Thursday, December 30, 2010

Maria Cino for RNC Chair

Maria Cino is running for RNC Chair. This is fantastic news for the party, and I hope the national committee members will quickly rally around her. The party is extremely fortunate that she is willing to undertake such a job after the mess Michael Steele has made of the RNC.

I met Maria years ago, at the RNC during the second Reagan administration. She is one of the funniest, nicest most competent people I met in Washington (or anywhere, for that matter).

She has no ego. None. She will not use the RNC Chair as a stepping-stone -- something that has been a big problem under the Steele regime.

It is not possible to find a more motivational boss, particularly for an institution where morale has suffered in recent years. Maria knew everyone at the RNC, and everyone loved her. She has this creative energy and passion for conservative politics that makes everyone around her want to work as hard as it takes to not only get the job done, but to achieve excellence in the process.

As the Daily Caller notes, her resume is unparalleled. The 2008 Republican National Convention ran like precision instrument under her leadership (she was convention CEO). She has taken troubled organizations in the past and turned them around. She has Midas touch for fundraising -- again, exactly what the RNC needs at this juncture.

And Maria has integrity. Anyone who has ever met her knows that immediately. What makes Maria such a rarity in Washington is that she is completely forthright. Moreover, she has proposed specific changes to prevent a recurrence of the scandals that have embarrassed the RNC under Steele.

The national committee members have a rare opportunity to hire someone who has proved, over the course of three decades, that she can do the job. Indeed, she has proved that she can do most any of the jobs on the RNC staff personally, if necessary. There is no other candidate who can claim that.

The notion that her experience makes her too much of an insider for Tea Partiers is laughable. Maria is a Reagan conservative. She comes from the union, Catholic background that Reagan brought into the conservative fold, and without which Republicans cannot win.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, 2010

Hopefully the START treaty won't prevent NORAD from tracking Santa.

My youngest son, Eric, explained the whole NORAD system a few years ago when he was 10, and I cannot improve upon his analysis:


If you want to know the exact location of Santa to know when to put your children in bed, Google Earth and NORAD in Peterson Air Base in Colorado have created the ultimate site to track Santa. Click here. If you're wondering how their high-tech machines track Santa, it all starts with their radar tracking his take-off. Then their satellites (which are normally used to detect missiles that may be launched into North America) find their targets by heat sensors. But this time it picks up Rudolf's nose. Then the Santa cams, which are placed all over the world, pick up images of Santa and his reindeer. Pilots in Canada in numerous locations fly off in their CF-18's and escort Santa. American pilots take off in F-15's or F-16's and get to fly with Santa.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

McConnell on So-called Net Neutrality

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell addressed the FCC's plans to regulate Internet providers -- just the latest intrusion from an administration that has never met a government regulation it did not love. This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Here's a little background on the issue. And here's McConnell's statement from the floor of the Senate, below. I wonder if the reference to Trojan Horse is an Internet pun?

“Later today the Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve new rules on how Americans access information on the Internet. It has a lot of people rightly concerned.

“The Internet has transformed our society, our economy, and the very way we communicate with others. It’s served as a remarkable platform for innovation at the end of the 20th century and now at the beginning of the 21st century — and all of this has been made possible because people have been free to create and innovate, to push the limits of invention free from government involvement.

"Now that could soon change. Today, the Obama Administration, which has already nationalized health care, the auto industry, insurance companies, banks and student loans, will move forward with what could be a first step in controlling how Americans use the Internet by establishing federal regulations on its use. This would harm investment, stifle innovation, and lead to job losses. And that’s why I, along with several of my colleagues, have urged the FCC Chairman to abandon this flawed approach. The Internet is an invaluable resource. It should be left alone.

“As Americans become more aware of what’s happening here, I suspect many will be as alarmed as I am at the government’s intrusion. They’ll wonder, as many already do, if this is a Trojan Horse for further meddlingby the government. Fortunately, we’ll have an opportunity in the new Congress to push back against new rules and regulations.”

Sunday, December 19, 2010

McConnell to Oppose START Treaty

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell announced this morning on CNN's State of the Union show that he will not vote to ratify the START treaty. Good for McConnell; Ronald Reagan would have advocated exactly the same position with respect to verification and missile defense

McConnell also objected the Democrats' attempt to jam this through before Christmas -- just like last year's infamous Christmas Eve vote on Obamacare.

"I've decided that I cannot support the treaty. I think the verification provisions are inadequate and I do worry about the missile defense implications of it. The McCain amendment yesterday regarding missile defense was defeated, and I know the administration actually sent a letter up yesterday, indicating they're committed to missile defense. But an equally important question is how do the Russians view missile defense and how do our European allies view missile defense? And I’m concerned about it. I think if they'd taken more time with this—rushing it right before Christmas, it strikes me as trying to jam us. I think if they'd taken more time—I know the members of the Foreign Relations Committee spent a lot of time on this but the rest of us haven't—and so all of a sudden we're once again trying to rush things right here before Christmas Eve. I think that was not the best way to get the support of people like me.”

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sen. Corrnyn Gives GOP Weekly Address

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) gives this week's Republican address. He notes that even though the new Republican members of the House and Senate have not been sworn in, their election has changed the terms of the debate in Washington by giving Republicans leverage to keep taxes from going up. Likewise, in preventing a huge spending bill Republicans as Cornyn put it, "got the message."


And here's the transcript:

On November 2, voters elected 13 new Republican Senators and sent 63 more Republicans to serve in the House of Representatives. This week, even before these new reinforcements have taken their seats, Republicans showed the American people that we got the message. And everyone can see how your choices have already changed the terms of the debate here in Washington.

“First, Republicans prevented a massive, job-killing ‘New Year’s Day tax increase.’ Before Congress acted, every American taxpayer was looking at a much higher tax bill in just a few weeks. Those higher taxes would have been devastating to millions of American families and small businesses and could have increased the risk of a ‘double-dip’ recession.

“But our bipartisan agreement with the White House changed all that. Our agreement keeps marginal income tax rates low, preserves the one-thousand-dollar per child tax credit, extends relief from the marriage penalty, blocks higher taxes on capital gains and dividends, protects at least 21 million additional families from the Alternative Minimum Tax and reduces the sting of the ‘death tax’ on families and small businesses.

“This bipartisan agreement was made possible because voters gave Republicans much more leverage at the negotiating table. Our leverage forced the White House to abandon its ‘class-warfare’ rhetoric; stop pandering to the President’s left-wing base; and do the right thing for American taxpayers and job creators.

“Republicans delivered even more ‘tidings of comfort and joy’ this week by holding the line on reckless federal spending. Despite their willingness to work with Republicans on taxes, Senate Democrats went their own way on spending by proposing a nearly $1.3 trillion omnibus bill on the American people and by insisting we’d have to vote on it before anyone had the time to figure out what was in it.

“This ‘spending snowstorm’ was nearly 2,000 pages long. It combined 12 separate appropriations bills that were never debated or amended on the Senate floor. And it included more than one billion dollars to feed the beast of ObamaCare, part of which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge just a few short days ago.

“Senate Republicans stood together but we did not stand alone. Millions of Americans made their voices heard on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. You lit up the phone lines across the Capitol and across the Nation. Thank you for doing that. You helped strengthened the resolve of the Republican Caucus and rattled the nerves of the big spenders on the other side of the aisle.

“As we approach the Christmas Season and the New Year, it’s easy to see how much you have changed our Nation’s Capital. Last year, on Christmas Eve, Senate Democrats passed a divisive 2.6 trillion dollar health care bill strictly along party lines. This year, God willing, Washington will give the American people a far better gift: a silent night.

“Have a joyous holiday season, keep our troops in your prayers, and remember that the best days for our country lie ahead.

Friday, December 10, 2010

This is What a Real Governor Looks Like

Mona Charen's piece on Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and the prospect of him running for president, is bitter-sweet for Kentucky Republicans.

On the one hand, Daniels would be an outstanding president; conservatives are lucky that a man of such substance is even considering a run. America would be blessed.

On the other hand, for those of us who live just across the Ohio River from Indiana, Charen's profile reminds us how a competent governor can transform a state. The contrast between Daniels' record of achievement and Beshear's mediocrity could not be more stark.

Inheriting a $600 million deficit, Daniels transformed it into a $370 million surplus within one year, without raising taxes. "You'd be amazed how much government you'll never miss," he grins. Six years on, Indiana now enjoys a AAA bond rating, boasts the fewest state workers per capita in the nation, enjoys the third-highest private-sector job growth in the nation, has seen property taxes drop by an average of 30 percent, and was ranked first in the Midwest for business climate by the Tax Foundation. Daniels was named Public Official of the Year in 2008 by Governing magazine.

It isn't that he has simply accomplished economies. Daniels believes in improving government's performance -- cutting less important spending in favor of more important, and keeping close tabs on results. Under his leadership, the state has increased K-12 education funding by 12 percent, hired 800 new child welfare workers, added 150 more state troopers, provided free or reduced price medications to 288,000 Hoosiers through the Rx for Indiana program, reduced wait times at the DMV to fewer than eight minutes, funded a $10 billion infrastructure improvement plan to repair roads and bridges, and improved health care for the low-income through the Healthy Indiana Plan, which encouraged healthy behaviors (and which may be unsustainable if Obamacare is not repealed).

You did not misread: in Indiana, wait time at the DMV has been reduced to "fewer than eight minutes."

Compare that to a trip to the DMV in Kentucky, which is akin to walking on coals through hell.

I have governor envy. I want a real governor, like Mitch Daniels. Instead we get Steve Beshear, the seat warmer.

We can't have Daniels as governor. But we can have him as president.



Jack Conway Gets Mail

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth Cuccinelli has written to the Attorneys General of the other states, requesting their help on the "Repeal Amendment."

The Repeal Amendment would amend the U.S. Constitution. It is an attempt by self-described modern-day Federalists to restored limited government.

According to Cuccinelli's letter, the text of the amendment provides:

"Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulations to be repealed."\

Cuccinelli says that he has ten of the 38 states needed to amend the U.S. Constitution. He asks state Attorneys General who will sign on to the plan to join him in a press conference December 15.

Randy Barnett explains how the amendment would work:

At present, the only way for states to contest a federal law or regulation is to bring a constitutional challenge in federal court or seek an amendment to the Constitution. A state repeal power provides a targeted way to reverse particular congressional acts and administrative regulations without relying on federal judges or permanently amending the text of the Constitution to correct a specific abuse.

The Repeal Amendment should not be confused with the power to "nullify" unconstitutional laws possessed by federal courts. Unlike nullification, a repeal power allows two-thirds of the states to reject a federal law for policy reasons that are irrelevant to constitutional concerns. In this sense, a state repeal power is more like the president's veto power.

This amendment reflects confidence in the collective wisdom of the men and women from diverse backgrounds, and elected by diverse constituencies, who comprise the modern legislatures of two-thirds of the states. Put another way, it allows thousands of democratically elected representatives outside the Beltway to check the will of 535 elected representatives in Washington, D.C.

Congress could re-enact a repealed measure if it really feels that two-thirds of state legislatures are out of touch with popular entiment. And congressional re-enactment would require merely a simple majority. In effect, with repeal power the states could force Congress to take a second look at a controversial law.

Cuccinelli is the same Attorney General who brought the suit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare -- which Jack Conway refused to join.

I'm betting Jack won't sign on to Cuccinelli's Repeal Amendment, either. No one has ever accused Jack Conway of being a Modern Federalist.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

And Now Diane Sawyer Reports on Hal Rogers

Last night's ABC News with Diane Sawyer featured yet another story with a Kentucky connection. This piece focused on the election of Rep. Hal Rogers to Chair the House Appropriations Committee.

It was an extremely cynical piece, even by mainstream media standards. The focus was that by selecting Rogers -- the so-called "Prince of Pork" -- Republicans lack any credibility on their earmark moratorium.

There is another way of looking at it altogether -- one that ABC's liberal bias precluded it from grasping. Rogers refined the procurement of earmarks to a fine art. He was masterful.

Who, then, is better equipped to curtail the process than Rogers? He knows all the tricks. It is no different than having a 12-step meeting led by someone in recovery. The Republicans' selection of Rogers was not only brilliant, it was the necessary prerequisite to making the earmark moratorium work.

The ABC story was, to put it mildly, dubious that Rogers would personally fore swear off of earmarks. Rogers patiently explained that the voters had spoken clearly about their opposition to earmarks, and Republicans had heard and would honor that mandate. Listening to the voters -- it is a concept as foreign to an ABC reporter as it is to most Democrats.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Diane Sawyer Reports on Ark Park

Louisville native Diane Sawyer never misses an opportunity to give national exposure to weird stories coming out of Kentucky.

Tonight, she highlighted the controversy regarding Gov. Steve Beshear's plan to use public money for the proposed Ark Park in northern Kentucky. Here's the link.

The piece did not quote any Kentucky politicians other than Beshear, which is unfortunate, because Phil Moffett made an excellent point about the plan: one need not reach the constitutional issue of whether the state aid constitutes an establishment of a religion, because government has no business giving money to any private business. As Moffett told Joe Gerth,“It isn't an issue of religion at all; it's an issue of taxing everyone too much so politicians can spread the money around when it suits their political agendas.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dems Try Twice to Raise Taxes

Two test votes on tax hikes took place in the Senate this morning in a rare Saturday session. Democrats failed both attempts to raise taxes.

The first vote was on a bill brought by Sen. Harry Reid to raise taxes on individuals and small business making more than $250,000. Republicans united to oppose it, joined by five Democrats.

The second bill was Sen. Chuck Schumer's plan to raise taxes on those who make more than a million dollars. Democrats previously had tested this in focus groups. That bill failed along the same lines -- five Democrats joined Republicans to oppose it.

Good to know the opposition was bipartisan!

Sen. Mark Kirk Gives GOP Address

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) gives this week's Republican address. He focuses on the need for America to spend less, borrow less and tax less. This point alarmed me: "Harvard economic historian Niall Ferguson warned that the decline of a great power is clear when a country pays more to its money lenders than its army. We face that year when interest payments on our debt tops our defense budget as soon as 2016."

Here's the text of Kirk's remarks:

“Last month, the American people sent a clear message to Washington: spend less, borrow less and tax less to put America back to work. "

“Unfortunately, too many in Washington want to continue the reckless tax and spend policies of the past. They ignore the warning signs of more debt, taxes and inflation. They embrace wasteful government spending and pork-barrel earmarks. And they think a new massive tax hike on the U.S. economy is exactly what the American people need.

“The current leaders of Congress should not move forward with plans that were just rejected by the American people. These leaders should not raise taxes and risk another recession. Instead, Congress should reduce spending and prevent another tax hike on American taxpayers.

“Americans already pay some of the highest taxes in the world. By raising taxes in order to fuel higher spending, we threaten to restart the recession, pushing millions of Americans out of work.“Right now, families and small business owners are scratching their heads asking one simple question – what will my tax rate be next month?

“Taxpayers don’t know what their personal income tax rates will be come January 1st."

“Family business employers don’t know what the death tax will be.

“Investors and small businesses don’t know what the capital gains rate will be.

“Their uncertainty hurts our economy. It’s unfair and short-sighted.

“Congress should set its highest priority on preventing the massive tax hike currently scheduled to hit our economy on January.

“Meanwhile, our mounting debts pose a clear and present danger to our future. It’s time to cast aside our partisan differences and work across the aisle to solve this problem.

“Congress should set an example by ending pork-barrel earmarks and cutting its own budget. This week, Senate Democrats rejected a proposal to end wasteful earmark spending. Their decision was disappointing and disconnected from the American people.

“In the weeks ahead, Republicans and Democrats should enact bipartisan solutions to cut federal spending like a presidential line-item veto, a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution and a new procedure to ensure spending reductions actually happen.In the 1980s, President Reagan’s bipartisan Grace Commission set the standard for serious oversight by identifying federal spending that would add little to our nation's growth, but much to its debt. Marrying a new Grace Commission with the authority to submit a proposal to Congress for a straight up or down vote would lead to actual spending reductions. This proposal is in my first Senate bill – the Spending Control Act.

“Harvard economic historian Niall Ferguson warned that the decline of a great power is clear when a country pays more to its money lenders than its army. We face that year when interest payments on our debt tops our defense budget as soon as 2016. It’s clear, we need to cut spending to avoid a bankrupt future for our kids and our country.

“I believe that America’s best days still lie ahead of us. If we correct our economic policy by focusing on growth and spending discipline, the sky will once again be the limit for young Americans.

“Spend less, borrow less and tax less to put America back to work. That’s what we heard from the American people last month – and that’s what we should expect from our leaders today.

“May God bless you, your families during this holiday season, and may God bless the United States of America.”

Friday, December 3, 2010

Will Rand Paul Make Baba Wawa's List?

ABC is promoting Barbara Walter's Most Fascinating People of 2010 incessantly. Every time I see a promo, I wonder who the mystery guest will be.

Here's the list so far:
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Princess bride Kate Middleton
  • Justin Bieber
  • Betty White
  • LeBron James
  • Sarah Palin (for a record third time)
  • Jennifer Lopez
  • cast of Jersey Shore
  • Oprah
Michelle Obama and Nancy Pelosi have made the list in recent years and therefore, I predict, will not be the 10th guest this year.

I'd submit that Rand Paul is the most fascinating person of 2010. He is the face of a movement that changed the composition of our government and probably the future of the Republican Party.

Realistically, Barbara Walters recognized that she needed to acknowledge the impact of the Tea Party in 2010 and chose to do so with Sarah Palin rather than Rand Paul. To be sure, Palin is more telegenic than Paul, and the list has a certain "beautiful people" quality to it.

Walters will presumably treat Palin like some sort of King maker. To some extent, she is. But I don't think she can take the credit for Rand Paul's election. He did that himself. His primary win was more fascinating than his general election victory, given that he had to slay the Republican Party establishment to win the primary.

In addition to actually having won an election this year (unlike Palin), Paul is more fascinating than Palin because of his colorful remarks. Who will ever forget Aqua Buddha? Yeah, he's just a Senator-elect from a small state, but Saturday Night Live missed some great material when it failed to pick up on Aqua Buddha. It's the sort of thing Sarah Palin might have said back before she became her own corporate brand. That polish might help her electoral chances in 2012, but it makes her a lot less fascinating.




Wednesday, December 1, 2010

GOP Caucus Writes Harry Reid

Senate Republicans -- 42 of them -- have sent a letter to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. In sum, Republicans will not agree to cloture votes on any of Harry's pet ideas, like the "Dream Ac," until legislation is completed to (1) fund the government and (2) prevent the automatic tax hike that will otherwise occur on December 31. Here's the letter in full:

Dear Leader Reid,

The nation’s unemployment level, stuck near 10 percent, is unacceptable to Americans. Senate Republicans have been urging Congress to make private-sector job creation a priority all year. President Obama in his first speech after the November election said “we owe” it to the American people to “focus on those issues that affect their jobs.” He went on to say that Americans “want jobs to come back faster.” Our constituents have repeatedly asked us to focus on creating an environment for private-sector job growth; it is time that our constituents’ priorities become the Senate’s priorities.

For that reason, we write to inform you that we will not agree to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to any legislative item until the Senate has acted to fund the government and we have prevented the tax increase that is currently awaiting all American taxpayers. With little time left in this Congressional session, legislative scheduling should be focused on these critical priorities. While there are other items that might ultimately be worthy of the Senate's attention, we cannot agree to prioritize any matters above the critical issues of funding the government and preventing a job-killing tax hike.

Given our struggling economy, preventing the tax increase and providing economic certainty should be our top priority. Without Congressional action by December 31, all American taxpayers will be hit by an increase in their individual income-tax rates and investment income through the capital gains and dividend rates. If Congress were to adopt the President’s tax proposal to prevent the tax increase for only some Americans, small businesses would be targeted with a job-killing tax increase at the worst possible time. Specifically, more than 750,000 small businesses will see a tax increase, which will affect 50 percent of small-business income and nearly 25 percent of the entire workforce. The death tax rate will also climb from zero percent to 55 percent, which makes it the top concern for America’s small businesses. Republicans and Democrats agree that small businesses create most new jobs, so we ought to be able to agree that raising taxes on small businesses is the wrong remedy in this economy. Finally, Congress still needs to act on the “tax extenders” and the alternative minimum tax “patch,” all of which expired on December 31, 2009.

We look forward to continuing to work with you in a constructive manner to keep the government operating and provide the nation’s small businesses with economic certainty that the job-killing tax hike will be prevented.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Look Who Gave to Jack

This makes Rand Paul's trouncing of Jack Conway all the sweeter: Conway took money from Barbara Streisand, and George Clooney! And a bunch of celebrity B-list types, the sort who come to Derby and make us wonder why they look vaguely familiar.

It seems that the time Jack spent cultivating the Hollywood elites paid off, a little.

According to Jake at Page One, Streisand gave Conway $1000. Clooney maxed out ($4800) and Nancy Sinatra gave $500. The ever annoying Garrison Keillor gave $250, suggesting that he is cheap as well as banal.

What a beautiful feeling to know that casting a straight-ticket vote in Kentucky had the power to annoy Babs Streisand.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Obama's Barrel of Gaffes

Sarah Palin cleverly regroups from her reference on Glenn Beck's program to our "North Korean allies" with a reminder that she still has quite a few more mistakes to go before she catches up with President Obama's bloopers, including the Harvard man's lines about the "57 States", a "20 centuries" old U.S. Constitution and the "Austrian" language. Palin's post on Facebook links up some of his more hilarious off-teleprompter script.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving: 2010

From George Washington's Proclamation of 1789:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

McConnell Gives GOP Weekly Address: Taxes

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell gives this week's Republican address. He focuses on the need to prevent taxes from going up automatically at the end of the year. Small businesses and investor's need that certainty and cannot compete with the government for scarce funds to invest in job creation. Democrats, in contrast, have a long list of other priorities, in direct contravention of the election's mandate.

Here's the transcript:

As Americans across the country prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving this coming week, we’re reminded of the many blessings we enjoy as a nation.

“We’re grateful for the sacrifices of the brave men and women in our armed forces who will not be home with their families next week, and who make these blessings possible.

“And we’re also conscious this Thanksgiving of the many Americans who are struggling with serious hardships, including the many millions of Americans who are struggling to find work.

“At the moment, about 15 million of our fellow citizens are looking for jobs and can’t find one. The unemployment rate has remained stubbornly close to ten percent for a year and a half. We are experiencing what can only be described as a jobs crisis, a sustained period of chronic unemployment; and two years of policies that have vastly increased the size and scope of government and added trillions to the debt and have done little to alleviate this problem.

“Take the Stimulus, for example.

“Here was a bill that was supposed to create millions of jobs and keep unemployment from rising above eight percent. Yet, since Democrats passed it nearly two years ago, more than three million people have lost jobs and the economy barely has a pulse. The American people delivered a clear verdict on this and other failed experiments in the government-as-economic-stimulator on Election Day. But Democratic leaders in Washington continue to act as if nothing has changed, including their priorities.

“The top priority of most Americans is to create jobs and get the economy moving. And the single best thing we could do in Washington to achieve that goal is to prevent a tax hike that’s about to hit every taxpayer and hundreds of thousands of small businesses at the stroke of Midnight on December 31st.

“And that’s what I proposed a bill in September that would take care of this giant tax hike and prevent it from going into effect.

“Unfortunately, Democratic leaders have shown little interest in the idea. After adding trillions to the debt on big-government policies most Americans didn’t ask for and which we couldn’t afford, Democratic leaders say they need more money, which they intend to take from small business, even though small businesses create the majority of new jobs.

“Americans don’t think we should be raising taxes on anybody, especially in the middle of a recession. But instead of giving Americans what they want, Democratic leaders plan to use the last few days that lawmakers expect to spend in Washington this year focusing on everything except preventing this tax hike, which will cost us even more jobs:

“…Immigration…A repeal of the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ …A reorganization of the FDA … More environmental regulations…

“Democrats put off all these things until after the election, along with the most basic task of funding the government. By focusing on them now, and not on legislation to promote job creation and reduce spending, they’re showing where their priorities lie.

“This should be an easy one. The bill that job creators and out-of-work Americans need us to pass is the one that ensures taxes won’t go up — one that says Americans and small business owners won’t get hit with more bad news at the end of the year.

“It's time Congress got its priorities straight. It's time Congress focused on job creation —and that means preventing tax hikes. It's time to set aside the political votes and government spending that the administration and Democratic leaders have put above all other priorities for two years.

“Time is running out. But it’s not too late for both parties to work together and prevent this massive tax hike from going into effect. It’s not too late to focus on the priorities of the American people. And Republicans in Congress are eager to work with anyone, Republican or Democrat, who is willing to do so.

“Americans spoke loudly and clearly on Election Day. We owe it to them to show we heard them — to work together to get this done.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On the Senate Floor

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following comments on the Senate floor this morning:

I’m extremely proud of the clarity my Republican colleagues have expressed about what our priorities must be, and that we have listened to the American people. Last night, Republicans expressed the need to cut spending, reduce the debt, shrink the size and scope of the federal government, and help spur private sector employment. In short, change the way Washington is doing business to get our economy going again. There is no question that is a sentiment shared by the American people. I would be remiss if I didn’t also express some dismay with the priorities that are being put forward from the other side of the aisle. This is a lame-duck session, and our colleagues have an opportunity to respond to the American people before we convene for the 112th Congress, but there is no reason why we can’t get to work on their behalf today.” (Emphasis added.)

In contrast, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid insists on pushing the so-called Dream Act, to give illegal aliens in-state tuition at public universities that are already struggling. And he wants to reorganize the F.D.A. (the better to ban Happy Meals) and give Vladimir Putin a love offering by way of a ratified START treaty.

The contrast between the two parties has never been clearer. The Democrats' obstinacy in refusing to listen to the American people -- who spoke unequivocally during the election -- has never been more brazen.

McConnell Reelected!

Sen. Mitch McConnell has been reelected as Republican Leader. And guess who nominated him? Marco Rubio. It is a fitting tribute from a member of the Tea Party for McConnell's humility in changing positions to oppose earmarks.

The caucus did not need to be divided by the earmark issue. They have serious work to do: restore spending to 2008 levels; permanently extend the current tax rates for all Americans; fix the START treaty that leaves Vladimir Putin salivating.

And if the Obama administration tries to use the Congressional earmark ban to let faceless bureaucrats invent their own porky projects for Democratic swing districts, then House Republicans need to exercise some oversight. Use the subpoena power; hold Congressional hearings. Catch some minion in the Obama administration attempting to build his own Bridge to Nowhere and save the footage for 2012.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

McConnell on Earmarks: Let's Ban 'Em

This represents a milestone for the conservative movement, so I will post Senate Republic Leader Mitch McConnell's statement in its entirety. To be sure, earmarks represent only a fraction of the federal debt. But take a few billion here and there and it starts to add up to real money:

I have seen a lot of elections in my life, but I have never seen an election like the one we had earlier this month. The 2010 midterm election was a “change” election the likes of which I have never seen, and the change that people want, above all, is right here in Washington.

Most Americans are deeply unhappy with their government, more so than at any other time in decades. And after the way lawmakers have done business up here over the last couple of years, it’s easy to see why. But it’s not enough to point out the faults of the party in power. Americans want change, not mere criticism. And that means that all of us in Washington need to get serious about changing the way we do business, even on things we have defended in the past, perhaps for good reason.

If the voters express themselves clearly and unequivocally on an issue, it’s not enough to persist in doing the opposite on the grounds that “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That’s what elections are all about, after all. And if this election has shown us anything, it’s that Americans know the difference between talking about change, and actually delivering on it.

Bringing about real change is hard work. It requires elected officials — whether they’re in their first week or their 50th year in office — to challenge others and, above all, to challenge themselves to do things differently from time to time, to question, and then to actually shake up the status quo in pursuit of a goal or a vision that the voters have set for the good of our country.

I have thought about these things long and hard over the past few weeks. I’ve talked with my members. I’ve listened to them. Above all, I have listened to my constituents. And what I’ve concluded is that on the issue of congressional earmarks, as the leader of my party in the Senate, I have to lead first by example. Nearly every day that the Senate’s been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won’t be guilty of the same thing.

Make no mistake. I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.

That’s why today I am announcing that I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress.

Over the years, I have seen presidents of both parties seek to acquire total discretion over appropriations. And I’ve seen presidents of both parties waste more taxpayer dollars on meritless projects, commissions, and programs than every congressional earmark put together. Look no further than the Stimulus, which Congress passed without any earmarks only to have the current administration load it up with earmarks for everything from turtle tunnels to tennis courts.

Contrast this with truly vital projects I have supported back home in Kentucky, such as the work we’ve done in relation to the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Western Kentucky.

Here was a facility at which workers, for years, were unaware of the dangers that the uranium at the plant posed to their health or how to safely dispose of the hazardous materials that were used there. Thanks to an expose about the plant in the 90s by the “Washington Post”, the danger was made known and I set about forcing the government to put a cleanup plan in place and to treat the people who had worked there. Through the earmark process, we were able to force reluctant administrations of both parties to do what was needed to clean up this site and to screen the people who had worked there for cancer. These screenings saved lives, and they would not have happened if Congress had not directed the funds to pay for them.

Another success story is the Bluegrass Army Depot, which houses some of the deadliest materials and chemical weapons on earth. As a nation we had decided that we would not use the kind of weapons that were stored at this site; and yet the federal government was slow to follow through on safely dismantling and removing them, even after we’d signed an international treaty that required it. But thanks to congressional appropriations we are on the way to destroying the chemical weapons at this site safely and thus protect the community that surrounds it.

Administrations of both parties have failed to see the full merit in either of these projects, which is one of the reasons I have been reluctant to cede responsibility for continuing the good work that is being done on them and on others to the Executive Branch.

So I’m not wild about turning over more spending authority to the executive branch, but I have come to share the view of most Americans that our nation is at a crossroads; that we will not be able to secure the kind of future we want for our children and grandchildren unless we act, and act quickly; and that only way we will be able to turn the corner and save our future is if elected leaders like me make the kinds of difficult decisions voters are clearly asking us to make.

Republicans in and out of Washington have argued strenuously for two years that spending and debt are at crisis levels. And we have demonstrated our seriousness about cutting spending and reining in government. Every Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, for instance, voted against every appropriations bill in committee this year because they simply cost too much. Most included funding for projects in our home states. We voted against them anyway.

Banning earmarks is another small but important symbolic step we can take to show that we’re serious, another step on the way to serious and sustained cuts in spending and to the debt.

Earlier this month voters across the country said they are counting on Republicans to make tough decisions. They gave us a second chance. With this decision, I’m telling them that they were right to put their trust in us. And it’s my fervent hope that it will help demonstrate to the American people in some way just how serious Republicans are about not letting them down.

Republican Leaders in the House and Senate are now united on this issue, united in hearing what the voters have been telling us for two years — and acting on it.

This is no small thing. Old habits aren’t easy to break, but sometimes they must be. And now is such a time. With a $14 trillion debt and an administration that talks about cost-cutting, but then sends over a budget that triples the national debt in 10 years and creates a massive new entitlement program, it’s time for some of us in Washington to show in every way possible that we mean what we say about spending.

With Republican leaders in Congress united, the attention now turns to the President. We have said we are willing to give up discretion; now we’ll see how he handles spending decisions. And if the president ends up with total discretion over spending, we will see even more clearly where his priorities lie. We already saw the administration’s priorities in a Stimulus bill that’s become synonymous with wasteful spending, that borrowed nearly $1 trillion for administration earmarks like turtle tunnels, a sidewalk that lead to a ditch, and research on voter perceptions of the bill.

Congressional Republicans uncovered much of this waste. Through congressional oversight, we will continue to monitor how the money taxpayers send to the administration is actually spent. It’s now up to the President and his party leaders in Congress to show their own seriousness on this issue, to say whether they will join Republican leaders in this effort and then, after that, in significantly reducing the size and cost and reach of government. The people have spoken. They have said as clearly as they can that this is what they want us to do.

They will be watching.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sen. Coburn on Earmarks (Must Read)

Sen. Tom Coburn has an outstanding piece on National Review regarding the myths and realities of earmarks.

He systematically shoots down all the counter-arguments to the ban that Senate Republicans will soon vote on.

A couple points worth noting from Sen. Coburn:

  • "Stopping an activity that spends money does result in less spending. It’s that simple. For instance, Congress spent $16.1 billion on pork in Fiscal Year 2010. If Congress does not do earmarks in 2011, we could save $16.1 billion."
  • "It’s true that earmarks themselves represent a tiny portion of the budget, but a small rudder can help steer a big ship, which is why I’ve long described earmarks as the gateway drug to spending addiction in Washington."
  • "It’s true that this is a debate about discretion, but some in Congress are confused about discretion among whom. This is not a struggle between the executive branch and Congress but between the American people and Washington."
And a quote from Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison on federally-funded local projects -- earmarks: “[I]t will be the source of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get the most who are the meanest.”

Senate Republicans, the people are calling upon you to do the right thing and end this abuse. This is your chance to show that you understand the message of the election and are ready to govern like grown-ups.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Move to Dump Steele Grows

Kentuckian Mike Duncan is still being mentioned as a possible replacement for RNC Chair Michael Steele. There are many other names, as well: Wisconsin Republican chair Reince Priebus, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (who will run for president, if he runs for anything), Saul Anuzis from Michigan, to name a few.

Steele's gaffes are to numerous to list. Time for him to go, and the RNC is fortunate that Mike Duncan is willing to step up again, particularly given what bad shape Steele has left the place in.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rand Paul's Ear Mark Tight Rope

Rand Paul is trying to put into context remarks he made to the effect that Kentucky can still get its pork from Washington, so long as the process is transparent. No more slipping projects in two thousand page bills in the middle of the night. Some viewed this as the flip-flop it is, so Paul's campaign (which is still running, apparently) sent out this release:

The American People are tired of politics as usual and are demanding fundamental reform that ends the overspending and rampant political patronage we see throughout Washington.


"As part of my commitment to this effort, I will not submit Earmarks and will vote against all Earmarks. Also, one of the first pieces of Legislation I introduce will be a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Since there have been erroneous media reports on the subject in recent days, I wanted to be sure to correct the record. I will never Earmark. Period.


"In fact, I am joining Senators DeMint, Coburn, Toomey, Rubio, Lee and others in asking for a GOP caucus vote next week on banning earmarks entirely."


"I am very encouraged that the Senate GOP Conference will vote next week on this caucus-wide agreement to ban Earmarks as well as commit to passing a Balanced Budget Amendment.


"The fact that these votes are happening next week is powerful evidence that the TEA Party message is coming with full force to Washington. Ending Earmarks and passing a Balanced Budget Amendment are two key parts to the fundamental reform Americans are demanding, and I will never waiver in my commitment to fight for these and other crucial solutions to out-of-control Government spending and debt."

McConnell Files Amicus Brief in Obamacare Challenge

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has filed a friend of the court brief in the 20-state challenge against Obamacare. This is the suit that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway refused to join.

McConnell's brief focuses on the unconstitutional nature of the mandate that citizens purchase health insurance or face a fine.

This is a constitutional conservative's dream brief. It cites McCollough v. Maryland, Federalist 45 (Madison) and parses the third prong of the Lopez. In many ways, it briefs the TEA party point that Congress has ignored the limitation of enumerated powers to hijack the police powers that the Framers left the states.

According to Politico, McConnell's brief states,

that the requirement that nearly all Americans buy insurance “dramatically oversteps the bounds of the Commerce [Clause] which has always been understood as a power to regulate, and not to compel, economic activity.” He also argues that if the mandate is deemed constitutional, there will no longer be any real limit on Congress’ power to regulate citizens’ activity.

Politico, by the way, has the brief in its entirety. It was written by Carrie Serverino at the Judicial Crisis Center. Oral arguments will take place next month in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

McConnell gets criticized by some conservatives as not a true believer in their cause. What this brief makes clear, however, is that freed from the constraint of advancing President Bush's legislative agenda, McConnell is a constitutional conservative in the best sense. He loves the history of the framing of the constitution and has a deep respect and understanding of the constitution as a blueprint for government -- a constraint on governmental action to protect liberty.

Way before the TEA parties arose in the summer of 2009, McConnell was one of the Federalist Society's most loyal supporters. He speaks regularly at its national convention as well as many local chapters. Sure, it's trendy to run around with tri-corn hats these days, but the Federalist Society's has had a profile of James Madison for its logo for 25 years.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Senator Scott Brown Visits U of L


A guest post by Eric Bush:

Today, Senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) spoke at the McConnell Center, a scholarship fund set up by Senator McConnell at the University of Louisville to keep bright minds from going out of state for college.

Senator Brown is a very funny man. He joked about his daughters, including one who attends Syracuse and is not very happy with Louisville's football team right now. He also emphasized how impressed he was to meet Coach Petino, even though his time with the Celtics wasn't so great. Senator Brown also highlighted the fact that he had a truck with 216,000 miles repeatedly to help explain that he is an ordinary man, but the main focus of his speech was jobs. He explained that as a senator, he got to travel to some amazing places to meet everyone from poor farmers to kings. When he met them, all they talked about was jobs. In the nine months he has spent as a senator, only 11 days were spent talking about jobs.

He also touched taxes. "I have never voted on raising taxes." said Senator Brown. "I hope the Senate Majority and President will realize that taxes cannot be raised in a recession. People have lived with these tax rates for the last decade. Now, more than ever, what would be the point in raising them?"

"The people were saying 'no' to health care, but they just didn't get the message." he said. Also, he talked about the FDA and the process of approving drugs, and that it takes too long and costs too much money to approve drugs, that drug companies are going off to Europe to get them approved there.

Throughout the speech, he kept picking picking up the paper he wrote his speech on and joking that he never reads his speeches, that he "speaks from the heart." He certainly connected with the students today.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Aqua Buddha: The Prequel

The Courier-Journal has two columns today that explain Jack Conway's decision-making process for ending his political career with the Aqua Buddha ad.

From Al Cross, we learn that Conway never showed the ad to his political mentor, Crit Luallen. (She also chaired Conway's campaign.) According to Cross, Conway described the ad to Luallen and told her he was very uncomfortable with it. Luallen advised Conway that if he had doubts about the ad, he should listen to his instincts. Instead, Conway listened to his consultants.

The C-J also includes a reprise from David Hawpe (remember him?). Hawpe retired from the C-J and has been volunteering on the Conway campaign. No surprise there.

But get this: Hawpe got to preview the Aqua Buddha ad before it was aired. Conway did not show this ad -- about which he had doubts -- with his political mentor and campaign chair, but he did show it to one of his volunteers, David Hawpe.

Hawpe wrote about Kentucky politics for 40 years. He of all people should have foreseen the reaction the ad was sure to evoke. But apparently he did not, and now he is trying to justify the ad for posterity.

Hawpe said he thought the ad was "rough but OK. Still do." He then offers a post hoc rationalization of why the ad was less "odious" than other things done or said by various politicians.

Hawpe states that he is "not prepared to say whether using it was a good tactical decision."

Please. It was obvious the instant it aired that the Conway campaign was done. Conway must have served some strong Kool-Aid to his volunteers.

Will Mike Duncan Oust Steele?

There have been grumblings that Michael Steele needs to go almost since the day he became Chair of the Republican National Committee. Steele's gaffes made him the Republican equivalent of Joe Biden. In addition, Steele let go of some outstanding political operatives, and did not bring in sufficient new talent to pick up the slack -- particularly fundraising.

Now, Kentuckian Mike Duncan -- who preceded Steele as RNC chair -- is being urged to run against Steele at the RNC meeting in January.

The RNC would be lucky to have Duncan for another term, if he is willing to run. In any event, Steele needs to go.

Pelosi Blames the Messaging

Politico reports that Nancy Pelosi's letter to members of the House Democratic caucus regarding her bid to be Minority Leader blames Tuesday's drubbing on bad messaging, rather than bad policies (i.e., she still doesn't get it).

Of course, John Yarmuth was a member of Pelosi's messaging team. If the caucus elects Pelosi as Minority Leader, will Yarmuth get to remain her "messager"? The odds work in his favor, given how few Democrats remain.

Pelosi told Democrats "Now, we must further modernize not only that message but the way in which we communicate with constituents." You hear that, John?





Saturday, November 6, 2010

This is So Harsh

Peggy Noonan can turn a phrase. What she had to say about President Barack Obama's post-election press conference actually made me wince for him:

Viewers would have found it disappointing if there had been any viewers. The president is speaking, in effect, to an empty room. From my notes five minutes in: "This wet blanket, this occupier of the least interesting corner of the faculty lounge, this joy-free zone, this inert gas." By the end I was certain he will never produce a successful stimulus because he is a human depression.

Obama, the human depression. I will be reminded of that description every time I see a commercial for Cymbalta or Yaz or whatever the pharmaceutical industry comes up with next.

Yarmuth Learned Nothing

Emboldened by his victory, John Yarmuth flipped yesterday and announced that he will support Nancy Pelosi for House Minority Leader, instead of Steny Hoyer, as he had previously indicated. It seems that Yarmuth is so secure in his reelection that he failed to notice that 62 of his liberal colleagues have joined the ranks of the unemployed. Consequently, he is unperturbed about supporting the person who did much to cause the drubbing: Nancy Pelosi.

Certainly most Republicans would like to see Pelosi reelected: she is the gift that keeps giving.

Note that in Yarmuth's statement, he singles out the fact that she was the first woman speaker. No matter that she built a healthcare monstrosity that fueled the Democratic takeover of the House. No matter that she is so vacuous that she sees no need to read the bill before calling for a vote: "we can find out what's in it later on."

To Yarmuth, her shallowness is of no concern because, after all, she belongs to a segment of liberal identity politics, the feminists. In focusing on Pelosi's status as a woman, however, Yarmuth fails to distinguish between women and feminists. He confuses the two, even though women bailed on Democrats this year.

In any event, Pelosi will have a much easier time with her job this go-round -- so many less Democrats to keep in order.

Yarmuth makes a curious remark that his support of Pelosi is about "principles and not personalities." That seems to mean that when it comes to personalities, he doesn't much like Pelosi's. (Ouch!)

Yarmuth compliments Pelosi for building consensus in a House Democratic caucus with a broad ideological spectrum. Well, it won't be nearly so broad, come January. And Yarmuth ignores that Pelosi's big failure was her inability to build consensus across the even broader ideological spectrum that is America. That's why Democrats lost big.

Here's Yarmuth's statement, complete and unrepentant:

“Over the course of my four years in Congress, the vote that I am most proud of is electing Nancy Pelosi as the first female Speaker of the House. Speaker Pelosi has proven time and time again that she is able to build consensus in a caucus comprised of members from all across the ideological spectrum. Her dedication to advancing policies that improve the lives of all Americans is clearly evident in the significant legislative accomplishments that have been achieved with her as Speaker. These decisions, like all I make, are about what is in the best interests of my constituents and the country, about principle and not personalities - and that is why I will support Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic Leader in the 112th Congress.”

GOP Address: Sen-elect Marco Rubio!

How fitting to end a great week with a rising star of the party giving the Republican weekly address. Sen.-elect Marco Rubio (like the sound of that). The wonderful thing about Rubio's election is that it puts the lie to the notion of the Tea Party -- or the Republican Party generally -- as racist. He is also unapologetic about embracing the exceptionalism of America.

Here's the video.

And here is the transcript:

“With Election Day now behind us, it’s an honor to talk to you about the opportunity before us – an opportunity to put America back on track.

“For too long, Washington has taken our country in the wrong direction: bigger government, reckless spending, and run away debt. And though I’m a proud Republican, here’s the truth, both parties have been to blame.

“This election the American people said enough is enough. That message was loud and clear. We Republicans would be mistaken if we misread these results as simply an embrace of the Republican party. This Election is a second chance. A second chance for Republicans to be what we said we were going to be.

“America is the single greatest nation on earth, a place without equal in the history of all mankind. A place built on free enterprise, where the employee can become the employer. Where small businesses are started every day in a spare bedroom and where someone like me, the son of a bartender and a maid, can become a United States Senator.

“I know about the unique exceptionalism of our country. Not because I read about it in a book, I’ve seen it through my own eyes. You see, I was raised in a community of exiles, by people who lost their country, people who once had dreams like we do today, but had to come to a foreign shore to find them.

“For some their dreams were answered here in America, but many others found a new dream. To leave their children with the kinds of opportunities they themselves never had. And that is what we must do as a nation. To fulfill our sacred obligation to leave the next generation of Americans a better America than the one we inherited. And that is what this election was about.

“In the past two years, Republicans listened to the American people and what they said is that it was time for a course correction.

“The past two years provided a frightening glimpse at what could become of our great nation if we continue down the current path: wasteful spending, a growing debt and a government reaching ever further into our lives, even into our health care decisions.

“It is nothing short of a path to ruin, a path that threatens to diminish us as a nation and a people. One that makes America not exceptional, not unique, but more like the rest of the world.

“As Republicans, here is what our commitment should be to you. Our focus must not be simply winning elections. It must be to ensure the next generation inherits a strong, free and prosperous America.

“We will govern as public servants who understand that re-election is simply a byproduct of good public service and good ideas. And most importantly, we will stand up and offer an alternative to the policies coming out of Washington for the past two years.

“The challenges are too great, too generational in scope for us to be merely opponents of bad policies. Instead, we will put forward bold ideas and have the courage to fight for them. This means preventing a massive tax increase scheduled to hit every American taxpayer at the end of the year. It means repealing and replacing the disastrous health care bill. It means simplifying our tax code, and tackling a debt that is pushing us to the brink of our own Greece-like day of reckoning.

“For many of us coming to Washington for the first time and others returning to serve, it’s a long way from home. A long way from the people whose eyes we looked into at town halls, at diners or roundtables, and promised that this time it would be different. That if you elected Republicans to office again, we would not squander the chance you gave us, and we must not. Because nothing less than the identity of our country and what kind of future we will leave our children is at stake.

“That is our commitment and from you we ask this: hold us accountable to the ideas and principles we campaigned on.

“This is our second chance to get this right. To make the right decisions and the tough calls and to leave our children what they deserve – the freest and most exceptional society in all of human history.

“Thank you for listening, God bless you and your family, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Let's Reelect the Messager!

President Barack Obama is taking the position that his self-described "shellacking" was due to poor messaging, not policy.

Obama told 60 Minutes,

I think that, over the course of two years we were so busy and so focused on getting a bunch of stuff done that, we stopped paying attention to the fact that leadership isn’t just legislation. That it’s a matter of persuading people. And giving them confidence and bringing them together. And setting a tone,” Mr. Obama told

“Making an argument that people can understand,” Mr. Obama continued, “I think that we haven’t always been successful at that. And I take personal responsibility for that. And it’s something that I’ve got to examine carefully … as I go forward.”


Wait a second: John Yarmuth was one of the Democrats in charge of "messaging." And yet he escaped the "shellacking." There must be about 62 Democrats wondering about the justice in that outcome.


Joe Biden is Literally Dangerous

Now this, from an administration that relies on a metaphor of Republicans driving the car into the ditch and wanting the keys back to go in reverse. It turns out that Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade has been in five (5) car accidents, according to Forbes.

One accident killed a pedestrian. Wonder how that decedent's family feels every time Team Obama trots out the car accident metaphor.

The other accidents are more along the lines of what one would expect from Biden. For example, 1960s figure skating gold medalist Peggy Flemming (and some bob sledder I've never heard of) were injured while riding with Biden in Vancouver. In another, Biden's motorcade hit a cab as Biden was en route to appear on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

Let's hope Biden isn't going to watch his alma mater play U of L this weekend. If he does go, at least it's an away game.

H/t: Instapundit

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hey, NRCC: What About KY-3 ?

Politico reports that the NRCC is already identifying what Democrats to target in 2012 for the second wave.

Here's a word of advice: you need to pay attention to John Yarmuth. To be sure, Democrats will always have a big registration advantage in Kentucky's 3rd Congressional district. Yarmuth's voting record is so far to the left, however, that he irks Republicans here in a way that words cannot convey.

At a fundraiser for Todd Lally, Yarmuth's most recent opponent, Republicans expressed dismay and then outrage upon learning that the NRCC had not given a single dime to the Lally campaign.

Republicans here get that the target-rich environment this election made the NRCC dizzy with possibilities. In sort of a reverse triage, low-hanging fruit needed to be picked first. Nonetheless, the NRCC's refusal to send a few bucks to defeat Yarmuth makes many donors in KY-3 wonder if it is best to give to individual candidates rather than the committees.

McConnell on Results

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is addressing the Heritage Foundation today. Based on his remarks, it is clear that he understands exactly what the Tea Party voters meant to communicate on Election Day. He gets it, and as a result to supposed wedge that the media are trying to drive through the Republican caucus is vastly overstated.

This speech is a good overview on what has occurred under the Obama administration and McConnell's plans going forward -- to include "smart, aggressive oversight" of the administration.

Here are his remarks:

“Over the past two years, the American people looked at what was going on in Washington and they became increasingly worried. Not only were Democratic leaders ignoring our nation’s ongoing job crisis; their big-government policies and out-of-control spending was causing some to wonder about the future of the American dream itself.

“Americans worried about the consequences of a $14 trillion debt; about a health care bill that creates 159 new bureaucratic entities, including two massive new entitlement programs; they worried about all the bailouts, and they worried about every other piece of legislation that seemed like it was designed to kill jobs rather than create them.

“Most of all, they worried that what some have called the Europeanization of America would continue unchecked, and that, as a result, our children and grandchildren could no longer expect to have the same opportunities that we’ve had.

“Two days ago, those worries gave way to a new optimism. For the past two years, Democrat lawmakers chose to ignore the American people, so on Tuesday the American people chose new lawmakers. They held their elected representatives to account. And they demonstrated to all of us that Constitutional conservatism is alive and well.

“This isn’t a reason for Republicans to gloat; rather, it’s a time for both parties to realize who’s really in charge — the people — and to be grateful for the opportunity we now have to begin to turn this ship around. Tuesday was a referendum, not a choice. It was a report card on the administration and anyone who supported its agenda, plain and simple.

“It doesn’t take a roomful of political scientists to figure it out. Americans voted for change in the last two elections because of two long and difficult wars and because they hoped a changing of the guard would stabilize the economy and get America moving again. And then the people they elected set about dismantling the free market, handing out political favors at taxpayer expense, expanding government, and creating a more precarious future for our children. In other words, Democrat leaders used the crisis of the moment to advance an agenda Americans didn’t ask for and couldn’t afford. And then they ignored and dismissed anyone who dared to speak out against it.

“So the voters didn’t suddenly fall in love with Republicans; they fell out of love with Democrats. And while they may have voted to send more Republicans to Washington, they’re sending them here with clear marching orders: stop the big-government freight train and respect the will of the people who sent you there. As Churchill once observed, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; [and] courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” And I can’t think of a better way to sum up Tuesday’s election than that.

“This morning, I would like to talk a little bit more about how we got here, and the task ahead. And I wanted to do it here at the Heritage Foundation, because for nearly 40 years Heritage has played a crucial role in promoting and defending the principles of free enterprise, limited government, freedom, and a strong defense — in other words, the very principles the American people voted to uphold in Tuesday’s historic election.

“First: how we got here. Let’s cast our minds back for a moment to early 2009. I think a “Newsweek” cover from early February sums up the conventional wisdom in Washington at the time, at least among a lot of Democrats. It read, “We’re All Socialists Now”. And I’ll just note parenthetically that “Newsweek” was recently sold for less than the cover price of a single copy of the magazine. Hopefully the Democrats don’t bail them out too.

“Anyway, while the media was still groping to define the 2008 election, Republicans were taking stock. We knew the principles that had made our party great were the same principles that had made America great, and that if we were going to solve the problems of the day, we would have to embrace and explain those principles, not discard or conceal them. So we renewed our commitment to our core principles — win, lose, or draw.

“If we had not done this, the administration would never suffer the consequences for pushing policies Americans opposed, and Americans wouldn’t have a clear alternative. And that is why this, in my view, was the single most important thing Republicans in Congress did to prepare the ground for Tuesday’s election. By sticking together in principled opposition to policies we viewed as harmful, we made it perfectly clear to the American people where we stood. And we gave voters a real choice on Election Day.

“At the same time, we made it perfectly clear from the beginning that if President Obama proposed policies that were consistent with our principles, we’d work with him. Just two days after the Inauguration, in fact, I made a public offer at the National Press Club to accept the President’s campaign promise of post-partisanship by proposing to work with him on a number of goals that he himself had suggested, such as reforming entitlements, reducing the debt, increasing our energy independence, and lowering taxes to create jobs.

“But it turned out the White House had different plans. Their strategy from the start, as I said, was to govern hard-left and use their big majorities to push through the most left-wing agenda possible, squeezing unpopular proposals through Congress by the slimmest majorities and hoping Americans would forget the details and the unseemly process over time. The Democrats’ idea of consensus was for Republicans to do whatever the administration wanted us to. And that’s why they plowed ahead from the very beginning with one piece of legislation after another written by liberals for liberals.

“And so by the spring of 2009, they had given us ample opportunity to stand up for the principles of limited government, lower taxes, and a strong defense. First, they called for closing Guantanamo without any plan for housing the terrorists who were held there; they had forced through their trillion dollar Stimulus; proposed a federal budget that would double the national debt in five years and triple it in 10; and bailed out automakers that should have been allowed to reorganize or fail. And it shouldn’t be lost on anybody, by the way, that the only one that refused a bailout, Ford, is the one that’s doing best today.

“As Democrats governed left, Republicans stood together time and again, making the case for conservative alternatives. And over the course of 19 months, Democrats added $3 trillion to the debt, more than 2.5 million Americans would lose their jobs … and Republicans would win races in states that had gone solidly for Democrats in 2008 —states like Virginia, New Jersey, and, of all places, Massachusetts. Clearly, the Democrat agenda was not the change Americans had hoped for. And Republicans were offering a clear alternative. That was the message of those races. And that was the message on Tuesday.

“The question now is whether Americans were wise to entrust Republicans with the task of reversing the damage. In answer, I would argue that Republicans can be entrusted with the task voters have given us — not because we say so, but because we’ve already been at it for two years. We have shown that we share the priorities the people have voiced. We have fought to defend them. Now we’re ready to get back to work on their behalf.

“Which raises a practical question: what can Americans expect from Republicans now?

“Let’s start with the big picture. Over the past week, some have said it was indelicate of me to suggest that our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office. But the fact is, if our primary legislative goals are to repeal and replace the health spending bill; to end the bailouts; cut spending; and shrink the size and scope of government, the only way to do all these things it is to put someone in the White House who won’t veto any of these things. We can hope the President will start listening to the electorate after Tuesday’s election. But we can’t plan on it. And it would be foolish to expect that Republicans will be able to completely reverse the damage Democrats have done as long as a Democrat holds the veto pen.

“There’s just no getting around it.

“By their own admission, leaders of the Republican Revolution of 1994 think their greatest mistake was overlooking the power of the veto. They gave the impression they were somehow in charge when they weren’t. And after President Clinton vetoed their bills, making it impossible for them to accomplish all their goals, they ended up being viewed as failures, sellouts, or both. Today, Democrats not only have the White House. They have the Senate too. So we have to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve, while at the same recognizing that realism should never be confused with capitulation.

“On health care, that means we can — and should — propose and vote on straight repeal, repeatedly. But we can’t expect the president to sign it. So we’ll also have to work, in the House, on denying funds for implementation, and, in the Senate, on votes against its most egregious provisions. At the same time, we’ll need to continue educating the public about the ill-effects of this bill on individuals young and old, families, and small businesses.

“And this is why oversight will play a crucial role in Republican efforts going forward.

“We may not be able to bring about straight repeal in the next two years, and we may not win every vote against targeted provisions, even though we should have bipartisan support for some. But we can compel administration officials to attempt to defend this indefensible health spending bill and other costly, government-driven measures, like the Stimulus and financial reform. We also need groups like Heritage to continue studying the ill-effects of the health care bill, and to show how its implementation is hurting families, seniors, and small businesses, limiting choices and making us less competitive. We welcome any help we can get in reversing the damage this bill has done and will do.

“Through oversight we’ll also keep a spotlight on the various agencies the administration will now use to advance through regulation what it can’t through legislation. Potential backdoor efforts in this area could include imposing a new national energy tax through the EPA now that cap-and-trade is dead, additional health care provisions through HHS, Card Check through the National Labor Relations Board, and some form of immigration change through the use of administrative amnesty and the selective enforcement of our laws.

“Good oversight can also make more accountable all the policy czars the administration has installed without any accountability to Congress or the American people.

“Another obstacle is the temptation to over-read our task. It’s my view that Americans are no more interested in a Republican plan for using government to reengineer society than they were in the Democrats’ plan to do so. Government has limits, thank heavens, and voters want us to respect them. That’s why Republicans will focus on doing a few things well.

“We will stop the liberal onslaught. We will make the case for repeal of the health spending bill even as we vote to eliminate its worst parts. We will vote to freeze and cut discretionary spending. We will fight to make sure that any spending bill that reaches the Senate floor is amendable, so members can vote for the spending cuts Americans are asking for. We will push to bring up and vote for House passed spending rescission bills.

“On the economy, we will work hard to ensure Democrats don’t raise taxes on anybody, especially in the middle of a recession. We will loudly oppose future stimulus bills that only stimulate the deficit and fight any further job-killing regulations. We will fight tooth and nail on behalf of Americans struggling to find and create jobs.

“And when it comes to educating the public about the effects of Democrat legislation, we will fulfill our constitutional duty to oversee the Executive Branch through smart, aggressive oversight.

“We will scrutinize Democrat legislation and force them to defend it. And we will continue to make the case that the Democrats’ big-government vision hinders freedom, prosperity, and opportunity — and that while it may benefit some in the short-term, it exposes everyone to calamity down the road.

“If we do these things well over the next two years, I believe the voters will be pleased with what they did on Tuesday, and Republicans will be in a much better position to reverse the worst excesses of the past two years and lay the groundwork for the kind of change we want and need. Meanwhile, Republican governors will help by showing at the state level that the kind of change we want is not only possible but also effective in cutting waste, creating jobs, and showing that government can work for people, not against them. Think tanks like Heritage will help too by arming us with ideas and tools like this week’s Checklist for getting America back on track. And Tea Party activists will continue to energize our party and challenge us to follow through on our commitments.

“None of this is to say that Republicans have given up cooperating with the President. The American people reminded us this week that we work for them, and we owe it to them and future generations to work together to find solutions to present troubles and to help guide our nation to better days. But, as I see it, the White House has a choice: they can change course, or they can double down on a vision of government that the American people have roundly rejected. If they choose the former, they’ll find a partner in Republicans. If they don’t, we will have more disagreements ahead.

“The formula is simple, really: when the administration agrees with the American people, we will agree with the administration. When it disagrees with the American people, we won’t. This has been our posture from the beginning of this administration. And we intend to stick with it. If the administration wants cooperation, it will have to begin to move in our direction.

“There is no reason we can’t work together to prevent a tax hike on small businesses. There’s no reason we can’t work together on energy independence, cutting spending, or increasing American exports by completing free trade agreements. And we can continue to work together to give our armed forces in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world whatever they need to accomplish their mission.

“So this morning I re-extend an offer that’s been on the table for two years to cooperate on shared goals — because ultimately this isn’t about an election; it’s about doing what’s best for our country. The American people want us to put aside the left-wing wish list and work together on helping to create jobs and restore the economy to health and prosperity. There is no reason the two parties can’t work together on achieving these goals.

“But whether or not the administration has a mid-course correction, Republicans have a plan for following through on the wishes of the American people. It starts with gratitude and a certain humility for the task we’ve been handed. It means sticking ever more closely to the conservative principles that got us here. It means learning the lessons of history. And, above all, it means listening to the people who sent us here. If we do all this, we will finish the job.”