Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

If you haven’t guessed it by now, House Republicans are slow walking themselves into the lions den. They are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and they are doing so half-knowingly, hoping for a different outcome than what they have to know is coming. House Members who were at the White House a few days ago agreed to principles that they were promised would be in a mangers amendment offered at the Rules Committee. Here’s the problem. The bill that was “agreed to in principle” doesn’t exist.

If you are reading that and thinking, “There’s no way that happened!” think again. Members of the Republican Study Committee (RSC) showed up to the White House with a list of concerns, expressed their concerns and were told that they would get those concerns put into the managers amendment. They then agreed they would support that deal. They didn’t even ask to see it in writing first.
There is, however, another major problem. Throughout all of Trump’s campaign, everything was subject to change. In light of a Politico piece written this weekend, those who knew this was a bad idea are saying “told ya so.” A bad bill just got really bad.
But why would RSC members agree to anything without first seeing text? It seems like political malpractice to agree to something as significant as changing the American healthcare system (again) without seeing those changes in writing!
Moreover, those who step back can see what’s happening here. House Leadership is jamming conservatives, but not in the most obvious way. They are putting together a bill that moderates will be OK with, center right RSC members will want, and conservatives could be okay with given a couple more substantial changes.
Leadership will get Republican and even a few conservatives votes in support of a new entitlement program with potentially no life protections.
The bill will pass the House with a stamp of approval from liberal Republicans and head to the Senate where the Senate will not consider the bill. They’ll offer a substitute amendment that will pass the Senate and send it back to the House.
At this point, those who voted for the bill that passed the House, will be so sold down the river and the only option they will have is to support what the Senate sent back to them. There will be such ginned up panic to get the Senate passed legislation out of the House, leadership will demand they support it.
If conservatives in the House cannot see this coming, there is little one can do for them. There will be, however, substantial and very real political consequences for supporting a bill that might be an okay Medicaid reform package, but is not a repeal of Obamacare.

Try Again

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

It’s time for a “try again” on the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare. In reality, it’s very simple.

Fully repeal Obamacare and let marketplaces create incentives for insurers to compete. Competition will drive down healthcare costs.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

And it looks like the party of limited government, the free markets and individual liberty just got its hat handed to it by its base (in other words, the ones that voted them into power) and the Congressional Budget Office, which released its numbers on Ryancare yesterday.

Called “scorching,” the CBO’s scoring prompted reactions like this one.

“Can’t sugarcoat it. Doesn’t look good,” said Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). “The CBO score was, shall we say, an eye-popper.”

And this one from Virginia Rep. Rob Wittmann.

“After reviewing this legislation and receiving the Congressional Budget Office score today, it is clear that this bill is not consistent with the repeal and replace principles for which I stand,” he said in a statement. “I do not think this bill will do what is necessary for the short and long-term best interests of Virginians and therefore, I must oppose it.”

Ryancare is DOA. And that’s a good thing.

 

Obamacare by any other name is still. . . Obamacare

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues, Policy

Those of us who have watched the Republican party (and challenged it) over the last few years had a sneaking suspicion that whatever “repeal” of Obamacare that was going to be put forward by Republican leadership in the House likely wasn’t going to be a repeal bill. It might tweak the edges of it, but it wasn’t going to repeal Obamacare.

It turns out we were wrong.

It’s far worse.

The bill put forward yesterday (among other things) does the following:

*Does not repeal Obamacare.
*Mandates continuous insurance coverage at the risk of a new 30% penalty for people who drop their coverage.
*Creates a new subsidy in the form of tax credits even for those who do not pay income taxes.
*Keeps various Obamacare mandates in place until 2020. In essence, until the next Presidential election.
Axios has a good write up on the bill yesterday. We disagree with the title. It is not Trumpcare. It is Ryancare.

Why The Madison Project Exists

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

The great running coach and physiologist, Dr. Jack Daniels (yes, that’s his real name) has a saying when it comes to training: What is the purpose of this workout? It’s a great question because to become a great runner or athlete, or great at anything, you have to have a purpose. You have to have goals.

Our purpose here at the Madison Project has always been to identify, recruit and fund great conservative candidates. We also challenge the Washington, DC Establishment, holding them accountable for the campaign promises they have made over multiple election cycles and have no intention of fulfilling. The repeal of Obamacare is now at the forefront of these broken GOP promises.

The other day we posted exactly what the GOP Establishment is hoping to do with what is being termed “RINOCare.” Not only is it not a repeal of Obamacare, it locks in the more onerous elements of Obamacare, the very things we as conservatives are hoping to repeal and House leadership is not taking kindly to the pushback they are getting from conservatives in the House.

For instance, this story that ran in Politico yesterday about Congressman Mark Meadows’ wife sending what appears to be an email to friends about how House leadership is attempting to mislead the very voters that gave Trump the White House and the Republicans majorities in the House and Senate.

We know exactly how this went down. A communications staffer in one of the leadership offices got wind of the email and quickly leaked it to the press in hopes of shaming Congressman Meadows and his wife into silence (“How dare the rank and file disagree with us!”).

The reverse has happened. Instead of shaming House conservatives into silence, stories like this one have only emboldened them to continue to do the right thing. They ran and won on the promise to repeal Obamacare. They will work towards that end. Not towards a partial repeal. Or a repeal in name only that only adds more subsidies and more debt to our already massive national debt.

Which brings us to the purpose of the Madison Project. There are a host of great conservative groups out there. We are fans of the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund. They, like us, work tirelessly to look for and elect great conservatives. Where they tactically spend more time on the “air way” with TV and radio ads, we spend more time on the ground with voter ID and Get Out The Vote Work. While working towards a common goal, we all do things a little differently and because we all make decisions independent of each other, we went out on a limb in 2012 and were the first PAC to endorse Mark Meadows in his initial run for Congress. There was just something about him and the way he handled his candidate interview with us. While some tried to label him as a stealth Establishment candidate, we were confident from the start that Mark would be a conservative stalwart in the House and he has been exactly that. Has he been perfect? No. But no elected official ever is. But there’s a reason Mark has scored and continues to score well on the official (and unofficial, behind the scenes) conservative scorecards-because his instincts are conservative.

Our work is clearly not finished. Every election cycle gives us more chances to elect more Mark Meadows, more Jim Bridestines, more Ted Cruzs and Mike Lees.

This is our purpose. This is why we exist and we are glad to see our candidates like Mark Meadows not only fulfill his campaign promises but stand on principle in Washington, DC.

Is the GOP backing away from repealing Obamacare?

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues

Republicans are about to blow the easiest election promise-the repeal of Obamacare. Right now all the chatter on Capitol Hill is about “repeal and replace.”

Why is this a problem?

First, it takes the focus off of repeal and puts it on replace. Conservatives and Republicans ran for 3 cycles on repealing Obamacare. Only in the last couple of years have Republicans focused on replace.

We should repeal Obamacare by using the 2015 bill, outright. Period. End of discussion.

Then there should be a 1-2 year transition off the exchanges and off of Medicaid. Once Obamacare is repealed, we can focus on what replace looks like.

Second, the replacement. The replacement the Republicans are talking about right now is focusing on coverage numbers and coverage numbers only. They are going to keep the Medicaid expansion as to not “punish” the states that did not expand Medicaid. The Republican plan wants to provide individuals covered under the expansion with advanced, refundable tax credits.

This is a real problem.

A major difference between the Obamacare subsidies and the the Republican plan is that Obamacare’s subsidies are currently based on income. The more you make, the less in subsidies you get. The Republican plan will likely cost more. The Republican plan moves the subsidy from an income based payment to an age based payment – meaning everyone in an age range will qualify for something.

Those subsidies are going to be costly, but no one knows how costly because the Congressional Budge Office has not scored the bill yet.

Third, there are substantial pro-life concerns. When providing an advanced, refundable tax credit, there will be issues with how those are used to cover “healthcare” expenses. House leadership will say that conscience protections, similar to H.R. 7 passed this year, will be sufficient. That is, however, misleading at best. The House might be able to pass this legislation, but likely will not survive the Senate’s reconciliation process.

Moreover, any conscience protections will apply to current funding and current programs. There are concerns that the Republican’s new program, to provide tax credits, won’t be captured in those conscience protections.

Some conservatives are voicing opposition to the plan. They know this won’t be full repeal and are saying so. They are, unfortunately, a minority. While protecting the most moderate members of the conference, Republican House leadership is going to put a bill on the House floor that codifies some of the worst parts of Obamacare and then call it full repeal.

We cannot let them do this.
At that point, conservatives, while being shut out of all the closed door meetings, will have a choice. They can vote against the repeal & replacement legislation leaving them to explain why the legislation isn’t full repeal.

Or they can vote for the legislation, compromising on entitlements and most likely on the federal funding of abortion.

So please, pick up your phone and call your Members of Congress. The Capitol switchboard number is (202) 224-3121. If you need to look up who your Members of Congress are, click here for the House and click here for the Senate!

Let Washington, DC hear your voice before it’s too late!

Fake and Faker News

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Elections

There’s a lot of discussion these days over “fake news” and for good reason. For years many conservatives have suspected the liberal bent of the mainstream media. Stories and studies have proven this. 80%+ of the media is liberal, both in their giving and voting patterns.

They just don’t want to admit it.

Are they writing fake news? Is there some grand conspiracy?

No. But they are writing news that is heavily influenced by their worldview, the filter through which each of us sees the world around us. In other words, there is no such thing, in the end, as tabula rosa. No one is a blank slate. Each of us approaches a given story or situation with preconceptions, consciously or subconsciously. How we then share that news or story filters through our worldview.

Does that mean that all news written or reported by MSNBC, CNN or other “traditional” or decidedly more liberal outlets is fake? No. But how they write the stories and which headlines announce the news in them is definitely dictated by their worldview.

On the flip side, there are a lot of “news” sites that we have seen posted on conservatives’ social media accounts that more than just raise the eyebrows. They are downright laughable and yet were and are posted and shared without a second thought.

Here is our challenge to all consumers of news.

One, check the source before you read the story. In other words, ask yourself, “Where is this story coming from?” A lot of people made a lot of money this past election season by creating sites that peddled the news many people wanted to hear. See this story for more on that.

Two, who actually wrote the story? What do you know about this reporter of the news or opinion maker? If you don’t know or cannot say, then guess what? You might be a consumer of fake news.

Three, what is the purpose of this story? Is it actually to report news or sensationalize a topic?

Purveyors of fake news have subject lines down to a science. They know what consumers of news are looking for by watching trend lines on search engines like Google. In other words, they are looking for you before you know what you are looking for.

So before we run around calling all news that doesn’t agree with our worldview “fake,” let’s take a step back and run all the news we consume through the simply metric above: the source, who wrote or reported the story and what is the purpose of it.

 

 

 

 

Tone Deaf

Friday, September 9th, 2016 and is filed under Blog, Elections

No matter where you are on the Donald Trump phenomenon (Evangelist, Apostate, Unbeliever), it’s clear that he is part of a chain reaction, a cause and effect if you will, caused by the elites in Washington, DC.

The pattern has been this. Campaign cycles come, Republican politicians dust off the old playbook, make red meat promises (“I will rip out Obamacare root and branch!” or “We will end illegal immigration!”) to gin up the conservative grassroots, win, retreat from said promises under the guise of, “We just don’t have the numbers that we need to make progress here in Washington, DC-you don’t know how things work here,” attempt to govern like moderate liberals and then, as the next election cycle approaches, dust off the old playbook and lather, rinse, repeat.

And on and on this pattern has gone until the American taxpayer realized that maybe it was time to take the red pill and see how far down the rabbit hole things go.

Here’s what reality looks like. We are a nation that is now $19.3 trillion in debt. Illegal immigrants continue to pour in through our southern border at an ever increasing rate. Unemployment numbers are decidedly well above 5% and it appears in less than 10 years, the non-tax paying American populace will be over 50%.

Yet in Washington, DC, the GOPe fiddles as the nation burns.

Their solution?

To tell the grassroots that they shouldn’t believe their lying eyes.

To shift the blame from their poor performance and broken promises that gave rise to Donald Trump to “the conservative commentariat industry” that seeks to hold them accountable (read: fulfill campaign promises).

In other words, they would like to continue doing things the way they have always done them with no repercussions.

That is simply not possible.

In the chaos that is the 2016 election cycle, some takeaways have emerged.

One, the Republican Party as we know it is rotten from the inside out. Josh Holmes and others quoted in the article linked above have taken and continue to take corporate contracts to work for policy items that accomplish three things: make themselves a lot of money, help corporations crowd out the American taxpayer and continue to plow the American economy under (and the American taxpayer, but we already said that).

Yet this is the same “crop of influential Republican consultants” who want to take the party back over and “enact their principles.” What, we wonder, are their principles? Is it really to roll back Obamacare? We would offer this in response to that. While the name Billy Piper might not ring a bell for many readers, he is the former chief of staff to Mitch McConnell (Josh Holmes’ predecessor, slightly taller, less hair than Holmes). While Mitch McConnell was out promising to uproot Obamacare, guess what Piper was doing? Lobbying for it and not just for it, but the expansion of it to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in lobbying fees. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, too.

Why would Piper do this even as he actively remains a part of McConnell’s inner circle?

See the three reasons given above.

Another takeaway is that the Republican Party is comfortable being a “little less liberal” version of the Democrat Party. Maybe we should add “extremely” in front of “comfortable.”

They don’t believe in limited government-“It’s here to stay, might as well work with it!” They don’t want free market healthcare because a bevy of former staffers from leadership offices are making hundreds of thousands lobbying for it (see Piper, Billy). They don’t want to stop illegal immigration because corporations like the cheap labor (electoral results and demographic shifts in favor of the Democrats be damned) and corporations fund their war chests.

If there is a lesson to be learned from 2016, it is this: the GOPe gave rise to Donald Trump after years of broken promises. Their hope was to use him as a vehicle to further empower themselves. As an electoral apocalypse looms, they are now pivoting to the blame game.

We cannot and must not let them. Their chickens are coming home to roost and it’s about time.

 

Failing to Succeed

Thursday, July 21st, 2016 and is filed under Elections

There’s a lot being said about Ted Cruz’s speech at the Republican National Convention last night. Reactions range from Jonah’s Goldberg’s I Choose Ted to David Harsanyi’s In A Party Full Of Cowards, Cruz Stood Apart to Sean Spicer, communications director at the Republican National Committee, calling Cruz “an asshole” on CNN this morning (forgive the language, we’re just reporting the news).

Think about that for a few seconds. The comms director of a Republican Party entity calls a sitting Republican Senator that on national TV. Remind us how is Trump making America great again?

The fact of the matter is that the party bosses of a corrupt and decrepit Republican Party have latched on to Donald Trump as a vehicle for them to strengthen the hold they have on . . . a corrupt and decrepit party. Trump, more interested in self-glory and self-promotion, couldn’t care less. After all, he’s a lifelong Democrat populist who snookered a bunch of low information voters into helping him win the GOP primary with a healthy dose of help from Fox News and other media outlets who loved the increased profits from Trump appearances and headlines.

A weakened and outdated old conservative and Evangelical guard, eager to remain relevant, has latched on to Trump, some pre-Indiana, some post-Indiana. Endless excuses have been made as to how Trump, though imperfect, is nothing more than a modern day Biblical character like King David, a man after God’s own heart.

Let’s be done with this nonsense.

Trump has publicly stated that he has never asked forgiveness. The missing component of Trump as a modern day Biblical character is repentance, much less simple confession. Trust us, by his own admission, he has a lot of work to do.

A lot.

As for the conservative elements of the old guard, they are reassuring themselves over and over again that “Trump will give us good judges, Trump will give us good judges, Trump will. . . .” let us pose this question to you. Reagan, who seems to be the standard of this election, had four Supreme Court appointments: who were they?

Take a minute and see if you can remember.

Ok, so here they are: Sandra Day O’Connor, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy.

These are Reagan’s appointments. Which of these would you say are great picks? Likely most of you, since you are reading a Madison Project blog, will say Scalia and from time to time Rehnquist.

So, Reagan himself batted .350-ish on judicial nominations.

Now ask yourself: Is Donald Trump Ronald Reagan?

If you even think yes, just stop now. We have nothing more to say to you and don’t worry about coming back.

But, if the elephant in the room just trunk slapped you in the face, there is no way Trump will nominate good judges by conservative standards. Enough of the paper waving and declarations that Trump will give conservatives the judges they want because someone from the Heritage Foundation or the Federalist Society whipped up a list for him.

It’s not true.

Even more importantly, it’s the wrong paradigm. Presidential elections have been reduced by the GOP Establishment to “Judges, it’s all about the judges!” for a reason. They know which neighborhoods to drive their windowless van into to offer free candy.

The fact of the matter is, the judiciary is the Article III Constitutional power for a reason. The Founders intended for them to be subservient, not only to the Executive Branch (Article II), but even more so to the Legislative Branch (Article I-see the trend line?).

The House holds the purse strings. They can defund a run away judiciary. The current Republican leadership in Washington, DC lacks the courage to do so.

The Senate can either confirm good appointments and judges or stop each and every one the Executive sends over. It is their Constitutional right.

Which means the burden of this election cycle should really be on Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans. They and they alone hold the fate of all appointments and nominations. With a Clinton Presidency (if McConnell can hold the majority), the Senate Republicans will be under intense pressure. What is needed from them now is a pledge to conservatives, the ones who will elect them, that they will block all ideological nominations that a potential Clinton Presidency sends over.

Our hunch is that McConnell and Co. will fold like the cheap seats, but that does not remove the burden of responsibility from them. The fate of this republic, teetering as it is, rests with the NRSC and Mitch McConnell and them 1) holding on to the Senate and 2) drawing a battle line in the sand, not some ginned up “Trump will give us good judges!” rhetoric for them to hide behind.

Will they rise or will they fall? That remains to be seen.

As for the Presidential election, sometimes it takes failing to succeed. Ask yourself as a conservative: is there anything left in the current Republican Party apparatus that you would like to thrive and advance? It is a corrupt institution riddled with those driven by power and profit, not principle. It has now, thankfully, fully embraced Donald Trump. When he falls, and is likely he will, they fall with him.

This then is the opportunity we have as conservatives to once again regain control of our political destiny.

In between the failure and success we have one remaining task: to fight like hell.

The Madison Project Endorses Colm Willis (OR-5)

Monday, June 13th, 2016 and is filed under Elections

Many politicos take a look at Oregon and think, “No way. No way can a conservative win in Oregon.”

Well, we have news for you. There is a conservative who can win and he happens to be running in the perfect district to win.

His name is Colm Willis.

Back in 2010, Colm worked for one of the principles here at the Madison Project, Drew Ryun, as part of a major effort to elect more conservatives. As a field staffer, Colm excelled and after the election was over, became Political Director for Oregon Right to Life. A native Oregonian, Colm graduated from Willamette University College of Law in 2015 and represents nonprofits, individuals and entrepreneurs in the Willamette Valley.

Not only is Colm a full spectrum conservative, he showed considerable political wherewithal by winning the multi-candidate primary for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District with 58% of the vote and now heads towards the fall as the Republican nominee in a district that currently polls R+7 on the generic ballot.

With the right resources this race is very winnable. Colm has done the hard work this point by coalescing conservatives in OR-5 around his campaign. It’s now time for the national groups to engage and we are happy to lead the way today by endorsing Colm Willis for Congress.

For more on Colm, watch his campaign video. Get to know him. Then donate to him!

The Madison Project endorses Jarrin Jackson in OK-2

Monday, May 23rd, 2016 and is filed under Elections

This is why we exist as a PAC-to shake up the status quo. Years ago, we committed to systematically working through each deeply red district or state to find Members of Congress whose voting record does not match up to their districts and work to replace them with a Member who will be just as conservative as their district.

This mentality is what lead us to launch the Madison Performance Index (MPI) in 2013. When we asked the simple question, “Is this Member voting in line with his or her district?” there was no simple answer. Now there is and when we looked at the make up of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District it became apparent that the current Member, Markwayne Mullin, was nowhere near voting in line with a district that is R+20, scoring -27.5 on the MPI. He is seemingly more interested in doing the bidding of the Establishment leadership than representing his district and advancing conservatism.

Which is why today we are thrilled to get the opportunity to endorse Jarrin Jackson in his run to unseat Congressman Mullin and work towards electing a truly conservative Member is this strong Republican district.

A 5th generation Oklahoman and graduate of West Point, Jarrin is the veteran of two tours in Afghanistan, serving as a platoon and company commander. After an honorable discharge from the Army, he has turned his attention towards serving his country in another role and that is getting our country back on track. When he announced his run for Congress late last fall, Jarrin said:

“This is a time for triage and intervention, not maintenance. Our country is getting sicker, and our enemies are using our goodness against us. We need to counter that. I am conservative, but I want to be judged by performance, not labels. I offer American values, fresh ideas, and military ­grade grit.”

We couldn’t agree more and today, we are excited to support Jarrin in his run for Congress.