Today in Liberty: Americans say Obama is the worst president in 70 years, Senate Dems push for vote on crony Ex-Im Bank

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.” — William Pitt

— Obama is the worst president since World War II: But George W. Bush isn’t far behind, according to a new survey from Quinnipiac University. “President Barack Obama is the worst president since World War II, 33 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today,” Quinnipiac notes. “Another 28 percent pick President George W. Bush.” Richard Nixon was a distant third, with 13 percent. Ronald Reagan was the top-choice for best president over the same timeframe, followed by Bill Clinton and John F. Kennedy. It’s worth noting that Obama finished fourth on that list, while Bush 43 was tied for last place. Also worth noting is that Americans believe that the country would be better off if Mitt Romney had won the 2012 presidential election.

— Senate Democrats to hold a vote on Ex-Im this month: The date hasn’t been announced, but Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters that the Senate will hold a vote this month on reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, a federal agency that costs too much, doesn’t boost exports, and is rife with cronyism. “I think that if we can pass it in the Senate particularly with a good bipartisan majority,” Schumer said, according to The Hill, “it will put pressure on the House.” A sizable number of House Republicans have pledged to fight against the reauthorization of Ex-Im, noting that the Bank subsidizes Big Business at the expense of taxpayers.

— Former Bush economic policy official wants Ex-Im to die: Keith Hennessey, who served as director of the National Economic Council under President George W. Bush, says that “[e]xport subsidies are bad policy” and that the private sector can do what the Export-Import Bank does. “Even when well-intentioned and designed to “level the playing field” to match other countries’ export subsidies, they create other tilted playing fields and do more harm to the economy as a whole than the problem they purport to solve for one firm. They also create opportunities for cronyism and other forms of influence-based rent-seeking,” Hennessey writes. “Deep and liquid private credit markets exist today that did not exist when the Export-Import Bank was created in the 1930s. Ex-Im’s primary function now is to pass though implicit taxpayer subsidies to a select group of American firms.” The conclusion Hennessey draws is that “[e]xport subsidies should be eliminated and the Ex-Im Bank should be killed,” adding that “[e]xport credit finance should be done, without subsidies, by private markets.” Hat tip to Tim Carney for pointing out Hennessey’s two cents on this.

— Yeah, it’s time to make birth control available over-the-counter: If conservatives want to address some of the concerns about access to birth control, they should work to make it available without a doctor’s prescription. “To start, allowing contraceptives to be purchased without prescriptions is good policy. It would bring down prices and expand access,” Philip Klein explains, also noting that would be safe. “Philosophically, it’s consistent with limited government principles. It removes unnecessary government regulations and increases choice.” Over at The Federalist, Ben Domenech tackles the issue by appealing to social conservatives. “Social conservatives who can see the writing on the wall with the over the counter availability of Plan B – a supercharged version of the low-dose contraceptive hormone, now available via vending machines on college campuses, and which sexually active teenagers (which is to say: teenagers) are already using as an abortifacient substitute for the daily pill – should know that they’re not going to get this horse back in the barn. The question becomes whether you will have to pay for other people’s choices in violation of your religious beliefs,” Domenech writes. “Here, I think the OTC solution is not just viable, but leads people to the logical conclusion they ought to have about birth control policy: your body, your choice, your responsibility. People don’t naturally assume that over the counter drugs should be available for free: they think they should be able to buy them.”

Hobby Lobby doesn’t apply to all closely held businesses: Ezekiel Emanuel, a former White House policy advisor who helped shape Obamacare, is out with an op-ed this morning in which he dishonestly spins the Hobby Lobby decision (PDF) by claiming that “[t]he closely held corporation limit is no limit at all. It turns out that more than half of U.S. employees work for closely held corporations.” He also believes that the decision “gives an incentive for more employers to become closely held corporations.” Yeah, except the Supreme Court didn’t just limit the ruling to “closely held corporations,” it clearly states in the opening paragraph that decisions applies to those with “sincerely held religious beliefs.” That’s a clearly defined limitation, but it’s not a convenient one for those who are trying to spin the decision for obvious partisan purposes.

— Oh, and gay marriage could be headed back to the Supreme Court: With lower federal courts striking down state-based bans on a seemingly weekly basis, it’s likely that the Supreme Court will take up gay marriage again very soon. “Those decisions, along with movement in states that have legalized marriage legislatively, have created momentum. But they’ve also created an unusually pockmarked legal landscape that has different marriage laws state to state, even in the same region,” Politico explains. “It’s the sort of situation, many believe, that just might motivate the Supreme Court to step in and establish one set law.” The Court is usually careful not to get ahead of public opinion, but now that several states have laws on the books allowing gay marriage and polls indicate that most Americans don’t have a problem with it, justices could go ahead and use precedent established in Loving v. Virginia (1967) to extend same-sex couples marriage rights through the Equal Protection Clause.

— Cruz trolls Obama on unanimous Supreme Court losses: In his latest The Legal Limit report on the expansion of executive power under this White House, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) documents the 20 cases in which the Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the position of the Obama administration. “The Obama Administration’s losing rate stands out among previous modern presidents, especially as it has escalated dramatically over the last five years. The George W. Bush Administration unanimously lost at the Supreme Court 15 times while representing federal parties. The Clinton Administration unanimously lost 23 times at the Supreme Court,” the report says (PDF). “Also, this tally does not capture all of the Obama Administration’s losing arguments, as it does not include unanimous rejections for more governmental power made in the Obama Administration’s friend-of-the-court (amicus) briefs supporting non-federal parties, which would put the Obama Administration’s losses much higher.” The report, the fifth in The Legal Limit series, goes into detail about 11 of the unanimous losses at the Supreme Court and the expansion of executive power that justices’ rejected.

— FIRE plans a wave of lawsuits against colleges: This is pretty big. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is planning to sue colleges with illegal speech codes on the books. “Unconstitutional campus speech codes have been a national scandal for decades. But today, 25 years after the first of the modern generation of speech codes was defeated in court, 58% of public campuses still hold onto shockingly illiberal codes,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said in a press release. “For 15 years, FIRE has fought for free speech on campus using public awareness as our main weapon, but more is needed. Today, we announce the launch of the Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project, an expansive new campaign to eliminate speech codes nationwide. We have already coordinated two lawsuits in the past nine months, and this morning we brought four more. The lawsuits will continue until campuses understand that time is finally up for unconstitutional speech codes in academia.” The four lawsuits FIRE filed are against Citrus Community College, Iowa State University, Chicago State University, and Ohio University.

— Illinois has created only 500 private-sector jobs in the last nine months: No wonder Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL) is facing a tough reelection bid against his Republican challenger. “A report by the Illinois Policy Institute finds that only 500 jobs were created in the state from August 2013 to May 2014, ranking it among the worst in the country over that period. Among Midwestern states, Illinois ranked last, well behind the next closest, South Dakota,” National Review notes. “This year alone, Illinois is last in job creation and one of just four states with negative job creation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the state has lost 26,300 jobs since January.” One point in the story that needs to be hammered home: “The time period corresponds with the academic year, with IPI noting that there was about one job created for every 300 high school seniors.” Yeah, a high-tax, heavy regulation atmosphere doesn’t produce many economic opportunities for young people.

— Thad Cochran leads his Democratic opponent: But he’s not doing that well with conservative voters, according to a recent poll from Rasmussen Reports. “The Rasmussen poll finds that only 50 percent of voters who have a favorable view of the tea party are supporting Senator Cochran. Twenty-three percent of these voters said they would support another candidate besides Senator Cochran and Travis Childers and 8 percent were undecided,” Michael New writes at National Review. “Additionally, only 58 percent of self-described conservatives said that they would support Senator Cochran — a low figure for a Republican candidate. Among conservatives, 15 percent said they would support someone other than the two major-party nominees. Nine percent said they were undecided.” Voter-fraud accusations coming out of Mississippi aren’t going to help heal the wounds that the contentious primary between Cochran and Chris McDaniel created. Like we warned last week, the establishment may have lost by winning in the Magnolia State.

— Amash rolls out new campaign ad: The ad, which looks to be Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-MI) first of the cycle, knocks his establishment-backed primary challenger, Brian Ellis. It hits Ellis for lying about Amash’s record. “Ellis is scared to talk about his own record. Ellis voted 100 percent of the time with [Michigan Gov.] Jennifer Granholm, wasting millions on corporate welfare. Ellis approved Common Core. Ellis even wants Michigan to expand Obamacare,” the narrator says. “Granholm, Common Core, Obamacare. Brian Ellis: wrong for West Michigan.” The MI-03 primary is set for August 5.

Today in Liberty note: There won’t be an email on Friday, July 4. We’ll be out celebrating Independence Day with friends and family.

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