A new strategy has emerged from conservative groups over the debt ceiling as they emerge from a fractured fight over the government shutdown. The message to Congress: spend one dollar less than last year.
The coalition of 20 groups, first reported by National Review, has written a letter to lawmakers urging them to take caution in their approach on the debt ceiling and government funding as House and Senate tackling the budget.
“The undersigned public policy organizations are writing to you today about the upcoming debt ceiling debate and our belief that Congress has a moral obligation to pursue additional spending reductions before taking on additional debt,” wrote the organizations in the letter to members of Congress.
“Specifically, we propose the following: If Washington wants to take on more debt, isn’t it fair that they at least be forced to spend One Dollar Less next year than they’re spending this year?” the letter continued. “Most families are reducing their budgets by far more than one dollar, shouldn’t Washington at least do this much? The American people certainly think so.”
Signers to the letter include Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, Andrew Moylan of the R Street Institute, Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and Phil Kerpen of American Commitment.
In the wake of a terrible tragedy, there are almost universal requests for calm, peace, and a moratorium on politics. We have now reached the stage in the evolution of the Onion Nation where not commenting on a tragedy is worth criticizing.
Within hours of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard this morning, in which at least 12 have lost their lives, the objective journalists of Buzzfeed compiled a list of NRA tweets around the time of recent mass shootings, showing that the gun rights organization stops tweeting for a day or more when such an event occurs. The irony is astounding. If the NRA makes a statement about a shooting event, they are accused of politicizing it, standing on the graves of the victims, or worse. And now if they don’t make a statement, that’s also worth calling out?
Sure, Buzzfeed will just claim they found it interesting and weren’t criticizing. But savvy social media producers that they are should know better. Gun rights opponents will take their post and do the dirty work for them, calling the NRA cowards for staying silent in the face of such horror that they will inevitably be accused of causing.
The great Charles Cooke of National Review summed up the stupendous hypocrisy well on Twitter:
What would people who want the NRA to “say something” like them to say?
— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) September 16, 2013
“By the way, we’re still right”?
The agenda is reminiscent of “The Contract with America” that House Republicans announced on the steps of the Capitol in 1994. That manifesto helped them win control of the House during the second year of Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency.
While short on specifics, the new Republican plan calls for $100 billion in annual savings by scaling back federal spending to 2008 levels — with exceptions for the elderly and U.S. troops — and ending government control of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Republican House leaders also vowed to stop “job killing tax hikes” and allow small business owners to take a tax deduction equal to 20 percent of their business income.
Under pressure from the conservative Tea Party movement to slash the size and cost of government, the Republicans promised to repeal Obama’s landmark overhaul of the healthcare system and eliminate unspent funds from his $814 billion economic stimulus program.
The reaction among Democrats has been predictable as they again try to bring up George W. Bush, a strategy that hasn’t worked thus far:
Over at National Review’s Exchequer blog, Kevin Williamson points out that there’s no reason to hope that the GOP would cut Federal spending should it regain power:
Republicans, perhaps because of their party’s evangelical wing, understand what it means to be born again — and they’re out to convince Americans that they are born-again debt crusaders, ready to rumble in the holy struggle for smaller deficits and less-unbalanced budgets. This takes a little bit of chutzpah. Here’s McConnell: “The American people don’t think our problem is that government taxes too little. Our problem is that government taxes too much. And that it spends too much and borrows too much. And until Democrats demonstrate even the slightest ability to restrain the recklessness with which they spend Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars, the job creators and the workers of this country aren’t about to take them seriously on how to lower the debt. The American people shouldn’t be asked to pay the price for Democrats’ recklessness through higher taxes.”
Except, as Williamson points out, there’s this:
In a recent column in this month’s issue of National Review (which I still read, due to a complimentary subscribtion, despite my anger with the tossing aside of Christopher Buckley for his audacious Obama endorsement) the eloquent Mark Steyn argues for citizens who give little more than “stilted cheers” for their political leadership. He illustrates the Soviet-style cult following that Barack Obama has benefited greatly from as being counter to the ideals America was founded on.
House Republican leaders have finally relented to growing pressure from grassroots conservative activists to defund ObamaCare — only they haven’t.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will push a stop-gap spending measure as well as a separate resolution that would defund ObamaCare. It would allow members to say that they voted to deny funding to the unpopular law while avoiding a feared government shutdown.
“Under the Cantor plan, the House would vote on two measures, the [Continuing Resolution] and a resolution that amends the CR to defund Obamacare,” wrote Jonathan Strong at National Review. “Both measures would be brought under a rule that allows the Senate to send just the clean CR to the president, but only after they first vote on whether to defund Obamacare.
“If the Senate voted against defunding Obamacare, they could then pass the clean CR,” he added. “While this would force a politically difficult vote for Democratic senators, it isn’t the do-or-die fight that many on the right envisioned.”
Politico noted yesterday that this is the same legislative sleight of hand that House Republicans used during spending battles in the spring of 2011. They also point out that House Republican leaders may be “forced to go further to the right and commit the bill outright to defunding [ObamaCare]” if there is strong pushback from conservatives in the House GOP Conference.
While this play may be popular among House Republicans looking for a way to avoid a government shutdown, conservative groups are blasting the gambit, saying it’s a poor excuse for satire.
The discussion that has been taking place among conservatives on foreign policy is a welcome one. And though those of us who believe in a more constitutional approach to foreign affairs, perhaps best defined by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), cannot yet claim victory, there are growing signs that we are gaining influence in the conservative movement.
The editors of the National Review yesterday half-heartedly the endorsed military action that President Barack Obama seems prepared to take in Syria, not because they agree with the White House, but rather that inaction hurts the United States in the eyes of our enemies. Yes, that is what passes for foreign policy in Washington.
This is the prevailing argument at the moment from conservatives who support intervention in Syria. Essentially, it’s a matter of pride. President Obama laid down his so-called “red line” on the use of chemical weapons. Syrian President Bashar Assad called President Obama’s bluff, and now conservatives worry that the United States will look weak to Iran, Russia, or any other perceived boogymen that are out there in the world.
But Ramesh Ponnuru, a columnist at the conservative magazine, offered a dissident take yesterday on Syria, noting that the arguments made by the editors of the National Review don’t make much sense.
We all by now know that the IRS inappropriately targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups that were merely trying to get involved in the political process. But what you may not know is that there was an investigation into whether or not a former White House official discussed the tax returns of Koch Industries.
What makes this unique is that this company is owned by Charles and David Koch, brothers who frequently finance or donate to conservative and libertarian cause. The White House as well as most Democrats view the Koch brothers as boogymen and have used them in often misleading talking points about campaign finance.
Back in 2010, then-White House economic advisor Austan Goolsbee apparently discussed the Koch brothers tax records during a press briefing. The Treasury Department’s Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), at the urging of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and other members, announced that he would investigate the matter.
The National Review reported yesterday that the investigation is completely, however, the report will not be made available to Koch Industries or Sen. Grassley:
Is Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) the future of the Republican Party? That’s a question that observers on both and Right and the Left have diving into over the last couple of weeks.
Paul, who is considering a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, has found a niche in the conservative movement as a figure who embodies the traditional views of free market advocacy with a libertarian flair on civil liberties and foreign policy. His views on these issues have worried the Republican establishment — including his colleagues, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John McCain (R-AZ) — because they see his influence and popularity growing while the clout that they once enjoyed is diminished.
Similarly, the many on the Left are worried that Paul will be able to undercut them on these issues; especially civil liberties, in light of the NSA spying scandal. Paul has already pointed to polling that shows young voters noticeably souring on President Barack Obama in the wake of the government’s broad surveillance program.
In an editoral last week at the National Review, Rich Lowry discussed how the string of scandals coming out of the Obama Administration have helped Paul seize the spotlight.
Since he got back from his Memorial Day trip to Syria, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has come under fire from many conservatives who are having a hard time understanding why he wants to get the United States involved in yet another perilous military engagement that would align us with al-Qaeda.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been a voice of reason when it comes to the prospect of intervention in Syria, noting that our history of arming so-called “rebels” hasn’t worked out so well. He has pointed to Libya as example of how our intervention, lead by President Barack Obama and hawkish Republicans, has caused us further problems in the region and that Syria is very likely to turn out with the same ending.
In a column at the National Review, Andrew McCarthy, — a former Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted the “Blind Sheik,” Omar Abdel Rahman, on terrorism charges in 1995, explained why Republicans to ignore McCain’s call for the next war:
There is a stubborn fact Republicans may want to consider as McCain, their wayward foreign-policy guru, tries to browbeat them into Libya Act II — because, you know, Act I has worked out so well. It is this: The Obama administration’s shocking derelictions of duty in connection with the Benghazi massacre cannot erase the GOP fingerprints all over the Libyan debacle. Obama is the one who took us over the cliff, but only after McCain shoved him to the very edge.