Combs Spouts Off

"It's my opinion and it's very true."

  • Calendar

    June 2020
    S M T W T F S
    « Jan    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    282930  
  • Recent Posts

  • Tag Cloud

  • Archives

Posts Tagged ‘pence’

“Stay the course”: right for Dems, wrong for GOP

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2006

It’s rather ironic, isn’t it? The Democrats succeeded in last Tuesday’s elections largely by appearing cleaner ethically and running moderate and conservative candidates. So Nancy Pelosi wants to celebrate the success of that strategy by dumping Steny Hoyer, who implemented it, and making an ethically challenged moonbat, John Murtha, the new majority leader. Even the Washington Post was struck by the stupidity of that:

Mr. Murtha’s candidacy is troubling for several reasons, beginning with his position on the war in Iraq. A former Marine, Mr. Murtha deserves credit for sounding an alarm about the deteriorating situation a year ago. But his descriptions of the stakes there have been consistently unrealistic, and his solutions irresponsible. …

Mr. Murtha would also be the wrong choice as majority leader after an election in which a large number of voters expressed unhappiness with Washington business as usual. Mr. Murtha has been a force against stronger ethics and lobbying rules. …

As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, he has been an avid participant in the orgy of earmarking, including numerous projects sought by a lobbying firm that employed his brother. During the Abscam congressional bribery investigation in 1980, Mr. Murtha was videotaped discussing a bribe with an undercover FBI agent. ("You know, we do business for a while, maybe I’ll be interested, maybe I won’t, you know," Mr. Murtha said.) He wasn’t indicted, but it’s fair to say the episode raised questions about his integrity.

Of course, there’s plenty of irony and stupidity on the other side of the aisle, too. The Republicans lost a bunch of seats due to their ethically challenged, unprincipled, inarticulate, and ineffective leadership. So, of course, they’re poised to stick with that leadership. Bob Novak thinks that’s remarkably stupid:

The depleted House Republican caucus, a minority in the next Congress, convenes at 8 a.m. in the Capitol Friday on the brink of committing an act of supreme irrationality. The House members blame their leadership for tasting the bitter dregs of defeat. Yet, the consensus so far is that, in secret ballot, they will re-elect some or all of those leaders.

In private conversation, Republican members of Congress blame Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt in no small part for their midterm election debacle. Yet, either Boehner, Blunt or both are expected to be returned to their leadership posts Friday. For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party."

Last Wednesday, I expressed my support for Mike Pence as minority leader and John Shadegg as minority whip, noting that the Republicans made a mistake when they chose Blunt over Shadegg in January. The more I read about Pence and Shadegg, the more I hope they can pull off the upset.

Pence said after the election, "The era of big Republican government is over," and issued a vision statement to back that up:

While the scandals of the 109th Congress harmed our cause, the real scandal in Washington D.C. is runaway federal spending, and our voters said, “Enough is enough.”

After 1994, we were a Majority committed to a balanced federal budget, entitlement reform and advancing the principles of a limited federal government. In recent years, our Majority voted to expand the federal government’s role in education by nearly 100 percent, created the largest new entitlement in forty years, and pursued spending policies that created record deficits, national debt and rampant earmark spending.

This was not in the Contract with America. Our opponents will say that the American people rejected our Republican vision. I say the American people did not quit on the Contract with America-we did. And in so doing, we severed the bonds of trust between our government and our most dedicated supporters.

I heard Pence interviewed on the radio this morning, and I was impressed. It’s not just issues, ideology, and vision, either — personality, charisma, and articulateness are important, too, especially when you know the media will be against you. Dennis Hastert cost the Republicans votes every time he stepped in front of a camera and microphone. Pence is a former talk radio host, and it shows.

The more I read about Boehner and Blunt, on the other hand, the more certain I am that "staying the course" with the current leadership would be a monumental mistake. Boehner once handed out checks from the tobacco lobby on the floor of the House while it was in session. Blunt defended earmarks at the Heritage Foundation just last Thursday. Both supported No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement, the abandonment of the Contract’s ethics and accountability rules, and boatloads of pork.

Staying with the Boehner – Blunt "business as usual" team could severely damage the GOP nationwide in 2008. And that, in turn, could have disastrous consequences for the 2010 redistricting. Do you Republicans really want to risk returning to minority status for another generation just so these pricks in Washington can protect their perks and pork?

Check out this video in support of Pence and Shadegg (2:21):

[BTW, if you’re on a low-speed connection and the video keeps stopping, that means it’s playing faster than you’re downloading it, so the buffer keeps emptying. Just go get a cup of coffee or a beer or something — give it a minute or two. Once most of it has been downloaded into your buffer (the line at the bottom is red most of the way across), drag the slider back to the beginning and start it playing again. In case it helps, here’s the direct YouTube link.]
 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The dinosaurs are still powerful

Posted by Richard on November 13, 2006

There’s been no shortage of analyses and finger-pointing to explain the GOP’s "thumpin’" this year. It was Iraq. No, it was corruption. They were too extreme. No, they abandoned their conservative principles. Immigrant-bashing hurt. No, failure to close the borders hurt. And on and on… I think one of the primary causes is something almost no one’s discussed — and some, like Dean Barnett, explicitly rejected. 

Hugh Hewitt, lots of bloggers, and other voices of the "new media" like to disparage the "dinosaur media" and point to declining ratings for network news, falling readership and revenue for the big liberal papers, and other signs of the declining influence of the mainstream media. They exaggerate the truth. The dinosaurs may be in decline, but they’re still immensely powerful and can crush you when they make the effort. And, boy, did they make the effort this time!

Yes, it’s the same media as in 2002 and 2004, as Barnett noted. But, (a) they really pulled out all the stops this time, and (b) their relentless propaganda campaign against Bush and the Republicans had a cumulative effect.

Lenin said, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth." After hearing it repeated as fact a bazillion times, most Americans believe that Bush lied about Iraq’s WMD threat and Saddam’s support of terrorists. After three years of negative stories from Iraq outnumbering positive ones by approximately ten thousand to one, most Americans believe the situation is hopeless.

Story after story about DeLay, Cunningham, Foley, and Ney hammered into the American consciousness the Democratic talking points about the "Republican culture of corruption." But there’s nary a media mention of more than 70 Democrats with ethical or legal problems, including Reps. Jefferson, Murtha, Rangel, Mollohan, Conyers, and Schakowsky, Sens. Boxer and Reid, and Govs. Blagojevich and Corzine.

For sure, the Republicans’ wounds were largely self-inflicted. After 2002, Hastert dismantled the Contract with America’s ethics and accountability rules, and the Republicans became arrogant, fat, and lazy. They governed like Democrats, and the American people rejected that, as they usually do. Meanwhile, the Democrats recruited a bunch of candidates who sounded like Republicans, and the American people elected them.

If they’re going to turn things around in 2008, the Republicans need to clean house. They need new leaders like Reps. Pence and Shadegg, and Sens. Kyle and DeMint. They need to embrace the primary candidates backed by the Club for Growth — 7out of 8 were elected this year.

But they need one more thing: an effective strategy for countering the power of those media dinosaurs, because they’re not dead yet.
 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Good election news

Posted by Richard on November 8, 2006

As regular reades no doubt could guess, I’m not exactly cheerful about spending the next two years hearing about Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel, and Judiciary Chair John Conyers. And I’m disappointed by the departure of Rumsfeld. Nevertheless, I’m basically a "glass half-full" sort of guy, and I think there’s some good news related to yesterday’s elections.

One big bright spot: the property rights protection movement racked up an impressive string of victories. Ten of twelve ballot measures passed, and eight of them are constitutional amendments (one victory, Louisiana, was in September). Only California and Idaho defeated citizen initiatives dealing with eminent domain. They were thrilled yesterday at the Institute for Justice:

“Election Day usually reveals how polarized public opinion can be as campaigns focus on highly divisive issues.  Today, however, the vast majority of voters across the country all agreed that the fundamental right to property must be protected,” said Chip Mellor, president and general counsel of the Institute for Justice, which represented the homeowners in Kelo before the Supreme Court.  “Citizens around the nation agree that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kelo was wrong.  As we’re seeing tonight’s results, this issue cuts across party lines, state borders and socioeconomic levels.”

“The American people are furious their property rights are up for grabs to the highest bidder,” said senior attorney Scott Bullock, who argued the Kelo case for the Institute.  “They understand that the U.S. Supreme Court declared open season on everyone’s property and the resulting momentum for eminent domain reform shows no sign of slowing.  The significant margins in the votes today show just how wrong a narrow majority of the Supreme Court was.”

The margins were truly significant, typically three or four to one.

Here’s another bit of good news: Dennis Hastert won’t run for minority leader. I’ve made clear my low opinion of Hastert. I think he bears much of the blame for the Republican losses. Hastert helped create the "culture of corruption" by dismantling the 1994 ethics and accountability reforms. His lack of principles, inarticulateness, and focus on wielding the levers of power helped create the widespread distrust of the Republican Party.

If the Republicans really have been chastened and want to mend their ways, in January they’ll follow Human Events’ advice and elect Mike Pence minority leader. Furthermore, they should correct a mistake they made when DeLay departed and pick John Shadegg over Roy Blunt for the number two post, minority whip.

More good news came via Josh Poulson, who argued that the GOP lost because it "abandoned its libertarian wing," and cited a couple of interesting related items. One is this post at Economist.com about the growing clout of Libertarians:

GLUM Republicans might turn their attention to the Libertarian Party to vent their anger. Libertarians are a generally Republican-leaning constituency, but over the last few years, their discontent has grown plain. It isn’t just the war, which some libertarians supported, but the corruption and insider dealing, and particularly the massive expansion of spending. Mr Bush’s much-vaunted prescription drug benefit for seniors, they fume, has opened up another gaping hole in America’s fiscal situation, while the only issue that really seemed to energise congress was passing special laws to keep a brain-damaged woman on life support.

In two of the seats where control looks likely to switch, Missouri and Montana, the Libertarian party pulled more votes than the Democratic margin of victory. Considerably more, in Montana. If the Libertarian party hadn’t been on the ballot, and the three percent of voters who pulled the "Libertarian" lever had broken only moderately Republican, Mr Burns would now be in office.

The other item is Sen. Tom Coburn’s statement on the elections:

“The overriding theme of this election, however, is that voters are more interested in changing the culture in Washington than changing course in Washington, D.C. This election was not a rejection of conservative principles per se, but a rejection of corrupt, complacent and incompetent government.

“A recent CNN poll found that 54 percent of Americans believe government is doing too much while only 37 percent want government to do more. The results of this election reflect that … the Democrats who won or who ran competitive races sounded more like Ronald Reagan than Lyndon Johnson.

“This election does not show that voters have abandoned their belief in limited government; it shows that the Republican Party has abandoned them. In fact, these results represent the total failure of big government Republicanism.

“The Republican Party now has an opportunity to rediscover its identity as a party for limited government, free enterprise and individual responsibility. Most Americans still believe in these ideals, which reflect not merely the spirit of 1994 or the Reagan Revolution, but the vision of our founders. If Republicans present real ideas and solutions based on these principles we will do well in the future.

Read the whole thing. If you’re a discouraged limited-government type, libertarian or conservative, you’ll feel better — and you’ll be glad there are people like Tom Coburn in politics.
 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »