Monday, November 24, 2014

The Obamnesty Travesty

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

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

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

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

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time for a Post Mortem on KY House

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

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

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

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

So what on earth went wrong?

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 6, 2014

This Election Gets Better and Better

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

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

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

As the Washington Free Beacon writes,

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

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

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Have You Stopped Pinching Yourself?

It was great night, so filled with gratitude and hope at the Kentucky Republican Victory Party. I am so happy for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell for his stunning reelection.  At 15 points, it is more than I could have asked for or imagined. I am still shocked at how quickly the race was called. It happened almost too fast to comprehend.

Allison Lundergan-Grimes so-called "concession" speech -- in which she could not bring herself to mention McConnell by name -- was tasteless and ill-mannered, whereas McConnell was gracious to her in his victory.  She confirmed what many women had grown to suspect over the course of the campaign: she is a mean girl.

Sure, it was disappointing that Republicans did not flip the Kentucky House. This was not a surprise, unfortunately, to most who follow the House races closely. Even with three Super PACs pouring money into flipping the House, these are inherently local races. Money cannot buy elections, contrary to Democrat sour grapes.  Money is necessary, but not sufficient.  I suspect Republicans could do a better job recruiting and training candidates.  GOP state party leaders need to look closely and honestly at what could have been done differently to achieve a better outcome in the House races. We have come close for several cycles, but it feels like we're stuck.  Let's determine what needs to change so that we can get un-stuck.

 My only suggestion on the Victory Celebration is that next time, let's hold it downtown, not in the East End.  Nate Haney and Sen. Rand Paul are making real inroads, competing for votes in the West End.  So let's hold the victory party in a location that is easier for people who rely on public transportation to get to. We have to change the way we think as Republicans.  If we are going to compete for votes everywhere, this has to be reflected in all aspects of the organization, and that includes the celebration.  Let's keep that in mind next November when we celebrate electing Kentucky's next governor.

It was wonderful to see so many local high school students in attendance.  There was a good showing from St. Xavier and from Sacred Heart and from Oldham County.  This bodes well for the future of the party; these teenagers understand that they will get stuck with the bill for the Democrats' profligate spending.  They have a keener appreciation for the financial implication of the national debt than many adults.

All in all, I am grateful for the opportunity to end the dysfunction in  the U.S. Senate.  It's time to vote on the 200-plus bills that the House of Representatives passed, that Harry Reid refused to bring to the Senate floor.  If Obama wants to veto him, let him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Prediction Time

  • Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell wins by seven.
  • Republicans win control of the U.S. Senate.  We learn this tonight irrespective of Georgia and Louisiana.
  • Allison Lundergan-Grimes doesn't shut down her campaign operation and converts it run for the Democratic nomination for a Governor. The Clintons encourage her in this because they own her Senate loss and need the vindication for Hillary's presidential bid.
  • The Kentucky Republicans pick up a few House seats.  Not enough to flip the House but perhaps enough to tempt some Dems to switch parties.
  • Matt Bevin announces he is running for the Republican nomination for governor.
  • John Yarmuth wins reelection but sees GOP gains as a sign that he will be in the minority for the foreseeable future; he has had enough of that and quietly makes plans to retire.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mitch and Rand Barnstorm Kentucky

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell winds up his campaign today, flying around the state with his wife, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Sen. Rand Paul.

I would love to be a fly on the wall of that plane.

The day gives McConnell and Paul ample opportunity to set the agenda what Republicans can accomplish upon taking control of the Senate.  The first 100 days are critical; let's make them count.

It is extraordinary that a state as small and poor as Kentucky has two such consequential Senators:  a future Majority Leader and a future presidential candidate. As McConnell has often said, Paul has been influential in the Senate from the very outset -- highly unusual in a venerable institution based on seniority.

Paul and McConnell have very different yet complimentary skill sets. McConnell understands the rules and procedures of the Senate better than anyone.  Paul has a political instinct that  discerns not just where public sentiment is now, but where it can go. I think their friendship is genuine. McConnell should take the opportunity between campaign stops to pick Paul's brain and prioritize what a Republican Senate majority can accomplish. First on that list should be the Keystone Pipeline.

Paul's boldness plus with McConnell's realism can combine to produce votes on bills that can demonstrate that Republicans are serious about governing, not obstructing.  Of course, Obama will probably veto most of the bills we'd like to see become law.  Let him.  Force him to go on record.

Paul and McConnell should also take this opportunity to plan for the contingency of what Obama may try to do by Executive Order in the lame duck session after the election but before the new Congress is sworn in.  If, for example, Obama tries to achieve amnesty through Executive Order, Republicans need to be ready to seek an injunction.