Thad Cochran

Sorry, Washington Republicans, but it’s absolutely acceptable to criticize candidates who want grow the federal government

Voters are often told that conservatives should not challenge Washington-backed big government Republicans, because doing so could lead to Republican defeat. Yet it often seems that Washington Republicans don’t follow their own advice. It prompts the question, when does the Washington class really view it as appropriate to criticize Republican candidates?

Mississippi is one example. Washington Republicans asked Democratic voters to support their candidate, Sen. Thad Cochran, in his primary election. This was a violation of Mississippi law, so conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel is challenging the result.

This prompted Ann Coulter to write that Chris McDaniel was a “sore loser” whose supporters “don’t care that they’re gambling with a Republican majority in the Senate.”

This is not the first time Ann Coulter has complained about conservatives from the South or other locations around Middle America. Last October, she complained that conservatives in Minnesota had not done enough to help Sen. Norm Coleman win re-election against Sen. Al Franken, writing, “The inability to distinguish Coleman and McConnell… from Obamacare-ratifying Democrats is…insane.”

Establishment GOP will win* on Election Day, and it’s up to grassroots conservatives to hold them accountable

Senate Republican Leadership

All most signs point to Republicans taking the majority in the U.S. Senate tomorrow and sending Harry Reid and the Democrats “into the wilderness” for at least two years. For conservatives, tomorrow’s 74.4%-sure Republican victory will prove to be a double-edged sword.

This is a hard pill to swallow: Conservatives lost more than a few key primary battles against Establishment-back Republicans this cycle. It’s important to admit it — because, from there, conservatives can do two things:

Today in Liberty: Harry Reid doesn’t care about religious liberty, Ted Cruz wants a voter fraud investigation in Mississippi

“When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” — Benjamin Franklin

— Harry Reid plans to address Hobby Lobby: Though Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says the Senate will tackle legislation to address the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case in the coming weeks. He didn’t offer specifics, but The Hill notes this morning that Democrats on Capitol Hill are planning to introduce legislation before that August recess to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and reverse the decision. “At least three pieces of legislation being prepared by Democrats would help maintain access to free birth control for women affected by the court’s ruling,” The Hill explains, “though staffers provided few details on Monday.” Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) is reportedly “leading the push in the upper chamber.” Sen. Dick Durban (D-IL) plans to introduce legislation to require employers to disclose whether prescription birth control is covered by in their plans. That legislation is odd given that Hobby Lobby, for example, objected to two forms of over-the-counter birth control. Two House Democrats are also working on legislation to amend the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The measures being crafted by congressional Democrats have no chance of passage, but this is a wedge issue, so they’re going to play it up to motivate their base. Because politics and elections.

The shameless, unprincipled Republican Establishment may have lost by winning in Mississippi

Haley Barbour and Thad Cochran

Conservative Republicans are still smarting from last Tuesday’s defeat in Mississippi. Evidence seems to be mounting that pro-Thad Cochran allies used rather unsavory tactics to draw out traditionally-Democratic voters to swing the election in Cochran’s favor.

But the focus of this post isn’t really those tactics or the legality of non-Republican voters casting ballots in open primaries. Instead, Republicans — both moderate Establishment-types and grassroots conservaitves — should seriously consider the fallout from Cochran’s victory — because of those tactics. They could have broad implications against incumbents, particularly when the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) gets involved in the race.

Writing at The American Spectator, Scott McKay notes:

As such, the staffers say, it wasn’t until Wednesday, when the fallout began to descend, that Cochran’s tactics became an issue. And now, several senators are more than a little uneasy with those tactics, which they feel responsible for since they raised money for Cochran.

There is now special consideration being given to the NRSC’s practice of engaging in incumbent protection and favoritism. Said one staffer:

Today in Liberty: Obama gives a middle finger to Congress on Iraq, GOP establishment may lose by winning in Mississippi

“I believe that every individual is naturally entitled to do as he pleases with himself and the fruits of his labor, so far as it in no way interferes with any other men’s rights.” — Abraham Lincoln

— What dystopian country does Obama think he runs?: President Barack Obama says he has constitutional authority to send American troops to Iraq without congressional approval. “This action is being undertaken in coordination with the Government of Iraq and has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). “I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.” As a reminder, the War Powers Resolution doesn’t give a president carte blanche to bomb a country or deploy troops whenever he pleases. It lays out very specific conditions in 50 USC § 1541(c) under which the White House can utilize its powers: a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization, or a national emergency created by an attack on the United States. The 2002 Iraq war resolution is, basically, irrelevant in the current situation, meaning that President Obama should seek authorization before sending advisers or troops to Iraq or approving military strikes against ISIL.

Today in Liberty: Battle over Ex-Im Bank builds; MSNBC host thanks David Koch… really?!

“The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people.” — Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

— Lots of Ex-Im Bank news from Capitol Hill: House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) demurred when asked about the future of the Export-Import Bank. “My job is to work with our members to get to a place where the members are comfortable,” Boehner told reporters. “Some people believe that we shouldn’t have it at all. Others believe that we should reauthorize it with significant reforms, and we’re going to work our way through this.” He’s not saying that the Bank is doomed, but he isn’t throwing his weight behind it either, which is significant. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), however, said that the upper chamber should vote on reauthorization. “I think we ought to take it up,” McConnell said. “That’s the whole point of what we’ve been talking about here. The fact that there are dissent and disagreement is not unusual. It’s a country of 315 million people, lot of different points of view. They expect us to debate these issues and vote on them here in the Senate.” House Democrats are making a push for reauthorization, introducing legislation that would extend the Export-Import Bank’s charter for seven years. Because cronyism.

Today in Liberty: Obama secretly argued against your Constitutional rights; Republicans will decide Cochran vs. McDaniel today

“Political success over time is determined by the number and effectiveness of activists on either side.” — Morton Blackwell, founder and president of the Leadership Institute

— You have no constitutional rights: Because they can be revoked by the federal government whenever we’re at war. At least that’s what the Obama administration argued in the July 2010 legal memo it used to justify the assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki. “We do not believe that [al-Awlaki’s] U.S. citizenship imposes constitutional limitations that would preclude the contemplated lethal action under the facts represented to us by DoD, the CIA and the Intelligence Community,” the memo says (begins on p. 67). “Based upon the facts represented to us, moreover, the target of the contemplated operation has engaged in conduct as part of that organization that brings him within the scope of the AUMF.” More here. Two things about the memo. Once we begin sacrificing constitutional protections, for whatever reason, we begin going down a very dangerous road. But let’s remember that this isn’t the first step down that road, just the most recent. The other point is that David Barron, the author of this memo, was recently confirmed by Senate Democrats to serve on the First District Court of Appeals.

Today in Liberty: Rand Paul smacks down Obama’s neocon foreign policy, House passes Massie NSA amendment

“Talk is cheap…except when Congress does it.” — Cullen Hightower

— Rand Paul smacks down Obama and neocon foreign policy: In an editorial at the Wall Street Journal, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) cautions the Obama administration and lawmakers from choosing sides in, what has become, the Iraq civil war. But something he mentioned in the piece deserves some attention. “Saying the mess in Iraq is President Obama’s fault ignores what President Bush did wrong. Saying it is President Bush’s fault is to ignore all the horrible foreign policy decisions in Syria, Libya, Egypt and elsewhere under President Obama, many of which may have contributed to the current crisis in Iraq. For former Bush officials to blame President Obama or for Democrats to blame President Bush only serves as a reminder that both sides continue to get foreign policy wrong. We need a new approach, one that emulates Reagan’s policies, puts America first, seeks peace, faces war reluctantly, and when necessary acts fully and decisively,” Paul writes. “Too many in Washington are prevented by their own pride from admitting their mistakes. They are more concerned about saving face or pursuing a rigid ideology than they are with constructing a realist foreign policy.” Basically, both sides are to blame for the foreign policy mess that we’re in today, and there’s really no getting around that.

Today in Liberty: House Republican Leadership elections are today, terrible bipartisan idea to hike the gas tax on the horizon

“The more the state ‘plans,’ the more difficult planning becomes for the individual.” — F.A. Hayek

— Raul Labrador makes his case for Majority Leader: Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) pitched his candidacy on Wednesday for House Majority Leader to his fellow Republicans. “If you have an idea, I want to empower you to take it through committee. You will not always succeed, but I want you to feel like you had a fair shot. I want members of Congress to be more relevant than the staff. Why are we even here if the leadership staff is going to make all decisions any way?” Labrador asked, according to prepared remarks. “I want the process to work. If bills pass, they must pass on their merits. I don’t want any more SGR bills passing on voice votes, Transportation/Postal Reform deals that nobody has heard of, NSA reform bills that pass a committee unanimously and are changed and watered down in the Rules committee.” He also said that he wants bill text posted online for at least 72 hours before the House votes and for the Republicans to keep their pledge to “reform Congress and restore trust,” asking his colleagues if they believed that they’d followed through on that promise. “If you vote for the status quo [on Thursday], you will prove that we are still not listening,” said Labrador. “We will break our pledge and with that we may lose the ability to regain control of the Senate and eventually win the Presidency.” The vote is schedule for today. We’ll have the results posted as soon as they’re available. Courtsey of Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), you can get an idea of how some House Republicans plan to vote.

Defeat Thad: Democratic operative working with pro-Cochran PAC to turn out voters for a Republican runoff

The runoff strategy for Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) and his Republican establishment supporters wasn’t exactly a secret. They know Cochran needs to get Democrats to crossover to beat Chris McDaniel in the June 24 runoff, so, naturally, they’ve hired a Democrat.

The Jackson-based Clarion-Ledger reports that the so-called “Mississippi Conservatives PAC” is working with a Mississippi Democrat to get African-American voters to support Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in Tuesday’s runoff:

A Democratic political operative says he is working with Mississippi Conservatives PAC to drum up votes for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.

James “Scooby Doo” Warren said he has put together a get-out-the-vote (GOTV) plan and is “putting it in place across the whole state.” Warren said he is not working with the Cochran campaign itself but for the PAC and Bishop Ronnie Crudup Sr.

Crudup is the pastor at New Horizon Church, which shares an address and chief financial officer with a newly formed super PAC that ran print advertising in the primary supporting Cochran.


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