fiscal conservative

“Fiscally conservative” Blue Dog Democrats fail to protect taxpayers

Blue Dog Democrats

Much ink has been spilled in the last few years over the decline of the Blue Dog Coalition in the House of Representatives. Just this week, the Washington Post ran a story noting that this group of purportedly centrist Democrats will has seen its numbers fall from 50 members four years ago.

“[T]he Blue Dog Coalition is a shell of its former self, shrunken to just 15 members because of political defeat, retirements after redrawn districts left them in enemy territory and just plain exhaustion from the constant battle to stay in office,” wrote Paul Kane at the Washington Post. “Several are not running for reelection in November, and a few others are top targets of Republicans.”

There actually 19 members of the Blue Dog Coalition, though three members aren’t running for reelection in 2014. Reps. Jim Matheson (D-UT) and Mike McIntyre (D-NC), whose districts were targeted by Republicans, decided to retire. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-ME) is running for governor in Maine. Other members of the Blue Dog Coalition face tough bids for reelection, which could further dwindle its numbers at the beginning of the next Congress.

Blue Dog Democrats claim to “represent the center of the House of Representatives” and purport to be “dedicated to the financial stability and national security of the United States.” In news stories, reporters will frequently refer to Blue Dogs as “fiscally conservative” or “deficit hawks.”

Mike Lee on Tax Increases

Mike Lee

Utah Senator Mike Lee has been speaking out against proposed tax increases. He makes some great points in this article on the Daily Caller last week.

Lee points out first that it’s a partisan issue. It seems like everything these days in Washington is strictly partisan. The bickering between parties gets old (especially when both parties are saying the same thing), but I don’t think this is typical Republican finger pointing. Lee is one of a select few senators who isn’t utterly useless; he is the type of senator who would call out his Republican colleagues if this weren’t specifically an issue of Democrats being ridiculous.

Despite his would-be willingness for exposing hypocrisy within his party, Lee does make a few points the Republicans would like you to remember as we head toward November.

For example, the pushing of tax increases to push class warfare, or, in Lee’s words, “dividing Americans by income and pitting them against one another.” Lee even goes as far to say that these calls for higher taxes are out of desperation because “the electorate realizes Democrats are out of ideas.”

He also says that the responsibility for fixing budget woes lies with the Congress, not with the American people, and that the proposed tax increases will stifle job growth. He’s right on all accounts, but this is all buzzword stuff that every Republican  regurgitating through November.

Lee is one of the strongest members of the Senate on fiscal issues, and though he included the big buzzwords, he was exactly right when he said, “The proposal does not solve the problem of out-of-control deficits and debt.”

Debt and deficits. There’s the real problem.

The problem with Rick Santorum is not his faith

wrote a couple weeks ago about the Obama administration’s mandate that contraception be covered by insurance plans provided by Catholic-associated organizations.  The outrage on the right about the mandate was almost universally centered around the idea that it was an attack on the freedom of religion.  As I argued in my previous post, these critics were missing the point entirely.  Mandates like this one had nothing to do with religion, and were wrong regardless of whether they violated religious or secular liberty.

Now many on the right have inexplicably chosen big-government “conservative” Rick Santorum as their standard-bearer.  Despite his awful fiscal record, being named something other than Mitt Romney has allowed Santorum his time in the spotlight.  And he has enjoyed every minute of it, offering soundbite-worthy quotes at nearly every event.  Many of these statements have brought to light his very extreme views on social issues.

Predictably, Santorum’s views on things like abortion, homosexuality, and contraception have caused an uproar amongst those who do not share his worldview.  Santorum has been savaged for things he has said both recently and in the past.  Whether or not you believe him to be a sexist or a homophobe, it’s clear that his opinions are not shared by millions of Americans, and in fact cause great offense to many.

Hey, Republicans, you need to pay attention to this: Millennials really dig candidates with libertarian leanings

I Stand With Rand

Republicans are trying to figure out how to connect with Millennials — young voters between the ages of 18 and 34 — to break the stranglehold that President Barack Obama and Democrats on them. Well, polling data released late last week by Reason-Rupe offers some great insight into the sort of candidate can win this coveted voting block over:

A majority—53 percent—of millennials say they would support a candidate who described him or herself as socially liberal and economically conservative, 16 percent were unsure, and 31 percent would oppose such a candidate.

Interestingly, besides libertarians, liberal millennials are the most supportive of a libertarian-leaning candidate by a margin of 60 to 27 percent. Conservative millennials are most opposed (43% to 48% opposed).

A libertarian-leaning candidate would appeal to both Democratic and Republican voters. For instance, 60 percent of Hillary Clinton voters, 61 percent of Rand Paul voters, 71 percent of Chris Christie voters, and 56 percent of those who approve of President Obama all say they would support a fiscally conservative, socially liberal candidate.
The fact that a socially liberal, fiscally conservative candidate mainly attracts liberals over conservatives indicates that social issues rather than economics largely drive millennials’ political judgments. It also suggests millennials are more socially liberal than they are economically liberal.

Here’s your dark horse Republican presidential candidate

There have been a number of names mentioned as potential Republican presidential candidates, each with their own niche. You have Chris Christie and Jeb Bush from the establishment, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum as the social conservatives, and Rand Paul and Ted Cruz from the grassroots base of the party.

While some have said that Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) could get a look, one name that has been flying under the radar, at least until recently, and could prove to be a formidable candidate is Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN).

Many pundits have opined that the Republican Party will need to nominate a governor in 2016, someone with executive experience. The usual names mentioned in the next breath are Christie and Bush as well as Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker.

Though he’s only been in office for a short time, Pence, who is been quietly making the rounds at some Republican state convention, has legislative experience and, now, executive experience. As Philip Klein explains, Pence also has something that the other Republican governors lack — limited government, grassroots credentials:

Cruz delivering on promises to shake up the GOP

Does Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) care about electing a Republican majority? That’s a question the Wall Street Journal ostensibly asked last week after the Texas conservative, who the paper calls, the “minority maker,” forced a procedural vote on the debt ceiling, putting some of his Republican colleagues on the spot and, possibly, in the cross hairs of voters in their home states:

Democrats had enough votes to pass the increase with a simple majority, which means they would have owned the debt increase. But then Senator Ted Cruz —the same fellow who planned the GOP’s shutdown fiasco in October—objected on the floor and insisted on a 60-vote majority. This is exactly what Democratic leader Harry Reid wanted because if the bill failed he would have sent the Senate home on recess and returned later this month to join President Obama in flogging the GOP as the debt-ceiling deadline neared.

The 60-vote threshold was reached only after GOP leaders Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn and 10 others voted to let the final debt-ceiling vote proceed. All 12 then opposed the increase on final passage, but thanks to Mr. Cruz they had to walk the plank with Democrats on a procedural vote.

Not coincidentally, activist groups allied with Mr. Cruz announced they will use those votes in GOP primaries this year against Messrs. McConnell and Cornyn. Mr. Cruz claims to be neutral in Senate primaries, but he knew exactly what he was doing.

OK Senate: Conservative group courts Jim Bridenstine

An influential grassroots conservative group is courting Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to run in the special election to replace Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), who announced that he will resign at the end of the year.

The Senate Conservatives Fund sent out an email blast to its supporters of Saturday in which the group praised Coburn, who is battling a recurrence of cancer, as a “tireless fighter against wasteful Washington spending,” noting that his resignation “is a big loss for Oklahoma and the country.”

“No senator has done more to research and expose our government’s gross abuse of American taxpayers,” wrote Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund. “[Coburn] is a true citizen legislator and we need more like him in Washington.”

After praise Coburn, who has been one of the most consistent fiscal conservatives in the Senate, Hoskins made it clear who the Senate Conservatives Fund would back in the race to replace him.

“It’s not clear yet which candidates will run for the seat,” he noted, “but we hope U.S. Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) will consider it.”

SCF endorsed Bridenstine last year as a candidate for the U.S. House because of his outstanding record,” wrote Hoskins. “We wanted to protect him from the Republican establishment, which was upset with him for voting against John Boehner (R-OH) for Speaker, and to elevate his profile so he could run for the Senate someday.”

“How great would it be if he ran now?” he added.

Nancy Mace announces primary challenge against Lindsey Graham

Nancy Mace

Nancy Mace, a businesswoman and the first woman graduate of The Citadel, announced on Saturday that she will challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in the Republican Senate primary in South Carolina.

“I grew up during the Reagan years. I believe our fortieth president understood what being an American was all about. He was proud, resolute, and he was an eternal optimist. Our friends knew he would be steadfast and our enemies respected him.,” said Mace in a press statement. President Reagan helped regain our national pride, but he also left us with a powerful warning. He said, ’Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction.’ He said ‘we must fight for it, protect it, and defend it.’”

“I think those words ring true now more than ever,” she added.

She explained that Washington is out of touch with the rest of America and that the federal government has become far too intrusive. While Washington is trying to solve all of our problems, Mace says that “we are still not better off for it.”

“[I]n the last decade or so, our government has taken a significant turn for the worse. Americans are waking up to the fact that our freedoms are being threatened,” said Mace. “There are powerful forces in Washington that consider individual liberty passé and the Constitution dead letter.”

“I believe our state desperately needs new leadership,” she added, “someone who truly understands the challenges before us and what’s at stake and is willing to fight for the principles that make America great.”

Mace is branding herself as a fiscal conservative. On her issues page, she speaks against a government that picks winners and loser and supports “fixing” the tax code. She slammed excessive spending and warns of the “coming wave of entitlement costs that will bankrupt our nation.”

California conservatives promise bloody primary for Leftist Republican

Doug Ose

Republicans in California will have a shot next year to defeat Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), who is considered to be one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House. But there is very strong disagreement whether or not a former Republican Congressman should run.

Former Rep. Doug Ose, who served in Congress from 1999 to 2005, sees an opening to return to Washington and is apparently being courted by some in state’s political establishment to run in the CA-07.

Ose, who lost a congressional primary bid in 2008, is telling the media that he isn’t happy with the state of affairs in Washington and around the country. But there are some who believe that Ose wouldn’t do much to help fix Washington based on his past support of big government policies.

A group of California-based Tea Party and conservative activists sent a letter to Ose on Monday, warning him that he can expect active opposition to his candidacy should he decide to run.

“It has come to our attention that you are considering running for Congress in California’s 7th Congressional District. We have also heard that you do not want to see a ‘bloody primary’ for the Republican nomination,” wrote the activists. “We agree. That’s why we are writing today to encourage you not to run in CA-07.”

Sanford’s Strong Fiscal Conservative Views Worry Boehner

Mark Sanford

Speaker John Boehner and Republican leaders in the House are apparently worried about Rep.-elect Mark Sanford (R-SC):

Boehner on Tuesday morning suggested that he was less than thrilled about Sanford’s potential return to the House. And while the Speaker tweeted out a quick “congrats” to Sanford with the hash-tag jobs, a comment from his spokesman following the results was less than a bear-hug.
“He could be an added voice to the opposition — to those who like to make trouble for the Republican leadership,” GOP strategist Ron Bonjean, a former top House leadership aide, told The Hill. “It’ll definitely be a leadership management issue.”

Sanford made it clear in Tuesday night’s victory speech that he wasn’t returning to Washington to make friends — the same approach he took when he was a thorn in the side of GOP leadership during his first stint in Congress in the 1990s, and when he fought tooth-and-nail with the Republican-controlled statehouse during his governorship.

The newly elected congressman said voters had sent a “message to Washington, D.C., and a messenger to Washington, D.C., on the importance on changing things in that fair city.”

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