Back in 2010, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was thought to be the next big conservative star. After Barack Obama carried 6-point in there in 2008, many believed the Commonwealth was slipping away from Republicans. McDonnell, however, was able to restore hope for the GOP in 2009 when he defeated Creigh Deeds in the gubernatorial election.
McDonnell immediately became a key Republican spokesman. He gave the GOP’s response to the State of the Union address in 2010 and signed legislation — the Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act — that sought to nullify ObamaCare. Despite taking on President Obama in a purple state, McDonnell managed to maintain a 62% approval rating deep into 2011 and was one of the names most frequently mentioned to run alongside Mitt Romney in the 2012 election cycle.
There has been dissatisfaction with McDonnell from conservatives for some time, though much of this is related to how he has handled social issues. But McDonnell lit a flame under fiscal conservatives last month when he proposed an overhaul to Virginia’s transportation tax.
Erick Erickson, master of the conservative blogging site RedState.com, has just penned a FoxNews column where he says we should just totally skip the drone debate and just kill the terrorists before they kill us. He goes through a series of so-called “justifications” for this terrible idea, before ending with this very chilling conclusion:
Just kill them before they kill us. At some point, we must trust that the president and his advisers, when they see a gathering of Al Qaeda from the watchful eye of a drone, are going to make the right call and use appropriate restraint and appropriate force to keep us safe.
Frankly, it should be American policy that any American collaborating with Al Qaeda is better off dead than alive. Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney should be proud.
First off, let’s get one thing straight—Richard Nixon and Dick Cheney are not people to celebrate or emulate. Nixon engaged in dirty, underhanded tactics to keep his presidency, tactics which when exposed led to the largest case of political corruption in modern American history. And Cheney, well, he’s just a jerk. A jerk who was beholden to his old company, Halliburton, and was not exactly in line with the Constitution on several issues. Erickson should not be looking to either with praise and approval, but the exact opposite.
It’s been obvious to many that modern conservatism has, to a large degree, become bereft of ideas and more about cultural issues, and opposing Barack Obama more out of personal dislike than principled opposition. On the right you’ll hear a lot of shouting and yelling, but almost no one is making a reasoned, optimistic pitch for why conservative ideas are better for actual people. It’s become all about firing up the base, which has been shrinking for years to the point where it is no longer enough to win elections.
But it’s one thing for a libertarian like me to say it. It’s another for Erick Erickson at the major conservative blog Red State to say it. I disagree with Erick most of the time, but he has just about nailed exactly what the current state of the Right is:
What I am finding is that among conservatives there is too much outrage, piss, and vinegar. It makes our ideas less effective. We have become humorless, angry opponents of the President instead of happy warriors selling better ideas. We are not even selling ideas.
Conservatives, frankly, have become purveyors of outrage instead of preachers for a cause. Instead of showing how increasing government harms people, how free markets help people, and how conservative policies benefit all Americans, we scream “Benghazi” and “Fast & Furious.”
Exactly. We see this all over the place. Obama is not simply just someone to disagree with, but someone to hate, to view as a literal traitor and evil person. Surely the left was guilty of this to some extent in the Bush years, but never to this degree. Frankly, the right has become exceedingly boring, and most of the country agrees.
Due to a new claim of a 13-year affair, Herman Cain told several dozen staff members and advisors that he was “reassessing” whether he wanted to continue his quest for the Republican nomination:
In a morning conference call with his advisers, Mr. Cain said that he would make a decision in the coming days about whether to stay in the race after his campaign was rocked by another round of allegations about his sexual conduct.
The call, which was first reported by National Review, came as Mr. Cain was heading to Michigan for a campaign stop on Tuesday evening. He said that he was discussing the future of his campaign with his family and was considering his options.
“This is cause for reassessment,” Mr. Cain said, according to one participant on the call who spoke on condition of anonymity. “During the summer we had to make some reassessments based on our financial situation. We were able to hang in there.”
Mr. Cain denied the accusations from the Atlanta woman, Ginger White. But he acknowledged that the latest report of sexual misconduct might be more difficult to overcome, considering that the first voting is set to take place in five weeks at the Iowa caucuses. He said that he had not lost his enthusiasm to run, but suggested it was a distraction that could be difficult to recover from.
“With this latest one, we have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud in some peoples’ minds as to whether or not they should support us going forward,” Mr. Cain said, according to the participant on the call.
The agenda is reminiscent of “The Contract with America” that House Republicans announced on the steps of the Capitol in 1994. That manifesto helped them win control of the House during the second year of Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency.
While short on specifics, the new Republican plan calls for $100 billion in annual savings by scaling back federal spending to 2008 levels — with exceptions for the elderly and U.S. troops — and ending government control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Republican House leaders also vowed to stop “job killing tax hikes” and allow small business owners to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their business income.
Under pressure from the conservative Tea Party movement to slash the size and cost of government, the Republicans promised to repeal Obama’s landmark overhaul of the healthcare system and eliminate unspent funds from his $814 billion economic stimulus program.
The reaction among Democrats has been predictable as they again try to bring up George W. Bush, a strategy that hasn’t worked thus far:
After absorbing the news from every outlet on earth yesterday, even our own editor’s take, on the “surprise” retirement of Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh, I have to say that analysts are not considering all the “good” that can come from his retirement from the U.S. Senate. It seems that everyone predicts a Republican to pick up his seat in November. Lately, I have been among the few to see some things that ebb against the accepted flow in analyzing races and situations. This is another such ebb.
I think the reason that Bayh waited until Presidents’ Day to announce his retirement was to prevent someone relatively unknown, like Tamyra d’Ippolito, from garnering the nomination without a primary election AND without their seal of approval by collecting the requisite signatures necessary to get on the primary ballot. The Democrats have an opportunity to select a candidate, since it seems that d’Ippolito did not achieve the 4500 signatures necessary to get on the ballot. If she had, that is the WORST CASE SCENARIO for Democrats. By waiting, Bayh almost assured that the state Democrat Party could spend time vetting, choosing and fundraising for someone “moderate” enough to win the state, but “progressive” enough to fully support the agenda of the party for the next six years. While d’Ippolito likely fills out the latter, there is no chance she can accommodate the former.
House Republicans are at a retreat in Williamsburg, Virginia for a few days this week hoping to find a strategy that will help the rebuild before the 2014 election and deal with President Obama during his second term.
Perhaps one of the biggest rumors that has come out of the retreat — noted yesterday afternoon on Twitter by Erick Erickson — is word that they will not put up a fight on raising the debt ceiling, which is set to be reached at some point in mid-February.
While he wasn’t that straightforward in comments to the media yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), who has urged unity from his party on fiscal issues, said that a short-term hike would be passed if a large agreement on spending couldn’t be reach with the White House:
“We’re discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt limit extension so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and the White House involved in discussions in March,” Ryan told reporters gathered at the pricey Kingsmill resort in Williamsburg, where the House GOP is holding its annual retreat.
We’ve already noted that some conservative organizations — including Americans for Tax Reform — are supporting Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B,” which includes tax rate hikes on those earning more than $1 million. However, Erick Erickson, editor of the influential conservative blog, RedState.com, announced his opposition to the plan just moments ago:
Republicans in Congress intend to vote today on Plan B, John Boehner’s fall back plan on the fiscal cliff.
The President says he will veto it.
In other words, the Republicans are going to go on record that they will sell out their last remaining principle — no tax increases — and get nothing from the Democrats in return. Nothing.
There’ll be no Democrat deal on entitlements. There’ll be no Democrat deal on spending. There will only be the GOP’s sell out.
Click here to call your congressman. Tell him to oppose this Republican deal.
Erickson isn’t alone in his opposition to Boehner’s “Plan B” as the Heritage Foundation, which is headed by former Sen. Jim DeMint, and the Club for Growth isare also opposing the plan.
Last week, American Majority Action (AMA), a group frustrated with House Republican leadership’s willingness to raise taxes and the purge of conservatives from key committees, called for House Speaker John Boehner to be replaced. AMA explained that if 16 House Republicans were to abstain from the vote for Speaker in January that Boehner wouldn’t be re-elected.
Ned Ryun, president of AMA, wrote a call to action at RedState urging activists to start calling House Republicans to ask them to abstain from the vote. Some may dismiss the notion put forward by Ryun, but the idea, which has been endorsed by Erick Erickson, editor of RedState and a talk radio host, is gaining in popularity in conservative circles.
But instead of having Republican members abstain, they may actually have the opportunity to vote for an alternative.
Should a debt deal go sour, the buzz is that Tom Price, a 58-year-old physician from Georgia, may challenge John Boehner for the speaker’s gavel.
“Price is the person we’re all watching,” says an aide close to House leadership. “We know he’s frustrated, but we don’t know much else.”
Since Jim DeMint resigned his Senate seat on Thursday to run the Heritage Foundation, there has been a lot of discussion about the the future of the conservative movement. Many conservatives are excited, a sentiment perhaps best summed up by Erick Erickson. They believe that DeMint will be free to say what he wants, no longer being pressured or restrained by leadership. Indeed, DeMint did just that on Thursday during an interview on CNN, telling Wolf Blitzer that he’s “not with Boehner,” who called for increased tax revenues in his counter-proposal to the White House. “This government doesn’t need any more money, this country needs less government,” said DeMint.
Other conservatives have used the news to take some shots at DeMint. For example, Jennifer Rubin slammed DeMint, writing, “He’s a pol whose entire style of conservatism – all or nothing, no compromise, no accounting for changes in public habits and opinions — is not true to the tradition of Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk and others.”