The GOP Establishment’s Politics of Fear Turns Touchdowns Into Interceptions

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

This article is cross posted from Daniel Horowitz’s column at www.ConservativeReview.com

The GOP Establishment’s Politics of Fear Turns Touchdowns into Interceptions

https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2015/03/the-gop-establishments-politics-of-fear-turns-touchdowns-into-interceptions

By: Daniel Horowitz | March 4th, 2015

Republicans have always been driven to sell out their principles based on unfounded and irrational fear of outcomes.  However, since winning the 2014 midterm elections, they have taken this irrational fear to a new level.  Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal even calls it post-election stress syndrome.

During the ‘90s, with a popular president in the White House and a soaring economy, Republicans had more courage to challenge a sitting Democrat president than the current generation of GOPers – even though this president is extremely radical, reckless, lawless, and unpopular.  Back in 1995, Republicans were willing to battle the president on budget bills over policy disagreements – with the deficit a fraction of what it is today.  Their efforts resulted in welfare reform.  Now Republicans are too scared to fight Obama on anything, even on issues where he has exhibited lawless or dangerous behavior, such as amnesty, Obamacare, and Iran.

Amazingly they fail to see, as evidenced by the midterm elections, that the country views this president as anything but mainstream or reasonable in a way that would complicate political brinkmanship against him. According to a new Huffington Post/YouGov poll, less than half of respondents said that Obama loves America.  A plurality of voters across a number of demographics in the cross-tabs of the poll, in fact, said that Obama does not love America.  We are not exactly dealing with a popularity juggernaut here.

The common refrain from Republicans is “we will get blamed.”  And they make sure to shout this bromide from the hilltops for all to hear.

Whereas conservatives view leverage points, such as budget bills, debt ceilings, and the impending Supreme Court case on Obamacare subsidies, as opportunities to be embraced; GOP leadership views them as the plague to be avoided.  Yet, worse than avoiding the opportunity to score a touchdown, they preemptively convert those prospects of advancing conservatism into scoring points for the other side.

Nowhere is this more evident than with the GOP’s alacritous public clamor to support Obamacare subsidies in the event that the Supreme Court strikes them down in the 34 states that declined to set up health care exchanges.  With the Supreme Court slated to hear oral arguments tomorrow in the King v Burwell case, conservatives are excited about the prospect of a second chance to use the court to strike a death knell to Obamacare.  Unfortunately, that is not what will happen if the court strikes down the subsidies.

In a sane world, Republicans would take the opportunity of the potential SCOTUS decision to pin the tail of blame for crushing health care and health insurance costs on the Democrat donkey.  If SCOTUS pulls the plug on the Obamacare morphine (the subsidies), everyone would immediately feel the pain of the Obamacare mandates, regulations and interventions that have doubled and tripled premiums for most Americans.  And unlike most other issues, Obamacare is exclusively associated with Democrats.  We would harness that anger against Obamacare to ensure that any Congressional “fix” granting a temporary continuation of the subsidies is paired with a bill repealing the price-hiking regulations on insurance plans.  The messaging for Republicans is quite simple: stop administering the pain (mandates) and we won’t need to administer the morphine (subsidies).

This is not hard to understand. Based on the past few elections, in which Obamacare has been the golden goose for Republican candidates, the American people clearly understand who is to blame for the rising premiums, loss of coverage, and loss of family doctors.

Instead, Republicans have spent the past few months preemptively and unilaterally portending an apocalypse when people lose their subsidies.  What’s worse, they are publicly taking on the responsibility for “fixing” it and assuming full culpability for any fallout.  To that end, they are making it clear that Republicans must put their stamp of approval on a bill continuing the Obamacare subsidies or replacing them with massive refundable tax credits, thereby enshrining permanent dependency – all with the blessing of the “more conservative” party.

As previously mentioned, most replacement plans fail to pair the subsidies against eliminating the underlying problems – the scope of mandates and regulations of Obamacare.  But more importantly, even if Republicans insert some good provisions into their plan, all Obama has to do is just wait them out and they will eventually capitulate. They have created yet another cliff and have emphatically expressed their culpability and ensuing responsibility to pass a bill.  Perforce, they will turn the King v Burwell decision into a Republican acquiescence to most of the critical elements in Obamacare.

We will see the same dynamic unfold with a bunch of other deadlines – be it the debt ceiling, highway bill, or reauthorization of Ex-Im Bank.  Republicans will agree to the premise of doom in absence of passing a bill and will passionately project the blame on themselves.  Then they will propose a liberal bill, albeit with a few good provisions to get conservatives to support the package. But those shiny object reforms are worthless because Republicans have already sent the message to Obama loud and clear that they will blink first.  They will never cross a political deadline and will always accept the blame.

The question voters must ask is if Republicans are scared to make a move for fear of reprisal why do they step onto the field in the first place?

GOP Fig Leaves

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

This morning, Washington, DC awakened to earth shattering news. Mitch McConnell and team were seriously considering repealing ObamaCare. The process was in place, they were doing due diligence and putting the wheels in motion.

It was show time.

Until the Senate parliamentarian said they couldn’t use the budgetary reconciliation process to dismantle ObamaCare. Like truant school children, the response from Mitch McConnell and team was to hang their heads and say, “Well, we tried to do the right thing. . . .”

That is gist of the story that is in The Hill this morning.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Mitch McConnell has no intention whatsoever of repealing ObamaCare. Now or ever.

If you read the story closely, its apparent that the source of the parliamentarian’s concern are “GOP sources.” Read that as either Senate leadership aide or McConnell staff. As far as anyone knows, the Senate parliamentarian has no concerns regarding using the budgetary reconciliation process to repeal ObamaCare.

Team McConnell would 1) like for you to think that she does and that 2) the parliamentarian’s advice is akin to the Ten Commandments, i.e. carved in stone. Once she speaks, it is settled.

If you have been around DC long enough, the story must be read as a trial balloon from the GOP leadership as it intends to claim that the budgetary reconciliation process is not a legitimate way to dismantle ObamaCare and that “because we don’t have the White House, we’re just going to have to wait to see how 2016 plays out before we can take any serious action against ObamaCare.”

This story is a marker for them to turn to and say, “Look, we tried, but as The Hill reported, it’s just impossible to do.”

This is a manufactured story if ever there was one.

McConnell and team will, of course, trot out the obligatory floor votes for full repeal of ObamaCare and hope the conservative movement seal claps for this shiny object. After all, this is why they won in November-to show people they are serious about getting things done. But the fact of the matter is, full repeal votes are simply show votes that Mitch McConnell and team know have no chance of going anywhere.

Now, for the parliamentarian.

For a moment, let’s say that the parliamentarian does have concerns with using the budgetary reconciliation process to dismantle the ObamaCare. Who is the parliamentarian and what is this person’s role in the Senate?

To begin with, the role of the parliamentarian is simply an advisory one that was established in 1935 in hopes of creating a more orderly flow in the Senate during the New Deal. In essence, the role of the parliamentarian was created to house the working knowledge of how the Senate was supposed to operate as more and more Senators spent less time on the floor.

As an advisor, the parliamentarian’s advice is non-binding. The presiding officer of the Senate can take it or leave it. The parliamentarian serves as a reference point, a lexicon so to speak, for new Senators to ask questions of as they serve as the presiding officer of the Senate. Senators may disagree with the parliamentarian. In fact, both the Democrats and the Republicans have fired the parliamentarian when they feel the parliamentarian is disagreeing with them for no apparent reason (Robert Dove being the most famous case, fired in 1987 by the Democrats and in 2001 by the Republicans).

So while the parliamentarian plays a role in the United States Senate, let’s not let Mitch McConnell and team fool us into thinking it is a critical one. It’s not. It’s a functionary role that was always intended to give advice to the chair, not bind the majority into what they could and could not do. At best, The Hill story today was a fig leaf for McConnell and team to hide behind.

And frankly, it was a small one.

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court: How The New Term May Affect You

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues

Many Americans don’t realize that the Supreme Court is actually the most powerful branch of government. In the end, they decide the fate of our laws and our lives — and you may not recognize just how deeply the next Supreme Court term will affect you personally.

Washington seems far away much of the time but if you aren’t careful, they’ll be right in your backyard — metaphorically speaking. For the 2014-2015 Supreme Court term, you can see what I mean.

For example, they are taking up a case — Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne — where residents are facing double taxes on income earned out of state. Income earned out of state has already been taxed but Maryland wants to tax it again for the resident’s local county.

Even more disturbing are issues of over-regulation. This past year alone, children’s lemonade stands were shut down, a mother was arrested for saying a curse word and a little boy was suspended from school for pointing his finger like a gun and pretending to shoot – and some of these cases are making it all the way to the Supreme Court, like Yates v. United States coming up this year.

In this case, a man caught some illegal, undersized fish in his boat. He was instructed to bring the fish back to port. Officers then claimed he was lying and had thrown some of the undersized fish overboard, which is illegal. He was then convicted of destroying “tangible objects” with the intent to obstruct an investigation, despite little evidence this actually happened. These are the types of over regulation issues citizens are dealing with all the way up to the Supreme Court.

The Court is also taking up a controversial case about a rapper convicted of making “criminal threats” after writing a few very violent Facebook posts. But the rapper said the posts were rap lyrics, not threats – and now he’s dealing with a Supreme Court hearing. Could your Facebook posts be “threatening” to someone who would report you? It could land you here.

Same-sex marriage will be placed front and center again this term, as many states petition the Court for review of their laws regarding marriage and equality. The Obamacare federal exchanges are on the docket as well. They may deal with the provision of subsidies in states not participating in the exchanges, as well as other controversial parts of the law that may affect how it’s fully implemented.

There are a wide range of cases on deck for the 2014-2015 SCOTUS bench to take up – issues that could have major affects on how we write on social media, deal with minor, over regulated laws and if we could be forced to pay double on our taxes.

The new term began October 6th so get ready to pay attention and take notes!

Rep. J. Wellington Wimpy, (R-Squishville), senior advisor to Republican Leadership

Thursday, September 18th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

Readers of a certain age may be familiar with a fellow named J. Wellington Wimpy and his famous promise that “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”  What you may not be aware of is that Mr. Wimpy is the senior strategic advisor to Republican Congressional leadership.

Wimpy’s appointment is the only way to explain the terrible Export Import Bank deal that leadership duped many conservatives and Republicans into accepting as part of this week’s bill to fund the federal government and our war in Syria.  Wimpy’s play was a stroke of genius.

Using his time-honored strategy, he substituted an appeal for their votes for his normal request for hamburger and a promise to really totally shut down the Export Import Bank next year for his normal promise of payment on Tuesday.  With this simple trick, Wimpy has executed a ruse grander than any of his previous frauds to purloin ground beef.

Some context might be helpful.   Others have written lengthy and persuasive discussions of the need to shut down the Export-Import Bank. The justification doesn’t need to be rehashed here.   Heck, even Representative Kevin McCarthy upon the realization of his elevation to Majority Leader commented, “I think Ex-Im Bank is … something government does not have to be involved in. The private sector can do it.”

All leadership had to do to put this terrible program to an end was – nothing. The Export Import Bank was scheduled to expire on its own.

Instead in a fit of hysterical bed-wetting when the President rolled out his well-worn strategy of linking any a noun, a verb, and “shut-down” the Republican Leadership scrambled to respond with a strategy to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.  Rep. Wimpy to the rescue.

The Wimpy plan was simple.  He would convince conservatives that when Republicans take the House and Senate majority in the next election they’re really totally going to shut down the Export Import Bank (the Tuesday clause.)  All they needed from conservatives was their votes and a commitment not to put up a fight on the Continuing Resolution (the Hamburger Clause).   Without nary a peep from conservatives, the Wimpy plan was deployed.

It was of course a terrible deal.  Much like Wimpy’s promised payment on Tuesday, the Republican leadership’s support for abolishing the Export Import Bank is never going to materialize.   The President knows that Republican Leadership will fold like a cheap lawn chair if he even hints in the same direction as a shutdown or veto fight.  There will be some must pass legislative vehicle that Ex-Im Bank supporters demand reauthorization be attached to, and since leadership actually does support the bank, it will happily acquiesce.

They’ll explain their supposedly reluctant acquiescence on needing to pass some vital piece of legislation and not wanting to tarnish the Presidential candidate and our “brand.” But believe you me, when Republicans retake the White House, Leadership’s totally going to pay for those hamburgers!

Republican Leadership squandered one of the greatest chances it likely will ever have to shut down the Export Import Bank.  Had they sent the President a government and war funding bill, but did not include extension of the Export Import Bank in the bill, the President would have surely signed the bill.   Does anyone really believe that the President and Harry Reid would have been so brazen as to deny funding for a war effort against terrorists just to protect cut-rate loans for Boeing’s customers?  I doubt it, but maybe they would have.   Regardless it is a pretty weak hand to play and Republicans could have carried the day – had they shown up to fight.

But sadly, Republican Leadership takes congressional conservatives for fools – and with good reason – every Tuesday they act surprised that J. Wellington Wimpy didn’t pay for his burgers.   Until conservatives stop falling for the same lame promises, Rep. Wimpy’s behavior isn’t going to change and the nation is going to suffer.

Congress Looking to Usher in the Holiday Shopping Season with a Tax Increase

Monday, September 15th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues

Buried in the stopgap funding bill that House Republican Leadership cobbled together last week was a little noticed provision that tees up a vote for a multi-billion tax increase during the lame-duck session of Congress.

The funding bill would extend the Internet Tax Freedom Act (ITFA) – which blocks taxes on Internet access – from November 1, 2014 until December 11, 2014. Congress has known about this looming expiration for seven years.  There is broad support for making the tax prohibition permanent – permanent extension has 53 sponsors in the Senate and passed the House on a voice vote.

Never letting a good (manufactured) crisis go to waste, Congress is going to use the pending expiration of the Internet access tax prohibition to shepherd through a tax increase on phone, catalog and internet purchases. This week, the chief sponsor of the Internet Tax Bill, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), said as much, “I think there will be less concern after the election. The two go together nicely. One makes sure the Internet isn’t taxed and the other makes sure that sales taxes that are avoided with the Internet will be collected.”

The Marketplace Fairness Act

The Marketplace Fairness Act – or as it’s more accurately known, the Internet Sales Tax Act – is an effort by big spenders in Washington to enable their friends in state governments across the country to collect sales taxes on purchases made outside their states.  Under current law, unless a company has a physical presence – a nexus – in a state, that state cannot tax their sales.  It’s a common sense approach – if a company isn’t in the state, it shouldn’t be subjected to the tax laws of the state.

Most folks who have shopped online have experienced this at checkout – if you live in one of the twenty-four states which have a sales tax, but does not have an Amazon warehouse or office, you get to check out without being forced to pay sales tax.  Your state most likely requires you to pay something called a “use tax,” but it’s your job to pay that, not Amazon’s to collect it.

What Congress wants to do is force Amazon, eBay, catalog vendors, infomercials, and anyone else who sells you something from out of state (as long as their company sells over one million dollars a year – a small threshold) to collect more taxes from you. In fact, the total is $23 Billion more in taxes each year.

This is the kind of idea that is only popular with lobbyists and government officials.

Lobbyists love it because it gives their wealthy corporate clients a leg up over smaller more nimble competitors.

Compliance with this law will be a nightmare for a small businesses.  There are ten thousand different taxing jurisdictions in the United States all imposing different rates on different goods at different times of the year.

To keep up with the various tax laws, small businesses are going to have to pay expensive fees to integrate tax collection software with their in house computer systems.  If the software costs weren’t enough, the attorney fees and accountant bills will be astronomical when they get something wrong.

If, for example, a small business in Maryland doesn’t correctly charge sales tax for of one of Connecticut’s latest sales tax holidays for school clothes, they could see themselves getting audited by the tax collector in Connecticut.  (For example, gloves and mittens are tax exempt, batting gloves for the little league baseball team are not.) And when that small businessman fails to charge Johnny’s parents tax on his batting glove, what’s going to compel that tax collector to treat him equitably?  Nothing. By it’s nature that Maryland company has no presence in Connecticut and not one Connecticut Representative or Senator to complain to about an abusive tax collector.  Further if they don’t comply with the dictates of the out of state tax collector they can find themselves hauled into court in a city thousands of miles away threaten with a court judgment if they don’t comply.

While this may be a nightmare for small businessmen, Amazon loves the idea.  They have enormous IT, accounting and legal departments already.  Complying with this is an insignificant burden in the grand scheme of issues they have to deal with. It also comes with the added benefit of sticking it to their competitors.  Win-Win.

Government officials love it because they see it as free money.  Every month Amazon’s going to send them a big check and all they have to do is lobby Congress to help the company stick it to the little guy.   As usual the person whose ox get’s gored is the taxpayer.

So when Black Friday rolls around, remember that unless Congress hears objections, they’re going to sneak one more thing into your online shopping basket – a $23 billion tax increase.

Revealing New Lois Lerner Email Implies Guilt

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 and is filed under Issues, News

Evidence against Lois Lerner’s innocence in the IRS scandal continues to mount. The latest revelation was discovered in an email received by Lerner, in which she clearly overlooked political and monetary abuse by Labor Unions when it reported to her.

The email quotes Don Todd, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office Labor-Management at the time, saying, “The IRS was telling us it would cost more to enforce the law then they would collect.”

During the same time period, Lerner chose to hone in on groups like the National Organization for Marriage and the Alabama Tea Party.

These are just more examples of Lerner paying little attention to Left-leaning organizations, while carefully scrutinizing Right-leaning organizations – many of those clearly associated with the Tea Party.

Thankfully, emails like these (remember when she called conservatives “crazies?”) continue to trickle in. After the IRS claimed to have “lost” 2 years worth of Lerner’s emails, it smelled like a doozy of a cover-up – and last week, they claimed that Lerner’s Blackberry was “wiped clean.”

But all hope is not lost in getting to the bottom of this mess.

The activist group Judicial Watch has been doggedly pursuing the supposed lost emails under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), hoping their efforts will uncover even more of what went on behind the scenes.

A Department of Justice attorney recently told Judicial Watch that “the federal government backs up all computer records in case something terrible happens in Washington and there’s a catastrophe so the government can continue operating.”

If this is true, the Obama Administration has been blatantly lying to the American people about the missing emails. In fact, during the June hearings on the scandal when IRS commissioner John Koskinen testified before Congress, Rep. Paul Ryan said:

“Sitting here listening to this testimony, I don’t believe it…that’s your problem. No one believes you. “

It was perhaps the first time a Member of Congress said what everyone else was thinking out loud in an official capacity.

This IRS scandal is just another example of how crucial the midterm and 2016 elections are for our country.
While some will say that putting an “R” into office is much more important than how conservative that person might be fails to recognize the crux of this problem. Lerner was attacking conservative groups, not because she was a Democrat, but because she is part of a group of politicians, Democrats and Republicans, who fundamentally reject the proper execution of government. They believe that the ends will justify the means. Ultimately, to restore liberty in America, we need to elect people who will ensure that the government is a quiet defender of rights, not a group of outspoken actors seeking to enact a set of policies.

Meet New House Leadership Team, Same as Old

Thursday, June 26th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues

One would expect the cataclysmic defeat of Eric Cantor to force the GOP establishment into a protracted period of introspection – one that would include a plan for changing course to better reflect the views in their legislative strategy of the party’s base.  Instead they doubled down on the status quo by replacing Cantor with Kevin McCarthy, a man who is even more liberal and pro-amnesty.

However, many insiders claimed that conservatives won a seat at the table when Steve Scalise (R-LA) was elected Majority Whip, responsible for whipping up support for Republican initiatives.  After all, Scalise is the head of the “conservative” Republican Study Committee (RSC).

Sadly, we have already know for quite some time that Scalise was nothing more than a snake in the conservative grass; a political insider who votes conservative on most issues but quietly undermines conservatives.  As Jonathan Strong of Breitbart reported based on multiple interviews with former RSC staffers, Scalise completely neutered the caucus as a check on leadership and actually delivered conservative forces into the hands of John Boehner.

With this in mind, it’s no surprise that Scalise’s whip team is full of moderate and establishment Republicans without a single dissenting voice.  Earlier today, Scalise announced Congressman Patrick McHenry (NC-10) as chief deputy whip and the following members as deputy whips: Rep. Kristi Noem, (SD-At Large); Rep. Dennis Ross, (FL-15); Rep. Aaron Schock, (IL-18); Rep. Steve Stivers, (OH-15); and Rep. Ann Wagner, (MO-02).

Here is the breakdown of their respective scores from Heritage Action:

McHenry: 69%

Noem: 54%

Ross: 66%

Schock: 48%

Stivers: 57%

Wagner: 63%

With rare exceptions, these members have completely rubber stamped and cheered on Boehner’s efforts to subvert the will of the conservative majority and passed legislation with Democrat support.

It is abundantly clear that we need a clean sweep of the entire leadership team in November, and that sweep must include Scalise.

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Madison Project Scores 11 Spending Amendments in Transportation-HUD Bill

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Issues

Amidst the political turmoil in the House last week, members of Congress voted on a number of spending amendments to the annual Transportation-HUD appropriations bill.  This is not exactly the most exciting topic in light of the political gamesmanship involved in running for leadership posts, but it is quite revealing when attempting to ascertain the commitment of some members to reducing the size of government.

The bill, HR 4745, appropriates roughly $52 billion for FY 2015.  Put simply, this bill encompasses more wasteful government that almost any other appropriations bill.  It spends almost $8 billion more than last year’s draft bill from the House and it contains a number of programs that should not be administered at a federal level, such as subsidies for mass transit and rural air service.   The bill also contains a number of programs that were instituted under the Obama stimulus bill in 2009.

Several members of the conference offered amendments to cut back wasteful spending, particularly among programs that subsidize housing, yet most of them were rebuffed by a coalition of Democrats and liberal Republicans.  We’ve created a scorecard of 11 amendments detailing how each member of the GOP conference voted.

Click here to view the scorecard

Please find the descriptions of these amendments from the Republican Study Committee pasted below:

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Shift Power Back to the States

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Issues, Taxes

Anyone who reads the plain language of the Constitution and the writings of James Madison would come away with the unambiguous impression that the Founders vested the federal government with very few powers – powers that they felt could only be executed by a central government.  Much of what the federal government does in this post-constitutional era is not only superfluous but deleterious to economic growth and free market fairness.

However, there are other functions that are vital and important, albeit best left up to state and/or local governments to administer.  On this day 88 years ago, President Calvin Coolidge delivered a speech at the College of William and Mary echoing this very sentiment:

“We must also recognize that the national administration is not and cannot be adjusted to the needs of local government …

The States should not be induced by coercion or by favor to surrender the management of their own affairs.

The Federal Government ought to resist the tendency to be loaded up with duties which the States should perform.

It does not follow that because something ought to be done the National Government ought to do it.”

Two major issues that fit into this category are authority over transportation and education.  Both of those issues are in the news today, and conservatives should take note if they plan to effectively advance a conservative reform agenda in the coming years.

Transportation

With regards to transportation, once again the Senate is doubling down on the failed transportation policy of the federal sinkhole.  The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a $265 billion highway bill, which dictates full control over transportation policy for all 50 states.  Each state has its own unique population, geography, topography, and transportation needs, yet it is all centrally planned in one 5-year bill from Washington.  Naturally, when you couple the inefficiencies with federal labor and environmental mandates, along with $43 billion spent on mass transit, the revenue collected from the federal gasoline tax can no longer cover the full cost.

Instead of taxing or borrowing our way out of the quicksand of inefficient federal policy, we should devolve most transportation authority to the states.  Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) have companion bills (S. 1702/ HR 3264) to do just that.  Each state would levy its own tax to purvey highway projects and can easily prioritize the level of taxation and spending based upon its needs.  This is not even a left or right issue.  More liberal states would naturally levy a higher gas tax to fund infrastructure projects, while conservatives would cut other functions deemed unnecessary or harmful.  But that should not be decided by the federal government.

Education

Education is also an important function that should be controlled by those closest to the classroom, particularly local governments.  While our ultimate goal must be to remove the federal government from K-12 and higher education altogether, there are two promising bills from Senator Lee that would empower state and local governments with control over some aspects of education.

After a half century of producing no positive results, Senator Lee and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) want to devolve the $8.6 billion budget for the Head Start program to the states (S. 2119/HR 4481).  The program has done nothing but self-perpetuate and create jobs for special interests.  There is certainly nothing to lose by letting the states experiment with the money already appropriated.

Another bill (S.1904), sponsored by Senator Lee and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), would reform accreditation for institutions of higher education.

One of the major problems with the Department of Education is that is distorts the “education market” much like any other government intervention in the private economy.  The current higher education accreditation system is controlled by the federal government and creates a one-size-fits-all system that is heavily slanted towards conventional four-year college degrees.  This system does not work for everyone, but the accreditation process has forced many people into this framework, even if they would like to pursue other educational training.  In turn, it has contributed to the “education bubble,” in which federal bureaucrats work with leaders of higher education to over-utilize and over-emphasize the current system, thereby driving up the cost of an education – and by extension – student loan debt.

Senator Lee’s Higher Education Reform and Opportunity [HERO] Act would allow states to create their own system of accreditation, which could grant students the same benefits and status for pursuing alternative coursework, apprenticeships or vocational training.

Every Republican publicly decries the growth of the federal government, but many decline to divulge which functions they would eliminate other than rooting out waste and fraud.  Senator Lee’s bills on education and transportation provide conservatives with a solid opportunity to advocate limited federal government, federalism, and changing course from decades of failed policies by the federal government.

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How to Lie Your Way Through a Primary

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Immigration, Issues, Obamacare

The defeat of former Senators Richard Lugar (R-IN) and Bob Bennett (R-UT) in their respective primaries in 2010 has engendered a new paradigm in GOP politics.  No longer do liberal Republicans run honestly on their records in the primaries.  That would create a recipe for instant defeat.  Instead, they lie their way through the primaries, painting themselves as conservative heroes, and often tainting their conservative challengers as unreliable conservatives. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) was the first to pioneer this strategy in 2012.  Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has followed this strategy to a tee.  The two most recent examples are Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Renee Ellmers (R-NC).

Simpson is close to being unseated by Bryan Smith in Idaho’s Second District.  In an act of desperation, he went up on broadcast television with an ad that touts his support for a balanced budget amendment, spending cuts, repealing TARP, and defunding Obamacare.  Meanwhile, he tosses the meaningless, yet derogatory, label of “personal injury lawyer” at his opponent.

To anyone who knows Simpson’s record, this is possibly the most dishonest ad ever run during a campaign cycle.  He obfuscates all of the consequential votes he’s taken that have actually been signed into law, such as massive spending increases, debt ceiling increases, and funding for Obamacare, and replaces them with vacuous show votes that he knew at-the-time would never pass.  Most egregiously, he has the impertinence to say that he voted to repeal the Wall Street bailout while failing to mention that he voted for the original bailout that was signed into law!

Nobody who has followed Simpson’s career – supporter or opponent – believes he is a conservative.  Even the American “Conservative” Union gave Simpson a failing grade of 46% last year.  Yet, he has the superior firepower to completely lie to his constituents about his voting record while co-opting the conservative message – a message he has been repudiating for years.

Next up is Renee Ellmers running for reelection in North Carolina’s Second Congressional district.  As we noted a few weeks ago, Ellmers is one of the most ardent supporters of leadership and a passionate supporter of amnesty and open borders.  After a major dustup with Laura Ingraham over immigration, her liberal allies sense that she might be vulnerable to Frank Roche in the May 6 primary.  Breitbart is reporting that FWD, which is funded by Mark Zuckerberg and run by McConnell acolytes, is up with ads promoting Ellmers as……tough on the border and against amnesty!

“Renee Ellmers is a conservative fighter for North Carolina,” a narrator reads in the television version of the ad, while pictures of Ellmers move across the screen. It continues:

“Ellmers voted for a Balanced Budget Amendment to cut the debt and stop the wasteful spending in Washington. She’s protecting Fort Bragg and Pope Airfield from massive defense cuts and working hard to secure the border and fix our broken immigration system once and for all. No amnesty, period.”

The ad then lists the D.C. phone number for Ellmers’ congressional office and advises viewers to “call Congresswoman Ellmers and tell her to keep fighting for conservative solutions.”

Folks, you can’t make this up!

One would think that with Ellmers proudly supporting “a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented” and with the polling for such a proposition supposedly skyrocketing to majority support, they would eagerly and honestly promote her real beliefs.  Yet, they know that their views don’t sell at the ballot box, so they have to co-opt our views – even as they fight to the death against our solutions.  That is why they are touting Ellmers as against amnesty and that is why Mike Simpson is running against TARP.

Undoubtedly, many establishment Republicans will win reelection. We cannot change the entire political class in one election cycle.  However, not a single one will win reelection running on their true beliefs.  They will overwhelm us with their liberal campaign cash, ironically, promoting positions that are antithetical to their actions in Washington.

This just goes to show that, despite their unlimited resources, the members of the political class are a bunch of cowards.  They lack the courage to come out of the closet and propagate their big government views during the primaries.

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