Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Foreign Policy
We often hear the political class bemoan Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) supposed recklessness for blowing up the status quo in Washington and not reaching across the aisle. These naysayers should pay attention to Cruz’s two recent foreign policy victories and learn from them.
As we reported several weeks ago, GOP leaders were planning to capitulate to Democrats on the IMF bailout by allowing them to slip the provision into the Ukraine aid package. On March 13, Senator Cruz sent a letter to Senator Harry Reid warning that he planned to block the bill if the IMF provision remained. While only a few Republicans joined him from the onset, and some like Senator John McCain even lambasted him, Cruz harnessed his megaphone to rally Americans all over the country and embarrass those who supported this provision to weaken our nation’s power on the world stage.
Ultimately, Republicans in the Senate and the House were forced into joining the fight, and Democrats were pressured to drop their demands.
Hence, this is the power and prerogative of one Senator to be a voice, not just a vote in the Senate.
Fast-forward a few weeks and Senator Cruz got wind of another issue that needed to be addressed – one which would have been ignored by senators in both parties. The government of Iran decided to appoint Hamid Aboutalebi as their ambassador to the United Nations. Aboutalebi was one of the leaders of the 1979 seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, one of the deeds for which the current regime has never been held to account.
Following the rules of past senators, Cruz could have joined the chorus of merely denouncing the appointment. And indeed the Obama administration called the nomination of Aboutalebi “extremely troubling.” But Cruz was the one who took the initiative to actually send a definitive message to Iran by introducing legislation (S. 2195) to ban him and other known terrorists from being granted visas to enter the U.S., even for the purpose of serving at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
While this was an initiative publicly supported by many members across the aisle, it was only Ted Cruz’s high profile campaign to elevate the issue that embarrassed Democrats into considering the floor. Shortly thereafter, Chuck Schumer co-sponsored the bill. Yesterday, the bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent.
The man who is regarded as the most combative conservative in the Senate managed to pass a bill through a Democrat-controlled Senate without a vote. That is true leadership. Working across the aisle doesn’t mean putting a Republican stamp on liberal policies, as the political class wishes to happen on a daily basis. It means harnessing our leverage and political megaphones to inspire, convince, and even shame the other side into supporting our causes.
Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
Let’s take a moment to pretend that the primaries don’t exist. We’ll assume that all of the current GOP incumbents are reelected and all of the establishment candidates win in open and Democrat seats. We work our tails off during the general election to get them elected and win a GOP majority in the Senate for the 2015 session. After all of that hard work, what would a GOP-controlled Senate look like?
The Hill’s Alex Bolton asked that same question and interviewed some key players in the Senate. Here is what to expect:
Majority Leader: Mitch McConnell
Finance Committee: Orrin Hatch
Armed Services: John McCain
Appropriations: Thad Cochran
Banking: Richard Shelby
Energy and Natural Resources: Lisa Murkowski
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions: Lamar Alexander
Foreign Relations: Bob Corker
Wow – you must be really excited to knock on doors for this slate of leaders. These are people who literally work hand-in-glove with their Democrat counterparts on their respective committees. Lamar Alexander is one of the most anti-free-market senators and a big proponent of federally-run education. Yet, he would control a vital committee that oversees healthcare, education, and labor issues. Bob Corker is a clone of his Democrat counterpart on foreign relations, as witnessed by the recent IMF bill and his emphatic support for new START and other harmful treaties. Then you have Lisa Murkowski, John McCain, and Orrin Hatch.
And, of course, Thad Cochran as Appropriations chair! He is already promising to bring back earmarks. Talk about the fox guarding the hen house.
Amnesty, earmarks, and corporate welfare – that is the establishment campaign message for 2014.
Fortunately, we have a choice this spring and summer – one that will enable us to campaign for Republicans in the fall with alacrity and with the confidence that a new majority would provide a bold contrast. We can support all of the challengers against some of these incumbents and knock out the pale-pastel crowd, which includes McConnell, Graham, Cochran, Roberts, and Alexander. We can support the better alternatives in the open seats and against Democrat incumbents.
Or, as Nancy Pelosi once suggested, we can embrace the suck.
Thursday, March 27th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Economy
What happens when instead of fighting the premise of creating a permanent unemployment entitlement, many Republicans focus on offsetting the cost of the extension? We get the extension without any offsets!
Tomorrow, Senator Harry Reid plans to bring a bill to the floor that will extend unprecedented 73 weeks of UI benefits for five months retroactive to January 1. The bipartisan deal, which has the support of GOP Senators Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mark Kirk of Illinois, will cost $10 billion just for the 5-month extension. We all know that they will continue to extend it when the deadline comes due in just five weeks.
The $10 billion cost would be “offset” by extending custom fees for another year in 2024 – 10 years from now. Additionally, the bill would “save money” by extending a “pension smoothing” provision for taxpayer-backed pension insurance for another few years.
Are you ready for the accounting gimmick of the month?
Most corporate pensions are insured by the taxpayer-funded Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which guarantees (up to a limit) the pension obligations promised to workers in the event that a company cannot meet them when they come due. As a condition for insuring the pensions, the PBGC requires companies to contribute specified minimum payments into the pension funds to ensure that they don’t fall behind on fulfilling their obligation and putting taxpayers at risk for bailing them out.
In plain English, “pension smoothing” allows companies to contribute less to pension funds in the short-term. Normally, their required minimum contribution depends on interest rates. When interest rates are lower, they are required to contribute more; otherwise the principle would compound too slowly for them to meet their overall obligation. With interest rates at historical lows, underfunding pensions would place taxpayers at risk to bail them out when they can’t compensate for the shortfall down the road. But like most Washington gimmicks, pension smoothing is designed to kick the can down the road.
So what does pension smoothing have to do with saving money for the federal budget and offsetting new expenditures?
Companies are able to claim tax deductions for every dollar they contribute to workers’ pension funds. By lowering the amount they are requirement to contribute, companies will deduct less from their corporate tax liability. Hence, this represents a notional tortured labyrinth to raise revenue down the road in order to pay for a definitive and immediate 5-month expenditure.
Perforce, not only is this a consummate Washington gimmick to obfuscate increased spending, it represents bad policy. When it becomes clear that pensions are underfunded 7-12 years from now, one of two things will happen. Most likely, companies will not have the money to fund the pensions, and taxpayers will have to bail them out. Alternatively, if they do come up with the money, companies will have to dump extra funds into the pensions, thereby securing a commensurate degree of excess tax deductions. Ultimately, the government will lose the same revenue they seek to gain in the short-term. Call it the rubber-band effect of pension smoothing.
This is what happens when Republicans give into the false premise of extending a bad policy.
It’s time for all Republicans to unite against any new extension. They should call out the Democrats for their ridiculous scheme of short-term extensions and challenge them to make it permanent law, which is what they are doing anyway. Instead, Republicans should support a true job plan that increases energy production, reduces corporate taxes, and expands energy production.
Friday, March 21st, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Economy
Next week, Senate Democrats will restart their effort to create a de facto permanent unemployment entitlement for those out of work for up to 73 weeks. Unfortunately, instead of uprooting the entire premise of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) extension, many Senate Republicans are prepared to go along with this scheme as long as the 5 month cost is offset through some notional promises of more revenue in year 2024.
This represents a lost opportunity. The Democrat request for a UI extension in light of their Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, labor and environmental regulations on the economy is akin to someone injecting a painful disease into a patient while simultaneously demanding a constant flow of morphine. It’s time for Republicans to stand firm and pin the tail of long-term unemployment on the donkey. The message should be resoundingly clear: stop creating a permanent part-time economy with Obamacare and there won’t be a need to create dependency with fiscal morphine.
The Hill reports today on the findings of a Brookings Institute study detailing the state of the long-term unemployed:
A new study released Thursday finds that only about 11 percent of the long-term unemployed returned to full-time steady work a year later.
The study found that people out of work for at least six months are having an increasingly hard time reconnecting with the labor force.
It concludes that even if the unemployment rate returns to normal levels long-term unemployment will remain a problem in the economy and that “the long-term unemployed are an unlucky subset of the short-term unemployed.” […]
Between 2009 – 2013, the authors found that a sharp decline in job openings coupled with a decrease in labor force withdrawal rates accounts for the sharp rise in the number of long-term unemployed workers and the overall rise in the unemployment rate.
So what is the answer? What is the panacea? Do we subsidize even more individuals to stay unemployed or do we address the factors that have created the shortage of jobs?
That’s the choice Republicans need to communicate to the American people instead of getting mired in a dispute of which phony offsets to use in paying for the wrongheaded policy.
Republican leadership should block any UI bill unless Senator Harry Reid agrees to hold a debate on the real issues that cause unemployment. They should push full repeal of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and Obama’s new labor and environmental regulations. They should push Senator Ted Cruz’s new energy bill that will unshackle the private economy to create jobs. They should demand votes on lowering the corporate tax and repatriating foreign income – policies that Democrats claim to support.
Alternatively, they can agree to give amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and double our record-high level of immigration and guest workers. After all, isn’t there a labor shortage in virtually every sector of the economy – both high-skilled and low-skilled?
Obamanomics provides Republicans with an opportunity to create a bold contrast. Will they actually bite?
Thursday, March 13th, 2014 and is filed under Blog
Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a bill to authorize loan guarantees for Ukraine, similar to the bill that passed the House last week. The loan guarantee bill doesn’t directly increase spending; rather it adds Ukraine to the list of countries eligible for Economic Support Fund (ESF) grants. ESF grants have already been appropriated and are used as “walking around cash” for the State Department to send to allied countries in need of assistance (although the money often goes elsewhere). However, the bill does transfer extra funds into the Treasury in order to cover any potential default on the loan.
Let’s put aside judgment on the underlying bill for a moment; the more critical issue at hand is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) “reform” provision. Senate Democrats tacked on a provision that would weaken our sovereignty within the IMF, ostensibly increasing our quota and limiting our power. Here is how the Heritage Foundation describes the reform package:
“In 2010, the IMF board, with support from the Obama Administration, proposed a series of reforms that would increase the voting power of certain emerging-market nations and double the amount of member countries’ national “quota” contributions that are the primary source of funding for IMF loans.
The U.S. has the largest quota of any country in the world and also the largest single-nation voting share (16.75 percent). It has been the only country in the world with veto power at the IMF. Due to the constitutional role of Congress and U.S. veto power, this IMF reform package must therefore be approved by Congress before it can go into effect.
The reform package would change the rules for election of the IMF executive board, and the U.S. would lose the right it has heretofore enjoyed to appoint its own representative to the executive board—and that is where all the power is at the IMF.”
This “reform” package is similar to some of the treaties that are pushed through the United Nations by those in the world who want to attenuate our power. It would also cost us another $315 million.
GOP Senators Corker, McCain, Johnson, and Flake joined all the Democrats in supporting the bill. The other committee Republicans opposed it. Now everyone is wringing their hands over the impasse.
In comes Senator Mitch McConnell to cut a raw deal on a bill we don’t have to pass in the first place. The Hill has the details on the deal:
Republicans have long opposed the reforms, which they see as reducing U.S. influence in the IMF. They’ve sought to get a deal from the administration in which they’d agree to the reforms in exchange for the White House backing off on new regulations to govern 501(c)(4) tax-exempt groups that were at the center of the recent IRS targeting controversy.
The IRS rules, released after the tax agency acknowledged it improperly scrutinized conservative organizations, seek to clarify what would be considered political activity for tax-exempt groups.
The GOP offered a similar deal during a fight over an omnibus spending bill.
I’m hearing from a number of Senate sources that indeed it is Mitch McConnell who pitched this deal during the omnibus and is doing so now with the Ukraine bill. Politico also seems to confirm this through Senator Bob Corker. This is a quintessential McConnell backroom deal – to preemptively surrender on a definitive and immediate bad policy in exchange for mitigating a looming threat.
The IRS regulations have not yet been promulgated and they are illegitimate. We should not pay ransom on something Obama has no authority to do in the first place. We should fight the IRS regulations as part of a separate effort. If need be, we must use the power of the purse and fight them in appropriation bills for the IRS. Oh, I forgot, McConnell doesn’t believe in that.
Moreover, Obama has no leverage to pass the IMF bill. It cannot pass the House, and the Ukraine bill is not a must-pass bill. In fact, many conservatives would have rather we pass a bill eliminating the restrictions on exporting natural gas so that we can immediately lower the cost of energy in the world markets. The House should also attach a provision to pull out of New START. That would weaken Russia’s leverage and promote economic growth in one shot. That is the true conservative approach to peace through strength. But what can you expect from leadership?
Granting some loan guarantees to a weak country (that might use the money to pay off Russia anyway) is at best the most palatable option presented to House members by leadership and at worse, something to oppose. Even if you support the package, it is certainly not a hill to die on. We should not agree to weaken our power on a bill that was designed to project our power. If Obama insists on passing the IMF package, Senate Republicans should make it clear that we don’t care about passing a Ukraine bill while House Republicans should pass a bill dealing with energy exports.
However, from McConnell’s vantage point, this is a win-win scenario. He gets to evince power on the issue of campaign finance (which he likes solely because he is a campaign animal, not a believer in the Constitution), while empowering the world powers at the IMF. For McConnell, the IMF package in not a concession; it’s an ideal. In 1998, he sponsored and led the $18 billion IMF bailout package throughout the legislative process. Now he gets his IMF bailout and can claim credit for saving the Tea Party from the IRS – all in one backroom deal.
Who knows? This might even turn out to be “one of the Senate’s finest moments.”
Finally, does anyone think this behavior will change were McConnell to become Majority Leader? Obama will still be president in 2015 and will be as aggressive as ever. Now he knows how to pick McConnell’s lock. All he needs to do is threaten illegal action on one of McConnell’s white whale issues, and Mitch will oblige with a concession on legislation.
Does this man deserve a promotion?
Monday, March 10th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
One of the more trenchant lines delivered from the podium at CPAC last week was Sarah Palin’s zinger regarding the GOP “Beltway Boys”: “You didn’t build that. The Tea Party did.” Palin was referring to the GOP House majority acquired through the 2010 midterm elections, but the same observation is apropos for the potential to win a Senate majority this year.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met someone who shares the worldview of the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin or Senator Mitch McConnell’s NRSC minions at a phone bank or door-to-door canvassing event for Republican candidates. And I’m referring to general elections as well as primaries.
The relationship between the grassroots and the establishment during elections years has always been one-directional. When we beat the establishment in primaries, they often decline to endorse our candidates in the general election and actively work against them. However, when our candidates lose, we work our tails off to ensure that the Democrat is defeated.
We all united behind the goal of defeating Pelosi in 2010, even in states where the Republican candidate was a hackneyed old-bull or establishment tool.
In 2012, when the GOP nominee was an anathema to everything we have been fighting for, we mustered the gumption to organize for him/her in a united effort to defeat Obama. Ironically, it was some of the biggest establishment cheerleaders who turned on Romney when the going got rough in the general election.
This year we stand at the precipice with the united goal of defeating Senator Harry Reid, the worst Senate leader in American history, a man who has completely gutted the Senate as a deliberative body. We all know that when the chips are down in the fall, it is the grassroots who will be working indefatigably to defeat Democrats, even in states with milquetoast Republican candidates.
We have always built the majorities, yet the GOP beltway boys have always dismantled our majorities and disenfranchised us by voting with Democrats on key policy initiatives. As such, it’s only fair that we have a say in choosing the nominees for whom we will work our butts off to elect in the fall.
An indeed, if we don’t work hard in the primaries, Republicans might still win back the majority (although if McConnell wins the primary, he might cost us the majority by losing his seat), but here is what to expect from the anointed leader:
“This election season, Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are taking a much harder line as they sense the majority within reach. Top congressional Republicans and their allies are challenging the advocacy groups head on in an aggressive effort to undermine their credibility. The goal is to deny them any Senate primary victories, cut into their fund-raising and diminish them as a future force in Republican politics.
“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” Mr. McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said in an interview, referring to the network of activist organizations working against him and two Republican incumbents in Kansas and Mississippi while engaging in a handful of other contests. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”
If only McConnell showed such moxie against Reid and Obama on passing liberal legislation and raising the debt ceiling!
But let’s travel together into a fantasy land for a moment and assume that McConnell is personally a genuine conservative. Let’s assume that he is merely hamstrung by being in the minority, but will fight like hell for conservatives as the newly-minted majority leader. At best, he is likely to preside over a tenuous majority of 51-52 seats. Facing such a united Democrat opposition, wouldn’t he want the most reliable conservative votes in order to navigate through the legislative process?
Yet, McConnell has said he will work to reelect every single liberal incumbent and ensure that conservative grassroots are defeated “anywhere in the country.” Again, let’s assume that McConnell is chomping at the bit to push a conservative legislative agenda; why in the world would he want to reelect Senators like Lamar Alexander, Thad Cochran, and Lindsey Graham from bright red states like Tennessee, Mississippi, and South Carolina?
Putting aside those “troublesome” groups like Heritage Action for a moment, these members have terrible scores even from McConnell’s pro-amnesty allies at the American “Conservative” Union. Cochran and Alexander each scored a 60 and Graham scored a 68. And in the case of Graham, not only does he often vote with Democrats, he actually relishes dissenting from the party and spearheading liberal initiatives while whipping votes for Senator Chuck Schumer. Lindsey Graham is a nightmare for any party leader who wants to push a united conservative front.
The other backbenchers can be picked off at any moment. And even those like Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) will clearly revert to his Kathleen Sebelius days were he to win his primary and no longer fear a reprisal from conservatives. Wouldn’t a committed conservative leader of a small majority – even one who is not necessarily a Tea Party type – want reliable fighters like Milton Wolf and Chris McDaniel, especially given the fact that they hail from states with no viable Democrat challenger?
But, alas, we must relinquish that tantalizing thought and return to reality. Indeed Mitch McConnell is not committed to one iota of a conservative agenda.
It is precisely because he is a finger lickin’ fraud – one who evinces a conservative image back home but stabs us in the back in D.C. – that he wants people like Graham, Alexander, and Cochran to remain in the Senate. He wants them to be reliable votes for “must-pass” Democrat bills that he doesn’t want to publicly support.
It is precisely because, as George Will has suggested, McConnell wants to pass amnesty, that he would never support real conservative candidates.
It is precisely because he supports the agenda of K Street and his money-bundlers that he needs liberal Republicans to muddle up the conference.
It is precisely because McConnell becomes even more liberal when in the majority that he doesn’t want any bold reformers pushing bold legislation during a presidential cycle.
And it is precisely because of the prospect of McConnell presiding over a majority populated by failed politicians that we must take action now.
It’s time to build an enduring majority.
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
Unlike many modern-day functions of the federal government, caring for our wounded warriors is a core responsibility. But as is the case with other government programs, liberals think that doubling down on a woefully inadequate VA system and throwing more money at the problem will improve care for veterans. And similar to most other big government initiatives, Democrats are now using a highly-respected group of Americans as political human shields to obfuscate the harmful effects of their policies.
After 50 years so-called war on poverty, and after flushing roughly $20 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending on mean-tested programs, the poverty rate has increased from 14.7 percent to 16 percent. Yet, liberals want to invest even more in the same failed programs in order to create dependency and perpetuation of their own power. So they dub any opponent of their failed policies as working against “the poor.”
The same applies to their use of children to justify the failure of our endless federal education spending. As the Cato Institute notes, inflation-adjusted spending for a complete K-12 education has tripled since 1970 while educational scores have remained stagnant. Yet, Republicans have always been reluctant to push for real reform by devolving authority of education to the states because they don’t want to be “anti-children.”
This week, Democrats plan to take their exploitation show down the road and blow up the VA system – all to help veterans. They know that as long as they shout “veteran” in a crowded theater, their opponents will run for the hills. The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits Pay Restoration Act S. 1982, sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT), will expand and overburden the already-fledgling VA system and jeopardize the quality and access of healthcare for wounded veterans.
Under current law, all wounded veterans are fully covered under the VA healthcare system. All those who leave active duty remain in the system for a few years until they transition into new coverage in civilian life. But every veteran is potentially eligible for VA services – even those without disabilities – as long as they agree to co-pays. The VA has a tier system to prioritize service to those who suffered a disability or are most in need of the care.
The Sanders bill would make two major changes: 1) it would expand full VA coverage even to those who have no disability if they get their insurance through an Obamacare exchange. Thus, the potential addition of millions more in the system would prevent the VA from prioritizing those who are wounded in combat or suffered a disability through their tour of duty. 2) the bill will expand the scope of coverage for veterans to include gym membership, weight loss programs.
Let’s step back for a moment and analyze the repercussions of the bill. Despite an increased budget from $85 billion to over $138 billion since 2008, the VA is as dysfunctional and woefully inadequate as ever. According to the Washington Examiner, VA hospitals have, once again, been caught falsifying records in order to cover up the scandalous backlogs in care. Now, Democrats are proposing to clog the system of poorly treated wounded veterans with millions more of lesser priority. There is no way they could ever build enough facilities quickly enough to properly care for the exponential increase in responsibility – effective immediately.
CBO estimates that this bill will cost over $23 billion, but it is hard to imagine that placing millions more into single-payer healthcare would not cost hundreds of billions more.
Instead of exacerbating a failing system, we need to streamline the bureaucracy of the VA and structurally reform the programs before we waste more money. In the long-term, we need to look at opening up the VA system to competition from the private sector. The federal government must definitely take care of our veterans, but locking them into a government-run bureaucracy is not doing them any favors. The VA is a superlative example of the failures of government-run healthcare, and our wounded warriors deserve better.
We need a system that fully pays for disabled veterans to purchase private health insurance and other healthcare services while subsidizing other veterans in varying degrees based on time and scope of service. Liberal demagogues taint a voucher system as throwing veterans out in the cold, but it is actually their failed policies that are underserving them. Besides, why should our veterans be confined to a limited array of healthcare providers and have to drive hours to a VA facility when they need care? We would always have military hospitals for those who are severely wounded in action or have sustained wounds unique to a war theater, but the general population of veterans would be better served in a private healthcare system.
A private option for veterans would not only save money and reduce the size of the government, but more importantly, it would deliver better quality and faster care to our wounded warriors. Together with general free market healthcare reforms, it would reduce the need for veterans to be dependent on government – the antithesis of the Democrat approach.
Monday, February 24th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
The unambiguous strategy of the GOP establishment this year has been to avoid any and all confrontation in the hopes of gliding into a Senate majority in 2015. To that end, they have capitulated on all of the major leverage points, passed a number of Democrat spending bills, and are in the process of pushing “small-ball” legislation in the House so as not to rock the boat before November.
This pusillanimous strategy is predicated on the false hope that a bare-minimum Senate majority – comprised of the same Republicans who support these Democrat priorities – will somehow alter the landscape in Washington. They are misleading conservative and GOP activists into thinking that as long as the GOP can hold tight on the status quo until 2015 we will enjoy robust power to push for conservative priorities thereafter.
The reality is that nothing will change in 2015. Irrespective of the outcome in November, Republicans will control the House and have the ability to block bad legislation. On the other hand, President Obama will still be in the White House for another two years. Consequently, the addition of six more Senate seats with the current incumbent leaders and rank-and-file members will not change the legislative dynamic.
Republicans who lack the will or principles to fight on major issues will still use Obama’s obstructionism as the baseline for excuses not to advocate bold initiatives. Whether it’s a debt ceiling or a budget bill, they will fear brinkmanship with Obama as much as they do now.
What about blocking bad bills? Certainly Republicans will have the power to do so if they win back the Senate, won’t they?
Well, they already have the power to stop bad bills with control of the House, yet, time and again, we have seen a de facto Democrat super-majority in the Senate pass harmful legislation only to be rubber-stamped by the House – or at least open for consideration.
Unless we elect the right candidates for Senate, a weak GOP majority would still net enough votes to pass amnesty, an internet sales tax, omnibus bills, highway bills, or the anti-liberty “ENDA” bill.
Moreover, in some respects, these same Republicans will be even more frightened to fight for a bold conservative agenda in 2015. As much as they would have us believe that a GOP Senate-majority is the road to the Promised Land, it will be overshadowed by the presidential election the minute they take office.
If Republicans are recalcitrant to stand for anything ahead of a midterm election, imagine how fearful they will be to even stick their fingers in the wind with the White House at stake.
“Well, we can’t get anything done without the White House anyway,” they will contend. “Let’s not undermine the effort to win the presidency by picking fights with Obama.”
The entirety of the 114th Congress will be driven by fear of 2016.
Ok, but wait until 2017 when Republicans control everything. Then they will really fight for a decisive conservative agenda and will overturn every inimical policy of the Obama administration.
Maybe in some dreamland, folks.
With control of all branches of government, and the undivided responsibility that comes with such power, Republicans will be even more indisposed to roll back big government. “How can we risk losing power?”
Furthermore, let’s remember that many of the same arguments promulgated by Republicans in the minority will persist even when they are in control of the White House. These same hackneyed politicians have already agreed to the Democrat premise of default. So they will feel compelled to raise the debt ceiling even with full control of the government.
The current crew of GOP leaders has already agreed to the Democrat premise on immigration. That will not change when they are in the majority.
They have already accepted the notion of a permanent federal control over transportation and agriculture policy. That will not change when they are in power.
Republicans have made it clear that they will not publicly fight back against the growing anti-religious–liberty agenda forcing alternative lifestyles on private citizens and organizations.
In fact, these same non-leaders tend to be at their best specifically when they are in the minority. The allurement of power only moves them to the left when they are the majority party in Washington.
Hence, whether we are talking about 2015, 2017, or well beyond, there is never an end-game for these politicians. The pursuit of power over principle; the quest for authority for its own sake is a circuitous cycle of failure.
The only way to end the failed cycle of politics is to change the way we approach primaries. This year would be a great time to start.
Friday, February 14th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
We all agree that Sen. Harry Reid must be dethroned. Even from a liberal perspective, he has completely destroyed the structure of the Senate by shutting down the open amendment process, thereby eradicating the most important difference between the upper house and the lower house of the legislative branch.
This year, we have the opportunity to vanquish Reid by defeating his liberal lieutenants in conservative states like Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Alaska. However, if you think that our policy woes with Washington will change one iota if the current crop of Republicans lead the majority, you haven’t been paying attention. And if you buy into the bromide about not letting “purity tests” get in the way defeating Democrats, you are willingly blinding yourself to the reality that has played out over the past few years.
The entire conglomerate of consultants, donors, and lobbyists who control the bulk of Republicans in Washington, and the leadership in particular, do not share our values. This is not a difference in strategy, tone, or a casualty to being the minority party in Washington. We have witnessed this with one issue after another. These people regard the party faithful with as much contempt as the Democrats. And that will not change when Republicans win back the Senate – if the House and Senate are controlled by its current cadre of leaders.
This goes far beyond any legislative scorecard or analysis of voting records. As we witnessed this week with the debt ceiling vote, most of the elected Republicans spend their time plotting political cover and manipulate their votes to ensure that our side loses, albeit without their public stamp of approval. We don’t need votes to tell us who is on our side. You can tell who is with us and who is against us simply by listening to them, watching their actions, and observing their associations.
Indeed, despite the allegations that we seek purity within the party, it is clear that what we want is a bold party of contrast – whether in the majority or minority. We want a party that will offer a bold stance on immigration and the debt ceiling, for example, and fight for it with equal and opposing force. We want loyal conservatives that share and fight for our conservative values the same way elected liberals fight for the Democrat party platform. Instead we are given a pale pastel version of Republicans who placate conservatives during election years, and then enact the liberal Democrat talking points through clandestine political efforts.
We know who is with us and who is with the political class. Everybody takes bad votes once and a while. Even Ted Cruz recently voted for a bad flood insurance bill. None of us are demanding purity from him because we know that on almost every issue he is not just a vote but a courageous and effective voice for the millions of us who are disenfranchised by the ruling class oligarchy. He fights every day in Washington for us.
Jeff Sessions is another good example. He has cast a laundry list of bad votes, and probably doesn’t believe in limited government and free markets to the same extent we do on some issues. But he is an inimitable statesman when it comes to his core issues of immigration, budget, and welfare. On immigration, he has offered more selfless, indefatigable leadership – both on a political and policy level – than almost any member on any issue. He has stood as the Elijah on Mount Carmel against the entire universe of sleazy politicians and consultants in Washington who seek to subvert our civil society. Despite his bad votes on some other issues, none of us are looking to replace him because indeed we are not purists. We just want people who fundamentally represent our values, and Sessions has shown that his heart is with the Country Class over the Ruling Class.
The leaders in the House and Senate, along with their boot lickers, are fundamentally against us. Many of us have known and observed this privately for years, but the debt ceiling vote – both in the House and Senate – brought their devious subterfuge out in the open.
In the House, leadership got together and agreed to pass it with Democrat votes, thereby letting almost their entire conference off the hook to vote against their true beliefs so they can play their Republican constituents like fools.
In the Senate, McConnell attempted to do the same, but was thwarted by Senators Cruz and Lee. Then he tried to get others to vote for something he badly wanted to pass, but lacked the conviction to own. Roll Call explains in plain English how Democrats and Republicans worked together to fool the American people by instructing the clerk not to call their names publicly and then by switching their votes.
Remember, this is just a rare glimpse into how these guys operate on most other issues. This will not change by simply voting Republicans into the majority, especially on the critical issues of immigration and debt.
Even with the best of leaders in Washington, there will always be differences of opinion on strategy, tone, and minor issues. But what is happening now is far beyond a strategic disagreement. Democrats might have internal squabbles once and a while, but they are united in goose step for the inexorable promotion of their liberal values. There is no effective dissent from even one member. And to the extent a couple of red-state Democrats vote against the liberal agenda, it is just a two-faced game for their conservative constituents. Whereas Republicans are just the opposite. They privately agree with the Democrats and only vote the right way to dissuade a potential primary challenger.
As we head into the primaries over the spring and summer, we must ask ourselves the following questions: do we want to build a GOP majority on quicksand or on a solid foundation? Do we want to go into the voting booth on November and vote for Republicans with our heads held high or with our fingers on our nose?
The right candidates are out there. The opportunity is calling. The choice is ours.
Tuesday, February 11th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
Throughout this election cycle we have looked far and wide to find fresh conservative patriots who are running for Congress to challenge the status quo in both parties. But sometimes the biggest champion is right under our noses. In the case of the U.S. Senate race in Georgia, we have a man who has not only talked a good conservative game during the primaries, he has fought for us relentlessly like no other U.S. House member over the past seven years.
His name is Dr. Paul Broun, and he deserves our support.
Many elected Republicans lay claim to a conservative voting record. And many Republican candidates promise to deliver the world to conservative primary voters. Yet, few come to the ankles of Paul Broun in terms of a proven commitment to constitutional governance. It is not an exaggeration to say that Congressman Paul Broun (R-GA) has sustained the most conservative voting record over the longest period of time of any sitting Republican in Congress. Even the fiercest conservative fighters tend to succumb to the establishment meat grinder after a few years. Paul Broun has been inviolable.
Paul Broun spent most of his adult life practicing family medicine in Georgia. He has also served for decades in the military; first as a jet engine mechanic in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserves, and then as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy Reserves. Dr. Broun was re-commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve Medical Corps in 2010 at the age of 64. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012 as a sitting member of Congress to treat soldiers wounded in combat.
In 2007, Paul Broun ran for Congress in a special election to fill the vacancy in the 10th district after Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA) passed away. Throughout his career, Broun has consistently been underestimated, yet he has always over-performed. Nobody expected him to make it to the runoff, but he forced the establishment favorite into a second round, albeit as a heavy underdog. He shocked the political world by winning the runoff in July. The political class was immediately threatened by such a resilient conservative. They referred to him as the “accidental Congressman” and promised to defeat him in 2008. The following year, Broun was challenged by the state House Majority Leader in a primary. Broun crushed him 71%-29%. He proved he was no accidental congressman.
From the day he took office, Broun has been in a league of his own. It’s not just his perfect voting record, or his vote against Boehner as Speaker, that makes him special. There are several other new members who share that status. It’s that he is one of the few members who has sustained that perfect record over a long period of time. Also, even the best members need some hand-holding and coercing to withstand the pressure to go along with party leadership; Paul Broun is undaunted and undeterred by the D.C. establishment.
Broun is the most reliable member when we need someone to block bad bills and even vote against the procedural motions to consider such legislation. But he has also introduced some of the best positive conservative legislation in Congress. His Patient Option Act is the most free market oriented health care bill in Congress; he has authored the strongest Balanced Budget Amendment that has been proposed, and he has introduced the best right-to-carry reciprocity bill. Broun has consistently led the charge against illegal immigration, has never requested an earmark, and has proposed more spending cuts in appropriation bills than any Member of Congress. Broun in the true embodiment of a full-spectrum conservative on fiscal, social, and national defense issues.
Some conservatives have expressed concern that despite Broun’s impregnable conservative credentials, he would not have the ability to run a disciplined statewide campaign. The establishment, who views him as the consummate threat of the election cycle, likes to dub him as “the next Todd Akin.” The reality is that Paul Broun has run the most effective and on-message campaign of any of the primary candidates. He has a strong base of support in every part of the state and the most passionate and dedicated ground-game of a campaign we’ve observed this election cycle.
Ironically, it is one of Broun’s opponents, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), who directly echoed Todd Akin’s comments. Also, while Broun is focused relentlessly on Obamacare and downsizing government, the other fellow congressman in the race, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), is constantly admitting defeat on Obamacare. Moreover, Broun’s strong leadership has consistently shifted the two House members to the right, giving rise to an inside joke about Broun having “three votes” in Congress.
Broun’s other major opponents, former Secretary of State of Georgia, Karen Handel and David Perdue, are trying to run as outsiders who will fix the mess of those already in Washington. But Paul Broun is more of an outsider than when he was first elected and is certainly less of a creature of the symptom of the D.C. disease than his opponents. The notion that one of these candidates would hold a candle to Broun in terms of a perfect record for their entire career, fighting the establishment, and sponsoring solid legislation pertaining to all three facets of conservatism is absurd.
It’s time for conservatives to unite behind a doctor, soldier, citizen legislator, and proven constitutional warrior. At this point, there is no rationale for conservatives to remain silent when the stakes are so high and with a promising opportunity to send a ‘Navy SEAL of conservative warfare’ to the Senate – a body full of spineless Republicans.
The primary will be held on May 20 and the top two vote-getters will head to a runoff on July 22. It is incumbent upon conservatives to send a strong message and rocket Dr. Broun to the top on primary day, and if necessary, do the same on July 22.