The “establishment” is slow to learn; Senate Republicans pushing for more #GreenPork

April 12, 2016 · Posted in Business and industry, Campaign 2016 - President, Marita Noon, National politics, Politics, Radical Green · Comments Off on The “establishment” is slow to learn; Senate Republicans pushing for more #GreenPork 

Commentary by Marita Noon

Click here to send a message!In this election cycle, we hear a lot about the “establishment.” Most people are not really sure who they are, but they are sure that they do not like them. The anger toward the establishment is not party specific and has propelled two unlikely candidates: Donald Trump on the Republican side and Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democrats.

The faithful following these outsiders may be more about “the grassroots trying to teach the establishment a lesson,” as Gary Bauer posited last month, than about affection for either man. In an InfoWars video, reporter Richard Reeves, at the University of Texas in Austin speaks to Wyatt, a young man who’d just voted for Sanders. Wyatt indicates that most of his fellow students likely voted for Sanders as well. The surprise is his comment about the students’ second choice: “Donald Trump.”  Why? He’s not “establishment.” Wyatt admits he didn’t consider voting for anyone else – just Sanders and Trump.

The establishment has been slow to grasp the public’s rejection of an increasingly distrusted political class.

However one might define the “establishment,” it certainly includes long-time Washington politicians like Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Ron Wyden (D-OR), John Thune (R-SD), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) – who have just engaged in the exact tactics that have fed the voter frustration aimed at them. Avoiding a vigorous debate, they are using a must-pass bill to sneak through millions in totally unrelated taxpayer giveaways to special interests in the renewable energy industry – and they hope voters won’t notice.

The bill is the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act. On April 6, using an unrelated House bill (H.R. 636) that will serve as the legislative shell for the Senate’s FAA measure (S. 2658), the Senate began consideration to reauthorize the FAA for 18 months. It is expected that the bill will be voted on this week, followed by the House – which will take it up when it is back in session.

Funding for the FAA expired in September and received a 6-month extension – which expired again on March 31. Avoiding a shutdown, Congress passed another extension that President Obama signed on March 30. This legislation authorized federal spending on aviation and related aviation taxes through mid-July 2016.

Both the House and Senate have been grappling with a multi-year aviation bill. Now, FAA reauthorization only has about two weeks to be debated and approved before it will be shoved aside to make way for budget proceedings. One major point of conflict is the renewable energy tax breaks. Because the Senate FAA bill includes a tax title, it is open to unrelated tax amendments.

Many renewable energy tax credits were extended in the omnibus spending package that was passed late last year, but Democrats claim that in the chaos of last minute negotiations, some were “unintentionally” left out. According to Morning Consult, Thune said: “This is what [Democrats] always viewed as the best opportunity to get some of these things that were left out of last year’s extender bill.” Senate Minority Leader Reid announced: “the inclusion of the provisions is a requirement for the legislation to move forward.”

While many Republicans opposed the addition of the renewable energy tax credits, provisions supporting investments in fuel cells, geothermal and biomass were included in the Senate negotiations. Addressing the Senate’s scramble to “settle on a cohesive strategy” regarding attaching the renewable energy tax breaks to the bill, Politico reports: “House Republicans have made it clear they’re not interested in renewing any of the expired tax provisions this year.” The bill’s coverage in Roter Daily states: “key Republicans have already warned fellow House members to oppose a deal on tax extenders if it comes out of the Senate, saying they have consistently failed to promote economic growth and create jobs.”

As we have seen with the recent demise of government-funded, green-energy projects, such tax credits and subsidies have repeatedly failed to deliver on their promises of long-term job creation and economic viability. It is for this reason that, on April 5, a coalition of more than 30 organizations sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee expressing our deep opposition to the proposal. The letter, of which I am a signatory, states: “Congress considered the matter of expiring tax provisions less than 4 months ago. … It should also be noted that Congress extended significantly favorable tax treatment to renewable energy in omnibus appropriation legislation that accompanied the aforementioned tax extender package.”

Andrew Langer, President of the Institute for Liberty, who also signed the letter, explains his position: “In December, Congress purposefully allowed a series of tax credits for so-called ‘green’ energies to expire. This was not some mere oversight as some have alleged, but a purposeful recognition that as the energy landscape has changed, the need to extend some two dozen of these credits was unwarranted. Others were allowed to continue – but roughly $1.5 billion were not.”

If you believe, as all the signatories to the letter do, that American taxpayers shouldn’t have to prop up large, well-connected special interests through tax handouts, carve outs, and loopholes using unsustainable Washington spending, please let your representatives know now. Please urge Senate offices to oppose keeping in the tax extenders, and encourage House offices to oppose adding in extenders.

With our national debt totaling more than $19 trillion, the last thing we need is more corporate welfare. But our legislators are slow to learn. Senate Republicans, like Thune, who is the lead negotiator for the Republicans, have worked with the Democrats to include the renewable energy tax credits. Thune stated: “We’re listening to them and we’re working for them.”

No wonder the electorate is angry. But Washington politicians don’t get it. While a battle rages over who will be the next president, unfazed, the establishment continues on.

Langer concludes: “the political ramifications are clear, as history has taught us. Republicans who give in to cronyism, who give in to profligate spending… they get nothing in the end. Worse, they do considerable damage to the concept that Republicans are the party of lower spending and less government. In a political cycle where the future is entirely uncertain for Republicans at all levels, those who are pushing for these tax breaks do their colleagues no great service.”

Join us in educating the “establishment” by calling them and telling them: “No more green pork!” #GreenPork

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc., and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). She hosts a weekly radio program: America’s Voice for Energy—which expands on the content of her weekly column. Follow her @EnergyRabbit.

Another betrayal of the loyal base

October 22, 2015 · Posted in All politics is local, Campaign 2016 - President, Cathy Keim, Delmarva items, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Another betrayal of the loyal base 

By Cathy Keim

On Friday, October 23, 2015, the House is set to vote on H.R. 3762, a reconciliation bill that repeals parts of Obamacare and stops federal funding of Planned Parenthood for one year. This sounds pretty good since most of the base wants to stop Obamacare and Planned Parenthood. So, why is this a poison pill once again?

According to Lifenews:

H.R. 3762 is a special once-a-year measure called the “reconciliation bill.” Unlike almost every other kind of bill, the “reconciliation bill” cannot be filibustered in the U.S. Senate — so it can pass with only 51 votes, rather than 60 (of 100 senators). Republicans currently hold a narrow majority in the U.S. Senate, 54-46.

But before the bill can be considered by the Senate, it first must pass the House on October 23.

The bill contains two major sections:

* The bill would block, for one year, most federal payments to Planned Parenthood. At least 89% of federal funding of Planned Parenthood would be blocked by this bill.

* The bill would repeal a number of major components of the Obamacare health law, including two of the major provisions that will lead to rationing of lifesaving care — the “Independent Payment Advisory Board” and the “excess benefits tax.”

My first concern is that the defunding of Planned Parenthood is being added onto this bill to placate the base that was angered by Speaker Boehner pushing through a clean CR instead of fighting for defunding Planned Parenthood then. As he has done too many times before, the Speaker gave the President what he wanted without a fight. Apparently no hill is worth fighting for including a hill of tiny babies’ broken bodies being sold for profit.

In a déjà vu moment, the base was promised that the defund movement would get their moment by using the reconciliation process instead of attaching it to the CR. This bait and switch tactic has been used frequently to get something past the base.

I could have even perhaps been pacified except that now the House attaches the defund provision to a bill that only partially repeals Obamacare. We have been promised for years that our leaders would repeal Obamacare: not parts of it, but the whole sorry mess. The strongest argument for standing strong for repealing the entire Obamacare fiasco is that if it is divided into parts and the worst parts are repealed, then the others may be left to fester. It is best to root out all of the beast at one time.

Senators Mike Lee (R. Utah), Ted Cruz (R. Texas), and Marco Rubio (R. Florida) issued a joint statement today:

On Friday the House of Representatives is set to vote on a reconciliation bill that repeals only parts of Obamacare. This simply isn’t good enough. Each of us campaigned on a promise to fully repeal Obamacare and a reconciliation bill is the best way to send such legislation to President Obama’s desk. If this bill cannot be amended so that it fully repeals Obamacare pursuant to Senate rules, we cannot support this bill. With millions of Americans now getting health premium increase notices in the mail, we owe our constituents nothing less.

Why am I bothering to even care about any of this when we all know that the President will veto the bill when it reaches his desk and we do not have the votes to override the veto?

The two reasons that stand out are to make the President, Congressmen, and Senators go on record with their position on both issues and to prepare for the real vote to repeal Obamacare once a new president is in office.

The original Obamacare Bill was foisted upon us by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid with the reconciliation process, so it is only fitting that Obamacare should be repealed using the same reconciliation process. All we need is a president that won’t veto the bill.

This current effort only repeals part of Obamacare. I join with Cruz, Lee, and Rubio in demanding that our representatives make good on their promise to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. This is an excellent time to make an issue of it since we are all getting our new quotes on insurance. Multiple exchanges are shuttering their doors because they are losing so much money. A lot of us are facing 40% increases this year on our premiums on top of increases last year and the year before. And don’t forget that the benefits are not as good as our previous coverage, even though we are paying more.

So, by all means, use this opportunity to force the Democrats to own Obamacare. Why is the House only trying to repeal part of it? This should be a trial run for the real effort under the new President. Please, please show us some leadership and some effort. Make the case to the American people that none of this has turned out as promised. Showcase the fiascos of increased premiums, decreased coverage, broken exchanges, lack of portability, and push a bill through. Then stand strong in front of the American people and explain how the Democrats are forcing this mess upon us once again. Finally promise that you will use the same process after a new President is elected to repeal it. Line up the candidates and have them promise to sign the bill as soon as it reaches their desk. Put them on record that they will repeal Obamacare the minute that you can get the bill to them.

The base would stand up and cheer. They would be motivated to turn out in droves. The base would feel like somebody was listening to them. Instead, we have the House pushing through a partial repeal and it looks increasingly likely that we will be getting Paul Ryan as the new Speaker. Did I mention that the base feels betrayed?

We were all delighted when Mark Meadows (R-NC) made the courageous motion to replace Speaker Boehner. There seemed to be real momentum to coalesce around Daniel Webster (R-FL) so that he could reprise his role as a leader as he had done in the Florida state government, but then the rug was pulled out from under our feet and Paul Ryan is now proclaimed as the man to save us. Andy Harris has thrown his support to Ryan. Please prove me wrong, but I am expecting this to turn out poorly.

One would hope that Andy would not support Ryan unless Ryan gave up his demand that the motion to Vacate the Chair be removed, but I could not verify that it had been as of tonight.

The base is watching.

The truth, the spin, and the battlefield

By Cathy Keim

John Boehner hit the Sunday morning TV circuit to explain why he is resigning and to spin his past performances. In addition, the various media are adding their spin and giving advice as to how to proceed. After reading through a variety of reports, it seems pretty well decided that:

  • John Boehner did the best he could under the circumstances.
  • Congress never really had the ability to stop the Obama agenda.
  • The conservatives/Tea Party types that caused this ruckus should go away.
  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy will be the next speaker.

One can go farther and depending on the source conclude that:

  • Our nation has grown too large to govern as a republic.
  • Christians should withdraw to enclaves because it is all going to the dogs.
  • There is no turning back from the path of destruction that we are on.

Before you give up hope and head for the hills with your guns, ammo, Bibles, and food, let us take a quick review of the comment sections of the same articles.

I do not read the comments on some sites because they are merely vile epithets interspersed with poor spelling, but other sites actually have rousing comment sections. There are many Americans that are still interested in the American Experiment and in their Christian faith. They are not giving up. Nor should we.

We need to think about the battlefield before we proceed. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) says:

If we launch headfirst into leadership elections like this is a typical succession, without ever taking the time to diagnose our current ailments, we won’t heal the fractures in a Conference that has thus far proved unleadable. Simply reshuffling the deck won’t serve our members, and it especially won’t help our next slate of leaders who will be tasked with producing better results than our leaders have so far been able to achieve.

Kudos to Rep. Roskam for identifying the need to come up with a coherent strategy to unite the GOP. The current fracture between the leadership and the base is not going to disappear, especially if Boehner uses his last 30 days as Speaker to push through a clean CR as is rumored. (He did.) If the House replaces Boehner with McCarthy it will be viewed as the leadership ignoring the base once again. It is possible that McCarthy would acknowledge the desires of the base more than Boehner did, but it would be a long road to prove this and to gain the trust of the base.

We have entered into a dangerous time for the country with an expanded imperial presidency unfettered by the legislative branch and supported by the judicial branch. This president rules by executive order, regulations, and selective enforcing of the laws.

Congress has allowed this because under Pelosi and Reid they agreed with Obama’s agenda. The citizens expressed their strong disapproval by dismissing first Pelosi and then Reid by decisive victories in the House and the Senate. Those victories at the elections have never translated into victories in rolling back the president’s fundamental changes. This has led to extreme disappointment and anger amongst the base. The passage of the CRomnibus bill is a recent example of this outrage. Rep. Harris said we needed to just pass the CRomnibus so that we could focus on this year’s budget. We didn’t have time to fight over the previous budget, because we needed to look ahead. Fast forward. Now we are looking at another CR. Hmmm, we didn’t fight last time so that we could work on doing it right this time, so now let’s just pass another clean CR so we can focus on the next one?

We have been handed that line just a few too many times. They say we will hold the line on that debt ceiling; no, at the budget; no, back to the debt ceiling. The bait and switch doesn’t work once people realize that it is happening.

Congress under its present failed leadership has tried one too many times to blame everything on anything except themselves. Like a drug addict in rehab, they need to get clean, and face their inner demons. They were elected to serve their country, not to become rich, powerful men and women addicted to their status and in need of the next cash transfusion from their donors/masters.

The GOP leadership really cannot afford to kick this can down the road now. In the progressive movement, they are facing a ruthless, effective opposition that will stop at nothing to achieve total control of every aspect of our lives.

  • Housing and transportation zoning codes: Agenda 21 takes care of that.
  • Education: Common Core destroys that.
  • Family: Changes to marriage and social mores finishes that off.
  • Freedom of Religion: Reduced to a personal faith only to be expressed inside the church building, and only as long as they don’t get political.
  • Government medical care: We have you covered, but that doesn’t ensure access to care.

We are well on our way to a totalitarian state and the progressives will not stop until they get there or are decisively defeated, not just pushed back for an election cycle or two.

Now, GOP leadership, do I have your attention? Your base understands and is extremely motivated to stop the fundamental transformation that is taking place in this country. We are no longer deceived by your show votes.

I suggest that instead of sneering at your base, the leadership of the GOP should take a brief time to reflect on the course of the nation and come to a plan of action that will encourage its base and present the proper explanations which can be ably defended by many of the presidential candidates as to why we need to defund Planned Parenthood, stop the flood of immigrants that we are not assimilating, and change our foreign policies, particularly our policy towards Iran.

Carly Fiorina is not backing down on the evil that is Planned Parenthood as revealed by the Center for Medical Progress’s videos. Congress should join her by forcing a vote on defunding PP and making the President veto it. Show the videos so that the President and his followers are exposed for supporting selling butchered baby organs.

Ted Cruz is standing alone on the floor of the Senate calling out the failed leadership on their collusion in funding Planned Parenthood and the Iran deal.

Ben Carson is not retreating from his statements about a Muslim president.

Many of our candidates are showing themselves to be fearless in presenting their ideas. This should be a lesson to our present failed leadership.

Do not go onto the battlefield without a strategy to win. Once you start, stand by your principles, and go for victory.

The only flaw in this advice is that it assumes that our current leadership is operating on principles when it sadly seems that they are doing the bidding of the highest donors. This is the most plausible theory to explain why the GOP keeps siding with the progressive agenda when it coalesces around the goals of crony capitalism rather than their base. If so, they need to reform or find themselves cast aside like Boehner. Revolutions can pick up momentum. The outsiders may just lead the base to true victory.

Can we trust our leaders on trade agreements?

June 7, 2015 · Posted in Business and industry, Cathy Keim, Inside the Beltway, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Can we trust our leaders on trade agreements? 

By Cathy Keim

It all comes down to trust.

I do not want to minimize the complexity of negotiating trade agreements, particularly ones that involve multiple nations spanning the globe. However, in its eagerness to complete this trade agreement, our government is currently ignoring its citizens across the political spectrum. Perhaps this is just the way it is going to be from now on.

The Constitutional limits have been frayed to the point that nobody expects anybody to have any restraint anymore. This President has overstepped the boundaries frequently and the legislative branch has not peeped. Oh, they may growl occasionally for the rubes back home, but once they are safely back in DC, they roll over and play dead.

The trade agreements that are currently on the table are the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). All of these could be placed on fast track under the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) if the House approves it as the Senate already has done.

Fast track would mean that no amendments could be added to the agreements. They would be voted up or down by a simple majority.

Trade agreements are difficult because they have so many partners all jockeying for the best deal. For this reason, the President has been given TPA routinely since the 70s. So what is different this time? Why are so many people concerned about fast tracking these agreements?

For many of us, the answer is that trust has been broken. We see the President overreaching his authority repeatedly, so why would we want to give him more authority?

What is so difficult to understand about this? And yet, our senators just gave him fast track and the leaders in the House are pushing to follow right behind.

The House Republicans could block TPA in a heartbeat, but they are so mesmerized by “free trade” that they cannot pull their eyes away and consider the big picture.

The Democrats loathe these bills because their party is owned by the unions, but they are disciplined and will follow their leader to the end. Harry Reid did not vote for TPA, but he knew it had the votes to pass in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi is walking a much tougher line. She must supply enough Democrat votes to get this over the finish line, but she is reluctant to vote for it herself or to push one more Democrat to vote for it than she has to. They are counting the votes to see how many safe Democrats must fall on their sword to make this happen for the President.

After much thought, it seems that the final points to consider are:

  1. The vote for TPA is essentially a vote for TPP. No trade agreement has ever been stopped once it came under fast track.
  2. Congress should not vote on bills it has not read. This bill is over 800 pages. Senators Cruz and Paul signed into the locked room to read this bill, but nobody has said how long they took to read it. Personally, if they were not in there for several hours, I cannot agree with the comment that they “read” the bill. A question for your congressman is: have you read the bill, and if so, how long did it take you?
  3. This President has overstepped his authority on so many issues that he should not be rewarded with additional authority.
  4. Congress should quit cowering and take responsibility for their Constitutional duties, rather than voting away responsibility to the executive branch.
  5. The trade agreements can still be worked on without fast tracking them.
  6. TPA or fast tracking can be considered again after the next President is in office if the new executive renews trust.

The lack of transparency of this administration, the outright lies, and the total disregard for their Constitutional limits demands that Congress respond with strength and firmness. So far, we have seen neither.

I cannot tell you which evils are going to be unleashed upon the American workers if TPA is passed, but only that they will be many. This will play out exactly like Obamacare: slowly but surely – and always to our detriment – one horror after another will be exposed.

The futility of incremental change

February 2, 2013 · Posted in Business and industry, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The futility of incremental change 

The story I’m going to reference is a few days old, but the point made is still valid.

On Monday the Washington Times ran this piece which simply restated facts many already knew, but made them clear for comparison’s sake: the entirety of this year’s tax increase on the rich was spent on one storm’s relief. Obviously insurance companies and other private-sector industries had sizable losses on Superstorm Sandy as well, but for the insurance industry it’s chalked up as the cost of doing business and over time they will raise rates (and/or deny coverage) to eventually make themselves whole.

But this piece isn’t being written to argue whether government assistance of victims of freakish weather is good policy. We’ve spent the equivalent amount to all these billions (and more) in recent years to prop up failed businesses, subsidize those in industries the market deemed not ready for prime time, and in giveaways to tinpot dictators around the world. We’ve created weaponry for which there may not be an application, paid producers not to produce, and tried to build nations out of subjects unwilling to cooperate. And $50 billion doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the overall sum millions feel they are entitled to by virtue of reaching a certain age and having a few pennies on the dollar deducted from their paychecks over the lifespan of their respective careers.

To sum up: it’s chump change.

Yet I don’t want to make the case that those who are affected aren’t going to miss it. While I don’t think anyone is going to go to the Jersey Shore specifically to see where their share of the $50 billion went – in many cases, the repairs and spending won’t be on the drawing board until later this summer anyway, with some infrastructure reconstruction still years away – the Times story illustrates once again the folly of Band-Aid solutions to our chest wound of deficit spending.

Moreover, the old saw about raising taxes in a recession? Well, if the economic figures from the fourth quarter of 2012 hold up, we’re halfway to a recession right now. Of course there’s always the prospect for an “adjustment” in the next quarter which will goose the GDP just to the growth side of zero, but most people are believing their own eyes rather than the media hype – consumer confidence is down, the 2012 holiday season shopping was pretty much a bust, and I read a Rasmussen Poll this morning that fewer than 2 in 5 of those surveyed think the economy will be better in five years; the lowest mark since the question was first asked in 2009. (At that time over 3 in 5 believed the economy would be better. Fooled you!) In the perception of many, we are indeed in a recession and the government’s only solutions seem to be promises and handouts. In the oft-quoted words of Margaret Thatcher, that works until you run out of other people’s money.

It’s rather unfortunate that Barack Obama and Harry Reid received another four and two years, respectively, to continue to plunder the pocketbooks of those they deem able to afford such a financial flogging, print more money, and create IOUs to handle the rest. Most of those who have even the tiniest sliver of common sense know that’s not the long-term solution, but voters placed Obama and Reid at the helm, the captains of the government Titanic approaching the financial iceberg dead ahead. And the leaky lifeboat commanded by John Boehner at the House is little better; look for small business owners to be swept overboard and drown in the sea of red ink created by a system which has finally shown itself to be the unsustainable one many seers knew it would be, a theory derived from a careful reading of history.

In general I’m an optimist, and perhaps we as a nation can avoid the iceberg and the rocky shoals which await us about our current course. With luck we can navigate a safe passage with the proper austerity program and leadership back toward a government restored to its rightful place.

But we have placed ourselves in a situation where the results are more likely to be worse than better, as tonedeaf Washington leadership continues on a course to economic destruction. If you thought the “fiscal cliff” was a steep precipice, the chasm of our unfunded liabilities could be the bottomless pit. Mixed metaphors aside, the reality is we aren’t in good shape and solutions won’t be coming very quickly from Washington.

Initial impressions

May 30, 2012 · Posted in All politics is local, Bloggers and blogging, Campaign 2014, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Initial impressions 

Already there has been occasion for me to write about possible 2014 races, and I noticed via my Facebook feed that political blogger Richard Cross is putting up his thoughts about the Democratic nominee who would succeed Martin O’Malley. I told you we were getting to the silly season, and quite frankly there’s not much to learn about the 2012 race at this point since we know who the nominees will be and no one but junkies are paying a whole lot of attention anyway.

But we all have to have something to write about, so I wanted to bounce off Richard’s post with a couple thoughts in general.

We all have heard the saying that the 2012 election is the most important one in our lives, and to the extent that it represents a break in the direction our nation is heading, that’s true. Granted it’s not as clean of a break as many might prefer, but above all fears is the fear of the unknown. Sadly, much as I would have liked it, no radical conservative was going to win after the runaway liberalism we’ve experienced over the last three years. Pendulums rarely swing that quickly.

Having said that, however, it’s interesting to reflect on just how sharply the 2010 election served as a repudiation of the so-called “wave” election of 2008. And remember, 2006 was considered payback for the conservatism which had run its course over 12 years, since the Gingrich-led takeover of the House. I would argue that the 2006 theory is incorrect simply because there wasn’t all that much conservatism exhibited by the House after 1995, and even when we had a supposedly conservative President in George W. Bush it’s not like the era of big government came to an end by any means. Instead, we got more federal control over schools and a new permanent entitlement in return for a ten-year tax rate cut. At any rate, given the recessionary economy and the financial panic of the fall of 2008 people were probably more willing for – and less thoughtful about – a change of any sort than in any election over the last 80 years.

So the obvious question for 2012 is whether the push back will come at the expense of the Obama regime or the TEA Party-led Republican majority in Congress. Through my admittedly colored viewpoint I would suspect the former, and let’s say for the sake of argument that indeed occurs – on November 6 Barack Obama and Harry Reid are handed their walking papers as President and Senate Majority Leader, respectively.

And let’s further assume that under a Romney administration the economy comes roaring back to an extent where, even if federal jobs are cut, the growth in the private sector in and around Washington means that part of the state doesn’t suffer as much as many fear should a conservative takeover put a lot of useless pencil-pushers out of work.

Given those two assumptions, the question for 2014 would become the following: do Maryland Democrats get credit for the likely budgetary success which would come from prosperous times?  While their tax hikes were made retroactive so certain wage-earners will be giving the state a larger chunk of their income next April, it’s quite possible that a Romney win in November may make the Christmas shopping season unlike any other in recent memory, as confident shoppers once again decide to splurge. (Martin O’Malley would be cursing his bad luck at not sweet-talking the General Assembly into a sales tax increase at that point.) With a grand Christmas the state would make up for any income tax losses created when they decided a “soak-the-rich” policy was the way to go, rather than prudent spending cuts.

Obviously the majority party in Maryland banks on short memories. Martin O’Malley, who raised taxes more than any governor in our state’s history, still won re-election in 2010 – a terrible year for Democrats elsewhere – because he could state the claim about Bob Ehrlich that he did it too because “a fee is a tax.” Voters had nearly three years to “get used to” the higher taxes so there was no real complaint by the time O’Malley’s re-election rolled around.

Similarly, the increased taxes passed over the last two years will be part of the cost of doing business by the middle of 2014, so if the economy really improves it would be a dead issue. In essence, Republicans then would have to nationalize a state election by comparing the muddled mess of Maryland government in 2014 to our federal government in 2012. Sure, things are prosperous now, they would say, but we can make them even better.

At this early stage, though, we don’t know what the future will hold. If I were to lay odds at the moment I would think the 2014 race for governor would pit Peter Franchot vs. David Craig – a pair of technocrats well-versed in the levers of government as Comptroller and Harford County Executive, respectively. It’s not likely a legislator would be successful in seeking the job since in the last fifty years, only Bob Ehrlich has been elected governor without some sort of executive experience. But all that can be changed if the conditions were right, and the horses who break out front early on rarely lead wire-to-wire.

The other key factor is where the O’Malley fatigue certain to occur will be expressed. Democrats will be hoping that it’s extinguished after the primary election, while the GOP would dearly love to see it carried out all the way through November and be so rampant that a GOP winner has broad coattails. Few would predict the GOP takes over the General Assembly, but getting a minority of 55 to 60 in the House and 20 or so in the Senate would be a milestone for the Maryland Republican Party. They could use that to help a GOP governor enact needed reforms.

But we have to remember we are 2 1/2 years away. It’s fun to handicap a state race, and those who run statewide – particularly as Republicans – need to make an early start, but don’t forget matters closer at hand.

WCRC meeting – March 2012

It was a last-ditch effort to garner votes, and we’ll see how much it helps next Tuesday night. But U.S. Senate candidate Richard Douglas was introduced to the Wicomico County Republican Club and was rather well-received.

Of course we did our usual bit of club business, reciting the Lord’s Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance before I read a rather lengthy accounting of the February meeting. We even had a hiccup in the treasurer’s report that I pointed out. But none of it dissuaded the Republican who boldly proclaimed for his opening, “I’m here because I want to beat Ben Cardin.”

To illustrate his point, Douglas took us back about three decades. When he left the Navy in 1979, he took his GI Bill benefits and enrolled at the University of South Florida where a professor told him the Soviet Union would be eternal and America would have to learn to live with it. Well, we saw how that turned out, and while there are those in Annapolis who would have us believe that one-party rule in Maryland is eternal as well, that’s not necessarily so.

Rich compared Ben Cardin to a brick in a wall – as the mortar is wearing away, soon the brick would drop from the wall and the remainder of the house would follow. And Douglas wasn’t going to be timid in his role, either, warning “Martin O’Malley is going to be one unhappy fella” when Rich wins. “(He’ll) wish he’d never heard my name,” continued Douglas, because he has a “duty to speak” as a Senator. Douglas promised to be our voice and vote in the Senate.

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A twist in the Sixth

February 16, 2012 · Posted in Delmarva items, Kratovil Watch, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics · Comments Off on A twist in the Sixth 

There are two reasons I like the Maryland Juice website: one, because I like to keep tabs on what the opposition is doing, and two, I like the way it is written. Unlike certain recent commentators on this site, the author is willing to stand up for what he believes using his real name. I rarely agree with him, but I can respect his opinion.

David Moon related an interesting development on the Democratic side in the Sixth Congressional District race yesterday: it seems that Democratic candidate John Delaney is being raked over the coals for making a $2,400 contribution in 2010 to Congressman Andy Harris. (Yes, you read that right.)

But before you begin thinking, “hey, a Democrat with a little common sense,” there are a few caveats in play here.

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Milk it

Trying to get all he can out of a lame duck session, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is threatening to continue his session through January 4th.

In published reports, Reid vows the Senate will return after Christmas if necessary in order to address a number of what they consider loose ends – a deal struck to maintain the present tax rates for two more years in exchange for extending unemployment benefits for several more months and an omnibus spending bill to run the government through September 30, 2011 chief among them. Also included in the fast and furious agenda is the DREAM Act providing benefits for illegal aliens, the START treaty with Russia, the repeal of the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy for homosexuals in the military, and a huge land grab covering millions of acres which would become federally protected. All this could conceivably come to a head a full two months after Democratic control of all levers of government was repudiated at the ballot box (although the Senate remains in Democratic hands by a considerably smaller margin.)

It was last year about this time that the focus was on passing Obamacare, which passed one of its major legislative hurdles on a Christmas Eve vote. Why wouldn’t it surprise me to see the same thing happen this year? To be a member of Congress these days is to have not-so-happy holidays, with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi playing the roles of Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Scrooge. If you’re a taxpaying American you’re getting the lumps of coal in your stocking once again.

Never mind the fact that Congress had the better part of two years to address most of these issues, but holding court until almost the day the new members are sworn in is pretty rare – most recent sessions have come to an end well before Christmas. Even when the Republicans ceded control of Congress in 2006 (under a Republican president) they completed their duties by December 22.

But the Democrats have milked the sessions to regularly bump up against Christmas, presumably figuring the public wouldn’t pay much attention to what they passed at the last minute. Among other things, this practice was part of what we rebelled against on November 2.

Unfortunately, Senator Reid not only survived a spirited challenge from Sharron Angle – with the help of a massive GOTV effort from Las Vegas casinos who convinced their workers that Reid needed to stay – but got to keep his leadership position in the Senate as Republicans couldn’t run the electoral table. (In truth, the numbers game was going to make that difficult anyway since this year’s crop was mainly elected in the Republican boom year of 2004. The tables are turned in 2012 as a host of Democrats will be up for re-election.) Regardless, Reid will continue to play the schemer with a smaller majority in his corner over the next two years and a hostile House sending him legislation to bottle up.

So we will have to remain vigilant right on through the holidays, just in time for a new Congressional session to begin and the ’90 Days of Terror’ known as the Maryland General Assembly session to commence as well. Those who crave their freedom are beginning to realize it’s a full-time job to protect what’s theirs since those who oppose us aren’t willing to give up their power easily or happily.

Obviously Harry Reid doesn’t know the meaning of ‘no’ and it will be up to the 42 or so Republicans in the Senate to stand together and teach him that lesson.

Friday night videos – episode 43

Once again it’s time to see what the world of politics has to offer in the video realm, with a dash of local music thrown in and a bit of news on the tail end to boot.

I’m going to wax philosophical on you to start. One of my favorite books is Atlas Shrugged because I immediately got the point about heavy-handed government involvement in society. So this video appealed to me as well, and even though it’s over two years old I hadn’t seen it until recently.

I didn’t even know there was an Ayn Rand Institute but I do now.

Earlier this week, a special person had a birthday. Yes, Kim turned 39 again – amazing how that works! Oh, and that same day some president did too, which is the subject of this Freedom Minute.But in the spirit of bipartisanship, even Harry Reid doesn’t think all Republican Senators are bad – he really likes two of them in particular. From Americans for Limited Government and their coverage of Netroots Nation came this.

I bet this guy would have fit in quite well at the Netroots Nation. As it was, Rep. Pete Stark of California seemed awful snarky at a recent townhall meeting in his district.

Maybe this is why Frank Kratovil won’t have a townhall meeting? Come on, we’re well-behaved people.

What if the internet was like the old Ma Bell? The Competitive Enterprise Institute has some thoughts.

The internet has gotten along just fine as it stands – if not I wouldn’t be here.

Nor would this music video from Lower Class Citizens, courtesy of “the Prince of the Wind.” Like a few weeks back, this was recorded in some underground bunker but turned out well.

So you got your rock, and I can roll until next time. However, depending on availablility, you may see more videos here on monoblogue.

I haven’t quite decided how best to present these, whether as a once- or twice-a-week separate feature or devote this particular weekly space to them, but I’ve reached agreement with Julie Brewington and Matt Trenka (the moderator) on sharing the videos they have done for Right Coast here on monoblogue. While I have plenty of questions for candidates myself, future efforts of theirs will begin to integrate them and voters will be more informed if these videos are seen on more outlets. It’s a win-win for all of us.

I think these will begin next week – you’ll just have to return often to see what I decide for a regular timeslot.

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