Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA), gave a fiery speech yesterday at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in which he decried the media and called on attendees to stop President Barack Obama’s anti-gun agenda.
“History has proven again the truth that President Obama and anti-freedom activists everywhere deny and try to empress: the truth that firearms in the hands of good people save lives,” said LaPierre. “The political elites can’t escape and the darlings in the media can’t change the God-given right of good people to protect themselves.”
There’s nothing wrong with that statement in and of itself. The White House and congressional Democrats tried (and failed) last year to enact more onerous gun control laws. The media often painted an unflattering picture of Second Amendment activists and frequently pilloried the LaPierre and NRA.
“For that fundamental human, the NRA stands unflinching and unapologetic and in defense of our freedom,” said LaPierre. “NRA’s 5 million members and America’s 100 million gun owners will not back down, not now, not ever. I assure you that.”
Does anyone else remember when Democrats were going to run and win on Obamacare in the 2014 mid-term election? Those bold statements were made by DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) not long after the infamous rollout of the law.
But with the Obama administration’s most recent Obamacare delays — we’re now at 37, if you’re keeping score at home — Democrats are trying to shift the public’s attention from Obamacare to, well, anything else. Consider two recent stories, one from The New York Times and another from the National Journal.
The New York Times story focuses on Democrats’ “strategy” of targeting Charles and David Koch, which had been telegraphed in two recent, disgusting floor speeches by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). There’s nothing really new in the story that we didn’t already know. It just speaks to attempt to change the subject.
The National Journal piece covers Democrats’ attempts to pivot on Social Security by accusing Republican candidates of wanting to privatize a program that is fiscally insolvent over the long-term. The is the more interesting angle because entitlement programs are, typically, Democrats “go to” when they’re out of ammunition.
Amid reports of anemic economic growth and weak jobs numbers, Americans are being told that the economy is in recovery after a severe recession. It’s the same line Americans have heard for the past few years, only many aren’t experiencing it.
Caitlin Burke of the Heritage Foundation brings us a sobering reminder of that, noting that a record number of American households are on food stamps:
Recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicates that more than 23 million households—a record 20 percent—are now on food stamps. This is a dramatic increase from15 million households in 2009.
But the problem, however, isn’t limited to still slow economy, though that’s still a prominent concern. The food stamp program is in dire need of reform, including means-testing and work requirements:
This policy—which was put into place in fiscal year 2000 and heavily pushed by the Obama Administration—allows states to completely bypass the asset test for food stamp applicants, meaning there is no limit to the amount of assets a household can have to qualify for food stamps as long as their income is low enough.
The Obama administration’s latest major changes to Obamacare have spurred talk of a delay to the individual mandate, which is, arguably, the most controversial, unpopular provision in the law as well as the most important. Chris Stirewalt raised the notion yesterday.
“As the President Obama’s health law delays pile up, the biggest potential rewrite of the troubled legislation is looming at the end of the month,” wrote Stirewalt at FoxNews.com. “Americans who do not voluntarily comply with the law and enroll by March 31 are supposed to be fined an amount equal to 1 percent of their income. Not cool.”
“The mandate was never popular with Democrats, and as the president claims the power to unilaterally change the legislation for the benefit of big business and the insurance industry, is he prepared to let ordinary folks pay the price?” he asked. “Given the crash landing of the program last fall, it seems particularly cruel to penalize people for not enrolling in a program that has been offline so often.”
Stirewalt pointed to a recent National Journal story which noted that a delay of the individual mandate would mean 1 million fewer insured Americans, a finding that is likely to give the administration pause. But electoral politics have motivated President Obama to change the law whenever it’s convenient.
This may not come as a surprise to you, but Public Policy Polling (PPP) has unveiled that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) is the least popular Senator in the country.
According to the latest PPP Arizona poll, Sen. McCain is unanimously disliked among Republicans, Democrats and Independents. The poll indicated that only 30% of Arizonans approve of his job in the Senate while 54% disapprove.
Among conservatives and libertarians, McCain could face major issues if he decides to run for reelection in 2016. During President Obama’s push for stricter gun control measures in 2013, Sen. McCain offered his support to Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) gun control bill by voting for it and calling it a “common sense” law.
While many liberty-minded Republicans were standing with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) during his 13-hour long filibuster (a move praised by Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike), Sen. McCain used his influence to put the public against party colleagues like Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and referred to them as wacko birds, a term that was later used by several liberty-minded republicans and libertarians in social media drives to show neoconservatives that the childish criticism would not discourage them.
The Obama administration has failed to reach its target audience. At least that’s the conclusion one can draw from two new surveys showing that a fraction of uninsured Americans have signed up for health plans on the Obamacare exchanges:
A pair of surveys released on Thursday suggest that just one in 10 uninsured people who qualify for private health plans through the new marketplace have signed up for one — and that about half of uninsured adults has looked for information on the online exchanges or plans to look.
One of the surveys, by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., shows that, of people who had signed up for coverage through the marketplaces by last month, just one-fourth described themselves as having been without insurance for most of the past year.
The survey also attempted to gauge what has been another fuzzy matter: how many of the people actually have the insurance for which they signed up. Under federal rules, coverage begins only if someone has started to pay their monthly insurance premiums.
Today in Liberty: February jobs report, Rand Paul to speak at CPAC today, House passes $1 billion Ukraine aid package
“There can be no liberty unless there is economic liberty.” — Margaret Thatcher
— February jobs numbers above expectations: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 175,000 jobs were added in February, which is above expectations. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 6.7%. The labor force participation rate remained steady an anemic 63%. The December and January numbers were revised upward by a total of 25,000 jobs.
Energy issues will play a role in four key states that could decide control of the Senate in the 2014 mid-term election, according to a new poll. Specifically, President Barack Obama’s decision on the Keystone XL pipeline will weigh on voters’ minds.
The poll, conducted by Hickman Analytics on behalf of Consumer Energy Alliance, found that more than three-quarters of likely voters in four states — Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, and North Carolina — “said they will consider a candidate’s position on energy issues, such as the Keystone XL Pipeline, before deciding whom they will support.”
More than two-thirds of likely voters in these four states support building the Keystone XL pipeline. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-AR), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Kay Hagan (D-NC) support construction of the oil pipeline. Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), however, does not.
Whether or not these Senate Democrats support Keystone XL may prove irrelevant depending on what action President Obama takes. The poll found that voters in these four states would be less likely to support a Democratic incumbent if the White House rejects the proposed oil pipeline:
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has endorsed Dr. Greg Brannon in the North Carolina Republican Senate primary and plans to campaign for the conservative candidate in the Tar Heel state later this month.
In a statement released this morning by Brannon’s campaign, Lee called 2014 a “critical year for conservatives,” noting that North Carolina will play an important role in this year’s mid-term election. He stressed the importance of electing candidates that will “work to restor[e] the proper role of government” and “forward positive, specific policy proposals to get America back on track.”
“Greg Brannon is dedicated to enacting a conservative reform agenda in Congress. He is willing to challenge the status quo and entrenched special interests,” said Lee in the statement. “And he has pledged to work alongside myself, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others in the Senate to change the way Washington works.”
Lee, a Tea Party favorite, has put forward a number of reform proposals in recent months, including pro-family tax reform and policies that would strengthen the middle class as well as create opportunity for the poor.
“Greg Brannon will be a strong voice for the people in the Senate and I am proud to endorse him,” Lee added.
The National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) released a study earlier this week finding that Americans looking to purchase health insurance on the state and federal Obamacare exchanges would find higher premiums and less choice than plans available last year on private exchanges.
The findings in the study aren’t surprising given that Obamacare mandates a number of changes to health insurance, including minimum benefits and actuarial requirements, all of which result increase the cost of coverage. Though the NCPPR offered some insight into the higher costs consumers face, it didn’t offer much in real dollars being spent on health insurance coverage compared to 2013 plans.
eHealthInsurance.com (eHealth), however, has released data that does provide some insight into how much consumers are paying for off-exchange health plans compared to a year ago. Despite a multitude of promises that Obamacare would make health coverage more affordable, the eHealth study proves otherwise.
“As of February 24, 2014, the average premium for an individual health plan selected through eHealth without a subsidy was $274 per month,” the nation’s first and largest private exchange noted in a recent press release, ”a 39% increase from the average individual premium for pre-Obamacare coverage.”