National Journal

Gohmert blasts National Journal for “libelous,” “sleazy” coverage of Liberty Karaoke

A large group of DC-area liberty activists gathered last Tuesday at O’Sullivan Irish Pub for what they call “Liberty Karaoke,” or #LibertyKaraoke, if you’re on Twitter. This weekly event was a little different on this particular night because the group was throwing a fundraiser for Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), one of the growing number of libertarian-leaning Republicans in Congress.

The event was a resounding success. The 80 to 90 liberty activists, most of whom are in their 20s, raised $9,000 for Massie’s campaign coffers, surpassing the $6,630 they raised for Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) in December.

“I think Massie’s reelection is important because we need leaders that are willing to stand up in the name of liberty,” Leah Courtney, a DC-area liberty activist, told United Liberty. ”Young people are drawn to liberty-minded Republicans because they are the ones with spines, and will speak up for their constituents. There’s no hidden agenda, just Congressmen doing their jobs.”

“We’re a generation that has grown up in a rocky economy. We’re the ones that have excessive student loan debt, and we have had to walk into a world where jobs are not necessarily the easiest to find,” she said. “We need a REAL change. Massie and Amash are what we’re looking for in candidates, and this is just the beginning.”

It’s time to separate health coverage from employment

The Obama administration’s latest employer mandate delay is causing some to question their support of the law, or at the very least, express frustration with the way in which President Obama’s signature domestic achievement has been implemented.

Among those expressing frustration is Ron Fournier, the senior political columnist at the National Journal.

In a column yesterday, Fournier explained that he is “getting sick of defending Obamacare,” pointing the White House’s politicization of the law, the thoughtless manner in which it was implemented, and changes and delays of various regulations. The journalist also made some of the same comments on Fox News on Monday evening.

“Advocates for a strong executive branch, including me, have given the White House a pass on its rule-making authority, because implementing such a complicated law requires flexibility,” Fournier wrote. “But the law may be getting stretched to the point of breaking. Think of the [Affordable Care Act] as a game of Jenga: Adjust one piece and the rest are affected; adjust too many and it falls.”

“If not illegal,” he continued, “the changes are fueling suspicion among Obama-loathing conservatives, and confusion among the rest of us. Even the law’s most fervent supporters are frustrated,” latter adding that he falls in the “frustrated category.”

Democratic Party consultant: “Dem Party is f****d” because of Obamacare

The panic inside the Democratic Party over Obamacare is really beginning to set in as the Obama Administration continues to deal with the fallout of an embarrassing rollout of the glitchy federal health insurance exchange website, Healthcare.gov, and seemingly endless reports of Americans losing their health insurance coverage or being hit with more expensive plans.

Ron Fournier of the National Journal relayed the concerns and indignation of one Democratic Party consultant who put it very simply — they are “f****d”:

Incoming from Democrats:

“Dem Party is F****d.” That was the subject line of an email sent to me Sunday by a senior Democratic consultant with strong ties to the White House and Capitol Hill. The body of the email contained a link to this Los Angeles Times story about Obamacare “sticker shock:”

“These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.”

“Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama’s signature legislation.”

Justin Amash passes on Michigan Senate race

Justin Amash

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), an young and outspoken liberty-minded Republican, has decided to pass on the open Senate seat in Michigan, according to a report from the National Journal:

Amash was tempted by the allure of a campaign for higher office, sources say, but the second-term lawmaker ultimately was unwilling to risk surrendering the clout he enjoys among conservatives in the GOP-controlled House. (His advisers also didn’t like the uncertain internal polling against his expected general-election contender, but sources say that didn’t affect Amash’s decision.)
[…]
“Justin feels that he’s hitting his stride in the House, and that it’s the best place for him right now,” said one source close to Amash.

The National Journal explained some of the logistical background that ultimately led to the decision, including the fact that Michigan is generally considered to be a blue state. They also note that Amash’s internal polling in the primary “showed him running comfortably ahead of a weak GOP primary field.”

Terri Lynn Land, who served for eight years as Michigan’s Secretary of State, is thought to be the frontrunner for the nomination. Polling shows Land running close to Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI), the likely Democratic nominee. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) believes the race is competitive.

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t want to be Speaker again

During an interview last week with the National Journal, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she doesn’t want to be Speaker again should Democrats win back the House of Representatives.

Pelosi had been commenting on the state of the House Republican Conference and Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who won the job in 2011 following a historic mid-term election in which the GOP picked up 63 seats and control of the chamber, when she was pointedly asked if he wanted her old post back.

“No, that’s not my thing. I did that,” said Pelosi.

Pelosi’s office is, of course, disputing the report, telling media outlets that she “fully intends to be a Member of a Democratic Majority in the 114th Congress” and that whether she once again takes the gavel is up to the members of the House Democratic Conference. The National Journal stands by the original transcript of the interview.

The prospect of Pelosi serving as Speaker has been a rallying cry for Democrats. In May, President Obama told donors via email that he “could not be more anxious or eager” to have Democrats in control of the House and Pelosi holding the gavel.

ObamaCare analysis shows higher premiums on state exchanges

ObamaCare premiums

The so-called “Affordable Care Act” has proven to very unaffordable for many Americans who will see higher insurance premiums on the health insurance exchanges that they would from employer-based coverage, according to an analysis by the National Journal:

For the vast majority of Americans, premium prices will be higher in the individual exchange than what they’re currently paying for employer-sponsored benefits, according to a National Journal analysis of new coverage and cost data. Adding even more out-of-pocket expenses to consumers’ monthly insurance bills is a swell in deductibles under the Affordable Care Act.
[…]
Whether the quality of care in the new market is comparable to private offerings remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: The cost of care in the new market doesn’t stack up. A single wage earner must make less than $20,000 to see his or her current premiums drop or stay the same under Obamacare, an independent review by National Journal found. That’s equivalent to approximately 34 percent of all single workers in the U.S. seeing any benefit in the new system. For those seeking family-of-four coverage under the ACA, about 43 percent will see cost savings. Families must earn less than or equal to $62,300, or they, too, will be looking at a bigger bill.

National Journal, Politico Profile Justin Amash

Last week, the National Journal profiled Rep. Justin Amash, the libertarian-leaning Michigan politican, noting how his potential entry into the race for the Republican primary for United States Senate could further shake-up the establishment in both parties:

Amash is a unique politician with the potential to transcend traditional party appeal. He preaches transparency and accountability, having never missed a vote in Congress. (He also writes lengthy notes on his Facebook page explaining every vote.) His isolationist streak has earned him a following among young people. His Arab-American heritage makes him appealing to minorities. He’s the rare politician with fans at both the American Civil Liberties Union and Right to Life.

Amash also has the ability to attract serious money. Already, one libertarian super PAC has pledged to spend upward of $1 million to help him get elected, and others would likely follow (Club for Growth would surely spend big on his behalf). The ability to attract such substantial outside assistance makes Amash an intimidating contender, and could send other Republicans running from a primary challenge. “If that money comes through, that’s a big benefit,” said former Michigan GOP Chairman Saul Anuzis, another potential candidate. “Look, this is going to cost $2 million to $3 million in the primary, and another $10 million to $15 million in a general election. So if there are people who are willing to put that kind of money behind him, that makes a big difference.”

Herman Cain directly addresses allegations

After taking heat from his fellow candidates and conservatives, Herman Cain finally addressed, in a very direct manner, the allegations of sexual harassment by several women that have be raised in the last week:

Addressing the controversy before a throng of reporters in suburban Phoenix, Cain said he had no recollection of ever meeting Sharon Bialek, the woman who went public Monday and accused him of groping her in a car after the two dined together in Washington 14 years ago. Cain called her account “baseless, bogus and false” and said Bialek and three other women who have accused him of sexual harassment are part of a coordinated effort to attack his character and derail his campaign.

“We are not going to allow Washington or politics to deny me the opportunity to represent this great nation,” Cain said, adding that he would be willing to take a lie-detector test. “As far as these accusations causing me to back off and maybe withdraw from this presidential primary race — ain’t gonna happen.”

Cain’s campaign is taking the Bill Clinton approach by trying to tear down her credibility by pointing out her past financial and legal issues. But as Allahpundit notes over at Hot Air, this falls flat:

DeMint not running for re-election?

In a recent interview with the National Journal, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) hinted that he may not run for re-election when his term expires in 2016. Here is the relevant portion of the interview:

NJ What is your ambition?

DeMINT My hope is to elect five or 10 more solid conservatives and go home and rock on my front porch.

NJ This is your last term?

DeMINT Yeah. It was not a campaign promise; but that is my plan, that the election last year was my last one. It has always been my plan not to serve more than two terms.

Conn Carroll notes at the Washington Examiner that DeMint “hasn’t ruled out” another bid. DeMint has been a supporter of term-limits in the past, and I believe that he had limited himself to four-terms in the House before his Senate bid.

DeMint has said some things I disagree with, but he has criticized his own party when they’ve been wrong and been solid on fiscal issues and pushing for free markets and reforming the leviathan in Washington to reduce the burden that years of bureaucracy and the welfare state have placed on taxpayers.

Census numbers out, red states to pick up seats

The day many states have been waiting for came yesterday, as the Census Bureau released population figures that will determine which will gain or lose congressional seats:

Republican-leaning states will gain at least a half dozen House seats thanks to the 2010 census, which found the nation’s population growing more slowly than in past decades but still shifting to the South and West.

The Census Bureau announced Tuesday that the nation’s population on April 1 was 308,745,538, up from 281.4 million a decade ago. The growth rate for the past decade was 9.7 percent, the lowest since the Great Depression. The nation’s population grew by 13.2 percent from 1990 to 2000.
[…]
The new numbers are a boon for Republicans, with Texas leading the way among GOP-leaning states that will gain House seats, mostly at the Rust Belt’s expense. Following each once-a-decade census, the nation must reapportion the House’s 435 districts to make them roughly equal in population, with each state getting at least one seat.

That triggers an often contentious and partisan process in many states, which will draw new congressional district lines that can help or hurt either party.

In all, the census figures show a shift affecting 18 states taking effect when the 113th Congress takes office in 2013.

Texas will gain four new House seats, and Florida will gain two. Gaining one each are Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

Ohio and New York will lose two House seats each. Losing one House seat are Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.


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