If you feel like you need a program to keep up with the rash of scandals coming out of Washington, you’re not alone. There’s stifling of political opposition, lying to Congress, intimidation of whistleblowers, lying to the public and a healthy dose of general incompetence.
Suffice it to say that Obama has found his legacy. He has set the new presidential speed record for achieving lame-duck status, going from inauguration to irrelevance in just four months. With three major scandals all coming to a boil at the same time, Democrats will be distancing themselves in droves before the dust settles.
The IRS Hokey-Pokey
All of America just found out what many conservative groups have known all along – that the IRS has spent years targeting them in order to minimize how effective they can be.
New information confirms that over a course of three years the IRS singled out groups for abuse if their names or descriptions included certain keywords like “tea party”, “9-12”, “patriot”, “constitution”, “voter fraud”, “government spending”, “limited government” or “Bill of Rights”.
Welcome to the Bizzaro World of political correctness, 2013 edition.
In case you missed it, the Associated Press recently made some changes to its official “Stylebook”, the guide journalist use to determine what words and phrases they should or should not use in their reportage. The new edict declares terms like “illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented” as verboten.
Why? The AP claims that it is just “ridding the Stylebook of labels”. And that “…the English language is constantly evolving, enriched by new words, phrases and uses. Our goal is always to use the most precise and accurate words so that the meaning is clear to any reader anywhere”.
Except in this case, that is, given the fact that the term “illegal alien” is the actual legal definition of the people they are trying to describe.
Over the years the politically correct terminology has evolved from “illegal aliens” to “illegal immigrants” to “undocumented immigrants” to “undocumented workers”. What’s next, “uninvited guests”?
One of the most important elements in any type of conflict is to control the ground you fight on. In politics, that usually means controlling the issues that will be discussed. And for Republicans in the pending fight over the debt limit, that means taking the issue of defaulting on our debt payments off of the table and focusing on spending.
In our country’s fiscal wars there have been three major moving parts: 1) taxes, 2) spending and 3) borrowing. Republicans don’t want tax increases and Democrats don’t want spending cuts, which left borrowing to finance the spending. But now increasing payments on borrowing threaten to gobble future revenue for spending and mandate future taxes; which brings us the recurring battles over the debt ceiling.
Despite the tax hikes in the recent “fiscal cliff” deal, neither Obama nor any Democrats will publicly state that the rich are now “paying their fair share”. They know that with the great unwashed, the politics of envy (AKA, jealousy) is always gold.
Welcome to our latest national “conversation” about guns, a conversation demanded by those who have lost all recent conversations about guns.
It features an extremely loathsome group of politicians and other opponents of the Second Amendment who want to exploit the deaths of the young children in Newtown, Connecticut in order to advance a political agenda. In fact, New York Democrat congressman Jerrold Nadler even used the word exploit, suggesting they can pass new gun restrictions “if the President exploits it”.
After such tragedies the cry is always to do something, anything, in order to make the story go away. Then there is a rush to pass a law – any law – and rushed laws are almost always bad. And it’s in such times that enemies of liberty always creep in hoping to use the moment to push their agenda before people calm down and look at things rationally.
But since liberals insist on having this conversation, let’s take a moment to review some things that we know, and that the left will surely overlook.
We know that over forty percent fewer homicides are committed with guns than those without guns. We know that violent crime is at a thirty-seven year low. We also know that this drop in violent crime coincided with a boom in gun ownership and states allowing concealed weapons permits.
With all of the talk about the impending “fiscal cliff”, it’s a good time to step back from the trees and take a good look at the forest and how we got here to begin with.
For the last sixty years or so, Congress has been on an ever growing spending binge, guided by a political philosophy that government should play an ever growing role in our everyday lives – a role which requires more of our substance. In fact, it increasingly requires more than we can spare in any given year and maintain a healthy economy. So we borrow the rest, year after year.
This year’s federal deficit is 1.2 trillion, last year’s was 1.2 trillion and next year’s is projected to be over one trillion as well. Our national debt, the sum total of our annual deficits, is well over 16 trillion. And all of that is on top of the tens of trillions of dollars in “off-the-books” future obligations to entitlement programs.
When you are in a hole, stop digging, or so the advice goes. But what do you do when voters keep electing politicians who won’t put down the shovel, but hold to the insane notion that we can somehow dig our way out?
If you really want to understand how to fix something, you first have to take a realistic look at what is wrong with it.
After the 2004 election, Howard Dean wondered how the Democrats would reconnect with men who flew Confederate flags and had guns in their pickup trucks. They didn’t, but have since won two presidential elections. After 2008, the GOP was filled with hand-wringing about connecting with minority voters, but it managed to win the greatest congressional swing election in generations in 2010.
In the wake of Obama’s re-election, there is a lot of hand-wringing going on in the GOP about making changes, but not enough clear-eyed assessments of exactly what went wrong and needs to be fixed.
There are three elements to any campaign: message, money and organization. While money was obviously not a problem, attested to by the good Christmases the children of TV station owners and media consultants are about to have, our message and organization didn’t make the grade.
The decision was made to just focus on the economy to the exclusion of almost everything else, resulting in our philosophy not being effectively communicated and connected to the everyday lives of Americans.
With Election Day now less than a week away, just where do things stand on the most important election in our lifetimes?
In short, I think “good” is the right answer. Of course anytime you make that sort of statement, you’re almost always looking around for some wood to knock on, but given that, let’s take a look at where things stand and then make some predictions for posterity.
Obama’s strategy has been neutralized:
Like any other type of campaign, political campaigns begin with a strategy which answers the question “how are you going to win”. In Obama’s case, given that he couldn’t campaign on a record of success, the answer was to convince the country that Romney was the boogeyman. Obama’s campaign spent over a quarter of a billion dollars this summer throwing everything but the kitchen-sink at Romney in an attempt to convince voters of what a bad guy he was.
The potential problem with any strategy is that it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are opponents, and if they do their job they will try to undermine your strategy. It only took Romney ninety minutes in front of seventy million people to render Obama’s strategy worthless, (meaning the biggest beneficiaries of Obama’s strategy were TV station owners).
An astute political observer by the name of Machiavelli once said that “Anyone wishing to see what is to be must consider what has been”. Given that recent polls have shown the race for President to be essentially tied, a look at the “tale of the tape” from a current and historical perspective is in order.
No president since World War II has won re-election with an unemployment rate above 7.2%. The current rate is 8.3%, and has been above 8% for forty-two straight months. The economy is growing at an annual rate of just 1.5%, and the only president in recent years to run for re-election with a worse growth rate was Jimmy Carter.
The Consumer Confidence level is currently about 60%, which is historically (and electorally) awful, since it was 65% when Carter got clobbered by Reagan in 1980.
According to the Rasmussen Poll, a majority of Americans (54%) think that the economy and their own finances (52%) are getting worse. Only 40% believe that things will be any better five years from now, and that number is down to 35% among business owners who recently found out that Obama thinks that they didn’t build their own businesses.
The last two times that the economy dominated the election like it does today was in 1992 and 1980, which weren’t good years for incumbents.
You probably haven’t heard much about this, but the same Obama Justice Department that is pushing to deny states the right to define marriage (by opposing the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act) is now pushing to diminish the ability of states to regulate gambling.
In years past, Congress took action to stop the spread of gambling across state lines with legislation such as the Wire Act and the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act. All along, Congress’ position has been clear and consistent that it opposes allowing technology to be used to circumvent individual state gambling laws.
Enter the Obama Justice Department, which this past December quietly issued a decision interpreting these acts of Congress “not” to apply to anything other than sports betting.
Aside from undermining the long established will of Congress, the practical problem is that this decision would allow any form of gambling that is legal in any state to be made available on the Internet and circumvent the gambling laws of others states. The net effect is that any state could effectively legalize virtually any form of gambling for the entire country, whether we like it or not.
Ready or not, nationalized gambling here we come.
Modern political liberalism is a lot like the old triangle trades of the 18th century, in which crops were traded for manufactured goods which were then used to buy slaves, which were then sold to planters in exchange for more crops.
On the modern liberal plantation the formula has changed to “bigger government = more people dependent on (or at the mercy of) government = more votes for politicians who will further expand government”.
It’s a heck of a way to run a country, but liberals have gotten a lot of mileage out of it. Obamacare is just the latest example. It is one of the ultimate triumphs of political liberalism in America, which is why Joe Biden whispered to Obama at the signing ceremony that it was “a big f@*&ing deal”.
Joe was right, which means that the current Supreme Court case is a big deal too.
The impact of how the Court ultimately rules will reverberate across the country and impact every citizen and their relationship to every level of government from this point forward.
Now that we are in the middle of another presidential election season, the issues that the campaign will eventually be fought over are beginning to take shape. We are sure to hear a lot about health care, mandates, entitlements, debt, deficits and stimulus(s). There are even some made up issues, like contraception, created out of thin air by Democrats in order to replace issues that they are losing the American public on (like abortion and religious liberty), in an attempt to scare women into thinking that Republicans want to ban the pill.
But think for a moment about what we are not hearing much about anymore. It’s an issue that, for a few decades, liberals seemed physically unable to shut up about. The issue is gun control, and for this (and recent election seasons) it has been the dog that hasn’t barked.
Modern day Democrats have had an ongoing infatuation with gun control. It seemed that, whatever the problem, guns were the cause; and more gun control was the solution. But a funny thing happened on the way to liberal Nirvana, the American public didn’t go along.
Consider some findings from a recent Gallup poll:
In 2008, Mitt Romney bested John McCain in both the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses by huge margins, and was part of a three-way split in Missouri. Just a week ago he lost all three. So what’s different in 2012?
The fundamental difference between the current race for the Republican nomination and the 2008 version is that Romney is viewed as the “least conservative” of the field – vs. 2008, when McCain held (or at least shared) that title. The result? Romney has had a harder time attracting conservatives, and many of them have spent the better part of the last year trying on other candidates.
Given Santorum’s recent wins, and his new status atop some national GOP polls, it should be a validation of his strategy to stay focused on conservative issues. For Romney and Gingrich, it should remind them that they need to lay off of attacking each other and get back to the issues. Everyone knows that both of them (and a good many of their supporters) think that the other is suspect. Some think both of them are. Some even have suspicions about Santorum. But, baring divine intervention, one of them will be the Republican nominee, and as they say in NASCAR, “you’ve got to run with what you brought to the track”.
As many of us spend time each day becoming more frustrated with the political news and our country’s direction, it is worth noting that our country is (for now) a self-governing democratic-republic, which means that the people who are ultimately responsible for our situation are those who participate in our wonderful little experiment.
Let's face it, self-government, whether in the personal or political sense of the term, requires some common sense. And our country suffers from an overabundance of stupid people – and too many of them have voter registration cards. There, I said it.
Just how stupid are we? Several years ago a Gallup survey found that: 43% don't know that the "judicial" is one of the three branches of government; 41% don't know that their state (and every other state) is represented by two US Senators; 53% don't know what the "Bill of Rights" is; and 66% can't identify the document containing the words "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal".
Given that we all usually have room for improvement in our lives, resolutions are always a good idea. They are even more important when there is so much to be gained (or lost) for not bettering ourselves. So it is with this coming election year for conservatives.
With that in mind, the following resolutions are offered up for conservatives everywhere in 2012:
#1) Don't be a cannibal. No matter who you are for in any given race, don’t “go cannibal” on fellow conservatives over who they support. You might win for the moment, but you’ll lose productive relationships in the long run.
As for the presidential race, whoever the Republican nominee is, he will not be perfect and will probably be "high maintenance" from a policy standpoint. But as a movement, conservatives are much better prepared to deal with such politicians than in years past. And remember, ANY Republican president, no matter how squishy they may be, will have absolutely no choice whatsoever but to sign a bill repealing Obamacare. To borrow a phrase, keep your eyes on the prize.
King Solomon put it best when he said “there is nothing new under the sun”. And so it is with politics.
Even now, political history is repeating itself. We have a Democrat in the White House giving speeches about how America is losing its spirit in the midst of a recession and high unemployment – just like Jimmy Carter in his “Malaise speech” in 1979. And we have polls indicating that what Americans are really getting tired of is the President. Again, just like with Carter.
According to the latest Gallup poll, only 42% of the public approve of Obama’s job performance – fewer than any other president at this point in office since the dawn of polling. And the opinions are pretty strong.
According to pollster Scott Rasmussen, only 23% “strongly approve”, while 38% “strongly disapprove”, leaving Obama fifteen points in the hole when it comes to those who have any passion to their opinions. Further, 3/4ths of voters think that the nation is on the “wrong track”, and over half of the country still opposes his biggest legislative success, ObamaCare, and want to see it repealed.
Of course none of this bodes well for re-election, which explains Obama’s reach for another historical retread – class warfare.
One of the great things about American politics is that it often doubles as entertainment. Given that most of network and cable television has devolved into so-called reality TV, it is getting pretty hard to distinguish between “entertainment” programming and political “news” coverage – especially where the occupy Wall Street protests are concerned.
On one hand we have strangers living in a house together with hidden cameras, arguing and having casual sex, and on the other we have what looks like a bunch of camping trips gone bad – complete with no showers, drugs and casual sex.
The former are usually paid to display their foolishness, so they know why they are there. But the later really can’t give a cogent explanation of why they are there and what they want to accomplish, other than that they are mad at “the man” and that they won’t leave until they get what they want.
To all of the current (and potential) Republican Presidential candidates, here’s a tip: focus on Obama. When we do, we win.
Remember, we are living in a country that is rejecting Obama and everything he stands for. Poll after poll show him at the lowest ratings of his career, and election results from Scott Brown’s upset Senate win in Massachusetts, to November 2010, to the recent special elections in New York and Nevada prove that over and over.
Just as they say that the number one rule in real estate is “location, location, location”, the number one focus of this election should be “Obama, Obama, Obama”. Period. End of strategy. As we evaluate the candidates, conservatives should choose the one who does the best job of doing just that.
Recently however, our candidates have been too focused on each other, instead of staying focused on Obama and how they would draw a distinction between his failures and conservative principles.
During the 1992 Clinton campaign there was a famous sign hanging in the campaign headquarters exclaiming “It’s the economy, stupid!”, reminding everyone that the focus of the campaign was that the economy (George Bush sr.’s economy) was terrible, and that it was all his fault.
Fast forward sixteen years and Obama ran his campaign on a similar notion, but now, three years into his first term and looking towards re-election, things are worse and blaming George W. Bush just won’t cut it. So, for Obama, it’s all about the politics.
His recent “jobs” speech to Congress was, at its root, about just one job: his own, and his attempts to keep it. The whole point was to have a prime-time TV opportunity to set the lay of the land for the coming re-election campaign. His reading his “plan” from a teleprompter on national TV to members of Congress who are capable of reading it for themselves was neither capable of nor meant to accomplish anything else.
But why the sudden urgency on Obama’s part? That the economy has been awful is nothing new. Quite the contrary, it is something all Americans have seen and experienced first hand for several years (except maybe those who work for the government).
As every element of modern life moves towards more customization and individual empowerment, government stands alone as the only major entity moving in the opposite direction. And liberals, (i.e., Democrats and some Republicans), are its only salesmen.
Innovation and new technologies have led to increasingly rapid advances in products and services that are centered around consumers and their personal preferences. These changes in turn have upended existing industries and business models and created new ones, the result being that many of today’s biggest and most innovative companies or services, (such as Facebook, Google, i-Tunes, YouTube, etc.), didn’t even exist (or just barely) when the War on Terror began in 2001.
Computers continue to get better, smaller, faster and cheaper, with multitudes of customizable options. Phones have evolved into a combination of phone, stereo, camera, camcorder, TV and hand-held computer – all at a fraction of what only one of those individual devices used to cost, much less all of them.
The winner in this sea change is of course the consumer, who gains access to more choice and better quality at a lower cost.
But then there’s government, which continues to become more expensive, bloated and uniform, rather than innovative, primarily because it has what it doesn’t allow businesses to have: a monopoly.
It has become fashionable lately for those in the media as well as the political class to ponder over the question of whether or not our political system is “broken”. Most recently we have seen this in the course of the debate over whether or not (and by how much) to raise our country’s national debt ceiling. From the lowliest scribe all the way up to Obama himself, references to “broken” or “dysfunctional” government have been everywhere.
But are they right? Is government truly broken? In short, the answer is yes, but not in the sense that liberals would have everyone to believe.
Our federal government is not broken because of any recent events or failure to compromise and “get things done” on anyone’s part. The breakage came under the crush of everything that has been heaped upon a system that wasn’t designed to carry its present load.
For the last sixty to eighty years liberals have worked to make Washington the epicenter of American political life and the arbiter of whether or not and how anything and everything can be done. In the process the federal government has appropriated power to itself that it wasn’t constructed to handle, and that is why it is broken.
Despite the current spotlight on fiscal issues in Washington (and virtually every state capital), the battle over cultural issues has by no means gone away. In fact, even while our government continues to spend itself into bankruptcy, the culture war is still very much with us.
(Actually, it is never really considered a “war” in the media unless conservatives are fighting back, never just when liberals are tearing down traditional cultural norms).
The latest battle in the ongoing war just concluded in New York, where liberals continued their assault on traditional marriage by redefining it to include homosexuality. Thanks to Republican turncoats, the marriage revisionists won by just four votes.
It is important to note that this war is being waged by a distinct minority against several thousand years of human history, and that their agenda has never carried the day when put before the public for a vote. Quite the opposite, actually. Voters in over thirty states have passed marriage amendments to their state constitutions defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Any victories for gay marriage have always been by imposition of a legislature or, more often, via subversion of the political process by the judiciary.
Just as we spend time every July 4th to celebrate our nation’s independence and remember what our founding fathers accomplished, we should also stop to consider our current situation and ask ourselves if it truly represents the principles they fought for.
With each passing year it seems that those who appreciate liberty are fighting a continual rear-guard action to maintain those principles. And, more often than not, those battles are waged against the very government the founders created in order to secure our liberty. Just as it had for them, government has become the problem.
This is no accidental occurrence. Government has become the problem because it has metastasized like a cancer due to the overt actions of those who want to use government to command the rest of us to live as they see fit. To, as Jefferson put it, “press us at last into one consolidated mass”, with them of course creating the mold into which we are all to be pressed. It is the antithesis of liberty.
By and large, the people responsible for this have a name: liberals.
Military strategy dictates that if you decide “where” a fight will take place, then you will be able to choose the ground that is most favorable to you. The same holds true in politics.
As debate in Washington rages over the deficit, the debt and the debt limit, Republicans in Congress need to keep in mind that the table for the 2012 election is being set – and a fight over big, expensive government offers the GOP the perfect opportunity to choose their own ground.
The 2010 midterm elections offer some instruction on this point. According to a Gallup poll, that election set a modern day record for the highest percentage of people who claimed that they were “more enthusiastic” about voting just prior to election day, (53%). Further, it represented the largest “enthusiasm” gap between self-identified Republicans vs. Democrats – with 63% of Republicans saying they were more enthusiastic, vs. 44% of Democrats.
This begs the question, what were they excited about (or not)? Of course the answer is government – the new Obama brand of bigger, more intrusive and expensive government, to be specific. Republicans couldn’t wait to kick it in the teeth, and far fewer Democrats were interested in defending the policies of the man they so enthusiastically put in office just two years earlier.
As most of Washington has begun to see the need to have some serious conversations about how we might make do with less spending, it probably comes as no surprise that for many members of Congress it is little more than just talk.
While some congressional leaders prepare to do battle with the bureaucracy and the White House over cuts to cherished programs, others, (including some Republicans), are trying to force the administration to spend billions more than it has already requested.
Congress is trying to force feed the Pentagon additional hardware that both the Bush and Obama administrations agreed would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. Specifically, they want to force the military to buy an alternate engine for the forthcoming F-35 Lightning fighter jet.
In 1997, a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would require Congress to balance the budget received sixty-six votes – falling just one vote short of the required two-thirds majority it needed to pass and be sent on to the states for ratification.
That was the last time Congress considered a balanced budget amendment. The national debt at that time was over five and a half trillion dollars. Today it is over fourteen trillion. Coincidence?
Year after year Congress borrows more money and spends all that it borrows; and year after year they vote to increase our national debt limit. It’s like being able to increase your credit limit after you’ve maxed out your credit cards.
In the wake of the wicked acts of one deranged individual, we must be careful not to give ground to the silly notion that the debate and advocacy of ideas in the political arena is a danger to our society. In fact, if time has proven anything, it’s that our society suffers from a lack of debate on the issues that really matter.
But the last few years have seen a slight reversal to that trend in that more Americans – especially conservatives – have begun to pay attention to how things are transpiring versus what they understand of how our society and government are supposed to function. This explains the liberal cries of a coarsening of public debate, which seem directly proportional to any conservative participation in public debate at all.
2010 was a banner year for conservatives. Beginning with the election of Scott Brown in January, we then saw major Republican primary victories in the summer, dozens more conservatives elected to the US House and several more to the Senate. Add to that a record number of victories in state houses all across the country.
It’s a hard record to top. The danger of moments like these is that it is easy to rest and lose sight of what to do next. In short, conservatives need to stay focused.
With that in mind, here are three resolutions for conservatives in 2011.
First, conservatives must work to hold elected officials accountable.
By now we're all familiar with the fact that Republican victories on Election Day led to massive gains in Congress. Of course this puts the GOP in a much stronger position to advance its agenda - or at least thwart the Obama agenda for the next two years. Both are crucially important to be sure, but as most of us spend the weekend exchanging gifts, we should stop and consider a few of the other 2010 election "gifts" that are just as important for the long term.
Conservatives are more excited
It’s that time of year again when we as a nation take some time to stop and consider all of the things that we have to be thankful for. And in light of the recent elections, one item that is often overlooked is this: our government is slow.
For all of our justifiable complaints about our elected officials, and even our system of government, the fact that it is slow is a gift from our country’s founding fathers for which we can all be truly thankful.
Now that the 2010 mid-term elections are over and (most of) the ballots have been counted, it’s worth a look to see what issues played the greatest role in the election and what that may tell us about 2012.
Of course there are a lot of issues, but from a conservative Republican standpoint, the most important ones to identify are those which played the greatest role in motivating voters to support massive Republican gains at all levels of governance – and what might do so again the next time they head to the polls.
The 2010 election is (finally) upon us, which means it’s time to engage in that favorite of political pastimes – prognostication. After all, what good is an election without predictions?
For pretty much every election for the past twenty years I’ve kept my own predictions and have done fairly well, (but I did miss that Al Gore and the popular vote thing in 2000…and thought Hillary would be the nominee in 2008). But it seems like it would be more interesting to put it in a column for everyone to see and comment on. Plus, given the multitude of pollsters (and even online markets such as Intrade), there is so much information out there that everyone can now get in on the act.
Now that we are seven months removed from the fight over the single largest expansion of government in US history, it’s a good time to take stock and point out some silver linings.
In a perverse sort of way, ObamaCare may be the best thing that could have come out of Obama’s first term as President. Had he and the Democrat leadership opted to push a more limited program that only extended to those who couldn’t afford health insurance, Americans may have gone for it, thus locking in yet another entitlement program that would metastasize beyond its original scope. But by overreaching they made the water so hot that the frog of public opinion can’t wait to leap out.
#1: It will eventually result in real conservative health care reform
Some general thoughts and observations on the 2010 Republican primaries:
Conservative Republican primary voters are angry. OK, that’s obvious, but it’s who and what they’re angry at that is important. For now, they are angry at anyone who even looks like they’re part of the "establishment", the result being a long overdue house cleaning. For their part, most in the Republican establishment don’t seem to really have a gut level grasp of why. Conservatives are not just angry and looking to take it out on someone, they are upset with having the GOP run by people who patronize them and then set about undermining their goals, or at least fail to effectively advocate them.
In referring to our form of government, Alexander Hamilton once said, “Here sir, the people govern”. But given the actions of some of the more arrogant members of our judiciary, there seems to be room for doubt.
In 2000, the people of California approved a statewide referendum defining marriage in that state as the union of one man and one woman, but in 2008 their state supreme court threw out that law (by a four to three vote of the court). So in November, 2008 voters approved a state constitutional amendment to overturn their supreme court’s decision and again take control of the definition of marriage in their state, just as voters in over thirty states have done.
If eighteen months ago someone asked you to write a political plan more likely to rile up the American people and throw them into the arms of the Republican Party, it’s hard to imagine anything that would be more successful than what the Democrats have done over the past year and a half. Not to mention what they plan to do.
Between ObamaCare, the stimulus, civil rights for terrorists and suing Arizona for trying to control its illegal immigration problem, they have been pushing voters to the GOP with both hands. But in just a few months comes the coup de grace: a massive tax increase – right in the middle of a recession.
As the final vote in the Senate on Elena Kagan’s nomination to the US Supreme Court draws near, there’s little doubt that she will be confirmed, given the Democrats large majority. But it will be a missed opportunity if Senate Republicans don’t use the debate to make some larger points about the judiciary and the size and scope of our government.
The problem is that when it comes to the American judiciary, what once was extreme has become mainstream, and the views of government held by those who wrote and ratified our Constitution are today considered extreme and out of date.
As the current election season begins to take shape, Obama and his political team are laying the groundwork for the next campaign. Not the midterms, but his 2012 re-election.
Given that increasing numbers of Americans don’t seem as fond of “hope and change” as they did two years ago, they’re crafting a new strategy. Change is out. Reform is in.
When Obama was running for President he was a blank slate. Potential supporters were able to see in him what they wished. But over the past year and half the public has received a pretty stark education in what “hope and change” really meant; hence Obama’s need for a new strategy.
The reformers are at it again with yet another attempt to criminalize political speech and campaign activity.
From the government’s Department of Perverse Acronyms comes the “DISCLOSE Act”, which stands for “Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections”. How clever. And how disingenuous.
It’s being championed by New York Democrat Chuck Schumer in an attempt to get around this year’s Supreme Court decision which threw out restrictions on freedom of speech for unions and corporations in political campaigns.
Margaret Thatcher once said that, “the problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money”. One could easily add that another problem is that the other people eventually want to get paid back.
It’s a problem that is becoming more real with each passing day. As the interest on that borrowed money consumes more of our nation’s economy, our options and our future will be increasingly limited. The result is a threat to our individual freedoms and economic liberty, and eventually even our national security.
In the wake of Arizona’s passage of its new immigration enforcement law, the inflamed, uninformed and irresponsible rhetoric coming from the open-borders crowd and supposedly respectable politicians who should know better seems to have grown by the day.
From the NY Times to the Washington Post to Barack Obama himself, there has been an avalanche of gross mischaracterizations of the law, inferring that it would allow police to simply stop anyone who “looks different” on the street and demand to “see their papers”.
Now that Justice Stevens has made it official that he will be resigning at the end of the current term, Barack Obama gets his second opportunity to make a lifetime appointment to the US Supreme Court. As usual, the speculation is as rampant as the implications are huge.
The bulk of the speculation centers on what direction Obama will take. Does he try to capture some of the political middle ground he’s lost in the eyes of the public over the past year, or does he go with his heart and pick someone as liberal as he is?
Of course the timing couldn't be worse for Senate Democrats. They are already weary of political combat due to the battle over ObamaCare, which came in the aftermath of the fight over the stimulus, etc. As a result, the Democrats in red/purple states that are up for re-election this year aren't too keen on having Obama pick anyone who might be deemed too radical. They’ve seen the polls and would rather not add one more log to the growing fire of conservative activism in an election year.
In case you didn’t notice the barrage of taxpayer funded radio, TV, newspaper and internet ads, it’s census time again.
Yes, census time, that time that comes once every ten years when the government spends hundreds of millions of dollars telling us how important it is that we return that all important, overly nosey questionnaire.
In fact, it’s so important that the government sent me a letter telling me it was going to send me the census form a full week before it actually sent the form. Then it sent a post card a few days after the form arrived reminding me that it had sent the form – which makes one wonder whether this was actually some sort of stimulus plan for the Postal Service.
The current debate over health care reminds me of that scene in the movie Outlaw Josey Wales where the snake oil peddling carpetbagger tries to sell a bottle of his tonic to an Indian, only to be asked about what was in it. After saying he didn’t know, the Indian said, “You drink it”.
Obama and the Democrats are selling snake oil. And the American people aren’t buying.
But after a full year of debate, speeches, emails and town halls promoting his health care agenda it has come down to this: an all out, last ditch effort to ram a bill through Congress that a majority of Americans don’t want. Public opinion be damned. “Change” is coming.
Over the course of 2009 conservatives and Republicans have done a far better job than anyone would have thought possible when it came to blocking ObamaCare from becoming law. Everyone thought it was a fait accompli, but it ran into the brick wall of public opinion.
In light of the recent elections in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts, as well as his own falling poll numbers, Obama wants Republicans to come together with Democrats for a grand health care “summit” to search for a bipartisan compromise. In other words, he wants some cover.
Just how serious is our new President about dealing with terrorism? Inquiring minds want to know.
Thanks to Barack Obama, we now live in a country where you can do almost as much time in prison for brandishing a knife in a failed robbery as for attempting to murder three-hundred innocent men, women and children.
Don’t believe me? This past Christmas, a man in Sandy Creek, NY used a knife in an attempted robbery of a Chinese restaurant and, if convicted, he could face up to twenty-five years in the grey bar motel. On that same day, the now infamous underwear bomber, after failing to go boom, was mirandized and will likely face anywhere from twenty years to life in prison, (if convicted on all counts as opposed to getting off on an insane fashion defense).
Back in December, Oprah Winfrey interviewed Barack Obama and asked him what kind of grade he would give himself on his job performance. “A good, solid B-plus”, he answered.
Really? Talk about grading on a curve.
Let’s review some of the highlights and lowlights of Mr. Obama’s freshman year.
Soon after taking office he managed to push his big stimulus program through Congress. Then there were the bank bailouts (and the continuation of the Bush bailouts), and the TARP, and then the bailouts of automakers (and their unions). He was on a roll.
Election Day finally arrived in Massachusetts and the results are nothing short of a miracle.
In one of the bluest of the blue states, (where Obama won by 61%), an unknown Republican managed to win "Ted Kennedy's seat" in the United States Senate.
Thank you, Barack Obama.
Even before the campaign was over, the blame game began and Democrats pronounced it all Martha Coakley's fault. The long knives came out.
Recent national polls showing a larger percentage of Americans expressing support for a non-existing “Tea Party” candidate rather than a Republican candidate is a temptation for conservatives to waste their time and increase the odds of feeling even more disenfranchised in the future.
I understand the frustration, especially the white hot frustration of those who have only recently become energized and involved, most likely as a result of our current President.
The energy, enthusiasm and commitment to core principles is great. It’s beyond great. It’s exactly what this country (and more specifically the GOP) needs. But what we don’t need is for that energy and enthusiasm to be wasted where it will do absolutely no good whatsoever to the principles it represents.
It’s been said that when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. So it is with politics.
The GOP’s 2008 election defeat planted and watered the seeds of what the party has been in need of for a long time – a real conservative revolution.
The good news is that Barack Obama is making it all possible. He and the Democrat leadership are providing Americans with a vivid reminder of everything they don’t like about liberalism.
As White House Chief of Staff Rham Emanuel was credited with saying after Obama took office, ”a crisis is a terrible thing to waste”. Well, just ten months in to his term, Americans are sensing a crisis. Specifically, the crisis represented by Obama’s brand of liberalism, and they’re in the mood for a revolt.
There are two groups of people that have reason to be scared over Tuesday's election results: moderate Democrats and Republican leadership.
Why any Democrat should be concerned is obvious. They're the current majority party and they're in control of Congress and the White House. Off year elections are normally bad for the party in the White House, but Tuesday's election results point to something big next year.
In Virginia, a state Obama carried by five percent, the Republican candidate for Governor wins by eighteen percent - a twenty-three point swing.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
When political times get tough for liberal Democrats in Washington, conservative conspiracies are the bogeymen of choice.
Back in 1998 when things got tough for Bill Clinton, Hillary declared that there was a “vast right-wing conspiracy” looking to bring her husband down. Other Democrats where quick to pick up the mantra and do anything they could to discredit those who criticized Clinton.
Now here we are eleven years later and, (although there are no chubby interns involved), we have another liberal President facing hard times. So out pop the conspiracy theories like some worn out jack-in-the-box. The only difference is that now we have two former Democrat Presidents cranking the handle.
As the most recent scandal surrounding ACORN grows, it begs the question of “will they or won’t they?” As in, will Barack Obama and the mainstream media decide that it’s in their best interest to “throw ACORN under the bus”?
Things haven’t been going so well for either of them lately, and the ACORN scandal presents them with an opportunity to try and gain a little credibility.
The “mainstream” media continues to take a beating with steadily declining readers and viewers, and many media companies are in (or on the verge of) bankruptcy all over the country.
While Americans have been busy focusing on one Obama overreach after another, with health care currently occupying the front burner, the issue of gay marriage has escaped scrutiny.
When he was out campaigning for President, Obama understood the politically explosive nature of gay marriage and decided that getting elected was more important than being honest. He contorted himself to say the he supported the definition of marriage as one man and one woman, while at the same time letting homosexual activists groups know that he opposed the federal law which defines marriage as just that.
Among normal people this would be understood as being duplicitous at best.
It’s time for some honesty in the current debate over the CIA’s interrogation methods of terrorists. The argument isn’t really over whether we were too harsh, given that even Obama has said we would continue turning terrorists over to other governments, knowing full well that those guys play rougher than we do.
It’s all about politics.
Soon after his inauguration as President, Obama stated that he didn’t want to re-open an investigation into CIA interrogations of terrorists because he knew that it would become a tremendous, political distraction – which is exactly why he’s changed his mind.
Normally, the last thing a guy with Obama’s messianic ambition would want is for all of Washington to become sidetracked with such a divisive issue, much less one that exposes the political weaknesses of his own party.
Despite all the ruckus concerning town-halls lately, most of which is the ruckus made by liberals upset that conservatives are attending and expressing their opposition to Obamacare, we have been treated to some important, if accidental, moments of honesty and clarity.
For example, while conducting a recent town-hall meeting, Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill attempted to calm constituents upset over the proposed “reform” by asking “Don’t you trust me?” The resounding “no’s” reverberated throughout the room, along with many boos, which provides us with our moment of honesty.
Slowly but surely, it seems that the Republicans are getting a little bit of their mojo back.
How? Simply by saying “no”. Because, when it comes to Obama’s agenda, it seems that saying “no” is enough for Republicans to gain more support of the American people.
Some recent polling from Rasmussen tells the tale.
By a long-shot, the economy is the number one issue on people’s minds, and they don’t think Obama and the Democrat’s are doing such a good job dealing with it.
Overwhelmingly, they think the government is spending (and borrowing) way too much money, and the national deficit and debt are looming larger in voter’s minds. Seventy-one percent agree that Obama’s policies have driven up the deficit.
When it comes to legislation, there’s a general rule of thumb that the number of details someone doesn’t want you to see is directly related to how quickly they try to pass it. The so-called health care “reform” bill is a text-book example.
The reason Obama and liberal Democrats are pushing so fast and furious is because the details, (where the Devil usually hides), are beginning to get out. And as the details start to sink in, they’re cutting through all of the “yes we can” rhetoric and leading more Americans to say “no you don’t”.
So what’s getting them worked up? Let’s take a look at some of the details of this “reform”.
With a newly minted sixty-vote Democrat majority in the US Senate, the approval of the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court is all but assured.
But what isn’t assured is that it won’t cost the Democrats something before all the dust settles. And that’s up to the Republicans.
Do they have what it takes to make her positions on hot-button issues so toxic that the Democrats from “purple” or “red” states who support her will find themselves in political hot water back home?
Her record represents just such an opportunity.
It seems that every time we have a contentious judicial nomination process, especially for the Supreme Court, a great fuss is made over not asking certain questions. More to the point, we're told that nominees should not answer questions that could disclose how they may rule on certain issues in the future.
The problem with this notion is that the federal judiciary has grown ever more powerful over the years versus our other branches of government. Further, the Supreme Court is held to be the final arbiter of what the Constitution actually "means" at any given point in time - information that's surely useful to the people that document is meant to govern.
When it comes to the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Republicans have an opportunity to do something that would benefit both themselves and the nation. That is, they should use the process as a chance to hold forth on the meaning of the Constitution and the proper role of the judiciary in our political system and society.
Three main areas are ripe with opportunity for Republicans if they have the nerve to play hardball.
First, the notion that “empathy” should play any role in American justice.
Obama previously stated that he wanted judges that had “empathy” when it came to how they made their decisions. But empathy is merely a euphemism for justifying politically liberal results.
It's been more than a little amusing lately to watch politicians, interest groups and media types criticize Gov. Mark Sanford for saying “no” to spending an additional $700 million in federal “stimulus” money on anything other than state debt reduction.
This money represents less than 10 percent of the entire tab (including tax cuts) of federal dollars headed to South Carolina, yet you would think it was our entire budget, from critics’ reaction.
And keep in mind that many who are now criticizing the governor opposed the federal stimulus bill to begin with — the same bill that these funds will come from. (I’ll not name names to protect the guilty.)
The controversy is also amusing because our country’s fiscal policies are so insane that about all you can do anymore is laugh.
Barack Obama has now been in office for one-hundred days, a length of time the media first began to use to measure early presidential success back in the first administration of FDR. This is appropriate, given our current President's ambition to increase the size, scope and cost of government beyond the wildest dreams of the man who laid the foundations of the modern welfare state - and American statism in general.
For his part, Obama is "pleased, but not satisfied" with what they've accomplished. From a conservative standpoint, the view is, shall we say, quite a bit different.
Herewith, some of the "highlights" (or lowlights) of the first one-hundred days of the Obama administration.
Keep quiet. That's the best advice anyone could give you right now.
For someone who was presented to his party as a "great" communicator, you have developed one serious case of foot-in-mouth. To make it even worse, your offending remarks have been aimed at the core of our party, in terms of both people and principles.
First, there was all this silly "hip hop" this and "baby" that. OK, we get it. You're trying to present a more "with it" image in your first few weeks. That would have been fine for a while, but now it's getting old.
It didn't take long for those crusading for bans on public smoking to seize on the surgeon general's statement that there is no "safe" level of second-hand smoke as a rationale for such bans in the name of health concerns.
But to what extreme do you take the notion of "no safe level"?
Isn't it a lot like saying there's no such thing as a safe bacon double-cheeseburger? Could it be said that there is no such thing as a "safe" level of plaque in our arteries from eating fatty foods, and therefore fatty foods should be banned, or taxed (or their manufacturers sued)?
Given that far more Americans die from heart-related illness every year than from lung cancer, why pick on smoking? Because it annoys some people, that's why. I don't care for it either, but I tolerate it, much as you would tolerate being exposed to fat guys in bathing suits at the beach. (There ought to be a law!)
Julius Caesar once said that the only thing necessary to conquer the world was men and money. Add message to that list and you've got the fundamentals of politics - as in organization, fundraising and communications.
And our party has problems in at least two of those areas.
The first problem is principles, which goes to our message and not adequately communicating our conservative philosophy - or living up to it.
In spite of what some others may insist, our conservative philosophy is not the problem. In fact, if anything, a failure to abide by that philosophy while in power has helped lead to our current situation. The need is for a better application of our philosophy to the issues of the day and translating that into a political message that's relevant to the average American.
It has been said that nature abhors a vacuum, but you can't prove it by the space between the ears of some in the Republican Party today, or in the conservative movement for that matter.
Take columnist Kathleen Parker for example, who in her most recent column lamented the presence of "oogedy-boogedy" religious conservatives within the Republican Party and derisively referred to them as the "low brow" crowd.
She went on to suggest that such people should just keep their faith to themselves; essentially saying they should either cease to have their values informed by their faith, or cease to cast ballots on the basis of their values. Of course, this seems rather selective, as one could just as easily ask her and others in the socially liberal camp to do the same.
As the old saying goes, "when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade".
Herewith, a list of some of the lemons from the recent election and the lemonade they could offer.
Election return lemons: the race is over. Obama won. The liberals have two out of three branches of government...with the third (the judiciary) hanging in the balance. Those are pretty big lemons.
Lemonade: conservatives have an opportunity to re-focus our message on our principles and define ourselves in stark relief to the inevitable liberal overreach...and then be positioned to catch those folks in the middle who will soon come down with a case of buyer's remorse.
Strategy lemons: McCain's strategy of "reaching out" failed, (reliable red states turning blue?). Lemonade: "reach-across-the-aisleism" as a strategy is now thoroughly discredited. Good riddance.
Knowledge, as they say, is power. Well, if you still lack enough information to decide which of the candidates for President will do the most damage to your values, prepare to be empowered.
Consider the following...
Unbridled liberalism: With Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in charge of the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate, Americans will be riding in the equivalent of a car with three gas pedals and no brake. Not a recipe for a safe ride. The only way to stop is to get into a crash.
So what's all the fuss about ACORN, and why should it matter to anyone? Well, if you're an American citizen, and you take citizenship seriously, it matters because our electoral process is being compromised.
As recent press reports have shown, ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) has been hard at work registering voters in all of the key battleground states for the upcoming election. And, as many of these same reports attest, they're busy being investigated for possible voter fraud.
Let's get one thing straight. The government and its misguided housing policies caused our current financial mess. And, as a result, the government should help fix it.
That said, exactly "what" should have been fixed, "how" and for "how much" are the right places to focus our attention. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't make sure everyone knows exactly how we got in this mess.
The origins lie in the Clinton Administration's misguided attempt to raise the percentage of homeowners in America by forcing banks to give loans to people with, shall we say, less than stellar credit, (those "sub-prime" mortgages you keep hearing about).
The game has changed. In an election of McCain vs. Obama, the race was all about Obama. Not anymore.
Win or lose, picking Sarah Palin will go down as the greatest single thing McCain has done for his own campaign, as well as for the conservative movement. Conservatives are rallying like never before to her presence on the ticket.
She's a fiscal conservative who favors tax cuts and has actually used a veto pen. She's a born-again Christian, pro-life, pro-family, pro-gun... she hunts, she fishes, baits her own hook, has five kids and doesn't look like a member of the NOW gang. What's not to like? Indeed, that, plus a record of conservative reform and demonstrated political skills on the stump and I'd say we've got ourselves a star. And at age 44, one with a potentially long future at that.
Barack Obama's on the make for evangelicals - specifically the conservative, registered-to-vote variety. The same type of voters he previously referred to as being "bitter" and who "cling to guns or religion".
A few weeks ago he told such voters that, if elected, he would expand and overhaul President Bush's federal faith based initiatives, announcing his own "Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships". He has begun regular attempts to appeal to evangelicals, speaking to them on multiple occasions in recent weeks as part of what his campaign terms its "Joshua project".
Of course this is all well and good. Candidates who expect the votes of any Americans should make an attempt to address their concerns. The reality however is more blatantly political in that, on the fundamental cultural and moral concerns of evangelicals, he has very little in common with them at all.
So what do liberals talk about when they get together and think no one else is listening? They talk about the rest of us, of course. Specifically, trying to explain why most people aren't receptive to their ideas.
The latest example comes from Democrat front-runner Barack Obama at a recent San Francisco fundraiser, where he was caught on tape remarking (or psycho-analyzing) that manyvoters in the middle class tend to "cling" to God and guns whenever they're bitter about their life.
Obama stated, "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations".
Quick history quiz. Who said the following: "This amnesty will give citizenship to only 1.1 to 1.3 million illegal aliens. We will secure the borders henceforth. We will never again bring forward another amnesty bill like this."? That was Ted Kennedy on the floor of the US Senate in 1986, pushing for legislation that successfully granted amnesty to several million illegal aliens that year.
There you have a good example of why the word "amnesty" is such a hot-button with politicians and the American public. Because the only thing that bill did successfully was grant amnesty.
Ted Kennedy's promises of "securing the border" notwithstanding, we've since had another twelve to twenty million illegals sneak into our country. So here comes the amnesty crowd once again, claiming that without it our country will suffer plagues of uncut grass and unpicked cabbage.
It ain't easy being Hillary. As far as the general public is concerned, she's the single most divisive major political figure in the Democrat party; while the various liberal constituencies that constitute the Democrat's party base worry that she's not liberal enough. Some who consider her too far to the right on the war issue even took to heckling her at a recent speech to the Democrat National Committee.
Poor Hillary. It's not as though she's brought any of these problems on herself. First, there was her clumsy entrance onto the national political stage in 1992 with that famous reference to "not staying home and baking cookies" or "standing by her man like Tammy Wynette" in vague reference to Bubba's past indiscretions.
The jig is up. We can now officially put to bed the lie that advocates of gay marriage only want equal rights. According to a Reuters story out of Connecticut, eight gay and lesbian couples are asking that state's Supreme Court to mandate the legalization of gay marriage. You should know that Connecticut is a state that already grants the "rights and benefits" of marriage to homosexuals under a civil unions law.
"A marriage between one man and one woman is the only lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized in this state."
That is the opening text of a proposed amendment to our state's constitution. It is an amendment designed to protect traditional marriage from being redefined by radical state and federal judges, and to make sure that voters have a chance to be heard on this fundamental issue.
Congress is back in session and the battle over immigration reform has resumed.
For the past month or so, GOP House members have taken the issue on the road and held town hall meetings discussing the topic in congressional districts all across the country. What has been confirmed by such meetings is that a true consensus of public opinion does exist on the immigration issue. More specifically, that the majority of the American people want better enforcement of our borders and our current immigration laws. Further, they are opposed to laws that reward illegal behavior.
The state of Arizona is making a play for the distinction of implementing one of the absolute worst ideas ever to promote good citizenship.
With the ostensible goal of increasing interest in voting and thereby voter turnout, Arizonans will be faced this November with what is known as the Voter Reward Act. It is a referendum that would create a million dollar lottery awarded to a randomly chosen voter who cast a ballot in any given election. In other words, bribery.
The only real wonder is that it has taken so long to come to this.
Hooray for the Supreme Court. Yes, believe it or not, they actually do deserve some praise. Specifically the members of the majority who recently held that Vermont's restrictive campaign finance laws violated the First Amendment's free speech provisions.
This development comes at an opportune time in our political history. Currently, our free speech rights are besieged by politicians using the boogeyman of political corruption to build support for laws which themselves corrupt our political system by limiting our ability to participate in it.
This just in. It has recently been discovered that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have access to a technologically sophisticated, multi-million dollar intelligence gathering operation. It has agents on all continents, and sources within every agency of the US government. Even worse, this organization is actively being shielded from disruption by the American court system. It goes by the nickname "The Gray Lady", but is officially known as The New York Times.
No information is too secret, no secret too important to national security not to be revealed in its pages, all in the name of the "public interest".
The slippery slope of secular humanism continues to become even more so all around the world. We are quickly moving beyond a mere degradation of social virtues to outright hostility against religion and potential criminalization of adherents who practice their faith in their daily lives.
In recent years we have seen the Dutch government change its laws to allow euthanasia, gay marriage, infanticide of imperfect children, and most recently, the sanctioning of gay polygamous unions.
Gay marriage has become a reality in Canada and Massachusetts. For years our own government has flirted with passage of so called "hate crimes" legislation that essentially criminalizes individual thoughts by way of adding extra penalties if biases, hatreds or intolerances are perceived in the commission of a crime.
Can the House Republicans hold out against calls to pass the Senate's version of immigration reform? Will Speaker Dennis Hastert keep his pledge never to bring legislation to the floor that doesn't have support of a majority of the House Republican caucus? Will the White House pull out all the stops in pressuring House members to support the Senate version? Will real conservatives draw a line in the sand and say "stop"?
These are all questions whose answers will determine whether the Republicans maintain control of one or both houses of Congress this fall. Whether or not Nancy Pelosi becomes the next Speaker of the House. Whether or not Charlie Rangel and Jack Murtha get to initiate impeachment hearings against George Bush. Whether or not we have a Senate majority that will continue to make some progress on judicial appointments or perhaps confirm another conservative Justice to the Supreme Court.
Many of the more "progressive" among us here in America see Europe as an example of where the United States needs to be in terms of its social policies. And given that social trends in Europe so often seem to presage things here, for better or worse, let's have a look at some of the more recent "progressive" developments on the European social front.
In January of this year the European Union passed a resolution banning "homophobia". Entitled "Homophobia in Europe", the resolution condemns homophobia as an "irrational fear and aversion of homosexuality and of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people based on prejudice, similar to racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism". So take that you straight Euro-bigots. Actually, it will be interesting to watch this play out, given that Europe's birth-rates are below replacement levels, especially in the more "progressive" (liberal) countries in the west, and Muslim immigration into Europe is at all times highs.
The national Republican Party needs a revival. It needs a renewed focus on its animating objectives. Specifically, the Congressional Republicans have lost much of the revolutionary zeal that brought the party to majority status in Congress and have become too satisfied with simply being a majority. As a result, they have grown afraid to take strong stands for fear of losing power.
They have grown accustomed to bloated budgets and pork-barrel spending. Those within the party that do call for tighter controls are rarely paid any heed. The smaller, leaner government the Congressional GOP campaigned for in 1994 has yet to materialize, and lately is less often fought for. It seems that Bill Clinton's pronouncement during his 1995 State of the Union that the "era of big government is over" was premature.
The immigration issue is the political equivalent of a time-bomb in American politics. Depending of whether it is defused or explodes, it will either strengthen or blow apart existing American electoral coalitions.
The issue is dangerous to the current political alignment because opinions cut across existing fault lines, whether ideological, racial or economic. Where things would ultimately shake out if or when the explosion happens depends largely on the responses of the political parties.
With apologies to Ken Mehlman, Howard Dean is quickly becoming the GOP's favorite party chairman. Like something out of a science fiction movie, Dean seems to represent some sort of nexus in the universe for overwrought emotion, stupidity and arrogance. Like a magical Christmas present, he is the gift that keeps on giving.
Let's look at the highlights for the past few months. He said that he "hates Republicans", that conservatives are "evil", that Republicans "never made an honest living in their lives", and that the GOP is "pretty much a white, Christian party". A few months back at a gathering of black Democrats Dean commented that the Republicans couldn't "get this many people of color in a single room" unless they included "the hotel staff".
In the early 1800's, a Massachusetts Governor by the name of Elbridge Gerry conceived a novel plan to increase his party's share of that state's legislative districts. He would simply redraw the map. By redrawing the boundaries of the districts in such a way as to more effectively distribute friendly voters as well as break up pockets of opposition, he enabled his party to constitute a majority of voters in more districts. The result was, for those days, an unusual looking map.
Upon viewing the new map, one observer commented that one of the more oddly shaped districts looked like a salamander and it was promptly dubbed "the gerrymander" in honor of its creator. Ever since, the term "gerrymandering" has come to describe the process of drawing election district maps for the purposes of partisan gain.
When it comes to reaping the "spoils of war" many conservative Republicans are beginning to feel like Charlie Brown does when Lucy moves the football just as he tries to kick it. They get all psyched up and excited and ready to accomplish a task, only to have the opportunity yanked away from them at the last second.
The recent compromise regarding judicial filibusters agreed to by seven Republicans did just that. It incensed conservatives as yet another example of not being allowed the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor. And, as the GOP's single largest constituency and the backbone of its grassroots operation, they have every right to be angry.
Essentially, what the GOP compromisers have done is legitimize an ideological litmus test for judicial nominees as opposed to enforcing the Senate's historical practice, much less its constitutional duty, to offer "advice and consent" on such nominations.
For years liberals have been fostering the notion that "values voters" (alternately known as "cultural conservatives" and/or the "religious right") are somehow new to our American political system. As if their presence among us is the result of an "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" type scenario. The simple truth is that these voters have been here all along.
But the liberal vitriol is there. Especially among the press which, as numerous studies have demonstrated, is more liberal and Democratic in their sympathies. Gary Wills likened such voters to Al Qaeda in a NY Times article. Carl Bernstein claimed that minority religious groups were trying to impose (emphasis mine) values on a secular country. And ABC's Carole Simpson said that the election results reflected a triumph of the stupid. How un-biased of her.
by Drew McKissick May 18th, 2005 Now that the first election conducted under the new campaign finance laws has come and gone, a little post-mortem is in order. By any objective standard, it has been an abject failure. Ostensibly, campaign finance reform (CFR) was supposed to deliver us from the evil of the "special interests" and their "soft money", (contributions that can't be given or spent directly on behalf of a candidate, like "hard" dollars can). We were told that they had hijacked our political system. We were told that CFR (as they envisioned it) was a necessary trade-off - tighter restrictions on free speech in exchange for a reduction of the influence of money in the political process. So, how did it turn out?
The recent election has left us with one indisputable fact. An overwhelming majority of Americans oppose gay marriage. For all the fulminations and (to borrow a phrase from Karl Rove) bloviations of the left, we are left with a clear and convincing - and at least on a state by state basis, unanimous - verdict.
Now that the election is over and the returns are in, (and having lost overwhelmingly), liberals are returning to what they consider more friendly terrain - the courtroom. In state after state they are now appealing to judges to overturn, throw out and/or otherwise find "unconstitutional" these duly passed, citizen approved constitutional amendments. This from pretty much the same crowd that is heard shouting "every vote should count", (even in cases where they are legally suspect).
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