Political Hay

Political Hay

Why the VA Scandal Is Good for the Left

By 5.22.14

Conservatives are touting the VA scandal as evidence of what happens with government healthcare and, by extension, what we can expect with more government healthcare thanks to Obama-care. They point to the VA fiasco as a microcosm of what Americans can anticipate en masse as “progressives” fundamentally transform healthcare and the nation.

Of course, they’re exactly right. No question. But what they’re missing is how this same insanity is a microcosm of what the left intends, how the left will operate, and precisely where we’re headed as a country. The VA scandal bodes well for the left’s grand designs. How so?

The liberal left, the “progressive” left, the socialist left, the communist left, and whatever other left, will employ the VA scandal as a case study of what happens not when government takes over and destroys healthcare but of what happens when government healthcare is not adequately funded. The problem, leftists will insist, is not government centralization, management, and planning, but the failure of cruel and miserly Republicans to fully fund what needs to be funded.

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Political Hay

Why Republicans Should Consider Ben Carson

By 5.21.14

Philip Terzian, literary editor at the Weekly Standard, has written an article entitled “Inspired Amateurs Should Avoid Politics,” arguing that Republicans should avoid nominating Ben Carson for President. And the editors at The Wall Street Journal have seen fit to print it.

Which leaves only one question. What is wrong with these guys? Do they enjoy losing elections?

First let’s ask this. Why run this article now, more than two years in advance of the Presidential election, and why single out Ben Carson as the “inspired amateur”? If we’re going to complain about amateurs running for President, how about the current occupant of the White House? Well, too late for that.

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Political Hay

The Wrong Fight

By 5.20.14

For many Republican voters, the whittling down of the 2012 GOP presidential field to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum was a window into the alarming state of leadership on the Right and the sorry state of the Republican Party as an electoral force.

Romney was, by most accounts, the “next in line” candidate after running and failing in 2008. The GOP establishment rallied around him just as it had done with John McCain in 2008 and Bob Dole in 1996, with the same disappointing results.

But Santorum, whose 2012 candidacy went further than anyone could have imagined, managed to cobble together a coalition of disaffected GOP base voters out of the wreckage of the Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry camps to emerge as the standard bearer for the conservative wing of the GOP.

Santorum's success was surprising, given that his previous foray into elected politics had been an abject disaster—a 59-to-41 drubbing in the 2006 Senate race at the hands of Democrat Bob Casey that swept him out of office.

For most politicians, a loss like that would be career-ending. But for Santorum, it’s merely a bump in the road.

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Political Hay

Hillary Clinton’s Conundrum

By 5.16.14

Hillary Clinton’s 2016 conundrum: retaining Obama’s coalition, while distancing from his administration. Neither will be easy, but both are essential — especially for her. As she faces a decision whether to run, she also faces the very real possibility that Obama could wind up beating her twice. 

Every Democratic contender, not just Clinton, faces a serious challenge in seeking to hold together Obama’s coalition. The coalition’s components are no secret: young, women, minorities, Independents, and liberals powered Obama to more significant wins than many recognize. Obama won election in 2008 with the largest popular vote percentage of any Democrat since LBJ in 1964. In 2012, he was the first Democrat to win reelection with a popular vote majority since FDR.

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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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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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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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Political Hay

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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