Becky Gerritson’s Riveting Testimony Against the IRS

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

Today, our good friend, Becky Gerritson of the Wetumpka Tea Party in Alabama testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on her experience getting persecuted by the IRS.   What is so unique about her testimony is not just the details she provides with regards to the IRS witch hunt against her organization, but how she passionately connects the IRS behavior with the broader problem of a tyrannical government that is threatening all of the founding ideals which made this country so great.

She also made all of us in the Tea Party proud of who we are and what we stand for.  The left constantly demonizes us and lumps us in with their own special interests as uncompromising political operatives.  The truth is that most tea party leaders are like Becky – middle class moms who simply feel that our country, as founded, is deteriorating due to the destruction of the civil society and big government.  Unlike the special interest juke boxers from K Street who typically testify before this committee, Becky represented something new and refreshing.

You can watch her entire testimony here.  It is worth viewing the whole thing:

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Mitch McConnell Goes All In for Reid/Schumer Amnesty

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

Cross-posted from Red State

[Update: Politico just revised it original story and took out the part about McConnell waiving the right to force a vote.  They now say Reid's agreement with McConnell was just that he "won’t oppose bringing the immigration bill to the floor."  Whether this is more shoddy reporting from McConnell or a change in heart by the minority leader is yet to be determined.  The Hill seems to suggest that McConnell did in fact agree not to force a cloture vote.  If McConnell did not intend to offer that agreement, he should make sure Harry Reid doesn't get "the wrong message."

We must continue to pressure him to force a vote on motion to proceed.  Either way, this is wrongheaded policy, as Democrats have made it clear they will vote down all enforcement amendments.  There is no reason to vote yes on motion to proceed.]

We all understand that there is a lot of money to be raised by supporting the amnesty bill.  It comes as no surprise that McConnell is promoting this bill on K Street every week.  But one would expect a man who was in the Senate long enough to vote for the 1986 amnesty to be a bit more cautious in jumping into the same sinkhole this late in his career.  Instead, McConnell plans to lay down in front of the La Raza tanks and let them steamroll through the Senate.

Mitch McConnell has already announced that he plans to vote for cloture to proceed with debate on the bill, ostensibly sealing the fate of the bill.  Today, he has announced that there will be no cloture vote at all: (Politico)

The Senate will begin considering the landmark immigration reform bill next week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday morning.

“Even if we we’ve not completed action on the farm bill or the student loans proposals, we’re going to bring immigration to the floor next week. Immigration is broken, it needs to be fixed,” Reid said in his opening remarks on Tuesday.

Reid said it’s his understanding that Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow the bill to come to the floor without having to clear a procedural vote, and Reid said he is “grateful” to his Republican colleague for not pushing for cloture.

In his opening remarks, McConnell did not mention the immigration bill.

So McConnell plans to allow the bill to proceed by unanimous consent.  It is precisely this cloddish leadership from McConnell that has rendered our filibuster-breaking minority worthless.

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Art Halvorson for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 9th District

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, News

The Madison Project is proud to announce our first endorsement of the 2014 election cycle.

Are you sick of being disenfranchised by the politicians in Washington?  Are you tired of Republicans rolling over on issues like the debt ceiling, Obamacare, farm subsidies, and amnesty?  Do you want Republicans in the House to start performing as the majority?  Well, nothing will change unless we rid ourselves of the dead wood within the current political class.  If we plan to restore our republican form of government, we must begin by electing citizen legislators like Captain Art Halvorson and retiring career politicians like Bill Shuster.

Pennsylvanian’s ninth congressional district, which encompasses most of southwest Pennsylvania, is the most conservative district in the state.  Mitt Romney carried it by 27 points.  Yet this district has been represented by big government parochialism since 1972, in the form of the Shuster father-son dynasty.

After 19 years of porking and cutting backroom deals on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Bud Shuster retired from Congress in January 2001, immediately after being sworn in for a 15th term.  This subterfuge forced a special election with party leaders choosing his son, Bill, as the party nominee.  Bill Shuster immediately took his father’s seat on the committee, and became chairman of T & I this year.

Shuster is the embodiment of the big government tendencies within the party.  In the past, he has voted for Cash for Clunkers, credit card regulations, and TARP.  He was one of the biggest supporters of No Child Left Behind until it became very unpopular.  Throughout his career on T & I, Shuster has been a leading proponent of the current statist federal transportation policy that wastes money on mass transit and blocks devolution of transportation authority to the states. He is a big porker and advocate for high-speed rail.  He scores a -31 on the Madison Performance Index for last session, the lowest of the entire state delegation.  He is a true red-district statist.

If we ever hope to change the direction of the Republican Party to one that provides us with a bold contrast, we need to defeat the career politicians.  Art Halvorson is the antithesis of a career statist.  After graduating from the United States Coast Guard Academy in 1977, Art served 29 years in the Coast Guard as a rescue helicopter pilot, flight instructor, test pilot, commanding officer, and eventually as a senior advisor at Coast Guard headquarters in Washington.  After retiring from the Coast Guard in 2006, Art went into real estate investment and now runs four companies that own and manage real estate around the country.  Art has been married for 34 years, has 6 children, and is a devout Christian.

When interviewing Republican candidates for Congress, it’s not hard to find people who will inveigh against government spending in the abstract.  Yet few of them are truly committed to downsizing government by closing entire departments, devolving some programs to the states, and eliminating many others.  Art didn’t need any coaching.  He plans to run on a platform of state-run highway and infrastructure spending and is committed to opposing Shuster’s plan to raise the gasoline tax in a failed effort to perpetuate the statist federal highway policy.

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Will Republicans Reassert the Rule of Law?

Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

In June 2011, Obama announced that he would suspend our immigration laws and grant administrative amnesty to those who qualify for the DREAM Act – a bill that never passed Congress.  This was just one of the many egregious steps taken by the administration to subvert the rule of law and threaten our sovereignty.  Yet, unlike with the IRS scandal, Republicans were largely silent.  Obama punched us in the stomach and challenged us to hit back, yet all we did was scamper away like a bunch of cowards.

The GOP insouciance towards Obama’s “deferred action” program is particularly jarring in the context of the debate over the Schumer/Rubio/Obama amnesty bill.  The entire premise of the bill is predicated on overlooking how Obama has already dealt with his illegal amnesty.  From ‘legalization before enforcement’ and major restrictions on future deportations to wide discretion granted to DHS, we don’t need a crystal ball to ascertain the results of the bill.  Obama’s DACA program has served as a test run for the mass amnesty.

An astounding 99.5% of all those who applied for the amnesty were approved by the administration.  Yup, obviously none of them said they planned to start a conservative organization when they filled out the application.  Moreover, as ICE agent Chris Crane has repeatedly noted, it is virtually impossible for ICE to detain and deport anyone because almost any detainee could potentially be eligible for this illegal amnesty.  So now we have millions of young impoverished illegals who are on a fast track to receiving benefits on behalf of their families.  We have now raised the specter of anchor babies to include ‘anchor young adults.’  As long as you come here with at least one child under age, you are here to stay.

The idea that we will ever be able to deport anyone after this bill passes is simply absurd, in light of what we’re seeing from DACA.  Almost anyone could potentially be eligible for the multiple eligibility status loopholes, and the bill forces all law enforcement to provide them with a reasonable opportunity to come forward.  Even an administration that is committed to the rule of law would find it nearly impossible to resume deportations after the amnesty, much less an administration that has already promised never to enforce the law.

Meanwhile, in a bid to inveigle other GOP senators into supporting the bill, Rubio said that he plans to announce his own border security plan.  But as we’ve seen from DACA, you can come up with any plan you’d like; it’s only Obama’s plan that counts.  This has been, and always will be, an executive branch problem, not a legislative problem.  It’s real simple: the only way any amnesty would ever work is if Obama begins to demonstrate enforcement of existing laws first.  Everything else is just window dressing used to entice other Republicans into kicking Charlie Brown’s football.

The uncanny irony is that a federal district judge is prepared to vitiate Obama’s deferred action, yet Republicans won’t take yes for an answer.  Aside for the few border hawks, none of them will even issue a press release making notice of this expected victory for the rule of law.

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It’s Time for Conservatives to Put Up or Shut Up

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Elections, News

As conservatives, we are constantly lamenting the dearth of leadership in the Republican Party.  We are flummoxed by the lack of fortitude on the part of elected Republicans to serve as a counterbalance to the indefatigable forces of statism on the left.  But when provided with the opportunity to actually affect change and elect conservatives, how many of us heed the call?

We must remind ourselves that this is our party; that our involvements in congressional primaries will make all the difference between electing another rudderless GOP majority leader and Speaker and new conservative leadership.  We have home-field advantage in the primaries.  How many rinos do you know who go out and vote in every primary?  It’s for this reason that the establishment hacks run all the way to the right during primaries.

Although we are all suffering electoral fatigue from this past election, which never seemed to end, we must realize that some of the congressional primaries will begin in 10-11 months from now.  If we plan to mount a serious challenge to any incumbent, recruitment must commence now.  And at the Madison Project, we are committed to leaving no stone unturned in finding as many viable committed conservatives to challenge flaccid incumbent members in both the House and the Senate.   We have some good prospects, and are prepared to make our first endorsement very soon.

So many of these congressional primaries, especially during off-year elections, are low-turnout events.  With some decent fundraising and ground game, we have the ability to put many of these incumbent seats in play.  Once these career politicians begin to realize that they are not tenured professors, and that they will need to stand before their constituents every two years in a legitimate race, their attitudes will change very quickly.

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Good Riddance to Joe Bonner

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, News

If we are ever going to obtain a conservative majority within the House GOP Conference, we must utilize our most conservative districts.  While it would be nice to knock off the red district statists in primaries, the easiest way to pick up a seat is through a vacancy.  Today, Jo Bonner just gave us such an opportunity by announcing his plan to resign from this conservative Alabama seat based in Mobile.

During the past Congress, Bonner scored a -38.5 on our index, the seventh lowest score in the party.  Here is what I wrote last year on Bonner in a piece advocating for the replacement of the entire state House delegation sans Mo Brooks:

He was elected to the House in 2002 during a good Republican year, and has held his seat for five terms.

While conservatives cheered on the effort to keep the GOP pledge by cutting $100 billion from the 2011 budget, this member deemed it “misguided.”

This member is one of those who used his membership with the Republican Study Committee as a means of concealing his affinity for big-government from his conservative constituents.  After years of voting against every single RSC proposal, and after realizing that the group would not roll over and genuflect before leadership, he summarily terminated his membership.

Throughout his career, he has been a reliable vote for CAFE standards, ethanol, and all sort of subsidies.

No – he doesn’t represent a Democrat-leaning district in the northeast, even though he scored a dismal 54% on the Heritage Action Scorecard.  He represents an R+14 district in this staunch conservative state.  In fact, it is such a conservative district that he faced no Democrat opponent in 2010.  His nearest competition was from the Constitution Party.

Well, one down, four more to go.

We look forward to finding a comprehensive conservative to fill this red seat – one who is committed to challenging the current direction of the party leadership.

Senate Committee Votes to Arm Al-Qaeda Affiliated Syrians

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy, News

Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 15-3 to arm the Syrian “rebels” in their civil war against the Assad regime.  Rand Paul was the only Republican to vote no.  James E. Risch, Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Jeff Flake, John McCain, and John Barrasso all voted to arm the same people who will turn on us with our own weapons one day.

For far too long, the debate over foreign policy has been expressed though the prism of the false choice between interventionists and isolationists.  Those of us who oppose the interventions on behalf of the “Arab Spring” islamists are called isolationists.  The reality is that we are  Reagan conservatives who believe in a robust effort to repel Islamic terrorism.  We don’t oppose interventions that are in America’s best interests.  Quite the contrary, we want to kill as many Islamists before they kill us.  But in the case of Libya, Syria, and Egypt, we are actually intervening on behalf of our enemies.

Granted that Syria is more complicated than the other two examples.  Bashar Assad is a sworn enemy of the United States, the closest ally of Iran, and a prolific exporter of terror.  In a perfect world, it would be great to overthrow him and stick it to Iran.  But the reality is that the strongest elements of the insurgency are saturated with Al-Qaeda affiliated extremists, much like the insurgencies in other countries.  Why place American money and weapons in the hands of people who will be just as adversarial to our interests as the current regime?

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“Immigration Reform” and Political Parlance

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

The best way to win a political argument is by manipulating the rhetoric used to describe the two sides in a debate.  The Democrats and the Chuck Schumer Republicans have done a marvelous job hijacking the term “reform” and deriding those who oppose their bill to grant mass amnesty, double record immigration levels, and hamper future enforcement, as anti “immigration reform.”  They have repeated the term “immigration reform” so incessantly that they are starting to sound like the sheep in Animal Farm.  That’s why I prefer to call the bill immigration deform instead of amnesty.  It is a lot worse than amnesty; it is the antithesis of everything that is reform-minded.

When the left and the Schumer Republicans speak of immigration reform, they are referring to one aspect – and one aspect only – legalizing those already here illegally.  That is not immigration reform.  Immigration reform means changing our legal immigration system to on that identifies and prioritizes those who best benefit the broad country from a system that prioritizes those who benefit nobody (or special interests) and encumbers those who would be net contributors.  It also means implementing enforcement and protecting our national security interests first.  Granting amnesty may or may not be a component of that, depending on your viewpoint, but it certainly is not the centerpiece of immigration reform.

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Mitch McConnell Supports Schumer’s Amnesty/Immigration Deform Bill

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

Folks, the McConnell charade of acting one way in public and another in private is getting old.  He is up for reelection this cycle.  It’s time to get rid of the moss-covered fossils in our party who don’t share our values.  I just tossed this up at Red State.

It looks like Mitch McConnell’s pass from Chuck Schumer to publicly remain silent on the amnesty bill has expired.

While McConnell has come out of the witness protection program to attack the ‘low-hanging fruit’ IRS scandal with alacrity, he has remained silent on the most profound threat to our Republic – the Schumer immigration reform bill.  How can the sitting GOP leader remain silent on a bill that will compound the mistakes he voted for in 1986 and create a permanent Democrat majority?  How can the top Republican in the Senate remain insouciant toward the Obamacare-style discretion that is afforded to DHS in a way that will make future deportations almost impossible?  How can a self-described conservative be indiffernet to a bill that will chart a pathway to welfare benefits for millions of low-skilled illegal and legal immigrants within just a few years?

Well, it’s quite simple.  Chuck Schumer is the defacto GOP leader in the Senate.  All he has to do is craft legislation, and Republicans will ask how many votes he needs.

Earlier today, McConnell told The Hill’s Alex Bolton that he will support the motion to proceed with debate on the amnesty bill, noting that “the status quo is not good.”

So even as the Senate Judiciary Committee votes to allow criminal aliens to receive amnesty and for them to collect billions in refundable tax credits McConnell is OK with it.

So even as Obama is embroiled in the worst scandals of his administration, McConnell plans to bail him out with his second biggest legacy victory.

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Do Our Republicans Have a Pass on this One?

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013 by and is filed under Blog, Immigration, News

A common ploy in parliamentarian scheming is for leaders to hand out hall passes for vulnerable members to vote against leadership’s proposal, knowing that it has the votes to pass anyway.  The rationale is that those members should be able to hoodwink their constituents without compromising passage of the bill.  This dynamic usually plays out with the leadership and rank-and-file of the same party, but during today’s Senate Judiciary Committee markup, it was Chuck Schumer who was handing out hall passes to Republicans.

Throughout the past week of marking up the amnesty bill, the Republican gang members on the committee – Jeff Flake and Lindsey Graham – were voting together with the Democrats against amendments that would strengthen the enforcement mechanisms to trigger any amnesty.  However, on some of the more embarrassing amendments, the two Republicans have been voting the right way.  After all, Democrats have enough votes to defeat those amendments without their participation, so why make them look bad with the rubes in the GOP base?  We long suspected collaboration between the Democrats and these members, but today Chuck Schumer gave away the secret.

Senator Jeff Sessions, who has been a statesman on this issue, offered an amendment to bar illegals from receiving refundable tax credits during the “RPI” amnesty status.  Remember, that advocates of the gang’s bill are incessantly denying the fact that these people will receive benefits during the first 10 years of the amnesty.  Well, every Democrat affirmed what we already know by voting to retain those benefits.  Except, in this case, Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake voted with Sessions and the Republicans.  If you watch the roll call (at around the 3:05 mark), you can hear Chuck Schumer asking an aid “do our Republicans have a pass on this one?”  The aid says, “yes.”

Hmm…later in the day, Chuck Grassley offered an amendment to bar gang members from receiving amnesty.  This amendment was also defeated along a party-line vote…without the help of Flake and Graham.  I guess that was embarrassing enough for them to warrant a hall pass from Schumer.  Same goes for Cornyn’s amendment which would bar amnesty for criminal aliens , including domestic abusers, child abusers, and drunk drivers, all of whom could potentially get legal status under the Senate bill.

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