Podcast: 10th Amendment Summit, Joseph Stacks, CPAC, Bayh’s Retirement, 2010 Midterms, Guests: Ray McBerry & Mike Hassinger
This week, Jason and Brett speak with Georgia Gubernatorial candidate Ray McBerry (you may recall his Liberty Candidate interview with us) and United Liberty contributor and political consultant Mike Hassinger on this week’s show. Unfortunately, Mr. McBerry’s schedule only allowed him to join us for the first topic.
Together, they discussed:
Dr. Paul takes questions from viewers and answers with his usual candor, including criticism over Obama’s policy of removing troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, claiming it’s not really different from the Bush administration plan. When asked if he plans on running for President again in 2012, Dr. Paul does not rule out the possibility.
The Tea Party Leadership Fund, one of the many groups that have spawned off from the grassroots movement that helped propel Republicans in 2010, is hoping to recruit Sarah Palin to run for United States Senate against incumbent Mark Begich (D-AK) in the 2014 mid-term election:
Sarah Palin’s last elective position in Alaska ended early when in 2009 she abandoned the governorship midway through her first term.
But tea party activists appear eager for a comeback, urging supporters to contribute money toward recruiting Palin to run for the U.S. Senate in her home state, where, according to an email sent out this week, she has a “clear path” to defeat incumbent Democrat Mark Begich.
“You and I both know that Sarah Palin is a fighter who will stand up to Harry Reid and his pals in the Senate to protect our Constitution in issues like amnesty, gun control and our nation’s crushing debt,” said the email from Todd Cefaratti of the Tea Party Leadership Fund.
“We know that, with Sarah in the Senate, conservatives across America can rest a little easier at night knowing that she’s at the watch,” it said.
Palin, who has helped turn several conservative primary candidates into elected officials, is still a popular figure in conservative circles, as evidenced by the reception she received at the Conservative Political Action Conference. During that speech, Palin not only took on President Barack Obama, but also the Republican establishment.
This is just peculiar and downright counterproductive. The American Conservative Union (ACU), which sponsors the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), is working with lobbyists to prevent need spending cuts:
[B]ehind the scenes, the group has formed a partnership with business lobbyists to tame the activists who have pushed Republican leaders in Congress to adopt some of the most austere spending limits in decades.
In a draft proposal circulated to defense and transportation industry executives in recent weeks, the union is offering to use its grass-roots organization, annual conference and movement clout to lobby against cuts to federal military and infrastructure spending.
The group is also proposing to incorporate favorable votes on military and infrastructure spending into its widely cited Congressional voting scorecard, “the ‘gold standard’ for elected officials,” according to the proposal, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times. The documents shed light on a rarely public corner of Washington lobbying, where industry lobbyists join with grass-roots groups that offer ideological credibility and deep mailing lists of sympathetic activists — sometimes for a price.
There has been movement from conservatives over the last few years to reform criminal justice laws at the state-level. Thanks to the Right on Crime initiative, many states have pursued these changes as a cost-saving measure.
For example, criminal justice reforms that focus on rehabiliation rather than imprisonment saved taxpayers some $2 billion in prison expansion costs. Additionally, these reforms reduced recidivism rates.
The shift away from “tough on crime” laws gained more traction at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for governor, urged conservatives to “lead the campaign to chang[e] the culture of corrections in America.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who also addressed this issue during his speech at CPAC, spoke more in-depth on the issue during an appearance over the weekend on Fox News Sunday.
When asked by Chris Wallace why he is “more lenient on drug laws,” Paul explained that he isn’t interested in legalization, but rather to stop putting people in jail for long periods of time.
“There are people in jail for 37, 50, 45 years for nonviolent crimes. And that’s a huge mistake,” Paul told Wallace. “Our prisons are full of nonviolent criminals.”
Paul was clear in his personal opposition to the use of marijuana, which he said “takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things that you should be doing.” But he explained that he didn’t want people to go to jail for making that mistake.
During an appearance yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and a prominent neo-conservative, knocked Sen. Rand Paul, who led a 13-hour filibuster over the nomination of John Brennan to the CIA.
Kristol, who endorsed raising taxes on higher-income earners during the “fiscal cliff” because of defense spending cuts, told Chris Wallace that the reason the Republican Party has been so successful is “because it has been the party of strong national security.”
“[Y]ou can say they are moss-covered, but some of us are proud to have come to Washington to work in a very minor role for Ronald Reagan, and some of us are proud to have supported the Bush administration after 9/11, and fighting our enemies,” Kristol continued. “And the problem with the Obama administration is not that it is too assertive in the war on terror. The problem with the Obama administration is that we are retreating all around the world, and unfortunately, emboldening our enemies.”
After the filibuster, Kristol aligned himself with Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, calling Sen. Paul the “spokesman for the Code Pink faction of the Republican party,” a reference to the anti-war group’s praise of the filibuster.
Kristol further added, “So if Rand Paul wants to run to the left of the Obama administration, he’s free to try that in the Republican primary, and maybe there is more support for that than I think, but I’m pretty doubtful that there really is.”
Yesterday, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, and former Rep. Steve LaTourette, President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, joined Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday to discuss the direction of the Republican Party.
Kibbe and FreedomWorks have focused on supporting fiscal conservatives in primaries across the country, including backing primary challenges to more moderate members of Congress. FreedomWorks was essential to electing Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz — all of which went up against establishment candidates or incumbents with questionable records. LaTourette and the Republican Main Street Partnership have tried to steer the Republican Party in a more centrist direction.
With the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held near Washington, DC this past weekend and other events — including the sequester and Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster — dominating the new cycle recently, there was plenty to discuss. Additionally, Kibbe and LaTourette represent two different views on how the Republican Party should fuction.
There was some uneasiness about CPAC this year due to last year’s disappointing loss at the ballot box and internal disagreements among various ideological views. Despite those initial concerns, the conference was a success if you’re part of the liberty movement, at least. Here’s a look at the winners and losers from CPAC. Also, scroll down to the bottom for a few more pictures and some additional thoughts.
— Rand Paul: When it comes down to it, Sen. Paul has been constantly winning over the last few weeks, but his speech on Thursday was probably the most anticipated and well-received speech of the week. And while the straw poll win over Sen. Marco Rubio just adds to the momentum.
— Liberty Movement and Young Attendees: Really, the liberty movement should go above with Sen. Paul, but given what we heard on yesterday from RNC Chair Reince Preibus and former ACU Chair David Keene, both of whom called for conservatives and Republicans to welcome liberty-minded activists into the fold, requires some separation. Add in Sen. Paul’s straw poll win and it was a successful weekend. Also, the fact that 52% of straw poll voters were between the ages of 18 and 25 — many of which I suspect are in the liberty movement — is a big deal because it gave them a chance to have signficiant influence.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who gave one of the most anticipated speeches at CPAC, has won a plurality of the gathering’s annual presidential straw poll, finishing just ahead of his colleague, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
According to CPAC, 52% of those who participated in the straw poll were between the age of 18 to 25, which highlights the growth of the youth participation. One would surmise that the liberty movement had a lot to do with this. Also, the poll found that 68% prefer targeted spending cuts to across-the-board cuts and an “overwhelming majority” oppose use of drones for strikes or spying.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is giving the keynote speech at this moment, which will close out CPAC for 2013. You can view the full results of the straw poll, including the survey questions asked of attendees, in the embed below. The takeaway is that there is a shift coming and it’s undeniable.
Last year at CPAC, it seemed as though there was a significant schism between conservatives and Ron Paul supporters/libertarians. However, 2013 was an entirely different story. Not only did several speakers praise Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who spoke at CPAC on Thursday, for his strong stand against President Barack Obama, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus honored the Kentucky Senator and called on the GOP to embrace the “liberty-minded Republicans,” a movement of young libertarians and fiscal conservatives who are gaining influence and prominence in movement.
David Keene, former Chairman of the American Conservative Union and current President of the National Rifle Association, was more pointed about the need for acceptance of Ron and Rand Paul supporters, noting that “[p]olitical movements and political parties have two options: they grow or they die.” Keene also slapped down Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) over his criticism Sen. Paul.