Is the House GOP leadership being blackmailed into voting for amnesty?

SpyingPeople are asking why, with a potentially successful midterm election coming, the GOP has decided to go forward with amnesty, even though (a) only 3% of Americans care about the issue and (b) the base is strongly opposed to the GOP’s plan.  On its face, this seems like an insane thing to do, since it can destroy the Republican party in two ways, first, by denying it success in the 2014 midterm and, second, by creating a permanent Democrat constituency.

I think that Glenn Reynolds might inadvertently have provided the answer by juxtaposing two posts:

GOP and amnesty

(Links to the two posts referenced are here and here.)

Has the GOP House leadership been threatened into sabotaging the 2014 midterms?  To answer that, consider that the NSA trolls indiscriminately for all cell phone and internet content.  The sheer volume of information means that it’s unlikely that the NSA can review it in real-time so as to prevent an imminent attack.  The best way to use that information is to pick a target and then, having isolated the target, to go back into the saved data and to fined content that damages the target.

Once the NSA has completed its targeting data troll, GOP politicians who have had affairs, used drugs, engaged in illegal transactions, etc., might find themselves facing a government official who says something along the lines of “Nice life ya’ got here.  Shame if something happened to it.  Kinda like the something that happened to Dinesh d’Souza, if you know what I mean.”

Yes, I know that sounds like paranoid wacko stuff.  But consider that just five years ago, we would have dismissed as paranoid wacko stuff all of the following:  IRS persecution of conservative political organizations; NSA spying indiscriminately on email and cell phone, as well as on the House of Representatives and media members; the Department of Justice engaged in gun-running; video makers getting imprisoned as Free Speech martyrs to hide an administration’s failure to prevent a terrorist attack; nuns being forced to pay for birth control and abortifacient pills; deals with Iran that effectively allow it to become a nuclear nation; and a president who uses executive orders, not to effectuate executive duties, but instead to nullify existing law or to create non-existent law out of whole cloth.

Given an administration that views the Constitution as a hindrance, why shouldn’t we believe that it’s engaging in the tried and true communist tactic of spying on opponents, getting dirt on them, and then using that dirt to force them to act against their interests?

The Hillary factor

Bill-Clinton-and-Hillary--001Roger Simon has warned conservatives that they’re taking their eye off the ball — and the ball is Hillary Clinton.  While we conservatives are fighting our internecine Rove versus Cruz arguments, Hillary is continuing to amass power.  It’s not just that the New York Times is whitewashing Benghazi on her behalf, says Simon.  Instead, it’s that she, unlike Obama, actually has the political chops (including the political husband) to consolidate socialist gains in American government:

The principal enemy for the right and the center-right is now Hillary Clinton, the vastly favored frontrunner for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. She is so far in front, in fact, that her competitors are not even in hailing distance. Hillary is the one who can consolidate and solidify the “gains” of the Obama era in a way Obama himself never could because she is much more politically savvy — Obama was only savvy about getting elected, not governing — and has the backing of her even more politically savvy husband. Hillary is the one who can fully remake the United States into some version of Western Europe or, yet more frighteningly, China, a permanently stratified state capitalism governed by quasi-totalitarian bureaucrats. (We can call this system Soros Marxism, meaning a ruling clique of increasingly rich corporate czars employing a propagandistic veneer of socialist equality to keep the power and wealth for themselves.)

With that in mind, how does one explain the fact that Richard Cohen, an ardent Progressive, has penned a column telling everyone that Hillary may have been harmed by Obamacare?  He argues that, if people don’t like Obamacare, they won’t like her.  That argument is a red herring.  The facts on the ground are that Hillary kept away from Obamacare.  Her own dreams of socialized medicine notwithstanding, she had the smarts and political savvy to recognize early on that Obamacare, an unholy marriage of government and insurance companies, would be DOA and start to smell very quickly.  My take on Cohen’s overacted hand wringing it is that he thinks the best thing to happen now is for conservatives to leave Hillary alone, so that she can continue to aggregate political power.  “Move along!  Nothing to see here.  Pay no attention to the woman behind the curtain.”

So yeah, I think that Cohen’s article, to the extent it tries to distract attention from Hillary, proves that Simon is correct.  The Left wants Hillary to be left alone so that she can get ready for her spectacular, pre-paved emergence on the political scene.

I think, though, that Simon errs in one thing, which is his belief that the internecine war in the Republican party doesn’t matter.  Instead, it matters a great deal.  Conservatives aren’t stupid.  They know that, if another Democrat — any Democrat — gets the White House, we’ll be irrevocably on the pathway to becoming Greece.  There will be no turning back.  Knowing that, conservatives are taking a stand as to how to block that possibility:  with Tea Party, constitutional firebrands or with establishment, appeasing RINOs.  That the latter might do nothing at all to block the possibility is not something their supporters are considering.  Instead, their analysis is that the MSM has so terribly damaged the Tea Party brand that it cannot possibly win, so it’s better to back RINOs who are imperfect but might win.

The Big Lie is already making the truth irrelevant; or, Republicans are once again waiting for the manure shower

Biff manureA friend sent me a very funny email.  I don’t know if the numbers are precisely accurate, but I do know that they’re accurate enough to serve a larger truth, namely America’s overwhelming turn in 1942 from a peacetime nation into a fully armed, fully operational wartime nation. In this way, the facts stated distinguish themselves from the Progressive concept of “truthiness,” which means “fake, but [God alone knows how] accurate”:

During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, the U.S. produced 22 aircraft carriers, 8 battleships, 48 cruisers, 349 destroyers, 420 destroyer escorts, 203 submarines, 34 million tons of merchant ships, 100,000 fighter aircraft, 98,000 bombers, 24,000 transport aircraft, 58,000 training aircraft, 93,000 tanks, 257,000 artillery pieces, 105,000 mortars, 3,000,000 machine guns, and 2,500,000 military trucks.

We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.

It’s worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama administration couldn’t build a functioning web site.

To me, living in my  head as I do, a head filled with news and political commentary, the above is both funny and devastating.  It puts into perspective the pathetic disaster that was the Obamacare exchange launch and should remind everyone that a government this bad at one thing is almost certainly also a government incapable of performing the most basic functions . . . such as protecting us from our declared enemies.

Immediately after getting the above email, I read that the New York Times is working hard to re-write the Benghazi slaughter so as to clean up both Hillary’s and Barack’s reputations. And I know, and you know, that even though the New York Times is losing subscribers like mad, that fact is kind of irrelevant, because the Times still the news source for all sorts of other newspapers across America.  Go ahead.  Check out your morning local rag.  You’ll see that at least one story comes direct from the Times or from the Washington Post or from the Associated Press.  As Conan proved in a funny, fluffy video, no matter the outlet, the story’s always the same.

The Obama administration is now boasting that one million people signed up for Obamacare in December.  Maybe it’s true; maybe it’s not.  The two things we know with certainty are (1) that the media won’t press for the truth and (2) that the media will work as one in the coming months to shill for Obamacare.  The glitches are over; the wonders are on their way.

Yes, we who have not drunk the Kool Aid know that Obamacare will collapse under its own weight, but that doesn’t matter.  All that the media hustlers need to do is keep those plates spinning until the day after the November 2014 election.  After that, they’re home free no matter what happens.

And please don’t look to the Republican Party for help.  It’s so busy trying to take out the Tea Party (it’s bad for business, doncha’ know?) that it’s ignoring the most wondrous political opportunity handed to it since . . . well, since never before.  Rick Moran sounds the warning, but don’t expect the money guys in the GOP to hear that tocsin:

Are Republicans smart enough to counter this propaganda with nightmare stories about sky-high premiums, the cancellation of perfectly good insurance policies, website errors, and other tragic experiences that ordinary people have had with Obamacare? Democrats couldn’t accuse them of cherry picking bad news when they’re cherry picking good news.

This is a long-term war to be played out over the coming years. What I don’t see yet is a commitment from the national Republican Party to engage the resources necessary to counter the Democrats move for move. There doesn’t appear to be a plan in place which means they’ll be improvising on the fly. That just won’t cut it.

With the Obamacare website now largely operational, the first phase of the battle is over. But unless the GOP stays on its toes, they are likely to be buried by the administration PR machine.

The Leftist PR machine is gearing up hard.  Moreover, with this video as a graphic illustration, please remember that the agile Democrats are already on the move, while the Republicans are the ones sitting in the car:

What should Republicans do to ensure that this serious Democrat crisis doesn’t go to waste?

Epic fail
Rahm Emanuel famous said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  As of today, Avik Roy explains that the Obama administration is facing a serious crisis when it comes to Obamacare:

It’s hard to come up with new ways to describe the Obama administration’s improvisational approach to the Affordable Care Act’s troubled health insurance exchanges. But last night, the White House made its most consequential announcement yet. The administration will grant a “hardship exemption” from the law’s individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance, to anyone who has had their prior coverage canceled and who “believes” that Obamacare’s offerings “are unaffordable.” These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.

That’s just the intro.  In paragraph after paragraph, Roy details the disaster facing the administration as it makes up rules on the fly.  Like the hydra, every time the administration thinks its lopped off a problem, two or three more pop up in its place.

Presumably, when the dust settles and the private insurance market is destroyed, the Democrats will say, “See, we told you that the private market couldn’t be fixed.  It’s time to socialize our healthcare system.”  That will be their version of not letting a crisis go to waste.  It’s scary to think that Americans have been so brainwashed that it’s entirely possible that, rather than recoiling in horror and saying, “We will never let you brainless, tyrannical incompetents touch our healthcare again,” Americans will instead say, “D’Oh!  You’re right.  You’d better take over the whole thing.”

All of which is to say that Republicans and other conservatives ought to figure out ways to capitalize on this crisis too.  My instinct is that it’s best if Republicans in Congress don’t act.  After all, when your opponent is busy digging a deeper and deeper hole, you don’t throw them a rope ladder.  To the extent that Obamacare can never be made workable, Republicans would do well to keep their fingerprints off this disaster.  But that doesn’t mean they should keep silent.

So, what should Republicans say that will best enable them to capitalize on the Obamacare debacle, not just in the area of healthcare, but regarding Big Government itself?

And if that question is too easy for you, here’s a harder one:  Even though the media is disappointed with Obamacare, that doesn’t mean that its members won’t protect Obama and the Democrats to their dying breath.  They are the living embodiment of that hackneyed saying “Nobody gets to pick on my little brother except for me.”  How, then, should Republicans who are saying the right things make sure that the public hears what they have to say?

The optimist’s take on Harry Reid’s going nuclear — and why I am a pessimist

nuclear-explosion

Harry Reid has just succeeded in doing what Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t do:  he’s going to pack the court.  Yes, Roosevelt was aiming for the Supreme Court, while Reid’s only going after the district and appellate courts, but the reality is that we’re seeing incrementalism.  Today, the lower level courts; tomorrow, the minority in the Senate becomes utterly powerless.

Daniel Horowitz recommends a hyper-nuclear retaliation:

There is one simple thing Republicans can do to retaliate.  They can start by ending the Democrat super-majority on legislative issues.  They can easily pledge to filibuster every piece of legislation and deny all requests for unanimous consent until the rules change is overturned.

How would Harry Reid respond to a complete shutdown of the Senate?  Would he abolish the filibuster even for legislation?  Let him try.  But for now, he has nothing to fear from just eliminating the filibuster on judges because he knows Republicans will not retaliate.  Reid knows that there is not a single issue where McCain, Corker, Graham, and Alexander will now withhold support simply because they were stiffed with the nuclear option.

On his show today, Rush recommended the Senate equivalent of a sit-down strike:  he said that Republican senators should refuse to vote on anything that the Democrat majority brings to the Senate floor. ending even the pretense of bipartisanship.  It also means that one party will own every piece of legislation, for better or worse.  There’s a certain purity to that.

Of course, both Horowitz and Rush know that the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are constitutionally incapable of withholding the hand of love and friendship from Harry Reid and his bomb dropping pals.  So, the ideas are cute, but unworkable.

There are others who think that Republicans shouldn’t be too worried, because Reid’s hypocritical destruction of a minority voice in the Senate will hurt the Democrats more in the long-term than help them.  Ezra Klein, who’s a partisan hack, but not an idiot, recognizes that Reid may unwittingly have delivered a Trojan Horse to his own party:

There’s a lot of upside for Republicans in how this went down. It came at a time when Republicans control the House and are likely to do so for the duration of President Obama’s second term, so the weakening of the filibuster will have no effect on the legislation Democrats can pass. The electoral map, the demographics of midterm elections, and the political problems bedeviling Democrats make it very likely that Mitch McConnell will be majority leader come 2015 and then he will be able to take advantage of a weakened filibuster. And, finally, if and when Republicans recapture the White House and decide to do away with the filibuster altogether, Democrats won’t have much of an argument when they try to stop them….

William Jacobson thinks Klein is on to something.  As he sees it, the filibuster actually worked against conservatives, because it locked in incremental socialism.  For the past several decades, once Democrats got a redistributionist, nanny-state policy in place, nothing could dislodge it, an effect he calls “the rachet.”  By going nuclear, says, JacobsonReid opened the door to the complete reversal of Democrat policies.  When Republicans get their turn at the majority in Congress and take the White House (which many assume will happen at the end of Obama’s reign), they will easily be able to reverse every bad Democrat policy, something that was always impossible before:

Decades of negative and destructive policies can be reversed with a bare majority. Obamacare can be repealed with a bare majority. True Conservative Judges will not be banished due to a filibuster threat.

Yes, it’s true that the absence of a filibuster could accelerate the destructive policies. That fear is justified, particularly as to the judiciary. But face it, we were headed there anyway unless drastic action was taken.

That drastic action took place yesterday. By Democrats.

Now at least we have a chance to achieve previously unimaginable progress in a single presidential term if we also have bare majorities in Congress and a President with the willpower. It will take only one such term.

The ratchet has been broken. And opportunity created, even if dependent upon future electoral success.

It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.

Jacobson’s last sentence, however, encapsulates why I do not share his optimism:  “It’s now up to us to seize the opportunity.”  “Us” happens to be Republican politicians.  I think we’re all in agreement that, as I’ve repeatedly said, Republicans have good ideas but bad politicians.  As the song goes, “If there’s a wrong way say it, And a right way to play it, Nobody does it like me; If there’s a wrong way to do it, A right way to screw it up, ha, Nobody does it like me.” That song could easily be the GOP anthem, and they rush from failure to failure without Shirley Bassey’s charm and style:

Here’s the conservative reality in the 2014 and 2016 elections, and that’s even assuming GOP nominees win:  The GOP’s all-out warfare against the Tea Party, which seeks constitutional government, tells you that the guys in the Senate have no interest in rocking the boat.  Moreover, open primaries in states such as California mean that the likelihood of having a principled conservative even take a stand against the Democrat Senate monopoly is not just close to zero, but actually zero.

Also, we’re not looking at Reid having this Senate majority just through the 2014 elections.  First, the numbers game indicates that Democrats may continue to hold the Senate by the one vote even in 2014.  Moreover, even if Republicans get a majority, it’s impossible for them to get the type of majority that will survive an Obama veto.  This means that Democrats have three years to play around with unopposed power.  The damage they can do is incalculable and quite possibly irreversible.

If you’re more optimistic than I am, though, and actually think, as Jacobson does, that the GOP has a prayer of not screwing things up, you may be asking why in the world Harry Reid would deliver this Trojan Horse to his party.  James Taranto thinks he has the answer:

In his book “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” which we quoted in May, psychologist Daniel Kahneman explains the idea of loss aversion:

When directly compared or weighted against each other, losses loom larger than gains. This asymmetry between the power of positive and negative expectations or experiences has an evolutionary history. Organisms that treat threats as more urgent than opportunities have a better chance to survive and reproduce.

That insight is the basis of prospect theory, which posits that people will take bigger risks in the hope of minimizing a loss than in the hope of maximizing a gain. The psychological impact of the loss itself clouds one’s thinking about the risks of magnifying the loss. That explains why the Democrats went nuclear just as the perils of doing so multiplied.

Taranto and Jacobson could both be correct, but I will continue to believe until proven otherwise that the Republicans will take this theoretically golden opportunity and destroy it, because that’s what elected Republican officials do.

Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election

As is too often the case, Republicans are busy snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  Despite the fact that the Obamacare debacle has been playing out before Americans’ eyes for more than three weeks, the RNC has done absolutely nothing to capitalize on the fact.  Jonah Goldberg suggests at least sending out a letter:

If I was writing it, I would say something like, “The president vowed to you on numerous occasions (see attached document) that you could keep your insurance and that you would save money under the Affordable Care Act. This was untrue. Whether it was a well-intentioned mistake or a more deliberate deception, what the president and his party told you was flatly untrue, and we said so at the time.”

I then might go on to promise something like “the party will do everything it can, within its power, to alleviate the burden the Democrats have imposed on you and the country. We are of course limited by the fact that the president and his party control the agenda in Washington. If you think we’re due for a change, we’d love your support. If you think these changes are good for you, your family or the country, then obviously we politely disagree. If you think — as we do — that there’s got to be a better way, we hope you’ll give us a fresh look.”

That’s a nice letter.  Without condescension, it reminds voters that the Republicans predicted and tried to stop this train wreck, it offers that Republicans will do whatever is in their power to help remedy the situation, and it reminds voters that the best remedy is a Republican majority in 2014 and again in 2016.

Goldberg’s good advice notwithstanding, Republicans are silent — or, if they’re not silent, they’re still engaged in a bloody internecine war that leaves innumerable openings for Democrats to blame everyone from Cruz, to Bush, to Nixon, to generic Republicans for Obamacare.

Last night, 60 Minutes, while coyly keeping both Hillary’s and Obama’s names out of the story, revealed what conservatives have long known about Benghazi:  it was a carefully planned al Qaeda attack; al Qaeda warned everyone and his mother that it would take place; embassy security in Benghazi was a joke; the administration had been told repeatedly about the attack and about the security situation; and the administration did precisely nothing before or during the attack.

Now that 60 Minutes has broken the wall of silence, this should be a headline story in every paper and on every TV show in the land.  But of course it’s not.  And with the exception of Lindsey Graham, who’s doing some huffing and puffing, Republicans are sitting there with their thumbs in their mouths.

John McCain is going one step further, and praising Hillary to high Heaven.  (Could it be that McCain is being Machiavellian here?  One could argue that McCain hasn’t abandoned the idea of running for president in 2016.  He wants an opponent who will be easy to beat and, with the Benghazi albatross around her neck, McCain thinks she’s that opponent.  Did I just hear you say that’s an insanely stupid idea that gives McCain too much credit?  I think you’re right.  Forget I ever said it.)

We tend to see the Democrats as winning through lies, chicanery, media manipulation, and outright fraud (not to mention the whole IRS thing).  I do think, though, that we have to acknowledge that it’s not just that the Democrats win elections.  The Republicans lose elections.

McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012 were both abysmal candidates under any standards.  This isn’t to say whether they would have been good or bad presidents (although I suspect either would have been significantly better than Obama).  The problem began and ended with their campaigns:  both were boring speakers; both were flat-footed debaters; both were utterly incapable of articulating core conservative values that bind together everyone from libertarians to the fading Reagan Democrat coalition; both failed to recognize the internet’s importance in their campaigns; and both were afraid to get their hands dirty in dealing with a black man (although McCain has always been happy to fight his own political family).

My feeling now is that if Chris Christie or Ted Cruz throw their hats into the ring, and if they can survive the inevitable circular firing squad from fellow Republicans fighting in the primaries, one or the other will top the ticket.  This has nothing to do with whether they’ll be good presidents (although I’m sure each would be substantially better than anyone the Democrats dredge up).  Both, however, will be good candidates.  Unlike McCain and Romney — and unlike Obama, Hillary, and Warren — these guys are so fast on their feet that they can wow people by giving extemporaneous speeches without teleprompters and notes, and they’ll never fall into “um” or “uh” land the way Obama, McCain, and Romney did.  Debates will be enjoyable blood baths, with the Democrats doing the (rhetorical) bleeding.

When it comes to articulating a conservative position, Cruz will have the edge over Christie.  Christie has proven that, for the most part, his conservative beliefs begin and end with defanging the unions.  I respect that, I really do, but it’s going to leave him rudderless and speechless when it comes to articulating ideas that can actually win people over to something grander than union bashing.

Both will have to tone down their arrogance.  Unlike Obama, who floated through life on an affirmative action cloud, both these men are indeed smarter than most people, and they have the resumes to prove it — not just jobs obtained, but actual accomplishments.  Since the media will not be able to portray them as idiots, as it did with George Bush and John McCain, it will have to go the Romney route with both:  they’re evil plutocrats, a la Snidely Whiplash, just dreaming of ways to tie the American people to some foul capitalist railway track to let them die.  Since both tend to be arrogant, they’re going to have to find some humility, or else this media charge will stick and destroy them.

Significantly, they’re both guys who live for the fight. Christie’s going to have a bit of a hard time overcoming his bromance with Obama, but Cruz is going to come out swinging, and will take no prisoners regardless which Democrat ends up representing that ticket.

The fact that both Christie and Cruz are lawyers is disappointing. It would be splendid to see someone other than a lawyer in the White House. As an ex-military guy, Allen West would be a delightful addition to the presidential roster, but I just don’t see it happening. I think the world of him, I admire his principles, I believe he’s a fighter, and he’s a good speaker, but even by the low standards Obama set, a two-year tenure in the House probably isn’t going to convince the American people to elect West president.

Do you have predictions for 2016?  I know it’s a long time away, but it’s worth thinking about now, both because it’s a pleasant diversion from depressing headlines and because the headlines about Obamacare, Benghazi, and the economy are tarnishing the Democrat brand.

Assuming that the Republicans can stop fighting each other and start riding the anti-Democrat wave, what should they do?  And who would you like to see getting groomed for the 2016 White House?

In the long term, what will the shutdown theater’s effect be on the political scene?

The shutdown is over — the Republicans caved because no one was willing to face the risk that Obama would jettison the Constitution and allow the United States government to default. I think it’s a bit more nuanced then a total collapse, though, and I think it may still effect future change.

Those who have hung around the Bookworm Room for a long time know that I believe that it was to George Bush’s advantage that the media portrayed him as a loose cannon cowboy.  I don’t think this was a true characterization, but it certainly kept the world’s bad actors nervous.

It’s a little different with Obama.  He’s repeatedly proven that he has nothing but disdain for the Constitution and the free market.  Because we’re trying to predict his future conduct based upon his past actions, people weren’t being unreasonable in fearing that he would cheerfully invite in world-wide economic disaster.

The Left is now celebrating:  Obama won.  The Tea Party was shown to be the party of stupid killjoy spoilsports who tried to undo the law (never mind, please, that what they did was entirely Constitutional).  It’s over.  Close the book.

But I don’t think so….

Here’s what I think (or maybe just what I hope).  In about two weeks, Americans will have completely forgotten the shutdown, as they’ve forgotten almost all of the past shutdowns, except maybe for the clash between Clinton and Gingrich.  That had some high drama and good television, so it resonated a bit.  The other shutdowns, though, are down the memory hole.

There are a few things people will remember, though.  They’ll remember that the president went after the military and spitefully denied Americans access to their own outdoor treasures.  They’ll remember that the Obamacare exchanges had a disastrous debut, with stone-age technology and staggeringly high socialist wealth redistribution.  And they’ll remember that the Republicans tried everything they could to derail or delay Obamacare.  When it comes to the fight against Obamacare, the Republicans now have a record to run on.

What Republicans can and should say in 2014 and again in 2016 is “We tried, but it was an impossible task.  The only thing that can work is if we take the Senate in 2014, and then get the White House in 2016 while still holding onto Congress.  We are your last chance.”

And if that “last chance” shtick doesn’t work, it still makes for funny Fawlty TV:

Michael Walsh predicts a “Republican Spring”

In 2011, we had the Arab Spring.  Michael Walsh is now predicting a “Republican Spring” which we all hope will end more successfully than the unfolding disaster in the Middle East:

In the aftermath of Senator Ted Cruz’s epic performance on the Senate floor, a few observations:

After his disgraceful attacks on Cruz, including his reach-across-the-aisle, dog-in-the-manger response today, this should be the end of Senator John McCain as a voice of influence in the Republican party. Ditto his mini-me, Senator Lindsey Graham. Indeed, the entire Old Guard of business-as-usual “comity” fans passeth. When you care more about what the other side thinks, it’s probably time either to switch teams or step down.

There is new leadership in the GOP, whether the party wants to admit it or not: Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jeff Sessions, and the others who stepped into the breach to spell the senator from Texas.

The popular reaction to Cruz will be immediate and noticeable; the more the old bulls carp, the more the public will rally to Cruz’s side. The country has been spoiling for a real fight since the election of 2008, and now it has one.

Conservatives have finally realized that, as it’s currently constituted, they have no home in the Republican party, which is the Washington Generals to the Democrats’ Harlem Globetrotters, the designated losers who nevertheless are rewarded handsomely for their sham opposition.

To that end, conservatives understand that rather than form a third party, their only hope is to seize control of the corrupt, rotting hulk of the GOP, which they now can do with the help of a reinvigorated Tea Party — especially with Lois Lerner’s IRS off its back.

The Cruz faction in the Senate, and its allies in the House (whose leadership is now up for grabs) must now press their advantage. The louder the Democrats squawk, the more they are wounded; the one thing they’ve long feared is a direct assault on their core beliefs as translated into actions, and the deleterious effects of Obamacare, just now being felt by the population, are the most vivid proof of the failure of Progressivism that conservatives could wish for.

Please the rest here.  Every word is interesting.

I’m actually quite optimistic because a Republican Spring will be predicted on individual freedom, unlike the Arab Spring, which was predicated on subordination to a tyrannical theocracy.  The only risk is that a party predicated on freedom tends to organize badly and have all the coherence and stability of a room full of soap bubbles.

ADDENDUM:  Things are happening quickly and in unpredictable ways.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that since our trip to St. Petersburg this summer.  As you know, Obama and the rest of the progressives keep talking about being on the “right side of history.”  This isn’tt history that’s happened yet, of course.  It’s what they assume historians in the future will say as they look back upon our present.  In other words, progressives think that they can see the future.

When I was growing up, though, no one saw the Soviet Union’s future, something made staggeringly clear to me when we spent two days in St. Petersburg this summer.  The kids, who were born long after the wall fell, could not comprehend the fact that my husband and I were still stunned by the rampant capitalism there.  Right up until the wall fell, no one could have predicted that the heart and soul of communism would have streets lined with advertisements for Prada.  Perhaps it was more predictable that it would become corrupt but, throughout the 1990s, I didn’t see that coming either.  Now, though, everyone to whom we spoke told us that life in Putin’s Russia is hopelessly corrupt, and that they’re enjoying their window of freedom while they can, since they fear it will end soon.

And on that subject, Clifford D. May looks at a possible Third Act to follow upon Russia’s twisty-turny recent past and tumultuous present.

Chuck Hagel — a litmus test for Republican weakness and stupidity

Hagel’s been confirmed.  As Sean Hannity keeps saying, “Elections have consequences.”

The Democrats did what Republicans never do, which is to march in lockstep formation behind their leader even when he chose as Secretary of Defense a man with an IQ that doesn’t exceed the double digits, and a management history that proves his role model was the Pointy Haired Boss from the Dilbert cartoons.

We shouldn’t be surprised.  The Democrats’ world outlook is collectivist, and they behave collectively.  They have given their fealty to Obama.  If he ordered them to drink Jim Jones’ Kool-Aid, jump off a cliff, or retire from politics en masse, they would obey.  It doesn’t speak well of them that they subordinate their Creator-given gifts to party politics,  but it does make them effective.

And then we have Republicans.

Herding cats

The problem with Republicans is that they’re individualists.  Trying to get them to work together, even when pulling apart means sure death, is about as easy as herding cats.  What’s worse is that they’re not cool, sophisticated, self-assured cats.  Instead, they’re the dumb cats that John Hawkins describes:

Can you teach a cat to sit? To roll over? To come when it’s called? No, because cats are stupid. Granted, dogs are stupid, too, but they’re probably on the same level as your two-year old. A cat is closer in intelligence to a geranium — if a geranium had claws and a certain feral cunning it could use to track, torment, and kill smaller plants for its own amusement.

Hawkins had his tongue firmly in cheek when he wrote that.  As for me, when I apply those words to the flailing Republicans in Washington, my tongue is nowhere near my cheek.  Republican politicians are dumb.  Really, really dumb.

I have a few words for these dummies.  I applaud them for having the courage to run but that doesn’t make up for the fact that, once they get to Washington, the collapse in a spineless puddle the moment the drive-by media turns it sights on them.

Nerd

Here’s the deal, doofuses (doofae?):  Because the media will play everything and anything to make Obama look good and you look bad, stop trying to look good.  You are the geeks in high school, the losers at the work place, the dork at the dance.  No matter what happens, you will look stupid — in the short run.

But we smart people (and that group does not include you guys in D.C.) know that those high school geeks who stuck to their geek guns made smart decisions that made many of them rich and famous.  We know that the smart losers in the work place left their cubicles behind and became successful consultants.  And those dance floor dorks?  They’re the ones who managed to avoid the vapid blonde with STDs and, instead, find pretty young women of substance.

You idiots. . . . Sorry, I mean you Republican politicians think you’re playing a long-term game that goes like this:  “If we bend here, bow here, and scrape there, the new mandarins, especially in the media, will finally give us credit and the voters will support us.”  Dumb.  Dumb.  Dumb.

What you should be doing is stand up, vocally, for core conservative principles.  If those reporters ask you about rape, ignore them.  If they ask you about gay marriage, ignore them.  Right now, the media is making these pressing issues only doing so is a cheap and easy way to appeal to people’s emotions and deflect attention from the fact that we, as a nation, are going broke.  And you guys (and gals) let them get away with this shoddy tactic, simply because you’re so pathetically desperate for New York Times‘ approval.

If you were lucky enough to be a Republican who made it to (or stayed in) Congress, voters elected you pretty much for one reason:  Fiscal responsibility.  Even if the Tea Party candidates weren’t quite ready for prime time, it was the principles they asserted that created the wave that got you guys into office in 2010, and that kept some of you there in 2012.

Sequestration

So what should you be doing?  You should be harping on fiscal responsibility.  You should be screaming to the rafters at the way Obama is punishing ordinary citizens (e.g., releasing previously-arrested illegal aliens; threatening to make the TSA even worse; and threatening old people and children).  You should be reminding them that Obama is lying about the sequester.  It was his idea and it doesn’t cut past spending, but merely slows future spending.

Be loud in your conservative beliefs.  Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, WaPo, NYT, NPR, and CNN are going to ream you a new one regardless.  Stop making conservative bloggers do all the heavy lifting.  All we can do is preach to the choir.  If enough of you in Congress start making a loud noise, the media will have to report it.  At the very least, do yourself the favor of going down like a man, or a woman, not a sniveling coward.

And speaking of sniveling cowards, those Republicans who cast a yea vote for Chuck Hagel are exactly that.  Senators have a Constitutional duty to protect American citizens from a president who chooses a cabinet member who is manifestly unsuited for the post.  Hagel’s testimony and the information that started surfacing about him established conclusively that he is mean-spirited and dumb as a rock.

Hagel is anti-Israel, even though Israel is our ally; pro-Iran, even though Iran is our enemy; hostile to the American armed forces, even though he’ll now be in charge of them; antisemitic, even though his baseless canards have their roots in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, rather than the real world; devious, as was shown by his prevaricating about his past and his refusal to release documents; and really, really, really stupid.

I guess it’s that last factor — his rank stupidity — that proves that, all of his other qualities to the contrary, Hagel can still call himself a Republican.  Dems have turned on Israel, look longingly at Iran, hate the military, have a festering antisemitism in their ranks, and routinely lie about and hide information that Americans should know.  But when it comes to butt-numbing stupidity, Republicans win, hands down.  I guess you could call Hagel the double threat, seeing as he has the worst qualities of both parties.

 

Standing closer to the RINO can be dangerous

There’s a sad story making the rounds telling about a woman on a safari in Africa who wanted to get a picture of herself in the same frame as some rhinoceroses:

Rhino photo by Angela Sevin

The Beeld newspaper reported Tuesday that Chantal Beyer said the game park owner snapped pictures and suggested that she “stand just a little bit closer” seconds before the attack. Photos show Beyer and her husband only feet away from two rhinos.

The paper said that just after the photo was snapped, the rhino attacked, and its horn penetrated Beyers’ chest from behind, resulting in a collapsed lung and broken ribs, the paper said.

The AP story shows up in paper after paper with a headline that says something along the lines of “‘Stand closer to the rhino’ results in grave wounds.”

Because I view everything through a political filter, every time I see that heading, my brain converts it to “Stand closer to the RINO results in grave wounds.”  As far as I’m concerned, that’s just as accurate a headline as the original.  RINOs are neither fish nor fowl (although they are pretty foul).  They’re Democrat Lites whose overriding principle isn’t small government but is, instead, making friends in D.C. and avoiding nasty headlines from the media.

Do I believe in compromise?  Yes, absolutely — but only when there is a good faith effort to compromise and when there is common ground.  What today’s RINOs refuse to acknowledge is that the old rules governing compromise in Washington worked because RINOs viewed conservativism as a checkbook thing:  they weren’t wedded to small government, they were wedded to affordable government.  If they kept a moderate hand on the checkbook, they were doing their job.

Fork in the road

Now that federal spending has climbed to monstrous and destructive proportions, there is no way Republicans can fulfill their traditional “moderate” role of being a check on overspending.  That horse has long left the barn.  The only thing left for ostensibly Republican politicians to decide is whether America will be a soft socialist (drifting inevitably into hard socialist) country or a true capitalist country.  The American body politic is staring at a fork in the road with no middle ground.  Politicians have to go in one direction or another.  Those who choose the Democrat direction cannot call themselves Republicans.  They’re just Democrat stragglers, and they may as well acknowledge that fact.

In today’s political world, RINOs are a dreadful thing for true conservatives, because they give credibility to the Democrat drift to socialism.  They lend a superficial gloss of bipartisanship to outcomes that have nothing bipartisan about them.  They are enablers and they are dangerous.

Republican politicians ought to fix their sights on one bright star:  smaller government.  With that as their starting point, they can have coherent, credible positions on myriad issues that concern the American people — everything from budgets, to abortion, to gun control, to immigration.  Negotiations and possible compromise can flow from this ideologically sound starting point.  Oh!  And true conservatives really need to stay away from those dangerous RINOs.

Was the tax increase a major Republican loss?

Today’s big story the new tax bill that Obama jetted off to Hawaii before signing, but that will soon (and inevitably) become the law of the land.  I don’t see any surprises.  I knew that we’d get hit hard and so we have.

I gather that sequestration has now been averted, so that Obama gets to continue spending.  As the headlines say, $1 in spending cuts for every $41 in tax increases.

Obama laughing

The media and the blogs are playing this as a major Republican loss.  Although I’m not sure it is, I actually rejoice in these headlines.  They sting, but they may have a benefit in the long term.

In my simplistic financial view of the world, there is one given that transcends any fancy economic talk from Ivory Towers and Leftist back rooms:  you cannot indefinitely spend more than you take in.  This is true whether you’re a person or a nation.  You can certainly spend more than you have for a while.  Indeed, if you’re rich (as America once was) you can keep spending money you don’t have for a long time.  You can borrow from friends who haven’t quite figured out yet that you’re broke.  And you can check kite — that is, you can use one empty account to pay off another empty account.  Essentially, you keep the same money floating around between accounts for a while until one of the banks or creditors figures out that you’re simply juggling a few dollars around and hoping that no one catches on that your accounts are usually empty.  And that’s all you can do.

Obama ran for, and won, re-election on a promise that he could fix our problems by taxing “rich” people more, while continuing to spend as before.  The voters bought it.

Another way to think of Obama’s promise, and the voter’s credulity, is to imagine that America is a corporation, with shareholders and various officers.  Obama is the CEO.  Because the CEO and his fellow officers have been spending corporate money like crazy without realizing a profit, the corporation is broke.  It’s worth noting that some of that spending involved distributions to select shareholders — those holding the fewest corporate stocks.

When the shareholders were considering making a push to fire the CEO, the CEO kept his job by telling the shareholders that he’d hire some armed robbers (i.e., the IRS) to force some of the richest shareholders to buy more shares in this essentially bankrupt company.  He made no promises about reducing corporate spending or trying different approaches to dealing with corporate debt.  The shareholders, none of whom could imagine himself (or herself) as being “the richest,” thought it was a great idea to have the “other shareholders” forced to subsidize the corporate spending binge. Those most enthusiastic were the ones who, despite holding the fewest shares, had been getting stock distributions on a regular basis.

Robber

Once his job was assured, the CEO used his renewed power to do exactly what he promised:  he brought in armed robbers to forcibly remove money from the “rich” shareholders without changing his management style, including his spending habits.  The only thing that surprised some of the shareholders was to discover that the CEO numbered them amongst the rich.

In other words, Americans — the shareholders in this nation — just got exactly what Obama promised and they voted for:  more taxing, more spending.

The question, then, is whether yesterday’s vote to increase taxes is a major Republican loss.  Certainly, the Republican party is in chaos — but it was anyway.  After the election, the Republican party was a demoralized, writhing, screaming, finger-pointing mass of loser-dom.

Pathetic loser

Given the Republicans’ already pathetic posture, is what happened yesterday even worse for the Republicans?  I don’t think so.  I think that, with the mid-term elections coming, this clarifies things for voters.  It doesn’t just clarify Republican and/or conservative principles, it also clarifies just who holds those principles.

White House Money Machine

More than that, the new taxes and spending clarify responsibility for America’s economy.  Obama got exactly what he wanted and he thinks that he’s laughing all the way to the bank.  Except when he gets to the bank, he’ll discover it’s still empty.  Within a few months, he’ll be thinking of that adage “be careful what you wish for; you might get it.”

Things are certainly going to be bad, very bad, for America in the short term.  But with a true compromise, of the type Boehner was trying to craft (proving either his good faith or his stupidity), things would have been very bad for America in the slightly longer term.  Short of a revolutionary change to America’s spending habits, which wasn’t going to happen with a compromise, America was always screwed.  Now, at least the Republicans can say “we tried to stop this, but Obama had a stronger political hand in the wake of the elections, so we were forced to give him what he wanted.  This is now, for real and for true, the Obama economy.”

Obama frowning

The one thing to remember is that Republicans had better start selling this Obama-economy message hard and fast now, while Obama and his media minions are still gloating about his victory over the GOP.  Once things go sour, as they inevitably will, Obama and the media will start blaming the Republicans.  We know that, where the media leads, the masses follow.  The only way to stop the sheeple is to drill home now the message that this is Obama’s victory, that Obama got what he’d promised and what he wanted, and that Obama joyfully accepts the responsibility for whatever flows from his glorious battle defeating the Republicans.

Remember:  Nothing, absolutely nothing, that came out of Congress today could have been good for America.  However, if Republicans willingly hand Obama this victory, the greatest likelihood is that it proves to be a Pyrrhic victory for Obama, with long-term benefits for conservative thinking and, therefore, for America.

(Alternatively, Obama could have been right all along, which will be good for America, and I’ll have to revert to my original Democrat allegiance.  Possible, but not probable.  Facts are stubborn things and so are numbers, and I’m betting that Leftist political ideology will not trump either facts or numbers.)