Category ArchiveTea Parties
Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 18 Dec 2011
“’For the Conservative, the challenge is daunting and the road will be long and hard,’ Levin sums up. ‘But it took the Statist nearly eighty years to get here, and it will take the Conservative at least as long to change the nation’s direction. Still, there is no time to waste. The Conservative must act now.’” (Underscoring Forum’s.) — Mark Levin
Today Doug Mainwaring, a Tea Party leader in the national capital area, declared (Baltimore Sun) –
“Much of what the tea party is now up to is local and goes on unnoticed.”
In his “Still brewing: The tea party hasn’t gone away: In Maryland, conservative activists are branching out and making a difference”, Mainwaring celebrates several achievements this year.
He points to a GOP recrudescence in his own Montgomery County –
“Montgomery County’s Republican Legislative District 15 [foregoing link added by Forum]is a great case in point. After years of neglect, the district has become highly organized and active, exercising the initiative to create an email database (which the state and local party has failed to do). Precinct heads remain in frequent contact with Republican voters through the District 15 newsletter, emails, phone contacts and social events. After a decade or more of being abandoned, the district is now run with military precision.”
Much to be commended. And there are larger conservative undertakings in play as Mainwaring notes.
The most salient example is the petitioning of the Maryland iteration of the Dream Act – SB167 — to ballot, with substantial support from Democrats and independents.
The motive and organizing force for this achievement came from western Maryland (Washington County) freshman delegate Neil Parrott. Veteran Baltimore County delegate Pat McDonough had laid the groundwork over several years with his own radio show and grass-roots following.
Parrot lit the match and led the torchlight parade!
Activist Mainwaring does not, however, address the culture divide separating Montgomery County from those Maryland jurisdictions with more traditional values. Here, for example, is a comparison of Montgomery County support for this petition to referendum with other counties.
We have written about this disconnect in our Maryland Petition: The Clergy, the Laity, the Victory, Montgomery County, MD: “An Illegal Alien’s Guide. . . .”, Montgomery County Values| U.S. History, and Montgomery County: Goons, Cops, Tongue-Tied Pols.
This burden of Cultural Marxism (Political Correctness) throughout the Montgomery County polity makes the good work of Montgomery County Tea Partiers even more of an achievement.
Let’s not forget that Brian Murphy’s hard-fought challenge (that included Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Murphy) to Bob Ehrlich in last year’s GOP gubernatorial primary left, as we have noted, an important Legacy to Maryland Conservatives.
Without this legacy and the many conservative activists Murphy brought together, there would likely have not been a Maryland Conservative Action Network — which in turn put together the top-flight Turning the Tides Conference of last October, which Mr. Mainwaring properly cites.
There is, however, another disconnect for Maryland conservatives: between the goals of grass-roots conservatives and the operational priorities of the GOP members of the General Assembly. As we wrote — “Turning the Tides”: Opportunity Lost for Many GOP Solons?
The other major conservative grass-roots effort in Maryland is that of Richard Rothschild from Carroll County.
First-term County Commissioner Rothschild put together a world-class conference here deconstructing the collectivist land-use scheme PlanMaryland. Rothschild had already been speaking in Virginia and California about the related dangers of Agenda 21 and the faulty premises of so-called Smart Growth.
From an organizing perspective for conservatives, the SB 167 petition to referendum is more important – and from a policy perspective it signals a possible slowdown in Maryland’s role as a “sanctuary state” for illegals.
In the longer run, we suggest, the freedom of more Marylanders will be diminished by PlanMaryland and whatever associated Green Marxist programs it brings into play.
Doug Mainwaring’s post today is well worth reading.
We look forward to his recommendations on how to bring the Republican stalwarts in the Maryland General Assembly to an informed, consistent, and active conservative posture. As David Frum warned last year — “GOP to Tea Party — Your Votes, Not Your Ideas.”
As part of such a discussion, faithful readers will want to revisit our Are Your GOP Politicians Ruling Class? Or Country Class? about Angelo Codevilla’s magisterial America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution in the American Spectator.
Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 19 Oct 2011
UPDATE OCTOBER 20! Yesterday, Potomac Tea Party Report editor Corcoran revealed “Another telling sign that state Republican leaders were controlling the message yesterday was the banishment of some ladies holding a banner advocating traditional marriage. There was plenty of room on the mall for everyone, but these ladies were directed by the police to fold up their banner because they didn’t have a permit to be on the mall that day.” Today we are told that event MC and delegate Michael Smigiel said to one of the banner women that “you are not part of this group” adding that he had also denied permission to pro-life and pro-second-amendment attendees to display their signs. Does Mr. Smigiel fancy himself the Dick Armey here and here of the Maryland Tea Party movement? We doubt that the grass roots will take kindly to top-down efforts to exclude traditional values and homeland security from their concerns. Long-time Maryland taxpayer advocates will recall Mr. Smigiel’s 2004 vote for HB1467, then-governor Bob Ehlrich’s biggest tax hike (“raising car registration fees by more than 50 percent and truck registration fees by more than 65 percent” according to NTU) of several Ehrlich tax increases that year. As we suggested yesterday, the good delegate has trouble getting even fiscal matters right. We should all try to help him come to a better mind.
Rally –Did A Tame Tea Party Caucus Pull Its Punches?
Blogger Ann Corcoran reports about yesterday’s Annapolis “rally for good government organized by the House of Delegates Tea Party Caucus.”
She declares – -
“The one successful grassroots effort in Maryland this year—the petition drive to get the issue of in-state tuition for illegal aliens on the ballot in 2012—was not mentioned.”
According to David Hill in the Washington Times last week –
“Mr. Smigiel said the rally will address only redistricting and tax increases and is expected to include several other conservative groups and leaders such as the Maryland Society of Patriots and former Republican Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ellen Sauerbrey.”
Certainly independent Maryland Tea Partiers played a major role in the stunning popular endorsement of the petition to send SB167, the Maryland iteration of the so-called “Dream Act,” to the voters for their say in November 2012.
Of course, there are major spending ramifications to this question.
Maryland’s role as a “sanctuary state” entails big fiscal (and assimilation and security) costs.
James Simpson’s Accuracy in Media report “CASA de Maryland: The Illegals’ ACORN” gives citizens a good inside picture of the fiscal and civic peril that CASA brings to Maryland.
Even tame Tea Partiers should not shrink from spotlighting the costs of allowing Maryland to remain a sanctuary state for illegals.
Readers who wish to look more into the fiscal or social costs of illegal (or of unrestricted legal) immigration can learn much from Mark Krikorian here, Heather MacDonald here, or Robert Rector here. And here (scroll down) is Mark Kirkorian’s post last year asking “why are the state think tanks generally so bad on immigration, when they address it at all?”
Nor apparently did the authors of the Smigiel rally’s agenda highlight Carroll County commissioner Richard Rothschild’s statewide drive against the “smart growth” agenda and its PlanMaryland incarnation – - Rothschild’s being yet another significant grass-roots initiative.
But why should they? Just about silly old property rights and forcing housing density and all that.
Local Tea Partiers, however, do pay attention. Rothschild’s effort will likely get some support tomorrow on the Eastern Shore –
“The Wicomico Maryland Society of Patriots is growing fast and will be holding another meeting this Thursday to discuss the impact of ‘Plan Maryland’ legislat[ion] that will infringe on the property rights of every Marylander.”
Washington County Tea Party organizer Corcoran also observed (read her entire report) –
“I did get the impression that the Republican leadership in Maryland is trying really hard to keep the Tea Party grassroots safely tucked under its wing.”
Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 03 Sep 2011
“The problem is that counties don’t want to be locked into the state’s plan for the future. State officials across the board maintain that nothing is going to be forced on the counties. This is only true in the most technical sense of the word. The fight over Plan Maryland is best described in hypothetical terms: Imagine a time in the future where a county has the opportunity to green light a housing project that would require school and road infrastructure that doesn’t conform to the Plan Maryland vision. The county would have the power to accept the project but the state would reserve the right to refuse to build the roads and schools that might be needed as a result of the county’s decision. This is where counties begin to get nervous.” — Tony Russo in MarylandReporter.com
Plan Maryland is governor Martin O’Malley’s initiative to control Maryland land use — and thus a variety of issues closely related to how and where we live and how we get around — through a central and largely unaccountable administrative apparatus.
As Russo writes –
“Although he deflected the issue at first, when pressed, O’Malley said unequivocally that he would not endorse any statement in the plan that contains the phrase: ‘Thus far shall the state go and no farther.’”
In our view, opposing Plan Maryland is a freedom imperative however much the Annapolis Political Class may try to disguise the initiative as some kind of “good government” or “conservation” or “planning improvement” measure. “Nothing to see here folks, move right along.”
Some Legislative Fine Print: Sailing Beyond the Law’s Intent?
The Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) has published on line a useful discussion entitled PlanMaryland: 1974 Land Use Legislation Fights Still Echo Today, which explains –
“Arguably, there are aspects of PlanMaryland that go beyond the statutory authority of the State Development Plan and PlanMaryland’s designated places could be seen as trying to reach the original intent of the areas of critical state concern in the 1974 [Land Use] Act. Unlike Priority Funding Areas, which are subject to MDP comment, designated places will be approved by MDP or potentially some other body – there has been some speculative discussion of converting the Sustainable Growth Commission, which currently serves in an advisory capacity, into an entity with more authority akin to the 1974 proposed State Land Use Board. Unlike the current areas of critical state control, designated places are not voluntary and will carry potentially significant consequences, some of which are not yet defined.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
We urge readers to take in the entire MACo post fully to understand what the stakes are and have been since 1974.
Voting for Legislative Moving Parts that Enable Intrusive Planning
Grass-roots conservatives should be educating General Assembly conservatives about the perils of approving seemingly harmless measures that become essential moving parts to schemes directing how Marylanders across the state may live.
Readers will want to know who voted in 2010 for “Smart, Green, and Growing – Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission” in the House of Delegates here and the State Senate here.
Here is the state on Growth Print:
“Maryland created a framework more than a decade ago to steer development toward Priority Funding Areas (PFA) to try to ensure that new construction occurred in areas where there was existing or planned services and infrastructure. The purpose of GrowthPrint is to highlight areas within Priority Funding Areas (PFAs) that are currently or can be in the future targeted for infill, revitalization and redevelopment.”
MACo also posts an essential . . . Look At PlanMaryland: What is GrowthPrint? explaining –
“. . . the development and implementation of GrowthPrint is both a component within, and an outcome of, the continuing PlanMaryland process. This process has not arisen from a specific statutory mandate — there was no bill in the General Assembly to debate the merits of this approach — rather, the effort has largely been administrative, following the general charge in Maryland law enabling a state growth plan.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
More Questionable Legislative Moving Parts
This MACo post points to another eye-opener from the draft plan –
“Areas approved as a “Sustainable Community” in accordance with the designation criteria provided in the Sustainable Communities Act of 2010 legislation will receive State/Local GrowthPrint Area designation.”
Readers will want to pay close attention to the transportation powers enumerated in part of the Smart, Green, and Growing – The Sustainable Communities Act of 2010 –
“The bill contains intent language requiring MDOT to (1) consider sustainable communities as it considers annual revisions to the Consolidated Transportation Program; and (2) consult twice annually with the Smart Growth Subcabinet on how to work cooperatively to make mutual investments toward creating and supporting sustainable communities across the State. Subject to limitations specified under current law, MDOT may exercise all powers reasonably necessary to achieve sustainable community goals including the authority to: (1) adopt regulations to implement sustainable community objectives; (2) apply for and receive grants, gifts, payments, loans, advances, appropriations, property, and services from the federal and State government; and (3) enter into agreements and contract for (a) any studies, plans, demonstrations, or projects; (b) planning, engineering, and technical services; or (c) any purpose necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the exercise of its powers under sustainable communities. “
Where Do All These Schemes Come From?
Last May, we wrote about the real meaning of “sustainability” in our Hiding In Plain Sight: Collectivization by Planners, Schools.
We cited the redoubtable Jim Simpson in his “Globalist Totalitarian Dictatorship Invading a Town near You – With Your Permission” (Campaign for Liberty) who declared –
“The Maryland State government is virtually bursting with “Sustainability” initiatives like Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing. The state Department of Natural Resources hosts a Sustainability Network page, where you can link to organizations promoting sustainability in every county in the state. The Maryland state government created a new “Sustainable Growth Commission” in 2010. The year before, it passed the “Smart and Sustainable Growth Act of 2009,” which requires county planning officials to take a special course. You can see the study guide here . The guide is a road map to the ‘sustainable’ future, which will force us all into cities, crowd us close to public transportation, bike paths and into “walkable neighborhoods”: ‘…encouraging shorter drive times, locating housing closer to work, minimizing shopping trips, and giving our kids real options to walk and ride bikes to school, parks and playgrounds…’ while reducing our ‘carbon footprint.’”
Now Carroll County commissioners are pushing back. Christian Alexandersen (Carroll County Times) reports last Wednesday in his “County commissioners draft letter to state over concerns with PlanMaryland” that –
“All five commissioners contributed to the development of the draft letter. The draft letter addresses a number of concerns that that board has following the PlanMaryland open forum Monday at Carroll Community College in Westminster. The concepts that the commissioners are concerned about is that PlanMaryland tries to take over local planning authority; uses incorrect scientific assumptions regarding climate change; includes flawed growth philosophies and does not include property rights protections.”
Some Frederick County commissioners are joining the push-back. Writes Bethany Rodgers (Frederick News-Post) last Tuesday in her Commissioners critique state smart-growth plan at meeting –
“Frederick County commissioners called the Maryland governor’s drafted land-use plan a possible ‘usurpation’ of local authority and a ‘recipe to block job growth’ in comments submitted Monday evening to state officials. Board members traveled to Carroll County for the public meeting with Maryland Planning Secretary Richard Hall to voice concerns about the document, called PlanMaryland. Without language reinforcing local control over growth, commissioners stated, the plan could snatch decision-making power away from county officials. And the plan’s emphasis on protecting the environment overwhelms other interests, such as job creation and improving transportation, they added. ‘Frederick County deserves the right to continue to control our own destiny,’ Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young said at the meeting, reading from a six-page statement board members addressed to Hall.”
“WHAT IS SUSTAINBLE DEVELOPMENT?
Sustainable Development is the 1992 action plan set forth by the United Nations in 40 chapters of a socialist political agenda called Agenda 21 to control every aspect of life. Some of the more important goals are: Change Consumption Patterns; Promote Sustainable Human Settlements; Plan & Manage All Land Resources, Ecosystems, Deserts, Forests, Mountains, Oceans, Fresh Water; Agriculture; Rural Development; Biotechnology; Ensuring Equity; an increased role for Non-Government Organizations (NGOs); and define the role of Business and Financial Resources. All this was to be accomplished on a global, national, and local scale.
THE 5 PATHS TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
WILDLANDS * SMART GROWTH * STAKEHOLDER COUNCILS AND UNELECTED GOVERNING BOARDS (Bureaucracies) * PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS * EDUCATION The first two paths to ‘sustainable development’ calls for strict land use policies designed to tell humans where and how they will live.”
Rothschild told Blue Ridge Forum yesterday that he is urging a “summit conference” in mid-October with top-flight scientific, economic, and social experts to evaluate Plan Maryland. Presumably this gathering will move to recommend sensible free-market alternatives.
Let’s not, however, deceive ourselves about the difficulty of defanging Plan Maryland.
Plan Maryland allows the kind of social control in Maryland the Left could only dream about until recently.
To turn back Plan Maryland and discredit the collectivist assumptions behind it means opposing many in the professional planning fraternity — from the municipal to the state level — as well as the national associations supporting these unelected decision-makers.
It means pushing against all manner of “environmental” organizations that are often aided by taxpayer dollars.
And of course defeating Plan Maryland means taking on the O’Malley regime on a signature initiative.
The General Assembly votes we have cited and more should convince the hardiest Republican stalwart that the GOP caucuses in the General Assembly are not of one vigorous mind, to put it charitably, opposing “sustainable development.” The House of Delegates does have a core of clear-sighted GOP members on this topic, but apparently not enough to move their entire caucus to pay attention.
This is not to say that the fight against Plan Maryland is not worth the candle. It is simply to say Tea Partiers and the conservative grass-roots must weigh in now — particularly on the local level where they have their greatest strength — if we are to defeat Plan Maryland and similar schemes.
Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 26 Apr 2011
Sign the Referendum PETITION to stop in-state tuition benefits for illegal aliens!
UPDATE APRIL 27! Scroll to bottom to see who else might be supporting in-state tuition for illegals.
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This morning Glynis Kazanjian’s quite interesting post “Tea Party gearing up for in-state tuition referendum” (Maryland Reporter) raises some very important questions about who supports the referendum — questions begging for answers.
Kazanjian declared --
“Much like the structure of the national Tea Party, there is no single leader or group in charge of the referendum efforts in Maryland. There are at least 30 identifiable Maryland Tea Party groups representing thousands of members across the state.
One of the larger groups participating in the referendum process, Maryland Society of Patriots, has over 1,700 Facebook followers and about 1,000 e-mail addresses of people from Montgomery County, Baltimore County and the Eastern Shore.
‘We are planning on aiding as much as we can in the referendum effort,’ said founder Sam Hale. ‘We are planning on holding a meeting in Montgomery County on May 5 to rejuvenate and reorganize our activists.’
Dave Wallace, an organizer for Restore America’s Mission, has helped bus hundreds of Marylanders to Tea Party events in Washington. His group, which has about 700 ‘activists,’ will also help to collect signatures for the referendum.
‘It’s a responsibility that government not go and help finance lawbreakers, and that’s exactly what this is,” Wallace said. ‘This is the wrong direction.’”
To understand the details of the law giving illegal aliens in-state tuition, readers should revisit the SB167 “Public Institutions of Higher Education – Tuition Rates – Exemptions” bill file itself here, including the bill’s final text here. The House of Delegates and Senate votes are here and here.
Washington County blogger Ann Corcoran believes Tea Partyers in Maryland will be in the thick of the struggle for the referendum on in-state tuition for illegal aliens –
“’There’s no question we are going to be involved [in the referendum],” said Potomac Tea Party blogger Ann Corcoran. ‘And it goes beyond the in-state issue. This is an opportunity to broaden our reach to Democrats, independents and those who see this as a fairness issue, and we see this as a fabulous opportunity to organize conservatives across the state of Maryland in preparation for 2012.’”
Here are some of the unanswered questions.
- So who are the Maryland conservatives?
- Which politicians will spend political capital publicly to get behind the referendum?
- What public figures are prancing on the sidelines?
Kazanjian quotes Maryland AFP deputy chief Loffer–
“Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative group which helped organize some initial Tea Party events in Maryland, will have no role.’We will not be participating, and we have no comment,’ said Deputy State Director Nick Loffer.”
Lollar: “View on Spending Burden: The burden is unbearable and unacceptable. Latest figures show that we are spending billions in healthcare, education, welfare programs and our prison and jail system. We must make our immigration system a top priority and completely secure our borders!”
- Would you oppose what NumbersUSA calls the Comprehensive Amnesty Threat? Or do you believe a comprehensive amnesty for illegals is indeed a ‘threat?
Lollar: “Oppose CAT: I completely oppose any form of amnesty – we did this in the 80s for specified labor categories and that was questionable in my opinion. The only way is for success here is by following our Constitution and legal rules that continue to reign in our country.”
- As a future member of the House of Representatives, would you co-sponsor and vote for legislation in the next Congress paralleling the Clear Law Enforcement for Criminal Alien Removal (CLEAR) Act (H.R. 2406)?
Lollar: “CLEAR – I would support any legislation that calls for a fair and legal means of ensuring only legal immigration which includes removing all who are not participating legally in our country.”
We believe chief Lollar and deputy Loffer should have a heart-to-heart on where AFP Maryland stands on this referendum.
In talking with the Maryland GOP Kazanjian reports that –
“Maryland GOP spokesman, Ryan Mahoney said the party will not take a lead role in the signature collection drive.’This is an effort that is going to be led by Del. Parrott,’ Mahoney said. ‘It’s bigger than any one political party, but with any legislation that’s damaging to Maryland taxpayers, the Republican party is here to provide logistical support and resources to insure Maryland has laws that are moving us in the right direction, not backward.’”
Of course, the referendum should not simply have a one-party signature even though — by our count — every GOP legislator and a number of Democrats (8 in the state senate and 22 in the House of Delegates) voted against the very questionable SB 167 on its way to enactment.
“Mooney, in the position of speaking for a state party he is hoping to turn in a more conservative direction, is placing his hopes in voters, who could overturn the bill on the 2012 ballot. But in Maryland, opponents would have to collect more than 55,000 valid signatures statewide within a matter of months to put the issue to voters. It’s a tall order in a state where organizers couldn’t muster enough signatures to challenge the addition of sexual orientation to the human rights law a decade ago. Mooney sees a referendum push as a way to invigorate moribund state Republicans. ‘I just think we need to do it on something once to show Marylanders it can be done,’ he said.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
Mooney is a sophisticated politician with earned respect from many conservatives in and out of Maryland. Whatever the GOP party apparatus itself may do in this referendum, Mooney can hardly walk away from the question when asked about his moral support for, and commitment of personal energy in behalf of the referendum.
The Maryland Chamber of Commerce
“What we do know through its public statements is that the U.S. Chamber has expressed its firm opposition to E-Verify and pledged its resources to ‘push for comprehensive immigration reform’ and a ‘pathway to legitimation for undocumented workers.’ . . . It has also advocated increasing visas to allow more skilled and unskilled workers to come to the U.S.”
“Director of Special Projects, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 2007″
“As Special Projects Director for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mary helps lead the Campaign for Free Enterprise, a multi-year project that inspires Americans to pursue their dreams through individual initiative, and the Chamber’s Military and Veteran’s Initiative, which encourages companies to employ U.S. veterans and their families as they transition back into the workforce. She also works on the Chamber’s Business Civic Leadership Center, which is designed to establish and maintain a positive role for businesses in society.”
Maryland Legislators Who Came Together Against SB167
UPDATE APRIL 27! On Marylander Cliff Kincaid’s new website “Religious Left Exposed“ read William Mayer’s “Bitter Harvest: How Marxist ‘Progressives’ Have Infiltrated the American Catholic Church”.
Veteran investigative reporter Kincaid reveals the conflicted role of the Maryland Roman Catholic Church but the decisive intervention of the Black Churches in stopping the gay marriage legislation in the last General Assembly – -
“Veteran journalist Bruce DePuyt quoted Delegate Cheryl Glenn, an African-American Democrat from Baltimore, as saying, ‘The black churches have never asked us for anything, and they are asking us now, ‘Don’t do this.’’ Delegate Jay Walker, a black Democrat from Prince George’s, said that his constituents and the churches in his district were against homosexual marriage. ‘I cannot vote against my base,’ he said. DePuyt noted that, ‘The demise of the gay marriage bill in Maryland will, for some, be reminiscent of what happened in California, where, many believe, the black Democrats who came out in droves to support Barack Obama in 2008 helped defeat Proposition 8, a gay marriage measure.’ The failure of the Catholic bishops and priests to speak out forcefully on this and other
matters brings us to the subject of William Mayer’s report. What he documents is how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has been largely absorbed into what is called these days the Marxist-oriented ‘progressive movement’ aligned with President Barack Obama, especially on economic issues.”
Declared William Mayer – -
“Not content to simply fan the flames spread by the amnesty radicals, the Catholic Church has been an active participant in some of their rallies.
As America’s Survival, Inc. (ASI) President Cliff Kincaid noted:
‘A group organizing a May 1 ‘May Day’ rally in favor of ‘immigrant rights’ in Lafayette Park in front of the White House is financially supported by the Catholic Church, Big Business, the federal government, and various Maryland governmental entities…CASA de Maryland, an illegal alien support group, is sponsoring the buses that will take hundreds of protesters to the event in the nation’s capital. CASA is considered the biggest promoter and facilitator of illegal aliens in Maryland. The U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and its Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), which got caught funding the radical group ACORN, are listed on the CASA website as being among its many financial donors and supporters.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
The Maryland Tea Party Movement will have its hands full battling Casa de Maryland and misguided elements of the Roman Catholic Church in reversing in-state tuition for illegal aliens.
In our view, traditional Christians of all flavors as well as observant Jews will profit by tracking Cliff Kincaid’s new website “Religious Left Exposed“.
UPDATE! Scroll to bottom to read “GOP Kingmakers Wipe Tea Party Seats Off Map” (NewsMax).
“The gulf between the grassroots volunteers of the Tea Parties and the Beltway GOP is vast, deep and growing.” –Hugh Hewitt
Regardless of fiscal crises and new Federal intrusions into our lives and businesses, the current House GOP leadership is still putting together its legislative goals in the traditional Beltway political context –– not, for example, starting with a view that United States as a nation needs a better balance sheet as soon as possible.
Apparently the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution “deal” took care of special interests which had helped (or claimed to have helped) bankroll the GOP victory of last November 2. Reportedly “the deal” also responded to GOP governors who complained that larger cuts would have hit Federal aid for their state budgets.
RedState chief Erick Erickson proposes a course of remedial action.
“A Third Party Within the Existing Party Apparatus”
“That’s one reason the tea party became so prominent in 2010. It worked as a third party within the existing party apparatus. It did not succumb to the charms of the establishment. It sought to slay the establishment and in many places it worked.
Unfortunately, since the election, we’ve seen a collapse of the national tea party movement, which has become much more fixated on lawsuits and fundraising, and local tea party activists have become very focused on local matters.
If the GOP will not stand and fight on the issue of the debt ceiling and reform, the tea party is going to have to become resurgent in a way we have not seen since the height of the Obamacare debate. During that debate, however, the energy was focused on Democrats. Now that energy must be brought to bear against Republicans, many of whom are even now plotting tax increases and insignificant cuts and structuring of the federal government.
The base needs to work now, within the party, to force the establishment to pay attention. The energy to create a third party and make it viable would distract from the present fight. Instead, the tea party movement needs to act like a third party within the GOP — separate itself from those presently in power if they are not true friends of the tea party movement and then seek to beat them from within.” (Underscoring Forum’s throughout.)
As the Tea Party Movement pushes hard on the national level, we need to bear in mind the big-government records of Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor.
After all, the Speaker had helped engineer and vote for the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation. Both the Speaker and current Majority Leader Eric Cantor had voted for the entitlement-ballooning Medicare Prescription Drug Act. This was long before their voting for the TARP legislation in the waning days of the George W. Bush presidency.
It is not as if they have since publicly regretted their votes. Indeed, NCLB will be up for reauthorization this year.
Mr. Boehner’s lack of focus on derailing Obamacare should be a warning. Has this once-big-government GOP leopard really changed his spots?
For derailing Obamacare has to remain a central Tea Party Movement goal.
Stanley Kurtz has recently exposed the more complex dangers of this scheme, now enacted with over $ 100 billion in built-in appropriations. As Kurtz wrote in his “IPAB, Obama, and Socialism” (NRO) –
“They’re back. Rationing, death panels, socialism, all those nasty old words that helped bring Republicans victory in 2010, and that came to seem so impolite after November of that year. They’re back because of IPAB. Remember that acronym. It stand for The Independent Payment Advisory Board. IPAB is the real death panel, the true seat of rationing, and the royal road to health-care socialism. President Obama won’t admit to any of that, but his speech in response to Paul Ryan’s plan did push IPAB out of the shadows and into public view, however briefly. If Republicans don’t seize the IPAB issue and run with it, they’ll be losers in 2012. Policy wonks and political junkies may know a bit about this health-care rationing panel, but most Americans have barely heard of it. That has got to change. And the only way to expose and explain the dangers of IPAB is to tell the truth about Barack Obama.” . . . . “Will Republicans have the guts to expose Obama’s strategy and call him on it, as they did in 2010? Will they go after IPAB and the permanent health-care rationing regime Obama means to cement in place, or will they merely defend Ryan’s proposal against the avalanche of attacks sure to come? Telling the truth about Obama’s radical plans is the only way to win.”
There is not much evidence that Mr. Boehner’s circle pays attention to analyses and advice like those of author Kurtz. But it is clear that the voices the Speaker does hear are those of the Chamber of Commerce with their crony-capitalist orientation.
One might speculate that this Speaker hopes for a safely establishment Republican president in 2013, along with a Republican (not necessarily a conservative) majority in the Senate. That would prepare the way to “reform” Obamacare around the edges, guided by “adult” Beltway Republicans perhaps with the permission of “centrist” Democrats. And it would be done without any interference from “purist” conservative rubes.
The Tea Party Movement has its job cut out for it. As Erickson wrote:
“[Tea Party Movement] energy must [now] be brought to bear against Republicans, many of whom are even now plotting tax increases and insignificant cuts and structuring of the federal government.”
Mark Steyn has pictured our future if the Tea Party Movement is unable to get the House GOP leadership to take strong conservative action in the coming weeks and months, and particularly address Obamacare:
“. . . [T]he governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible”. . . . . “The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power,merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless. Republicans seem to have difficulty grasping this basic dynamic.“ (Underscoring Forum’s.)
We must act now to confront this dangerous program being implemented as we write with nearly $24 billion in built-in appropriations just for this fiscal year. The longer we wait, the more businesses and state governments will have made decisions based on Obamacare. Consequently the more difficult it will be to extirpate the scheme.
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UPDATE! NewsMax’s Charles J. Little in his “GOP Kingmakers Wipe Tea Party Seats Off Map”(via RedState’s LaborUnionReport) reveals “Tea party lawmakers are being targeted for elimination by their own party, as old-guard Republicans use the Census-mandated redistricting process to erase seats won by last year’s upstarts, the National Journal reports. House freshmen from several GOP-majority states are in danger of losing out in a political realignment that rewards more connected veteran representatives. It may be cold comfort to tea partyers that the hostile redistricting process proves their point: They really don’t belong to the political establishment. ‘They did not have ties with incumbents and weren’t afforded a seat at the table,’ said political journalist Ed Feigenbaum.”
This is a post about what we believe are two urgent Tea Party tasks – -
urgent because immediate corrective action is needed, and Tea Party because the current GOP Congressional Establishment may not take prompt, effective action.
We wrote last Sunday in our – Libya, The Common Defense, and the Grass Roots — about the dangers to our freedom from the manner in which the president virtually took us to war with Libya.
Yesterday constitutional expert and former Federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy posed on National Review on Line (NRO) –
“Another question for our intrepid Speaker — assuming he can spare a second away from patting congressional Republicans on the back for their fearless effort to ‘slash’ what John Hinderaker memorably figures amounts to about a third of a french fry from the Big Mac meal that is federal spending.
In admonishing President Obama that he’d better ‘define . . . what the mission is in Libya,’ he adds that this ‘better job of communicat[ion]‘ must be done ‘before any further military commitments are made.’ But what about the military commitments that have already been made? They include starting a shooting war against Libya — unprovoked by any attack or threatened attack on the United States. As the leader of the United States Congress, does it not bother the Speaker just a smidge that the president felt he had to get approval from the Arab League (which has now reneged) and the U.N. Security Council, but there was no need to get the assent of the peer department of the United States government that is constitutionally responsible for declaring war and for paying for the war that Obama has launched?”
Then NRO’s Ramesh Ponnuru went to the heart of the matter with “This Unconstitutional War”–
“Andy McCarthy writes that ‘there should be no debating that absent a hostile invasion of our country, a forcible attack against our interests, or a clear threat against us so imminent that Americans may be harmed unless prompt action is taken, the United States should not launch combat operations without congressional approval.’ He’s right. If tea partiers mean what they say about adherence to the Constitution, they ought to make an issue of this.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
Federal Overreach Over School Districts To Prevent “Bullying”
“Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students’ lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed by Washington special-interest groups to be harassment of some students.” — Neil Munro – The Daily Caller
The too-often-GOP-Establishment-ignored “culture wars” are really struggles essential to keeping our freedom as we explained in March 2009 in our Will Republican Politicians Help Us Fight the Culture Wars?
We concluded in our May 2009 Radical University Empires vs. Clueless State Lawmakers “unfortunately, we simply cannot depend on the Republican establishments of Maryland and Virginia to deal with serious threats like the transformation of our taxpayer-supported universities into mechanisms for the dissolution of our way of life.”
Last October in our Sobering AEI Report on Teaching Civics we declared “apparently, we can’t keep waiting for our friends in the GOP to come to grips with reforming civic education. The Tea Partyers will have to be a moving force in this effort –- as in so much else. For, as we all know, the Tea Parties are essentially about freedom.”
There is an exigent threat from the Obama Administration, in school districts across America, to school children who should not be muzzled by Federal over-reach but who should be learning about free (and civil) political discourse so that they can take their place as informed voters.
Hans Bader shines needed light on this Obama Administration menace in his “Washington Invents an Anti-Bullying Law” (Campus Watch) – -
“There’s no federal law against bullying or homophobia. So the Department of Education recently decided to invent one. On October 26, it sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to the nation’s school districts arguing that many forms of homophobia and bullying violate federal laws against sexual harassment and discrimination. But those laws only ban discrimination based on sex or race – not sexual orientation, or bullying in general. The letter from the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights twisted those laws, interpreting them so broadly as to cover not only bullying, but also a vast range of constitutionally protected speech, as well as conduct that the Supreme Court has held does not constitute harassment. In so doing, it menaced academic freedom and student privacy rights, and thumbed its nose at the federal courts.”
Bader, senior attorney with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, alerts us that –
“According to the Daily Caller, ‘the leading advocate for the expanded’ definition of harassment contained in the letter ‘is Kevin Jennings, who heads the Education Department’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools. Jennings founded the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network [GLSEN] advocacy group, and raised at least $100,000 for the Obama campaign in 2008.’ GLSEN falsely claims that the letter’s examples of harassment are supported by ‘current law’ and it strongly supports its expansive interpretation of harassment law.”
Today sometime Department of Education attorney Bader followed up with his “Free speech is a casualty in Obama’s campaign against bullying” (Washington Examiner) – -
“In its zeal to invent a remedy for bullying of LGBT youth, the Obama Administration has shredded each of these [established judicial] limits on school liability for harassment. It also says that schools must take ‘systemic‘ responses that harm innocent students, like putting the entire student body through sensitivity training in some cases where only a few students were proven to be perpetrators.”
Bader also declared today in his Open Markets post “Obama Administration Undermines Free Speech and Due Process in Crusade Against Harassment and Bullying” that – -
“If the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) succeeds in goading school officials into punishing students for constitutionally-protected speech through its overreaching letter, it should be held legally liable for any resulting censorship.”
Tea Partyers might also ask their House of Representatives GOP members to take out any FY 2011 and FY 2012 appropriations for this and related muzzling and spying schemes.
Tea Parties Richard Falknor on 23 Feb 2011
“A lot of Republicans running in 2012 are going to face problems with the Tea Party on immigration. The Tea Party groups didn’t address immigration (except maybe those in Arizona), just as they avoided all issues other than spending and size of government, and that was a smart move at the time. But as an outpouring of populist nationalism, they are almost coterminous with immigration hawks, and woe to any open-borders Republican seeking their help. This is why Dick Armey and Grover Norquist, both strong open-borders guys, don’t even utter the word ‘immigration’ to Tea Party folks, lest they have tomatoes thrown at them.” – Mark Krikorian
Reveals author Krikorian –
“[Indiana governor Mitch] Daniels will eventually have to do or say something, because, as the Star reporter noted, ‘Democrats no longer control the House, so they can’t be counted on to stop this legislation.’ But this kind of weaselly equivocation is at least understandable from a guy like Daniels — a corporate Republican, downplaying social issues (though immigration is very much a fiscal issue as well), and former chief of staff for Dick Lugar.
What mystifies me is Georgia governor Nathan Deal’s weaselly equivocation on his state legislature’s immigration legislation. Deal earned an A+ from Numbers USA during his 17 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, checked off all the right boxes when running for governor, and campaigned on bringing an Arizona-style law to Georgia. But that was before the Farm Bureau got to him:“ (Underscoring Forum‘s.)
In another vein, Governor Daniels has also apparently vexed conservatives by walking away from Indiana “right to work legislation.” Today John Fund “Daniels in the Lions Den” (Wall Street Journal) elaborates–
“But Mark Mix of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Fund says conservatives will remember that Mr. Daniels chose to be a non-combatant in a fight that was almost won. ‘We had a clear majority of both the House and Senate ready to vote in favor of the bill,’ Mr. Mix told me. ‘The governor would certainly have signed it, but his willingness to let right-to-work die when Republicans had overwhelming majorities in the legislature makes one wonder just how stalwart he would be in pursuit of conservative issues.’”
Faithful Virginia readers will recall, as we wrote last month, that one seasoned Republican observer told Blue Ridge Forum he saw the Commonwealth’s GOP governor aiming for a vice-presidential slot, perhaps on a ticket headed by Indiana governor Daniels. Anita Kumar declared yesterday (Washington Post) that “McDonnell doesn’t rule out vice presidential run.”
Tea Parties and Illegal Immigration in Maryland and Virginia
Fighting illegal immigration was a major concern in Maryland’s GOP gubernatorial primary last year, for independent Tea Partyers and the favored gubernatorial candidate of many, insurgent Brian Murphy.
Tea Party blogger and conservative activist Ann Corcoran reported last August 30 –
“. . . [T]he Hagerstown Tea Party held a meeting in July to educate citizens about what might be done to get illegal immigration under control in the state and 175 interested prospective voters came out to learn. I thought that was a darn good crowd.’”
The leader of the Tea Party Caucus in the Maryland General Assembly, delegate Michael Smigiel, could, however, have a narrower perspective. Julie Bykowicz (Baltimore Sun) reports in her “Tea party caucus forming in House of Delegates” that “Del. Michael McDermott, a newly elected member from the Eastern Shore, said tea partiers traditionally focus on fiscal issues, and that’s what he’d like the Maryland caucus to do. Smigiel, in his third term, agreed. He said the caucus would ‘stay away from hot-button issues’ and concentrate on spending and the size of government.”
One hopes that the good Mr. Smigiel and his Tea Party Caucus grasp that the size of government and immigration are directly related. As analyst Jim Edwards points out: “And immigration is driving growth of government and the high taxes necessary to pay for that systematic wealth redistribution.”
Across the Potomac, Virginia Tea Partyers have been wrestling with illegal immigration since the creation of these grass-roots groups in the Old Dominion. Not the front-burner issue, says a veteran Tea Party leader, but nonetheless a consistently important one.
By way of contrast, next-door Maryland is a magnet-state for illegals. Thus, in our view, Maryland Tea Partyers rate illegal-immigration control among their very top concerns.
The Northern Virginia Tea Party has clearly evidenced its concern. One recalls a “Grass Roots Training Lunch June 7  on Illegal Immigration” featuring Corey Stewart, Chairman of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
A Richmond Tea Party (RTP) post last May 5 declares its desire to:
“Defend the borders and protect US citizens — Enforce existing immigration laws already on the books.”
The RTP post concludes –
“Richmond Tea Party is a proud member of the National Tea Party Federation. Tea Party members of the NTPF who are in states that are drastically impacted by illegal immigration have worked together to issue this press statement. This is an important constitutional issue for all concerned.”
Alice Kemp and Kayla Wamsley in their “Tea Party Says, ‘Don’t Tread on Me’” (Capital News Service) wrote last January –
“RICHMOND – More than 100 supporters of the Virginia Tea Party gathered at Capitol Square on Monday to rally for states’ rights and property rights and against illegal immigration and mandatory health care.”
Virginia Tea Partyers, however, have more work ahead on discouraging illegal immigration. Writes Wesley P. Hester (Richmond Times-Dispatch) in his “Senate panel refuses to hear illegal immigration bills” –
“The bulk of a wide-ranging package of bills targeting illegal immigrants in Virginia is officially dead. The Virginia Senate’s Courts of Justice Committee Monday refused to hear the bills after a special immigration subcommittee rejected them last week.”
Illegal Immigration in the 112th Congress?
Last month Jim Edwards of the Center for Immigration Studies compiled a rich menu of “Potential Areas for Congressional Oversight of Immigration Administration in the 112th Congress.”
But we share much of Roy Beck’s (NumbersUSA) skepticism — see his “Conspiracy of Silence Continues Inside Congress As House Fails To Vote On A Single Immigration Amendment On H.R. 1″ – - about the willingness of the House of Representatives GOP leadership to delve into illegal-immigration matters.
Tea Partyers and grass-roots conservatives will have to stay vigilant to keep the GOP Establishment on the right immigration-enforcement track — at all levels of government.
“I suppose it has to do with how one perceives their audience. Bachmann is accustomed to engaging the base and it shows, though her speech was far from incendiary, so as to alienate Independents. Consequently, I think she hit the mark just a bit better than Ryan. In the end, I came away mindful of two discussions going on in America right now. One is more of the Beltway. Both Obama’s and Ryan’s speeches were that; whereas, Bachmann’s speech stood in contrast, being more of the people….” –Dan Riehl
“. . . Michele Bachmann, whom the establishments of both parties like to castigate as ignorant, overly ambitious, and ill-informed, gave a more effective talk than the brilliant, analytical, and much-heralded ‘young gun,’ Paul Ryan. With charts and pictures, Bachmann illustrated for the American people the choices they face. Ryan came across as a young, rising partner in a Big Six accounting firm.” –Alvin S. Felzenberg
For readers who missed or want a quick reference to two responses to president Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last night, here are links to both the “official” (Paul Ryan) and “Tea Party” (Michele Bachmann) responses–
This morning RedState editor Erick Erickson shocked even us when he reported that–
“In fact, a number of Republican leadership aides pulled out all the stops trying to get the networks to ignore Michele Bachmann.”
The influential conservative advocated confessed–
“I must admit I was deeply nervous about the speech, but I am delighted to say I was wrong. Michele Bachmann gave the best speech of the night.”
“It yet again shows the GOP is unwilling to seriously treat the tea party movement as a legitimate player.”
Well, of course. The current House GOP leadership has spent a lifetime in politics building the Congressional GOP party first – - not a lifetime keeping the party true to conservative principles. They may indeed share some principles with conservatives, and they will hoist the conservative colors to their masts whenever they sail among the grass roots.
But, as Tim Chapman wrote in TheNextRight in 2008–
“I mean heck, as a staffer for Jim DeMint over the better part of the last two years, I saw first hand how the good Senator repeatedly went toe to toe with GOP establishment and received nothing but scorn for it – from staffers and senators alike.And for Heritage’s part, they have been in the battle every step of the way. But frankly, since Heritage got banned from then-Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s office back in 2003 over our opposition to the prescription drug bill, it has been an adversarial relationship most of the way. And that is as it should be given the makeup of the Party right now.
This adversarial relationship has continued to manifest itself over the years. Whether it be on immigration reform, Harriet Miers, No Child Left Behind or Bridges to Nowhere, Heritage and the broader movement have stood opposed to the powers that be – both elected and unelected – in the Republican Party.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
In fairness to Paul Ryan and his accomplishments, our guess is that the text and tone of his State of the Union response had to be homogenized for national viewers by the GOP leadership’s watchmen.
Heritage’s Matt Spalding last April talked about Ryan’s fine work –
“In the United States Congress, as of right now, Paul Ryan has been the singular voice persistently questioning the very essence of Progressivism in both principle and policy. And more, he has gone back again and again to the original principles on which this nation was founded, and followed these principles as the only fixed and sure guides to the policy reforms America needs going forward.”
Did “Republican leadership aides” presumably on taxpayer-supported salaries try “to get the networks to ignore” respected conservatives? If so, like the Bourbon Kings of France, the Congressional GOP has learned nothing but forgotten nothing. Here is Politico on the criticism CNN took for airing the Bachmann response.
One doesn’t have to agree with every one of Michele Bachmann’s positions to realize how her energetic and talented perspective needs to be heard by center-right voters at this crucial time in our history. And it is certainly understandable that a major Tea Party group would want Bachmann to advance their undiluted concerns.
Our Republic is in danger right now from a variety of domestic and foreign threats. We need to showcase and to hear all the talented and courageous House members we have. It is shameful, moreover, for GOP “leadership aides” to work against the grass roots — you and us — by trying to discourage CNN from carrying Bachmann’s State of the Union response.
TWO UPDATES JANUARY 20! From Real Health Reform: Our Money, Our Health, Our Choice! Greg Scandlen asks Was I Too Harsh? “Not at all. My skepticism about Republicans and health care is well-earned. Most of the leadership of the Republican Party over the past twenty years has been perfectly willing to discard free markets when it suits them.” Ross Schriftman points to HIPAA, The Glaring Omission “Listening to the debate on repeal I heard one Democratic member of Congress after another claim that if someone changes jobs and has a pre-existing condition they couldn’t get coverage with their new employer or that condition would not be covered. Between their statements and the report from the Administration there is not one word mentioned of the protections most Americans already had prior to the passage of last year’s massive ‘reform’ bill. . . . To the Republican members’ discredit I didn’t hear one word about HIPAA protections in their response during the debate.”(Underlining Forum’s throughout.)
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So what happens now?
“If Senators don’t take any action when the bill is transmitted from the House to the Senate, then there is little to no chance to pass the House repeal measure. This will show that Senate Republicans are not serious about a full repeal of ObamaCare. It is possible for conservative Senators to force a vote on H.R. 2, when the time is right, if they follow two simple procedures in the Senate to protect their rights.
The bottom line is that it is possible for opponents of ObamaCare to set themselves up for an extended debate on ObamaCare in the Senate — if they have the will. It is also possible to pass the bill in the Senate, if conservatives are patient and ready to spring a vote on liberals when the time is right.”
But Darling cautions – -
“As I said over at the Foundry, ‘if the supporters of a full repeal of Obamacare don’t use the Senate’s rules to force a vote on full repeal, don’t take them seriously when they say they . . . really want to repeal President Obama’s de facto government takeover of health care.’ A repeal vote is fully within the power of Senators — if they are serious about repeal.”
“Granted I may have missed something, but overall, I am left once again to wonder if the Republicans have the slightest idea of what they are talking about or how to craft a debate — other than maybe Mike Pence and Paul Ryan.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
One Scandlen “hits-and-misses” example:
“MISS. Several Democratic congressmen from New York and New Jersey have said that if ObamaCare is repealed, thousands of their constituents will be deprived of health insurance due to their pre-existing conditions. No Republican has pointed out that those states have guaranteed issue (GI) for all lines of health insurance, so presumably there is no one in either state who would be deprived of health insurance for having a pre-ex.”
Heartland Institute Senior Fellow Scandlen of course is a strong opponent of Obamacare, but readers may profit from going through his list of “hits and misses” by both parties in today’s House debate.
And the “misses” illustrated in this debate will likely reappear in the positive portrayal of government medicine in much of the major media.
The list illustrates, in our view, the need for GOP incumbents to get on top of the details of government lest the machinery of government stay on top of us.
The need to do our government homework runs not just to Obamacare — but to rolling back industry-suffocating EPA rules, maintaining our infrastructure, and making the right choices in national defense — as well as to state and local topics such as public-employee-pension reform and stopping eminent-domain abuse.
And if we Tea Partyers and the conservative grass-roots want our elected officials to do their homework, of course we will also have to do it right along with them.
UPDATE DECEMBER 30! Steve Milloy reports in his “Court deals Blow to Upton’s EPA strategy” – -“So barring some holiday season miracle, the EPA will soon further oppress an already-strained economy and euthanize more of our freedoms for absolutely no purpose (other than the advancement of Comrade Obama’s agenda). It’s looking like Upton and the rest of the often jello-y GOP leadership may actually have to develop a spine. Shall we hold our collective (but not collectivized!) breath?”
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Andy McCarthy summed up the approach of too many Senate Republicans to the ratification of the New START Treaty –
“The administration is wrong on national-security policy and politically weakened by the midterm thrashing. The treaty is awful, which is why there are so many things to address in resolutions and letters. If you can’t get Republican senators to do the right thing under these conditions, then when?” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
An important moral of the New START story is that treaties affecting the life of our nation are not chips to be played in some domestic political game. If a treaty is bad, renegotiate it — don’t put lipstick on it and use its ratification the way politicians trade giant earmarks.
We have visited some of the many issues arising from the now-ratified New Start Treaty, but the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, extending the regulatory reach of the institutional left over our food supply has apparently slipped under even much of the conservative radar.
Nonetheless the Wall Street Journal editorialized on December 2 –
“The Senate waved through the largest expansion of food regulation since FDR on Tuesday, 73 to 25, and maybe the bill won the votes of 13 Republicans because there was hardly any public controversy. These days, the government needs to take over entire industries to get anyone to notice.” . . . ” “Naturally, agribusiness and the processed food industry (and their legal departments) couldn’t be happier, and it’s not the first time big business has leveraged government to weigh down smaller competitors. Less understandable is the support from so many Senate Republicans, who must know that the Obama Administration plans to pursue its agenda through regulation in the next two years now that it has lost the House. The 13 GOP ‘ayes’—including Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Richard Burr of North Carolina—have enabled those regulators.”
And more lamentable detail from the indefatigable Republican Study Committee here.
The surprise is that anyone was surprised by defaulting Republican senators in the lame duck session.
As we and many others pointed out here and here and here, from the beginning of the Obama Administration in 2009 the Senate’s GOP leadership did not want to be seen as “obstructionist” — whether during the consideration of the so-called Stimulus Bill or of Obamacare. Rather they generally advanced high-minded arguments against the president’s measures. Unfortunately, they viewed these drastic changes in terms of the old politics — not (as the other side did) as “transformational” changes to the Republic.
The GOP Establishment message for voters across the U.S. before November 2 was that when the Republicans took back both the chambers of the Congress and the presidency, all would be set right. Obamacare and other dangerous legislation would be repealed. Yet, it seems most unlikely that a Republican president congenial to the Beltway GOP would make a first priority of downsizing the administrative state.
We suspect that the Senate GOP leadership was content with more modest goals. As they figured it, the Obama Administration‘s measures would so anger American voters that the November election would give the GOP the House and some additional senators, which is what happened.
Yet Mark Steyn had warned us last March 5 –
“Why is [president Obama] doing this? Why let ‘health’ ‘care’ ‘reform’ stagger on like the rotting husk in a low-grade creature feature who refuses to stay dead no matter how many stakes you pound through his chest? Because it’s worth it. Big time. I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible….”The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.“….“The Democrats understand that politics is not just about Tuesday evenings every other November, but about everything else, too.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
The Heritage Foundation reported last Monday in their “Big Government Strikes Back” that –
“This will be the fight of 2011: the unelected central planning ‘experts’ of the Obama Administration versus the newly elected House of Representatives and state and local governments. The people are not powerless. Congress still has the power of the purse and can withhold funding for implementing Obamacare or writing global warming regulations.“….”State and local governments can also thwart the federal administrative state by asserting their rights whenever possible. We can return power from Washington back to the people.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
So what about the new, 112th Congress and particularly the GOP-led House of Representatives?
“No profile in courage, [Energy & Commerce chairman-designate Fred] Upton is wishing for a litigation miracle so that he doesn’t have to get down in the mud and wrestle with the Obama administration.” - – Steve Milloy
But “getting down in the mud and wrestling with the Obama Administration” is just what the Republican-led House of Representatives will have to do to be effective when the new Congress convenes next Wednesday.
In the next Congress, the Senate GOP will be augmented by a few conservatives, but that body’s GOP leadership sparingly used the minority’s many powers to confound the Obama Administration’s schemes. There is little reason to think the same GOP leadership will overnight change its style.
But junk-science-buster Steve Milloy yesterday gave us a case-study-in-the-making in the coming House of Representatives in his “GOP all set to wimp out on EPA?” – -
“A key Republican is already laying the groundwork for the 112th Congress’ surrender on the EPA’s climate rules. More surprising is the complicity of a tea party group. Rep. Fred Upton, the chairman-designate of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, co-authored an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal with the promising title, ‘How Congress Can Stop the EPA’s Power Grab.‘ Now that we face the prospect of flagrantly illegal, arbitrary, expensive and pointless regulation of greenhouse gases by the EPA, I was eager to read how the new Congress was going to, say, slash the EPA’s budget to prevent it from implementing the climate rules or perhaps shutdown the federal government if the Obama administration proceeded with its plan to dictate energy policy in order to control the economy. Instead, Upton offered a mere two sentences of action that are better described [as] pusillanimity rather than pugnacity . . . .” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
Upton’s Tea Party Partner?
“. . . . Upton’s co-author, Tim Phillips of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) — a nationwide conservative grassroots group that has tried to blend in with the tea party movement. But AFP may be risking its tea party credentials by signing on to Upton’s exercise in bipartisan futility — where liberal/socialist Democrats get what they want and the rest of us get the shaft. That may be standard Washington, DC fare, but it is not what tea partiers voted for in November.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
A major conservative objective for the new Republican-led House of Representatives should be the enactment of carefully tailored appropriations cuts to rein in the EPA’s greenhouse-gas emissions rules, to disable Obamacare as much as possible, and to keep the Federal Communications Commission from regulating the internet.
Of course, to have any chance of success in doing this, the House appropriations, authorizing, and investigations panels will need more, not fewer high-quality staff (scroll to bottom of foregoing link) and the money to recruit and retain them throughout the 112th Congress.
In the end, House committee chairs and the House GOP leadership will need to get into the sand of the arena and mix it up with the representatives of the Obama presidency. This will come naturally to genuinely conservative House members, but less so to some senior House voices who may have spent a lifetime being more tribally Republican than consciously conservative.
For all these reasons, conservative grass-roots work with the new House of Representatives is just beginning.