws of nature and nature’s God. One need not be overtly religious to feel a deep sense of disquiet by today’s Supreme Court decision essentially eliminating our ability to define the most basic concept of marriage.
This idea that DOMA violates the federalism scheme is absurd. It never sought to regulate or even define marriage in a way that precludes states from creating their own definition for marriage. It merely uses the definition of marriage accepted by 41 states (49 states at the time of its passage in 1996) and applies it to federal law. It also protects states that want to keep marriage a marriage from subsidizing gay marriage and from onerous lawsuits. It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is absurd to even think that the Supreme Court should have jurisdiction over such a law.
What we are witnessing now is the breakdown of religious liberty, as today’s ruling opens the door for perennial lawsuits against those individuals who seek to preserve the most basic sense of morality and natural law. How long will it take before private businesses are slapped with criminal charges for discrimination? How long before religious organizations are stripped of their non-profit status? Watching the rapid race to the bottom, how long will it take for the host of other sexual behavior to be enshrined into our laws? How long until the proliferation of the transgendered agenda? Woops – that already happened.
All those who have been insouciant towards this issue under the false pretense that it won’t affect them will now see how deeply their lives will be altered by this radical decision.
Amazingly, four of the liberal Justices held that the federal government had the power to coerce individuals to purchase health insurance. Yet, they are now saying that the federal government doesn’t have the power to merely recognize the definition of marriage that existed since the creation of mankind just for the purpose of federal law in a way that does not place any burdens on the individual?
In its ruling on Proposition 8, the Supreme Court held that private citizens don’t have standing to defend a state referendum passed by the majority of voters when the state officials refuse to enforce it. Hence, they upheld the California Supreme Court’s voiding of the referendum. We’ve been totally disenfranchised. Government officials now have the right to ignore laws passed by the people, but the people have no right to define the most basic legal terms for purposes of public policy.
The one silver lining from today is that the court didn’t issue the worst decision possible. The leftists were asking the court to rule on the merits of Prop 8. Had they upheld the CA Supreme Court’s decision on grounds that states don’t have the right to define marriage, they would have vitiated the laws in all 37 states that define marriage as….marriage. That means that we still have the ability to fight for natural law in the states where we still constitute a majority.
The Madison Project will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of full-spectrum conservatives in red states. In addition to electing free market conservatives, we will ensure that all our candidates are committed to using their megaphone to preserving traditional marriage where it still exists.
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
Conservatives are aghast at the actions of 15 GOP senators who are hell-bent on passing immigration deform despite the thousands of calls that are flooding into their offices. It is truly bewildering how they are putting the desires of illegal immigrants and foreign lobbies over the vast majority of Americans, especially Republican and Independent voters. Ultimately, we have nobody to blame but ourselves. These scoundrels simply don’t fear us because we fail to challenge them every six years when they stand for reelection.
Primary challenges work wonders. The latest example is House T & I Committee Chairman Bill Shuster. He has never voted against a farm bill before. But a challenge from Art Halvorson impelled a cathartic change in this big government Republican. Here’s a notable report from Molly Hooper:
Several key GOP incumbents already have primary contests, including Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.).
Both lawmakers were among those who bucked their GOP leadership team to oppose the farm bill last week. Shuster initially voted “yes,” then changed his mind on the House floor.
GOP incumbents representing safe districts are keenly aware they are under the microscope of influential conservative advocacy groups that “score” votes on key bills and amendments.
In addition to the final vote, Shuster made sure to vote for all the conservative amendments. He voted to eliminate the Market Access Program, which grants corporate welfare for large producers to market their products overseas (Indian reality TV, wine tasting in Japan, etc.). The timing is quite peculiar because he voted against an identical amendment in 2011. [Roll Call #457, 2011]
Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
As promised, here is a review of some of the major amendments offered during debate over the farm bill in the House. You can click here to see the color-coded spreadsheet of how each Republican voted on the amendments and final passage. The bill failed 195-234 with 62 Republicans voting no.
Here is a synopsis of some of the major amendments with the vote tallies:
- Foxx, R-N.C., amendment that would cap the total amount of price loss coverage payments and revenue loss coverage payments during fiscal 2014 through fiscal 2020 at $17 million. It would require producer agreements to specifically state that payments made under these programs be reduced as necessary to comply with the cap. [Passed 267-156 : R 183-48; D 84-108…CQ]
- Broun, R-Ga., amendment that would repeal permanent price support authority for milk. [Failed 112-309 : R 109-122; D 3-187…CQ]
- Chabot, R-Ohio, amendment that would eliminate the Market Access Program, which grants corporate welfare to U.S. producers, exporters, private companies and other trade organizations to finance promotional activities for U.S. agricultural products. In the past, taxpayers have funded reality TV shows in India and wine tasting in Japan. [Failed 98-322 : R 89-142; D 9-180]
- Brooks, R-Ala., amendment that would terminate the Emerging Markets Program, which promotes exports of U.S. agricultural commodities and products in certain emerging global markets, after Sept. 30, 2013. [Failed 103-322 : R 101-129; D 2-193…CQ]
- McClintock, R-Calif., amendment that would strike a provision in the bill that would authorize $10 million per year from fiscal 2014 through 2018 for a program to expand domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands and community-supported agriculture programs. [Failed 156-269 : R 155-76; D 1-193…CQ]
- Huelskamp, R-Kan., amendment that would allow states to create a work activation program that would require able-bodied individuals receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to complete two days of supervised job search at the program site each month. While in the program recipients may not refuse offers of employment or refuse to provide information on employment status without good cause. It would suspend SNAP benefits for individuals who fail to comply with the requirements. It also would repeal the nutrition education and obesity prevention grant program. [Failed 175-250 : R 175-57; D 0-193…CQ]
- Kind, D-Wis., amendment that would limit federal crop insurance premium subsidies to producers with adjusted gross income of less than $250,000, limit per-person premium subsidies to $50,000, cap crop insurance providers’ reimbursement of administrative and operating expenses in 2013 at $900 million and reduce their rate of return to 12 percent of the retained premium. [Failed 208-217 : R 74-157; D 134-60…CQ]
- Pitts, R-Pa., amendment that would direct the Agriculture secretary to lower loan rates for domestic sugar cane producers to 18 cents per pound for raw cane sugar for each crop year 2014 through 2018. It would require the Agriculture secretary to revise trade tariffs to lower the sugar stocks-to-use ratio to 15.5 percent. The department would be required to administer marketing allotments to ensure sugar supplies, be authorized to suspend or modify any marketing allotment provision and exercise discretion in administering the import quota to provide for adequate sugar supplies at “reasonable prices.” It also would repeal the sugar-to-ethanol program. [Failed 206-221 : R 137-95; D 69-126]
Monday, June 24th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News
The outcome of today’s amnesty vote was a forgone conclusion. The cloture motion on the Corker-Hoeven substitute amendment easily passed 67-27. Every last Democrat voted for this, including the red state Democrats. 15 Republicans also supported the amendment:
The amazing thing is that most of these members will either never stand for reelection again or not for several more years. Roger Wicker (MS) was just reelected from a state that opposes this nonsense by a huge margin. Orrin Hatch would have never won reelection had he campaign on amnesty. It’s a shame he didn’t have the courage to stand before his people and tell them the truth. The only members who are in cycle are Lindsey Graham and Lamar Alexander.
Monday, June 24th, 2013 by Wendell Talley and is filed under Blog, Issues
Supreme Court sends Texas affirmative action plan back for further review – The Washington Post.
Democrats have a long tradition of supporting racial bias in education going all the way back to Reconstruction, the ascendancy of the Klan, Jim Crow and through George Wallace, Orval Faubus, Ross Barnett and Bill Clinton’s hero, William Fulbright, so this decision is a blow to their core identity.
Democrats are always searching for ways to atomize black Americans into political footstools. For them it’s an automatic impulse. Like breathing.
Author Wendell Talley
Monday, June 24th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News
For quite some time, I’ve deemed the Senate a lost cause. In recent years, Democrats have shown a remarkable sense of discipline, getting every member – even those from red states – to vote for the most radical pieces of legislation. Moreover, roughly half the GOP conference is worthless and couldn’t care less about their constituents, and there is certainly no leadership from Mitch McConnell. The fix was in a long time ago on the bill. That’s why we must work on forming a backstop in the House.
In order to strengthen the resolve of conservatives in the House, we need to begin focusing on the source of this capricious pursuit of amnesty-first at all costs. These people don’t care about good policy, so all we can do is blow up the irrational political argument that is fueling this political suicide.
In addition to lacking any core principles, the GOP consultant class is completely tone deaf to the electoral tea leaves of their own politically-motivated positions. In their alternative universe, if the Senate passes an amnesty bill, Republicans in the House are in deep trouble with 8.5% of the electorate. In the real universe, it’s the Democrats who should be in trouble with 91.5% of the electorate – if Republicans would only take the initiative to campaign against them on this issue.
The grave error of the indolent consultant class is rooted in their misreading of the 2012 election. As Sean Trende noted last week, the real story of last November was the number of white voters, particularly working class, who failed to turn out and vote for Romney, even though they have been completely disenchanted with the Democrat Party. Although Romney offered some parsimonious tough talk on immigration when pressed about it during the primary debate season, he refused to campaign on the issue during the general election.
In fact, when Obama issued the illegal administrative amnesty in middle of the presidential race, Romney showed weakness by ostensibly agreeing to the premise of amnesty. Romney failed to run a single TV ad on this issue during the campaign. He should have been in Youngstown, Ohio inveighing against this out-of-touch end-run around Congress, while promising to stand with the American worker. But, alas, Romney said nothing about the issue, and in fact, evinced an image much closer to that of a Zuckerberg corporatist than a conservative populist.
Hence, in pursuit of voters who are largely out of reach, Republicans are leaving millions of white working class voters on the table – voters who are eminently within reach. Additionally, all the recent polling has shown that Blacks are against this amnesty bill. [Remember, a majority of Blacks voted for Prop 187 in California.] Were Republicans to go on offense and actually embrace a conversation on illegal immigration and enforcement-first during the 2014 midterms, they can drive a wedge between some black voters and the Dems, while crushing them with white working class voters. Poll after poll shows that Independent voters favor enforcement-first by a wide margin.
And what about the Hispanic vote? To the extent that there is a large portion of them who are within reach, it certainly won’t occur with the brand of stuffed-shirt Republicanism that is peddled by the consultant class, Mitch McConnell and John Boehner. It will be through Tea Party populism.
Arizona provides a great example of a favorable outcome for Republicans when they actually choose to engage on a wedge issue and return fire. In Arizona, there is no ambiguity about the Republican position on immigration. After all of the GOP-backed enforcement laws, every voter knows where they stand on the issue. Even John McCain and Jeff Flake are forced to lie to the voters during election years.
So what happened in 2012?
Despite the fact that Hispanics comprised 18% of the electorate (more than Florida and Colorado), Romney outperformed McCain’s 2008 showing in the state. He received 25% of the Hispanic vote, only slightly below his national average. Incidentally, Jan Brewer received 28% in 2010. But here’s the kicker: Romney blew out the white vote by a whopping 34 points! There wasn’t even much of a gender gap; he won the white women vote by 30. He won 12% of Democrats and 51% of Independents. Indys comprise a larger share of the electorate than either party in the state.
Sunday, June 23rd, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News
Cross-posted from RedState.com
As we noted on Friday, even though Schumer completely repackaged the amnesty bill with only 3 days to comb through 1190 pages, the fix is in. Every Democrat is prepared to vote for this bill, and at least 10-12 Republicans couldn’t care less about their constituents. They have the votes. They don’t care about the American people. Amazingly, there is a supermajority of Senators who are more in tune with the whims of foreign lobbies than with the security needs of the American people.
I have no plans to reread this entire bill in order to ascertain all the changes and shenanigans in the bill. But here are some of the highlights:
- Immediate Amnesty; Security Never: The 2006 Secure Fence Act spelled out every mile of fencing and required immediate construction. Ninety-five percent of the fence was never built. This bill grants immediate amnesty, and doesn’t require the surge in border agents until 2017. That will never happen. As for the fence, here is what Senator Sessions noted over the weekend, “the fencing language in Corker-Hoeven is ineffectual and unenforceable. The underlying bill still says that nothing in this provision shall be interpreted as requiring the Secretary to construct fencing. Also, it is weaker than the 2006 law which requires double-layer, reinforced fencing. The amendment establishes a ten-year deadline for completing the fence but retains the waiver authority for DHS not to build fencing. Under their proposal, the fence will never be completed.” See page 35, as reported by Breitbart.
- Permanent Defacto amnesty: Throughout the process, we’ve noted that the most pernicious part of the bill is that it permanently ties the hands of border agents, and in conjunction with the requirement that every alien be afforded reasonable opportunity to stand for legal status, this bill will void out all deportations. The substitute amendment takes this further by granting those who are caught overstaying their visas in the future an opportunity to stay on the path to citizenship. This is literally a bill that takes the worst elements of a supposed broken immigration system and blows the holes wide open.
- Visa Pork: Much like Obamacare, this bill contains earmarks in the form of “visa pork” to buy off votes. Section 4407 (Page 983) expands the J-Visa Summer Work Travel Program to seafood processing positions in Alaska, in order to buy off Murkowski and Begich. It also includes a provision in the new low-skilled W-visa guest worker program, exempting jobs in the Alaskan seafood processing industry from the annual cap. Page 52 of the bill extends the Travel Promotion Act, which is something the Nevada tourist industry has been pushing. It’s a carve out for Dean Heller.
- Triggers: Obviously, the triggers 10 years from now mean nothing because the illegals will enjoy immediate legal status with social Security numbers and drivers’ licenses. But even the triggers before the citizenship aren’t triggers. The legal waivers in the underlying bill will allow the issuance of green cards to proceed if the security measures are blocked due to the inevitable lawsuits. Also, the language of the amendment only requires the Secretary of DHS to “consult” with the Attorney General and other department heads before going ahead with green cards.
- Stimulus: It provides $1.5 billion in stimulus to “create” jobs for the youth.
Oh, and it still retains almost all of the several dozen fatal flaws in the underlying bill.
Friday, June 21st, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Elections
Well, it looks like Chuck Schumer has once again injected the GOP Capitulation Caucus with an acute case of the Corker-Hoeven Syndrome. Those senators who suffer from Corker-Hoeven are gripped with an inexorable desire to gravitate towards Room 201 in Dirksen Senate Office Building for their daily marching orders. The Corker-Hoeven Syndrome is especially contagious when the air at 317 Russell gets stale with moss-covered GOP leaders. This is not an ailment that can be cured with Pepto-Bismol. The only panacea is competition in GOP primaries.
At the root of conservative philosophy is the confidence in the efficiency of the marketplace. We understand that the more choice and competition that exists in a given field, the better the product or service will be for consumers. Yet when it comes to electing Republicans to Congress, there is no competition. Every 6 years we rubber stamp the reelection of red state losers like Bob Corker, only to be abused for another 6 years at the hands of Chuck Schumer.
In the few instances when we have competitive primaries, the Corker-Hoeven syndrome all but disappears. For example, when Orrin Hatch was challenged in his primary last year, he had a clean bill of health all year. He was never seen anywhere near 201 Dirksen. [Unfortunately, he has experienced a relapse since winning reelection.] More recently, Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the T & I Committee, drew a primary challenger, Art Halvorson. For the first time, he actually voted against the farm bill and supported conservative amendments that he previously voted against. No Corker-Hoeven to be found here.
While we still have time until the 2014 general elections, the primaries are beginning now. There are 14 Republican senators up for reelection, most of whom are infected with Corker-Hoeven, yet we only have potential primary challengers for a few of them. There are scores of House members that will just coast to reelection and continue suffering from Corker-Hoeven if we don’t inject some competition into their sphere.
Thursday, June 20th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, News
Today, GOP leadership suffered a stunning defeat as 62 Republicans voted against the 5-year farm bill (H.R. 1947), which locks in the record baseline of food stamp spending and creates multiple new agriculture subsidy programs. A handful of them voted against it because it cut too much spending, and others like Bill Shuster voted no because they are facing potential primary challenges (Shuster voted for the 2008 bill). But this is a strong showing, as it is a dynamic none of us would have ever predicted several years ago.
Some Republicans are complaining that because of the conservative revolt we will now continue on the status quo with direct farm subsidies. But they fail to understand that the new price support programs and shallow loss coverage that were created by this bill would have been more expensive and represent worse market distortions than direct subsidies. It’s better to reauthorize the status quo than to pass a long-term bill that creates even more problems and precludes real reforms for another 5 years.
Other Republicans complain that now we will face the so-called milk cliff. Pursuant to a silly 1949 act of Congress, every time we fail to renew expiring farm programs, the government must begin imposing Soviet-style price controls on milk by decreasing supplies through massive purchases of milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products. Under permanent law, the USDA would begin purchasing dairy products at a rate of $38.54 per hundredweight, more than double the current price ($18 per hundredweight). This market manipulation could double the price of milk, dairy products, and everything else up the food chain.
Thursday, June 20th, 2013 by Daniel Horowitz and is filed under Blog, Immigration
We sit back helplessly watching our elected Republicans cut backroom deals with Chuck Schumer to sell out the Republic and create a permanent Democrat majority. Yet we have nobody to blame but ourselves for electing these liars in the first place.
Back in 2006, conservatives split their votes in Tennessee between Van Hilleary and Ed Bryant, handing a solid red seat to progressive Bob Corker. At the time, immigration was a hot-button issue, and Bob Corker screamed from the hilltops that he was just as strong on the issue as his conservative opponents. He not only opposed any amnesty before enforcement, he opposed amnesty period. He consistently said that all those who came here illegally would have to go back home and come here legally.
During the general election, he ran strong on the issue against Harold Ford. On September 15, he began airing the following two ads:
“For centuries, immigrants have come to America
legally. They worked hard and made America great. But today,
we’ve lost control of our borders. We need a new immigration
policy that reflects America’s values. First, secure this
border. Allow people to work here but only if they’re legal.
No amnesty. Those employed but here illegally must go home and
return through legal channels. And those who want to become
citizens must learn the English language. I’m Bob Corker and I approve this message.
|“Listen to Congressman Harold Ford.” FORD: “Every day
|fifty-seven hundred miles of border stands unsecured. It must
|stop.” ANNCR: “More talk. But what’s his record? Ford voted
|against allowing the military to secure the border. Against
|tougher penalties for illegal immigrants caught smuggling drugs.
|He says he opposes amnesty for illegals, but he’s also said he
|could support a bill that included amnesty. Harold Ford. Ten
|years in Washington. Tennessee’s most liberal congressman.”
|CORKER: “I’m Bob Corker and I approve this message.
Now he is saving a dying amnesty bill by placing phony triggers in a bill 10 years after amnesty is granted. John Hoeven explained the amendment like this: the “whole effort has been to build a bipartisan group that will support the bill.”
Folks, this is what the entire Mitch McConnell caucus is all about. They work indefatigably to put lipstick on Democrat proposals so they will win bipartisan support. This is why we can’t trust establishment candidates to fulfill their promises even on the few issues they officially check the boxes on the right. Ultimately, they are working for the political class, and if that political class decides that an onerous bill must pass, they will work overtime to lend Republican prestige to that proposal – either publicly or privately. They will often vote against the bill once passage is inevitable, but they will work behind the scenes to sabotage any unified opposition.