Political Hay

Political Hay

Here Comes St. George

By 6.5.15

It started with the schools.

Four years ago, a group of concerned parents and advocates for improved public education in a middle-class suburb southeast of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, began lobbying for the creation of an independent school district to break away from the city’s wasteful and poorly performing public system. The East Baton Rouge Parish public schools spend some $12,200 per student per year, according to the Louisiana Department of Education, which is considerably above the national average of just over $10,000 per year, and yet the district ranks 55th of 71 school districts in academic performance. That, in a state languishing in the bottom five nationally, would seem to be the cause of mass outrage throughout the parish — and in fact it has served as the impetus for the incorporations of two suburbs in the northern part of East Baton Rouge. Those two cities, Zachary and Central, now boast public schools rated in the top five of the state’s districts and are thriving little communities with rising populations and property values.

Political Hay

Martin O’Malley: The Great Deceiver

By 6.2.15

Martin O’Malley wants to be president. He wants the job so badly he’s apparently perfectly willing to re-write history. To just refuse to tell the truth. 

In his announcement speech for president the other day, O’Malley, the man who governed both Baltimore and then Maryland for years, stood in front of the cameras and practiced the political game of — there’s no other way to say it — lying by omission. Said the would-be president:

We have work to do.

Our economic and political system is upside down and backwards and it is time to turn it around.

What happened to our economy — what happened to the American Dream — did not happen by chance.

Nor was it merely the result of global forces somehow beyond our control.

Powerful, wealthy special interests here at home have used our government to create — in our own country — an economy that is leaving a majority of our people behind.

An economy that has so concentrated wealth in the hands of the very few that it has taken opportunity from the homes of the many.

Political Hay

Proposition 14: Party Wrecker?

By 5.28.15

In California in 2009, Abel Maldonado, a liberal Republican state senator, made a Faustian bargain with the Democrats who controlled the legislature.

They needed one more vote to pass their budget. He would give it to them in exchange for their okaying his brainchild, a ballot measure to do away with party primaries.

As a result, the legislature sent it to the June 2010 ballot as a referendum that would amend the state constitution and create a one-ballot primary for everything but president, judicial positions, and non-partisan races. Then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a nominal Republican, announced his support and rewarded Maldonado by appointing him lieutenant governor for a few months (to fill a vacancy). 

The voters rewarded Maldonado for his mischief by defeating him for a full term in that year’s election. On the other hand, they passed what had become Proposition 14 by nearly 54 percent. Since then, all candidates, regardless of party, appear on a single ballot in the primary. The top two advance to the general election in November.

Political Hay

LBJ and Obama: Champions of Abject Poverty

By 5.26.15

Lyndon Johnson was adamant. The Great Society would cure poverty. In a 1964 campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania he said this: 

So here’s the Great Society. It’s the time — and it’s going to be soon — when nobody in this country is poor. It’s the time — and there’s no point in in waiting — when every boy or girl can have all the education that boy or girl can put to good use. It’s the time when there is a job for everybody who wants to work. It’s the time when every slum is gone from every city in America, and America is beautiful. It’s the time when man gains full domination under God over his own destiny. It’s the time of peace on earth and goodwill among men. 

Then there was this from Barack Obama when accepting his presidential nomination in 2008:

Political Hay

Not Smart to Make the NSA Go Dark

By 5.20.15

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., isn’t worried that, absent a Senate vote, key provisions of the Patriot Act are slated to sunset May 31. The GOP presidential hopeful told Meet the Press Sunday that a federal appeals court found the data-gathering authorized under the Patriot Act’s Section 215 is unconstitutional, “so really, it ought to stop.” He continued: “I don’t want to replace it with another system. I really think that we could get along with the Constitution just fine.”

Paul spoke to the same effect during a recent trip to San Francisco. He even has threatened a filibuster, if needed, to make the Patriot Act’s data collection program go dark.

Political Hay

Marco Rubio Seizes the Reagan Mantle

By 5.19.15

“America has a genius for great and unselfish deeds,” said Pope Pius XII. “Into the hands of America God has placed the destiny of an afflicted mankind.”

That’s an inspired quote from Pope Pius XII. I’m one of the few who has bothered to trace its origins. He stated it in an exclusive published in the January 5, 1946 Collier’s Weekly. I know because I’ve had to document it in my writings on Ronald Reagan. Reagan loved that quotation. He likely first read it in Hollywood, as an FDR Democrat who, like the pontiff, saw a unique greatness in America and its role on the global stage. The line would surface repeatedly throughout Reagan’s public speeches and personal letters, particularly during the mid-1970s—when he was running for president in the hopes of helping to make America great again.

I documented 11 occasions during his presidency where Reagan quoted Pius XII and/or that quotation. “In the days following World War II,” said Reagan in a typical example, “Pope Pius XII said: ‘The American people have a genius for great and unselfish deeds; into the hands of America, God has placed an afflicted mankind.’”

Political Hay

The Problem for Folks Like Us

By 5.18.15

I heard it first at the barber shop. Then at the airport. And then from callers to a radio show. Folks like us seem to think we have a problem.

They think that we have too many candidates, and that the candidates will spend too much money tearing one another down, and that the process may produce, after a burst of fratricidal campaign spots, a mortally damaged nominee. This concern is unlike us. Folks like us tend to encourage dissent and welcome debate; we are the permanent insurgency and we thrive on the hurly-burly of controversy. But now that we’re up against the glacial advance of Clinton Inc., these folks seem to be saying, maybe we should skinny down a bit, husband our resources, and begin to look for the high ground of party unity.

I hear these folks. But they’re wrong, or at least prematurely wrong.

Political Hay

A List of Islamophobes for Dean Obeidallah

By 5.14.15

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Pamela Geller’s “Draw the Prophet Mohammed” contest, comedian Dean Obeidallah, a left-leaning comedian (but I repeat myself) who is also a Muslim has decided he will use his radio show to have a “Draw an Islamophobe” contest. Obeidallah writes a column over there at the Daily Beast and, albeit in typical left-handed fashion, has nonetheless stood up to defend Geller's right to free speech. While he titled the piece“Muslims Defend Pam Geller’s Right to Hate,”defend her right to free speech he did, writing:

Political Hay

Rand Paul Is Not Neutral on Anything

By 5.13.15

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., wants to be “a different kind of Republican.” And he is. His campaign is joining San Francisco’s sharing economy by renting shared space. That should appeal to young voters. On Saturday, from the South of Market incubator StartupHouse, the GOP presidential hopeful proclaimed, “What we want is a government that leaves us alone.”

The event was not a fundraiser. It was something almost unheard of — free. And it featured a Q&A moderated by a member of the media, reporter Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle. Local GOP political consultant Matt Shupe, 30, told me that it was the first time since he entered politics that a GOP presidential hopeful had set up shop in San Francisco. “When you have San Francisco progressives shaking Google buses and trying to get rid of Uber and Airbnb,” Shupe added, that spells opportunity for Republicans.

Political Hay

Seven Lessons the Left Will Never Learn

By 5.12.15

Democrats and other lefties can’t govern, and after 100 years of the Progressive experiment in action from Baltimore to Havana to Ho Chi Minh City to Beijing, we now know why.

The weekend’s results in the British elections stand as a perfect example of the comfortable, committed Western Left in ruins. On this side of the pond, the Left presides over unmitigated decline — increasingly dangerous foreign challenges, a domestic economy with 93 million out of work and seven consecutive years in which more American businesses have shut their doors than have opened. Poll after poll shows Washington lacks the consent of the governed — a bad sign considering the recent string of electoral upsets showing actual elections a lot less friendly to the Left than pre-election polls.

So why is it that the parties of the Western Left struggle? Why does it seem that their efforts at governance, enabled mostly by a combination of favorable demographics and a public willing to give them a try after conservative parties run out of political gas, nearly always end in failure?

The answer can be found in seven lessons the Left steadfastly refuses to learn.