As the presidential inauguration comes upon us today, I can’t help but think that we’re seeing Bush’s fourth term. Barack Obama, while talking up a good liberal game on international peace and social issues, is really quite similar to his Republican predecessor. He has widely broadened the use of drones pioneered with Bush 43. His signing of the NDAA act authorizing indefinite detention is merely a sequel to the PATRIOT Act Bush signed in 2001. And his recent executive orders on guns have elicited much the same outrage from conservatives that liberals had over Bush’s signing statements.
Combined with staying the course on military spending, staying the course on not making any significant reforms to entitlements, staying the course on the War on Drugs, and staying the course on corporate bailouts…
…and I’m wondering if George W. Bush ever left.
Certainly, there are differences. George W. Bush championed a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, while the Obama Administration has just given up on defending the Defense of Marriage Act. Obama is also far more supportive of a woman’s right to choose, while George W. Bush was pro-life (mostly). But on nearly all other issues, ranging from torture, to war, to government spending, our 44th president is little more than an “expansion pack” to our 43rd — doing the same things, only worse.
I have a new op-ed up on the blaze, the news website of Glenn Beck. In it, I focus on policies that conservatives and libertarians can push for to help out the poor:
Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan visited the Jack Kemp Foundation and gave an amazing speech. It was a speech that appeared aimed at Mitt Romney’s 47 percent remark, which many commentators felt alienated the party from the poor in America. It was a speech about his concern for the “40 percent of all children born into the lowest quintile” who “never rise above it.” It is heartening to hear a Republican say such things. For far too long conservative Republicans have avoided this issue, letting liberals beat them insensate on it. They will always win on emotions to help the poor (versus not helping), yet their poverty programs don’t help the poor; they are always traps. A true free market approach, on the other hand, will bring enormous prosperity to those at the bottom of the ladder, as the 20th century showed. Regrettably, the Republican Party hasn’t always taken a true free market approach.
Can it be done? Can Republicans articulate a strong free market message that simultaneously looks out for the poor? Absolutely. Heres five suggestions:
You didn’t think I was going to post the whole thing here, do you? I have to get people to read it on the site! But I can give you a quick list:
In what is sure to raise eyebrows and cause some headdesk moments across the world, the French Industry Minister, a member of the ruling Socialist Party, has said that what he’s doing is what Obama is doing:
The French politician who said Indian steel company ArcelorMittal should leave the country has told CNBC that his government is only acting like U.S. President Barack Obama.
Eric Feferberg / AFP/Getty ImagesFrench Minister for Industrial Recovery, Arnaud Montebourg poses as he arrives at the Hotel Matignon (the Prime Minister’s official residence) in Paris.
Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, a member of the governing Socialist party, caused controversy last week when he said that the Indian company, which employs close to 20,000 people in France, should leave after it said it would have to close down a factory.
The French government announced on Thursday that it could nationalize the factory in question, with backing from an unnamed businessman.
The news raised the specter of the nationalizations of the early 1980s, which were instigated by Hollande’s predecessor Francois Mitterrand.
Montebourg told CNBC after a meeting with trade unions in Paris: “Barack Obama’s nationalized. The Germans are nationalizing. All countries are nationalizing. I’ve also noticed the British nationalized 6 banks.”
As the fiscal cliff looms ahead of us, the R Street Institute has just come out with a “A TAX HIT LIST FOR THE 113TH CONGRESS” (PDF) naming three taxes that we should kill. Namely, they’re looking at the Corporate Income Tax, the Estate Tax, and tariffs.
From the report, on corporate income taxes:
While the corporate income tax is politically popular and has strong populist appeal, many economists have called it into question. For example, conservatives such as American Enterprise Institute economist Kevin Hassett and liberals like former Obama advisor Austan Goolsbee have studied the deadweight losses and other distortions imposed by the tax. As a result, policy analysts from across the political spectrum believe that it simply shouldn’t exist. It generates an enormous amount of economic dislocation relative to the revenue it raises, while encouraging myriad behaviors that do little or nothing to promote economic growth in the name of legal tax avoidance. Meanwhile, the potential benefits of eliminating it are substantial.
Though obscured by their structure, corporate income taxes are just another form of individual taxation. Every dollar of corporate income tax is ultimately paid by one of three groups of people: employees, customers, or shareholders. Because corporations pass all costs on to these groups, corporate income taxes inevitably lead to some combination of lower wages, higher prices, and lower returns for investors.
Of all the post-election autopsies I’ve read, this one may be the silliest. It is definitely an excercise in sticking one’s head in the sand, of deliberately ignoring what is going on around you. But since it is written by the President of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, maybe I can give Richard Land some slack. Maybe. I mean, after all, it’s not like he’s going to say “Ignore me!” is he?
Here is what Mr. Land writes, in the New York Times of all places (so I suppose he’s just consigned himself to hell for writing in there):
The G.O.P. must not, and cannot, ignore its foundation and base. Exit polls show that white evangelicals made up 26 percent of the electorate, 3percent more than in 2004. Furthermore, these evangelicals voted for Mitt Romney in virtually the same percentages as the governor’s fellow Mormons (78 percent for Romney vs. 21 percent for President Obama, according exit polls by Edison Research). Obama received 26 percent of evangelical votes in 2008.
On the pro-life and same-sex-marriage issues it should also be remembered that while Obama won the total Catholic vote 50 percent to 48 percent, he won Hispanic Catholics 75 percent to 21 percent, while Romney won non-Hispanic Catholics 59 percent to 40 percent. On the issue of same-sex-marriage, the pro-same-sex-marriage forces did win their first electoral victories, but they did so in four liberal states: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington. And, in all four cases they won by relatively small margins in spite of having outspent their opponents by margins approaching nine to one.
As Matt Lewis reported in The Daily Caller, noted jazz recording artist and libertarian activist Christian Josi teamed up with Smithereens frontman Pat DiNizio to create a new Christmas single, “Holiday 2012.”
Josi once ran the American Conservative Union and the CPAC Conference, the largest annual gathering of right-of-center activists. DiNizo is also politically activate and once ran for Senate in New Jersey. They first met 24 years ago on the L.A. set of The Smithereens video ‘House We Used To Live In.” At the time, Josi was co-producing an episode of former KROQ personality Jim “Poorman” Trenton’s local TV show.
The new single is the classic, ‘Winter Wonderland,’ with ’White Christmas’ as the B-side (there are 2 bonus versions with no percussion.)
“While I’m a rock-n-roll songwriter and singer, I’m not a screamer, said DiNizio. “And what Christian does — is he’s keeping that important tradition alive. He’s very much a purest.”
Performed by lovers of limited government, it is a relaxed recording of the Christmas classic which you will definately want to add to your office or family Christmas party playlist.
The album will be avilable on CD Baby, iTunes, and many other outlets this week.
While combing through the post-election coverage, I found this little gem from Tony Lee of Breitbart News:
Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, criticized the Republican Party for hand-picking a Beltway elite candidate who did not campaign forcefully on America’s founding principles and said the “presidential loss is unequivocally on them.”
“For those of us who believe that America, as founded, is the greatest country in the history of the world – a ‘Shining city upon a hill’ – we wanted someone who would fight for us,” Martin said. “We wanted a fighter like Ronald Reagan who boldly championed America’s founding principles, who inspired millions of independents and ‘Reagan Democrats’ to join us, and who fought his leftist opponents on the idea that America, as founded, was a ‘Shining city upon a hill.’
Instead, Martin lamented, “what we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party.”
No, really, I want to know what’s going on here. Because it seems evident to me that Republican voters went to Republican primaries and voted for their candidate for the Republican nomination. The “Establishment” did not foist Romney upon them. Republican voters made their choices at primaries and caucuses across the nation this past spring.
One of the reasons that Mitt Romney and the Republicans lost Tuesday came down to one simple thing: people like free stuff. No, really. They want politicians to give them free stuff. The 47% comment rings true. It is, as Bastiat said, legal plunder, and people will totes vote for guys who will make sure they’re on the receiving end of the plunder.
Maybe conservatives and libertarians should go for more of this.
Okay, now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, having fallen there in shock, or reinflated your forehead, having violently flattened against your desk, hear me out. I’m not suggesting that conservatives and libertarians give up their principled stand for the free market and become socialists. Quite on the contrary, what I suggest has been supported and proposed by no less conservative/libertarian luminaries as Frederich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Charles Murray.
You can probably see where I’m going with this: I think it’s time we start to seriously discuss the idea of a basic income guarantee. In a nutshell, this would be an annual payout to all citizens, establishing a “floor” of sorts for people’s income. Charles Murray, an intellectual titan residing at the American Enterprise Institute, put this idea into book form in 2006 with In Our Hands. He explained his idea in a publication by the Foundation for Law, Justice, and Society in the UK [PDF]:
ALGEIRS, Algeria (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Algeria’s assistance on Monday for any future military intervention in Mali, pressing the North African nation to provide intelligence — if not boots on the ground — to help rout the al-Qaida-linked militants across its southern border.
Clinton, on the first stop of a five-day trip overseas, met with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika as the United States and its allies ramped up preparations to fight northern Mali’s breakaway Islamist republic.
When Mali’s democratically elected leader was ousted in a military coup in March, Tuareg rebels seized on the power vacuum and within weeks took control of the north, aided by an Islamist faction. The Islamists then quickly ousted the Tuaregs and took control of half the country.
So much for Barack Obama being the peace president, ending the disastrous interventionist foreign policy of George W. Bush. Have we learned nothing in the past decade? We go into Afghanistan to kick out the Taliban and “restore democracy,” and end up getting Harmid Karzai, more Islamists, and a bunch of people who hate us. We go into Iraq to kick out Saddam Hussein, and what we get is a country wracked by violence and bloodshed, more militant Islamists, and a bunch of people who hate us. We go into Libya to help with that country’s rebellion, and what do we get? An unstable country, a bunch of Islamists, and four dead Americans—including our Ambassador.
The Concerned Women For America attacks the actresses stumping for Democrats on the campaign trail as “so into themselves they actually think they speak for all women” in a web video released this week.
The video was produced in response to a MoveOn TV ad featuring Scarlett Johansson, Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington attacking Republicans over abortion rights and women’s health.The MoveOn ad is running in Virginia and Colorado. Longoria is involved in quite a serious Twitter scandal now.
“I want to talk to you about women. Hollywood women,” a woman in the CWA video says. “You know, the ones with the personal stylists, a three-bedroom wardrobe, and so into themselves they actually think they speak for all women.”
As the left franatically scrables to scare women right before the election, it is nice to see there are groups willing to counter the offensive notion that all women think alike. Well done.