Weekly Musing 9-22-13
Mackinac Leadership Conference: A huge success as thousands of Michigan Republicans converge on the island and get fired up for the upcoming elections. Congratulations to Chairman Bobby Schostak and his team for a job well done..
RHINO’s: I had a chance to address the Mackinac Leadership on Conference and made a point about growing our party and the need for unity to support our ultimate nominees. “Republicans in Nomination Only” are those who use the party to support ONLY “their” candidates, and if they are NOT nominated, they then sit on the sideline in protest and therefore help Democrats win elections. NO thanks…we don’t need those RINO’s in our party!
MI U.S. Senate Race: Former SOS Terri Lynn Land was front and center at the Mackinac Leadership Conference as national leaders referred to Michigan as the “51st seat” if Republicans are to have a shot at winning the Senate in 2014. I did personally talk to Dr. Rob Steele about his exploratory process and encouraged him to make a decision on way or the other asap. He told me he hoped to have a final decision in October. This is a unique opportunity for Michigan Republicans and we can’t afford to lose any time moving forward!
Syria: Still a mess…nothing has changed. Clearly becoming a proxy was ONLY because we are allowing it to be so. At some stage we will have to deal with Iran, but if Iran is the problem than stop playing games everywhere else. Stay OUT of Syria!
Taking the Fight to the Democrats
Enter a new conservative Super PAC, Fight For Tomorrow, which last week began running a creative TV ad against Mr. McAuliffe in the Washington and Richmond areas. Little is known about FFT (as a national Super PAC, it will be required to disclose its backers in January), but one thing is clear from conversations with those involved: The organization’s primary focus is to directly take on the Democratic bare-knuckle strategy—and not just neutralize it, but throw it back at the attackers.
The concept behind FFT’s ad is to give Virginia voters a context in which to view the McAuliffe attacks. The group’s TV spot notes that there is a “gang” supporting Mr. McAuliffe: the leaders of the Democratic Party; an elitist media; Wall Street liberals; outside partisan groups; Hollywood.
Rove: Republicans must put forward alternative to Obamacare
While opposing Obamacare, Republicans must offer an alternative, GOP strategist Karl Rove told the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference Saturday.
“We’re really good at describing what’s wrong with Obamacare,” Rove said. “But there’s one thing that we’re lousy at and we need to get better at and that is describing what we are for.”
Rove delivered a detailed critique of the legislation, saying it will explode the federal deficit and cause employers to convert full-time employees to part-time and still leave 30 million Americans without health insurance.
Conservatives, of course, will not pretend that we don’t want Obamacare repealed or that we would not regard defunding as a sweet, albeit transitory, victory. Nevertheless, defunding is simply not repeal. Whether one hoped defunding would merely be a delay in implementation (as the Left would) or the first step toward eradication (as conservatives would), it would actually be a concession to reality, propriety, and equal protection under the law.
Reality because the law is not close to being ready for prime time. Obama has already conceded this point by selectively waiving – better to say: dubiously claiming the power to waive – the law’s implementation. He has massively defunded Obamacare by suspending the employer mandate. He has also gutted the verification requirements imposed on state health insurance “exchanges” (which are designed to verify the income of enrollees and whether they are already covered by employers) – a fiat that invites fraud certain to subject the program to billions of dollars in costs.
And he has removed sundry Obamacare burdens that would otherwise be imposed on hundreds of his favored interest groups. Most disgracefully, this includes the ruling class itself: Congress critters and their staffers have been relieved of what would otherwise be a rescission of their $5,000 to $11,000 taxpayer health-insurance subsidy – once again, unlike the government, we mere peons will have to figure out a way to live within our means.
Republicans Need Future-Looking Policies, not old Bromides
Republicans have been getting a lot of advice on how they should change their party ever since Mitt Romney’s defeat in November 2012. They need it.
They are in more than the usual disarray that afflicts parties out of the White House. Many members of their majority in the House of Representatives are out of step with the Republican leadership on issues ranging from Syria to defunding Obamacare.
They have a clutch of presidential candidates who are little known nationally and take starkly different stands on issues. Any recent uptick in polls represents more a rejection of the Obama Democrats than an embrace of their opponents.
So Republicans would do well to listen to advice, even from unlikely political quarters and from the far corners of the earth. Two articles in the past week warrant attention, even though they seem to propose opposite courses.
There is no shortage of unpopular Obama policies. Obamacare, for starters, is unpopular and may be headed for a train wreck when it goes into effect next month. Blocking the Keystone pipeline irritates most everyone except hardline environmentalists. Then there’s — James Carville’s phrase — the economy, stupid. Big government isn’t working as promised.
Republicans need to present attractive policies that address future needs. Good policy, more than ideological positioning, is the key to political success.
Can Republicans become the party of the people?
“This election will be about whose side you’re on.”
The candidate saying that last week was New York City’s mayoral front-runner, Democrat Bill de Blasio, but it could have been nearly any Democratic politician. The de Blasio line reflects an important insight into politics: Many voters – especially those who are struggling – lean toward the candidate who appears to be on their side.
It’s an insight the Right needs to absorb and make their own. Some conservative Republicans are beginning to get it.
“Today … we find the underprivileged trapped in poverty, sometimes for generations,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said Tuesday. “We find the middle class caught on a treadmill, running harder every year. …”
This may sound like basic common sense, but it’s not obvious to many Republicans.
Right now, our Republican Party is torn between two unacceptable options:
We can keep talking about our principles the way we have… and keep losing elections.
Or we can compromise our principles the way some suggest… and keep losing elections.
There is a better way.
As GOP Chairman Reince Preibus said in his recent speech to the RNC:
“We can stand by our timeless principles—and articulate them in ways that are modern…relevant to our time and relatable to the majority of voters. That, I believe, is how we’ll achieve a Republican renewal. That’s how we’ll grow. That’s how we’ll win.”
We can stand up for bottom-up, natural economic growth; not old, top-down, political and artificial stimulus, directed by Washington.
We can stand up for equal opportunity in education, giving every parent the right to choose the best school for their child.
We can stand up for an open energy economy that puts energy choices in your hands, not the hands of politicians.
We can stand up for an open health care system that returns control of your care to you and your doctor; not a closed, limited, factory-like health care system that gives Washington the power to ration and determine your care.
We can stand up for a bottom-up immigration system that let’s states decide what kind of bright minds and hard workers they need; not a top down system where states are told what to do by Washington.
We can stand up for individuals not big business, big government and special interests. We can stand up for a better life for all Americans, no matter where they come from, what their last name is, or their skin color.
We can stand up for freedom nationally and values locally… and trust the American people to out-work, out-think, and out-dream anybody in the world.
There is a New Global Economic Frontier out there, a new era of unimaginable success, progress and prosperity. It’s waiting for us, just over the horizon. It’s time for all Americans to go there.
If you are tired of the old, slow, dumb, top-down Washington way of doing things… you are thinking like a Republican. A New Republican.
The Obama M.O. Barack Obama’s modus operandi is: I think, therefore you do.
The GOP leaders “haven’t put forward serious ideas” on entitlement reform. And: “I put forward ideas for tax reform—haven’t heard back from them yet.” As with much else here, everyone in Washington knows that statement about taxes is false. But in the Obama post-politics apocalypse, what difference does it make?
Twice he announces, “I will not negotiate.” But he is negotiating with Vladimir Putin something infinitely more difficult than a debt deal with John Boehner.
Trace elements of normal politics are inevitable in any presidency. But this one over five years has floated beyond the American political tradition. The Obama modus operandi is reducible to this: I think, therefore you do. Everyone else who still does real politics—from one side to the other—is left to gape.
A constitutional cure for what ails us
To return America to its constitutional boundaries, Levin proposes a series of “liberty amendments” to the Constitution, beginning with one limiting the terms of congressmen so they might avoid the bipartisan virus that infects even some who believe in limited government, mutating them into power-hungry influence seekers with little regard for the public good.
Another amendment would establish term limits for Supreme Court justices. “The point is,” argues Levin, “that the Framers clearly intended to create intrinsic limitations on the ability of any one branch or level of government to have unanswered authority over the other.”
Another amendment would establish spending limits for the government. Another would grant states the authority to check Congress.
Levin admits these amendments are unlikely to win congressional approval because in Washington power is not willingly relinquished. That’s why he proposes the states bypass Congress, as the Framers provided, and pass these amendments themselves.
What’s needed is less focus on Washington and more on state capitals where legislators are more likely to be responsive to the demands of “we the people.”
Rand Paul, 2016 Republican front-runner
The first eight-plus months of 2013 have convinced us of one thing: Rand Paul acts and the rest of the potential 2016 Republican presidential field reacts.
…But, anyone who laughs at Paul as a serious contender, dismisses him as just a carbon copy of his father (former Texas Rep. Ron Paul) or otherwise writes him off would do well to study the year in politics so far. No one in Republican politics has had a better year than Paul. And it’s not all that close.
Below are our rankings of the 10 candidates with the best chance of winding up as the Republican presidential nominee. While this should go without saying, making predictions about 2016 in 2013 is something short of purely scientific. These rankings can and almost certainly will change regularly in the coming months and years. The No. 1 ranked candidate is considered the most likely to wind up as the party’s nominee as of today.
Could Republican Senator Rand Paul Win the White House?
Tough talk and fearless politics have made Senator Rand Paul a leader in the Republican Party. Could he—and his charming, secret-weapon wife, Kelley—win the White House?
On a sunny Saturday in July, Rand Paul and his wife, Kelley Ashby, are taking a long drive across Kentucky horse country. When their white SUV, bearing a “Stand with Rand” sticker on the rear windshield, pulls up to a small political rally in rural St. Catharine, the state’s junior senator climbs out with pursed lips, mussed hair, and a generally weary look on his otherwise boyish face. A bluegrass band strikes up a tune, and Paul gets into character, which is to say, he acts exactly the same as when he lumbered out of the car or, for that matter, stopped on the road for pretzels.
“Well, hello,” Paul says mildly to one attendee. “I think I’ve been to your house before.” A supporter approaches to congratulate Paul on the “fine job” he did during his blockbuster filibuster in March, when he railed against President Obama’s use of drones for nearly thirteen uninterrupted hours on the Senate floor.
“My feet hurt for days,” Paul deadpans.
The Power of 218 If House Republicans can’t hold together, they have no leverage at all
Perhaps the only war strategizing more inept than President Obama’s on Syria are GOP plans for the budget hostilities this autumn. Republicans are fracturing over tactics, and even over the nature of political reality, which may let Mr. Obama outwit them like a domestic Vladimir Putin.
In our view the GOP would be less confused if more House Members appreciated the power of 218. That’s the number of votes that makes a majority and it is the only true “leverage” Republicans have while Democrats hold the Senate and a Presidential veto.
The latest GOP internal dispute is over a continuing resolution to fund the government at sequester-spending levels. The current CR runs out at the end of the month, and about 40 to 50 House Republicans (out of 233) want to attach a rider that either delays or defunds the Affordable Care Act for a year and leaves everything else running.
…The best option now is for the GOP to unite behind a budget strategy that can hold 218 votes, keeping the sequester pressure of discretionary spending cuts on Democrats to come to the table on entitlements. The sequester is a rare policy victory the GOP has extracted from Mr. Obama, and it is squeezing liberal constituencies that depend on federal cash.
The backbenchers might even look at the polls showing that the public is now tilting toward Republicans on issues including the economy, ensuring a strong national defense and even health care. Some Republicans think they are sure to hold the House in 2014 no matter what happens because of gerrymandering, but even those levees won’t hold if there’s a wave of revulsion against the GOP. Marginal seats still matter for controlling Congress. The kamikazes could end up ensuring the return of all-Democratic rule.
The Movement Strikes Back Conservative activists won’t back down on defunding Obamacare.
As the deadline to fund the federal government nears, Republican leaders are struggling mightily to come up with legislation that can pass the House. Over the weekend, leadership staffers fired off anxious e-mails and uneasy veteran House members exchanged calls. Both camps fear that a shutdown is increasingly likely — and they blame the conservative movement’s cottage industry of pressure groups.
But these organizations, ensconced in Northern Virginia office parks and elsewhere, aren’t worried about the establishment’s ire. In fact, they welcome it. Business has boomed since the push to defund Obamacare caught on. Conservative activists are lighting up social media, donations are pouring in, and e-mail lists are growing.
For the tea-party coalition and its leaders, it’s a triumphant return to power inside the Beltway after an election cycle where they were minor players and a year on Capitol Hill in which they’ve occasionally fumbled. Republican leadership, which initially shrugged off the defunding cry, now faces a flush and angry grassroots operation.
That frustration is driving the conservative conversation. Bozell, DeMint, and their allies may not have a clear path toward legislative victory, but they’ve found their footing. Activists are engaged, small-dollar donors are giving cash, and the leadership is nervous. Regardless of how the rest unfolds, they’ve already won.
Clean up the IRS – New revelations reveal the truth about the organization’s targeting conservative groups.
It has now been over four months since the IRS admitted it was targeting conservative groups in the run-up to the 2012 election. The chief IRS official in charge of Exempt Organizations, Lois Lerner, has “taken the Fifth” — invoking her right against self-incrimination in order to avoid testifying before Congress on what went on. Nonetheless, President Obama — who himself “joked” about auditing his enemies — has lumped the IRS misconduct in with what he calls “phony scandals.”
But new emails have come out that make the IRS scandal look anything but phony. Emails recovered by the House Ways and Means Committee demonstrate that the targeting of Tea Party groups — and of voter-integrity groups — was orchestrated from the top of the agency. Rather than being conducted by a few rogue employees in the Cincinnati office of the IRS, the Tea Party targeting was regarded by Lerner as something “very dangerous” politically, and she observed that “Cincy should probably NOT have these cases.”
Main Street Wants Actions on Jobs, Not Blunders on Syria
On a back-road, a handmade sign jutting from the weeds declares, “Stay out of Syria” – a reminder of what national polls show: Americans passionately (by 63 percent, in a recent Pew survey) oppose Obama’s plan to intervene in that country.
They are equally dissatisfied with his handling of the economy: His approval plummeted to 35 percent (in a Gallup survey) long before news that, for a fifth year, there was no “summer of recovery” and the percentage of Americans working or looking for work has fallen to its lowest level since 1978.
Those who work in or report on the White House live in a protective bubble humming with commerce; they don’t understand why folks out here are restless and unsatisfied, unhappy with the thought of another war, weary of the lack of backbone on the economy.
The folks outside Washington want action – just not the kind that this blundering White House is trying to sell.
Barack Obama, the 98-pound weakling
So, let me get this straight. Some red lines cannot be crossed, and gassing Syrian children is one of them. That’s what Barack Obama told us Tuesday evening. “The images from this massacre are sickening,” he said. “Men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas, others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath. A father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk.”
…But Mr. Obama doesn’t really mean what he says. So why should anybody take him seriously? In fact, there are no consequences, and everything he and his comically inept sidekick John Kerry have said about human rights and justice and the “moral obscenity” of chemical weapons is just a bunch of hot air. His message to rogue states like Iran is: You can get away with anything. His message to greater powers such as China is that he’s incapable of strategic thinking. And his message to allies such as Israel is that they can’t rely on him to have their back.
Mr. Obama’s Middle East policy is in ruins. He looks like he’s way over his head. Now he’s let himself get rolled by the biggest bully on the block. In the immortal words of Mr. Kerry, he looks “unbelievably small.” And that’s not good.
Gingrich: Obama ‘following from behind’
“You have Putin playing chess and Obama playing, frankly, a very lucky game of tic-tack-toe,” Gingrich said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Putin stepped in to maximize Russian influence in the Middle East. That is a strategically defeat for the United States.”
“We are now relying on the Russians,” said Gingrich, now a host of CNN’s ‘Crossfire.” We’re now following from behind — not leading from behind. This is not a good long-term position.”
Strategy, Ideology and the Close of the Syrian Crisis
The alignment of moral principles with national strategy is not easy under the best of circumstances. Ideologies tend to be more seductive in generalized terms, but not so coherent in specific cases. This is true throughout the political spectrum. But it is particularly intense in the Obama administration, where the ideas of humanitarian intervention, absolutism in human rights, and opposition to weapons of mass destruction collide with a strategy of limiting U.S. involvement — particularly military involvement — in the world. The ideologies wind up demanding judgments and actions that the strategy rejects.
The result is what we have seen over the past month with regard to Syria: A constant tension between ideology and strategy that caused the Obama administration to search for ways to do contradictory things. This is not a new phenomenon in the United States, and this case will not reduces its objective power. But it does create a sense of uncertainty about what precisely the United States intends. When that happens in a minor country, this is not problematic. In the leading power, it can be dangerous.
3 Ways Obama’s Syrian Agreement Has Made Things Worse
Obama’s foreign policy has been a total failure. Things only work out, sometimes, and even then it’s by accident. Over the last week, the most telling headline was by the Washington Times: “Ex-KGB officer talks Nobel Peace Prize winner out of launching war”. Ouch.
Still, now that we’re able to see the agreement that Obama finally reached with Syria and Russia, it’s beginning to be clear that Obama has created a policy which is the worst of all possible worlds: using threat of war, not making good on them, and losing influence. It’s everything wrong with pacifism and neoconservatism in the same package, with absolutely none of the upside. Even Obama used to think attacking Syria would be a mistake.
If Obama had simply not meddled at all, hadn’t armed the rebels, and hadn’t created an arbitrary “red line” in the past, then all of these troubles could have been stopped. This is an important lesson for the future. On the basis of purely practical considerations alone, meddling turns the world against us and rarely achieves anything at all.
The poor: Reagan vs. Obama
I think the poor need another Reagan in the White House.
The income of black heads-of-households dropped by 10.9 percent from June 2009 to June 2013. This decline in black income is more than double the overall 4.4 percent drop nationally in real, adjusted for inflation, median household income during the same four years of alleged “recovery.”
Similarly, real incomes of those under age 25 fell by 9.6 percent over the same period — again, more than double the average drop in household income.
Income in households headed by single women, with or without children, declined by approximately 7 percent over the same four years, a significantly higher drop than the national average.
The income of Hispanic heads-of-households fell by 4.5 percent, slightly more than the national decline, while the income of workers with a high school diploma or less dropped by 6.9 percent.
Where Job Growth Will Come Over This Decade
U.S. workers can expect to see 55 million new and existing job openings over the course of this decade. Will you have the right stuff to snag one of them?
Summer is over and Americans are returning to work, so job-hunting season is shifting into high gear. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 30 million baby boomers will have hit age 65 by mid-2020, meaning many will retire in the next few years.
With unemployment at historically high levels, it’s critical to know which industries and occupations will be in demand in the future. Here’s a look at the industries expected to generate the most job growth in the next seven years:
Interactive Map Shows ‘The Financial States Of America’ With Tons Of Economic Data
We spotted this interactive map from MoneyChoice.org, which shows a ton of economic data in an easily understood and very cool way.
You can check out how your state ranks and the data behind the rankings on anything from GDP, household income, tax burden, etc. This would certainly come in handy if you might want to move to an area with a better outlook.
Take a look and click around:
How Detroit went broke: The answers may surprise you – and don’t blame Coleman Young
Detroit is broke, but it didn’t have to be. An in-depth Free Press analysis of the city’s financial history back to the 1950s shows that its elected officials and others charged with managing its finances repeatedly failed — or refused — to make the tough economic and political decisions that might have saved the city from financial ruin.
Instead, amid a huge exodus of residents, plummeting tax revenues and skyrocketing home abandonment, Detroit’s leaders engaged in a billion-dollar borrowing binge, created new taxes and failed to cut expenses when they needed to. Simultaneously, they gifted workers and retirees with generous bonuses. And under pressure from unions and, sometimes, arbitrators, they failed to cut health care benefits — saddling the city with staggering costs that today threaten the safety and quality of life of people who live here.
Very cool: Map of Europe: 1000 AD to present day
This map explains political Washington perfectly
There are lots and lots of ways to map political Washington. But, this map by the Sunlight Foundation detailing five years of political fundraising events in the nation’s capital is among the most telling.
Pope Bluntly Faults Church’s Focus on Gays and Abortion
Pope Francis, in the first extensive interview of his six-month-old papacy, said that the Roman Catholic Church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, gay marriage and contraception, and that he has chosen not to speak of those issues despite recriminations from some critics.
In remarkably blunt language, Francis sought to set a new tone for the church, saying it should be a “home for all” and not a “small chapel” focused on doctrine, orthodoxy and a limited agenda of moral teachings.
Anuzis on Off the Record | September 6, 2013 | #4311
This week’s vote to expand Medicaid in Michigan, and conflict between Governor Snyder and the Tea Party. The guest is Saul Anuzis, former state GOP chair. Bill Ballenger, Emily Lawler, and Chad Livengood join senior capitol correspondent Tim Skubick.
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