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Alan Grayson: The Democrats’ John LeBoutillier (on steroids)

Back in the Republican landslide of 1980, GOP candidates across the nation, riding the Gipper’s coattails, swept many entrenched Democrats out of office, including Indiana’s John Brademas, then the House Democratic Whip, Al Ullman, then chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and long-time Democratic Senators like Washington State’s Warren Magnuson, then the senior member of the United States Senate (having first taken office in 1944), and other Senate powerhouses including Indiana’s Birch Bayh, Wisconsin’s Gaylord Nelson and South Dakota’s George McGovern.

In New York, eight-term Congressman Lester L. Wolf lost his Long Island seat to a man 34 years his junior, 27-year-old John LeBoutillier, just one year out of Harvard Business School. The Republican became “the youngest member of the 97th Congress,” and certainly acted like it. He regularly engaged in ad hominem attacks not just on Democrats, but also on his fellow Republicans, calling Charles Percy, the then-chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee “a living disaster with almost no redeeming features.”

He reserved the better part of his rancor for then-House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, famously opening one speech with the line, “Tip O’Neill and the federal government are the same: they’re both big, fat and out of control.

His juvenile attacks earned him the admiration of many young conservatives, but did not help him with his Long Island constituents.  In 1982, he lost his seat in the Republican-leaning district to Robert Mrazek.

Such, I believe, will be the fate of the man who, in the current Congress, most resembles John LeBoutillier.  Elected in 2008 as part of the Obama landslide in Florida’s Orange County (where nearly two-thirds of his constituents reside), Rep. Alan Grayson has engaged in rhetorical attacks on his Republican colleagues that make Leboutillier’s accusations seem tame by comparison. (more…)

What a Difference Two Elections Make

The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history.

Nancy Pelosi, November 7, 2008

Democrats defeat GOP attempt to remove Rangel.

Glenn Reynolds, Today.

RELATED: GALLUP: Approval of Congress Falls to 21%.

A short summary of Mr. Rangel’s personal culture of corruption.  Defending Rangel, Rep Maxine Waters says “Many members” of Congress suffer from the same disclosure issues as Rangel.  Guess that culture is not just personal to Mr. Rangel.

Why the Left Can’t Let Go of W

Ok, now to address the point I had meant to address in my previous post.  Many on the left can’t let go of their hatred of the immediate past president of the United States because trashing him has been their ticket to electoral success in the two most recent national elections (2006 and 2008).

To be sure, there’s more to it than that, but that gets at the nub of their obsession; trashing W is fare easier than having to defend their own ideas or addressing the arguments of those opposed to them.

In commenting on a Gallup poll showing the Democratic advantage in party affiliation shrinking rapidly, Jim Geraghty finds a “Strange Resurgence of the Bush-Free GOP“:

What happened? Well, the utopia of hope and change did not take hold immediately, and hopes for a moderate course have been dashed. But also worth noting is how dramatically the political landscape has changed since George W. Bush rode off into the sunset. Perhaps while he was front and center, and the dominant voice of the GOP, many Americans tired of Iraq, tired of his Texas twang, tired of everything they had seen and heard for the past eight years; they would hear nothing else from the GOP, and could overlook a multitude of flaws in the Democratic-party option.

With W out of office, people are paying attention to the policies of the one-time opposition, that is, the current governing party.  

And there’s another reason for the Republican resurgence that Gergahty left out. In  the post I was looking for while crafting my last post, written the day after last fall’s election, I pointed out that with Bush gone, the party of small government was no longer defined by incumbent Republican presidents pushing big government:

It had been tough to be conservative during the first (and only) term of the first President Bush as it has during the second term of the second.  Each man was the titular head of the supposedly conservative party, but neither governed, at least on domestic issues, as a conservative.

Neither held the line on domestic spending.  Both increased the size and scope of the federal government.

Democrats need W in order to demonize the opposition.  Note, how often they bring up his spending record whenever we criticize Obama’s.  They don’t want the GOP to be seen as the party of small government.

For, as recent polls indicate, that Reaganite idea continues to resonate.

UPDATE:  Byron York confirms my thesis:   “But Gallup also points out that the Democratic rise of 2008-2009 had much more to do with George W. Bush than with anything the Democrats themselves were doing.

The Hard Choices the Obama Team Refuses to Make

Both Glenn and Michelle (in her Buzzworthy column) linked posts addressing comments Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made recently about the budget.

Suggesting that the government may have to raise taxes on the middle class, Geithner contended that to “bring these deficits down” requires “some very hard choices.”  Why can’t the Administration make such hard choices by cutting government spending even if that means defying the various interest groups which helped secure the President’s election last fall.

As “Jefferson,” commenting to Michael Silence’s blog (linked by Glenn) wrote:   “if I want to lower my annual widescreen plasma TV outlays, I don’t negotiate a volume deal with my local electronics retailer, I just stop buying them.

Congressional Republicans lost their majority, in large part, because they refused to make the hard choices voters elected them to make, to stand up to interest groups and lobbyists and hold the line on government spending.  Democrats did well these past two election cycles in large measure because the people had lost confidence in Republicans’ abilities to make such choices.

Now, we see Democrats refusing to make such choices and contending that their only “choice” is to make a very hard choice, Obama’s campaign promise notwithstanding, and raise taxes on the middle class.

Will we ever elect politicians who choose to cut spending?

Did The Dead Put Al Franken Over the Top?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 6:50 pm - June 4, 2009.
Filed under: 2008 Congressional Elections

While current vote totals in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes for the state’s Senate seat have Al Franken up by 312 votes over Norm Coleman, a recent “review of Minnesota’s statewide database of registered voters revealed at least 2,812 deceased individuals voted in last November’s general election, according to a new report by the “traditional values” advocacy group Minnesota Majority.

Looking at this study, Jim Geraghty asks, “it would be useful to know the vote breakdown of these 2,800 or so votes.

While we may not be able to determine how the dead voted, there is a standard that gives us a pretty accurate estimate.  It’s from the City of Chicago which has a long history of dead men people voting.  Overwhelmingly the dead in the Windy City prefer the party of Richard Daley, a pioneer in the electoral rights of the formerly living.  Going with the Chicago rule whereby the dead vote by a margin of approximately 7.48 to 1 for the Democrat, 2,437 of the dead voted for Franken, with 375 voting for Coleman.

Some may have voted for Third Party candidate, Dean Barkley–alas, the Chicago rule does not consider Third Party candidates.  Also to consider, Franken has a name that is likely to make a dead voter more amenable to his candidacy.

So, it seems Franken picked up 2,062 votes from dead voters (give or take a few hundred).  Remove those from his tally and the lead returns to Coleman (who was ahead on election night and remained ahead until the Franken campaign persuaded canvassers to include previously rejected absentee ballots, where Democratic counties had more liberal standards for including such ballots than did Republican counties).

It seems that the dead really did put Franken over the top.

Posts* Where We Criticized GOP on Spending in Bush Era

Given that Bruce and I (as well as John and Nick) have been faulting Republicans, including former President George W. Bush, for not holding the line on federal spending for almost as long as we’ve been blogging, I find it most amusing to read snarky comments from liberal readers who ask why didn’t we protest the then-President’s bloated budgets.  Well, we didn’t take to the streets as we did on Wednesday.  And maybe we should have organized such protests.  But, we did take Republicans to task for losing sight of their conservative fiscal principles.

So, I thought I’d offer a few posts with their dates of publication to show that we’ve been doing just that–even when our party was in power.

2008 Elections: The Republicans’ DUI (November 17, 2008)

DeLay’s 1994 Election as House GOP Whip: Harbinger of GOP’s 2006 Defeat (November 14, 2006)

2006 Elections — Ronald Reagan’s Vindication (November 10, 2006)

GOP’s Failure to Hold True to Conservative Principles Cost Party Its Majorities
(November 8, 2006)

Conservatism Still Ascendant even if Democrats Prevail (October 30, 2006)

2006; An Election, not a Realignment (October 23, 2006)

Wall Street Journal Blasts GOP (October 2, 2006)

Reagan on My Mind (August 3, 2006)

George W. Bush: Moderate (May 15, 2006)

Grading the President on Reagan’s Legacy (March 20, 2006)

*Partial listing.

The Opportunity Bush & DeLay Gave Obama

For the past few days, I have been contemplating a few posts offering a kind of retrospective on the Administration of George W. Bush.  The more I think about this project, the more I realize how complicated it is.  The incumbent is hardly the caricature his opponents paint, yet he has blundered badly on a number of issues, particularly on domestic issues in his second term.

On the issue which will (likely) most define his term, particularly in the years immediately after he leaves office, he exhibited characteristics which reveal his greatest weaknesses and greatest strengths.  He stubbornly adhered to a failing strategy from 2004 through the end of 2006, then against widespread opposition from the political class (and even the military brass), shifted course, showing incredibly resolve in adopting a new –and ultimately successful–strategy.

And while I commend the president from learning from his father’s mistake and refusing to raise taxes, that’s all he learned from his father’s domestic record.  He didn’t fully understand that Ronald Reagan’s Vice President betrayed his predecessor’s legacy not merely by increasing taxes, but also by not holding the line of domestic spending.

It seems George Bushes don’t value fiscal discipline; domestic spending increased at a rapid clip during each man’s tenure in the White House.

And with a Republican Congress under Tom DeLay committed more to preserving political power than to promoting conservative policies, the party departed from the fiscal principles which led the GOP to electoral success in the 1980s on the presidential level and in the 1990s on the legislative level.  Our political fortunes would surely have improved had the principled Bob Walker defeated the opportunistic Tom DeLay in the 1994 election for House Majority Whip.

(more…)

On the Importance of Strategy in War & Politics

In between researching for my dissertation and writing this blog, I try to take some time each day to read a book related to my latest intellectual interests.  Currently, fascinated by the similarities one period in classical history, the fall of the Roman Republic, and my favorite period in American history, the founding of our republic, I am alternating between books on each period.

What amazes me is the sheer level of talent present at both those periods.  Just as there was a greater concentration of some of the most gifted American leaders in the revolutionary period than at any other time in our history*, so was there a similar concentration of wise (but not always noble) Romans in the last years of their republic–and the first of their empire.

Of course, the contrast is that one nation saw its republic extinguished as it gained strength in the world while the other saw a republic born in circumstances adverse to the development of a new nation.

About the conspirators who assassinated Cæsar now nearly 2,053 years ago in his Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician, Anthony Everitt writes that they had “no plans for the aftermath of the assassination:”

The Dictator had maintained, if only in form, the constitutional proprieties and Brutus and his friends judged that, once he had been removed, nobody would seriously try to prevent the Republic from slipping back into gear.  Their assumption was that the constitution would simply and automatically resume its function.  The Senate would have little difficulty in taking over the reins of power.  This was not an unreasonable analysis and was confirmed in the event–for the time being.

History shows us how wrong that assumption was be. You need a strategy if you want to win.  You can’t expect things to happen on their own.

One of the reasons George Washington succeeded where Marcus Brutus (and his fellow conspirators) failed is that he had a strategy for managing American losses in the Revolutionary War. And now via Jennifer Rubin, we learn that, in its current war against Hamas terrorists, Israel seems to have learned from Brutus’s failure and Washington’s success:

This time, Israeli military commanders are leading from the front, not trying to direct the infantry from television screens. This time, the military has clear plans, in stages, drawn up with a year’s preparation. This time, there is no illusion about winning a war only from the air.

The Israeli military has clear plans. It has a strategy for victory. Something which Norm Coleman lacked in the Minnesota recount. And John McCain in the most recent presidential campaign.

——-

*When I have a moment, I wil track down Joseph Ellis’ remarks to that end.

Where the GOP is Could Be Better off than the Democrats

Today while reading the Wall Street Journal’s Political Diary (available by subscription), I realized that in one way my party is better situated than the Democrats, well, at least come January 20. As I wrote the day after the election, with George W. Bush on the way out, we conservatives “can start advancing our ideas once again.”

Basically, we have ideas which resonate with a majority of the American people. We just need to adopt policies which promote them and not lose sight of them as have all too many of our elected leaders over the past eight, perhaps ten years.

In the aforementioned Diary, John Fund quotes Republican National Committeeman Solomon Yue of Oregon who said, “Articulating a political philosophy is equally important as applying it consistently. . . . Failing to do so, we have today’s identity crisis, which resulted in our losses in 2006 and 2008.”

Exactly.

If we articulate that philosophy, apply it, campaign on it, we can win elections. In the campaign just concluded, the Democratic nominee appreciated that better than did the Republican. Barack Obama campaigned on tax relief for the middle class and rooting out excess government spending. Not just that, voters were upset with the GOP for letting federal spending grow at almost unprecedented rate.

Note how, in election cycle after election cycle, Democrats obscure their party’s big-government philosophy. They didn’t campaign on scaling back welfare reform, implementing “card-check” labor union elections, expanding affirmative action or bringing back the “Fairness Doctrine.”  They campaigned against the spendthrift Republicans, with some Democrats even faulting their Republican rivals for supporting the Wall Street bailout.

Should Democrats govern as Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Pelosi would like, pushing for an ever larger federal government, they will certainly turn Americans against them.  Well, that is, if Republicans have learned the lesson of the past two elections and stand up against Democratic policies and make the case for more responsible fiscal policies.

Looks like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is off to a good start.  He recently called the President-elect’s $850 billion economic “stimulus” plan, “unprecedented government spending[:]  I believe the taxpayers deserve to know a lot more about where it will be spent before we consider passing it.”

Now, he needs to rally Republicans to oppose this billion-dollar boondoggle as they explain why it’s bad for our country’s fiscal health . . . in terms the average voter can readily understand.

Speaking of DC….

It is Hall Cleanup Season on Capitol Hill.   Those who lost — pack up and leave.  Those who suck up to the Leadership enough — pack up and move to bigger digs.  I saw one office getting brand new computers, too.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

All Eyes On Saxby!
UPDATE: A SAXBY LANDSLIDE!

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 7:52 pm - December 2, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Congressional Elections

Nope, not PatriotPooch…..

the Georgia Senate Race!

As of 7:50PM, with about 6% of the vote in — Saxby Chambliss leads Jim Martin by 66% to 34%.   But Atlanta and its immediate suburbs aren’t reporting in yet…. so hard to say how this will go.

UPDATE: It is looking verrrrrry good for Saxby!   With 68% of the vote in, Saxby leads 60% to 39%.

UP-UPDATE: SAXBY WINS RE-ELECTION. GOP will keep a check on Obamania in US Senate.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

UPDATE (from Dan): With 97% of precincts reporting, Chambliss wins with 57.4% of the vote, nearly 15 points ahead of his Democratic challenger. He thus ran ahead of McCain’s total in Georgia on November 4 while Martin ran behind his original percentage — and that of Obama. Doesn’t seem Obama can succeed in getting the vote out for candidates other than himself, something which bodes well for the GOP in 2010.

Saxby Needs Your Help!

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 5:11 pm - November 20, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Congressional Elections,Dogs

hi human peeple.  this is saxby, the dog.  patriot pooch.   i need you all to help my friend and namesake, the good senator of georgia — saxby chambliss.

he is having to be in something called a run-off election.  and he needs money because all of those bad democrat cats are ganging up on him.   cats, bad.

please go to this link and help saxby.

thank you peeple.  gaypatriot dad just gave some money — i thought you should know that.

-saxby (patriotpooch)

Will we ever contain the size of the federal government?

I first begin to feel disappointment with President Bush in the spring of 2003 when my friend David Boaz of the Cato Institute alerted me to an Op-ed he had written detailing the Republican’s spendthrift ways.  Instead of containing the size of the federal government as our party had long committed to do, Bush had expanded it — and not just for national security.

I had initially hoped that with Republicans in control of the executive and legislative branches of government for the first time in two generations, we could finally start cutting a federal government which had grown so rapidly during decades of Democratic legislative dominance.

And now with Democrats returning to power, controlling the executive as well as the legislative branches, it seems they’ll continue to push the growth that my party failed to contain.  Even after the GOP’s brief sojourn in power, they didn’t succeed in eliminating any significant federal programs.  Instead of Democratic policies restoring some kind of status quo ante, they’ll just build upon the growth long since in place.  Our government will be bigger than ever before.

So, herewith the great irony of the 2008 elections.  We’re about to have the most left-wing government in recent history, elected to replace one perceived as conservative but which was, in practice, particularly on domestic issues, anything but.

The problem is that while Democrats (and sometimes even Republicans) succeed in expanding the size and scope of the federal government, Republicans (when they are at their best) succeed only in containing its growth, not reducing its size.

With the media on the side of the Democrats and bigger government, it seems we’ll never succeed in returning to the Jeffersonian ideal of limited government.  Alas for our economy, for our nation, our freedom.

2008 Elections: The Republicans’ DUI

One of the biggest mistakes my party made this year was not to learn from the results of the 2006 elections.  In the immediate aftermath of that defeat, party leaders should have done on domestic issues what the president did on Iraq, acknowledge past mistakes and implement a new strategy.

Maybe we needed the electoral shellacking we took earlier this month the same way an alcoholic “needs” a DUI arrest.  Only when he suffers a serious consequence of his drinking to realize how destructive his habit has become.  The penalty makes him realize he needs to change.

Given the failure of the GOP to hold true to conservative principles, we deserved what we suffered on November 4.

But, the problem for our nation is that the Democrats haven’t been doing much better.  They succeeded largely because they were the non-incumbent party on the executive level.  At the same time that Democratic legislative candidates enjoyed significant electoral successes, their party’s legislators had approval ratings which made the last Republican Congress and the incumbent president seem popular by contrast.

As Democrats did not suffer defeat for their Congress’s low approval, we can expect more of the same.  They did not experience any adverse consequences for their unpopularity.  Given their leadership’s eagerness to increase federal spending (proposing to bailout the domestic automobile industry and to enact a multi-billion dollar “stimulus” package), it seems they’re hell-bent on going on a bender.

Alas, that the American people won’t be able to cite them with a DUI for two more years.

Did Democrats Campaign on their Leftist Agenda?

Last night, I had a thought which I hope I’ll time to look into in the next few days.

We keep reading about many far-left items on the agenda of congressional Democrats, a $300 billion dollar stimulus package, card-check legislation for union organization, regulation of free speech through restoration of the so-called “Fairnes Doctrine.”  And on and on.

And I wondered which of the Democrats elected on Tuesday campaigned on these issues.  Unlike Republican candidates for the House in 1994, Democrats this year did not unite behind a particular reform platform.

Please let me know if you have evidence that they did.  Or want to list other items on the Democrats agenda that they may not (or may) have campaigned on.

Stealing Oregon?

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:20 pm - November 5, 2008.
Filed under: 2008 Congressional Elections,2008 Elections

It looks like the Democrats will do anything to get a filibuster proof Senate.  Now comes word of “strange goings on in Portland, Oregon:”

the press are being asked to leave the building where the ballots from yesterday’s election are stored. The Democratic officials in charge of the building are saying there has been a flood.

Not sure how reliable this story is, but you can bet if we’d heard it about Republican officials keeping the press out, they’d be reporting it.

It would be a shame if the Democrats steal this seat from Gordon Smith, a gay-friendly Republican.

More as it develops.

On conservatism’s recent past — and its future

Dick Morris sums it up:

Power has been bad for the GOP, sapping the party’s soul and eroding its purity. But opposition, especially when a socialist like Obama wrestles with the practical problems of capitalism, will be a heady experience for the Republicans. The conservative movement can be reborn in opposition in a way they never could have been as the governing party.

Electoral Surprises? October Surprise?

I’d always thought this year we’d see some surprises come next Tuesday, perhaps McCain stronger in a state where he has been ruled out, a challenger not even on the national political radar defeating an incumbent in a House or Senate race.

Back in 1990, no one expected Christine Todd Whitman to come within a whisker of unseating incumbent New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley.  Her low-budget campaign tying the popular Democrat to the unpopular tax-hiking Governor Jim Florio paid off.  “Two weeks before the election, Mr. Bradley had held a wide lead in the polls. . . .   His final margin of victory was 55,180 votes out of 1.9 million cast.“  Three years later, Mrs. Whitman would unseat Florio.

We’ve heard of the woes of Pennsylvania Democrat John Murtha so his defeat, while welcome, wouldn’t be that much of a surprise.

I have a sense we’re in for some surprises, likely Republicans doing better that we fear, just wish I could identify them so come next Wednesday people would praise me for me foresight.  :-)

Do y’all have any idea what surprises might be in store for us?

And now, we’re getting to electoral crunch time when the Democrats invariably release their October surprise designed to blunt any Republican advantage in the campaign’s final days.  As polls show a tighter race, with undecideds possibly poised to break for McCain, this “surprise” could stop any stop any last minute surge to the Republican.

Let’s hope that should there be such a surprise, the McCain camp and its allies are ready to counter it.

GayPatriot LA Election Watching Party

Given the success of our outing to see An American Carol earlier this month, some of those who attended expressed interest in a GayPatriot election night watching party here in the City of Angels.

Please e-mail me if you’d like to join us and have a place in mind for the shindig.

On Tim Mahoney, Mark Foley and Media Bias

Two years ago at this time, you could not open up a newspaper or turn on a TV newscast without learning about the follies of then-recently disgraced (& then-recently) former Congressman Mark Foley. That Florida Republican had been sending sexually explicit Instant Messages to male House pages.

Now, we learn that Tim Mahoney, the Democrat who won Foley’s seat in Congress, paid “a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him.” The affair begin “in 2006 when Mahoney was campaigning for Congress against Foley, promising ‘a world that is safer, more moral.’

So, why is it that we don’t get wall-to-wall news coverage of the Mahoney scandal?  The Democratic House leadership knew about it before the story broke this week.  And here, there is hush money, something absent from the Foley scandal.

Is it the gay angle that made the Foley story so sensational?  Or did MSM merely use the story to advance their narrative about the hypocrisy of gay Republicans?  Or was it that pesky little (R) after Foley’s name, but not Mahoney’s?

Methink the explanation is that last one, given how little attention the MSM has paid to various Democratic scandals this year, including that of another Florida Democrat, Robert Wexler and of New York Democrat Charles Rangel. Not to mention the fundraising shenaningans of the Obama campaign.

Why is it that the MSM only get into high dudgeon when the scandal involves Republicans?

I guess it’s up to us bloggers, like Gateway Pundit who’s been all over this story, to go where the MSM refuses to tread.

UPDATE: Jennifer Rubin builds on this theme (below the “jump”): (more…)