Monday, March 30th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues, Policy
It is a pattern we have witnessed for years, but especially the last four election cycles.
It goes something like this.
The Republican Party messages to the conservative grassroots: if you turn out and vote us into a majority, we will accomplish X, Y and Z.
X, Y and Z happen to be THE issues the grassroots are concerned about.
The conservative grassroots responds and delivers the majority (or in 2000 and 2004, the Presidency) in one or both chambers of Congress under the illusion of a GOP majority advancing conservatism and rolling back rampant government expansion.
Then, Lucy-like, the GOP majority pulls the ball just as the conservative movement goes for the extra point. As the grassroots conservatives dust themselves off wondering what just happened, the GOP spin machine kicks into high gear. “We are with you, but the timing isn’t right.” Or, “The work isn’t done. We have the majorities in both the House and Senate, but we need the White House to REALLY get things done.”
Then stories like this one from The Hill crop up, an obvious attempt by the GOP leadership to set the stage for further abdication on critical issues, this one being the repeal of Obamacare. First comes the above messaging, then the leaked stories to bolster the GOP Establishment’s messaging: We are trying, but there isn’t anything we can do right now on your issues.
Except for one problem.
The GOP is lying to the conservative base in hopes that no one will challenge their messaging.
As we have noted many times, this is why the Madison Project exists. To challenge the GOP Establishment’s progressive, big government tendencies. We do it on all fronts, from recruiting full spectrum conservatives to run against middling incumbents to prosecuting the case against a GOP gone awry.
This is why we are launching, today, our new series of Policy Memos. From bullet points to in-depth analysis of the issues, our memos will be brief and powerful, the perfect tool for challenging the GOP messaging machine.
As the Mitch McConnell and Co. attempt to set the stage for the inability to repeal Obamacare through budget reconciliation, we make the case in our first Policy Memo for why this is absolutely wrong and, point by point, lay out exactly how the GOP can accomplish one of its stated policy goals: the full repeal of Obamacare (dare we say, ripping it out root and branch).
It is time for the conservative movement to be discontent with the milquetoast leadership of the Republican Party that not only refuses to fight for them in Washington, DC, but more often than not works against them.
To read our first Policy Memo, click the following link:
Tuesday, February 24th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Issues
This morning, Washington, DC awakened to earth shattering news. Mitch McConnell and team were seriously considering repealing ObamaCare. The process was in place, they were doing due diligence and putting the wheels in motion.
It was show time.
Until the Senate parliamentarian said they couldn’t use the budgetary reconciliation process to dismantle ObamaCare. Like truant school children, the response from Mitch McConnell and team was to hang their heads and say, “Well, we tried to do the right thing. . . .”
That is gist of the story that is in The Hill this morning.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Mitch McConnell has no intention whatsoever of repealing ObamaCare. Now or ever.
If you read the story closely, its apparent that the source of the parliamentarian’s concern are “GOP sources.” Read that as either Senate leadership aide or McConnell staff. As far as anyone knows, the Senate parliamentarian has no concerns regarding using the budgetary reconciliation process to repeal ObamaCare.
Team McConnell would 1) like for you to think that she does and that 2) the parliamentarian’s advice is akin to the Ten Commandments, i.e. carved in stone. Once she speaks, it is settled.
If you have been around DC long enough, the story must be read as a trial balloon from the GOP leadership as it intends to claim that the budgetary reconciliation process is not a legitimate way to dismantle ObamaCare and that “because we don’t have the White House, we’re just going to have to wait to see how 2016 plays out before we can take any serious action against ObamaCare.”
This story is a marker for them to turn to and say, “Look, we tried, but as The Hill reported, it’s just impossible to do.”
This is a manufactured story if ever there was one.
McConnell and team will, of course, trot out the obligatory floor votes for full repeal of ObamaCare and hope the conservative movement seal claps for this shiny object. After all, this is why they won in November-to show people they are serious about getting things done. But the fact of the matter is, full repeal votes are simply show votes that Mitch McConnell and team know have no chance of going anywhere.
Now, for the parliamentarian.
For a moment, let’s say that the parliamentarian does have concerns with using the budgetary reconciliation process to dismantle the ObamaCare. Who is the parliamentarian and what is this person’s role in the Senate?
To begin with, the role of the parliamentarian is simply an advisory one that was established in 1935 in hopes of creating a more orderly flow in the Senate during the New Deal. In essence, the role of the parliamentarian was created to house the working knowledge of how the Senate was supposed to operate as more and more Senators spent less time on the floor.
As an advisor, the parliamentarian’s advice is non-binding. The presiding officer of the Senate can take it or leave it. The parliamentarian serves as a reference point, a lexicon so to speak, for new Senators to ask questions of as they serve as the presiding officer of the Senate. Senators may disagree with the parliamentarian. In fact, both the Democrats and the Republicans have fired the parliamentarian when they feel the parliamentarian is disagreeing with them for no apparent reason (Robert Dove being the most famous case, fired in 1987 by the Democrats and in 2001 by the Republicans).
So while the parliamentarian plays a role in the United States Senate, let’s not let Mitch McConnell and team fool us into thinking it is a critical one. It’s not. It’s a functionary role that was always intended to give advice to the chair, not bind the majority into what they could and could not do. At best, The Hill story today was a fig leaf for McConnell and team to hide behind.
And frankly, it was a small one.
Tuesday, January 27th, 2015 and is filed under Blog, Elections, Family Values, Uncategorized
We all know them. In fact, every election cycle, they woo us with campaign trail promises that they will go to Washington, D.C. and be champions for the conservative cause. However, when they get to Capitol Hill the excuses begin: the time is not right, you don’t understand the process, etc. On and on the well worn excuses go, more smoothly with each use as the power of incumbency sets in and the very folks who elected these people are left scratching their heads in frustration.
Who are these two-faced politicians?
They are #ConvenientConservatives who know exactly what it takes to get elected and have no intention of ever fulfilling their campaign promises.
In fact, as we have noted before, many Republican candidates won in 2014 running on conservative issues: the repeal of Obamacare, halting illegal amnesty, defending life, lowering taxes, etc.
The problem is, very few of them actually intended to go to Washington and fulfill their promises. There are reasons for this. The chief amongst them is many campaigns are poll tested for messaging. In other words, campaigns and candidates know what the voters want to hear often before campaigns are even launched.
Two, those who decide elections have loyally followed the GOP thinking they are the party of limited government and social conservatism and these activists work overtime to get them elected.
Yet charts like this one from the Heritage Foundation beg the question: if the GOP is the party of limited government, why has government grown so much during an era when the GOP has dominated control of the House of Representatives, the chamber from which all fiscal bills originate?
While the above is a sobering reminder, electing more and more conservatives should be encouraging to those who believe that “a government that governs best governs least.”
And they are not alone in their beliefs. A majority of Americans agree with conservatives that Obamacare is not our healthcare solution, that illegal immigration must be stopped (some polls even have Hispanics supporting efforts against illegal immigration at 66% to 21%), that a reduction in taxes is the path forward and that we must oppose abortion in all or most cases.
Could it be that the majority of Americans really are conservatives? Does the silent majority still exist in America today? We believe it does and therefore the electoral math is simple, isn’t it? Run on a platform of 1) Repeal Obamacare 2) Stop amnesty 3) Reduce taxes and 4) Run as a Pro-Lifer and statistically, you’ll have a greater chance of winning (gerrymandered districts not withstanding).
As noted above, however, the GOP Establishment has become a professional spin machine as it advances the cause of its corporate friends on the backs of the grassroots who elect them every cycle, all the while pacifying them with empty promises and throw away lines.
Lock stop with the GOP leadership are these #ConvenientConservatives like Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC). Elected in the Tea Party wave of 2010, Ellmers ran as a comprehensive conservative. She was going to Washington, D.C. to take on career politicians, to buck the GOP leadership, to reduce taxes, limit the overreach of government and fight for family values.
At face value, it would appear that she has done much of that. One loses track of how many times she has voted to fully repeal Obamacare on the floor of the House. These votes mean nothing, though. They are show votes. Whether she is a willing participant in the scam or a backbencher looking to please leadership, none of these votes to repeal Obamacare meant anything (nor will they in the future).
However, on the votes that really matter, Ellmers has not only voted to fund Obamacare, she has voted for abortion loopholes for Planned Parenthood.
How, you ask, has she pulled this off under the noses of her conservative constituents and grassroots supporters?
It’s simple, really.
She voted yes on the $1.1 Trillion Omnibus and Cromnibus spending bills just this past December. While most conservatives are watching the shiny objects like full repeal bills that will never go anywhere legislatively, Ellmers is voting for the $1.1 trillion Omnibus Spending Bill that not only increases the base discretionary spending to $24 billion, it continues funding failing government programs. It also contains a loophole that could allow Obamacare subsidies to fund abortions.
After having read the above, ask yourself: is Renee Ellmers a conservative? She clearly goes out of her way to message like she is. Her voting record on the real bills (not the shiny object ones) indicates that she is not.
As for immigration, Ellmers ran on a strong, cookie cutter conservative platform. She was going to work to secure the borders and fight amnesty. But again, when the rubber hit the road, she voted for the Cromnibus that did nothing to defund President Obama’s executive amnesty that was tied to the Department of Homeland Security funding. Ellmers and her apologists will retort that two weeks ago she voted to send a House bill that defunded amnesty to the Senate.
It passed. And it was a shiny object and an easy vote.
The GOP leadership in the House knows full well that the Aderholt Amendment that defunds amnesty will be stripped out in the Senate and a bill that does nothing to defund amnesty (and frankly, may advance amnesty) will be returned to the House.
This next vote is the one that counts and it appears that the conservatives in the House will likely have to take down a rule to stop the Senate bill from advancing. All eyes will be on #ConvenientConservatives like Renee Ellmers to see what she does in this scenario.
If her about face on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is any indication, not only will Ellmers cave, but the litany of excuses will begin: we don’t have the votes, the President will veto it anyway, etc.
Sadly, Ellmers is not alone in leading the #ConvenientConservative Caucus. There are many more like her and instead of being fooled by show votes and shiny objects, conservatives need to start paying attention to their Members real voting records and holding them accountable when their true colors are exposed.
Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
Things continue to get worse for supporters of Obamacare. First, a key architect of the law revealed on camera how deceptive he and the Administration were in crafting the law so it would pass without transparency — “call it the stupidity of the American voter,” he said.
Now, another piece of the law is under continuing fire since the Supreme Court decided it would hear King v. Burwell after an appeal. This is just one of many issues with the law, which has, in fact, already been changed 42 times since it’s passage.
If a law has to be so completely hacked to death over such a short period of time, doesn’t that mean it wasn’t ready to go in the first place? That’s putting it nicely.
King v. Burwell regards whether or not the Obama Administration will provide tax credits to individuals who purchase insurances through the federal Obamacare exchanges – and not just to those using state-based exchanges.
The Supreme Court taking up the case alone makes the Administration look bad — but the confusing language inside the law only serves to confirm that deception via confusion was part of the plan all along.
The Obamacare architect in the video above said the law was “written in a tortured way” on purpose and that such tactics were “really critical in getting the thing to pass.”
Clearly, the tortured language has been torturing the American people since then, and that continues in this latest court case.
Part of getting people to buy into Obamacare was promising them their healthcare would be less expensive or that they’d receive tax breaks. If the Supreme Court now decides, via King v. Burwell, that individuals cannot receive subsidies through the federal exchange, then all the people in those states will be out of luck once again.
It will be yet another promise broken, another misleading part of a law that’s been everything but what many Americans though it would be.
When something is so bad it has to be written “in a tortured way” to deceive people — and revised 42 times in three years — it’s time to admit it shouldn’t have been passed in the first place.
Since Obamacare was passed, there have been plenty of conservative alternatives to consider but both Democrats and the media have ignored them. It’s time to put forward legislation that actually prioritizes Americans and puts the patient first.
Monday, October 27th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
$131 billion. These days numbers in the millions, billions and even trillions, have lost their shock value — but they shouldn’t. This is the amount of money the U.S. federal deficit will increase by over the next 10 years, thanks to Obamacare. A new report from the Republican Senate Budget Committee shows why things have gotten so bad.
A top Democrat aide called the report “garbage,” but we know better. And it’s not just the money it will cost, it’s the jobs. CBO reports that 2.5 million full-time employees will be forced out of their jobs by 2024 because of the law. It’s a double whammy our country doesn’t deserve.
When Obamacare was first passed, CBO estimated it would actually reduce the deficit but things didn’t exactly go as planned. Even though the Obama Administration claimed the law would be funded by 18 new taxes, that’s not enough — never mind the fact that most people aren’t too keen on this new “revenue.”
The Senate report considers changes made to Obamacare since 2012 and how those unexpected events completely shift the fiscal outcome. For example, not as many people signed up for Obamacare as the Administration hoped. Additionally, millions of people have had the Obamacare mandate penalty waived for a variety of reasons. These things, among others, decrease the amount of money the Administration was counting on for funding.
Meanwhile, the President continues to stress that “this thing is working.” Unfortunately for him, it’s quite clear that the law hasn’t “worked” tangibly or technically from the start. In 2009, Obama promised he would not “sign [Obamacare] if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period.”
The future is here, Mr. President, and you have more dimes than one to account for now.
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
The claim seems to come and go, but this week, there is more hard evidence that Obamacare does indeed force individuals to fund subsidies for healthcare plans that cover abortion.
No, it’s not a lot of your personal money, but that’s not the point. Individuals who believe life begins at conception and oppose abortion should not be forced to fund it in any way whatsoever.
This is especially relevant since President Obama said on record, “under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortion.”
Just because there isn’t a section marked “abortion” on our paychecks or healthcare plans doesn’t mean that’s not the case. The connection is rather clear in a newly released GAO report.
The report finds that abortion is not being itemized as a separate surcharge on most insurance plans. In fact, 1,036 plans do cover elective abortion and remain able to receive taxpayer subsidies — and it’s happening in all 50 states.
It wouldn’t be that hard for the Administration to ensure that abortion funding wasn’t included in plans for individuals that don’t want to pay for it – but it’s clearly not a priority. There is even a “No Taxpyaer Funding of Abortion Act” passed by the House earlier this year. But, I guess that’s being ignored.
There’s absolutely no reason not to have full transparentcy when it comes to abortion funiding in Obamacare – or any other government action. The fact that the Presdient lied to the American people and the Administration conitnues to keep up the ruse is unacceptable.
Monday, September 8th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Economy
Even the Left can’t sugar coat America’s latest jobs numbers. Employment numbers were on the upswing for the past six months, but things took a turn for the worse with only 142,000 jobs created in August, well under the 200,000-225,000 that many experts predicted and the worst month of 2014.
And while the unemployment rate dropped .1%, most of that is due to individuals leaving the workforce, not because of employment.
Additionally, the Labor Market indicated that average weekly hours worked are still at 34.5, showing that employers haven’t found any good reasons to increase hours or offer overtime work.
Why has our nation’s economic recovery been so sluggish over the past few years? The Obama Administration’s unfriendly business policies, primarily Obamacare, have been a major problem.
Jobs are worst for lower-income workers, who are most likely to have their hours cut or lose their jobs because of these policies.
Obamacare mandates and penalties make it difficult for businesses to afford as many full-time workers. And it’s only getting worse in this regard. Starting in 2015, employers will be required to offer qualifying health benefits to all full-time employees, or they will face a $2,000 penalty tax.
It’s not just Obamacare that’s the problem. As economist Peter Morici wrote, it’s also this Administration’s “big spending stimulus policies and the Fed’s obsession with pumping money into a moribund New York financial industry.”
Another problem for businesses under Obama are needless, expensive regulations that make it extremely difficult for small businesses to stay afloat and hire as many employees as they’d like. This also discourages entrepreneurship, which is responsible for creating about 3 million new jobs every year – and business creation is on a steep decline right now.
As fast food workers strike across the country for a $15/hour minimum wage – with the support of the President — it doesn’t seem as though they understand the economic consequences that a wage change of such significance would have on the job market.
It’s essential now to demonstrate the connection between Obama’s penalizing policies and lack of jobs and full-time employment. Conservatives should use August jobs numbers to showcase the consequences of anti-business policies and uplift the importance of eliminating job growth barriers like Obamacare in the future.
Monday, May 12th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
A few weeks ago, we noted that House GOP leadership has carefully picked which partial Obamacare bills come to the floor. Notably, only those aspects of repeal that are fully supported by the health care lobbyists on K Street ever see the light of day for a floor vote. The example from last month was a bailout of Cigna’s calamity with expatriate health insurance plans for American executives serving overseas.
The health care industry spent a lot of money campaigning for Obamacare, but now they don’t want to deal with the consequences of the law, at least not those aspects that affect their bottom line in the near-term. It’s no surprise that Senator Marco Rubio’s “risk corridors” bill, which would eliminate the slush fund to bail out insurance companies from revenue losses due to the Obamacare mandates, never received a vote in the House. It is vehemently opposed by the health industry lobbyists.
To illustrate just how strongly Republicans are controlled by K Street look no further than today’s news that Brendan Buck has accepted a position as the top spokesman for the health insurance industry. Buck, a longtime spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, will become vice president of communications at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP).
As the Washington Post notes, AHIP is a supporter of Obamacare and a big force behind opposing the elimination of the “risk corridor” bailout.
Over the next few months, we will begin to see a number of stories about how repealing Obamacare is a thing of the past. Just today, The Hill observes how “the GOP goes quiet on Obamacare,” as there is no more pending legislation going through committee or coming up for a floor vote.
Indeed it has become clear that the battle over defunding Obamacare last fall was not just a disagreement in strategy. If we fail to get rid of leadership and elect more fresh conservative blood, passing amnesty will supplant repeal of Obamacare as the cause célèbre of the Republican Party.
Thursday, May 8th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Obamacare
As a sitting Senator, every member of the upper chamber has numerous opportunities on a daily basis to influence the debate and enhance a conservative agenda. This goes far beyond a mere voting record; it’s about being a loud and effective voice for the cause.
We see this every day from people like Ted Cruz who shamed Democrats into supporting his bill denying a visa to an Iranian terrorist.
We see this every day from people like Mike Lee who rail against the Chamber of crony capitalism.
We see this every day from people like Jeff Sessions who single-handedly exposes the open-borders agenda and gives voice to the American side of the amnesty debate.
And unfortunately, we see this every day from people like John McCain, who not only vote with Democrats, but give voice to their most destructive causes.
Just today, John McCain decided to storm into a committee hearing and heap garrulous praise upon Obama’s nominee for Secretary of HHS, Sylvia Burwell.
We are living through a time when Obamacare is destroying the healthcare sector and forcing millions of Americans to become dependent on a subpar delivery system. We are witnessing the end of the middle class living with self-respect and independence. We are witnessing the creation of a part-time workforce as a result of the mandates. Yet, John McCain, who is not a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP), showed up to the confirmation hearing uninvited just to drool over Burwell:
McCain told the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee when he first heard Burwell was being nominated to replace HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, he advised his “friend” against taking the job.
He said the move would mean she would be leaving the toughest job in Washington as director of the Office of Management and Budget for the most thankless job as secretary of HHS.
“Who would recommend his friend take over as captain of the HHS titanic after it hit the iceberg?” McCain asked.
McCain touted Burwell’s resume as OMB director, chief operating officer of the Gates Foundation, and president of Walmart, and recommended his colleagues visit Bentonville, Ark., where Walmart was founded, to see what an American success story looks like.
There is one thing to say she is smart and “qualified,” but to storm into the hearing to slobber over someone who is all-in on Obamacare is destructive to any effort to fight the unconstitutional administrative power grabs. Most appallingly, McCain predicted that Burwell will be much more responsive than Sebelius. Really? What message does that send to the Obama administration, which has been stonewalling on providing information with regards to the implementation? McCain is unilaterally surrendering to the administration, even as they continue to violate Obama’s own law with administrative legislating. Can he promise us that Burwell will be open with Congress and will not overwrite portions of the law?
I guess it sends the same message to Obama on transparency in healthcare as McCain’s fight for amnesty does in the realm of transparency on immigration. It gives voice to the opposition. And that is exactly what McCain relishes.
Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 and is filed under Blog, Elections
As the November midterms draw near, we are beginning to see a growing wave against Democrats, much like we witnessed at this time in 2010.
A new Pew poll gives Republicans a 4-point edge on the generic ballot test, which is significant given the fact that Democrats usually have a slight advantage even in a 50-50 year. They also found that Republicans have a crushing 16-point lead among Independents who are only down 4 among women. Furthermore, voters are still sour on Obamacare, Obama, and the economy.
This sounds like a recipe for disaster for Democrats, right?
But there is one other polling nugget that is worth noting. By a margin of 65%-30%, voters want the next president to pursue different policies than those of President Obama.
While it is quite arduous to sift through polling data or even real election returns in pursuit of a specific mandate from voters, it is quite clear what voters are NOT asking Republicans to do.
The reason they are abandoning Democrats and flocking to Republicans is not for the purpose of electing a Republican majority to pass amnesty and comprehensive open borders reform. In fact, given that amnesty is the biggest outstanding priority of Obama for the remainder of his presidency, the fact that voters overwhelmingly desire a new direction is a clear indication that pursuit amnesty would fly in the face of the prospective GOP governing mandate.
Much like this time four years ago, it would be amazing if we could all celebrate the impending victory. But we know that the biggest priority of a GOP majority would be to work with Obama to pass amnesty. That is why the Chamber of Commerce and their allies are spending millions lying to primary voters while obfuscating their real views from the voters.
Some of you might be excited by the latest polling data, but you will be made to care if we wind up electing Republicans who surrender on Obamacare and go full-throttle on amnesty. It’s better we be made to care while we still have a choice to elect Republicans who will pursue different policies than the current occupant of the Oval Office.
Cross-posted at RedState