Archives for January 2012
As you know, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has been frequently mentioned as a possible running mate for the eventual Republican nominee. Unfortunately, Rubio has taken hits from the media, most of them blatantly dishonest.
Back in October, the Washington Post ran a “gotcha” story for what they saw as inconsistancies in the story of why his parents came to the United States. The story was promptly debunked by the Miami Herald and conservatives who saw it as unfair and incredibly misleading.
Given that his inclusion on a ticket could help Republicans reach out to certain segments of voters, namely minorities, Rubio is getting a closer look by the media. Reuters ran a story yesterday alleging that Rubio has some financial problems that could cause him to be skipped over in the vetting process:
Despite his reputation as a watchdog over federal spending, Rubio, 40, has had significant financial problems that could keep him from passing any vetting process as a potential vice presidential choice, Republican and Democratic strategists say.
In some ways, the story of Rubio’s finances is similar to those of hundreds of thousands of his constituents in a state where more than 40 percent of homeowners are “underwater,” owing more on their homes than the homes are worth.
It is a crisis driven by falling property values and ill-advised home equity loans that drove up homeowners’ debts.
Rubio owes far more on his $384,000 Miami home than it is worth, and at times has had difficulty paying his mortgage.
He bought the home in 2005 for $550,000 with a $495,000 mortgage. He soon had it appraised for $735,000 and took out a home equity line of credit for $135,000.
During last night’s Florida GOP primary debate, former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) blasted former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) for signing RomneyCare’s individual mandate into law in 2006. Apparently Sen. Santorum forgot that he supported individual mandates when he was running for the U.S. Senate in 1994:
Santorum and Watkins both called for a “comprehensive restructuring” of health care. But they differed sharply on what elements should comprise a basic benefits package.
Watkins would include mental health services, long-term care, prescription drug coverage, dental services and preventive care such as immunizations. Santorum would not. Both reject abortion services.
Santorum and Watkins both oppose having businesses provide health care for their employees. Instead, they would require individuals to purchase insurance. Both oppose higher taxes on alcohol or tobacco to help pay for care.
Santorum and Watkins would require individuals to buy health insurance rather than forcing employers to pay for employee benefits. Both oppose abortion services and support limits on malpractice awards. Santorum says non-economic damages should not exceed $250,000, adjusted annually for inflation, and lawyers’ contingency fees should be capped at 25 percent.
As you can imagine, there wasn’t much in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address that would please libertarians. John Stossel notes that much of what the president said is in fact anathema to those of us that believe in limited government, and offers some of what he would have said if he were in Obama’s shoes:
Our debt has passed $15 trillion. It will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.
But if we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn’t just make economic sense, it is also the moral thing to do. Government is best which governs least.
We’ll start by closing the Department of Education, which saves $100 billion a year. It’s insane to take money from states only to launder it through Washington and then return it to states.
Next, we’ll close the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That saves $41 billion. We had plenty of housing in America before a department was created.
Then we eliminate the Commerce Department: $9 billion. A government that can’t count votes accurately should not try to negotiate trade. We will eliminate all corporate welfare and all subsidies. That means agriculture subsidies, green energy subsidies, ethanol subsidies and so on. None of it is needed.
I propose selling Amtrak. Why is government in the transportation business? Let private companies compete to run the trains.
And we must finally stop one of the biggest assaults on freedom and our pocketbook: the war on drugs. I used drugs. It’s immoral to imprison people who do what I did and now laugh about.
Still, all these cuts combined will only dent our deficit. We must cut Medicare, Social Security and the military.
Sen. Rand Paul recently appeared on Fox News with Greta Van Sustren to discuss his detention at Nashville International Airport after TSA officers refused to let him pass back through a full-body scanner.
Paul explained the incident in an op-ed at the Washington Times, but offered more details in this interview, including that the scanners may have programmed random false-positives. But he notes that he was indeed detained (the TSA pushed back on this point on Monday) and is using the incident to point out that passengers need to have dignity when they fly and not be treated like suspects:
In my brief write-up of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, I noted that many of themes we heard were familiar. It was the same tired campaign speech that he’s been giving since decided to run for his party’s nomination. And the same one he’s been giving since he took office in 2009.
How recycled were the themes? The Republican National Committee put out a smart video shortly after Obama’s address. As you can see, they’re not even trying to put out new ideas anymore. It’s literally the same retread, worn, and failed ideas:
I’m not naive enough to believe that any Republican, outside of Ron Paul, is offering anything real in terms of shaking up the status quo in Washington. But as you can see, Obama doesn’t have anything real to give to Americans to explain his disaster presidency.
Since taking on Charlie Crist in the the Florida Senate race last year, Marco Rubio, who would go on to win the general election, has been regarded as a rock star in the conservative movement. With that comes a lot of influence, particularly among conservatives in his home state given that he could boost his party’s ticket.
So if you’re a candidate running in his state, you’d probably want to stay on his good side; but there is a right and wrong way to go about that. Apparently, Newt Gingrich is learning this lesson the hard way.
Gingrich, who is leading in most polls out of Florida, has been comparing himself to Rubio and Mitt Romney to Crist as a way to further peg his opponent as an anti-conservative. Rubio is apparently unhappy with what he see as an inaccurate comparison, as Jennifer Rubin explains:
We’re coming down to the final days before Republicans in Florida, at least those that didn’t vote early, head to the polls. As you can see below, the numbers provided by Real Clear Politics show that Gingrich has an advantage, but much can change in a short time.
As has been noted here, almost exhaustively, Mitt Romney has a problem with conservatives. They don’t trust him. Why they distrust him more than Newt Gingrich, I don’t know. But they don’t, and with reason. And if I were running Romney’s campaign, I wouldn’t want people like Norm Coleman saying things like this when I’m trying to win over conservatives:
Mitt Romney adviser Norm Coleman, a former senator from Minnesota, predicted the GOP won’t repeal the Democrats’ healthcare reform law even if a Republican candidate defeats President Obama this November.
“You will not repeal the act in its entirety, but you will see major changes, particularly if there is a Republican president,” Coleman told BioCentury This Week television in an interview that aired on Sunday. “You can’t whole-cloth throw it out. But you can substantially change what’s been done.”
Coleman’s remarks are remarkable because every Republican candidate — including Romney — has vowed to make repealing the law a priority. Coleman is also the chairman of the American Action Network, which has urged the courts to strike down the law’s individual mandate and its Medicaid expansion.
Romney’s campaign quickly distanced itself from Coleman’s comments.
“With all due respect to Sen. Coleman, he’s wrong,” campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said via e-mail. “Gov. Romney can and will repeal Obamacare and is committed to doing so.”
Perhaps one of the most basic functions of any legislative body is to pass a budget, but the United States Senate has apparently forgotten this core part of governance. The Heritage Foundation put out a new video yesterday noting that it has now been 1,000 days since the Senate had passed a budget — dating back before long before Republicans took control of the House:
It’s become pretty clear that Congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) isn’t going to win the GOP presidential nomination. Following his fourth place showing in the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Paul’s campaign announced that it would concentrate its efforts on the fourteen remaining caucus states. Even in the unlikely event that Paul sweeps the caucus states, he will receive no more than 500 delegates* — far short of the 1,144 needed to win the nomination. The best Paul can hope to accomplish through this strategy is a brokered convention at which he would unquestionably be rejected as the GOP nominee by the party establishment. Even this outcome is unlikely. Like it or not, it’s time to face reality: Ron Paul will not be the Republican candidate for president.
This leaves libertarians with a choice. We can choose to support either former Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), or former Governor Gary Johnson (L-N. Mex.).