Saturday, July 31, 2010

Conway's Problem With Rangel

So serious are the ethical allegations swirling around Rep. Charles Rangel that even President Barack Obama has suggested that maybe its time for Rangel to "end his career with dignity."

Jack Conway has refused to return $13,000 of campaign contributions from Rep. Charlie Rangel's campaign committee and PAC -- notwithstanding Rangel's ethical troubles.

Rangel came to Louisville to campaign for Conway in 2002 at a number of Black churches when Conway ran for Congress.

Perhaps Conway ought to take the tainted $13,000 and give it to Dan Mongiardo to help him repay his campaign debts to himself.

Sen. Mike Johanns Gives GOP Address

Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) gives the weekly Republican Address. (Video link here.) His focuses on jobs and the Obama administration's "fiercely anti-business tone." He ticks off the Democrats numerous attacks on small businesses. Here's the transcript:

. . . You talk about creating jobs and that sounds good, but your policies just do the opposite – with a fiercely anti-business tone.

Let’s take an honest look at the impact of your agenda.

More than 80 percent of jobs are provided by the private sector. Those are the jobs that put food on the table, pay the mortgage, and send our children to college.

Our small businesses generate 65 percent of the new jobs.

In Nebraska, we like to call them our Mom and Pop enterprises.

These are really good people who don’t want to get caught-up in a political debate.

They want to get up in the morning, head to work and find creative ways to build their businesses.

And your policies, Mr. President, are hurting them.

Let me give you an example: embedded in your health care law – under Section 9006 – is a job-crushing provision.

It affects every business, every church and charity; every state and local government.

It requires all of them to track their purchases and when they hit $600 with any vendor in a year – for any services or supplies – your health care law requires them to file a 10-99 form with the IRS and with that vendor.

This will create a mountain of new paperwork – increasing it by as much as 2,000 percent, according to one study.

One small business owner in Nebraska did an analysis and came to the conclusion it will cost his business an extra $15 thousand dollars a year.

Now that may not sound like much here in Washington, but to a small business in Nebraska, that would go a long way to putting another American to work.

Instead, that money will pay for paperwork… and for what purpose, Mr. President?

Even the National Taxpayer Advocate – a division of the IRS itself – predicts there will be little benefit and a mess of erroneous tax penalties.

This foolish policy hammers our business community when we should be supporting their job growth.

It’s only one example of how the Administration’s promise to support small businesses really rings hollow.

Then there’s the employer mandate in the health care law, which studies confirm will divert money from wages.

It forces employers to provide government-approved coverage or pay a tax of $2,000 per employee.

Another example: the new Medicare tax.

The majority of small businesses pay taxes at the individual level, so this new $210 billion tax will hurt; hitting businesses that employ between 20 and 200 workers especially hard.

And that’s one-quarter of our workforce.

To put it simply; your actions thus far, Mr. President, don’t encourage small businesses to hire employees.

You’re signaling to the business owners that they best be very cautious, not only because of the flurry of new taxes and regulations, but also because a national energy tax is next on your agenda.

It's time to stop pushing anti-growth policies and start supporting a real job growth agenda.

After all, what matters most is what we actually do, not what we say.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Phil Moffett Announces

Phil Moffett told WHAS 11 that he will seek the Republican nomination for governor with Rep. Mike Harman as his running mate. (The actual announcement took place on the Pulse, after weeks of speculation about whose campaign Dave Adams is going to run.)

Obviously he is at a serious disadvantage with respect to name ID. I liked his plans for tax simplification for businesses, though. Even if his campaign goes nowhere, I hope that other Republican nominees will seize upon that issue.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

National Review on KY - 6

National Review Online is paying close attention to the Andy Barr - Ben Chandler match-up in Kentucky's 6th Congressional District.

NRO notes that Democratic incumbent (posing as a Republican) Ben Chandler is ahead in the cn/2 poll, but by less than 50 percent (46.1). Moreover, Barr's favorable to unfavorable ratio is 41.7 to 19.2 -- not bad, given the pounding that Barr has taken for membership at the Idle Hour club.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

McConnell Floor Speech on "Disclose" Act

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell gave a blistering speech on the so-called "Disclose" Act, which is in reality a bill to protect Democratic incumbents. McConnell condemns to bill's lack of transparency -- it was drafted behind closed doors with no hearings -- and the fact that it in supposedly improving campaign finance it picks winners and losers with respect to the first amendment.

Here's McConnell's speech:

Eight years ago, Congress passed and the President signed a bill known as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, or BCRA. This bill was the culmination of a long and protracted battle, in which I played a major part, as many of my friends on both sides of the aisle will recall. It garnered bi-partisan support and bi-partisan opposition. Many hearings were held, studies were conducted. And a lengthy record on both sides of the issue was developed.

“I strongly opposed that bill. But I commend its authors for one thing: in drafting and passing BCRA, they made every effort to ensure that everybody would have to play by the same rules — rules, moreover, that would not take effect in the middle of an election year. They wanted to make sure there was no appearance of giving one party a partisan advantage. And in that, they succeeded.

“Now fast forward to today. Late last week, Democrat leaders decided to take us off the Small Business bill to move to the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that is the mirror opposite of BCRA in the partisan way it was drafted and in the partisan way it’s being pushed ahead of an election.

“Let’s be perfectly clear: this bill is not what its supporters say it is. It is not an effort to promote transparency. It is not a response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United — which has now been the law of the land for seven months and which, contrary to the breathless warnings of some, has not caused the world to stop turning on its axis.

“This bill is a partisan effort, pure and simple, drafted behind closed doors by current and former Democrat campaign committee leaders, and it’s aimed at one thing and one thing only: this bill is about protecting incumbent Democrats from criticism ahead of November.

“The supporters of this bill say it’s about transparency. To that, I say it’s transparent alright. It’s a transparent effort to rig the fall elections. And they’re so intent on their goal that they’re willing to launch an all-out assault on the First Amendment in order to get there.

“Democrats achieved something truly remarkable in drafting this bill. They united the ACLU and the Chamber of Commerce — both in opposition. Why? Because it’s as obvious to these groups as it is to me that the DISCLOSE Act is a clear violation of the right to free speech.

“And as usual with Democrats in this Congress, the process hasn’t been any better than the substance. Over in the House, the Democrats’ campaign committee chairman sprung a rewrite of substantial portions that Republicans and even Democrats hadn’t seen shortly before this bill was voted on. Not to be outdone, Democrats here in the Senate introduced a version last week that had been substantially rewritten since it was first introduced in April. In other words, the original Senate version was replaced under a veil of secrecy late last week, and that’s the one Democrat leaders want us to vote on today.

“A massive rewrite of the laws that govern elections and Democrats want to give six full days between introduction and a vote. A massive re-write of the nation’s campaign finance laws without hearings, without testimony, without studies, without a markup. Another bill produced without a single hearing and placed directly on the calendar to bypass even the Rules Committee, which is supposed to have jurisdiction over this issue. A bill written behind closed doors with the help of lobbyists and special interests. All of this — in the name of transparency! Forget the DISCLOSE Act, Mr. President. What we really need is a “Transparency in Legislating about Elections Act.”

“This approach to this bill couldn’t be more different than BCRA. However much I disagreed with that bill, it treated all groups, corporations, unions, parties and individuals the same. From the ban on party non-federal dollars to advertisement limitations within proximity of an election, BCRA’s restrictions and prohibitions were applied evenly. The DISCLOSE Act is the opposite: 117 pages of stealth negotiations in which Democrats pick winners and losers, either through outright prohibitions or restrictions so complex that they end up achieving the same result.

“The unions don’t need a carve-out because they got exemptions. The new law applies to government contractors, but not their unions or unions with government contracts. It doesn’t apply to government unions. It applies to domestic subsidiaries, but not to their unions or international unions. Through threshold and transfer exemptions, unions are the ultimate victors under this bill.

I would note that numerous attempts were made to provide parity in the House Administration Committee mark-up — all were defeated on a partisan basis with no credible explanation. And this is what they’re calling transparency.

“In their efforts to pass this partisan bill ahead of the election, Democrats have been forced to do the same kind of horse-trading we saw in the health care debate. Some of the deals they struck were aimed at attracting special interest support, while others were aimed at quelling special interest opposition. In the end, they came up with a bizarre carve-out construct that grants full First Amendment freedoms to the chosen ones. And the results aren’t any prettier than the health care bill.

“Follow this logic: The exemption applies to 501c4s, with 500,000 members in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and DC, in existence for 10 years who receive less than 15% of their money from corporations or labor unions. In case you don’t know who this provision is aimed at, it’s a carve-out for the NRA — as well as the AARP and the Humane Society, among unknown others, but not to groups like AIPAC or groups formed to advocate for victims of the oil spill or Hurricane Katrina. So if you have 400,000 members, sit down and shut up. If you were founded in 2002, nice try, sit down. If you don’t have the ability to recruit members in every state, zip it. These are the contortions the authors of this bill had to go through to get it this far.

“Worse still, the DISCLOSE Act mandates that its provisions shall take effect without regard to whether or not the Federal Election Commission has promulgated regulations to carry out such amendments. This, of course, will have the practical effect of paralyzing those who want to participate in the political process. If they don’t know what the rules are, they’ll take themselves out of the game, which is clearly what the authors of this bill want.

“Let me ask a question. All these new reporting obligations, filing requirements, certification mandates and transfer burdens are to occur, how? Are there magic forms out there we don’t know about? Do folks write emails to the FEC, FCC or SEC? Maybe we bring back telegrams or use a Harry Potter Owl or the Pony Express? Under threat of criminal sanctions, this provision is a clear message from the Justice Department to anyone covered by the new restrictions in this bill: go ahead and speak, make my day.

“Lastly, Mr. President, recognizing the important constitutional questions at issue with BCRA, an expedited judicial review provision was included in that bill. Not so with this one. In order to make sure this bill isn’t held up by something as inconvenient as a challenge on first amendment grounds, its authors have made sure no court action interferes with their new restrictions this election cycle and maybe next. They add multiple layers of review.

“No provision addressing an appeal to the Supreme Court. No time limits for filing, and no Congressional direction to the courts to expedite. Again the goal of the proponents of this speech rights reduction act is clear: slow the process and secure new rules that help incumbent Democrats for the upcoming elections, and for the foreseeable future.

“Their one goal here is to get people who would criticize them to stop talking about what Democrats have been doing here in Washington over the past year and a half.

“The authors of the bill labored behind closed doors to decide who would retain the right to speak; In direct defiance of what the Supreme Court made clear this past January, when Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, said, `[W]e find no basis for the proposition that, in the context of political speech, the government may impose restrictions on certain disfavored speakers.’

“That is precisely what the Disclose Act does. It imposes restrictions on speech. And I would note that the one category of speakers upon whom the so-called reformers have bestowed the greatest speech rights in this bill are corporations that own media outlets. So a company that owns a TV network, newspaper or blog can say what they want, when they want, as often as they want.

“BCRA was debated over the course of many years. Its authors also recognized the importance of not changing the rules on the eve of an election, which is why the legislation went into effect the day after the 2002 midterm elections. The DISCLOSE Act is the opposite. Seeking to achieve exactly what BCRA avoided, this legislation has an effective date of 30 days after enactment. If it weren’t already obvious that this bill is a partisan exercise, the effective date should be proof positive.

“And those, Mr. President, are the facts.

“Now, I must admit it’s been a few years since I was in law school. So after I learned about all these special deals, I went back to the First Amendment to look for an asterisk or something indicating that only large entrenched and wealthy special interests get the `freedom of speech’.

“I didn’t see it. So I pulled out this Analysis and Interpretation of the Constitution thinking maybe it could be found there. I looked and looked, again to no avail.

“Then it occurred to me. Perhaps on that winter day in 1791 when the First Amendment became effective, these rights were meant to apply to all. Perhaps it is true the First Amendment was adopted to protect the people from Congress, to protect them from laws like this.

“To protect them from a government that picks winners and losers. To protect them from an overreaching government that’s supposed to derive its powers from the consent of the governed.

“The Disclose Act is not about reform. It is nothing more than Democrats sitting behind closed doors with special interest lobbyists choosing which favored groups they want to speak in the 2010 elections — all in an attempt to protect themselves from criticism of their government takeovers, record deficits and massive, unpaid-for expansions of the federal government into the lives of the American people.

“In other words, a bill to shield themselves from average Americans exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech.

“Americans want us to focus on jobs, but by taking us off the small business bill and moving to this one, Democrats are proving the jobs they care about most are their own.

“Think about it. Here we are in the middle of the worst recession in memory, and Democrat leaders decided to pull us off a bill that’s meant to create jobs in an effort to pass this election-year ploy to hold onto their own.

“What could be more cynical than that?

“A yes vote on this bill will send a clear message to the American people that their jobs aren’t as important as the jobs of embattled Democrat politicians.

“In closing, let me just note that hundreds of ideologically diverse organizations oppose this bill and have provided us with valuable information on its various absurdities. But I think the ultimate test of this bill’s legitimacy is pretty simple. If the Founding Fathers were here, they’d remind us. They’d hold up the Constitution and remind us of the oath we took to support and defend it.

“As members cast this vote today, they’ll come to the well and look at the desk to see what the well description says — the sheet of paper that sums up what this vote is about. On the Democrat side I’m sure it will include words like transparency and disclosure and talk about the threats to Democracy if this bill isn’t passed.

“On our side Mr. President, it will be simpler. This copy of the Constitution will serve as our well description, and, more importantly, it will remind us of why we’re all here. We’re here to protect the Constitution, not our own hides.

“I yield the floor.”

Joe Arnold Drives Politico Story on Bush

Who'd have thought that Politico had to find out from WHAS 11's Joe Arnold that Jeb Bush is not running for president in 2012? Arnold had an opportunity to ask Bush about his plans while Bush was in Louisville to raise money for Rand Paul.

Good for Joe Arnold.

Andy Barr Makes NRO Top 20

National Review Online has identified 20 underfunded House races where an infusion of cash could make a difference in adding these seats to the Republican win column. Andy Barr made the list:

In an ordinary year, a GOP challenger who raised more than $811,000 could expect smooth sailing. But despite this promising start, Andy Barr’s primary fight left him with only $360,000 on hand. His Democratic opponent, Rep. Ben Chandler, has been stockpiling for a long while, and has $1.7 million to defend himself with this year.

Todd Lally did not -- but should have, notwithstanding John Yarmuth's wildly optimistic internal poll.

Monday, July 26, 2010

George Soros Backs Conway

It's not quite as bad as being spawned by the Devil, but pretty close: Jack Conway has taken a big fat check from George Soros, $2,400 to be precise.

And as befitting of one with more hair product than most any woman in the state of Kentucky, Jack has some B-list celebrity donors. Nick Clooney gave $240 and Maury Povich gave $4,800.

h/t: Jake at Page One who read all the FEC docs to unearth these gems.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WaPo Investigation Finds That Kentuckians Are Fat

Watergate it ain't, but a Washington Post investigative report today did make me feel guilty about that Klondike bar I had with lunch.
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

A Bailout Morality Tale

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said a whopper on the Senate floor this morning: "If it were up to them [Republicans], Ford Motor Company would probably be gone."

Reid ignores that (1) Ford was the only U.S. auto company not to take a bailout and (2) Ford reported its best quarter in six years.

That is, Ford is more profitable for not having taken the government money -- with attached strings.

Who knew the private sector could do a better job running a company than can the Obama administration?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

McConnell: GOP's Got its Groove Back

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is addressing the Young Republican Leadership Conference today. Here's the text of his prepared remarks. Note that the line about the debt towards the end is one Rand Paul coined:

“Let Let me start by asking you to cast your minds back to January 2009. President Obama was being sworn in as President. Democrats were flying high. And the American people were eager to see their plan for addressing the nation’s problems. Hope was famously in the air. Meanwhile, Republicans were portrayed as beaten down, demoralized, and despondent. We were more likely to be a late night punch line than a relevant part of Obama’s Washington. I'm sure you all remember it well. But something happened on the way to the political graveyard. The Democrats actually had to govern.

Along the way, pundits in Washington were stunned to find out that ordinary Americans, like you in this room, were rising up all over the country. And those Republicans in Washington — the ones who were supposed to be beaten down, demoralized, and despondent — well, we were listening. We shared your frustration. And we girded for the fight, confident that we had supporters behind us. We broke out of the Washington echo chamber and fought the government-driven solutions that Democrats were proposing. We got our groove back.

The cracks in the Democrats’ foundation continued to spread. And today, just a year and a half after Democrats took over, confident that Washington bureaucrats had the answers to our problems, virtually every survey you look at shows that Americans have lost faith in the Democrat leadership and in government period. As it turns out, when your entire pitch to the American people is that government will solve your problems, people get upset when government can’t deliver. That’s one reason Democrats are so unpopular right now. It’s why Republicans are on a comeback. And we got there by listening, rather than talking.

But this isn’t about a political horse race. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few years, it’s that Americans don’t particularly care about who’s up and who’s down, as long as the people they elect put the interests of their constituents and the interests of the country first. So this isn’t about who’s on top. It’s about following through on the kinds of changes Americans want to see. It’s about reversing the damage Democrats have done. It’s about solving the crises in front of us. And those crises should be plain enough for anybody to see.

It’s not that the Democrats haven’t been busy. They’ve been busier than ever. But rather than being busy addressing the crises in front of them, they’ve all adopted Rahm Emanuel’s 7-word manifesto for governance: Never let a crisis go to waste.

For nearly three months, we’ve needed to fix a broken pipe at the bottom of the Gulf. And what we got instead was a proposal from the President for another plank in the far-left agenda — a radical, far-reaching scheme to impose a new national energy tax on every American.

On issue after issue, the administration’s solutions to our problems have only made our problems worse. And yet they still crave more power, more of your tax dollars, more responsibility. Well, Americans are tired of politicians who promise one thing and deliver another. Let’s start with competence.

What Republicans are offering the American people is a pledge, a pledge to do everything in our power to restore government to a size and scope that leads to some semblance of competency. We’re not going to tell you that if you vote Republican you’re going to wake-up in your dream home with a brand new Corvette outside ready to take you to the best job in the world. You know why? Because government can’t deliver that promise.”

The politics of personal destruction is always the last gasp of a politician on the ropes. That’s why you can’t pick up a newspaper these days without reading about some Democrat trying to convince people that their opponent is a crazy person. We’re not crazy — a $13 trillion debt is crazy.”

Have confidence. Hold your heads high. Work your tails off. Speak up. And when it is all said and done I promise you, we’ll be listening.”

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dan Mongiardo Wants a Bail Out

Joe Arnold at WHAS11 has a piece on sore-loserman Dan Mongiardo that makes the Kentucky Democrats look like a bunch of corrupt and incompetent crybabies.

It's been two months since Mongiardo lost the primary and yet he still has not endorsed Conway. Conway is very coy in his interview with Arnold, but the chronology tells it all.
  • Mongiardo lost the primary in a close race, by approximately one vote per precinct.
  • Mongiardo's campaign is roughly $70,000 in debt.
  • Mongiardo threatened to call for a recanvass of the vote.
  • Mongiardo's and Conway's staffs met.
  • Hours later, Mongiardo changes his mind about requesting a recount.
  • Mongiardo says Conway promised to help retire his debt.
  • Conway refuses to pay Mongiardo's debt.
  • Conway still lacks Mongiardo's endorsement.
It looks like quid pro quo, several in fact. Conway denies it, but watch Joe Arnold's interview and decide for yourself if Conway's feigned ignorance of the details of the discussion between the two campaign staffs is plausible. At best, Conway looks like he cannot or will not exert any control over his staff, or that he's the pretty puppet of his campaign operatives.

Mongiardo comes off worse. It's been apparent for two months that he is a sore loser. Now we know that he has no qualms about selling his right to a recount for $70,000. And the price for his endorsement is apparently the same, $70,000.

Mongiardo's welfare mentality is all-consuming. His debt is not his problem, in his view, it's somebody else's -- Jack Conway. No personal accountability for Mongiardo; he deserves the help. He thinks he's entitled to Jack Conway's money or the Democratic Committee's or whoever will spare him a dime.

Maybe the Democratic-controlled Congress (in the remaining four months while they are still in control) can pass a $70,000 earmark for Dan Mongiardo.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tea Party Moves on to KY Gubernatorial Race

There's been speculation this week that Rand Paul's campaign manger from the primary, Dave Adams, is going to seek the Republican nomination for Kentucky governor with Tea Party backing.

The Lexington Herald-Leader says that Adams confirms he is leaving the Paul campaign, but to be the campaign manager of the Tea Party-backed gubernatorial slate -- not the candidate.

Adams ran the Paul campaign during the Republican U.S. Senate primary and then was "promoted" to campaign chair after Paul won the primary and immediately misfired on the Rachel Maddow and Good Morning America shows.

No word yet on who the Tea Party will back; we'll know by the end of this week, according to the H-L.

There was speculation last week about a David Williams -Richie Farmer Republican slate, with differing views about who should run for governor and who for lieutenant.

Although Williams backed Rand Paul in the primary, I cannot see the Tea Party credibly anointing Williams as their candidate for governor, or lieutenant governor for that matter.

Williams supported a tax on alcohol that infuriated many Kentuckians not just because it raised the cost of their hooch but because the bourbon industry is a huge source of revenue, jobs and pride to Kentucky. Indeed, Indiana apparently started courting bourbon companies to move across the river after the tax hike.

Given its decentralized, ad hoc nature, it is never altogether clear what the Tea Party supports. It is clear, however, what the Tea Party opposes: tax increases. The "Tea" name, after all, is an acronym for "Taxed Enough Already." That is not a moniker that David Williams can wear after agreeing to the tax hike on alcohol.

So if the Tea Party gubernatorial candidate is not Williams, then who? Perhaps Bill Johnson?

Generic Ballot Watch

This is perhaps the best predictor of the midterm elections: the Rasmusson Generic Ballot shows a 20 point swing to Republicans from 2008. The two party split in 2008 is Democrats 56, Republicans 44, thus the thumping. Now the two party split is Republicans 54, Democrats 46.

One thing to watch: the Generic Ballot is a little closer than it was last month, when the spread was 22. Still, if the midterm elections were held today, a 20 point swing in every district would result in 57 more Republicans.

Consider that John Yarmuth won reelection in 2008 with 59 percent. It was a blow-out, but still not enough of a margin to take a 20 point swing. This is a wave Todd Lally could catch.

The Berwick Timeline

The White House and surrogates maintain that time was of the essence for Donald Berwick to start serving as Health Czar, and that left no choice but to make him a recess appointment -- no time for Congressional hearings and a vote in the Senate.

But consider this timeline:

  • President Barack Obama took 495 days to nominate Berwick, and
  • For the next 79 days, Democrats refused to hold a hearing for him.

You Don't Say

Rand Paul told Fox News that he could not have won the Republican nomination without the help of the Tea Party.

Sometimes candidates have no choice but to state the obvious; it helps them keep the base motivated.

But Paul's comments were reported by AP -- why? And then linked as the number two political story at Townhall -- why?

Paul has said many colorful things worthy of analysis and debate. But this attribution of victory to the Tea Party was not one of them.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Berwick: Let's Spread the Wealth Around!

The Obama administration's nominee for health Czar, Donald Berwick, sounds a lot like candidate Barack Obama when he met Joe the Plumber.

Berwick sees health care as a tool of redistribution. The Wall Street Journal notes,

Among Donald Berwick's greatest rhetorical hits is this one: ‘any health-care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must—must—redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate.’

At least the guy is candid. That candor, however, is exactly why the Obama administration slipped him in as a recess appointee; they were scared of the hearings.

At least the administration is transparent about its cowardice.

Is Yarmuth in Trouble?

Joe Arnold reports a poll that shows Todd Lally and John Yarmuth in a dead heat, with both at 43 percent (13 percent undecided). The Lally campaign released the results from River City Polling, which, according to the campaign, was most accurate in predicting the results of the Republican primary.

I'm dubious that the campaign is that close this early. But I do think Yarmth's extreme-left positions make him vulnerable. To be sure, Louisville is more liberal than the rest of Kentucky. But Yarmuth is more liberal than the rest of his party -- a problem in a year where the Democratic brand is toxic.

This seat is ripe for the picking. I just hope the primary voters chose the best candidate to do the harvesting.

On Atheists

From Human Events, an article on Ten Ways to Make Atheists Cry.

My favorite is number five:

Learn to talk like William F. Buckley. A comfortable prejudice for American atheists is that religious believers all speak with a heavy Southern accent and use small words.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Presbyterians Thump Their Bibles Over Israel's Head

Speaking of dissing Israel (see my last post on President Obama below), the Louisville-based Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) on Friday unwisely preached politics from the pulpit -- and in the process alienated themselves even more from most Americans.

Church representatives voted by a margin of more than four to one -- 558-119 -- to call for the U.S. to end all aid to Israel unless Jewish families stop settling in neighborhoods claimed to be controlled by Palestinians.

Of course, the Jews have a history of ownership of real estate in that part of the world that dates back a few thousand years, as the Presbyterians could confirm by consulting their Bibles.

P.C.U.S.A. has lost an astounding 1/3 of its membership in the past few years. Adopting a controversial political resolution attacking Jewish people only adds to the perception of a religious denomination that is far outside the mainstream of American religious denominations -- and political parties, as P.C.U.S.A. appears to be acting.
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

Rand on Death and Taxes

This newest release from Rand Paul has a few turns of phrases that suggest he is editing his own copy: he calls the death tax "one of the most egregious and vile federal taxes. " He's right, of course, but when was the last time you heard a tax described as "vile"? I'm loving it. Poor Jack Conway.

Here's the release in its entirety:

According to the Lexington Herald Leader, U.S. Senate candidate Jack Conway has joined President Obama and liberal Democrat allies in Washington by calling for a massive tax increase beginning next year by reinstituting the Death Tax, which had been repealed during the Bush Administration.

This tax is one of the most egregious and vile federal taxes, and any attempt to reinstate it should be stopped. Rand Paul has signed a formal pledge offered by the American Family Business Institute to keep the Death Tax from coming back from the grave.

"Before it was phased out, Americans had the displeasure of paying the IRS for the act of dying. Make no mistake, we are taxed to death during our lifetimes - income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, the list goes on," said Dr. Paul this morning.

"Every single dime you have when you die has already been taxed at least once and probably more. To then subject your death to an additional tax is wrong, Jack Conway and President Obama’s plan is wrong, and I won’t stand for it."

The Death Tax disproportionately harms small businesses and farmers, since the tax isn’t just on your savings, but also on any business and property you are trying to pass along to your family.

The Death Tax leads to businesses being sold, farms being lost and jobs going away. Millions of dollars in entrepreneurial capital is instead sent to the government. In these tough times, we should not be raising taxes. And, we certainly should not be increasing them on the small businesses that create jobs.

"President Obama and Jack Conway are just wrong. We should not be raising taxes on anyone, especially during a recession. And, we shouldn’t be trying to decide what rate the Death Tax should be, we should instead be keeping it where it is - zero."

Friday, July 9, 2010

Obama Claims That Bitter Israelis Cling To His Middle Name

How does one explain when others don't agree with your policies? Blame it on prejudice and ignorance, says President Obama. His reason for why Israelis are concerned about him? "Some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion," he said in an interview with an Israeli television station on Wednesday. That line is as much insulting to Israelis as was Obama's infamous line during the 2008 campaign with regard to voters in middle America who didn't support him: "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustration."
Please note: The postings of "G. Morris", written by John K. Bush and which end in 2016, stated his views as of the dates of posting and should not be understood as current assertions of his views. The postings, which have not been altered since they came to an end, remain on this blog to preserve the historical record. In 2017, Mr. Bush took a position that precludes further public political comments or endorsements. He will no longer be contributing to this blog.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Politico Craziness

Somebody has added something to the coffee over at Politico this morning. One article suggests that Michael Steele is a viable candidate for President (of the United States, that is). Another article suggests that Sarah Palin should replace Michael Steele as RNC Chair.

I see both of these scenarios as about as likely as Al Gore becoming the next Bachelor on ABC.

Rand on Berwick

Rand Paul has circled back to the issue that catapulted the Tea Party: health care. Specifically, Paul is taking on the recess appointment of Donald Berwick as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Control. Paul is aligned with the Republican Caucus -- even seizes upon the same Berwick quotes -- but true to form, Paul has more to say. I particularly like the format Paul uses at the end of his release to compare his positions to those of Jack Conway:

Earlier this year, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi conspired to ram through their national healthcare scheme, forcing Americans into a trillion dollar government-controlled system. Jack Conway, instead of joining with other Attorneys General to fight for Kentucky’s rights, instead embraced their government mandates.

Now, President Obama is making another extreme move in the realm of healthcare - and Jack Conway is nowhere to be found. So once again we ask, Where is Jack?

Here's just a taste of the extreme views of the new nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Don Berwick:

"Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized, and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional."

And that’s just a start.
Some other eye-popping stances from Don Berwick:

"The decision is not whether or not we will ration care - the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open." June 2009
"I am romantic about the (British) National Health Service. I love it." He also called this socialized system an "example to the whole world."
This is the man who will be in charge of a system that spends nearly one TRILLION dollars a year on healthcare.

Of course these views match very well with those of President Obama, who said: "The chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here….There is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place."

President Obama can deny it all he wants - the fact is, he has pushed through a plan that leads to socialized medicine, rationed care and exploding spending and deficits. And now he is pushing forward his nominee to further those aims.

Our government has no business being in charge of health care. And it certainly has no business deciding who gets care and who doesn’t. Those systems have failed in other countries, and they will fail here if allowed to be implemented.

That’s why Rand Paul supports repeal of Obamacare, and would oppose the nomination of Don Berwick in the Senate. He is another nominee, another extremist who seeks to "redistribute" wealth and force tax increases to pay for "free" healthcare.

To make matters worse, this nominee is being placed into office by "recess appointment", a power given to the President to put someone in an office without Senate confirmation. Recess appointments have been used recently to put extremists in office who could never pass the constitutionally-required advise and consent of the Senate.

The Senate has not held a single hearing on this nominee. No questions have been asked. No reports given. No debate has taken place. Yet, President Obama has decided that the Republicans in the Senate would not pass the nomination. This is a typical spin from the White House, posture, bluster, blame, then sneak your plan through. Unfortunately for them, the facts are not on their side. This is simply an end-around the process, and should be condemned by both sides of the aisle.

Rand Paul President Obama Jack Conway
Opposed Obamacare Obviously pushed Obamacare Sided with Obama and against 65% of Kentuckians who oppose it
Opposes trillion dollars in new spending Proposed trillion dollars in new spending
Supported trillion dollar new spending
Opposes government rationing Appointed nominee who supports rationing ???
Opposes socialized medicine Pushing country toward socialized medicine ???
Supports Repeal of Obamacare Will fight against repeal ???
Opposes nominee to implement Obamacare Appointed extremist nominee in favor of Rationing care and socialized medicine ???

This issue is current matter for the U.S. Senate. Once again, Rand Paul will take clear, full, principled stands so you’ll know what he’ll do as your next Senator. Where is Jack??

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

So This is Donald Berwick

Instead of going the recess appointment route -- slinking into office when Congress is out of session -- perhaps Donald Berwick should have asked Queen Elizabeth for a job when she was in New York yesterday.

After all, Berwick gets misty-eyed when he contemplates the marvels of the British National Health care System.

In 2008 at the London Science Museum in Berwick said: "I fell in love with the NHS . . . . To an American observer, the NHS is such a seductress."

In 2005, Berwick said "I think the NHS is one of the great human health care endeavors on earth. It can be an example for the whole world, an example I must say the United States needs now more than most countries do.

Yeah, the NHS is such a seductress if you want to get the wrong limb amputated, or if you don't mind waiting months to see a doctor after finding a lump in your breast.

I can see know why the Obama administration sought to avoid Congressional hearings on Berwick. So many questions to ask him . . . where to begin.

And notwithstanding the administration's latest spin, Republicans never blocked his nomination. To the contrary, as Jake Tapper notes, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) requested a confirmation hearing for Berwick to take place two weeks ago. Republicans are eager for this hearing; it is Democrats who don't want to Berwick on the evening news so close to midterm elections.

That's why they chose to slip him in as a recess appointment. So much for transparency.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

McConnell on Obama's Recess Appointment of Berwick

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell minced no words about the Obama administration's recess appointment of Donald Berwick to be Director of the Center of Medicare & Medicaid Services:

“As if shoving a trillion dollar government takeover of health care down the throat of a disapproving American public wasn't enough, apparently the Obama Administration intends to arrogantly circumvent the American people yet again by recess appointing one of the most prominent advocates of rationed health care to implement their national plan.

“Democrats haven't scheduled so much as a committee hearing for Donald Berwick but the mere possibility of allowing the American people the opportunity to hear what he intends to do with their health care is evidently reason enough for this Administration to sneak him through without public scrutiny.

“Just over three months after passage of this misguided law, with Americans' worst fears about it being realized every day, the fact that this Administration won't allow the man charged with implementing the President's plan to cut $500 billion out of Medicare to testify about his plans for the care of our nation's seniors is truly outrageous.”

New Poll on Senate Race

Joe Arnold is reporting that a new Public Policy Poll shows that Rand Paul and Jack Conway are tied in the U.S. Senate race, at 43 percent each.

It was inevitable that the onslaught of national media scrutiny would bring Paul's numbers back down from the stratosphere. This was Paul's own fault. Now he is demonstrating McConnell-like discipline in staying on message and avoiding left-wing shows that seek to sandbag him.

The poll notes that Paul's biggest asset is President Obama's miserable approval rating in Kentucky. That's not going to change, and certainly not before November.

Meanwhile, other than fundraising, Conway has done nothing but write mash notes to Dan Mongiardo. We won't even get to hear Conway cuss like a sailor due to the new speech rules at Fancy Farm. That's alright; we know he's Jack Tough.

McConnell and Rand Paul Slam Obama on Immigration

Both Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul issued statements today criticizing the Obama administration's weak efforts at immigration reform.

First, McConnell, on the Justice Department's lawsuit against the state of Arizona:

"Suing the people of Arizona for attempting to do a job the federal government has utterly failed to execute will not help secure our borders. If the President wants to make real progress on this issue, he can do so by taking amnesty off the table and focus his efforts on border and interior security.

“It is long past time for this administration to prioritize solving a crisis over imposing an agenda and the first step is to recognize that attorneys and amnesty are not acceptable alternatives to border security and job creation.

Next, the Rand Paul campaign's statement:

Last week, President Obama gave a speech about our pressing illegal immigration problem. That speech was noteworthy because, for the first time after 18 months in office, he seemed to notice there IS a problem.

But we did not hear bold new programs. We did not hear many specifics on how our border can be controlled. Instead, we heard bluster, blame and broad platitudes where action is needed.

The same old political deals won't work. In the 1980's we were told, give us amnesty this one time and we'll secure the borders. We gave the amnesty, but our borders are not secure.

This is a matter of national security, economic survival, and basic fairness.

The illegal immigration problem clearly will not be solved by the same old politicians who talk without saying anything. That's why Rand Paul proposes a bold three-prong plan that takes the problem of illegal immigration head on.

1. Secure the Border: We must build a fence across our southern border. It can be a physical fence, or an electronic fence or a combination. I believe the reality is the electronic fence will work better and be cheaper. But I will vote for any method to put a real obstacle at our border.

We should increase our border patrol, and add multiple helicopter stations. We should move some of our unneeded foreign military bases to our borders. And we should have a zero tolerance policy for human trafficking.

2. End the Welfare State for Illegal Immigrants. Milton Friedman famously said you cannot have a welfare state and open borders. We have both right now. That's why I propose a ban on all taxpayer-funded services to illegal immigrants. There are cities near our borders where illegal immigrants literally cross our borders simply to go to our schools and hospitals. This travesty is wrong and must be stopped.

3. End "Anchor Babies." The 14th amendment, granting citizenship to those born here, was never meant for those whose parents were here illegally. It is a gross distortion of the original intent. I propose we fix this legislatively, and if necessary, by Constitutional amendment. The fact is, regardless of irresponsible news reports on this mater, this is NOT settled law, and the only case that addresses the issue of birthright citizenship, "United States v. Wong Kim Ark", was a case regarding children of LEGAL immigrants.

Kentuckians know that we need real and swift action to end illegal immigration. And, there is a real choice when it comes to tackling this problem.

Rand Paul President Obama Jack Conway
Will vote for fence and will secure borders No border fence funding ???
End Illegal Immigrant welfare state Continue illegal immigrant welfare ???
Fight to end automatic citizenship for children of illegals Will continue anchor babies ???

You've heard Dr. Paul’s positions. You've heard the President talk, but he refuses to say or do anything of substance. And you've heard even less from Jack Conway on how he would solve this problem. I invite Jack to join the national discussion on this issue and say if he stands with the inaction, amnesty and welfare state for illegals like his national party.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

I ran across this prayer for George Washington's army, written by Abiel Leonard, A.M., Chaplain to General Putnam's Regiment in 1775. Give thanks for our men and women in arms as you read it (Calling Michael Steele):

O my God, in obedience to the call of thy providence, I have engaged myself, and plighted my faith, to jeopardy my life in the high places of the field in the defense of my dear country and the liberties of it acknowledging thy people to be my people, their interest my interest, and their God to be my God. … And I desire now to make solemn dedication of myself to thee in it through Jesus Christ presenting myself to thy Divine Majesty to be disposed of by thee to thy glory and the good of America. O do thou, I most fervently entreat, wash away mine iniquities, blot them out of thy remembrance, purify and cleanse my soul in the blood of the great Captain of my salvation—accept of—own and bless me!

Teach, I pray thee, my hands to war, and my fingers to fight in the defense of America, and the rights and liberties of it! Impress upon my mind a true sense of my duty, and the obligation I am under to my country! … but may I live to do further service to my country—to the church and the people of God, and interest of Jesus Christ, and see peace and tranquility restored to this land…

Hear me, O my God, and accept of those my petitions through Jesus Christ, to whom with thee, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, one God, be glory, honor and praise, forever and ever. AMEN.

Hat tip: Human Events

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Dan Mongiardo Needs to Grow Up

It's been nearly two months since he lost the Democratic primary, and still Dan Mongiardo has not endorsed Jack Conway. His sulking has grown tiresome. Even the C-J has called out Mongiardo for being a sore loser.

Mind you, Mongiardo's pettiness is great for Republican Rand Paul.

But it still bothers me, because it sets such a poor example. There is a place for courtesy and good sportsmanship even in politics -- particularly after the voters have spoken. It is therefore uncomfortable to watch Mongiardo embarrass himself, even while so doing he helps my team win.

Mongiardo needs to endorse Conway not just for the sake of his party, but as an example to his little girl. Sometimes in life we lose. And when we do, we congratulate the winner, shake off the hurt feelings and move on.

Sen. Chambliss Gives GOP Address

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) gives this week's Republican address. Click here for the video.

He makes a powerful point about the national debt with a quote from Thomas Jefferson I had never heard before:

As the Declaration’s parchment has yellowed with age, America has become a rich nation whose ideals and economy have been the envy of the world. We have faced down many enemies at home and abroad.

But one of the most dangerous threats confronting America today doesn’t come from without, but from within. And I’m talking about our national debt.

Wisely, the Declaration’s author, Thomas Jefferson, warned of this danger early on. As he once said, “There does not exist an engine so corruptive of the government and so demoralizing of the nation as public debt. It will bring us more ruin at home than all the enemies from abroad against whom this Army and Navy are to protect us.”

As usual, Jefferson was right.

At a time when Americans are clipping coupons and pinching pennies, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress continue to spend money that they – we – do not have.

Three weeks ago, America’s national debt topped $13 trillion. And let me say that one more time: $13 trillion is owed by the United States of America today. That number is so big it’s difficult to comprehend.

If you take that $13 trillion and divide it by the number of Americans, that’s $42,000 for every person in this country.

The national debt has risen by $2.4 trillion in the 500 days since President Obama took office. That’s an average of nearly $5 billion per day.

Even though we have to borrow 43 cents of every dollar we spend and the debt is set to double in five years, Congress and this White House still continue to splurge.

More than half of the $9 trillion in debt America will accrue in the next decade will be from interest alone. That money could be better used on national defense or returned to taxpayers.

Instead, future generations will be forced to pay higher taxes to foot the bill for Democrats’ out-of-control spending.

And with much of America’s debt being held by other nations – such as China – our national debt is also a national security issue. No less than the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said last month, “I actually believe that the biggest national security threat we have is our national debt.”

Friday, July 2, 2010

McConnell Will Vote No on Kagan

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell will vote no on the confirmation of Elena Kagan to Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Here's McConnell's statement:"

In her testimony this week, Ms. Kagan acknowledged that it is ‘difficult to take off the advocate’s hat and put on the judge’s hat.’ That difficulty is particularly acute for someone like Ms. Kagan, who has spent so much of her adult life practicing the art of political advocacy rather than practicing law.

Unfortunately, Ms. Kagan failed to explain how she could overcome that difficulty, falling well short, in fact, of meeting her own standard for providing the Senate helpful testimony. She was far from forthcoming in discussing her own views on basic principles of American constitutional law. For example, she refused to repudiate her alarming position in the Supreme Court that the federal government can ban core political speech if it dislikes the speaker, including speech with a long and venerable history in our country, like political pamphlets.

I do not have confidence that if she were confirmed to a lifetime position on the Supreme Court she would suddenly constrain the ardent political advocacy that has marked much of her adult life. The American people expect a justice who will impartially apply the law, not one who will be a rubberstamp for the Obama administration or any other administration. For these reasons, I will oppose Ms. Kagan’s confirmation.

Rand Says We Are Rome

Rand Paul compared the U.S. to the last days of the Roman Empire, according to Townhall.

He said Thursday that in the latter days of the Roman Empire, with the economy in shambles, emperors tried to appease people with food and entertainment to distract them

Paul is right that there is a "bread and circuses" quality to the Obama administration. Then again, that is true anytime a Democrat occupies the White House.

Obama has been no friend to Israel, though he hasn't gone so far as to sack Jerusalem; he is more passive than most of the Roman Emperors.

Any other analogies? Building roads (and signs that give the administration credit for the pork)-- that's not too far off from building aqueducts.

Heaven knows that our culture grows increasingly depraved.

All we need now is for the White House to host a Toga Party. Wait a second, the First Lady's inaugural gown was a white, one-shouldered number.