In 1971, The Who released Who’s Next featuring one of the greatest songs of all time. It couldn’t be more fitting this week as we usher in our new boss here in the United States thirty-seven years later.
Pete Townshend tells us the story of a rebellious uprising against the ruling class. The opening verse states that there is “fighting in the streets” and that “the men who spurred us on sit in judgment of all wrong.” I can’t help but think of the parallels we have been seeing from the media-tainment industry for months driving home the displeasure that the American people have with the Bush administration and serving as pundits (or should I say puppets) by dishing out the propaganda of who is right and who is wrong.
For the second year in a row, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has won the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) presidential straw poll. The poll also found that libertarians are increasingly growing in influence.
Paul took 31% of the 2,459 votes cast, up from the 25% he earned in the 2013 iteration of the straw poll. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) finished in a distant second place, with 11%. Dr. Ben Carson finished third, taking 9%.
“I am grateful to all the attendees who stood with me. The fight for liberty continues, and we must continue to stand up and say: We’re free and no one, no matter how well-intentioned, will take our freedoms from us. Together we will stand up for the Constitution. Together we will fight for what is right,” said Paul in a statement from RandPAC. “Thank you and onwards to victory.”
Tony Frabrizio, who announced the results to CPAC attendees, explained that 46% of straw poll voters were between the ages of 18 and 25 and 18% were between 26 and 40.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has endorsed Dr. Greg Brannon in the North Carolina Republican Senate primary and plans to campaign for the conservative candidate in the Tar Heel state later this month.
In a statement released this morning by Brannon’s campaign, Lee called 2014 a “critical year for conservatives,” noting that North Carolina will play an important role in this year’s mid-term election. He stressed the importance of electing candidates that will “work to restor[e] the proper role of government” and “forward positive, specific policy proposals to get America back on track.”
“Greg Brannon is dedicated to enacting a conservative reform agenda in Congress. He is willing to challenge the status quo and entrenched special interests,” said Lee in the statement. “And he has pledged to work alongside myself, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others in the Senate to change the way Washington works.”
Lee, a Tea Party favorite, has put forward a number of reform proposals in recent months, including pro-family tax reform and policies that would strengthen the middle class as well as create opportunity for the poor.
“Greg Brannon will be a strong voice for the people in the Senate and I am proud to endorse him,” Lee added.
The Club for Growth released its annual congressional scorecards yesterday, offering concerned constituents a snapshot of how their representatives in Washington voted on issues related to limited government and economic growth legislation during the first session of the 113th Congress.
“2013 saw the emergence of several new defenders of economic freedom as well as continued excellence among old allies,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola, himself a former member of Congress. “Some members have seen their voting records improve and will be honored this year with recognition of their efforts for the first time.”
“While there are more champions of pro-economic growth policy serving in Congress than at any time before, it’s clear that our fight against the big spenders in both parties has a long way to go,” he added.
Like many organizations, the Club for Growth states positions on legislation or other matters as a way to encourage House and Senate members to encourage them to vote in a manner consistent with limited government, pro-growth views. The votes scored in the 2013 include the efforts to repeal or defund Obamacare, the Ryan-Murray budget deal, the farm bill, and the Full Faith and Credit Act.
The scorecards offer a look at who is living up to the limited government rhetoric on which they run each year as well as those are voting to put more debt on the back of the taxpayer as well as future taxpayers.
Yesterday, the drug store chain CVS announced that it would no longer sell tobacco products. The move drew sharp reactions and generated controversy, for and against. President Obama took time away from his busy schedule of campaigning, golfing, and vacationing to praise the decision.
As predictable as the sun rising out of the east every morning, some conservatives took the opportunity to attack President Obama and proceeded to look like fools in the process.
One of the conservatives (the term is used loosely in this case) who chimed in on this pressing controversy was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “Many of the same people applauding #CVS for not selling tobacco are ok with making it easier to buy and smoke pot,” he tweeted, adding the hashtag, “#makesnosense.”
For starters, it appears Rubio is not familiar with the difference between the private sector making a business decision and government policy. CVS can choose whether or not to sell tobacco products. If customers have a problem with this decision they can shop at another retailer.
If someone wants to buy and consume marijuana, however, they may go to prison under current laws. I understand this is a difficult concept for Rubio to grasp, but it is entirely consistent to applaud a private company’s decision to no longer sell tobacco and to oppose throwing people in jail for smoking a joint.
It’s no secret that Vince Vaughn was an outspoken supporter of Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign. He introduced the Texas Republican at the 2011 Libertarian Political Action Convention (LPAC), noting that Paul’s philosophy is “consistent” and “rooted in the very foundation of America.”
Vaughn — who has starred in a number of films, including Swingers, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, The Wedding Crashers, and Dodgeball — offered a deeper glimpse into his political beliefs last week during a discussion with Adam Carolla.
Recounting a conversation the two previously had about politics, Carolla asked Vaughn if he considers himself to be a conservative.
“I do, yeah. I mean, I’m very supportive of Ron Paul, but I’ve always been, you know, more conservative than not,” Vaughn said, adding that his parents’ hardworking, self-reliant background helped shape his personal political views.
Carolla explained that he, too, identifies as a conservative, though he’s more libertarian on social policy. He asked Vaughn whether he took a similar angle on politics. His answer is more profound than what one would expect from many conservative politicians and talking heads.
“I think that what you come, as you get older, you just get less trust in the government running anything,” Vaughn told Carolla. “And that you start to realize when you really go back and look at the Constitution and the principles of liberty, the real purpose of government is to protect the individual’s right to, sort of, think and pursue what they have interest in.
The Republican primary in California’s 7th Congressional District will be one of the races worth watching next year as a retread, big spending ex-Congressman and a fresh-faced fiscal conservative square off for the right to challenge Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA).
FreedomWorks, which bills itself as a grassroots service center with more than 6 million members, is the first conservative group to get involved in the race. The organization’s PAC endorsed Igor Birman last week, becoming the first candidate they’ve endorsed in the 2014 election cycle.
“The choice is clear, Igor Birman is the only conservative in the race, and he will be a clear voice for common sense fiscal policies and a return to limited government in Congress,” said FreedomWorks PAC in a release announcing the endorsement.
Birman is running for the Republican nomination in CA-07 against three other candidates, including former Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA), a big spending Republican retread.
“We have a long campaign ahead of us,” said Birman, who served as a senior staffer to Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), in the release. “But with the backing of voters who want to see a return to limited government here in California and groups like FreedomWorks PAC who are fighting for limited government in Washington, I am confident we will have the support and resources we need to win the 7th Congressional district next year.”
Despite $6.1 trillion being added to the national debt since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, ex-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) says that there are no spending cuts left to make in the $3.8 trillion federal budget.
The comments came in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, in which host Candy Crowley pressed Pelosi, who currently serves as House Minority Leader, on a different issues currently dominating politics in Washington, including the Continuing Resolution and debt ceiling. But Crowley pressed Pelosi on limited government and spending.
“None of us of comes here to have more government than we need. So, we should subject everything we do to real scrutiny to say is this needed because most of it is an expenditure,” Pelosi told Crowley, later knocking what she called the “anti-government ideology” of Republicans in Congress.
Pelosi accused Republicans of purposefully trying to shutdown the federal government over ObamaCare, calling concerns about the law “an excuse.” The conversation shifted to spending and the debt ceiling. Crowley noted that past presidents — including Reagan, Clinton and Bush — had negotiated on the debt ceiling and spending cuts. But Pelosi astonishingly disputed that there is any place to make further cuts.
“[T]he cupboard is bare. There’s no more cuts to make,” declared Pelosi. “It’s really important that people understand that. We all want to reduce the deficit.”
“We’re all committed to that. Put everything on the table. Review it,” she added. “But you cannot have any more cuts just for the sake of cuts. Right now, you’re taking trophies.”
The libertarian philosophy is taking the Republican Party by storm, according to a poll conducted by FreedomWorks, a DC-based grassroots service center with over 6 million members.
With Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) and many other liberty-minded politicians gaining influence, libertarianism has generated new interest inside the Republican Party, much to the chagrin of the GOP’s political establishment.
Though still not a dominate view inside the party, there is no denying that the narrative inside the Republican Party has significantly changed. Moreover, libertarians have an opportunity upon which they can seize, if they’re willing to work within the system.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 41 percent of Republican voters hold libertarian views. Conventional wisdom is that many voters who are libertarian don’t know the word. But this may well be changing,” noted David Kirby, Kellyanne Conway, and Stephen Spiker in the report on the data.
“FreedomWorks’ poll shows that 42 percent of Republicans have a favorable view of the word ‘libertarian,’ and only 10 percent don’t know the word, compared to 27 percent who don’t know nationally,” they added.
And the term “libertarian” may still turn off some Republican voters, the basic message of the philosophy earns significant favor. The poll found that 68% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agree with the statement that “individuals should be free to do as they like as long as they don’t hurt others, and that the government should keep out of people’s day-to-day lives.”
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has gone off the rails again. During an interview Nevada Public Radio, the Senate Majority Leader attacked the Tea Party presence in Washington, comparing them to “anarchists” who want to destroy the government.
The host of the segment asked Reid about the “gridlock” in Congress and any way out of the legislative “standstill.” Reid called the current Congress the “least productive in the history of the country.” And that’s when he took the opportunity to slam the Tea Party.
“Who is the Tea Party? Well, understand, when I was in school, I studied government, among other things, and prior to World War I and after World War I we had the anarchists. Now they were violent — you know, some say that’s what started World War I, the anarchy movement — but they were violent,” Reid told KNPR. “They did damage to property and they did physical damage to people.”
“The modern anarchists don’t do that. That’s the Tea Party. But they have the same philosophy as the early anarchists,” he continued. “They do not believe in government. Anytime anything bad happens to government, that’s a victory to them. And that’s what’s happened.”
“We have absolute gridlock created by a group of people who represent few Americans. But it makes it extremely difficult to get things done,” he added.