Political Hay

Political Hay

What Karl Rove Won’t Tell You

By 9.23.14

Last Wednesday (Sept. 17), former George W. Bush political guru and current Republican Super PAC king Karl Rove took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to exhort that paper’s readers to make it rain to the benefit of Republican senatorial candidates with just six weeks left before Election Day.

“…[R]educing the Democratic cash advantage will tip the needle in the GOP's direction,” Rove said. “That will only happen if Republicans open their wallets to candidates whom they may have never met, and, if they live in a battleground state, they clear their calendars to volunteer to identify and get out the vote. If they don’t, they should prepare for two more years of Majority Leader Harry Reid.”

Political Hay

Ask a Liberal: Who Lost Iraq?

By 9.18.14

Who lost Iraq? In so many words, that is now the increasingly potent counter to years of liberal charges that America’s problems in the world can be traced to the Bush-Cheney foreign policy — specifically the invasion of 2003. The question has now taken root, with “Iraq” serving as shorthand for everything from Iraq itself to ISIS, the Syrian mess, Benghazi, and more. Graphically illustrated by the beheadings of two American journalists, a British aid worker, ISIS armies causing chaos in the once-stabilized region. Not to mention the murder of a 19-year old New Jersey college student Brendan Tevlin by a self-professed jihadist, the arrest of a Yemeni store owner in New York who sought to fund ISIS, and the news that the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan has written to the head of ISIS asking to join.

Political Hay

2014: A Wave Election or an Earthquake?

By 9.11.14

Will the 2014 election be a wave election? Or an earthquake election? And what’s the difference?

It was November, 1922. And the Republican Party had just gotten clobbered in that year’s congressional elections. The Harding-Coolidge administration, elected only two years earlier in a landslide, lost seventy-seven seats in the House and seven in the Senate. In short, the election was a disaster, the GOP the victim of what is frequently called today a “wave” election.

But it was a wave, not an earthquake. Waves can hit the beach with tremendous force — but they quickly recede without doing much damage. Not so with earthquakes, which tumble people out of bed, collapse buildings, bridges, highways, and leave an immutable trail of wreckage in their wake. What follows is a massive rebuilding and replacement of what once seemed solid as a rock.

Political Hay

Oral Contraceptive Republicans

By 9.10.14

The Left’s relentless “war on women” campaign is producing some odd results, one of which is the emergence of Republicans who champion over-the-counter contraceptives. As Time puts it, “Republicans Can’t Stop Talking About Over-the-Counter Birth Control.”

“Four GOP Senate candidates have advocated for over-the-counter birth control, Colorado’s Cory Gardner, Thom Tillis in North Carolina, Ed Gillespie in Virginia, and Mike McFadden in Minnesota,” Time reports. “‘I actually agree with the American Medical Association that we should make contraception more widely available. I think over-the-counter oral contraception should be available without prescription,” Tillis said last week in his first debate against Sen. Kay Hagan.”

Political Hay

The Sad Irony of John Lewis Playing the Race Card

By 9.2.14

I will never be out-n**gered again” was the vow George Wallace made after losing to John Patterson the 1958 Democratic primary for governor of Alabama. And so he wasn’t. The very next year, his sights already set on second run for governor in 1962, Wallace proclaimed:

There’s some people who’ve gone over the state and said, “Well, George Wallace has talked too strong about segregation.” Now let me ask you this: how in the name of common sense can you be too strong about it? You’re either for it or you’re against it. There’s not any middle ground as I know of.

The strategy of playing the race card, by then a Democratic Party staple (as Bruce Bartlett notes in detailed fashion in Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past), delivered the political victory Wallace sought. By January of 1963, George Corley Wallace was being inaugurated as the new Democratic Governor of Alabama, famously declaring in his inaugural address:

Political Hay

The Obama-Lite Side of Rand Paul

By 8.28.14

The target was Hillary Clinton. Calling the famously liberal former Secretary of State “a war hawk,” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) added in a recent Meet the Press appearance: “You know what? We are tired of war.… We’re worried that Hillary Clinton will get us involved in another Middle Eastern war, because she’s so gung-ho.”

One has to wonder. Was Rand Paul’s real target Hillary Clinton? Whom he correctly blames for the Benghazi fiasco? Or was it, as it strikes… Ronald Reagan? Not to mention conservatism and the timeless idea of what Reagan termed “peace through strength.” Reagan’s formulation long ago captured by Edward Gibbon when he wrote of the Roman Empire: “They preserved peace by a constant preparation for war…. they announced to the nations on their confines that they were as little disposed to endure as to offer injury.” There was nothing said about being “war hawks” or, for that matter, “neo-cons.”

Political Hay

Spent Forces

By 8.27.14

It’s obvious to anyone paying attention that the trend away from party affiliation is gaining steam. In January a Gallup poll showed no less than 42 percent of respondents identified themselves as independent voters, with both Democrats (31 percent) and Republicans (25 percent) operating at 25-year lows of party affiliation.

And it’s not difficult to understand why voters are giving up on the parties. Put simply, American politics as practiced by the two parties is stale, dishonest, and mind-numbingly stupid, and with a country in decline on the world stage, an economy coughing and wheezing amid an epidemic of bad policy from both parties, and a culture that glorifies all the wrong things and ignores the right ones the public is throwing up its hands.

Political Hay

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Mitt Romney?

By 8.22.14

He wuz robbed. Admit it, you neo-cons, paleo-cons, compassionates, country clubbers and decline-to-states: right now, in a just, moral, ordered universe, Mitt Romney should be President.

He was right on Iraq and Benghazi, right on healthcare, immigration, and Russia. But he was so mendaciously smeared that voters possessed the ludicrous mindset that Mitt didn’t “care about someone like me.” Feckless Republican operatives allowed data-mining splashed with voter fraud to seal the defeat.

Twenty months later, numerous polls indicate significant voter remorse. This genuine sentiment has naturally provoked calls of “Run, Mitt, Run!” But, to other Republicans still traumatized by a loss that didn’t have to happen, the grace and decency of the man are his ultimate disqualifiers for a coming 2016 cage match.

The positive argument for another run is, like the man, straightforward:

Political Hay

Climate Dodge Ball

By 8.21.14


Democrat Charlie Crist wants to be governor of Florida. He says global warming/climate change is one of the most important issues facing the state and the nation. He promises drastic action to cut greenhouse gas emissions if he is elected in November. He’s wrong about this. The actions he wishes to take would be disastrous for the Florida economy and would do nothing to improve Florida’s environment.

Republican Rick Scott, who is Florida’s governor and would like to be re-elected to this post in November, just wishes the issue would go away. He inartfully ducks questions on the issue, often using the pathetic dodge that he “is not a scientist,” and therefore can’t be expected to have a view on whether the Earth is warming and that terrible things will follow if we don’t ensure that the planet stays at a more seemly temperature.

Political Hay

Lehmberg Democrats Drunk on Their Own Power

By 8.19.14

You might not have seen the arrest or jailhouse videos from Rosemary Lehmberg’s DWI episode when it happened in the spring of 2013, but there’s a good chance you saw them over the weekend. If you still haven’t, we can fix that by having you click here and here.

That Lehmberg, district attorney for Travis County, Texas, isn’t at least as famous as Toronto's crack-smoking mayor Rob Ford is no surprise. Given how sloppy and belligerent she was during the arrest, not to mention her staggering blood-alcohol level of .239 (three times the legal limit), it is a bit odd that she was a virtual unknown outside the state of Texas until over the weekend.