Political Hay

Political Hay

How the Tea Party Got 2014 Wrong

By 5.13.14

The North Carolina Republican primaries were a big day for the Tea Party. The movement had not one, but two candidates campaigning to take on Democratic Senator Kay Hagan in November. Greg Brannon and Mark Harris had millions of dollars spent on their respective campaigns, yet it was obvious early on that this would be another case of the conservative vote being split. It’s become very typical in Republican primary politics.

Without a unified front, the establishment will always win. The time has come for conservatives to cut their losses and work on races where one candidate can overcome a weaker establishment choice.

In another North Carolina primary the Tea Party missed its chance. Frank Roche is an America-first, small-government candidate who challenged pro-amnesty, establishment Republican Renee Ellmers. Ellmers is a unique member of Congress for whom amnesty is not enough and those who don’t support “comprehensive immigration reform” are “ignorant.” Having more than a million dollars in resources, including more than $200,000 from Mark Zuckerberg, Ellmers won the primary with 58.8 percent of the vote.

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Political Hay

Poor Winners in the GOP Establishment

By 5.13.14

Last week North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis escaped a runoff by earning 46 percent of the vote — six points above the threshold — in an eight-way primary race for the right to face down incumbent U.S. Senator Kay Hagan this November.

The post-victory squawking among Washington's smart set was that the GOP establishment has vanquished the Tea Party, that the Karl Rove and Mitt Romney wing of the party is ascendant once more. But this analysis, like most generated inside the Beltway, fundamentally misses the mark. For Republicans, it isn’t just wrong, but counterproductive.

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Political Hay

Sequester Death Toll: One Job

By 5.9.14

At the core of the dysfunction in Washington is this dilemma: Government must approve spending cuts, yet government has no interest in approving spending cuts. Federal employees are quite content with their lifestyles—46 percent more in retirement benefits than the private sector, cozy job security—and don’t want to see them trimmed. Thus even spending reductions that make it through Congress rarely make a difference.

Look at what happened with the sequester.

By now just reading the word “sequester” should render the average reader cowering under his desk while “Flight of the Valkyries” thunders in his mind. Sequestration, after all, was supposed to hack apart the social order as we knew it. Chris Matthews called it a “doomsday machine.” President Obama warned that “people are going to be hurt.” The Congressional Budget Office predicted 750,000 jobs could be lost. Sequestration, as the trendy metaphor went, was a meat cleaver when what we really needed was a scalpel.

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Political Hay

Welcome to the Panderosa

By 5.7.14

It’s no more attractive when Republicans try to buy votes with special interest legislation than when Democrats do it. At least when Democrats do this they actually get votes. The latest exercise in ethnic pandering by Republicans in the Florida Legislature is not likely to win candidates of that party a single new vote, but does create pressure for further legislation that would damage the state and the nation.

Political consultants, establishment graybeards, and the breathless media have convinced most elected Republicans and wannabe elected Republicans that if they would just get over the retrograde and hateful notion that there is any useful distinction to be made between people who are citizens of the United States and those who are not (particularly those who are not but who have Spanish last names) that voters with Spanish last names will begin to vote for Republicans where they wouldn’t before. There’s not a shred of evidence to support this, and considerable reason to believe it’s not so.

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Political Hay

There’s Method to Hillary’s Methodism

By 5.2.14

While much of the world had its eyes on Rome where Pope Francis canonized Popes John XXIII and John Paul II last weekend, a group of United Methodist women in Louisville did something of the same for Hillary Clinton.

The one-time First Lady told an Apr. 26 assembly of the United Methodist Women that being with them was like a “homecoming.” That’s about right. The group is a full-fledged member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and campaigns for many of the issues in Clinton’s wheelhouse.

But policy wasn’t on Mrs. Clinton’s mind that morning; not yet. She told the Women that the sight of her father on his knees in prayer every night left a “very big impression” on the Park Ridge, Ill. native.

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His Own Worst Salesman

By 4.29.14

“Don’t sell the steak—sell the sizzle.” — Elmer Wheeler

At the beginning of April, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal put forth a 23-page proposal seeking to answer critics of Republican efforts to terminate Obamacare. Titled “The Freedom and Empowerment Plan: The Prescription For Conservative Consumer-Focused Health Reform,” it distills several conservative ideas on health care into a few big ones.

Among them:

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Political Hay

Changing Immigration Politics in Colorado

By 4.28.14

Congressman Cory Gardner (R-CO) tells a personal story: “I was visiting a high school in Kit Carson, Colorado when a young woman came up to me asking about in-state tuition for non-citizens. ‘I’m graduating at the top of my high school class, but my parents brought me here illegally when I was five years old and without in-state tuition I can’t afford college,’ she told me.” Gardner’s answer — that for several reasons this really needed to be dealt with as part of broader immigration reform — left him feeling unsatisfied even though it accurately represented his view.

He continues: “Five years later, I went back to Kit Carson and sat down in a little restaurant for a quick bite. And who do you think ended up serving me? The same girl who five years earlier was the valedictorian of her high school.” Gardner’s conclusion — and how could it be otherwise? — is that this cannot be the best outcome for the girl, for her family, or for the State of Colorado.

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The New American Fascism

By 4.22.14

It is the New American Fascism. And make no mistake — the perpetrators are proud of it. Let’s begin with dates and names.

August 7, 2008: The New York Times reports that

Nearly 10,000 of the biggest donors to Republican candidates and causes across the country will probably receive a foreboding “warning” letter in the mail next week. The letter is an opening shot across the bow from an unusual new outside political group on the left that is poised to engage in hardball tactics to prevent similar groups on the right from getting off the ground this fall.

Led by Tom Matzzie, a liberal political operative who has been involved with some prominent left-wing efforts in recent years, the newly formed nonprofit group, Accountable America, is planning to confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.

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Liberal Media Silent on NBC CEO

By 4.10.14

So in the wake of the Mozilla/Brendan Eich kerfuffle? When push comes to shove on business executives who give money in the name of what leftist gay activists are calling homophobia? Forced to choose between a powerful liberal media insider — aka the Rick Santorum-supporting NBC/Universal Chief Executive Stephen Burke (a $2,000 contribution to Santorum’s losing Senate re-election bid) — and gays? The liberal media fell suddenly silent.

Whatever happened to MSNBC’s famously gay hosts Rachel Maddow and Thomas Roberts? And MSNBC reporter and Brendan Eich critic Adam Serwer? Or Media Matters and its gay leader David Brock? America Blogs gay activist John Aravosis? Or Michelangelo Signorile, the editor-at-large of Huffington Post’s Gay Voices. Or Bob Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment? And, yes, where is Tina Fey?

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The End of French Socialism?

By 4.3.14

The French Socialist Party took a whipping last Sunday, as the second round of the municipal elections gave a large win to the center right UMP party. The media, caught flatfooted as they predicted a standoff with some gains for the conservatives and significant ones for the extreme-right National Front, continue to miss the point, which is that the system of alternating center-right and center-left republicanism is not under threat, even if voters are disgusted with the inability of the Paris elites to deal with important issues.

However, notwithstanding that the French and British press are full of references to the “blue wave,” as conservative landslides have been termed in France since the First World War, the truth is that this is no signal of a conservative takeover of the world’s fourth, or is it fifth now, economy. The rascals were thrown out in towns and medium-sized towns, pop. 50,000-100,000; the other rascals stayed put in the world-class cities, Paris, Lyon, Marseilles, Bordeaux.

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