Pat Toomey

A note to the Liberty Movement: This is our defining moment

Obama and Romney debate

Mitt Romney had his clock cleaned on Tuesday night. There is no getting around it. People can talk about his campaign couldn’t have done any better. There isn’t much disagreement on this end. Many conservatives are understandably frustrated with how the election turned out.

Romney ran this race in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Yet, he still lost. This didn’t happen because of a lack of GOTV efforts and phone-banking. Romney lost because he failed to run on big ideas that would have made the choice before voters more clear.

Republicans didn’t win because they nominated a guy who passed a law in Massachusetts that would later serve as a blueprint for ObamaCare. When he was on the campaign trail, Romney and his surrogates played up his “experience” on the issue. There was no real distinction.

Throughout the course of the campaign Romney said that that the United States is facing long-term economic problems. However, Romney never put forward a substantive plan that would actually get spending under control.

Profiles in Liberty: Tom Smith, Conservative Senate Candidate in Pennsylvania

Senate candidate Tom Smith, a former Democrat, is an accomplished businessman and a Tea Party conservative. Tom still lives on the farm in Armstrong County where he grew up. After high school, he postponed college to help his father tend that farm and supplemented his income by driving a school bus. After a few years, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Saundy, started a family, and went to work in a local surface coal mine.

In 1989, Tom entered the coal business himself. He succeeded, building a series of companies in a highly regulated industry. When he sold the companies in 2010, they were mining more than a million tons of coal each year.

Now, Tom wants to re-claim for Republicans the seat Sen. Bob Casey took from Rick Santorum in 2006. Follow him on Twitter @TomSmithforPA.

Tom Smith

Matt Naugle: You were a registered Democrat from age 18 until August 2011.  As a Democrat, you were elected official Plumcreek Township and were a member of the United Mine Workers. Now, you’re a major donor to Republican candidates and a Tea Party leader. How did you become a conservative?

Tom Smith: I’ve always been a conservative and supported pro-growth and pro-freedom candidates and causes.  My father and mother were registered Democrats, so when I was 18 I registered the same out of respect for them. It was over the years, while building a family and starting a business I became more and more vocal with my conservative views.

MN: You went from working on your father’s farm and driving a bus to running a 100,000 tons/month coal mining operation. Do you agree with President Obama that you did not build the company?

“Super Committee” members named

All of the Members of Congress that will serve on the so-called “Super Committee,” the group created as part of the debt deal between the White House and Congress to find $1.5 trillion in “deficit reduction” in the coming months, have been made public:

The top Republicans in the House and the Senate appointed six more lawmakers on Wednesday to the bipartisan committee that is supposed to recommend steps to reduce federal budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

Speaker John A. Boehner chose three senior Republican House members: Jeb Hensarling of Texas, and Dave Camp and Fred Upton, both of Michigan.

Mr. Hensarling, who is chairman of the House Republican Conference, will be co-chairman of the new panel, along with Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington.

The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, chose Senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania for the 12-member panel.

As noted, Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), who hasn’t been one to restrain spending, was named by Senate Majority Harry Reid. She will serve with Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Max Baucus (D-MT). House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi named her picks today:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has selected Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) for the so-called “supercommittee” on Thursday.

Podcast: Liberty Candidate - Jake Towne (Pennsylvania’s 15th District)

Continuing the Liberty Candidate Series, Brett interviews Jake Towne, discussing his campaign, positions on issues, and his candidacy.  Towne is running for U.S. Congress in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District as an unaffiliated candidate.

This special edition podcast is the fourth in a series devoted to showcasing liberty candidates nationwide.  Towne talks about his fiscal economics-driven campaign against an incumbent Republican in Pennsylvania (in a seat previously held by Pat Toomey).

You can download the podcast here. The introduction music is “Silence is Violence” by the always lovely Aimee Allen.

You can subscribe to the RSS of JUST our podcasts here, or you can find our podcasts on iTunes here.

Arlen Specter is Not the Enemy

First, watch a little of this YouTube Video:

Now, watch this short one:

Pro-Second Amendment group launches push against gun control

With the White House and Senate Democrats preparing to make another go on gun control, one pro-Second Amendment group has launched a comprehensive campaign in 20 states to drive gun owners and grassroots activists to engage their elected officials about the issue.

The National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR) launched a massive TV, direct mail, email and social media campaign against gun control in nearly 20 states over the July 4th weekend,” the organization stated on Monday in a press release. “NAGR’s campaign is focused on reminding gun owners and grassroots activists in those states that at least one of their U.S. Senators is being targeted by the anti-gun lobby to vote for gun control before the August recess.”

“Michael Bloomberg and the anti-gun DC gun control lobby are spending tens of millions of dollars to bully U.S. Senators into voting for gun control,” said Dudley Brown, Executive Vice President of NAGR in the release. “Our campaign is designed to counter Bloomberg’s millions by mobilizing our more than 3 million members and supporters to encourage their U.S. Senators to oppose gun control at every opportunity.”

The NAGR pointed to an ad they’re running in Pennsylvania against Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who co-sponsored the failed measure to expand background checks to gun shows and online firearms sales.

One of NAGR’s TV ads is running statewide in Pennsylvania, targeting Republican Senator Pat Toomey’s efforts to bailout President Barack Obama’s failed push for expanded federal gun control. The ad begins by invoking the IRS scandal and NSA spying and then turns attention to Toomey.

Toomey Spokesman: Background Check Measure “Unlikely” to Come Up Again

As noted earlier this week, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the primary sponsor of the expanded background checks amendment that failed last month in the Senate, told Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday that he would continue to gather votes in hopes to bring the measure up again as a “clean bill.”

Wallace had asked Manchin about comments made by the measure’s co-sponsor, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who said that he thought the issue was done in the chamber and that he would be returning his attention to “economic and fiscal matters.”

“I don’t think he’s done. I really don’t know,” Manchin told Wallace. “I was with Pat last night and Pat’s totally committed to this bill and I believe that with all of my heart and we’re going to work this bill — when people read the bill, just take time to read the bill.”

Via the Weekly Standard, Toomey has reiterated his view that the push for greater gun control measures is done in the Senate, at least for now:

Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., the dynamic duo who drafted a gun sale background check compromise bill, find themselves divided now on the future of gun control.

A Libertarian Case For Manchin-Toomey

Robert Levy

Robert Levy, the chairman of the Cato Institute and co-counsel in the landmark Second Amendment case, District of Columbia v. Heller, had an op-ed in The New York Times over the weekend arguing that the Manchin-Toomey gun background check bill that was recently defeated in the Senate is something that gun rights advocates should be supporting rather than trying to block:

I’m a libertarian who played a role in reducing handgun restrictions in the nation’s capital. In 2008, in a landmark case I helped initiate, Heller v. District of Columbia, the Supreme Court declared for the first time that the Second Amendment protected an individual’s right to bear arms.

But the stonewalling of the background check proposal was a mistake, both politically and substantively. Following a series of tragic mass shootings, public opinion is overwhelmingly in favor of reasonable legislation restricting the ownership of guns by people who shouldn’t have them. There was also plenty in the proposal that gun-rights proponents like me could embrace.

The compromise — carefully negotiated by two moderate gun-rights supporters, Senators Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, and Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania — should be reintroduced in the Senate. I am convinced that, with some modifications, it could still be passed, because it would add reasonable protections for both gun owners and sellers.

Background Checks Bill Could Come Up Again in the Senate

Joe Manchin

Yesterday on Fox New Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who sponsored the expanded background checks measure that was recently defeated in upper chamber, told Chris Wallace that the measure will “absolutely” come up for a vote again.

“It came out today that your cosponsor, Pat Toomey says, no, I’m done with it. Do you really think that the expansion of background checks can be revised and can be passed by the U.S. Senate?” Wallace asked Manchin.

I certainly do,” the West Virginia Senator replied. “The only thing that we’ve asked for is that people would just read the bill. It’s a criminal and mental background check strictly at gun shows and online sales.”

“The way the law is today, if you go to a gun store, you have a background check done,” he continued. “If you go to a gun show and you go to a licensed dealer, they still do a background check. But you can go to the next table over and have no check at all.”

Most dealers at gun shows are licensed and online sales already have to be finalized by a licensed dealer, so that talking point is a red-herring.

“I want to make it clear — you’re going to bring this bill back,” said before being interupted. “Absolutely,” Manchin replied. “And you think it’s going to be different?” Wallace asked.

BREAKING: Manchin-Toomey Background Checks Defeated in the Senate

The Senate defeated an amendment proposed by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) that would have expanded background checks to firearms purchases made at gun shows and online.

The amendment failed by a vote of 54 to 46. Four Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL), John McCain (R-AZ), and Pat Toomey (R-PA) — voted for the measure. Five Democrats — Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mark Begich (D-AK), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mark Pryor (D-AR), and Harry Reid (D-NV) — voted against it. Reid only voted against the measure to reserve the right to bring it back up at a later time.

While it’s quite possible that Reid could bring the Manchin-Toomey amendment up for a vote again at a later date, it’s unlikely that it will pass without some changes. The

The National Rifle Association (NRA), which opposed the Manchin-Toomey amendment, hailed its defeat.

“Today, the misguided Manchin-Toomey-Schumer proposal failed in the U.S. Senate. This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution,” said NRA Executive Director Chris Cox in a statement.  ”As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”

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