Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Shaking It Up In The KY House, A Little

CN/2 is reporting that Kentucky House Republicans have created a new position in party leadership: Chair of the House GOP Campaign Committee.

Rep. Jonathan Shell will fill the new role; he was elected unanimously  House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover (who was reelected despite a challenge) created the new position with a view to taking over the House majority in 2016.

I am glad the caucus recognized that it needs to try something new after November's disappointment of  Republicans failing to take the House yet again despite Mitch McConnell's 15 point win.  I'm pleased that House Republicans didn't wait to get started.

Shell, according to Hoover, is hard-working and has taken the initiative on fund-raising in the past.  He will continue to focus on fundraising as well as candidate recruitment. He points out in his interview that House Republicans raised an "unprecedented" $500,000 last election.

Raising money is not enough.  There needs to be an autopsy on what went wrong last cycle. Did the "unprecedented" money raised go to pay political consultants who promise much but deliver little?  What will be done differently this time?

Until Shell can give a sober and detached assessment of the mistakes of 2014, he will have a hard time convincing donors to give once more to "flip the House."  Indeed, we have heard so much in recent years about plans to "flip the House" that the expression has become hackneyed, sort of a code for impending defeat.

So Shell's first task should be to come up with a replacement slogan for "flip the House."

Monday, December 29, 2014

Obama Never Ceases to Amaze

It is no secret that President Barack Obama suffers no insecurity issues.  To the contrary, his sense of self-worth is wide and paved with self love.

So this story should come as no surprise, and yet it shocks me:  Obama booted off of a Hawaiian golf course two Army Captains who had planned to marry there.  They were forced to relocate their wedding to suit the president's tee time.

To be sure, Obama gave them 24 hours.  Anyone who has ever planned a wedding can imagine the inconvenience, outrage and panic the poor bride must have felt.  Well, maybe not panic.  She is, after all, an Army Captain and presumably resilient, courageous and used to overcoming adversity.  This was not, however, a foray by an enemy or a terrorist attack:  it was Obama, playing golf.  Something he gets to do - a lot.

Obama is the Commander-in-Chief to both this bride and groom. His rudeness in displacing any couple in these circumstances is hard to comprehend; to do so to his soldiers is disgraceful.

Obama called the couple and apologized.  Maybe he didn't know that his underlings had told the bride and groom to go elsewhere.  However, that doesn't give a lot of comfort because it simply reconfirms the perception that Obama's staff is arrogant and unchecked.  The tone is set from the top.

The fish rots from the head.  

Friday, December 19, 2014

Grimes Gives Rand a Gift

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes might have thought she was sounding tough recently when she told Sen. Rand Paul that she will go to court, if necessary, from keeping Paul from appearing on the ballot twice.

Grimes told WHAS 11's Joe Arnold:

The law is clear,” Grimes told WHAS-TV in Louisville. “You can’t be on the ballot twice for two offices.”
“We’ll look to the court for any guidance that is needed,” she added. “And at the end of the day, we’re not going to be bullied.”
That removes a legal hurdle for Paul, a doctrine called standing, that might have been problematic for him but for Grimes's statement.  Standing is a doctrine that court's use to avoid ruling on a case.  It requires that the plaintiff have a particularized injury that could be redressed by the relief sought in the case. That allows courts to dismiss cases where the connection between the relief sought and the injury alleged is speculative.  
For Paul, standing might have been an issue if he challenged Kentucky's statute prohibiting one's name from appearing on a ballot twice.  If Paul brought suit before he had actually filed to run for both the U.S. Senate and the presidency, there is a very real possibility that the court would dismiss on either standing or ripeness.
Grimes's comments, however, make clear that Paul's injury is neither speculative nor premature.  She has, in effect, teed up his legal challenge for him by removing several possible procedural hurdles.

My C-J Column On Free Trade

In case you missed my Courier-Journal column on free trade this week, here's the link.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jeb is Running

Jeb Bush has just announced on FaceBook that he has" decided to actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."  This is no surprise; one of his good friends told me last March that Jeb would run. 

I wish him well.  I really do.  

But I do not want to see him become the nominee.  It is not his last name.  I think the Bush fatigue that the country experienced at the end of W's term has largely dissipated due the incompetence and mendacity of Obama.  Every day that Obama remains in office makes W look better by comparison.  (Hell, Jimmy Carter looks better by comparison).

 Jeb is by all accounts a smart and decent man.  However, he is not conservative enough on immigration or on Common Core.  

I am sick and tired of the Republican party nominating moderates.  When we nominate moderates we lose.  We saw this with Ford, Dole, Bush 41's bid for reelection, McCain and Romney.  All moderates.

When we nominate bold and unapologetic conservatives -- Reagan and W -- we win.  To my mind, Jeb would govern more like his father than his brother.

To be sure, he'd be a better president than Hillary or Fauxaontas.  If he is the nominee I will therefore support him.  I just hope that isn't the case. 

Mayor Fisher to Veto Minimum Wage Hike

Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher announced last night that he will veto the Metro Council ordinance that would raise the minimum wage to $10.10.

Fisher said that he supports a minimum wage hike on a state-wide and national basis.  The problem with just raising the minimum wage in Jefferson County, he explained, is that it would drive jobs to nearby counties.

That's the same point I made in my Courier-Journal column a few months ago. I have to commend Fisher for his courage in taking this position, for which he took tremendous heat on Twitter immediately upon announcing it.  For a Democrat, Fisher has been relatively pro-business.

Where Fisher gets it wrong is that a state-wide minimum wage hike takes the same problem and just magnifies it; jobs would flow to states surrounding Kentucky that have not raised their minimum wage. A national minimum wage increase, according to the CBO could cost America between 600,000 to one million jobs.

My youngest son, reading the rants against Fisher on Twitter, observed to me that the market is already pricing labor above the current minimum wage.  That's why he earned $9 and hour for flipping burgers.

The minimum wage is a terrible policy that hurts those it is designed to help:  the poor and unskilled, particularly young minorities.  Instead of increasing the minimum wage, it would be better to repeal it altogether.


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Obamnesty Travesty

My column in this Wednesday's Courier-Journal will address Obama's Executive Amnesty and the underpinning of Obama's legal education that in my opinion helped him rationalize that overreach.

One point that space did not permit:  Obama's Executive Amnesty will disproportionately harm blacks, the one voting block that has been most devoted to him.  Katie Kieffer makes that point on Townhall, here.  It makes me quite sad.  Obama has taken advantage of the loyalty of blacks to beef up another part of his coalition, Hispanics, that vote for Democrats but in less reliable numbers.

Those poor blacks who are struggling for employment now will find their prospects changed, alright, thanks to Obama.  He has taken these voters for granted for too long.

That's why Sen. Rand Paul's outreach efforts -- echoed locally here by Jefferson County GOP Chair Nate Haney -- offers a real alternative to voters who Democrats have failed.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time for a Post Mortem on KY House

Bill Stone's comments to Joe Gerth in today's C-J were spot on:  the election results in the Kentucky House were not acceptable, and we need to determine what went wrong. (Apologies:  the story is not linking for some reason.  It appears in the Sunday C-J)

Money was not the problem.  Three Super PACs focused on Republicans flipping the Kentucky House. There has never been more money directed to that goal.

The political environment was not the problem.  The Republican wave Tuesday night swept in GOP candidates at all levels of government.  We didn't just reelect Mitch McConnell and win the U.S. Senate.  As Gerth points out, Kentucky is now the only state in the South where Democrats still control  a legislature.  Even West Virginia has left us behind.  Compare that to the nine (count 'em, 9) Democratic state legislative bodies that flipped to Republicans this week.

Getting out the vote was not the problem.  Thanks to McConnell running a presidential-caliber campaign,  Republicans finally used technology effectively to identify and target supporters.

So what on earth went wrong?

My hunch is that Republicans did a poor job recruiting candidates and training and supporting those once recruited.  There may be other factors, as well.

On the one hand, the Kentucky Republican Party deserves huge props for its awesome mailer  -- the hologram that morphed Obama into Grimes, with "Hope" being replaced with "Nope."  This is the first and only mailer that my kids thought so cool that they actually saved it.   This mailer was so effective that it cut through all the clutter in the last days of the campaign.  It was like an exclamation point on the election.  So well done to whoever conceived and executed that mailer.  If only some of that creativity had been directed at the House races.

Further, candidate recruitment and training also falls within the province of the state party and the Republican leadership in the House.  I echo what Bill said:  I am not calling for heads to role.

I am calling for a serious and searching discussion of what went wrong so that we can fix it.  Part of leadership is having the humility to admit to making a mistake.  This is not about pointing fingers but rather finding answers.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

This Election Gets Better and Better

This made my day:  the Washington Free Beacon has obtained CIA reports showing that Iranian leaders have been worried for weeks about Republicans winning control of the Senate. It seems that the Iranian powers have access to better pollsters than, ahem, some in Kentucky.

If the Islamofascists are worried about the GOP's big wins Tuesday night, that is yet another reason to celebrate.  The Iranian mullahs do not have America's interests at heart.  And they have repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map.  Their unhappiness with the election results therefore makes me happy.

The Iranians have correctly concluded that Obama will no longer be able to appease them as they make progress with their nuclear program.  Republicans understand that the point of a nuclear Iran is to bomb Israel -- not for energy.  Given Iran's access to cheap and plentiful oil,  they have no need whatsoever for nuclear energy.

As the Washington Free Beacon writes,

The eventual outcome of Tuesday’s elections prompted many Iranian commenters and officials to express concern that years of U.S. capitulation to Iranian demands might soon come to an end.
Republican gains in Congress appear to have motivated Iran to work harder toward inking a nuclear deal with the Obama administration before the lame duck legislative session concludes, according to an official analysis by the CIA’s Open Source Center authored ahead of the midterm elections.
Some Iranians are now betting that the White House will fully lift sanctions before the new Congress assembles and that it will also sign a deathat permits Tehran to continue enriching uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon.
Iranian hardliners are pushing to cut a deal with Obama before the lame duck session ends because they recognize that Obama will not be able to get a sweetheart deal through the Republican-controlled Senate come January.

It reminds me of Iran releasing the American hostages -- kidnapped under Jimmy Carter -- because Ronald Reagan had won the presidential election.