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 ‘republicans’

Newt at his best

Posted by Richard on January 17, 2012

I’m not a big Newt Gingrich fan, but when he’s right, he’s right, and when he’s on his game, there’s nobody better. In last night’s debate, his response to Juan Williams’ race-baiting, “don’t you realize your wife doesn’t like to be beaten” question was simply masterful. He was unapologetic, forceful, articulate, and stood by his principles — qualities that are unfortunately rare among the GOP leadership. It’s the first time a presidential candidate in a debate ever got a standing ovation, and he deserved it.


[YouTube link]

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Anti-capitalist conservatives

Posted by Richard on January 10, 2012

Yesterday, I mentioned in passing the leftist-sounding attacks on Romney by Gingrich and Perry. Bobby Eberle has much more:

In their quest for the Republican nomination, it seems these “conservatives” will embrace any idea in order to attack another candidate. The latest is an assault on capitalism… yes, capitalism! What’s next? Supporting higher taxes and bigger government?

As noted in a story on CNSNews.com, GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is under attack by his fellow opponents, namely Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry. Why, you ask? Because Romney ran Bain Capital, which would restructure and reorganize companies in order to make them profitable. In doing so, everything that would be involved in saving a company was on the table: selling assets, trimming work staff, modernizing… you name it.

Oh the horror of it all! Gingrich and Perry are blasting Romney for not relying on the government, not going for corporate bailouts, but rather, for handling corporate woes in the private sector.

In National Review, Jay Nordlinger writes, “The last two presidential election cycles have revealed a stinking hypocrisy in conservatives: They profess their love of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but when offered a real capitalist and entrepreneur, they go, ‘Eek, a mouse!’ And they tear him down in proud social-democrat fashion.”

I’m not writing this column as a Romney supporter. I too would prefer someone more conservative. But in this race, the so-called conservatives are sure NOT sounding conservative to me. They are blasting Romney for engaging in capitalism. They are hounding him for turning companies around. That was his job, and apparently, he was good at it.

I said there’s no Reagan in this Republican field and no clearly best choice. The “conservative alternatives to Romney” have been making themselves less and less palatable to me.

Ron Paul is great on economic and fiscal issues and on the size and scope of the federal government, but he has some serious flaws: (1) that unfortunate association with the Lew Rockwell paleo-libertarians, (2) flirtations with 9/11 Trutherism and Bilderberger/CFR conspiracy theories, and (3) a dangerously mistaken and ignorant view of the Islamofascists.

I hate to say it, but Romney is beginning to look like the best (or least bad) that the GOP can offer this year.

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

Anybody but Santorum

Posted by Richard on January 9, 2012

I mentioned my dislike of Rick Santorum the other day. I’m not alone, and RedState’s Erick Erickson, a social conservative himself, has shown that you don’t have to be a libertarian to reject Santorum’s self-described “Big Government conservatism” (emphasis added):

Santorum is a conservative. He is. But his conservative is largely defined by his social positions and the ends to which government would be deployed. But he has chosen as the means to those conservative ends bigger government. We see big government conservatives most clearly when they deviate from the tireless efforts of people like Mike Pence and Jim DeMint and the others who were willing to oppose George W. Bush’s expansion of the welfare state. Rick Santorum was not among them.

I and some friends, none of us Romney fans, have set about exploring Santorum’s record since Wednesday morning.  Here now is a non-exhaustive list of what we have found. It does not even include his support for No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, debt ceiling increases, funding the bridge to nowhere, refusing to redirect earmark allocations to disaster relief along the Gulf Coast post Katrina, etc.

This is not the record of a man committed to scaling back the welfare state or the nanny state. Had he been up for re-election in 2010 instead of 2006, this is the record of a man who the tea party movement would have primaried. The only real justification for supporting him now is he is not Mitt Romney, but I still believe we can do better.

Check out Erickson’s very, very long list of Santorum’s votes for more spending, more taxes, more entitlements, more gun control, etc., etc., etc.

Adam Bitely of Americans for Limited Government, a free-market conservative, shares Erickson’s concerns about Santorum’s big government conservatism.

A real libertarian, Cato’s David Boaz, has also put together some damning evidence demonstrating that lovers of liberty must oppose Santorum, including this disturbing quote from Santorum when he was on NPR in 2006 (emphasis added):

One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. … This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.

Not only do I find that an egregious point of view, I think his conclusion is flatly wrong. As Boaz noted, there has been an individualist society where government leaves people alone. “It’s called America.”

There is no Reagan in this Republican field, and there isn’t even a clearly best choice (I was somewhat of a Perry fan until he joined Gingrich in attacking Romney with leftist anti-capitalist, class-envy rhetoric). But there’s no doubt in my mind that Santorum is by far the worst of the lot. If there’s one thing libertarians, free-market conservatives, and social conservatives should be able to agree on, it’s that, as Erickson said, “we can do better.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Romney was looking better, briefly

Posted by Richard on January 4, 2012

When Rick Santorum surged into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in Iowa, I actually started to warm up to Romney. I’d certainly prefer him to Santorum, a rabid social conservative who makes Michele Bachmann look like a libertarian.

But then John McCain endorsed Romney. I heard Rush Limbaugh say on his show today that if he were running for the Republican nomination, the last thing he’d want is McCain’s endorsement. I’m with him on that.

Ah, well, I’m still a registered Libertarian, not about to change, and thus just observing these bumbling Republicans from the sidelines. But I sure hope they get their act together and choose someone who can oust Obama, someone who knows how to defeat a failed socialist president.

So how do you defeat a Democrat who’s moved the country sharply to the left, greatly grown the government, wrecked the economy, and then blamed the resulting mess on the American people? There’s a blueprint, a proven successful strategy. And it doesn’t involve moving to the center or worrying about whether you’ll drive away the moderates and independents. It’s the Reagan campaign in 1980. Morning in America, dude.

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

Obama mail scavenger hunt

Posted by Richard on October 14, 2011

Apparently, President Obama is not too popular in Virginia. His only announced Virginia appearance during next week's bus tour is in a state senate district where the Democratic candidate has no Republican challenger in next month's election. Four previously reported stops in districts where the Democrat faces a challenger have apparently been dropped.

The Republican Party of Virginia says it's hard to find a Democratic candidate eager to be associated with the President. So they're having a contest, the "Proud to Stand with Obama" Direct Mail Scavenger Hunt (emphasis in original): 

Find any general election direct mail piece from a Virginia Democrat running for the state Senate – or one from a Democrat committee – that uses a picture of President Obama in a positive light, i.e. "Supported/Endorsed by Barack Obama" or "Supports Obama's policies."  (Note: Democratic primary mail pieces do not count!)

Then scan it and email it to contest@RPV.org  or fax it to us at: (804) 343-1060. The first qualifying mail piece in the door wins the prize, an autographed copy of Karl Rove's "Courage and Consequences," and a "Not Again!" bumper sticker.

If no qualifying entry is submitted by Oct. 28, they'll award the prize to the first person to submit a direct mail piece from any of 10 Democratic state senate candidates "that proudly identifies them as the Democratic candidate." 

The original contest idea, which involved the state's popular Republican governor, had to be scrapped:

The initial idea for this contest was to see how many different pieces of direct mail we could find in which Democrats running for the state Senate used the phase "worked with Governor McDonnell," or included a picture of themselves with Governor McDonnell… but we've seen several of those piece already, so that wouldn't have made for a very challenging scavenger hunt.

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

Debate drunkblog

Posted by Richard on September 22, 2011

While you and I and most of the American viewing public were watching J.J. Abrams' latest (not bad; not up to the hype, but not bad), the Republican presidential candidates had another "debate." Do I have to remind you that the best way to find out what happened is to read Vodkapundit's drunkblogging of the event?

It looks like Gary Johnson had the best line of the night — maybe the best line of the year: 

7:44PM Johnson: My neighbor’s dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this administration.

UPDATE: Credit where credit is due: Johnson borrowed that line from Rush Limbaugh. 

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

Shocker in New York, landslide in Nevada

Posted by Richard on September 15, 2011

If Scott Brown's stunning upset in Massachusetts foreshadowed the Democrats' drubbing in November 2010, does Bob Turner's shocking victory over David Weprin in New York portend even more trouble for Dems in 2012? Maybe. I sure hope so.

Dems and their media shills have been whistling past the graveyard today, claiming Turner's 8-point victory in a district that's 3-1 Democratic is no big deal (Erick Erickson has a funny post illustrating their claims). But the polls right before Tuesday's special election told a different story. CBS News reported today:

Weprin, a 56-year-old Orthodox Jew and member of a prominent Queens political family, initially seemed a good fit for the largely white, working-class district, which is nearly 40 percent Jewish.

But voter frustration with Obama put Weprin in the unlikely spot of playing defense.

While Obama won the district by 11 points in 2008 against Republican John McCain, a Siena Poll released Friday found just 43 percent of likely voters approved of the president's job performance, while 54 percent said they disapproved. Among independents, just 29 percent said they approved of Obama's job performance.

PPP's poll was even more informative: 

Turner's winning in a heavily Democratic district for two reasons: a huge lead with independents and a large amount of crossover support.  He's ahead by 32 points at 58-26 with voters unaffiliated with either major party.  And he's winning 29% of the Democratic vote, holding Weprin under 60% with voters of his own party, while losing just 10% of Republican partisans.

If Turner wins on Tuesday it will be largely due to the incredible unpopularity of Barack Obama dragging his party down in the district.  Obama won 55% there in 2008 but now has a staggeringly bad 31% approval rating, with 56% of voters disapproving of him.  It's a given that Republicans don't like him but more shocking are his 16% approval rating with independents and the fact that he's below 50% even with Democrats at 46% approving and 38% disapproving. Obama trails Mitt Romney 46-42 in a hypothetical match up in the district and leads Rick Perry only 44-43.

Unlike Scott Brown, whom Tea Party groups supported largely for strategic reasons, Turner didn't campaign as a moderate centrist. He made the campaign a referendum on Obamanomics, Obamacare, taxes, and spending. (Yes, Israel was an issue, but not as much as some claim. Weprin has a solid, life-long pro-Israel record and he repeatedly criticized the President on that issue.) Democrats and their media shills portrayed Turner as a "Tea Party extremist," and cited his positions on the issues as proof: 

Mr. Turner, citing his background in business, said that the federal government needed to cut spending by 35 percent, and suggested eliminating the Agriculture and Education Departments and curtailing the Environmental Protection Agency.

“We have a government that is out of control,” Mr. Turner said, stressing that the cuts should be made without increasing taxes. “It’s not only possible, it’s absolutely necessary,” he added.

Mr. Weprin, on the other hand, used the Tea Party name as a pejorative and tried to affix it to Mr. Turner as often as possible. He proposed raising taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations, and defended the place of the federal government in regulating the environment.

Unlike the ruling class Republicans, Turner didn't seem to be ashamed of his "extremism," retorting "If I suggest a 30% cut in spending when we're overspending by 40%, does that seem extreme?" Not to me, Bob. And apparently not even to New Yorkers. 

Meanwhile, across the country in Nevada's District 2, Republican Mark Amodei beat Democrat Kate Marshall, which was not a big surprise. But his margin of 22 points was. And Politico's Molly Ball thinks the outcome in one county of that district is even more significant than the huge upset in New York's District 9: 

When Democrats lost Tuesday’s Nevada special election, they didn’t just lose a long-shot House race. They also got creamed in one of the most crucial swing counties in the nation.

Washoe County, the Northern Nevada county that contains Reno, is the No. 1 bellwether in a top Western swing state. It was crucial to Harry Reid’s 2010 reelection, to Barack Obama’s 2008 election and to the countless governors, senators and presidents who have competed in the Silver State before them. And on Tuesday, Republican Mark Amodei won it by 10 points.

Bush carried the county 51-47% in 2004. Obama won it by 12 points in 2008. And a 5-point lead there was critical in Harry Reid's 2010 re-election.

Of Tuesday’s two House elections, it’s the surprise GOP win in New York that’s getting the most attention – an unexpected rout in a seat not held by a Republican since the 1920s. But it is the Nevada race that could hold more ominous signs for Democrats.

It is almost universally true that as goes Washoe, so goes Nevada – and as goes Nevada, so goes the nation. The state has voted for the winner of every presidential race but one since 1912, giving it a stronger claim to bellwether status than Missouri.

How bad do things look for the Dems? The Hill's Cameron Joseph reported:

A Democratic strategist said Obama has become such a problem for down-ticket Democrats that he was wary of encouraging candidates to run next year. “I’m warning my clients — ‘Don’t run in 2012.’ I don’t want to see good candidates lose by 12 to 15 points because of the president,” said the strategist. 

The question for Democrats is, to quote a former governor, "How's that hopey-changey thing working out for you?"

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

John “McCain II” Huntsman

Posted by Richard on June 22, 2011

To the delight of the mainstream media, John Huntsman threw his hat into the ring today. They've been promoting his potential candidacy for weeks now. He's the kind of soft-spoken, moderate, reach-across-the-aisle Republican that the Socialist Democrat Party's media shills like. He's the new John McCain.

Of course, if he were to get the Republican nomination, they'd turn on him in a heartbeat, just like they did McCain. 

Huntsman announced his presidential campaign at Liberty State Park, with the Statue of Liberty behind him, right where Ronald Reagan spoke on Labor Day, 1980. And Huntsman evoked Reagan early and often. Rush Limbaugh had the right response to that: "You have to forgive me here but I'm a little resentful of people who are nothing like Reagan trying to be Reagan."

Huntsman may have evoked Reagan, but he channeled McCain:

Let me say something about civility. For the sake of the younger generation it concerns me that civility, humanity, and respect are sometimes lost in our interactions as Americans. Our political debates today are corrosive and not reflective of the belief that Abe Lincoln espoused. I don't think you need to run down someone's reputation in order to run for the office of president. I respect the President of the United States. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help a country we both love, but the question each of us wants the voters to answer is "Who will be the better president?" not who's the better American. 

As Limbaugh noted, this is the timid Republicanism that the media elites and the inside-the-beltway, ruling class Republicans want the GOP to embrace, and it's nonsense (emphasis added):

The Republican Party is still convinced that in order to secure the support of independents, that they have to be boring. They have to be serious and Milquetoast and cannot be confrontational, cannot be partisan, cannot go into attack mode. Somehow this is going to cause the independents to get nervous and send them running right back to Obama. Now, of course, that's flat-out BS, it's totally wrong. The elections of last November demonstrate that in a real world, real life example. But then there's also this. We're told — and this is a trap, by the way, the left puts this out. It's designed to get us to be boring. It's designed to get us not to contrast ourselves with the left.

They put out this notion, "These independents, these moderates, they don't mess around. They're cut above! And they start hearing this deep partisanship and they're just gonna run away from you guys. They're gonna run right back to the Democrats." Right. Now, the Democrat Party and anybody in it that you want to name today is the most vicious and mean-spirited and exemplifies the politics of personal destruction unlike I've ever seen it practiced in my lifetime.

So Huntsman stood where Reagan stood, tried to evoke Reagan, and then proceeded to talk about civility and being nice, about not running down his opponent, and about how much he likes and respects his opponent. Is that how Reagan approached his opponent?

Not exactly. At that same spot, Reagan issued a full-throated denunciation of the godawful mess Jimmy Carter's policies had made of things. Reagan called Carter out by name, called him a failure and a disaster, and eviscerated his misbegotten policies (which sound eerily familiar today). Then he spoke with optimism about the better future that lay ahead after Carter was sent packing. Listen for yourself.

Part 1 (8:49):


[YouTube link]

Part 2 (9:55): 


[YouTube link]

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

America’s message to GOP: don’t cave!

Posted by Richard on April 7, 2011

The President’s meeting with John Boehner and Harry Reid ended a short time ago with no agreement, but all three claimed they were getting closer to averting a government shutdown. That concerns me, because if past history is any indication, getting closer to an agreement means the Republicans are giving ground.

Before they indulge in their natural inclination to cave and compromise, I hope Boehner and the GOP leadership take a deep breath and consider some recent poll results. For instance, this Rasmussen poll released Tuesday (emphasis added):

In the ongoing budget-cutting debate in Washington, some congressional Democrats have accused their Republican opponents of being held captive by the Tea Party movement, but voters like the Tea Party more than Congress.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 48% of Likely U.S. Voters say when it comes to the major issues facing the country, their views are closer to the average Tea Party member as opposed to the average member of Congress.  Just 22% say their views are closest to those of the average congressman. Even more (30%) aren’t sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

This shows little change from a survey in late March of last year.

Forty-nine percent (49%) of voters think the Tea Party movement is good for the country, consistent with findings since May 2010. Twenty-six percent (26%) disagree and say the grassroots, small government movement is bad for America. Sixteen percent (16%) say neither.

Or this one from last Friday (emphasis added):

A majority of voters are fine with a partial shutdown of the federal government if that’s what it takes to get deeper cuts in federal government spending.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think making deeper spending cuts in the federal budget for 2011 is more important than avoiding a partial government shutdown. Thirty-one percent (31%) disagree and say avoiding a shutdown is more important. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Or this Fox News poll from today (emphasis added):

American voters would rather shut down the government than raise the debt limit, even though most believe a shutdown would have a dramatic effect on everyday Americans.

A Fox News poll released Wednesday asked voters to imagine being a lawmaker in Washington who had to decide whether to increase the debt ceiling. The poll found 62 percent would vote against raising it — even at the risk of shutting down the government.

About one-in-four voters (26 percent) would raise the limit to allow the government to spend more.

Or this Tarrance Group poll from a couple of days ago (underlines in original):

Voters have turned the corner and have made clear their support for deep cuts to the budget. Nearly three quarters of voters (73%) say it is very important that the budget include “significant” spending cuts.  When it comes to $100 billion in cuts, only 23% say this percentage is too high, while a majority (63%) says $100 billion is too low (34%) or about right (29%). This is virtually unchanged from February, when 21% said $60 billion was too high, and a majority (67%) said the figure was too low (36%) or about right (31%).
Supporting $100 billion in cuts would result in a net positive political impact for members of Congress.  A majority (55%) are more likely to support their member of Congress if he or she supports these cuts, while only 24% are less likely.  This is also similar to February, when 52% were more likely to re-elect their member if he or she supports $61 billion in cuts.…

When presented with three arguments about raising the debt ceiling, less than a quarter of voters most agree with the argument that the debt ceiling needs to be raised in order to avoid things like a shutdown and Social Security checks not being mailed.  In fact, a plurality chooses to NOT raise the debt ceiling at all:

30%:  Some people say that Congress should only raise the debt ceiling if it can also guarantee real, significant spending cuts starting this year.  We will never balance the budget until we drastically cut the amount of money we spend.

22%:  Other people say that Congress must act to raise the debt ceiling regardless of whether it includes spending cuts, or else the United States government will shut down and will default on its obligations, such as not being able to make Social Security checks and salaries for police and teachers.

 42%:  Still other people say that we should NOT raise the debt ceiling even if spending cuts are made because the nation must eliminate the trillion dollar debt we face instead of adding to it.

The message to the GOP leadership is clear. The American people (at least those most likely to vote) have recognized the utter seriousness of this nation’s fiscal crisis and want bold action, even if it involves temporary pain. The Democrats are in complete denial, whistling past the graveyard. If the GOP wants to be taken seriously as the party willing to address our fiscal problems seriously, they must resist the urge to compromise, wheel, and deal. Stand firm for once, you bastards!

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

What pols can learn from Vin Scully

Posted by Richard on April 4, 2011

Tony Lee thinks Republican presidential candidates can become much more effective communicators by studying Dodgers' play-by-play announcer Vin Scully:

At the start of the baseball season, hope also springs eternal for the field of potential GOP presidential candidates who are gearing up to launch their presidential bids in the spring.  But like Scully’s epic "day to day" quip, the GOP has turned into a day-to-day party and it is an image these presidential aspirants must work to change.  Republicans have too often been reactionary—and thus held captive to events—instead of being forward-thinking and proactive.  The GOP has lately been a party of nearsighted tactics devoid of any overarching strategy.  But in the immediate, the GOP and its representatives have simply just forgotten how to speak effectively and compellingly to Americans.  As the presidential sweepstakes kick off, all potential candidates would do themselves a big favor if they listened to nine innings of Vin Scully.

Lee describes five lessons to be learned from Scully. It's pretty good advice for the GOP's chronically inept communicators (which is most of them). Read the whole thing.

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

It’s called the stupid party for a reason

Posted by Richard on March 31, 2011

The Republicans have been pushing for $61 billion in spending cuts for FY2011 (significantly less than the $100 billion they promised before the election), and the Democrats have been denouncing even that modest cut as "draconian" and "extreme."

You'd think this would be a challenge the GOP would be eager to take on. If you have even a modicum of communication skills and public relations savvy, how hard can it be to ridicule the absurd argument that cutting $61 billion — 1.6% — out of a budget of $3,700 billion is "draconian" and "extreme"? It barely puts a tiny dent in the $1,600 billion deficit. Do they really fear that the average American can't grasp that point?

Let's put the federal fiscal crisis into comparable (approximate) household numbers that people can relate to: Let's say your household income is about $42,000 ($3500/month). But you're spending about $74,000 ($6167/month). And you're putting the $32,000 difference on your credit cards (on which you already owe over $300,000). Would cutting your spending by less than $100 a month really be "draconian"? Does it even seriously address the terrible financial situation you're in?

To me, this seems like an argument that's a slam-dunk win, especially in the political climate that gave us the Tea Party movement and resulting electoral tsunami of last November. And yet, the Republican leadership seems terrified of taking a hard stand and drawing a line in the sand. According to the Washington Post, they're ready to cave — settling for $30 billion in cuts and giving up on defunding anything — and Dan Mitchell isn't pleased: 

Yesterday, I analyzed how the GOP should fight the budget battle, but I may have made a big mistake. I assumed the Republican leadership actually wanted to do the right thing. I thought they learned the right lessons from the disastrous Bush years, and that the GOP no longer would be handmaidens for big government. And I naively assumed that the Republican leadership would not betray the base and stab the Tea Party in the back.

I thought the GOP leadership would fight and get a decent deal rather than unilaterally surrender. If the Washington Post report is true and Republicans act like the French army, it will discourage the base and cause a rift with the Tea Party. So it’s dumb politics and dumb policy.

And that display of cowardice by House Republican leaders follows on the heels of the report that Senate Republicans are going to agree to support a debt limit increase if the Democrats merely allow a symbolic vote on a balanced budget amendment. No, Democrats don't have to support it — they just have to allow a vote, which the Republicans are guaranteed to lose. A repeat of a vote they've already had (and lost), a vote that they could force by parliamentary means in any case. In other words, they're giving up their biggest leverage in return for … nothing.

Stupid party seems like such a mild and inadequate term.

There are a few shiny gems amidst the steaming pile of cow-flop that is the GOP. Sen. Marco Rubio won't vote for a debt limit increase unless it comes with a whole bunch of serious conditions: 

"Raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure." So said then-Sen. Obama in 2006, when he voted against raising the debt ceiling by less than $800 billion to a new limit of $8.965 trillion. As America's debt now approaches its current $14.29 trillion limit, we are witnessing leadership failure of epic proportions.

I will vote to defeat an increase in the debt limit unless it is the last one we ever authorize and is accompanied by a plan for fundamental tax reform, an overhaul of our regulatory structure, a cut to discretionary spending, a balanced-budget amendment, and reforms to save Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Bravo. Read the whole thing

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

Joe Walsh wins

Posted by Richard on November 18, 2010

By the narrowest of margins, Joe Walsh has defeated Rep. Melissa Bean in Illinois' 8th District congressional race. Bean conceded today after the final vote tally showed that Walsh won by 291 votes out of more than 200,000 cast. In October, I posted about Walsh and donated to his campaign. Visit that post to watch what I described as "one of the most effective one-minute videos I've seen in a while." Here's his six-point campaign pledge:

  1. I will not serve more than 3 terms in the House (6 years), if so privileged.
  2. I will not receive any health plans or retirement benefits that only congressmen get and that aren’t available to all Americans.
  3. I will not vote for any legislation which increases the size of government or isn’t supported by the Constitution.
  4. I will never add an earmark to any bill.
  5. I will always speak my mind and tell my constituents the truth.
  6. I will always be accessible to my constituents and hold town halls on a regular basis, in good times or bad

I'm very pleased that Walsh eked out a well-deserved victory. I expect that he'll be one of the stars of the big freshman class in the next Congress. 

UPDATE (11/19): In honor of Jed's clever comment (below), here's a classic 70s performance by Joe Walsh — the other Joe Walsh — of his signature song. Turn it up! 


[YouTube link]

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

GOP senators approve earmark ban

Posted by Richard on November 17, 2010

Senate Republicans adopted Sen. Jim DeMint's two-year moratorium on earmarks Tuesday, challenged Democrats to do likewise, and called on the President to veto any bill containing earmarks. Two Democratic senators, Colorado's Mark Udall and Missouri's Claire McCaskill, have called on their caucus to follow suit. 

When the people lead, their leaders will follow. 

UPDATE: Just spotted this, via Instapundit (and read his post for a reader's idea about verbing "Murkowski"): 

Even as Senate Republicans approved a "moratorium" on congressional earmarks, a small but significant contingent of the caucus is openly vowing to flout the new rules.

Led by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the contingent is "going rogue" against the party's leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, who Monday made a high-profile switch to back the earmark ban.

Murkowski, who appears to have warded off a tea party-backed challenger in a run-off campaign, is leading the charge.

Tuesday, she offered a novel defense of seeking earmarks for her state, saying that Alaska, a “young” state admitted into the Union in 1959, hasn’t been able to enjoy earmarks for as long as the other states.

The vile Murkowski's defiance of the ban got support from Sens. Inhofe and Cochran, conditional support from Sens. Alexander and Graham, and the backing of lame-duck Sen. Bob Bennett, who thankfully was defeated in his primary and will be returning to civilian life none too soon. 

BTW, the Daily Caller's contention that Murkowski appears to have won re-election is still strongly disputed by her Republican opponent, Joe Miller. Read his response to the 5 myths going around about the state of the election, and if you can, donate a few bucks to help him with the legal and other expenses related to the continuing vote count.

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

McConnell backs earmark moratorium

Posted by Richard on November 15, 2010

Sen. Mitch McConnell has felt the heat and seen the light:

If the voters express themselves clearly and unequivocally on an issue, it’s not enough to persist in doing the opposite on the grounds that “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” That’s what elections are all about, after all. And if this election has shown us anything, it’s that Americans know the difference between talking about change, and actually delivering on it.

I have thought about these things long and hard over the past few weeks. I’ve talked with my members. I’ve listened to them. Above all, I have listened to my constituents.  And what I’ve concluded is that on the issue of congressional earmarks, as the leader of my party in the Senate, I have to lead first by example. Nearly every day that the Senate’s been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people. When it comes to earmarks, I won’t be guilty of the same thing.

Make no mistake. I know the good that has come from the projects I have helped support throughout my state. I don’t apologize for them. But there is simply no doubt that the abuse of this practice has caused Americans to view it as a symbol of the waste and the out-of-control spending that every Republican in Washington is determined to fight. And unless people like me show the American people that we’re willing to follow through on small or even symbolic things, we risk losing them on our broader efforts to cut spending and rein in government.

That’s why today I am announcing that I will join the Republican Leadership in the House in support of a moratorium on earmarks in the 112th Congress.

That should put an end to the stealth pro-pork movement in the Senate GOP ranks. With McConnell backing the DeMint proposal, I expect many of the other squishy Republicans who haven't declared yet to fall in behind their leader. FreedomWorks hasn't updated their tracking tally on the issue yet. If your senator is in the Not on Record column, you may still want to call or email — politely! The vote is scheduled for Tuesday. 

UPDATE (11/16): Senate Republicans adopted a two-year moratorium on earmarks today , challenged Democrats to do likewise, and called on the President to veto any bill containing earmarks. Two Democratic senators, Colorado's Mark Udall and Missouri's Claire McCaskill, have called on their caucus to follow suit. 

When the people lead, their leaders will follow. 

 

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

Support the earmark moratorium

Posted by Richard on November 13, 2010

*** UPDATE (11/15): Sen. McConnell has felt the heat and seen the light. ***

Next Tuesday, we'll find out how many Republican senators have learned the lesson of the last four years. That's when the GOP Conference votes on Sen. DeMint's earmark moratorium. House Republicans are solidly behind the pork moratorium. But in the Senate, minority leader Mitch McConnell seems to be quietly trying to line up opposition to DeMint's proposal. And he seems to have support from the usual suspects — Inhofe, Graham, Alexander, Shelby, and other members of the Republican wing of the Ruling Class.

On Wednesday in National Review's The Corner, Sen. Tom Coburn laid out the case against earmarks and demolished the specious arguments of the Ruling Class Republicans defending them. Here are some excerpts from his column (emphasis added): 

It’s true that earmarks themselves represent a tiny portion of the budget, but a small rudder can help steer a big ship, which is why I’ve long described earmarks as the gateway drug to spending addiction in Washington. No one can deny that earmarks like the Cornhusker Kickback have been used to push through extremely costly and onerous bills. Plus, senators know that as the number of earmarks has exploded so has overall spending. In the past decade, the size of government has doubled while Congress approved more than 90,000 earmarks.

Earmarks were rare until recently. In 1987, President Reagan vetoed a spending bill because it contained 121 earmarks. Eliminating earmarks will not balance the budget overnight, but it is an important step toward getting spending under control. 

… This is not a struggle between the executive branch and Congress but between the American people and Washington. … An earmark ban would tell the American people that Congress gets it. After all, it’s their money, not ours.

An earmark moratorium would not result in Congress giving up one iota of its spending power. In any event, Republicans should be fighting over how to cut government spending, not how to divide it up.

Our founders anticipated earmark-style power grabs from Congress and spoke against such excess for the ages. …

Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to James Madison, spoke directly against federally-funded local projects. “[I]t will be the source of eternal scramble among the members, who can get the most money wasted in their State; and they will always get the most who are the meanest.” Jefferson understood that earmarks and coercion would go hand in hand.

If any policy mandate can be derived from the election it is to spend less money. Eliminating earmarks is the first step on that path. The House GOP has accepted that mandate. The Senate GOP now has to decide whether to ignore not only the American people but their colleagues in the House. …

In recent years the conventional wisdom that earmarks create jobs has been turned on its head. The Obama administration’s stimulus bill itself, which is arguably a collection of earmarks approved by Congress, proves this point. Neither Obama’s stimulus nor Republican stimulus — GOP earmarks — is very effective at creating jobs.

Harvard University conducted an extensive study this year of how earmarks impact states. The researchers expected to find that earmarks drive economic growth but found the opposite.

“It was an enormous surprise, at least to us, to learn that the average firm in the chairman’s state did not benefit at all from the unanticipated increase in spending,” said Joshua Coval, one of the study’s authors. The study found that as earmarks increase capital investment and expenditures by private businesses decrease, by 15 percent specifically. In other words, federal pork crowds out private investment and slows job growth. Earmarks are an odd GOP infatuation with failed Keynesian economics that hurts local economies.

FreedomWorks' Now We Must Govern project is tracking where GOP senators and senators-elect stand on this issue. A link on that page takes you to their "Call Congress: Ban Earmarks!" action page. If one of your senators has not yet taken a stand on earmarks (most haven't; not even those secretly working against the DeMint proposal), please take a minute to call their office or send an email and politely demand that they honor the wishes of the American people and renounce pork. 

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