Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Marco Rubio and the Republicans Who Love Him
Marco Rubio laughs at the idea, heard from some pundits recently, that he's the "Republican Obama." "I'm not sure people even want to be the Democrat Obama these days," he says. For Rubio, the unlikely front-runner in the Florida Republican Senate primary race, the label is a measure of the unhappiness many people feel with their political choices at any given moment. "There's always this constant desire for new people to enter the process," he explains. Now, he's the new guy.
Challenging the head of your party is not necessarily the path to political glory, but that's what Rubio has done in the race against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Last May, when Rubio, the former speaker of the state House, announced his candidacy, the first three polls done in the race showed him trailing Crist by 35, 37 and 31 points, respectively.
These days, the most recent poll, done by Public Policy Polling in early March, shows Rubio up by 32 points -- an astonishing 60-plus-point swing. In a conversation before a speech to the conservative Club for Growth here in Palm Beach, Rubio downplays his lead. He didn't get upset when the polls showed him behind, he says, so he's "not going to get too excited about them with six months to go and we're up by a few points." But Rubio knows the numbers reflect something happening with the voters.
The Obama agenda scares people. "I do not believe the president fully supports the free-enterprise system that I support," Rubio says. Florida Republicans, Rubio believes, know in their hearts that Crist "is not going to go to Washington and stand up to this agenda and be part of offering an alternative -- he's just not going to do it." Crist's recent praise for the stimulus and tendency to accommodate Obamacare suggest Rubio is right.
Rubio watched closely as Republican Scott Brown pulled off a political miracle in Massachusetts. First, Rubio learned how incredibly intense a high-profile race can become down the stretch -- he better be ready for that. But more importantly, he saw how critical it is to "focus like a laser on a couple of key issues."
"In that campaign, (Brown) was often tempted to get involved in side issues; he was invited to join (Democrat Martha Coakley) in the weeds and talk about things that didn't matter," Rubio says. "But the fact that he focused on the important issues, the things that mattered to real people in the real world, is ultimately what got him over the top, and it's what we're going to strive to do in our election as well."
For Rubio, that means the economic issues -- "national debt, job creation, how our tax code and government spending are discouraging job creation, and entitlement reform. Those are the central issues of the moment."
That doesn't mean cultural matters are unimportant. One clue with Rubio is the rubber wristband he wears signifying concern for "life issues." (Another wristband reflects his interest in autism.) And in the 2008 GOP primaries, Rubio supported Mike Huckabee, a favorite of pro-lifers and evangelicals. "I didn't necessarily think he was the favorite or quite frankly had a great chance to win," Rubio says of the former Arkansas governor. "I really thought he did a good job of making the compelling argument that the social and moral well-being of people is linked to their economic well-being." Today, Rubio counts Huckabee as "a great friend and a good ally."
Early in the Florida race, Rubio won the support of conservative hero Sen. Jim DeMint, but much of the Washington GOP establishment, including Senate re-election chief Sen. John Cornyn, reflexively took Crist's side against the young challenger. Today, Rubio says things are fine, but he still sounds a little cool. "It's never been adversarial," he says of his relationship with establishment lawmakers. "I don't really know them. I've met Sen. Cornyn a couple of times and have respect for him. I have respect for (minority) leader (Mitch) McConnell."
Rubio, born in Miami to Cuban exiles in 1971, is about as fresh a face as you get in a Senate race. He gives a tremendous speech about his love for American free enterprise and opportunity. Politically savvy Republicans across the country are falling in love with him, but they're also realizing they don't really know a lot about him. That's what campaigns are for. By the time Election Day comes around, they're hoping Marco Rubio will turn out to be every bit as good as he seems.
Student Protests Illustrate Greedy Entitlement Mentality, Not Idealism
On March 4th, university students across the country participated in angry protests against tuition increases and budget cuts on their campuses. The demonstrators portrayed themselves as victims of oppression—ignoring the fact that the University of California system, for instance, already subsidizes each of them to the tune of more than $10,000 a year beyond tuition!
In other words, the arrogant students weren’t asking for more freedom, or even more power—just more money. Their sense of entitlement really means they want all citizens—even those whose children will never attend college—to pay more to privileged students who already receive hefty taxpayer support. At a time of budget crisis, it’s not unreasonable to expect that rising costs should fall primarily on those who benefit most directly from expensive, excellent state university systems: the students.
Sex, drugs and BlackBerrys
On the stimulus package's one-year anniversary on Feb. 17, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stated that taxpayers had "gotten their money's worth." However, it is difficult to understand how multimillion-dollar "stimulus" programs that research methamphetamine's effects on rats, build turtle crossings under highways, put up roadside signs to advertise stimulus programs and produce few long-term jobs are effective uses of taxpayer dollars. In Washington, $977,346 is being spent on a program that will provide just one job and give a few hundred BlackBerrys to smokers to help them kick the habit.
In February 2009, supporters of the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which has since ballooned to $862 billion, claimed the stimulus package would keep unemployment from going higher than 8 percent; create 3.5 million jobs, 90 percent of which would be in the private sector; and pave the way for long-term economic recovery. Yet, in the 12 months since the legislation's passage, unemployment rose as high as 10.2 percent and remains at 9.7 percent while 2.8 million people have lost their jobs.
Concerns over the efficiency and efficacy of the stimulus package have sparked the attention of leading economists, many of whom are uneasy about the ever-increasing amount of government spending and rapidly rising national debt. Harvard University economics professor Robert Barro estimated in a Feb. 23 Wall Street Journal article that when figured over five years, the stimulus package would infuse $600 billion of public expenditures into the economy while siphoning $900 billion from the coffers of private entities.
President Obama assured Americans the stimulus package would focus recovery and growth in the private sector; however, just 140,765 nonpublic jobs have originated from ARRA funding, according to a December analysis by Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center. In other words, approximately four of every five jobs created by the ARRA were in the public sector, while 49 of every 50 jobs lost since the stimulus package was enacted were private-sector posts.
The expansion of public programs is plundering from private pocketbooks instead of allowing American enterprises to invest into demand-driven initiatives that effectively and sustainably would grow bottom lines and expand employment opportunities. The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), for instance, received $5 billion in the stimulus - 20 times its regular budget over a two-year period. In some states, it has grown by even larger margins. For example, Texas' WAP will receive $362 million, 5,400 percent over its 2008 allocation of $6 million.
After declaring victory on the first stimulus, the White House and congressional leaders have touted the necessity of a second stimulus, calling nearly every new bill on the House and Senate floor a "jobs bill." One such piece of legislation that would cost taxpayers $107.6 billion includes an extension of tax breaks that have been renewed annually for years; a second option, estimated to cost $15 billion, includes a tax break for small businesses that hire workers.
Members of Congress understand that if the unemployment rate is not reduced, they may lose their own jobs in November. Too often, however, their employment solution has been to "steer" the economy through massive expenditures. But in their meager attempts to prevent another Great Depression, Congress has accrued the Great Debt. Legislators cannot be allowed to mortgage our children's future to pay for their spending addiction.
The stimulus has been subject to a great deal of analysis and propaganda, and it is time to set the record straight. Citizens Against Government Waste is launching a new online resource, mywastedtaxdollars.org, which will be a clearinghouse for identifying wasted stimulus dollars. If Washington is allowed to continue its unbridled spending with limited citizen reprisal, the American economy will most certainly suffer damaging consequences.
Despite Mr. Biden's belief that citizens "got their money's worth" from the stimulus package, analysis of the programs and their results that will appear on the new Web site will demonstrate otherwise. While policymakers spent $389,357 researching malt liquor and marijuana use in Buffalo, N.Y., and $219,000 finding the relationship between casual sex and alcohol consumption, hardworking Americans lost their salaries. The nation cannot afford another stimulus that pillages the resources of job providers and private citizens. Instead, Congress needs to cut government waste and adopt policies that will reap tangible benefits for the country's current and future posterity.
In Defense of the Filibuster
Never mind that Democrats have controlled both the House and the Senate since 2007, following wins in the 2006 midterm election. Never mind that a Democratic president was elected in 2008. Never mind that congressional Democrats wasted the year that followed, during which they could have passed virtually any piece of legislation they desired, but chose instead to bicker over the details of a socialist health-care takeover. Why focus on these facts, when one can choose instead to dine from the ruling party’s ever-growing buffet of lies?
The newest lie is that Senate Republicans, by using the filibuster (which enables forty-one senators to stall the other fifty-nine), are exercising legislative tyranny and obstructing progress.
The GOP is portrayed as a bunch of right-wing meanies standing in the way of not only government, but the will of the people. This “Party of No” myth has been pushed aggressively since the election of Republican Scott Brown, “Mr. 41.” Prior to his victory, Republicans could have been outvoted on health-care reform, federal handouts, welfare increases, and all the rest, had only the bumbling Democrats been able to get their act together.
As members of both parties know, but tend to forget when they are in the majority, the filibuster exists for a reason. The fact that it is stalling a radical anti-American agenda is not indicative of flawed design or failure of purpose; like a well-built dam holding back the crushing waters of a raging river, the filibuster is functioning precisely as intended by protecting citizens’ interests from a legally elected, yet ideologically traitorous, majority.
It seems likely that so-called progressivism will be dealt a severe blow in the next election; until then, we ought to be grateful for any tool, including the filibuster, able to impede its march.
Certain members of the majority have proposed changing the Senate’s rules. They would abandon the filibuster and institute majority rule, by which party-line votes could determine the law of the land. But what proponents forget, or perhaps ignore, is that the Senate was never intended to reflect fickle public opinion like the House. When the hot-headed masses are ready to sprint in a new direction, it is the Senate that says, “Hold on. Slow down. Let’s think about long-term consequences, not just short-term political advantages.”
More importantly, the structure of the Senate protects small states from large ones. Doing away with the filibuster could result in a voting divide that would be not only ideological, but geographical. Currently, the South and Midwest are dominated primarily by conservative and libertarian influences, while the Northeast and West coast favor a big-government brand of liberalism. What will happen if 49% of the country is consistently outvoted by 51%, on matters of principle as well as policy? A second round of secession and civil war? God help us; the U.S. would not—could not—survive it.
It is tempting for any Senate majority, whether Democratic or Republican, to rid itself of the troublesome filibuster, but it is far better for both sides to trust in the wisdom behind it, even if it means abandoning an impatient president’s agenda during an election year. Democrats make up the majority today, but inevitably will be reduced to the minority, as a result of the endless power cycle of American government and politics.
Remember, Democrats, November is coming. You might not lose the Senate, but don’t feel too smug; 2012 is also coming. Discard the filibuster now, and, sooner or later, you will want it back.
US Israel criticism ignites firestorm in Congress: "The Obama administration's fierce denunciation of Israel last week has ignited a firestorm in Congress and among powerful pro-Israel interest groups who say the criticism of America's top Mideast ally was misplaced. Since the controversy erupted, a bipartisan parade of influential lawmakers and interest groups has taken aim at the administration's decision to publicly condemn Israel for its announcement of new Jewish housing in east Jerusalem while Vice President Joe Biden was visiting on Tuesday and then openly vent bitter frustration on Friday. With diplomats from both countries referring to the situation as a crisis, the outpouring of anger in the United States, particularly from Capitol Hill, comes at a difficult time for the administration, which is now trying to win support from wary lawmakers — many of whom are up for re-election this year — for health care reform and other domestic issues. And those criticizing the administration's unusually blunt response to Israel say they fear it may have distracted from and done damage to efforts to relaunch long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks."
GOP move on pork pressures Obama: "The House Republicans' move to ban their members from taking earmarks this year is raising pressure on the rest of Washington — including President Obama, who has seen himself outflanked on a key measure of fiscal responsibility. As a senator, Mr. Obama, like most of his colleagues, initially requested earmarks. But by 2008, in the midst of the presidential campaign, he had sworn off them, and even voted for a failed moratorium offered by Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican presidential candidate. As president, he has called for Congress to impose greater transparency and to slice the number of earmarks. But last week, House Republicans went further, imposing their own moratorium on their members, and putting pressure on Senate Republicans, Democrats in both chambers, and back on Mr. Obama himself."
Tamils decide to give peace a chance: "Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party has renounced its demand for an independent Tamil homeland, but vowed to launch a Gandhi-style civil disobedience campaign for greater regional autonomy. In a manifesto for parliamentary elections on April 8, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) also pledged to lobby the international community to help the islands’ Tamil ethnic minority following the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels last year. The TNA used to be the political wing of the Tigers, but has been forced to re-invent itself since the end of the 26-year civil war. "If the Sri Lankan state continues its present style of governance without due regard to the rights of the Tamil-speaking peoples, the TNA will launch a peaceful, non-violent campaign of civil disobedience on the Gandhian model," the party said."
Colorado Internet retail tax backfires: "More evidence that if you want less of something, tax it: The so-called "Amazon tax" on Internet retailers. In February, Colorado became the fourth state to approve the tax, which requires Internet retailers with in-state "affiliates" -- individuals operating websites with links to cyber-companies like Amazon.com -- to collect the state sales tax. New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island have already passed their own Amazon taxes. Colorado Democrats predicted that revoking what they described as the Internet sales-tax exemption would bring an additional $5 million to the state's depleted coffers. Instead, it appears the Democrat-controlled legislature has killed an entire industry at the cost of as many as 10,000 jobs. Almost immediately after Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed the legislation, Amazon struck back. The company sent out emails to its associates informing them that it would cease its affiliate program in Colorado. That means Colorado website operators can no longer earn income by referring customers to Amazon through links and advertising on their sites."
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)