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Accountability, Not a Purge: What Conservatives Want From the GOP

March 19th, 2014 - 12:45 pm

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.

Yesterday, we published the transcript from a 20-minute phone interview I conducted with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on the topic of his newly created GOHConservative PAC. Gohmert described the PAC as a means for providing support to “conservatives who [GOP] leadership was not going to help.”

During the interview, Gohmert made a disturbing claim about current GOP leadership. The claim drew responses later in the day from the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senate Committee. Said Gohmert:

I’ve had people tell me that Republican donors to Senate members have had people call them, tell them “don’t help this Republican or that Republican because the party doesn’t like what they stand for.” Are you kidding me? And then they bash the Tea Party people, and say they’re the problem?

To be clear, Gohmert is claiming that the GOP privately contacted specific donors and told those donors to withhold money from conservative/Tea Party candidates.

Raffi Williams, deputy press secretary for the RNC, responded by email to Gohmert’s claim:

The RNC is actively working to build a better, stronger Party that can win elections in 2014 and beyond. The Tea Party has been and will continue to be an indispensible part of getting more conservatives elected to office.

Also, NRSC Press Secretary Brook Hougesen emailed the following statement:

We really don’t know what Congressman Gohmert is referring to. The conservative grassroots movement and the tea party brings energy, enthusiasm, and a commitment to defend liberty that is essential in building a Republican Senate majority.

On Monday evening, Gohmert emailed me this exclusive statement in response to the RNC and NRSC:

It’s a bit concerning that the RNC and the NRSC leadership don’t acknowledge or aren’t aware of efforts to undermine grassroots and Tea Party candidates. It is critical that establishment Republicans understand that they cannot keep alienating independent minded but caring Americans who want a choice in an election and not a Democrat-lite. As a result, last election, too many conservatives simply stayed home.
We have forwarded Gohmert’s latest statement to the RNC and NRSC, and we will publish any further responses via updates to this post, so do check in later.

UPDATED, 12:40 p.m. EST:

National Republican Senatorial Committee Press Secretary Brook Hougesen responds to PJ Media via email regarding the quote highlighted below. Writes Hougesen:

“We really don’t know what Congressman Gohmert is referring to. The conservative grassroots movement and the tea party brings energy, enthusiasm, and a commitment to defend liberty that is essential in building a Republican Senate majority.”


In describing the mission of his newly created PAC, GOHConservative, during a 20-minute phone interview, Rep. Louie Gohmert offered significant criticism regarding the tactics and behavior of GOP party leadership and current House Speaker John Boehner.

Gohmert gives his PAC a twofold purpose. Primarily, he wishes to defend Tea Party/conservative candidates and elected officials from attacks by party leadership; he speaks of integrity as being his motive. He claims party leadership does not allow those with conservative districts to give their constituents a voice by following through on campaign promises of conservative governing.

Gohmert also offers details of the party’s “pressure” strategy: leadership does not use intimidation, but instead presents a slick appeal to a “team player” camaraderie within the party. Time later reveals that these “team player” sacrifices only ever flood in one direction.

Perhaps most newsworthy, Gohmert offers a troubling anecdote about the party privately instructing GOP donors to close their wallets to certain Tea Party/conservative candidates.

Secondarily, and of note to observers who fault Tea Party tactics, Gohmert wants to support moderate Republicans who govern moderate or liberal districts, as this “keeps the gavel away from Nancy Pelosi.”

Gohmert also takes a quick jab at Karl Rove, head of “GOP establishment” PAC American Crossroads.


Steinberg: In your Daily Caller interview, you mentioned that Boehner’s comments on the GOP causing a government shutdown caused a “depression” within the caucus. That sounds like a possible tipping point for the creation of this PAC — was this already in the works?

Gohmert: It was already in the works. We had set it up, but hadn’t put any real energy behind it yet. But that, yes, that clearly was a sign that we have got to move forward.

But there have been a lot of things along the way. Leadership would favor some folks with money from our party treasury and not others. You were told “you’ve got to be a team player, you’re not enough of a team player.” We understand if a GOP congressman represents a very moderate district, we love the fact that they help us keep the gavel away from Nancy Pelosi, we appreciate that. But our leadership doesn’t appreciate that some of us have conservative districts, but are told we can’t represent our district with a certain vote — we need to vote with moderates or even to the left of moderate, because that’s what we negotiated.

And we have people that are not good at negotiating.

So it’s been a difficult time, being in the majority and not utilizing the powers that the Founders gave us. Yes, we only have one half of the legislative branch, but the Constitution doesn’t allow anyone to get a dime from the federal government unless the House agrees. So … if we have people in the DOJ who are perhaps not furnishing information, or if someone’s found in contempt of Congress, hypothetically speaking, because they haven’t provided the documents that have been lawfully requested, then you cut off the funds to that person.

You don’t cut off law enforcement funding. You don’t cut off funds from people who are doing what they are supposed to. But you do cut off the funding from people that are in contempt of Congress and think they are running some kind of monarchy.

We don’t use any power that we have. We fold. We cave.

It does require specific messaging — as we know, the so-called mainstream media is never going to help us — but you message it, you employ people that know how to get the truth out.

But yes, you touched on it, David. When our speaker buys into the lie that Republicans shut down the government? The fact is we kept passing compromise after compromise, even going beyond what some of us were at all comfortable with, trying to avoid a shutdown, and Harry Reid gets a pass from the media and doesn’t pass anything, doesn’t want our bills voted on, and won’t even appoint conferees. And your leader goes on TV and says: “Yeah, we shut it down, we knew it would be a disaster, but we went along because the majority of the party thought it was the thing to do”? Are you kidding me? Why have you bought into the lies that Harry Reid was telling?

Steinberg: Were Boehner’s comments unacceptable to the whole party? Do you feel the more liberal members of the caucus agreed, felt that they did cause the shutdown?

Gohmert: I haven’t talked to anybody that believed that Republicans shut down the government, because that’s just not true. So anytime any GOP leader says something that’s just not true, it creates a problem.

Anyway, I didn’t have an original thought with this PAC to aid conservative members. It was a page out of Jim DeMint’s playbook, when he created the Senate Conservative Fund to help conservatives who leadership was not going to help.

And in fact, I’ve had people tell me that Republican donors to Senate members have had people call them, tell them “don’t help this Republican or that Republican because the party doesnt like what they stand for.” Are you kidding me?

And then they bash the Tea Party people, and say they’re the problem?

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I know little besides “the fruit was so big,” the summers beautiful,” but Rostov-Don holds a significant grasp on my pride — it was written in large letters on a placard in my grandparents’ house, the placard sent to them by the Ellis Island Immigration Museum in the mid-’80s. They put it in wrought iron as well — on Ellis Island for a school field trip, I stepped away from the group and found “Elizabeth Resnitsky — Rostov-Don” on a plaque beside the seawater. Our blood, some of it, is from there, and when it’s safer I’ll bring the kids and a video camera.

“When it’s safer” — did Great-Grandma Lizzy think that when she fled in 1912 at age 16, or did she know the currents well enough that her great-great-grandchildren would see the same pedigree of bastard running the place?

Would she want us to visit, even with the specter of Yanukovich, the latest in a century of faceless, interchangable thugs, dampening the city’s spirit?

This morning, angry Viktor so-and-so ranted about his blah-blah, whatever, “banality of evil.” I didn’t watch it. Same speech — Grandma Lizzy could have filled us in. Yanukovich will spend much of the rest of his life in exile, maybe in a spider hole, or a gold-leafed chalet, thinking great things of himself. He doesn’t matter, and is not fit to clean the shoes of the people he chases away. Brooklyn took them in 100 years ago. We’re doing just fine without his centralized planning; Grandma Lizzy and Hyman Wigodsky, without a hammer and sickle, started a Brooklyn family that turned into several doctors and lawyers and teachers, a bunch of millionaires and graduate degrees. A tax base Yanukovich would love to plunder but will never have the chance to.

I’m sure plenty of Rostov Don citizens will be pleased to see Yanukovich leave town soon, especially the 10,000 or so Jews who survive there today. Imagine — a whole century of these men disturbing yet another lovely corner of the globe, keeping eager visitors at a distance.

Today, in the soon-to-be-Arab-Springed kingdom of Jordan, ten gay men and women were arrested for being gay in the same room. While Jordan does not have any laws on the books regarding homosexuality, the government does give leeway to local administrators to … kinda do whatever they wish with gays. For example, it appears gays could be placed underneath the prison indefinitely. Call it Jordan’s Elastic Clause“:

 “The administrative governor of the Marka area, Adnan Qatarneh, ordered the arrest of the 10 gays and lesbians after they held a reception at a party hall on Wednesday to get to know each other,” he told AFP.

“The arrests were made to prevent a disturbance of the peace,” he added, without elaborating.

Homosexuality is not illegal in the conservative desert kingdom, although it is widely seen to be unacceptable.

“There are no laws in Jordan to deal with homosexuality cases,” another security official said. ”It is up to administrative governors to decide how to handle such issues, including any period of detention.”

Despite Jordan being a brutal, lawless administration in terms of homosexuality, Jordan is not considered a particularly dangerous locale for gays, and does not draw much international attention or condemnation for this behavior. And frankly it shouldn’t, according to the strategy of targeting the worst offenders first.

Nevertheless, Newsweek writer Max Strasser — chasing traffic with a poorly researched, unscientific list post — saw fit to include the United States ahead of Jordan among his “Top Twelve Most Homophobic Nations.”

Strasser, presumably suspecting that even Newsweek wouldn’t allow him to place the U.S. in his top 12, essentially placed the United States at number 13, the lone member of a category skin-crawlingly titled “Bubbling Under.” According to him, the United States is not an official Nation of Most Concern, but any day now a gathering of ten Louisiana gays might get rounded up and left to the whims of a Louisiana mayor, and this fate is objectively worse than being left to the whims of a Sunni Islamist.

However, the Times of Israel article reporting on the Jordanian arrest mentions — Strasser should probably take a look-see — that his dangerously homophobic United States has in fact issued a human rights report concerned about Jordan’s treatment of gays, a homophobic movement ominously raising even our bubbles.

Here’s Strasser’s list:

1. Nigeria

2. Uganda

3. Zimbabwe

4. Saudi Arabia

5. India

6. Honduras

7. Jamaica

8. Senegal

9. Afghanistan

10. Iran

11. Lithuania

12. Sudan

“Bubbling Under”: United States

Strasser’s actual criteria for the list aren’t specified, a shame because a list of the countries statistically most dangerous to gay residents or travelers would be a valuable piece of journalism. I can only assume, but Strasser’s criteria — considering his exclusion of Jordan and most of the other nations of Earth, present and past, in favor of the United States for his cop-out number 13 — likely consisted of “Strasser’s feelings” and “Strasser’s agenda.” Why else would he compile this useless, unscientific list if not for the purpose of smearing the United States with it? 

If Strasser truly cared about the safety and security of gays worldwide, he would have compiled a legitimate report that would be of some use to them. This list is about Strasser’s ego and Newsweek‘s traffic. Nothing else.

GOP Pundits Take On Ted Cruz, Logic

February 27th, 2014 - 10:17 am

Thomas SowellAnn Coulter, and Kim Strassel all took exception last week to the conservative movement — nominally led by Ted Cruz – which intends to primary GOP incumbents who do not align as strongly as Cruz does with conservatism. This appears to be, or at least felt like, the first such anti-conservative stance taken by Sowell, making it the most jarring of the three. Wrote Sowell:

The basic, brutal reality is that the federal government can do whatever it wants to do, if nobody stops it. The Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision shows that we cannot depend on it to protect our freedom. Nor will Congress, as long as the Democrats control the Senate.
The most charitable interpretation of Ted Cruz and his supporters is that they are willing to see the Republican party weakened in the short run, in hopes that they will be able to take it over in the long run, and set it on a different path as a more purified conservative party.

Neglecting the remainder of the passage for the moment, note that Sowell’s first sentence above is factually correct, and is also the pivotal information required for this debate. The sentence is not Sowell’s opinion, but a truth about men governing men: no document and no legislature can ever function as a fail-safe defense of the individual’s rights. Whether in the “state of nature” or under a “consent of the governed” state, one group of folks can always do “whatever it wants to do if nobody stops it.” Your best hope, the strongest safeguard of your rights — superseding even the bearing of arms — that could ever exist falls to the culture you live within. If the citizens report being ever-ready to “stop it,” your rights stand a better chance of remaining secured.

Presently, the United States does not have a strong enough culture to uphold the individual’s life, liberty, and property as the highest feature of government. The decline of America — economically, and in regards to respect for the rule of law as based on the individual’s rights — has occurred because the countrymen allowed for a decline.

The citizens are not producing the pressure necessary for a turnaround. Yet the establishment GOP’s strategy for returning the country to prosperity is to work with the culture as it is. This path relies on a boggling number of troubling or irrational assumptions, considering the confidence with which its advocates present their arguments.

If the GOP members being primaried are uncomfortable being associated with Ted Cruz, presumably they are comfortable being considered less conservative than Cruz. These incumbents may be hiding their conservatism based on some calculation only they understand, and surely a legislator who consistently measures how close he can safely stand to the Constitution is not someone committed to the rule of law. On the other hand, these incumbents may honestly believe in maintaining a distance from conservatism, and thus are comfortable with the current culture which has led us to a potential American nadir.

They are a lose-lose, and that’s before taking a measure of the opponent. Eric Holder has on more than one occasion instructed state attorneys general to ignore the law. The president has unilaterally changed Obamacare eighteen times. When the adversary is lawless, a GOP-controlled Senate of the calculating or the less-adhered to the Constitution is just another bump in the road. Sowell, Strassel, and Coulter, as pessimistic as they all might be regarding the country’s odds for recovery, are still irrationally positive on the nation’s prospects without a slate of Constitutionally committed oath-takers.

I wish the national resurrection were as simple as “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.” But culture trumps legislature.

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Liberal failures always trace back to having glossed over the biggest problems, the showstoppers that should kill bad ideas before they get out of committee. Instead, an unfounded trust in the power of technology, the future, or in the sense of being on the cutting edge of everything gets these manic ideas passed and signed.

During the Bush era, I heard plenty of appeals to a futuristic savior as a means for avoiding war:

Dude, it’s 2005. You’re telling me they can’t come up with a better strategy for Iraq than shooting the bad guys some more?

Yes. I was correct; our shiny new 2005 thinking could not halt the advancement of al-Qaeda on its own.

C’mon. It’s 2014. Our cars should be electric.

Yet the Chevy Volt, known to be unaffordable and requiring of a subsidy prior to construction, did not become either economical or desirable in practice. The Tesla, considered a viable product, actually is sustained by subsidy. No, “2014″ was not a rational argument for manufacturing electric cars.

Then we have the most damaging current appeal to futurism, an idea which has managed to retain its cutting-edge persona despite being a near-century old:

C’mon. The richest country in the world can get everyone health insurance.

Back in 2008 — and also back during the working years of Adam Smith — rational folks knew the showstopper flaw with such a statement: artificially lowering a price means that someone not party to the transaction has to pay for the alteration. Besides the alteration being immoral and illegal, the price point arrived upon in transactions between Party A and Party B cannot be altered without requiring a Party C to make A or B whole again.

Now, four years into the problem created by the “Cmon, man” crowd, the Obama administration is hysterically begging America’s young to register for Obamacare, the people statistically likely to lose money on the deal. They’re treating it as a messaging problem, or as a “maturity” issue; as anything but the humiliating truth: after thousands of pages written and calculations tortured out by the cleverest, most-credentialed folks in the country, after rewriting the law 35 times after passage, the liberals in charge couldn’t lower the price point between Parties A and B without needing a bystander C to provide glorified charity.

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