The head of a group accused of illegally taping private meetings of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign visited the White House days before the group’s Twitter account began actively attacking the Kentucky Republican, according to White House visitors logs.
White House logs and the Twitter feed of Shawn Reilly, one of two men at the heart of the McConnell wiretapping scandal, show he met with White House officials on Dec. 5, just days before his organization Progress Kentucky began a messaging blitzkrieg against the Republican leader.
Reilly and Curtis Morrison are currently under investigation by the FBI for illicitly taping a campaign conversation between McConnell and a handful of his advisors. During the conversation McConnell and his aides discussed the potential candidacy of actress Ashley Judd — including using her mental health problems against her…
No one could possibly guess it from the TV talk or coverage by the daily press corps, but the Republican Party stands today at the threshold of historic political victories.
The forces pushing things in this direction are so strong that the permanent campaign of Barack Obama, the public sector unions and the like can’t prevail against them. The liberals this time are on the wrong side of history, and there is little they can do on their own to change the almost certain downfall that awaits them.
However, nothing in politics is absolutely certain, and there is an X factor in the equation that could keep the GOP from a victorious future.
This barrier, ironically, is the party’s own alleged leadership in the Republican National Committee, a swarm of GOP “consultants”, and top echelons of Congress — where the preferred mode of battle appears to be piecemeal surrender.
According to the recent RNC “autopsy” of the 2012 election, and other establishmentarian voices, what Republicans need to do to win is to be more like the Democratic opposition.
This is a siren song we’ve been hearing since the days of Nelson Rockefeller and John Lindsay, much used by opponents of Ronald Reagan. It was wrong then, and is equally wrong today.
In the current version of this tactic, the main issue being stressed is amnesty (by whatever name) for 10 to 20 million illegal aliens, as a supposed way of attracting Hispanic voters.
Not far behind are such leftward issues as same-sex marriage, downplaying restrictions on abortion, forgetting about the repeal of ObamaCare, and so on. Indeed there seems to be no policy stance at all for which these spokesmen are willing to do battle.
All of this is not only wrong in principle but in addition will be — and to a considerable extent already is — damaging to the Republican Party.
Based on history, not only will such liberal views not bring in new voters in significant numbers (since the Democrats can easily outbid Republicans on liberal issues), they will also alienate from the GOP the rapidly rising political forces that could carry it to triumph.
These forces, visible now in the fact that 60% of governors are Republicans and a comfortable GOP majority in the U.S. House, are overwhelmingly conservative and Republican.
They are of both economic and religious nature, and their combined effects are steadily reshaping the electoral landscape in favor of conservative values…
Yesterday the LA Times led its front page with a poll/story saying that Hispanics favor ObamaCare. So when the GOP speaks of repealing it, they hear them say they want to take their healthcare away.
That could be a problem.
Jim Geraghty looks at the how ObamaCare could be a lead balloon for Democrats in 2014.
I’m not sure I endorse this theory, but I’ll put it out there: What if 2012 didn’t represent a major turning point in the political preferences of the American people, didn’t signify an epoch-defining victory for liberalism over conservatism, and so on?
What if it just came down to Obama’s ability to delay the consequences of his first-term decisions until after November 2012?
One of the recurring arguments since November has been why Obamacare, never particularly popular in the polls, didn’t prove to be an Achilles’ heel for the president’s reelection bid. Whatever skepticism Americans had about Obamacare, it wasn’t enough to get them to remove the president who passed it. Perhaps they felt lingering skepticism about Mitt Romney because he passed his own health-care reform bill that included an individual mandate. Either way, not enough Americans were upset or worried enough about Obamacare to vote for the guy who pledged to repeal and replace it, over the guy who pledged to keep it.
But what if the public’s opinion on Obamacare was only half-baked in 2012? (Insert punchline about an electorate that was “half-baked” because of the marijuana-legalization initiatives here.) What if the issue was largely defused because only half of the plan had kicked in, and the second half would prove to be one kick in the pants after another to most American patients, doctors, and employers? What if the pooh-poohing of the “Death Panels” accusation proved beside the point, because long before IPAB started deeming treatments insufficiently cost-effective to be worth covering, the whole system would start to fall apart from skyrocketing costs and ludicrously complicated regulations?
Because with each new day, another promise is broken:
Unable to meet tight deadlines in the new health care law, the Obama administration is (more…)
…As practical politics go (not to mention personal morality), compassion is never a bad idea. But rest assured, politically speaking, the GOP will never out-”care” the Democratic Party. It will never out-empathize it. Or out-diversify it. Or be able to promise that government can do more. And it shouldn’t want to.
For starters, there’s no reason to accept the liberal definition of caring — at all. Conservatives can be as compassionate as anyone else; just look at polls that gauge who gives to charities. It just so happens that conservatives don’t like to do their caring with other people’s money. If Republicans start holding up government as the principal source of empathy, hope and charity, America can expect an even bigger arms race in spending and dependency — the kind that, in the end, burdens the young and poor and everyone else.
It’s one thing to be more diverse and open-minded, to engage all sorts of people, even to shift your opinions when generational forces or facts demand it. It’s quite another to, as Newt Gingrich explained at CPAC, become a “party focused on the right to life and the right to a good life.” To begin with, politicians are in no position to offer you a good life — or a right to it. Secondly, it’s a myth that a good life isn’t available to anyone who is genuinely seeking it. In any event, liberal populism already has a monopoly on victimhood, so there’s scarce room for Republicans in that space.
In many tactical areas, the Growth and Opportunity Project seems to make sense. Modernization and more effective outreach are great ideas. The problem is that too often, the RNC allows Democrats to define the parameters of debate. There’s way too much worrying about acceptance and far too little about persuasion.
As a practical matter, let’s concede for a moment that conceding issues such as immigration, gay marriage and abortion makes sense — and that’s the implicit message of the project’s report. I’m sympathetic on a number of points, but what’s the cost-benefit analysis? Folks in Washington are obsessed with winning, and winning is nice. But politics is their livelihood. Average Americans don’t participate in the political process to join a team; they knock on doors because — as surprising as this may be to some — they believe in something.
And even though social conservatives feel as if they’re being swept aside by Republican Beltway types, fiscal conservatism will fare no better under this thinking. The idea of free markets is a moral one — an American idea — and a sellable one. Yes, polls show that young Americans are more pro-government than ever. So it’d be nice if there were a plan to convince them of how wrong they are — as opposed to trying to sound more like the people they already agree with.
Los Angeles voters defeated a ballot measure that would have raised sales tax in the city to 10%. How the measure was promoted and why it failed sheds light on things to come.
Before getting into the vote, let’s note that the would-be funds raised by the measure were already 3/4 spent — on raises for city workers.
Also note that only 16% bothered to turn out to vote even though this was a mayoral election.
Voters in poor districts, where crime is higher, were told the extra money was needed for police.
Nearly every week, 70-year-old Barb Johnson hears word of a nearby robbery or car break-in in Vermont Knolls, her neighborhood of modest bungalows just west of the Harbor Freeway in South Los Angeles.
So it was alarming, she says, to learn this week that voters had rejected a proposed city sales tax increase that the mayor, the police chief and other civic leaders said was vital to shoring up the Los Angeles Police Department and improving emergency services.
“How are we supposed to keep our streets safe if there’s no money?” the retired office manager asked.
Barb didn’t address why the huge sums already spent were not enough to pay for police, paving streets or repairing sidewalks.
In Vermont Knolls, the measure won 82% to 18%
In Porter Ranch, a safer precinct, it failed 17% to 83%.
Several Valley voters interviewed by The Times said they don’t trust City Hall to manage its money and live within its means. They also didn’t believe that the $200 million in new revenue anticipated from the tax hike would have gone to public safety.
Police Chief Charlie Beck appeared in ubiquitous TV ads for the measure warning that public safety was at risk. He also told reporters the LAPD would lose 500 officers if the city did not get the added sales tax income. But voters like Mel Mitchell, 67, a resident of the northwest Valley hillside community of Porter Ranch, weren’t swayed.
“I like to think the voters are getting smart about that stuff,” he said.
But not everyone. Sales tax is a regressive tax, hurting the poor the most.
“Latinos do support bigger government more than smaller government,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center. In a survey conducted last year, his organization found that 81% of immigrant Latinos prefer a bigger government to one with fewer services. That support fell to 72% among second-generation Latinos and 58% in the third generation.
One might conclude that recent immigrants figure they have a lot to get from government. These are the “takers” Mitt Romney spoke about.
The GOP can take some consolation in seeing that as Latinos become more assimilated, the become more conservative — at least in terms of the size of government.
LA’s dimwit mayor said:
…he was not surprised that working-class neighborhoods more heavily favored the proposed tax increase.
“The people that need government are more supportive of a balanced approach to resolving our budget challenges,” he said. “They don’t want to see cuts in services. They want to see the city tighten its belt in the way that we have.
There’s that balanced approach again.
During Bush’s presidency we heard repeated shrieks of indignation from the Democrats that he was “shredding” the Constitution. This was largely about telephone intercepts in the war on terror.
You’d think they’d be up in arms about drone killings by Obama, but outrage seems to have its limits: it only counts when the GOP is in power.
Yesterday Rand Paul did a theatrical filibuster, which made for great TV. Most on the right applauded. But as much as I dislike Eric Holder, I thought he had a point.
…Senator Paul had written the White House to inquire about the possibility of a drone strike against a U.S. citizen on American soil. Attorney General Eric Holder replied that the U.S. hasn’t and “has no intention” to bomb any specific territory. Drones are limited to the remotest areas of conflict zones like Pakistan and Yemen. But as a hypothetical Constitutional matter, Mr. Holder acknowledged the President can authorize the use of lethal military force within U.S. territory.
This shocked Senator Paul, who invoked the Constitution and Miranda rights. Under current U.S. policy, Mr. Paul mused on the floor, Jane Fonda could have been legally killed by a Hellfire missile during her tour of Communist Hanoi in 1972. A group of noncombatants sitting in public view in Houston may soon be pulverized, he declared.
Calm down, Senator. Mr. Holder is right, even if he doesn’t explain the law very well. The U.S. government cannot randomly target American citizens on U.S. soil or anywhere else. What it can do under the laws of war is target an “enemy combatant” anywhere at anytime, including on U.S. soil. This includes a U.S. citizen who is also an enemy combatant. The President can designate such a combatant if he belongs to an entity—a government, say, or a terrorist network like al Qaeda—that has taken up arms against the United States as part of an internationally recognized armed conflict. That does not include Hanoi Jane.
Such a conflict exists between the U.S. and al Qaeda, so Mr. Holder is right that the U.S. could have targeted (say) U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki had he continued to live in Virginia. The U.S. killed him in Yemen before he could kill more Americans. But under the law Awlaki was no different than the Nazis who came ashore on Long Island in World War II, were captured and executed.
The country needs more Senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about.
Last month, I was invited to be on a panel at the bi-annual convention of the California Congress of Republicans. This isn’t just a gathering of like-minded conservatives. These are political activists whose lives are built around actually trying to wage successful campaigns in a state so blue, it could be renamed East Hawaii.
In case you’re unaware, this is the place where the Democrats hold super majorities in both the state senate and the state assembly. This is the place that Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, Brad Sherman and Maxine Waters, call home. We’re the cuckoo nest that decided that the only thing better than having a young Jerry Brown as our governor was having an old Jerry Brown.
The folks who show up at these conventions are nice people, but they are so divorced from reality that they actually believe they can win elections if they simply make 10 more phone calls or knock on 10 more doors at election time. And the truth is, they can. But only if they’re outside the large urban areas on the coast, which just happens to be where most of us live.
The way I look at it, they’re not hurting anyone and everybody needs a hobby. It’s sort of like the arts and crafts classes they have at the asylum. The activities aren’t going to cure the inmates, but it keeps them occupied. So it is that while the crackpots stay busy making lanyards and pot holders, California Republicans hold conventions.
The panel consisted of five politicians and me. I figured I had them out-numbered.
In my opening statement, I said, “When I heard I’d be up here surrounded by politicians, I figured I might have to use a crow bar in order to get a word in edgewise. So I better get it all said up front.
“There may have been a few California Republicans who couldn’t make it today because of the lousy weather, but it seems to me that most of us are in this room. Hard to believe that when I was young, California was a conservative state. What’s more, the L.A. Times was a conservative newspaper.
“When I heard Dick Morris tell Bill O’Reilly a few years ago that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina were locks to win their elections against Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer, I began trying to track him down. I didn’t want to set him straight, you understand; I just wanted to get a bet down.
“The fact is, I was convinced that Mitt Romney was going to defeat Barack Obama up until the time I heard Morris agreeing with me.
“The trouble in California is the trouble with America. Most voters are dumb and lazy and are either getting goodies from the liberals or hope to get them. And it certainly doesn’t help that the Left controls the message because they control the mass media. There is at least a partial solution. Instead of sinking millions of dollars into her own ill-fated campaign, Meg Whitman should have been buying up newspapers and local TV stations. Frankly, with the state senate and state assembly in the hands of left-wing super majorities, I couldn’t even imagine why she wanted to be the governor of California.
“People such as the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson should be doing the same thing on a national basis. I’m not suggesting they’d be able to pick up ABC, NBC and CBS, but there are plenty of other media outlets they could buy up and control, including those targeting Hispanic and Asian voters. Adelson, who wasted millions of dollars bankrolling Newt Gingrich’s ill-fated bid for the GOP nomination, owns the Sands and is worth approximately $22 billion. He does own a newspaper, by the way. Unfortunately, it’s the HaYom, in Israel.
“On a national level, the GOP is so dumb that they don’t even take advantage of the fact that the Democrats allow a couple of stiffs like Harry Reid, a man born to oversee funeral arrangements, and Nancy Pelosi, who’s had so much plastic surgery, even her dog no longer recognizes her, be the face of their party.
“But what does our side do? Instead of counterpunching by making use of such smart and personable people as Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Thune, by having them front for our side, we wind up with John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. Now, behind closed doors, they may be two very savvy guys. I wouldn’t know. But in a world where image counts for a great deal, they are about as appealing as chicken pox.
“With the GOP, our motto seems to be: God forbid we ever take advantage of an advantage.
“Even when we had control of the White House and the two houses of Congress, from 2001-2007, we did almost nothing to promote a conservative agenda. Instead, we behaved like a bunch of giggly high school girls hoping that the starting quarterback, aka Ted Kennedy, would invite us to the prom.
“When it comes to strategy, it’s as if the Democrats are playing in the major leagues and the Republicans are like kids goofing around in a sandlot. That’s why the best we do when we somehow manage to win national elections, is to half-heartedly apply the brakes. Alas, that means that when the Democrats inevitably stage a comeback, they get to pick up exactly where they left off.
“I mean, we controlled the works for six long years and we never even tried to head off ObamaCare by applying a little commonsense to the problem of health care in America. Did we allow people to buy insurance across state borders? We did not. Did we initiate tort reform in order to safeguard doctors against nuisance suits brought by ambulance chasers? Of course not. I mean, why would we want to offend trial lawyers, who are probably the fourth most generous benefactors to the Democratic Party, trailing only unions, Hollywood nitwits and George Soros!
“I hate to come off as the Grim Reaper, but I’m afraid the GOP has a bleak future in California. Unfortunately, there are sizable blocs of California voters — Hispanics, blacks, Asians, Jews, feminists, gays and college students — who have, for a variety of mainly venal reasons, found their home in the other party. And the fact is, habits, let alone addictions, are tough to break.
“In case it escaped everyone’s notice, in the 2012 presidential election, the positive news in California was that Obama received 420,000 fewer votes than he garnered in 2008. The really depressing news is that even after the state barely survived four years of this menace in the White House, Mitt Romney received 200,000 fewer votes than John McCain!
“But, in the spirit of the occasion, I will try to end this address on a high note. The truth is that things, even here in California, are not entirely hopeless.
“For instance, if that huge earthquake we’ve been hearing about our entire lives finally hits, and manages to dump a 30 mile swath of western California in the Pacific, not only would this hotel have an ocean view, but we Republicans would never lose another election.”
Michael Barone, one of many who predicted a Romney win, writes that the Democrats’ dream of dominance is unlikely.
Neither of our two political parties is going to be annihilated. Both have suffered far worse defeats than Mitt Romney and the Republicans suffered in 2012.
Both have figured out how to adapt and win over voters who used to vote against them. Or at least to position themselves to win when the other side’s president is seen to have massively failed.
The 2008-2012 Obama campaign — it never really stopped — did an excellent job of turning out just enough voters to win 332 electoral votes. But Obama carried just 26 states to Mitt Romney’s 24, which is relevant when you look at future Senate elections.
As for House elections, Obama carried only 207 congressional districts to Romney’s 228. That’s partly because Republicans had the advantage in redistricting after the 2010 census.
But it’s also because the Obama core constituencies — blacks, Hispanics, gentry liberals — tend to be clustered geographically in central city neighborhoods in big metropolitan areas. His big margins there helped him carry many electoral votes but not so many congressional districts.
The full text of Governor Bobby Jindal’s speech to the RNC this week.
Thank you all for having me here tonight. And thank you Reince for the outstanding leadership you provide to the Republican Party. And I want to thank our great RNC members from Louisiana, Chairman Roger Villere, National Committeewoman Lenar Whitney, and National Committeeman Ross Little for all of their hard work.
Let me warn you in advance that I plan to talk big picture here tonight, and I plan to say some things that may challenge your assumptions.
You may not agree with all of it, but that’s ok, ours is a party that can handle real discussions.
And now, after losing two Presidential elections in a row, is certainly the time for some candid discussion.
I. America is not the federal government.
The first concept I want to talk about is simply this – America is not the federal government.
Take a minute to let that thought sink in. America is not the federal government.
In fact, America is not much about government at all. In America, government is one of those things you have to have, but you sure don’t want too much of it…kind of like your in-laws.
This is of course the polar opposite of the political debate in our country today.
At present we have one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can expand it, and one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can get it under control.
It’s a terrible debate, it’s a debate fought entirely on our opponents’ terms.
A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and shortsighted debate.
If our vision is not bigger than that, we do not deserve to win.
In our public discourse today, America is pretty much defined by government, by the latest moves that occur in Washington.
If you landed from outer space…and read the news…and watched TV for a week…you would have to conclude that Washington is the hub of America and that what happens in Washington is what drives and dictates the success or failure of America.
In addition to Washington, there are a bunch of outlying areas we call states, but they are pretty much just adjuncts of the federal government.
This is not the idea of America. But…this is what America will become if we do not reorient our way of thinking right away.
As government grows ever larger, it will become what America is all about…if we let it. This is our challenge; this is what we are here for.
Look at the debates that have dominated Washington in just the last few weeks:
The fiscal cliff, the debt ceiling, and Joe Biden’s gun control task force.
These are in reality sideshows in Washington that we have allowed to take center stage in our country – and as conservatives, we are falling into the sideshow trap.
All of these sideshow debates are about government.
Government and government power are the leading lady and the leading man.
Today’s conservatism is completely wrapped up in solving the hideous mess that is the federal budget, the burgeoning deficits, the mammoth federal debt, the shortfall in our entitlement programs…even as we invent new entitlement programs.
We seem to have an obsession with government bookkeeping.
This is a rigged game, and it is the wrong game for us to play.
Today it’s the fiscal cliff, tomorrow it’s the fiscal apocalypse, and then it will be the fiscal Armageddon.
But I have news for you; our government already went off the fiscal cliff.
It happened years ago, and has happened every year for many years.
Today’s conservatism is in love with zeroes.
We think if we can just unite behind a proposal to cut the deficit and debt…if we can just put together a spreadsheet and a power point and a TV ad….all will be well.
This obsession with zeroes has everyone in our party focused on what? Government.
By obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington – instead of the real economy out here in Charlotte, and Shreveport, and Cheyenne.
We as Republicans have to accept that government number crunching – even conservative number crunching – is not the answer to our nation’s problems.
We also must face one more cold hard fact – Washington is so dysfunctional that any budget proposal based on fiscal sanity will be deemed ‘not-serious’ by the media, it will fail in the Senate, and it won’t even make it to the President’s desk where it would be vetoed anyway.
In fact, any serious proposal to restrain government growth is immediately deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington. The Balanced Budget is deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington.
Term Limits are deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington. Capping federal growth by tying it to private sector economic growth is deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington.
The truth is nothing serious is deemed serious in Washington.
When then-Senator Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling, he said he was doing so because the national debt was at an outrageous 8 trillion dollars…and he clarified for effect, saying that is “trillion with a T.”
Now President Obama has our national debt over 16 trillion dollars and climbing…larger than our entire economy. And he’s not worried about it in the least.
He calls it progress. You remember his campaign slogan, he says it is “Forward.”
I have news for the President – If Washington’s debt is going forward, America’s economy is going backward.
Instead of worrying about managing government, it’s time for us to address how we can lead America… to a place where she can once again become the land of opportunity, where she can once again become a place of growth and opportunity.
We should put all of our eggs in that basket.
Yes, we certainly do need folks in Washington who will devote themselves to the task of stopping this President from taking America so far off the ledge that we cannot get back.
We must do all we can to stop what is rapidly becoming the bankrupting of our federal government.
But we as conservatives must dedicate our energies and our efforts to growing America, to growing the American economy, to showing the younger generations how America can win the future.
That path does not lie in government. If more government were the answer, our economy would be booming right now. That path has been tried.
You can’t hire enough government workers or give enough taxpayer money to your friends who own green energy companies to create prosperity. The facts are in, it’s a disaster.
Balancing our government’s books is not what matters most. Government is not the end all and be all.
The health of America is not about government at all. Balancing government’s books is a nice goal, but that is not our primary objective.
Our objective is to grow the private sector. We need to focus our efforts on ideas to grow the American economy, not the government economy.
If you take nothing else away from what I say today, please understand this – We must not become the party of austerity. We must become the party of growth. Of course we know that government is out of (more…)
House Republicans have agreed to demand that the Senate pass a budget as a condition of any “long-term” debt-limit agreement. “Unless the Senate acts, there will be no consideration of a long-term debt-ceiling increase,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said in a statement Friday after GOP meetings in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to allow the Senate to pass a budget for nearly four years. The Senate last passed a budget in April 2009 — one that contained huge increases in spending passed by the big Democratic majorities in Congress at that time. Reid has made that elevated spending the new baseline by refusing to pass any budget since, with the government operating under a series of continuing resolutions based on the last budget that became law. (For background on the situation, see here.)
“Since taking the majority, House Republicans have done their job,” Ryan said in the statement. “We’ve passed a budget that promotes economic growth and gets spending under control. But for nearly four years, Senate Democrats have refused to pass a budget. Today’s agreement will hold the Senate accountable for this legal and moral failure. Just as April 15 is tax day for American families, it is budget day for Congress. Unless the Senate acts, there will be no consideration of a long-term debt-ceiling increase. I look forward to working with my colleagues—in both houses and in both parties—on this vital issue.”
What stunned House Speaker John Boehner more than anything else during his prolonged closed-door budget negotiations with Barack Obama was this revelation: “At one point several weeks ago,” Mr. Boehner says, “the president said to me, ‘We don’t have a spending problem.’ “
I am talking to Mr. Boehner in his office on the second floor of the Capitol, 72 hours after the historic House vote to take America off the so-called fiscal cliff by making permanent the Bush tax cuts on most Americans, but also to raise taxes on high earners. In the interim, Mr. Boehner had been elected to serve his second term as speaker of the House. Throughout our hour long conversation, as is his custom, he takes long drags on one cigarette after another.
Mr. Boehner looks battle weary from five weeks of grappling with the White House. He’s frustrated that the final deal failed to make progress toward his primary goal of “making a down payment on solving the debt crisis and setting a path to get real entitlement reform.” At one point he grimly says: “I need this job like I need a hole in the head.”
The president’s insistence that Washington doesn’t have a spending problem, Mr. Boehner says, is predicated on the belief that massive federal deficits stem from what Mr. Obama called “a health-care problem.” Mr. Boehner says that after he recovered from his astonishment—”They blame all of the fiscal woes on our health-care system”—he replied: “Clearly we have a health-care problem, which is about to get worse with ObamaCare. But, Mr. President, we have a very serious spending problem.” He repeated this message so often, he says, that toward the end of the negotiations, the president became irritated and said: “I’m getting tired of hearing you say that.”
With the two sides so far from agreeing even on the nature of the country’s fiscal challenge, making progress on how to address it was difficult. Mr. Boehner became so agitated with the lack of progress that he cursed at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Those days after Christmas,” he explains, “I was in Ohio, and Harry’s on the Senate floor calling me a dictator and all kinds of nasty things. You know, I don’t lose my temper. I never do. But I was shocked at what Harry was saying about me. I came back to town. Saw Harry at the White House. And that was when that was said,” he says, referring to a pointed “go [blank] yourself” addressed to Mr. Reid.
Mr. Boehner confirms that at one critical juncture he asked Mr. Obama, after conceding on $800 billion in new taxes, “What am I getting?” and the president replied: “You don’t get anything for it. I’m taking that anyway.”
UPDATE: Conn Carroll:
Remember, Obama’s first offer was for a $1.6 trillion tax hike and an infinite debt limit hike. Boehner countered with $800 billion. The final deal was for only $600 billion.
How is that not a “win” for Republicans?
MORE: Was the left taken to the cleaners? “The Democrats have made the Bush tax rates permanent for 98 percent of the public, which Republicans couldn’t even do when they controlled both houses of Congress and the presidency.”
Yeah, but there’s this rule: Anything less than a 100% victory for the GOP is instead a major victory for the Dems, according to all Democrats and most Republicans.
STILL MORE: Bob Krumm is very unhappy.
SO WITH TIM SCOTT’S APPOINTMENT, the GOP has the nation’s only black senator and both of its two latino governors. Kinda busts the racial narrative, doesn’t it?
UPDATE: The narrative isn’t giving up:“The linked WaPo article identifies Thurmond — ‘the former segregationist’ — as a Republican, but when he was a big-time segregationist, he was a Democrat.”
Yep. Just like DNC-member Bull Connor. Plus, from the comments:
A female, Indian GOP Governor appoints a black man to the Senate.
Do you really need any more evidence to believe that the GOP is engaged in a racist, sexist war on minorities and women?
Not if you’re at the WaPo, apparently.
Ethnicity, per progressives, must include racial identity and grievance. Everyone else is an Uncle Tom or house slave.
U.S. Rep. Tim Scott, who overcame poverty in North Charleston to build a successful business and political career, will be appointed today by Gov. Nikki Haley to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Republican Jim DeMint, The New York Times and CNN reported this morning.
Haley has scheduled a noon news conference to announce her pick. DeMint and U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from Seneca, are scheduled to attend.
Scott, 47, would become the first black U.S. senator from the South since Blanche Bruce of Mississippi in 1881.
The Low country Republican would succeed DeMint, who announced on Dec. 6 that he was resigning with four years remaining in his second six-year term to head the Heritage Foundation think tank next month.
Tim Scott beat Strom Thurmond’s son in the 2010 House primary. Now he will sit in the seat Thurmond once occupied.
For some reason, the quadrennial humiliation of the Republican presidential candidate now coincides with the release of the new Bond movie. Don’t ask me why; probably a constitutional amendment I missed along the way. Last time round, Kevin Sessums interviewed Daniel Craig and, as a final question, asked which presidential nominee would make the better 007:
Craig doesn’t hesitate. “Obama would be the better Bond because — if he’s true to his word — he’d be willing to quite literally look the enemy in the eye and go toe to toe with them. McCain, because of his long service and experience, would probably be a better M,” he adds, mentioning Bond’s boss, played by Dame Judi Dench. “There is, come to think of it, a kind of Judi Dench quality to McCain.”
A few readers may recall my response in this very space four years ago:
Oh, great. John McCain has survived plane crashes, just like Roger Moore in Octopussy. He has escaped death in shipboard infernos, just like Sean Connery in Thunderball. He has endured torture day after day, month after month, without end, just like Pierce Brosnan in the title sequence of Die Another Day. He has done everything 007 has done except get lowered into a shark tank and (as far as we know) bed Britt Ekland and Jill St. John.
And yet Daniel Craig gives him the desk job.
McCain is what an action hero looks like — unkempt, scarred, maimed, unable (thanks to the Vietnamese) to raise his hands above his head to brush his hair. But Obama is what an action hero looks like to a movie producer — cool, fashionable, neither shaken nor stirred, a man who looks as if he’s never broken a sweat in his life. In Daniel Craig’s world, Obama’s glamour trumped McCain’s scar tissue — as it did for the electorate.
I thought it might go differently this time. In 2008, Craig was promoting Quantum of Solace, which seemed about right: Yeah, it was a grim night for Republicans, but Bush was unpopular and Americans were war-weary and the global economy had nosedived off the cliff. Four years on, Craig’s back promoting Skyfall, and, alas, that seems about right, too. There’s no solace: The sky fell in. Mitt did bad, and the Republican party did worse. And worse is to come, if the reactions of the “experts” are any indication: On the one hand, the GOP needs to junk all that uptight social-conservative stuff. On the other, they need to reach out to demographically surging Hispanics because they’re natural social conservatives. Whatever. Meanwhile, Barack Obama gets another four years to “quite literally look the enemy in the eye and go toe to toe with them,” which is not how surviving consulate staff in Benghazi would recall it.
To state the obvious: The whole Republican election campaign — the primaries, the debates, the genius consultants, the billion dollars on robocalls and attack ads — was a complete waste of time. I doubt the final tally in the Electoral College would have been any different had the entire GOP gone to the Bahamas for the last 18 months and sent a billion-dollar check to some favored Third (more…)
Over the next few years and maybe just months, the debts we have accumulated and that this presidency has doubled will begin to assert themselves. We must hope and work to see that an easily imaginable panic and economic ruin does not result. At best, economic circumstances will remain difficult.
Even if reserve currency status and the absence of alternatives continues to protect us a while longer, the ObamaCare legislation will take effect. Its implementation will likely be a nightmare of missed deadlines, public confusion, inconsistent exceptions, and dashed expectations. Every claim made for the bill will be shown to have been false: health care costs will go up, not down; government spending and debt will go up, not down; the economy will be injured, not benefited; people by the millions will in fact lose the health insurance they have and like. Indeed, these calamities are already evident.
These failures, abetted by the natural tendency of Americans to swing the pendulum every so often, set the stage for a powerful restoration of an architecture of liberty. Freedom’s friends must be ready, not just with cerebral prescriptions for better policy, but with a moral argument that affirms the God-given dignity of each of us, that says “Yes, you can” to everyone. . . .
In 1980, a Wyoming single mother mystified a New York Times reporter by stating that yes, absolutely she supported candidate Reagan’s proposed income tax cuts. “But, why?” the reporter spluttered. “You don’t make enough money to pay income taxes!” The woman’s reply was “One day I will.” Freedom’s friends must shape their words and actions, when the opportunity for action arrives, in ways that say emphatically “Yes, you can” and “One day you will.”
With the “fiscal cliff” looming and no “grand bargain” in sight, talk in Washington has turned to a “down payment” — a package of spending cuts and revenue increases that would help us avoid the cliff and give leaders more time to strike a long-term deal. House Speaker John Boehner says such a mini-deal would serve as “a down payment on — and a catalyst for — major solutions, enacted in 2013, that begin to solve the problem.”
Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Passing a down payment now could very well doom the chances for major tax and spending reforms next year.
Since Republicans are (for the moment) holding firm to their opposition to raising tax rates, the only way to increase revenues in a down payment is to close loopholes and limit or eliminate deductions — something Republicans have expressed a willingness to do as part of a larger deal for tax and spending reform.
As the Wall Street Journal recently pointed out, there’s a lot more revenue here than most people realize. According to the liberal Tax Policy Center, capping all itemized deductions at $50,000 a year would yield $749 billion in extra revenue over 10 years — almost as much as the $823 billion that President Obama’s plan to raise tax rates on top earners would yield in the same period. Moreover, such a cap would soak the rich first. The top one-fifth of income earners would pay more than 96 percent of the higher taxes.
If you lower the cap on deductions even further to $25,000, there’s even more revenue to be found — an additional $1.286 trillion over 10 years. And a $17,000 cap would raise an additional $1.747 trillion in a (more…)
If the GOP wants to win more black votes, it will need to get a lot more “racist.”
The scare quotes are necessary because I don’t think the Republican Party is racist now (and, historically, has a lot less to answer for than the Democratic Party does).
But that hasn’t stopped people from slandering Republicans as racist for one reason or another.
Right now, many in Washington insist that Republican attacks on UN Ambassador Susan Rice are racist and, yawn, sexist. The basis for this claim is that some Republicans are calling Rice unfit for the job of secretary of state.
More specifically, they’re cross with Rice for what they contend to be her dishonest and incompetent handling of the Benghazi scandal.
And, because Rice is a black woman, well, blah, blah, blah. Racism! Sexism!
Never mind that Republicans haven’t had a white secretary of state since Lawrence Eagleburger concluded his term two decades ago. Never mind that Republicans appointed the first black secretary of state ever (Colin Powell) and the first black female secretary of state ever (Condoleezza Rice).
Also, never mind that Susan Rice’s handling of Benghazi — and several other matters — can quite defensibly be dubbed incompetent.
But that doesn’t stop Democrats or liberals from crying racism.
Just consider some recent examples from over the summer. When Mitt Romney (more…)
…everybody is jumping on Romney’s chain today, getting in his chili. Look, he may have not been the most optimal candidate, but he’s a fine man. He would have been great for this country. Mitt Romney and his family would have been the essence of exactly what this country needs. But what was Romney’s recipe? Romney’s recipe was the old standby: American route to success, hard work. That gets sneered at. I’m sorry. In a country of children where the option is Santa Claus or work, what wins? And say what you want, but Romney did offer a vision of traditional America. In his way, he put forth a great vision of traditional America, and it was rejected. It was rejected in favor of a guy who thinks that those who are working aren’t doing enough to help those who aren’t. And that resonated.
The Obama campaign was about small stuff. War on Women, binders, Big Bird, this kind of stuff. The Romney campaign was about big things, was about America. It’s mind-boggling to go through these exit polls. You want to hear a statistic that is somewhat surprising? Romney received two and a half million fewer votes than McCain did. Now, who would have called that? Who in the world would have? I think Obama’s vote tally was down ten million from 2008, and we still lost. We lost 50 to 48 nationally. We were not able to build a turnout model that looked like 2004. Very puzzling.
Something else. Just stream of consciousness here. The usual suspects are out, and they’re saying, “Rush, we gotta reach out now to the Hispanics and reach out to the minorities, blacks.” Okay, let me remind you of something. Just ask you a question. And we will be getting your phone calls of course today, you weigh in on this, 800-282-2882 is the number. Let me take you back to the Republican convention. We had Suzanne Martinez, female Hispanic governor, New Mexico. We had Condoleezza Rice, African-American, former secretary of state. Both of those people imminently qualified, terrifically achieved. They have reached the pinnacles of their profession.
We had Marco Rubio. We had a parade of minorities who have become successful Americans. And they all had a common story: up from nothing, hard work, their parents sacrificed for them. Now, why didn’t that work, folks? The answer to that is our future. Why didn’t it work? Some people say, “Well, Rush, we pandered.” No, we didn’t pander. Everybody says that we need to reach out to minorities. We have plenty of highly achieved minorities in our party, and they are in prominent positions, and they all have a common story. They all came from nothing. Their parents came from nothing. They worked hard. They told those stories with great pride. Those stories evoked tears. It didn’t work. And don’t tell me that people didn’t watch the convention or people didn’t see it. I mean, there’s a reason it doesn’t work.
Democrats have successfully convinced themselves and others that the GOP were intent on thwarting Obama from the outset, America be damned.
(Obama uses the McConnell misquote in the post below.)
Like William F. Gavin, I hugely enjoyed Clint Eastwood’s turn last night, but I’m not sure I agree that it was “unintentionally hilarious” and that “he forgot his lines, lost his way.” Clint is a brilliant actor, and a superb director of other actors (and I don’t just mean a quarter-century ago: In the last five years, he’s directed eight films).
He’s also, as Mr. Gavin observed, a terrific jazz improviser at the piano — and, in film and music documentaries, an extremely articulate interviewee. So I wouldn’t assume that the general tenor of his performance wasn’t exactly as he intended. The hair was a clue: No Hollywood icon goes out on stage like that unless he means to…
…I do love how the press corps has been whining for for decades about how these conventions are too scripted, too planned, too inauthentic and inorganic. And the moment we have a genuine TV moment they’re all shocked and horrified. I suspect that the smug condescension wouldn’t be nearly so raw and nasty if the target had been Romney and the act had been performed in Charlotte.
But I don’t think partisanship explains it all. There’s a tendency for the political press to get so cozy with the political pros that they start to think alike. Breaking out of the groupthink about how things are done can produce a sharp negative reaction (particularly when you’re watching it live and have some deeply-set expectations about what is smart or even possible). That doesn’t mean, necessarily, that the groupthink is wrong. As conservatives in particular should appreciate, sometimes “the way we’ve always done it” is actually the right way.
Which brings me to a concession to the critics. If Eastwood wanted to do something like this, this wasn’t the best way to do it. Going way long in the precious last hour of primetime was unfair to the Romney campaign. Not working out the sound issues in advance (because he kept turning his head sideways away from the mic, the audience inside the arena often couldn’t hear his clipped lines) was a mistake. There may have been a more artful way to make the same point as the blue-ish material. And so on…
No, just against illegal immigration.
Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, spoke about how his father had come to America from Italy at age 7 and worked as a coal miner until he was 72.
Ted Cruz, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Texas, spoke of how his father fled Cuba in 1957 with $100 sewn into his underwear and, after arriving in America, worked washing dishes for 50 cents an hour.
Nikki Haley, the Republican governor of South Carolina, spoke of her experience as the daughter of immigrants from India. Her parents started a small business out of the living room of their home.
Ann Romney, the wife of the presidential candidate, spoke of her father who came to America from Wales at age 15.
Mia Love, the Republican mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, is the daughter of parents who came here from Haiti with just $10.
If you’re black, conservative and female, how will the diversity-loving members of the left treat you?
By editing your Wikipedia page within moments of your speech, writing:
“…she is a total sell-out to the Right Wing Hate Machine and the greedy bigots who control the GOP and love to see people like Mia Love be exploited like the House Nigger she truly is.”
So sayeth the Left Wing Love Machine.
I’ve heard so much obtuse commentary about Christie not mentioning Romney until late in his speech. Here is what I think:
- When Romney chose Paul Ryan, he was announcing that his campaign would be about big ideas, the biggest being federal spending, which ultimately is about entitlement reform. It takes guts to bring up unpleasant subjects in a campaign.
- Christie was expanding on that, saying that the GOP was going to treat Americans like adults who won’t fall for pandering (let’s hope) and will deal with the serious problem of debt.
- Christie cited his experience in New Jersey, not to brag, but as an example to persuade independents that reforms can work and that a Republican can work with Democrats to get things done.
- Romney is not so insecure that he needs to be mentioned in every breath. His name will not be forgotten at the end of three days.
Ann Romney was engaging and lovely. I don’t look to political speeches for inspiration, but I found myself smiling the whole time she spoke.
What a bright presence.
In 2010, influenced by the Tea Party and its focus on fiscal issues, 17 states elected Republican governors. And, according to an Examiner.com analysis, every one of those states saw a drop in their unemployment rates since January of 2011.
Furthermore, the average drop in the unemployment rate in these states was 1.35%, compared to the national decline of .9%, which means, according to the analysis, that the job market in these Republican states is improving 50% faster than the national rate.
Since January of 2011, here is how much the unemployment rate declined in each of the 17 states that elected Republican governors in 2010, according to the Examiner:
Kansas – 6.9% to 6.1% = a decline of 0.8%
Maine – 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6%
Michigan – 10.9% to 8.5% = a decline of 2.4%
New Mexico – 7.7% to 6.7% = a decline of 1.0%
Oklahoma – 6.2% to 4.8% = a decline of 1.4%
Pennsylvania – 8.0% to 7.4% = a decline of 0.6%
Tennessee – 9.5% to 7.9% = a decline of 1.6%
Wisconsin – 7.7% to 6.8% = a decline of 0.9%
Wyoming – 6.3% to 5.2% = a decline of 1.1%
Alabama – 9.3% to 7.4% = a decline of 1.9%
Georgia – 10.1% to 8.9% = a decline of 1.2%
South Carolina – 10.6% to 9.1% = a decline of 1.5%
South Dakota – 5.0% to 4.3% = a decline of 0.7%
Florida – 10.9% to 8.6% = a decline of 2.3%
Nevada – 13.8% to 11.6% = a decline of 2.2%
Iowa – 6.1% to 5.1% = a decline of 1.0%
Ohio – 9.0% to 7.3% = a decline of 1.7%
On the other hand, the unemployment rate in states that elected Democrats in 2010 dropped, on average, as much as the national rate decline and, in some states such as New York, the unemployment rate has risen since January of 2011.
This is yet another example of how the so-called “blue state” model is not working.
Democrats better brace themselves for a blow to their self esteeem.
Yet another new survey shows that Republican supporters know more about politics and political history than Democrats.
On eight of 13 questions about politics, Republicans outscored Democrats by an average of 18 percentage points, according to a new Pew survey titled “Partisan Differences in Knowledge.”
The Pew survey adds to a wave of surveys and studies showing that GOP-sympathizers are better informed, more intellectually consistent, more open-minded, more empathetic and more receptive to criticism than their fellow Americans who support the Democratic Party.
“Republicans fare substantially better than Democrats on several questions in the survey, as is typically the case in surveys about political knowledge,” said the study, which noted that Democrats outscored Republicans on five questions by an average of 4.6 percent.
The widest partisan gap in the survey came in at 30 points when only 46 percent of Democrats — but 76 percent of Republicans —- correctly described the GOP as “the party generally more supportive of reducing the size of federal government.”
The widest difference that favored Democrats was only 8 percent, when 59 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of Democrats recognized the liberal party as “more [supportive] of reducing the defense budget.”
The survey quizzed 1,000 people, including 239 Republicans and 334 Democrats.
However, Pew’s data suggests that the Democrats’ low average rating likely is a consequence of its bipolar political coalition, which combines well-credentialed post-graduate progressives who score well in quizzes with a much larger number of poorly educated supporters, who score badly.
For example, the survey reported that 90 percent of college grads recognized the GOP as the party most supportive of cutting the federal government. But that number fell to 54 percent of people with a high-school education or less.
In contrast, the Republican party coalition is more consistent, and has few poorly educated people and fewer post-graduates.
Pew’s new study echoes the results of many other reports and studies that show GOP supporters are better educated, more empathetic and more open to criticism than Democrats.
Much of this polling and survey work has been backed up by novel research from the University of Virginia.
UVA researchers have used a massive online survey to show that conservatives better understand the ideas of liberals than vice versa. The results are described in a new book by UVA researcher Jonathan Haidt, “Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion.”
The book uses a variety of data to argue that conservatives have a balanced set of moral intuitions, while liberals are focused on aiding victims, fairness and individual liberty. Conservatives recognize how liberals think because they share those intuitions, but liberals don’t understand how conservatives think because they don’t recognize conservatives’ additional intuitions about loyalty, authority and sanctity, Haidt argues.
The academics’ work is also being backed up by commercial research into the tastes and political views of potential customers.
For example, researchers have learned that Internet sites offering financial information, sports scores, online-auctions attract far more interest from Republicans than from Democrats, according to a 2010 study by National Media Research, Planning and Placement, based in Alexandria, Va.
In contrast, Democrats outnumber Republicans at online dating sites, job-searches sites, online TV and online video-game sites, said the firm.
This commercial data-analysis is often used by companies to identify and attract customers. For example, the firm also conducted a study of chain restaurants’ customers, which concluded that the customers of Popeyes, White Castle, Dunkin’ Donuts and Chuck E Cheese were mostly Democratic, while the customers at Cracker Barrel, Chik-fil-A, Panera and Bob Evans were mostly Republican.
The same restaurants study showed that the customers at Cracker Barrel, Panera and Bob Evans were the most likely to vote in elections.