May 12, 2016
Make Washington D.C. Work Again
Since the Indiana primary, I have been squinting my eyes in search of silver linings in the dark cloud of Trump. I think I see faint outlines, and have attempted to sow optimism both on these pages [3rd and 4th comments] and privately.
One of those faint outlines is fairly well drawn out by Washington Times' Charles Hurt. It is not fair to cherry pick but I think his close is most enticing:
Donald Trump may terrify Democrats and horrify Republicans in Washington. He may be a vulgarian to the professional Beltway punditry that has blithely ignored the devolution of the American dream.
By Charles Hurt - - Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Unruly voters have elected an opportunistic showman as their presidential nominee. They were aided by infiltrators in the primary who were not even Republicans.
The nominee, Donald Trump, is a reality star billionaire real estate developer who has a history of vacillating political allegiances. He even made campaign donations to the most evil countess of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, who is designed to be her party’s nominee against Mr. Trump.
Into the breach steps Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, the highest elected Republican in the land. He declares he is not ready — in good conscience — to support his own party’s nominee for president because Mr. Trump has not demonstrated he is a good and principled conservative.
And, once again, the Washington political punditry begins another wildly premature funeral dirge for Mr. Trump’s campaign, the Republican Party’s hold on power in Washington.
Meanwhile, loyal and thoughtful conservative voters who do not care for Mr. Trump’s bombast and harbor justifiable concerns about his devotion to Republican “principles” are despondent.
There goes the White House, they say, the Senate, the House and the Supreme Court. And, with socialist Democrats running amok, there goes the republic and the world’s greatest beacon of hope and freedom.
Or, perhaps we are seeing something entirely different. Maybe this is a rekindling of the finest dreams envisioned by our founders.
In a time of great economic distress with high unemployment and a sluggish economy, a non-ideological businessman is pitted for the presidency against an insufferable and strictly partisan hack who has been an integral cog in the broken political system for three decades.
The businessman will win. And the party hag will be sent off to a long-needed retirement of bitterness and scorn.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans will keep the House and — if they don’t screw it up — keep the Senate.
Yet, with the Supreme Court in the balance, these Republicans in Congress will maintain a skeptical eye down Pennsylvania Avenue at their new leader. They will question his motives and pick apart his proposals.
When his proposals wobble too far from the conservatism they are now vowing to protect, lawmakers can reign him in. If he nominates someone to the Supreme Court who is not worthy to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia, they can reject the nominee.
And the voters will reward them for it! The democratic republic our founders envisioned will be restored!
For too long, both parties have fallen into the deep rut of partisan blindness. On both sides of the aisle, party politics comes before American interests at every turn.
Story Continues →
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have unilaterally surrendered vast amounts of power to the presidency. Congress — the first branch of government closest to the will of the people — as been neutered.
Former President George W. Bush had his Republicans in Congress and President Obama has his Democrats. As a result, Americans have been saddled with a vast expansion of the federal government into every aspect of our personal lives. The debt burden is, literally, unfathomable.
Donald Trump may terrify Democrats and horrify Republicans in Washington. He may be a vulgarian to the professional Beltway punditry that has blithely ignored the devolution of the American dream.
But, looking down from the clouds painted inside the dome of the U.S. Capitol, the founders are smiling and see the first hope in decades for returning power to the people.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.
October 16, 2013
Open for Redistribution!
After a lengthy "government shutdown" in which the greatest public sacrifices were borne by visitors to America's National Parks, Congress appears poised to "re-open" the federal government. One cannot truthfully say "for business" but for whatever it is that the federal government, particularly the "nonessential" portions of Leviathan, normally does.
I support this "surrender." Important points have been made:
1) Fully 43% of federal civilian employees are non-essential, and could likely be let go, gradually and humanely, of course.
2) Republicans, at least a handful of them, have warned Americans loudly and clearly that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make most of them worse off than they were before. They are on record as having tried to stop it before it did whatever damage is sure to come.
3) By the way, did we mention that federal government spending is out of control and we really can stop it if enough voters send us enough principled house members in '14? Toward this end, every vote between now and then adds to the ideological war chest in coming primary battles.
Now, fellow Lilliputians, it is time to step back and let Leviathan stumble along his predictable path. There are triplines in place, put there not by the Administration's partisan opponents, but by the selfish interests of millions of Americans. "I work for a living, and I vote."
One point of caution I can think of now is to be prepared to deflect calls by the Administration to "fix" or "rework" or "tweek" Obamacare as a cover for its failings. The proper rebuttal will be, this law is flawed in its premise and must be replaced with a system that delivers cost-effective care as demanded by a customer base that is free to make purchasing choices at the point of care. You know, like iTunes.
Best of all, since the "reopening" is only for 2-3 months, we get to do this all over again soon... with myriad Obamacare horror stories betwixt. What a country!
"I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f**king penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?
October 11, 2013
Otequay of the Ayday
Wobbly Republicans should remember why they got into this fight in the first place: to stop ObamaCare. If they cave now, they'll have given up their best chance to spare the country this monumental disaster. -IBD Editorial: Is GOP Caving With Victory at Hand?
October 1, 2013
If a government shut down in Washington D.C., would it even make a noise?
It's Shutdown Eve and there's a fun meme trending on Twitter: #ObamaShutdownHitSongs
September 24, 2013
Ted Cruz's "rule breaking" fillibuster begins.
"Each day I learn what a scoundrel I am," Cruz said of reading media reports that quote Republican lawmakers and aides critical of him. "Most Americans could not give a flying flip about politicians in Washington. Who cares? Most of us are in cheap suits with bad haircuts. Who cares?"
July 27, 2012
What's That Got To Do With The Price of Tape in America?
For five minutes recently, the floor of the US House of Representatives turned into a TEA Party rally. Rep. Mike Kelly (TPD-PA) courtesy of Breitbart.
"But we don't use red tape." "Oh yes we do. It costs one point seven five trillion dollars."
January 23, 2012
Conservatism Won't Sit in the Back of the Bus
The WSJ Ed page analysis of The Gingrich Challenge is 20/20. If Romney can't beat Gingrich he probably can't beat Obama, and if Gingrich doesn't discipline himself, stay on message, and broaden his appeal then he won't succeed either.
The Republican nominee will have to make a sustained and specific case that Mr. Obama's policies made the recovery weaker than it should have been (stimulus, health care), squandered resources on political boondoggles (Solyndra), and how and why GOP policies will do better. Mr. Romney's 59 economic proposals are fine but forgettable little ideas. He needs a big idea.
Gingrich has been talking about these big ideas. However...
Mr. Gingrich will also eventually need a more inclusive message than he is now offering. He made a stab at it in his South Carolina victory remarks by mentioning the strengths of his competitors. His bow to Mr. Paul's "sound money" platform was especially shrewd, but then he kept talking and talking in his familiar undisciplined fashion.
The TEA Party is dead, they say? Not so quick. But remember it's the message, not the messenger, that we will reward.
May 20, 2011
The Post-Clinton (That would be President William J, not his wife) GOP Wave produced some colorful characters. But I am wondering how many of them have reached potential. Speakers Livingstone and Hastert leave a tarnished legacy. Speaker Gingrich's calamitous first weeks as a 2012 candidate do not inspire with the vigor of '94. John Kasich has a good gig as Governor of Ohio. I still think of him highly but wince at his 2000 Presidential run. I was supportting him strongly and he went on at great length in a debate about the importance of the Federal Government placing the Ten Commandments in every Public School classroom. Ow, that still stings.
I am going to suggest Leader Richard Armey as The Hoss of the Class of 1994. Some of his lobbying work did not go down well with the cognoscenti, but a fella has to eat, and the First Amendment is clear on our right to petition the Government.
He was one of the first and the few to embrace the Tea Party movement, coauthoring a manifesto. And he is at it today on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, underlining the importance of choosing a 2012 candidate who supports vigorous entitlement reform:
Instead of throwing grandma off a cliff, we are trying to save grandma's Medicare. The case for reform has gotten stronger since 1995. Spending, borrowing and debt are all far greater problems now. Global bond markets are now openly skeptical of Washington's ability to pay its creditors, as evidenced by Standard & Poor's recent downgrade of U.S. debt from "stable" to "negative." Such a downgrade would make higher borrowing costs and a painful fiscal restructuring likely, unless large spending reductions are enacted soon.
I'll second that emotion, Smokey. I cannot imagine supporting a status quo Republican in 2012.
April 3, 2008
Now Is The Time
...for all good men to come to the aid of the party. A good friend -- and honest lefty interlocutor -- sends this graphic:
1) I treasure my position as your favorite Republican, but I cannot defend the GOP on spending. They have lost their way. I can’t really handle the loony Libertarians, but if I had a choice for a tight-fisted party, I would take it. I am happy that Senator McCain, my third choice in the primaries, is known for being tough on spending. Senator Lott is retiring and Senator Stevens will soon be in jail – the party might find its small government roots after all. Current Democratic candidates are pursuing far more spending than Presidents Clinton or Carter.
Anybody else care to take the bait?
February 26, 2008
Spirit of '94!
Thank you for your reconsideration, Rep. Shadegg:
Politics is so full of stories of pressure groups tearing elected officials down or trying to defeat an idea or bill, it's noteworthy when a large group of activists spontaneously join to try to keep a good person in the public arena. It's even more noteworthy when they succeed.
Posted by John Kranz at 5:06 PM
December 20, 2007
Oh Happy Day!
Seriously, I thank Tancredo and Lott for their service, but I am happy to be moving on.
Posted by John Kranz at 4:32 PM
January 15, 2007
We Lose a Spending Cutter in the 111st
He's about as flashy as a -- oh wait, I have overloaded my simile generator. Colorado’s Senior Senator did not grab headlines or face time with Chris Matthews, but he racked up an impressive record for cutting taxes and spending.
There was some excitement about whether he would seek another term in 2008, but Andrew Roth at Club for Growth reports that Senator Allard will honor the two-term limit pledge he made to voters in 1996.
Allard, who was re-elected with Club member support in 2002, will be leaving a big hole for fiscal conservatives in the Senate, having compiled a great voting record over the last 10 years. He received a 98% on the Club's 2005 scorecard, while getting eight "A's" and only one "B" on NTU's scorecard.
I volunteered for his campaign in 2002 and am proud of any little thing I did to put him over the top in a close one. There are two years to recruit, but it is almost certain that a Democrat will pick up this seat. The electorate has turned purple at best and the national Democrats and liberal 527s have realized that Colorado is a good value. If you seek to buy an election, the media time and presence in far less expensive than a more populous area.
Posted by John Kranz at 6:19 PM
April 5, 2006
The Wall Street Journal Ed Page has some ideas for the GOP "to use the few productive weeks it has left to establish a 2006 record and 2007 agenda that are worthy of re-election."
They, correctly, diagnose the malaise that has spread over the GOP base (cf, ThreeSources) and provide some suggestions which are more appealing than the "we don't suck as bad as the other guys" defense, which is sadly the only one I have got left if Congress doesn't get their WSJ today.
May we suggest a Plan B? How about at least fighting for the agenda that elected them the last time? It's obvious at this stage of the 109th Congress that little will actually become law, especially with Democrats able to filibuster in the Senate. But if Republicans were seen to be fighting for some principles, voters might actually decide it's worth showing up on November 7.
They suggest bold moves on topics all the Republicans around here could agree with: cutting taxes, health care choice, endangered species overreach, congressional reform. Even if they lose in Congress, they provide a reason for the Republicans to show up at he polls.
On election night in 2004, Democratic campaign consultant James Carville asked: Where did all these Republican voters come from? Unless Republicans set a new legislative course over the next seven months, a deposed House Speaker Denny Hastert may soon be wondering: Where did all the Republican voters go?
Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM
April 4, 2006
WASHINGTON -- Succumbing to scandal, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday he is resigning from Congress in the face of a tough re-election race, closing out a career that blended unflinching conservatism with a bare-knuckled political style.
Good for him. I imagine he will have a very successful post-Congressional career. And I believe that the party will be better poised for the 2006 midterms without him.
Not disrespecting him, but I also hope that this departure will allow the GOP to recover eh Spirit 0f '94. Leader DeLay, though an effective legislator, has come to stand for the incumbency party we dislike.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:01 PM
March 30, 2006
Death of the conservative GOP?
Specterâ€™s comments may be truer than many Republicans would like to admit. But conservatives in the Senate have not disappeared. There are some left, like the junior Senator from Nevada, John Ensign.
Read the whole thing.
March 7, 2006
Spirit of '06?
Brendan Miniter of the WSJ thinks that (free link) the retirement of House Ways & Means Committee Chair Bill Thomas provides another opportunity to distance the party from the DeLay era and recapture the spirit of '94.
House Republicans have already elected a new majority leader--John Boehner of Ohio--this year, so it is encouraging to see that they will also have a debate over taxes, spending and entitlements as they pick a new Ways and Means chairman. Holding onto the majority in Congress will require the party to return to its limited-government principles by developing new policy ideas to tackle pressing fiscal problems. That means bold ideas for big problems, like the impending insolvency of Social Security.
Both the leading candidates come across well in this piece.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:41 PM
February 18, 2006
The Spirit of '94
From Mr. Speaker himself. The WSJ has an interview (free site!) with Speaker Gingrich.
"Do I think it's possible to offer a Social Security plan for people under 40 years of age in a positive savings account model that you could pass? Yes. Do I think it's possible to make it so complicated, so impossible to understand that you can't build any momentum for it? Yes." Then the wrap up (after a digression into football): "Let me be quite clear. I don't think 2005 was a good year for Republicans. I'd like to not repeat it. So I'm for doing things differently."
I was a big fan of the Speaker, watching his Pepperdine lectures and enjoying his problem solving and enthusiasm.
Oddly enough, I cannot get excited about a 2008 run. There's nothing in the piece with which I disagree but I do not see him as the man for the times.
Posted by John Kranz at 3:48 PM
February 12, 2006
Boehner Bribed to be Republican!
Pretty serious charges against the new GOP leadership over at TNR. Kim Clark pens a piece called "Loan Shark" which alleges that the new GOP leader is in thrall to lobbyists just like his predecessor.
Now, I was a Shadegg man, and would have preferred somebody with zero ties to lobbyists, but I don't know that Diogenes could find such a man in Congress.
Clark offers evidence. It seems Rep. Boehner has collected contributions from the higher-education-lending industry. And -- dang it all -- the new bill out of the House has provisions that would be favorable to....REPUBLICANS!
The platitudes apparently resonated. Boehner won. But anyone wanting proof that Boehner is no reformer need only look at the changes to federal student-loan programs that he just helped push through Congress as part of this year's budget reconciliation bill. The alterations reduce government subsidies for student loans by $13 billion over the next five years. One of the key provisions: higher fixed interest rates that will increase the payments of students and their parents by hundreds of dollars a year.
Not subsidizing the interest rate? You think he just hates kids, but Clark knows it is based in graft and corruption
[...] more than half a million dollars went to just two men: the chairmen of the subcommittee and committee that handled the changes to the student-loan program. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon of Santa Clarita, California, chairman of the Twenty-First Century Competitiveness Subcommittee, collected the most: $262,000. Boehner, who headed the House Education and the Workforce Committee until stepping down to assume his new leadership post, came in a close second with $236,000. Sallie Mae, the nation's largest educational lender, has been the single biggest donor to Boehner's PAC since 1989, contributing a total of $122,000, according to CRP data.
Of course, many of the provisions were not favorable to the lenders, but where there's smoke there's fire! Why, President Clinton had a perfectly good program that took over all the application, risk and administration -- just have the gub'mint do it, they're very good at borrowing money.
Congress could have achieved the same or even greater savings without forcing already financially pressed students and their families to shoulder even more debt had it been willing to take some business away from Sallie Mae and other lenders. Congress could have expanded a Clinton-era program in which schools forward loan applications directly to the federal government, rather than to middlemen. Several GAO and CBO studies have found that the direct-lending program costs taxpayers much less than extending loans through lenders like Sallie Mae. Government watchdogs have estimated that every dollar loaned through these middlemen costs the federal government at least 9 cents. The government, of course, can borrow more cheaply than businesses can. And it doesn't have to pay investors dividends or CEOs eight-figure pay packages like the $95 million taken home from 2000 to 2004 by Sallie Mae Chairman and former CEO Albert Lord.
So let me get this straight. A Republican adjusts a Federal program to have less involvement, pushing more administration and risk to the private sector, and setting a realistic interest rate for those who choose the program. And TNR sees this as proof of corruption.
It's going to be a long election cycle. If the Democrats want some free advice from jk -- as wrong as they are on this -- this is a good issue. Give away the store on student subsidies. The soccer moms will swoon and the moderates will see it as "a good investment in our nation." Only stingy old cruel weasels like me will point out that the private sector could likely do it better. And there is not a plurality of me. This is a winner.
February 3, 2006
VT - Senate
Here's the inaugural Spirit of '94 post.
Richard Tarrant of Vermont is running for Senator Jim Jefford's seat.
Tarrant is a Republican. He's also a candidate for Vermont's open U.S. Senate seat and among a group of party insurgents who want Republicans to reconcile their stated philosophy of fiscal restraint with the spending binge they've led over the past five years. The debt ticker is at $8.199 trillion and counting.
In a sick way, I've got to hand it to the Democrats. At least the Democrats are honest about the federal budget. They want more of our money and they want to spend it. The Republicans lately have not been so honest. The GOP's line is something like "we want less of your money, and we'll spend less too." Unfortunately it's not like that in practice.
Finally... some movement. It's too bad that Mike Pence was uninterested in the House Leadership race, but I heard his name mentioned for the '08 Presidential Race.
As for Senator McCain, he has a really long road to hoe to get back in the good graces of many Republicans and even moreso with Republican activists (the primary voting types) over his Campaign Finance Reform law.
Let's hope that there are more Republicans out there willing to run on fiscal discipline and restraint.