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Matt Vespa

Matt Vespa is a web editor at Townhall.com and occasional writer for Hot Air, RedState, and Townhall Magazine.
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Mandela Interpreter Once Charged With Rape, Kidnapping, and Murder

Friday, December 13th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Well, this story just keeps getting better.  We all know about the schizophrenic, hallucinating fake sign language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.  Did you also know that he was once charged with theft, kidnapping, rape, and murder?

According to The Hill:

South African news broadcaster eNCA revealed Friday that the deaf interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial has in the past faced numerous criminal charges, including kidnapping, rape and murder.

Thamsanqa Jantjie, whose sign language at the memorial was denounced by deaf people worldwide as gibberish, faced his first criminal charge in 1994 when he was accused of rape. Over the following decade he also faced accusations of theft, housebreaking, malicious damage to property, and finally kidnapping, attempted murder and murder charges that were filed in 2003.

eNCA says that Jantjie was acquitted of the rape charge and convicted of theft and sentenced to three years in prison. Many charges, however, were dropped after he was found mentally unfit to stand trial. Despite his theft sentence, it is not currently clear if he has spent time in jail.

Details of the 2003 murder and kidnapping case remain hazy, as the court file for the case is mysteriously empty.

Does the Secret Service conduct background checks for anyone that gets within five feet of the president?  If so, this is another embarrassing episode post-Cartagena and Crashgate.

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Hope Christian Schools Delivering Just That In Milwaukee

Monday, December 9th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

What Hope Christian Schools are doing is nothing short of phenomenal.  The high school, located in the heart of Milwaukee, is a prime example of school choice in action – and how it’s working to better the lives of those viewed as disadvantaged in our society.

Yet, at first, it’s bit of a bleak picture. Hope Christian Schools’ Executive Director Jamie Leuhring noted that Milwaukee is the fourth poorest city in the country. It has the largest incarceration rate for African-Americans, with one out of eight currently imprisoned.  It has the largest gap in testing between blacks, whites, and other races. Additionally, most of the students at Hope are two or three grades behind the rest of their peers.  In an environment like this, confidence is key.

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Hope Christian Schools’ Ex. Dir. Jamie Leuhring

Leuhring added that 99% of their student body lives in poverty; 99% are black; and 97% are free/reduced lunch students. Also, it’s an institution funded 100% by vouchers.  There are about 220 kids enrolled in the high school, with 1300 total students if you include the lower grades.  Although, if you take a closer look into the school, the notions of doom and gloom fades rapidly.

It’s a high expectation school.  Students are expected to show up everyday and do their homework.  It’s also a very disciplined environment, but they have fun as well. Leuhring noted that it becomes too militaristic if discipline is the only priority. Concerning performance, Hope Christian High School is very public with their data – and the end of the year test is considered an autopsy by the staff.  The curriculum isn’t necessarily easy either; everything is based on ACT standards.  Additionally, state/local government doesn’t dictate the curriculum. Hope Schools’ certification and accreditation as a learning institution allows them to receive public fund to teach kids privately.  Additionally, Leuhring added that such a process is essential to preventing bad schools from opening.

Two students were able to share their experience at Hope; all of them positive. One commented that “it’s hard work, but it’s worth it.”  The other noted that some students take three buses to get here because they know that they’re receiving a great education.  Both agreed that “they [Hope teachers] push you hard.” And that they wouldn’t be where they are if they attended another school.  They also acknowledged that Hope is preparing them for college.  ”What were are doing here is what we’ll be doing in college,” one said.

Concerning values, Leuhring added that they teach their students that God loves them, the importance of college, and that they’ll have to work hard to get there, but the staff will be here for support.  In fact, Hope teachers provide their contact information to their students for additional help on assignments.  Now, families can opt out of religious classes, but many choose not to due to their Christian faith. Another reason is that they find the teachings and principles advocated at the school to be positive factors in the education of their children.

So, how does Hope Christian high School fare at the end of the day? Well, they have a 100% college acceptance rate, with a 70% matriculation rate.  The schools’ success has created a high demand for enrollment from other families.  In the high school alone, there were 70 slots open for the incoming freshman class; about 140 students applied.

One of the more controversial aspects about Hope is the selection process; it’s based on a lottery system.  Some think – and rightfully so – that a good education should’t de decided by a system meant to keep senior citizens occupied.  Even Leuhring noted that it’s heartbreaking when students aren’t chosen, but added that the system works if there are enough quality schools available.  That’s why Hope is adding another K-8 school next year.  Yet, therein lies the other controversial aspect at Hope; Common Core is accepted at the elementary school.

In all, 25,000 out of the 120,000 kids in Milwaukee schools are in the city’s voucher program.  Charter, private, and public schools all work together to make sure their students are served properly.

When I asked Leuhring about the impact of the teachers union on Hope, he said that they don’t threaten collaboration, but they do influence the messaging.  When I pressed him on how Hope is combating the misinformation disseminated by the teachers unions about school choice, Leuhring admitted that they need to do more to tell the story, but the main focus at Hope is to give these kids a great education, build character, and given them the confidence to succeed.

On that front, Leuhring and Hope Schools have certainly succeeded.  One of Hope’s principles is that zip codes no longer determine their students’ future.  They look forward to making that sentiment more mainstream.  It’s astonishing how successful a learning institution can be when they make building brighter futures their main focus.

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Live Action: Abortion Industry Built On ‘Profits From Pain’

Monday, November 18th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Earlier this year, Live Action launched their Inhuman campaign, which highlighted the gruesome details of the late-term abortion industry. In their various investigations across the country, Live Action exposed doctors admitting that they would not care for infants born alive. That’s a violation of federal law. Also, the gross misinformation they disseminate to their patients concerning the truth about fetal pain. All of this was made more poignant since these investigative videos were launched at the height of the Kermit Gosnell case in Philadelphia. Gosnell, an abortionist, was charged with performing illegal abortions, along with other felonious acts; he’s now serving a life sentence.

Now, Live Action is going after the profits the abortion industry reaps from these desperate women. Apparently, it costs close to $8,000 for a woman 25 weeks into her pregnancy to abort her child. It goes up an additional $1,000 for each week that goes by. The video released yesterday shows Dr. Carmen Landau from their previous investigation from the Southwestern Women’s Options clinic. She’s an abortionist who received her medical training from communist Cuba.

As the vote for New Mexico’s Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance nears, Live Action serves to remind the voters whom they’re really protecting with their ballot.

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In a press release, Live Action President Lila Rose said:

As residents of Albuquerque, New Mexico prepare to vote on a groundbreaking fetal pain ordinance on Nov. 19, the pro-life organization Live Action today released a new investigative video that exposes the gruesome particulars of the late-term abortion procedure and the sleazy business side of the abortion industry.

The video, titled “Profits from Pain,” features a new investigative recording from the notorious late-term abortion facility Southwestern Women’s Options. Live Action exposed this abortion facility’s gruesome and negligent practices in this past summer’s Inhuman investigation.

In the Nov. 8, 2013 recording, a Live Action investigator schedules a 25-week abortion – a “week-long procedure.” When the investigator expresses shock at the abortion’s cost – $8,000 – the facility’s staffer sympathizes: “Are you still in your chair?” She follows up with a warning: “every week that goes by, the fee goes up by another thousand dollars[.]”

Live Action hopes to alert Americans – who, polls consistently show, vehemently oppose late-term abortion – to the abortion industry’s “rabid and extremist” opposition to any and all industry regulations.

“This facility is only one of the worst examples of the abortion industry’s complete disregard for basic human rights,” Lila Rose, Live Action’s president, explained. “Babies shot through the heart with poison, mothers left to deliver their dead children in an empty hotel room.”

“If Cecile Richards thought Albuquerque was a winning issue,” Rose continued, “she would be trying to make money on it. But Planned Parenthood’s fundraising e-mails are silent on this. It takes a truly fringe mentality to advocate for more privileges for abortionists in the face of the blatant negligence and contempt for women on display in Albuquerque. And yet we have senators and congressmen in Washington, bought and paid for by Planned Parenthood, trying to mainstream this gruesome reality.”

Rose was referring to a new piece of legislation, the putative Women’s Health and Safety Act of 2013, intended to federally nullify all abortion regulations nationwide, from sanitation standards to waiting periods to building code regulations.

The Live Action video shines a light on the ideological chasm between the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Ordinance and the Women’s Health and Safety Act of 2013.

“On the one hand,” Rose said, “we have a city making history by voting to forbid industrial slaughter of precious children. On the other, we have Planned Parenthood-backed, virulently pro-abortion politicians working to help abortionists carry out this butchery. But what more can we expect from people like Barbara Boxer, who think a baby ‘becomes’ a human being only when her parents arrive home with her from the hospital?”

California senator Barbara Boxer, one of the sponsors of the abortion expansion bill, famously said in 2010, “I think that when you bring your baby home, when your baby is born … the baby belongs to your family and has all the rights.”

“This,” Rose concluded, “is a clear-cut case of good versus evil.

Last week, that “clear- cut” case was made more explicit with their video on “room service abortions,” which exposes the Plaza Inn working with Southwestern Women’s Options clinic to “enhance revenues for both businesses,” according to Live Action.

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The Plaza Inn,” Rose elaborated, “is more than willing to give discounts and free transportation to mothers about to have their children poisoned to death and torn apart. But you’ll notice that the hotel refuses to transport these women to the abortion facility at the most dangerous point of the procedure – in the middle of the night, when they might be in labor, delivering a dead baby over the toilet. How many other hotels – in Albuquerque, and across the nation – are profiting from these gruesome procedures? How many are offering discounts for death?”

In the undercover recording, the Plaza Inn staffer admits that under such circumstances, “you guys [SWO patients] actually transport yourselves[.] … I think you wind up going to the hospital[.]”

Live Action reports releasing this second video to show voters the stakes on Tuesday. “It’s already horrifying,” Rose said, “that Albuquerque has a traveling circus of doctors who fly in and massacre late-term, viable, pain-capable babies. And now we know that ‘cottage industries’ are springing up to aid and abet these people in their multi-thousand-dollar child-killing business.”

Rose implored voters to defy the well-funded pro-abortion organizations dumping money into the city. “Groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL may not be saying much about this vote, but that’s because late-term abortion doesn’t poll well. It never has. But they’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve this barbaric business. I pray that voters strongly reject keeping Albuquerque a hub of human rights abuses on Tuesday.”

According to its website, the Plaza Inn, which boasts “the Best in Southwestern Hospitality,” is associated with three other hotels in the region: the Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Colton/Riverside, CA; the Holiday Inn Express in Barstow, CA; and the Palmdale Hotel & Resort in Palmdale, CA.

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The Titanic Had Better Odds Reaching NY Than Obamacare Succeeding

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Well, the Obamacare numbers are now public information – and they’re abysmal. Elise Viebeck of the Hill wrote that the “HHS reported that 106,185 people have selected plans from the state-by-state marketplaces designed to connect the uninsured with private healthcare coverage.” The keyword is selected.

Overall, more people have signed the petition for the United States to build the Death Star than those who bought health insurance through Healthcare.gov; more than half of the population enrolled in Obamacare through the federal exchanges if the country was Liechtenstein; and more people attend 1 Packers game at Lambeau Field (78,110) than signed up for Obamacare through the federal exchanges.

Yet, it gets worse. USA Today’s Kelly Kennedy reported that:

Just 26,794 of the 106,185 people who selected health insurance last month used the troubled federal exchange site, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday.

The remaining 79,391 people used the state exchanges to enroll, for a total of 106,185 people enrolled from Oct. 1 to Nov. 2. That’s a fraction of the 7 million people the government estimates will buy insurance during the first year of the Affordable Care Act.

Of the overall total, 35,364 were in California, which is one of the states most targeted by the Obama administration.

[...]

According to an Associated Press report, the administration had hoped that 500,000 people would enroll by the end of October.

Then, there’s the millions who’ve lost their coverage. Right now, around 3.5 million were axed from their providers, with tens of millions more waiting for their own termination of coverage notices.

Yep, iceberg straight ahead!

To give Ed Smith, the captain of the Titanic, some cover, at least the iceberg somewhat came into view when the ship hit it. With Obamacare, the Obama administration knew they were going to hit it three years prior, but thought the power of Obama’s persuasive speech would make it disappear, or something. Well, we hit – and we’re taking on water.

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Concerning my home state of Pennsylvania, the HHS numbers revealed that a whopping 2,207 people enrolled in Obamacare. Yet, over 215,000 had their policies cancelled. For the rest of you, the butcher’s bill is listed below.

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Frankly, I wish to toast the Obama administration on this achievement. They’ve re-energized the Republican base – and given conservatives a lot of angry voters to mobilize ahead of the 2014 elections. So, I raise my glass of snake oil to you, big government!

P.S. If you want to see traffic data on Healthcare.gov, you can’t. It’s being “hidden by the owner.”

H/T David Burge

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Democrats Plan To Blame House Oversight Committee For Obamacare’s Continued Failure, Or Something

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Liberals be going crazy, y’all.  Well, ever since their awesome health care reform has decided to go down faster than the Hindenburg.  Red state Democrats are panicking; liberal bloggers/columnists are re-checking their works, or they should; and the faithful progressive caucus is laying the groundwork to shift blame on the House Oversight Committee for Obamacare’s failures.

Byron York at the Washington Examiner wrote that:

So if the Obamacare failure stretches into December — what then? By that time, implementation delays could have serious effects on how Obamacare will function in its first year, and perhaps on its overall survival. But along with the substance of the problems will come the blame game. And Democrats, who passed Obamacare on party-line votes in 2009 and 2010, who later resisted changes or delays, and who until recently proudly repeated the White House declaration that “It’s. The. Law.” — there are signs those Democrats are preparing to blame Republicans for the system’s problems.

A case in point is the fight in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee over the testimony of Todd Park, the administrations Chief Technology Officer. Republican chairman Rep.Darrell Issa has been pressing Park to testify about the Obamacare rollout; Park, through his office, has said he is too busy. So last Friday, Issa sent Park a subpoena to appear at a hearing this week. “You are the only invited witness who remains unwilling to appear voluntarily,” Issa wrote Park. “I am left with no choice but to compel your appearance.”

Now, however, committee Democrats, led by ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, are demanding Issa withdraw the subpoena. In a letter to Issa, Cummings argued that Park’s efforts are so vital to fixing Obamacare that calling him to testify could endanger the system’s repairs. “At the request of the President of the United States, Mr. Park has been a key leader in around-the-clock efforts to improve the functionality of the Healthcare.gov website,” Cummings wrote, “and diverting Mr. Park’s energies at this moment could seriously impair those efforts.”

Cummings also quoted a letter from Park’s office to Issa saying Park is “central” to the task of fixing the troubled Obamacare website. “Pulling him away from that work even for a short time at this stage would be highly disruptive and would risk slowing the progress that has been made thus far to fix identified issues with the website,” Park’s office wrote.

The implication is clear: Republicans will put at risk efforts to fix Obamacare if they insist on hearing from Todd Park. And if Issa goes ahead — as he almost assuredly will — and if Healthcare.gov’s problems continue — as they most assuredly will — look for Democrats to point to GOP questions as the latest cause of Obamacare’s troubles.

Well, Todd Park testified yesterday, but that line of attack is beyond pathetic.  Liberals had three years to prepare for the rollout of this law that wasn’t popular, wouldn’t cut costs, and vastly expand the size and scope of government.  It’s all crashing down.  Yet, I can see why Democrats would do this since they have to pivot in some way.  They want a hyper-regulatory progressive state; the 2012 election gave them that opportunity; and the Supreme Court left the way wide open. Now, the time to execute is here – and it’s failing miserably.

Although, Republicans could easily counter that the Democrats had plenty of time to get their dream of socialized medicine right. After all, if three 20-year old developers in San Francisco can create a health care site that runs better than Healthcare.gov after a few sleepless nights, then there really isn’t a good excuse for Democrats to fall back on other than admitting that their entire philosophy is wrong and produces dysfunctional results.  That’s not a winning formula for elections.

At the same time, it should be interesting what spin comes from this, especially after die-hard supporters of this reform, like Slate’s Matt Yglesias, wrote stuff like this before Obamacare’s epic implosion.

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AFP Targets Four Pro-Obamacare Democrats In New Ad Push

Friday, November 8th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Red state Democrats know Obamacare will be their biggest issue concerning their re-election bids.  And conservatives have already begun hitting them over it.  Right now, Americans for Prosperity fired off the first salvo with a $1.7 million dollar ad campaign against four pro-Obamacare Democrats.

Obamacare is becoming Democrats’ achilles tendon – and conservatives are ready to cut it.  The abject failure of President Obama’s signature achievement is the gift that keeps on giving for Republicans.  While Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli was defeated in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, but the 7-9 point lead Democrat Terry McAuliffe had over him was completely eviscerated by the news of Obamacare’s disastrous effects on American families.  In fact, Cuccineli made up this deficit in the polls without a single ad running in Northern Virginia towards the end of the campaign.  He was forced to pull out of the D.C. media market due to lack of funds.  Not a single ad – and a eight point bump!  That’s incredible.  Luckily, AFP has the funds to hang Obamacare around these liberals’ necks.

In a press release on November 7:

Americans for Prosperity, the nation’s largest advocate for health care freedom, announced a third wave of TV, radio, and web ads that highlight lawmakers’ history of support or opposition to ObamaCare. The latest wave of TV ads starts today in Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, and West Virginia, and will run for the next three weeks.

AFP President Tim Phillips said, ”Amid a disastrous and inept rollout, it’s important to remember that some politicians did what they could to stop ObamaCare, while others did whatever it took to shove the law down our throats.

“Heading into 2014, we want to be sure Americans understand the true negative impact of the law. A failing website is just the tip of the iceberg; less choice, higher premiums, and lost coverage will be the legacy of ObamaCare.”

The latest round of TV ads will thank Representatives Heck (NV-3) and Benishek (MI-1) for steadfastly opposing ObamaCare, and criticize Representatives Kirkpatrick (AZ-1) and Rahall (WV-3) for supporting the law. The cable and network TV spots will be supported by radio and web ads, as well as robust grassroots action in the districts that includes door-to-door canvassing and phone banking.

The budget for the latest round of ads is $1.7 million, bringing the total for AFP’s efforts on ObamaCare accountability over $7.6 million.

Over the summer, AFP carried out a separate multi-million dollar effort with a series of four TV ads that highlighted the negative impact of ObamaCare on individuals.

This latest round of ads also highlights the group’s Exempt Me, Too! message, reminding activists to tell lawmakers we can do better than ObamaCare. Hundreds of thousands of AFP activists have already signed a petition at justexempt.me, asking the President for the same special treatment that Big Business and the well-connected have already begun enjoying under the law.

The four new TV spots can be viewed here:

Keep fighting for us, Dan Benishek

Tell Ann Kirkpatrick to #ExemptMeToo

Tell Nick Rahall #ExemptMeToo.

Joe Heck keeps his word!

Overall, the number of competitive House races is very slim.  Mitt Romney won 227 congressional districts in 2012. And it’s almost a forgone conclusion that the Republicans will keep the House.  Nevertheless, the 2014 election cycle is beginning; and there’s no harm in going on the attack against a law that was never popular.  What do we have to lose?

Full disclosure: I’m AFP-VA’s social media manager.

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The Uninsured Are Avoiding Healthcare.gov

Friday, November 8th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

The Obama administration spent millions on a website that doesn’t work.  Now, we’ve learned that the very people it was targeting – the uninsured – don’t even bother to use it to enroll for health insurance. According to Gallup:

 In the midst of widespread news coverage of problems with the federal health exchange website, relatively few uninsured Americans (18%) — the primary target population for the exchanges — have so far attempted to visit an exchange website. The percentage is slightly higher, 22%, among uninsured Americans who say they plan to get insurance through the exchanges.

[...]

Gallup previously found that less than half of uninsured Americans (44%) who plan to get insurance say they will do so through an exchange, and about one in four say they are more likely to pay a fine instead of getting insurance. These findings help explain the low percentage of the uninsured who have attempted to access the exchange websites.

Still, the fact that less than a quarter of uninsured Americans who say they plan to get insurance through an exchange have visited one so far suggests that other factors are at work. It may be that many uninsured Americans are waiting to try out the health exchange websites until their highly publicized problems are fixed, or they may simply be putting off decisions about getting insurance until later.

Hey, would you be in a rush to enter this system?

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Nevertheless, it’s still another stinging reminder that Obamacare was probably unnecessary given that 85% already had health insurance; and 87% of the 85% liked their insurance plan.  So, the millions have been left without insurance plans because of the new health care law –and those who need to enroll won’t.

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Mr. President, You Cannot Spin This

Friday, November 8th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Conservatives knew Obamacare was a massive federal power grab.  We knew it would be a disaster, but I don’t think anyone had any idea that it would be this much of an epic fail.  After all, this is Obama. The media savant who apparently can’t build a functioning website.  Nevertheless, Obamacare’s butcher’s bill has been growing; millions have lost their insurance; and the amount of people enrolling in the program has yet to break single digits in some states.  What does President Obama have to say for all the pain and suffering he’s inflicted on the country through his new health care law: I’m sorry.

$2.6 Trillion: True Cost Of ObamaCare Once Fully Implemented. (Office Of The Speaker, 1/6/11)

$1.8 Trillion: Cost Of ObamaCare’s Coverage Provisions From 2014 To 2023. (CBO, 7/30/13)

$819.3 Billion: Total Taxes In ObamaCare. (CBO, 3/12; JCT, 6/15/12; CBO, 5/14/13; (CBO, 7/30/13)

$45 Billion: Total Cost Of ObamaCare’s Mandated Penalties On Americans That Choose Not
To Carry Insurance. (CBO, 7/30/13)

10 Million: Americans Expected To Have Their Health Plans Terminated Due To
ObamaCare. (The Wall Street Journal, 10/29/13)

3.5 Million: Americans That Have Already Been Notified That They Will Lose Their Health
Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press, 11/2/13)

900,000: Californians Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

800,000: New Jerseyans Having Their Health Plans Changed Or Cancelled. (The Star-Ledger,
10/6/13)

590,000: Californians That Will See Their Health Care Premiums Increase From 5
Percent To As High As 50 Percent Due To ObamaCare. (Sacramento Bee, 11/4/13)

400,000: Georgians That Could Lose Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The 
Associated Press, 11/2/13)

330,000: Floridians Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

290,000: Washingtonians Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated 
Press, 11/2/13)

250,000: Coloradans Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Denver Post,
11/6/13)

250,000: Pennsylvanians Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated 
Press, 11/2/13)

225,000: Michiganders Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

160,000: North Carolinians Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated 
Press, 11/2/13)

150,000: Oregonians Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

140,000: Minnesotans Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

130,000: Kentuckians Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

108,000: Hoosiers Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

105,000: Idahoans Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

100,000: New Yorkers Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

92,739: Louisianans Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Advocate, 11/7/13)

90,000: Alabamians Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

89,348: Nevadans That Could Have Their Health Care Plans Cancelled Due To
ObamaCare. (KLAS, 10/29/13)

42,500: North Dakotans At Risk Of Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare
Mandates. (The Associated Press, 11/3/13)

39,000: ObamaCare Enrollees Needed Daily To Meet The Administration’s Goal Of 7
Million Enrollees By Seven Million By March 1, 2014. (Susan Cromwell and David Morgan,
“Enrollment In ObamaCare Very Small In First Days: Documents,” Reuters, 10/31/13)

26,000: New Mexicans Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

21,300: Washington, DC Residents Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare.
(The Associated Press, 11/2/13)

20,000: New Hampshirites Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The 
Associated Press, 11/2/13)

9,400: Kansans To Lose Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (WIBW, 11/1/13)

5,360: Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Alaska Customers Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (Anchorage Daily News, 11/1/13)

3,200: Wyomingites Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press,
11/2/13)

2,600: North Dakotans That Have Already Received Health Plan Cancellation Notice
Due To ObamaCare. (KIDK, 11/1/13)

1,000: Iowans Losing Their Health Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (The Associated Press, 11/2/13)

248: ObamaCare Enrollees In The First 48 Hours. (CBS News, 10/31/13)

96%: Maryland ObamaCare Enrollees That Are Now Enrolled In Medicaid. (The Washington 
Post’s WonkBlog, 11/1/13)

75 – 80%: Americans That Buy Health Insurance On The Individual Market Can Expect To
Have Their Health Plans Cancelled. (NBC News, 10/28/13)

40 – 67%: Obama Administration Estimates Of Americans Who Would Lose Their Health
Care Plan Due To ObamaCare. (NBC News, 10/28/13)

59:  Senate Democrats That Voted Against A Resolution That Would Allow
Americans To Keep Their Health Care Plans. (S.J.Res 39, Roll Call Vote #244, Defeated 40-59: R 40-
0; D 0-59, 9/29/10)

6: ObamaCare Enrollees In The First 24 Hours. (CBS News, 10/31/13)

4: Delawareans Enrolled For Insurance Through ObamaCare. (The Associated Press, 11/6/13)

4: Out Of 4 Pinocchio’s Received By Obama For His Broken “Keep Your Plan”
Promise. (The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, 10/30/13)

3: Years Obama Knew That His “Keep Your Plan” Promise Was False. (NBC News,
10/28/13)

1: Person Enrolled In North Carolina’s Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan Through
ObamaCare. (WNCN, 11/4/13)

0: People Fired For The ObamaCare Disaster

One would think Obama is worried about these numbers.  Apparently, that’s not the case.

 

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How The Republican Donor Base Helped Terry McAuliffe in Virginia

Friday, November 8th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

After Ken Cuccinelli ended Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s aspirations to become Virginia’s next governor, Bolling remained idle, refusing to endorse Cuccinelli when he officially clinched the Republican nomination for governor. As the race progressed, the Republican donor base in Virginia went AWOL.  In the end, that contributed to Ken Cuccinelli’s sinking campaign.

Ben Domenech, publisher of The Federalist, wrote today that typically donors are aligned with the more moderate wing of the GOP.  The grassroots is more or less dominated by conservatives, hence the reason why Bill Bolling probably would have lost the primary if we ever had one.  Nevertheless, conservatives will rally behind and vote for a moderate Republican.  We’ve done this in 2008 and 2012, but moderates tend to remain bitter when they lose – and refuse to help even if it means allowing a liberal candidate win.  Talk about destroying the village to save it.

[T]he Republican donor community is flailing desperately for a narrative to defend their decision to leave Cuccinelli high and dry as something other than a temper tantrum. The story was supposed to be that Terry McAuliffe and Bill Bolling were right: Cuccinelli was too extreme for Virginia, and it was time to get back to nominating the types of candidates they wanted. But Cuccinelli – even without the money, without the support, without the infrastructure – made it a race in the closing days, and now the donor class which said “screw it, I’m out” after the nomination fight played out are straining for excuses.

The recriminations over Cuccinelli’s narrow loss have thus far mostly been trained on the RNC and other major organizations, but that’s somewhat unfair. Yes, they should’ve recognized the potential for Obamacare to take this race from the embarrassment public polling indicated to a closer thing.

[...]

The truth is that complaints should be aimed less at those who should’ve done more late in the game, and more at those who unplugged from the beginning, never showing up to back Cuccinelli earlier in the contest.

Ross Douthat touches on this in his wise take on the vengeance of donorism:

I’ve been extremely critical, since 2012, of what I’ve called the “donorist” worldview within the G.O.P., which basically imagines that the party’s only problem is its stance on social issues, and that with the right mix of immigration boosterism and gay marriage flip-flopping, Republicans can cruise to victory without so much as tweaking their “1980 forever” economic agenda. This strikes me as politically blinkered as well as mistaken on the policy merits, and given a choice between a conservatism founded on donorist ideas and a conservatism founded on the more populist alternatives, I’ll take the latter, faults and all, every time. (Bill Bolling, Cuccinelli’s more business-friendly rival for the G.O.P. nomination, might have eked out a win over McAuliffe, but a Republican Party organized around Bill Bolling’s worldview would be a permanent minority party, having essentially cut its base adrift in exchange for better fundraising and a few more suburban votes.)

Amen.

Domenech also leaves no place of refuge for donors who “unplugged” early.  The spin they’ll try to pass on to the rest of us centers on the numerous polls that showed Ken was down by at least 7-9 points, but:

According to internal polling data from Cuccinelli’s campaign, his net favorable numbers went from +4 in February to -20 in mid-October, with his unfavorable ratings steadily rising from 26% in February to 50% unfavorable in mid-October (with no change in favorability – he was hovering at 30% the whole time). At the same time, McAuliffe’s net favorable went from +6 in February to -2 in mid-October, rising roughly together. That is a function of money and ads and nothing else: a candidate getting completely curbstomped on the airwaves with barely a modicum of an ability to fight back.

Without a doubt, Obamacare was the deciding factor in eliminating McAuliffe’s lead in the polls.  By the way, Cuccinelli did all of this without a single ad in Northern Virginia since he didn’t have the money. That’s astonishing.  In the last few weeks of the campaign:

Cuccinelli would add almost eight points to his total without any ad presence in the Northern Virginia market. That’s an incredible pace, one that it’s difficult to find any precedent for in an election with this much polling data going into the final weeks. There was no other major news story. There was no major breaking scandal. Obamacare’s rollout made the difference.And the Democrats up for re-election next year know it. If only the Republican donor class had been in the game in Virginia all along, maybe they would’ve known it, too.

As many conservatives have said in the past, the problem isn’t the Tea Party; it’s the moderates.

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Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling

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10 Reasons the Better Man Lost in Virginia

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Last night’s loss to Democrat Terry McAuliffe was tough to swallow.  The infinitely better man, Republican Ken Cuccinelli, lost by 54,946 votes. Yet, it wasn’t because he was “too conservative”; that’s the one thing I don’t want to hear concerning why he lost. Simply, Ken Cuccinelli ran a bad campaign.  For one thing, he failed to fight hard for the issues that have worked in his favor.  This shift away from the social issues allowed McAuliffe to run with them at will – and define Cuccinelli before he could do so himself.

Case in point, the anti-sodomy fiasco. It’s standard practice for Virginia prosecutors to use this law when it comes to bringing sex offenders to justice.  Is that controversial? Is that extreme?  After that, the McAuliffe squad hit Ken for being “too extreme” on contraception, divorce, abortion, and climate change. There are many more reasons why this campaign failed, but it’s not because Ken Cuccinelli holds “extreme” views.

Ben Domenech of the Transom had ten good points detailing why Cuccinelli went down in defeat:

1. Cuccinelli got killed fundraising.

Say what you will for McAuliffe’s sleazy car-dealer approach to politics: what turns off voters works with the donor class, and boy does it.  McAuliffe convinced liberal donors to pour millions into the state in negative ads, and the drumbeat hitting Cuccinelli has been non-stop and impossible to avoid for the past three months on the airwaves. What’s more, with the exception of the RGA, Cuccinelli largely lacked the kind of support that has flowed from national organizations into the state in the past. In 2009, the RNC spent more than 9 million in Virginia to elect Bob McDonnell – this year, they’ve spent around 3 million. Cuccinelli expected he’d become a national election – he did for the Democrats, but not the Republicans.

2. Cuccinelli’s campaign (manager) suckedA smart campaign would’ve taken steps to mitigate the donor advantage, particularly in Northern Virginia. Cuccinelli has been outspent in each race he’s ever run, but the truth is that while the party’s moderates backed him up (Romney, Jeb, and others all fundraised for him), the NOVA business community didn’t. A smarter campaign would’ve made it harder for McAuliffe to get this support early on – but a campaign that gets shaken up two months out from Election Day isn’t a smart one, typically.

3. Cuccinelli tried to tone down the things that actually worked for him in the past

There’s a valid point in Maggie Gallagher’s report here about social issues and the Republican Party: essentially, that the talk of a truce is impossible, and that candidates would be better off defending themselves and even going on offense as opposed to fighting a defensive war.  Cuccinelli’s decision to run largely as a candidate in the Bob McDonnell model – one who talked about jobs and taxes, not guns and taxpayer-funded abortion – was a decision consistent with the conventional wisdom about the state, but the gap between it and his background and resume as a socially conservative populist created real problems. The War on Women rhetoric has now worked in back to back elections in Virginia, against a moderate Mormon and a conservative Catholic, and combatting it in future elections will require something more than just not talking about it, which cedes the conversation to the media and the left.

4. Cuccinelli had the baggage of his past fights which the left used very well.

This is true of Cuccinelli’s fights on marriage, abortion, climate, but particularly true of the issue of his defense of a sodomy statute on the books in Virginia. I doubt Cuccinelli ever realized how big of a liability this would be, but again, he’d have been better off defending himself vocally than shying away from it. Gay Republicans openly compared Cuccinelli to David Duke, and the indication that Cuccinelli wants to go around rounding up people for engaging in consensual sex was ubiquitous to any conversation about him on social media. Of course, in my county, there are nine convicted child abusers and sex offenders who were convicted under the statute, and I’d like to know which ones of them deserve to go off the books… but that defense was never offered. The irony is that Cuccinelli is personally less socially conservative than Bob McDonnell (remember that Regent thesis?), who accounts for numbers 5 and 6.

5. The whole McDonnell and Star Scientific scandal

Cuccinelli’s “run like Bob 2.0” strategy presumed that the popular governor would be on the trail every day backing up his attorney general. This strategy exploded when McDonnell, a pure as the driven snow boy scout (indeed, the off-putting thing about McDonnell for me has always been that he’s a little too perfect – the hair never out of place). McDonnell was so popular, in fact, that even after the donor scandals that the Washington Post has beat the drum on for months, he’s still more popular than Cuccinelli or McAuliffe, and probably would be winning a re-election race right now if Virginia law allowed him to run. The scandal will probably just result in a fine and a settlement for failure to report gifts, but it effectively removed McDonnell from the race and dealt a psychic blow to him and his supporters that absolutely impacted the election.

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The RNC Did Their Best For Ken Cuccinelli

Monday, November 4th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

The conservative and moderate wings of the Republican Party seemed poised for all-out war, but in Virginia; the RNC has actually tried to help Republican Ken Cuccinelli defeat sleaze bag Terry McAuliffe in the gubernatorial race.  Virginia has been something of a working laboratory for the RNC in testing new models to win elections.  If Cuccinelli loses tomorrow, it’s because he ran a soporific, if not abysmal, campaign.

From a RNC memo, here’s what they laid out for the Cuccinelli campaign.  They gave him a communications plan, along with ways to execute outreach into the black, Latino, and Asian communities.  One thing the RNC discovered is that Korean Americans hate to be polled. While the campaign didn’t use this blueprint in its entirety, conservatives cannot say truthfully that the Establishment tried to sabotage Ken.

Learning from the lessons of the 2012 election, the RNC has committed to establishing a permanent, community-based field organization across the country with an emphasis on minority engagement. In Virginia we are testing our precinct-based model to further that effort.

In Virginia, the RNC has nearly 50 offices, significantly more than we had in the state during the 2012 presidential cycle and a comparable number of staff. We are in communities we’ve never been in before and engaging voters who we haven’t talked to before. Precinct Teams, led by Precinct Captains, will canvass neighborhoods using RNC data and technology to engage with voters on what it means to be a Republican, identify and persuade voters, and improve our data by gathering more data points on potential voters across the country.

Effective Precinct Captains want to take a leadership role in their communities and will manage their teams to make sure neighborhoods are canvassed regularly to identify and persuade enough voters to win their precincts.

They are invested as the lead organizer of their precinct and have three main responsibilities: 1) all canvassing in his/her neighborhood, 2) recruiting new Precinct Team members and 3) managing the Precinct Team. We are already seeing results. In Virginia, we already have gathered more than twice the amount of voter data.

We have also served as a resource to the campaigns up and down the ballot. For example, we have conducted both mainstream and ethnic media training efforts with Cuccinelli, Obenshain, Dels. Rust, Comstock, and Hugo as well as Freddy Burgos, who is a challenger in the 41st District. We have also supplied each campaign in a competitive race with a comprehensive communications plan which includes key stats/figures/demographic info for entire state and minority communities, top reporter & ethnic media lists, surrogate information by ethnicity and media market, event opportunities. Think of it this way, Weight Watchers can’t count the calories and run the miles for you but they give you a playbook to do it – that’s what we’re focused on – giving campaigns possible event opportunities, media contacts, etc, to invest in the areas they want.

 The RNC has a total of seven paid staffers dedicated to engaging minority communities and have attended numerous events on behalf of the Republican Party. The RNC has also done significant paid print, radio, and TV advertising in ethnic media outlets on behalf of candidates.

In all, the RNC has doled out $3 million dollars to perfect the Precinct Team model.  It’s part of the Growth and Opportunity Project that laid out a strategy to build a permanent ground game across the country – something the RNC has never done before – while simultaneously fund the ground game in VA with staff and offices that rival last year’s presidential effort.  Right now, Republicans have more data points, more people in the field, and have identified hundreds of thousands of voters beyond where we were at this time in the 2012 presidential election. Currently, the thought of a McAuliffe victory on November 5 has given the base a wake up call – and they’re now coming home for Cuccinelli.  Yet, did this surge happen too late?

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The NBC News Story On The Obama Administration Knowing Millions Would Lose Coverage Was Scrubbed

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Last night, I blogged about NBC News’ report on the Obama administration knowing that millions would lose their coverage as a result of the new health care law. In fact, it was projected that 40-67% of Americans in the individual market would lose their coverage.  It was posted late afternoon yesterday, but the link vanished later that night.  According to NBC, they blamed it on a “publishing glitch.”

As a result, this is what we all saw around midnight.

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When it was re-published earlier this morning, the new piece was without the portion concerning the HHS’ changes to the grandfathering process for policies that don’t meet ACA standards as of March 23, 2010.

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even thought they don’t meet the requirements of the new health care law.  But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date – the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example – the policy would not be grandfathered.

Courtesy of Weasel Zippers and SooperMexican, here’s a comparison of the two articles.

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Yet, the piece still contains damning information.  Regardless, “cache is your friend” is the motto of the day. Here’s the original post for your entertainment.

 

 

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Obama Administration Knew Millions Would Lose Healthcare Coverage

Monday, October 28th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

So much for the mantra of keeping your health care plan if you like it, which the president espoused in 2009-’10 when he was selling his massive federal power grab to the American people.  Now, it seems the Obama administration knew that millions were going to lose their coverage as a result of the new health care law. Lisa Meyers and Hannah Rappleye reported for NBC News today that:

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

Concerning enrollment, that’s still a disaster.  Enroll Alaska announced that they were suspending operations to get fellow Alaskans into the exchanges since the software used to calculate subsidies is inaccurate.

As the Peninsula Clarion reports, Enroll Alaska has been able to enroll a grand total of only three people since the launch of the health-insurance marketplaces on October 1. It has now given up entirely on that goal, at least until Healthcare.gov, the federal health-care exchange, gives Alaskans accurate figures on the subsidies they’re eligible for.

According to Enroll Alaska, the exchange is telling people that they’re eligible for a subsidy $100 less than what they actually qualify for. Spokeswoman Tyann Boling said that Enroll Alaska discovered the issue after comparing manual calculations with those generated by the website.

Alaska isn’t the only state to have difficulties with a subsidy calculator. Washington’s state-run health-care exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder,overestimated subsidies for approximately 8,000 people.

Then again, it’s not like we didn’t see this coming.  Forbes’ Avik Roy and the Wall Street Journal reported last September that:

[T]he exchange software, for which the government has spent upwards of $88 million, still can’t correctly calculate the amount of subsidies that an individual applicant is eligible for. “There’s a blanket acknowledgment that rates are being calculated incorrectly,” one senior insurance executive told the WSJ. “Our tech and operations people are very concerned about the problems they’re seeing and the potential of them to stick around.”

Technological glitches and millions losing their health insurance; behold Washington efficiency.

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Congressman Scalise Tries To Enroll In Obamacare, Site Fails To Verify Him

Monday, October 28th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Congressman Steve Scalise (R- La.) wants you to share your Obamacare story.  Why? Well, he decided to enroll in Obamacare and took him nearly two hours to make an account – only to be kicked out because his identity couldn’t be “verified.”

As a result, he couldn’t even get a price quote.

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In the time he spent grappling with the Obamacare website, the congressman was able to order and finish a pizza while he waited, which looked delicious.

This is whole Obamacare rollout is an abject failure.  Conservatives know it.  It’s the reason why they decided to shut down government for 16 days.  As George Will said at CPAC in 2010,”when public policy has become a punch line, the nation has a problem – and we have an opportunity.”

“This website is not a ‘glitch’ – it is a national embarrassment,” Rep. Scalise concludes.

Now, delaying the individual mandate, which was rejected by Senate Democrats during the shutdown as a concession to reopen government, is now supported by ten Senate Democrats.  My, how the tables have turned.

Now, Enroll Alaska, an organization created to get Alaskans into the exchanges, has decided to suspend such operations for the time being due to the software being unable to accurately calculate subsidies.  That’s funny. Didn’t the Wall Street Journal and Forbes’ Avik Roy report on that last September?  Yes, they did!

 

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So, Did Conservatives End Up The Victors Post-Shutdown?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

So, did Republicans win the battle over Obamacare after all?  The government was shutdown for a little over two weeks due to budgetary differences, specifically over Obamacare.  On the eve of the shutdown, Sen. Harry Reid talked the president out of negotiating with Republicans.  Reid also rejected a conference committee by House Republicans to resolve the matter.  Inside the White House, Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to the president, maintained the “no compromise” aura surrounding the president.  In the end, the government reopened, the GOP licked its wounds, and the administration mulled delaying the individual mandate; wait — what just happened?

In the aftermath of the shutdown, some in the world of political punditry, specifically the left-wingers,  harped on the GOP’s record low approval ratings, their loss of any leverage for future battles aimed at curbing the size of government, and how this will all culminate in a 2014 GOP thumping. Additionally, the moderate wing of the GOP – and their allies in the media – lamented that the story could’ve been about the failed rollout of Obamacare, instead of the government shutdown.

First, conservatives are furious with the Republican Party, which contributes to those sagging numbers.  Second, we’re probably going to get a delay in the individual mandate.  The endless – and torturous – saga that is Healthcare.gov, which HHS officials knew was defective, was a gift.  Did anyone think that all of these issues could be fixed in a few days?

The nerd herd that’s been summoned to fix this debacle noted that the website “didn’t have a chance in hell.”  To put this disaster into perspective, nearly five million lines of code need to be rewritten, which is why most tech experts are calling for a complete “overhaul“of the site.  So, for those on the right who were shivering in their boots that the GOP were going to get skewered post-shutdown, you’re wrong; Obamacare is front and center.

Delaying Obamacare was what Republicans asked Democrats in return for not shutting down government or playing with the debt ceiling.  They rejected the offer.  Now, they’re being forced to accept what could’ve spared those non-essential federal employees – and countless veterans – so much grief.  It’s the seat of irony. Oh, how many donkeys are lining up to support delay? Well, every Senate Democrat running in 2014; that’s 21 votes.

So, I guess for liberals, like the Atlantic’s Molly Ball, they should consider adding updates to their previous analyses concerning the shutdown, especially after Ball wrote this on October 16:

Obamacare will not be repealed. Obamacare will not be defunded. Obamacare will not be delayed. The individual mandate will not be delayed. The medical-device tax will not be repealed. The health-insurance subsidies given to members of Congress and their staffs will not be taken away.

[...]

[A]ny leverage they ever had to push their goals of reducing the size of government and chipping away at health-care reform is gone.

All in all, it’s been a worthwhile exercise for the GOP.

Indeed it has been.  We got what we wanted.  After all, if the individual mandate is delay, it could unravel the whole law.

So, in all, it’s time for the members of the Establishment GOP shrieking at Tea Partiers for not knowing strategy to shut up! We’re only at this point because conservatives decided to forgo the usual “wait and until tomorrow” approach – and other half-measures – that get us nowhere in the fight against this left-wing administration.  We shut down government; we weren’t going to let Obamacare go during these budget negotiations; and we’re on the cusp of achieving what some Democrats already agree on: a delay of the individual mandate.

 

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The Establishment Is Taking Aim At Sen. Mike Lee

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Hot Air’s Allahpundit and Erika Johnsen have both documented a growing movement to boot Tea Party members of Congress over the next two election cycles.  It seems that the business community is behind this conspiracy; horrified over the fact that a rather significant proportion of Republicans in Washington were willing to roll the dice on default.  In the aftermath of the government shutdown, which was highly enjoyable, the Republican establishment is striking back – and one of their targets in the Senate is Mike Lee.

[In Utah,] prominent Republicans and local business executives are openly discussing the possibility of mounting a primary challenge against him. Top Republicans are also maneuvering to redesign the party’s nomination system in a way that would likely make it more difficult for Lee to win reelection in 2016…

Spencer Zwick, a Utah native and national finance chairman for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, was more direct, calling Lee a “show horse” who “just wants to be a spectacle.”

“Business leaders that I talk to, many of whom supported him, would never support his reelection and in fact will work against him, myself included,” Zwick said…

“You don’t have ideological wack-jobs,” [former Utah Gov. Jon] Huntsman said. “For all of its labeling as a red state, underneath it all Utah is a pretty pragmatic Western state, a just-get-it-done ethos.

In fact, Allahpundit noted that the business community is what’s keeping John McCain in the “maybe” column concerning his decision to run for re-election in 2016. Neil King, Jr. at the Wall Street Journal added:

Even before the shutdown brought Mr. Lee to national prominence, some Utah party and business leaders had begun a $1 million petition drive to overturn the state’s caucus system that brought him to power. That system, which gives grass roots delegates a large say in picking party nominees, toppled incumbent GOP Sen. Robert Bennett —a more conventional conservative—in 2010 amid a wave of anger over passage of the health-care law. Mr. Lee went on to win the seat that November…

Republican circles are now rife with talk of who might challenge Mr. Lee in 2016. So far, no one is firmly raising a hand. But the Count My Vote initiative to do away with the state’s caucus system, backed by many of the state’s largest GOP donors and business names, represents perhaps the best-organized effort in the country to counteract the tea-party wave in the 2010 elections.

Mr. Lee could face a tougher route to re-election in 2016 if GOP caucuses are replaced with a direct primary. That would allow a more centrist candidate to make an appeal to all Republican voters, not just the activists who dominate caucuses, political observers say.

There are a lot of potential challengers to Lee, including the former chair of Utah’s Republican Party, former Governor Jon Huntsman, and former FreedomWorks-backed Dan Liljenquist; he’s the state senator who tried to oust Orrin Hatch in 2012.  That’s just ironic.

Although, Allahpundit leaves us with this question.

Will national establishment Republican groups get involved or will a primary against one of the heroes of “defund” be too hot for them to risk in 2016? They’ll be sorely tempted to jump in — not because they have any special animosity for Lee, who’s way more low-key in his criticisms of them than a loud-and-proud flamboyant populist like Ted Cruz is, but because at a minimum they might be able to suck tea-party money into Utah to protect that seat and away from primary challenges to GOP incumbents in other states. If they can force TPers to fight there, they’ll take that — putting the grassroots on the defensive means they’re less of a threat to go on offense elsewhere. If they can’t force TPers to fight there, they’ll take that too — that’ll leave Lee in real jeopardy of being primaried, which, like I said above, would be a big symbolic victory for RINOs everywhere. Then again, at the rate we’re going, the GOP and the tea party will be two fully separate entities by 2016, so maybe this is all academic.

Indeed.

After all, Lee’s re-election isn’t for another three years.  At that time, the government shutdown will be a distant memory. Additionally, are establishment Republicans willing to spend monies against Tea Party candidates in a year where conservatives could be facing the Clinton Clinton machine?

There is no doubt that without the GOP would be a diminished presences in the Senate and a sad minority in the House. As a result, what’s to be gained by trying to find ways to annihilate the grassroots swell that is keeping the Republican Party alive?  Furthermore, the Tea Party may have won since the Obama administration isn’t taking delaying the individual mandate off the table due to the fiasco related to the website.

 

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Eight Reasons Why Kathleen Sebelius Should Be Fired

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

As the Obamacare website woes intensify, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is on the run.  No, she’s sprinting towards the bomb shelter.  Republicans are demanding she testify before Congress to answer for the fiasco related to the website.  In fact, House Republicans want her resignation.  With the president admitting that the rollout was maligned by technical problems, there’s little political cover for Sebelius.  Granted, she’s agreed to come before Congress on October 30 to face the music.  Nevertheless, here are eight reasons why Obama should fire his HHS Secretary.

1. It Cost More Than $500 Million 

The HealthCare.gov site cost more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars to build. One analysis found this is four times as much as the cost of Apple’s original iPhone. Kathleen Sebelius needs to explain why she spent half a billion of taxpayer money to develop an error-filled site that doesn’t even work.

2. Insurers Are Getting the Wrong Data 

Insurance companies report they are receiving “flawed data” from the government which is “straining their ability to handle even the trickle of enrollees who have gotten through so far.” Not only are the website’s glitches preventing consumers from signing up, but those that do manage to get through the error-maze are having false data sent to the insurance companies? Are you serious?

3. It’s Full of Glitches

This one is obvious. ObamaCare is full of glitches, and three weeks in, it’s still producing technical error after error after errorafter error after error after error after error after error after error after error.

4. An Unproven Canadian Company Built It 

Nothing against our neighbors to the north, but why did the government contract with a Canadian company – CGI Federal, which had little experience in federal contracting – to orchestrate most of the HealthCare.gov site? CGI stands for “Conseillers en Gestion et Informatique” in French, which roughly translates to “Information Systems and Management Consultants.” Apparently, this company’s record is so flawed that the province of Ontario, Canada fired CGI in September 2012. So why did we hire them? And why is the IT with HealthCare.gov such a train wreck?

5. It Wasn’t Tested Until A Week Before Launch

According to a new report, ObamaCare officials didn’t even allow testing on HealthCare.gov until one week before the site launched on October 1! “Normally, a system this size would need 4-6 months of testing and performance tuning, not 4-6 days,” one individual involved in the project said. Why did the government think less than a week of testing was appropriate for a massive website that they expected – by their own words – to receive overwhelming traffic in the first few days?

6. Few People Are Signing Up 

According to the Washington Post, HealthCare.gov received more than 9 million unique visitors in the first week of its launch. Yet only less than half of one percent of that number – 36,000 – successfully completed enrollment for ObamaCare. The administration projected 500,000 sign ups this month, so by the White House’s own goal posts, ObamaCare is failing. What happened?

7. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Took Control of the Project, Instead of the Contractor 

Instead of placing contractors in charge of systems integration, the government took control, placing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as the central coordinator of the entire program. This is a highly unusual move – why did the government decide to place itself in a role usually reserved for contractors?

8. The White House Delayed Construction of the Site So They Could Win in the 2012 Elections 

According to the New York Times, the Obama Administration delayed several major rules vital for constructing the website until after the 2012 elections, “to avoid giving ammunition to Republicans opposed to the project.” That’s not an excuse – why did the White House decide to play politics and hide what was going on from the American people in order to win an election?

House Republicans will continue to investigate this colossal train wreck and demand answers from Kathleen Sebelius and the White House. In the meantime,  the GOP continues to fight to delay ObamaCare and protect America’s families from its glitch-filled mandates, while Democrats remain uninterested and turn the other cheek at the mounting problems.

It’s impossible to say if Sebelius will be shown the door, but there are more than enough reasons to ask for her resignation.  At the same time, Dave Weigel at Slate thinks she’ll remain at her post.

Those [Republican] crusades against high-level members of the administration have largely failed—Eric Holder has a job, Chuck Hagel has a job, and Susan Rise became national security adviser after Republicans thought they’d scalped her. Focusing on Sebelius gets the administration’s back up, because it has no fear whatsoever of congressional inquisitors. It creates the impression that one firing could right the program, like swapping out generals in Iraq kind-of-sort-of-won that war.

Regardless, former White House Press Secretary Bob Gibbs explicitly called for firings over this website’s glitches – and there’s been discussions about delaying the individual mandate if these issues aren’t resolved in a timely manner.  This is an embarrassment for the administration.  And it won’t surprise me if someone is given a pink slip.

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So, When Is Chris Christie Switching Parties?

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Yes, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie may be cruising his way to re-election, but he’s also becoming our biggest threat for 2016.  With the shutdown over, the Republican establishment is emboldened given their victory over the conservative wing of the party.  That’s us, folks.  Undoubtedly, moderates will be recruiting Christie, who is polling best in a hypothetical duel with Hillary Clinton, for 2016.  We’ll also get the usual “unelectable” lecture from them as well concerning Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.  Then again, will the grassroots back Christie? No.  In fact, one could ask – albeit facetiously – when the governor is going to switch parties due to his rather unimpressive record.

Now, for a Northeastern Republican, Christie didn’t start off that bad. He campaigned for property tax reform in 2010.  Full disclosure:  I was interning for his office at the time.  Additionally, he was taking a baseball bat to the unions in the state; something that hasn’t been effectively done – ever.  He also got pension reform working Democrats.

Now, it’s clearer concerning his true political disposition.  He’s a liberal who doesn’t like high taxes.  That’s not conservative.  It just means he’s not pro-tax.  Additionally, your economic bona fides aren’t served well when your state is considered one of the worst for business.  Oh, What about those property taxes? Well, they rose by 13 percent.

With Second Amendment issues becoming front and center over the past year, Christie is pro-gun control; a position unpalatable to the conservative base.  Concerning climate change, the governor decided to buy the myth about the apocalyptic effects of so-called global warming, despite the fact that global temperatures have remained stagnant for the past sixteen years.  The Arctic ice shelf grew by 920,000 square mile last year – and we’ve gained 19,000 Manhattans of sea ice.  Lastly, if so-called global warming is responsible for wild weather, then why is it that 2012 was the quietest tornado season in sixty years?

The final nail in the coffin relates to immigration.  He’s gone on the record to say that being here illegally isn’t a crime.  Furthermore, he wants illegal aliens to have access to in-state tuition for higher education.  Admittedly, I’m a little bit of a squish on immigration, but both statements are ridiculous.  Christie was originally opposed the federal Dream Act.

So, for 2016, Republicans will have a pro-gun control candidate, with an unimpressive economic record, who supports giving illegal aliens in-state tuition.  Yeah, conservatives will – and should – be shopping for someone else. It may be time for Christie to switch parties. If he does beat Hillary, it’ll be in the 2016 Democratic primaries.

There’s simply no room for Chris Christie in the GOP – and we don’t want him!

 

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Daily Kos Blogger Shocked By Premium Hike For His Family

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

So, it seems that “Tirge Caps” at Daily Kos isn’t happy that Obamacare will increase his family’s health care premiums.  He blogged about it, and it’s quite an entertaining freak out.

My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don’t go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife’s rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any fucking penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don’t qualify, anyway, so what’s the point?

I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.

I don’t know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people.

What am I missing?

I realize I will probably get screamed at for posting this, but I can’t imagine I am the only Californian who just received a rate increase from Kaiser based on these new laws.

UPDATE: Updated the title per some requests. I appreciate all the helpful comments. I am   now on baby duty but will go through these later for more information. I can’t keep up with all the comments right now.

I really do appreciate the helpful comments. Peace all. Peace out.

Did you hear that, everyone?  ”This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people.”  Yeah, conservatives were right about Obamacare.  You just admitted it, Tirge.  By the way, here’s a little more of what you missed concerning this disastrous law.

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H/T Lachlan Markay 

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The House GOP Voted 11 Times To Reopen The Government

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the Republicans DID compromise to avoid a shutdown.  They were going to keep the government open, but asked that Obamacare be delayed.  Yes, even Planned Parenthood would get their annual funding from the government.  Senate Democrats under Harry Reid said no. Here are the eleven times the House GOP voted to reopen the government – but were blocked by Senate Democrats and the president. Yet, it’s conservatives who are the ones being obstructionist.

1. Roll Call 478 on H.J. Res. 59 (September 20, 2013)

Earlier in September, House Republicans voted to fund the government at current spending levels while strengthening our economy and protecting millions of American families by defunding ObamaCare.

Senate Democrats killed the bill, and President Obama threatened to veto it.

2. Roll Call 497/498 on H.J. Res 59 (September 28, 2013)

With hours left until the government ran out of funding, House Republicans voted to keep the government open at current spending levels while protecting our economy by delayingthe glitch-filled ObamaCare for one year and repealing the tax on medical devices like pacemakers and children’s hearing aides.

Senate Democrats killed the bill, and President Obama threatened to veto it, causing the government shutdown.

3. Roll Call 504 on H.J. Res 59 (September 30, 2013)On September 30, the House GOP again voted to fund the government at current spending levels, while ensuring that Congress doesn’t receive special treatment under ObamaCare, and delaying ObamaCare’s individual mandate.

Again, Senate Democrats killed the measure in the Senate, and President Obama threatened to veto.

4. Roll Call 505 on H.J. Res 59 (September 30, 2013) 

That same night, Republicans in the House voted to request a formal House-Senate conference, so Democrats and Republicans could sit down at the table and negotiate to resolve their differences.

Senate Democrats defeated that resolution, and President Obama threatened to veto it.

5. Voice Vote on Provide Local Funding for the District of Columbia Act (October 2, 2013)To help reopen parts of the government while Democrats refused to negotiate, House Republicans passed H.J. Res. 71 by voice vote, which would have restored funding for the government of the District of Columbia.

Senate Democrats blocked the bill, and President Obama threatened to veto it.

6. Roll Call 513 on Open Our Nation’s Parks and Museums Act (October 2, 2013)

To help reopen parts of the government while Democrats refused to come to the table and work out differences, the House GOP voted to restore funding for the nation’s parks and museums – including the World War Two Memorial in Washington that has been closed to visiting veterans.

Senate Democrats killed the bill, and President Obama threatened to veto it.

7. Roll Call 514 on Research for Lifesaving Cures Act (October 2, 2013)To help restore funding for vital cancer research and other lifesaving innovations, the House GOP voted to reopen the National Institute of Health.

Senate Democrats blocked the bill (see Harry Reid ask a reporter “why would we want to do that?” when asked if he would vote to resume funding for children’s cancer treatment), and President Obama threatened to veto it.

8. Roll Call 516 on Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act (October 3, 2013)

In order to make sure that the government shutdown doesn’t get in the way of paying our National Guard and Reserve, the House GOP voted for the Pay Our Guard and Reserve Act.

Senate Democrats blocked the bill, and President Obama threatened to veto it.

ise to America’s Veterans Act (October 3, 2013)The House GOP voted to provide immediate funding for vital veterans benefits and services during the government shutdown.

Senate Democrats blocked the bill, and President Obama threatened to veto it.

10. Roll Call 522 on National Emergency and Disaster Recovery Act (October 4, 2013)The House GOP voted to provide immediate funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure Americans have access to emergency responders in the case of a disaster.

Senate Democrats blocked the bill, and President Obama threatened to veto it.

11. Roll Call 524 on Nutrition Assistance for Low-Income Women and Children Act (October 4, 2013) The House GOP voted to provide immediate funding for nutritional assistance for nearly 9 low-income million mothers and children.

Senate Democrats blocked the bill, and President Obama threatened to veto it.

Given how the president’s approval rating has sunk to historic lows, this shutdown gives Obama a way to re-energize his stalled legislative agenda.  He wasted the most precious moments of his second term on a gun control push that was never going to pass, and he was stuck in neutral until the shutdown.  Sadly, there are only a few congressional races that are competitive, the next election is thirteen months away, and Obamacare’s rollout was disastrous.  Hence, everyone will forget about the shutdown – and the focus will shift to Obamacare’s impact on the economy.

Conservatives have an avenue to claim victory. The only question is whether they can package it properly to resonate with the electorate.  Additionally, we have to worry about some of the more establishment Republicans in the senate surrendering to liberals.

Nevertheless, the House GOP, along with the Democrats, voted to reopen the government – and Obama said no.

 

 

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Terry McAuliffe Donor Really Loved Exploiting The Terminally Ill

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

So, Virginia’s gubernatorial race is right around the corner, and let’s just say that Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli has been disappointing.  For starters, it seemed as if his campaign took a hiatus for a few months, which is something you cannot do in a state that’s increasingly becoming purple.  Yes, Cuccinelli doesn’t have a war chest as big as the McAuliffe campaign, but Ken’s communications team should use this for all its worth.

It seems that Joseph Caramadre, a donor of Terry McAuliffe, has been profiting from the stolen identities of terminally ill patients.  Now, that’s sick!  What’s more is that Caramadre also donated some serious money to Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, and the DNC.

  • Since 1996, Joseph And Paula Caramadre, Have Contributed $178,350 To Democrat Campaigns And Committees.  (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 10/9/13)
  • Since 2000, Joseph Caramadre Has Contributed $137,900 To Democrats. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 10/9/13)
  • Since 1996, Paula Caramadre Has Contributed $40,450 To Democrats. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 10/9/13)
  • In 2009, Joseph Caramadre Contributed A Total Of $26,600 To Terry McAuliffe. (National Institute Of Money In State Politics Website, Accessed 10/9/13)
  • Since 2005, Joseph And Paula Caramadre Have Contributed $13,000 To Hillary Clinton. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 10/9/13)
  • Since 2007, Joseph And Paula Caramadre Have Contributed $9,200 To Harry Reid. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 10/9/13)
  • Since 2007, Joseph And Paula Caramadre Have Contributed $5,000 To The DNC. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 10/9/13)
  • Since 2006, Joseph And Paula Caramadre Have Contributed $28,250 To The DSCC. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 10/9/13)
  • Since 2006, Joseph And Paula Caramadre Have Contributed $25,250 To The DCCC. (Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 10/9/13)

Let’s get down to the details.  It seems that McAuliffe also profited from his investments with Caramadre’s $30 million dollar scheme.

Emily Zanotti of Naked DC, wrote that:

Joseph Caramadre, who went on to plead “guilty to stealing the identities of terminally ill patients and using that information to falsely apply for annuities and bonds with death puts.” This guy and “co-worker” Raymour Radhakrishman milked the stolen identities of the terminally ill to the tune of $30 million.

Their system was simple: stalk out unknowing AIDS patients at hospices, hoist up ads offering them $2,000, throw out some lies to acquire personal information, and take that to get bonds and annuities for themselves.

What’s illegal about that, right?

The Washington Post has also reported on this development, which Ed Morrissey at Hot Air noted as something you want to be in the papers “less than four weeks out from an election.”

“Terry was one of hundreds of passive investors several years ago and had no idea about the allegations against the defendant — who, at the time, was widely respected by business leaders and elected officials,” Schwerin said. “The allegations are horrible and he never would have invested if he knew he was being deceived.”

Caramadre and his former employee Raymour Radhakrishnan were charged in November 2011 in a 66-count indictment accusing them of wire fraud, money laundering and witness-tampering. Both men pleaded guilty last November, the FBI said in a press release.

Yet, as Morrissey noted:

[W]hat exactly is a “passive investor” on that scale? McAuliffe didn’t have his assets in a blind trust at the time, and one would imagine that McAuliffe would take some care with his own money.  If not, then how much care will McAuliffe have with everyone else’s money as governor of Virginia? As far as being “deceived like many others” (the Post’s reporting, it should be noted, and not a direct quote), the victims here were the terminally ill who had their identities stolen and who got exploited for an insurance scam.  At the very least, McAuliffe contributed to that scam through his own carelessness about his investments — which isn’t a very good example of the kind of executive judgment that most people want to see in a governor.

He also added that “Caramadre’s contributions amounted to a little over $28,000 according to the Post’s report, which means the other $46,000 must have been the return on McAuliffe’s investment.”  To make things worse, McAuliffe didn’t disclose his ties to Caramadre until last week. Granted, his campaign has been able to duck a little bit since the Associated Press retracted their story concerning McAuliffe lying to investigators.
Hey, at least McAuliffe didn’t accept any money from more sinister sources, like African gun runners, oh wait; he did.

A company linked to questionable arms deals in West Africa has given $120,000 in campaign contributions to Democratic Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe.

The Liberian International Ship And Corporate Registry donated to McAuliffe twice within the past 12 months. The two campaign contributions were the only ones made by LISCR in Virginia in the past decade.

Though it is based in Virginia, LISCR serves as a regulator of the shipping industry in the African nation of Liberia through a contract given to the company by former Liberian president and convicted war criminal Charles Taylor. In 2001, LISCR was associated with efforts of Taylor’s regime to arm rebels who committed atrocities in neighboring Sierra Leone in defiance of international sanctions.

Yeah, this guy could be Virginia’s next governor; an era of debauchery indeed.

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Veterans Ain’t Got Time For Barricades

Monday, October 14th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

America’s veterans were fed up with the president’s vindictive closing of the war memorials.  They rallied at the World War II memorial around 9am on October 13.  In a statement posted on Facebook by  the group organizing the event, it stated that

To shut down the memorials to our Veterans is the greatest dishonor to Americans who have gallantly served on the field of battle and those that have laid down their lives in the ultimate sacrifice for their fellow man for the cause of freedom. It is also of the highest dishonor to those who currently serve, who are under enemy fire every day in battlefields abroad and those military spouses and their children that are left behind. As military brats, we all faced the possibility of one or both of our parents not coming home as a result of military action. It was a huge burden to carry most of our lives.

It is our official position that the purpose of this march and the accompanying rallies is focused on the re-opening of the Veterans memorials and keeping them open. While we understand that a Constitutional republic requires the equilibrium of checks and balances to maintain the democratic process, the memorials, monuments and parks built in honor of Veterans should NEVER be closed, blocked or restricted from use. We take the official position that no government office holder shall have ability to abridge the freedom of access to these hallowed grounds.

Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz spoke at the event, as did former Governor Sarah Palin.  Their message: the memorials “belong to the people.”  Bryan Preston posted some great photos from the event as well.

Benghazi is not forgotten here.

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The truckers, who’ve been protesting by trying to clog the beltway, arrived to show their support.

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Yet, the veterans didn’t stop there. They took to the Lincoln Memorial, and then declared that the shutdown was coming to the White House.  As a result, they grabbed the barricades and proceeded to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue – and were greeted by the Secret Service.  Some units were posted on the lawn, while two observed the protestors from the rooftop; undoubtedly being able to hear everything we said.  A few protestors tried to throw barricades over the fence, but were stopped by uniformed Secret Service officers.

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It was a peaceful protest – and a uniformed Secret Service officer said that we could stay there all day if we were peaceful.  This was after he stopped a few men from throwing a barricade over the fence.  Yet, that wasn’t the case.  Admittedly, things has calmed down, and I decided to make the journey back to Virginia when I heard that DC riot police removed the protestors from the White House.

Javier Manjarres, a Florida-based blogger and owner of Shark Tank, reported that his DC correspondent ‘Special K’ said:

[T]hat riot police have physically engaged a crowd of Americans , who were peacefully protesting in front of the White House. Special K,who was  himself grabbed, lifted in the air, and moved aside by uniformed police, in order to make room for the riot police to make their way to the front of the protest, witness several acts of violence against protesters. Police are now re-using barricades protesters brought and dumped off in front of the White House’s outer perimeter fence.

Additionally, Shark Tank added that a protestor’s American flag was confiscated.Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 8.35.38 PM

Yet, was all of this police action necessary?

As Katherine Cresto aptly noted on Twitter:

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Similarly, these people pictured here are obviously up to no good – said by no one ever.

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Wait…Confederates Were At The Millions Vets March?

Monday, October 14th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Yesterday, I covered the Millions Vet march, which was a great rally urging this administration to re-open the Veterans memorials.  Did I see any confederates? No.  Yet, there was ONE person that waved a Confederate flag, which has the liberal media foaming at the mouth.

Is this the best thing to do at a Veterans rally? No.  Does it create bad optics? Possibly.  No, it does, but what about the media turning a blind eye to the serial rapes occurring in Occupy Wall Street camps across the country?  That’s worse than one person waving a flag.  Nevertheless, the hit pieces rolled out.

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Dana Loesch posted on RedState that:

CNN published an article this morning purposefully painting the Million Veterans’s March as a “group of conservatives” who are basically birthers and racists and hate Obama. They completely ignored that this was a march organized by veterans for veterans to reclaim their right to visit open air memorials that they mostly funded themselves. No where in this article does CNN even identify the name of the march:

Angered by the closure of national landmarks due to the partial government shutdown, a crowd of conservatives removed barricades Sunday at the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial as they rallied against President Barack Obama and Democrats for their role in the ongoing stalemate.

Wait, it gets worse.

[From CNN] The rally, billed as the “Million Vet March on the Memorials,” drew far fewer than a million people and evolved into a protest that resembled familiar tea party events from 2009, with yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” flags throughout the crowd and strong anti-Obama language from the podium and the audience.

As Loesch noted, “when Harry Reid called conservatives anarchists last week and other Democrats name-called conservatives as Nazis and murderers in their tantrum over spending.”

Of course, Salon was all over this, but will the media smear veterans as racist in order to save Obama? After all, the press can’t do any of that investigative stuff due to the administration’s crusade against leakers and the journalists that report on it.

Leonard Downie Jr., a former executive editor of The Washington Post, wrote the 30-page analysis entitled “The Obama Administration and the Press.” The report notes President Barack Obama came into office pledging an open, transparent government after criticizing the Bush administration’s secrecy, “but he has fallen short of his promise.”

“In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press,” wrote Downie, now a journalism professor at Arizona State University. “The administration’s war on leaks and other efforts to control information are the most aggressive I’ve seen since the Nixon administration, when I was one of the editors involved in The Washington Post’s investigation of Watergate.”

Nevertheless, the media is still in love with the president.

In all, this unfortunate incident may have caused a slight bump in the road concerning the optics of this rally.  Yet, was this person a left-wing plant?  Last July, Renee Vaughan decided it was cool to pull this ridiculous prank at a pro-George Zimmerman rally during the Trayvon Martin fiasco.  So, it’s not out of the question.

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We should expect more media drivel over this minor Confederate flag incident.  At the same time, the differences between this rally and that of Occupy’s is something we should exploit.  I recently posted about DC riot police trying to disrupt the protest outside the White House.  In this video, at around 3:37, you can hear protestors advising their fellow patriots to “keep it [the rally] peaceful now…to remain calm.”  Also, you can hear one protestor telling the rest that “they [ the police] have families to go home too.”  Now, that’s anti-Occupy Wall Street.  That’s being peaceful, respectful, and empathetic.  Granted, you can hear a few people calling this move by the police an act of tyranny, but in the end – the police withdrew.

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If the media, is going to focus on a few extremists saying crazy things at a rally; then they haven’t been to many political rallies.  You’re always going to attract those sorts of people – and they have a constitutional right to exercise free speech.  Yet, the vast majority of the protestors were there to support the veterans – and shame on the media if they choose to omit that point.

At the same time, there’s a LONG list of felonious activity the media should be ashamed of concerning their coverage of Occupy.

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Yes, Obamacare’s Approval Rating Surged Seven Points, But Don’t Panic!

Saturday, October 12th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

It’s not that Americans forget; it’s that they need to be often reminded of whatever gave them comfort or displeasure. It’s the typical cycle of societal waves that have run through this country’s history.

Right now, some on the right may be panicking over Obamacare’s approval numbers.  It’s gained seven points since the government shutdown.  Yet, we shouldn’t put too much faith in polls.  In fact, if we’ve learned anything since 2012, it’s that we should be more skeptical of polling data.  Yet, the new health care law’s popularity rose from 31% to 38% since Harry Reid and Obama decided to close the government.  So, it’s still highly unpopular.   Yet, Allahpundit at Hot Air wrote on October 10 that:

Rarely in recent polling has strong support for the law crossed 30 percent; only after the big SCOTUS ruling on the mandate last year did the data cross the mark — until now. What’s happening, I assume, is that tea-party brinksmanship to defund the law is actually driving lukewarm liberals to support the law more strongly in the name of partisanship. Which would be fine if there was a corresponding swell in opposition, whether strong or tepid. But there isn’t. The number who think the law’s a bad idea and who strongly feel that way is actually down from where it was four months ago. Again, that may be due less to the shutdown than to the honeymoon period from the law’s rollout, but either way, the public’s not rising up. What’s the timeframe on when they should before this strategy is declared a fizzle?

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The poll, which was conducted by NBC/WSJ, but as Allahpundit noted – it’s only one poll.  Yes, the Republican Party’s approval rating has hit a 20-year low.  Yes, they’re currently being blamed more for this shutdown at higher levels than the ’96 shutdown. But is Ted Cruz “discredited?”  NO!  Again, we have the arduous task to reminding people why we’re here.

First, let us not forget that Harry Reid talked Obama out of negotiating with Republicans on the eve of the shutdown.  The House GOP wanted a conference committee to resolve the crisis. Harry Reid turned them down.  Lastly, this began as a compromise.  The Republicans were willing to fund the government, with the stipulation that Obamacare be delayed.  Now, Reid has decided to reject the House deal to raise the debt ceiling. Who’s being intransigent here?  It’s not the Republicans.

Second, we’re thirteen months away from the next election.  Let’s simmer down.  That’s more than ample time for conservative to discuss the disastrous rollout of Obamacare – and there’s tons of ammo for messaging.

Oh, and let’s not forget that we outsourced the creation of heathcare.gov to a Canadian company, which was fired last year from their own government health agency for incompetence.

CGI Federal’s parent company, Montreal-based CGI Group, was officially terminated in September 2012 by an Ontario government health agency after the firm missed three years of deadlines and failed to deliver the province’s flagship online medical registry.

Concerning the polls, let’s turn to liberal oracle Nate Silver.

Democrats face extremely unfavorable conditions in trying to regain the House.

Even if the shutdown were to have a moderate political impact — and one that favored the Democrats in races for Congress — it might not be enough for them to regain control of the U.S. House. Instead, Democrats face two major headwinds as they seek to win back Congress.

First, there are extremely few swing districts — only one-half to one-third as many as when the last government shutdown occurred in 1996. Some of this is because of partisan gerrymandering, but more of it is because of increasingly sharp ideological divides along geographic lines: between urban and rural areas, between the North and the South, and between the coasts and the interior of the United States.

So even if Democrats make significant gains in the number of votes they receive for the House, they would flip relatively few seats because of the way those votes are distributed. Most of the additional votes would come in districts that Democrats were already assured of winning, or where they were too far behind to catch up.

Consider that, between 2010 and 2012, Democrats went from losing the average congressional district by seven percentage points to winning it by one percentage point — an eight-point swing. And yet they added only eight seats in the House, out of 435 congressional districts.

In 2014, likewise, it will require not just a pretty good year for Democrats, but a wave election for them to regain the House. But wave elections in favor of the party that controls the White House are essentially unprecedented in midterm years. Instead, the president’s party has almost always lost seats in the House — or at best gained a handful.

One might be able to construct an argument for why the precedent could be violated. The pattern of the president’s party losing seats in the midterms has been very strong in the past — but political scientists aren’t quite sure why this is the case. One theory is that voters may elect members of Congress from the opposite party as a check on the president’s power. But if Congress instead is seen as the more powerful entity, voters might desire to curb its power instead.

Essentially, Democrats will have to persuade swing voters that having Republicans in charge of one chamber in one branch of government is more dangerous than yielding unilateral control of the government to the Democrats — at a time when President Obama is fairly unpopular, and when the signature initiative of the last Democratic Congress has been rolled out badly. Moreover, the voters that Democrats have to persuade about this are somewhat right of center, since the median congressional district is somewhat Republican-leaning and since the voters who reliably turn out at midterm elections are older, whiter, and otherwise more conservative than those who vote in general elections. It’s not an impossible task for Democrats, but the terrain is all uphill.

 The polling data on the shutdown is not yet all that useful, and we lack data on most important measures of voter preferences.

There is an array of polls that ask voters which party they blame for the shutdown. For the most part, they show Republicans taking somewhat more blame than Democrats, although the differences aren’t as stark as in 1995 and 1996.

The unanswered question is how this abstract notion of blame, on just one issue, might translate into tangible changes in voter preferences 13 months from now. Republicans are taking more blame for the shutdown — but they were extremely unpopular to begin with. How many people’s votes will be changed by the shutdown?

The best measure of this might be the generic congressional ballot, which measures overall preferences for Democrats or Republicans in congressional races around the country. However, very few generic ballot polls have been released since the shutdown began, and the exceptions are from dubious polling firms like Public Policy Polling and Rasmussen Reports.

That isn’t to say Republicans are without any reason for concern: The most recent Gallup poll shows a much sharper drop in Republican favorability ratings than in those for Democrats, which could presage a shift in the generic ballot.

But measures that put the parties head-to-head are much more valuable. I’ll be more convinced about the electoral downside for Republicans if and when we see such a shift in the generic ballot, or, say, in a number of Senate races around the country. (One irony is that while the House has been the focal point for GOP intransigence on the shutdown, Republican candidates for the Senate may have much more at risk, since the race for that chamber is much closer and contains a much higher proportion of competitive races.)

As Bryan Preston noted, “the real action next year will be in the Senate. That fight won’t be won or lost in this shutdown.”  David Freddoso added that, “the law’s opponents continue to oppose it. The ranks of its “strong” supporters are growing, even though (or perhaps because) very few people have actually tried the website or gotten insured so far.”

Let’s wait and see.  We shouldn’t be sprinting towards the exit yet.  As I mentioned in a previous post, both Republicans, Democrats, and Bill Clinton rebounded in their numbers after the ’96 shutdown. Americans know what the current shutdown is over, and citing the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Jack Kelly; the Democrats have much more to lose.

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So, Is Default A Paper Tiger?

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Well, the news of a deal to avoid default was killed today when Harry Reid decided to reject a six-week debt ceiling extension proposed by the House.  Additionally, Senate Republicans are skeptical of the House plan as well.  So, for now, we’re heading for the cliff, which I’m told would be cataclysmic.  Right now, I’m indifferent. It could be that I’m experiencing what George Will aptly noted as “apocalypse fatigue” when the debt ceiling battle was raging on Capitol Hill in 2011. So, is this a countdown to doomsday?

Well, according to one liberal economist, default could lead to economic growth.

Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research said,

We have been repeatedly warned that the dollar could lose its status as the world’s reserve currency in the event of default. While this is a dubious claim (will countries rush to the euro?), it would actually be good news if it were true. … If the dollar is no longer the pre-eminent reserve currency, then countries will dump much of their dollar holdings, pushing down its value in currency markets. A lower-valued dollar will cause exports to soar and imports to plummet, creating millions of new manufacturing jobs. Millions more jobs would be created in other sectors due to the multiplier effect. This could well bring us back to full employment — a goal we may not otherwise achieve until the next decade.

Well, what would come if we do default? In 2011, Reason’s Veronique de Rugy wrote:

“Technically, if the debt nears its statutory limit, the Treasury Department cannot issue new debt to manage short-term cash flows or manage the annual deficit—the government may therefore be unable to pay its bills. But in the real world things are different.”

“First, if the debt ceiling is not increased it doesn’t mean the federal government will have to repay the entire debt at once. The government just won’t be able to increase its borrowing. Americans understand the difference between not being able to borrow more money and defaulting on one’s mortgage…”

“More importantly, the Treasury Department has other options. For instance, if the debt ceiling is not increased, the Treasury can prioritize interest and debt payment to avoid a default.”

Additionally, Jeff Dorfman of Forbes wrote on October 3 that defaulting on the debt is “forbidden.”

 “Reaching the debt ceiling does not mean that the government will default on the outstanding government debt. In fact, the U.S. Constitution forbids defaulting on the debt (14th Amendment, Section 4), so the government is not allowed to default even if it wanted to.

“In reality, if the debt ceiling is not raised in the next two weeks, the government will actually have to prioritize its expenses and keep its monthly, weekly, and daily spending under the revenue the government collects. In simple terms, the government would have to spend an amount less than or equal to what it earns. Just like ordinary Americans have to do in their everyday lives.”

So, Congress would have to act like a typical American family when it comes to its finances.  How revolutionary!  Yet, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get to the point of going over this cliff, which very much looks like small hill.

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Americans Side With Conservatives On Debt Ceiling

Thursday, October 10th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Well, for starters, let me remind the media that Republicans did compromise on the eve of the shutdown.  The GOP agreed to keep the government open, but asked that Obamacare be delayed for a year.  Sen. Harry Reid said no.  As the shutdown persists, he’s also said no to the House plan to raise the debt ceiling.  The president, Harry Reid, and the Democrats own this shutdown.

Additionally, the majority of Americans do no support a clean debt hike. According to a CBS News poll, which isn’t right-leaning in the slightest, finds that 75% of Americans feel that the debt ceiling should only be raised with cuts, or not at all.  This is hardly a controversial – or extreme – position.

In the history of the debt ceiling, 27 of the last 53 increases approved by Congress have been attached to spending or other reforms.  So, it’s really Democratic, not Republican, intransigence that’s to blame for this debacle.

Americans want lower deficits, debt, and a delay in the individual mandate.  Republicans have come to the table.  They even wanted a conference committee to resolve this crisis, but were turned down by Senate Democrats.  Granted, while this approach may have angered some conservatives, it’s true that combining the Obamacare fight with the debt ceiling would’ve resulted in defeat.

This move allows Republicans to concentrate all their energy on Obamacare.  It’s hard to fight a two-front war. It’s almost impossible to win such a venture without the Senate or the White House.  Some say the shutdown distracts the media from the disaster of Obamacare.  I disagree.  There’s been ample coverage of the rollout fiasco, especially the notion that   Additionally, the next election is in thirteen months; plenty of time for conservatives to eviscerate the Achilles heel of this administration.

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In Review: The Obamacare Rollout

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Well, the Obamacare exchanges are open – and they’re an unmitigated disaster.  It’s not like we didn’t see this coming.  Paula Bolyard  and Bridget Johnson have both posted about this nightmare.  Now, a little over a week since the exchanges’ opened.  Let’s look at what everyone else is saying about this massive federal power grab that will do nothing to help the uninsured, the poor, or curb health care costs.

To start, USA Today has described the rollout as an “inexcusable mess.”

President Obama’s chief technology adviser, Todd Park, blames the unexpectedly large numbers of people who flocked to Healthcare.gov and state websites. “Take away the volume and it works,” he told USA TODAY’s Tim Mullaney.

That’s like saying that except for the torrential rain, it’s a really nice day. Was Park not listening to the administration’s daily weather report predicting Obamacare’s popularity?

Park said the administration expected 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users. It got 250,000. Compare that with the similarly rocky debut seven years ago of exchanges to obtain Medicare drug coverage. The Bush administration projected 20,000 simultaneous users and built capacity for 150,000.

That’s the difference between competence and incompetence.

That incompetence falls squarely on Obama.  As Megan McArdle wrote on Bloomberg on October 7, there’s no blaming Republicans for the exchanges fiasco.

 [I] do not think that the Republicans can be blamed for this particular disaster. They did not force the administration to wait until late 2011 to begin awarding important contracts for implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Presumably, they were also not skulking around the Department of Health and Human Services, writing the memos that delayed, until February of this year, the deadline for states to declare whether they’d be running their own exchanges.

Relating to the technology aspect, it would’ve helped if the exchange site was tested by the General Services Administration. It wasn’t.

The site did not undergo testing from the General Services Administration’s “First Fridays” Web usability testing service, a Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman told Nextgov on Monday. First Fridays is a program to spot glitches in government websites and to make them more user friendly.

Even Ezra Klein at the Washington Post admitted that the site is “really bad.”  What’s more is that the Post seem to be having trouble finding the exact number of enrollees.  We’re told that those numbers will be released sometime in November.  California overstated the amount of people that visited their site, and Maryland is reporting that a whopping 326 people decided to enroll in their exchanges.

As for the dynamics of the exchanges, it’s a “hacker’s wet dream.” As John McAfee told Neil Cavuto on October 2,  it’s not hard for any hacker to set up a site, make it look “competitive,” and potentially steal the identities of millions of Americans.  Since we’re dealing with health care, very sensitive information can be easily obtained by these criminals.  With a multitude of exchange sites now operational, we should expect horrific stories about lives being stolen by fake websites.

Concerning the ones that are legitimate, they aren’t really set up well, but you already knew that.  Yet, for die-hard liberals, like economist Paul Krugman,they seem to think that the “substantive news” of late about Obamacare “has been good.”  Again, that’s an abject lie.

New York Times:

Washington Post:

 

Politico:

The Hill:

 

Wall Street Journal:

National Review Online:

Investors Business Daily:

Real Clear Politic:

Forbes:

NYT/CBS News Poll:

Forbes:

USA Today:

The Star-Ledger:

Additionally, there are these little facts highlighting the miserable failure of this law.

  1. A software program that can’t accurately determine an enrollee’s eligibility for Obamacare subsidies.
  2. A “family glitch” that could leave up to 500,000 kids without health insurance.
  3. Thirty-one million Americans will remain uninsured by 2023. I guess that’s why Politico admitted that Obamacare is “one blow after another.”
  4. The New York Times reported that lower premiums could come with limits on access to care.
  5. It looks like  we’re going to return to the restrictive, bare bones HMO health care plans of the 1990s and have less access to doctors and hospitals.
  6. Obamacare will only exacerbate Medicaid fraud, which has already hit MarylandMississippi, and New Jersey.
  7. There’s the chilling fact that surgical patients on Medicaid are 13% more likely to die than those who are uninsured, even accounting for demographic differences (like age).
  8. A typical family of four will see its health care spending increase by $7,450.
  9. The list of companies cutting hours, or jobs, due to Obamacare is growing. Check out the butcher’s bill here.
  10. Seventy-seven percent of Americans want the individual mandate to be delayed.
  11. Broken down along party lines, we have 65% of Democrats agreeing – with 43% opposing the mandate outright.
  12. The Affordable Care Act bends the cost curve upward.
  13. Obamacare’s data hub circumvents two privacy laws – and could lead to massive identity theft.

So, a few things are clear; things that we on the right all saw coming when this day arrived.  One is that Paul Krugman doesn’t read his own publication.  Yet, it’s also fact that Obamacare won’t save families money, you can’t keep your health care plan if you like it, the process in determining subsidies is inaccurate, it leaves Americans vulnerable to identity theft, and 77% want the core provision of the law to be delayed.  Yet, Democrats aren’t willing to compromise on Obamacare, even though members of their own base have voiced their displeasure over it.

 

 

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This Government Shutdown Isn’t Just Right, It’s Required

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

I admit that I was hesitant about a shutdown.  The House was safely in Republican hands – and a shutdown could be a game changer in 2014.  However, it’s probably just the last vestiges of my more moderate leanings gasping for air.  I’ve been killing those dispositions off rapidly over the past two years.  Theoretically, with government shut down, these politicians can’t waste our money, or do anything that will inevitably chip away at our civil rights and liberties. That’s a good thing.  But what about blowback?

Of course, more Americans blame Republicans than Obama and the Democrats – at the moment – but not by much.  With the vindictive closures of privately-funded parks, Obama has given conservatives yet another avenue to embarrass him.  Is he really barring World War II vets from paying their respects at their memorial?  Are Park Police really going to put octogenarians in wheelchairs under arrest?  If there’s one bad piece of media that could come from this shutdown, it’s veterans being hauled away in handcuffs.  Yet, Allahpundit at Hot Air had a rather interesting post about the Clinton shutdown – and how the backlash so feared by moderates isn’t “as bad as you think.”

Why?

Well, for starters, the approval ratings for Clinton and then-Speaker Gingrich returned to pre-shutdown levels rather quickly.

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Second, Allahpundit aptly noted that:

Even if you think the 1995 shutdown was a major loss for the GOP, there are sound reasons to think this time might be different. A sluggish economy, a less divisive Republican speaker in Boehner, and a widely disliked law in ObamaCare — all of those factors will hopefully conspire to blunt whatever advantage Democrats think they’re getting from the lights going out.

He used Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics to detail the rest of this point.

Democrats didn’t actually use the shutdown itself as their main line of attack on Republicans. It was part of it, but the real attacks came over the Republicans’ motivation for the shutdown. Because of the expansive nature of the GOP’s cuts, the Democrats were able to focus on several unpopular portions of the GOP budget: the so-called M2E2 strategy. They commenced a mantra-like repetition of their opposition to Republican attempts to gut “Medicare, Medicaid, Education and the Environment” in favor of a “risky tax scheme” that benefitted the rich.

In other words, in evaluating 1996 as an illustration of what will happen to the GOP today, we probably have to separate the tactic of a shutdown from the substance of what motivates it. And today, the GOP is focused on defunding Obamacare, a law that isn’t particularly popular. For the analogy to 1995-96 to really stick, the GOP will probably have had to try something along the lines of shutting down government to implement the Paul Ryan balance-budget plan.

While public opinion might be against the shutdown tactic, there probably won’t be the same level of outrage against the underlying policy motivation, which is what 1995-96 was mostly about. If Obamacare turns out to be the train wreck some conservatives predict (I have no clue whether it will or won’t), the tactic itself might be viewed as less of a negative.

Moreover, even if there was a backlash, most Republicans are running in considerably safe districts.  Yes, there could be a few casualties, but nothing catastrophic. As Pundit noted:

[D]espite the legend of shutdown-driven GOP losses in the 1996 elections, it’s an open question whether the shutdown had much to do with that. Harry Enten attacked that conventional wisdom last week by analyzing polling during and after the 1995 shutdown. As it turns out, Democrats did about as well in the 1996 elections as you would have expected given the state of the economy at the time.

Also, there’s the little fact that 83% of government is still being funded. Byron York at the Washington Examiner wrote on October 5 that:

Based on estimates drawn from CBO and OMB data, 83 percent of government operations will continue. This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion), and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion). This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion.”

Hey, government union representatives are surreptitiously going back to work, so this little shutdown can’t be that bad.  After all, if you look at the history of government shutdowns, this one seems to be the most necessary.

We’ve had shutdowns over abortion, nuclear missiles, nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, missed deadlines for passing new spending bills, the Fairness Doctrine, and insufficient amounts of deficit reduction.  Granted, fighting over the sanctity if life isn’t pointless, but all of these reasons seem rather silly compared to the grossly unconstitutional – and highly dysfunctional – Affordable Care Act. If anything, shutting down government over this massive federal power grab is not just right, it’s required.

I still hold the opinion that Sen. Ted Cruz, who I want to see as our next president, was wrong with the defund approach to Obamacare.  If Republicans pushed delay from the start, we could’ve mustered enough Democratic votes to make this look like an exclusive Obama shutdown.  Heck, even Obama agreed to delaying parts of his own law – and Cruz has joined the delay coalition.  No, that doesn’t make him a RINO.  In the end, both approaches end with the complete destruction of Obamacare

Hence, why Reid – and the Democratic leadership – are digging in against delaying the individual mandate, even though it received bipartisan support last July – with twenty-two House Democrats supporting the measure.

They know delay could unravel the whole law, which us why they insist on attaching it to everything.  As conservative commentator Dana Loesch aptly noted, Democrats could’ve gone forward with two separate bills to fund Obamacare and the government, but the law’s miserable approval ratings made that impossible.

Democrats are bloated with illusory notions that they have the upper hand in this fight.  In fact, Jack Kelly, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,  mentioned in Real Clear Politics on October 6 that they might have the most to lose.  Even if they manage to win the shutdown, they lose the war.

By margins of 2 to 1 or greater, Americans oppose shutting down the government to defund Obamacare, three polls last week indicated. But they support, 55-35, GOP efforts to delay it, according to a poll this week.

Labor unions and other Democratic-leaners with buyer’s remorse are not ready (yet) to give up on Obamacare completely, but they demand big changes. Since the Obamacare rollout has made clear that it is not ready for prime time, their numbers will increase.

Democrats fear any delay would “open the door to devastating consequences for the law,” wrote Ben Terris of the National Journal.

Delay the individual mandate, and the whole thing could fall apart, according to Linda Blumberg of the Urban Institute.

It would be embarrassing for them to climb down now, but Democrats may be worse off if they “win.”
“If (Republicans) manage to extract a concession from Senate Democrats in exchange for voting to approve a continuing resolution to fund the government’s operations, then they’ve won,” wrote Ira Stoll in the New York Sun.

If Republicans fold, they also win, because then “Americans will actually get a chance to see for themselves what a train wreck Obamacare is,” Mr. Stoll argued.

[...]

Americans blame Republicans more for the “shutdown,” polls indicate, but by smaller margins than in the past. Most of the few who will suffer real pain typically vote Democratic. Now that Republicans have united on delaying Obamacare — which is popular, and after all the glitches we’ve seen during the rollout, prudent — all the rouge and lipstick the news media applies can only partially conceal that it’s Democrats who are being intransigent.

 

 

 

 

 

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Blame For The Shutdown Rests With Harry Reid and the Democrats

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Is this really the “Republican” shutdown?  No. The roads of blame all end with Sen. Harry Reid and the Democrats.  First, Reid reportedly talked Obama out of negotiating with Republicans to avoid a government shutdown.

When the president considered sitting down with the four congressional leaders in the White House ahead of the deadline to avert a government shutdown, Reid privately urged Obama to call off the meeting, according to several people familiar with the situation,” Politico reported. “Reid believed that it would amount to nothing more than a photo-op that would give the false impression that a serious negotiation was occurring, even warning he wouldn’t attend such a session. Obama scrapped it.”

What did Republicans do?

In at least four separate times, the House has passed a bill to fund the government.  Democrats have completely turned their backs on everything sent over by the House.  In doing so, they have also turned their backs on American families and workers.  How is that fairness and compromise?  Furthermore, 77% of Americans want to delay Obamacare’s individual mandate, including 65% of Democrats!

Democrats from Red states already know that the exchanges, which are already racked with glitches, are going to be a disaster.  That’s why twenty-two Democrats in the House voted for the delay last July.  Also, the president has agreed to delaying some parts of Obamacare, specifically the employer mandate.  That’s a great foundation to force Obama into a corner, label him a hypocrite for his intellectually dishonesty over keeping the implementation of the individual mandate on schedule.  It’s not consistent, and their handling of the Syria fiasco could potentially embarrass the president once again.  If not, what’s left of these blue dogs will get rolled in the next election (ie: Landrieu).

Yet, Senate Democrats want the House to bow down to a clean CR at post-sequester levels, as if that’s them being generous.  First of all, sequestration only amounted to a meager $44 billion in cuts.  The Washington Post admitted last summer that the “scary” projections from sequestration were “wrong.”  The House has taken a stand that it will not continue negotiating with itself.  They’re are drawing the line, and – so far – standing strong.  The opportunity for discussion with the Senate is there, but in order for that to happen – the Senate must stop stalling.

If Obama and the left were truly worried about the impact of this shutdown, then they wouldn’t have issued a veto threat to bills proposed by the House yesterday to ease the burden on veterans, visitors at National Parks, and DC is nothing short of hypocritical.

The District of Colombia is losing $200 million dollars a day from this shutdown.  Concerning the veterans, it’s egregious that their benefits have become a political football.  It’s even more depraved that the order to close down the World War II Memorial came from the Obama administration.  The RNC offered to pay to keep it open, but they’ve been turned down by the Park Service.  Currently, veterans are allowed to enter the memorial under the pretense that it’s a “First Amendment exception.”

Ace of Spades blogger – and attorney – Gabriel Malor has more on this:

The “First Amendment exception” for vets at memorials, which was proclaimed sometime bw yesterday and today, is, legally speaking, bullshit.

— Gabriel Malor (@gabrielmalor) October 2, 2013

Yet, let’s talk more about Obamacare for a second.  After all, it was one of the reasons – if not THE reason – that government was shut down.  Yes, liberals are blaming the Tea Party, of which I’m a proud member, but there’s a long history of liberal dissatisfaction with this miserable piece of legislation.

Repealing ObamaCare’s Medical Device Tax Is “One Of The Ideas Gaining Steam” Among Both Republicans And Democrats. “One of the ideas gaining steam in the back-and-forth between House Republicans and Senate Democrats is a push to repeal the 2.3% excise tax on the sale of medical devices. In March, 79 senators supported a symbolic measure to repeal it, including 33 Democrats, among them Messrs. Begich and Pryor and Mrs. Hagan.” (Patrick O’Connor and Kristina Peterson, “Tweaks To Health Law Attract Some Democrats,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/13)

  • Reid Himself Called ObamaCare’s Medical Device Tax “Stupid” Just Last Week. REID: “If they want to shut down the government, here’s how much time they have to figure out it: 4 days, 11 hours, 22 minutes, and 15 seconds. No, they can play around all they want. Some of the biggest supporters for doing away with the stupid tax–I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have said that–doing away with that tax have told me they won’t support that on CR.” (Sen. Harry Reid, Senate Press Briefing, 9/27/13)

This Weekend, A Bipartisan Majority In The House, Including 17 Democrats, Voted To Repeal The Medical Device Tax.  “Late Saturday night the House passed two amendments to the Senate spending bill, one to delay the implementation of Obamacare for a year, the other to repeal the tax on medical device manufacturers that was included in the Affordable Care Act to help offset the cost of expanded insurance coverage. … On the medical device tax repeal, 17 Democrats voted for it, as did all Republican members.” (Tom Curry, “Cruz Urges Reid To Call Senate Into Session And Avert Shutdown,” NBC News, 9/29/13)

  • 38 House Democrats Have Co-Sponsored Other Legislation, “Protect Medical Innovation Act Of 2013,” Which Repeals The Medical Device Tax. (H.R. 523, Introduced 2/6/13)

Earlier This Year, The Senate Voted To Repeal The Medical Device Tax By An Overwhelming 79-20 Margin, Including Support From 34 Democrats. “Thirty-four Senate Democrats joined Republicans on Thursday night in a nonbinding but overwhelming vote to repeal a key tax in President Barack Obama’s health reform law. The Senate voted 79-20 to get rid of the law’s 2.3 percent sales tax on medical device-makers.” (Jennifer Haberkorn, “Democrats Join Push To Dump ObamaCare Tax,” Politico, 3/22/13)

Among Vulnerable 2014 Democrats, Senators Begich, Pryor And Hagan Have Already Voted To Repeal The Medical Device Tax. (S. Amdt 297 to S.Con.Res 8, Roll Call Vote #47, Adopted 79-20: R 45-0; D 34-29, 3/21/13, Begich, Pryor, And Hagan Voted Yea)

Vulnerable 2014 Democrats Have Been Anxious To Change Other Controversial Parts Of ObamaCare, Including IPAB And Costs To Small Businesses. “Each of the Republicans’ top targets have proposals to change the new law. In July, Mr. Begich introduced multiple bills to reduce the costs that small businesses pay to insure their employees. Earlier in the year, Mrs. Landrieu offered legislation to protect independent insurance agents and brokers whose services are imperiled by the law. Additionally, Mrs. Hagan and Mr. Pryor have co-sponsored a bill to eliminate the new 15-person panel created by the law to find savings in Medicare.” (Patrick O’Connor and Kristina Peterson, “Tweaks To Health Law Attract Some Democrats,” The Wall Street Journal, 9/27/13)

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) Has Said He Will Support A Spending Plan That Includes A Delay Of ObamaCare’s Individual Mandate. “U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke ranks with fellow Democrats and said he’d support a stopgap spending plan that delays the individual mandate in President Barack Obama’s health-care law.” (Michael C. Bender, “Democrat Manchin Breaks Ranks to Back Mandate Delay,” Bloomberg, 9/26/13)

Manchin, On Delaying The Individual Mandate: “It’s Very Reasonable And Sensible.” “‘There’s no way I could not vote for it,’ Manchin said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast today. ‘It’s very reasonable and sensible.’” (Michael C. Bender, “Democrat Manchin Breaks Ranks to Back Mandate Delay,” Bloomberg, 9/26/13)

 

Labor Unions, Once “Among The Strongest Supporters” Of ObamaCare, Now Recognize The Law “Threatens To Hurt Their Own Members.” “Labor unions were among the strongest supporters of the Affordable Care Act when it passed in 2010. They spent millions of dollars in ad buys supporting the bill, pressured wavering Democrats in Congress to pass it, and followed up with support for those Democrats in the November elections. Three years later, union leaders say the bill they fought to pass now threatens to hurt their own members.” (Patricia Murphy, “Obama’s Labor Pains,” The Daily Beast, 9/20/13)

The AFL-CIO Has Approved “A Strongly Worded Resolution” Condemning ObamaCare’s Impact On The Cost Of Union-Sponsored Health Plans. “The nation’s largest labor federation approved a strongly worded resolution Wednesday that says the Affordable Care Act will drive up the costs of union-sponsored health plans to the point that workers and employers are forced to abandon them.” (Sam Hananel, “AFL-CIO Steps Up Pressure For Health Law Changes,” The Associated Press, 9/11/13)

  • The AFL-CIO Voted In Favor Of Their Resolution Even After White House Officials Had Been Calling Union Leaders To Oppose Its Passage. “White House officials have been calling union leaders about a resolution critical of ObamaCare that is set to pass on Wednesday at the AFL-CIO convention. Union leaders have been tight-lipped about the calls coming from Washington, but at least one labor official said he understands that the Obama administration has been watching the resolution’s progress and expressing a desire that it not move forward.” (Kevin Bogardus, “White House Calling Union Leaders Ahead Of Vote On Obamacare Resolution,” The Hill, 9/11/13)

Terry O’Sullivan, President Of The Laborers’ International Union Of North America, Said That If ObamaCare Is Not Fixed “It Needs To Be Repealed.”“If the Affordable Care Act is not fixed and it destroys the health and welfare funds that we have fought for and stand for, then I believe it needs to be repealed,” said Terence M. O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America. “We don’t want it to be repealed. We want it to be fixed, fixed, fixed. “We’ve had our asses kicked on retirement security and we know our health funds are under siege,” he added. “We ask the president and Congress to do the right thing for the men and women we represent.” (Steven Greenhouse And Jonathan Martin, “Unions’ Misgivings On Health Law Burst Into View,” The New York Times, 9/12/13)

 “Three Major U.S. Unions … Sent A Scathing Open Letter To Democratic Leaders” That ObamaCare Will “Destroy The Foundation Of The 40 Hour Work Week That Is The Backbone Of The Middle Class.” “The leaders of three major U.S. unions, including the highly influential Teamsters, have sent a scathing open letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, warning that unless changes are made, President Obama’s health care reform plan will ‘destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.’” (Tom Gara, “Union Letter: ObamaCare Will ‘Destroy The Very Health And Wellbeing’ Of Workers,” The Wall Street Journal, 7/12/13)

Pryor Praised ObamaCare As “An Amazing Success Story” In August. KHOG’s CRAIG CANNON: “Political experts say the new healthcare law could be a hot topic. Pryor was one of 60 Democrats who voted for it back in 2009. He defends that vote today.” SENATOR MARK PRYOR: “I would say if you want a good opinion about ObamaCare, go right here to Mercy Hospital and ask them how they feel about it. It’s been an amazing success story so far.” (“Rep. Tom Cotton Running For Senate,” KHOG, 8/6/13)

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In Arkansas Will Pay An Average Of $181 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan – An Increase Of 397% Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

Little Rock-Based Baptist Health System Announced That It Will Lay Off 170 Arkansas Workers Due To ObamaCare. “Little Rock-based Baptist Health System says it will lay off 170 workers across its statewide health care network and one industry leader says more hospitals could follow suit… In a statement provided to members of the media, Mark Lowman, Vice President, Strategic Development at Baptist Health said: ‘To ensure Baptist Health’s continued success and our long term ability to sustain our Mission, we are undertaking a number of initiatives that will position our organization to address the challenges of health reform and severe federal budget cuts.’” (Roby Brock, “Baptist Health System Laying Off 170 As Hospitals Cope With Medicare Cuts,” Talk Business Arkansas, 7/16/13)

College Professors In Arkansas Will Have Their Hours Cut Because Of ObamaCare. ANCHOR:  “Beginning this fall, Pulaski Tech will limit the amount of courses professors are able to teach.  KARK 4’s Joceyln Tovar says this change in turn will limit the benefits available to them.”  … TOVAR:  ““Human resource officials for the college say that changes in benefits because of the ObamaCare law require part time employees who are working 30 hours to be considered full time, and therefore require benefits, benefits the school says are just too much strain on their shoestring budget.” (KARK 4, 4/4/13)

Begich, On ObamaCare: “There’s A Lot Of Good That People Will Realize As This All Comes Online.”(“Senate Democrats Running In 2014 In GOP-Leaning States Firm Up Support Of Health Care Law,” The Associated Press, 6/15/13)

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In Alaska Will Pay An Average Of $254 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan – An Increase Of 129% Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

Blue Cross Has Predicted That An Alaska Family Of Four That Does Not Qualify For Federal Insurance Subsidies Could See Their Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Costs Increase By As Much As 158 Percent. “Jeff Davis, who heads Premera’s Alaska unit, said a younger Alaskan couple aged 30 to 34 with two small children and who are moderate-income and earning $115,000 a year or less will qualify for the planned new federal subsidies. They could see up to a 42 percent decrease in out-of-pocket health care expenses, according to Premera’s estimates.  However, if the couple exceeds the $115,000 income limit by even a small margin, the subsidy goes away and they could see an increase as high as 158 percent in out-of-pocket costs.” (Tim Bradner, “Alaska Health Insurance Rates To Go Up In 2014 As ACA Kicks In,” Anchorage Daily News, 1/15/13)

 

In An August Interview, Hagan Defended ObamaCare, Saying There Are “A Lot Of Positives” For Small Businesses In The Law. SEN. HAGAN: “But what does benefit a small business is once the new healthcare exchanges come on line, and come on the market, coming in October of this year, small business will be able to purchase health insurance just like large businesses do.  They’ll be given options.  And some small businesses will actually be eligible for tax credits and for funding to help them purchase that health insurance.  So I think there’s a lot of positives here that I want to encourage small businesses to reach out to my office and we can certainly help with information.” (Kay Hagan, WCCB Interview, 8/27/13)

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In North Carolina Will Pay An Average Of $186 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan – An Increase Of 342% Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

A North Carolina Business Owner Is Facing Over $100,000 In Costs Associated With ObamaCare. “Kerns said he decided long ago to cut health care for his 81 employees, because rates skyrocketed and it cost the company too much. He would be penalized under the new plan. ‘The tax would be over $100,000,’ said Kerns. He said he would have to hire people to keep up with paperwork required by the plan.” (Ken Lemon, “Uninsured Families Meeting In Gaston Co. About New Health Care Act,” WSOC, 8/12/13)

Triad Organizations Are Reducing Weekly Hours For Part-Time Workers, Including At Wilkes Community College Which Is Limiting Adjunct Professors And Faculty Costs. “The new federal definition of a full-time employee is leading some Triad organizations to reduce weekly hours for part-time workers so they do not become eligible for health insurance coverage. The Affordable Care Act says that by Jan. 1, 2015, employees have to work only 30 hours a week to be considered full time and eligible for coverage. … Wilkes Community College is responding to the mandate by limiting additional ‘fixed costs’ associated with faculty and staff, such as part-time adjunct professors.” (Richard Craver, “Some Employers Cutting Hours For Part-Time Workers To Avoid New Insurance Mandate,” Winston Salem-Journal, 8/19/13)

“Some School Districts Are Reducing Teacher Aides, Administrators, Secretaries, Bus Drivers, Gym Teachers, Coaches And Cafeteria Workers To Part-Time Status.” (Richard Craver, “Some Employers Cutting Hours For Part-Time Workers To Avoid New Insurance Mandate,” Winston Salem-Journal, 8/19/13)

 

In March,  Landrieu Said She Was “Proud” Of Her Vote For ObamaCare, And “Glad” She Voted For It. “And the last thing she’s worried about is having Republicans attack her for supporting Obamacare. ‘I am proud of my support for the Affordable Care Act, whether my opponents want to call it ACA or Obamacare, I voted for it. I’m glad I voted for it,’ Landrieu said.” (Ginger Gibson, “Mary Landrieu’s 2014 Playbook Is Her Own,” Politico, 3/29/13)

According To HHS’s Report On Premiums In The ObamaCare Exchanges, A 27 Year Old In Louisiana Will Pay An Average Of $175 A Month For The Lowest Bronze Plan – An Increase Of 376% Over Average Premiums Currently Available. (Office Of The Assistant Secretary For Planning And Evaluation, “Health Insurance Marketplace Premiums For 2014,” HHS, 9/13; John E. Dickson, Director Of Health Care For The Government Accountability Office, Letter To Honorable Orrin G. Hatch, 7/23/13)

Restaurant Owner Frank Dedman: “I Had To Let A Couple Of My Full-Timers Go.” “Frank Dedman, the owner of Frank’s Restaurant, told News 2 he made cuts to his staff to be in compliance with the new rules and regulations. ‘We’ve had people here for quite a few years, majority of them were part-timers,” said Dedman. “I had to let a couple of my full-timers go.’” (Brittany Weiss, “Restaurant Cuts Staff, Blames Health Reform,”WBRZ, 6/15/13)

A Lafayette, Louisiana Business Was Forced To Lay off 41 Employees Due To Changes Under ObamaCare.“Effective today, 41 employees at the Schumacher Group in Lafayette, have lost their jobs. According  to a company letter, the Patient Financial Management Services division is being cut because of changes to health care law from ObamaCare. A Schumacher Group spokesperson says the department can’t handle an increase in patient needs.” (KATC, 5/1/13)

The American people want the individual mandate to be delayed.  A lot of Democrats feel the same way.  Sen. Harry Reid and his execrable cadre of left-wingers are the ones truly holding the country hostage.  They know that a delay could unravel the whole law, and force Democrats to defend the numerous disasters that will occur when it’s fully implemented. It could allow the GOP to retake the Senate, increase their majority in the House, and cost them the 2016 presidential election. Nevertheless, Reid is benefitted from entire so-called news network, which provides his ilk with political cover.

Harry Reid could’ve avoided this shutdown if he listened to his own ranks about Obamacare.

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Sen. Cruz, I Can’t Support You on This ‘Defund’ Strategy

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

I love Sen. Ted Cruz. I’m a huge fan of Sen. Rand Paul as well. I’m not one who cozies up with establishment Republicans. In fact, I find – at times – moderate Republicans to be more spineless than liberals. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean I need to agree with everything the Tea Party does concerning fighting Obamacare. We’re heading for rocky shoals with this defund effort, and we can kill this massive federal power grab if we delay the individual mandate.

As we speak, Sen. Cruz is speaking about his opposition to Obamacare. He’ll be going on for a while about this subject. Yet, it’s not a real filibuster. Democrats have the sixty votes for cloture. They have a vote set for Wednesday. This will be the definition of anti-climatic.

As Byron York of the Washington Examiner noted on September 19:

Senate rules, which Reid will enforce, will limit the debate on the measure to 30 hours, divided evenly between the parties. That gives Republicans 15 hours, to be divided between 46 GOP senators. That’s not a lot of time. It’s possible the Republican caucus could decide to allow Cruz to filibuster for an extended period of time. But it’s unlikely, given the other senators who will likely want to speak out on the issue. In March, the Rand Paul filibuster went on for nearly 13 hours; don’t look for something like that to happen this time.

So Republicans don’t have the votes to actually filibuster a continuing resolution, and they don’t have the rules on their side to stage a talking filibuster. Supporters of defunding are bound to be disappointed. But the Senate aide says no one should be surprised. “This is not a gimmick or a scheme,” says the aide. “It is Rule 22 of the U.S. Senate. Everybody knew this. This is an existing rule. It is taught in Senate class when you do your orientation. It is not a surprise. Nobody sprung it on him [Sen. Cruz].”

Guy Benson at Townhall had a good piece on how “winning elections is the only way Obamacare will ever be dismantled.”

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Dana Loesch Kicks Off Ground Offensive Against Obamacare In Virginia

Sunday, September 15th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Yesterday, Americans for Prosperity-Virginia launched their ground campaign against Medicaid expansion in the state.  The expansion represents the most expensive provision of the new health care law. So far, the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission has held hearings about accepting federal money that would enroll an additional 400,000 Virginia residents into the program.  Yes, more people would be covered, but at the cost of quality health care.

In the shadow of Richmond’s Capitol, activists from across the Commonwealth went into the backyards of Delegates John O’Bannon and Jimmie Massie urging them to reject Obamacare in Virginia.  To kick off the event, conservative commentator – and elite freedom fighter – Dana Loesch rallied the troops for war in this fight. ”

“This isn’t just knocking on someone’s door,” said Loesch. “You guys are foot soldiers! You’re the first contact in this!”  Right now, almost a quarter of all doctors in Virginia aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients.  People enrolled in the program haven’t experienced greater quality health care.  And the uninsured – the targets of this new law – are 13% less likely to die than those enrolled in this defective government program.

AFP-VA state director Dave Schwartz also issued a call to arms stating,”This is about care, not about coverage. This is not about money; it’s about human beings.”  There’s nothing moral about adding 400,000 new Virginia residents to an inadequate health care system.  It’s unconscionable to ask the rest of the state to subsidize a shoddy health care system.  How do we respond to this massive federal takeover?  Loesch had a simple message: Get mad!  “We’re not here to be friends with politicians, she said. They’re our employees!”

Dana has also waged this fight in her state of Missouri, where the Republican state legislature was mulling expanding Medicaid coverage.  Like in Virginia, the provision will not help the Show-Me state’s poorest residents.

All eyes are on Virginia in this fight.  We need to hold the line on Obamacare in Virginia.  From Dana Loesch to Michelle Malkin, activists from all over the country are doing their Paul Revere rides concerning this bill.  It’s time we adhere to this call to arms.

Full disclosure: I do social media work for AFP-VA.

*Yes, I know the true hero is Israel Bissell, not Paul Revere, but Paul sounded better. 

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Congress Could Have Enough Votes To Pass Syrian Resolution AND Immigration Reform

Thursday, September 12th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

Last June, the U.S. Senate overwhelming passed immigration reform by a vote of 68-32.  Yet, many commentators noted that it’s DOA in the House.  Similarly, the president’s recent plea to Congress to approve a resolution authorizing him to use military force in Syria seems like a long shot as well.  A rough count of the votes has 25 senators – 18 Democrats and 7 Republicans – voting/leaning yes, with 29 voting/leaning no.  It’s more of a partisan split here, with 22 Republicans and 7 Democrats making up this coalition.  Nevertheless, 46 members of the Senate (27 Democrats, 17 Republicans, 2 Independents) remain undecided.

The House is more lopsided.  195 Representatives are voting, or leaning, no on the resolution, with only 31 supporting the president’s call for air strikes.  Nevertheless, that still leaves 128 Representatives up for grabs.  At the same time, this Syrian puzzle is threatening immigration reform this term.  Is it over? It seems that way. Yet, a new study shows that not all is lost on either front.

Chad Murphy of the University of Mary Washington and Chris Westbury of the University of Alberta did a comprehensive study showing that there are more than enough votes to pass both measures.

On immigration, Murphy and Westbury:

[L]ooked at member’s beliefs about the major issues and players in the system. Through a statistical analysis of all floor speeches by members of the House of Representatives, I found that at least 60% of the House of Representatives are negative toward the concept of amnesty, but if given the choice they would likely vote for it anyway.

I analyzed floor speeches for all members of Congress and looked at how they speak about immigrants and amnesty. Through a high-dimensional computer analysis of these speeches, I find that Democrats and around 80 Republicans are pro-immigration. However, while only the most liberal members of the House have positive feelings toward amnesty the 250+ pro-immigration members of Congress are also likely to vote for a bill that includes amnesty.

This means that if the House was able to vote on the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate earlier this year, a substantial majority of the House would vote for the bill. It will ultimately be a test of John Boehner’s leadership skills to see if he can keep the Senate bill off the agenda. A majority of the chamber supports the legislation, but only 1/3 of his party.

Concerning Syria:

In his speech on August 31, President Obama said that he wanted to take military action against Syria for using chemical weapons but would consult with Congress first. While the president spoke of the need for partisan unity in his rose garden speech, a limited military action in Syria is unlikely to run into much opposition from Republican members of Congress who believe that war is the president’s responsibility.

I analyzed floor speeches for all members of the House and Senate and looked to see who they attributed war powers to. Through a high-dimensional computer analysis of these speeches, I find that over 80% of both chambers at least weakly believe that the responsibility for war falls on the president rather than on Congress. The only group of politicians that linked war more closely to Congress was comprised of the most liberal members of the House and Senate.

Ultimately what this means is that the president is unlikely to see much pushback from Congress and will get a joint resolution supporting his initial mission in Syria. This becomes even more likely because the only real opposition will be from his own party who will not want to weaken their president.

Full details on the method are explained in: “Expanding the Scope of Selective Exposure: An Objective Approach to Measurement of Media Ideology,” by Chad Murphy and Chris Westbury, published in the current issue of Communication Methods and Measures.

 

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How Women, Hispanics, and Blue Collar Workers Defended Gun Rights In Colorado

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

As conservatives celebrate their victory over booting anti-gun legislators in Colorado’s recall elections last night, let’s look at the some of the reasons that contributed to their success.  In Dave Weigel’s September 11 post on Slate, the spokeswoman for the recall, Jennifer Kerns, provided the information and showed that even Democrats love their guns.  Granted, gun rights supporters have known this for quite some time.  The only people who don’t get seem to get it are urban-based liberal elites.

Kerns explains how women, Hispanics, and blue collar workers helped score a victory for liberty last night.

Hispanics: In the heavily Democrat, hispanic district in Pueblo, Hispanics are strong 2nd amendment supporters.

Women: There were many women behind this Recall movement, beginning when the gun control bills were heard in the State Legislature. A new radio ad out in the final weekend of the election featured Kimberly Weeks, a victim of rape, who testified in the State Legislature and took Senator John Morse to task on why she would be robbed of her right to defend herself. Other women’s groups were the first to run ads against Senator John Morse on the theme of “a woman’s right to choose… how to defend herself” which pushed the narrative. And even the Spokesperson for the effort (me) is a woman, and I, too, was one of the first women to testify against the gun control bills back in February. I got in under the wire to testify before they shut down the testimony from the public.

Blue collar: 3 of the 3 Founders of the Pueblo Recall are blue collar workers.  2 of them are plumbers and 1 is an electrician.  They connected very well with the demographics of Pueblo, which is a blue collar former-steel worker town.  1 of the founding members of the Morse Recall is also blue collar, he wears a hard hat and spends about 100 hours per week out in an oil field in steel toed boots, then would go home at night and work on the Recall.

From the beginning, we had interesting demographics on our side. Again, by the numbers: More Democrats & Independents combined signed the Recall petition than Republicans.  I believe this goes back to #1 above, it struck a populist nerve that appealed to independents. When we saw the turnout on Election Day was spiking with Independent/unaffiliated voters, we were ecstatic because we knew that a majority of those votes would likely break our way.

For the future, it will be interesting to see if the anti-gun wing of America learns their lesson from this defeat.  Then again, liberals’ hopeless emotionalism will probably blind them again to another electoral slaughter on this issue.  At the same time, the fact that more Democrats and Independents signed the petition than Republicans only further discredits DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz insane claim that her side lost due to voter suppression.

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Obama Is Failing To Solve The Syrian Puzzle

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

The president gave an address on Syria last night that lasted a little over fifteen minutes. I’m now slightly more confused.  First, we didn’t want to bomb them.  With the chemical weapons attack that occurred last week, we’re going to bomb them. Now, we’re letting diplomacy take priority in solving the Syrian puzzle.  This comes after the Russian-brokered deal that sought to put Syria’s chemical weapons under the control of the so-called international community.  Then, the Russians backed out of the talks relating to their deal.  Granted, it was a UN meeting.  At least, Secretary Kerry is still meeting with the Russians in Geneva this Thursday to discuss this matter.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration has rattled the sabers of war in the past few days, but then said he’ll employ a “wait and see” mentality due to the congressional vote – which has now been suspended – and post-address reactions.  What is going on here?  Obama said:

I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin. I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, France and the United Kingdom, and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control. We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. And we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas — from Asia to the Middle East — who agree on the need for action.

It’s no wonder why the world doesn’t take us seriously abroad.  We have a president with no doctrine in this part of the world.  If anything, the majority of Obama’s foreign policy is grounded in obscurity, naïveté, and weakness.  It seems apparent that he believes his awe-inspiring rhetoric can make dictators bend to his will. Who’s he kidding?  The realm is international affairs is anarchic, and not all state actors are rational.  The charm offensive isn’t going to work here.

Ron Fournier of the National Journal gave a harsh critique of Obama’s address and rightfully so.  The president did say that he didn’t set a red line for Syria, but there’s a history of remarks from the White House suggesting otherwise.  Regardless, here’s what Fournier thinks makes the president being an abject failure on Syria.

Naive about the levers of power: Where to start? Obama reversed course on congressional authorization at the last minute, after a private chat with his chief of staff, and to the surprise of his national security team – all in violation of presidential best practices. He then left the country on a quixotic trip to Russia, allowing misgivings to grow in Congress and the public before he could build a case for striking Syria. Boxed in, Obama seized upon a Russian proposal to put Syria’s weapons in the hands of the international community. It’s an impractical solution, a fig leaf. Either Obama trusts Russian President Vladimir Putin (a mistake) or he is a partner in deceit (an outrage). A Democratic strategist who works closely with the White House, and who requested anonymity to avoid political retribution, told me, “This has been one of the most humiliating episodes in presidential history.”

Too cute by half: Obama and his allies are masters of “spin,” packaging partial truths and outright distortions to a malleable public. With Syria, their dark arts are on full display. There is no other way to explain the White House disowning Secretary of State John Kerry’s call for Syria to turn over its stockpiles until the savvy Putin seized on the off-the-cuff remark as a way to protect ally Bashar al-Assad. Suddenly, the White House is touting the Putin plan as their brainchild, an outcome Obama had in mind when he travelled to Russia. Don’t buy it. A broader problem is the Obama White House’s inability to break through the clutter of 21st century media to educate and persuade Americans on policy, a communications conundrum that dates to the 2009 health-care debate.

No friends: No student of the presidency would claim that Obama’s problems with Congress could be solved simply by schmoozing them. There are structural and political problems that no amount of alcohol can solve. But as a matter of history and common sense, Obama could do better for himself and his causes if he got to know Congress better – if he listened and engaged in a way that pushes leaders toward solutions that help both sides. Instead, Obama has what one former top adviser called a “check-the-box” approach to Washington relations. He’ll spend enough time to maintain appearances, nothing more, and lectures people who demand to be heard. And so, as he faced an international and constitutional crisis, Obama and his team were in a familiar state: isolated, insular, and alone.

Concerning George W. Bush, he got congressional approval to use force against Iraq.  He got the 20,000-troop surge, and the funding for it after Democrats took Congress in 2006.  Ironically, Democrats campaigned on reining in the war that year.   Say what you want about the Bush Doctrine, it was tangible, not amorphous, as in Obama’s case.  The point is that Bush was able to get Congress to back his war.  Obama can’t.  He has performance problems.

In some ways, Obama’s foreign policy is more destabilizing than the Bush Doctrine.  Regardless, it shows that making good speeches isn’t what makes good foreign policy.  It’s still something this president hasn’t learned, which explains his appalling failure in this part of the world.

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IRS Gave Preferential Treatment To Black Nonprofits in 2012

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 - by Matt Vespa

The IRS targeted conservative Tea Party groups. It was part of the rather entertaining string of scandals the Obama administration was subjected to last summer.

It’s even been alleged that the agency looked at progressive groups as well.  Some liberal commentators noted that this neutralized the scandal aspect of the story, but it only added more names to the butcher’s bill. The latest development on the IRS fiasco centers on the agency giving preferential treatment to black nonprofits during the 2012 election.

Investor’s Business Daily reported on September 6 “at the same time the IRS harassed Republican nonprofit groups during the 2012 political campaign, it selectively advised black churches and other Democrat nonprofits on how far they can go in campaigning for President Obama and other Democrats.”

Paul Sperry, who wrote the article, also noted that during 2012, “top officials with both the IRS and Justice Department — including the IRS commissioner and attorney general — met in Washington with several dozen prominent black church ministers representing millions of voters to brief them on how to get their flocks out to vote without breaking federal tax laws.

The ‘summit’ on energizing the black vote in houses of worship was hosted by the Democrat-controlled Congressional Black Caucus inside the U.S. Capitol on May 30, 2012.” Attorney General Holder and IRS Commissioner Douglas Schulman were also in attendance.

The U.S. tax code specifically bars nonprofits and churches from “participating or intervening in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.”

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley described this incident as a “raw display of political favoritism,” and that if former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez organized a similar sit down with evangelical groups – the outrage would be “deafening.”

 

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