Archive for the ‘Republican Agenda’ Category
Republican Establishment Blames Social Conservatives, Tea Party For GOP Being Viewed As ‘Out Of Touch’
Hmmm…could it be that the reason people think the GOP is ‘out of touch’ is that they keep ignoring the American people’s concerns about massive debt, out-of-control spending, the erosion of constitutional liberties, and massive power-grabs like Obamacare?
Karl Rove has founded an organization for the specific purpose of bulldozing Tea Party candidates and replacing them with those hand-picked by the GOP establishment.
House Speaker Boehner has caved on Obamacare, illegal immigration, and a host of other issues, and even says that “trusts Obama completely.” WTH???
And he’s not the only one. Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have all waved the white flag on Obamacare.
The conservative base has been betrayed again and again by their own party. But who does the party blame for their losses? Their base!
I believe that the disappointing results for Republicans in the 2006 elections and probably the 2012 elections, as well, were in no small part attributable to frustrated conservatives staying at home.
The thinking among many conservatives has been that the party has consistently fallen short by failing to restrain the growth of the ever-expanding federal government and by failing to nominate sufficiently conservative presidential nominees. That is, if we would just nominate and elect Reagan conservatives and govern on Reagan principles, we would recapture majority status in no time.
The main opposing view — call it the establishment view — holds that Republicans need to accept that the reign of small government is over, get with the program and devise policies to make the irreversibly enormous government smarter and more energetic. In other words, Republicans need to surrender to the notion that liberalism’s concept of government has won and rejigger their agenda toward taming the leviathan rather than shrinking it.
I’d feel better if the ongoing competition between Reagan conservatives and establishment Republicans were the only big fissure in the GOP right now, but there are other cracks that threaten to break wide open, too. Our problems transcend our differing approaches to the size and scope of government and to fiscal and other economic issues.
Reagan conservatism is no longer under attack from just establishment Republicans; it’s also under attack from many inside the conservative movement itself. Reagan conservatism is a three-legged stool of fiscal, foreign policy and social issues conservatism. But today many libertarian-oriented conservatives are singing from the liberal libertine hymnal that the GOP needs to remake its image as more inclusive, more tolerant, less judgmental and less strident. In other words, it needs to lighten up and quit opposing gay marriage, at least soften its position on abortion, and get on board the amnesty train to legalize illegal immigrants. I won’t even get into troubling foreign policy divisions among so-called neocons, so-called isolationists and those who simply believe we should conduct our foreign policy based foremost on promoting our strategic national interests.
[...] I belong to the school that believes the Republican Party must remain the party of mainstream Reagan conservatism rather than try to become a diluted version of the Democratic Party. This does not mean Republicans can’t come up with creative policy solutions when advisable, but it does mean that conservatism is based on timeless principles that require no major revisions. Conservatives are champions of freedom, the rule of law and enforcement of the social compact between government and the people enshrined in the Constitution, which imposes limitations on government in order to maximize our liberties. If we reject these ideas, then we have turned our backs on what America means and what has made America unique. What’s the point of winning elections if the price is American exceptionalism?
Rush Limbaugh is calling the Republicans to task for their “blame the conservative base” mentality:
The Republican National Committee released earlier on Monday an “autopsy” of its 2012 election failures and pinned the blame on the party being out of touch with voters, particularly minorities.
Limbaugh said the opposite was true. “We are in touch with the founding of this country. We are in touch with the greatness in this country and its people,” the popular radio commentator said, according to Politico.
Limbaugh said that if the party moves away from championing values, such as traditional marriage, it will lose support among its base.
“If the party makes that [gay marriage] something official that they support, they’re not going to pull the homosexual activist voters away from the Democrat Party, but they are going to cause their base to stay home and throw their hands up in utter frustration,” Limbaugh said.
Limbaugh said it was party leaders who were out of touch with its own base.
Jonathon Moseley writes that the problem isn’t conservative values, but a failure to effectively market them to a new generation:
The Republican Party is violating time-tested, basic principles of sales and marketing. That’s why the GOP is failing to communicate its messages. On Monday, the Republican National Committee released a massive reform strategy, whimsically labeled an “autopsy” or “reboot,” to completely overhaul the GOP. Like Democrats in 1992, Republicans are growing hungry to win in 2014 and 2016.
Here is what is wrong with the Republican Party. This author taught in a sales training seminar firm in Eastern Europe, International Trendsetters. The solutions are overwhelmingly time-tested and proven in real life. This is not theory. Republicans are chronically making classic rookie sales mistakes.
“FAB” — Features, Advantages, Benefits. You must explain how a policy benefits the voter. Bad salesmen talk about features – the radio has a better tuner. Good salesmen talk about how the radio benefits the customer – you will enjoy the music more and set a better mood for your love interest because it sounds better and clearer. People don’t buy a mattress. They buy a good night’s sleep. And maybe good décor.
On Monday, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus explained that we must talk about how Americans benefit from low taxes and lower national debt. We have to talk about how Republican policies will put more people to work, at higher salaries, improve our economy, and strengthen our country. Republicans talk about details — lower taxes, lower regulations, lower deficits. We fail to explain why those details actually matter to the voter.
But isn’t it obvious? No. Classic rookie mistake. It’s obvious to you if you spend lots of time thinking about these things. It’s not obvious to busy people who have other things to think about, which they feel are more important in their lives. Yes, you have to draw them a map.
There is an imbalance between the speaker who is extremely familiar with a topic and the listener who isn’t. The speaker needs to understand how the speaker really sounds to the listener. Republicans skip over too many steps and assume too much. The American voters are smart. But they haven’t spent as much time thinking about your topic as you have. We have to be able to empathize with the busy listener and even remember how we were when we first learned about these issues.
It is amazing that the GOP has been so bad at this, when Ronald Reagan was so good at it. If anyone is thinking of running for office, Step #1 is to listen to every speech Ronald Reagan ever gave. Several times. Reagan “got” it. Then the GOP lost it.
Next, the mind abhors a vacuum. What you don’t say can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion. People have never stopped talking about cuts in education, even while education spending soars year after year. People will assume you want to help the rich by lowering taxes. They will assume you hate immigrants. They will assume you want women barefoot and pregnant. If you don’t explain how GOP policies benefit the listener, their minds will fill in the vacuum with other explanations. If you don’t provide a reason, their minds will provide one for you.
Third, love objections. This is one of the most powerful principles good salesmen know. We view objections with dread. A voter tells you why they don’t like the GOP. Time-tested sales techniques have proven that objections are opportunities. When a prospect tells you what he is concerned about, you now have the opportunity to address his or her concerns.
This is especially true when a voter believes something that isn’t true about Republicans — if they are willing to talk to you, that is. Proven sales experience shows that when someone is willing to tell you their negative views, and talk to you about it, you have an open door to dramatically turn around their perceptions.
Of course you have to treat them as a future friend, not as a current enemy. But the overwhelming majority of successful sales are closed after the third or fourth objection. That’s right, most sales succeed after not just the first negative response, but after several negative issues are raised and discussed. But you have to care about the other person as much as you care about yourself to answer their concerns fully, fairly, and respectfully.
Fourth, “ask for the order” as RNC Chairman Reince Priebus described on Monday. In other words, you have to show up. You are not going to win over any hearts or minds sitting in your office across the street from the Capitol South Metro station (the RNC headquarters). It is common sense that you have to go out and talk to Hispanics, Blacks, and other groups.
The GOP’s “outreach” efforts have often been embarrassing. Republican campaigns appoint leaders of, say, “Korean-Americans for Bush,” then order bumper stickers and campaign pins. And that’s about it. Pretending to be doing outreach, but not really, is a Republican specialty.
Instead of learning from the repeated failures of running “progressive” GOP candidates, Karl Rove and the establishment Republicans once again prove that their primary objective is not to represent their conservative base, but to stay in power at all costs.
The good news is, they are threatened enough by the Tea Party to try and attack it. The bad news is, they may destroy the party and along with it, any chances of winning in 2014 and 2016.
We knew this was coming, no? A month ago, Politico reported that Senate Republicans were planning to intervene more aggressively in GOP primaries in hopes of clearing the field for their preferred candidates. A few days later, Steve LaTourette announced that the Republican Main Street Partnership was dropping “Republican” from its name and would intervene on behalf of centrist candidates from both parties in congressional elections. Now here comes Rove’s group, American Crossroads, pledging untold millions towards electing the most allegedly “electable” candidate in Republican primaries. No more Akins — and maybe no more Marco Rubios, Rand Pauls, and Ted Cruzes too?
The battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party has begun. On one side is the Tea Party. On the other side stand Karl Rove and his establishment team, posing as tacticians while quietly undermining conservatism.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the “biggest donors in the Republican Party” have joined forces with Karl Rove and Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, to create the Conservative Victory Project. The Times reports that this new group will dedicate itself to “recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s effort to win control of the Senate.” The group points to candidates like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Richard Mourdock in Indiana as examples of Tea Party primary picks going sideways in major Senatorial battles.
But it is American Crossroads and its ilk that have run the GOP into the ground. Spending millions of dollars on useless 30,000-ft. advertising campaigns during the last election cycle, training candidates to soften conservatism in order to appeal to “moderates,” blowing up the federal budget under George W. Bush as a bipartisan tactic – all of those strategies led the party to a disastrous defeat in 2012. The Tea Party, which may nominate losers from time to time, also brought the Republicans their historic 2010 Congressional victory. If Tea Party candidates lose, it’s because they weren’t good candidates; if GOP establishment candidates lose, it’s because they weren’t good conservatives. The choice for actual conservatives should be easy.
But it isn’t. The Bush insider team that helped lead to the rise of Barack Obama insists that they, and only they, know the path to victory. As the Times reports, Conservative Victory Project won’t merely protect incumbents – it will challenge sitting Congresspeople of the Tea Party variety…
The people who brought us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP, the GM bailout, Harriet Miers, etc., etc., etc. are really hacked off that people have been rejecting them. In 2012, about the only successful Republican candidates were the ones who directly rejected the legacy of these people.
So now they will up their game. They don’t like being shut out. They blame the tea party and conservatives for their failure to win primaries. They’ll now try to match conservatives and, in the process, call themselves conservatives.
I dare say any candidate who gets this group’s support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement. They’ve made it really easy now to figure out who the terrible candidates will be in 2014.
I’m struck by the deep sense of pain and disquiet that has penetrated the very core of our base. They are witnessing a rogue regime that is dismantling every aspect of this country they love so dearly – one limb at a time. They watch helplessly as a malevolent administration, which harbors no respect for our Founders and Constitution, works to destroy our free markets, saddles our children with incorrigible debt, infringes upon our liberties, assaults our family values, erases our borders, appeases our enemies, and abrogates the rule of law. Hence, they see the demise of our Republic, with only feeble resistance to those engendering the decline.
[...] Millions of Republican voters feel disenfranchised and voiceless as the pale-pastel figures in the party rise to the top levels of power. All they want is one party that is willing to take a stand and articulate their values – values which were considered commonsense until recent years.
Over the past few election cycles, a number of us have worked hard to find those few but strong voices in the wilderness. We have successfully elected people like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and a number of congressmen who are committed to fighting for the values of our Republic. Yet, the old power players within the party will not go silently. They obdurately seek to quell any effort to restore the Republican Party as an effective voice for the values of our Republic.
Yes, it is not enough to merely nominate a conservative; we must also find candidates who are savvy, articulate, and have the organization to go the distance. But the minute we choose a candidate who is not conservative, we lose the election before a single vote is cast. Voters are attracted to a show of force and decisiveness; we will certainly never change hearts and minds if we nominate candidates who are indistinguishable from Democrats.
We are looking for one party that is willing to fight for the restoration of our Republic, not jettison every tenant of our Constitution under the false allurement of electoral success. One by one, people like Karl Rove seek to crush another sacred belief of the conservative base. All social issues? Gone. Enforcement before amnesty? No way. Stay strong on taxes? Forget about it. Fight Obamacare? That’s a done deal.
Folks, we must win back the soul of the Republican Party before we can affect any positive change.
This is LONG overdue!
Several conservative House Republican members are contemplating a plan to unseat Speaker John Boehner from his position on January 3, Breitbart News has exclusively learned. Staffers have compiled a detailed action plan that, if executed, could make this a reality. [...]
The circulated plan is a comprehensive multi-step process.
According to the plan as drafted, the first step is to re-establish the election of the Speaker of the House by secret ballot, rather than by a public roll call vote. That’s because the members who would oppose Boehner, if there ended up not being enough votes to achieve their desired result or if Boehner scared via threat or coaxed via prize some of the opposition into voting for him, would be sitting ducks for retaliation in the near future.
As one hill staffer considering this path told Breitbart News, the members involved in an unsuccessful coup d’etat would be “toast.”
[...] If a secret ballot election for House Speaker is established, step one of this plan against Boehner is complete.
The second step of the circulated plan would require enough GOP members to band together and vote for somebody other than Boehner as Speaker. Since Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., has resigned his position, there will be 434 voting members on January 3. For someone to win the Speaker election, they’d need to secure 217 votes – or a majority of everyone voting.
Since there are 233 Republicans heading into the next Congress, only 17 Republicans would be needed to unseat Boehner. The House would continue having multiple elections throughout the day on January 3 until it agreed upon a new Speaker.
Even if this had passed, Reid would never have allowed it to come up for a vote in the Senate, and Obama had promised to veto it.
NO MORE NEGOTIATIONS. Make the Democrats OWN THE CONSEQUENCES!
A defection of conservative Republicans forced House Speaker John Boehner to abandon his final-hour plan to block automatic tax increases, leaving taxpayers hanging on the edge of the fiscal cliff that is scheduled to crumble on Jan. 1.
“The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” Boehner said in statement Thursday night after cancelling the vote and sending members home for the Christmas holiday.
“Now it is up to the president to work with Sen. (Harry) Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff,” Boehner said.
The collapse was announced shortly after an emergency GOP conference was called at 7:45 p.m. to count votes and twist arms, just moments before the legislation was to be debated on the House floor.
The bill is referred to as “Plan B” and would have averted an automatic tax increase for families making less than $1 million a year but raised tax rates for those making more than $1 million.
A second bill to block military and domestic spending cuts that are part of sequestration narrowly passed Thursday on a vote of 215 to 209 with no Democratic support and 21 Republicans voting no.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the “Plan B” bill would have been dead on arrival in the upper chamber. The plan was offered by Boehner (R-Ohio) after failed negotiations with President Barack Obama to avert the tax hikes and spending cuts.
Without a deal, taxes are on autopilot to increase $4.6 trillion over the next decade along with $1.2 trillion in cuts across the board.
Knowing that the Democrats won’t budge towards a compromise, David Harsanyi wants to know, “What’s Plan C?” Good question.
This is out of control. He needs to be gone…yesterday.
After purging four conservative House members from key Committees, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) threatened Republican members of Congress on Wednesday by telling them Republican leaders are “watching” their votes to determine future committee assignments.
Boehner’s remarks are a sign that the moderate House Republican leadership will be less tolerant of conservative dissent.
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), who was removed from the Budget Committee, said Boehner warned those in his conference that “there may be more folks that will be targeted” and the Republican leadership is “watching all of your votes.”
“It was a message to the Republican Conference in general, especially the comment today that there may be more punishment coming if you don’t vote the right way,” Huelskamp told The Hill.
It’s unclear what criteria Boehner and GOP leadership plan to use in the weeks and months ahead. Boehner spokesman Michael Steel wouldn’t provide specifics on what criteria or votes on which the Speaker is “watching” conservative Republicans. Instead, when asked, Steel provided Breitbart News with the exact quote another Boehner spokesman gave two nights ago for a response to a completely different question. “The Steering Committee makes decisions based on a range of factors,” Steel said.
Huelskamp is one of the four conservatives purged from committee assignments from which he would be able to affect fiscal policy. He was pulled from the House Budget Committee and House Agriculture Committee. Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash was pulled from the Budget Committee too, and Reps. David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina were removed from the House Financial Services Committee.
Huelskamp also addressed the GOP caucus on Wednesday and said he received “warm reception from some and silence from others.” He asked GOP leadership to publicly provide “that list of votes used in the Steering Committee to reward or punish members.
It appears John Boehner doesn’t want fiscal conservatives anywhere near positions of power where they can challenge his compromises with the enemy.
The fissure between the GOP establishment and Tea Party members in Congress blew wide open Monday evening when conservative members of Congress were suddenly removed from House financial committees.
RedState’s Erick Erickson was the first reliable source to share that conservatives were reportedly being removed from the House’s finance related committees by Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).
“This morning Congressman Schweikert learned there was a price to be paid for voting based on principle. That price was the removal from the House Financial Services Committee,” Rachel Semmel, Schweikert’s spokesman, told POLITICO. “We are obviously disappointed that Leadership chose to take this course, but Rep. Schweikert remains committed to fighting for the conservative principles that brought him here.”
Conservative Republican Reps. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Justin Amash of Michigan hit back at Republican leadership on Tuesday, following their Monday removal from prominent committees, calling the move “petty” and “vindictive,” and accusing Speaker of the House John Boehner and his deputies of silencing independent conservative voices in preparation to steamroll a tax hike through Congress.
Huelskamp — who was removed from the Agriculture and Budget Committees — released a video on Friday declaring his intention to not vote for any tax increases and received notice of his removal on Monday, “one business day” later.
“I think there’s going to be an attempt to pass a tax increase through the House, in exchange for what?” he told a group of reporters at the Heritage Foundation Tuesday afternoon. “This president doesn’t want to do entitlement reform, doesn’t want to cut spending… I think it makes very clear to conservatives that you’re about to get run over.”
[...] The decision to boot them from the committee, Huelskamp told reporters, “confirms most Americans’ deepest suspicions about Washington: It’s petty, it’s vindictive, and if you have any conservative principles, you will be punished… No good deed goes unpunished.”
“My constituents didn’t send me to vote for him [President Barack Obama] and they didn’t send me to vote for [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid or Mr. Boehner,” Huelskamp said.
Amash said that he had not even been informed of the decision yet, and only heard about it from the media.
“We haven’t even been told officially that we were removed from the Budget Committee,” Amash told reporters. “I had to read it in the newspaper… I haven’t received a single call from leadership, a single email… I think it’s pretty outrageous, frankly.”
FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe bashed the move, too, saying in a statement that “[t]his is a clear attempt on the part of Republican leadership to punish those in Washington who vote the way they promised their constituents they would – on principle – instead of mindlessly rubber-stamping trillion dollar deficits and the bankrupting of America. This is establishment thinking, circling the wagons around yes-men and punishing anyone that dares to take a stand for good public policy.”
Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, the chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, responded harshly to House Speaker John Boehner’s purge of conservative Republicans from powerful House committees. Jordan suggests Boehner’s moves could damage the Republican Party.
“It’s unfortunate and unhealthy for our party that principled conservatives are being punished for voting their consciences and keeping the promises they made to their constituents,” Jordan told Breitbart News.
Complete classlessness. As Jimmie Bise, Jr. observes:
This sort of move — summary dismissal from important committees for which you leak to the press before you notify the affected members — is a big, fat backhand to the face, a reminder that John Boehner is in charge of the GOP House caucus and not we upstart conservative Tea Partiers… It’s what happens when a besieged leader wants to secure his position to hold off a siege. Make no mistake, conservatives have gotten very close to positions of real influence inside the ranks of the professional Republicans and that just won’t do. And so, a purge of the problem children who believe conservatism is more than a suit you put on to gull the rubes during an election year.
Here’s my advice: Don’t give a single penny to any official Republican organization. Not a cent to the RNC. Not a nickel to the NRSC. Not a dime to the NRCC. Not a quarter to Karl Rove’s idiotic “grassroots” fund, American Crossroads.
Instead, give your money and support to conservative candidates directly and to organizations proven to support conservative principles like Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund.
We may be looking at the beginning of a party split. Tea Partiers are fed up and dumping the party in droves, going unaffiliated, Independent, Constitution party or Libertarian. We can’t accomplish anything if we’re fractured all over the place. At some point the only way to bring back cohesion may be to start an actual Tea Party political party.
Conservative leaders don’t like what they’re hearing from House Speaker John Boehner, the man in the middle of fiscal cliff negotiations.
One day after Boehner mentioned an $800-billion tax hike — half the amount President Obama is seeking — conservative activist L. Brent Bozell III said the Republican Party is no longer the party of limited government, limited spending and limited taxes:
“It is now officially exactly right behind the Democrats — on everything,” Bozell said. “It is time for conservatives to start looking for a new home. There’s precious little left for us here.”
Bozell, the chairman of ForAmerica Inc., also heads the Media Research Center, the parent organization of CNSNews.com.
Should Americans assume that Boehner and House Republican leaders have been misleading the country for more than two years? Bozell wondered:
“It would be impossible to count the times and ways Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy and so many others have told America that tax hikes would kill jobs and cripple the economy. Lo and behold, that’s just what they’ve proposed, $800 billion of them,” Bozell said. “They aren’t taxes, no siree. They are ‘revenue,’ and ‘loopholes’ that are closed (which also begs the question: if loopholes, why were they open?).”
Why shouldn’t Obama demand $1.6 trillion in tax hikes on wealthy Americans, Bozell asked: “The Republican Party has now surrendered its principles, and is in full retreat, the Democrats taste blood, and they’re going for it all. I would too.”
Bozell said it’s no coincidence that just before releasing his proposal, Boehner orchestrated a purge of conservatives from key positions of power in the Republican Conference.
Right now, the strategy is to take over the GOP from the inside, and the only way to do that is to register Republican, become a PCP, work your way up inside the party and knock off their RINO leadership one by one. We successfully did this in Washington County just a few weeks ago. MultCo already belongs to the Tea Party.
We may or may not have to create our own party at some point, but then we’ll have to wade into the sticky side issues of social and foreign policy platform planks, and that could cause just as much division in a party that has united around the three core principles of limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility.
If it comes to that, I’ll offer this word of warning now: we will have to retain the current GOP platform on social and foreign policy issues. If we don’t, we’ll lose an enormous portion of the party base who aren’t willing to sell out the unborn for economic issues, and we’ll be dead in the water before we even begin. We must keep social issues in the background, but we can’t abandon them altogether. People are leaving the GOP not because they disagree with its platform, but because the current leadership WON’T FIGHT FOR those principles they claim to believe in. By keeping the platform, we can take 90% of the GOP with us in case the Tea Party is forced to split off and form its own party. The only reason the Republican party was successful in its inception was because it adopted the Whig platform in practically everything, except they kept the primary issue – slavery – the primary issue. For us, that primary issue would be three-pronged: fiscal responsibility, free markets, and limited constitutional government.
But for right now, our job is to prepare for 2014 and oust as many RINO’s as possible. Do NOT donate to the GOP. Donate only directly to conservative candidates and trusted organizations like the Oregon Tea Party.
There was a directed Alinsky campaign against social conservatives in this last election, for the specific purpose of undercutting the party. They began laying the groundwork for this all the way back during the primary debates, when George Stephanopoulos started throwing out stupid questions about banning birth control.
The Republican party should have forseen this tactic and closed ranks instead of throwing their own under the bus, as they always do. And now, after the election, we’re doing it again.
Why do we keep falling for this crap?
All this going around in circles regarding social issues is a wild goose chase that the establishment GOP has sent us on to create infighting in the Tea Party. Social conservatives aren’t the reason why we lose elections, and they aren’t what’s wrong with the GOP.
What’s wrong with the Republican party is that it’s run by FISCAL LIBERALS and BIG GOVERNEMNT PROGRESSIVES who go along with Democrats on everything from tax hikes to global warming schemes. THEY DON’T HONOR LIBERTY OR CONSTITUTIONALLY LIMITED GOVERNMENT. They keep handing us candidates like Dudley and Romney that aren’t really interested in scaling back the size and scope of government.
Like clockwork, traditional-values voters are being blamed for the failure of a moderate GOP presidential candidate.
This is the predictable consensus of liberal pundits but also some prominent conservatives. Never mind exit polls showing that conservative evangelical Protestants and devout Catholics combined gave Mitt Romney a higher percentage of their votes than George W. Bush in 2004 or John McCain in 2008. Somehow, it’s their fault that Mr. Romney lost.
[...] Some of the well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning advisers are using the talking points and incendiary language of the left. Like California federal judge Vaughn Walker, they see only “animus” toward homosexuals as a reason to support marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Religion? History? Social continuity? The well-being of children? Nope. It’s only hatred.
The Post’s ostensibly conservative columnists, George F. Will and Kathleen Parker, both employ the accusation to tar what Ms. Parker calls “the farthest right social conservatives.” This refers to people who still resist Planned Parenthood’s agenda of sexual anarchy.
[...] The left is spending tens of millions of dollars to redefine marriage, promote abortion and vilify anyone who gets in its way. One of the most effective tactics is to accuse opponents of what liberals themselves are doing — “obsessing” over these issues.
The Wall Street Journal also ran a column, “Advice From a Lonely College Republican,” by Sarah Westwood, who will be a sophomore in January at George Washington University. She informs us that “youth is all about rebellion,” and, “Republicans don’t have a future unless they break up with the religious right and the gay-bashing, Bible-thumping fringe that gives the party such a bad rap with every young voter. By fighting to legally ban abortion, the party undercuts the potential to paint itself as a rebel against the governmental-controlled machine.”
Government coercion is at the heart of the left’s social advocacy, including forcing taxpayers to subsidize it and putting a gun to the head of Catholic and other faith-based institutions to pay for abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations, so I think Ms. Westwood is confused about who the rebel is here against government power.
Finally, she asserts that “the evangelical set essentially hijacked the Republican Party in the 1970s; now we need to take it back.” To what? To where? Tom Dewey’s party?
Erick Erickson reminds those who want to marginalize social conservatives in the GOP:
A sizable portion of those black and hispanic voters voted GOP despite disagreeing with the GOP on fiscal issues. But they are strongly social conservative and could not vote for the party of killing kids and gay marriage. So they voted GOP.
You throw out the social conservatives and you throw out those hispanic and black voters. Further, you make it harder to attract new hispanic voters who happen to be the most socially conservative voters in the country.
Next, you’ll also see a reduction of probably half the existing GOP base. You won’t make that up with Democrats who suddenly think that because their uterus is safe they can now vote Republican. Most of those people don’t like fiscal conservatism either — often though claiming that they do.
If you’ve ever seen the move “Agenda: Grinding America Down” or former KGB agent Yuri Bezmenov’s presentation on “How to Brainwash a Nation,” you’ll remember that the primary attack point for communists is the nuclear family. Why? Because the break-up of the family is key to getting people dependent on government. The breakdown of morals is key for getting excuses for bigger government to restrain people who have no self control.
So you don’t have to agree with social conservatives, but you don’t want to marginalize or jettison them, either. Communists consider social conservatives the biggest obstacle of all to their agenda, which is why they specifically targeted us this last election.
When it comes to elections, here’s the deal on Social Conservatives. If you are a social liberal, there are already at least three parties advancing your cause: the Democrats, the Libertarians, and the Independents.
The Republican party is the ONLY party that even PRETENDS to give a damn about the modern day holocaust any more. And that’s the only reason why millions of social conservatives still stick with a party that continues to disappoint them in so many other areas.
The beauty of the Tea Party is the way that we’ve been able to bring together people from across the political spectrum to unite behind three core principles: limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility. When working with them, I have been willing to keep social issues separate because I already have a vehicle to fight for them: the Republican Party. I don’t need the Tea Party to take up those issues for me.
However, if the Republican Party moves towards social liberalism, they will bring in a few people who are social liberals/fiscal conservatives, but they will end up losing their social conservative base entirely. Not because we don’t care about Tea Party principles, but because we view the betrayal of the unalienable right to life as a betrayal of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution itself. You cannot claim to believe in liberty and property rights and abandon the right at the base of all others: the right to your own life. You cannot claim to believe in small government and yet give government the right to take your life away. We will not abandon the unborn for our own self-interest. That’s the line we will not cross. To us, it would be the same as abandoning the Jews so long as Hitler supported capitalist economic principles.
I understand fiscal conservatives who are also social liberals are frustrated that they don’t have a party that reflects all their values. They feel caught in between. But if you push the current Republican party towards social liberalism, you will split it. And right now we need unity more than ever.
Can we PLEASE focus on the REAL reason why we’re losing elections and focus on strategies for defeating the REAL enemy, here?
Politics is always downstream from culture, and it’s an undeniable fact that whoever controls the language shapes the culture.
The Democrats are masters of political language, and as you may have noticed, they just won. Basically, they have two tricks. They concoct a simple negative label for anything they want to defeat and then relentlessly shriek it in unison. You know the drill: “racist,” “homophobe,” “bigot,” “right-wing lunatic,” etc.
Then, they sanctify with positive language whatever lunacy they’re in the mood to shove down our throats today. Consider the irrefutable beatific glow of “economic justice” and “social justice.” Once something is defined as “justice,” you’re automatically the bad guy for resisting. What’s wrong with you? Don’t you want justice?
Thus, tomorrow if we all wake up and discover that Democrats are now demanding that squirrels be allowed to vote in the name of animal justice, you can be sure that in a few years time, squirrels will be voting. After several thousand screeching editorials, marches, rallies, rap songs, videos and Oscar-winning movies starring Tom Hanks as Bushy-tailed Ben, we’ll all agree that animal justice is the next great frontier in civil rights and go nuts for squirrels.
So what can we do about it? Now that the regime is firmly entrenched and we’ve all been downgraded from citizens to dissidents, one of the few weapons that we may have left is our language. How about if we try using it and give them a taste of their own nasty medicine?
To start, my modest proposal is that we rebrand the Democratic Party as the Destructive Party. As you’re about to see, this simple device is remarkably effective at changing the dynamics of a conversation. Immediately, the Destructive Party member is put on confused defense while you look benign and wise. Intrigued? Watch how it’s done.
DESTRUCTIVE: Well, I guess Rush Limbaugh and all the other right-wing loonies were wrong. Obama crushed Romney just like we said.
YOU: Yeah, you’re right. That was a brilliant victory for the Destructive Party.
DESTRUCTIVE: Limbaugh is eating dirt today!…Wait…The what party?
YOU: The Destructive Party. You know. The one that always destroys the economy. As soon as Obama won, the stock market crashed 400 points and 35,000 people were laid off.
DESTRUCTIVE: Come on. That had nothing to do with Obama winning. That’s just a few rich employers trying to squeeze more profits by punishing their poor workers.
YOU: Well, that’s what the Destructive Party always says, so that’s why they always destroy the economy – and a lot of people’s lives, too. Great going, Destructives!
Let’s try another topic and see how it goes. Here you inject it into the conversation with a known Destructive, in order to mimic the Destructives’ policy of politicizing everything.
DESTRUCTIVE: I’ve decided to put off knee surgery till after my sister’s wedding.
YOU: Big mistake. Call your doctor right now and get the surgery on the books.
DESTRUCTIVE: You really think so? What’s the hurry?
YOU: Obama and the Destructive Party won! That means ObamaCare is coming and they’re about to destroy the best medical care system on the planet.
DESTRUCTIVE: No, they’re not. They’re not destroying anything; they’re giving poor people access to care.
YOU: Then how come 45% of doctors say they’re quitting or retiring early? I’m telling you, the Destructives won and they’re about to destroy your knee, if you don’t move quick. Get a surgeon while there’s still a surgeon to get.
It’s crucial that Americans understand the Left’s strategy of incrementalism: they only take an inch at a time, attacking their opponents for not giving an inch and making them feel foolish for fighting over a sliver so small, so that we eventually cede the territory and consider it not important enough to fight to get back. Once the Left gains that inch, however, they NEVER give it back, and move right on to gain the next inch of ground, while Republicans are insisting that they’re not “extreme” enough to want to repeal that lost inch (the New Deal, the Great Society, the Dept. of Education, and multiple other unconstitutional power grabs).
The Left has been using this strategy effectively for over a century, and now look at us: most Americans have no idea how much freedom we’ve lost or what a constitutional republic really looks like. They passed Medicare and Medicaid insisting they didn’t want socialized medicine, but that’s what their end goal was all along. They passed Obamacare without the public option because it’s just the next step to single-payer. Americans MUST understand how dangerous it is to even give an INCH to these people!
The progressives of both parties have known all along that their agenda was too radical to be achieved all at once, but that they could continually push new incremental measures, “steps in the right direction,” until their full agenda is achieved. They successfully practiced a strategy of positive incrementalism. This means they incrementally move in a positive direction toward their agenda, taking what they can get at the time while setting a goal of reaching more of their goals in the future. When the losing side repeatedly compromises to lose a little rather than more ground, that side is practicing the politics of negative incrementalism.
For decades our two party system has been great at giving us worthless choices. When Republican establishment promoted the moderate Nelson Rockefeller for president in 1964, supporters of conservative Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater called for, “a choice, not an echo.” Moderate Republicans, who dominate their party, have a 70-year long history of being on the losing side of negative incrementalism. At every crisis-driven point of ratcheting up the big government agenda, their response has been “can’t we have just a little less progressivism than the Democrats want” rather than debating the merits of big government and standing strongly for the alternative vision of freedom and Constitutionally-limited government.
Moderate Republicans never disputed the basic principles behind the progressive agenda of activist, big government. They only demanded a little bit less, little more gradual transition to socialism then the Democrats wanted. Sensing this mush, the Democrats have charged on, and over the last 70 years have achieved most of the major goals of socialism. Karl Marx called for, and we now have: government run schools, largely state controlled health care, more money taxed or controlled by the government than by private hands, minimum wage laws, in many places rent control laws, gun control laws, welfare and other income re-distribution programs, social security, etc. [...]
Negative incrementalism is both short-term and long-term defeat. Freedom fighters will never achieve freedom practicing the politics of negative incrementalism. Never fall for the allusion that we just cooperate and compromise, accepting partial socialism today, that the other side will somehow magically go along with incremental moves toward freedom tomorrow. It will never happen, they’ll come back to the table tomorrow asking we compromise in their direction yet again. And again and again and again, until their agenda is achieved. Until they’ve established the socialist workers paradise.
We have to vigorously debate and win the debate against socialism, and oppose it in all it forms, and in all it’s sub-agendas, including gun control, state-run education, etc. We need to turn change the direction of public policy, by winning that debate, and make the statists compromise by accepting parts of the pro-freedom agenda. We never compromise on principle and should only compromise when freedom is increased by the passage of any proposal with our support.
So where do we go from here? We take our country back the same way: inch by inch, law by law, regulation by regulation, bureaucracy by bureaucracy, until the leviathan is completely dismantled and nothing remains but a federal government that stays within the jurisdiction of the enumerated powers granted by the constitution, and NO FURTHER.
How? I’m glad you asked.
First, get involved with a grass-roots conservative activist organization like FreedomWorks or Americans For Prosperity. Unlike Leftist organizations, they rely mostly on unpaid volunteers, but they can keep you informed and give you valuable tools to fight back. What better cause can you spend your volunteer time than preserving liberty for the next generation?
Second, consider running for a local office, like city council, school board, or land use board. Many of these races go uncontested, and we desperately need conservative in those seats!
Third, become a Precinct Committee Person (PCP) and help us take over the GOP from the inside and select their candidates.
Fourth, PRAY like your nation depended on it, because it does.
It took us over 100 years to get where we are now, and there is so much ground we have to take back in order to restore our constitutional republic: eliminate the Case Study method and restore the Common Law based on the constitution and Natural Law. Reverse Cloward-Piven strategy and phase out the welfare state. Defund, defang, dismantle every federal department, program, and agency that doesn’t belong under the enumerated powers of the constitution, and return 10th Amendment powers to the states. Eliminate federal control over education, support school choice and privatization, and decertify the unions one by one. Revive the private social welfare system that was in place before the welfare state took over. Repeal the 16th and 17th amendments, add a parental rights amendment, establish term limits, and require that congress live under the same laws that they pass (equality under the law – no ruling class privileges) Defund and withdraw from the corrupt, power-grabbing United Nations, and ratify NO UN treaties. NONE.
As you can see, we have a LOT of work to do to restore our constitutional republic. It will be long and hard, and the Left will fight us every step of the way with their Alinsky playbook, trying to discredit, discourage, and defeat us. WE CAN NOT AFFORD TO LOSE.
Mark Levin: Conservatives Must Take Over GOP, Tea Party Only Thing That Stands Between Liberty And Tyranny
In the days after the election, Timothy C. Daughtry observed:
The patriot movement had its Concord Bridge moment in 2010, and now it is facing its winter at Valley Forge. Both liberal and mainstream politicians are waiting to see what the patriot movement does during the harsh winter of a second Obama term.
The left is hoping that the tea party movement is dead. Now is the time to organize, to train, to demonstrate, and to educate a nation in distress. We have to learn how to make the left debate on our terms instead of constantly letting the left define who we are.
Mark Levin says that the Tea Party is the only thing standing between liberty and America’s demise:
Conservative scholar, talk radio host, and former Reagan administration official Mark Levin said conservatives need to first overthrow the Republican establishment to more successfully take on President Barack Obama and the institutional left.
“We cannot get through Obama and the left until we get through the Republican Establishment,” Levin said, railing against establishment consultants who attack the base and politicians who know nothing of “Burkean reform” because they have spent their whole careers “clawing their way to the top.”
In a talk at the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday with his mentor, former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, for whom Levin served as Chief of Staff, Levin said the Republican Party is, “devouring the conservative movement,” and the old bulls need to step aside in favor of a new generation of conservatives who are fluent in conservatism.
“It’s time for the old bulls to get out of the way and for the fresh faces who believe in conservatism and liberty and originalist principles to step up,” Levin said, criticizing those like House Speaker John Boehner for “yielding territory” to the left in negotiations.
Levin said the Tea Party consists of constitutionalists, libertarians, Evangelicals, and those who are against the rigged establishment, beltway culture that for too long has not embraced conservatism and, as a consequence, lost national elections (George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney).
“The Tea Party is the only thing that stands between liberty and tyranny,” Levin said. “We have to defeat the Republican establishment mush in Washington, D.C.”
[...] Levin said the Republican Party will go the way of the Whig Party if they do not put out more “cutting-edge intellectuals and artistic” spokespeople for the conservative cause that transcends race or class.
Whenever Republicans water down their message and pick “moderate” candidates to try and appease an extreme Leftist media and avoid “extreme right” accusations, they lose.
Why? Because given a choice between “Progressive” and “Progressive Lite,” most people will pick the real deal. When we fail to present a true alternative, we are essentially communicating that we don’t believe in our own principles and are afraid to admit or defend them. That doesn’t inspire voters – it turns them off.
It’s time for Republicans to grow a spine like Reagan did and unapologetically advance the principles of liberty and limited, constitutional government. We have the winning ideas, if only we dare to communicate them. As Reagan said, “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things…”
Demography is not destiny and neither is the ever growing leviathan. Many think so now, but they forget the ebbs and flows of the tide of history. Conservatism is not done. The message of freedom and opportunity is not done.
No immigrant comes to the United States wanting to be on welfare. They come for a better life of hard work and success. What conservatives forget is that people forget.
And conservatives have done a terrible job reminding people.
Since Ronald Reagan rose from the ashes of the Goldwater movement, Republicans have articulated a message of freedom and opportunity — a rugged individualism that says if you work hard you can be what you want and do what you want. But people forget.
In the last decade or so, Republicans began to assume everyone just naturally agreed. They stopped explaining. They stopped being evangelists. Worse, conservatism morphed into Republicanism and instead of being about ideas, both became about the acquisition of power for the sake of power. Republicans no longer articulated a core set of principles through policy, but policies designed solely to keep them in power. The party leaders and many of its candidates began to do the same — freedom became a platitude, not a policy.
[C]onservatives must be able to show Americans in this age of a stagnant economy that conservatism has ideas not just to make one prosperous, but also to help the poor and needy. There are those who do depend on and deserve a helping hand. If the GOP cannot show how small government lifts people up and provides for those who cannot, the GOP will fail.
Republicans should not be afraid to be obstructionist, but must be willing to explain that the obstruction prevents the passage of ideas that history once discarded before we all forgot.
These are exciting times for the conservative movement. But the conservative movement must get up and lead now — lead with conservative ideas for the GOP, not a Republican agenda packaged as conservative. We must begin again anew talking conservatism as evangelists, not fellow travelers. We must remember we are not in a permanent decline, but a cycle of politics that is only permanent if we let it be.
Joel Pollak made some interesting observations about what the exit polls were showing during this past election:
Voters’ responses suggest that the American public agrees with conservative policies–but does not trust the Republican Party to implement them.
[...] Larry Solov, CEO and President of Breitbart News Network, said of the poll results:
“It appears the Republican Party has failed to convince voters it is a better vehicle for their conservative values and policy preferences. The problem is bigger than the challenge of winning elections. It requires a significant re-branding of the Republican Party for a new era.”
This election was the last chance to spare America the final degradation of ceasing to be a constitutional republic altogether. That battle has now been lost. The things most needed now are clarity and forthrightness. The danger most imminent now is that, having forsaken the principles of liberty, the nation will simply forget that those principles ever existed. Therefore, from now on, to whatever extent possible, every candidate running against the Democrats in any election must be the most unapologetic, relentless constitutional conservative available. He or she must call out the Democrat as a leftist, a socialist, an authoritarian, and every other simply accurate designation appropriate to the situation. And he or she must be intellectually prepared to prove that case against the Democrat, and to make the moral, constitutional case for individual freedom.
Will this kind of blunt, hard truth lead to victory? Not likely, or not in the short run. The danger, however, is that if the true identity of modern American leftism is swept under the rug in the name of the big lie of “electability” (another word I hope I never hear again), the popular optics will forever belong to the Democrats, who, after all, have actively created a society in their own image and will therefore always appear as the most natural position to their monstrous offspring.
The name of conservatism, and more importantly its proud truths, must never be allowed to slip from the public consciousness. They will do exactly that if the non-Democrat in future campaigns hides from this name and from these truths. [...]
The real alternative to leftist authoritarianism (to be labeled as such at every opportunity) must be presented often and with vigor. Politely asking to be forgiven for not being as exciting as one’s leftist opponent is the surest path to permanent serfdom. The only way out of this morass is to stand firm on principle and speak proudly of the superiority of one’s position. Over time, a new generation may rise up that will find this clear light more appealing than the dull gray of socialism.
It won’t get past the current senate. We have to take back the senate and White House and get a strong majority in congress to fully repeal this job-killing monstrosity.
House lawmakers voted Wednesday to repeal the federal health care overhaul — the latest in a long line of anti-ObamaCare votes, but the first since the Supreme Court upheld the law and defined one of its key provisions as a “tax.”
The House has voted more than 30 times to scrap, defund or undercut the law since Obama signed it in March 2010. As with those bills, the repeal bill approved Wednesday on a 244-185 vote faces certain demise in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
But Republicans were looking to get lawmakers back on record on the law in the wake of the high court ruling last month. The ruling upheld most the law as constitutional, but in doing so it determined that the controversial penalty on those who do not buy insurance technically qualifies as a “tax” and not a “penalty” as the administration had claimed. That definition fueled GOP criticism of the law, and put some Democrats in a politically tricky position.
Five Democrats ended up defecting Wednesday. Reps. Mike Ross, D-Ark.; Dan Boren, D-Okla.; Mike McIntyre, D-N.C.; Larry Kissell, D-N.C.; and Jim Matheson, D-Utah, all voted yes.
Brian Darling at the Heritage Foundation recommends what should come next:
How to get it to the floor: Once the Senate receives the “Repeal of ObamaCare Act” from the House of Representatives, it is expected that a conservative Senator will use the Senate’s rules to force a vote. A Senator can use Rule 14 of the Senate’s rules to object to a second reading of the bill. This objection would place the House-passed Obamacare repeal bill in a position for debate on a motion to proceed to the bill and a roll-call vote on whether the Senate should consider the measure.
If conservatives fumble the ball and no Senator objects to the second reading, then conservatives will have lost an opportunity for a vote. Failure to object using the Senate’s rules sends the bill to the black hole of a Senate Committee controlled by liberals. The repeal of Obamacare legislation would not be heard from again this Congress.
How long it would take: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–KY) or any other member of the Republican caucus can lodge an objection to the second reading of the bill that will start a two-day process to get the legislation on the Senate calendar. Once on the Senate calendar, the legislation can be considered at any point during the duration of this Congress.
Once on the Senate calendar, any Senator can start the debate and trigger a recorded vote. All that Senator would need is to gather up 16 Senate signatures on a cloture petition pursuant to Rule 22 to commence a debate. The Senator then would take his cloture petition and file it with the clerk of the Senate. The filing of “cloture” would commence a debate and vote.
How the left could block it: The only way for liberals to block consideration of the bill would be to table the bill or filibuster it.
What’s needed to pass it: Now, if four Democrats defect and sign on to the idea of a full repeal of Obamacare, all of a sudden there are enough votes to pass the bill. If the supporters of H.R. 6079 can get to a simple majority of support, the only way liberals could prevent passage of the bill by a simple majority would be to engage in a filibuster of the bill. Yes, the same party that has harped on the idea of “filibuster reform” would be forced into a filibuster to prevent the “Repeal of ObamaCare Act” from passing.
Under this scenario, there are two hardball tactics that can be used to repeal Obamacare. First would be to shame the filibuster-hating liberals into standing down and allowing an up-or-down vote on the bill. Nothing prevents conservatives from keeping the Senate on this bill if they have majority support until liberals relent. They have the power under the rules to file cloture over and over again until they shame liberals into allowing a majority of the Senate to pass the bill.
Another hardball tactic that could be used would be to put the language of this full repeal of Obamacare on a must-pass bill. The federal government will need to pass an appropriations measure before September 1 to fund the government this fall. A steadfast and resolute House could attach the “Repeal of ObamaCare Act” to a continuing resolution to fund the federal government and dare the liberals in the Senate to cause a government shutdown over Obamacare.
There just aren’t enough Tea Party members in congress or the senate yet to override the old GOP establishment. 2012 is now or never.
The Senate Republican Communications Center is touting 11 broken promises about Obamacare – but, it omits the one made by Republicans: to defund it.
On the two-year anniversary of the passage of Obamacare, Republicans are highlighting 11 “broken promises” made by Pres. Obama and the Democrats about the sweeping health care law:
- ‘If You Like Your Plan, You’ll Be Able To Keep It’
- ‘I Will Protect Medicare’
- ‘This Law Will Lower Premiums’
- ‘Slow The Growth Of Health Care Costs’
- ‘Federal Conscience Laws Will Remain In Place’
- ‘My Plan Won’t Raise Your Taxes One Penny’
- Mandate Not ‘The Solution’
- ‘Broadcasting Those Negotiations On C-SPAN’
- ‘Will Not Sign It If It Adds One Dime To The Deficit’
- Medical Liability Reform: ‘This Is Going To Be A Priority For Me’
- ‘Those Who Voted For Health Care Will Find It An Asset’
For each Democrat promise, the Republicans cite news articles showing how it was broken.
But, the Republicans’ “broken promises” list omits one of their crucial broken promises regarding Obamacare:
- ‘Not A Penny’ for Obamacare
With control of the House, Republicans had – and have – the power to defund Obamacare in its entirety. And, they said they’d do it:
Like his previous plan, Ryan’s proposed budget is far from perfect, but unfortunately, it’s the most conservative we can get with this congress and president.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) said that under a different economic growth scenario than that assumed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), his budget can balance over the 10-year window that conservative groups, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Club for Growth, have said is the ideal goal.
“Under the right kind of economic growth scenarios–under what I think are more realistic scorekeeping–it is done,” Ryan said at a press conference on Tuesday in unveiling his budget, The Path to Prosperity, for fiscal year 2013. “If you put this budget through what we think are more reasonable projections of the economy, then that is accomplished.”
In other words, if the economy grows faster than current government estimates predict, Ryan’s budget could balance within 10 years, well before the 2040 date it is currently projected to balance in.
The Heritage Foundation calls it “A Budget to Save the American Dream“:
Last spring, America saw a bright spot emerge from the abyss when Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced a budget resolution that confronted the twin crises of spending and debt head on. Ryan’s proposal, which passed the House, was a solid step in the right direction — his budget would have gotten spending under control, repealed Obamacare, transformed Medicare, and offered a solid approach to controlling Medicaid’s spiraling costs. Unfortunately, the Senate said “no,” and America watched Washington get stuck in gridlock last summer, only to emerge with a half-baked deal that postponed real reform and put our national security in jeopardy.
In the coming weeks, the budget will again pass through Congress’ orbit, and it will be up to Ryan to steer it in the right direction.
Ross Kaminsky at American Spectator points out that Ryan’s plan challenges timid Republicans as well as Democrats:
In the first moments of reading House Budget Committee’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Resolution, entitled “The Path to Prosperity” (and subtitled “A Blueprint for American Renewal”), you realize that this is no business-as-usual document.
The first page of text is a “Statement of Constitutional and Legal Authority,” which states that Committee’s budget “is committed to the timeless principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution — liberty, limited government, and equality under the rule of law” and that it “seeks to guide the nation’s policies by those principles, freeing it from the crushing burden of debt now threatening its future.”
The House Republican budget contrasts mightily, in approach and in the numbers, with President Obama’s recent budget, which could be entitled “The Path to Bankruptcy and Dependency,” and with the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate’s budget which, as Rep. Ryan subtly reminds us, does not exist. But it also throws down a gauntlet to Republican presidential candidates, pressing them to emphasize pro-growth economic policies more clearly and more aggressively.
But not everyone is impressed. Already two Republican congressmen have said they will vote “no”:
Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) said that he will not vote for the budget of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) because it was “not good enough.”
“It’s not good enough,” Huelskamp said at the Conversation with Conservatives conference in Washington on Tuesday. “I’m voting no for a couple of reasons. Number one is what we just mentioned, the failure to follow through on the Pledge to America and also the failure to follow through – the law says the number is $950 [billion so] this also reneges on the sequester and those numbers get lost out there.”
Huelskamp is citing the effect of the budget sequester on domestic spending in 2013. If the sequester goes into effect as intended in the Budget Control Act passed last summer, domestic discretionary spending would be automatically cut to $950 billion.
Ryan’s budget – citing the need to protect defense spending – instead instructs the Appropriations committee to find additional savings for 2013, thus avoiding the automatic cuts made by the sequester.
Huelskamp also said Ryan’s budget “missed” an opportunity to tackle tax reform. The budget does propose a two-tiered system with rates set at 10 and 25 percent, but does not go into specifics about who would pay each rate. It also proposes tax reform, but again does not give any specifics about which deductions and exemptions would be eliminated.
Huelskamp – a member of the Budget Committee – said this puts conservatives at a major disadvantage as they prepare to fight President Obama on taxes – particularly with the largest tax hike in American history looming in 2013.
Reason’s Nick Gillespie gives the Libertarian perspective that “Paul Ryan’s Budget is Better Than Obama’s But Still Ain’t Good Enough For Gov’t Work“:
In brief, the Ryan plan is not as bad asPresident’s Obama budget, which wants to spend $3.8 trillion in FY2013 and envisions spending $5.8 trillion in FY2022. Over the next 10 years, Obama assumes that federal spending would amount to 22.5 percent of GDP while revenues would average just 19.2 percent of GDP. That ain’t no way to run a country.
In this sense, Ryan’s plan is slightly better but still doesn’t pass the laugh test. He would spend $3.5 trillion in 2013 and $4.9 trillion in 2022 (all figures in the post are in current dollars unless otherwise noted). Spending as an average of GDP would average 20 percent of GDP and revenue would amount to just 18.3 percent. Go here to read the whole plan; figures on outlays and revenue are in Table S-1.
Ryan’s budget proposes a new tax plan and zeroes out spending on President Obama’s health care; it doesn’t add nearly as much debt either. As Reason’s Peter Suderman noted yesterday, it also includes a plan to very gradually shift Medicare to a system of premium support subsidies that would kick in over time (that is, by 2050). All of that is interesting and worthy of debate. And certainly it shows some level of seriousness that is almost completely lacking from the president’s own plan. And let’s not even talk about the sad-sack Senate Democrats, who haven’t passed a budget in three years and whose leader (if he deserves the title), Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said that his crew won’t be voting on a budget resolution for 2013 because last year’s debt deal is good enough.
Yet Ryan’s plan is weak tea. Here we are, years into a governmental deficit situation that shows no sign of ending. How is it that Ryan and the Republican leadership cannot even dream of balancing a budget over 10 years’ time? All of the discussion of reforming entitlements and the tax code and everything else is really great and necessary – I mean that sincerely – but when you cannot envision a way of reducing government spending after a decade-plus of an unrestrained spending binge, then you are not serious about cutting government. If Milton Friedman was right that spending is the proper measure of the government’s size and scope in everybody’s life, then the establishment GOP is signaling what we knew all along: They are simply an echo of the Democratic Party.