Mike Pence

Coburn to Focus Retirement Efforts on Article V Convention

Last month, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) announced that he will retire at the end of 2014, cutting short his second Senate term by two years.  His decision was in part the result of his health struggles related the recent recurrence of prostate cancer.  But Sen. Coburn also cited the dysfunction in Washington D.C., and particularly in the U.S. Senate, in stating: “As a citizen, I am now convinced that I can best serve my own children and grandchildren by shifting my focus elsewhere.”

John Ward’s HuffPost interview with Sen. Coburn last week sheds some light on exactly how Sen. Coburn intends to shift his focus:

“It’s time for me to go do something else,” Coburn said. “I know me. I’ve made lots of shifts in my life, and I know when it’s time. My faith comes into that. I pay a lot of attention to what I think I’m supposed to be doing. … And it’s just time for me to do something else. So I’m getting ready to walk through whatever door opens.”

“I don’t have any set plans whatsoever,” he said.

There are two exceptions to that statement. He has plans to play golf, a game he loves and has rarely been able to enjoy during his time in Washington. And he is going to lend his support to a growing effort in state legislatures across the country to call a convention to amend the Constitution with the aim of limiting the size and reach of the federal government.

CPAC 2011 (So Far…)

It’s been an interesting CPAC this year. Before the conference even started it was embroiled in controversy over the participation of gay conservative group GOProud. Several organizations pulled out of the conference, but few of them were regular participants anyway. The most high profile and only real loss was The Heritage Foundation. Rumors are that their refusal to participate this year was not over GOProud, but due to a financial dispute with the American Conservative Union—the organization behind CPAC. Regardless of the dispute before then conference, GOProud seems to be getting a good reception from attendees.

The big surprise yesterday was Donald Trump. Trump showed up yesterday afternoon to a fairly responsive crowd, but quickly digressed into a fight over Ron Paul with a heckler. Considering the room was stacked with Paulie’s waiting to hear Rand Paul, that was NOT a smart move. No one seems to be taking Trump for President seriously. Rand Paul did a really good job. He seems to have more charisma than his father.

Speaking of presidential candidates, Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, looks like he’s gearing up for a run. Johnson has a booth and professional campaign consultants wandering around. He actually gave a good speech yesterday, but is still considered a long, long, long shot candidate. Johnson’s biggest obstacle is his drug policy (he supports the legalization of marijuana) and he will have a hard time getting traditional Republican primary voters to buy into him because of it.

Mitt Romney spoke earlier today and got a very tepid response from the crowd. The ballroom was only three quarters of the way full, and he largely skipped over the health care issue which did not go unnoticed. The fake Sarah Palin was a bigger hit than Mitt.

Lessons from the Auto Bailout Controversy

This past week, the US Senate failed to concur with the House of Representatives in passing a bailout package for the nation’s large domestic automakers. This bailout had the support of the Democratic leadership in Congress as well as the Bush White House. Already, doomsayers are bemoaning this lack of financial infusion from an already depleted federal budget. However, I applaud this decision as a victory for principle over pragmatism. Hoping that conservatives will learn from this effort to continue enlarging government, consider some lessons from the bailout controversy.

Pro-liberty Republican governors are slashing high taxes and rolling back big government — and that’s good for taxpayers

Cato Institute Report Card 2014

The Cato Institute released its 2014 biennial report card on America’s governors late last week, and it trumpeted good news for taxpayers in North Carolina, Kansas, Maine, and Indiana. Republican governors in these four states received the ‘A’ rating (states are rated A-F) because they have enacted — since 2012 — pro-growth policies that have reduced the burden on taxpayers and gotten government out of the way for economic development.

Cato highlights its methodology in its executive summary:

[The Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors] uses statistical data to grade the governors on their taxing and spending records—governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades, while those who have increased taxes and spending the most receive the lowest grades.

Since states are the “laboratories of democracy,” policies enacted from state to state can have wide-ranging effects. Crossing one state’s boundaries into another state can yield dramatically different results. For example, Illinois received an ‘F’ while its neighbor to the east (Indiana) received an ‘A’.

Cato describes the two states tied for first place — North Carolina and Kansas, with an overall numerical rating of 78:

Today in Liberty: Out-of-pocket costs could double under Obamacare, VA scandal exposes dangers of single-payer

“Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit the national debt.” — President Herbert Hoover

— There shall be higher out-of-pocket costs: The pharmaceutical lobby is warning that Americans who’ve purchased health plans on the Obamacare exchanges could face big cost increases next year. ”The report for [PhRMA] was conducted by actuarial firm Milliman, which found that people on the Silver Plan, the most popular Obamacare plan, would likely pay 130 percent more for out-of-pocket prescription drugs compared to people on similar employer-sponsored plans,” The Hill notes. The study didn’t account for subsidies, which could help qualifying Americans lower their costs. That being said, John Castellani, CEO of PhRMA, gives us this gem of a quote: “Americans participating in the Exchanges were promised coverage comparable to employer plans and yet the reality is that many new plans are failing to provide an appropriate level of access to quality, affordable health care.” Thanks, Obamacare!

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:

Indiana becomes first state to withdraw from Common Core

Mike Pence

Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) signed a measure, SB 91, yesterday that will withdraw Indiana from Common Core, a controversial education initiative crafted by the National Governors Association and backed by the Obama administration:

Indiana was among 45 states that in recent years adopted Common Core standards spelling out what students should be learning in math and reading at each grade level. Some conservatives have since criticized the initiative as a top-down takeover of local schools, and in signing legislation Monday to pull Indiana from the program, Republican Gov. Mike Pence trumpeted the move as a victory for state-level action.

“I believe when we reach the end of this process there are going to be many other states around the country that will take a hard look at the way Indiana has taken a step back, designed our own standards and done it in a way where we drew on educators, we drew on citizens, we drew on parents and developed standards that meet the needs of our people,” Pence said.

The state began moving away from Common Core last year, when Indiana lawmakers “paused” its implementation. This year, the Republican-controlled Legislature approved a measure requiring the State Board of Education to draft new benchmarks for students.

Great news, right? The legislation rejects Common Core in name only. The Indiana Board of Education is drafting new standards that would keep much of the initiative in place, meaning that legislation signed by Pence could prove meaningless:

FCC does away with the Fairness Doctrine

“We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” - John F. Kennedy

While the Left will no doubt endlessly whine about this, the FCC has finally done away with the Fairness Doctrine, a policy that was entirely inconsistent with the right to free speech:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the elimination of 83 outdated and obsolete agency rules on Monday, including the controversial Fairness Doctrine.

“The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead,” Genachowski said in a statement.

“The Fairness Doctrine holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books.”

The rule required broadcasters to cover controversial issues in a manner deemed fair and balanced by the FCC. The commission deemed it unconstitutional in 1987 and ceased enforcement.

Press Corps asks about Obama’s plan

The White House Press Secretary had an interesting day yesterday.  He was asked several times about President Obama’s debt-ceiling plan.  Well, there isn’t one, and the folks on the right are chomping at the bit.  I can certainly understand why.  Oh sure, Press Secretary Jay Carney gave hints about the plan, but wouldn’t go into detail.  He said, “We’re showing a lot of leg.”  When pressed for more, he mockingly said, “You need it written down?”

Well, yeah.  It would help.

A couple of years ago, the White House derided the GOP because they didn’t have it written down.  Republicans were supposedly “unserious” because they didn’t have a budget.  So, the Republicans produced a framework.  They “showed a lot of leg”, if you will.  Then Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mocked it because it didn’t have the specifics he felt it should have.  Sort of like how Obama’s plan seems to lack a lot of specifics.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of that “if you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t be part of the conversation” crap.  I don’t think Obama should just shut up because he doesn’t have a plan all his own.  However, I do believe that the President probably should have a plan of his own to put forth.

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit proposes that the reason there isn’t a specific plan is because Obama knows that he’ll get hammered with it in the General Election.  I can’t say he’s wrong on that one.

Boehner tells House GOP to get in line

On Tuesday it looked like conservatives in the House Republican Conference were prepared to kill Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to end the budget ceiling stalemate. But it looks like he is building enough support to move it through the House, though it has taken some arm twisting that is most assuredly going to set off grassroots conservatives and the tea party movement:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he ordered GOP lawmakers to “get your ass in line” behind his debt proposal during an interview Wednesday on a conservative radio show.

“My goal is to continue to work with all our members so we get them to the point where they say ‘yes,’ ” Boehner said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.

A large number of conservative Republicans are opposing Boehner’s proposal, arguing it does not go far enough in reducing government spending.

But Boehner said he couldn’t understand why any Republicans would position themselves with Democrats opposing his plan.

“Barack Obama hates it, [Sen.] Harry Reid hates it, [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi hates it,” he said, naming off the Democratic leadership.
[…]
Boehner would have a lot of leverage ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline for lifting the debt ceiling if the House approves his bill.

“We’ll see,” Boehner said in response to the veto threat. “In the absence of any other plan, your plan becomes the plan.”

Boehner outlined his strategy to box the president into having “no choice but to sign it into law.” He said a rival proposal from Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, did not have the support to pass Congress.


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