Welcome to the Harry and Barry Shutdown Show

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 and is filed under Blog, News

What a difference a sense of conviction and the presence of a Republican backbone brings to a debate in Washington.  Democrats are beginning to slowly grovel back to the negotiation table, barely able to contain their show of bravado.  We are now having a national discussion about Obamacare, something that would have never happened had we not chosen to fight on the budget bill.

As we conclude day two of the partial government shutdown, we’ve seen that the Obama administration is forced to employ insidious tactics to ensure that people will feel the effects of the shutdown, and that their willing accomplices in the media will broadcast the pain.  Senator Harry Reid and President Barack Obama are refusing to support targeted funding bills for veterans, the NIH, and national parks unless we all agree to fund every last penny of Obamacare, even as the law is universally regarded as ‘not ready for prime time.’  They are placing the priorities of their special interests ahead of the commitments to our veterans.

To make matters worse, the administration has sent out government workers to actively shut down outdoor memorials, such as the World II Memorial in Washington.  The administration erected barriers to block veterans from merely walking through their own memorial.  Hence, Obama is creating “essential workers” for the purpose of actively shutting down something that doesn’t need to be shutdown. We are seeing government websites going dark, even though a lapse in funding would merely engender a suspension in updating the website, not a closure.

The Harry and Barry Shutdown show is political theater at its worst, but is nothing new.  They employed the same tactic early this year when the sequester cuts took effect.  Much to the chagrin of the left, nobody noticed when the tree of excess government spending fell in the forest.  So Obama took it upon himself to release thousands of criminal illegal aliens onto the streets in order to contrive a crisis and link it to the modest spending cuts.

Something funny occurs when we actually stand and fight.  Democrats are put on defense, and they begin to make mistakes.  We begin shifting the polls, public perception, and even the media cycle.  This shift became apparent today when a flummoxed Harry Reid became unhinged with a CNN reporter, suggesting that he would not want to help one kid with cancer and pass an NIH funding bill.  They are completely on the run.  Now the narrative is all about the Democrats refusing to fund vital services for the purpose of preserving every penny of Obamacare.  Even President Bill Clinton agreed to pass some small funding bills for essential services during the 1995 standoff.

We are witnessing more House Republicans waking up to another day of the shutdown with the realization that the entire narrative of Republicans losing this battle is complete bunk.  Even the Republican National Committee is jumping in to this battle, something we would never have expected just a few weeks ago.

Imagine where we would be in this fight if we didn’t have the breakdown of leadership in the Senate led by Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator John Cornyn?  One senator after another – from Pat Toomey and Jeff Flake to Tom Coburn and John McCain – are openly siding with Harry Reid, publicly cosigning us to defeat, or undermining our position.  Senators Harry Reid and Dick Durbin are reading off the names of the dissenters on the Senate floor.  Imagine if the Senate Republicans would join the House in fighting the Harry and Barry Obamacare shutdown show?

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Mike Simpson Supports Surrender to Harry Reid

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

Republicans are finally unified in fighting the egregious stubbornness of President Obama and Senator Harry Reid.  As they actively shut down memorials that don’t need to close, and refuse to fund veterans affairs simply for the purpose of protecting every penny of funding for Obamacare, House Republicans are standing strong.

Naturally, a Republican from Idaho would uphold Idaho values in the fight against Obamacare and the liberals.  Yet Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), an ally of Speaker Boehner, announced today that he would support Harry Reid’s budget bill funding Obamacare.  Hence, he supports unconditional surrender.

This is par for the course with Simpson.  As we’ve noted before, Simpson has supported abortion, amnesty, bailouts, wasteful spending, and tax increases.  He has never been down for the struggle against Obamacare, and at least today he decided to be candid about his beliefs.

It is clear this is a coordinated move by GOP House Leadership and specifically Speaker John Boehner. It is no secret that Mike Simpson is part of John Boehner’s inner circle and in spite of his liberal voting record, was one of the first incumbents to be graced with Boehner’s endorsement this election cycle.

This is why we were proud to endorse Tea Party conservative Bryan Smith against Mike Simpson earlier this month.  Let’s help Bryan oust this ‘white flag Republican.’

Joe Manchin is a Coward

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, Obamacare


noun \ˈkau̇(-ə)rd\

: someone who is too afraid to do what is right or expected : someone who is not at all brave or courageous


: Someone who runs for office in West Virginia and won’t admit that he supports every word of Obamacare.


Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is a coward.

If you ever listen to Democrats run for office in a red state, you will hear a tortured soul.  They usually parse words and decline to take a stance on any confrontational issue, opting to take both sides or no side at all.  We are seeing this with Alison Lundergan-Grimes in Kentucky.  When forced to utter a word about Obamacare, Grimes will throw out platitudes about some of the law being bad:  “there are many things wrong with it, but instead of trying to repeal it nearly 40 times and wasting our taxpayers’ money, we should be talking about solutions.” [WHAS, Grimes Distances Herself from Obama on Key Issues, 7/18/13] But if you want to know what she would really do were she to win the seat (unless we save the seat by nominating Matt Bevin), look no further than Joe Manchin from West Virginia.

Here is a sampling of his statements and views on Obamacare when running for office in 2010:

“it needs to have a lot of it repealed, (and) if you can’t fix that, repeal the whole thing.” [Daily Athenaeum coverage of 2010 W.V. Senate debate , Oct 18, 2010]

Manchin said he liked certain parts of the health care legislation, such as its requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, but he opposed the law requiring individuals to buy insurance and most businesses to cover their employees. [Washington Post, W. Va. Senate debate turns into a race to the right, 10/18/2010]

WALLACE: I just want to — I just want to pin you down on this, though. You’re saying now that if you’d known what was really in the bill, although last March you said you’d have voted for it, you now say you would have voted against it?

MANCHIN: Correct. Now, knowing the existence as far as how reaching it had been, as far as an onerous, I would have. And I think many people didn’t know about the bill. It ends up, what, 2,000 pages or more. [FoxNews Sunday, Transcript, 10/24/2010]

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The Path Forward

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare

Republicans have spent the past few days leading up to the overly-hyped October 1 deadline negotiating with themselves.  The House moved from full defunding of Obamacare to delay for one-year, in conjunction with repeal of the medical device tax.  Then they passed another CR merely delaying the individual mandate along with eliminating the congressional exclusion.  Then they passed a resolution attempting to go to conference with the Senate.

Harry Reid has rejected all of those proposals, even those supported by many of the Democrats in his conference.

Typically, it is the side that is constantly watering down their offer that is losing the debate.  It was a mistake for Republicans to lose the high ground and simple messaging of defund while Reid stood firm in his position.  Nonetheless, some Republicans think this was a good strategy because it exposed Reid’s intransigence to compromise and alacrity to force a shutdown.

Well, that is all irrelevant now.  We have officially gone over the dreaded October 1 deadline, and the world is still functioning.  If Republicans are really serious about fighting Obamacare, now is the time to steer the ship back to full defund of Obamacare.

Instead of using their last partial delay bill as the starting point for negotiations, they should make it clear to Harry Reid that now he gets nothing.  The House should begin passing defund bills with individual full-year appropriations bills that fund essential functions.  They should fund the DOD, DHS, State Department, and national parks.  After that, the House should continue funding more functions of government, but leave out all those departments and agencies that pertain to Obamacare, such as HHS and the IRS.

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Madison Project Comments on McConnell’s One Week CR

Monday, September 30th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, News, Press

For Immediate Release:

September 30, 2013

Contact: press@madisonproject.com

Madison Project Comments on McConnell’s One Week CR

Washington, D.C. – The Madison Project PAC released the following statement regarding Senator Mitch McConnell’s one-week Continuing Resolution (CR):

“Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has a habit of parachuting in to a critical issue at the very last moment to undermine conservative leverage,” said Daniel Horowitz Policy Director of Madison Project.  “After handing Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) the requisite votes needed to pass an Obamacare funding bill out of the House, Senator McConnell has weakened the leverage of House Republicans.  Now he is proposing a meaningless one-week Continuing Resolution (CR).  McConnell has just unambiguously telegraphed  to Democrats that he has every intention of blinking first in the battle over Obamacare.  What is the purpose of delaying his inevitable capitulation for one week? The people of Kentucky deserve a real leader that actually takes charge on the important issues instead of one who chooses the path of least resistance and self-preservation.”

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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Beware the Medical Device Tax Fig Leaf

Sunday, September 29th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt, Obamacare

Last week, the House stood unified behind a bill to fund the government and completely defund Obamacare.  Senate Democrats could have been caught with the ball on October 1 without the ability to pass a bill.  Sadly, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn allowed Democrats to obtain superior leverage when they helped Harry Reid pass a clean CR without defund, and sent it back to the House.

Early this morning, the House voted to amend the Senate bill (H. J. Res. 59) with three changes:

1)      It changed the duration of the CR from November 15 to December 15, offering an extra month of government funding.

2)      It repeals the 2.3 cent medical device tax [Paulsen amendment].

3)      It delays implementation of Obamacare and the rest of the tax increases for one year without defunding the law [Blackburn amendment].  However, it does not delay everything.  All the mandates – guaranteed issue and the slacker mandate – will be left untouched.  These mandates are most responsible for the inexorable rise in insurance premiums.  They also create the most dependency.  There is no way we will ever repeal them if we let them slide now.

Headed into the new week, there are a few thoughts that come to mind with this new plan.

This is not a new bill; rather the House has amended the original bill primarily with two separate amendments – the delay provision and the repeal of the medical device tax.  This essentially gives Reid two options instead of one demand.  The House is ostensibly telling Reid that if the Senate doesn’t want delay they can go with a mere repeal of the medical device tax.  This will allow Reid to table the delay amendment (Blackburn amendment) with a simple 51 vote majority as opposed to requesting a new cloture vote to proceed with the bill.

Moreover, the Senate might actually agree to the medical device tax repeal.  Remember, 18 Democrats, including liberals like Al Franken, signed onto a delay of the tax last year.  This is just one tiny aspect of Obamacare, yet it serves as an outsized liability for Democrats.  It’s not hard to see how they would agree to send back the CR with such a repeal, all the while showing how they are willing to compromise.  This will make it tough for House members to stand firm against the new CR.

What we need to understand is that the debate changes after October 1.  Why are we negotiating with ourselves before the deadline, while Democrats are publicly sticking with their position of no compromise?  Let’s not conflate our negotiating tactic with what we may or may not accept as a final outcome.  If we head into October 1 agreeing to fund Obamacare, only delay part of Obamacare for one year, and offer Democrats an escape hatch with the medical device amendment, what will we get in the end?

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Madison Project Stands With Ted Cruz Against Obamacare

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, News, Obamacare, Press

For Immediate Release:

September 24, 2013

Contact: Mary Vought

Madison Project Stands With Ted Cruz Against Obamacare

“This is not just a conservative issue; this is an American issue”

Washington, D.C. – The Madison Project PAC released the following statement regarding Senator Ted Cruz’s filibuster against the budget CR Senator Harry Reid plans to use to fund Obamacare:

“We were proud to be the first national group to stand with Ted Cruz during his election, and we are proud to stand with him now in his bold fight against Obamacare,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and a few other conservatives, understand that defunding Obamacare in the budget CR is the only way to force a confrontation over this train wreck.  Like these Senators, the American people know that by voting along with Democrats to proceed with Harry Reid’s adulterated version of the House bill, Republicans will be complicit in funding Obamacare.”

“We look forward to helping Senator Cruz marshal support on the outside for his effort to fulfill the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans – to fund the government without funding Obamacare,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project.  “Taken as a whole, Obamacare is destroying jobs and small businesses, chasing doctors out of medicine, raising insurance premiums by as much as 300%, placing onerous tax burdens on individuals and job-creators, and involving the federal government in every aspect of the doctor-patient relationship.  The law is unworkable and illogical even from the vantage point of those who support a larger federal government.  This is not just a conservative issue; this is an American issue.  Ted Cruz is honoring his election promise to do everything it takes to get rid of the law.  We plan to carry his torch to every corner of the country.”       

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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Mitch McConnell Does it Again

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Debt, News

Today’s announcement from Senator McConnell should serve as the quintessential glimpse into his entire Senate career, particularly his acts of duplicity as party leader.  Unlike House Majority Leader John Boehner, Mitch McConnell is unwilling to publicly state that he is out of touch with conservatives.  He wants the capitulation to be processed, but without his support.  He wants a ceremonial vote against the bad policy, but refuses to do what it takes to actually fight the policy.

After hiding in his cocoon for a few weeks, McConnell finally announced that he will vote for cloture on the bill that Harry Reid plans to use to fund Obamacare in the budget bill (CR):

“Sen. McConnell supports the House Republicans’ bill and will not vote to block it, since it defunds Obamacare and funds the government without increasing spending by a penny. He will also vote against any amendment that attempts to add Obamacare funding back into the House Republicans’ bill,” said Don Stewart, spokesman for McConnell, R-Ky. “If and when the Majority Leader goes down that path, Washington Democrats will have to decide — without hiding behind a procedural vote — whether or not to split with their leadership and join Republicans and their constituents in opposing the re-insertion of Obamacare funding into the House-passed bill.”

This is his attempt to pull a fast-one on the American public.  The important vote is the cloture vote.   Harry Reid needs at least six Republicans to help proceed with the bill, and avoid a chance by the Republican minority to stop it. This is exactly when a party leader should marshal support against any effort to use 51 votes to reinsert Obamacare.  If the Republicans vote for cloture, as McConnell wants to do, the outcome is a forgone conclusion.  Harry Reid will be able to strip out the defund Obamacare rider with a pure party-line vote, and pass the CR without it.  McConnell knows that his ‘No’ vote on the amendment will be meaningless, but he will tout it to show how he is standing up to Obamacare.

Moreover, it is dishonest for him to suddenly suggest that he supports the House CR.  Just last week, he was still peddling the discredited line that the defund rider would not effectively defund Obamacare.

This is vintage McConnell.  Hope yes, vote no; capitulate when it counts; fight after the battle is already lost; join the fight after the fight is already won.

When it came time to fight the amnesty bill, McConnell joined the battle after we already lost.  In the case of the gun control bill and the Syria resolution, he joined the fight after conservatives already won it from the outside.  In the case of the debt ceiling in 2011, he wanted to allow Obama to unilaterally raise the debt limit as long as he retained the right for a non-binding vote against it.  This is not leadership.  This is cowardice. This is a politician more concerned with politics than people. Because of these political games, Reid will now gain leverage by passing a CR out of the Senate without funding for Obamacare.  Senator McConnell is dishonestly focusing on a technicality – the fact that the Senate bill number is the same as the House bill – to explain his yes vote on cloture.  This is a D.C. Shell game.  We all know that Reid is going to strip out the defund rider with 51 votes after McConnell delivers the GOP votes on cloture.

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Sitting Out the Battle; Fighting a Fake Fight

Monday, September 23rd, 2013 and is filed under Blog, News

Over the past few decades, Republicans have approached primary voters during every election season with intrepid conviction and solemn promises to roll back the harmful big government policies of the left.  After they win the election they do nothing consequential to actually change the rules of the game.

Most Republicans are used to opposing something so long as the opposition is only ceremonial.  They never pursue the only strategy to actually block a bad bill or countermand an unpopular policy.  They just like to use the issue as a political football during elections as an ends to itself.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has perfected this game over the years.  He fails to take a public position or whip against a terrible idea, often hoping yes and voting no.  Then he will grandstand against the policy in campaign speeches while ignoring the only means of actually delivering on that promise.  This has created a vacuum of leadership in the Senate – a void which has become even more potent over the past few months.

It has become clear to any casual observer of the Senate that Senator John McCain is the defacto party leader for Republicans, serving as a conduit to deliver votes to Sen. Chuck Schumer.  We’ve seen this dynamic play out on amnesty, Obama’s radical nominees, defunding Obamacare, and Syria.  It is always Senators McCain and Lindsey Graham who are openly voicing their opinion on behalf of Republicans, and sometimes even whipping up votes for the other side.

When the Senate was voting to confirm Todd Jones (the man behind Fast and Furious) as Director of the ATF, John McCain was on the Senate floor whipping up votes for the Democrats, eventually convincing Senator Lisa Murkowski to switch her vote.

During the entire voting process on President Obama’s nominees and other issues this year, everyone has been asking the obvious question.  Where is Mitch?  Where is the supposed GOP Leader?  Why is he not whipping the vote against Schumer and Reid?  Why is he not even voicing his own opinion on the issue?  Is it because he cannot control John McCain but really opposes him or is it because he actually agrees with him but is too scared to publicly stand by his private views, opting instead to allow Senators McCain, Graham, and Bob Corker to do the dirty work?

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Leaders, Followers, Fence-Sitters, and Obamacare

Monday, September 16th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, Obamacare

When conservatives look for elected Republicans to stand for our values, we are not just looking for someone who might vote with conservatives when convenient; we are looking for someone who will give voice to conservatives.  Hence, we are looking for leaders – people who will articulate the message, fight the conservative battles, and move the polls.  We have no need for more followers, fence-sitters, and finger lickers.  The recent developments in the fight to defund Obamacare serve as a quintessential example of this divide between the leaders and the fence-sitters.

After several months of hard work from Jim DeMint, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Tom Graves, Mark Meadows, and some of the outside groups, there is tremendous momentum behind using the budget bills to force the issue on Obamacare once and for all.  Obamacare is now more unpopular than ever.  It is so unpopular that Republicans are viewed as more favorable on healthcare than Democrats.  This has never happened in years.  As Erick Erickson noted earlier today, when the leadership void is filled, the polling begins to move.

Naturally, all of the establishment followers and fence-sitters are joining the bandwagon of fighting Obamacare on the budget bill (or “the next fight” – the debt ceiling).  However, they want us to believe that they have a “smarter” plan to accomplish it.  They will push to delay the law for one year or focus on some other aspect of Obamacare.

Let me submit that without the efforts of the conservative leaders, the GOP establishment followers would never be talking about fighting Obamacare in any form.  They are terrified of brinkmanship – be it over defund or delay – and had no intention of ever picking this fight, even as Obamacare goes into effect next month.  Their call for delaying the law is just the latest subterfuge to undermine the fight and capitulate to Democrats while concurrently co-opting the fight against Obamacare – as if they were supportive of the effort all along, albeit with a craftier strategy.

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