Conservatives Richard Falknor on 08 Mar 2014
The Madison Project’s Drew Ryun reports –
“Today the Senate Conservatives Fund conducted a straw poll opposite that of CPAC. Not only did the number of voters in the SCF poll dwarf those that participated in the CPAC poll (42,000 votes to 2,400 votes), Senator Ted Cruz’s margin of victory was more than that of Senator Rand Paul and Governor Scott Walker combined.”
Declares here the Senate Conservatives Fund–
“ALEXANDRIA, VA — The Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) released the results of its 2016 presidential straw poll today. SCF conducted an online poll for its members who could not attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, DC today.
The top three vote winners were U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) with 42%, U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) with 17%, and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) with 10%. Over 41,000 ballots were cast nationwide.
‘The results of the SCF presidential straw poll are unique because they reflect the views of a large group of conservatives across the country,’ said SCF Executive Director Matt Hoskins. ‘Our poll shows that Ted Cruz is currently the conservative favorite for president in 2016.’”
Seth McLaughlin and Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times report here in their “Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second” that–
“Previous versions of The Washington Times/CPAC poll showed that the audience that gathers in Washington leans younger and more libertarian than the conservative movement throughout the country, which likely gives Mr. Paul a boost with this crowd here.”
The Huffington Post reminds us here (scroll down) that–
“Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won in 2012, just months before clinching the eventual nomination for president in May. Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who also ran for president in 2012, was a back-to-back winner in 2010 and 2011.”
and recalls here
“CPAC Straw Poll Results 2013: Rand Paul Wins Conservative Vote”
In our view, Mark Steyn said it all here right after the 2006 Congressional election–
“. . . you can’t be in favor of assertive American foreign policy overseas and increasing Europeanization domestically; likewise, you can’t take a reductively libertarian view while the rest of the planet goes to pieces. Someone in the GOP needs to do what Ronald Reagan did so brilliantly a quarter-century ago — reconcile the big challenges abroad with a small-government philosophy at home. The House and the Senate will not return to Republican hands until they do.”
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 19 Feb 2014
VDARE’s James Fulford sheds light here on the troubling questions of giant donors pulling the GOP away from basic conservative principles.
In Fulford’s post “POLITICO: Paul Singer, Plutocrats Plot To Buy GOP. Do They Think It Comes With Voters?” he reports–
“We’ve written a lot about hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who the Politico says “has long been a key player in GOP money circles, espousing a nontraditional brand of conservatism that includes aggressive backing for gay marriage and immigration reform, as well as more traditional GOP stances like lower taxes and less government regulation.” [Emphasis added.]
Faithful readers will recall our coverage of how hedge-fund manager Singer helped bankroll the opposition to traditional marriage in Maryland. As Gazette.net’s Daniel Leaderman pointed out here on October 15, 2012–
“Marylanders for Marriage Equality, a group supporting same-sex marriage, raised $3.2 million from more than 9,000 donors, according to campaign finance reports submitted late last week. But Monday, the group announced that another $250,000 rolled in from a single donor: hedge-fund guru Paul Singer, who runs the New York City-based Elliott Management and is a frequent donor to Republican campaigns. . . . ‘Paul Singer demonstrates real leadership yet again on marriage equality,’ state Sen. Allan H. Kittleman (R-Dist. 9) of West Friendship, who supported the legislation, said in a statement Monday. ‘He realizes, like I do, that Question 6 is about fairness and equality under the law — values we all, no matter party, share here in Maryland.’” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
With serious heavy lifting from the state GOP apparatus in 2012, traditional marriage would likely have prevailed in Maryland — even in the teeth of their well-bankrolled opposition.
See our chart here showing how much better traditional marriage did in Maryland than governor Romney in November 2012.
Today we are confronted with Mr. Singer’s donations (via VPAP here) to House hopeful Barbara Comstock and other Virginia GOP luminaries from 2007 to 2013:
|“$100,000||McDonnell for Governor – Bob|
|$95,000||Vogel for Senate – Jill|
|$80,000||Comstock for Delegate – Barbara|
|$25,000||Cuccinelli for Attorney General – Kenneth|
|$25,000||Opportunity Virginia PAC|
|$10,000||Merrick for Senate – Caren|
|$10,000||Forrest for Senate – Patrick|
|$5,000||Dominion Leadership Trust|
|$5,000||Hunt For Senate – Steve”|
Does Paul Singer expect Mrs. Comstock’s help with same-sex marriage, or with amnesty, or with both?
Or did he make these five individual donations — totaling $80,000 (click on the $80,00 link above) — just because he pegged her as a smooth Washington insider and he liked her McLean political style?
So How About The GOP Supporting
Blue-Collar Workers Of All Ethnicities?
As NRO’s John O’Sullivan explains here on amnesty and expanded legal immigration,what we are seeing is a struggle between “a political coalition of the Republican and Democrat establishments versus blue-collar workers in both parties and of all ethnicities.” Sometime Margaret Thatcher adviser O’Sullivan puts the contrasting Ruling Class v. Country Class approaches to amnesty and immigration in a nutshell: read it all.
And stay tuned on how money advances gay marriage and immigration in the GOP!
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 18 Feb 2014
“It is an open question – and an irrelevant one – whether Democrats or Republicans were the more responsible for excluding from this ‘omnibus’ bill a proposal to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from harassing conservative groups ahead of the 2014 elections as it did prior to the elections of 2012. The harassing will not stop, and no one can know who trashed the proposal to stop it, because because both parties share a partisan interest in its continuation.” –Angelo Codevilla (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Yesterday Breitbart’s Michael Patrick Leahy reported here that “Pat Caddell Says Establishment Republicans ‘Want the IRS to Go After’ the Tea Party”–
“Democratic pollster Pat Caddell [foregoing link supplied] thinks so, and radio host Rush Limbaugh said it’s plausible. One historian even told Breitbart News the modern GOP resembles a ‘crime family.’”
Leahy’s very useful post continues–
“Reagan biographer Craig Shirley told Breitbart News on Monday that he agrees with Limbaugh that Caddell’s charges are credible.’The Washington Republican party is no longer a political party in the way we understand political parties,’ Shirley said. ‘It more resembles a crime family than a movement of ideas.’”
For new readers, who may be shocked to hear the words “crime family” in this context, we also suggest our October 23, 2013 article on Reaganaut Peter Schweizer’s ground-breaking analysis of today’s Beltway politics, Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets:
And don’t forget to listen to Caddell’s audio here on the “lobbying consulting class of the Republican party and Republican leadership.”
Faithful readers will recall our January 12 post: Crucial WSJ Report! Tea-Party-Gag Rule: Will Appropriators Wolf & Harris Push Back? where we cited–
former senior House appropriator Ernest Istook [who] warned here in his “IRS to get ‘license to kill’ groups that oppose Obama agenda”(Washington Times): “Congress can block the regulations. But unless they do that as part of the IRS budget that will pass Congress in the next week or two, there won’t be another opportunity this year to block these regulations.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
In northern Virginia, we have a primary here on April 26 to select the Republican nominee to run in the general election for the House seat now held by retiring GOP Representative Frank Wolf.
Following up on these reports of Beltway GOP ineptitude — or worse — with the IRS, here are two key questions that grass-roots conservatives should ask the GOP contenders in this Virginia 10 primary:
(1) Do you believe the current House GOP Leadership needs to be replaced? And, if so,
(2) Will you endorse and support Dr. David Brat here running against Eric Cantor in the June 10 GOP primary in Virginia’s Seventh District?
The outcome of these two Virginia Republican contests will have consequences far outside of the Old Dominion leading either toward the revitalization — or toward the growing policy irrelevance of the national Republican Party. (See Mark Steyn’s prescient 2010 post here on such irrelevance: “in office, but never in power”.)
As Mark Levin explained just last Friday (via The Right Scoop) “We need new leaders and a new Republican Party”–
“I’ve seen leaders, I’ve worked for leaders. And leaders change events. Leaders affect the future. And they have arguments. They don’t stand there and talk with marbles in their mouths and trash their own party and so forth. Look, we need a new Republican Party. We need new leaders.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Conservatives Michael Giere on 12 Feb 2014
Ronald Reagan spans post-World War II America like the Golden Gate Bridge spans San Francisco Bay.
No serious discussion of the man or his presidency can fail to acknowledge the immense change he brought to the economy, the defense of American exceptionalism, and the defeat of the Soviet Communism.
Regrettably, it has been fashionable in certain Republican circles to dismiss — sometimes subtlety, sometimes blatantly — Reagan as a relic of the 1980’s with little relevance to the new America. The first Bush Administration set the precedent for this public degrading of the Reagan Revolution about ten minutes after its 1989 inauguration. More recently, we have had a host of “big name” Republicans who have suggested that conservatives have an obsession with Reagan and are embellishing his legacy, and that the party needs to “move on.”
Another popular trend with many moderates, who don’t want to directly dismiss Reagan, but who want to pretend they are really “like him,” is to suggest that Reagan “could never win a Republican primary today, because he was too moderate for today’s conservatives or Tea Party Patriots.”
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is only the latest of many to attempt to foist off this line of political babble. Bush, a presumed presidential contender for 2016 has used this line frequently. Frankly, for Bush and other big name Republicans who are trying to re-invent President Reagan by the standards of their own weakness, it instead reveals their lack of seriousness intellectually and politically, not Reagan’s. (Interestingly, you never hear Democrat’s trying to dismiss FDR!)
On this week of his birthday – he’d be 103 year old – it’s worth recalling exactly who this man was, and was not.
First and foremost, Reagan was a teacher – a man who could carry a narrative into the public square – who over the thirty years prior to becoming President turned the ear of a whole generation to the foundational concepts of life, liberty and property at a time when cultural Marxism was at flood stage. It was Reagan who for all intents and purposes (with all due respect to William F. Buckley and so many others who labored hard in their lifetimes to re-establish conservatism) drove classical conservative ideas back into the mainstream of the culture, who called communism communism, who rallied middle America back into the fight for individual freedom, and who placed God in the center of his worldview.
Is it too much to say he saved constitutional government for another generation? Perhaps so; but it’s hard to see in the rearview mirror who, besides Reagan, could have rescued the nation, and joined with Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul to save the West.
Reagan was Tea Party before there was a Tea Party. And those who don’t think so simply have not familiarized themselves with his words, or listened to his speeches in his thirty years prior to 1980.
Reagan was an astute and extremely well read leader, who combined his grasp of the foundational classics with a keen eye on the human condition. His early religious upbringing and his adult battle with the organized communists in Hollywood only sharpened his understanding of the nature of evil contained in Socialism as an ideology specifically, and in the human heart generally. And yet, for all of that, Reagan was a sentimentalist and a traditionalist, slow to punish, and quick to forgive.
In short, Reagan knew what he was talking about and why he was talking about it, and didn’t have to pretend to be someone or something he wasn’t. That fact alone makes him largely unique in modern American politics.
What other leader in modern times would have withstood the pressure of the entire American foreign-policy establishment and walked out of the meeting with the Soviet dictator in Reykjavik, except Reagan?
But, above all of this, Ronald Reagan stood on the stage of the world as an American leader in the most descriptive sense possible. Perhaps unlike any twentieth century president except Truman, Reagan was an American in the most demonstrative ways possible; in attitude and outlook, in personality and demeanor, and in the uniquely American sense that he believed in our Divine destiny.
He touched the country class — the blue collar, the tradesmen, the shop keeper and the tailor. He touched the whole swath of Middle America, because he carried in him the seed our forefathers planted 238 years ago.
He believed in our goodness, and he believed God had positioned this shining city on a hill for such a time as this.
For this the left will always hate him; and the weaklings will always resent him.
Most of us will just have pride that he was ours for too short a time.
Virginian Mike Giere has written extensively on politics, foreign policy, and issues of faith. He is a former candidate for the U.S. House in Texas; worked for Ronald Reagan in ’76 & ’80; and served in both the Reagan and Bush (41) Administrations.
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 29 Jan 2014
Today the House of Representatives GOP leaders led most of their flock to approve here the conference report on the nearly $1 trillion farm bill.
By way of contrast, not one Virginia GOP House member voted against what is largely a giant food-stamp bill.
Yesterday the Heritage Foundation’s Daren Bakst listed here some of the lowlights of this 949-page measure – cautioning that “we won’t know what’s in the farm bill until after we pass it and the public is harmed by its policies.”(Highlighting Forum’s)
Among the most redolent provisions Heritage expert Bakst cites–
“House Caves on Food Stamp Spending. Food stamp spending has quadrupled since FY 2000 and doubled since 2008. The House bill would have reduced spending by about $39 billion, while the Senate would have reduced spending by only $4 billion. The reported ‘compromise’ is about $8 billion, which is $31 billion less (80 percent less) than what the House sought.”
“No Real Work Requirement. Congress had the opportunity to implement a strong work requirement, putting food stamps on course to promote self-sufficiency for able-bodied adults. But the work provision in the bill is nothing more than a mere work ‘suggestion.’ A strong work requirement is the most crucial reform for food stamps, but Congress has failed to include such a policy.”
“Virtually Unlimited Taxpayer Liability. There are two new programs that have been added to replace direct payments, one of which covers even minor losses for farmers. The potential costs of these programs could skyrocket based on even modest changes in commodity prices. This is why the House bill had a price ceiling, or cost cap, limiting the exposure that taxpayers would have to pay out for these unknown and costly programs. The new bill doesn’t appear to have such a cost cap—basically, taxpayers are faced with a blank check while farmers are being covered for virtually any risk.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout.)
Read all of the Heritage farm bill report here.
The Larger GOP Picture
Yesterday Daniel Horowitz in Redstate sketched here “The State of the Republican Party” making these central points–
“Obama is requesting endless debt ceiling increases. Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have made it clear they agree with his fallacious premise about default and plan to raise it, yet somehow extract concessions.”
“Obama has doubled down on Obamacare. Yet GOP leaders are owned by lobbyists who have made it clear they will never repeal the law.”
“Obama has shredded the Constitution and used illegal administrative power to advance legislation that never passed Congress. The GOP leadership has made it clear they will never use the power of the purse vested in the House to clamp down on those illegal maneuvers.”
“Obama talks about the endless need to intervene in the private economy, yet Republicans are prepared to pass a $956 billion Farm Bill, which locks in the President’s baseline for food stamp spending and entrenches the federal government into every aspect of Agriculture.”
“Obama speaks of the need to make ‘investments’ in the nation, yet Republicans respond by passing a $1.1 trillion omnibus bill.”
“Obama panders to radical socially liberal interests in order to remake our society, and Republicans are silent on ‘social issues.’”
“And finally, Obama speaks passionately about our obligation to open our citizenship and welfare state to illegal immigrants and the rest of the world without limits, yet Republicans respond…..by offering the same!”
Policy analyst Horowitz explains–
“And the reason is quite simple. GOP leaders don’t share our values. To the extent they humor us with some shiny objects it is designed to get the bills to conference so they can inject their real priorities into the final agreement. Now some House conservatives are getting a taste of what a potential immigration conference committee would look like. We all know that this president is dangerous. We need to defeat him and his party. But if we focus exclusively on Obama and the priorities he laid out tonight and ignore the fire within the Republican Party, we are destined to play into his hands.” (Highlighting Forum’s throughout.)
No question that some errant House GOP members — including the Majority Leader — must be defeated in primaries.
But as we presumably learned — after the November 2, 2010 Tea Party-enabled victory in House elections gave us so little in reform — local conservative organizations must also start to insist on week-in and week-out conversations with their House GOP members.
The grass-roots must get at least the same time, access, and inside information from their House GOP members as these United States Representatives give lobbyists from big business, big agriculture, big Federal, state, and local government, big education, and big “social transformation” groups.
A good time to start?
Right after the conclusion of the House Republican retreat starting today in Cambridge, Maryland.
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 23 Jan 2014
“Friends, the battle lines are stark and clear. Conservatives will beat the GOP or the GOP will go left. It will go left toward amnesty, left toward common core, left toward Obamacare, left toward abortion rights, left toward gun control, and left toward tax increases and even bigger spending.” Erick Erickson
But conservative Breitbart’s Tony Lee correctly terms Mr. Gillespie a “Karl Rove ally.”
We looked at the good Mr. Gillespie back in February 2009 here (scroll to bottom) –
“In Virginia, will the Bush legacy of disappointment continue? For example, former Bush consigliere Ed Gillespie will be heading here Robert F. McDonnell’s campaign for governor–
‘Gillespie, a former lobbyist and a fixture in national Republican politics for two decades, will be involved in every aspect of strategy, policy development, communications and fundraising, according to senior campaign officials. The Fairfax County resident will also be a frequent surrogate for McDonnell across the state and nation.’ [Washington Post,February 13, 2009]
Conservatives should apply the eyes-wide-open test to Ed Gillespie.
Obviously he has more than a merely administrative role in the campaign — one could fairly say he is money-raiser and message-shaper-in-chief. He has a record of helping hike taxes in Virginia, he has a strong record in behalf of more open immigration, and he is, according to the Manchester Union Leader, on record in behalf of larger government. There are Republicans who can smoothly argue that his way is the only path to victory, particularly in northern Virginia. His could certainly be the best path to larger contributions from big business. But is a Gillespie-crafted campaign the only kind of Republican victory Virginia conservatives can realistically expect? And if so, would they be comfortable with a governorship reflecting those values?”
These questions seem sadly prescient in the light of the McDonnell $6.1 billion tax hike.
Which way today’s GOP: ruling class or country class?
Ed Gillespie has a long history of pushing immigration expansion.
In this endeavor, he will be in tune with the House GOP leadership as they hold their retreat starting January 29 in Cambridge, Maryland.
NRO editor-at-large John O’Sullivan asked last July 30 “What about the Workers?”(click here) clarifying the central amnesty political issue–the effect on American workers of importing low-cost foreign labor.
“In a letter to fellow-Republicans on the Hill today, Senator Jeff Sessions declares with admirable straightforwardness that the GOP establishment’s main argument for the Gang of Eight immigration bill — that ‘the great lesson of the 2012 election is that the GOP needs to push for immediate amnesty and a drastic surge in low-skill immigration’ — is quite simply ‘nonsense.’ He is, of course, correct. That is true, moreover, of every other argument advanced in favor of the bill by the Gang of Eight and the GOP establishment. All these arguments have been investigated to death, generally by Mark Krikorian on these pages, but also by a wide range of critics elsewhere, notably Mickey Kaus. I can’t think of a single one that has survived its vivisection — no, vivisection is performed on living things; the correct term for examining these arguments is post mortem. . . . And as Mickey Kaus points out, its organizer, former Bush II commerce secretary Carlos Guterriez, more or less admits that this is a struggle between Republican donors and Republican voters. In fact it’s worse than that. This struggle pits a political coalition of the Republican and Democrat establishments versus blue-collar workers in both parties and of all ethnicities. And the electoral realities of such a struggle don’t favor the establishments.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
We look forward to posting on–
- any record of Mr. Gillespie’s since January 2011 (when the GOP took over the House) urging the GOP leadership to start to defund Obamacare and to defund job-killing Federal regulations;
- whether he agrees with (or repudiates) the Chamber of Commerce’s attacks here on the Tea Party, and their support for Common Core as well as for big immigration;
- any specific proposals he has to rein in the president’s lawlessness here.
Most important, what in Ed Gillespie’s political record would make him a powerful advocate for both middle-class and blue-collar Virginians hurt economically by Obamacare and by job-killing rules — and whose culture is daily undermined by a revolutionary administration?
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 12 Jan 2014
UPDATES (scroll to bottom for earlier updates)–
Angelo Codevilla bells [January 19] the GOP Leadership Cat here in his LibertyLaw post “Congress Slouches Towards Illegitimacy” –
“True as it is that Senate majority leader Harry Reid has done much to institutionalize today’s opaque, irresponsible way of governing, it is just as true that the Republican leaders’ protestations of nostalgia for ‘regular order’ have been pro forma. They are just as happy as Democrats with being accountable chiefly to lobbyists and even more interested in marginalizing conservative grass roots voters.
It is an open question – and an irrelevant one – whether Democrats or Republicans were the more responsible for excluding from this ‘omnibus’ bill a proposal to prevent the Internal Revenue Service from harassing conservative groups ahead of the 2014 elections as it did prior to the elections of 2012. The harassing will not stop, and no one can know who trashed the proposal to stop it, because because both parties share a partisan interest in its continuation.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
* * * * * * * * * *
Tea-Party-Gag Rule: Will Appropriators Wolf & Harris Push Back?
We face a burning threat to conservative political activities that Reaganites and Constitutional Conservatives need to extinguish while there is still time: the proposed IRS rule muzzling independent conservative and libertarian organizations, Tea Partiers, and their allied state and local voices.
The looming Omnibus Appropriations Bill for FY 2014 offers the surest avenue to shut down this proposed IRS rule to silence independent conservative and libertarian organizations.
We would urge Mr. Wolf to cap his distinguished career in behalf of religious freedom and national security by insisting on provisions defunding any such anti-free-speech IRS rule in the must-pass FY2014 appropriations behemoth.
Dr. Harris should follow suit.
Proposed “Tea Party” IRS Rules would effectively
shut down the advocacy roles of 501(c)(4) organizations.
Mathew Staver (Liberty Counsel Action) and Mark Trammell (Liberty Center for Law & Policy) give us chapter and verse on this proposed new IRS muzzling power–
“Prohibits using words like ‘oppose,’ ‘vote,’ ‘support,’ ‘defeat,’ and ‘reject.’
Prohibits mentioning, on its website or on any communication (email, letter, etc.) that would reach 500 people or more, the name of a candidate for office, 30 days prior to a primary election and 60 days prior to a general election.
Prohibits mentioning the name of a political party, 30 days prior to a primary election and 60 days prior to a general election, if that party has a candidate running for office.
Prohibits voter registration drives or conducting a non partisan ‘get-out-the-vote drive.’
Prohibits creating or distributing voter guides outlining how incumbents voted on particular bills.
Prohibits hosting candidates for office at any event, including debates and charitable fundraisers, 30 days prior to a primary election or 60 days prior to a general election, if the candidate is part of the event’s program.
Prohibits distributing any materials prepared on behalf of a candidate for office.
Restricts employees of such organizations from volunteering.
Restricts the ability of officers and leaders of such organizations to make public statements regarding the nomination of judges.
Creates a 90-day blackout period, on an election year, that restricts the speech of §501(c)(4) organizations.
Declares political activity as contrary to the promotion of social welfare.
Protects labor unions and trade associations [e.g., the anti-Tea Party Chamber of Commerce] by not including them under the proposed regulations.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Staver and Trammell also point out–
“Not only do these regulations create a 90-day blackout period, in an election year, where §501(c)(4) organizations would not be permitted to use a candidate’s name or party name in any communication intended to reach 500 people or more, but the proposed regulations also restrict the ability of leaders within these organizations to speak publicly regarding legislative matters of public concern and to volunteer.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Read their entire analysis here.
Essential: take the time to listen via YouTube here to free-political-speech expert Cleta Mitchell.
Conservative lawyer Mitchell puts this Obama IRS initiative into the broader context of the Left’s current agenda to cripple our political process.
Meanwhile last Thursday 55-plus conservative and free-market organizations declared to members of the Congress–
“This latest IRS power grab must be stopped, and we urge you to do so in the omnibus appropriations bill.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Virginians will recognize Morton Blackwell among the many signers.
The proposed regulation is, of course, a revolutionary assault. The very revolutionary nature of this administration is, as we have written, difficult for ordinary GOP incumbents and operatives to grasp, let alone combat. Which is why conservative activists must fully join this battle.
One would have to be willfully blind, however, not to see that the Beltway GOP and their crony-capitalist donors also benefit from the proposed rule — and without their fingerprints on it. This cabal has already declared war against the conservative base.
And will this IRS proposed rule, unless stopped, go into effect just in time to head off serious grass-roots resistance to amnesty and open borders?
Tea Partiers and their allies need to make a big enough noise right away to arouse House GOP members against this grave attack on our liberties!
* * * * * * * * * *
Today January 17 the WSJ’s Kim Strassel revealed here “IRS Targeting and 2014: Democrats are working hard to make sure conservative groups are silenced in the 2014 midterms”: “Yet my sources say that throughout the negotiations Democrats went all in on keeping the IRS rule, even though it meant losing their own priorities. In the final hours before the omnibus was introduced Monday night, the administration made a last push for IMF money. Asked to negotiate that demand in the context of new IRS language, it refused.” (Highlighting Forum’s) Read all of investigator Strassel’s report here
Today January 15 Andrew Stiles reports here “Spending Bill Fails to Block New IRS Rules.” NRO’s Stiles seems to suggest (“the good news”) that the enactment of House Ways and Means chief Dave Camp’s bill “that would temporarily prohibit the IRS and U.S. Treasury Department from implementing the new 501(c)(4) restrictions” is a realistic possibility. We see Mr. Camp’s measure, on the other hand, as a showy substitute for action not taken on the must-pass “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014” which has already left the station, not as a likely vehicle to stop these proposed restrictions.
Last Wednesday January 8, former senior House appropriator Ernest Istook warned here in his “IRS to get ‘license to kill’ groups that oppose Obama agenda”(Washington Times): “Congress can block the regulations. But unless they do that as part of the IRS budget that will pass Congress in the next week or two, there won’t be another opportunity this year to block these regulations.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 04 Dec 2013
George Orwell (Eric Blair) — remembered most for his novels Animal Farm and 1984 — faced serious pro-Soviet hostility from the British chattering classes in the 1930s and 1940s.
This hostility to truth-telling about the Soviets – in the 1930s and 1940s — illustrates the wide reach of their influence, which Diana West chronicled for us at home in the United States in her American Betrayal.
These were times when so many — even in the English-speaking world — had lost their good judgment about Moscow and its lethal objectives.
David Pryce-Jones last month reviewed here (subscription required) Peter Davison’s George Orwell: A Life in Letters. (Of Davison, “the undisputed keeper of the [Orwell] flame,” and of the book itself Pryce-Jones declares “to have Orwell speaking in his own voice while accompanied by so informed a guide is to recover more of his daily life than would be possible in a biography.”)
In his November 2013 The New Criterion post “A Man of Letters,” Pryce-Jones illuminates the political atmosphere of Britain during the 1930s and 1940s–
“And then there are the Communists of the period, of course writers, journalists, and academics to the fore, but also churchmen, aristocrats, trade unionists, miners, flapper girls, and film stars, the lot. Prince Potemkin had once put up false villages whose pretense to prosperity hid the background misery, and in just that manner the Communists presented the Soviet Union as the perfect universal society. For reasons that must go deep into the human psyche, Soviet deception met a corresponding need to be deceived. Replacing reality with illusion, rejecting cause and effect, Communism was an irrational mass movement the like of which had not been seen since the credulous Middle Ages.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
National Review senior editor Pryce-Jones points out–
“The Soviet Union disposed of a huge co-ordinated apparatus of Party members and fellow-traveling supporters. They were treating betrayal of principle, the use of military force, and the crushing of opinion as the modus operandi for the future. It was completely unforeseeable that a not-very-well-known English writer would alert the world by means of two short fables. Quite simply, George Orwell had found the form and the words to explode the pretensions of Communism. No English writer since Dickens or Kipling has had such influence on opinion.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
And getting Animal Farm finally into print in 1945? Pryce-Jones explains–
“Animal Farm, his fable about the Soviet Union, then an ally, and that too now belongs to the national story. T. S. Eliot, not a pansy Leftist, was one among several publishers to turn it down because this was not ‘the right point of view from which to criticise the political situation at the present time.’ Put another way, even a conservative poet like Eliot preferred to suppress a masterpiece rather than criticize the Soviets. Other publishers rejected it for the same political reasons until Fredric Warburg came to the rescue.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Too many voices during this period apparently shared a contempt for parliamentary capitalism.
Historian John Lukacs writes in The Duel: The Eighty-Day Struggle Between Churchill and Hitler about June 1940 — just after the fall of France:
“Many people in the world saw in what had happened an evidence and a justification of their own ideas about the corrupt and inefficient, the hypocritical and antiquated nature of parliamentary government, of bourgeois democracy, of liberal capitalism – institutions and causes of which, after the collapse of France, Britain seemed to be the only remaining representative in Europe. This current surfaced across the globe. On the day of France’s capitulation Gandhi wrote in the Indian newspaper Harijan, on 22 June: ‘Germans of future generations will honour Herr Hitler as a genius, as a brave man, a matchless organizer and much more.’”(Highlighting Forum’s.)
Lukacs compiles a “list of European thinkers and artists who in 1940 welcomed what they saw as a cleansing wave of the present and future.” The list ranges from the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin to the writer Andre Gide.
Pryce-Jones continues –
“Thousands of English men and women had been on conducted tours of Republican Spain, returning home eager to pass their deception and self-deception on to others. While still in Spain recovering from his wound, Orwell had written to his publisher Victor Gollancz, ‘I hope I shall get a chance to write the truth about what I have seen. The stuff appearing in the English papers is largely the most appalling lies.’ The obstacles that he then encountered in telling the truth were to be enshrined in the British national story. Appeasement of Communism was a stronger influence on public opinion than the Chamberlain government’s appeasement of Nazism. The New Statesman, the voice of the intellectual Left, accepted Orwell’s suggestion for an article about events in Spain, only to reject his first-hand report of the criminal suppression of his anarchist colleagues. Kingsley Martin, the magazine editor responsible, was an archetypal Soviet apologist and fellow-traveler. Homage to Catalonia was Orwell’s longer account of his Spanish ordeal and his first political book. Gollancz, also a Soviet apologist and fellow-traveler, most certainly was not going to allow Orwell the chance to tell the truth. He refused to publish what has become a classic of reportage.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
So how does Orwell’s experience relate to Diana West’s expose, American Betrayal?
West’s is a tale of Soviet influence, not just spying, in the United States during much the same period.
But to succeed, this influence had to be nourished by the credulity of America’s political and fashionable and artistic classes.
And, as West argues, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt set the national tone by his 1933 “normalization” of relations with the Soviet Union.
But, like the United Kingdom of the 1930s and 1940s, as Pryce-Jones relates–
“Replacing reality with illusion, rejecting cause and effect, Communism was an irrational mass movement the like of which had not been seen since the credulous Middle Ages.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Many if not most influential American voices then believed in some flavor of the progressive movement. A few, apparently from another perspective, such as Anne Morrow Lindbergh, argued in The Wave of the Future, that (in John Lukacs’ summary) “the old world of liberal individualism and parliamentary democracy was being replaced by something new.”
And today? In spite of the danger of president Barack Obama’s lawless governance, however, there are substantial numbers of outspoken Americans who believe in genuine constitutional government.
But in the 1930s and 1940s, we simply did not have the well-developed, widespread articulate conservative movement we know today, leaving America then all the more vulnerable to the Soviet deception.
Providentially, our society survived that threat of over a half-century ago.
But we must study these past perils in order effectively to combat grave current ones, always bearing in mind historian Stan Evans’ wry maxim–
“‘Evans Law of Inadequate Paranoia,’ which says no matter how bad you think something is, when you look into it, it’s always worse. And this — this has been totally vindicated. Every time I turn around, I find something else that makes me say, ‘I can’t believe it.’”
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 17 Nov 2013
Conservatives in Virginia need a new kind of independent organization to get off their down-escalator.
We need to advance conservative reforms and talk up conservative principles to those who seldom hear them (but might listen) in the Old Dominion. This is not the same activity as Republican electioneering.
Nor is this post about Mr. Cuccinelli’s late campaign for governor. While we find Rick Shaftan’s Bearing Drift op-ed here the most plausible analysis, pollster Shaftan also points to a central truth likely to be overlooked among often-policy-flexible Republican Party of Virginia operatives, candidates, and incumbents:
“Republicans win philosophical battles. Democrats win personality contests.”
Most Republican operatives, candidates, and incumbents are in the business of gaining or holding office—they are not primarily gaining or keeping power to advance conservative reforms and talk up these principles from their own pulpits.
For example, a trusted source tells us that the U. S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Bill Howell, and at least one “moderate” pro-primary district chair are putting together a pot of $1,000,000 to help elect other “moderate” pro-primary district chairs and state central committee members.
Our Modest Proposal
We are proposing a statewide, coordinated conservative organization – whether under the aegis of Tea Party Patriots or some new 501(c)(4) association.
The grass roots themselves can best decide ways and means.
We are not suggesting a new political party, but an organized, muscular political movement.
Call it Free Virginia(FV) for now — just as a working name.
FV might endorse candidates or incumbents, or even recruit new candidates where the current incumbent has a record of working against conservative programs or principles. But FV would take care not to be or to be seen as an arm of the RPV.
But that would not be all FV would do.
Conservative Virginia Priorities
FV would constantly be running inexpensive local media and doing local “shadow hearings”(on conservative measures the General Assembly blew off) as well as local demonstrations throughout the Old Dominion.
What would be needed to start: a smart, experienced Virginia conservative with sound judgment who would guide the movement during its formative year.
In our view, many Virginia conservatives can come up with $100 apiece to kick off such an effort. Imagine 10 per cent of E.W. Jackson’s 980,000 vote contributing $100 each. In any event, most money should come from a large number of donors in modest packets, donors to whom the organization can return for additional help when the organization shows results.
The biggest challenge might be to get conservatives behind the three core conservative concerns, not just that part of one of them with which they feel most congenial:
- Upholding a broad range of values (not simply opposing abortion — but also strengthening the culture, defending traditional liberty, stopping Common Core, tracking taxpayer-funded school curricula and teacher training);
- Right-sizing local, state, and the Federal government (more than lower taxes: seriously rolling back regulation by state and local government; espousing a pro-market but not a so-called “pro-business” or “crony-capitalist” agenda;
- Strengthening homeland security (ranging from a prudent national defense to maintaining our sovereignty to resisting national and local incursions from Civilization Jihad.
Even the very important longer-range goal of adopting some or all of the Liberty Amendments would likely have short-term organization benefits.
Of course, there are well-organized pro-life and Second Amendment organizations that are already going concerns in Virginia. And they doubtless have their own arrangements with sympathetic state legislators.
Now more than ever, however, so-called “single-issue conservatives” pursue a path to irrelevance if they do not work closely and supportively with the larger conservative movement. Unless they do so, they help ensure that we shall all hang separately. Whether they do so depends on how frightened they are becoming of Leviathan – in its Federal, state, and local costumes.
But what we are proposing goes well beyond “deals” in the General Assembly and primary endorsements.
We propose that conservatives organize to go straight to the Virginia polity and to coming generations to take back our culture and our way of life.
We welcome the thoughts of Virginia conservatives.
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Readers may wish to revisit the posts below chronicling some missteps of the outgoing GOP administration – -
Conservatives Richard Falknor on 29 Oct 2013
UPDATE AFTER PRESS TIME! “Thomas Sowell: ‘Extortion’ Shows Need to Dismantle Permanent Political Class” (click here — from Breitbart) Sowell declares: “Many among the intelligentsia prefer to think of special interests as corrupting our dedicated public servants with campaign contributions. But Peter Schweizer’s new book, ‘Extortion,’ shows what happens as the extorting of tribute by politicians in a position to do a lot of harm to businesses that do not pay them protection money. Campaign contributions are just one of the things that can be extorted.”
* * * * * * * * * *
Will Just Changing House GOP Leaders Lead To Course Correction?
As we all know, many conservative voices nationally are dissatisfied with Speaker John Boehner and his team.
But would a change in this leadership, by itself, be enough to energize the House Republican Conference to work seriously for a long-overdue course correction for America?
Among the many illuminating revelations in Peter Schweizer’s new book “Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets is how House Republicans in the recent past organized their relationship with “K Street,” shorthand for Washington, D. C. lobbyists.
Explained Hoover Institution Fellow Schweizer in Extortion (at 162)–
“But he [then-Representative Roy Blunt] also became a liaison between House Republicans and lobbyists. . . . As George W. Bush’s White House political director Ken Mehlman put it,’There’s nothing that happens in Congress that Roy Blunt isn’t a major architect of.’ And this architect didn’t come cheap. Blunt took responsibility for day-to-day meetings with lobbyists and formed an informal leadership team of twenty-five specific lobbyists to set the agenda.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
It is likely that this or a similar arrangement continued in the House when Roy Blunt was elected to the U.S. Senate.
One wonders, of course, if twenty-five big-organization lobbyists are going to set business-friendly — as opposed to market-friendly – agendas.
And do you think that those House GOP members meeting with any or all of the twenty-five first solicit their support and ideas about how to right-size the government and sharply rein in its regulatory over-reach? But that is another topic for another time.
We are not criticizing fund-raising of itself, but only trying to remind House members who trumpet their conservatism to their folks back home to put the same conservative principles first in their day-to-day House activities.
What conservatives, whether grassroots or think-tank analysts or advocates, must have to be effective is the same kind of regular, serious interchanges with key House Republican members that these members have with ‘K Street.’
Whether today’s House GOP members will make themselves available to conservatives in this regular way without serious campaign money in play remains to be seen.
As we asked last week here–
How has this interplay [of campaign money] stifled the effort to get a special House panel to investigate Benghazi, to look into Al Jazeera broadcasting in America, and to ask Inspectors General to check out Islamist influence in national-security agencies? Since the folks seeking better national security are not wealthy “marks,” who is ponying up and how much for the other side?
A Hard If Necessary Sell
We can hear Republican stalwarts saying “well, the Speaker is probably retiring anyway, so just be patient.” But the problem is not just the Boehner Team itself. The real issue is how key House GOP members have been setting their legislative priorities. After all, if Peter Schweizer is right and too many politicians in both parties are vigorously engaged in extracting money from productive America, the very idea of regularly giving serious attention and precious legislative time to modestly funded conservative groups would be a hard sell.
Right after the historic GOP victory in the House of Representatives on November 2, 2010, we wrote in our Post-Election Action Menus for Tea Partiers & Conservatives –
Our situation is sufficiently serious that Tea Partiers and conservatives themselves should not hold back from putting f orth their own recommendations to meet a variety of challenges both nationally and locally.
What we suggest in addition to any leadership change, then, is also an informal institutional change: give conservatives the same kind of regular access to — and respectful hearing by — key House Republicans that these members regularly give big-organization lobbyists.
Unfortunately even nominal House conservatives are backsliding. The National Journal’s Tim Alberta reported August 28: “Conservatives kick[ed] the right-wing think tank’s [Heritage] employees out of planning meetings after a blowup over the farm bill,” here.
Red State chief Erick Erickson reminds us this morning here that “Conservatism is about human freedom.”
House GOP members should write that down.