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.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

McConnell and Paul: The Odd Power Couple

Oscar and Felix they are not. But Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator-Elect Rand Paul will be incongruous housemates, so to speak, in the U.S. Senate Chamber come next year.

And as for there being another State with more consequential U.S. Senators, forget New York, California and the other mammoth states. Next session it will be Kentucky that packs the punch.

We thought we were fortunate just to have the Senate Republican Leader from our Commonwealth. But with yesterday's election, the national media have anointed Kentucky's junior Senator-elect as the de-facto leader of the national Tea Party movement. Witness Paul's gracing the cover of the latest issue of Time Magazine, his victory as the subject of prominent coverage by national newspapers such as the Washington Post and New York Times, and his recent ascendancy as the go-to Tea Party guy for national television and radio talk shows -- though I suspect the real reason that Laura Ingraham had him on her show so many times was simply because listeners found her chant of "Aqua Buddha, Aqua Buddha" to be so hilarious.

Given Rand Paul's meteoric rise, does it seem so far-fetched to speculate that he might just end up as part of the equation for the Republican ticket against Obama (or Hillary?) in 2012. Of course, Paul as a presidential candidate is a way long-shot, though his experience in the U.S. Senate in 2012 would be only two years less than Obama's was when he ran. More likely, though, Paul is a potential running mate for Sarah Palin were she to win the GOP nomination.

This is not to say I'm advocating for a Palin-Paul, Paul-Palin, or Paul-anybody ticket. But it is quite remarkably how this eye doctor from Bowling Green who scarcely was seen by any media in 2008, even when his father ran for president, is suddenly the most prominent elected official in the Tea Party movement. That should count for much in the newly transformed balance of power in the nation's capital.

Paul's new found role as national Tea Party spokesman, added to Senator McConnell's position as the leading voice of Senate Republicans, should bode well for Kentucky's status in national politics even if it makes for some odd moments between a most unlikely pair of politicians.

McConnell on Rand Paul's Victory

Here's Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's statement on Rand Paul's election:

For nearly two years, Kentuckians have said they want their government to focus on jobs and the economy. And at every turn, President Obama and Washington Democrats have ignored the people, and pursued their own left-wing agenda. Tonight, Kentucky voters sent a strong message to Washington by electing Dr. Rand Paul to the United States Senate. His message of reining in outrageous Washington spending and the overreaching policies of the Obama Administration resonated throughout the state. Senator-elect Paul ran a great campaign, and I am excited to have him as my colleague in the Senate next year to help us stop this crippling agenda.

My Wish For the GOP

You've been given a second chance. Don't blow it.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Turnout Looks Great

I voted right after lunch and my precinct was at the 40 percent mark. The poll worker anticipates that they will top 50 percent by the end of the day. That's extraordinary for a midterm election. This will give Hal Heiner a nice pad for his victory.

Let's See How Accurate Our Kids Were at Calling This

As the results come in tonight, watch to see how accurate the school mock elections were. My bet is that most children voted right, so to speak.

Here's the link. By the way, let's hope that this generation remains conservative. That will only happen if Republicans deliver on campaign promises: the gravy train is over. Time to get serious about the size of government

Yarmuth Wants to Give Health Care to Illegals

At yesterday's Bill Clinton rally at U of L, John Yarmuth let slip that he supports giving health care to illegal aliens.

According to the daily rag that passes for a newspaper in Louisville, Yarmuth said "Jack Conway is running against a doctor . . .who says it's not important to insure 50 million more people, that it's not a high priority."

Those who followed the health care debate -- and particularly those who attended a Town Hall -- know that the "50 million uninsured" number includes 9.7 million illegal aliens. Those numbers are not made up by Fox news; those are Census Bureau numbers.

Apparently Yarmuth feels so confident about his reelection that he is not engaging in the liberal ruse that Obamacare should only cover U.S. citizens. Either that, or he thinks that we are too ignorant to actually catch the import of his numbers.