Sunday, December 30, 2012

Let's Go Cliff Diving!

I have tried to ignore this story as part of my post-election funk, but now it can no longer be avoided. So here's my take.

I don't care if we go over the so-called Fiscal Cliff. In fact, I think it is preferable to many of the alternatives being kicked around.

Republicans need to hold fast to the first principle that raising taxes on anyone will hurt the economy
This is particularly true when the taxpayer is also an employer.

If taxes are to go up, they should go up on everyone.  Yes, even those making less than $250k.  While  we are at it, let's get rid of income tax credits that allow a large chunk of the population to pay nothing whatsoever.  Let the working poor pay some nominal amount so that they have some skin in the game.

This is the only way that Americans can internalize or even comprehend the true cost of the behemoth government that at present, somebody else is paying for.  Once big government is no longer free, smaller government will look better and better to more of the electorate.  This is the only way Republicans can win.

Going over the Fiscal Cliff, of course, has other consequences, but they are not insurmountable,

You don't like the price of milk doubling? Welcome to the world of government interfering with free markets.

Unemployment benefits would end.  That is certainly a frightening prospect for many.  But truth be told, unemployment is designed to be temporary; these benefits have been extended so many times that they have morphed into welfare. We need to be honest about this fact.

The military will face cuts. Republicans need to acknowledge that there is plenty of fat in the Department of Defense budget.  Our focus should not be on protecting the Pentagon from cuts but rather to make the cuts in the right places.

While we are at it, i like Sen. Rand Paul's idea of cutting aid to countries who want to destroy us. And it's time to resurrect Ronald Reagan's idea that whole federal departments need to be cut, from the cabinet level on down; just abolish them.  Reagan singled out the Departments of Energy and Education; we should look critically at each department to make sure that it serves a function that only the federal government can do.

This will hurt the booming housing market in the District of Columbia -- as with the Hunger Games, things are different in the Capitol --but for most of America, the absence of these bureaucracies will make little difference.

Will going over the Fiscal Cliff hurt?  Yes, it will be brutal.  So is having one's wisdom teeth removed. The pain we will experience if allow taxes to go up on everyone is nothing compared to the pain we can forestall by finally reducing the size of government.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sen. Roy Blunt Gives Weekly GOP Address

Sen. Roy Blunt n (R-MO) gives this week's Republican address. (Click here to watch.)  His tone on the Fiscal Cliff -- and the possibility of real reform -- is somewhat upbeat, certainly more so than I am.

Here's a sad little factoid from Blunt's speech:  if Obama gets to raise taxes on the top two percent of Americans, that additional revenue will only fund the government for eight days.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Vanquished

Many Republicans these days are whining and moaning about the way things are going.  They have been defeated and they just do not know what to do.

Republicans should be elated!  In times of old, the victors would have done really bad things to us.  All the Democrats are going to do is raise our taxes and take some of our guns.  We should be thankful that they haven't pillaged our homes, plundered our possessions and put us into slavery.  Cheer up Republicans, it's not so bad.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

R.I.P. Robert Bork

I was sad to hear that Judge Robert Bork has died.  What a brilliant jurist and legal scholar. Our country lost out when the Left denied him his rightful seat on the Supreme Court.

The smear campaign that Democrats turned against him was a turning-point for us as a country. The Senate hearings on Bork's nomination and the ensuing spin and coverage,  this was the moment when honor ceased to matter, when any personal attack no matter how baseless became acceptable to Democrats.

What must that have felt like to him, that campaign to keep Bork off the Court at all costs?  What did it feel like to see one's last name become a verb?

Though he never got to sit on the Supreme Court, Bork continued to influence a generation of conservatives.  He was a frequent presence at Federalist Society events and always happy to sign a pocket constitution. Many of his former clerks from the D.C. Circuit carry on his legacy today as conservatives scholars in the Academy, out-numbered but holding their own by sheer intellect.

His books, Slouching Toward Gomorrah and The Tempting of America are must reads for anyone who cares about the rule of law, even non-lawyers.  His many law review articles reminded and encouraged conservative law students that the dribble we were taught by so many left-wing ideologues was not Gosepel; Bork pointed out the weaknesses in liberal legal orthodoxy and gave us the counter-arguments.

As Hot Air notes, the ultimate irony about the timing of Bork's passing is that had he been confirmed to the Supreme Court, Obama would have had the opportunity to nominate a liberal to replace a conservative, thereby shifting the Court to the left.

As we give thanks for the life of this great patriot, let's also pray for the health and safety of Justices Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy.  Live long and prosper!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Barr. Massie Get Committee Assignments

The newest members of Kentucky's Congressional Delegation, Andy Barr and Thomas Massie, just received their assignments to Committees for the House of Representatives.

Congressman-elect Barr will sit on the House Financial Services Committee.  This is considered a top tier committee and is a good fit for Barr's legal background. Barr indicated that he will focus on this committee on freeing from community banks from regulations that inhibit job creation.

Congressman-elect Massie will sit on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the Committee on Government Reform and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology. The first committee, Transportation and Infrastructure, makes sense given that the bridge across the Ohio River on which Obama did his big photo op is located in Massie's district.  The later committee suits Massie's background as an MIT grad; I'll bet he has lots of sources to draw upon for Science, Space and Technology.

The 113th Congress convenes on January 3, 2013.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Run, Ashley, Run!

NRO is right:  Ashley Judd can fulfill the Christmas wish of Kentucky Republicans by running for U.S. Senate against Mitch McConnell.

The draft Ashley for Senate is the brain-child, to use the term loosely, of Congressman John Yarmuth, who has taken passive-aggressiveness to a new low.

Recall when McConnell spoke at the Kentucky Farm Bureau Ham Breakfast at the State Fair; the entire Kentucky delegation stood up for McConnell -- except Yarmuth.

Yarmuth, back when he was a Republican, was once friends with McConnell.  And his father was one of McConnell's early backers. Over the passage of time, however, Yarmuth has lurched to the left and McConnell has become Leader of his party.

Yarmuth's envy is palpable.

He is desperate to see McConnell defeated, but doesn't have the guts to run himself (because he knows McConnell would clobber him).

So he's looking for a proxy:  Ashley Judd.

NRO lists all the zainy things Judd has said over the years.  The political ads practically write themselves.

Take her stance on coal, for instance:

“It’s important that those of us fighting the coal companies stick together,” she said, according to the Washington Examiner “Because they make me feel absolutely and totally crazy.” She also touted The Green Collar Economy, the book written by none other than former Obama administration official Van Jones.

Yarmuth and Judd don't seem to notice that Democrat Congressman Ben Chandler, after January, will be called former Congressman.  He lost because of his opposition to the coal industry.  That was the issue that turned around Andy Barr's campaign and propelled Barr to a comfortable victory.

As a result, Yarmuth is now the only Democrat in Kentucky's Congressional delegation.  A run by Ashley Judd will assure that his status as the lone Kentucky Democrat in Washington will not change -- unless Republicans can find someone to run against him.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rand Paul on DeMint

For Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. DeMint's leaving the Senate must be particularly poignant:  DeMint was an early supporter or and mentor to Paul, and even backed Paul in the Republican primary.

Paul and DeMint (with Sen. Mike Lee) also have the bond of founding the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. Senate.  That was no easy thing to do.  Aside from grumbling within their own party, the Tea Party Caucus faced institutional challenges the likes of which one would associate with Junior High.  As Sen. Paul told me at the Louisville Federalist Society luncheon last February, the Democrats literally locked the door on the conference room so that the Tea Party Caucus could not meet.

Here's Paul's statement:

I want to congratulate Senator Jim DeMint on becoming president of Heritage.  We will miss his strong voice for the Constitution in the Senate, but I believe that his voice will still resonate throughout the country. He leaves the Senate with more constitutional conservatives than when he came, and those of us he helped are forever grateful. Because of Senator DeMint’s tireless efforts there now is a significant voice for Liberty in the U.S. Senate. 

McConnell on Jim DeMint's Resignation

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had the following reaction to the resignation of Sen. Jim DeMint, who is leaving to head the Heritage Foundation:

I thank Senator DeMint for his uncompromising service to South Carolina and our country in the United States Senate. Jim helped provide a powerful voice for conservative ideals in a town where those principles are too often hidden beneath business as usual.  There is no question in my mind that he raised the profile of important issues like spending and debt and helped galvanize the American people against a big government agenda. I am confident that he will continue to advocate for conservative principles in the next chapter of his service to the American people.

Conservatives are losing the battle of ideas, pure and simple.  This is not just a question of messaging (although we could do much better there, as well).  Conservative think-tanks, writers and citizens need to get creative about how to offer real alternatives to government dependency.  We need to make the case for market-based alternatives to hand-outs and paternalism. 

DeMint brings the creativity and energy to once again make the Republican Party the party of ideas.  

As for the Senate, someone else will be appointed to take over his job, but he will not be replaced.