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What’s Gotten Into the GOP?

Posted by V the K at 10:04 pm - February 11, 2014.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Noble Republicans

I predicted it in December, and today, the House GOP completely caved in on the debt increase and presented Mr. Obama with a blank check to continue borrowing, printing, and spending the money to support the massive expenditures his FSA demands. Not even purely symbolic amendments for bipartisan committees on debt reduction or entitlement reform… which they could have embarrased Democrats into voting against… were offered. “This is not the time to fight,” said Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), trying out the GOP’s inspiring new 2014 campaign slogan.

Update: Mr. Paul Ryan and Mr. Eric Cantor were guests at the president’s lavish state dinner last night. (The one where Mrs. Obama wore the $12,000 designer dress.)  You might want to drop them a line on twitter and ask them how the caviar was.  (Paul Ryan on Twitter – @PRyan) (Eric Cantor on Twitter – @GOPLeader)

Analysts think the Republicans are just beaten down and exhausted, or that they don’t want to risk antagonizing the delicate sensibilities of the swing voters their highly paid consultants tell them are the key to holding onto their phoney baloney jobs. (Base? What base?) There is another possible explanation.

Maybe the GOP has gone L.I.B. (Let It Burn).

Imagine you’re a GOP congressman, and you know full well the country is on an unsustainable fiscal and economic course. You look at the 2012 election as the last chance to turn the country around; and the country (expressed in terms of stupid people voting in large numbers) said, “We don’t want to turn around, we want to burn!”

You can see two predictable outcomes to this course; tyranny or collapse (probably one followed by the other).

Having reached that conclusion, your next rational course of action might be self-preservation. This can take the form of not antagonizing the people who are likely to be running the forthcoming tyranny. It might also mean making as much money as you can now to insulate yourself against collapse later.

If you look at the current behavior of the GOP as self-preservation in the face of imminent catastrophe, it makes perfect sense why they are submitting completely to the Democrats, and seeking to make as much money as they can off their big, rich donors. (Paul Ryan, especially, seems to be angling for a lucrative position at the US Chamber of Commerce.)

(more…)

Tom Coburn: My Hero

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:00 pm - May 21, 2013.
Filed under: Noble Republicans

In today’s Washington Examiner, Philip Klein reports that even as “residents of his home state recover from the devastating tornado”,

Sen. Tom Coburn deserves credit for sticking with his position that all emergency aid spending should be offset.

“He’s always had the same position since the Oklahoma City bombing,” Coburn spokesman John Hart wrote in an email. “We should offset disaster aid by sacrificing less vital areas of the budget.”

Coburn, Klein reminds us, has, in the past, insisted that northeastern disaster relief should be offset by spending cuts elsewhere.

But by remaining consistent even when his own state has been at the receiving end of a brutal storm, Coburn gives more credibility to the limited government position.

Kudos, Senator. Would be nice if more elected officials followed your lead, reminding us that federal funds are limited and the government should prioritize its spending.

Just as do most Americans.

GOP needs to “effectively address” working/middle class concerns

Earlier this morning, caught a good piece from Byron York on why winning the Hispanic vote would not be enough to secure a GOP presidential victory.  Here’s the crucial paragraph:

But here is the real solution. Romney lost because he did not appeal to the millions of Americans who have seen their standard of living decline over the past decades. They’re nervous about the future. When Romney did not address their concerns, they either voted for Obama or didn’t vote at all. If the next Republican candidate can address their concerns effectively, he will win. And, amazingly enough, he’ll win a lot more Hispanic votes in the process. A lot from other groups, too.

Read the whole thing.  Did recall reading something about a year ago on Mitt Romney’s failure to appeal to working class votes disaffected from the incumbent administration.  York is right; the next Republican candidate needs to effectively address their concerns.

Part of the answer, ironically enough (given the premise of York’s piece), lies in a piece Jill Lawrence published last week in the National Journal, a piece on Republicans’ challenges with Hispanic voters.  Lawrence cited a focus group whose participants . . .

liked what they heard about Medicaid, immigration, economics, and education in clips from speeches by some prominent party figures. But the people they listened to—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush—are unusual in how they talk about these issues and seemed like anomalies to the focus-group participants. (more…)

Democrat acknowledges W’s followthrough on Katrina

Of all the left-leaning pundits on CNN, Donna Brazile comes across as the most level-headed and the least smug, in part because the charismatic and sage Democratic strategist identifies herself as such and doesn’t pretend something she’s not (i.e., a nonpartisan observer).  A few others may claim to be dispassionate, but they wear their liberal ideology on their sleeve.

And Brazile, despite her partisan leanings, does give Republicans credit where it is due as she did earlier today on CNN”s web-page, departing from the media-crafted narrative of the immediate past president’s incompetence in responding to the Katrina catastrophe:

Despite the many differences I had with former President George W. Bush on a range of public policy issues, or as he called them, “decision points,” I found common ground with him in one area, simply because we decided to put aside partisanship and do something good.

Hurricane Katrina’s devastation and the bungled rescue efforts are seared in the national memory. Bush’s “heckuva job” remark turned into a byword for government incompetence and public distrust. The shallowness of it coming at such a terrible and low point left deep wounds that are still healing. That was what it was.

Tapped in 2005 by the then-governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, “to serve on the state’s commission overseeing the long-term recovery from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina,” Brazile saw more than just that one inopportune comment:

Bush understood the need for civility. I joined him despite my frustration because the need was too great for finger-pointing and blame-making. (more…)

Rand Paul: The ‘Old Guard’ Attacking Me Means I’m Winning

Just some tasty red meat:

YouTube Preview Image

The interview touches on the key issue of Paul’s recent filibuster. In my own words: If the government can execute American citizens, on American soil, pre-emptively (without an active crime or combat situation and without due process), simply by designating them ‘terrorists’ first… well, who’s a terrorist? Please note that:

With such examples, we see that the Obama – Big Government – Big Banking nexus is indeed prone to labeling its domestic ideological opponents as ‘terrorists’.

Fortunately and as we know, the Obama administration did answer Paul’s filibuster with a clarification of the limits on domestic drone strikes.

[^^I can’t recall Biden’s GOP counterparts – Vice President Cheney, or VP candidates Sarah Palin and Paul Ryan – ever saying that their domestic, non-violent political opponents were terrorists. If you think any of them did, I invite you to find a solid reference and post it in the comments. Quotes about Bill Ayers won’t count, since Ayers was actually violent for awhile.]

UPDATE: Rand is on a roll. “For liberty to expand, government must shrink.” Link is timed to that line, but watch the whole thing.

Why Don’t Bush-Haters LOVE! Rand Paul?

Perhaps like me, you’re enjoying this great new TV show I just found on C-SPAN2 called Mr. Paul Goes to Washington where my favorite Senator is currently filibustering President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan. As I write this, he’s currently about to ring in his sixth hour. The goal of Senator Paul’s soliloquy is, as he has stated several times since I’ve been watching, simply to elicit one thing: A straight-forward answer to the question, (to paraphrase) ‘Does the president believe he has the legal authority to execute through drone strike non-combatant citizens on American soil?’

Brings up a very interesting point: For eight solid years, we heard screeching and gnashing of teeth from the Left about how George W. Bush wants to kill us all and eat our babies and of course shred the Constitution through wars based on lies and the horrible PATRIOT Act. But in the end, who is it who’s actually standing up for these ideals? Well, so far I’ve seen Senator Paul in exchanges with Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Pat Toomey. Odd, don’t you think, that it’d be these ‘Tea Party right-winger knuckle-draggers’ who are actually doing the work that the Bush-haters allegedly wanted done while the leaders of their nominative party are lining up with their president in his expansion of Bush’s ‘unitary executive’ policies?

Clearly it’d be expecting waaay too much for the addlepated adherents to the Bush-is-Satan school of political thought to recognize the irony of the situation, let alone find that realization a great opportunity for self-reflection. Sad, that.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)

NB: I had originally written the paraphrase of Sen Paul’s question as “power” to execute. Clearly that’s within the president’s power, but I’ve clarified (I hope) by changing my original post to read “legal authority”, which I think is likely more to his point.

Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan!

On the Gipper’s 102nd, we share with you one of his greatest speeches, delivered in October 1964 in support of Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign.

And note how Reagan focuses not so much on the candidate he backs, but the ideas he espouses.

It was that commitment to the American ideal of freedom which would define the Republican’s political career and help account for his success — and his greatness.

Mitch Daniels’s Election Post-Mortem: Mitt Misreads Dependency

In perhaps the best short critique of Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment, outgoing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels offers that Mr. Romney

. . . was right about the origin of his problem but wrong about its essence. Without doubt, we have a significant number of Americans for whom dependence and something for nothing have become a way of life. But they were far from 47% in number, and would have voted for the incumbent President under any circumstances.

. . . .

that Mr. Romney “was right about the origin of his problem but wrong about its essence. Without doubt, we have a significant number of Americans for whom dependence and something for nothing have become a way of life. But they were far from 47% in number, and would have voted for the incumbent President under any circumstances.”

(Via Powerline picks.)  Read the whole thing.  Now, Romney was right to address the dependency issue, but he did so in a manner at odds with the dominant strain today of conservative thought.

A real conservative would worry about the growing culture of dependency, but express his belief that most Americans would embrace free-market opportunities should they be made available.  A Republican needs to be able to talk, as Ronald Reagan did, as Jack Kemp did, how conservative policies increase those opportunities and so reduce dependency, but in terms which can really command the assent of people who do not devote much attention to politics, even if they are currently dependent on a federal check for their subsistence.

Jeb Bush gets what Mitt Romney missed
(about conservatism and “economic mobility”)

Readers of this blog know that I have long been a fan of Jeb Bush, having favored the accomplished former Florida Governor as my candidate for 2012 at least since November 2010.

And while it is still too early to start planning for 2016, when you google that good man’s name, look at what comes up:

Our reader Kyle alerted me to an article that shows that Jeb understands an aspect of modern American conservatism that Mitt Romney failed to articulate.  “Jeb Bush,” writes Mark Silva . . .

. . . the former Florida governor who based a political career on school reform, today called for a “restoration” of lost American values and economic mobility based on educational accountability.

With the gap between the impoverished and privileged in the U.S. widening, the solution lies in a regime of school and teacher evaluation, national standards and more “school choice” in alternatives such as charter schools, he said.

“We have these huge gaps in income,” Bush said at the start of a two-day Washington conference sponsored by his Foundation for Excellence in Education, “with people born into poverty who will stay in poverty.” He said: “This ideal of who we are as a nation — it’s going away, it’s leaving us,” adding: “There is one path that can change this course.”

Emphasis added.  Economic mobility, his belief that people born in poverty, reared in dependency, don’t have to stay in that condition and can rise about their circumstances.

It frustrated many Reagan-Kemp conservatives when, right after the Florida primary, Mitt Romney said because of the “safety net,” he wasn’t concerned about the very poor.

Reagan conservatives, however, have long been concerned about the poor because that safety net sometimes traps them in a cycle of dependency.   And we want to create the opportunities that will help them find the means to move up into a better economic situation. (more…)

Chris Christie: If Obama believes he can’t change Washington from the inside, why is he asking for another four years?

The Governor of New Jersey wonders why the incumbent President of the United States is seeking a second term:

(Via Charlie Spiering at the Washington Examiner.) At 0:18, he addresses the president, “You’ve been living inside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, for the last four years. If you don’t think you can change Washington from inside the White House, then let’s give you the plane ticket back to Chicago you’ve earned.”

It’s Chris Christie, watch the whole thing.

Next gay Congressman from Mass likely to be a Republican

In just a few months, gay Americans will no longer have to experience the embarrassment of having a mean-spirited liberal as the most prominent gay Congressman.  With the retirement of Barney Frank, more pleasantly disposed gay Democrats, like Colorado’s Jared Polis, should come to the fore.

And while the unhappy Mr. Frank will no longer be representing Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives, it seems increasingly likely that another gay man — and one with a much better understanding of the way the world works and a keen appreciation of the burdens the government places upon individuals — will be representing the Bay State in Washington., D.C.

It seems increasingly likely that Richard Tisei, the only congressional challenger I have officially endorsed this year, appears poised to oust Democrat John Tierney in the state’s 6th Congressional District.

The National Journal ranked the race as “the 11th most likely to turn over among the 435 seats in the House” and” the Rothenberg Political Report, another nationally regarded nonpartisan observer, tipped the race to ‘Lean Republican’ from ‘Toss-up.’”  That’s good news for Massachusetts, for gay Americans in general and gay Republicans in particular.

His campaign could always use a few extra bucks to make sure they get his supporters to the polls next month.  Join me in supporting this good man.

Once again, a reminder: Mitt Romney is a mensch

Most Republicans who watch this video will learn nothing new about Mitt Romney, but it is striking that CBS News would run a piece so favorable to the Republican presidential nominee (this close to the election).
 Via Glenn Reynolds.

Methinks Mitt wouldn’t have turned out as well as he did without the influence of one particular individual: (more…)

Chaz Bono to Headline Fundraiser for Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack

Twice while helping out with Outfest, I have experienced the class of Chaz Bono.  When honored by the festival one year on Opening Night, instead of delivering a long speech, he, humbled by the honor, briefly thanked the festival, then returned to his seat, understanding that people were eager to see film.  Another time, when I was managing the theater where he was appearing, he showed incredible courtesy to the Outfest staff (including yours truly), thanking us for our assistance, respect to his audience, staying to talk to anyone who wished to have a word with him.

He is showing his class once again — and a bit of courage — by joining Cindy McCain and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan in hosting a fundraiser, organized by our friend Ric Grenell, for his step-mother, Republican Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack on Sunday, October 14, 2012 from 5:00 until 6:30 PM. For more information and to RSVP, contact Reagan Cotter.

Mrs. Mack is the only Republican woman in California’s House delegation.  She voted to repeal Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, has signed Americans’ for Tax Reform Taxpayer Protection Pledge and  has been honored by that organization as well as the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Join me in supporting this good Republican, voting the right way on DADT repeal and supporting a smaller, less intrusive federal government.

Tax returns show Mitt Romney’s empathy

Thanks to Erika Johnsen at HotAir for teasing out some important details in Mitt Romney’s just-released tax returns.

This past year, he gave $4,020,772 of his  $13,696,951 in (“mostly investment”) income to charity.  That’s 29.65%.  Interestingly, “The Romneys [only] claimed a deduction for $2.25 million of those charitable contributions.

Romney also provided details on his past 20 years of tax returns, indicating that he paid taxes in each of those years.  Do wonder if Harry Reid will now apologize for slurring the good man from Massachusetts.  And “Over the entire 20-year period, the Romneys gave to charity an average of 13.45% of their adjusted gross income.”

By contrast in the ten years prior to his nomination to be the Democratic candidate for Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden gave 0.15% of his income to charity.  (UPDATE:  For comparison purposes, in the 20 years prior to his current bid for the White House, Mitt Romney gave ninety times as much of his income to charitable institutions as did Joe Biden in the 10 years prior to his nomination as the Democratic candidate for Vice President.)

Sounds like Mitt Romney is a most generous man, an empathetic individual.

UPDATE:   John Podhoretz looked more closely at the returns than did I and caught this:

As a member of the Mormon church, Romney is instructed to tithe 10 percent of his income. That’s in keeping with most charitable giving: Religious institutions get about one-third of all contributions, according to The American magazine.

In 2011, his tithe would have been $1.4 million — which means in that year alone he gave more than twice as much to other charities through his own foundation and through other means.

Via Instapundit.  Romney gave more than his church required him to tithe–and gave to groups other than his church.

UP-UPDATE: Romney Gave 1,000 Times as Much to Charity in a Year as Biden Gave in a Decade

Mitt Romney: Mensch

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:44 pm - August 31, 2012.
Filed under: Noble Republicans

A Jew could pay fewer higher compliments to another individual than to call him a mensch, meaning that he embodies the highest, the best qualities of a human being.  The more we learn about Mitt Romney’s life since he married Ann the more we realize that the man is a mensch.

Just watch the testimonial the Oparowskis offered last night:

(H/t: The Corner.)

Mitt Romney does seem to be a man of great empathy.

No wonder Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker “would have preferred to see more testimonials from people talking about Romney” last night.

Ryan’s Reaganesque Remarks Echo Nation’s Founding Principles

Last year, from a seat on bloggers’ row in the (metaphorical) rafters the Excel Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, I watched the Republican vice presidential nominee deliver a speech that wowed us all.  “If this were baseball,” I wrote from those rafters, “the ball would be up here.  Or further.  She’s hitting this out of the park.”

You could feel the energy in the hall.  You could feel it as people left the auditorium, seemingly floating, not walking, back to our cars and busses.

“Leaving the hall” last night, reports the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, Republicans seem to have had similar feelings, offering “reviews of [this year vice presidential nominee Paul] Ryan’s speech that ranged from ‘fantastic’ to ‘awe-inspiring.’  If any were underwhelmed, they didn’t show it.”  Even non-Repubilcans liked it.   One 2008 Obama voter blogged that “Ryan did a brilliant job. It was much more than a fine speech and an excellent delivery. He embodied that speech. We saw a brilliant candidate.

Jim Geraghty called the speech “Reaganesque“.  Ryan skeptic Paul Mirengoff dubbed it “optimal“, his blogging colleague John Hinderaker called it “fantastic.”  The fetching Wisconsin Republican criticized, as Jennifer Rubin observed, “‘more in sadness than in anger’ with great expression of empathy for fellow citizens.

Glenn Reynolds listed his favorite lines, including the one about “fading Obama poster”.  Maybe everyone is buzzing about that one, but two other passages which struck me, the first, Ryan ribbing his running mate for his choice in music.  Can you imagine Joe Biden making fun of Barack Obama’s tastes in music (or anything else for that matter)?*

Perhaps, I should cite his conclusion where he harkened back to our nation’s “founding principles”, but it was this passage where he articulated one of those principles that really resonated with me:

In a clean break from the Obama years, and frankly from the years before this president, we will keep federal spending at 20 percent of GDP, or less. That is enough. The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government, and we choose to limit government.

In the Declaration of Independence, Mr. Jefferson listed the British government’s “long train of abuses and usurpations” against the American people.  The Constitution placed strict limits on what the new federal government could do. (more…)

Chris Christie, like Paul Ryan, reminds us that the Republican is the party of real reform

Last night, after having dinner with a friend, we ended up, pursuant to part of our conversation, watching the first half of Excalibur, a flawed, but very (very, very) watchable movie.  As a result, I missed the two “big” speeches at the Republican National Convention last night.

When I did scan the web last night, I learned that conservative bloggers andpundits, while almost unanimous in loving Ann Romney’s speech, had mixed views on Chris Christie’s.  Byron York thought the New Jersey governor’s address did not succeed. Jonah Goldberg called it “a mild disappointment.

Jennifer Rubin and John Podhoretz liked the speech, with the latter citing the governor’s failure to attack the incumbent indicated instead a suggestion

. . . that the electorate in November would turn to the Republican ticket because it understands better than politicians the depth of the country’s problems — and that only the Republicans would speak honestly about them and the need to change course before it’s too late.

Perhaps, the reason Christie highlighted his own record was to show that understanding and that even thought Republican leaders in state houses across the country face incredible obstacles to reform, but are nonetheless pushing ahead with solutions to their jurisdictions’ problems.

Christie’s goal, in short, was to warm up the audience for Paul Ryan, showing that Republicans have solutions to the nation’s fiscal problems.

In the interview with the other Republican elected to replace a Democratic governor in 2009, the National Review’s Jim Geraghty asks a question which shows not just that Republican governors have championed reforms, but that reforms has helped improve the economic situation in their states: “Completely coincidental“, he quips “that all of Obama’s national policies are only working in those Republican states, huh?”  (I.e., states where Republican governors have enacted real reforms.)

“What Paul Ryan brings to the ticket”, adds that governor, Virginia’s Bob McDonnell,

 is a seriousness about the incredible challenges facing America. (more…)

The governor of New Jersey understands what ails California

Why can’t this guy be my governor?  Well, at least I didn’t vote for Jerry:

Via Washington Free Beacon via Michael Warren.

Warren slurs Scott Brown because of that (R) after his name

Yesterday, at Legal Insurrection, Anne Sorock reported that Elizabeth Warren was playing the “rape card against Scott Brown” even though the Massachusetts Senator was one of the first Republicans to criticize Todd Akin and ask the Missourian to withdraw from the Senate contest:

To Miss Warren as to Congressman Jan Schakowsky, it doesn’t matter that Republicans have overwhelmingly denounced Akin, with every prominent Republican who has spoken out on the matter as well as a sizable number of conservatives in the media asking the Congressman to exit the Senate contest.  (Interestingly, it seems that most of the people who want Akin to stay in the race are Democrats and allied special interests.) These folks are determined to smear the GOP at all costs.

The good news is that a poll by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic shows Brown has “opened a significant lead on Warren, 49-44.

Help keep this good man from Massachusetts in “the people’s seat” by donating to his campaign.

UPDATE:  PPP isn’t the only poll showing Brown ahead.  Another survey provides almost identical results:

According to a Kimball Political Consulting survey of registered voters in Massachusetts, Senator Scott Brown has a 6 point lead over Democrat Elizabeth Warren (49 percent to 43 percent) with 9 percent undecided. The figure is just within the survey’s 4 percent margin of error.

Via Powerline picks.  No wonder Miss Warren is scraping the bottom of the peril.  The Democratic candidate can’t seem to get much traction in this overwhelmingly Democratic state.

Seems Paul Ryan shares Ronald Reagan’s incurable optimism

Asking whether “Incurable Optimism” is A Genetic Trait, Glenn Reynolds quips, “IF SO, MAYBE IT REALLY IS INCURABLE“.  Ronald Reagan too thought optimism was incurable as manifested by his delight in  repeating the story about the man who had two sons, one an incurable optimist, the other an incurable pessimist.

As I recall when I heard Paul Ryan speak at the sacred shrine of freedom Reagan Library, he offered the optimistic son’s concluding comment, expressing his certainty that there just had to be a pony in that pile of horse manure.

Methinks that’s one thing which makes the fetching Wisconsin Republican such a compelling candidate; he knows the Gipper’s tales and shares his optimism.

Yes, optimism does seem to be incurable.   And it does seem more Republicans than Democrats share this affliction with the Gipper — and with Mr. Ryan.