Liberals say pervasively that Republicans have no alternatives to replace Obamacare, and that their only plan seems to be a voucher system. Given how abysmal the GOP has been at messaging, that narrative is now entrenched. Yet, the fact remains that Republicans doled out many bills reforming health care in America. Even George W. Bush offered alternatives to help curb costs and maintain the quality of care during his presidency. Democrats may not have liked their plans, but they exist nonetheless. Chris Conover at Forbes listed the Republican history on health care reform in his August 28 post. Let’s go down the line.
Let’s start with 5 comprehensive health reform proposals that have actually been introduced in Congress—some well before President Obama even was nominated for president, and all months before the House (11/7/09) or Senate (12/24/09) voted on what eventually became Obamacare.
- Ten Steps to Transform Health Care in America Act (S. 1783) introduced by Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) July 12, 2007.
- Every American Insured Health Act introduced by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Corker (R-TN) with co-sponsors Tom Coburn (R-OK), Mel Martinez (formerly R-FL) and Elizabeth Dole (formerly R-NC) on July 26, 2007.
- Senators Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Healthy Americans Act on January 18, 2007 and re-introduced the same bill on February 5, 2009.
- Patients’ Choice Act of 2009 introduced by Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Devin Nunes (R-CA) on May 20, 2009.
- H.R. 2300, Empowering Patients First Act introduced July 30, 2009 by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).
Likewise, conservative market-oriented health policy scholars have developed a rich menu of potential replacement plans for Obamacare:
- Individual Pay or Play proposed in 2005 by John Goodman; this is a minimalist version of a broader reform envisaged by Goodman built on converting the tax exclusion into universal tax credits.
- Health Status Insurance originally proposed by John Cochrane in 1995.
- Universal Health Savings Accounts proposed by John Goodman and Peter Ferrara in 2012. This combines fixed tax credits with individual pay or play and health status insurance concepts along with Roth-style Health Savings Accounts.
- Fixed tax credits. A variety of proposals have centered on using fix tax credits to replace the current inefficient and unfair tax exclusion for employer-provided health benefits. Two good explanations of how that would work are here:
- James C. Capretta and Robert E. Moffit, “How to Replace Obamacare,” National Affairs, no. 11 (Spring 2012).
- James C. Capretta. Constructing an Alternative to Obamacare: Key Details for a Practical Replacement Program. American Enterprise Institute, December 2012.
- Income-Related Tax Credits proposed by Mark Pauly and John Hoff in Responsible Tax Credits (2002) and endorsed by the American Medical Association. More recently, 8 scholars from Harvard, University of Chicago, and USC–Jay Bhattacharya, Amitabh Chandra, Michael Chernew, Dana Goldman, Anupam Jena, Darius Lakdawalla,Anup Malani and Tomas Philipson—releasedBest of Both Worlds: Uniting Universal Coverage and Personal Choice in Health Care (2013) which also is built around a model of individual health insurance subsidized with income-related tax credits.
- Flexible Benefits Tax Credit For Health Insurance by Lynn Etheredge in 2001.
- Near-Universal Health Insurance Exchanges proposed in 2001 by Sara Singer, Alan Garber and Alain Enthoven (covers only non-elderly).
- Universal Health Insurance Exchanges proposed in 2013 by former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy (covers Medicare and Medicaid in addition to privately insured).
What about the Bush plan in 2007? Conover said that Dubya proposed:
[A] sweeping health reform plan that would have replaced the current tax exclusion for employer-provided coverage with standard tax deductions for all individuals and families. The Bush plan called for a tax deduction that would have applied to payroll taxes as well as income taxes. Moreover, if one were worried about non-filers, the subsidy could easily have instead been structured as a refundable tax credit in which case even those without any income taxes would have gotten an additional amount. This is the kind of policy detail that easily could have been negotiated had the Democrats been in a cooperative mood in 2007. They were not.
What’s sad is that the Bush plan actually was superior to Obamacare when it comes to providing universal coverage. Remember, Obamacare actually does not provided universal coverage. The latest figures from CBO says that when it is fully implemented in 2016, Obamacare will cut the number of uninsured by only 45%, covering 89% of the non-elderly. Even if illegal immigrants are excluded, this percentage rises to only 92%. In contrast, the Bush plan (without a mandate!) would have cut the number of uninsured by 65%. But that’s ancient history.
WOW! Bush’s plan would’ve cut the number of uninsured Americans by 65%!? Liberals will do their best to keep this fact buried.
President Obama deployed the teflon protocol yesterday. He said, “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line…my credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility is on the line, and America and Congress’ credibility’s on the line.” Mr. President, you’re lying. Your red line for Syria has been mentioned in press briefings by Jay Carney – and it’s on your website. You can’t hide your egregiously overt attempt to isolate yourself from a potential disaster in Syria. Also, when you mention America in your statement, that means you, sir!
So, let’s go down memory lane, and remember the various red lines Obama set for Syria before he figured out that his toothless foreign policy is the epitome of ineffectual.
In August 2012, Obama Said That The Use Or Movement Of Chemical Weapons In Syria Would Be A “Red Line” That Would “Change My Calculus.” OBAMA: “We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people. We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks To The White House Press Corps, Washington, DC, 8/20/12)
Obama: “That’s A Red Line For Us And That There Would Be Enormous Consequences If We Start Seeing Movement On The Chemical Weapons…” “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks To The White House Press Corps, Washington, DC, 8/20/12)
Jay Carney, In May 2013: “The President’s Use Of The Term Red Line Was Deliberate And Was Based On U.S. Policy.”QUESTION: “When the President made his comment about the red line for the first time in an August news conference almost a year ago, did he go further than he had intended? Further than he and the staff had discussed?” CARNEY: “The President’s use of the term red line was deliberate and was based on U.S. policy. The world knew that the Syrian government possessed chemical weapons, and we had a concern that as the regime was increasingly beleaguered, it might use chemical weapons against the Syrian people in desperation. The message that the President delivered that day was the same message that he was delivering in private. It was one that he and others in the administration have reinforced on multiple occasions ever since. And, as I said, it was consistent with what we were saying both to the Assad regime and to others privately.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, 5/6/13)
Carney, On If The White House Was “Doubling Down On The Red Line Comment”: “What The President Made Clear Is That It Was A Red Line And That It Was Unacceptable…” QUESTION: “So you’re doubling down on the red line comment. Is there no concern that by doing this you’re raising expectations for some kind of action? Because you’re now being criticized for not acting.” CARNEY: “Well, what the President made clear is that it was a red line and that it was unacceptable and that it would change his calculus as he viewed the situation in Syria because the use of chemical weapons represents the kind of escalation and threat that I just described.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, 5/6/13)
Carney, In April 2013: “The President Has Made Clear … That The Use Of Chemical Weapons Or The Transfer Of Chemical Weapons To Terrorist Groups Would Cross A Red Line.” QUESTION: “Jay, on Syria, where exactly is that red line?” CARNEY: “The President has made clear, as he did again Friday, that the use of chemical weapons or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups would cross a red line. What we have made clear, and we can go over it again, is that we have established with varying degrees of confidence that there have been incidents of chemical weapons used, sarin, in particular, in a limited fashion in Syria. We are now working to build upon that evidence to increase the amount of evidence to find specifically what happened, what occurred, who was responsible and build that case, if you will.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, 4/29/13)
Carney, In April 2013: “We Have Made Clear, As The President Did I Believe From This Podium, That The Use Or Proliferation Of Chemical Weapons Is A Red Line As Far As He’s Concerned When It Comes To The Syrian Regime.” QUESTION: “Quick related question on that. DNI Clapper was on the Hill today, and in some important testimony he said directly that if Assad falls, he said, it’s a ‘tough call whether or not the chemical weapons stockpile can be secured.’ How worried are you about that? It sounds like a pretty dramatic statement from the DNI.” MR. CARNEY: “Well, there’s no question, as we’ve stated all along, that the disposition of chemical weapons in Syria is a matter of concern to the United States and our allies and partners — a matter of great concern obviously to countries in the region. And we have made clear, as the President did I believe from this podium, that the use or proliferation of chemical weapons is a red line as far as he’s concerned when it comes to the Syrian regime.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, 4/11/13)
Carney, In December 2012: “On The Issue Of Syria’s Chemical Weapons, We Have Been — And The President Has Been — Exceedingly Clear About The Red Line That You Mentioned.” CARNEY: “We have worked with our international partners to help the Syrian opposition form itself and to take steps to prepare for a post-Assad Syria in which there is a government that reflects the will and wishes of the Syrian people, and respects the liberties of the Syrian people. The fact of the matter is that Assad’s brutality has earned him a dismal place in history, and we continue to work with our partners to help hasten the day when that regime is no longer in any control of any part of Syria. In the meantime, on the issue of Syria’s chemical weapons, we have been — and the President has been — exceedingly clear about the red line that you mentioned. And we continue to make clear that, if the Assad regime were to use chemical weapons in response to the fact that the opposition has been making gains and that their brutal crackdown has not worked, or if they were to engage in proliferation, there will be consequences. And this is a grave matter, and one that the President takes very seriously as do our many international partners on this issue.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, 12/4/12)
White House Official, In April 2013: “The President Has Set A Clear Red Line As It Relates To The United States That The Use Of Chemical Weapons Or The Transfer Of Chemical Weapons To Terrorist Groups Is A Red Line That Is Not Acceptable To Us…” WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: “We go on to reaffirm that the President has set a clear red line as it relates to the United States that the use of chemical weapons or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups is a red line that is not acceptable to us, nor should it be to the international community. It’s precisely because we take this red line so seriously that we believe there is an obligation to fully investigate any and all evidence of chemical weapons use within Syria.” (White House,Background Conference Call On Syria, 4/25/13)
White House Official: “The President Means What He Says When He Set That Red Line. And Keep In Mind, He Is The One Who Laid Down That Marker.” OFFICIAL: “But I think nobody should have any mistake about what our red line is. It is when we firmly establish that there has been chemical weapons use within Syria, that is not acceptable to the United States, nor is the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist organizations. And the people in Syria and the Assad regime should know that the President means what he says when he set that red line. And keep in mind, he is the one who laid down that marker. He’s the one who directed that we provide this information to the public. And he’s the one who directed that we do everything we can to further investigate this information so that we can establish in credible, corroborated, factual basis what exactly took place.” (White House, Background Conference Call On Syria, 4/25/13)
Does this mean we should attack Syria? No! But it does show that the president’s rhetoric isn’t always successful in charming dictators.
Joseph D. Morrissey, a Democratic member of the Virginia House of Delegates, who brandished an AK-47 assault rifle in the Virginia Capitol is in some serious trouble. No, he didn’t slam a man’s head into a brick wall, which he plead guilty to in 1999. This time it involves Morrissey allegedly having “inappropriate contact with a minor.” Bill McKelway of the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote on August 29 that the Virginia House of Delegates member:
[I]s under investigation by Henrico County police in connection with his involvement with a teenage girl from Chesterfield County.
Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney Shannon Taylor acknowledged Wednesday that Morrissey, himself a former chief prosecutor in the city of Richmond, is under investigation, but she declined to provide further comment because the matter involves a juvenile and because no charges have been brought in the case.
Sources close to the investigation said Henrico police were summoned to a residence Morrissey owns near Virginia Center Commons on Friday night and were able to locate a teen from Chesterfield. Officers took the girl to her father, who was waiting nearby.
No other details were made public Wednesday night, and Morrissey did not respond to requests for comment. His law partner, Paul Goldman, said he has not been in contact with Morrissey for two weeks, a situation he said is not uncommon because the two lawyers, who formed a partnership last year, are involved in different aspects of the law.
More details to come on this bizarre story.
Slate, a Washington Post-affiliated site, is known for being a cesspool of left-wing drivel. Yet, it was the usual nonsense – with the occasional piece that slammed Obama on the lack transparency, drones, or whatever liberals thought was wrong within his administration. Now, Allison Benedikt, the managing editor for Slate‘s feminist Double X blog, has a problem with private school. If you send your kid to private school, you’re a bad bad person. And people wonder why feminism is other bad f-word.
In Benedikt’s August 29 post, she admits she’s not a “educational policy wonk.” She’s just “judgmental.” Yeah, this sounds like a girl you want to bring home to mom and dad. Yet, wait for her grand policy proposal to fix education:
It’s simple! Everyone needs to be invested in our public schools in order for them to get better. Not just lip-service investment, or property tax investment, but real flesh-and-blood-offspring investment. Your local school stinks but you don’t send your child there? Then its badness is just something you deplore in the abstract. Your local school stinks and you do send your child there? I bet you are going to do everything within your power to make it better.
Many of my (morally bankrupt) colleagues send their children to private schools. I asked them to tell me why. Here is the response that most stuck with me: “In our upper-middle-class world, it is hard not to pay for something if you can and you think it will be good for your kid.” I get it: You want an exceptional arts program and computer animation and maybe even Mandarin. You want a cohesive educational philosophy. You want creativity, not teaching to the test. You want great outdoor space and small classrooms and personal attention. You know who else wants those things? Everyone.
Whatever you think your children need—deserve—from their school experience, assume that the parents at the nearby public housing complex want the same. No, don’t just assume it. Do something about it. Send your kids to school with their kids. Use the energy you have otherwise directed at fighting to get your daughter a slot at the competitive private school to fight for more computers at the public school. Use your connections to power and money and innovation to make your local school—the one you are now sending your child to—better. Don’t just acknowledge your liberal guilt—listen to it.
So, Benedikt isn’t a fan of school choice – a typical liberal view – and calls her colleagues “morally bankrupt.” This isn’t a policy proposal, or a call for a “moral adjustment.” It’s a whiny rant.
Now, admittedly, I’m a product of private education, and it was great. At the same time, emphasizing this investment in public education has its problems, which are egregiously omitted from this piece. Additionally, I’m not even scratching the surface, but here are a few.
First, confidence in public education is abysmal. In fact, confidence levels have reached historic lows. There isn’t a lot of room for positive advocacy when only 29% of Americans trust the system. Second, teachers unions incessant habit to protest for unsustainable pay and benefits raises isn’t helping the image of teachers or education. Keep in mind, teachers only work nine months out of the year, unlike the rest of us. Also, while the teachers are protesting, they’re not instructing their students. Yeah, talk about a crackerjack education. Lastly, we need to talk about the family.
This is probably one of the most important aspects of the crisis. The growing number of single mothers in America – and the erosion of the American family – has played a part in the crumbling education system. Single mothers aren’t to blame. After all, there are only so many hours in the day. Yet, in 1966, the Coleman Report was released, which shattered the typical liberal equation that x amount of dollars should equal y results.
It stated that the success of a school district depended on the family structure of the respective student body. Granted there were other factors such as the amount of television watched, how many days were missed, how much reading material was present in the home etc. but family is the key to it all. George Will noted in a lecture at Washington University in St. Louis in December of 2012 that because the family structure has dissolved – and we still don’t know why – there’s an emerging class of youngsters who don’t know their shapes or colors. Yes, the benefits of a family dinner are quite astounding. As Will noted, you’ll be surprised how much of an impact saying “here honey, have a round green pea” will have concerning development of your child’s skills in this area.
Regardless, the shortfalls in our system are stark. Recently, 11,000 – or 80% – of NYC’s high school seniors had to re-learn basic skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic to enter community college. So, frankly, it’s rational parents have questions about public education.
James Pethokoukis of AEI cited his colleague Michael McShane in a response post published today saying Benedikt’s piece lacked data – and logic for that matter:
Oh, by the way, do we have any data on the educational impact of helping lower-income and poor kids escape the public education monopoly? Like, say, data from the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program? Well, the US Education Department’s OSP study found the program, McShane points out, “produced $2.62 in benefits for every dollar spent on it. In other words, the return on public investment for the private-school voucher program during its early years was 162 percent.” What’s more, “The OSP increased the high-school graduation rate of students by 12 percentage points if they were lucky enough to win the annual scholarship lottery.”
One more from McShane:
It’s also a proud tradition in America (since Pierce v. Society of Sisters in 1925) to recognize that children are not instruments of the state. They do not exist to promote the goals of the government or the community, they (and their parents) are free to (within limits) to be educated as they best see fit. Obviously this person has no idea about the anti-Catholicism and anti-immigrant racism that lead people to make the same argument that she is making, albeit 100 years ago.
In all, Benedikt is pyromanic in a field of straw men. Additionally, she has called the president a bad man for sending his daughters to private school. Within the liberal worldview, that’s so racist.
There’s the right way to commemorate Martin Luther King’s legacy – and then there’s Mark Pryor’s way. On August 27, the incumbent Democratic senator was caught playing the race card in a pathetic attempt to divide the Arkansas electorate. Pryor is vulnerable, inept, and desperate. As a result, his campaign decided to go through Rep. Tom Cotton’s columns in the Harvard Crimson. Why? It’s because Cotton wrote about liberals’ favorite subject: race in America.
Slate, a Washington Post-affiliated site, wrote about Cotton’s pieces. Emma Roller, who wrote the post last Wednesday, said:
Here’s the most salient part, by my eye [emphasis added]:
The systematic and quantitative case they make is difficult to refute, and it comports with simple common sense: If one counts by race, then race counts, which of course means that it divides rather than unites.
Common sense, however, has never been the forte of race-hustling charlatans like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. Unfortunately, it also seems lost on supposedly educated people like Roger Wilkins, Lani Guinier, and Derek Bell. They and other leaders of the civil-rights establishment—one of those many groups that lives off the capital of a noble heritage—blithely ignore all data on racial attitudes in America, as well as all trends of behavior that prove the sincerity of those attitudes. They state that racism is still “as virulent and as obvious as weeds in a garden,” racism is “worse today than it was in the ’60s,” and that “white men are the most lying creatures on the face of the earth.”
These are not unintelligent people. They could pass the QRR and can analyze trends and data. They know, however, that to acknowledge the incontrovertible arguments of this book would be to marginalize themselves even more than has already been done. If race relations are better now than at any time in our history and would almost certainly improve if we stopped emphasizing race in our public life, what would the self-appointed ‘civil rights leaders’ have to do with themselves? For this reason, they continue to make hysterical and wholly unsubstantiated claims that inflame public opinion and create a gnawing cynicism in the American people.
Oh! I can hear the saliva hitting the ground. This content always gets left-wingers foaming at the mouth – but here’s the catch. It was Pryor’s people pushing this narrative. Here’s the screen shot thanks to Jason Tolbert of Talk Business Arkansas
Well, the Huffington Post must be proud given that one of their contributors lobbed a sexually graphic attack against conservative commentator and radio host Dana Loesch.
Jason Howerton of the Blaze wrote on Aug. 27 that Huff Po blogger Pascal Robert, known as Thought Merchant on Twitter, tweeted at Loesch saying, “I know you would look lovely with thigh high stockings.” He then goes on to say that he fantasizes about her being raped by a black man.
Robert seemingly went off on Loesch after she tweeted a link to a Politifact article that discredited an anti-gun ad.
Pascal is described as a “sheer political independent,” and “one of the most sophisticated online sources for commentary on issues affecting the African American community at that time.”
So, what’s “sophisticated” about promoting unwanted sexual contact with married women, Robert?
Wendy Davis, the pro-abortion Texas State Senator, is going to run for governor. Robert Miller, a lobbyist, has heard about the decision, and posted about it yesterday:
Credible sources tell me that Sen. Wendy Davis will run for Governor in 2014 and not seek reelection to Texas Senate District 10. It will set up a high stakes match-up with Attorney General Greg Abbott in the November 4, 2014, general election.
Sen. Davis believes that she faces a tough race regardless of whether she seeks reelection to the Senate or runs for Governor. In 2010, Gov. Rick Perry received 52.7% of the vote in SD 10 compared to 44.6% for Mayor Bill White. In 2012, Gov. Romney defeated President Obama in SD 10 53.3% to 45.4%.
Sen. Davis has been elected twice in SD 10, so it clearly is a winnable race — but tough. Sen. Davis is now a national figure for Texas Democrats, and a senate reelection run would draw in national money both for and against her. If she is going to have a tough nationalized race, she would prefer it be for Governor.
The last point is true. In 2012, Davis only won re-election in her senate district by 51% – with Obama on the ballot. Numbers wise, it was a little over 6,000 votes – and her Republican challenger ran an “abysmal” campaign. She should expect a different campaign, especially with pro-lifers waiting to go in for the kill. Katie Pavlich at Townhall noted that her position on abortion isn’t popular outside the liberal fortifications that are Austin’s suburbs.
So can she win? Not likely. Despite Davis repeatedly stating Texas women agree with her on the issue of “women’s health,” a majority of women in the Lone Star State and throughout the country approve of a ban on abortions after five months of pregnancy, something Davis has risen to fame for opposing.
Ed Morrissey also wrote that Democrats will have to “nationalize” the race to raise money for Davis since she’s on the extreme left concerning abortion – and filibustered a law that’s supported by 62% of Texans. Then again, 60% of American women support restrictions on late-term abortion, specifically 20-week bans. If Republicans can produce a good ad campaign highlighting Davis’ insane position on abortion, the outside money won’t be coming in to fill her coffers. Alas, in comes Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and other pro-abortion groups that will probably flood her with cash. Now, that’s a classy way to run a campaign – a political machine oiled with the blood of children. In fact, only the abortion industry could foot her bill, as the Democrats will probably be trying to use their resources to defend their majority in the U.S. Senate. A task made even more onerous by the fact that they have no heavyweight candidates in any of their races.
Morrissey added that:
If nothing else, a big donor response could force the GOP to spend its own national resources in Texas to bolster Abbott and deny them the ability to shift those funds into other races. That still seems unlikely to happen, though, even with the opportunity Davis’ 15 minutes of fame provides. Democrats will be spending most of their effort into salvaging enough red-state seats in the US Senate to deny Republicans a majority. The Texas gubernatorial race will be an expensive luxury for Democrats in 2014, no matter how attractive they believe a Davis candidacy might be to their deep-pocket donors outside of Texas.
Davis might well run for the top spot, and Democrats might be wooing her with promises of big support from donors, but in the end Davis will have to do most of the work herself in Texas — and attempting to block a bill supported by 62% of Texas voters won’t win her many more votes in the end than Bill White got the last time around.
How have Democrats faired in statewide elections since Gov. Ann Richards in the 1990s? Miller noted that:
The last Democrat to be elected Texas Governor was Ann Richards in 1990. Since then, the Democratic nominee has received the following percentage of the vote: 1994 – Richards 45.7%; 1998 – Mauro 31.2%; 2002 – Sanchez 40%; 2006 – Bell 29.8%; 2010 – White 42.3%. Public Policy Polling released a poll July 2, 2013, showing General Abbott leading Sen. Davis 48% to 40%, and the same poll had Gov. Perry leading Sen. Davis 53% to 39%. Texas is still a deeply red state, and running for Governor as a Democrat in Texas is a steep uphill climb.
However, the other angle that won’t be explored by the media is that Davis is the sacrificial lamb – or she could be that politically stupid. She’s a catalyst to get the young, single women out in the 2014 midterms. Democrats know they’ll lose in Texas, but they’ll get the Sandra Flukes of America to donate, canvass, and vote for their people. Yeah, that surely captures the camaraderie of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – on crack.
Davis will be the DNC’s “abortion barbie,” raise a boatload from the die-hard pro-aborts, then they’ll dump her on the side of the road after November. She’ll have a tough time mounting a political comeback, if any, in the near future since her state senate seat is gone, and Julian Castro is set to dominate the scene in Texas. She’s either a political pawn, or again – she’s just a moron.
One factor that hasn’t changed in all of this is that Texas’ Attorney General, and presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee, Greg Abbott has $18-22 million in the war chest. Davis has some serious fundraising to do.
At the same time, while the name of a reliable source telling us about Davis’ doomed gubernatorial run is good to know– the information could be completely wrong.
Yes, not even pizza is safe from the crosshairs of Obamacare. The Obama administration’s massive federal power grab has the National Restaurant Association (NRA) – and the American Pizza Community (APC) – feeling something of buyer’s remorse for their part in lobbying for Section 4205, which is an onerous regulation that calls for restaurant chains with more than twenty locations to label their menus with nutritional information. For example, it’s going to cost each Domino’s location around $5,000 a year. There are 5,000 locations. You do the math. It’s also sucked in convenience and grocery stores into this maelstrom of government idiocy.
I had the chance to speak with American Pizza Community representative Jenny Fouracre-Petko, who works for Domino’s, to discuss the details of the third most onerous regulation in 2010, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
In all, the Affordable Care Act will cost us $2.7 trillion dollars in the first decade, with roughly 80 million man-hours spent to comply with all of the regulations. The House Ways and Means Committee puts those figures into some perspective.
So, what can be done in 79,229,503 hours?
Let’s get back to Domino’s. Liz Thatcher of the Competitive Enterprise Institute wrote last July that:
Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle report[ed] that there are 34 million ways to order a pizza at his chain, and as a result some menu items would have calorie ranges as wide as 2,000. Also, for most customers, pizza is a shared meal, so nutritional value by the slice would be more useful than the nutritional value of an entire pizza, which is what the new rule would require Domino’s to provide. Doyle calculated that menu labeling could cost each Domino’s restaurant $1,600 to $4,700 annually.
Yet, what is Section 4205? Jenny Fouracre-Petko gave a detailed history of the regulations beginnings – and its faults.
This was part of the PPACA. And it was a piece of legislation that requires that – essentially chain restaurants – restaurants with more than twenty units nationwide put calories on their menus and menu boards…And it’s overriding a bunch of local and state regulations that required such menu labeling on menus and menu boards that were all very disparate. No two regulations really matched as far as what their requirements were – for instance, in California, you could do a poster, or in some places you could label by the slice. In some places, we had to label pizza by the whole pizza. So, this federal legislation was pre-empting a lot of local regulations that were out there that didn’t match. So if you were a national restaurant chain, it was very difficult to kind of keep up with these… [sic inaudible] So, the national legislation pre-empts all those laws, which is great. The problem for the pizza industry is that – the law was created with sort of a traditional McDonald’s or Olive Garden-serving restaurant format – and the restaurant industry is pretty diverse.
We have a lot of different formats and restaurants. For pizza delivery, like Dominos, Papa Johns, and a lot of Pizza Huts – a lot of the delivery/carry-out primary pizza restaurants – there was a lot of specifics in the rules that they were written by the FDA that were sort of a one-size fits all solution that just didn’t work for the pizza communities.
So, for instance, if Domino’s, which is where I work, we’re part of the American pizza community, the majority of our customers don’t walk into our stores, or ordering at out stores. They’re ordering remotely. They’re calling in their orders. They’re ordering online. It’s very common in the pizza industry for people to only go into the store to carry out a pizza they’ve already ordered. They rarely walking in and ordering. And so, requiring expensive menu boards to be labeled can cost up to $5,000 a year for a menu board to change all of them out. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
As well as some of the particulars of the legislation don’t make sense. Menu labeling by the slice would make a lot more sense than menu labeling a whole pizza…it forces you to do big calorie ranges, which are just not providing customers with useful information. And so, we’re really asking, for the pizza players, we’re really asking for some specific changes. We’re not asking to get out of the law at all. We’ve been providing nutritional information to customers for a year, but we know the way to do it that’s the most accessible – and useable – by our customers.
And so, that’s our portion of this regulation that impacts us. For our peers in the restaurant and convenient store industry, they were actually never part of this patchwork of legislation out there in menu labeling to begin with, but when they created a federal legislation – it kind of sucks them into it. Even though they weren’t a part of the original idea behind this. They were sort of pulled in by the FDA. And, as a result, are being required to do menu labeling in restaurants and convenient stores, which – for the large part – 75% of what they sell is already packaged goods that are labeled.
So, it’s a pretty onerous burden for them as well to have to go through all of this extensive menu labeling on things that are often very seasonal items…are created in a situation, like a salad bar, where one day they might have apple slices, and the next day it could be orange slices. It sort of depends on what they’ve got on hand in the grocery. And so, it’s a pretty onerous legislation, piece of regulation to put on an industry that provides a fair amount of nutritional information already. And it’s a pretty big financial burden that they bear to comply with this legislation.
So, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ legislation that she’s introduced fixes it, so that the convenient stores and the grocery stores, who were really never part of the original state and local-level regulations to begin with, can be exempted if they are primarily operating as grocery and convenient stores, and not as restaurants. And for the pizza industry, it kind of gets us out of the one-size fits all aspect of the regulations that just don’t make sense for us.
Now, what has the American Pizza Community done to make their case to Congress? Fouracre said:
We’ve [APC] done a lot actually. We’ve submitted docket comments on the two rounds of draft regulations that were out there with our viewpoints on what the impact would be on out industry. Representatives from the American Pizza Community met during the time we were allowed to with the FDA to sort of explain this regulation, and its impacts, to them in person. We’ve had members of Congress write letters on our behalf to the FDA saying this is pretty onerous, please consider this as you’re writing the regulations – and [Reps.] Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Loretta Sanchez introducing legislation that they currently have in the House, as an attempt to try to fix this as well.
Then again, wasn’t this a NRA/APC initiative? Are they complicit in this regulatory fiasco?
They did. Nope. They did. Absolutely. Because the core of it is they wanted to get rid of this patchwork of state and local regulations, which makes sense –and we support that intent. I think the problem is that because pizza is a little bit different than a McDonald’s, or a Dunkin’ Donuts, or an Olive Garden, or some of those more traditional restaurants that you might think of – we just have a few different issues in some what other restaurant chains do. And we feel like that outside the box thinking needs to be applied because restaurants are a pretty big industry. There are a lot of different formats and styles. We don’t oppose the whole idea of superseding the local and state regulations, we just feel that in the rule making; we have some issues with how the rules are coming out of the FDA.
Now, Fouracre didn’t acknowledged complicity, but did admit that they lobbied for Section 4205. She also said that it’s going to take Domino’s employees 14 million man-hours to make sure they’re following the law.
On July 18, Gov. Rick Perry signed the bipartisan HB 2 into law, which bans abortions 20-weeks into a pregnancy. It’s another victory for the pro-life movement, and their struggle to build a culture of life in this country. In Colorado, North Carolina, and Ohio, pro-life legislation is being passed. Undoubtedly, pro-abortion activists are on the defensive, but the fight isn’t over. Live Action’s President, Lila Rose, is adamant that her organization’s educational efforts will continue until the unborn are given full legal recognition and protection under the law. That’s their legislative end game. Yet, is focusing on late-term abortion the area where pro-life activists can siphon off pro-abortion support?
Late-term abortion is almost universally rejected by the American public, with only 14% supporting such that a procedure should be legal in the third trimester. Is this the area where the pro-life movement can continue to build support for more pro-life legislation? In a discussion with Lila Rose about this issue, she said:
It’s the job of our movement, and particularly Live Action’s emphasis, have been in educating about the violence of abortion – and the humanity of the unborn child. A lot of that education has focused around the later term – second and third trimester – but we need to be educating about the child in the first trimester just as much. And the focal point of our movement should be the unequivocal statement that there’s no difference between the single cell zygote and the human rights of the child at full term. We need to be protecting the human being from the moment of their biological life, and that’s the mission of the pro-life movement. And we can never lose sight of that, especially in our educational efforts. So, I think, legislatively, you see a reflection of what is already accepted in our culture, which is that late-term abortion, is horrific and brutal. But our job, as educators, is to ensure that people understand the horror of abortion as it relates to the first trimester, so they can reject the killing of children as early as the first trimester.
Yet, that may have to be put on hold in light of the upcoming 2014 midterm elections. With Obamacare threatening to tank liberals’ agenda, Democrats will pivot the debate away from jobs and the economy – and towards the social issues. Abortion, some say, is at the forefront in the battle over Congress next year. Concerning providing political cover for pro-life candidates, Rose reasserted that Live Action is nonpartisan. And that they monitor both pro-abortion and pro-life candidates concerning their influence in advancing – or opposing – the abortion agenda.
Live Action News on our educational efforts are certainly going to be documenting any politician’s stance that is having an influence on abortion. Whether they’re pro-life or pro-choice, in fact, because we want to make sure that those who are pro-abortion are being called out for their extreme policies. So, that’s certainly our job as for the reporting arm of Live Action. And a quick note on the Republican vs. Democrat dynamic, we’re a nonpartisan organization. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, the human rights issue of abortion should be a no-brainer for a politician to say, “ok, I’m going to step out and stand up for women and children by protecting life, and legislating to protect life in the womb. So, I’m wondering, as many Americans are, including Democrats, especially those who are Democrats, where are the pro-life Democrats?
Concerning messaging, the Texas abortion battle brought out the worst in pro-choice rhetoric. The New York Times ran an op-ed about how one woman was “proud” of her mother’s abortion. Jessica Grose, who ironically writes a mommy blog for the Times, hoped that more women rejoice when they abort their “parasitic” babies. When asked if this rather depraved commentary would hurt the pro-choice movement in the long run, Rose noted that:
It’s an old and out of touch voice that claims to speak for women – the voice of the pro-abortion movement – which says that abortion is somehow empowering to women. Women – today – understand – many of them because of the pain they may have endured because of abortion, having abortion, or because of their lost brothers or sisters – or nieces of nephews – or cousins or friends. Over a fourth of all Americans have been killed by abortion over the last thirty or forty years. Women – today – are overwhelming recognizing that abortion doesn’t empower them. That abortion is the ultimate disempowerment of a woman because it turns her against her own flesh and blood. It tells a woman that she’s not enough. That she can’t do it. That she needs abortion. This violent act of hurting her own body – and her own emotional, psychological, and spiritual well being in killing her child – that she somehow needs abortion to be empowered. When a woman walks into an abortion clinic, she’s anything but empowered. She’s really facing suffering, and a feeling of a lack of power when she’s sitting on the abortion table – with her feet in stirrups –that’s a position of disempowerment. And usually it’s before an often-male abortionist, who has a record that would make any woman leave the building if they actually knew the history of medical malpractice, sometimes even sexual abuse activity, that some of these abortionists are involved in. So, the new voice that is coming out is that we can do better than abortion. And that human life matters so much that we – as a nation – can stand up for each other. Stand up for our women in tough situations, and stand up for our children, so that they don’t become the victims of the violence of abortion.
Regardless, Rose stated that there are numerous pieces of legislation where both pro-choice and pro-life camps can come to an agreement.
I think that anyone who claims that they’re pro-choice can join the pro-life movement in supporting the bills that are common sense regulation of the abortion industry. They can support the pro-life movement in promoting – and supporting – pregnancy resource centers that provide real choices, other choices and alternatives to abortion. And can promote common sense regulation that protects victims of sexual abuse. That ensures women have informed consent when they’re going in for an abortion. There’s a whole range of common sense legislation that is completely in the ballpark for a so-called pro-choice supporter to get behind. And it’s astonishing to see that so-called “women’s health advocates” have actually been fighting –tooth and nail – against any abortion regulation and restriction. They put abortion above protecting the health of women. They put the interests of powerful abortion businesses, which are a multi-million dollar industry, above the protection of women. And that’s shameful. And is the reason why the tide is definitely turning –in public opinion – against the s0-called pro-choice position. Because it’s recognized for what it is, which is a sham – it’s not really pro-choice. It’s pro-abortion. And it’s pro-powerful abortion interests that are making millions of dollars off of the sufferings of women.
Concerning whether Live Action would lend a hand in other ongoing battles dealing with the protection the unborn, like in Colorado, Rose said:
I think what’s happening in Colorado. What’s happening in North Carolina…what’s happening in Ohio – I mean there are efforts and initiatives happening all over the country at a growing level to tackle abortion, and to ensure that – to seek some protections –at least – for women and children. And what our role in all of this is at Live Action is to fuel these fires through the powerful – and persuasive – educational efforts and campaigns that we do on a daily basis. And we certainly stand with any legislation that is going to protect the child in the womb, but we believe the end game for our movement has to be a human life amendment, or the complete protection of the personhood of the child from the moment of conception. That is the legislative endgame in order to ensure law secures the human rights of the child. In the meantime, another important step is ensuring that all taxpayer funding for abortion providers is immediately stopped.
This is a long war. While most American may oppose abortion in most, or all, cases – the pendulum hasn’t swung all that convincingly to suggest the pro-abortion movement is down and out. As Allahpundit at Hot Air said last winter, “[It] looks like there’s plenty of room to marshal public support for greater restrictions on second- and third-term abortions, but an absolute ban on the practice would be a very heavy lift.” Nevertheless, pro-life organizations, like Live Action, are unfazed – and will continue their struggle to defend the unborn. As with any political battle, let’s see what happens.
Unless Illinois legislators address the $97 billion dollar pension shortfall, they won’t be getting paid. This initiative was set in motion by the state’s Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, to spur action on addressing the nation’s worst unfunded pension liability. Yet, not all are happy with this decision. Some in the Illinois legislature have called Quinn’s actions constitutionally questionable, but acknowledged that the ordinary residents of Illinois see it as a way to get something done. As a result of the governor’s actions, Illinois’ Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says lawmakers’ paychecks have been halted.
Tammy Webber of the Associated Press wrote on July 24 that:
Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Thursday that she has no choice but to withhold lawmakers’ paychecks, citing a precedent-setting court case that bars her from paying state employees without a budget appropriation or court order.
Gov. Pat Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators’ paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month, saying it wouldn’t be restored until lawmakers addressed the state’s $97 billion pension shortfall. He also suspended his own pay.
“It is my deep hope that this matter is resolved expeditiously,” either by a court or by lawmakers agreeing on a solution to the pension crisis, said Topinka, who undertook a legal review to determine if Quinn’s actions were constitutional. The Riverside Republican said Thursday that Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office advised her of the case that appears to bar her from acting
She called Quinn’s actions a “serious precedent that is being created,” and said the stalemate was “no way to run government.”
Quinn’s action “sets a very poor constitutional precedent for the executive branch to try to force legislative action through a payroll decision,” said state Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Riverside Democrat who sits on a bipartisan committee looking at possible pension solutions after the House and Senate deadlocked on an approach.
But Zalewski acknowledged that the governor’s action is resonating with average citizens “who just want to see us get something done.” He said the committee is probably a few weeks away from a resolution.
If there’s no action to address budgetary perils, you don’t get paid. That’s bold.
Yes, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis may have delayed the bill that would ban abortions at 20 weeks last month, but that fight is over. And the pro-life movement has won. Today, Texas Governor Rick Perry signed HB 2 into law – which is supported by 62% of Texans. It’s a tremendous victory in the culture war for life.
In a press release, the Catholic Association stated:
Today is a great day for women and babies. Women will be safer and countless babies in Texas will be spared the pain of late-term abortions. Rick Perry is a brave man for standing up to the mob tactics of the abortion lobby and has earned the respect of pro-life women and men across the country. We hope other states as well as the federal government follow Texas’ lead in standing up for women and babies.”
Similarly, Lila Rose, President of Live Action, said:
Texas took an important step today toward true equal protection of unalienable rights. Pain-capable babies saved from dismemberment and women’s health safeguarded with practical surgical standards – this is what passed in Austin over Planned Parenthood’s and NARAL’s supporters angry objections. Texas is moving closer to an ethos that enshrines the inherent dignity of every human being, and their fundamental human right to life. May the rest of the nation
On the other hand, the Associated Press engaged in hyperbole concerning their feelings about this development.
Last week, Andrew Sullivan penned a rather long blog post about the evolving economic – and political – dynamics of the world. Yet, when he reached his commentary about America, there was a hazy moment where he blamed House Republicans for obstructing Obama’s various appointments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is so frustrated that he’s considering going nuclear on the matter, especially with regards to the nominees for the National Labor Relations Board. The problem is the House doesn’t confirm executive branch appointments. That’s the job of the U.S. Senate. In his July 9 post, Sullivan wrote:
In America, violence, mercifully, is held at bay in these struggles, but the political system has effectively ground to a halt under their weight. Despite getting fewer votes than the Democrats for president, House and Senate, the Republicans are using their gerrymandered majority in the House to block even executive branch appointees from approval. They are determined to destroy universal healthcare. They are launching a national campaign to shut down abortion clinics. They deny climate science. They voted against tax cuts – purely because a Democratic president proposed them.
Let’s take a look at the U.S. Constitution, specifically Article II Section 2.
He [POTUS] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.
It seems Mr. Sullivan misread the document. As for Reid, the nuclear option is still on the table. They’re still discussing a way to avoid this legislative kefuffle right now.
Although, while Sullivan may be clueless on executive branch appointments, Reid is just morally bankrupt. Back in 2005, when Republicans were foolishly considering the same thing to confirm Janice Rogers Brown, William Pryor, and Priscilla Owen – Bush’s judicial appointments– the gentleman from Nevada had this to say back then:
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV): “I would never, ever consider breaking the rules to change the rules. I never suggested that at all. I say to my friend, I want to work something out. I repeat that for probably the fifth time here today, but in the process we cannot give up the basic rights this country and this Senate have had for more than 200 years.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4242, 4/26/05)
REID: “As I said, violating 217 years of standard procedure in the Senate, changing the rules by breaking the rules, is about as far as you could get from a constitutional option.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5250, 5/17/05)
REID: “One of the good things about this institution we have found in the 214 years it has been in existence is that the filibuster, which has been in existence since the beginning, from the days of George Washington–we have changed the rules as relates to it a little bit but never by breaking the rules.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.4437, 4/27/05)
REID: “The time has come for those Senators of the majority to decide where they stand, whether they will abide by the rules of the Senate or break the rules for the first time in 217 years–217 years–of American history. Will they support the checks and balances established by the Founding Fathers… It is hard for me to intellectually understand, emotionally understand how a Senator could say they know we are right but they are willing to break the rules to change the rules.” (Sen. Reid, Congressional Record, S.5198, 5/16/05)
UPDATE: Stephen Green reports that Senate Democrats have backed away from going nuclear.
Last month, I posted a story about the voter registration misgivings conservative have with immigration reform. James Pethokoukis at AEI said that if the eleven million illegals here were able to vote in 2012, Obama wouldn’t have won more swing states. Additionally, he would’ve performed a half a percentage point better with Hispanics. On the other hand, Republicans can still make inroads with Hispanics, whose younger voters tend to identify as independents upon reaching voting age.
Concerning the demographic shift, the Center for Immigration Studies stated the following last June.
- The record high of 15 percent projected for 2020 if the bill passes means that over just a 50-year period the foreign-born share of the population would have more than tripled, from 4.7 percent in 1970. There has never been a period in American history when the foreign-born share grew this fast.
- The size of foreign-born population doubled from 1990 to 2010, nearly tripled since 1980, and quadrupled since 1970. If S.744 becomes law it would quintuple by 2020, compared to 1970.
- The size of the foreign-born population will have increased from 9.6 million in 1970 to 31.1 million in 2000, to 65.2 million by 2033.
- Based on the CBO projections, the total size of the U.S. population will reach 351.8 million in 2023, an increase of 43.1 million compared to 2010. It will reach 381.5 million by 2033, a 72.8 million increase over the 2010 Census.
- Despite all this increase in the U.S. population, S.744 would have almost no impact on slowing the aging of American society. With or without S.744, 57 percent of the U.S. population will be of working age (18-64) in 2030.
- It is worth pointing out that the size and share of the foreign-born population and the share would not stabilize in 2033 under S.744. Both would continue to increase significantly after that date.
If the vast majority of these new immigrants become Democrats, then conservatives could be entering a long period in the political wilderness, but that’s only IF conservatives throw in the towel. Public opinion is shiftable sand. Therefore, there are no permanent victories in our society. Currently, the ball in the the Democrats’ court. As Allahpundit noted from Gallup, Hispanics lean towards the Democratic Party in all age groups.
Hispanics of All Ages Tilt Democratic http://t.co/wKT6mfRqTw
— Allahpundit (@allahpundit) July 15, 2013
However, younger Hispanics initially gravitate towards being unaffiliated voters, but eventually most become Democrats. Nevertheless, the fact that they choose to register as independents first presents a window of opportunity for conservatives. Gallup concluded in their July 15 poll saying:
The extent to which the increase in the Hispanic proportion of the young adult population pays off for Democratic candidates in actual voting remains to be seen, because Hispanic registration and voter turnout in national elections has historically been significantly lower than that of other segments of the population. For example, the Census Bureau estimated that 48% of the eligible Hispanic electorate voted in the 2012 presidential election, compared with 64% for whites and 66% for blacks.
The best-case scenario for Democrats is a continuation of the substantial Democratic tilt in political identification among Hispanics in the years ahead and a simultaneous increase in their political participation.
The game is not over yet. But it’s up to conservatives to make a concerted – and relentless – effort to target this eminently winnable demographic. We may not get all of them, but we can siphon away enough support from Democrats to keep our ideals competitive in future national elections. Generally, independent voters are closeted Republicans. Additionally, the numerous scandals by the Obama administration should neutralize the developing affinity for big government policies. Focusing on the Hispanic principles of work ethic, faith, and traditional values (for the most part) is where conservatives can be successful. We should all be looking forward to this challenge.
On July 13, former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer announced he wasn’t running in the ’14 senate race. To some, Schweitzer could’ve been the first legitimate Democratic heavyweight for the 2014 cycle. He garnered 65% of the vote in his 2008 re-election campaign – and probably would’ve won the election. Mr. Schweitzer claimed that he never considered running for the open seat. As Charles S. Johnson of the Missoulian reported on July 14:
‘I’m a doer,” Schweitzer said… I’m used to being in charge of things, getting things done,” Schweitzer said. “Unfortunately, the U.S. Senate is a place where things die…He added, I love Montana. I like my life in Montana right now. I’ve had eight years of public service.’
Additionally, Schweitzer declared, “I don’t want a job where I have to wear a suit and my dog [Jag] isn’t welcome.” Then again, the former governor did have skeletons in the closet. Brad Dayspring, NRSC Communications Director, stated:
‘Just two days ago, Senate Democrats were quoted promising Brian Schweitzer tremendous resources to get in the race. We did our homework and there was a lot of rust under Schweitzer’s hood – a LOT of rust. Just as important though is that Schweitzer looked at the race and realized he couldn’t win in light of how unpopular the Democrat agenda of higher taxes, bankrupting spending, and the ObamaCare train wreck is in Montana these days. Republicans will have a great candidate to ensure the Treasure State equal representation in the Senate.’
Nevertheless, Democrats have yet to find solid candidates in any of their races for next year. Alison Lundergan Grimes, who I’ll describe as a tentative one due to her possible access to the Clinton machine, rolled out her bid with no earned media, no website, and a campaign banner from her 2011 run for Secretary of State – which could be a violation of federal campaign finance laws. This could be indicative of Grimes not wanting to run against McConnell. After all, ten other Kentucky Democrats have already abstained from the venture. Grimes possibly could’ve been dragooned to challenge the Republican incumbent. If so, it’s a sign of desperation that’s only been exacerbated by Schweitzer’s decision not to run.
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post even noted how this abstention from Schweitzer was a “gift” to Republicans.
Nationally, Montana becomes the third problematic open seat for the party. In West Virginia, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) is a clear favorite, as Democrats have yet to persuade a serious candidate to run. In South Dakota, the two leading potential Democratic candidates took a pass while popular former governor Mike Rounds dodged a serious Republican primary challenge.
If you give Republicans those three open seats — they are favored at the moment, but the election remains 16 months away — they then need three more for the majority. Those pickups would almost certainly come from four seats, all of which are held by Democratic incumbents running for reelection — in Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina.
Of the quartet of targeted Democratic senators, Arkansas’s Mark Pryor looks to be the most vulnerable — particularly if freshman Rep. Tom Cotton (R) decides to run. While Pryor is a known commodity in the Natural State, the fact that Obama won just 37 percent of the vote there in 2012 is a massive hurdle for any Democrat.
Alaska and Louisiana are not much friendlier for Democrats; Obama took 41 percent in each of those states. But a contentious Republican primary seems to be shaping up in Alaska for the right to take on Sen. Mark Begich (D), and in Louisiana, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) has proved she knows how to win close races, claiming reelection victories in 2002 and 2008 with 52 percent of the vote or less. In North Carolina, where Obama won in 2008 and took 48 percent in 2012, the landscape is more level for Democrats, although freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D) is regarded by both parties as endangered.
Guy Cecil, Executive Director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, aptly noted that only three Democratic incumbents have been defeated in the last decade. However, from senate races held between 2000-2013, the Democratic incumbents knocked off were Max Cleland (D-Georgia), Tom Daschle (D-South Dakota), Jean Carnahan (D- Missouri), and Russ Feingold (D- Wisconsin). Granted, Jean Carnahan’s incumbent status could be disputed since she was appointed to serve her husband’s term after he died in a plane crash during his 2000 campaign. Jean’s husband,Mel, was the former Governor of Missouri.
Nevertheless, she, along with Cleland and Daschle, were senators from states won by Romney in 2012. Wisconsin may have gone to Obama, but the state is tilting rightward. Republicans in America’s Dairyland control both houses of the state legislature, the governor’s mansion, and constitute the majority of the congressional delegation.
So, Democrats may find solace in the incumbent label to keep them safe, but it doesn’t negate the fact that virtually of their incumbents that lost hailed from red states. States that Mitt Romney won in 2012. Yet, it’s all on Republicans. Only they can mess this board game up.
What is this, Never Never Land? MT @TheFix: “I don’t want a job where I have to wear a suit and my dog isn’t welcome.” — Brian Schweitzer
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) July 13, 2013
George Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder this past weekend. Yes, the legal pundits got it right. Justice was served. Yet, a few, like Al Sharpton, weren’t happy with the result. Now, there are protests against the verdict happening across the country. Thankfully, it’s nothing apocalyptic. However, if there’s one thing that’s ironic about the various rallies, it’s the Che Guevara signs. Che was a racist, folks. Here’s an excerpt from Che’s 1952 diary.
The blacks, those magnificent examples of the African race who have maintained their racial purity thanks to their lack of an affinity with bathing, have seen their territory invaded by a new kind of slave: the Portuguese.”
The black is indolent and a dreamer; spending his meager wage on frivolity or drink; the European has a tradition of work and saving, which has pursued him as far as this corner of America and drives him to advance himself, even independently of his own individual aspirations.
Yeah, sounds like a great guy. In the meantime, DOJ is looking into filing a civil rights charges against Zimmerman. ABC’s Dan Abrams says that’s unlikely since they can’t win, but who knows.
At the same time, this happened in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Stay classy, folks.
(H/T Erin Haust)
Former Daily Beast writer Megan McArdle has thrown some cold water on Democratic hopes for 2016 – and given conservatives a possible boost in confidence. In fact, she says that there’s a 70% probability that by 2017 Republicans could control the House, Senate, and the White House. Yeah, it’s seems far-fetched. We haven’t even entered the trenches for 2014, and we’re talking about 2016. Nevertheless, her blog entry on July 12 explained her reasoning.
Since World War II, only four presidents have been succeeded by a member of their party. As I mentioned above, two of them accomplished this by dying in office. One of them accomplished this by resigning in disgrace ahead of his own impeachment. Only one of them, Ronald Reagan, left office at the end of his appointed term and was succeeded by a duly elected member of his own party. Mostly, the White House flips back and forth like a metronome.
At the beginning of Obama’s term, people were talking about the kind of Democratic dominance that FDR enjoyed. Didn’t happen. Isn’t going to. So I think the GOP goes into the race with a big edge on the White House. Voters just get tired after eight years.
For example, when I pointed out how few presidents have been succeeded by members of their own party, you may have been tempted to argue that Al Gore “really” won. I’m not going to have that argument right now, but even assuming you’re correct, what does that tell you? That after the greatest economic boom in decades, the Democratic vice president fought hard to a statistical tie with the Republican governor of Texas. Sure, he wasn’t the most charismatic candidate either, but neither was George Bush. Getting a third term in the White House just seems to be really difficult. And Barack Obama is not going to finish with a ground-shaking economic boom.
Add to that the Democratic bench. Hillary Clinton is a formidable politician, but she will be nearly 70 years old in 2016. No one else except Biden (who is older than she) has anything like the national name recognition that multiple people on the GOP bench enjoy. But if one or both of those two decide to run (and I think it’s nearly certain that they will), they’ll probably get the nomination just because they will suck all the oxygen away from the other candidates–both the money and the publicity will follow them. And though they’re both formidable challengers, I think their age is going to hurt them. I think it would have hurt Reagan if he’d been running against more formidable opponents, but Carter was badly damaged, and Walter Mondale was a nice man who made a very good Senate candidate in Minnesota.
Granted, she did say that her analysis is subject to change based on the prognostications of Nate Silver, who serves as the left’s favorite elections predictor. He wrote on July 15 that Republican chances for retaking the senate astronomically increase after next year’s elections, which was reiterated in McArdle’s post.
A race-by-race analysis of the Senate, in fact, suggests that Republicans might now be close to even-money to win control of the chamber after next year’s elections. Our best guess, after assigning probabilities of the likelihood of a G.O.P. pickup in each state, is that Republicans will end up with somewhere between 50 and 51 Senate seats after 2014, putting them right on the threshold of a majority.
It seems that Silver and McArdle are on the same wave length, as they both predicted the 50-51 “fragile” GOP majority by 2017. The thing to takeaway from this is that Harry Reid’s days could be numbered if we play this thing right.
Civil wars are messy. Intervening in them can be even messier. As the Obama administration decides to get involved in another civil war, someone should probably inform the president that arms he’s sending to the Syrian rebels are ending up in the hands of pro-Assad militias. USA Today reported on July 10 that:
U.S. and Western weapons have been reaching Iranian-backed Shiite militias fighting to keep Bashar Assad’s forces in power in Syria.
Analysts say it’s unclear if the weapons were captured, stolen or bought on the black market in Syria, Turkey, Iraq or Libya. Propaganda photographs from Shiite militias posted on dozens of websites and Facebook pages show the weapons were acquired in new condition, said Phillip Smyth, an analyst for Jihadology.net, a site affiliated with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Many of the weapons are things the militias “shouldn’t really have their hands on,” Smyth said. Iranians love to show “they have weapons and systems that are very close to the Americans.”
The ability of Assad’s allies to obtain U.S. weapons is one of many reasons the United States should not supply Syrian rebels with weapons, which President Obama said he would start to do last month, said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., former chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Then again, President Assad’s forces could’ve made arms deals in Iraq. Regardless, it’s just another reason why the U.S. should just let this thing play out – and not get involved.
Many of the U.S. weapons in the hands of pro-Assad militia could have reached the black market after a major U.S. sales to Iraq in 2009, said Christopher Harmer, a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. Almost 10 years of fighting there left thousands of loose weapons floating around Iraq and available for sale on the black market.
The U.S. sale included 80,000 M-16s, 25,000 M-4s and 2,550 M-203 grenade launchers, according to an announcement Dec. 9, 2009, by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
In all, I’m just hoping Obama receives this information from his senior staff in a timely fashion. Although, he’ll probably read all about it in the newspapers.
As the abortion battle continues in Texas, a local YMCA chapter told Students For Life Of America (SFLA) to leave the premises after anti-lifers intimidated the assistant branch director to renege on their agreement to use the center’s shower facilities. The SFLA had embarked on a 3o-hour bus ride to Austin to rally in favor of the pending Texas bill that will ban abortions twenty weeks into a pregnancy. Pro-aborts have also staged demonstrations against the new regulations, which passed its first legislative hurdle in the Texas House. The Texas Senate expects to pass the bill soon.
A press release from Alexa Coombs, SFLA’s Director of External Relations, indicated that the organization “was left out in the cold after the local YMCA was bullied by pro-abortion activists to evict SFLA students from their facilities.” Additionally:
SFLA had worked out an arrangement with the associate branch director of the Town Lake Branch of the Austin YMCA to use their showers for the week of the ‘Students #Stand4Life Bus Tour.’ Previously, YMCA management had indicated everything was working out great, but certain orange-shirted members of the club said that it was “too political” to have pro-lifers in the showers — and pressured management to give the students the boot.”
“We had absolutely no problems on Monday night when we used their facilities.The YMCA management was respectful, but some angry pro-abortion activists were being very aggressive with YMCA staff members and the staff said they felt threatened,” said Brendan O’Morchoe, Director of Field Operations with SFLA. ”Unfortunately, the anger and rage from the pro-abortion protestors has created a toxic environment even outside the Capitol Building. It’s really a shame that the YMCA was bullied by these people, it just goes to show how pro–aborts operate every day.
“The YMCA has a long history of helping young people and always had an open door policy to everyone, yet we were turned away because of our pro-life beliefs. The YMCA rescinded their offer to help because of the complaints of a few people on one side of the abortion issue and we were discriminated against based on our political position.”
SFLA was left scrambling to find other locations at which to bathe as the church buildings they are staying at do not have shower facilities.
One activist told me that anti-lifers are outnumbered in Austin, but they’re loud. Their rally in the Capitol featured many taking off their shoes and shouting “shame on you” to legislators as they passed by.
Nevertheless, while pro-aborts may have stopped the SFLA activists from finding showers, pro-life legislators – and their allies – are moving forward in eliminating late-term abortions in Texas. Maureen Ferguson of the Catholic Association praised Rick Perry for his efforts saying:
‘We commend Governor Perry for calling the special session and the Texas House for passing common sense measures to protect unborn children after 20 weeks gestation and pregnant women who often suffer from substandard care at abortion clinics. It is difficult to understand opposition to a bill that seeks to raise standards for women’s health and limits the inhumane and heart breaking practice of late-term abortion. The bill, which is expected to pass in the Senate as well, reflects accurately how Texans and Americans feel about late-term abortions in a post-Gosnell era.’
Additionally, in a July 9 statement, Lila Rose, President of Live Action, said:
‘Right now, in many cases across the country, it’s easier to be an abortionist than it is to run a daycare center. Governor Perry and the Texas legislature should be commended for taking a step toward rectifying this bizarre and dangerous defect that endangers the lives of both women and children. As exposed by our Inhuman video series, so many abortion centers throughout our nation currently do not have emergency medical arrangements with local hospitals or other urgent care facilities. No matter where you stand on the issue of abortion, this sort of laxity and disregard for women’s health is outrageous and unacceptable. Everyone should support putting necessary medical protections in place and enforcing top-quality standards of care for women and children.’
So, pro-aborts can relish in their little win over the YMCA, but the SLFA – and the pro-life movement – will soon celebrate a huge victory in the Texas legislature.
When Obamacare was passed in March of 2010, the entire law was set to become effective by 2014. On July 8, Americans For Prosperity launched a $1 million dollar ad campaign that focuses on a mother of two, Julie, whose son suffers from seizures. She asks, “What am I getting in exchange for higher premiums and a smaller paycheck? Can I really trust the folks in Washington with my family’s health care?”
It’s no secret that some in Washington, including some of Obamacare’s supporters, are having serious misgivings about the implementation of this massive federal power grab. The employer mandate – one of the smallest portions of the bill – had to be pushed back a year until 2015, which could be unconstitutional. On top of that, the law fails to achieve its primary objective, which is to curb costs.
In a press release, AFP noted that:
The ad is just the latest in AFP’s on-going efforts to repeal and replace the flawed healthcare law. In Virginia, AFP has been the leading critic of expanding Medicaid rolls under the new law.
“AFP is fully committed to stopping Obamacare,” stated AFP Virginia State Director Dave Schwartz. “This television ad coincides with our grassroots efforts to stop a large part of Obamacare in the Commonwealth – Medicaid expansion. Unless the legislative committee stops Medicaid expansion, thousands of families who barely make ends meet will be thrown into a broken system that offers fewer choices and poorer health outcomes. It’s not fair and it’s wrong.”
Viewers of the new ad are directed to visit ObamaCareRiskFactors.com, where an online calculator will assess each individual’s risk of suffering painful effects of the new law, and enable them to share their own risk factors.
In conjunction with the TV buy, AFP-VA and other state chapters will be hosting events and meet-ups to further educate and provide information on the negative consequences of ObamaCare.
On June 27, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was ousted by Kevin Rudd. Rudd served as prime minister from 2007 until 2010, when Gillard ousted him in a leadership election. It’s ironic that she suffered the same fate as her predecessor. Gillard was Australia’s first female prime minister, but her tenure as Leader of the Labor Party was called into question after the conservative Liberal Party began to maintain their lead in the polls ahead of the federal election this year. However, Gillard tried to import the disingenuous tactics of American liberals before her defeat by declaring that there’s a war on women down under. Guy Benson at Townhall posted about this rather amusing episode in Australian politics on July 1. In the end, the ploy completely backfired.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s attempt to marginalise the opposition by claiming it would change abortion rights and sideline women has backfired with a poll yesterday showing male voters are deserting her. Gillard, the country’s first female leader, last week reignited a simmering gender war by saying in a speech that government would be dominated by “men in blue ties” should opposition leader Tony Abbott assume office in September elections. “It’s a decision about whether, once again, we will banish women’s voice from the core of our political life,” said the embattled prime minister in the speech, desperate to shore up waning support. “We don’t want to live in an Australia where abortion again becomes the political plaything of men who think they know better.” But the ploy has backfired with a poll in Fairfax Media showing male voters are abandoning Gillard and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and there is little sign of more women getting behind her.
The telephone poll of 1,400 voters found that since the last survey a month ago Labor’s standing has continued to slide, led entirely by a seven percent exodus of men. Under a two-party vote, the conservative opposition would romp home in the September 14 elections with 57 per cent (up three points) to 43 per cent (down three points) for Labor.
Concerning that seven percent exodus of male Labor supporters, the Sydney Morning Herald, which Benson cites in his piece, noted that:
If reflected at the election, that would mean a 7 per cent swing to the Coalition on the 50-50 hung Parliament result of 2010, and mean the loss of 30 or more seats, virtually halving Labor’s representation now.
So, it’s a good thing that the pernicious nature of American progressivism is contained at our shores. On the other hand, after 2012, it seems that conservatives will need to endure – and fight – such inanity during every election cycle. For Australia’s left-leaning politicos, their botched attempt at fomenting a war on women just inched the conservative Liberals closer to creating a majority government.
Gasland Part II is here. It’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last April gained some attention when those who participated in the making of the documentary FrackNation, which is critical of Gasland – and its director Josh Fox – were barred from the screening. It premiered on HBO on July 8. Fox’s Gasland is loaded with inaccuracies, which I posted about last spring. One of the main points the film makes is that fracking causes drinking water to become flammable. Fox also claims that natural gas exploration contaminates the surrounding water. Dimock, PA was ground zero for this development. The EPA tested the water and it was deemed safe.
Additionally, flammable water is a natural occurrence that’s been documented since the 17th century. Nevertheless, Fox rehashes this debunked talking point in Gasland Part II again. As Lachlan Markay of the Washington Free Beacon wrote on July 8:
Fox’s new film, Gasland Part II, features a powerful scene showing a Texas landowner lighting the contents of a garden hose on fire. The incident is presented as evidence of water contamination from a nearby hydraulic fracturing operation.
According to a Texas court, the scene was actually a hoax devised by a Texas environmental activist engaged in a prolonged battle with a local gas company to falsely inflate the supposed dangers of the oil and gas extraction technique, also known as fracking.
Gasland Part II goes a step further: Rather than presenting naturally occurring phenomena as the result of hydraulic fracturing, it trumpets as evidence a scene deliberately concocted to frighten residents and attract media coverage.
Texas’ 43rd Judicial District Court found in February 2012 that Steven Lipsky, “under the advice or direction” of Texas environmental activist Alisa Rich, “intentionally attach[ed] a garden hose to a gas vent—not a water line” and lit its contents on fire.
“This demonstration was not done for scientific study but to provide local and national news media a deceptive video, calculated to alarm the public into believing the water was burning,” the court found in response to a defamation complaint brought by Range Resources, the company conducting hydraulic fracturing operations in the area, against Lipsky and his wife.
Rich is a long-time critic of Range Resources. She collaborated with the Environmental Protection Agency to issue an endangerment order against the company, which was subsequently withdrawn when the agency could not demonstrate that local water contamination was the result of oil and gas activities as opposed to natural factors.
An excerpt from “The natural, statistical, and civil history of the state of New-York, Volume 1″ by James Macauley (1829) reads:
There are several burning springs in the county of Ontario. That in the town of Bristol, about eight miles southeasterly of the village of Canandaigua, is in a ravine at the base of a small eminence. The water is pure and emits so much inflammable gas, that it ignites on the application of a lighted candle. The flame is unsteady. Combustion is more easily communicated and is more active and of longer continuance in drouths, than when the spring is raised. The stone in the vicinity is shale. A small brook flows through the ravineAn excerpt from “The northern traveller: and Northern tour; with the routes to the Springs…” by Theodore Dwight and Henry Dilworth Gilpin (1831) reads:Springs of water charged with inflammable gas are quite common in Bristol Middlesex and Canandaigua. The gas from the former rises through fissures of the slate from both the margin and the bed of a brook. They form little hillocks of a few feet in diameter and a few inches high of a dark bituminous mould. The gas will burn with a steady flame. In winter they form openings through the snow, and being set on fire, exhibit a steady and lively flame in contact with nothing but snow. In very cold weather it is said tubes of ice are formed round these currents of gas (probably from the freezing of the water contained in it,) to the height of two or three feet, and when lighted in a still evening presenting an appearance even more beautiful than the former. From a pit which was sunk in one of the hillocks the gas was once conducted through bored logs to the kitchen of a dwelling.
So, even with the evidence staring Mr. Fox right in the face, it seems that he – and those on the radical environmental left – are more inclined to indulge in their flaming hose fetish.
Last week, Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes launched her campaign to unseat incumbent Republican Senator – and Senate Minority Leader – Mitch McConnell. It was an abject disaster. It was such a fiasco that the Washington Post couldn’t ignore it. Aaron Blake was kind in describing Grimes’ campaign announcement as “underwhelming” on July 2.
- At her press conference, Grimes was flanked by a banner for her 2011 secretary of state campaign rather than a new banner for her Senate campaign.
- Grimes’s announcement was not promoted on her Twitter account, her Facebook page or really by anyone other than her top adviser, who told the Associated Press about the 3 p.m. announcement on Monday morning.
- As of Tuesday [July 2] afternoon, Grimes still had no campaign Web site, though GrimesforSenate.com and AlisonforSenate.com appear to have been snapped up by someone. That means that anybody who was excited by her launch and wants to contribute money to her campaign has no outlet to do so.
- Grimes showed up more than half an hour late for her press conference, after gathering with advisers and supporters to inform them of her decision.
- According to Ryan Alessi, a terrific reporter in Kentucky, people in the room at Grimes’s announcement described it as “unorthodox,” “unprecedented,” “fascinating” and even “surreal.” Grimes didn’t tell even her closest advisers about her decision until she made it.
- She appeared at her press conference for less than five minutes, offering a brief statement and responding to just two questions.
Even before Grimes made her decision, one prominent Democratic consultant grumbled to The Fix that it was a rollout unworthy of a major political campaign
Yeah, starting off your U.S. Senate bid with a 2011 banner that could be a possible violation of federal campaign finance laws isn’t good. Granted, we’re a little less than 500 days away from Election Day 2014, but Blake noted that Grimes’ win as Kentucky’s Secretary of State in 2011 isn’t all that impressive. In fact, it’s no where near the kind of big league wins that garner serious attention. Nevertheless, there’s the Clinton factor. Bill Clinton had been pressuring her to run since last spring before Ashley Judd’s chances were torpedoed. If Bill is serious about her chances, then Grimes has a major ally in the Clinton machine – and its access to cash. On the other hand, McConnell doesn’t go easy on his opponents and has a sizable war chest for his 2014 campaign. This possibly explains why ten other people decided to sit this one out.
Stuart Rothenberg at Roll Call posted on July 8 his ruling on the Kentucky Senate race. While Rothenberg noted Grimes’ lack of political baggage, youth, and McConnell’s relatively unstable approval numbers, he also mentioned:
Kentucky was Obama’s seventh-worst state in 2012 (and ninth-worst in 2008). He drew just 38.5 percent of the vote, down 3 points from his 2008 showing. That gives McConnell fertile political soil in which to work.
Though I have not yet met Grimes and I don’t know how the contest will unfold, I have to rate the race now. It certainly is neither Safe for McConnell nor a Toss-Up. Rating the race now as either Leaning Republican or Republican Favored (Likely Republican, in some ratings) seems reasonable to me.
For me, the burden is on the candidate who must overcome a strong partisan bent against his or her party in a contest for federal office. Massachusetts Republican Gabriel Gomez and Hawaii’s Lingle couldn’t, but Heitkamp did. Obama’s weakness in Kentucky during a midterm election and Grimes’ inexperience suggests that she will have a very tough job beating the incumbent, though I expect the race to be close.
Until I see evidence — and I will be looking for it — that swing voters and an overwhelming percentage of moderates are willing to not only fire McConnell but also send another Democrat to the Senate in spite of the state’s dissatisfaction with Obama, this race looks like Republican Favored for now.
Additionally, Grimes nominated Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. She’ll will have to answer questions about her stance on Obamacare and the president’s war on coal, which has been characterized as a “regional genocide” by local communities. Grimes is navigating through a minefield, while McConnell just needs to convince his supporters– amongst other things – that he’ll continue to say no to the Obama agenda. Perfection is a characteristic that needs to be pegged with the Grimes campaign, but that epic failure of a campaign announcement wasn’t indicative of such a trait. She’s off to a rocky start.
As Democratic Senator Max Baucus makes his exit, Montana is up for grabs in 2014. Then again, that’s after Baucus helped guide the Obamacare the Senate, only to leave after he saw the impending “train wreck” over its implementation. Yet, it’s not a safe Republican pick-up next year. Former Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer is standing in the way.
Schweitzer was term-limited, but he could dive into the Montana race and win. On the other hand, he’s known for his boisterous persona, which could sink his chances – and make him the “Todd Akin” of the ’14 cycle. It won’t be in the vein of making an irrational statement about rape and pregnancy, but will follow what the mindset that plagued Akin in 2012: not knowing when to shut up.
NRSC Communications Director, Brad Dayspring, wrote in an email on July 8:
The loud-mouthed former Governor of Montana who recently began calling reporters in Washington to tell them how much he hates Washington despite his constant visits for TV appearances, election watching, dinners, yadda yadda, is expected to run for Senate. Weird timing, considering that just last week, it was reported that a “nonprofit group” tied to two appointees of former Gov. Brian Schweitzer shared the governor’s campaign address and received contributions from an organization that Schweitzer was involved in, even as the governor was bashing other such nonprofits for hiding from state disclosure laws.
Regardless of timing, we’ve spent months preparing through intensive groundwork, research and investigation. What have we found? Brian Schweitzer is a deeply flawed candidate with a propensity to talk too much, say too many offensive things, and bully those he believes to be beneath him. If anyone is looking for the 2014 cycle’s Todd Akin, we’ve found him, and his name is Brian Schweitzer. The difference is that Schweitzer’s pattern of inappropriate and offensive gaffes are a result of narcissism, bullying and bluster. Jump in the pool Governor! Water’s warm!
Well, the miasma of narcissism certainly emanated from Akin. His refusal to drop out of the Missouri Senate race damaged the Republican Party in 2012 – and hurt the pro-life movement as well. Nevertheless, Republicans still have a tough fight ahead if Schweitzer decides to throw his hat into the ring. The former governor could decide to sit this one out due to the reasons listed above, but that seems unlikely. With the exception of Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, who’s ties to money makes her a plausible heavyweight candidate, the Democrats have yet to find the cream of the crop in any of the senate races next year. Democratic Senator Mark Begich in Alaska is only doing well because the Alaska GOP is in disarray after a period of civil war. Let’s hope that’s subsided.
Yet, given that Schweitzer won re-election in 2008 with 65% of the vote, Democrats will be aggressive trying to recruit him.
Seth McLaughlin of the Washington Times also wrote on July 8 that:
“If former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) surprises everyone and doesn’t run for the open Senate seat of retiring Democrat Max Baucus in Montana, Republicans will have another likely pick up,” the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics said in a recent breakdown of the race.
Public Policy Polling also released a poll last month showed that the race would be a toss-up between Mr. Schweitzer and the likely GOP contenders, U.S. Rep. Steve Daines and former Gov. Marc Racicot.
On May 14, the FBI claimed they launched an investigation into the IRS fiasco. FBI Director Robert Mueller was famously told Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio on June 13 that he didn’t know the name of the lead investigator at the Bureau spearheading the effort. That’s almost a month into the alleged investigation. This is a national story. It’s a major scandal – and you don’t know who the point guy, or gal, that’s tasked with getting to the bottom of this debacle?
Joe Schoffstall at CNS News reported on July 2 a disturbing development in this case. There’s virtually no FBI investigation. In fact, the FBI has yet to contact any of the groups targeted by the IRS.
Cleta Mitchell, an attorney representing nine tea party groups who were targeted by the IRS, told CNSNews.com that she has not heard from the FBI regarding the case and questions whether an investigation is actually underway.
“I have no reason to believe there is an investigation. It appears to me the Obama administration is only talking to itself,” Mitchell stated in an e-mail.
Mitchell and her clients are far from the only ones who are still left in the dark.
American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) Executive Director Jordan Sekulow, whose organization now represents 41 tea party groups in a case against the IRS, told CNSNews.com that they, too, are waiting to hear anything pertaining to the investigation.
“To date, none of our clients or any of our attorneys has been contacted by the FBI. The Director continues to assert that this is a priority for the Bureau, but at this point, there’s little evidence to suggest that this probe is on the fast track,” Mr. Sekulow wrote. “There has been no contact with any of the 41 conservative organizations we represent – the real victims of this IRS targeting scheme. Our expanded lawsuit continues to move forward.”
Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, said they have reached out to their network of groups and found that they are still waiting to hear from the FBI, as well.
“We have reached out to our network of Tea Party Patriots groups and no one was contacted by the IRS since Lois Lerner revealed the IRS was indeed targeting and discriminating against tea party groups. We are aware the that IRS was in touch with Catherine Englebrecht from True the Vote and perhaps one other group from Florida prior to Lois Lerner’s revelation,” said Martin.
“Since Lois Lerner, the IRS and the White House have admitted the IRS targeted groups with ‘Tea Party’ and ‘Patriots’ in their name, we certainly hope that the FBI contacts us at Tea Party Patriots, since we were the primary victim of this blatant, admitted, and potentially unlawful targeting,” she added.
Live Action released their newest investigative video about the late term abortion industry on July 1. It seems fitting given that Texas has entered another special session to pass SB 5, which would ban abortions at 20-weeks in the Lone Star State. It once again features Dr. Carmen Landau, who received her medical credentials in Cuba. The video, which is cut like a trailer, features the staff at the Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico explaining to the Live Action investigator that the procedure will result in the delivery of a stillborn child.
First, they inject a chemical, which stops the baby’s heart. At times, this injection is made in the child’s cranium. It depends on the position of the baby. After a sonogram, which is used to confirm the child’s death, the waiting process begins. If the aborted child is expelled too early, the counselor advises the investigator to just “sit on the toilet” and wait until their abortion room-service arrives.
Also, a counselor lies to the investigator concerning if her child would feel pain during the procedure.
An unnamed counselor at the facility advises Live Action’s 27-week-pregnant investigator:
If we can’t catch it [delivery of the dead baby – the final stage of the abortion procedure] early enough, which has happened … then you’ll want to unlock the door to the hotel room, get your cell phone, and just sit on the toilet. You don’t have to look at anything … you can stay on the phone with us until the doctor and nurse get there[.]
Dr. Carmen Landau echoes this advice, telling the Live Action investigator to “sit on the toilet” and “unlock the hotel room.” “Just sit there,” Landau says, “and you would not move until we come and get you.”
The new video also presents an abortion counselor offering misleading information on whether the 27-week pre-born child will feel the lethal abortion injection. “[If the baby]‘s bottom-down, it’ll insert through the baby’s bottom, [and] if it’s head-down, it’ll be inserted through the cranium.”
“I don’t know if it’s developed enough to feel that,” she says. “It might be.” The Live Action video includes references to K.S. Anand, an expert on fetal pain, and the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, showing that pre-born children at 20 weeks and older definitely feel pain – likely more acutely than older children do.
Dr. Curtis Boyd, who co-owns Southwestern Women’s Options, also runs Southwestern Women’s Surgery Center in Dallas, Texas. The facility offers abortions up to 24 weeks, the state’s legal limit.
Texas became an abortion battleground in June, with Governor Rick Perry calling a special legislative session to address the discovery of Douglas Karpen’s Gosnell-like “House of Horrors” in Houston.
Sen. Mitch McConnell has a challenger for 2014. It’s Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. She’s recieved pressure from within Democratic circles to run ever since Ashley Judd’s supposed run was torpedoed last spring. Nevertheless, it seems that Grimes has walked back on her promise to serve a full term as Secretary of State, which could be a politically disastrous move. After all, ten other plausible candidates decided to sit this one out. There’s a reason for that: Mitch doesn’t go easy on his opponents.
Erica Cahn at Roll Call reported on July 1 that:
Just days before her announcement, a Republican super PAC started to air advertisements attacking Grimes. The spots linked Grimes to President Barack Obama, who remains deeply unpopular in the Bluegrass State.
McConnell boasts an impressive war chest, and his campaign reported $8.6 million in the bank earlier this year. That number will likely change in the next two weeks, when the Republican announces his fundraising haul for the second quarter of this year.
Nevertheless, in her announcement today, Grimes has taken a liking to her underdog status.
I have met with my supporters, we have had a great conversation, and determined and decided that we can next make the best move, the best difference in the commonwealth of Kentucky, by running for the U.S. Senate…I agree with thousands of Kentuckians that Kentucky is tired of 28 years of obstruction; that Kentucky is tired of someone who has voted against raising the minimum wage while all the while quadrupling his own net worth. Kentucky is tired of a senior senator that has lost touch with Kentucky issues, voters and their values.
What twenty-eight years of obstruction? McConnell came in during the 1984 midterms during the Reagan economic boom. He was also serving when Bill Clinton worked with congressional Republicans to foster one of the greatest periods of prosperity since World War II. Additionally, she says McConnell has “lost touch” with Kentucky voters, but it seems that her reward for nominating Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention last year, as NRSC Executive Director Rob Collins noted, is the destruction of the Kentucky middle class.
Mitch McConnell has always put the people of Kentucky first and will keep fighting for them no matter how hard the liberal left tries to stop him. Senator McConnell is engaged in the most innovative, modern, and effective campaign in history and will make the case that conservative ideas will protect Kentucky from the radical assault on their livelihood being waged by President Obama, Harry Reid and Alison Lundergan Grimes.
“Just last year, Alison Lundergan Grimes stood proudly at the Democratic National Convention to nominate Barack Obama, who has followed through on his promise to destroy the coal industry; in essence declared a war on the state of Kentucky and the middle class families who call it home. Kentuckians have absolutely no reason to send Alison Lundergan Grimes to Washington to help pass the policies of a President whom they adamantly oppose and to elect a liberal Senate Leader who declared, ‘coal makes us sick.’”
Yes, someone is out of touch, but it isn’t Mitch McConnell. A person supportive of Obama’s energy policy is complicit to nothing more than a ‘regional genocide‘ against families dependent on coal. It’s also a policy that buries millions Americans with additional electrical costs. Is that pro-middle class? Is that rational? Is that moral? It’s akin to a tax increase, but it manifests itself as an amusing liberal narrative: vote for me and I’ll raise your living expenses. Yeah, you’ll be the most popular kid on the block.
Also, Romney won Kentucky by 14% in 2012. Obama isn’t popular in the Bluegrass State, leaving Grimes little to work with concerning voter outreach. On top of that, you had super PAC ads running against her, bad policy prescriptions emanating from Washington last week directed toward her would-be constituents, and no earned media leading up to the announcement. If this isn’t indicative of desperation from Kentucky Democrats, then it’s pure incompetence that will cost Grimes dearly in the end.
— Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) July 1, 2013
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundgren Grimes, a possible challenger to Sen. Mitch McConnell, has gone quiet over Obama’s June 26 remarks, which put coal in the crosshairs. The “War on Coal” has been under reported. Tens of thousands of Americans still rely on coal mining to support their families. In local newspapers, like the Williamson Daily News, which covers Kentucky and West Virginia, staff writer Julia Roberts Goad wrote in October of 2012 about how United for Coal has declared that “our government has decided to commit ‘Regional Genocide’ against our people [with this regulatory onslaught].” Bill Raney, also with the Williamson Daily News, wrote three years ago that:
The EPA has declared a war on Appalachian coal. The agency’s apparent intent to rescind the already issued Spruce Mine permit is the first time such an action has been taken and shows a reckless disregard for the impact on our people, on future investment in our region and even basic fairness. If EPA pursues this course, the very future of mining in our state and region… not just mountaintop mining operations or even surface mining … but all forms of mining is threatened, and with it the futures of 50,000 West Virginian and 80,000 Appalachian families whose livelihoods depend on mining coal.
The EPA issued the Spruce Mine permit almost three years ago. During a 10-year review prior to its issuance, the EPA participated along with the other agencies every step of the way during the review and praised the company’s efforts to design the project in such a way as to minimize the impact on the environment. In fact, total recoverable reserves of coal were reduced by 10.6 million tons as a result. It is not an exaggeration to say this permit is the most scrutinized mining permit in the history of West Virginia or the Appalachian region. But the issue goes far beyond a single permit. If EPA revokes the Spruce permit, their action brings into question all forms of economic development across the region – anything that requires a company or an individual to move a shovelful of dirt.
Last October, I attended a FreedomWorks press conference about Obama’s “War on Coal” in Harrisburg. I met Carol Vogel, a Greene County resident, who said that her electrical costs were about to increase in her area five-fold by 2015.
The “EPA regulations are killing us…they’ve shut down 100 out of the 500 coal plants and are slated to shut down 200 more – that’s 3/5 of all the plants closed…[this will] hit everyone’s pocket book – [social] class doesn’t matter.”
Brook Hougesen, NRSC Press Secretary, wrote on June 27 that:
This extreme agenda will destroy jobs in Kentucky, raise costs for middle class families, and drown small businesses with red tape and regulation. It empowers the bureaucrats at the Environmental Protection Agency – who have little to no clue about the struggles folks in Kentucky face.
A look at Grimes’ past reveals an Obama Loyalist who has always embraced his radical agenda. Even when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid attacked the coal industry – which provides 93% of the electricity production in Kentucky (not to mention Kentucky coal mining employed 20% of the coal jobs in the entire U.S. in 2011), Grimes remained unfazed. Instead, she keeps working with Harry Reid to plot his next move.
Over the last five years President Obama and Washington Democrats like Harry Reid have made no secret about their “War on Coal.” Alison Lundergan Grimes responded by working hard to elect President Obama and his radical agenda. Should she run for Senate, her vote would empower a leader who once declared “Coal makes us sick.”
Grimes worked hard to empower Democrats who’ve declared a ‘War on Coal’ that will destroy jobs in Kentucky, raise costs for middle class families, and drown small businesses with red tape and headaches. Senator Mitch McConnell is a tireless advocate for the Bluegrass State, a tremendously effective Senator, and unafraid to stand up to extreme forces in Washington who would harm Kentucky.”
So, it seems that Grimes doesn’t have the mental – or political – strength to stand up against Obama’s extreme environmental agenda. How’s that serving the people of Kentucky? We don’t need any more politicians who vote for increased electrical bills and gutting of jobs in Washington. Grimes’ dithering should be a sign that she supports such views, but is too scared to admit them to the public.
With Texas State Senator Wendy Davis’ filibuster of SB 5 last week, she’s become a liberal rockstar. Her filibuster was halted and the bill was passed, but not before the 12am deadline killed the bill – for now. The unruly masses of pro-abortion activists in the gallery caused such a disturbance that procedural motions were unable to be heard, thus preventing the bill from being passed successfully. It was mob rule. The bill would’ve banned abortions 20-weeks into a pregnancy. And Gov. Rick Perry has already called another special session to begin in July The bill has the votes. It’s going to pass. Yet, some on the left feel that Davis “revived” the Texas Democratic Party.
Christopher Hooks at Slate wrote on June 27:
“It’s [the Davis filibuster] kind of awakened the Democratic Party, which didn’t really have a lot of lifeblood flowing through it,” says Terrysa Guerra, a rising strategist in the state party. “I see a tremendous amount of excitement. More than I’ve ever seen at any point in my career—even in 2008.”
Davis, a longtime champion of Texas Democrats, has been profiled dozens of times in the last 24 hours. The child of a poor Fort Worth family, she was a divorced single mother by the age of 19. After putting herself through a two-year paralegal program at a nearby county college, she graduated first in her class from Texas Christian University. Then, Harvard Law, with honors. Charismatic, articulate, friendly, principled, and relentlessly driven, she’s been one of the great hopes of her party, which hasn’t won a statewide post in almost 15 years.
However, one thing the left misses, possibly due to their hyper-emotionalism, is the fact that Davis’ political stability is tenuous at best. In 2012, when Obama was running for re-election, she only managed to win 51% of the vote. The Obama coattails only gave her a win by a margin of a little over 6,000 votes. That’s it! With Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act being struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this past week, Texas’ new redistricting plans, which are still up in the air, shouldn’t help Davis either.
Some have mentioned a statewide run for Davis, possibly for governor if Gov. Rick Perry decided not to run for reelection in 2014. Even there, her chances of electoral success are dubious. As Politico reported on June 26:
[If] Davis takes the plunge for governor, she would likely face a well-moneyed Republican from that party’s deep state bench — if not current Gov. Rick Perry himself. And poll numbers indicate that most in Texas don’t know her, let alone favor her.
unning for other statewide offices, such as the lieutenant governor’s post now occupied by former Ted Cruz primary foe David Dewhurst, could pose similar challenges for Davis.
“We would welcome her running statewide and I wish she would,” Texas GOP Chairman Steve Munisteri told POLITICO as legislative maneuvering continued in the statehouse following Davis’s filibuster early Wednesday morning. The party sees Davis’s state Senate seat as ripe for the taking, and it phone-banked Republicans in her district on Tuesday to “fire up our base,” Munisteri said, adding that the party would deploy staff to her district for a reelection fight starting this fall.
The national attention — and potential money — she is winning from the filibuster might help but won’t be enough to win a statewide race, Munisteri said.
Maybe she’ll lose by 13 instead of 17,” he said.
Fifty-eight percent of Texans surveyed in a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released June 17 said they didn’t know their opinion of Davis or didn’t have one, with an additional 19 percent saying they viewed her neither favorably nor unfavorably.
There’s also the polling.
According to Gallup, only 14% of Americans support third trimester abortions. Sixty-two percent of Texans support SB 5. National Journal’s recent poll of American attitudes towards 20-week bans on abortions showed that 48% support such a measure. Most importantly, 50% of women support the restriction – and 52% of 18-29 year olds also agreed that abortion should be banned at twenty weeks. While liberals can tout polling showing that Americans don’t support overturning Roe.v Wade – which is true – it doesn’t mean they’re against restrictions on the procedure.
In short, if Davis wants to turn her pro-abortion stance into electoral success, she’s finished. Additionally, if Democrats want to divide their base further after the failed gun control campaign this past winter, then supporting pro-infanticide candidates is the way to go.
Well, all eyes were on Texas last night. Regrettably, I missed the remainder of the session due to being locked out of my apartment for most of the night, but State Sen. Wendy Davis, who went from 1,200 followers on Twitter yesterday to over 20,000 by today, has become a feminist rockstar. What did she do? She filibustered a bill that would’ve placed restrictions on infanticide in the Lone State State.
The bill would’ve banned abortions 20 weeks into a pregnancy. And close virtually every clinic in the state except for five. At the same time, it would force clinics to upgrade their medical devices and become “classified as ambulatory surgical centers.” The Associated Press reported on June 26 that:
In her opening remarks, Davis said she was “rising on the floor today to humbly give voice to thousands of Texans” and called Republican efforts to pass the bill a “raw abuse of power.”
Democrats chose Davis, of Fort Worth, to lead the effort because of her background as a woman who had her first child as a teenager and went on to graduate from Harvard Law School.
In the hallway outside the Senate chamber, hundreds of women stood in line, waiting for someone to relinquish a gallery seat. Women’s rights supporters wore orange T-shirts to show their support for Davis.
Yet, she is no Rand Paul. She began her filibuster at 11:18am yesterday morning, but was cut short when she violated the parameters of the filibuster. The New York Times noted on June 26 that:
[Texas] Senate rules set strict requirements on how she could perform a filibuster – she was forbidden from straying off topic or sitting in her chair, for example – and if she was found to have violated the rules three times, her filibuster would effectively come to an end.
When Davis mentioned the sonogram bill in Texas, that was the last straw. A conference with the parliamentarian was called, and her filibuster was effectively over shortly thereafter. Nevertheless, it was too late. While the bill theoretically passed, the 19-10 vote in favor of the new law was taken after midnight. The session was set to expire by 12am, thus killing the bill for now.
Yet, AP wrote that the abortion restrictions weren’t the only things put to the axe.
The filibuster took down other measures. A proposal to fund major transportation projects as well as a bill to have Texas more closely conform with a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision banning mandatory sentences of life in prison without parole for offenders younger than 18 did not get votes. Current state law only allows a life sentence without parole for 17-year-olds convicted of capital murder.
Nevertheless, as zero hour approached, pro-abort protestors became unruly, drowning out procedural measures with chants, and delayed the vote. Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood noticed this was an effective tactic.
— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) June 26, 2013
Is this the rule of the mob? Many on the left were commenting on how this may become a national spectacle. They’re right. But they haven’t read any of the polls that show an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose late-term abortion. Additionally, if they think they can use something so unpopular to “turn Texas blue,” it only exists in their imaginations. On the other hand, killing this renewed “war on women” push is going to require perfection concerning messaging, which Republicans fail miserably at executing.
Even if this passes in another special session, what a way to help #turntexasblue
— Irin Carmon (@irincarmon) June 26, 2013
UPDATE: David Freddoso on how this isn’t a winning issue for social liberals.
According to Gallup, only 14 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in the third trimester. Only 27 percent believe it should be legal in the second trimester. (When you get into the weeds, it appears that most Americans support the Roe v. Wade decision because they don’t understand what its effects are.) In Texas, 62 percent of voters supported this law, and only 29 percent said they opposed it. The new Texas law, a friend points out, is considerably less stringent than the current abortion laws in France, which bar abortion after 12 weeks.
Among single-issue abortion voters (about 17 percent of Americans), pro-lifers win roughly three-to-two. Pro-life voters are also slightly more likely to consider it an important (though not necessarily decisive) issue. On aggregate, pro-choice voters on abortion just don’t put as much weight behind it — or at least that’s what they tell pollsters.
Texas Democrats just spent an evening throwing red meat to a base of social liberals — mostly wealthy white donors in big cities. There’s an upside for them in this act, but it’s not the kind of upside you showcase in a general election campaign. This is especially true at a moment when the abortion-rights Left has been working hard to shine the spotlight away from the bone-crunching reality of late-term abortions and toward contraception instead. This was a master-stroke, by the way, of the Obama 2012 campaign.
The abortion issue is not decisive in most voters’ calculations. Republicans shouldn’t expect some runaway political success because they passed this law. But on the other side, if Democrats think that preserving the possibility of abortion up until birth is a good issue to run on — well, good luck with that.
An Illinois city mayor has decided to quit Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun campaign. Mayor Larry Morrissey of Rockford, Illinois’ third largest city, said that he could no longer be a member of an organization that goes after legal guns and the rights of gun owners. Of course, he’s talking about Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Warner Todd Huston at Breitbart wrote on June 23 that:
[A]t a townhall-styled appearance on June 22 in nearby Loves Park, Illinois, Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey announced that he has, indeed, quit Mayor Bloomberg’s gun group because Bloomberg’s group was not fulfilling what Morrissey felt was the group’s stated intentions.
Morrissey has for some time been saying he intended to quit the anti-gun group and some citizens wondered if this was just electioneering, but at this most recent townhall event, Mayor Morrissey has for the first time said definitively that he is out.
In the video shot by local political blogger Ulysses Arn, Mayor Morrissey said the chief reason he left Bloomberg’s group is because he thought the group would be against illegal guns but has instead become a group looking for ways to ban legal guns and attack the rights of legal gun owners. He also said that he intends to get a concealed carry license himself when they become available in Illinois.
Rockford is the third largest city in Illinois with a population of 180,569, a median age of 30-years, and a 39 percent minority population.
Morrissey noted that most of the gun violence in Rockford is committed with handguns, which Mayors Against Illegal Guns have mostly ignored. So far, the group is focused on getting so-called “assault weapons” banned, despite the fact that less than 3% of all murders are committed by any type of rifle. At the same time, Morrissey aptly noted that the police cannot be everywhere all the time – and that every American should have the right to carry a firearm.
So, it seems the left-wing activist who bugged Sen. McConnell’s campaign strategy meeting, is being afforded more rights that Fox News’ James Rosen. Here’s a quick recap.
The activist, Curtiss Morrison, has already admitted his own guilt in a rambling essay in Salon last month. At the time he was working for Progress Kentucky, a group with close ties to the Democratic Party both in the Bluegrass state and in Washington. Shawn Reilly, the executive director of the group, was also arrested for his role in the illegal taping. He visited the White House days before the group’s Twitter account began actively attacking Leader McConnell, according to White House visitors logs.
Reilly also has ties to Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky’s Secretary of State, who is mulling a challenge to McConnell. Yet, Grimes also has to balance the fact that a senate run would break her promise of serving a full-term as Kentucky’s Secretary of State. If you can’t trust Grimes to follow through at the state-level, what makes you think she could in Washington? But what about this business with Morrison having more rights than Rosen?
Manu Raju and John Bresnahan report in Politico on June 21 that:
Justice Department prosecutors in Washington are now part of a high-profile criminal investigation into the secret taping at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign headquarters in Louisville.
At the same time, any attempts to subpoena evidence from Curtis Morrison — a liberal activist who surreptitiously taped McConnell and his aides at a campaign meeting in February — would most likely need the personal approval of Attorney General Eric Holder, according to federal regulations, which require Holder to approve subpoenas for journalists. Morrison was previously a paid freelancer for a Louisville-based, online news outlet, even though he was engaged in political activities with the goal to defeat McConnell.
While reporters may not break the law to gather news, an indictment of Morrison would also be fraught with potential legal land mines because of his status as a journalist. In order to subpoena him prior to an indictment by a federal grand jury, Holder would have to personally approve the action. Holder has recently been grilled by lawmakers in both parties over the AP and Rosen cases, making any potential action against Morrison — despite his own admission of guilt — a potential headache.
Brad Dayspring, the NRSC’s Communications Director, had this to say.
Wait… Hold on just a second! In other words, apparently the Obama Administration and Eric Holder have granted a liberal activist who has admitted he secretly recorded Leader McConnell (a violation of federal criminal eavesdropping law), a status they refused to afford either Fox News’ James Rosen or the Associated Press.
That’s rich! Appearances are important, and this sure makes it look like it’s easier to get journalist protections from the Obama/Holder DOJ if the coverage is beneficial for the Democratic Party. The Obama Administration may want to rethink this one.
As Howard Nemerov wrote on June 21, an anti-gun participant in Concord, New Hampshire listed Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston bomber, as a victim of gun violence. The rally was held on June 18 rally by Mayors Against Illegal Guns as part of their “No More Names” tour. According to the New Hampshire Union Leader:
The event had people supporting the Mayors Against Illegal Guns movement, founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, reading the names of those “killed with guns” since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary outside their “No More Names” bus.
Rally organizers, whose bus had Texas license plates, refused to speak to a New Hampshire Union Leader reporter and referred him to the organization’s national headquarters.
Some of the loudest shouts came when a reader spoke the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects who was killed by police during a gunfight.
As National Review’s Jim Geraghty aptly noted in his June 20 post, “aren’t you forgetting that little matter of his brother [Dzhokhar] running him over with an SUV?” Now, Jessica Chasmar at the Washington Times wrote yesterday that Mayors Against Illegal Guns issued an apology. It’s one of those honest mistake moments. Yet, according to:
N.H. Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s office, this isn’t the first time the group listed him [Tamerlan Tsarnaev] as a victim. They also listed suicides and high-profile criminals, such as deceased cop-killer Christopher Dorner.
In a letter to N.H. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the group urges the Republican “to consider your opposition to the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey background check compromise.”
“More than 6,000 Americans have been murdered with guns in the six months since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Enclosed are the names of 5,026 who we were able to identify.”
The list they were using was compiled by Slate, which is a Washington Post affiliated site. It’s also a place where blog posts saying offensive tweets are worse than drunk driving are published. It seems the lust to reboot gun control monomania in America has liberals including the cop-killers and the terrorists.
UPDATE: Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner wrote on June 21 that one in twelve “victims” on Bloomberg’s gun violence victims list is a criminal.
A preliminary analysis of the list of shooting “victims” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Mayors Against Illegal Guns is reading at rallies for new gun control laws finds that one in 12 are crime suspects killed by police or armed citizens acting in self-defense.
The review of 617 killings found that 50 were suspects in crimes ranging from assault to murder, not the type of violence Bloomberg’s group suggests in its “No More Names” campaign to draw attention to the estimated 6,000 gun death “tragedies” since the mid-December Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newton, Conn.
Examples found include an Ohio man shot by police while he was holding a gun in another man’s face, and a 79-year-old Indiana man who shot a 19-year-old who was attacking his granddaughter.
A separate analysis looked at 13 gun deaths in Montana listed on the Slate list used by Bloomberg’s group. It found that more than half were the result of police shootings or suicide.
Get well soon, liberals.
To Slate’s Jeremy Stahl, the drunk-driving kid of a Democratic politician is far less scandalous than offensive tweets from the progeny of a conservative Republican. There really isn’t much point to Stahl’s June 14 piece, “Hereditary Traits: Bigoted taunts by the children of GOP honchos have everything to do with politics.” In fact, it’s abjectly stupid. Yet, Stahl runs completely off the rails when he writes:
[I]t’s true that children of Democrats can be just as wretched as children of Republicans and can do equally idiotic, terrible things. (See the news of Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s son, Connor, being arrested on charges of drunk driving and hit-and-run driving or any one of Al Gore III’s repeated arrests for driving under the influence and reckless driving.) But when bad Democratic kids behave badly, they’re way more likely to drive 100 mph while drunk than to say the president chucks spears. Likewise, you rarely ever see Democratic officials getting in trouble for passing on horrible, racist chain emails or making horrible racist remarks. This has everything to do with the political differences between the two parties and their voters.
Again, Republicans aren’t all racist. But the party actively cultivates racists as voters. Which means that some portion of the Republican electorate, as well as Republican officials, are racists. When a kid literally lives in that political environment, he has a greater chance of being caught up in the extreme end of it. If all of your friends are Republicans and even a small subgroup of Republicans are racist, homophobic bigots, then you’re more likely to associate with racist, homophobic bigots and become one yourself than if you’re hanging out with liberal, crunchy kids.
So, driving 100mph while intoxicated is ok, but racist tweets need be perused relentlessly? Last time I checked, you can’t kill anyone with a tweet, but driving drunk is a sure-fire way. That’s liberal logic. What’s worse is that Stahl tried to intertwine Sen. Flake’s son’s tweets to the senator himself – and his voting record on LBGT issues. So, Flake’s son is allegedly a racist homophobe, therefore Jeff Flake is a racist homophobe. One could think that this is a “squirrel” post to distract us from the poor performance of the Obama administration. And when you try to defend drunk driving – and omit Democratic racism – it’s a legitimate question.
Concerning that aspect, allow me to introduce South Carolina Democratic Party chairman Dick Harpootlian. He made racist remarks about Governor Nikki Haley, and quipped about Sen. Lindsey Graham’s sexuality, which liberal commentator Peter Beinart, former editor of the New Republic reported on last May:
If Dick Harpootlian were a Republican, liberals would be jumping over one another to call him a bigot. In 2002 Harpootlian called Lindsey Graham, then running for a South Carolina Senate seat, “light in the loafers,” thus fueling a nasty whispering campaign about Graham’s sexual orientation. Last Friday he struck again, telling activists to “send Nikki Haley”—South Carolina’s Indian-American governor—“back to wherever the hell she came from.”
But Harpootlian isn’t a Republican. Until he retired last Saturday, he was chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. He made his comments about Haley at the party’s annual dinner, just before Joe Biden took the stage. And as a result, the liberal response has been muted. So far, neither Biden nor Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, whose candidacy for a South Carolina congressional seat has gained national attention [last May], has repudiated Harpootlian’s comments. And for now, at least, conservatives are just about the only ones asking them to.
Domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, an Obama supporter, thinks the president is guilty of war crimes. In a discussion with Real Clear Politics’ Tom Bevan and Charlie Stone during Morning Commute, Ayers noted how Obama is no better than Johnson and Nixon. And that he should be put on trial for war crimes in the Hague over his drone policy. Jessica Chasmar at the Washington Times writes that:
while he [Ayers] still likes President Obama personally, he deserves “a failing grade” on the presidency and should be tried for war crimes.
“Every president in this century should be on trial for war crimes. Every one of them goes into an office dripping with blood, and adds to it. And yes I think that these are war crimes, that these are acts of terror,” [said Ayers.]
Ok, the every president has blood on his hands remark is debatable, but it’s a bit amusing that an unrepentant radical views Obama as a war criminal. After all, it’s coming from a guy who set off a bomb in the Pentagon. Yet, he’s an authority on what’s ethical and moral within the realm of international relations? What’s odd is that Ayers feels that Obama hasn’t moved away from his centrist roots as a politician He likes that the president is curious. Additionally, Ayers fawned over the fact that Obama asks questions, reads, and wants to know things. It’s a weird area concerning the growing discontent with President Obama and his presidency.
We have a terrorist, who thinks the president is a war criminal, but feels that he isn’t letting the country down.
Last Friday, Organizing for Action exploited the six-month anniversary of the Newtown shooting. They mobilized their supporters for a series of anti-gun rallies across the country. In San Bernardino, that call to action was answered by three people. Ryan Hagen of the Sun, a local paper, wrote on June 14 about the failed rally.
On Flag Day growing up, I used to always wave a flag with my grandson, and it hit me that the victims of that horrible tragedy won’t ever be able to do that,” said Curtis Lewis, the group’s gun violence prevention coordinator. “We need people to stand up and write to Congress to say they want laws that respect the Second Amendment but also help prevent these tragedies.”
Lewis said he supported HR 1565, a bill that would require background checks for sales at gun shows and online, “close the gun show and other loopholes,” and create a commission to study the causes of mass violence in the United States.
The protest drew three members of Organizing for Action, a nonprofit group that supports President Barack Obama’s agenda, to the National Orange Show Events Center.
“It’s three people today, but it will be 23 next time, and we’ll see the time after that,” Lewis said.
Well, that’s progress. In the meantime, Michael Bloomberg is softening Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas over gun control, but it’s an issue that isn’t gaining much traction with the public. With the failure of the Manchin-Toomey bill, 62% of Americans want Congress to move on to other issues. They don’t want a reboot of this failed campaign, which– on a positive note – robbed Barack Obama of the most precious moments of his second term. In one of the most liberal states in the country, only three people showed up for an anti-gun rally. It’s another example of the absent voter intensity that pervades the gun control crowd.
(H/T Lachlan Markay)