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All-In on Amnesty: Renee Ellmers Is Boehner and Cantor’s ‘Tell’

April 22nd, 2014 - 11:07 pm

Little comes easier to a skilled speaker than clarity; clarity makes up much of the “skilled” qualifier. Politicians require the ability, and generally have the personality type that draws one to public speaking. Ironically, these facts produce a wonderfully useful corollary: If a politician’s statements leave you unsure of his stance on an issue, you can be sure he opposes the popular stance of his electorate.

If you can speak clearly, you can never not.

On Monday, Byron York posted an excellent piece of journalism on the increasing clarity enveloping Speaker John Boehner in regards to House GOP leadership’s intentions on amnesty. The following is excerpted from York’s piece, “John Boehner’s Double-Speak Rattles House Immigration Foes“:

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Boehner, while speaking to donors in Las Vegas recently, said he is “hellbent” on passing immigration reform “this year.” A lot of Republicans concluded that when Boehner is speaking to jittery members, his message is: Relax, nothing’s going to happen. When he’s speaking to fat cats, the message is: We’ll get it done.

The report sparked an uproar, which in turn caused Boehner’s office to hit the “Relax” button again. “Everyone can tell their editors to chill,” Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck told reporters. “Nothing has changed. As he’s said many times, the Speaker believes step-by-step reform is important, but it won’t happen until the president builds trust and demonstrates a commitment to the rule of law.”

The reassurance didn’t reassure. Team Boehner’s response was “the ultimate non-sequitur,” in the words of one Senate GOP aide involved in the immigration battle.

“Most members see the leadership as being supportive of Gang of Eight-style reform,” said a House Republican lawmaker who asked to remain anonymous. “We continually hear that once most primaries are over, the leadership will move forward with comprehensive reform.” (emphasis added)

This information on the behind-the-scenes consensus reported by York follows last week’s perfectly clear, bizarre interaction between House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and President Obama. For background, recall that Cantor — the second-most powerful GOP House member, subordinate only to Boehner — just faced significant criticism for headlining an exclusive, private fundraiser on Amelia Island for Steve LaTourette’s Republican Main Street Partnership PAC. (Boehner had been slated to attend, but dropped out.) RedState’s Erick Erickson revealed the meeting’s agenda, as quoted from the retreat’s invite:

[B]olster our incumbents who are under attack from the far right, and ensure that we hold on to seats represented by pragmatic Republicans that we would otherwise loose if there was an ultra-conservative in the general runoff.

Then, following the meeting, Cantor faced news of a brewing scandal in his district over the Republican Party of Virginia’s newly appointed executive director, Shaun Kenney. Last Monday, to outpace rumors that Kenney’s consulting firm K6 was employed by Cantor prior to Kenney’s appointment and continues to work for Cantor since, Kenney’s Bearing Drift blog — which is run by Shaun, his brother Jason, and Jim Hoeft, the same three partners who run K6 — admitted that Cantor’s upcoming FEC filing would indeed disclose payments to the firm.

I broke the story nationally here at PJ Media, drawing attention to the dead and buried lede from the Bearing Drift post: the executive director of the Virginia GOP is on the payroll of one of the candidates during a primary. That would rise to the level of “showstopper conflict of interest” even in, say, Egypt. Especially considering the candidate is the most powerful Republican in Virginia, which gives Virginia GOP voters objectively strong reasons to assume that Cantor helped Kenney secure the appointment.

Presume you are a Virginia voter: Why would you invest your time in a party primary if the party shows such disregard for the individual voter’s considerable given trust? What would be the point of such a party’s existence beyond allotment of leadership’s power?

I contacted Cantor’s opponent, economics professor Dave Brat, for an exclusive quote. Said Brat:

Since no Democratic challenger has emerged from that party’s own primary process, the GOP primary election on June 10 will result in the next U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

Yet with this revelation, any pretense of fairness regarding that June 10th election has been dashed.

We now ask Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins to explain how and why Shaun Kenney was appointed Executive Director.

We are also calling for an independent investigation into the financial relationship between Eric Cantor, Shaun Kenney, and the Republican Party of Virginia. (emphasis added)

Team Kenney has responded by claiming Shaun is not on Cantor’s account — it only belongs to his brother Jason. This defense does nothing to dispel concerns about the motivations behind the appointment, and also is justifiably a crock.

(Note: I have been given several emails written by Shaun in the prior few months. The emails reveal Shaun to have been vociferously defending Cantor and trashing Brat in messages to notable Virginia Republicans and donors.

For a guy not on the account, Shaun sure knows the account’s talking points, and whom to send them to. I will get to the emails in future articles.)

So — that’s the background prefacing Cantor’s strangely described phone call with President Obama: Cantor was facing allegations of secretly plotting against Tea Party/conservative Republicans at a retreat, plus a revelation that his campaign is paying the company owned by the newly appointed party executive director. (And I won’t even get to expanding on this other Cantor scandal from last week in this post, but do yourself the favor of reading it at Virginia political blog The Bull Elephant: Eric Cantor’s chief consultant, Ray Allen, was paid $1.13 frigging million by the Republican Party of Virginia. Which is now executive directed by the upstanding Shaun Kenney.)

At this point in time, Cantor chose to release a statement portraying himself as tough on amnesty and on President Obama. His statement was indeed tough, yet it was also muddied enough regarding Cantor’s amnesty stance to baffle the voter who hasn’t yet considered the “skilled speaker” conundrum.

The consistently sharp Allahpundit at Hot Air wasn’t the slightest bit fooled:

It’s pitiful that we’ve reached this point, but Obama’s account of this chat really is more credible than Cantor’s. O’s position on immigration is straightforward: He wants amnesty badly …

The GOP leadership’s position is anything but straightforward. They’re convinced that they need to pass some sort of immigration bill before 2016 or else Latinos will hand the White House to Democrats, but they’re not sure how far they can go without enraging their own base. Cantor wants you to believe this phone call was contentious because he’s eager to reassure conservatives that he’s holding the line on amnesty, especially conservatives who are less inclined to make him the next Speaker than they used to be. Obama, though, really has no reason to lie in describing it as pleasant. If anything, he’s forfeiting a little juice from his own base by not claiming that it was as contentious as Cantor says.

Long story short: Barack Obama may be the more honest broker in the great Democratic/Republican immigration tango.

This brings us to today’s maddening stasis, and the Byron York piece. As York states, the House GOP caucus isn’t merely opposed to moving significantly on amnesty, it’s about 90% opposed — perhaps Boehner and Cantor could peel off only 20-30 votes out of 232 Republicans. Yet despite that advantage, the 90% now sits pat, waiting for Boehner and Cantor to actually, inarguably, undeniably show their cards, whatever that action might entail. 

Why are they waiting to act? Truly, I don’t know why. I could prattle on game theory and risk management, but really, no one could possibly offer a sufficiently logical reason for the wait-and-see.

But the GOP electorate must convince them to act — and to act immediately. Boehner and Cantor are likely prepared for a post-primary amnesty push. And only a pre-primary, preemptive attack can halt this amnesty drive by House leadership in tandem with locally corrupt party tacticians like the RPV.

As the 90% clearly requires further convincing, do suggest they pay attention to the behavior of arguably the least-talented GOP politician in the House. They must know about Renee Ellmers, by all accounts a Boehner acolyte and confidante. Ellmers is their “tell”; she parrots Boehner’s behavior and talking points, but lacks the political acumen or knowledge of the amnesty issue to effectively keep the caucus waiting, as Boehner and Cantor have.

On Monday, Ellmers put out a breezy press release titled: “Congresswomen Renee Ellmers: A Busy and Beautiful Spring Week in the Second District.” She spent part of April 15 that week attending an amnesty friendly presentation by two University of North Carolina professors. Here she is, in the yellow:

ellmers

During the event, Ellmers asked her scripted series of questions:

“Are they taking jobs from Americans?” asked Ellmers of UNC-Chapel Hill Professors James H. Johnson and Stephen J. Appold who were presenting the report “Demographic and Economic Impact of International Migration to North Carolina.”

“Is the migrant population underpaid? Is there evidence that those who are hiring undocumented workers are not being reported? Did it factor into your research?” asked Ellmers.

Subtle.

Then, the House leadership-compliant answers:

“You’ve got these native North Carolinians saying they have a construction company but can’t get jobs,” explains Appold. “When they started their company, they were 25, now they are 60. The work goes to younger people.”

He’s making his point using the numbers from the report, which shows the majority of immigrants to North Carolina in recent years are between 25 and 40, are family-oriented and come to work.

So no, immigrants coming to North Carolina are not taking the jobs of native North Carolinians. “We have an aging workforce in North Carolina, and those jobs that immigrant workers fill, not a large number of native people are trying to fill those jobs,” says Appold.

They call it the three D’s; difficult, dirty and dangerous. “Native workers don’t like to do those jobs. Young native men would rather be a door greeter at Wal-Mart than take a construction job that pays $10-15 an hour,” says Johnson.

Then, the introduction of political correctness and emotion. As usual, every expenditure is reasonable if framed as an “investment”:

Johnson says the report shows that the state takes a $67.31 billion(!) loss annually when educating immigrant children, but Johnson says the state should see it as a long-term investment in North Carolina’s communities.

“Immigrants are breathing new life into (our) communities, fostering both population growth and economic and employment growth through their entrepreneurial acumen,” says Johnson. (emphasis added)

So, now you know who Ellmers is.

Really, I would be piling on redundancies by also mentioning … her recent amnesty-related humiliation by Laura Ingraham, her amateur-hour claim that she has “the same immigration stance as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee, and Dr. Ben Carson,” and her videotaped berating of some of her anti-amnesty constituents.

Back on March 18, I suggested that Ellmers’ and Cantor’s primary challenges deserve the most attention this season; since then I have done little besides investigate the two races. They have been fascinating as glimpses into the GOP party rift, the corruption of GOP leadership at a local level, and leadership’s hiding the banana on positions that abandon their electorate.

Now, they aren’t just case studies. They are flash points, the whole battle.

Ann Coulter gets it. She endorsed two GOP House challengers last week: Dave Brat and Frank Roche. Cantor’s challenger and Ellmers’ challenger. 

Both are campaigning against party corruption and excessive federal spending, but most notably they are campaigning against the amnesty push being fostered by Cantor and Boehner. Ellmers is very clearly a pawn of Boehner and Cantor, he must be counting on her, or testing the waters with her. Meanwhile, Cantor is possibly directing a state GOP using every trick imaginable to crowd out the Tea Party types, and he literally attended a seminar to discuss how to crowd out the Tea Party types. (And yes, I will be discussing the dirty tricks employed by local North Carolina GOP figures in service to Ellmers in future articles as well.)

Want to stop GOP leadership? Here’s Frank Roche on amnesty:

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And here’s Dave Brat on amnesty:

Today, Speaker John Boehner will unveil plans to move the Republican Party toward a full throated support of amnesty for the 10-20 million illegal immigrants whose first act in our country was breaking the law.

We all know the basic economics. Labor markets are still in chaos, and now our leadership wants to import more low wage labor, lower the wage rate for our citizens, and provide BIG business cronies with cheap labor.

The Elites get cheap labor and you get low wages, more unemployment and to pay all the taxes that will support the Ruling Class in DC. This is classic Cantor vs. the People of the 7th District.

We cannot allow our Party to go down this dangerous road!

My opponent in this race has been described as “relentless” in his pursuit of amnesty, and we cannot send Eric Cantor to Washington to once again partner with Barack Obama and Harry Reid to lead the charge on this issue.

During the critical government shutdown, Eric Cantor was holding meetings to establish a roadmap to amnesty. At a time of serious financial crisis, our Majority Leader was more focused on making sure that those who entered our nation illegally would be given a path to citizenship than on reducing our growing debt or making sure we are doing everything we can to put Americans back to work. His efforts have culminated in this summit today.

As your congressman, you can count on me to be a stark departure from our current representation. Whereas Eric Cantor has been an Obama ally and amnesty’s staunchest proponent, I will be a forceful voice against such efforts and among the strongest opponents to this liberal pet policy.

I believe that we must always uphold the rule of law, and we cannot become like the Left, skirting around our laws to benefit a particular group. The foundation of our republic remains strong when no one receives special treatment.

The Cantor/Brat primary date is close, on June 10. The Ellmers/Roche primary is much closer — May 6. Both need lots of money now.

Want to know more about the detestable manner in which national and local GOP leadership is attempting to tilt these races? Follow and investigate these two races. I will be posting more in the days ahead.

The clock is ticking on these two all-important primaries. When they’re over, and if leadership prevails, expect Boehner and Cantor to act on amnesty.

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m. EST: Virginia political blogger Tom White offers an example of Shaun Kenney’s recent behavior in the service of Eric Cantor’s primary campaign.

In early March, a third candidate named Peter Greenwald was still active in the primary race. Greenwald, along with Dave Brat, was challenging Cantor from the political right. White, who felt Brat was the stronger challenger to Cantor, wrote a post suggesting that Greenwald bow out of the race.

Shortly thereafter, Shaun Kenney interviewed Greenwald. Kenney prefaced the interview by referring to White’s post:

So I read this piece from Tom White over at Virginia Right over the week, and I couldn’t help but think that it just didn’t sit right. So I took the time to do a “Five Questions” interview with former U.S. Navy commander Peter Greenwald at his home in Chesterfield. What I found was that Greenwald — far from the lunatic or fanatic some are feverishly trying to paint him as — is a remarkably profound and Christian man with the courage to wear his faith on his sleeve.

What was supposed to be a one-hour chat turned into a two-and-a-half hour conversation about faith and family, motivating principles, America’s national security and defense, and above all else Greenwald’s overwhelming concern for the federal debt and the national deficit.  One thing struck me very quickly — Greenwald is a genuine candidate with very real motivating principles that are different than David Brat’s more libertarian-leaning concerns.  Greenwald was a realist in every term, knowing that he had an uphill campaign against Majority Leader Eric Cantor with a small chance of success, but knew that any victory he had would be attributable — according to his faith and values — to God.

Walking away, I drew two lessons: (1) Brat is not going to push Greenwald out of the race, and (2) Greenwald and his army — flying column might be more like it — are going to wear out significant shoe leather making a go of this campaign.

Recall: Kenney’s consulting firm was hired by Eric Cantor’s campaign, and Kenney was subsequently appointed as Virginia GOP executive director. Days after Tom White suggested that Greenwald bow out of the race so a stronger challenge to Cantor could arise, Kenney criticized White and conducted a praise-filled interview with Greenwald.

Kenney’s interview oddly referred to Brat as “libertarian-leaning,” claimed Greenwald has “very real motivating principles” as opposed to Brat, and insisted that Brat would not push Greenwald out of the race.

In service to Eric Cantor, it appears that Kenney spent two-and-a-half hours misrepresenting himself and his motives to a former U.S. Navy commander. In the commander’s home. Was he directed to do so? Did his employer know or approve of the dishonest interview?

Forget it, Jake. It’s Cantortown.

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UPDATE, 4:30 p.m. EST: Eric Cantor’s primary opponent Dave Brat has provided me with an exclusive response:

“Since no Democratic challenger has emerged from that party’s own primary process, the GOP primary election on June 10 will result in the next U.S. Representative for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

Yet with this revelation, any pretense of fairness regarding that June 10th election has been dashed.

We now ask Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Pat Mullins to explain how and why Shaun Kenney was appointed Executive Director.

We are also calling for an independent investigation into the financial relationship between Eric Cantor, Shaun Kenney, and the Republican Party of Virginia.”

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On a local website co-managed by Shaun Kenney, the newly appointed executive director of the Virginia GOP, a colleague of Kenney’s admitted last night that Kenney’s political fundraising and consulting firm is employed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

Cantor is now campaigning to retain his seat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. Cantor’s challenger for the GOP primary on June 10 — Dave Brat — is politically on Cantor’s right, and is thus receiving national interest from conservative/Tea Party groups that are disappointed with Cantor’s record as majority leader.

The magnitude of the revelation can not be overstated: GOP voters in Virginia’s 7th District have just learned that the person appointed to manage the primary election season for the party is being paid by one of the candidates. And, in addition to the disqualification of Kenney as a fair arbiter of the primary, the financial ties obviously raise the question of whether Cantor, the most powerful Republican in Virginia, had Kenney installed as executive director.

Further, the article revealing the financial ties attempts to describe a longstanding relationship between Cantor and the partners at K6 Consulting. However, this appears to be irrelevant. Cantor’s own financial disclosures for 2013-2014 do not include any records of payments made to K6 Consulting or any other entity tied to Shaun Kenney. The article claims that the upcoming FEC financial disclosure will reveal that K6 is employed by Cantor.

Unless Cantor’s financial disclosures were incomplete, K6 Consulting signed a contract with Cantor just in the past few weeks or months, as Kenney was being selected as executive director.

Indeed, this matches with what I have heard from multiple sources.

Last week, I was told that in recent weeks Shaun Kenney was overheard on more than one occasion — and at two different locations — claiming that “he had landed the big fish, Cantor.” The two locations were the Republican Party of Virginia Headquarters and the Richmond General Assembly Building.

 I will update this article as I receive more information.

Last week, Erick Erickson reported that John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy — the three most powerful Republican members of the House — would be attending a private weekend retreat at Amelia Island to discuss how to “bolster our incumbents who are under attack from the far right.” The retreat is sponsored by Republican Main Street Partnership, a PAC headed by liberal Republican Steve LaTourette and funded by several Democratic Party-supporting organizations.

Since Erickson’s report, Boehner has announced he will not be attending due to a “scheduling conflict.”

As of today, the event has disappeared from Main Street’s Events page.

Will Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy still attend? Is the event still on?

I have placed calls to both congressional offices. I have also contacted Main Street to ask why the event listing has been removed, and why Main Street’s website contains no other mention of what would be their largest event of the year.

(Author’s note: In looking to cover House primaries involving moderate Republican incumbents — particularly those enjoying the approval of current GOP House leadership — now receiving a strong challenge from the right, I was introduced to the candidacy of Frank Roche in North Carolina’s Second District

It’s a fascinating race. In the past month, Roche’s campaign to unseat Rep. Renee Ellmers has evolved into a case study of Tea Party/conservative gripes with national GOP leadership, a representative example of the current party rift. Each recent development received national attention; some of the developments were broken here.

Please do look back and examine the recent campaign coverage. The key theme I hope you take away from it — and be sure to apply this lens as you absorb similar news regarding national GOP leadership: A curious voter will soon know exactly what policies Roche supports, and how he intends to govern. Objectively, the same cannot be said of Ellmers.

Just this morning, Ellmers — who two weeks ago claimed she had the same immigration stance of Tea Party stalwarts Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and of libertarian Rand Paul — published a half-page op-ed in the left-leaning Sanford Herald, a local paper generally supportive of Democrats.

Her topic? Supporting “public-private partnerships.”) 

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Steinberg: With Renee Ellmers’ recent appearance with Laura Ingraham, her speech to the Moore County GOP convention, where she claimed to have the same immgration stance as Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul, this video that just surfaced of her berating constituents who actually do hold views similar to Cruz, Lee, and Paul — your primary has become a referendum about immigration policy and the GOP.

Your immigration stance — do you align your policy with those three?

Roche: I think I am probably a little more aggressive in my stance than the three senators, and certainly more so than Representative Ellmers.

I’m looking for something quite different than what we’ve experienced over the last four decades. And I’m not only talking about illegal immigration. We of course have to stop this once and for all by properly securing our borders, getting a handle on our short-term visa program, and, of course, dealing with those who are here illegally — which would not include amnesty, or anything like amnesty, or “path to citizenship,” or any other semantic twist of phrase they want to use.

But where I really want to put emphasis is the legal side of immigration. That’s where we need to make dramatic changes.

We need to sharply reduce our yearly legal immigration. We need to move away from family reunification as a basis for our immigration system, and to go back to a national origins-based system, one based on the economic interests of the United States.

Lastly, the other key metric here is that we must move away from official recognition of multiculturalism, identity politics, and political correctness. These social counterparts to our immigration numbers are what makes immigration so damaging to the United States, so divisive.

We can start by simply applying our current laws. We have strong laws on the books. It’s really not that difficult to come up with effective immigration policy, but it takes the courage to change what’s been in place for 45 years.

Steinberg: Your district, NC-02 — what are the chief industries in your district, and has immigration policy factored into any challenges facing your district’s economy now? And those challenges, do you tie them to Ellmers tenure?

Roche: The challenges facing the Second District are not that different from the challenges facing America, generally speaking, with respect to immigration. The Second District, we have agriculture, we have housing, we have high-tech, and in all those sectors we know that immigration is playing a large role. In my hometown area, it’s becoming known as “little India” as a result of the use of H1-B visa programs to bring in IT workers from India, and also Asia. In housing and agriculture, we see more of the Hispanic worker. In this area, it’s not just the low-skill workers, it’s the high-skill level as well. It’s not just Hispanics, its Asians and Russians and Europeans. Simply, immigration policy in general is impacting the ability of citizens in the Second District to gain employment.

It’s also impacting the ability of these industries to see growth in wages. We know now, the evidence is clear that one of the key damaging aspects to immigration policy in regards to economics is the cap on wages. Real wage growth and real hourly earnings are being impacted by immigration policy.

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On Friday, March 21, Ron Woodard of NC Listen reported on a meeting he had with Renee Ellmers on the topic of immigration and amnesty. He claimed he had exited the meeting appalled both by her positions and by her behavior.

One of the constituents attending the meeting recorded the conversation.

The Randolph Tea Party posted the clips online, and exclusively forwarded the links to PJ Media. Four clips of the meeting are embedded below.

At one point, Ellmers says of Woodard: “You don’t have any damn facts.”

Ellmers claims he is stereotyping, and constantly interrupts him. This conduct occurred after she had inconvenienced the group by changing locations at the last minute, refused to let all of the attendees into her office, and insisted she had to be leaving shortly.

Listen to her positions on immigration, and see if they follow her claim that she holds the same positions as Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee. Yesterday, Lee’s Communication Director Brian Phillips answered her claim with this statement:

Sen. Lee’s position has been very clear: piecemeal legislation, one bill at a time, evaluate and verify each step as we implement the reforms. We have read Rep. Ellmers’ most recent op-ed on reform and it sounds a lot like how the Gang of Eight tried to sell comprehensive immigration reform, something Sen. Lee spent several months last year opposing.

WATCH VIDEO ON NEXT PAGE

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Last Saturday, Renee Ellmers (R-NC02) — a 2010 Tea Party favorite who has since lost the support of conservatives — gave a brief speech to the Moore County, North Carolina GOP Convention. During the speech, she claimed to hold the same views on immigration as Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and even Dr. Ben Carson.

This statement came a few days after Ellmers’ tendentious appearance with Laura Ingraham last week — an interview that might have progressed smoothly had Ellmers actually expressed the same views on immigration as those four.

Ellmers’ brief speech in Moore County offered no specification backing her claim, did not address how the statement was at odds with her recent appearance with Laura Ingraham, and was given seemingly without considering that someone would reach out to one of those four for comment.

(I have — I will print any responses here.)

Following Ellmers’ speech, the convention attendees proceeded to select her opponent Frank Roche two-to-one in the straw poll. A terrible showing, especially considering she is the two term incumbent, and this was a GOP convention, not a Tea Party gathering.

Here is the speech in its entirety:

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Ellmers appearing with Laura Ingraham to discuss immigration was a harebrained decision, a mistake clear to anyone familiar with Ingraham’s commitment and experience opposing amnesty. Following that error, Ellmers compounded it by highlighting the praise she received from the Mark Zuckerberg-led, transparent, dopey amnesty ploy “Americans for a Conservative Direction.”

We cannot know, but these bizarre two weeks of campaigning by Renee Ellmers sure looks like the result of an ambitious candidate attempting to please national GOP leadership ahead of her constituency. Or perhaps one promised aid from the national party, an amount she believes sufficient to hold off her conservative challenger Frank Roche.

Though she has generally governed with an abandonment of her 2010 platform and base, the current missteps now seem less the work of an amateur, and more that of a two-headed monster: national leadership and Ellmers’ local team, trading off on odd and even days. I don’t know how else to figure it.

Either way, I do not see how she recovers, considering both the makeup of her district and the already significant anger over her tenure. Ann Coulter endorsed Frank Roche yesterday, and she hadn’t even seen this video yet.

Again, I have reached out to Cruz, Lee, and Paul, and will post any responses here.

References to Stalinist ideological purges, and Trotsky’s fate, bear no resemblance to the Tea Party/conservative  movement’s increased willingness to directly confront party leadership, which is currently constructed of ideological moderates.

RINOism, whatever the definition, is not the chief concern. Well … it is the chief concern in one manner: it is troubling to a GOP electorate — of which the largest portion self-identifies as “conservative” rather than “moderate” — to see party leadership perpetually gauging just how closely they can embrace the Constitution per his or her daily schedule. But ideology is not the underlying problem creating the party’s rift; instead, the rift arises from the issue of accountability and representative governance.

Adherence to the stated purpose of the House as being the home of federal representatives most closely bound and responsible to the district they serve — that’s the root desire of conservatives, and a party leadership that respects that principle as the first order would significantly repair its standing, no ideological shift required.

A lovely anecdote from the Constitutional Convention frames the concern: George Washington, aware of the sway his voice held within the chamber, kept generally silent during the sessions. However, he chose to speak up regarding the apportionment of House representatives to the states; he wished for fewer citizens per representative to keep the official more tightly in the hand of the people.

In contrast, a hallmark of statism — actually, an element of the definition of statism — is the subjugation of local governance and interests to the national concern, to the centralized power. The House, and for our interests, the GOP, simply does not fulfill this mandate.

In contacting several campaigns and local officials for background on the 2014 primary races, I’ve heard some tales of corruption, intimidation, and K Street/Alinsky sludge within the party, from leadership to the town and county level. Skin-crawling stuff. Dopey Scandal teleplay stuff.

And I have yet to hear of the culprits being connected to good-standing Tea Party/conservative officials and campaign teams. Instead, the target always seems to be them; the conspirator, always from the “establishment.”

The party leadership in the House does not currently include anyone who consistently serves as a conservative, who consistently advocates and votes for the life, liberty, and property rights of the individual. Importantly, this is not a problem in itself. On a district-by-district basis — I live in New England, which currently has only one(!) GOP official in either the House or Senate, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire — Tea Partiers/conservatives can and should be supportive of whomever the district is willing to elect from the party. If the district is moderate to liberal and elects a moderate Republican, that official should be allowed to fulfill his or her moderate campaign promises.

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Were my money and resources at stake, no current House GOP member better embodies the party’s leadership rot than he: his incessantly measured, strategically incoherent tacking reveals a party now guided by advisor-class tutelage, not conservatism. Additionally, his status as party-protected and groomed future speaker establishes the taking of his seat as a viable means for delivering a message to leadership.

Eric Cantor has earned his primary challenge, and I would suggest to national donors that Dave Brat is the predictably conservative challenger worthy of your interest. And with Cantor’s favorables low and VA-7 possessing a conservative soul, Cantor’s incumbency doesn’t present the imposing challenge the party might otherwise assume of it.

The tenancies of Cantor and other “establishment” Republicans deserve sunlight. I intend to provide some here at Self-Evident over the following weeks with this “Moderate Danger” series. I expect these postings will expose the situation in a manner not generally considered during the typical “RINO” vs. conservative debate, at least in terms of winning:

Always, we argue of which strain of Republican is more palatable on Election Day. Instead, we should first be discussing and exposing — from local sheriff races to presidential primaries — just how many roadblocks the GOP lays down in the path of viable conservative candidates.

First, let us know which seats you think deserve attention. I’m currently focused on Cantor and Renee Ellmers, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.

 

Earlier today, the AP and Reuters reported that Russian forces rammed the gates of the Ukrainian military base near Sebastopol, which they have been holding under siege:

The two sides were reportedly in the middle of negotiating the Ukraninian soldiers’ terms of surrender, when the pro-Russian Crimean militia started assaulting the journalists who were reporting from the area.

According to early reports, members of a pro-Russia militia used a truck to break though the gate of the base. The truck got stuck at the gate, and Russia soldiers climbed over it. Some 70 Ukrainian troops were said to still be holding out in the bunkers. Russians troops who broke through the perimeter demanded the Ukrainian soldiers surrender.

Dangerous escalation, leading inexorably to a military showdown? It appears Putin is simply outsmarting Western intelligence — and certainly Western leadership — with the gambit, causing a global ruckus and perhaps eliciting further concessions. Because moments ago, Russia pulled away:

Putin, rather elegantly, is keeping the chattering Western diplomatic corps on its heels. He understands the American administration and the fractured, economically hamstrung European Union well enough to know he has a hell of a lot of rope to play with before comparable arms show up.

Even then, he knows the opposition will remain fractured as long as he doesn’t take a step drastic enough to offend Western sensibilities. And remember, chemical weapons can no longer can be considered outside of those sensibilities, thanks to last year’s Western humiliation in Syria.

The West lacks the moral coherency of the Reagan/Thatcher/Pope John Paul/Lech Walesa era of Western leadership. Such coherency is the only thing that could ever prevent Putin, or anyone like him, from batting around the free world and it’s penumbra like a chew toy.

Hey, GOP: Embrace ‘We Told You So’

March 7th, 2014 - 1:50 pm

An eggshell-walking style of outreach — employed by the RNC since the left convinced mainstream culture that “conservative” means “fascist” — has been carried out by the Party despite it not having a smidgen of evidence in regards to its effectiveness.

You won’t see any tiptoes at CPAC; the convention offers plenty of bombast. But do note that much of it is emitted by those who, when exposed to a less-partisan audience, measure how tightly they can be seen embracing the Constitution. Mitch McConnell wouldn’t dare wave that firearm — and I’m suspicious that the specific firearm he chose was focus-grouped — in front of undecideds. Party leadership unfailingly goes with “avuncular” around potential new voters, despite being unable to back this decision.

When you have the truth on your side, get out the truth. If the truth isn’t on your side, switch parties.

I wager the swing-voter open to voting Republican will recognize the GOP’s wealth of correct pronouncements since 2008, whether they come from mealy leadership or Ted Cruz, and the average American open to voting Republican for a first time won’t reject the scorecard solely due to the manner of delivery. A person making such judgments wouldn’t be open to voting Republican.

Remind voters of the 2008, 2010, and 2012 GOP platforms, and dare them to find a flawed GOP prediction. Just one. Dare them to name just one successful Democratic prediction.

Or, fill them in:

– The GOP was correct about innovation and exploration being a wiser approach to energy than a full-scale implementation of wind and solar energy. Those approaches were taken throughout Europe, bringing Spain, Italy, and now Germany to the brink of collapse and an increased investment in coal. Meanwhile, U.S. free market innovation led to the fracking boom, a cleaner, safer means of extracting energy and a secure bridge to future energy innovations, “green” or otherwise.

The Democratic platform on this issue could not have been more wrong.

– The GOP was correct in its general rejection of bailouts and Treasury printings as the quickest means to an economic recovery. Yes, George W. Bush disagreed, but the majority of the Party rejected his opinion.

– The GOP was correct in its analysis of the Middle East as an area whose tumult is fueled by various strains of Islamic extremism and oppression rather than anger towards the U.S. or Israel. Later, the GOP was correct in its analysis of the “Arab Spring” as a Sunni Islamist uprising rather than a sudden embrace of Jeffersonian democracy. The scale of lost lives and crushed hopes of freedom due to U.S. failure to respond correctly is difficult to fathom now; the repurcussions will last decades.

– The GOP was correct in its analysis of Putin as an aspiring Soviet tyrant. (Yes, Bush was initially incorrect regarding Putin as well.) The hopes of millions of Russians have been crushed and the safety of Eastern Europe imperiled directly as a result of the Democrats “reset” policy.

– The GOP was correct in its analysis of Obamacare as a guaranteed failure, the source of increased costs rather than decreased costs, as a legally dubious law bound to create a Constitutional crisis, as the destruction of the doctor-patient relationship, as a tax on the young and the not-yet born. You name it, the GOP was correct about Obamacare.

The Democrats have rarely invested as much energy in a bill as they have with Obamacare. They treated it as the best idea they ever had.

– Sarah Palin demonstrably outsmarted the Democrats on every single issue she ran on.

Run on the “I Told You So” platform. Literally trot out quotes and video from the prior six years, and challenge voters to identify either a failed conservative prediction or a successful Democratic prediction.

The truth obliterates the Democratic platforms, so this should be easy, but the GOP never chooses easy.