Republican Party

Santorum Hints He Will Run Again in 2016

His Frothiness

Few expected Rick Santorum to do as well as he did in the 2012 Republican Primaries.  Due to a confluence of events and a fair amount of stubborness on his part, he was the only serious challenger remaining against presumptive nominee Mitt Romney at the end.  With the departure of candidates like Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Michele Bachmann, Santorum became the last remaining “other than Mitt” in the race.

Apparently this bit of fortune has led Mr. Santorum, a true symbol of the worst side of conservatism if there ever were one, to think he has a shot in 2016.  According to the Washington Examiner:

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who emerged as the conservative populist in the 2012 GOP presidential primaries, is already running for the 2016 nomination for president.

Santorum, who has been making the rounds at conservative media outlets, this week stepped deeper into the presidential pool when he said that he isn’t “doing anything inconsistent” with a 2016 campaign.

Say what?  Now, I’m fully aware that there is still a sizable portion of the GOP that is perfectly fine with Santorum’s social views and willing to ignore his numerous sins against any notion of limited government.  But it’s hard to see how Santorum could be a major player again in 2016.  With the arrival of people like Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, it’s hard to see where he fits in.  Both Rubio and Paul are social conservatives with unimpeachable pro-life bona-fides, and it’s clear that the tide has massively changed on the issue of same-sex marriage to the point where an anti-gay message in 2016 could prove even more anachronistic than it is today.

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.”

Lindsey Graham Won’t Join Filibuster Against New Gun Control Measure

Lindsey Graham

When Democrats bring their new anti-gun control measures to the Senate floor next month, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) will not be among the Republicans who are working to stop them.

During an interview yesterday on CNN’s State of the Union, Graham told Candy Crowley that he believed that any legislation including universal background checks wouldn’t pass the Senate, but he added that he would not join a filibuster against the measures:

Sen. Lindsey Graham does not support extending background checks to gun sales between two individuals, nor does he think such a bill would pass the Senate, but he said Sunday he will not hold the measure up with a filibuster

“The only way I would filibuster a bill is if Sen. (Harry) Reid did not allow alternative amendments,” the South Carolina Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.”

The Hill Confirms GOP’s Image Problem

Republican Party

We’ve heard it before — Republicans have an image problem. There aren’t many who deny this, after a brutal election last year, and continued messaging problems this year. But with the fight over the FY 2014 budget still far from over and an important mid-term election next year, Republicans clearly have their work cut out for them.

And the problem Republicans have isn’t because of their ideas on fiscal matters. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Early last week, The Hill released a poll showing that voters actually responded well to the Republican budget message…as long as they didn’t know that it came from Republicans:

Respondents in The Hill Poll were asked to choose which of two approaches they would prefer on the budget, but the question’s phrasing included no cues as to which party advocated for which option.

Presented in that way, 55 percent of likely voters opted for a plan that would slash $5 trillion in government spending, provide for no additional tax revenue and balance the budget within 10 years — in essence, the path recommended by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week.
Only 28 percent of voters preferred this option, which reflects the proposal put forth by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) last week.

An even stronger majority of respondents, 65 percent, said U.S. budget deficits should be reduced mostly by cutting spending rather than by raising taxes. Just 24 percent said the budget should be balanced mostly by increasing revenue.

RNC Trashes Grassroots in 2012 Election “Autopsy”

Reince Priebus

The Republican National Committee released its long-awaited “autopsy” of the 2012 election, which is supposed to help the GOP determine a way forward in future elections. Let’s just say that the report is disappointing if you view the grassroots as an important part of the process:

The GOP’s prescription to cure the ills that helped bring on yet another disastrous presidential cycle would revamp its presidential nominating rules in ways to benefit well-funded candidates and hamper insurgents - a move that quickly heated up the already smoldering feud between the Republican establishment and the tea party-inspired base.

Tucked in near the end of the 97-page report, formally known as The Growth and Opportunity Project, are less than four pages that amount to a political bombshell: the five-member panel urges halving the number of presidential primary debates in 2016 from 2012, creating a regional primary cluster after the traditional early states and holding primaries rather than caucuses or conventions.
The recommendations are also a nod to the party’s donor class. Several donors bluntly told RNC Chair Reince Priebus at meetings right after the election that they wanted Iowa, with its more conservative base, to have less of a role in the process.

Kibbe, LaTourette Debate Direction of the GOP on “Fox News Sunday”

Matt Kibbe and Steve LaTourette

Yesterday, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, and former Rep. Steve LaTourette, President and CEO of the Republican Main Street Partnership, joined Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday to discuss the direction of the Republican Party.

Kibbe and FreedomWorks have focused on supporting fiscal conservatives in primaries across the country, including backing primary challenges to more moderate members of Congress. FreedomWorks was essential to electing Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz — all of which went up against establishment candidates or incumbents with questionable records. LaTourette and the Republican Main Street Partnership have tried to steer the Republican Party in a more centrist direction.

With the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held near Washington, DC this past weekend and other events — including the sequester and Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster — dominating the new cycle recently, there was plenty to discuss. Additionally, Kibbe and LaTourette represent two different views on how the Republican Party should fuction.

Justin Amash is “Certainly Open” to a Senate run in 2014

Justin Amash

Last week, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) announced that we would retire as the end of his current term. As I explained on Friday, this leaves a door open for Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who has been solid on fiscal issues and civil liberties, to make the jump to the Senate — and it looks like he may actually do it. According to The Detroit News, Amash is indeed weighing his options:

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a young firebrand in the lower chamber who has championed a Ron Paul-style of libertarian politics, said Monday he is “certainly open” to a run in 2014.

“Frankly, we can’t afford to nominate another unelectable establishment Republican,” Amash, R-Cascade Township, told The Detroit News. “History shows they don’t appeal to moderate and independent voters.”
Amash, 32, said a traditional establishment candidate cannot win the Senate seat. Posting explanations for his votes — including those that buck the GOP leadership — on his social media pages, Amash said he has enjoyed grassroots support to join the race.

“I don’t think any of the names that are being tossed around have quite hit the spot for most Republican voters or for most voters in the general election,” Amash said. “People both within the Republican Party and within the general electorate are tired of the pro-corporate welfare, anti-civil liberties Republican. I think we need to stop running on the past.”

It’s Time to Take the Car Keys from Lindsey Graham and John McCain

John McCain and Lindsey Graham

It happens in every family at some point. Grandpa has been driving for so much of his life, but as he becomes unsafe behind the wheel, the kids have to step in and take away his car keys.

More often than not, he’ll resist. He wants to control his life, though he doesn’t see the danger he causes when he’s driving. The family has to step in with a bit of an intervention, and Grandpa has to be forced usual space in the driver’s seat.

The Republican Party is in a similar situation. Grandpas McCain and Graham are growing increasingly dangerous behind the wheel of the Party every day. They’ve been driving things in the Party too long, and their reckless behavior puts the Party in jeopardy.

This is, of course, in the wake of what happened after Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster last week, but Graham and McCain have been out of control behind the wheel of the Republican Party for some time.

Recent quotes from the senators about Paul’s filibuster have been awkward and unusual at best. Referring to filibuster supporters as “wacko birds” and “impressionable libertarian kids” shows McCain’s senility. Graham called the filibuster supporters paranoid and openly sided with President Obama on the issue.

Beyond making silly quotes and siding with the opposition, Graham and McCain are trying to squash what Republicans now have that they have been longing for since before McCain’s presidential run: excitement.

After a lackluster eight years of President Bush, we’ve had two of the least inspiring presidential candidates possible. Nobody has been truly excited or inspired about Republican politics in quite a while.

And then on a Wednesday morning when nobody expected it, Senator Paul took a stand and ignited passion in the party.

The response from McCain and Graham? Disdain and panic.

Carl Levin’s Retirement Leaves an Open Door for Justin Amash

Justin Amash

Yesterday, Carl Levin (D-MI), who has served in the Senate since 1979 and was one of key figures behind the indefinite detention provision in the NDAA, announced that he would not seek re-election in 2014:

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, who has been a force for progressivism in the Senate since 1979 and made his mark in recent years as chairman of the powerful Armed Services Committee, will not run for re-election next year, likely setting off a political avalanche of interest in the seat.

Levin, 78, released a statement Thursday afternoon saying he made the decisions believing “I can best serve my state and my nation by concentrating in the next two years on the challenging issues before us … in other words, by doing my job without the distraction of campaigning for re-election.”

With Republicans having some modest success in the state in the 2010 mid-term, when Gov. Rick Synder was first elected, and taking control of the state legislature in the most recent election, there could be a door open to take control of this seat in 2014. Among those who may find interest in the seat coud be Rep. Justin Amash.

Rep. Amash, who has cast himself in the mold of Ron Paul and explains every single one of his votes on his Facebook page, has been one of the most vocal defenders of the Constitution in the House of Representatives. He has taken on his own party’s leadership and remained popular in his district.

Fathers, Families, and the GOP Identity Crisis

The Republican Party has an identity crisis. That crisis is rooted in two things; 1) their message is timid and easily demagogued by Democrats because, 2) they are not buying what they are selling. Or rather, while the rank and file members and the grassroots conservative base believe deeply in the principles of their party, the leadership of the party often seems embarrassed by conservative principles, and therefore their defense of said principles is anemic. And one thing Americans can detect like sharks with blood in the water is hypocrisy and lies (granted, that claim is undermined by the election and re-election of the Liar-in-Chief, Barack Obama, but work with me here).

For years I’ve said the problem with promoting conservative policies is liberal policies sound generous and compassionate, and conservative policies sound harsh and heartless. For example, Benjamin Franklin, one of the greatest political and scientific minds in American history, advocated helping the poor by making them as uncomfortable in their poverty as possible, motivating them to better their station in life (leaving the rest of society free to aid the truly poor, needy, and infirm, rather than the slothful and parasitic). Franklin’s philosophy sounds heartless, but nevertheless he is correct. When Republicans forced Bill Clinton to sign welfare reform into law, the liberal left wailed that poor people would be dying in the streets. Yet just the opposite happened. Realizing that feeding at the government trough would no longer be an unlimited proposition, millions of Americans came off the unemployment rolls, took advantage of job-training programs and other counseling, becoming productive members of society, and in the process gained a dignity and independence which they did not before possess.

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