FRC Says No Rice Please

In their Monday email, the Family Research Council rained on the Condoleeza Rice parade.  Describing her as a “non-starter”, Tony Perkins said that she is not pro-life, pro-marriage or a strong defender of religious liberty.  Perkins also noted that the Family Research Council would only accept a candidate who was strongly pro-life, not just someone who “checks the ‘pro-life box'”.

Will FRC stop promoting Mitt Romney if he chooses Condoleeza Rice as his VP?  No.  They supported Bush even though Cheney supported gay marriage.  But now is the time to use their leverage as a group representing a large segment of fundamental Christianity and steer Romney towards a more socially conservative choice.

Condi is a great and extremely qualified candidate.  But Romney should carefully consider the promises he has made regarding his VP selection process.  If he is looking to shake the Etch-a-sketch image one of his staffers foolishly gave him, than now is a perfect time to take a principled stand.  On the other hand, Romney may do the calculations and figure he will pick up more independents with Condi than he would lose from his base.

TEA Party’s New Mission

John Roberts, what were you thinking.  If this question went through your mind at about 10:30am on June 28th, that puts you in good company.  In fact, the whole ruling on the healthcare law frankly seems odd.  First they ruled that it wasn’t a tax so that they could proceed with deciding if it was constitutional or not.  Then they ruled that it was a tax so that they could say it is constitutional.  Then, in a twist of irony after Obama’s recent decision to stop enforcing immigration laws, the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Government couldn’t penalize states for not implementing Obamacare.  After this whirlwind, what we ended up with is the biggest regressive tax on the middle class in our nation’s history.

And that is when the sleeping giant woke up.  Suddenly we were reminded that we are Taxed Enough Already.

In 2010, Conservative Constitutionalists and TEA Party activists had a reason to live.  Democrat policies were rejected by voters in a massive conservative sweep.  But after two years of being beaten down by mainstream media and the Republican establishment, and the influx of special interest commercialism into the TEA Party, the heartbeat of the movement was faint.  You can feel free to disagree with me, but let’s be honest.  The rallies had turned into book tours and the infighting had handed victory in the primary to Mitt Romney.

Every Republican knows that Romney will do great with the economy.  Shoot, most Democrats know it, but won’t admit it.  Despite this, many conservatives have become purists and would still struggle to pull the lever for Romney.  I suggested a while back that many conservatives will be more willing to open their wallets to conservative PACs than to Romney.  Many conservatives will vote for Romney, but won’t put a Romney bumper sticker on their car.  Many are voting for the candidate named Not Obama.

And then the unthinkable happened.  The chief justice Bush appointed joined the majority and ruled Obamacare constitutional.  Even Justice Kennedy knew better.

Now 2012 has all new meaning.  It is no longer the establishment RINO versus the unpopular liberal.  It has become what it was in 2010, a referendum on Obamacare.  So far, conservatives are up 1-0 when it comes to elections on Obamacare.

Eugene Robinson, in an article suggesting that the Supreme Court decision will heal America, said that the decision was bad for Mitt Romney.  I think we can say with confidence that this sentiment is wishful thinking on the part of the Left.  The election is no longer about Romney.  It is no longer about RINOs or Republicans either.  As of 10:30am on June 28th, this election is about one thing:

 

The VP Matrix

Excitement continues to brew about who Mitt Romney might choose as his Vice President.  Today a story hit the news circulation that Marco Rubio is not being vetted, but Tim Pawlenty is being given serious consideration.  Romney found himself on the defensive this evening.  But before you get too excited about a Marco Rubio candidacy, or too upset about it, you may want to take a breather and consider who Romney is and what kind of campaign he is running.  Flash and splash are not the orders of the day.

Mitt Romney’s campaign need do no more than promise a stronger economy and let Obama continue to create a weaker economy.  In fact, Mitt Romney’s tour through small town USA promoting the private sector and values of competition is exactly where he needs to be.  Obama is spouting a controversy mixed with a gaffe every day.  Why jump in front of a train wreck?  Romney’s VP choice will be about as blockbuster as a sandwich from a WaWa vending machine.

Get out your VP scorecards and consider the following:

Mitt’s VP choice will not be a fresh face.

Mitt Romney is not looking for a candidate with little national experience.  Nor is he looking for a candidate who everyone on the far right loves.  Romney doesn’t need a shot of adrenaline or steroids.  The last thing he needs is someone who is going to distract from the national disaster of the Obama Presidency.  Romney does not need a divisive TEA party figure.  He certainly doesn’t need someone who could be perceived as inexperienced.  If Romney picks a veteran, the media will be cautious about trying to embarrass them as a rookie.  But media types smell blood in the water when there is fresh meat.  Even a studied, prepared candidate might not be able to field a trick question like “do you support the Bush doctrine”.  However, a veteran is less likely to be asked that question.

Obama’s inexperience took a back seat in the media when McCain brought in Palin

This is bad for Allen West, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Susana Martinez, Scott Walker, and Paul Ryan.  Could be good for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, Jeb Bush, Condi Rice, or Rudy Guiliani.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be old and tired.

The death knell for a Republican candidacy, fair or not, is being old and grey.  Nothing plays into stereotypes of Republicans more than an old, grey haired, slow talking wrinkly man.  While Romney doesn’t need a shot in the arm, he also doesn’t need something contributing to the stereotypes more than he does already.  Right now Romney is Reaganesque in his looks and style.  But an older veteran running mate would turn his campaign into the old rich white people’s ticket.  Again, it may not be fair or right, but don’t expect a VP over 55 years old.

Don’t expect Newt Gingrich, Fred Thompson, or Rob Portman.  Could be good for Bobby McDonnell, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie

Jack Kemp and Bob Dole combined had nearly two centuries of experience

Mitt’s VP choice may not be female or minority.

There is this idea that the only way to defeat Barack Obama is by running a female or minority VP candidate.  Aside from that strategy failing miserably with Sarah Palin, the problem is that Republicans pay far less attention to race and gender than Democrats do, and Democrats virulently hate conservative women and minorities.  We have seen in recent years just how much visible hatred has been directed toward Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Allen West, Nikki Haley, Michelle Bachmann, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, etc.  There is a clear desire on the left for female and minority Republicans to fail.  In Mitt Romney’s case, he is not looking for diversity for diversity’s sake.  That’s not to say he won’t pick a female or minority candidate, but if he does it will be someone respected by both sides and unassailable.

This makes Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio, Nikki Haley, and Susana Martinez less likely.  However, it doesn’t necessarily knock Condoleeza Rice out of the running, although she will carry the stigma on the left of being chosen for diversity’s sake.  Again, might not be fair, but since when were politics fair.

Mitt’s VP choice will not be controversial.

It’s bad when your VP candidate has almost as many quotable gaffes as Joe Biden

Mitt Romney is not looking to cause trouble for himself.  He doesn’t need a loudmouth or a controversial character.  Don’t expect any candidate who is going to make serious waves.  As I said before, Romney doesn’t need a distraction from the freak show of the Obama economy.  Expect a well respected candidate who is as smooth politically as Romney himself.

You can scratch the Donald, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan, Allen West, and Newt Gingrich off your list.  This is a strike against Jeb Bush and Condoleeza Rice as well.  But it favors Mitch Daniels, possibly Bob McDonell, and John Thune.

Expect a strategic pick.

Romney’s not going to choose a popular governor from a red state.  But he might choose a popular candidate from a purple or blue state.  And there are a few to choose from.  Rubio would lock of Florida.  Bob McDonnell could secure the nearly must win blue state of Virginia.  Tim Pawlenty could inspire votes from the teetering Great Lakes states.  Rick Snyder of Michigan could really bring in some blue states, but he is likely disqualified for being old and a fresh face at the same time.  Brian Sandoval might help swing Nevada to Romney while also providing the opportunity to highlight Harry Reid’s role in the destruction of our economy.

This set of criteria will hardly provide a definite pick.  In fact, some points are contradictory.  But it should provide some ideas for people who are looking at the potential VP picks.  I could hardly make a prediction even based on this criteria.  But I do believe it comprises the factors that Romney will be looking at when making his pick.

Fundraising Apples and Oranges

The media is shocked to see the pronounced dead TEA Party raking in cash.  They shouldn’t be.  At the same time, the media is making hay out of Obama contributions compared to Romney’s.  This is a false comparison.  Romney fundraising compared to Obama fundraising is apples and oranges.  Here’s why:

Romney has not positioned himself as an inspiring political figure.  He hasn’t made the election about himself.  He has made it about Obama’s record.  In fact, it should be no surprise at all at all that TEA Party conservatives who consistently split their vote in the primaries for the non-Romney candidates would rather give to the TEA Party than to Romney.  Have no fear, they will vote non-Obama in November.

Obama on the other hand is one of the few inspiring characters left in the Democrat party.  Don’t expect massive donations to a DNC run by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.  Don’t expect people to be inspired to give when they see Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid’s face.  But when Obama starts flashing Forward and talking about how nobody believed in America but him and how he shot Bin Laden and brought our troops home from Iraq, that sells.  Democrats aren’t going to shell out for DNC 2012 congressional elections or DNC superpacs, but they’ll buy Obama T-shirts and bumper stickers and pay for a one in a million shot at having a dinner with the President.

When political commentators measure campaign cash, really they should compare Obama to generic conservative groups and Romney to DNC pacs and superpacs.  In the end, the people who vote for Obama in 2012 will probably vote “D” down the line, and the people who contribute to the TEA Party and other Republican groups will show up to vote against Obama.

Establishment Turns On Tea Party Again

If you need another reason why the conservative movement must insist on purging every last establishment Republican from office, I give you Indiana. It’s Richard Lugar versus Richard Mourdock, the incumbent versus the challenger — RINO versus conservative.

If you missed it, over the weekend, Tea party backed candidate Richard Mourdock collected a Palin power endorsement which means, of course, establishment-man Lugar didn’t. Almost immediately after Palin’s endorsement Mourdock also capitalized big on some sweet national exposure with an interview by Breibart.com. Lugar didn’t. Polls as recent as last week show Mourdock is surging, Lugar not so much. It looks like this vote is going to be close. So what’s a concerned RINO establishment to do?

You guessed it — beg their Democrat step-brothers for help.

Indian’s GOP primary is open to all voters, so the call has gone out. The Young Guns Network, a group led by former aides of Eric Cantor, dropped some change (a cool $100,000) on a mail campaign calling for Democrats to vote for Lugar in the May 8th primary. This follows the $25,000 donation to Lugar’s campaign made by Cantor himself.

This is not the first time the establishment has stood on the street corner, flashed some skin and prostituted themselves out to Democrat voters for a GOP primary. Just a few months back, it occurred during some Romney-Santorum battles. That puckered a few holes. This will too.

You could see this coming. The November 2010 elections put the fear of God into the entrenched RINO Republicans. They realized then, apparently for the first time, that conservatives were serious about bringing their miserable masquerade to an end. But more, conservatives were done waiting. So the RINOs circled the wagons and have worked as hard to discredit conservatives as they have their pretend enemy, the Democrats.

Make no mistake, the battle for the soul of the Republican party is on. As the election year progresses there’s going to be more dirty tricks. It’s a high stakes game. There will be high drama and plenty of mud and muck — everything you want from politics. Combine this with a presidential election that is arguably the most important in the history of the country and you have a major election year — epic.

Strap yourself in because we’re just getting started.

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In The Conservative Crosshairs: Richard Lugar

Richard Lugar is a longtime senator from Indiana but hasn’t owned a home there since 1977. And it is this type of paradox, a political career’s worth, that has Sen. Luger in the conservative’s cross-hairs.

Sen. Lugar was born and raised in Indiana and graduated first in his class at Shortridge High School in 1950. He attended Denison University and went on to obtain a second Bachelors degree and a MA from Pembroke College, Oxford, England. He was also a Rhodes Scholar. He did a stint in the United States Navy from 1956 to 1960 and achieved the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade.

Back in Indiana, he served on the Indianapolis Board of School Commissioners from 1964 to 1967. He was elected mayor of Indianapolis in 1967 at age 35, and served two terms. In 1976, he was elected to the Senate and has been serving Indiana since. This feat makes him the longest-serving Senator in Indiana’s history. TheIndyChannel.com reported in March of 2009, Luger holds a 98% attendance record.

If we stopped here, we see a man that has met with success and has a nice resume. But the current political environment demands we look further into our representatives’ voting records, and it is here, the paradoxes of Richard Lugar begin to accumulate.

Lugar loves of pork, so much in fact, he voted against the Republican majority for a permanent ban on earmarks in 2012. He also voted for the Wall Street Bailout. And the Auto bailout. He has voted to raise the gas tax and he voted for the tax hike in 1990 under George H. W. Bush. Incredibly, he also voted for Cap and Trade, and the ethanol mandate. But there’s more.

DailyKos.com reported on April 9, 2012, Senator Lugar has an F rating from the NRA. He also has an F rating from Gun Owners of America. He is a longtime supporter of the DREAM Act, and even introduced his own version (S. 2205) in 2007. Clearly, this is not the type of voting record that earns one a nomination into the conservative hall of fame.

A final factor to consider is Lugar’s relationship with Obama, perhaps started during their visit to Russia in August, 2005. Lugar is on record praising Obama and his foreign policy in a speech at the National Defense University and Lugar was named an honorary co-chairman of the Obama-Biden inauguration. Many conservatives feel the relationship is a bit too chummy.

So now we know the real Sen. Richard Lugar. He represents Indiana but stays in hotels when he returns “home” to his Indiana constituency, because he hasn’t owned a house there for thirty years. He is a political porker and has no problem spending obscene amounts of money. Nor does he have a problem raising taxes to do so. He doesn’t like guns, he supports amnesty for illegals and plays in the sand box with pals like Obama and Biden. He is a member of that group of politicians that hide behind the label “moderate” (see my piece The Moderate Illusion) in hopes of being able to eat from both plates. Their objective is to perpetuate their careers, not perpetuate America. And that is why he is in the conservative cross-hairs. The RINO hunt is on.

Can the conservative movement really take down a six-term incumbent? Many think it’s a long shot. But polls show the primary race between Lugar and Richard Mourdock, the conservative challenger, is much closer than expected. Will Lugar survive? Or has the time come for this RINO to be put down. On May 8, the Indiana voters will let us know their decision.

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Tea Party Must Push For Voter ID

In this country you need to show an ID to purchase cigarettes or alcohol, buy a gun and enter certain buildings. Oh and you need an ID to apply for welfare and food stamps. Yet, in many places in America you don’t need an ID to vote. How can this be?

A new video seemingly shows just how easy it is to perpetrate voter fraud in this country. Citizen reporter and activist James O’Keefe has released a video showing a man enter a polling station and stating he is Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States. Consider this for a moment. A bearded white man merely claims he is someone else, in this case the second most powerful black man in the country, and, as the video shows, he could have voted under that name. Can it be any more shameful?

Holder, of course, has claimed numerous times there is no cause for concern about systematic voter fraud. Indeed, the government has fought hard against States trying to require personal ID to vote. The right to vote is critical to the American system. The ability to cast a vote for a particular individual to represent you is a luxury not provided in many other parts of the world. The integrity of all aspects of voting — ballot accuracy, instructions, vote counts, reporting  and who is voting– must be protected from abuse at all costs. We are all provided one vote. Call me crazy, but I don’t want some one to have the ability to violate my right to use that vote by merely claiming to be me. Government exists to protect our rights. A personal ID must be required to cast a vote and must be enforced by the government. There is no justifiable counter-point to make. None. Citizens that argue against this point are clearly naïve and need education. Worse, leaders that argue against this are obviously promoting voter fraud. It is scandalous and these people should be immediately removed from their place of authority for not fulfilling their oaths of office.

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It’s Tea Party Time in Ohio’s 2nd District

 The result of apparent political oversight, not many thought Ohio Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt to be in trouble. After all, the Tea Party is dead, right? Wrong. She was upset in the March 6, Republican primary by political newbie Brad Wenstrup. So, it’s tea party time in Ohio’s 2nd district.

Schmidt has her flaws. Although cleared of wrong-doing, she carries an ethics blemish, has a penchant for tax increases, a track record of earmarks and spending and has been labeled as an under-achiever in her local papers. Her claim to fame, Fox News reports, is that, “after joining Congress, Schmidt nearly triggered a fist fight on the House floor when she criticized then-Rep. Jack Murtha, D-Pa., a former Marine, for his call for the U.S. to withdraw forces from Iraq. During a debate in the House chamber, Schmidt looked at Murtha and proclaimed “cowards cut and run. Marines never do.”

Not a great comment to direct at a former Marine.

Wenstrup has little political experience. He was appointed to the Cincinnati Board of Health by Mayor Mark Mallory (D) in 2009. He is pro-life and supports the repeal of Obama-care because he feels it  “hurts patients and will hurt our ability to recruit and retain doctors”. He is also a “proud gun owner and life-long member of the NRA” and is concerned the constitutional right to bear arms is constantly under attack by “Obama and his far-left cronies.” 

And so, the Tea-party, labeled DOA by the lefties, with help from Campaign for Primary Accountability, has quietly replaced a tarnished tax and spender with an Army Reserve, MD that did a tour in Iraq. District 2 is Republican heavy so Wenstrup’s lack of experience may not hurt him too badly come November. Hopefully.

Is The Tea Party Dead Or Alive?

There’s a proclamation being shouted across the land. Have you heard it? The Tea Party is dead. This declaration is being put forth by a variety of dubious sources. It comes from agenda driven liberals, the Republican establishment and uninformed bloggers. This presumption is based upon intentional misinformation by those with an agenda and it is based upon faulty analysis by those that don’t.

It has been three years since the movement first burst onto the national scene. After dominating the headlines for more than a year, the movement, according to these babbling bloggers, has wilted and died. There is no credible evidence presented, no autopsy report, no cause of death explained. No, apparently the pronouncement is based upon the shallow and amateurish observation that, after last year’s debt ceiling showdown, there is a lack of headlines.

To us, living in the age of 24/7 news cycle and having information accessible in seconds via the internet, three years seems like a long time. And therein, lies the rub. To fill this absolutely massive niche, the media, to stay relevant and survive, has been forced to change. The mission now is to have something, anything, out there to be consumed. True journalism, based upon investigation, corroboration and objectivity has devolved into opinion-ism. The journalist has been forced to make room for the spin-doctor and the interview has been replaced by shouting matches. Today it is far more important to have something to actually publish than something to actually say. No, a lack of silly, ultimately meaningless headlines thrust upon us by movement haters with an agenda, does not prove the movement is dead. Uncountable government policies have been approved or rejected without the appropriate headlines. It doesn’t mean they aren’t real. Furthermore, a lack of public presence as a result of less rallies doesn’t mean it’s dead. A lack of rallies can be interpreted another way, that marches and speeches were fine to start but it is time to get down to business (we’ll explore this shortly).

The Tea Party is not a political party. It is a movement. It is a collection of vastly different folks from across this massive country, with a handful of common ideas and concerns. From a political perspective this is a weakness because the movement lacks cohesion, can send mixed messages and has no leader to serve as a rallying point. But it is also a strength. A leaderless movement, lacking a specific target, is less vulnerable to attack. Ask yourself, just how many headlines, articles and interviews can be presented with sweeping generalizations about the movement being racist before it becomes repetitive and boring? You see, there comes a point of diminishing returns. If you are in the business of attracting an audience being repetitive and mundane is a fatal flaw.

One can present the idea, and I will, that the Republican administrations of Bush, Sr. and Bush, Jr., were embarrassing, if not insulting, to many registered Republicans. Add the Democratic administrations of Clinton and Obama and you have a situation wherein, Republican conservatives have been getting their butt kicked for some twenty years. How much political correctness and nanny-state policy do Democrat and the Republican establishment expect them to endure? Is it any wonder that Obama’s national health-care, ridiculous spending and intentional disregard for the Constitution set them off?

Enduring two decades of insult is painful. But it is also educational. Many valuable lessons can be learned from twenty years of disregard. And conservatives have learned one of the most important: you start from the ground up. Most on the left refuse to believe conservatives have any staying power because they see them as nothing more than red-necks, racists or religious zealots clinging to their guns and Bibles. But the Republican establishment knows the truth, and they are concerned. You don’t dust-off a relic like Bob Dole during the primary season unless you’re feeling threatened. And as further proof, I’ll remind you of the 2010 elections.

Take a survey from the American people about those elections and far too many won’t know anything about them. Some, a bit more informed, will respond correctly, that it was eye-opening because of the change in the House. Republicans needed 39 Democratic seats to win back the U.S. House and almost doubled it, exceeding the goal easily. Other Americans, even better informed, realize that in the Senate, Republicans fell just three seats short of taking control. This occurred, of course, under the umbrella of a liberal president supposedly “given a mandate for change” from the people. Yet, even this is a surface level understanding of what actually happened during November, 2010.

The reality being hidden from the American people by liberal-leaning media, and rarely touched upon by babbling bloggers, is the fact that the 2010 elections were an utter disaster for Democrats, going way beyond losing the House and being threatened in the Senate. Fueled by the conservative movement, Republicans gained 680 seats in state legislative races. Republicans now control 25 state legislatures compared to 15 controlled by Democrats. Five states switched to GOP control in both chambers and Republicans took control of 29 of the 50 State Governorships. Clearly, this sounds a little more significant than just “Republicans won the House”, yes? Let’s not forget, a big bonus from massive legislative wins means having the ability to redraw Congressional districts. This makes it much more difficult for targeted incumbents to get re-elected. You don’t think Barney Frank is retiring because he’s tired of power, do you? He’s jumping from a sinking ship. Eighteen Democrats have announced they are retiring. Why? Could it be that, like Barney Frank, most of them see the writing on the wall?

However, as a fledgling movement based upon principle and ideas, not on candidate names, conservatives often found themselves in a tight spot. Do you choose an established politician or an inexperienced newcomer as your candidate? So, mistakes were made. But another valuable lesson was learned. It is important not to rush, to take your time and develop your candidates. The ideas from the movement are applied to the candidate, not the other way around. And that is why the Republican establishment as much as the left, would like you to believe the Tea Party is dead. Career Republican politicians know they are in peril. If they maintain the status quo, and the conservative movement pushes forward, they are on the chopping block. It is better for them to try and discredit it and stop it now, while it is in its infancy.

In order to establish meaningful change, not just some junker policy passed to shut the public up, you must start at the bottom. You build the foundation of a house first, then install walls and a roof. In nature, plants send down roots before stems and flowers. Already, just 13 months removed from the mid-terms we are seeing changes. Do not be fooled by the lefties and their constant whining of grid-lock. In order to turn around a runaway train the first thing you need to do is stop it. But there is more. We see significant budget, union-busting, and voter-fraud movements from states and cities throughout the country. I ask you, seriously, what was expected from the Tea Party within a year or two, a president? Not likely.

At this stage, the focus must be recruiting volunteers, holding seminars and examining legislation on the local and state levels. This is not glamorous and it is certainly not headline material for NBC. But it is necessary. The conservative movement is seeking a change in the country. And with enough change at the local and state levels a conservative presidency will come. It will be inevitable.

The reality is the conservative movement, symbolized by the Tea Party, is not dead. It is being ignored by those that won’t acknowledge it in hopes that, by doing so, it will fade away. It is also being hidden from you by those that fear it and it is being done an injustice by uninformed, babbling bloggers. If the Tea Party movement is dead why is the conservative influence so palatable? We know it is because RINO Mitt Romney talks of dumping Obama-care while on the other side of the stage, thirty year, belt-way insider Newt Gingrich is talking about chopping government agencies. There is no doubt, Tea Party members would enjoy a true conservative candidate. But they also clearly understand that there exists degrees of preference. A conservative candidate is better than a moderate, a moderate better than a RINO. And as for the presidency, a Republican is preferable to a Democrat. And therefore, it is an electable Republican president that is the important goal this year. A conservative would be ideal but is not absolutely critical because the reality is, all of the current Republican candidates know to whom they must answer.

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The Republicans’ fading colours – The Spectator Magazine

Link to the original article:

http://www.spectator.co.uk/essays/all/7648068/web-exclusive-the-republicans-fading-colours.thtml

 

Web exclusive: The Republicans’ fading colours

11 February 2012

CPAC Review essay by White House 2012 writer David Cowan published on The Spectator magazine website

 

Growing up in the 1960s, my primary school in Cambridge had an outdoor roofless boy’s toilets, and we happily enjoyed urinating up the wall. It was a sign we were getting further up the school when one day we were able to urinate over the wall itself — much to the annoyance of people on the other side. This memory came to mind this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington DC over the weekend, the annual gathering of some ten thousand political activists. This year CPAC was a pissing contest to see who was the most conservative.

The three Republican frontrunners, Santorum, Romney and Gingrich, in that order, sought to reach the base and convince activists about their conservative qualities. The themes they all offered were: what’s wrong with the Obama administration; a shopping list of what conservative policies would work better; an appeal to American exceptionalism; and a return to the founding principles of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The three candidates are looking for the right to fight an Obama administration seen as somewhat Carteresque, from failed election promises through to the ideological infighting. Obama, though personally liked (Ann Coulter joked he would make a nice neighbour, unless you’re Chinese, then he’d keep borrowing stuff), is seen as ineffective and evasive.

To reenergise America, the candidates laid claim to the mantle of Ronald Reagan, frequently invoking his name and sunny disposition. Yet herein lies the rub. Reagan defeated Carter with ideas for the economy and foreign policy, successfully combining a conservative vision and charm to appeal to swing voters. At CPAC 1974, Reagan gave his famous ‘bold colours, not pale pastels’ speech, asserting conservative principles. This weekend showed that some of the colours have long since faded.

Things were certainly off-colour last time I was here, back in 2009, as defeated activists sought to pick themselves up after Obama’s coronation. The biggest cheers then were for Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh, as they offered succour. Newt entered to his incongruous theme tune ‘Eye of the Tiger’, but instead of entering stage right he walked in through the crowd, parting them Moses-like, shaking hands and hugging supporters.

The danger three years on is, of course, an election that will see CPAC 2013 take place after a second Obama inauguration. Expect then a sinking sense of what might have been. For many American conservatives a Republican failure this year will exacerbate what they fear most: n irreversible dependency culture and Europeanisation. Daniel Hannan flew into DC to warn on just this point, expressing his amazement to rapt delegates that while Europe is driving off the cliff they can see America in their rear-view mirror, overtaking them.

Back in 2009 something else happened at CPAC. Sarah Palin was slated to speak, but failed to appear either in person or via a hastily announced satellite link. This was the signal that Sarah was taking the celebrity high road, rather than the political low road. This year, however, she did appear as closing speaker to offer the benediction — but not the one most people expected. She did not endorse Gingrich, as he himself alluded to in his own speech by quoting her husband Todd. She called for unity, but convoluted as ever, Palin said ‘whoever our nominee is we must work together to get him over the finishing line, and then next year we will have a true conservative in the Oval office’ — only to go on Fox news on Sunday afternoon to say she is still to be convinced Romney that is indeed a conservative.

Despite this, and despite the Santorum surge, Romney will see this conference as mission accomplished — reinforced by the CPAC Straw Poll narrowly backing his candidature. Out of the three candidates it looks seemed that Romney pissed the highest this weekend. And, while still divided, all the delegates would agree about who should be standing on the other side of the wall, on the receiving end.

CPAC and Sarah Palin mark a turn to unity

 

A vintage fiery performance: Palin told delegates we'll keep our guns, God and Constitution, and Obama can keep the change.

The most remarkable event of today’s CPAC was Sarah Palin endorsing unity. Instead of showing her support for any one candidate, she called for unity, saying that whoever the nominee is the GOP must defeat Obama. Whoever the nominee is conservatives must work together, she told an ecstatic audience, and the nation will have a true conservative in the White House.

The unity message, great!

It followed the announcement that Mitt Romney had narrowly won the CPAC Straw Poll, following his mission to the conference to prove his conservative credentials. It seems it may be mission accomplished. Certainly Romney will be feeling a lot better about his appeal to the conservative base after today.

The other remarkable performance came from the ever-popular Daniel Hannan, British Member for the European Parliament. Warning America not to go down the European road, he was amazed that while Europe is driving off the cliff they can see America in their rear-view mirror and overtaking them!

After his talk, I had a good conversation with him, as we walked through the hotel, including a detour through the kitchens! I asked him if he endorsed any candidates? He, just a little coyly, suggested it was difficult to choose, but stressed it was important for the party to unite behind a candidate and get Obama, who earlier in the day John Bolton called the “first post-American President”, out of the White House.

Daniel Hannan warns America not to follow Europe down a path and off a cliff

Hannan also urged me to write that the GOP must stop having so many debates, as it is only serving to divide the party. He also said Republicans need to focus on the budget, not all the side issues that divide conservatives. With that he headed for the airport, though many didn’t want him to leave and asked if he could be made an honorary American instead.

This has been an important few days for conservatives, and may finally signal the road to unity. Romney should start to pull firmly into the lead, and though Santorum and Gingrich will no doubt continue, they will see their numbers dwindle.

The New York Times carried a report ahead of Sarah Palin’s speech that she didn’t think a brokered RNC would be a problem. This is just a liberal wet dream. The reality is, Sarah Palin has signalled this important moment, and shown that there is less stomach for infighting.

I picked up my media credentials on Thursday at CPAC fearful of a divided party that would succeed only in rolling out the red carpet for President Obama. After three days, I happily left making my way through the handful of sorry-looking OWS protesters feeling that I can see November from here.

Newt Gingrich is Yesterday’s Man

 

Will the Dream Team be Benched?

Newt Gingrich was introduced at CPAC by Calista, who generously thanked the many kind Americans they have met on the campaign trail. When he came on stage to an excited crowd, it was clearly no 2009, when he had entered through the crowd to his signature “Eye of the Tiger.” Maybe it’s the effect of copyright denying him playing his tune, but it seemed to take Newt a while to get going.

His focus was on the economy, though if he’s going to present an economic plan to America he will have to find a better way than invoking the name of Reagan every two minutes. He recalled Reagan’s bold colors speech at CPAC, and recalled what he achieved, which liberals thought then was “unrealistic” but turned out so successful.

It was almost halfway through the 10 minute slot that he finally got the crowd going, when he sent Prime Minister Harper a message that Canada won’t need China in a Gingrich White House.

He joked that we can track Fedex parcels, but the government can’t track 11 million illegal immigrants. Newt offered his own innovative solution, to send 11 million parcels to immigrants and track them to find them.

Newt promised he intends to change Washington, not accommodate it, prompting this observer to ponder when he decided to stop accommodating DC, given his ultimate insider status. Really, his attacks on the Washington, Republican or political “establishment” rings hollow for this consummate DC schmoozer.

His schmoozing has led him to form his own “conservative dream team” to challenge his supposed bête noire establishment, and you can count how many failed presidential nominee candidates are in the line-up for yourself.

The speech in truth hit the two problems: the GOP will not win by trumpeting Reagan in favour of substance, and Gingrich will not convince many beyond his base that he is anything but an establishment man. In both cases, he simply comes across as yesterday’s man.

Who will bring us a bright tomorrow?

Mitt Flashes His Credentials with a Smile: See His CPAC Speech in its Entirety Here

Will Romney show his conservative rivals the door?

Bookmark and Share  A smiling Mitt Romney came to CPAC today with one thing on his mind, the need to prove his conservative credentials to the base of conservative activists. Telling the audience that he knew many of them came to conservatism via Hayek or Edmund Burke, Romney said his path to conservatism was paved by family, faith and his work.

Romney said he believes “we are poised for victory in November”, but beating Obama is only the first step to saving America, which has suffered from weak leadership and a bankrupt ideology. Obama has created so much unnecessary pain for Americans, he told the audience.

Romney reminded listeners that America is made exceptional by the people, before making the obligatory attack on Washington. He said Obama is the poster child for arrogant government.

It has always been clear that Romney’s kind of conservatism is fiscal, and he argued “if you are not fiscally conservative, you are bankrupt”. He told a cheering audience that he will finally get rid of the deficit, and “as the first step I will eliminate Obamacare.”

Referring to his competitors for the nomination, Romney said GOP nominees are not different in opposition to Obama or conservatism, but by experience and judgement. He also distinguished himself by saying “I have never worked a day in Washington.” He then joked “I served in government but didn’t inhale.” He said he wants to take his experience to Washington, ending his speech by declaring “I will come to Washington, I will change Washington, then I will go home to the family I love.”

After his speech, Romney joined the crowd, no doubt to judge just how much this crowd has embraced him as a conservative.

Is Washington alive to the Sound of Santorum?

Santorum after his speech walks by WhiteHouse12, will he walk into the White House?

Rick Santorum appeared on stage with his family, introducing them he said they were not the von Trapp family and they weren’t about to sing. However as he set out on his speech to offer sweet music to conservative ears, he seemed to stumble a little, the speakers version of being out of tune.

But, he did get warmed up. He hit a number of high notes:

We must trust in “the conservative vision of bottom up” and show “how Obama policies have failed” America. This is what wins the race, Santorum crooned.

But he struck a bum note when he said we are not going to win this election with the candidate with the most money to beat up his opponent. Who could he possibly mean?

A sweeter note was sounded when he explained how liberals use sentimental ideas of stewardship to advance radical environmental policies.

Then onto a higher set of notes, when he reminded delegates that our rights come from a higher authority than the government. He was as clear as a bell when he chimed in that he is in this race because Obamacare is a game changer.

Rick Santorum was introduced as the only chance of winning in November as a fresh face, but there was little fresh material in this show.

Karen Santorum makes plans to let Rick go to exhibit hall, will she be making plans to change the White House decor?

That said he ended on a high note with “You are blessed to live in a time when America needs you”. He called on delegates to live in honor, ending with “The ‘how’ we are of America is the Constitution, the ‘who’ we are of America is the Declaration.”

To those who support Santorum, this speech will have been music to their ears. Whether he can light up the election with the sound of his brand of music remains to be seen.

 

 

 

Obama Raised Taxes on Buffet’s Secretary!

Populism Gone Wrong

Last night, Warren Buffet’s secretary occupied  a place of honor as an invited guest of the Obama’s to the State of the Union address.  She got to sit with the First Lady, sort of like the Iraqi woman who was invited by Bush and showed off her ink stained finger for voting.  So what exactly did Buffet’s secretary symbolize?  The downtrodden middle class who somehow pay more taxes than billionaires like her boss Warren Buffet.

There is one glaring problem with Obama using Debbie Bosanek, Buffet’s secretary, as a prop for class warfare.  As Paul Roderick Gregory with Forbes Magazine calculates, Buffet’s secretary makes at least $200,000 a year.  Fortunately, she can still call herself part of the 99% because at $200,000 a year, she only made the top 3% of income earners, not the top 1%.

But here is the best part: Obamacare raises taxes on individuals making more than $200,000.  Because of Obamacare, starting next year Warren Buffet’s secretary will pay an additional 3.8% on investment income, and an additional .9% in Medicare taxes for a total tax hike of 4.7%.  And if Obama gets his way and the Bush tax rates are eliminated for individuals who make more than $200,000, Obama will have effectively raised Buffet’s secretary’s taxes by 7.7%, or possibly as much as 9.6% if she is in the highest tax bracket.

Good job, Mr. President.  Thank you for that ever-so-perfect State of the Union prop.

Speaking of Buffet

In case you were wondering why Obama canceled the Keystone pipeline, a move the Washington Post called “insanity”, we may get some clues by following the money.  According to Bloomberg, Obama supporter Warren Buffet stands to profit big time from cancellation of the pipeline.  Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway owns the rail companies who will transport the oil in lieu of a pipeline. Crony capitalism at its best, at the cost of thousands of American jobs.  Oh yeah, and for you environmentalists who opposed the pipeline, what sort of impact do you think transporting that oil on trains will have on the environment?  Maybe you should re-think this one.

Jacksonville TEA Party Straw Poll Picks Newt

In the first ever Angie’s Subs Caucus, TEA Party members from across the Northeast gathered at Angie’s Subs in Jacksonville, Florida to discuss local and national politics and have a straw poll.  323 votes were cast and the winner was Newt with 138 votes, or 43%.  Second place?  Ron Paul, gaining 26% of the vote.  Romney finished third.

Thursday, Jacksonville will be hosting the last debate before voters in this key state hold their primary.  Recent polls have wavered back and forth with Newt erasing a double digit deficit to now have a slight lead in most polls.

Rubio Flexes Influence

Newt Gingrich pulled an add calling Mitt Romney “anti-immigrant” after Marco Rubio called out the ad as deceptive.  What this shows is the incredible respect the current Republican godfathers have for the 2010 class.  And this is well deserved.  Marco Rubio, Alan West, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul, and a host of Republican governors including Scott Walker, Rick Scott, and others, represent the type of conservatism that the TEA Party loves, but that also resonates with Americans.  Part of the reason the 2012 Presidential field has been disappointing for some is because the giants of 2012 pale in comparison to the greatness of the younger Republican generation.

 

There Will Only Be One American Running for President In 2012

 

A Populist Agenda?

There will only be one American for president in 2012, and I am not talking about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

The 2012 election is in effect a Referendum on American Capitalism. If the Republicans choose Mitt Romney, as they surely must, he will represent American Capitalism. President Barack Obama will represent Europeanized State Capitalism. Go ahead America, make your choice.

President Obama wants the decision about who is too wealthy and who is not to be made by government. He wants a universal healthcare system. He wants a government-sponsored state capitalism to engineer poverty reduction. His “populist” agenda is nothing of the sort, it merely appeals to the lowest common denominator and will lead to European-style dependency and an entitlement culture.

What he doesn’t seem to want to do is create wealth. Who will create the wealth? His program can in no way be financed by the current parlous state of the nation’s finances, after all you can only print so much money and make so many promises. Look at the current state of Europe, do you want an America where states will be forced to bail out other failing states; a new republic of economic basketcases?

In President Obama’s “State of the Campaign” address, he sought to deflect from the campaign that on his watch there are now more than 13 million people out of work and the government debt stands at a record high of $15.2 trillion, up from $10.6 trillion when he took office. State? A complete mess!

Yet, conservatives in America have joined the baying OWS crowd in calling for equality, but in so doing they are asking the government to control the economy. There is a cultural shift which lies behind the attack on “big business”, “Wall Street” and “Fat cats.” This shift is best described as “resentment,”a well known emotion in Europe.

Whoever you support for the GOP nomination, the attack by conservatives on Romney’s wealth is the most absurd aspect of the current debate. I always thought doing well was to be admired in America. There was a good piece by David Brooks in the New York Times recently, where he made the wise observation of Romney: He may have character flaws, but he does not have the character flaws normally associated with great wealth. His signature is focus and persistence.The wealth issue is a sideshow.

Indeed, it is a sideshow! Front row spectator, with a wide grin, is President Obama. Think on that my friends.

The practical outcome is that “big business” becomes state-owned business instead, as it is in China, Russia, and the Middle East. The free market if not reaching an end becomes state-controlled markets. Who will defend the world against this State Capitalism if America, the paragon of liberal Capitalism, does not?

President Obama, OWS, and conservative attacks on Mitt Romney are all part of weakening America’s ability to ensure free markets, but, hey, if that’s what you want America, it’s a free country…but not for much longer.

The issue at the heart of the 2012 election will be whether America wants to continue with American Capitalism, in spite of its flaws, or embrace the intellectually flawed and alien European style State Capitalism. Get it right folks, President Obama is not a Socialist, and Europe is not Socialist. Communism and Socialism have failed, and they have been replaced by coalitions of single issue groups and state power interests.

President Obama is a statist. Europe is statist. The economy is the tool of state power and control over our lives, not in the interest of the working classes, and certainly not the middle class, but in the interest of the elite statists who “know better”.

The Italian Marxist writer Antonio Gramschi stated: “The revolutionary forces have to take civil society before they take the state, and therefore have to build a coalition of oppositional groups united under a hegemonic banner which usurps the dominant or prevailing hegemony.” What he argued was that leftists don’t need a revolution, they need to get their hands on the levers of power, which they have done in Europe for a number of decades…and now in the White House.

The constant whining “civil society” approach of Leftists is the tactic they use, and it is being used to usurp American Capitalism. President Obama has been reading Gramschi’s playbook, and conservatives are falling for it.

 

Capitalism a Casualty of Campaign

What is happening to the Republican field?  It made some sense when Cain was attacked for being a businessman with no foreign policy experience and no political experience.  That was perhaps a fair shot at an outsider businessman candidate.

Then came the attacks on Newt for having Freddie Mac as a client.  Newt not only had Freddie as a client, but his firm made over a million dollars.  Suddenly, it was like Newt himself had caused the economic collapse.  Reasonable conservatives told me that this was insurmountable.  How could Newt, a high level business consultant, have Freddie Mac as a client?  His fellow candidates tried to make it sound like Newt was on their payroll.  Suddenly populism had overtaken the Republican party.

Then came the attacks on Romney for his time at Bain Capital.  Romney’s company created new businesses, reorganized and saved businesses, and occasionally tried to save businesses and failed.  As with any free American enterprise, Bain Capital sometimes downsized and let people go.  Romney’s opponents have seized on this, especially with the ignorant populist anti-wall street sentiment in the country today, and have tried to use this against Romney.  They have painted him as an out of touch, insanely rich “Mr. Burns” who would go in, take over small companies, and fire everyone just to make a buck.  Here’s an idea, how about a millionaire’s surtax on evil rich people like Romney?  Oops, we just became liberals.

I know, political rhetoric is political rhetoric.  You say whatever it takes to win.  But then came the really disappointing moment.  GOP rivals jumped on Romney’s statement that he likes to be able to fire people.  Romney was not saying that he likes to randomly fire people, or likes to fire employees like Bain Capital did.  Huntsman attacked Romney directly for the comment, while Newt released a video exploiting workers who had been fired as a result of Bain Capital’s work.  Romney was actually talking about the ability to not have to buy insurance, or to drop an insurance company that isn’t serving his needs.  But what does context matter in politics?  Shame on them for this line of attack.  You know it’s bad when you are attacking a moderate Republican, and even Ron Paul is standing up for the moderate.  In fact, my hat is off to Ron Paul for defending Romney against this dishonest line of attack.  Newt also eventually came to Romney’s defense about the misquote.

Newt at this point will likely lose Florida, which means he will lose the primary.  Up until this week, at least he had the opportunity to exit with his head held high.  Up to now he had run a very honest, positive campaign.  When he did go negative, it was with honesty.  His best shot at salvaging the honor in his campaign at this point is a humble apology for attacking Romney for being a capitalist.

One final note, may the best capitalist win.  Since when has populism won over conservatives?  Heck, what’s the point?  If Newt is evil for having Freddie Mac as a paying client and Romney is evil for what he did with Bain Capital, then we need to re-elect Obama.  Imagine if Trump had stayed in the race.

 

Editors note: correction from the originally posted article.  Newt did defend Romney against the attack based on his statement about firing insurance companies.  However Newt has attacked Romney for the jobs lost through Bain Capital.

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