Conservatives Richard Falknor on 13 May 2013
Senate committee consideration of Marylander Thomas Perez to be Secretary of Labor has again been postponed – this time, to Thursday, May 16 (click here).
Conservative voices have been emphatic in their opposition. You can read a few of these articulate opponents in our earlier post (click on the link below):
Now we have learned (click here) from Adam Serwer at Mother Jones, moreover, that “Not Every Republican Hates Obama’s Progressive Labor Secretary Nominee”–
“‘I think he’s going to be a very fine secretary of labor for us,’ says Michael Steele, former chair of the Republican National Committee who first met Perez when he was a member of the Montgomery County Council and Steele was Lt. Governor of Maryland. ‘He’s honest, direct, approachable and willing to work hard to get it right.’
Steele isn’t the only Maryland Republican praising Perez. ‘He’s just a trustworthy guy,’ says John Kane, a former chair of the Maryland GOP. ‘If I had to put a trust together to manage my affairs after I was gone, Tom would be one of the top three guys I would pick to do that, even though I disagree with him more than half the time.’”
On the other hand, Quin Hillyer in the American Spectator (click here) declares —
“Thomas Perez is a multiple prevaricator.”
But to date we have found no Maryland state or Federal politician who declares that the U.S. Senate should not confirm Mr. Perez as Secretary of Labor.
Michael Steele was once the darling of Maryland GOP stalwarts; John Kane was governor Bob Ehrlich’s state GOP chairman. Mr. Kane’s wife Mary Kane was Mr. Ehrlich’s running mate in his 2010 race for governor. We must not overlook the fact that the Maryland Chamber of Commerce endorsed Mr. Perez here.
One can understand from the roster of Maryland GOP Perez endorsements why so many Old Line State conservatives (and some libertarians) believe that the Maryland Republican Establishment shares few of their goals and convictions.
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 25 Apr 2013
Two important add-ons! Read Marylander Wes Vernon’s “Thomas Perez: Obama’s one-man Gestapo” (Renew America, click here) and Christian Adams’s “Progressive Radical Record of Labor Nominee Tom Perez” (Breitbart, click here.) Apparently the Maryland Chamber of Commerce also suffers from “willfull blindness” in their endorsement of Mr. Perez for Secretary of Labor.
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For soon to be four years, we have been asking why House of Delegates Republican leader Tony O’Donnell and former state GOP chairman John Kane (under Bob Ehrlich) endorsed in 2009 Marylander Tom Perez for Assistant Attorney General.
Click on link below – -
“Sen. Harkin said when Perez served as Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, he was known as a consensus builder. Harkin read an excerpt of a letter written in Perez’s support by the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, which stated that ‘Mr. Perez proved himself to be a pragmatic public official,’ and the Chamber ‘found him to be fair and collaborative.’ Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) echoed this sentiment, claiming that while at the helm of Maryland’s labor department, Perez ‘received highest praise from both the business community and labor community.’” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
But this morning the Election Law Center pointed us to a letter from 43 GOP members of the House of Representatives (including one current and two former heads of the Republican Study Committee) to U S Senators asking them not to confirm Mr. Perez as Secretary of Labor.
“Prior to becoming an Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Perez worked for Casa de Maryland, which trains illegal aliens on ways to avoid capture by the very government that Mr. Perez has now taken an oath to defend.”
Click here to read the entire letter from these 43 House Republicans detailing why they oppose Senate confirmation of Mr. Perez.
But where was the name of Maryland Republican Representative Andy Harris on this letter?
Maryland conservatives wonder and wait.
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For an even more complete catalog of Mr. Perez’ missteps, readers will profit from Hans Bader’s (CEI) post of today — click on title: Obama’s Controversial Nominee for Labor Secretary To Be Voted On (The Senate confirmation panel is now slated to meet on May 8 on the Perez nomination. -ed)
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 21 Apr 2013
The second-ballot victory yesterday of Diana Waterman as state chair (really the Diana Waterman-Louis Pope Team) at the reportedly contentious Maryland GOP Convention in Timonium gives little hope for the Old Line State Republican Party becoming an engine of conservatism.
Do these two Republican sachems have any serious policy convictions? Their chief commitment appears to be supporting uncritically the incumbency of GOP state lawmakers, and following the lead of the Beltway GOP in Republican National Committee matters. (Readers may wish to revisit veteran Republican Morton Blackwell’s letter here.)
So What Is To Be Done? A Modest Proposal…
We suggest a new statewide non-profit conservative advocacy organization, a kind of (c)(4) non-profit civic league — as opposed to a public charity or (c)(3).
As a working label, call it Free Maryland.
It might have these elements:
- This organization would constantly be running inexpensive media and doing well selected “shadow hearings” (and local demonstrations) throughout the Old Line State.
- Free Maryland’s activities would not be limited to election years or to supporting candidates (although it could include such efforts on a limited basis), but these efforts would also range from tracking collective-bargaining negotiations with public-employee unions, to highlighting questionable or failing taxpayer-supported education activities, to producing action papers on fiscal matters (including safeguarding property rights, and pension reform).
- In our view, half of those folks (67,364) who voted for Brian Murphy in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary might come up with $100 apiece to kick off Free Maryland and would give more if they begin to see results. (One measure of the results of these activities would be the degree of outrage the movement evokes both from the Maryland legacy media and the Maryland political class.) In any event, most money should come from a large number of donors in modest and hopefully frequent packets.
What would be needed to start is a well-known Maryland conservative with sound judgment who would act as that movement’s public face.
In it, our central point was –
“So-called ‘single-issue conservatives’ pursue a path to irrelevance, and help ensure that we shall all hang separately.”
Angelo Codevilla expands in some detail on this concern in a February 2013 Forbes article (click here and scroll toward end) –
“There will be no alternative to all the country class’ various components acting jointly on measures dear to each. For example: since the connection between government and finance, the principle that large institutions are ‘too big to fail,’ are dear to America’s best-connected people who can be counted on to threaten ‘systemic collapse,’ breaking it will require the support of sectors of the country class for which ‘corporate welfare’ is less of a concern than the welfare effects of the Social Security system’s component that funds fake disability and drug addiction – something about which macroeconomists mostly care little – and vice versa. Similarly the entire country class has as much interest in asserting the right of armed self-defense as does any gun owner, because the principle of constitutional right is indivisible. Nothing will require greater unity against greater resistance than ending government promotion of abortion and homosexuality. Yet those whose main concerns are with financial probity cannot afford continuing to neglect that capitalist economics presupposes a morally upright people. ” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Not Putting Conservatives’ Trust in GOP Princes . . .
Free Maryland’s endorsement (or lack thereof) would help conservative challengers and incumbents as the organization builds recognition and respect.
Such an organization would not wait, however, for a (likely small) gaggle of self-styled ‘conservatives’ to be elected and then perhaps be co-opted by the Annapolis establishment.
Essentially its purpose would be to start to change the Maryland policy conversation on a grass-roots level by a variety of means from local demonstrations, “shadow hearings” on proposed legislation or for otherwise neglected investigations, to monitoring, then publicizing all kinds of state and local government-related missteps.
Free Maryland is not intended to be a new political party, but to put serious pressure on the Maryland political establishment — some Republicans as well as Democrats — to change course while there is still time.
But without strong and continuing and informed statewide conservative voices, GOP lawmakers are likely to hear only their masters’ voices – - their legislative leaders and perhaps even major donors.
Others may have their own good suggestions for a coordinated statewide conservative effort. We would be happy to learn of them.
We intend this article simply to begin the discussion on ‘what is to be done.’
Conservatives Michael Giere on 04 Mar 2013
Guest columnist and Virginia activist Michael Giere has written extensively on politics, foreign policy, and issues of faith. He is a former candidate for the U.S. House; worked for Ronald Reagan in 1976 & 1980; and served in both the Reagan and Bush (41) administrations.
“It is curious — curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.” Mark Twain
In 1976 being a “movement” conservative was not easy.
We were, much like today’s constitutional and religious conservatives, and the Tea Party — outside the Republican and cultural establishment both — lied about, despised and marginalized.
Most of us were new to politics, drawn into action by the death spiral of the Johnson-Nixon era, the unraveling culture and the dramatic growth of a paternalistic national government.
We were looking for rational, principled and honest leadership to save an America that was being driven into social chaos and literally being burned down by far-left radicals on the one hand; and crippled by weak-kneed so-called “moderate” Republicans on the other, who were passionless and who refused to fight for anything except their own positions.
To us, they looked and acted like the undertakers to American greatness, and we came to understand that they were actually just as absorbed as the far left in perpetuating and managing a huge bloated, freedom-crushing central government. Too many loved the power and privilege of the growing ruling class.
The difference between 1976 and today was Ronald Reagan.
We came out of the businesses, farms and factories of America, and joined a genuine citizen revolt that nearly denied the GOP nomination to the decent, but wholly inept sitting president, Gerald Ford (who went on to lose to the hapless Jimmy Carter — the second worst president in modern history behind the current occupant).
In the ensuing four years the Reagan conservatives upturned countless state parties and won scores of elections replacing party leaders — it was tough, confrontational and occasionally ugly. But conservatives wrestled away the leadership of the Republican Party so they could fight for the cause the “establishment” leaders had refused to fight for — and in so doing, the Reagan revolution changed America and advanced the cause of human liberty for a generation.
Reagan bought us that generation; but only one.
While the circumstances have changed, the cast of characters in 2013 remains the same.
There are the ultra-hard-left collectivists who 40 years ago were burning down the cities and today largely run the Democratic Party; the universities; the mainline churches; the press; and the crony-capitalist, big-government establishment patrons of the Republican Party who have wormed themselves back into the party’s leadership by learning how to “speak” conservative in public, while voting “left” in office.
And they have proved for the most part, to be as weak, timid and wholly without principle as they were 40 years ago.
Both groups of politicians have brought to the land a civil chaos growing exponentially.
This is what happens when free people abandon their government to political opportunists on both sides of the aisle. The Federal government now acts as our unchallengeable sovereign; our content-free and moral-less education has collapsed and been replaced by cultural Marxism; our financial affairs are at once corrupt and corrupting; our culture speaks to the debased; our laws foil the law abiding and excuse the lawless.
Worst of all, our so-called “leadership” has deserted the defense of our core liberties of speech, association, religious freedom and redress of grievances.
There are no easy answers here; and there will be no popular ones.
The responses all involve political, cultural, and religious conservatives together fighting — not with respectful deference to our failed leadership, nor with the soft tones of those who question the rightness of the cause — but with the thundering collective voice of the majority of Americans just like us, who see that the nation is slipping away at a frightening pace.
To paraphrase President Lincoln, it is up to conservatives to “bear the battle.” No one else will.
Retracing our steps to 1976, genuine conservatives must fight first those who have co-opted the Reagan Revolution — cleaning up our own “ranks.”
While we don’t have a leader like Reagan, conservatives do have the raw numbers — we are clearly the majority even at this late hour. That means that when we turn out, as in 2010, we can impact politics. But to do this consistently means spending time, treasure and energy on the local, county and state level, becoming active and vocal in the politics and operation of the Party – and in our culture and churches.
If conservatives don’t stay engaged year to year, then the wrong mechanics working under the hood of our national life will monkey with the engine every time.
On the national level, conservatives have to turn their attention to removing the Republican House and Senate leadership – all of them.
We have extremely pathetic and unprincipled leadership, especially in the House. The “bill of particulars” is long, starting with the majority status squandered from 2001-2006; their mindless pandering since 2010 even after conservatives handed them back that which they could not win for themselves; right up to this past week with the House leadership shamefully — and very aggressively — pressing the Republican majority to support legislation on the far left’s agenda, while attacking genuine conservatives who opposed them.
The Senate GOP leadership’s inability to craft a message for the 2012 elections and win a working majority is by itself reason enough to replace that leadership.
Conservatives have to bring all of their energy to removing this enfeebled, inarticulate and clumsy leadership with primary challenges; and if the individual leaders can’t be defeated in a primary, then conservatives must be prepared for serious collective soul searching prior to the general election — to lose one seat to change leadership, or to revert to the “lesser of two evils” strategy?
How’s that working out for us?
The first test for this could actually be at the state level. Virginia’s establishment class has just concocted and passed the most disingenuous, and pork laden tax increase in Virginia history — under the guise of a transportation bill. It is an eye-popping $6+ billion dollar tax bill over five years that that will actually only provide marginal new resources to transportation (while the money already being collected for road maintenance and construction through the gas tax is being used largely for everything but transportation).
The Governor of Virginia — who ran as a “conservative” of course — cannot be removed as he only serves one term. But Virginia’s entire House of Delegates is up for election in November of 2013.
Conservatives have an opportunity to send a clear and emphatic message by challenging every delegate, including and especially the Republican House of Delegates Speaker, who voted for this huge pork barrel tax increase that runs counter to their own Party Pledge, and the promises most of them campaigned on.
(Even worse, this whole tax package was first sprung on unsuspecting citizens with only a few weeks of consideration or public input — in keeping with the new tradition established by Nancy Pelosi: the “we have to pass the bill to learn what’s in it” school of legislation.)
If these delegates and the Speaker can’t be defeated in a primary, then the dilemma for conservatives is, again, can these delegates be supported in a general election?
This is a hard pill for many to swallow. The political risk is high for conservatives and the choice is tough — but the risks to our nation and the Commonwealth are even higher if we can’t count on honest, principled leadership that will keep its word to the people who put them in office.
If they can’t do the minimum, what would make us believe they will ever do the maximum — and defend the Constitution?
The question for genuine conservatives is simple; are you in or out?
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 23 Feb 2013
UPDATES– FEBRUARY 25!
Mark Levin tonight: I’ll fight every politician who supported the McDonnell tax hike. (Click here.)
Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell Thinks You’re an Idiot declares RedState chief Erick Erickson (click here to read the entire devastating indictment) – - “Bob McDonnell was getting all kinds of praise on the Sunday shows for his big transportation tax hike, which passed the Virginia legislature this week. He was getting praise from big government liberals like Tim Kaine and Terry McAuliffe and Martin O’Malley for his evenhandedness, his leadership, not like those troublesome conservatives in Washington who refuse to wheel and deal.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Three Governors: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly reveals Ben Domenech (RealClearPolitics via his Transom) – - “And that brings us to Virginia’s Bob McDonnell. Telegenic as he is, he is The Ugly.” (Click here.)
The Empire (big GOP donors) struck last Friday urging ‘pragmatism’ not Tea Party candidates. “Ken Cuccinelli ripped by business leaders” (click here) declared Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns (Politico) today. Theirs is a report on GOP donors shamelessly muscling a candidate who stands unapologetic for constitutional government and traditional values. Of course, everyone hears about the dark side of the GOP – the Beltway Establishment – but rarely do we get to read their brazen remarks. This donor attack has the scent of crony capitalism, business-friendly to be sure but hardly market-friendly. The question is how long can a divided GOP endure with any vigor? Not just in Virginia, but nationally? Not much longer in Virginia, we suggest, unless county committees and state Republican voices openly discuss the split and promptly disavow the governor’s $ 6.1 billion tax hike.
Richmond Tea Party chief Joe Guarino reports he has “called for an emergency RTP mtg to address this monstrosity.”
Lieutenant Governor GOP Primary Candidate Susan Stimpson in a “Dear Friend” email Saturday night declares “ I just received an email from the Governor that leaves me flabbergasted. It brags about billions in new taxes. It even directs people to look at the spending projects in their area! It sounds like a White House press release. I was half expecting it to conclude with an offer for a free cell phone!” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
A Cavalier Fiasco: Virginia Republicans try to elect the next Democratic Governor. (WSJ Review & Outlook) – “There’s one thing uglier than a Democratic tax-and-spend spree. A Republican one. On Friday Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and a GOP-run legislature approved a five-year, $6 billion transportation bill financed almost entirely with higher sales and car taxes. The big winners are unions, real estate developers and the transit lobby….At least Republicans can erase Mr. McDonnell’s name as a national candidate or VP choice in 2016.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
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$6.1 Billion VA Tax Hike? Kudos To Governor Mitt R. McDonnell
Today the Virginia General Assembly approved large and wide-reaching tax hikes – in John Fund’s words — “a $6.1 billion behemoth” – built into what is billed as a major transportation package.
(See John Fund NRO article for more details here; click here for ‘conference amendments’ where you can also learn about how ‘regional congestion relief fee[s]‘ will affect property transfers in northern Virginia.)
The Virginia General Assembly did all this under the leadership of a Republican governor.
Governor Bob McDonnell engineered the General Assembly’s approval with the support of most Democratic (25 out of 32) but only slightly more than half of Republican and GOP affiliated delegates (35 out of 67). Click here for the official roll-call vote.
17 Democratic (out of 20) but only eight (out of 20) Republican state senators supported the final, conference version.
Virginia senate approval came today after Virginia Democrats were apparently satisfied that the governor would not block Medicaid expansion. (For details on this cross-cutting issue, scroll through Jim Nolan’s (RTD) post “Negotiators say they have language that addresses Cuccinelli’s concerns about Medicaid expansion” here.)
This week the governor of Virginia roughly mimicked on the state level what Angelo Codevilla just described as the continuing actions of the national GOP leadership:
“By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
As his term moves toward its conclusion, Mr. McDonnell just made ‘political orphans’ of many citizens of his state with his taxing transportation package.
And many of them won’t even learn about it until the new taxes start biting in!
But The McDonnell Warning Signs Were There
In June 13, 2009, we asked (click here) –
“The Old Dominion conservative might wonder what set of circumstances the good Mr. McDonnell envisions when he refrains from signing the gubernatorial no-new-taxes pledge? Does he suggest that he will not find state budget cuts to pay for expanding highways and relieve traffic congestion? ‘Jobs’ and ‘energy’ may be stirring slogans, but vague on likely follow-up. ‘Cut traffic congestion’ might work better.
A long-time Virginia conservative said to us recently that when she closed her eyes listening to the former attorney general at the Republican convention in Richmond last month, she thought for a moment she was at a Democrat convention.
There is an overly-governmentalist tone to Mr. McDonnell’s solutions. He speaks of coalitions of state and local governments and business interests to solve this or that assumed problem or top-down objective — rather than trusting consumer choice, and empowering citizens and parents to make these choices free of unreasonable constraint.” (Underscoring in original, highlighting just added.)
Later that month on June 17, 2009, the Washington Times editorialized –
“But there goes Bob stammering about the problems pledges pose. ‘I don’t know. I’ve taken it before. I get so many of those pledges right now. People want me to pledge this or pledge that. I’ve been a firm believer that I’m gonna tell you exactly what I think … that I’m going to stick to my word. I did that when I ran for attorney general. I said, ‘These are seven things that I’m going to do,’ and we got all seven of them done, and so I’m getting so many questionnaires that want me to pledge this, that and the other. I may not take … probably will not do that, but I will tell you exactly what I think, because I’ve answered your questions today, and I will tell you that I have no plans to raise taxes.’
No plans to raise taxes? That answer has too much wiggle room for us.”
Put Not Your Trust in Party Labels
Perhaps now the good Republican stalwarts of Virginia will understand that just because a nominee sails under the GOP flag and the county Republican committees immediately morph into uncritical cheerleaders for the Party’s candidate, there is no guarantee at all that they are getting any kind of conservative.
In our view, Virginia’s photogenic and media savvy (if not very conservative) governor is burnishing his credentials as a ‘problem-solving’ (i.e., a very-big-government) Republican seeking a national perch.
It’s goodbye contentious Richmond, hello Ruling Class glamor and lots (more) national appearances – maybe even some with Karl Rove!
SOME OF OUR CLOSELY RELATED POSTS . . .
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 21 Feb 2013
“By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013 a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves.”
The quote above is from another Angelo Codevilla home run yesterday (click here) in his Forbes op-ed (via The Transom) –“As Country Club Republicans Link Up With The Democratic Ruling Class, Millions of Voters Are Orphaned.”
One does not have to agree with every one of Codevilla’s points, but conservatives should “read, learn, mark, and inwardly digest” his entire op-ed.
The depth of his analysis of our current crisis is invaluable. (Faithful readers will recall we first wrote about his seminal thinking — click here — in July of 2010.)
The following are just some highlights from professor Codevilla’s post of yesterday.
“Country class Americans have but to glance at the Media to hear themselves insulted from on high as greedy, racist, violent, ignorant extremists. Yet far has it been from the Republican leadership to defend them. Whenever possible, the Republican Establishment has chosen candidates for office – especially the Presidency – who have ignored, soft-pedaled or given mere lip service to their voters’ identities and concerns.”
“It is impossible to overstate the importance of American education’s centralization, intellectual homogenization and partisanship in the formation of the ruling class’ leadership. Many have noted the increasing stratification of American society and that, unlike in decades past, entry into its top levels now depends largely on graduation from elite universities. As Charles Murray has noted, their graduates tend to marry one another, perpetuating what they like to call a “meritocracy.” But this is rule not by the meritorious, rather by the merely credentialed – because the credentials are suspect. As Ron Unz has shown, nowadays entry into the ivied gateways to power is by co-option, not merit. Moreover, the amount of study required at these universities leaves their products with more pretense than knowledge or skill. The results of their management– debt, decreased household net worth, increased social strife – show that America has been practicing negative selection of elites.”
“President Obama’s statement that Republican legislators – and hence the people who elect them – don’t care whether ‘seniors have decent health care…children have enough to eat’ is typical. Republican leaders neither parry the insults nor vilify their Democratic counterparts in comparable terms because they do not want to beat the ruling class, but to join it in solving the nation’s problems. How did they come to cut such pathetic figures?”
“In sum, the closer one gets to the Republican Party’s voters, the more the Party looks like Goldwater and Reagan. The closer one gets to its top, the more it looks like the ghost of Rockefeller. Consider 2012: the party chose for President someone preferred by only one fourth of its voters – Mitt Romney, whose first youthful venture in politics had been to take part in the political blackballing of Barry Goldwater.”
“One reason for the Republican Party’s bipolarity is the centripetal attraction of the ruling class: In the absence of forces to the contrary, smaller bodies tend to become satellites of larger ones. Modern America’s homogenizing educational Establishment and the ruling class’ near monopoly on credentials, advancement, publicity, and money draws ambitious Republicans into the Democrats’ orbit. That is why for example a majority of the Republican Establishment, including The Wall Street Journal and the post-W.F. Buckley National Review supported the 2008 Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and its premise that big, well-connected enterprises are ‘too big to fail’ - which three fourths of the American people opposed vociferously. For these Republican cognoscenti vox populi is not vox dei, but the voice of idiots.”
“To represent the country class, to set about reversing the ills the ruling class imposed on America, a party would have to confront the ruling class’ pretenses, with unity and force comparable to that by which these were imposed. There will be no alternative to all the country class’ various components acting jointly on measures dear to each. For example: since the connection between government and finance, the principle that large institutions are ‘too big to fail,’ are dear to America’s best-connected people who can be counted on to threaten ‘systemic collapse,’ breaking it will require the support of sectors of the country class for which ‘corporate welfare’ is less of a concern than the welfare effects of the Social Security system’s component that funds fake disability and drug addiction – something about which macroeconomists mostly care little – and vice versa. Similarly the entire country class has as much interest in asserting the right of armed self-defense as does any gun owner, because the principle of constitutional right is indivisible. Nothing will require greater unity against greater resistance than ending government promotion of abortion and homosexuality. Yet those whose main concerns are with financial probity cannot afford continuing to neglect that capitalist economics presupposes a morally upright people. All this illustrates the need for, and the meaning of, a political party: disparate elements acting all of one and one for all.”
“Today the majority of Republican congressmen plus a minority of senators – dissidents from the Party but solid with their voters – are the natural core of a new party. The name it might bear is irrelevant. Very relevant are sectors of America’s population increasingly represented by groups that sprang up to represent them when the Republican leadership did not.” (Highlighting of Codevilla quotes is Forum’s throughout.)
Codevilla’s Lens As A Way To Understand The House GOP Leadership
This week all of us should be asking what the House of Representatives GOP Leadership — whose chamber must approve expenditures from the public purse — is planning right now
- to defund Obamacare,
- to defund prosperity-killing EPA regulations,
- to stop the flow of Federal money for local ‘smart growth’ initiatives,
- to stop the flow of Federal money interfering with public-school curricula and operations,
- and to recast a national defense program jeopardized by a mindless and inflexible sequester.
As Andrew McCarthy points out –
“In constitutional law, the pertinent issue is never what percentage of total power is allocated to a branch. The question is: Which branch is given supremacy over the relevant subject matter. On the subject matter of taxing and spending – including the task of setting the parameters of the government’s authority to borrow and spend – Congress is supreme and the House has pride of place.”
Codevilla’s lens will be a useful way to understand the House GOP Leadership’s success or failure in securing these and other vital appropriations and spending and entitlement-reform objectives in the coming weeks.
His analysis also may provide a way for the growing number of citizens deeply shocked at the current direction of the country to see a reason for renewed hope.
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 13 Feb 2013
UPDATE FEBRUARY 15! Daniel Horowitz (MadisonProject) directs us to “The Two Faces of the GOP in One Picture” – “If you wanted to get a glimpse of how far apart the GOP old-bulls are from those who represent the values of the grassroots, look no further than this video clip from the State of the Union Address. While Obama was announcing his support for amnesty on demand, John McCain shot up from his chair and started dancing, along with his good friend Chuck Schumer.”
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Ash Wednesday 2013: Mark Levin, Andy McCarthy, Roy Beck, Jeff Sessions
“Our politicians are weak, our cultural emissaries too few, and our religious leaders feeble. In the lingo of the street, conservatives fight like sissies. We’ve lost the ability to talk about the interests of the citizens and the nation, and instead we talk ‘policy’ to our fellow Americans.” (Highlighting Forum’s) — Michael Giere
This Ash Wednesday 2013, the beginning of a season of penitence, might also be a time of self-examination for conservatives and friends of the American Constitution.
The Political Class and Its Indifference to Fundamental American Interests
The week began with a well-deserved blast from an exasperated Mark Levin against the bi-partisan political class.
The Right Scoop reports (via Drudge) Levin’s words –
“You should view these politicians with the deepest contempt you can possibly imagine. What they are doing to this country, what they are doing to our finances – there is not a criminal in any federal prison, state prison, city or county jail, with respect to financial crimes of any sort who collectively could have done the kind of damage that Barack Obama and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and YES, willing, timid, gutless Republicans have done to this country! To your future, to your children and your grandchildren! What they are doing is with malice and with forethought….
What the hell does the Democrat party stand for today? The destruction of America? And what the hell does the Republican party stand for today? To sit there with their thumbs in their mouths while it’s going on?” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
See the two Monday Mark Levin videos here as well.
Andy McCarthy weighed in (NRO) yesterday here on –
…[W]hat McConnell and Boehner pulled in 2011′s debt ceiling debacle.
In that instance, as I explained at the time, Republicans insidiously camouflaged the fact that they approved $2.4 trillion in new debt, to be added on to the country’s already staggering debt of over $14 trillion. The increase could not have happened without GOP cooperation — new legislation was required to raise the ceiling, and the GOP had the numbers to block any new legislation. But although the party’s conservative base was outraged at the prospect of more borrowing when spending and debt were already out of control, Republicans were afraid that they would be crucified in the media for purportedly causing the nation to default. So, they approved the ceiling rise but designed a byzantine procedure for executing it — a procedure designed to make their approval look like opposition.
Here’s how it worked: The $2.4 trillion rise was fully authorized, but it would be doled out in installments. As debt continued mounting, the president would have to claim each installment accordingly. The president’s claim would be enough to trigger the installment — i.e., the installment was presumptively approved. But Congress tacked on a window-dressing process enabling lawmakers to vote ‘to disapprove’ the installments as they came due. As Republicans well knew, this process was illusory, fully intended to mislead the public. They had the votes to block debt-rise legislation in its entirety; but once they had approved that legislation, they would lack the votes necessary to take back what they had already presumptively allowed. Thus, the ‘disapproval’ was just theater to make it look like they were voting against what they had already voted for.
That’s not a messaging problem. That’s a mendacity problem.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Immigration Control and the Conservative Base
Controlling our immigration is close to the heart of many in the conservative base – in spite of the declarations of some self-appointed national Tea Party leaders that we should only be concerned with what they (ineptly) construe to be fiscal matters.
Roy Beck of NumbersUSA yesterday revealed here in his “Paul Ryan stands with Obama in SOTU amnesty plea — Rubio distances — Rand Paul stands with Bush” that –
“The President’s State of the Union address and the Republican and Tea Party responses were supposed to focus on the need to put Americans back to work. But I was not surprised to hear very little compassion for the jobless when they talked about immigration.
Nonetheless, the sense of inevitability of an amnesty passing this year seemed to recede somewhat tonight (despite attempts by TV reporters and commentators to suggest otherwise).
The main reason for a mild sense of optimism out of the night was in Sen. Marco Rubio’s ‘Republican response.’ With so much of the fate of a comprehensive amnesty bill seeming to ride on Rubio’s role in the Gang of Eight, it was a relief to hear him say so little about immigration and to emphasize the priority of fulfilling enforcement promises of past immigration bills.
It was quite a different story with Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address and Sen. Rand Paul’s Tea Party response. Both claimed concern about rewarding Americans who want to work hard and pull their weight but callously insisted on increasing foreign labor that will keep millions of Americans unemployed or underpaid. Obama and Paul proposed immigration principles that would continue the wage depression and rising income inequality that has accompanied the last 30 years of record-high immigration.
So much for expanding the middle class.
And Rep. Paul Ryan — who didn’t have a marquee speech — continued his embarrassing string of auditions to be part of John McCain and Lindsey Graham’s open-borders club by doing an interview on CNN in which he praised Pres. Obama for his ‘measured’ and ‘productive’ tone in the immigration part of his speech.” (Red highlighting in original.)
Senator Jeff Sessions Peels Back the Amnesty Camouflage
As you listen to the back and forth, you will see that Alabama Republican Sessions is doing the kind of serious agency oversight in which other GOP senators should be engaged instead of prancing among the show horses of the Gang of Eight or “auditioning” for a role in other publicity-seeking Senate factions.
Long-time Reagan loyalist and aide Michael Giere frames our Ash Wednesday conservative self-examination very well when he declares –
“If conservatives are serious about defending and preserving the Republic, then conservatives will have to fight for the Republic. They will have to get into the battle. They will have to fight like they want to win.
General George Patton famously told his commanders during WWII; ‘I don’t want any communiqués saying you are holding your position. We’re not holding anything…we’re attacking day and night!’
That is what political, cultural and religious conservatives need to hear in this New Year. We need to pick ourselves up and get into the fight dragging our ‘leadership’ behind us; refusing to use measured words or seek ‘gentle’ accommodation on everything we know to be wrong, destructive and perverse. We have to get to the battlefield and ‘attack day and night.’
We dishonor generations of patriots before us if we do less.” (Bolding in original).
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 14 Jan 2013
Declared Texas GOP chairman Steve Munisteri last week –
“The leadership of the Texas GOP felt it important that the Speaker understand that average grassroots activists are counting on a Republican House of Representatives as a backstop to constrain out of control government growth and spending. Chairman Munisteri stated after releasing the letter that ‘at this point, what is done is done, so I personally am not so much interested in assigning blame as I am in preventing any further missteps by House Leadership. I felt it was important to let the Speaker know that going forward, we expect the Republican led House to draw the line against the tax and spend policies of the Democrat led Senate and White House, and to be a strong advocate for responsible spending cuts and effectively deal with an outrageously high federal deficit.’” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
As we all know, Texas is the largest Republican state. Click here for the full text of the Texas GOP letter.
How Many More Capitulations?
And speaking of further missteps, the vigilant Daniel Horowitz (Madison Project) reminds us today (click here) – -
“During the fight over the FY 2011 budget in 2011, conservatives were told to stand down and wait for the debt ceiling. At that point, ‘we would begin to cut trillions,’ promised GOP leaders. They wound up caving on the debt ceiling in return for nothing. Then they said we would fight for the FY 2012 budget. Well, once we agreed to lock in the Obama spending levels under the Budget [Out of Control] Act, we had no grounds to fight then either.
FY 2013 followed the same narrative. We were told to shirk from a budget fight last year because we were supposed to win the election, and exert more influence later on. Well, we lost the election, and the rest is history. Once we lost the election, we supposedly had no leverage to fight on the tax issue, but ‘wait oh wait’ until the debt ceiling and we’ll take their lunch money.
Now there are already signs that they are going to ask conservatives to defer the fight until – you guessed it – the next CR.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Now who will ask the chiefs of the Maryland and Virginia GOP to send speaker John Boehner a message like that from the Texas GOP?
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 02 Jan 2013
UPDATES JANUARY 3! And our take – - Since the House Republicans decided to give Mr. Boehner another term as speaker, his first job and primary role should be as the strong voice of our constitution’s principles: constantly, and in the teeth of the Obama Administration and their corrupt media machine. He must give House GOP members a clear national rhetoric of which they can be proud, so that they can stand firm in their coming trials which will be severe. No more the politician’s trimming but the statesman’s roar.
Alex Pappas (Daily Caller) reports “Republican who voted against Boehner for speaker: ‘It was important to make a statement’” — “’This is a matter of conscience,’ Rep. Walter Jones, a North Carolina Republican, said off the House floor on Thursday. ‘This isn’t a political payback. This is a matter of conscience when you see a country falling apart.’ Jones was one of nine Republicans, frustrated with Boehner’s leadership, who voted for someone else during Thursday’s vote.”
Cliff Kincaid (America’s Survival) emails – - “House Speaker Boehner has been re-elected 220 to 192. Other candidates drew a total of 14 votes. The defections included three votes for House Republican Leader Eric Cantor. Boehner voted for Obama’s Marxist class warfare bill. Cantor did not. I discuss this bill in my column: House Speaker Boehner Votes for Obama’s Marxism Cantor is the guy who could have exposed the Davis Petraeus CIA sex scandal BEFORE the election and decided not to. That could have seriously damaged Obama. So the Republicans are in disarray. These guys don’t understand how to fight a Marxist. They don’t understand the global forces assembled against us. I don’t know at this point what they stand for. I do know that we need to encourage the Tea Party conservatives. And we need new conservative media.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Matthew Boyle (Breitbart) reports here ‘Liberal Paper Endorses Boehner for Speaker to Continue Purge of ‘Tea Party Extremists’
* * * * * * * * * *
Will The House Republicans Now Select ‘Red State Leadership’?
“Rep. Tom Price is a respected leader of conservatives in the House. A former chair of the Republican Study Committee, the in-house caucus of conservative legislators, he has long been at the forefront of crafting conservative solutions to our nation’s policy challenges. Appearing this morning on WMAL, Price told Breitbart News Larry O’Connor that it was time for ‘red state leadership’ in the House. The statement will likely send shockwaves through the GOP caucus.” — Mike Flynn (Breitbart)
Ironically the TEA-Party-and-conservative-grass-roots-enabled GOP election victory of November 2, 2010 brought a House Republican leadership to power that wittingly and successfully ignored an expected conservative agenda. However inconvenient a TEA Party program would have been to the Beltway GOP, such a plan would have drawn on that key chamber’s fiscal and investigative powers to check the Obama Administration.
“In weaving their story that Obama alone is the catalyst of our crisis, the Republican establishment counts on the constitutional illiteracy of the electorate. The inescapable fact, however, is that all taxing and spending bills enacted by the federal government must originate in the House. The GOP’s all purpose abdication mantra, ‘We’re only one-half of one-third of the government,’ would be laughable if our straits were not so dire. When was the last time you heard the left-leaning bloc of Supreme Court justices say, ‘We can’t impose our policy preferences on the country. After all, we’re only one-half of one-third of the government’? When was the last time President Obama restrained himself from issuing executive orders conferring, say, privileges on illegal aliens, by explaining that he is only is only one-third of the government (a third, mind you, with zero constitutional authority to confer anything).” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
As for the origin and scope of the November 2, 2010 GOP Congressional victory?
Michael Barone declared right after that election –
“When the tea party movement first made itself heard, Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed it as ‘Astroturf,’ a phony organization financed by a few millionaires. She may have been projecting — those union demonstrators you see at Democratic events or heckling Republicans are often paid by the hour.
In any case, the depth and the breadth of Republican victories in state legislative races, even more than their gain of 60-plus seats in the U.S. House and six seats in the Senate, shows that the tea party movement was a genuine popular upheaval of vast dimensions. Particularly in traditional blue-collar areas, voters rejected longtime Democrats or abandoned lifelong partisan allegiances and elected Republicans.”(Highlighting Forum’s.)
But what happened after that short period of post-election hope for America?
Daniel Horowitz (Madison Project) explained today –
“Republicans were ushered into power in 2010, buoyed by limited government populism spawned by the Tea Party. They publicized a document called the GOP Pledge to America. You should take some time to read it. There are many interesting declarations in there. You’ll find lectures about the need to let the legislative process work; about the 3 day legislative transparency rule; about not spending most of the time on banal suspension bills; about cutting taxes; about getting rid of Obamacare; about cutting spending. Interesting indeed.
Republicans began their session in 2011 promising an immediate cut of $100 billion in spending. They lied. Ultimately, they only cut $352 million off of the FY 2011 budget. How fitting it is for them to end the 112th Congress by increasing spending by $330 billion…along with hiking taxes, letting every aspect of the Obamacare tax hikes slide, and obviating our leverage with the debt ceiling by agreeing to a sequester trap to coincide with the next battle.”
The Final Conservative Defeat In The 112th Congress
At long last, yesterday evening, 151 members of the House Republican Party (or 63% of the House GOP Conference) said ‘enough, already!’
Explained Erickson yesterday –
“The McConnell Tax Hike will become law of the land. Mitch McConnell can and should take responsibility for it.
The McConnell Tax Hike raises taxes on people making over $400,000.00, but it also raises taxes on the middle class. “More than 80 percent of households with incomes between $50,000 and $200,000 would pay higher taxes.”
Not only does the McConnell Tax Hike stick it to the middle class, it raises taxes $41 for every $1 in spending cuts. Those spending cuts are ephemeral as there is $330 billion in new spending and a $4 trillion price tag over the next ten years.
The Republican Establishment in Washington, DC should be burned to the ground and salt spread on the remains. [Carthago delenda est? --ed.] Republicans who saw Mitch McConnell and John Boehner destroy the last plank of the Republican Party are going to need to look elsewhere for a savior for their party. Boehner and McConnell have declared they will survive. Their party? They don’t really care.
Conservatives must look elsewhere. I do not advocate a third party. I advocate bring[ing] fresh blood into the GOP.”
Tomorrow’s voting for House Speaker in the 113th Congress may tell us.
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 27 Dec 2012
Yesterday senior Republican senator Chuck Grassley responded to reporters Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter (Newsmax) on raising taxes–
“Considering that the president refuses to back down on raising taxes on America’s highest-income earners, Grassley was asked, what other options do Republicans have?
‘If we do go over the cliff then the focus next year’s going to be on raising the debt ceiling and we’ve got a great deal of leverage on the president on raising the debt ceiling because we don’t have to raise it unless we’re going to get some reduction in expenditures.’” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Said Andrew McCarthy last week –
“Because Republicans have not caved again on the ceiling as Obama was demanding, they have leverage: The Treasury Department, within a few weeks, will be out of accounting tricks to stave off a shut-down. There will be enough tax money streaming into the till to make bond payments, so — despite media scaremongering to the contrary — our full faith and credit will remain intact. So let Obama figure out how to run Leviathan on $2.4 trillion — which is over half a trillion more than the federal government was spending at the end of the Clinton years that Democrats portray as the golden era of fiscal responsibility.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
During the last confrontation (click here) between the Congressional GOP and the president over the debt ceiling, constitutional experts David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee Casey in May 2011 reminded us all (WSJ) of these basics –
“The Constitution’s 14th Amendment was adopted shortly after the Civil War. In part, its purpose was to ensure that the statutory citizenship and legal rights granted to the newly freed slaves were not denied by the states, or repealed by a later Congress once the Southern states were fully represented again.”
“But that wasn’t the only concern. Vast federal debts had been incurred to fight that war, and Congress also acted to ensure that these obligations could not be disavowed in the future. Thus, in addition to guaranteeing rights to citizenship, due process of law, and equal protection, the 14th Amendment forbids dishonoring ‘[t]he validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law.’”
“As a result, unlike most other sovereign states, the U.S. constitutionally cannot default on its financial obligations. In particular, it must continue to make payments, interest and principal, on its bonds, effectively requiring Congress to provide sufficient authority for that purpose. This fact, which should be highlighted at every opportunity, makes the U.S. a better credit risk than it may otherwise seem—especially since U.S. Treasury obligations, if it came to it, could be enforced in the courts by their owners.”
“Consistent with its obligations under Section Four, Congress should promptly increase the debt ceiling, but with one key caveat: The increase can be used only for borrowing to service existing obligations. By anchoring this action in a specific constitutional obligation, Congress would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the Obama administration to oppose this resolution of the debt-ceiling battle. At the same time, Congress should reclaim immediate control of the issuance of all other new debt obligations.”
“From the time of the founding until the passage of the First Liberty Bond Act in 1917, Congress itself voted on each and every new government bond issue, specifying the amount to be borrowed and the terms involved. Today, exercise of this power has been delegated to the Treasury Department, which generally can borrow up to the debt limit. Yet this practice can easily be changed. It wouldn’t even be necessary to repeal the existing ‘debt ceiling’ statutory framework, an action that President Obama might well veto. Congress can simply refuse to use it. In other words, Congress cannot renege on debt already incurred, but it can condition, decrease and even stop issuance of new U.S. debt.”
“The need for new government borrowing is constant; currently nearly 40 cents of every dollar the government spends is borrowed. Anytime Congress and the president cannot agree on how new borrowing should be accomplished (and for what purposes), and what additional spending cuts should be implemented to avoid increasing the nation’s overall debt burden, spending will simply be cut across the board by 40%. That is one very big incentive for agreement.”
“Of course, were Congress to reclaim this authority and separately approve each new U.S. debt issue, it would once again be directly responsible for government borrowing in a way that it has avoided for nearly 100 years. With political power comes political accountability.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout.)
Read the entire Rivkin-Casey article here.
Do we have a strong enough House GOP leadership team to shoulder this kind of “fiscal responsibility [which Rivkin and Casey declare] would also be far more consistent with the vision of our Founders”?
And can this GOP leadership explain to the voters in plain words the consequences to all of our lives of failing to rein in the debt?
Daniel Horowitz underscores these consequences (MadisonProject), “Every U.S. Worker Owes $47,482 in Foreign Debt” — drawing on Terence P. Jeffrey’s (CNS) post $5.5T: U.S. Foreign Debt Up 78% Under Obama.