Archives for March 2012
It really has been a bad month for Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN). He’s been caught up in a residency controversy and his primary challenger, Richard Mourdock, has been gaining on him in the polls. But now Lugar has another headache to deal with thanks to an endorsement from former Sen. Arlen Specter.
While appearing on C-SPAN yesterday, Specter took a call from Indiana and, with being asked his opinion in the race, said, “Vote for Dick Lugar”:
Ordinarily, endorsements are something to brag about through press releases and while on the stump. But Specter hasn’t been very friendly to Republicans in the last two years. While still a Republican, he voted for the stimulus bill. After it was obvious that he would lose a primary challenge to now-Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), he bolted from the GOP. Specter would eventually go on to back ObamaCare, which was just another mark on his record of growing government and harming taxpayers.
So yeah, this isn’t the kind of endorsement you want when you’re an already vulnerable incumbent locked in a tough primary match at a time when conservatives are wary and suspicious of you.
At a time when many conservatives are realizing that Mitt Romney is on a near-certain path to become the Republican nominee, Rick Santorum seems to be doing his best to help out President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election.
Like Newt Gingrich did back in May of last year when he slammed Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and re-emphasized that he supports the concept of an individual mandate (of course, Romney has his own problems there), Santorum said yesterday during a campaign stop in Texas that Obama might as well be re-elected if the GOP nominates Romney:
“You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there,” Santorum told supporters in San Antonio. “If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future.”
Santorum was referring to Romney, whose campaign strategist said recently that they would be able to “reset” the campaign when they transition to the general election “like an Etch A Sketch.”
The Santorum camp later clarified the candidate’s remark, saying he didn’t mean to insinuate that voters would be better off re-electing Obama than choosing Romney.
As you can imagine, there has been a lot of discussion about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. And while the budget would, if passed, repeal ObamaCare, it doesn’t replace it. This, along with other aspects of the proposal, has been a sticking point for many conservatives.
On Tuesday, Rep. Ryan said that he didn’t include a replacement for ObamaCare, for which costs have doubled, in his budget because there is no consensus amongst House Republicans as to what their model for health care reform should be.
Given all of the problems with ObamaCare, many of which were laid out in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), proposing such a comprehensive budget proposal without at least some foundation of replacement proposals is odd. It’s even more odd when the budget was unveiled during the second anniversary of the health care reform law and the week before it’s due to come before the Supreme Court.
However, Rep. Paul Broun, MD (R-GA) has introduced the OPTION Act (H.R. 4224), a patient-centered health care reform replacement. According to Broun’s office, the OPTION Act would repeal and replace ObamaCare with a reform package that would protect the interests of patients:
While it’s not a thorough victory for property rights, the Supreme Court did beat back overreach by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with a unanimous decision issued on Wednesday that will give property owners recourse when they are threatened with fines for alleged environmental damage:
The Supreme Court has sided with an Idaho couple in a property rights case, ruling they can go to court to challenge an Environmental Protection Agency order that blocked construction of their new home and threatened fines of more than $30,000 a day.
Wednesday’s decision is a victory for Mike and Chantell Sackett, whose property near a scenic lake has sat undisturbed since the EPA ordered a halt in work in 2007. The agency said part of the property was a wetlands that could not disturbed without a permit.
In an opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court rejected EPA’s argument that allowing property owners quick access to courts to contest orders like the one issued to the Sacketts would compromise the agency’s ability to deal with water pollution.
“Compliance orders will remain an effective means of securing prompt voluntary compliance in those many cases where there is no substantial basis to question their validity,” Scalia said.
In this case, the couple objected to the determination that their small lot contained wetlands that are regulated by the Clean Water Act, and they complained there was no reasonable way to challenge the order without risking fines that can mount quickly.
When I was six or seven years old, a new Nashville resident, I remember vividly going to the Nashville Fair Grounds with my parents to visit the flea market, and our family being approached by campaign volunteers for then-Mayoral candidate Phil Bredesen, a centrist Republican who never won on a Republican ticket until he switched parties years later. He would later become one of Nashville’s most popular Democratic mayors and one of Tennessee’s most popular Democratic governors; on a personal note, he played an instrumental role in bringing my beloved NHL expansion franchise Nashville Predators to the Music City in the late 1990s, and he and former First Lady Andrea Conte were vocal critics of Research in Motion CEO Jim Balsillie’s sneaky, manipulative coup to buy the Predators and relocate them to Hamilton, Ontario in the summer of 2007.
But I digress.
At the fair, we were given and wore white stickers and pin-on buttons that had depicted blue bones with a circle and diagonal bar around and over them; Bredesen’s opponent in that race was a man named Bill Boner.
As you know, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) dropped his budget for FY 2013 on Tuesday. And unsurprisingly, the White House and Democrats are whining about the proposed spending cuts and reform measures. But White House Press Secretary Jay Carney took it a step further yesterday by hurling insults Ryan’s way because he is proposing cuts to President Barack Obama’s pet energy programs:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney didn’t pull any punches in his attack on Paul Ryan’s budget, as he declared that supporters of the budget — and by extension, Ryan himself — are “aggressively and deliberately ignorant” about the need for green energy and other programs slated for cuts.
“You have to be aggressively and deliberately ignorant of the world economy not to know and understand that clean energy technologies are going to play a huge role in the 21st century,” Carney said after decrying the clean energy spending cuts in Ryan’s plan. “You have to have severely diminished capacity to understand what drives economic growth in industrialized countries in this century if you do not understand that education is the key that unlocks the door to prosperity,” he added.
Carney concluded that “the budget proposed by Chairman Ryan and supported overwhelmingly already by Republicans suggests that those problems” — aggressive ignorance and diminished comprehension — “exist in the minds of the supporters of that plan.”
Well, that’s classy.
President Barack Obama insists, in the name “fairness,” that a new tax on the wealthy is needed. When discussing this, he frequently points to Warren Buffett, whose secretary pays more as a percentage of her income than her billionaire boss. The argument is misleading, however, since Buffett doesn’t pay taxes on wages like his secretary, rather capital gains taxes, which are already taxed once at the corporate level.
However, a new report from the Joint Committee on Taxation shows that the so-called “Buffett Tax” wouldn’t likely work as intended:
A lot of millionaires likely would find legal ways to avoid President Barack Obama’s so-called Buffett Rule, according to a new congressional estimate. That means the proposed new tax on the wealthy would raise only a relatively small amount for the deficit-plagued government, and could diminish its heft as a political weapon in 2012.
The Buffett Rule–spelled out in Mr. Obama’s State of the Union address–is named for the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who advocates higher taxes on the very wealthy. It would impose a 30% minimum tax rate on people making more than $1 million a year. As currently envisioned, it would be an additional tax on households that didn’t pay at least the 30% minimum rate through their individual income taxes and employment taxes.
There’s a lot of outrage over the death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida, last month. Trayvon was allegedly killed by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, who is claiming “self-defense.”
I’m not really clear on what actually happened. It appears that Trayvon entered a gated neighborhood, visting his father, when Zimmerman confronted him. Trayvon ran, unsure of what was going on, and Zimmerman—apparently the guy was some sort of criminal—shot and killed him. At some point during all of this, Zimmerman spoke with a 911 dispatcher, who asked him to back down. At least, this is what I think, from my limited knowledge, happened. (It should be noted that Zimmerman has not been arrested and is still out and about, though apparently in hiding.)
There have been calls to disarm neighborhood watch groups over this. There is also a lot of criticism towards a particular Florida law, called “Stand Your Ground,” which brings the self-defense claim out of the home and anywhere the person may be. These are both charges I disagree with; I am against disarming people in general, since law enforcement is essentially useless when it comes to actual, personal defense, and it seems ludicrous to me that you can defend yourself in your home but not on the street, such as if you get mugged. Such arguments are irrational.
But so are defenses of George Zimmerman.
They’re not happy about, and understandably so, but based on the reaction around the conservative blogosphere yesterday, it seems that many are giving up the fight against Mitt Romney and accepting that he will be the Republican Party’s nominee for president this year.
This came the same day that FreedomWorks seemed to acknowledge that the race was all but over. To be fair, FreedomWorks has long been rallying grassroots to get behind House and Senate candidates, paying less attention to the presidential race. Another blow to conservatives came when Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a frequently mentioned dark-horse candidate in a brokered convention, endorsed Romney.
The delegate race is clearly in Romney’s favor at this point, not to mention that Rick Santorum hasn’t met Rule 40 requirements, which is a threshold for a candidate to be nominated at the convention.
Erick Erickson sums up the the general feeling in the conservative movement:
The 2012 presidential campaign seems to have started the day after the last election ended in 2008. This is nowhere more true than with our Perpetual-Campaigner-in-Chief, Barack Obama, the man who has attended an impressive 191 fundraisers since taking office. That number is all the more impressive when you consider he’s had to work hard to wedge them into his extremely busy schedule; you know, what with the hundred or so rounds of golf he’s played and the nearly dozen and a half vacations taken since taking the Oath of Office. It is so inspiring to see him working so hard on behalf of the American people, showing he understands and appreciates the suffering so many Americans are enduring.
Obama has a long laundry list of reasons why he says you should vote to give him a second term. He says he deserves another four years because his policies are bringing unemployment down (though it is still higher than when he took office, and the numbers today are artificially inflated due to the fact that so many workers have simply given up hope and stopped looking for work). He claims that he has restored respect for America on the world stage, yet America is now perceived as weak and our enemies openly mock us and challenge our mettle.