Friday, November 30, 2012

Boehner threatens to shut out Senate bills if filibuster rules changed

Boehner threatens to shut out Senate bills if filibuster rules changed
By: Audrey Hudson
11/30/2012 12:00 PM

House Speaker John Boehner escalated a battle in the Senate this week to make rules more favorable to the Democrats in charge by issuing a threat to block all future bills passed under the new filibuster procedures.

“Any bill that reaches a Republican-led House based on Senate Democrats’ heavy-handed power play would be dead on arrival,” said Boehner, Ohio Republican.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is working to eliminate the minority party’s opportunity to filibuster legislation, bucking tradition the party out of power often uses to block or amend controversial bills.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is leading the opposition to the rules change, arguing it would alienate the constituents Republicans have been elected to represent.

“Senate Democrats’ attempt to break Senate rules in order to change Senate rules is clearly designed to marginalize Senate Republicans and their constituents while greasing the skids for controversial partisan measures,” Boehner said.

“I question the wisdom of this maneuver, especially at a time when cooperation on Capitol Hill is critical, and fully support Leader McConnell’s efforts to protect minority rights, which are an essential part of our constitutional tradition,” Boehner said.

Not all Democrats are convinced it’s a good idea, as the tables could turn if they lose control of the Senate in the 2014 election. Reid is hoping to change the rules on the first day of the new session in January, when Democrats will control the Senate 55 to 45. Filibusters require 60 votes to be broken.

Rather than changing Senate rules, McConnell says Democrats need to change leaders.

“What we need is a majority leader with a different view about the Senate, consistent with its norms and traditions,” McConnell said.

To read another article by Audrey Hudson, click here.

T-Ball War in the Middle East

T-Ball War in the Middle East
By Victor Davis Hanson

Classical explanations of conventional wars run something like this: An aggressor state seeks political advantage through military force. It has a hunch that the threatened target will likely either make concessions to avoid losing a war, or, if war breaks out, the resulting political gains will be worth the military costs to achieve victory.

Wars then are prevented only by a balance of power and military deterrence: aggressors have to be warned that it would be stupid to start a war they will likely lose. If there are miscalculations or if emotions run high and logic is ignored, then the resulting conflicts only end when one side loses and has no choice but to accept the imposed terms of the winner.

That being said, the modern therapeutic West has either forgotten such rules or ignored them. In today's globally televised wars, a novel doctrine of proportionality reigns. It is sort of like T-ball in which scoring and winning don't matter. Instead both the stronger and weaker sides end up the same. Little attention is paid to who started the conflict, how it was conducted or how it should be ended.

In terms of the Middle East, contemporary T-ball war works out like this: A far weaker Gaza sends a shower of missiles into Israel, hiding its launchers among civilians to ensure collateral damage and favorable propaganda during Israeli retaliation.

Israel, with its technological savvy, knocks down most of the incoming rockets, but then retaliates inordinately to the aggression by killing far more Palestinians in Gaza than it lost inside Israel. That is considered unsportsmanlike play. In a fair T-ball fight, Israel should have stopped the war when the losses were equal and not tried to run up the score when there should be no score-keeping at all.

Apparently Israel was supposed to shut down its Iron Dome anti-missile system so that the Hamas missiles could kill enough Israelis to match those killed in Gaza. Then it should have accepted a ceasefire to the no-win/no-lose game, until Hamas chose to play the next "proportional" inning of this perpetual T-ball war.

However, just as one side in T-ball can be more skilled than the other, and parents secretly keep score in supposedly scoreless games, so too do the age-old rules of war not change just because we think they must.

Hamas went to war against Israel by shooting hundreds of rockets into the Jewish state. It thought such aggression made sense. The attack was timed just after the U.S. election. Hamas guessed that the Obama administration would be largely neutral without re-election worries over pro-Israel voters in swing states.

Hamas also hoped that it would have more success against Israel than during its last war in 2008. After all, it had plenty of new, longer-range Iranian rockets that could reach most cities in Israel.

Iran also egged Hamas on. It believed that its client's rocket barrages would give Israel a very public taste of what it should expect if it ever dared to attack Iran's nuclear facilities - while Hamas's new rockets would outshine those of its rival, the Palestine Authority on the West Bank.

More importantly, Hamas figured it had two new friends nearby in Recep Erdogan's Islamist government in Turkey and the newly ascendant Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt under Mohamed Morsi.

By going to war, Hamas reminded the world that American allies like Turkey and Egypt are now firmly in the new Iranian-backed Islamist and anti-Israel orbit. Like Hamas, both regimes came to power through elections, and then almost immediately tried to silence the opposition to ensure their permanent authoritarian rule. In Morsi's case, the new Gaza war gave him cover for almost immediately trying to suspend the constitution.

In short, Hamas and its friends felt the advantages of war outweighed the risks. And even if things went badly, they counted on their patrons imposing a T-ball truce on Israel that would save Hamas from too much damage, while allowing it to brag about its supposed success, its new rockets, its new allies and its new American support.

For now, all that may have worked.

But just as the fantasies of T-ball give way when kids grow up and start keeping score in the real world of baseball, so too will the T-ball war in the Middle East come to an end. To avoid unending rocket barrages and serial on-and-off wars, Israel will have to convince Hamas and its allies that, collectively, they all have a lot to lose by starting more T-ball wars -- ones that in the future no longer will end with a no-score truce.

To read another article by Victor Davis Hanson, click here.

Independence Forever! Don't Ratify the UN Disabilities Treaty

Independence Forever! Don't Ratify the UN Disabilities Treaty
By Ken Blackwell

There’s an old story from the Jewish shetls of Eastern Europe. There was a singing contest among the animals. The Nightingale loses, despite her lovely singing voice. Looking down on the jury, she sees the grunting wild pigs. She weeps, not because she lost, she says. “But see who my judges are!”

America must feel like the Nightingale whenever she has to go before a UN panel.

I had the honor of serving our country as U.S. Ambassador to the UN’s Human Rights Commission. In those days, the UN body had such worthy respecters of human rights as Algeria, Libya, Syria, Vietnam, and Sudan. Today, the UN Human Rights panel now contains such paragons as China, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

See who our judges are. Today, the U.S. Senate is being asked to ratify the new UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It’s another of those sound-good UN efforts that fall apart under examination.

The Heritage Foundation has warned against this document, which will seriously compromise American sovereignty. Heritage experts refer to it as another UN power grab. They’re right.

Just consider how well the UN is doing with its acknowledged responsibilities. The UN

never said a word against the Soviet Gulag—the Communist system of slave labor camps. Millions of Russians and other ethnic minorities died starving or shot in those camps. Some even died mining radioactive uranium for Soviet H-bombs. No UN word of protest.

China? China has a Laogai system of “re-education” (forced labor) camps. UN interest in these? Nada. The UN was no help in Rwanda as hundreds of thousands died. Nor in Bosnia. The UN twiddled its thumbs over ethnic cleansing. The UN’s Iraq “Oil for Food” program—supposedly intended to relieve starving Iraqi children—enriched Saddam Hussein’s sons, and the son of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, but did little to help the children of Iraq. It was the world’s largest financial scandal. But it’s been conveniently dropped down the memory hole at UN Headquarters at Turtle Bay in New York.

The UN speaks constantly of human rights, but never acknowledges the right of humans to be born to claim those rights. The respected demographer Nicholas Eberstadt has documented the tens of millions of unborn baby girls have been targeted for death because they were female. UN interest in this global war on baby girls? Zero.

The Hudson Institute’s scholar, John Fonte, has carefully studied the ongoing effort of UN panels and the irresponsible influence of NGOs on that body. NGOs—non-governmental organizations—are accredited by the UN to lobby its constituent bodies.

Most of these NGOs are far left outfits that wage what Fonte calls “lawfare” against the United States and other liberal democracies. Fonte’s important book is titled, Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others? John Fonte asks use to consider whether we will subordinate American laws and institutions to an unrepresentative UN and the NGOs that are so powerful within it.

[Full disclosure: Family Research Council is an accredited NGO at the UN. My organization took this step to rally pro-family forces in the international community against what so many other NGOs are trying to impose on us.]

We now have thirty-six U.S. Senators on record against ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. All of these senators are Republicans. That is four more than are necessary to defeat this treaty. We need to bring more senators—including Democrats--on board to stop this dangerous surrender of sovereignty to the UN.

We need to remember the last words of advice John Adams gave us. He was asked for his reaction to the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence he had done so much to secure: Independence Forever, said the aged sage. As if to underscore those brave words, that great patriot died on July 4, 1826. We must preserve what he and so many others in our storied past have given to us. Keep America American.

To read another article by Ken Blackwell, click here.

Gitmo North Returns: Obama's Shady Prison Deal

Gitmo North Returns: Obama's Shady Prison Deal
By Michelle Malkin

If you thought President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder had given up on closing Guantanamo Bay and bringing jihadists to American soil, think again. Two troubling developments on the Gitmo front should have every American on edge.

The first White House maneuver took place in October, while much of the public and the media were preoccupied with election news. On Oct. 2, Obama's cash-strapped Illinois pals announced that the federal government bought out the Thomson Correctional Center in western Illinois for $165 million. According to, a recent appraisal put the value of the facility at $220 million.

Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin led the lobbying campaign for the deal, along with Illinois Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who is overseeing an overall $43 billion state budget deficit and scraping for every available penny. The Thomson campus has been an empty Taj Mahal for more than a decade because profligate state officials had no money for operations. Economic development gurus (using the same phony math of federal stimulus peddlers) claim the newly federalized project will bring in $1 billion.

Durbin told a local Illinois paper that "the decision to move ahead came directly from President Barack Obama" and that he had secured the green light during a discussion on Air Force One earlier in the spring. But this gift to Obama's Illinois homeboys wasn't just a run-of-the-mill campaign favor.

Obama's unilateral and unprecedented decision steamrolled over bipartisan congressional opposition to the purchase. That opposition dates back to 2009, when the White House first floated the idea of using Thomson to house jihadi enemy combatants detained in Cuba. As you may recall, the scheme caused a national uproar. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department's budget, blocked the administration from using unspent DOJ funds for the deal. With bipartisan support, Congress passed a law barring the transfer of Gitmo detainees to Thomson or any other civilian prison.

The message was clear: Taxpayers don't want manipulative Gitmo detainees or their three-ring circuses of transnationalist sympathizers and left-wing lawyers on American soil. Period.

But when this imperial presidency can't get its way in the court of public opinion, it simply circumvents the deliberative process. As Wolf noted: The shady deal "directly violates the clear objection of the House Appropriations Committee and goes against the bipartisan objections of members in the House and Senate, who have noted that approving this request would allow Thomson to take precedence over previously funded prisons in Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and New Hampshire."

Obama and his Illinois gang insist that Thomson will not become Gitmo North. But denial is more than a river in the Muslim Brotherhood's homeland.

The 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America, which spearheaded the movement against shipping jihadi detainees to the mainland, exposed the fine print of the Obama DOJ's deal with the state of Illinois. The purpose of the Thomson facility acquisition, according to the DOJ notice filed in the D.C. courts, included this clause:

"... as well as to provide humane and secure confinement of individuals held under authority of any Act of Congress, and such other persons as in the opinion of the Attorney General of the United States are proper subjects for confinement in such institutions."

Guess whom that covers? Yup: Gitmo detainees, who are being held under the 2001 congressional act known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Now, bear all this in mind as you consider the second and more recent Gitmo gambit. On Wednesday, in response to a whistleblowing report from Fox News homeland security reporter Catherine Herridge, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., released a General Accounting Office report exploring the feasibility of transferring the Gitmo gang to civilian prisons.

Lo and behold, Feinstein concluded, the report "demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantanamo without imperiling our national security."

The "political will" does not exist now, nor has it ever. But thanks to Obama's sneaky, back-door misappropriation of government funds to buy Thomson, the feds have exactly what they need to fulfill the progressive-in-chief's Gitmo closure promise: a shiny, turnkey palace in crony land tailor-made for union workers, lawyers and terror plotters to call their new home.

To read another article by Michelle Malkin, click here.

Shame on the U.N.

Shame on the U.N.
By Michael Brown

On November 29th, 1947, the United Nations’ General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. The Jewish leadership accepted the plan; the Arab leadership rejected it. Sixty-five years later, on November 29th, 2012, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, excoriated Israel, praised Islamic terrorists, and received the overwhelming approbation of the General Assembly, which voted 138 to 9 (with 41 abstentions) to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state.”

Abbas was perfectly clear: “The moment has arrived for the world to say clearly: Enough of aggression, settlements and occupation.” The world, then, through the U.N., would be rebuking Israel with its vote.

To be sure, President Abbas made some conciliatory remarks, such as, “We did not come here seeking to delegitimize a state established years ago, and that is Israel.” But these remarks were completely overridden by his unstinting condemnation of Israel, whose policies, he claimed, “have thrown [negotiations] into the intensive care unit.”

How could he claim that he came to the U.N. to “launch a final serious attempt to achieve peace”?

Speaking of the recent conflict in Gaza, Abbas said, “Palestine comes today to the United Nations General Assembly at a time when it is still tending to its wounds and still burying its beloved martyrs of children, women and men who have fallen victim to the latest Israeli aggression, still searching for remnants of life amid the ruins of homes destroyed by Israeli bombs on the Gaza Strip, wiping out entire families, their men, women and children murdered along with their dreams, their hopes, their future and their longing to live an ordinary life and to live in freedom and peace.”

Yes, this is how Abbas attempts “to breathe new life into the negotiations” with Israel: by failing to mention the thousands of rockets launched first by Hamas terrorists at Israel; by failing to acknowledge that some of these Palestinian “martyrs” were men like Ahmed Jabari, the mastermind of numerous mass-murder plots against unarmed Israeli citizens; by forgetting entirely that it was Hamas that brutally drove the Palestinian Authority out of Gaza.

Yet in the mind of Abbas (and apparently of the U.N. General Assembly as well), it is the Israelis who are the murderers, guilty of “brute force and war.” And how many times did Abbas speak of “Israeli aggression” in this speech, which was allegedly aimed at achieving peace?

Abbas also recounted the revisionist version of recent Palestinian history, noting that, “hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were torn from their homes and displaced within and outside of their homeland, thrown from their beautiful, embracing, prosperous country to refugee camps in one of the most dreadful campaigns of ethnic cleansing and dispossession in modern history.” (What extraordinary charges!)

The tragic irony of all this is that, had the Arab leadership accepted the U.N. partition plan offered in 1947, “Palestine would be celebrating its [65th] anniversary this May. And there would have been no Nakba [catastrophe]” (quoting Professor Ephraim Karsh in his important book Palestine Betrayed).

As far back as 1937, David Ben Gurion stated that, “We do not wish and do not need to expel Arabs and take their place. All our aspiration is built on the assumption – proven throughout all our activity in the Land of Israel – that there is enough room in the country for ourselves and the Arabs.”

And on November 29th, 1947, when the Jewish leadership accepted the two-state partition plan, Golda Meir said, “We are happy and ready for what lies ahead. Our hands are extended in peace to our neighbors. Both States can live in peace with one another and cooperate for the welfare of their inhabitants.”

This was followed by Ben Gurion’s statement in December, 1947: “If the Arab citizen will feel at home in our state . . . if the state will help him in a truthful and dedicated way to reach the economic, social, and cultural level of the Jewish community, then Arab distrust will accordingly subside and a bridge will be built to a Semitic, Jewish-Arab alliance.”

In contrast, Arab leaders like Azzam Pasha, Secretary-General of the Arab League, had their sights set on driving the Jews into the sea: “It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades.” (As quoted in an interview in the Akhbar Al-Yom Newspaper, October 11, 1947.)

Speaking to the U.N. Security Council on April 16, 1948, Jamal Husseini stated, “The representative of the Jewish Agency told us yesterday that they were not the attackers, that the Arabs had begun the fighting. We did not deny this. We told the whole world that we were going to fight.”

The Arab nations did fight – and lost. And while the fledgling state of Israel absorbed 800,000 Jewish refugees who were expelled from surrounding Muslim lands, these same countries made no effort to absorb the 600,000 Arab refugees who fled Israel. Sadly, to this day, there are Palestinian refugee camps in Arab countries like Lebanon, while the inhabitants of Gaza lived in oppressive conditions when it was under Egyptian control after 1948.

But truth and justice matter little to the U.N. General Assembly when it comes to Israel, and so, November 29th, which was once an important day in the history of the United Nations, has become a day of infamy.

To read another article by Michael Brown, click here.

Time for Congressional Republicans To Expose Obama's Agenda

Time for Congressional Republicans To Expose Obama's Agenda
By David Limbaugh

We can get back to discussing GOP minority constituent recruitment soon, but in the meantime, we have a fiscal cliff issue that beckons -- the real fiscal cliff (America's imminent financial collapse), not the government shutdown molehill everyone is agonizing over.

Congressional Republicans should look at their party's loss in the presidential election as liberating. They surely now understand that the strategy of soft-pedaling Obama's record and agenda doesn't work. They surely grasp that its fear of calling President Obama out on his real intentions and the disastrous consequences of his destructive policies just plays into his hands and enables the advancement of his agenda.

So, how about some bold, straight language from our side? How about telling the American people exactly what Obama is up to? How about drawing a line in the sand right now -- before the pseudo "fiscal cliff" negotiations even begin -- and announcing there is no point to entering these farcical talks because they don't share the same goals? Republicans want to prevent a national financial collapse, and Obama wants to keep spending and prevent entitlement reform so that he can complete his task of fundamentally transforming America.

Obama is already engaging in doublespeak and deception about his goals in these negotiations, and Republicans, instead of permitting him to control the language and the narrative, should flush his true intentions into the open at the very outset.

Let's start with this fact: Obama doesn't want to raise "revenues." He wants to raise tax rates on the "wealthy," a group that includes tons of people who are not wealthy, and a policy that may well not raise significant revenues anyway. Even if you assume tax hikes on those who provide the lion's share of American jobs won't further suppress economic growth and thus revenues, the amount of money they would generate won't make a dent in our annual deficits, much less our crushing national debt.

So Republicans must assert that Obama's uncompromising demand that we raise taxes on the "wealthy" is not about raising revenue, but redistributing wealth and punishing the rich.

Every honest, informed person knows we cannot bring our budget and debt into balance without major structural entitlement reform and real reductions in discretionary spending.

Here again, Obama has made it very clear he doesn't share the goals of reducing spending and reforming entitlements. He not only refuses to restructure entitlements and seriously reduce discretionary spending (except military), but he's salivating over the prospect of spending (he calls it "investing") any "revenues" the tax hikes generate.

The naked reality is that Obama and his Democratic Party are entering these budget negotiations in bad faith. Republicans must confront Obama, using plainspoken English words as defined in the dictionary. Either he doesn't believe spending and entitlement reforms are essential to balancing the budget and averting a financial collapse, which would make him more obtuse than any president in history, or he doesn't have any intention of addressing our deficit and debt problems. Either way, he has obstructed any serious spending and entitlement reform initiatives for four years and still hasn't put a plan on the table. It's imperative that we conclude he is going to use all his power to prevent such actions going forward.

On those rare occasions when Obama is forced to discuss entitlement reform, he demagogues and lies about alleged reductions in entitlement benefits to the middle class and seniors that would occur under Republican plans. But we have no choice but to institute and manage a reform plan on our own terms, such as Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity, which does in fact preserve benefits for the most vulnerable groups and causes as little pain to others as possible. Otherwise, our exploding expenditures are going to force reform upon us the hard way, with an ugly Grecian-style financial collapse that will make 2008 look like child's play and show us what real pain is.

If the GOP acts forcefully and boldly, it may still prevent this collapse. But if not, when we are hurtling toward the Earth together, we can do so knowing we did all we could to save this great nation for our children. Or we can reminisce about how the GOP again pulled its punches for fear of looking mean-spirited or because they, too, didn't believe their own rhetoric or possess the courage of their convictions.

Before Republicans reenter this process of what are sure to be futile negotiations, please let them put their case before the American people and force Obama to explain his actual intentions. It's time to have this out and to force a sober national assessment of where we are and where we're going.

Out in the open, perhaps we can discover whether a majority of Americans truly share Obama's goal of obstructing spending and entitlement reform and thus destroying America's future. The rest of us have a right to know.

To read another article by David Limbaugh, click here.

Don’t let it burn

Don’t let it burn
By: John Hayward
11/29/2012 04:53 PM

There’s a lot of talk about Republicans taking a “let it burn” approach to America’s fiscal crisis. The voters wanted Barack Obama again; give them what they voted for, until they choke on it! Let the President and his party take complete ownership of Washington’s financial collapse and the new recession. Wait quietly in the wings until the dust settles, then rebuild America from the ruins.

The impulse is understandable, particularly given how the media generally tends to blame Republicans for everything, no matter what they actually say or do, or even what they could have done. When the Democrats had full control of Congress after 2006, everything was the Republican president’s fault. When a Democrat took the White House, everything was still the previous Republican president’s fault. As soon as Republicans took the House of Representatives, everything became House Republicans’ fault. The media doesn’t want to talk about the decaying stack of excellent pro-growth bills from the House sitting on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s desk. Reid gets to be the assassin of all future hope, without consequence; it’s easy for him to hide in the shadows, because no reporter is going to shine a light on him. And frankly, even if those bills were getting past the Senate and Obama was vetoing him, there’s still a good chance the Republicans would somehow be blamed for “obstructionism.”

But all of those woeful conditions are a strong argument against the “let it burn” philosophy. If the Republicans quietly walk away, they’ll still get blamed for everything. We just watched a President get re-elected despite one of the most appalling records in modern history, largely because he was able to get voters buzzing about small, divisive social issues. He won’t be on the ballot in 2016, but he can do the same thing to assist his successor. A significant portion of Obama’s base will still be willing to blame all of his failures on George Bush, even after eight years of the Obama presidency. (“How’s Obama going to run for re-election by still blaming Bush in 2012?” we all wondered incredulously in 2009.)

Congressional Republicans will be held responsible for the fantastic imagined benefits of every bill they didn’t pass. If Obama takes America over the fiscal cliff, he’ll spend the next two years yelling that Republicans are the ones responsible. And making concessions to Obama’s tax-hike demands, at least without bargaining very hard for real and powerful spending discipline, would only make it worse.

You fellows in the GOP leadership sincerely believe in your conservative economic theories, don’t you? Then you know perfectly well that $60 or $100 billion per year from tax hikes isn’t going to “fix” a trillion-dollar deficit, or even stave off the coming round of credit downgrades that will blow our debt financing costs through the roof. You also know that symbolic tax increases are the exact opposite of what America really needs right now: pro-growth tax relief, at both the corporate and individual levels.

There’s a good reason Obama supporters and surrogates are yelling at Republicans to shut up because they lost the election. They know that this is the time for you to speak up! This is the hour to remind America of what we should be doing, instead of wasting our time with Obama’s phony “fiscal cliff” theatrics. We’ve got high unemployment, a business-hostile regulatory environment, crushing corporate tax rates, and a job-killing health-care malfunction. This is precisely the right time for articulate conservative spokesmen to step forward and clearly lay out what needs to be done, in order to keep America from burning.

“But we just lost an election!” some Republicans will say. ”Elections have consequences! We don’t have the votes to get anything through the Senate, never mind override a White House veto!”

Elections are chapters in long-running arguments, not their ineffable conclusion. No one, from American voters to their elected representatives, on either Left or Right, ever needs to be intimidated into silence by the results of an election. No one, on either Left or Right, should spend a single moment pretending otherwise. Let Republicans in the House discuss, and legislate, what America really needs… and make the Democrats shoot it down. When the full results of Democrat governance are felt, tell the voters that we must now follow the principles Republicans never compromised, because they never stopped believing in those principles, no matter how any particular election turned out.

That’s how you make the Democrats “own” whatever happens next, not by capitulation or petulant indifference. If you know your ideas are valuable, you do the American people no favors by burying them in a treasure chest, for retrieval after some future success at the ballot box.

Moderate and indifferent voters must be energized to win them over. That process must begin now, not the day after the end of the next Republican presidential primary. Do you know what will really turn those swing voters off? A demoralized, dispirited Republican base that still can’t believe its leadership caved on tax increases, nursing its rage by talking of third-party secession.

This is a time for heroic efforts and commanding leadership, not white flags and bargains meant to hold off ruin for another year or two. This is a time to think beyond what the host will say on next Sunday’s talk shows. It is a time to think about the American people, whose liberty and wisdom we conservatives revere. If you think the voters are bumbling nitwits who deserve what’s coming to them under Obama, then what was the point of all that talk about freedom and opportunity? Freedom for hapless children? Opportunity for serfs? Liberty for those who cannot shoulder responsibility?

We owe them more than contempt and indifference. Yes, that includes those who voted against the last round of Republican candidates, even for the most venal and trivial of reasons. ”Let it burn?” America never stopped burning, my friends, in every good and bad sense of the word. I worry more about letting it be extinguished.

And now a word from the other side of the argument, click here.

To read another article by John Hayward, click here.

Make the Democrats Own the Obama Economy

Make the Democrats Own the Obama Economy
By Ann Coulter

One bright spot of Barack Obama's re-election was knowing that unemployment rates were about to soar for the precise groups that voted for him -- young people, unskilled workers and single women with degrees in gender studies. But now the Democrats are sullying my silver lining by forcing Republicans to block an utterly pointless tax-raising scheme in order to blame the coming economic Armageddon on them.

Democrats are proposing to reinstate the Bush tax cuts for everyone ... except "the rich." (Why do only tax cuts come with an expiration date? Why not tax increases? Why not Obamacare? How about New York City's "temporary" rent control measures intended for veterans returning from World War II?)

Raising taxes only on the top 2 percent of income earners will do nothing to reduce the deficit. There's not enough money there -- even assuming, contrary to all known history, that the top 2 percent won't find ways to reduce their taxable income or that the imaginary increased government revenue would be applied to deficit reduction, anyway.

Apart from Obamacare, it's difficult to think of a more effective method of destroying jobs than raising taxes on "the rich." This isn't a wealth tax on useless gigolos like John Kerry -- it's an income tax on people who are currently engaged in some profitable enterprise. Their business profits, which could have been used to hire more employees, will instead be used to pay the government.

But Republicans are over a barrel. Unless Republicans and Democrats reach an agreement, the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year. By pushing to extend the tax cuts for everyone except "the rich," Democrats get to look like champions of middle class tax cuts and Republicans can be portrayed as caring only about the rich.

And when the economy tanks, the Non-Fox Media will blame Republicans.

The economy will tank because, as you will recall, Obama is still president. Government rules, regulations, restrictions, forms and inspections are about to drown the productive sector. Obamacare is descending on job creators like a fly swatter on a gnat. Obama has already managed to produce the only "recovery" that is worse than the preceding recession since the Great Depression. And he says, "You ain't seen nothing yet."

The coming economic collapse is written in the stars, but if Republicans "obstruct" the Democrats by blocking tax hikes on top income earners, they're going to take 100 percent of the blame for the Obama economy.

You think not? The Non-Fox Media managed to persuade a majority of voters that the last four years of jobless misery was George W. Bush's fault, having nothing whatsoever to do with Obama.

The media have also managed to brand Republicans as the party of the rich, even as eight of the 10 richest counties voted for Obama. And that doesn't include pockets of vast wealth in cities -- Nob Hill in San Francisco, the North Shore of Chicago, the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the Back Bay of Boston -- whose residents invariably vote like welfare recipients. Seven of the 10 richest senators are Democrats. The very richest is the useless gigolo.

Republicans have a PR problem, not an economic theory problem. That doesn't mean they should cave on everything, but seeming to fight for "tax cuts for the rich" is a little close to the bone, no matter how tremendously counterproductive such taxes are.

Yes, conservatives can try harder to get the truth out, but as UCLA political science professor Tim Groseclose has shown, media bias already costs Republicans about 8 to 10 points in elections. Try arguing a year from now that Republicans' refusal to agree to tax hikes on the top 2 percent of income earners -- resulting in an expiration of all the Bush tax cuts -- had nothing to do with the inevitable economic disaster.

Republicans have got to make Obama own the economy.

They should spend from now until the end of the congressional calendar reading aloud from Thomas Sowell, Richard Epstein, John Lott and Milton Friedman and explaining why Obama's high tax, massive regulation agenda spells doom for the nation.

Then some Republicans can say: We think this is a bad idea, but Obama won the election and the media are poised to blame us for whatever happens next, so let's give his plan a whirl and see how the country likes it.

Republicans need to get absolute, 100 percent intellectual clarity on who bears responsibility for the next big recession. It is more important to win back the Senate in two years than it is to save the Democrats from their own idiotic tax plan. Unless Republicans give them an out, Democrats won't be able to hide from what they've done.

Even Democrats might back away from that deal.

To read another article by Ann Coulter, click here.

6 Fixes to America's Fiscal Crisis

6 Fixes to America's Fiscal Crisis
The Heritage Foundation - The Morning Bell

President Obama made his first offer to congressional Republicans yesterday in negotiations over the “fiscal cliff”—an economic catastrophe of tax hikes just a few weeks away.

The White House’s proposal? $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $50 billion in new stimulus spending, and a change that would make it easier to raise the debt limit—so that all this spending could continue.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) couldn’t contain his laughter at these suggestions.

One congressional aide said the offer “amounts to little more than reiterating the President’s budget request—which failed to get a single vote in the House or Senate.”

Perhaps House Republicans could simply bring President Obama’s latest proposal up for another vote to see if anything has changed.

The “fiscal cliff” is man-made. Congress—primarily the liberal-led Senate—and the President built it themselves through their legislative decisions over the past four years, and then they turned away and tried not to look at it until after the election.

Elected officials in Washington keep enacting short-term patches to keep the government running, which is not a real solution. We need to reform the programs that are causing the runaway spending and deficits today and in the years to come—the large, lumbering entitlement programs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

>>> As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama said he’d like to reform entitlements in his first term. We’re still waiting. Watch the video.

In a new paper, Heritage’s J. D. Foster, Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy and Alison Acosta Fraser, director of the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies, point out that

Obama’s tax hikes would reduce the rise in federal debt over the next 10 years by 15 percent. The President is silent about the other 85 percent. The numbers confirm that President Obama’s tax hike demands are at best tangential to attaining a balanced budget.

The real issue is federal spending, and Foster and Fraser describe the bottom line this way:

When this year’s kindergarteners enter college, just 13 years away, spending on these two programs [Social Security and Medicare] plus Medicaid and interest on the debt will devour all tax revenue.

To make meaningful changes to the nation’s unsustainable budget policies, Foster and Fraser lay out four “simple, commonsense, and thoroughly vetted solutions” that already enjoy broad support across the political spectrum:

1. Raise the Social Security eligibility age to match increases in longevity. People are living longer, and entitlement programs need to be updated to reflect that fact. According to the Social Security actuaries, continuing to increase the eligibility age to 69 by the year 2034 and allowing it to rise more slowly thereafter to reflect gains in longevity could go a long way toward reducing Social Security’s funding shortfall. While this would not reduce today’s budget deficit, it would strengthen Social Security’s finances and put it on a path toward sticking around in the future.

2. Correct the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in Social Security. The annual COLA benefit adjustment is determined today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI). However, the CPI, an antiquated measure, generally overstates inflation, meaning that benefits are increased a bit too much each year to offset inflation. Again, according to the Social Security actuaries, using a more modern inflation measure would substantially reduce Social Security’s shortfall over time.

3. Raise the Medicare eligibility age to agree with Social Security. Medicare has an eligibility age problem, but unlike Social Security, the Medicare eligibility age remains stuck at 65. An obvious solution is to wait five years and then slowly raise the eligibility age to align eventually with the Social Security eligibility age. While the short-term budgetary savings would be negligible, the long-term savings in Medicare would be profound.

4. Reduce the Medicare subsidy for upper-income beneficiaries. In 2012, the average Medicare beneficiary received a subsidy of about $5,000. Subsidizing Medicare benefits for low-income seniors—and perhaps for some middle-income seniors—makes sense, but upper-income seniors do not need and should not receive a $5,000 subsidy to buy Medicare health insurance.

In addition to those reforms, Foster and Fraser list two bonus proposals that have not been considered as closely by lawmakers, but would be simple and effective:

5. Phase out Social Security benefits for upper-income retirees. As a nation, we need to ask whether today’s working families should pay payroll taxes so that upper-income retirees can continue to receive their checks. In short, Social Security should be social insurance against poverty rather than a government-run pension scheme.

6. Consolidate Medicare’s elements and collect a single higher premium. Medicare is actually three distinct components, referred to generally as Parts A, B, and D, reflecting the fact that Medicare was built up over many years. This antiquated structure is confusing and inefficient. An obvious reform is to consolidate the three distinct parts into a unified Medicare program, with a single premium, and then raise the premium to cover 35 percent of related program costs.

Continuing to raise America’s debt limit every few months is irresponsible and dangerous. And failing to address the budget deficits that give rise to this debt limit pressure every few months is equally irresponsible and dangerous. Raising taxes would weaken the economy, kill jobs, and hold down people’s wages. This is not a “solution.”

Congress and the President should instead consider these serious fixes to the drivers of out-of-control government spending. All that’s missing is for the President to take the lead, which is what Presidents are supposed to do.

To read another article by The Heritage Foundation - The Morning Bell, click here.

Where to put president #44

Where to put president #44

Where, oh where -- to put obama's picture.

George Washington, our nation's first president and leader of the American Revolution!

Abe Lincoln, honorable leader who pulled our nation through its darkest time!

Alexander Hamilton, founding father, first Secretary of the Treasury and leader of the constitutional convention!

Andrew Jackson, "Old Hickory" fought the British in New Orleans!

Ulysses Grant, Union army general, led the North through the Civil War!

Ben Franklin, genius inventor, political theorist and leading author of the Constitution.

Finally, we have someone to put on the food stamp!!!

Obama's policies have put more people on welfare than any president before him, so this placement is most appropriate.


No really. it's true. Click here to see why.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Quisling Consultants

The Quisling Consultants
By Jeffrey Lord on 11.29.12 @ 6:10AM

Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy, and the political consultant-big government complex.

Ahhhhhhh the good life.

As lovingly recorded by the New York Times.

Here's the Lord of His Manor….

"A baseball cap perched on his head, his eyes sheathed in sunglasses" as he "sipped a Diet Coke and gazed across Lake Tahoe to California… in this most calming of places -- the glassine lake ringed by snow-dusted mountains, the late-morning quiet.… riding around the lake in his S.U.V., wandering a pristine beach, puttering around his office, and enjoying a long wine-soaked dinner as the sun set over the lake."

And when this gentleman of leisure is at hard at work?

There he is walking the "red carpet" at Washington and New York movie openings. Buddying with a movie star at the glitzy black tie White House Correspondents Dinner. Giving this interview to 60 Minutes, analyzing that event for the Atlantic or commentating on something else for NBC's Meet the Press or MSNBC. In the case of the latter, according to the Times, MSNBC "installed a remote camera in his sprawling rustic home" to make sure he can commentate right from his wilderness base.

Last, but most importantly not least, is his day job. A job that in elite circles carries the always impressive title of "Vice Chairman, Public Affairs" with responsibilities that include being a "senior strategic counselor" on a "global basis."

Then there's someone else.

Here we have a media guy beloved by the liberal media. He writes for Time and, like the man above, is periodically summoned to the set of NBC's Meet the Press to analyze events of the day. In his day job he has advised a string of moderate GOP candidates with names like Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Bob Dole. As well as belonging to firms whose lobbying clients include everyone from National Public Radio (where, coincidentally, he does occasional commentary as well) to all manner of health insurance, pharmaceutical, agricultural, electronics and development companies. Not to mention that he is branching out as a fledgling Hollywood producer.

So what's new? What's the big deal here with these two guys, Schmidt and Murphy? (The latter of whom I met years ago and certainly liked).

The big deal is that when Steve Schmidt and Mike Murphy sit down on the sets of liberal television shows and bash Rush Limbaugh and what Schmidt calls "the conservative entertainment complex" -- meaning talk radio and Fox News -- they wind up sharply illustrating the GOP's real problem.

To the point: Rush Limbaugh isn't the problem with losing presidential campaigns. Au contraire. He is the Ronald Reagan of radio.

The real problem is people like Schmidt and Murphy. The real problem is the fact they and so many GOP others make their well-paid livings catering to exactly what the "conservative entertainment complex" spends all of its time fighting: the "political consultant-big government complex."

Schmidt and Murphy are the political Quislings of conservatism.

Say what? Say who?

Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian politician. In April of 1940, when the Nazis were invading Norway, instead of leading a resistance movement Quisling launched a Nazi-backed coup against his own people. As the Nazis settled in to occupy Norway Quisling settled in to live the life of luxury as Norway's "Minister President" -- and avidly assisted as a participant in what is known to history as "the Final Solution."

His betrayal of his own people was so stark that within days of Quisling's assumption of power the Times of London wrote an editorial saying of those who cooperated in betraying their own country that there were "Quislings everywhere." The paper went on to say:

To writers, the word Quisling is a gift from the gods. If they had been ordered to invent a new word for traitor... they could hardly have hit upon a more brilliant combination of letters. Aurally it contrives to suggest something at once slippery and tortuous.

Days after that editorial another London paper, the Daily Mail, picked up the term. And shortly after that the BBC chimed in, rocketing the word into the global vocabulary.

Nineteen days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, no less than British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was in Washington to address a Joint Session of Congress on the war. Master of language as he was, Churchill found a way to use the suddenly popular new word:

Hope has returned to the hearts of scores of millions of men and women, and with that hope there burns the flame of anger against the brutal, corrupt invader. And still more fiercely burn the fires of hatred and contempt for the filthy Quislings whom he has suborned.

Churchill pulled no punches.

Nor will we.

The real problem the Republican Party and, yes, America itself faces is hardly Rush Limbaugh. Are these guys joking?

The real problem the Republican Party faces is the rise of a political consulting class that feeds off the beast that is the federal Leviathan.

Take a look again at that New York Times story about Steve Schmidt. The business with the nice house along the shores of "the glassine lake ringed by snow-dusted mountains, the late-morning quiet.… riding around the lake in his S.U.V., wandering a pristine beach, puttering around his office, and enjoying a long wine-soaked dinner as the sun set over the lake."

Who pays for all of that?

Answer: You do. You pay the taxes, and the taxes fuel the growth of government.

What Mr. Schmidt does -- and by no means is he alone -- is depend on the growth of government to so entangle the private sector that it needs people like Steve Schmidt to simply stay alive. So when it comes to candidates -- or talk radio hosts or the Tea Party or anybody that wants to take an axe to the insatiable beast that demands your tax dollars -- Schmidt and company will use their Establishment podiums to go after them.

Just take a look at this Public Affairs section of the website for Edelman , the global PR and lobbying company that Schmidt earns his money from as "Vice Chairman, Public Affairs." What is it that they communicate to the world? Note: the key words I have put in bold print.

Edelman's Public Affairs division is all about helping

….clients navigate a complex environment where multiple stakeholders are influencing decisions that impact our clients' abilities to operate and grow.

With over 300 professionals throughout our global network, we design programs to address legislative and regulatory matters, position litigation and influence public opinion by engaging key opinion leaders from elite media to civil society to policymakers. Working together, we help clients manage both issues and reputations -- earning the trust that engenders the license to lead.

In other words, without the Leviathan, Steve Schmidt (and lots of other people) are out of a job. There will be no Schmidt SUV prowling the shores of "the glassine lake ringed by snow-dusted mountains," no "wandering a pristine beach" or "enjoying a long wine-soaked dinner as the sun set over the lake."

Ditto with Mike Murphy's version of this.

Notably, one of the client's at Murphy's Navigators Global is not just the usual corporate client needing help to slash through the Washington jungle.

No, who comes calling seeking Murphy's help? That would be NPR. That's right. NPR of firing Juan Williams fame. What does NPR want? Why, help with all those mean Republican House and Senate members who are determined to cut NPR's federal purse strings and shove them out into the private sector.

Thereby saving the taxpayer a nickel or two, however small that portion of a $16 trillion debt may be.

See the problem?

These guys -- and their well-paid life styles -- literally depend on electing candidates who are decidedly not, in Murphy's words, "right out of Rush Limbaugh's dream journal." The absolute last thing they need disrupting their life styles is "people calling for revolution and [making] these extreme statements…. it's time for Republican elected leaders to stand up and to repudiate this nonsense, and to repudiate it directly."

This is why Steve Schmidt uses his MSNBC time to also say:

Our elected leaders are scared to death of the conservative entertainment complex, the shrill and divisive voices that are bombastic and broadcasting out into the homes.

And who is it that is the most famous "shrill and divisive" voice in the land? Why, in the Schmidt worldview, that would of course be Rush. As he quite specifically says here and here on MSNBC.

Why is this?

Because Rush Limbaugh and what Schmidt disdains as the "conservative entertainment complex" is a direct threat to Schmidt's life-style on "the glassine lake ringed by snow-dusted mountains" not to mention those "long wine-soaked" dinners "as the sun set over the lake."

All of which comes directly from the cornucopia that is the political consultant-big government complex.

And Rush isn't the only one Schmidt disdains. He's famously not a fan of McCain's running mate, former Governor Palin. Or Donald Trump. It is no accident that both Palin and Trump have the same disdain for the political consultant-big government complex as well.

What's interesting here in light of the latest defeat of yet another moderate presidential candidate is that complaints are beginning to surface about the GOP consultant class, who, as Rush noted, get paid well no matter the results. With consultants escaping responsibility not only for losing campaigns but for the results of winning campaigns. Case in point: the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger -- whose first campaign was a Mike Murphy moment and whose re-election was Schmidt's "triumph." To borrow from Ronald Reagan, California was not left better off after the election of Murphy and Schmidt's client.

Peggy Noonan over at the Wall Street Journal recently spoke at length with an unnamed GOP senator who had this to say about the GOP's political consultant problem. While neither Murphy nor Schmidt were mentioned, they are in fact emblematic of the senator's point:

As a former and likely future candidate, the senator is sensitive about the amount of blame going to unsatisfactory candidates. "There's something in that," but if you want to aim at a larger and more recurring problem, "this professional political and campaign class is the real culprit. They're just there to get a cut of the billions spent. Candidates come and go [to them]. That's why they love self-funders" -- wealthy candidates. "You don't even have to get 'em to the fundraisers! We have a real problem with this whole political campaign class. They just have to be purged."

Will they be? Probably not, the senator says. They'll diffuse responsibility. "They're all pointing fingers at some of the other people who deserve some of the blame." Anyway, "who do we have who would take their place?"

The senator told a story of a "solid" U.S. Senate hopeful in the 2012 GOP primaries. The candidate seemed "perfect for the state." He began to hire staff, including a strategist with the right experience and deep statewide knowledge. A rival national political operative with a grudge against the strategist immediately inundated the hopeful with "30 calls and emails" from potential backers telling him he'd kill his own chances with that strategist. The hopeful got scared off and hired someone else. His candidacy began to wobble, and the end result was the election of an unpopular incumbent."

Notice the anonymous senator's line? This one? "They'll diffuse responsibility."

That's exactly what Schmidt did. He wasn't responsible for losing the McCain campaign. It was Sarah Palin. It isn't people like himself who were responsible for the losing Romney campaign. It was Rush Limbaugh. Or Donald Trump.

In short? The Republican Party does in fact have an enormous problem on its hands.

It's people like Steve Schmidt, Mike Murphy and the "political consultant-big government complex" the two so effectively represent in their public appearances that is the problem.

They have long ago turned their backs on conservative principle and are aiding and abetting the behemoth that is literally bleeding America financially dry.

The real problem for the Republican Party isn't Rush Limbaugh and the "conservative entertainment complex." It isn't the Tea Party. It isn't you.

The real problem is the Quisling Consultants.

To read another article by Jeffrey Lord, click here.

Mike Murphy Responds
By Jeffrey Lord on 11.30.12 @ 2:46PM

GOP consultant Mike Murphy has responded to my column from yesterday, "The Quisling Consultants." He is not happy with me, to say the least. In fairness, his response is re-printed here in its entirety, with my response below that.


Saw your screed in the AmSpec.

I deeply resent the Nazi angle. A lazy, cheap shot of the worst kind.

I have not worked at Navigators for two years. They list me on web site as a strategic partner because we have a deal where they refer potential issue advertising clients to my real firm the Revolution agency. I never worked on any of the NPR stuff, never took a dime for any of it. Your should try at least a little fact checking before you reprint a unsubstantiated clip off the internet search engine like that.

I'm a conservative, just not a paleo con. I've worked for "moderates" like Gov Christine Todd Whitman, Arnold (the recall) and Meg Whitman and for movement conservatives like Sen Jeff Sessions, and Ollie North, I've also worked for candidates in between like Governors Jeb Bush, John Engler, Tommy Thompson, Terry Branstad, Lamar Alexander, Larry Pressler, Mitt Romney (Gov race), and a bunch more at the House, Senate and Gubernatorial level. I've helped right of center candidates beat the left in Canada. In the 28 years I spent running GOP campaigns, I had a success rate of about 75%.

I did not work for any of the establishment GOP committees or Super-pacs this cycle or last. The last time I was invited into the WH to give my opinion was in 1991, and I told them the polls were an illusion and I thought they were on a road to defeat. I was never invited back. (You can ask Bill Kristol, he was there.)

I live in Los Angeles CA, not DC. Whatever gilded aristocracy of the Washington consultant/media complex you carp about is not a place where I regularly reside. I'm hardly an establishment GOP favorite. (In fact the last time I had dinner in a hugely expensive Georgetown five star restaurant, it was with your beloved icon Rush Limbaugh. We had a good time.)

But I have been in the fight for the conservative side for nearly thirty years. Your piece was lazy, simplistic, uniformed and lacked any reasonable standard of fact-checking. And as I said, the traitor/Nazi stuff was deeply offensive.

Mike Murphy

Here's my response:


Would you have preferred Benedict Arnold?

No conservative in his right mind goes onto a notoriously liberal television show of a notoriously liberal network, sits next to John Podesta and promptly turns on his own team. Which is exactly what you did when you went on Meet the Press and slammed Rush Limbaugh. It is passing strange that you tell me you have broken bread with Rush, then go out there and clobber him on a liberal TV show. Since any real conservative knows better than to do what you did, and I know you are a smart guy, one can only assume that your attack on Rush was quite deliberately calculated.

This is not the first time you have gone after conservatives. Your previous attacks on South Carolina's Senator Jim DeMint and Governor Sarah Palin are typical of how moderate Republicans play this game.

You are at it again in the current issue of Time magazine.

What you propose is anything but new.

In fact, this is the kind of nonsense that was preached all the way back in 1950 by New York Governor Tom Dewey in his Princeton lectures. Dewey, as you recall, lectured Republicans about the "vociferous few" and the "impractical theorists" -- meaning the Reaganesque-Rush Limbaugh-style conservatives of the day -- in the GOP who were intent on driving out all the GOP moderates and liberals and into the arms of Democrats. Concluded Dewey: "The results would be neatly arranged, too. The Republicans would lose every election and the Democrats would win." Dewey said all of this, of course, following his own two defeats against FDR and Truman. In both of which elections he ran as the Great Moderate Hope -- and got clobbered. The second time, I might add, when everybody in politics alive in the day expected him to trounce the unpopular Harry Truman.

Surely you remember when former President Ford insisted to the New York Times in 1980 -- four years after he ran the typical moderate losing campaign -- that Reagan was too "extreme" to win a national election.

When you note in your Time piece that "we still design campaigns to prevail in the America of 25 years ago" you are incorrect. Every single campaign beginning with the Bush 41 re-election campaign of 1992 - 20 years ago - has run head-long from Ronald Reagan and conservatism. And the results are, accordingly, dismal. Say again, dismal.

What you fail to note is that the campaigns of 1980 and 1984 were an overwhelming success -- precisely because unlike all but one that followed, not to mention the Ford disaster of 1976 that preceded them -- they were run with a presidential nominee who fully embraced conservative principles. Even George H.W.Bush realized he had to do this to get a win on Reagan's coattails in 1988, and Lee Atwater saw to it. But notably, once on his own, President Bush, as good a man as can exist but a thorough-going moderate, wound up with a dismal 37% of the vote. The GOP has never recovered from this Bush/moderate/"compassionate conservatism" business.

You also skirt the obvious.

Anybody with any knowledge of the way the Washington world works knows that your name on the Navigators web site is because you are allowing them to benefit from their association with your name as a high-profile GOP consultant. And it works like a charm.

Here's NPR itself reporting their decision to hire Navigators -- and they specifically mention you by name. The only reason to do so, in the world of Washington, is to send a message to GOP lawmakers via your name. A message that says, in essence, "Listen to us… we're really not that bad… hey… you know ole Mike Murphy, don't you? Well Mike's firm… yada yada yada."

There is a growing fury out there among conservatives with the "consultant class" of which you are a card carrying member. The idea is fast growing (and one doesn't have to be a "Paleo-Conservative" which neither you nor I claim to be, to believe this) that none of you are serious about limited government, much less willing to stand up against the Establishment GOP that has brought us to this pass. And saying, in essence, that Republicans should campaign for the dissolution of marriage and get on with supporting the legalization of polygamy, polyamory, bigamy etc. (the inevitable legal consequences of gay marriage, as Justice Scalia has noted) is only the modern version of Dewey or Ford saying conservatives of the day were too extreme and out of touch.

The term "Quisling" as I documented, is in the vernacular meaning someone who is a traitor of some sort… to principles in this case. It has nothing to do with Nazis. Most assuredly you are not a Nazi. I will be happy to Americanize and use the term "Benedict Arnold."

Mike, I wish you well. But what you did to Rush Limbaugh on national television -- particularly in this climate -- was disgraceful. If you haven't apologized to him at this point you should. Ditto with Senator DeMint and Governor Palin. Not to mention conservatives all over the land.

Again, the reason you are provided these mainstream media platforms is because you can be counted on to do exactly what you did do. You know it, everybody knows it. But it plays well with liberals -- particularly in places like Los Angeles.

Thanks for your response.

Best wishes for continued dialogue from this Reagan conservative,


A word to the My2k crowd

A word to the My2k crowd
By: John Hayward
11/29/2012 03:41 PM

President Obama held a press conference this week to introduce a Twitter hashtag, #my2k, where middle-class people can complain about what the loss of $2000 to increased taxes would mean to them. That’s more or less the amount that will be lost if the Bush tax cuts for certain income brackets are not maintained.

On its own terms, this is a politically neutral topic of conversation; it should, in theory, pressure the Democrats to be responsible about spending cuts, as much as it would pressure Republicans to agree to tax increases. Of course, that’s not what the President was thinking when he inaugurated it. The “fiscal cliff” story has been written with Republican intransigence on tax cuts as the only stumbling block to an agreement. Users of the #my2k tag are supposed to be an army of accusing fingers pointed at them.

But many of the people posting Twitter messages in this thread are well-meaning folks who don’t see themselves as anyone’s political stooge. They believe something has to be done, and it must involve some sort of compromise between spending cuts and tax increases. I would offer a few words of advice and information to those people.

You’re taking President Obama’s talk of a “balanced approach” at face value, but you should realize there is no evidence that he sincerely means a word of it. You don’t have to look all the way back to the 2008 campaign, or his early days in office, or his comically imbalanced budget proposals, to judge his sincerity. Do you recall what he said about proposing $3 of spending cuts for every dollar of tax increases during the 2012 election, just a few months ago? But this quickly reversed to $3 of taxes for every $1 of cuts once the President was re-elected: at least $1.2 trillion in tax increases (he actually opened with a bid of $1.6 trillion) for about $400 billion of unspecified cuts over the next decade. Another $400 billion in entitlement reductions are supposed to happen between 10 and 20 years from now, but that’s so far off that it’s frankly absurd to consider it a real part of this “deal.” You’ll hear many mentions of figures that include “war savings.” That’s just money from the concluding military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s not a new “spending cut” – it’s already scheduled to happen.

And as of today, the President and top Democrats are talking about zero spending cuts. White House spokesman Jay Carney said of House Speaker John Boehner’s efforts to secure spending cuts in exchange for tax increases, “Asking that a political price be paid in order for Congress to do its job to ensure that the United States of America pays its bills, and does not default for the first time in its history, is deeply irresponsible.” That tracks with President Obama’s initial position during the budget showdown of 2011. He wanted a “clean” debt ceiling increase – no conditions or spending cuts at all.

Also today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi took what Roll Call described as “a hard line on spending cuts,” saying of anything beyond the very minimal spending restraint already set to go into effect: “No, no, no. A trillion and half in cuts is a lot of money. I know we’re in Washington, D.C., and we get used to big numbers, but a trillion and a half dollars in cuts … you go beyond that you’re talking about hurting the growth of our infrastructure and the education of our people. The very pillars — the very pillars — of our economic strength. Not to mention the economic and health security of our seniors and the American people and their families.”

So there is no longer any serious pretense of matching tax increases with spending cuts dollar for dollar, let alone $3 of cuts for every $1 of spending or anything like that. This is a bold, direct, and absolute contradiction of what Barack Obama said during his re-election campaign. Doesn’t that bother you, My2K friends? At least a little bit? Doesn’t it seem foolish to trust these people to carry out difficult promises and make tough decisions in the years to come, when they can’t even stick to what they were swearing on the proverbial stack of Bibles just weeks ago?

I won’t get into the folly of static fiscal analysis, in which it is assumed that a dollar of proposed tax increases will bring in a dollar of actual revenue. That’s not true; it has never been true; it never will be true. It really isn’t hard to understand why: people take steps to avoid high tax bills, and high tax rates depress the economy. But let’s leave all that aside and talk about some very round numbers. The current yearly budget deficit is roughly equal to the amount of tax increases President Obama is demanding… over the next ten years. He wants $1.2 trillion in new taxes over 10 years. The deficit is a little under $1.2 trillion per year. So even under the most unrealistically optimistic scenario, we’re talking about covering 10 percent of the deficit with these tax increases. That makes balancing the budget a 90/10 proposition between spending cuts and tax increases.

Doesn’t it bother you that absolutely no one in the President’s party is talking about the details of the 90 percent? We’re getting constant, highly specific demands for exactly whose taxes must be raised. But we haven’t heard any comparable details of what spending will be cut. And those spending cuts would inevitably affect people who are highly dependent upon government benefits. It’s going to change their lives. If the Democrats were actually serious about balancing the budget, wouldn’t they be warning those people to prepare themselves? Wouldn’t they be meeting with the heads of agencies that are about to be eliminated, or face drastic reductions in budget and personnel? Shouldn’t all those people be given a chance to weigh in, before a grand bargain is struck, to explain why their government jobs or benefits should not be cut?

But of course, none of that is happening, because the people talking about spending cuts don’t actually intend to make any spending cuts. If they were serious, and if they really cared about the people they claim the government must help and support, they would be acting very differently right now, wouldn’t they? And if we’re not really talking about fiscal restraint, then this big “fiscal cliff” drama is about nothing more than trimming a very meager 10 percent off the deficit by raising some people’s taxes. That’s not what you’ve been led to believe we’re discussing, is it? And it certainly won’t make much of a difference in the long run. If you don’t care about running $900 billion deficits, then why not end the partisan squabbling and “fiscal cliff” danger, extend all of the Bush tax rates, and run $1 trillion deficits? A hundred billion dollars per year is not a big deal when new spending is proposed; please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall any of President Obama’s “infrastructure” plans or “jobs bills” weighing in at less than $100 billion. Even his long-ago wish for high-speed rail would have cost at least $53 billion. So why should $100 billion in new taxes be seen as the end of the world – a prize Washington must have, at the peril of increasing your middle-class tax bill by $2000?

You should understand that virtually all of the budget deals thrown around in Washington today are expressed as 10-year plans. But 10-year spending cut proposals are quite literally meaningless. Sessions of Congress last two years. No Congress can bind its successors with such plans. There will be many opportunities for each new Congress to declare that some emergency or special situation compels them to abandon spending-cut plans forged in previous sessions. The only thing stopping them would be the anger of voters at the betrayal of those old agreements. Be honest with me: in your heart of hearts, do you seriously believe the voters of 2015, 2017, or 2019 will be so firmly dedicated to honoring a budget deal from 2012 that Congress would fear to test their wrath?

Of course not. When the pressure for new spending grows in future years, the people who insist on honoring some 10-year plan hashed out in 2012 will be treated exactly the way Republicans who made a no-new-taxes pledge are being treated right now. They’ll be called inflexible fanatics who blind themselves to the needs of the present, by allowing the dead hand of the past to cover their eyes. That’s why tax increases for spending cuts are always a sucker trade. We must have real spending cuts, immediately, not on a decade-long timeline. Nothing else really counts.

You may have heard this before, but allow me to repeat that when Washington uses the term “spending cut,” it is more commonly talking about a reduction in the rate of growth. In other words, if a program would have grown $20 billion next year, but it only grows $15 billion, it is described as a $5 billion “cut.” If we did nothing more than freeze current spending for the next 10 years – spending not a penny less, but adding no new programs – it would be presented as a “cut” of about $4 trillion. That should give you some idea of the enormous momentum of government spending. There are very few times when the federal government has actually spent less in a given year than it did in the previous year. Of course, it can decline a little and still be much too high, or it can increase at less than the rate of inflation, but there are only a few times the government has spent significantly less in a new year.

And remember, even though balancing the budget seems like a daunting task, it’s not nearly good enough. We’ve got $16 trillion of debt to pay off. Even if it doesn’t get much bigger, and the rates hold fairly steady, it will cost us $5 trillion over the next decade just to pay the interest, according to Congressional Budget Office projections. So we’re arguing about $1.2 trillion in new taxes, and fighting a desperate battle to extract at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, when we’ll spend over twice those totals combined just paying the interest on what we’ve already borrowed. It’s going to be very hard to pay much of that debt off… but if we did, the next generation would be under far less fiscal pressure, wouldn’t they?

You’ve heard a lot of talk about returning to “Bill Clinton’s tax rates.” Well, during the last and most fiscally robust year of Bill Clinton’s administration, the government spent $2.33 trillion, and took in $2.63 trillion in revenue. The government spent $3.56 trillion last year, against $2.44 trillion in revenues. That would mean a $900 billion deficit if we had Clinton’s revenue with Obama’s spending... but we could get much closer to a balanced budget with Clinton’s spending and Obama’s revenue. Talking about “returning” to the Clinton tax rates was always a silly and superficial argument – the tax code and the economy are very different now – but making that argument based solely on tax rates is extremely dishonest.

For all of these reasons, if you’re really concerned about a balanced budget, doesn’t it seem reasonable to make the spending cuts happen first? We know that tax rates happen as promised: the laws are passed, the rates go into effect, and anyone who disobeys is fined or jailed. (Getting the desired amount of revenue, as mentioned above, is another story.) If we get spending cuts passed into law now, extend the Bush tax rates for another year, and then have tax increases in 2013, we know with total confidence that the new taxes will be legally enforced and paid. The part of this deal we have every reason to be extremely suspicious of is the spending cuts. In previous taxes-for-spending-cuts deals, the cuts never happened. If you’re posting to #my2k because you really want to solve the problem we’ve all gotten so worked up about, you should demand more than another bait-and-switch.

Of course, if you’re just posting to #my2k because you’ve been worked into a frenzy by political operators, and you want nothing more than the satisfaction of knowing that somebody else with more money than you got their pockets picked, or seeing a political party you dislike suffer defeat in yet another meaningless Washington game, then there’s no reason to think hard about all this… or expect the rest of us to give you credit for doing so.

To read a related article, click here.

To read another article by John Hayward, click here.

The Tyranny of Good Intentions at U.S. Colleges

The Tyranny of Good Intentions at U.S. Colleges
By Michael Barone

In 1902, journalist Lincoln Steffens wrote a book called "The Shame of the Cities." At the time, Americans took pride in big cities, with their towering skyscrapers, productive factories and prominent cultural institutions.

Steffens showed there were some rotten things underneath the gleaming veneers -- corrupt local governments and political machines, aided and abetted by business leaders.

In recent weeks, two books have appeared about another of America's gleaming institutions, our colleges and universities, either of which could be subtitled "The Shame of the Universities."

In "Mismatch," law professor Richard Sander and journalist Stuart Taylor expose, in the words of their subtitle, "How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won't Admit It." In "Unlearning Liberty," Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, describes how university speech codes create, as his subtitle puts it, "Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate."

"Mismatch" is a story of good intentions gone terribly awry. Sander and Taylor document beyond disagreement how university admissions offices' racial quotas and preferences systematically put black and Hispanic students in schools where they are far less well prepared than others.

As a result, they tend to get low grades, withdraw from science and math courses, and drop out without graduating. The effect is particularly notable in law schools, where large numbers of blacks and Hispanics either drop out or fail to pass the bar exam.

This happens, Sander and Taylor argue, not because these students lack ability but because they've been thrown in with students of exceptional ability -- the mismatch of the authors' title. At schools where everyone has similar levels of test scores and preparation, these students do much better. And they don't suffer the heartache of failure.

That was shown when California's state universities temporarily obeyed a 1996 referendum banning racial quotas and preferences. UCLA law school had fewer black students but just as many black graduates. The university system as a whole produced more black and Hispanic graduates.

Similarly, black students interested in math and science tend to get degrees in those subjects in historically black colleges, while those in schools with a mismatch switch to easier majors because math instruction is pitched to classmates with better preparation.

University admissions officers nevertheless maintain what Taylor calls "an enormous, pervasive and carefully concealed system of racial preferences," even while claiming they aren't actually doing so. The willingness to lie systematically seems to be a requirement for such jobs.

The willingness to lie systematically is also a requirement for administrators who profess a love of free speech while imposing speech codes and penalizing students for violations.

All of which provides plenty of business for Lukianoff's FIRE, which opposes speech codes and brings lawsuits on behalf of students -- usually, but not always, conservatives -- who are penalized.

Those who graduated from college before the late 1980s may not realize that speech codes have become, in Lukianoff's words, "the rule rather than the exception" on American campuses.

They are typically vague and all-encompassing. One school prohibits "actions or attitudes that threaten the welfare" of others. Another bans emails that "harass, annoy or otherwise inconvenience others." Others ban "insensitive" communication, "inappropriate jokes" and "patronizing remarks."

"Speech codes can only survive," Lukianoff writes, "through selective enforcement." Conservatives and religious students are typically targeted. But so are critics of administrators, like the student expelled for a Facebook posting critical of a proposed $30 million parking garage.

Students get the message: Keep your mouth shut. An Association of American Colleges and Universities survey of 24,000 students found that only 40 percent of freshmen thought it was "safe to hold unpopular views on campus." An even lower 30 percent of seniors agreed.

So institutions that once prided themselves as arenas for free exchange of ideas -- and still advertise themselves as such -- have become the least free part of our society.

How? One answer is that university personnel almost all share the same liberal-left beliefs. Many feel that contrary views and criticism are evil and should be stamped out.

It also helps to follow the money. Government student loan programs have pumped huge sums into colleges and universities that have been raising tuition and fees far faster than inflation.

The result is administrative bloat. Since 2005, universities have employed more administrators than teachers.

There are signs that what's Glenn Reynolds calls the higher education bubble is about to burst. And perhaps people are waking up to the rottenness beneath the universities' gleaming veneer.

To read a related article, click here.

To read another article by Michael Barone, click here.