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 Corker bill: another major sellout by our GOP elites

April 21, 2015 · Posted in Cathy Keim, Inside the Beltway, National politics, Politics, Senator Watch, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The Corker bill: another major sellout by our GOP elites 

By Cathy Keim

The repetitive nature of our GOP leadership is wearing thin. Once again they are setting up a situation where they will pretend to try very hard to stop the very thing that they are in fact enabling.

The president is pushing hard for a terrible agreement with Iran. Senator Tom Cotton and 46 of his colleagues published an open letter to Iran explaining that the president could not bind the USA to an agreement with the consent of Congress.

Andy McCarthy presents the situation:

Thus, the Constitution mandates that no international agreement can be binding unless it achieves either of two forms of congressional endorsement: a) super-majority approval by two-thirds of the Senate (i.e., 67 aye votes), or b) enactment through the normal legislative process, meaning passage by both chambers under their burdensome rules, then signature by the president.

This put the GOP leadership in a bind. They do not want to constrain the president for unknown reasons, but they do want to appear to their constituents back home like they are trying.

Senator Bob Corker, the Republican head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senators Robert Menendez (a Democrat) and fellow Republican Lindsay Graham submitted a bill that will solve this impasse for the GOP elites.

The fact that the Democrats, including Maryland’s Ben Cardin, are jumping on board with the Corker bill is evidence that something is very wrong. As Politico notes:

The low-key Cardin engaged in a furious round of negotiations with gregarious Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, prompting something that was once viewed as almost unthinkable: a bipartisan deal for Congress to review an Iran nuclear deal — with the blessing of President Barack Obama and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

This bill looks tough because it forces the president to submit his Iran agreement to the senate, but as McCarthy adds:

Once the deal is submitted, Congress would have 60 days (or perhaps as few as 30 days) to act. If within that period both houses of Congress failed to enact a resolution of disapproval, the agreement would be deemed legally binding — meaning that the sanctions the Iranian regime is chafing under would be lifted. As Corker, other Republican leaders, and the president well know, passage of a resolution of disapproval — even if assured in the House with its commanding Republican majority — could be blocked by the familiar, lockstep parliamentary maneuvering of just 40 Senate Democrats. More significantly, even if enacted in the Senate, the resolution would be vetoed by Obama. As with the resolutions of disapproval on debt increases, it is nearly inconceivable that Obama’s veto would be overridden.

Instead of the president needing 67 senators to approve his Iran deal, now the Senate will need 67 votes to block the deal.

What? Why would the senators subvert the Constitution, turn the process upside down, and virtually ensure that they cannot block whatever the president presents?

This is the same old story of the leadership voting yes to let the bill out of committee so that they can futilely vote no on the floor. What they could kill in committee, they willfully let advance and then make a big show of voting no to their constituents back home. The details are different, but the story is the same.

Do not be taken in by this craven show of weakness by the GOP leadership hidden by a pose of strength. We have been sold down the river once again.

Congressman Harris, we are waiting!

March 5, 2015 · Posted in Business and industry, Cathy Keim, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on Congressman Harris, we are waiting! 

By Cathy Keim

The failure of Congress to hold President Obama accountable for his increasingly aggressive executive overreach is about to make them irrelevant. They have reneged on their oaths to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. The protection against a tyrant that our Founders put into our Constitution was the separation of powers. Congress has abdicated their responsibility to resist and stop illegal actions by this president particularly by the power of the purse.

Back on January 6, 2015, in response to pressure from many angry constituents over his vote to re-elect John Boehner as Speaker of the House, Andy Harris posted the following on his Facebook page:

In November, Speaker Boehner was re-nominated by the Republican House Conference without a single opponent stepping forward. That was the appropriate time for an alternative to step forward and be considered by House Republicans. Today’s vote on the House floor was simply whether Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner was going to be Speaker of the House. I hope that we can now move forward and work with the Senate to pass common-sense conservative policies. If Speaker Boehner does not deliver on his promises, a Republican House Conference can be called by 50 members and I would join in that call. (Emphasis mine.)

I have no problem standing up for conservative principles to the Speaker and Republican leadership, such as my vote against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, as well as my votes against the Ryan-Murray budget deal and debt ceiling increases. Please know that I will continue to fight for conservative values and Maryland’s First District in the 114th Congress.

So, I am asking, “Congressman Harris, Speaker Boehner has clearly failed miserably at stopping the executive amnesty overreach. What are you going to do about it?”

The loss of jobs to illegal immigrants, the cost of welfare benefits, Social Security payments for older people that have not paid into the system, tax credits from the IRS for the previous three years amounting to thousands of dollars, etc. etc. The costs are extremely high both in taxpayer dollars expended and in stress to our citizens that cannot find jobs.

Congressman Harris, the damage from this illegal amnesty is far reaching. Again, I urge: please tell us what you plan to do about it.

P.S. Governor Hogan, our state budget is already in the red. This amnesty is going to cause additional drains on our taxpayers. Maryland joined in supporting the executive overreach prior to you being sworn in, but I cannot find any statement from you to say that you disagree with the amnesty.

In a “friend of the court” brief filed Monday, attorneys general from 12 states and the District of Columbia threw their backing behind the president’s executive actions, which could help nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants who currently live in the U.S., allowing them to seek work without fear of deportation.

Officials from 12 states – Washington, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont – and the District of Columbia filed the brief Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

In fact, according to WorldNetDaily, your press secretary ducked questions on the subject when asked.

Harris explains his vote for Boehner

Needless to say, many conservatives around the country are disappointed (but not surprised) that the House of Representatives they elected to be the counterweight to Barack Obama decided to elect as its Speaker an insider who has shown little fortitude in fighting for the cause of limited government.

Included in that number who re-elected Boehner as Speaker was our own representative, Andy Harris. He took to social media to explain why, but I think it’s relevant to express my thoughts on why his assessment was incorrect by dividing his statement into portions.

In November, Speaker Boehner was re-nominated by the Republican House Conference without a single opponent stepping forward. That was the appropriate time for an alternative to step forward and be considered by House Republicans.

A lot changed in two months. The House vote occurred on November 13, before Barack Obama followed through on his pledge to take executive action on immigration and before the CRomnibus bill was voted on – in fact, the idea was hatched around that time. It was his handling of these two events and unwillingness to take a stand which included any slim prospect of a government shutdown which angered a number of conservatives. Too many things were taken off the table.

So the timing argument isn’t one which holds water with me.

Today’s vote on the House floor was simply whether Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner was going to be Speaker of the House.

Wrong. There was no chance Pelosi was going to be Speaker. The idea was to bring a second ballot in the hopes that Boehner would see the light, withdraw his name, and allow a compromise candidate to emerge. As Erick Erickson wrote, fellow Ohioan Jim Jordan may have been that guy.

I hope that we can now move forward and work with the Senate to pass common-sense conservative policies. If Speaker Boehner does not deliver on his promises, a Republican House Conference can be called by 50 members and I would join in that call.

Color me extremely, extremely skeptical on that one. We have a four-year track record of a lack of leadership and of kicking multiple cans down the road. And I can already see the excuses.

Over the summer: “We can’t call a conference now – we’re in the middle of working on the FY2016 budget and it would be a distraction.”

Come next fall: “We can’t call a conference now because it would handicap our nominee in 2016. The media would have a field day.”

In 2016: “It’s too close to the election, we can’t risk the infighting and distractions.” And so on. It would be a waiting game where they would hope to outlast our side.

I have no problem standing up for conservative principles to the Speaker and Republican leadership, such as my vote against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, as well as my votes against the Ryan-Murray budget deal and debt ceiling increases.

But you voted for the CRomnibus, while civil libertarians dislike your vote for CISPA and FISA, so both these items you cite are somewhat mixed bags on the whole.

Please know that I will continue to fight for conservative values and Maryland’s First District in the 114th Congress.

You’re not off to a good start.

I go back to something I highlighted in a previous post on this subject, which reprinted a letter from the Wicomico Society of Patriots:

I am aware that it is potentially politically dangerous for Andy Harris to vote against Boehner. If Boehner were to win anyway, then he can retaliate by removing people from their prestigious positions. Andy Harris is on the appropriations committee, one of the most powerful committees. However, we did not vote for Andy Harris so that he could protect his political power in DC. We voted for Andy Harris to stop the Obama agenda. Boehner has been completely ineffectual in stopping Obama.

Sadly. John Boehner is the kind of leader who would be so petty as to punish conservative opponents – whose constituencies are the backbone of the Republican Party – so he’s no leader at all. If only he would exhibit the same backbone to the opposition. It will be worth checking out what happens to the 25 Republicans who did not support Boehner – locally Rep. Scott Rigell, who represents the Eastern Shore of Virginia, was among those opposed.

As for Harris, the questions have to be asked: is this the first major signal of the slide toward the center exhibited by those who have become comfortable inside the Beltway? And how much of an effect will it have on his 2016 prospects? It’s early but if there’s a sentiment underneath the surface that says a more conservative alternative would get the grassroots support that is needed to overcome Andy’s financial advantage – basically, that campaign would have to begin in the next few weeks given the 2016 primary is tentatively scheduled for April 5.

It’s clear that in its current configuration the First District is a Republican stronghold as Harris won in 2012 with 63% of the vote only to breach the 70% threshold in November – yet against a completely unknown, underfunded, and outclassed opponent Harris got just 78% of the primary vote in 2014. (Harris was unopposed in the primary in 2012 and beat Rob Fisher with 67% in 2010.) So Harris does have his detractors and hasn’t faced a “name” Republican opponent since his primary win (with 43%) over then-Congressman Wayne Gilchrest and fellow State Senator E.J. Pipkin.

There’s also been the sentiment that the Eastern Shore needs “one of ours” in the House. While Harris is not a stranger to the Eastern Shore, one part of the reason we were represented by Frank Kratovil for two years was Frank’s successful case that he had “Eastern Shore values” because he lived here (albeit as a come-here who lived almost within sight of the Bay Bridge.)

Perhaps the two saving graces that Andy will have is distance from the election and the slight chance that Boehner figures out the reason we elected more Republicans to the House. But that light you might see looking toward Washington is that of a whole lot of bridges burning.

One extra seat

October 9, 2013 · Posted in Campaign 2014, Inside the Beltway, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, Polling, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on One extra seat 

I received an amusing pictorial e-mail today from the Democratic National Committee. I guess when you’re targeting low-information voters you need plenty of pictures.

But it shows just what’s at stake in 2014.

Never mind that the poll the Democrats cite (from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling) pits these Republicans against a “generic” Democrat – once an actual candidate is selected the numbers generally go down. It’s also a simple registered voter poll, and may not accurately reflect the electorate in the region. (No one’s ever oversampled Democrats to get a desired result before. </sarc>)

The PPP survey is sort of like the generic ballot polling an outfit like Rasmussen does, where they pit the broad base of Republicans vs. the broad base of Democrats. At this time the numbers are even, which suggests not much will change. (This is particularly surprising given the negative coverage House Republicans have endured throughout the Obama temper tantrum shutdown slowdown.) Bear in mind as well the PPP survey was conducted in the first few days of the Obama/Reid shutdown, before many major developments in the story.

So it’s important to cede no ground to the Democrats. And history isn’t on their side – with the exception of 1998, where Democrats picked up 5 seats, the opposition party to the President has added seats in Congress in every second-term midterm election since 1952. The range was from 5 seats in 1986 (Reagan) to 49 seats in 1958 (Eisenhower) and 1974, the post-Watergate Ford election. 1966 was another watershed year, with incumbent Democrats under Lyndon Johnson losing 47 seats. So Barack Obama would have to buck a historical trend to gain seats, let alone recapture the majority.

Nor has it been considered that the Republicans might pick up some vulnerable Democrat seats as well. Certainly the opponents of Sixth District Congressman John Delaney aren’t taking this lying down. They’re either playing up the trustworthiness angle, like Dan Bongino does in this video:

(By the way, if you look closely you’ll see my cohort Jackie Wellfonder in the video in a couple spots.)

Or they’re hammering the incumbent for turning his back on veterans, like Marine David Vogt:

A conversation about the Affordable Care Act and the harmful effects it is having on the American people is one we need to have. But we can’t have that conversation while our leaders are engaged in a partisan, political playground feud. Each side is guilty, and neither side is leading. Leadership means getting in the conference room and hammering out a solution, not holding a press conference just to call the opposition a new name and to repeat the same talking points that have obviously gotten us nowhere.

Our leaders have forgotten who they are in Washington to represent. Last week, I watched in amazement and disgust as my opponent voted to block funding for veterans’ benefits because he decided politics and standing by his party’s leadership came before service to his constituents and the American people. This is inexcusable.

Washington is supposed to work for us, not against us. These days it often seems that our elected officials do more to work against the American people than they do to help us. We don’t have time for political bickering. We have more pressing issues than each side’s attempt to save face. We need leadership, but it doesn’t appear we are going to get it anytime soon.

Obviously we won’t get new leadership until after the 2014 elections. And while I wouldn’t mind replacing John Boehner as Speaker, I’m hoping we do so with a much more conservative bulldog with TEA Party roots, not the shrill uber-liberal shill Nancy Pelosi. She had her time and set the stage for Barack Obama ruining the country, so let’s send a message to the Democrats and seize the narrative.

It’s not hypocrisy, it’s just time for a change

July 9, 2013 · Posted in All politics is local, Business and industry, Campaign 2014, Maryland Politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on It’s not hypocrisy, it’s just time for a change 

Here’s the problem with running against a freshman legislator: he’s not always responsible for the messes put in place by members of his own party. Congressional candidate Dan Bongino can’t pin a vote for Obamacare on his Democratic opponent John Delaney because Delaney wasn’t there in 2010. Perhaps John was cheering them on, but there’s nothing there which says Delaney voted for it – although there is a vote he made this year against the measure’s repeal, which passed the House with a unanimous GOP and two Democrats supporting repeal. That’s actually true to Delaney’s campaign promise, although it’s unclear how he proposes to reconcile the second part:

I will fight attempts to repeal this landmark legislation, but I believe it is necessary to refine the ACA to create a framework that will lower long-term costs.

Um, Congressman, that would probably involve repeal. And by the way, health care is NOT a right.

On the other hand I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for this:


How many days will it be to the 2014 election? That will be Dan’s count.

To that end, Bongino stepped up the pressure in a release yesterday announcing Delaney’s “stunning act of political hypocrisy”:

In a stunning act of political hypocrisy, Rep. John Delaney now supports legislation that seeks to prevent political targeting from the IRS, but he remains unwilling to withdraw his support for Obamacare, which uses the IRS to target the American people through higher taxes, fines, and penalties.

Obamacare is failing because of one inescapable economic truth: cost and quality can only be effectively controlled when individuals in the marketplace control the system, not government bureaucrats.

I challenge John Delaney to immediately withdraw his support for Obamacare because it is hurting working families and small businesses in District 6. Delaney has voted with Nancy Pelosi and President Obama over 90 percent of the time. But it is time to put the people of District 6 ahead of party politics.

I will have to challenge one statistic Bongino uses, as practically any Congressman outside of a Ron Paul clone will vote with the opposition well over 50 percent of the time. A large percentage of the votes are unanimous or with token opposition, and that ratchets up the total for everyone.

On balance, though, Bongino makes a sound point. One thing he’ll have to use is whatever media he can get to counteract the full-court press by Barack Obama to get younger and healthier people to sign up for Obamacare as those kids are the largest factor in “bending the cost curve” so they’ll be enticed, whether through the schools, the libraries, or just the media cheerleaders in his corner, to sign up. (NFL cheerleaders are a different story, though, as the league rebuffed the advances of HHS head Kathleen Sebelius.) Regardless, he’s depending on the young to subsidize the old, just like many other entitlements we’re now saddled with.

Moreover, the trick for Dan will be to come up with something better that can’t be demagogued by Delaney and used to scare low-information voters into believing the end is nigh with a Bongino election. As an example, Democrats for decades used to scare seniors into thinking Republicans would take away their Social Security check, despite the lack of actual legislation to do so. While the idea of cancelling Obamacare may not be such a tough sell with voters, the system indeed needs some reforms aimed at curbing the spiraling costs. (In my view, getting  the government out of health care entirely would work well to that effect. Just like anywhere else, those in the health care provider system can’t resist a huge pot of “free” government money.)

Yet I’m not sure this will be the hot topic come the fall of 2014. To draw a parallel, in the summer of 2008 we were screaming about high energy prices but an economic calamity has a way of making people sit up and take notice. No one cared about gas prices (which, by the way, had retreated far off their summertime highs) by the time the election was held – instead, we were on the verge of “abandon(ing) free-market principles to save the free-market system.” Obamacare could be an expensive sideshow by then, considering the President is now arbitrarily pushing back the deadline for business compliance to after those midterm elections.

Long story short – sixteen months is three eternities in politics. So while this is good publicity for Dan, I’m sure he’s also working on more specific ideas for the debates with both his GOP challengers and Delaney himself, assuming John doesn’t lose to a more liberal opponent in the Democratic primary.

16 Republicans

December 5, 2012 · Posted in Delmarva items, Inside the Beltway, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on 16 Republicans 

This is something we should be aware of, although chances are it wouldn’t happen that way.

A post by Ned Ryun in RedState points out that just sixteen Republicans could be the difference between having milquetoast John Boehner as Speaker of the House or enacting a changing of the guard. For my part, I believe we need someone who will tell Barack Obama to pound sand until he comes up with realistic and reasonable bipartisan solutions on addressing the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and automatic spending cuts installed the last time we all kicked the can down the road. That someone is not John Boehner.

And before loyal Republicans freak out at the possibility of giving the Speaker’s gavel back to Nancy Pelosi, Ryun points out that House rules require a majority of members select a Speaker, not a plurality. The only way we would see Pelosi back in the chair is if sixteen of the most moderate Republicans crossed the aisle and guaranteed themselves a primary challenge in 2014.

Many conservatives are fed up with Boehner anyway, but the straw which broke the camel’s back may have been stripping some of the more strident House members of their former committee assignments.

Obviously we don’t have a say in what goes on in the House, but those of us in the First Congressional District elected someone who does. Since Andy Harris has said that he doesn’t believe in new taxes, why should he vote for a Speaker who’s willing to negotiate away the one key piece of leverage we have in these budget talks? I hope he doesn’t.

There are other interesting possibilities at work here, though. Let’s say the conservative Republicans succeed in getting enough votes committed to withholding support from Boehner that he couldn’t be re-elected Speaker with just GOP votes. Would Democrats cross over, knowing how he seems to loathe the most conservative in the Republican caucus as much as they do, and provide the votes to re-elect him Speaker? Stranger things have happened, but we would at least know where we stood.

Just because Barack Obama barely won re-election doesn’t mean all of America embraced his economic policies – more than likely it was a reaction to the demagoguery of his opponent and the lack of excitement he brought to the race from the same conservative quarters now questioning whether Boehner deserves another term.

Arguably that same group on a state level lost its confidence in party leadership as well, given that roughly 2/5 of the bodies voting last Saturday – 104 of 247 – voted in favor of the no-confidence resolution against Reince Priebus. Counties on the Eastern Shore, though, split almost evenly, with 34 for and 36 against. And if you add the clear majority from among the Central Committee voters in Baltimore, Carroll, and Harford counties calling for Reince’s head – remember, those are part of Andy’s district now – you can understand that the Harris constituency might be a little perturbed at party leadership.

Hopefully Harris bears that in mind when leadership roles are picked early next year.

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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Limbaugh ‘slut’ controversy no Fluke

Fair warning – some language NSFW.

Considering that the story took a couple weeks to play out, there’s no doubt that Sandra Fluke’s biggest career move to date has been to be called a ‘slut’ by none other than Rush Limbaugh. If not for that, it’s doubtful anyone outside the world of far-leftist hyper-pro-choice and LGBTQ politics would have heard of her, and Barack Obama wouldn’t have picked up the phone to give her a ring.

In fact, so few knew who she was that it didn’t originally send up red flags to most when Democrats tried to sign her up to testify at a House hearing, portrayed as a 23-year-old Georgetown Law School student. When her original attempt to testify before a House committee chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa was rebuffed because, in Issa’s judgment, she couldn’t be properly vetted, Fluke became the star witness in a Democratic show hearing put together by Rep. Nancy Pelosi – a star witness because she was the only witness. Nice effort to hear from all sides there, guys – at least the Republicans asked for your input. It was at that hearing she made the claim that contraception had cost her and others she surveyed a total of $3,000 over the three years she had been at Georgetown Law School, which didn’t cover the expense in their health insurance plan.

Later, however, it was revealed that she entered Georgetown Law in part to challenge the rule regarding contraception coverage. It was also learned that nearby pharmacies sell the most commonly available birth-control pill for as little as $9 per month, putting the lie to the $1,000 per year figure.

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The McDermott notes: week 6

February 19, 2012 · Posted in All politics is local, Delmarva items, Maryland Politics, National politics, Politics, State of Conservatism · Comments Off on The McDermott notes: week 6 

For Delegate Mike McDermott, week 6 of the General Assembly session was a study in contrasts: exciting peaks at both ends with a more humdrum routine in the middle.

In this edition Mike returned to a day-by-day format, with one highlight of his week being chosen by Republican leadership to deliver the Lincoln Day address Monday night – an address he posted here.

It’s intriguing to me that the speech served as a prelude to a week where certain “rights” took up most of the debate in the General Assembly. But look at a piece of what McDermott said:

Lincoln knew that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were unalienable rights given by God and not granted by a government, and for the government to impose itself on that which was granted by God could only produce sorrows and shame.

Those rights given by God don’t include the freedom to make choice without consequence. Yet by passing the same-sex marriage bill we took a step toward the government imposing itself on that which was granted, by saying that certain behavior which many of us feel is counterproductive to a righteous society is now acceptable because a small minority wishes it to be so. I can’t help but feel that other, perhaps even smaller minorities who believe that children should be exploited for the pleasures of adults or that – based on their faith – we should be able to marry more than one person will now feel they’re the ones being shortchanged and whine accordingly. No, it won’t happen tomorrow, this year, or even in the next half-decade or so. But mark my words, it will happen, and we’ll have one less leg to stand on in saying no to them.

Aside from the joint committee hearing and vote on the gay marriage bill which happened Tuesday, much of the midweek was spent by McDermott in hearing twenty other bills which are fairly non-controversial and generally involve small tweaks to existing law. One I found interesting is HB420, which extends a pilot program of GPS monitoring of those on probation already used in Washington County through September, 2015. Big Brother is watching.

And then there is Friday. Mike doesn’t spend a lot of time going over the “blur of activity” on Friday, as he will eventually supplement these notes with his account of “the machinations to bring this vote about, the creation of ‘magic’ Legislative Days which allowed this to occur, and the back room dealings.”

But I wanted to address some of these with my view.

In the last few years that I’ve noticed, it seems like more and more bills are being passed with the approach that the ends justify the means. One prime example is the Obamacare bill, where we had to pass it to know what was in it, according to Nancy Pelosi. Isn’t the idea supposed to be one of understanding its impact beforehand?

In both Maryland and on a national level, there are groups which take key bills and attempts to determine the impact they will have on various elements of the private sector. (As a Maryland example, read the fiscal note on HB438, the same-sex marriage bill.) But while these brief studies adequately define the fiscal impact and certain other parameters of proposed law, they cannot take into account how society is affected. On financial and tax issues, one can predict what impact a bill will have on the state’s treasury, but it’s left to a common sense analysis to determine that if a state makes it more difficult to profit from a business or keep that which is earned through the fruits of one’s labor it will detrimentally affect economic activity; for example a job which would have been created had conditions been maintained may not be because of the new law. It’s impossible to know the intentions of all 5.7 million Marylanders but there are causes and effects for their behavior.

This is even more difficult on social issues. One can debate the sort of impact 40 or 50 million aborted babies would have had if they’d been brought to term and lived – some argue that many would have been subjected to a life of neglect because they were unwanted from the start and deepened the social problems plaguing us today, but others feel the potential of a generation was wasted because some of its great scientists, scholars, and leaders were instead butchered in an abortion clinic. Obviously we will never know the truth, but it’s my contention that we deprived these unborn of their God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness they assumed upon conception. Yet it’s ironic to me that many who would grant the unearned, behaviorally-based choice of same-sex couples to marry as a right are also in favor of denying the unborn a right to life, also in the name of “choice.”

Because we’ve lived for less than a decade with same-sex marriage, it’s not entirely clear to us what we’ve stepped into. Indeed, there’s a chance that proponents could be right and it will strengthen marriage as a whole. But as two of Mike’s fellow Delegates noted, there’s an agenda to legitimize the gay lifestyle as just another choice (there’s that word again) which is no better or no worse than others.

Yet the fact it’s our current government stepping in to address the situation gives me pause, and reminds me that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” When the ends justify the means and we have to pass the bill to know what’s in it, my inclination is that we’ve reached a point of complete corruption.

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