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David Steinberg

David Steinberg is the New York City Editor of PJ Media. Follow his tweets at @DavidSPJM.

Ten Years Late, America Is Completely On Board with Mark Levin’s Proposal for Supreme Court Term Limits

It’s okay to have no patience for the hero-centric model of political interest — wherein we fall in line with a leader’s opinions like a flag to rally around, neglecting that the conservative movement is about ideas, logic, and never about personality — while believing that Mark Levin’s decade of getting it right on the Supreme Court deserves some recognition.

Plenty of conservatives — and conservatism itself, via the above point — correctly predicted every negative occurrence of the past decade’s adventures in progressivism. But I’m not sure anyone else can claim to have been completely on the mark about the Court’s progression, as Levin was with his 2005 book Men in Black.

His recognition of the necessity of term limits was in Men in Black; I thought he first broached it in his 2012 The Liberty Amendments. But I did a quick search after seeing this article — currently up on Drudge — from Reuters, and there it was.

Here’s the Reuters piece:

Americans favor Supreme Court term limits: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Most Americans would support imposing a term limit on the nine U.S. Supreme Court justices, who now serve for life, a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll has found in the aftermath of major rulings by the court on Obamacare and gay marriage.

Support for the 10-year term limit proposed by the poll was bipartisan, with 66 percent saying they favored such a change while 17 percent supported life tenure.

The two big rulings in June were widely welcomed by liberals. Nevertheless, 66 percent of Democrats, 74 percent of Republicans and 68 percent of independents said they favored the 10-year term limit idea, according to the poll.

Those numbers are startlingly large. I can’t imagine many political opinion questions that would provide such a two-thirds mandate. I think a “Deport Bieber?” poll got us there last year.

Posted at 3:25 pm on July 20th, 2015 by David Steinberg

He Supports WHAT? With GOP Election Tomorrow, Boehner-Supported Candidate Darin LaHood Reveals He Is Left of Boehner — and Some Democrats — on CUBA!

UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: Ted Cruz endorses Mike Flynn –

“Mike Flynn is the kind of courageous conservative we need in Washington. When Andrew Breitbart launched BigGovernment.com to expose ACORN and  fight back against the institutional left and the political class, he chose Mike Flynn as his lieutenant. For 6 years, Flynn helped expose the media’s lies and led many fights against the Obama Administration and Washington’s entrenched political establishment. I’m happy to endorse his campaign for Congress. With Flynn, Central Illinois will have a strong voice to uphold the constitution, defend the 2nd Amendment and stand up to the media and political elite.”

Click here to read all our coverage of tomorrow’s election.

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“Hard left” is not the tack that GOP establishment candidates, when being challenged from the right in a solid conservative district, generally employ as an “October” surprise.

Darin LaHood — the son of former Obama administration Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the only Republican to serve in Obama’s cabinet — is running for his father’s former seat, which was recently vacated when Aaron Schock resigned amidst mounting evidence that he had misused funding.

LaHood has been heavily supported by House GOP leadership, including John Boehner and Steve Scalise, who held a private, $1,000-a-plate fundraiser for LaHood in May.

LaHood also received thousands in funding from the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group founded by centrist Steve LaTourette as a vehicle for coaching moderate Republicans through races in which they are challenged from the right.

LaHood also received a visit and an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which does happen to support Obama’s plans.

Despite being the clear establishment favorite, LaHood has campaigned as the conservative in this race. Which is why his admission during a local news interview that he would challenge the House GOP — and even some House Democrats — from the left on Cuba is so bizarre. Video is embedded below — LaHood’s Cuba exchange begins at 7:35:

LAHOOD: I think in terms of opening markets for our farmers, particularly in Cuba, I’m supportive of that. You know, this is the 17th largest agriculture district in the country … when you think about the commodities that are grown and produced in central Illinois, we have to open up more markets. That’s jobs and economic opportunity for our farmers in our ag community in Central Illinois. So I’m supportive of opening up new markets, such as Cuba, for our corn and our soybeans and other products. That’s a good thing.

In the past, obviously Cuba has had some issues with human rights and other things. But I think this is a way to, you know, transition them to democracy and economic freedom and I’m supportive of it.

Cuba has, indeed, had some issues with human rights and other things, including mass murder and providing sanctuary — to this day — for dozens of Central and South American terrorists. This is why holding Cuba accountable and standing for its oppressed, imprisoned population has nearly unanimous Republican support: here’s House GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy speaking on June 2 regarding a GOP leadership-supported bill to block funding for Obama to build a U.S. embassy in Cuba:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) told reporters Tuesday the GOP is using the appropriations process to establish its priorities, which includes Cuba.

“I think we have been very clear with our challenges with what’s going on with Cuba and human rights, and we have a difference of opinion with the administration and we have a right to express it,” he said.

That bill passed, 247-176.

LaHood, whose website boasts of his conservative priorities and who has repeatedly distanced himself from his father’s centrism, would presumably have opposed it.

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Even the Washington Post’s left-leaning editorial board is now criticizing Obama’s allowing Cuba to exploit the new policy.

The election is tomorrow, July 7. LaHood’s opponent Mike Flynn has recently won the endorsements of Mark Levin, Louis Gohmert, Dana Loesch, and other conservative favorites.

I am putting in calls to the LaHood and Flynn campaigns, as well as to the offices of Rep. Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, a Cuban-American Republican who has led the party’s opposition to the Obama/LaHood Cuba policy. Will update here.

Posted at 11:47 am on July 6th, 2015 by David Steinberg

EXCLUSIVE: A Shocking Admission Comes From Within Darin LaHood’s Disillusioned Campaign — About IL GOP Governor Bruce Rauner Directing the Race

As we’ve reported here, those involved in the behind-the-scenes GOP nomination process — from sheriff to presidential candidate — are quite aware that the GOP leadership’s carefully chosen argument employed against conservative, grassroots challengers is perhaps the least authentic, defensible opinion you’ll hear coming out of Washington.

Conservative challengers are not engaged in a purifying “purge” of the GOP. Everyone — except the private citizen voter and donor being misled — knows the truth is the precise opposite.

Darin LaHood, the son of former Obama administration Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is the GOP leadership/establishment favorite to replace disgraced former Rep. Aaron Schock in Illinois’ 18th District. The district is heavily conservative, and John Boehner, Steve Scalise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the rest of the House GOP leadership fear an actual conservative holding this seat, as one would be able to retain it and be a consistent problem for them.

That’s why Scalise and Boehner threw a D.C. fundraiser for Darin LaHood, that’s why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave Darin LaHood their endorsement and thousands in donations, that’s why Darin LaHood told the obvious lie — what he knew the conservative 18th wanted to hear — during his debate that he would oppose the Chamber’s, Boehner’s, and Scalise’s “top priority” of passing Obamatrade, and that’s why the Chamber went further, lying to a local newspaper that Mike Flynn had sought out their endorsement.

After Monday’s final debate and the following endorsement for Flynn from kingmakers Mark Levin and Dana Loesch — recall, Darin LaHood’s campaign had only agreed to a debate if the candidates were limited to 90-second answers and not allowed to address each other — tips have been flowing to me from the disillusioned within LaHood’s campaign.

If it seemed to you, immediately following Aaron Schock’s resignation, that the state GOP and Governor Bruce Rauner were trying to clear the field for Darin LaHood, that’s because they were trying to clear the field for Darin LaHood.

Aaron Schock resigned on March 17; his final day in office was March 31. Governor Rauner then had a few days to announce the key dates for the special election.

Remember when Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. resigned in 2012? Under then-Governor Pat Quinn (D), potential candidates were given 12 weeks to gather enough signatures to make the primary ballot.

Governor Rauner instead decided that candidates could begin circulating petitions on about April 7 until April 20: 13 days, instead of 12 weeks.

Rauner also set the initial primary date for June 6. Eventually he relented and moved the date until July 7, this Tuesday. But the petition period was kept at 13 days.

A source who was working in Rauner’s office at the time — and still is — says the reason for this was exactly what it appears to be: Governor Rauner wanted to clear the field for Darin LaHood, hoping he would run unopposed.

Further, the petition dates seemed to only apply to challengers like Mike Flynn. Witnesses report that at the McLean County Lincoln Day Dinner on April 2, LaHood’s team was circulating petitions.

Five days earlier than allowed.

Governor Rauner’s undemocratic support for John Boehner’s chosen candidate appears to have gone much further than setting near-impossible dates for challengers to comply with. In a special election primary, turnout is everything. Candidates must focus on getting out the vote for this election, which is predicted to only have a single-digit percentage of district voters participating.

Obviously, having an accurate roll of likely supporters to reach out to could be the resource that decides the election.

The approximately 40 interns who have been knocking on doors for Darin LaHood have been sent out prepped only with an app loaded with address information for voters who pulled the lever for Governor Rauner in 2014.

They will be using the Red Dialer app over the next few days until the July 7 election to contact those Rauner voters by phone.

Click here for Governor Rauner’s office number: ask them why they shared their voter data with one candidate.

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The nascent Darin LaHood campaign, back in late March, told potential campaign employees that it would be an easy campaign because LaHood would probably be running unopposed. LaHood was called “the chosen one.” (See below for background on that.)

Posted at 1:54 pm on July 2nd, 2015 by David Steinberg

Uh Oh, GOP Leadership: Mark Levin, Whose Endorsement Is Credited with Winning Dave Brat Race, Goes All In for Mike Flynn

On April 28 last year, Dave Brat channeled Andrew Breitbart by showing up outside and speaking to the press before a cynically staged PR event by Eric Cantor’s team was about to begin. Cantor’s team had surreptitiously — yet transparently, to folks above 18 who read the news — invited Congress’ leading House cheerleader for open borders, Rep. Luis Gutierrez, to call Cantor “the number one man preventing amnesty” with the cameras rolling.

In reality, Eric Cantor had toured with Gutierrez the year prior to discuss ideas for passing an amnesty bill.

After his defeat, Politico revealed that Cantor and Obama, among others, had been literally days away from advancing amnesty on the House floor until Brat’s win killed the project.

Brat’s savvy move to expose the event before it started got him national press for the first time, and this was about the time Mark Levin — America’s top-selling political author and a syndicated radio host with nearly 10 million daily listeners — jumped in with both feet. Brat was invited to appear on the show several times, and Brat’s name recognition, fundraising, and volunteers jumped.

Without Levin’s support, Brat very likely doesn’t sink Cantor, and Congress passes Obamagration.

So Levin stepping up is a big deal.

As I’ve been reporting here, those of you with better things to do than gain privy to the behind-the-curtain GOP primary process — we hold our nose and peek in so you don’t have to — might not be aware that the Nixonian, Clintonian tactics employed by the Cantor team last year are simply how today’s GOP leadership/consultant class chooses to operate in every single primary featuring a reliable John Boehner foot soldier vs. a conservative challenger.

They act with disdain for election integrity, for local government, and for the GOP voter who wants nothing more than an honest portrayal of the choices being presented.

On the advice of groups like Republican Main Street Partnership, they deliberately lie about being opposed to GOP leadership, about bearing conservative viewpoints that run contrary to their records, and about their always-less-funded challenger from the right being a moderate or liberal in John Locke’s clothing, while knowing that description is a precise reading of their own strategy.

Despite their self-measurements, they are in fact nothing new. Just the latest iteration of each era’s power-hungry. Hayek, the Federalist, Shakespeare, the Bible.

You know what they do — and you also know that if they are to lose, the truth spread wide is invariably the culprit.

Click here to listen to Flynn speaking on Levin’s show yesterday to those 10 million conservatives.

Levin isn’t the only kingmaker who jumped in for Mike Flynn yesterday.

See below for Dana Loesch — syndicated host, bestselling author on gun rights, and queen of conservative Twitter — tweeting my article from yesterday morning on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lying about Mike Flynn “seeking their endorsement.”

In the land beyond Washington where words have meaning, here’s what actually happened: the Chamber had mailed Mike Flynn their candidate survey. Flynn answered the survey by disapproving of the Chamber’s top priorities – Obamatrade, the Ex-Im Bank, amnesty — and thus intentionally taking himself out of the running for the endorsement while disseminating his actual platform.

You know — acting with respect for election integrity, respect for the GOP voter, etc.

After I brought it up and Dana Loesch did what she does best with it, the Chamber now refuses to release a copy of Flynn’s survey answers to clear this all up:

Visit Loesch’s Twitter page: she’s still at it, and will be at it for Flynn through the July 7 election night.

Also visit Levin’s massively read Facebook feed for more Flynn support.

Below are links to my coverage of Mike Flynn describing the GOP leadership’s disreputable stewardship of the Ray LaHood campaign:

The Darin LaHood Campaign Asking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Lie About Mike Flynn Is Everything You Need to Know About the GOP Establishment

Darin LaHood Campaign Uses Literal Strong-arm Tactics: Manager Assaults Debate Moderator’s Colleague, Charges Filed

Darin LaHood, Campaigning: ‘I’ve Been Very Critical of D.C. GOP.’ Darin LaHood, Fundraising: ‘Come Hear Boehner, Scalise Endorse Me For $1000s a Plate’

Dusting Off Nixon Tactics? GOP Establishment Darling Darin LaHood Appears to Be Push-Polling Voters Against Conservative Candidate Mike Flynn

The race will be upon us quickly after the July 4 holiday weekend, making GOTV everything. Fundraising and volunteers and phone banks are pivotal.

Posted at 11:48 am on June 30th, 2015 by David Steinberg

The Darin LaHood Campaign Asking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Lie About Mike Flynn Is Everything You Need to Know About the GOP Establishment

Among private sector Americans, the rift between GOP leadership and the conservative wing of the party remains a vigorous debate to be won in the spirit of free association. Yet, as we’ve covered here time and again, the behind-closed-doors split between GOP leadership and conservatives is not about ideology, but process.

GOP leadership runs on the same iron-deficient, integrity-challenged structure that defines the Democratic Party: any tactic that advances their power is considered moral. They employed such a tactic yesterday, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — transparently in tandem with the campaign of their chosen GOP establishment candidate, as described below — chose to offer a quote to a local Illinois newspaper containing an outrageous lie about the conservative challenger.

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Darin LaHood and Mike Flynn held their first debate last week on Wednesday for their primary campaign to replace disgraced Renaissance Faire honoree Aaron Schock. The election takes place in eight days, on July 7.

LaHood, son of former Obama Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, is the candidate favored by national GOP leadership.

Despite shaping his campaign around defending his conservative credentials, on May 18 LaHood flew to Washington, D.C., where John Boehner and Steve Scalise threw a $1000-plus per head fundraiser for LaHood’s campaign.

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(Left: invitation to Darin LaHood’s D.C. fundraiser. Right: Aaron Schock, Spring Break 2005)

At Thursday’s debate, moderator Ian Bayne brought up the Trade Promotion Authority bill and the TransPacific Partnership bill (together known as “Obamatrade“), an Obama administration-crafted push which had cleared a key hurdle last week in Congress due primarily to the support of GOP leadership in both the House and Senate. The bill has received tyrannical support from John Boehner, to the hair-raising extent that Boehner followed through on threats to remove House Republicans from their committee assignments if they dared oppose it.

The bill has also been rabidly supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Said the Chamber in a press release:

TPA is the Chamber’s top trade priority before the Congress.

If unfamiliar, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the beating-heart target of conservative anger at GOP leadership’s fostering of “crony capitalism.” The Chamber is the muscle behind GOP leadership’s push for amnesty, which, for the Chamber’s purposes, would increase the supply of cheap labor, thus benefitting many of the largest GOP leadership corporate donors at the expense of the U.S. citizen worker.

At the debate, when moderator Ian Bayne raised the issue of this bill dubbed “Obamatrade,” LaHood answered that he would not have supported the billLaHood’s response was questionable for two reasons:

1) Considering John Boehner took the extraordinary step of punitive action against GOP dissenters on this bill, its hard to imagine Darin LaHood would get his own Scalise-headlined, Boehner-attended fundraiser if they knew LaHood would be coming to town in a few months with the intention of sinking it. It’s just as hard to imagine that Boehner wouldn’t have asked LaHood about his position prior to the fundraiser.

2) Just one day before the debate, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce flew a top-level figure to Illinois. There in Peoria, the Chamber held an event to announce they are endorsing Darin LaHood for Congress.

To defuse any claim that LaHood did not welcome the endorsement – LaHood attended and spoke:

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Said LaHood:

Obviously they know my record, they know what I’ve advocated for. To have them here today, to come from Washington, D.C. to represent this organization and all across the country means a great deal, and I’m proud to have it today. I think it reflects the record I’ve had in the State Senate, and the issues I’ve advocated for here locally.

Remember: the Chamber says that Obamatrade is its “top trade priority before the Congress.”

So when Darin LaHood said at the debate that he would not have supported Obamatrade, Flynn responded with a zinger:

I hope you told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that when you accepted their endorsement yesterday.

This was, objectively, Lahood’s worst moment of the debate, a debate which was punctuated by several bursts of applause and cheer for Flynn, yet none for LaHood. This moment was even worse than the debate’s exchange on term limits, which had resulted in LaHood’s botched answer that led to a botched answer that led to a successful aggravated assault. (Pending the result of the Bloomington, IL police investigation, of course. The department is currently reviewing the hotel’s security footage.)

This was worse because term limits are not a vigorously upheld tenet of conservatism when compared to opposition to crony capitalism, “pay for play,” and amnestied labor. All of these issues, which are both promotedand facilitated by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, far outweigh the relative outlier issue of term limits in the mind of conservative voters and private sector Republicans in general.

And the LaHood campaign’s response proves they are deeply troubled about fallout from Mike Flynn’s answer that threw doubt on the veracity of LaHood’s stated opposition to Obamatrade.

In the aftermath, they chose to publicly challenge the Obamatrade exchange from the debate, and they have challenged nothing else that transpired that night.

How they challenged the exchange — as stated in the headline — is the type of textbook beltway insider, House of Cards, Primary Colors, Clintonian tactic which the GOP leadership now doesn’t bat an eye about employing.

Posted at 12:34 pm on June 29th, 2015 by David Steinberg

Darin LaHood Campaign Uses Literal Strong-arm Tactics: Manager Assaults Debate Moderator’s Colleague, Charges Filed

I posted earlier today about last night’s debate between GOP establishment candidate Darin LaHood, and conservative challenger Mike Flynn. During the debate — which the LaHood team had demanded be conducted with only 90-second answers and absolutely no conversation between the candidates — Darin LaHood stumbled answering a question about term limits.

Prior to the debate, LaHood had been promoting himself as a strong advocate for term limits, a position advertised on his campaign site:

As a Senator, LaHood fought to increase transparency and promote ethical behavior in Springfield by sponsoring legislation to create term limits for elected officials and establish higher ethical standards for lobbyist and elected officials.

However, LaHood — in one instance prior to the debate — refused to commit himself to the term limit legislation he had sponsored. The question came up again during the debate, and LaHood refused to commit himself again. A local paper documented the exchange here:

LaHood, however, pointed out he’s pushed for term limits as a state senator but avoided the question. When asked for a third time how many terms he would serve, he said, “I want everybody to serve three terms.”

At the debate’s conclusion, moderator and radio host Ian Bayne’s show reporter approached LaHood and asked the question again.

The reporter was shoved away from LaHood forcefully by LaHood campaign manager James Reis, which was confirmed by witnesses. Today, Bayne filed charges.

James Reis has been campaign manager for Darin LaHood for just a few weeks, after the prior manager was fired.

According to an insider, Reis was hired on the recommendation of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, who has endorsed LaHood.

The radio station on which Bayne’s show appears has released the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LaHood Campaign Manager Under Investigation for Aggravated Battery:
Assaulted Reporter Asking LaHood For Answers on Term Limits

(NORMAL, IL -  6/25/2015): Talk Show Host Ian Bayne’s morning show reporter on WRPW “Cities” 92.9 FM Talk has filed a police report alleging aggravated battery on James Reis, campaign manager for State Senator Darin LaHood’s congressional campaign.

Reis shoved Bayne’s reporter yesterday evening at 9:00pm while he was attempting to get a question answered from Senator LaHood. This happened directly after a congressional debate between Mike Flynn and LaHood, sponsored and aired by Cities 92.9.

“LaHood thinks that recent attacks on my program by local government gives him the right to instruct his campaign manager to assault my staff,” said Bayne. “We just want Senator LaHood to tell us how many terms he intends to serve in congress, he won’t answer, and would rather assualt us than answer the question.”

The police report can be read herehttp://www.ianbayne.com/Bayne-Lahood-report.pdf

Audio of the incident can be heard herehttp://cities929.podbean.com/e/lahood-refuses-to-answer-fistbump/

LaHood has been avoiding answering questions about term limits, but claiming to be supporting them. When pressed, during the debate, LaHood dodged the question, saying that he “supports term limits if made law” but refusing to answer if he personally will serve more than the 3 terms he pledged to support being made into law.

Audio from Bayne’s program containing debate audio can be heard herewww.ianbayne.com/Lahood-debateaudio-Bayne.mp3

A story in the local paper about the debate, documenting LaHood’s avoidance of the question on term limits, can be read herehttp://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/gop-s-house-hopefuls-showcase-conservative-positions/article_df8f1db6-2fd6-5334-9ec9-2b96d4e1a46c.html

The July 9 primary will determine the Republican that will replace US Rep Aaron Schock in congress.

Cities 92.9 is a Limbaugh/Beck/Hannity/Levin affiliate. Bayne’s program has been on the air just over one year, and has recently attracted attention for the mayor of Bloomington’s refusal to answer questions from the program, opting to file a civil charge to restrain anyone from the program from asking her questions about city government. The civil charge was dropped on June 10. Cities 92.9 is on the web at www.Cities929.com.

Posted at 5:32 pm on June 25th, 2015 by David Steinberg

Darin LaHood, Campaigning: ‘I’ve Been Very Critical of D.C. GOP.’ Darin LaHood, Fundraising: ‘Come Hear Boehner, Scalise Endorse Me For $1000s a Plate’

As reported here yesterday and by Katie McHugh last week, and as mentioned yesterday by Ace and picked up by kingmaker Mark Levin last night, it’s time to reconsider any fist-pumping you might have done when Rep. Aaron Schock announced he was stepping down in scandal.

Aided by the national GOP, the Illinois’ GOP’s behind-the-scenes behavior — both before and after the resignation — show a party that isn’t so much following its obligation to police itself as much as one that realized Schock was quite terrible at dodging those external and internal controls. Leadership settled on Darin LaHood as a suitable replacement, and coached him towards their spineless, voter-disdaining strategy of publicly condemning leadership in preparation for joining it.

Last night, Darin LaHood had a first debate with Mike Flynn. Accept the term “debate” in its loosest definition. LaHood originally rejected any such forum, and has been self-parodically urging the district to “Vote Early” in the already-open early balloting, as if doing so could possibly be of any benefit to the voter, the democratic process, or to anyone but the candidate who fears he might later slip up or be further vetted:

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(“Vote NOW. I respect your intelligence.”)

Further, LaHood insisted that the debate rules only allow each answer to run for 90 seconds, and that the candidates be barred from … speaking to each other. Namely, the requests of a self-assured public servant who intends to be accessible.

During the debate, in response to a question regarding the candidates’ opinions of House GOP leadership, LaHood said the following:

 I have been very critical of the Republicans in Washington.

This was, of course, not news to House GOP leadership in Washington.

Because about five weeks ago, Darin LaHood flew from Peoria to Washington for a one-hour cocktail event at 27 D Street, SE, at which he was very critical of GOP House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and GOP House Speaker John Boehner, both of whom attended the cocktail event, having agreed beforehand to listen to his impending critique and perhaps sponsor it and deem it worth several thousand dollars per head VOTE EARLY VOTE DARIN:

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Interestingly, Darin LaHood’s first major campaign funding came from the Republican Main Street Partnership, an organization founded by former GOP congressman and Boehner ally Steve LaTourette as a vehicle for supporting centrist, establishment Republicans and advising them on how to defeat challenges from the right.

Check their list of members and review those members’ prior campaigns: so far, Republican Main Street Partnership’s advice has generally proven to have been “pretend you oppose groups like Republican Main Street Partnership.”

Posted at 12:04 pm on June 25th, 2015 by David Steinberg

Dusting Off Nixon Tactics? GOP Establishment Darling Darin LaHood Appears to Be Push-Polling Voters Against Conservative Candidate Mike Flynn

UPDATE: Heh.

Of course, the establishment, amnesty-supporting U.S. Chamber of Commerce has picked this very moment to endorse Darin LaHoodLaHood enthusiastically accepted the endorsement.

That’s the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, people, not just the local Peoria Chamber of Commerce.

I will add much more here in the coming days, but trust me now on this one: this is being considered an important national election by House GOP leadership. They badly want to retain this seat as a rubber stamp vote for Boehner.

They didn’t want Schock gone for his corruption, just for his instability.

Folks — I was the first columnist last year to recognize the Dave Brat campaign as the right tool at the right time with which to strike a blow against national GOP leadership that would actually affect some change. The GOP leadership/Chamber of Commerce/Obama push to enact amnesty was coming to a head within days. Then Brat won, and they’ve been stymied for over a year. And just this morning, I was sent this article from The Nation: Before Eric Cantor lost, he was ready to find a way to restore complete federal oversight — meaning the Eric Holder/Loretta Lynch DOJ — over elections in some southern states. This section of the Voting Rights Act was recently struck down by the Supreme Court.

The truth, as Katie McHugh has begun to reveal, is that LaHood may be as corrupt as Schock. The GOP just decided to cut their losses with Schock and to install another foot soldier.

I’ll publish here what I can of what I’ve discovered. But trust that a Mike Flynn win is not a local win — it’s a national blow against Boehner approaching the importance of the Brat victory.

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As Katie McHugh wrote Sunday evening, the July 7 GOP primary vote to replace corrupt pheasant-aficionado Aaron Schock in Illinois’ 18th District is not the populist, throw-the-bums-out celebration of constitutional republicanism that James Madison had in mind. Instead, the primary is yet another example of the great unraveling of Republican party leadership, which — under John Boehner and the GOP consultant class — has become the power-hungry, unbridled government force the GOP was intended to displace.

I was contacted by a politically active 18th District voter yesterday, a participant in this primary who is aware of the platforms and history of the top candidates: Darin LaHood, the GOP establishment’s preferred candidate for the seat and the son of Obama’s former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood; and Mike Flynn, an editor at Breitbart.com, which can not plausibly be mistaken as a moderate or progressive outlet.

The voter received a call from number 309-265-0588.

This is a local Peoria number being used by Venture Data, a Utah-based survey research firm. (It’s common practice when conducting political phone surveys to “mask” the call’s origination point by using a local number.)

The voter’s story describes a textbook example of a push poll being used to aid the fortunes of Darin LaHood. (The call is described below.)

Not being associated with push polls is considered to be of primary importance to survey research firms’ reputations, not to mention the candidate’s campaign itself. Indeed, Venture Data’s website includes a prominent link on their site to a page detailing their push poll policy:

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Clicking that link brings you this:

Venture Data L.L.C. is a survey research company based in Salt Lake City, Utah. The company operates call centers located in Salt Lake City, UT, Eugene, OR, and Kent, OH. We, the ownership and staff of Venture Data, are committed to providing our clients with accurate consumer and voter opinion data. We use industry standard scientific methodologies and practices for telephone based survey research to collect opinion data.

We recognize that in the heat of highly charged election campaigns tempers will flare and accusations of impropriety are likely to fly.

In light of this, we want to make it clear that Venture Data L.L.C. has never conducted nor participated in what is commonly referred to as “push polling.” Our activities are strictly limited to conducting telephone survey research wherein we gather the opinions of a limited number of representative voters and deliver that data to our clients. We adhere to strict methodological standards.

You’ll find a quick, basic definition of “push poll” at Wikipedia, but it’s one which you can confirm with a polling professional, as I did yesterday. Essentially, testing the effectiveness of a negative political message — which is legitimate, if distasteful, research — is most easily distinguished from the activism of a push-poll by whether or not the firm is making an effort to gather actionable data.

If the caller doesn’t take the time to learn anything about you that could be used by the campaign — demographics, etc. — you’re probably being push-polled.

If the caller asks questions containing obvious negative misinformation about one candidate which the opposing candidate could never plausibly use on the campaign trail, you’re most definitely being push-polled. A candidate is paying a firm to misrepresent itself as being engaged in data collection, when they are actually trying to secure your vote with a privately told lie.

(Read this excellent Larry Sabato article from 1996, where he explains that the push poll was pioneered by Richard Nixon. An argument can be made that today’s Boehner/McConnell/”GOP Establishment” tactics in general were pioneered by Nixon, too.)

The 18th District citizen tells me that the caller from Venture Data did not attempt to gather any information that might be plausibly used by a campaign.

He says the caller asked him only one question before following up with several questions painting Mike Flynn in a negative light to conservative voters, questions with zero basis in Mike Flynn’s history or campaign. Again, the argument that these follow-up questions are legitimate attempts to test negative campaign messages is negated when the messages are complete fabrications which Darin LaHood could never plausibly use during his campaign against Mike Flynn

That last part is easy to discern, since Mike Flynn has written a few hundred words of his political opinions each day for years at Breitbart.

This is the one initial question, with the wording to the best of the voter’s recollection:

For the July 7 primary GOP election, do you now support Darin LaHood or Mike Flynn?

That’s the extent of the actionable research conducted by Venture Data on this call. “Darin LaHood” was never mentioned again on the call. The voter answered:

I’m supporting Mike Flynn.

Then came the follow-up questions:

Would you be more or less likely to support Mike Flynn if you knew that he supports gun control?

Knowing Flynn’s platform includes unwavering support for Second Amendment rights, the voter, flustered, says he replied:

Who do you work for?

He says he repeated this question several times over the next minute, never receiving the answer.

The caller then asked another question on an issue LaHood could never plausibly use against Flynn during the campaign:

Would you be more or less likely to support Mike Flynn if you knew that he supports amnesty?

After this question, the caller says that he was fed up, understanding this was not a legitimate phone survey but an attempt to privately smear Flynn among otherwise uninformed voters. The caller asked a couple more questions about being “more or less likely to support Mike Flynn,” to which he simply answered “more likely” to convey the point that he would be voting for Mike Flynn no matter what.

I called Venture Data yesterday afternoon to ask questions about this poll violating their stated policy. I was directed to leave a voicemail, which as of now has not been returned.

Posted at 12:09 pm on June 24th, 2015 by David Steinberg

So, Who Does Obama Want to Win in 2016?

Conflicts between narcissistic, ambitious, above-the-law personalities predictably follow a tragic — though funny to normal people — trend. The relationship between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton never stood a chance of being anything but textbook Shakespearean: the proximity to power of “ME!” personalities can be tracked by an inverse relationship with their grasp on how grownups are expected to behave after the age of, say, 25. At this point, both have descended to headgear-and-forehead-zit levels of maturity:

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Fine, I leaked the f-in’ email server story. But she totally started it.

He’s hot stuff, she’s all that. Was never gonna work. Despite her being the best chance for Obamacare, open borders immigration, and the other pillars of his “change” to survive the next few years and become established as historical legacy, he has transparently been sandbagging her campaign. He simply needed to lash out; that’s what faded messianic types do when the flock shrinks.

But it’s a mistake to consider that Obama has heretofore been hostile to his possible predecessors without any thought of what those actions mean for his accomplishments.

He can’t silently bear watching his self-possessed greatness be torn down. He must see to it that he be recalled as the root force behind progressivism’s charge. He needs his work to remain intact, and he will likely spend the coming years telling us about his historical role.

This is the path that leftist leaders take, pre-history to Woodrow Wilson to Jimmy Carter.

They don’t expect to fail, they inevitably do, then they employ the contradictory defense mechanisms of blaming everyone else for their failure while simultaneously preaching that they were ultimately somehow successful, perhaps in “a larger sense.”

The next president does matter to him. While he obviously has begun the process of ego defense — see his attack on Fox News yesterday — this is not a man who accepts that the writing is on the wall for his legacy. He still has hope that nothing will get rolled back — and perhaps he is right about that. And he also knows that it matters, as part of that fight, who wins the White House next.

Which makes his recent behavior mystifying.

Posted at 12:29 pm on May 14th, 2015 by David Steinberg

GOPointless: Jeb Hires … John Boehner’s Spokesman

Politico has announced that Michael Steel, John Boehner’s press secretary, is taking his conservative voter marginalization talents to South Beach:

Michael Steel, one of Speaker John Boehner’s top aides, is moving to Miami to work in a “leadership role” for Jeb Bush’s political action committee.

Steel has worked as the press secretary for Boehner since 2008, when the Ohio Republican was the minority leader of a battered Republican party in the House. He has guided Boehner’s communications operation for seven years, helping craft the strategy that made the Ohio Republican speaker, and subsequently playing a key role advising him in day-to-day governing, including high-stakes negotiations with President Barack Obama.

Steel will be an adviser to Bush’s Right to Rise Policy Solutions PAC, “with a leadership role in policy and communications,” according to a source familiar with the role. Right to Rise is the precursor to Bush’s all-but-certain presidential campaign.

If you needed a sign that the fix is in, that the party really has the House of Cards mentality required to push a third Bush, I’m not sure what else is required beyond Jeb taking on Boehner’s key staff.

If you still held out hope that GOP leadership sees 2016 as a chance to fight the existential threats created by Obama and not as a chance to consolidate the power of a couple dozen blue bloods … well, meet Michael Steel. This is the man who, as Breitbart’s Matt Boyle tweets, ”helped Romney/Ryan lose to Obama, and helped Boehner lie for years.”

The much-discussed GOP rift is nothing more profound than this: a minority class of royalty has the reins; the GOP voters and the many principled representatives and senators tiptoe around them. The non-sinecure wing of the party racks up electoral win after win, from Congress down to local municipalities, whereas the GOP royalty racks up legislative loss after loss.

Last November, the country class turned the House map all red except for a few blue pixels, but you can’t even see those on a standard-def monitor:

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The Democratic Party: “Still Visible at 1920 x 1080

That’s the good news, but you’d be mistaken to take any of that as a sign that the party’s national leadership — meaning no more than a handful of congressmen and a handful of “strategists” who wield an absurd amount of power yet aren’t known outside of greater D.C. – was the driver behind that victory. Voters drove that victory, not them. Party leadership simply rode it. And now, they do not have the principles, vision, or talent to make good on any of the citizen demands they’ve been blessed with the honor and duty of carrying out.

And it’s not them, it’s us. Shame on us for thinking a historic midterm landslide — two of them! — was enough legislative power that even the GOP establishment would be able to follow through on your demands, much less understand them:

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“Get a border fence built while Dems control Southeastern Iowa? I’M NOT FRIGGIN’ BATMAN.”

The folks now running the GOP will never, never, never get the job done for the voters. Whether you are a moderate or conservative, they will never claim a victory for you. Let’s stop pretending the GOP’s leadership problem, the party’s D.C. vs. country-class rift, is solvable. It isn’t

Perhaps it would be solvable if the rift was simply ideological. Conservative vs. moderate is about political ideas, but this rift doesn’t have a damn thing to do with ideas. The party will never stop failing legislatively because the rift is fundamentally about power and the establishment’s unbreakable desire to retain it. That’s why we use the term “establishment”: it’s about power for them. We knew that before the election, we hoped for a different result, and now we’re just four months older and crankier. I’m heartened that the GOP field for president contains more than one name with a track record of facing down the GOP’s leadership/strategist class, but let’s stop pretending that any of the GOP presidential nominees — save one — has any hope of being the party’s guiding voice. 

Take the Michael Steel hiring to mean this: if anyone but Jeb wins, he or she will spend the term being hamstrung by the GOP, not aided by it

The most confounding part of this leader-follower dynamic is that the GOP establishment has managed to keep the majority of the party completely out of the board room, despite being the least intimidating political cabal since the Muppets went to Washington. Who on planet Earth — seriously, the whole thing — is intimidated by the “GOP Establishment” besides most other elected members of the GOP? The strategists and fundraisers behind Boehner, McConnell, and the others you know I’m referring to aren’t the icy, psychopathic manipulators of a Bond movie. They aren’t Putin. These guys are a bunch of lawyers, hangers-on, doughy guys who hit the elliptical twice a week.

And yet all of us, from the unengaged Republican citizen to us political careerists, act like there’s nothing we can do. We act like in the great historical record of American history, these guys matter, because they possess power. All of us have been dead wrong about where the power lies, and always will lie, in a party that runs on the voter’s belief in the rights of the individual. They don’t just need you more than you need them — their livelihoods don’t even exist without your consent. But we consented.

Want actual Republican advancements? Stop worrying about the Democrats until your own party leadership is exposed.

Peel back the curtain on the lamest show in town. Honestly, it’s about a dozen congressmen and a dozen strategists preventing that wonderful vibrant movement of principled voters that have better things to do with their lives than chase donors and committee spots. They aren’t faceless teflon billionaires, they’re sitting ducks to an inquisitive GOP electorate.

Posted at 2:58 pm on May 11th, 2015 by David Steinberg