President Obama’s signature legislative initiative, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, just may be the worst law passed in America since the Fugitive Slave Act. I say this from personal experience—not with the Slave Act, thank heavens, but with the Affordable Care Act, alas.
On Saturday, for the second year in a row, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul won the Conservative Political Action Conference’s (CPAC) Straw Poll. Receiving 31 percent of the vote, Sen. Paul nearly tripled his nearest competition, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The internals of the poll — which no news organization seems to be discussing — mesh well with a new Pew survey of the Millennial generation to explain Senator Paul’s apparent presidential campaign strategy: to energize and win young voters in much the same way that Barack Obama did in 2008.
It’s a difficult task, getting people in their 20s and 30s to vote for a Republican, but it may be the GOP’s best hope to win a presidential election in the near future. If CPAC is any measure — and it is — Rand Paul seems to be well on the way toward being the choice of younger voters, at least younger conservatives and libertarians.
The lackluster response of the Obama administration to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has put liberals in desperation mode. Unable to defend their actions or lack thereof, liberals are now doing what they do best — blaming conservatives.
In this instance, liberals are claiming that conservatives are in love with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Within days, Isaac Chotiner of the New Republic, David Horsey of the Los Angeles Times,and “comedian” Jon Stewart were all claiming that Cupid had shot an arrow through the hearts of conservatives who are overwhelmed with a passion for Putin.
“Stand with Rand” — a nice, snappy exhortation for sure; comparable, in rhythm and energy, to “I Like Ike.”
Not that Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul stands, shall we say, in much danger of becoming president, despite his straw-poll victory (31 percent) at the Conservative Political Action Conference. (For comparative purposes, Ted Cruz got 11 percent, Marco Rubio 6 percent, and Rep. Paul Ryan 3 percent, a figure wholly non-commensurate with the ex-Veep nominee's qualities.)
When you’re young and on fire, as were nearly half the straw poll participants at CPAC, you’re subject to hurling obstacles out the window. For instance, does the American electorate as a whole chew its fingernails as earnestly as Paul does over federal storage of telephone call information for potential use in fighting terrorism? “The Fourth Amendment” — illegal search and seizure — “is just as important as the Second Amendment,” the senator contends.
If anyone wanted to pick a time and place where the political left’s avowed concern for minorities was definitively exposed as a fraud, it would be now — and the place would be New York City, where far left Mayor Bill de Blasio has launched an attack on charter schools, cutting their funding, among other things.
These schools have given thousands of low income minority children their only shot at a decent education, which often means their only shot at a decent life. Last year 82 percent of the students at a charter school called Success Academy passed city-wide mathematics exams, compared to 30 percent of the students in the city as a whole.
Why would anybody who has any concern at all about minority young people — or even common decency — want to destroy what progress has already been made?
One big reason, of course, is the teachers’ union, one of Mayor de Blasio’s biggest supporters. But it may be more than that. For many of the true believers on the left, their ideology overrides any concern about the actual fate of flesh-and-blood human beings.
Last month some women started a new front in their long war on men, women and children, a war with so many victims killed — and disabled in soul and body. And they lost. On February 17, Virginia state Senator Stephen H. Martin and other pro-life Virginia legislators received late valentines from the Virginia Pro-Choice Coalition asking them to give up their opposition to abortion.
I find the report of this volley of valentines in Virginia disturbing on several levels. First, I was not aware that organizations, for-profit or not-for-profit, send valentines. Valentines are meant to be sent by individuals to individuals. Second, since valentines are used to express romantic love, or affection, or at least friendship, it is wrong to send them to an opponent, much less to ask the recipient to change their sincerely held beliefs. Third, it is just plain hard to believe that valentines would be used to lobby legislators.
Hillary Clinton has her own private NSA.
American Bridge PAC spent last week spying on the private conversations of attendees at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
The group also plans to spy on the private lives of GOP delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention wherever the convention is located, but Politico reports ABPAC has issued the following threat if the GOP selects Las Vegas as its host city. American Bridge has set up this website at “SinCityGOP” and announces (bold print supplied):
While the Republican Party debates where to hold the Republican National Convention in 2016, American Bridge is preparing our team of researchers and trackers to capture the action no matter what city they choose.
Whatever one may think of Richard Nixon, even his harshest critics usually would concede his foreign policy genius. By opening up China, surrounding the Soviet Union, making peace possible between Israel and Egypt, signing the first significant arms control treaty with the Soviets, and ending the war in Vietnam, Nixon made the world a far more peaceful place. He wanted a “generation of peace,” as we Nixon speech writers were told to call it — and he got it.
What would Nixon do now? What would he do with a resurgent, militant Russia, led by a shrewd aggressive empire builder — atop a foundering state?
What would he do about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea to Russia by a plebiscite at bayonet’s point?
I don’t know and he’s not talking. But based on a lifetime of study of RN and his mind, I offer these guesses on what he would do.
In one of the most anticipated matches of the first week of the Masters 1000 tournament at Indian Wells, California, the doubles team of Roger Federer and Stanislaw Wawrinka beat the legendary Indo-Pak Express team of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam Ul-Haq Qureshi in three sets, largely due to sensational return-of-serve shots by the ex world No. 1 (presently No. 8). Wawrinka (presently No. 3) did his job as well as you would expect of the man who beat Djokovic and Nadal, both, at the Australian Open a few weeks ago, but it was Federer, fresh from his triumph over Tomas Berdych in the final at the Dubai tournament (Bopanna and Qureshi took the doubles trophy), whose lightning reflexes at the net and absolutely uncanny sense of where to put the ball, drew the oohs and aahs, perceptible even on TV, of the capacity crowd at Stadium Two on Friday afternoon.
A new survey confirms that the “Affordable Care Act” has failed to achieve one of its most important goals — making health coverage accessible to the uninsured. As the Washington Post reports, “Just one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private health plans through the new marketplace have signed up for one.” Why so few? According to the survey, which was released last Thursday by McKinsey & Company, the most common reason cited by uninsured respondents was lack of affordability. Out of five possible reasons for failing to enroll, most chose, “I could not afford to pay the premium.”
Usually a debate involves an exchange of opposing views.
But not at CPAC.
On Saturday, pundits Ann Coulter and Mickey Kaus debated immigration reform.
Except that it wasn’t a debate.
Yes, both Coulter and Kaus offered their opinions with conviction and energy. Yet their alignment was omnipresent.
Both oppose the prospect of amnesty, both oppose bipartisan immigration reform, and both believe that either option would lead America to a very dark place. Or, in Coulterspeak, a very brown place.
Still, the real issue with this discussion wasn’t Coulter’s opinions. Rather, it was how Coulter encapsulated CPAC more generally — illustrating how serious policy discussions remain an uncomfortable paradigm in conservative-conservative dialogue.
With Russian troops in Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, here’s a look back at how Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sized up Russia and Vladimir Putin during the 2012 presidential campaign.
First, here’s an excerpt of Romney’s interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on March 26, 2012:
ROMNEY: The actions he’s (Obama’s) taken so far, which he says are to reset relations with Russia, have not worked out at all. Russia continues to support Syria. It supports Iran, has fought us with the crippling sanctions we wanted to have the world put in place against Iran. Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage.… What he (Obama) did both on nuclear weaponry already in the new START treaty, as well as his decision to withdraw missile defense sites from Poland, and then reduce our missile defense sites in Alaska from the original plan -- I mean, these are very unfortunate developments.
BLITZER: But you think Russia is a bigger foe right now than, let’s say, Iran or China or North Korea? Is that what you’re saying, Governor?
It’s not at all clear what Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk thinks he can accomplish during his visit with President Obama later this week. It’s a good bet that he’s not coming to urge on Obama the advice offered by New York Times columnist Tom Friedman.
I had to read Friedman’s March 4 column twice to be sure I hadn’t fallen for a parody from The Onion. Friedman has a prescription to weaken Vlad Putin that sounds like something written by Al Gore and edited by the folks who publish Mad Magazine.
According to Friedman, if Obama wanted to frighten Putin, we’d invest in (i.e., have the government pay for) facilities to liquefy and export natural gas, making Europe more dependent on us; (2) raise the tax on gasoline; (3) create a national carbon tax and a “national renewable energy standard” all of which, as Friedman admits, would increase the price Americans pay for energy.
Hillary Clinton will address the quadrennial General Assembly of United Methodist Women next month, brandishing her credentials as a lifelong Methodist. It’s not clear if she’s been active in a Methodist church since leaving the White House in 2001. For eight years she and her Baptist husband attended Washington’s Foundry Church, whose then pastor, a renowned liberal theologian, vigorously defended Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
But undoubtedly the former First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State was deeply shaped by her Methodist upbringing in a Chicago suburb. A liberal youth minister was influential, as was a radical Methodist youth magazine she read devotedly as a teenager. As First Lady, she recounted having saved every issue, and cited as particularly formative a 1966 article by anti-war activist Carl Oglesby, which evidently helped shift her from a Barry Goldwater Republican to a 1960s progressive.
General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has recently stated that the armed forces should place more importance on the character of officers. The military has been rocked by a Navy contracting scandal involving allegations of bribes, high profile sexual assault cases, and test-cheating involving nuclear missile crews. The general stated that the military service chiefs would put renewed focus on military ethics.
I met the general in church a few weeks after his statement. In a brief conversation, I told him that I would be interested to see his findings as to why character is lacking among so many in high places and what solutions his committee proposes. Later that day, I thought that, instead of me waiting for the Joint Chief’s report, I should be contributing to what needs to be a national conversation, since the lack of character is now endemic to our society.
To be at home in all lands and all ages;
To count Nature a familiar acquaintance,
And Art an intimate friend;
To gain a standard for the appreciation of others’ work
And the criticism of your own;
To carry the keys of the world’s library in your pocket,
And feel its resources behind you in whatever task you undertake
I remember hearing these words — “The Offer of the College” — in my earliest days as a Bowdoin College first-year. They came in a whirl of initial activity: a “pre-orientation” trip to a beautiful coastal locale filled with awkward conversation between pre-oriented students; kissing my parents goodbye after all the boxes were moved in; and, this being a Maine college, a lobster bake to formally kick the year off.
Why has the Western world, and its churches in particular, been so slow to wake up and do something about one of the greatest international human rights tragedies of the 21st century? This is the murderous persecution of tens of thousands of Christians across the Middle East. In the last three years it has intensified on a scale that is becoming alarmingly reminiscent of the persecution of Jews in Europe during the 1930s.
Just as Kristallnacht and other early Nazi outrages failed to rouse the conscience of the civilized world 80 years ago, so the spilling of the blood of today’s Christian martyrs is similarly underreported by the media and ignored by the public.
Yet as the annus horibilis of 2013 rolls into what is predicted to be an even worse new year of persecution, it is becoming clear that the attacks on Christian communities are becoming sustained and systematic. They spring largely from the coordinated hatreds of militant Islamists, from which governments of the region and the world tend to avert their eyes.
The Great Divide” series of articles on inequality in the New York Times offers a textbook example of exaggerating the size of the hole and ignoring the donut. In “We Are Not All in This Together,” for instance, sociology professor Shamus Khan at Columbia paints a picture of the economy as a fixed pie: “Let’s be honest. If a few of us are better off, then many are not. If many are better off, then a few will be constrained. Which world would you rather live in? To me the answer is obvious.”
In fact, Khan’s assertion of how the world works is far from obvious.
Is he saying the rest of us became worse off when Steve Jobs and his top associates became better off? Is he claiming that we’ll somehow become worse off, automatically, if the stockholders of Merck or Bristol-Myers become better off because their investments succeed in producing a drug that can zap cancer tumors via the immune system?
Democrats and Republicans are battling to win the millennial vote, and so far the Dems are winning. Young people aren’t interested in a party that brands itself as the “party of no,” and they’re turned off by messaging about social issues that don’t mesh with their own beliefs. In fact, only 18 percent of millennials say they belong to the GOP, while 31 percent call themselves Democrats.
This week, as conservatives from across the country have convened in Washington for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the GOP can send a strong, unified message to millennials. Rather than focusing on what divides our nation, Republicans have an opportunity to speak to this generation about the massive, ever-growing debt that threatens our future — and what we can do to fix the problem.