Jon Tester

Leftist hypocrisy on free speech and government surveillance

One truth about politics: when those who have taken up one side of an issue are forced to accept and defend that same issue, should it suit their needs to do so, the acknowledgement of their previous criticism will be generally non-existent.

Take the histrionics surrounding 2010’s Citizens United decision — “Corporations aren’t people! They shouldn’t have First Amendment rights! Elections will be bought and sold by evil dark money special interest groups! Those with the most cash will always win!”

Forgetting for a moment that Barack Obama managed to get re-elected despite the impressive amount of money that was raised to support Mitt Romney via super PACs that were not associated with his actual campaign, this idea that corporations — really just groups of people — shouldn’t retain First Amendment speech rights is proving quite the interesting conundrum for those who both HATED the Citizens United decision but now find themselves DESPISING that National Security Agency’s (NSA) peek under the hood at millions of lines of metadata on American citizens’ phone records.

Because corporations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Google are taking the uncomfortable action of invoking their First Amendment speech rights to file suit, in the case of the former, and in requesting the release of records showing exactly how persistent the government was in insisting that the search giant provide them private information on American citizens.

Michael Turk wrote a terrific blog post detailing a similarly terrific piece on the ACLU v. Clapper case by Wendy Kaminer at The Atlantic at his blog, Kung Fu Quip:

States Poised to Take a Stand Against the NDAA

Our own Chris Frashure blogged yesterday that Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Va.), a U.S. Senate candidate, has introduced a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would direct the state government to refuse to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act’s indefinite detention provisions. Chris writes:

Virginia Delegate and now U. S. Senate candidate Bob Marshall, author of the famous Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act, has introduced a bill into the General Assembly to address the indefinite detention prevision (sic) of the National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama has signed and codified into law. Specifically, the bill “[p]revents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”

Marshall’s bill is just the latest way that opposition to Section 1021 of the NDAA is being expressed at the state level. As we reported earlier this month, Montanans have launched an effort spearheaded by Oath Keepers founder and president Stewart Rhodes to recall their entire congressional delegation for casting votes in favor of the NDAA. But Montanans don’t have to wait to be rid of Tester and Rehberg. They can reject them both in this year’s U.S. Senate election by drafting a viable GOP primary opponent to Rehberg before the June 5 primaries who can then take the fight to Tester over the NDAA.

Recall of NDAA supporters?

No state is perfect, but Montana seems intent on trying anyways.  Their most recent attempt is a move to recall Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester for their support of the tyrannical National Defense Authorization Act which, for those who’ve been living under a rock, essentially turns the entire United States into a war zone for the purposes of pursuing “terrorists” and permits the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil.

(HELENA) - Moving quickly on Christmas Day after the US Senate voted 86 - 14 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA) which allows for the indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial, Montanans have announced the launch of recall campaigns against Senators Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester, who voted for the bill.

Montana is one of nine states with provisions that say that the right of recall extends to recalling members of its federal congressional delegation, pursuant to Montana Code 2-16-603, on the grounds of physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of certain felony offenses.

The Salem News goes on to state that the issue of a state’s ability to recall federal officials has never reached the federal courts.  In reality, I suspect that the federal courts would strike down such a law as unconstitutional primarily because it would actually give states the ability to actually do something when the federal government oversteps its power, somthing that the courts seem intent on keeping as the status quo.

Predictions for tonight’s Senate races

United States Capitol

Last week, we went over the Senate races that are being watched around the country, noting that it was increasingly unlikely that Republicans would take back that chamber this year. As explained, Republicans thought they had the numbers — and they did, at least on paper. However, the campaigns in states ripe for a takeover haven’t gone that well. Perhaps the best examples of this are, as noted before, Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, both of which came under fire about controversial comments on abortion in the circumstance of rape.

So with that, here are my predictions for the 15 races that have been so hotly contested this year, including any that are expected change hands. The color of the state is the current party in control of the seat (obviously, red is for the GOP and blue is for Democrats) and the predicted winner is on the right with the color of the text being the party in control of the seat after the election.

MT Senate: Rehberg, Tester both lead in final polls

Jon Tester and Denny Rehberg

This race was one Republicans were counting on to take back the Senate this year. Things haven’t really worked out as planned in other races, but Rep. Denny Rehberg could knock off Sen. Jon Tester in what is going to be a very close election. According to the latest poll in the race from Mason-Dixon, Rehberg holds a 4-point lead over Tester, though inside the margin of error:

The poll showed 49 percent for Rehberg, who is Montana’s U.S. House representative, and 45 percent for Tester, the first-term incumbent. Only 1 percent said they’re voting for Libertarian Dan Cox and just 5 percent were undecided.

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C., conducted the poll early last week for Lee Newspapers, interviewing 625 registered Montana voters who said they are likely to vote in Tuesday’s election.

The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Rehberg’s lead is only a single percentage point different than what he had six weeks ago in a Lee Newspapers poll, which showed him with a 48-45 advantage over Tester.

“Rehberg’s just kind of kept that little lead on Tester,” said Brad Coker, managing director for Mason-Dixon. “The general rule is it’s harder for an incumbent to make up ground with undecided voters. Here, you have two incumbents.”

Republican hopes to take back the Senate are bleak

United States Capitol

This was supposed to be the year for Republicans to take back the Senate. There were plenty of vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year and an anti-incumbent feeling in the air.

But the races for the Senate haven’t shaped up so well for Republicans. While they only need a net-gain of four seats to take control, they’ve found themselves trying to hold on to what were thought of as “safe seats” thanks to strong Democratic candidates and gaffes by GOP nominees.

As it stands right now, Democrats hold 53 seats in the Senate, including two Independents who caucus with them. Republicans have 47 seats. The list of competitive seats below shows that Democrats will cancel out likely Republicans gains in Nebraska and North Dakota with gains of their own in Maine (Angus King, an Independent, will caucus with Democrats) and Massachusetts. There are still five seats on the board as where polls are too close to give an idea of a which party will win.

Here’s a look at the Senate seats up for grabs (current party in control of a seat is colored, incumbents are in italics):

Republicans set to maintain status quo in Congress

United States Capitol

It’s generally thought that Republicans will not take the Senate this year, despite going up against many vulnerable and unpopular Democrats. The reasons are a mix of gaffe prone candidates and having to run against incumbent Democrats in swing states where President Barack Obama’s campaign is actively competing. But Aaron Blake noted on Friday that there is still a path for the GOP to take control of the Senate:

With six seats listed as “toss-ups” in the latest Fix rankings, a split of those seats would lead to the exact same 53-to-47 Democratic majority that we have today. And for a Republican Party that had designs on regaining the majority, that would certainly be a disappointment.

But with 11 days to go, Republicans also continue to have a very real shot at winning that majority. And that’s because they have something that Democrats don’t: Lots of opportunity.

While the map hasn’t exactly trended in the GOP’s favor in recent months when it comes to the top races (Indiana, Massachusetts and Missouri, in particular), Republicans continue to have plausible opportunities to win in a huge amount of seats that we currently rate as “lean Democratic.”

Recent polls have shown GOP candidates within striking distance — though still trailing — in a bunch of “lean Democratic” states: Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Missouri, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

DCCC Chair: Democrats “need to be in their district” during the convention

Yesterday, I noted that several Democrats were opting to skip their party’s upcoming national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. There is little doubt that these Democrats are frustrated with their party and don’t want to be lumped in with President Barack Obama, who will be re-nominated at the convention. That’s understandable from a political perspective, and DCCC Chair Steve Israel apparently agrees:

The Democrat charged with trying to win back the House majority is telling his candidates that it’s OK to skip the party’s national convention.

Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told a gathering hosted by Reuters his advice has nothing to do with President Obama.

“If they want to win an election, they need to be in their district,” Israel said yesterday at the Reuters Washington Summit.

The New York lawmaker added: “I don’t care if the president was at 122% favorability right now. I think (candidates) should be in their district.”

That’s humorous. Four years ago, Democrats, many of whom were ecstatic over the coronation of Obama, couldn’t stay away from the DNC in Denver. After the shellacking Democrats received in 2010, suddenly Obama is toxic and, unless you’re in a relatively safe district, no one wants to be seen with him.

More Democrats say they’re skipping the convention

It’s been an interesting several days for Democrats. Last week began an avalanche of elected officials declaring that they would not attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A few West Virginia Democrats — Sen. Joe Manchin, Rep. Nick Rahall, and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin — recently kicked off the trend. Pennsylvania Rep. Mark Critz joined just a few days later. New York Reps. Bill Owens and Kathy Hochul joined the crowd the following day. And yesterday, three more joined Georgia Rep. John Barrow, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, and Montana Sen. Jon Tester announced that they would not attend the Democratic National Convention. Heidi Heitkamp, a Senate hopeful from North Dakota, also says she won’t be making the trip to Charlotte.

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Friday, February 4th

Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.