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2012 Election Richard Falknor on 24 Jul 2012

A Romney Victory: More Than A Breathing Spell For Our Country?

What we do at Blue Ridge Forum bears repeating: we write for Maryland and Virginia conservatives, and we try to get them facts and informed opinion they are unlikely to get from the Legacy Media and even from a GOP-establishment-oriented Fox News, to say nothing of releases from both political parties.  

Of course, the United States is a two-party nation, and conservatives must work through the GOP on presidential elections. 

Providence in due course may allow conservative control of the GOP. 

Until that happens, however, conservatives have to get ready for a Romney Administration. 

Conservatives failed to prepare for a Boehner Leadership in the House after the conservative November 2, 2010 victory. Nor did they do so for the lamentable lame-duck session of Congress that year.  Of course, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t reveal any sense of accountability to the grass-roots which helped elect more Republican senators.  

Moreover many conservatives by now are understandably vexed by the Republican leadership in the Congress.

Daniel Horowitz captures (Madison Project) some of this outrage —

“It is this desire on the part of Republicans to ‘just pass legislation’ that has saddled us with $15.8 trillion in debt.  It is these ‘do something’  Republicans that have gone along with the Democrat anti-free-market agenda energy policy in pursuit of government-run commerce; from green energy subsidies to mandates for ethanol and the use of crony capitalist products.”

What Can We Reasonably Expect from President Romney in 2013?

A new Romney Administration will substantially curtail Obamacare.  Unless 60 conservative votes magically appear in the U S Senate next year (more likely there will be 30-plus dependable conservative votes even if the GOP takes control of that chamber), total repeal may be a stickier path than much of what may be achieved through the reconciliation process. (Governor Romney’s legislative style is not that of the late president Lyndon Johnson who probably could have brought about a total repeal starting with a razor-thin majority.)  

A president Romney will likely be successful in saving our national defense from the remaining ravages (they have already begun) of sequestration. 

He will — simply by virtue of his election — restore confidence to America’s investors.  Doubtless he will rescind several of the most onerous of EPA’s job-killing regulations. 

More than likely, he will stop our policy of  undermining Israel, and possibly take steps to bring about regime change in Iran. 

And he will rid the Federal establishment of at least top-level Obama appointees. 

These are significant and vital steps.

 What Should Conservatives Do in This Breathing Spell?

Mark Steyn rightly points out that – –

Big Government can transform a people. It’s done so in Britain, Europe and most of the rest of the developed world. Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Van Jones and the rest of the gang have made a bet they can pull off the same trick here. In his Roanoke speech, listen to the audience cheer his disdain for individual effort. Consider the mainstream media’s mystification that anyone would find these words controversial. Look at the statistics: In the last three years, 2.6 million Americans have signed on with new employers, but 3.1 million have signed on for disability checks.” (Emphasis Forum’s.)

Conservatives should remember that the current Republican leadership of the House and Senate was complicit (to put it charitably) in enacting president George W  Bush’s “compassionate conservative” version of Big Government.  Romney aide Ed Gillespie, moreover, was clearly a governmentalist and a Bush amnesty supporter, and Karl Rove pushed very hard for the Bush Medicare expansion. 

President Barack Obama has already pulled the Federal Establishment sharply to the Left. 

Right-sizing that Establishment, neutralizing the Obama appointees who have assumed ‘civil service’ status, recruiting savvy conservatives for sub-cabinet posts to help run the core agencies (and supporting their work after they are appointed), will be a laborious and politically contentious effort inside the Washington Beltway.

Will the Romney White House want to spend much political capital doing so?

Is the current GOP Congressional leadership likely to advance conservative goals in the Federal Establishment?

We can almost write their script during the opening days of the Romney Administration: “With a Republican in the White House, we don’t have to spend money on ‘expensive’ Congressional oversight that might distract the new Administration.”

The Federal regulatory burden is breathtaking in size – “economic regulations cost hundreds of billions—perhaps trillions—of dollars every year”  according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Clyde Wayne Crews.

Much smaller scale but nonetheless dangerous appropriations bills now going through the Congress likely bankroll a number of potential anti-property-rights (or, in the case of education, anti-Western values) state actions.   For example, the Senate Appropriations Committee (p.103) has “recommended $50,000,000 to support the Sustainable Communities Initiative.”

And how many GOP donors often favor regulations (see Timothy Carney’s post in the foregoing link) that give their own business a competitive advantage. Getting rid of these politically favored rules will not be easy.

And we haven’t even addressed what a Romney Administration is likely to do with its own version of a “Dream Act,” or how it will scale back president Obama’s “amnesty-by-decree” to use Mark Krikorian’s phrase here.

And perhaps the single most important longer-range battle for conservatives is reforming the K-16 taxpayer-supported curricula so that we may transmit to coming generations our country’s exceptional values  How much discussion have we heard in the GOP Establishment about that goal?

The  bottom line for conservatives today:  push your Congressional friends for real improvement in the GOP leadership of both chambers; work with authentic conservative members to develop  specific regulatory reforms, and to rein in the administrative state by legislation and appropriations measures; insist on serious Congressional oversight and score members on their participation in that essential activity; and never for a moment forget that the current GOP Establishment is rarely conservative and infrequently grass-roots friendly.

If all of us in the grass-roots and the independent Tea Party community don’t work for a restoration of a conservative society right now, no one else will make it happen.

And this could be our last breathing spell.

 

 

 

 

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 13 Jul 2012

Condi as VP Pick? A Mitt Romney ‘Harriet Miers Moment’?

UPDATE JULY 17: Rasmussen Reports “Condi Rice remains the most popular among those Mitt Romney is reportedly considering as a vice presidential running mate.”

We are puzzled by the persistence of reports that governor Mitt Romney is seriously considering (or perhaps has already selected, but has not yet announced) Condoleezza Rice as his vice-presidential running mate.

We hope his staff recalls the 2005 uproar over then-president George Bush’s nomination of  Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

Long-time conservatives will recall, as just one example, this reaction from the late Paul Weyrich’s circle (Coalitions for America) according to a contemporary  press account of the Weyrich Lunch

“Weyrich, who hosted one of the meetings, said afterward that he had rarely seen the level of passion at one of his weekly sessions. ‘This kind of emotional thing will not happen often, Weyrich said. But he feared the White House advisers did not really grasp the seriousness of the conservative grievance. ‘I don’t know if they got the message. I didn’t sense that they really understand where people were coming from.’”  (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Conservative criticism of a possible Rice selection is widespread.

Ramesh Ponnuru (NRO) The Case Against Condi

I doubt Romney is seriously considering Rice, because it seems so obvious that she would be a disastrous pick. Just in case there are people who do not see this, let me run through some of the reasons”. . . .Romney would be nuts to pick Rice. He’s not perfect, but he’s not nuts.”

Roger Clegg (NRO) —

“She was also one of the people in the White House during the Bush administration who insisted the administration’s position in the University of Michigan cases leaves the door open for schools to use racial and ethnic preferences in admissions.”

Quin Hillyer (American Spectator): Rice Should Not Be on Romney’s Menu

“If the Drudge Report is to be believed, Condoleezza Rice is at or near the top of Mitt Romney’s list for running mate. God forbid.”

Erick Erickson (RedState) The [Insert Squishy Veep Choice] Campaign Spin We Could Expect

“What if Condi Rice were the pick? It won’t happen, but what if Condi Rice were the pick? Well, some of us have heard all the same old tired excuses from sell out Republican leaders for so long, we can tell you now exactly what Team Romney and the GOP would say. These may sound familiar to you as they are frequently used to justify bad candidates and policy. Here’s what we could expect. . . .”

Michael Rubin (Contentions) Reservations About Rice

“Like Madeleine Albright before her, Rice’s outreach to the Dear Leader was poorly conceived and motivated, and did little but to cede America’s strategic leverage and make North Korea more dangerous.”

Condi’s Park City Pitch

McKay Coppins (BuzzFeed) reported today in his “Audio Exclusive: The Speech That Landed Condi On Romney’s List: A call to ‘storm Washington D.C.’ Speculation in Park City that ‘she wants to be Vice President.’”  —

“With The Drudge Report driving speculation that Condoleezza Rice is now a leading contender in the Republican veepstakes, campaign surrogates and supporters say Rice electrified Mitt Romney’s circle last month with a speech she delivered at the candidate’s closed-door June fundraising retreat in Park City.

Rice’s forceful and surprisingly partisan 13-minute address — audio of which has been obtained by BuzzFeed — won her two standing ovations from the gathering of big-money donors and GOP elite. It was widely considered the highlight of the weekend, several people present told BuzzFeed.

The standout performance took several people in Romney’s orbit by surprise. One surrogate said he was surprised by the red meat rhetoric employed by Rice, who has largely eschewed the political arena in recent years, devoting her time instead to an academic career at Stanford.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

We fear our conservative friends are too quick to dismiss the likelihood of Dr. Rice’s candidacy although we hope they are right

But real history is often the enemy of logic even in usually exceptional America.

If Dr. Rice is indeed the selection, it will further highlight the difference Main Street conservatives rightly discern between their own values and those of the “big-money donors and GOP elite” — in this case reported to comprise the Park City gathering.

These Main Street conservatives are needed to turn out in force for governor Mitt Romney well before, and on next November 6.

During president George Bush’s second term we and many others noted that the uproar surrounding Harriet Miers’ nomination signified the drying up of conservative trust in the Bush Administration.

Many conservative voters have put aside their doubts to get behind governor Romney.  Selecting Dr. Rice, pro-choice and pro-Bush-immigration-policy, as the GOP vice-presidential candidate would bring back their doubts very quickly.

But even for the Romney Campaign to acquiesce in this public speculation about a candidate so troubling to the GOP base shows a disheartening lack of understanding of the conservative grass-roots.

As the late Paul Weyrich said about the White House advocates of the Miers nomination – –

“I didn’t sense that they really understand where people were coming from.”

* * * * * * * * * *

ALSO SEE! Diana West writes yesterday July 13 in her “NO VEEP CONDI” –“The bottom line is that Condoleezza Rice looks at both the United State and the world through a very murky prism of race, seeing in the segregated South she was born in not only the template for struggle everywhere, but also the actors in struggle everywhere. This shockingly parochial view sharply limits her understanding of war and peace at home and abroad.” Read author West’s 2005, 2007, 2008 columns on Dr. Rice, and Andy McCarthy’s 2009 column and Paul Sperry’s 2010 related report all of which West includes in her post of yesterday. West concludes: “After rereading these entries, I can only say it was worse than I remembered.”

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 11 Apr 2012

Mitt Romney’s Presumptive Nomination and The Conservative Base

“. . . Obama is throwing the country off a cliff and when you’re plunging into a bottomless chasm, you can’t get too picky about which branch you grab on the way down.” –-John Hawkins (via The Transom)

Here is a bright side of the conclusion of the GOP presidential nomination race and its media hype: the conservative base and the Tea Partiers can now pay more attention to the composition of the next Congress and, equally important, to the need to improve its Republican leadership.

Conservatives and Tea Partiers need to develop ways to hold members of the Congress who sail under the conservative flag to account – not just on legislation, but also on oversight, and on failure to act when national concerns are threatened.

Almost all the media reported the GOP nomination contest as a kind of national horse race pivoting on personality and money.  We suspect that this kind of political theater was particularly congenial to the Beltway GOP.

Conservatives – with their grasp of our history and constitution –understand that the November 6, 2012 presidential election is about confronting the grave danger president Barack Obama represents.

Mr. Obama is not just a misguided fellow in ‘over his head’,  but a serious and to-date-effective revolutionary politician.

And this danger comes not just from the president himself, but from the strong, sophisticated movement he represents:  a movement now embedded in our government and in the media, the professions, and in our schools from K through Ph.D.

This movement long ago began its work of ‘transforming America.’ It now continues its long march using the powers and the “bully pulpit” of the presidency, and the skill of the  “permanent government” of the senior civil service.

We don’t know who will win on November 6 partly because that will depend on a number of contingencies.

Consider the bailout of September 2008 —  which arguably took much of the wind out of Senator John McCain’s presidential effort.

Last Friday, Scott Rasmussen wrote

“The bailouts remain the most hated pieces of legislation in recent American history. They spurred both the tea party and the Occupy movements and convinced millions that a corrupt relationship exists between big government and big business. But both Romney and Obama are supporters of the bailouts. Given the public mood, it is almost beyond comprehension that neither party could come up with a presidential candidate opposed to the bailouts. Looking ahead, most voters hear a lot of rhetoric about deficit reduction but don’t believe either party has proposed a serious plan to stop ever-increasing government spending. Most don’t even believe that the budget cuts agreed to during the debt ceiling debacle will ever be implemented.”

(Whether or not the public is wholly or partly right about the bailouts, the public is certainly on target when they believe there is a far too intimate connection between the interests of favored businesses and powerful Federal politicians.)

Our point is that unexpected events (or manufactured crises) between now and November 6 demanding quick, clear positions from the president and his challenger can decisively shape November’s election outcome in these very dangerous times.

If president Obama edges out reelection, we shall need a strong principled GOP leadership in both houses of the Congress to limit further damage.

If governor Mitt Romney is elected, we shall also need such a strong principled leadership to ensure we begin to roll back the Left’s already-begun “transformation of America.”

As we and many others have written and detailed, the record of the Senate GOP leadership from 2009 onward has been lamentable.  The record of the House GOP leadership in the current Congress has been, charitably put, ineffective and likely will continue on that path.

It won’t do just to finally have 51 GOP senators or to keep the House GOP majority.

If conservatives want conservative outcomes from the next Congress, they will have to do better in finding ways to hold GOP members accountable.

We all saw the many disappointments from the House of Representatives GOP after the November 2, 2010 election gave the Republicans an historic victory in that chamber.

Consequently conservatives should understand they won’t get what they are looking without improving the current GOP Congressional leadership here and here.

And we’ll be looking at some of these essential conservative goals shortly.

Our Political Class Is Incapable of Changing Course — The Responsibility for Right Action is Ours

But keep in mind, we are aiming to elect a replacement for president Obama.  We are not electing a “Republican Caesar” with plenary powers to set America right. The hard, careful, and detailed work of setting America right must continue from the grass roots informed by the many independent conservative analysts. And it must be accelerated now.

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 04 Apr 2012

State Senator David Brinkley: A Careerist in Maryland Politics

Now that the primary dust is settling after yesterday’s voting in the Maryland Sixth Congressional District GOP primary and Roscoe Bartlett has once again won the nomination, it is time for some post-election analysis.

As many readers know, there was a last-minute cascade of campaign material from and about the GOP primary candidates.

Hiding in the Fiscal Closet: Brinkley The Taxer and The Spender

Maryland state senator David Brinkley’s campaign website portrayed him as as a low-tax fiscal watchdog challenger while implying that incumbent United States Representative Roscoe Bartlett was some kind of liberal —

“I know firsthand that there are no shortcuts to a healthy economy and job creation. Congress must lower taxes, reduce spending and eliminate the debt.”

“’C’ DOES NOT STAND FOR CONSERVATIVE

“The Heritage Foundation, the preeminent conservative think tank, gave Roscoe Bartlett a ‘C’ grade this year for all his liberal votes.”

David Brinkley Likes Republican Tax Hikes

In September 2004, the Maryland Taxpayers Association listed here the components of former governor Bob Ehrlich’s tax hikes.  They totaled almost $2 billion dollars.

Mr. Brinkley voted for the statewide tax hikes enacted that yearBRFA SB508, the Flush Tax SB320 , the “Holding Company” corporate tax hike HB297, and the Car Tax HB 1467.

The National Taxpayers Union here and Americans for Tax Reform here surgically removed whatever legitimacy some these taxes might have had as merely ordinary “fees.”

One of senator Brinkley’s current endorsers for Congress, senator Chris Shank, himself supported (as a delegate) two of the 2004 Ehrlich tax hikes here and here.  In Mr. Shank’s case, the then-delegate was also a no-new-taxes pledge signer.

As we wrote in 2008 – –

“Maryland tax hikes are all to be deplored whether they hit successful small-business entrepreneurs (the so-called millionaires’ tax) or largely hit the poor (the slots tax).”

The Brinkley Senate GOP Leadership Coup

On December 4, 2006,  in a former role as executive vice-president of the Maryland Taxpayers Association,  I wrote Maryland taxpayer advocates and GOP state senators–

“Tomorrow the Republican Caucus of the Maryland Senate will choose its leader at 1:30 PM in Annapolis.

The contest is between Senator Andy Harris, the current Republican whip, and Senator David Brinkley.

In 2004, the Maryland General Assembly and the governor enacted four major tax-hikes:

    • SB508 decoupling Maryland taxes from the then just-enacted Bush Federal estate and business tax relief;
    • HB 1467, the car tax;
    • SB320, the flush tax, and
    • HB297, a corporate tax increase.

Taxpayer advocates should know that Senator Harris, a no-new-taxes pledge signer, stood resolutely against all these measures.

Senator Brinkley, not a pledge signer, voted for all of them.”

The Thousand Pound Maryland Pension Gorilla

Almost exactly two years ago, the Washington Post declared in their “Maryland awakes from its bender on teachers’ pension” that–

“BREAKING THE BANK in Maryland has been a bipartisan, multilateral pursuit for years, backed by both parties at the state and local levels alike. When state lawmakers enacted a big increase in teachers’ pensions four years ago — an increase that freighted Annapolis with huge obligations to cover benefits negotiated by local school systems — the move was pushed by Democrats, signed by a Republican governor, cheered by localities and hailed by then-Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, now the national GOP party chairman.”

Here is the lamentable Maryland senate vote on this measure — no member of the General Assembly opposed it.

But by all accounts, state senator David Brinkley was the leading voice on Republican tax and spending policy in the General Assembly by virtue of his position on the Budget and Taxation Committee.

Why was this key GOP senator mute — instead of calling members of his own party back from the pension brink, not to put too fine a point on it?

Bipartisan Spending

Early in the last full year of governor Bob Ehrlich’s administration, Sam Batkins of the National Taxpayers Union published his Maryland’s Fiscal Folly: The Taxpayer’s View which revealed–

“On January 17, 2006, Governor Ehrlich proposed the largest increase in state spending in at least 25 years. Governor Ehrlich touts ‘Fiscal Responsibility’ as one of the ‘Five Pillars’ of the Ehrlich-Steele Administration, but his record 12 percent budget increase would likely make his predecessor (derisively referred to as ‘Spendening’) blush. Governor Glendening’s largest budget increase was a robust 10.9 percent.”

“Huge, it’s just huge,” Gov. Bob Ehrlich said.

But we were playing catch-up on spending declared Tony O’Donnell — now the GOP nominee for Congress in Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District–

“House Minority Leader Anthony O’Donnell said he would have liked to use more of the state’s $1.2 billion surplus to give money back to taxpayers, but the governor ‘is catching up on some areas where, because of fiscal constraints, we’ve had to make some cuts.’”

NTU analyst Batkins also pointed out

“Suppose Maryland had restricted its rising expenditures to no more than population growth plus inflation, beginning in Fiscal Year 1995. Under this scenario, spending should have grown by an average of 3.5 percent annually from 1995-2005. If an inflation/population limit were applied (on a compounded year-by-year basis) to Maryland, 2005 expenditures would have been just over $21 billion (about $3,700 per capita). Governor Ehrlich’s proposed FY 2007 budget is nearly $30 billion (about $5,300 per capita). Even after accounting for the 2006 Fiscal Year, a leaner government would mean that close to $9 billion (approximately $1,600 per capita), or almost a third of the current budget request, would still be in the pockets of Maryland taxpayers in 2007. Instead, Governor Ehrlich and Governor Glendening have chosen political expediency over the best interests of taxpayers.”

David Brinkley suggested to Maryland voters that he had some special fiscal and leadership skills warranting his election to Congress in these very dangerous times.

But he didn’t use his Budget and Taxation Committee position to steer the Ehrlich Administration in a better direction. He simply thundered along with the Annapolis herd on making public pension commitments.

These unwarranted promises will likely have to be honored from the family budgets of ordinary home owners.

The Pork-Laced Maryland Capital Budgets

Over the years, we have written about the Maryland capital budget and its spending temptations.

Readers can see the various outrages in recent capital budgets in our Is A New Pork Express Just Leaving the Annapolis Station? and our Local Spending: Ranking Free State Republican Senators (click on foregoing titles).

Mr. Brinkley has voted for every capital budget since he has been in the Maryland Senate right through this year. Here is his vote in his Budget and Taxation Committee for this year’s capital budget.

Roscoe Bartlett’s Real “Score Card” With Heritage Action

As we noted earlier, Mr. Brinkley made a campaign point of Dr. Bartlett’s rating on a conservative congressional scorecard. 

Heritage Action runs, in our view, a take-no-prisoners scorecard of Congressional action. (This is the scorecard to which the Brinkley campaign site apparently referred.)

In Heritage Action’s own words, “Heritage Action’s legislative scorecard isn’t graded on a curve – it is tough and we don’t apologize. After all, we are conservatives, not tenured university professors.”

Dr. Bartlett has a Heritage Action score of 77 percent here.

By way of comparison,  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has 60 per cent. In fact, Dr. Bartlett’s score exceeds that of every Virginia House Republican.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy has a score of 61 per cent.

Representative Allen West has a score of 74 per cent.

The troubling part of all this is that Mr. Brinkley apparently calculated that so many GOP voters in this closed primary would be unaware of his General Assembly record and that GOP primary voters would carelessly accept his criticisms of the House record of primary victor Roscoe Bartlett.

Even more troubling is the possibility that the good senator Brinkley himself really believes he is a credit to his party in the Maryland General Assembly.  The people of his senatorial district of course will have the last word on this in 2014.

But David Brinkley certainly didn’t show he had the right stuff for the U. S. House of Representatives while America is in such danger.

************************

Full disclosure: the author was briefly a member of Representative Roscoe Bartlett’s staff in 2003, and served on the board of the Maryland Taxpayers Association from 2000 t0 2008 in various capacities. The views in this blog, however, are strictly those of the blog’s two authors, and do not reflect those of anyone else nor those of any candidate nor those of any organization.

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 27 Feb 2012

Illegals: Has Your Favorite Primary Candidate Taken A Stand?

Most conservatives want to know exactly how candidates (incumbents and challengers) for the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate stand on key immigration issues.

Fortunately NumbersUSA keeps current  “Candidate Immigration Comparisons.”

Readers may click here for Maryland and here for Virginia.  Here is the national candidate comparison.  If your incumbent is not on the state candidate comparison list, you may go here to find his or her immigration record.

NumbersUSA has listed many key immigration issues. But NumbersUSA chief Roy Beck in his “Top 10 in U. S. House on reducing immigration in 2011” has a take-no-prisoners review here of what he sees as the House GOP leadership’s failure to protect American jobs from illegal aliens.

Obviously some candidates sailing under the conservative flag have not responded to the NumbersUSA questionnaire.  Others apparently have answered only some questions.

Since Maryland has become a “sanctuary state” for illegals,  readers may want to urge their favorite House and Senate primary candidates to say, on the record, how they will respond to this catastrophe.

Incumbent U.S. Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (Maryland Sixth District) and Bob Goodlatte (Virginia Sixth District) have earned NumbersUSA rankings of “True Reformer.” (Go here for ratings of all incumbent members of the Congress.)

Among Maryland challengers, Democrat Chris Garner (U. S. Senate primary), Republican Joseph T. Krysztoforski (Sixth District primary), and Republican Ken Timmerman (Eighth District primary), have also received NumbersUSA rankings of  “True Reformer.”

GOP primary challengers would do well to bear in mind that the fiscal, public-safety, and assimilation challenges of illegal immigration are a major concern of the grass roots.  Challengers will likely find that the conservative base will want to have a much different conversation about immigration than one they may hear from the amnesty-inclined Chamber of Commerce.

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 26 Feb 2012

Ken Timmerman:A Strong Conservative Voice In The Next Congress

We have known and worked with Ken Timmerman for over a decade.  A recognized world-class investigator, Ken is running for the GOP nomination in Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District to unseat House of Representatives Democrat budget chief Chris Van Hollen. (Here is Ken’s campaign website.)

This newly reshaped Congressional district includes half each of strongly Republican Carroll and Frederick Counties as well as a large part of Montgomery County. Party registration in the new Eighth Congressional District is just 50.4% Democrat, and 49.6% Republican and Independents, making it truly competitive for the first time in a decade!

These are extraordinarily turbulent times.  We see widespread uncertainty about how best to cope with our nation’s immediate future.

In our view, Ken Timmerman will provide in the House of Representatives independent, experienced judgment based on his own core conservatism — judgment critical to responding to the cascading threats — economic and security and values — which menace every one of us.

In short, Ken will be a strong voice urging what Mark Steyn calls “course correction” — while there is still time.

But let Ken tell you in his own words how he sees his priorities as a United States Representative —

“Our system is broken, and all you hear from the Congress and from the President are slogans that pit one part of society against another. That is not the American way.

I believe we are leaving an entire generation behind.

Who among you can say you are better off today than you were four years ago?

And what about young men and women reading this. Are you finding it easier to get a job today than your older brothers and sisters did just a few years ago?

I believe we need fundamental reform to get our country back on track. I call it a New Social Compact, and I will be laying out what I mean by this in a series of propositions during my campaign.

I believe we need 70% solutions – red, white, and blue solutions – that most Americans can buy into.

A few examples:

  • We need fundamental reform of our health care system that will increase accessibility, affordability, and put the patient-doctor relationship back at the core of our health delivery system. To do so, we need to repeal Obamacare immediately and replace it with true free-market reforms that allow individuals – not government – to control their health care decisions.
  • Next, we need fundamental reform of our entitlement programs. Many special interest groups are trying to scare you by claiming Republicans want to end Medicare and Social Security. Here’s the truth: if we do nothing, Medicare will go bankrupt in as few as six years, and the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted by 2036, according to the government’s own estimates. So we must reform the way these programs are funded, and what they cover – if they are to continue. And we can’t do that on a partisan basis.
  • Then we need fundamental tax reform, not tinkering around the edges. We cannot reduce the outrageous, trillion dollar budget deficits this Administration has saddled our children with, by heaping new taxes on the middle class — including the highly skilled Federal workforce of our capital area, or spinning new job-killing regulations on independent businesses.

I am a past president of the Maryland Taxpayers Association so I understand the fiscal nuts and bolts needed to right-size government. And I know that when they talk about government ‘revenue enhancement,’ what they really mean is ‘taking more of your money.’

When Maryland was still running a budget surplus a decade ago, I worked with some far-sighted state legislators urging a Return the Surplus  [to the Taxpayer] Amendment that was designed to keep state spending under control. Had the General Assembly then listened,  Maryland wouldn’t be facing today’s huge state tax increases.

Finally, I believe we must secure our freedom by sustaining the most powerful military the free world has ever built, not dismantling it as president Barack Obama and House Democrat budget chief Chris Van Hollen seek to do.

In the summer of 2006, I was sitting in a bunker in northern Israel with prime minister Bibi Netanyahu. Iranian-made rockets were crashing into Jewish communities and schools all around us.

At that very moment, Chris Van Hollen was writing an outraged letter to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, demanding that she pressure the Israeli government to stop what Mr. Van Hollen claimed was indiscriminate bombing by Israel of civilians in Lebanon.

I can tell you, because I saw it up close and personal: the only indiscriminate bombing that occurred that summer was ordered by Iran and carried out by Hezbollah, and it targeted Israeli civilians and population centers. Barack Obama and Chris Van Hollen should stop jeopardizing the safety of our close ally Israel.

I ask for your vote on April 3, and I will honor your trust.

Here is Ken’s professional website, Threat Watch.

You can reach him at timmerman.road@verizon.net

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 14 Feb 2012

Congressional Government: Grover’s Vision of A GOP Reign?

Whatever one’s disagreement with Grover Norquist over conservative principles (and we have many), one must concede that his rhetoric is powerful and that he minces few words.

Truly, Norquist is no boring, ‘happy talk’ GOP apparatchik.

But yesterday the talented sometime conservative David Frum pointed us (Daily Beast) —  through his “Norquist: Romney Will Do As Told: Is Mitt Romney so weak he won’t be able to stand up to Congress?” — to what Mr. Frum calls the “most significant” speech at last week’s CPAC :  that of Grover Norquist.

Explains author Frum

“In his charmingly blunt way, Norquist articulated out loud a case for Mitt Romney that you hear only whispered by other major conservative leaders.

They have reconciled themselves to a Romney candidacy because they see Romney as essentially a weak and passive president who will concede leadership to congressional conservatives:

[Frum quoting Norquist] All we have to do is replace Obama …  We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.

The requirement for president?

Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

Readers are encouraged to listen to the entire video of Americans for Tax Reform chief Norquist’s CPAC talk here. (Although Norquist does not mention governor Romney’s name in his discussion of what qualities are needed in the next GOP president, Frum not unreasonably concludes that the governor is the expected nominee and successful candidate.)

Is governor Romney “so weak that he won’t be able to stand up to Congress,” as David Frum asks?

Or is the better question what priorities does the current GOP Congressional leadership — seen as serial capitulators and disdainful of conservativesshare with Grover Norquist?

We all favor a Ryan or even tighter budget – – but what conservative priorities will the Congressional GOP leadership avoid addressing in 2013?

(And what could we expect from the Norquist vision of the next GOP president if Republicans fail to take the Senate next November and end up with a weakened minority in the House?)

We know that Mr. Norquist (to put it charitably) turns a blind eye to the Islamist menace, inclines to amnesty for illegals, seeks a shrunken defense budget, and apparently has “no position” on “gay marriage.”

We also know that during the years of the last Bush presidency, he failed to use the power of his organization to stop or hinder the White House’s and the GOP-led Congress’ expansion of big government.

Mr. Norquist says “the leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.”

How does this current GOP Congressional leadership reflect — in spirit or in accomplishment — the concerns of the conservative base?

Or is what Norquist describes as the “modern conservative movement” from the House and Senate merely a device to calm the credulous ?

Grass-roots conservatives and Tea Partiers have good reason to be wary of the Beltway GOP which may have some unwelcome surprises for all of us.

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 26 Jan 2012

VA GOP Primary Mess Continues: Still Limited to Mitt v. Ron

The last hope for Virginia conservatives to vote for one of their own in the  March 6, 2012 presidential primary lies in the timely passage of state senator Frank W. Wagner’s SB 510 allowing write-in voting in that election.

By conservative, we mean those who believe the next president should be committed to the long march toward downsizing government and curtailing the administrative state, strengthening our Judeo-Christian culture, and maintaining a strong defense.

The bill is an emergency measure (see article IV, section 13 in foregoing link) requiring four-fifths approval in both chambers and the governor’s assent if it to take effect before the March 6 presidential primary.

Today we learned from the Virginia Beach Republican’s staff that a hearing on his bill is slated for next Tuesday, January 31, at 4 PM before the full Privileges and Elections panel.

No, we cannot find a companion emergency bill in the House of Delegates.

We are, moreover, surprised — given the intensity of feeling about the restricted choice in the GOP Virginia presidential primary — that this Wagner bill has no co-patrons.

While the chances of its enactment for this presidential primary are remote, what is the message our grass-roots voters send if we do not get behind SB 510 in some strength at next Tuesday’s hearing?

Just another victory for the RPV Machine? We can hear the Party sachems now: “The base is all hat and no cattle. Ignore them.

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See our posts on the Virginia GOP primary here, here,  here, here and here.

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2012 Election Richard Falknor on 16 Jan 2012

Conservatives Left In The VA Cold? Gov Perry Appeals Order.

UPDATE! “Petition Drive Started for Change in Virginia Law To Allow Write-in Votes in the March 6, 2012, Republican Presidential Primary in Virginia.”  The petition announcement declares – – “A coalition of tea party leaders and activists are concerned that Virginia voters are disenfranchised by being forced to vote between only two candidates, Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.  With only two choices on the ballot, tea party activists fear, most people simply won’t vote on March 6, 2012.  Many tea party leaders do not support either Mitt Romney or Ron Paul for President.”

* * * * *

Blue Ridge Forum is hearing from Virginia conservatives outraged that they cannot even write in their selection (scroll down to “C.”) in the March 6 GOP presidential primary – – now limited to two choices: governor Mitt Romney or Dr. Ron Paul.

One dedicated activist declares:

“Shame on the GOP in serving up Romney.

Many loyal, fellow volunteers are livid with GOP over this.

We want to influence GOP to drop pushing support of Romney, or risk 3rd party in Nov.”

Meanwhile Olympia Meola (Richmond Times-Dispatch) reports last night in her “Perry appeals decision to keep 4 off Va. primary ballot” that

“Texas Gov. Rick Perry is appealing a federal judge’s refusal to add four Republican presidential candidates to Virginia’s March 6 primary ballot.

Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman challenged Virginia’s residency requirement for people who circulate ballot petitions.

U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. ruled Friday that while he agreed with them on a key issue, they waited too late to sue.

Perry filed an appeal on Sunday in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that ‘the court should grant an injunction ordering movant’s name placed on Virginia’s Republican primary ballot, or in the alternative, issue an injunction ordering the Respondents not to order, print, or mail ballots prior to the court’s final consideration of this appeal.’” [UPDATE JANUARY 19! Yesterday Frank Green (RTD) reported “Federal appeals court rejects Perry’s bid to get on Va. Ballot.”]

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See our earlier posts on the Virginia primary here,  here, here and here.

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Will Virginia conservatives and Tea Partiers demand legislative relief to be able to write in their primary selections (foregoing link opens to Virginia state senator Frank W. Wagner’s SB 510 allowing write-in votes in primary elections) ?

Will the GOP State Central Committee back away from their March 6 presidential primary “loyalty oath” next Saturday January 21?

Stay tuned.

2012 Election Richard Falknor on 11 Jan 2012

Romney Inevitable? Can We Move from Bain To Main?

“Time for those lovely pressure calls of carrots and sticks, and a slew of  ‘I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords’  pieces.” – The Transom, January 11, 2012

Daniel Horowitz has carefully been tracking the ineptitude — here, here, and here, for example — of the GOP Congressional leadership.

Last evening he posted (RedState) a particularly insightful piece on the GOP candidates’ missteps in the race to the presidential nomination with his Romneycare, Bain Capital, 2012, and the Lost Opportunity to Assail Obamacare.

Explained Marylander Horowitz —

“Amidst this week’s contretemps over Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital, for some reason, we are obscuring the real albatross around Romney’s neck; the issue of healthcare.  While Romney’s record at Bain might provide Obama with his biggest campaign weapon, Romneycare will disarm Romney, and by extension, all Republicans, of our biggest campaign weapon, namely, Obamacare.  And while Bain might provide Romney’s Republican opponents with a useful political argument (Romney’s electability problems in the general election), it does not provide them with a prudent and virtuous ideological argument.  Romneycare, on the other hand, provides the Mitt-alternatives with inviolable ideological arguments as well as political ones.

Romneycare is the antecedent to Obamacare.  It dramatically distorted the free-market of private insurance; it dumped a few hundred thousand people onto federally funded Medicaid; it set up gov’t-run exchanges that disincentivize success and offer larger subsidies than those proposed in Obamacare; it placed unreasonable mandates on employers to fund their employee’s healthcare.  The net result of Romneycare was the archetypical outcome of every statist policy; the price of a vital service was purposely distorted as a means of enticing more people to become dependent upon government.

Yes, it was all orchestrated by state government, not the federal government. Such a rationalization, according to Mitt, will ameliorate all of Romneycare’s vices – vices that are identical to those inherent in Obamacare. Somehow, regressive statism is desirable simply because Romney had the ‘right’ to implement it as governor of a state.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Horowitz concludes —

“After three years of campaigning against Obamacare, we are on the verge of elevating the Thomas Edison of anti-free-market healthcare to the party’s highest honor.

With the presidential election going downhill, it is probably time to apply our Tea Party energy to the congressional elections.  In the coming days we will redouble our efforts here at Red State to elect conservative members to the Senate and House.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Earlier yesterday, Dan McLaughlin (RedState) in On Romney, Bain and Keeping Your Integrity: Free Markets and Principles warned —

The other point I would make about integrity is that it goes close to the core of why a Romney nomination worries me so much: because we would all have to make so many compromises to defend him that at the end of the day we may not even recognize ourselves. Romney has, in a career in public office of just four years (plus about 8 years’ worth of campaigning), changed his position on just about every major issue you can think of, and his signature accomplishment in office was to be wrong on the largest policy issue of this campaign. Yes, Obama is bad, and Romney can be defended on the grounds that he can’t possibly be worse. Yes, Romney is personally a good man, a success in business, faith and family. But aside from his business biography, his primary campaign has been built entirely on arguments and strategies – about touting his own electability and dividing, coopting or delegitimizing other Republicans – none of which will be of any use in the general election. What, then, will we as politically active Republicans say about him? I was not a huge fan of John McCain’s record, but I was comfortable making honest points about the things McCain had been consistent on over the years – national security, free trade, nuclear power, public integrity, pork-barrel spending. There were spots of solid ground on which to plant ourselves with McCain, and he had a history of digging himself in on those and fighting for things he believed in. But Mitt Romney’s record is just one endless sheet of thin ice as far as the eye can see – there’s no way to have any kind of confidence that we can tell people he stands for something today without being made fools of tomorrow. We who have laughed along with Jim Geraghty’s prescient point that every Obama promise comes with an expiration date will be the ones laughed at, and worse yet we will know the critics are right. Every time I try to talk myself into thinking we can live with him, I run into this problem. It’s one that particularly bedeviled Republicans during the Nixon years – many partisan Republicans loved Nixon because he made the right enemies and fought them without cease or mercy, but the man’s actual policies compromised so many of our principles that the party was crippled in the process even before Watergate. We can stand for Romney, but we’ll find soon enough that that’s all we stand for.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

“From Bain to Main”

Following up on governor Mitt Romney’s business biography, Bill Kristol lays out some plausible goals for the GOP in his “From Bain to Main” (Weekly Standard) —

“Post 2008, capitalism needs its strong defenders—but its defenders need also to be its constructive critics. The Tea Party was right. What’s needed is a critique of Big Government above all, but also of Big Business and Big Finance and Big Labor (and Big Education and Big Media and all the rest)—and especially a critique of all those occasions when one or more of these institutions conspire against the common good. What’s needed is a willingness to put Main Street (at least slightly) ahead of Wall Street, and a reform agenda for capitalism that strengthens it, alongside an even more dramatic reform agenda for government that limits it.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

“Bankers vs. Capitalism”

Finally Irwin Stelzer fleshes out (Weekly Standard) Kristol’s theme in his “Bankers Versus Capitalism: When it comes to defending private enterprise, Wall Street is its own worst enemy” —

“Voter action at the polls is clearly indicated, although the appalling lack of choice—a Democrat wedded to the economics of the past, and either a clearly nutty or a cautious, establishment Republican technocrat—suggests that the radical change the moment calls for will not come from the political class, at least until the young Turks in the Republican party mature while, we hope, remaining, well, young Turks. So what is to be done is what can be done—remove some of the most glaring defects in the capitalist system, starting with the financial sector. That will take conservative support for change—support not only from the conservative punditry, but from the business community.”

Readers are encouraged to consider all of Stelzer’s post.  As the Hudson Institute economist points out,

“I am not one who sees in the Occupiers the wave of the future. They are not the real worry to those of us who fear for the future of market capitalism in America. It is the failure of the major beneficiaries of the capitalist system to understand that openness to reform, combined with a bit of restraint when carving up the huge pie that capitalism is capable of producing, is the best way to head off those people who would alter market capitalism beyond recognition by imposing punitive taxes, onerous regulations, investment-distorting subsidies, along with a bloated government. Those folks are dangerous enough to America’s future prosperity without being handed the gift of obtuse opposition to needed change.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

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