Weekly Musing 4-6-14
Republican lose two POWER-HOUSES in Congress
With the retirement of Dave Camp and Mike Rogers, Michigan loses two of the most powerful and most respected members of Congress.
First…we have to say “thanks” for their service, commitment and sacrifice on behalf of our state and our country.
Many ignore, if not completely miss the sacrifices and commitment members of Congress make in order to serve. Yes, it’s an honor. Yes, it’s one of the coolest jobs I could imagine. And yes, it’s a job many of us would love to have, but don’t want to admit it…let alone go out and earn it.
Serving in Congress…they are the best of times and the worst of times…as most serve to the best of their ability with only our best interest in mind. Both Camp and Rogers epitomize such public service.
Second…we literally will now have an opportunity to elect the next generation of leaders that will represent Michigan and our country. Choose wisely my friends.
MI-8: I’m Out…but would have been Honored
I, as most, was surprised and stunned by Congressman Roger’s announcement that he wouldn’t run for re-election. I seriously considered running for Congress and have to admit, was pleasantly surprised at the support and encouragement I received from friends in and out of state.
I do consider the opportunity to serve in Congress as one of the greatest honors anyone can have. Just having considered the possibility helped restore my commitment to freedom, liberty and America!
My decision wasn’t too complicated…in the end, I just personally couldn’t afford to take on the challenge. I have three sons in college, a mortgage, debt and family obligations that superseded my desire to serve.
By the way, not complaining, no excuses…just reality.
Again, thanks to so many who encouraged me along the way. In the end, unfortunately, it all came down to money. I did buy a lottery ticket…just in case. But lady luck and providence clearly led me in a different direction.
Now we much ALL choose wisely!
Dave Camp won’t seek reelection
Michigan Rep. Dave Camp, the chairman of the prestigious Ways and Means Committee, will not run for reelection in November, the veteran GOP lawmaker announced on Monday.
Camp was first elected in 1990, in a class that also included Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“Serving in Congress is the great honor of my professional life,” Camp said in a statement released by the Ways and Means Committee. “I am deeply grateful to the people of the 4th Congressional District for placing their trust in me. Over the years, their unwavering support has been a source of strength, purpose and inspiration.”
Camp, 60, said he will spend the remainder of this 113th Congress on efforts to “grow our economy and expand opportunity for every American by fixing our broken tax code, permanently solving physician payments for seniors, strengthening the social safety net and finding new markets for U.S. goods and services.”
Candidates emerge, as others decide to sit out Michigan congressional races Several Michigan politicians are still mulling a run for Congress while others have bowed out less than three weeks before the filing deadline.
In the 8th Congressional District, former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis decided not to run for the unexpected open seat created by the retirement announcement of U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Howell.
For the Democrats, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero also ended his short-lived consideration for office.
“So much is broken about Washington that it is tempting for me to contemplate a future trying to fix it,” Bernero posted on his Facebook page. “But my heart and my creative energies are committed to Lansing and its continued growth.”
The decision a week ago by Rogers not to seek re-election for a seat he’s held since 2001 prompted plenty of politicians on both sides of the aisle to consider a run for Congress. The 8th Congressional District includes Ingham, Livingston and northern Oakland counties.
The Demographics Behind the Democrats’ 2014 Troubles
Early national polling is supporting the prevailing view in Washington that Democrats are in trouble in the 2014 midterm elections. While Democrats are more popular than the GOP among the general public, the party faces a number of challenges in November.
First, there’s an enthusiasm gap. Typically, but not always, Republicans vote at higher rates than Democrats in congressional elections. And at this early stage, that seems likely to happen again, perhaps at an even greater rate than usual. One telling indicator came in December, when the Pew Research Center found that Republicans are much more optimistic about their party’s electoral prospects than Democrats are. Fully 55% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters expect the GOP to do better in 2014 than the party has in recent elections, while only 43% of Democrats expressed such confidence.Recent national surveys of registered voters by the Pew Research Center, the Washington Post/ABC News and the New York Times/CBS News show congressional voting intentions about even. But if these polls were narrowed to likely voters, they might find a strong GOP lead. It could be a replay of 2010, when Pew’s final congressional poll of registered voters showed a one-point Democratic lead, but among likely voters Republicans held a six-point advantage, which was about their margin of victory when they retook the House.
Anticipating November, Democrats act desperately
If you’re a Democratic strategist, this seems to be the motto operandi. If you’re a Republican strategist, you’re thinking: Better dumb that down.
There now, if everyone is equally offended, we can proceed.
First, let’s dispense with Democrats, as voters are likely to do this November for countless reasons. Chief among them is the recent debut of the Democratic “strategy” of hurling “pocketbook” legislation at Republicans that has no chance of passing.
This is not exactly a paradigm-shifting strategy. Minimum-wage debates are sort of like funeral suits. You keep them handy for those glum times when respect for dying ideas must be paid. Giving strategists their due, the bills are catchy, using as they do the poll-tested word “fairness” in their titles. (For some reason, I have an irresistible urge to enlist Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family” to say: “Geniuses.” )
Obama’s Top-and-Bottom Coalition Shows Signs of Strain
So coalitions don’t last forever, and change composition over time. John Kennedy’s Democratic coalition united white Southerners and northern Catholics. Half a century later, Republican Mitt Romney carried white Southerners and white Catholics by wide margins.
Barack Obama’s Democratic Party is a top-and-bottom coalition, with affluent gentry liberals and blacks, single women, recent Hispanic immigrants and young voters — all groups of little political heft in Kennedy’s day.
Now in the sixth year of the Obama presidency, with his job approval stuck below 50 percent, there are signs of strain. And choices made earlier, when Democrats held congressional supermajorities, are starting to prove troublesome.
Dynasty Isn’t Just for Monarchies Anymore
Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush may not agree on much, but they surely recognize they need each other in 2016. Only the nomination of both for president by their respective parties makes the dynasty issue go away.
While Clinton has long led her party’s 2016 presidential wish list, the ascension of Jeb Bush up the GOP board is more recent. But make no mistake: Many top Republicans would love him to run, as reported by the Washington Post and discussed on the Sunday shows over the weekend. I have heard the same thing for months from the highest levels of the GOP, which is part of the reason why Bush now occupies the top spot on our University of Virginia Center for Politics Crystal Ball rankings of the 2016 Republican contenders (Clinton obviously tops our Democratic rankings).
The very idea that just two alternating families would occupy the White House for 28 of the 36 years between 1989 and 2025 would have been abhorrent to America’s founding fathers. They weren’t enthusiastic supporters of participatory democracy, but they knew a monarchial line when they saw one, and started a revolution to end it on these shores. The presidency was never supposed to be a household inheritance.
8 cities make cut for GOP convention
Eight cities, including three from Ohio and nominal front-runner Las Vegas, have made the cut in the ongoing contest to hold the GOP’s 2016 nominating convention.
“Congratulations to Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Denver, Dallas, Kansas City, Las Vegas and Phoenix for moving on to the next phase,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted Thursday.
The cities will present their case to the RNC’s site selection committee in Washington on Monday.
By mid-March, the selection committee will choose which cities will get site visits; the visits will take place in late spring.
Supreme Court strikes down overall limits on political contributions
The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled Wednesday that limits on the total amount of money individuals can give to candidates, political parties and political action committees are unconstitutional.
The ruling removes the cap on contributions, which was set at $123,200 for 2014, but does not change limits on individual contributions for president or Congress, currently set at $2,600 per election.
This Is What Happens When A Kid Leaves Traditional Education – AWESOME!
Logan Laplante is a 13 year-old boy who was taken out of the education system to be home schooled instead. Not only was he home schooled, but Logan had the ability to tailor his education to his interests and also his style of learning, something traditional education does not offer. As Logan has mentioned, when he grows up he wants to be happy and healthy. At a TEDx talk in 2013, he discussed how hacking his education is helping him achieve that goal.
Education is often considered the foundation for creating a well rounded and productive society, but this belief usually stems from being sure that those coming out of the education system are able to keep the cogs of society turning in order to maintain profit margins of large companies in a system that requires constant growth. Instead of having creative and out-of-the-box-thinking people, the current style of education creates more submissive, obedient and trained graduates so the current system is always maintained.
What this means is that standard education is focused less on each individual and their growth and more on creating a supply of worker bees that can go out into the world and follow within the confines the system sets out. Sir Ken Robinson gave a famous TED talk in 2007 where he discussed his beliefs about how education kills creativity. This TED talk is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time and has inspired many to re-think the way we are educating our children. Since traditional education is still taking its time with adjusting, many are turning to homeschooling as a solution as it allows children to explore education much like Logan did.
The Left’s ‘Wars’ – On children, on young adults and on basic American principles.
The midterm elections are just over seven months away and the left has unleashed its usual rhetoric about the Republican “war on women.” It’s baseless political pandering of the worst kind, but not something the Republicans can ignore, as it will no doubt be furthered by a mainstream media that is biased, gullible or both.
While Republicans are debunking this trope, they would do well to highlight some of the left’s “wars.”
A Catastrophe Like No Other The president tries to put a good face on ObamaCare.
Put aside the numbers for a moment, and the daily argument.
“Seven point one million people have signed up!”
“But six million people lost their coverage and were forced onto the exchanges! That’s no triumph, it’s a manipulation. And how many of the 7.1 million have paid?”
“We can’t say, but 7.1 million is a big number and redeems the program.”
“Is it a real number?”
“Your lack of trust betrays a dark and conspiratorial right-wing mindset.”
As I say, put aside the argument, step back and view the thing at a distance. Support it or not, you cannot look at ObamaCare and call it anything but a huge, historic mess. It is also utterly unique in the annals of American lawmaking and government administration.
Its biggest proponent in Congress, the Democratic speaker of the House, literally said—blithely, mindlessly, but in a way forthcomingly—that we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it. It is a cliché to note this. But really, Nancy Pelosi’s statement was a historic admission that she was fighting hard for something she herself didn’t understand, but she had every confidence regulators and bureaucratic interpreters would tell her in time what she’d done. This is how we make laws now…
…There’s a brute test of a policy: If you knew then what you know now, would you do it? I will never forget a conversation in 2006 or thereabouts with a passionate and eloquent supporter of the decision to go into Iraq. We had been having this conversation for years, he a stalwart who would highlight every optimistic sign, every good glimmering. He argued always for the rightness of the administration’s decision. I would share my disquiet, my doubts, finally my skepticism. One night over dinner I asked him, in passing, “If we had it to do over again, should we have gone in? would you support it?”
And he said, “Of course not!”
Which told me everything.
There are very, very few Democrats who would do ObamaCare over again. Some would do something different, but they wouldn’t do this. The cost of the blunder has been too high in terms of policy and politics.
They, and the president, are trying to put a good face on it.
Republicans of all people should not go for the happy face. They cannot run only on ObamaCare this year and later, because it’s not the only problem in America. But it’s a problem, a big one, and needs to be hard and shrewdly fought.
Russia, the Big Picture
The American leadership class has taken on a certain ship-of-fools aspect when it comes to Russia. They are missing the essential story.
So the other night I was walking from a gathering when a writer and academic, a smart, nice man, turned to me and said, softly, “How do you think Reagan would view what is going on? How do you think he’d see all this?” And I surprised myself by answering.
* * *
I said that what people don’t understand about Reagan is that his self-conceptualization in the first 40 years of his life, meaning the years in which you really become yourself, was as an artist. Not a political leader or an economist, not a geo-strategist, but an artist. I saw this when I went through his papers at the Reagan Library. As a boy and young man he was a short story writer, a drawer of pictures, then an actor. He acted in college, went into broadcasting and then went on to act professionally. He paid close attention to script, character, the shape of the story. He came to maturity and middle age in Hollywood, which was full of craftsmen and artists, and he respected them and was one of them.
He cared about politics and came to see himself as a leader when he was immersed in Screen Actors Guild politics, and later led that union.
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