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.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has been frequently mentioned at United Liberty since he came out of nowhere last year to defeat David Dewhurst in a heated primary campaign. Since taking office in January, Cruz has wasted no time in challenging the political establishment in Washington and further endearing himself to the conservative movement.
Alongside Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT), Cruz has made up a core of principled fiscal conservatives who have a genuine concern that the Constitution is being ignored, not just by the Obama Administration, but also his fellow Republicans. He, like Paul and Lee, has been a strong voice against gun control, taken a strong stand for civil liberties, driven the Republican establishment crazy, and perplexed the mainstream media. Perhaps his only real misstep along the way was his questioning of Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel, who would go on to win confirmation by the Senate.
There has been much debate in recent weeks over fusionism inside the liberty movement, especially now that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has become a prominent national political figure. This debate has been raging for years, but has really taken off for a number of reasons.
Writing yesterday at National Review, Jonah Goldberg, author of The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas, noted that conservatives and libertarians have always shared a core belief in economics, making us natural allies:
What often gets left out in discussions of the American Right is that fusionism isn’t merely an alliance, it is an alloy. Fusionism runs through the conservative heart. William F. Buckley, the founder of the conservative movement, often called himself a “libertarian journalist.” Asked about that in a 1993 interview, he told C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb that the question “Does this augment or diminish human liberty?” informed most of what he wrote.
Most pure libertarians and the tiny number of truly statist social conservatives live along the outer edge of the Venn diagram that is the American Right. Most self-identified conservatives reside in the vast overlapping terrain between the two sides.
Just look at where libertarianism has had its greatest impact: economics. There simply isn’t a conservative economics that is distinct from a libertarian one. Adam Smith, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises, James M. Buchanan & Co. are gods of the libertarian and conservative pantheons alike. When Pat Buchanan wanted to move America towards protectionism and statism, he had to leave the party to do it.
Last week, President Barack Obama met separately with House and Senate Republicans where he was asked about the future of the Keystone XL pipeline, which was stalled early last year despite a State Department report showing that it posed no substantial environmental threat. President Obama was ambiguous about the pipeline, which would create thousands of new jobs, both direct and indirect.
While I can understand why conservatives have an affinity for her, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) has been a fiscal nightmare for the Copper State. Sure, she confronted President Barack Obama and pushed through a restrictionist immigration bill that has became popular in several red states.
But when it comes to fiscal policy, Gov. Brewer has been far from a conservative. In 2010, Chris Edwards, writing in the Cato Institute’s Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors, explained that Brewer not only pushed a sales tax increase, but also vetoed a budget because it cut spending. In 2012, Edwards noted that Brewer has “usually proposed substantial increases in spending” in her budget proposals.
Unfortunately, Brewer’s poor fiscal record doesn’t end there. While she did reject ObamaCare’s state exchange, Brewer decided last week to go along with the expansion of Medicaid provided under the law.
Last week, American Majority Action (AMA), a group frustrated with House Republican leadership’s willingness to raise taxes and the purge of conservatives from key committees, called for House Speaker John Boehner to be replaced. AMA explained that if 16 House Republicans were to abstain from the vote for Speaker in January that Boehner wouldn’t be re-elected.
Ned Ryun, president of AMA, wrote a call to action at RedState urging activists to start calling House Republicans to ask them to abstain from the vote. Some may dismiss the notion put forward by Ryun, but the idea, which has been endorsed by Erick Erickson, editor of RedState and a talk radio host, is gaining in popularity in conservative circles.
But instead of having Republican members abstain, they may actually have the opportunity to vote for an alternative.
Should a debt deal go sour, the buzz is that Tom Price, a 58-year-old physician from Georgia, may challenge John Boehner for the speaker’s gavel.
“Price is the person we’re all watching,” says an aide close to House leadership. “We know he’s frustrated, but we don’t know much else.”
The writing is on the wall for Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican who nominated for United States Senate. When discussing rape and abortion on St. Louis-based KTVI on Sunday, Akin said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.” Since then many prominent Republicans, including GOP nominee Mitt Romney, who is already being linked to the controversial comments, have condemned Akin’s remarks. Others — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) — have called on Akin to end his campaign. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has gone as far to say that Akin shouldn’t even bother coming to the party’s convention next week.
Akin tried to do damage control yesterday by apologizing for his remarks during an appearance on Mike Huckabee’s radio show, but it’s hard to see how this will make anything better (emphasis mine):
Huckabee gave Akin a chance to apologize for the comment, and he did — he said something that was “wrong,” and hurtful to rape victims. Good so far. But right after that, Huckabee prodded Akin to define what he meant by “legitimate.” Did he mean “forcible”?
Yes, said Akin. “I was talking about forcible rape,” he said. “I used the wrong word.”
Republicans in Texas will head to the polls today to cast their ballots in the runoff in the United States Senate race between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst. While Dewhurst’s team is touting an internal poll showing him with the lead in the race, a Polling Policy Polling survey released just yesterday shows Cruz up by 10 points:
PPP’s final poll of the Republican Senate runoff in Texas finds Ted Cruz opening up a 52-42 lead, an increase from our survey two weeks ago that found him ahead 49-44.
Cruz’s victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.
Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party voters, more than making up for a 56-39 deficit to Dewhurst with voters who don’t consider themselves members of that movement. There has been too much of a tendency to ascribe any Republican primary upset over the last few years to Tea Party voters, but this is one case where it’s well justified.
Cruz has a 63-33 advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in Tuesday’s runoff election. He also has a 49-45 advantage with those describing themselves as ‘somewhat excited.’ The only reason this race is even remotely competitive is Dewhurst’s 59-31 lead with voter who say they’re ‘not that excited’ about voting. It’s an open question whether those folks will really show up and if they don’t it’s possible Cruz could end up winning by closer t0 20 points.