National Review

Keystone XL Faces an Ominous Future

Keystone XL cartoon

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.

Jan Brewer: America’s Worst Republican Governor

Jan Brewer

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.

Tom Price eyeing bid for Speaker?

Tom Price

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.

This morning at National Review, Robert Costa explained that Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), who lost a bid for House Republican Conference Chair last month, has emerged as Boehner’s biggest threat:

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.”

Heat turns up on Akin to drop out of Senate race

Todd Akin

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.”

Ted Cruz up by 10 points over David Dewhurst

Ted Cruz

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.

Mike Huckabee for Vice President?

As he comes closer to securing the Republican presidential nomination, Ron Paul’s delegate strategy notwithstanding, Mitt Romney is no doubt weighing the various names that could partner with him on the ticket. There are a few safe picks that would appease conservatives, but not many that would appeal to independent voters; at least not without a proper rollout and a lot of selling.

But yesterday at the National Review, Robert Costa floated our old friend, Tax Hike Mike Huckabee, someone that has been under radar when it comes to a possible vice presidential pick:

[A]ccording to several sources close to the Romney campaign, who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the vice-presidential search, the 56-year-old Arkansan may be included in the veep mix.
[…]
To many Republicans, a ticket with a Mormon bishop and a Baptist preacher isn’t far-fetched. “In a way, it’s almost a dream ticket,” says Ed Rollins, the chairman of Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign. “He’s substantive and knows domestic policy, and his personality wouldn’t overshadow Romney’s.”

For now, it isn’t clear whether Huckabee is going to be vetted, or that he’s anywhere near Romney’s short list. But he is, at the very least, being discussed. As one Romney ally puts it, tapping Huckabee would energize tea-party conservatives, evangelicals, and related voters who soured on Romney during the GOP primaries. He’s also not a sweat-inducing pick, since he was vetted by the Beltway press during his presidential run four years ago.

National Review backs Richard Mourdock in Indiana

The primary between Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Richard Mourdock, who has been backed by prominent conservative groups, has been very interesting. It’s not necessarily a new story. Back in 2010, when the Tea Party movement was at its peak, several conservative challengers in House districts and Senate races across the country managed to beat establishment-backed candidates or incumbents. Many we’re subsequently successful in general elections, some weren’t so lucky.

It’s no secret that conservatives have their issues with Lugar, including many previously mentioned here before. FreedomWorks recently put out a voters guide (PDF) outlining many of the fiscal issues where has fallen short. However, Lugar’s problems haven’t just been limited to his voting record.

Lugar is now faced with the editors of the National Review, an influential conservative magazine, endorsing his more conservative opponent ahead of the May 8th primary:

National Review urges Gingrich to drop out

It’s no secret that the editors of the National Review, a highly influential conservative publication, aren’t fans of Newt Gingrich. Back in December, they came out against the former Speaker’s bid for the Republican nomination, despite his lead in GOP primary polls at the time. They weren’t finished. Just last month they slammed Gingrich for his for his anti-capitalist attacks on Mitt Romney’s wealth.

And yesterday, the National Review called on Gingrich to get out of the race and endorse Santorum, using Gingrich’s own logic from last month against him:

At the moment Rick Santorum appears to be overtaking Newt Gingrich as the principal challenger to Mitt Romney. Santorum has won more contests than Gingrich (who has won only one), has more delegates, and leads him in the polls. In at least one poll, he also leads Romney. It isn’t yet a Romney–Santorum contest, but it could be headed that way.

We hope so. Gingrich’s verbal and intellectual talents should make him a resource for any future Republican president. But it would be a grave mistake for the party to make someone with such poor judgment and persistent unpopularity its presidential nominee. It is not clear whether Gingrich remains in the race because he still believes he could become president next year or because he wants to avenge his wounded pride: an ambiguity that suggests the problem with him as a leader. When he led Santorum in the polls, he urged the Pennsylvanian to leave the race. On his own arguments the proper course for him now is to endorse Santorum and exit.

National Review, Ron Paul defend Mitt Romney against anti-capitalist attacks

We’re beginning to see some backlash against Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry’s (and to a lesser extent, Jon Huntsman) anti-capitalist attacks against Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital. The National Review, an influential voice in the conservative movement, lashed out at Romney’s critics:

Gingrich and Perry have between them about eleven minutes’ worth of relevant private-sector experience — Perry being subsidized by the federal government to farm cotton, Gingrich subsidizing himself by farming his political connections — and therefore may not know (or care) what a private-equity firm such as Bain does. (Gingrich might consider asking his friends at leveraged-buyout firm Forstmann Little, where he was on the board.) Bain is involved in, among other things, leveraged buyouts, meaning that the firm and its investors borrow money from banks to acquire companies, usually firms that are in trouble but believed to be salvageable. These firms generally are bought on the theory that they represent fundamentally sound underlying business enterprises that are for one reason or another performing deficiently, usually because of incompetent management. Strong, thriving companies rarely are targets for leveraged-buyout acquisitions — if things are going well, there is no incentive to sell the company. If the firms are publicly traded, they often are taken private, their stocks delisted from the exchanges, and then reorganized. Once the company has been returned to profitability, it is taken public again or sold to a private buyer, in the hopes of turning a profit on the deal.

Rick Santorum: The Candidate Who Would Be King

As we head into the South Carolina primary where former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum may still have a shot at the GOP nomination, it’s worth recalling what Sen. Santorum had to say about libertarians and others who favor limited government during an interview with NPR in August 2005:

One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a Libertarianish right. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.

This has rightly riled many libertarians, who insist that the “radical individualism” derided by Santorum was the basis for the American experiment. But libertarians should really be thanking Rick Santorum. He’s provided us with a valuable reminder that far from being a limited government ally of libertarianism, traditional conservatism is actually inimical to libertarian principles. Traditional conservatism was America’s first statist, big government ideology.


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