It appears that the 2012 race for President is all but set. Mitt Romney will very likely win the Republican nomination and he will face Barack Obama in November. For those of us concerned about restoring liberty, the rule of law and the Constitution, and getting a grips on our debt and economic crisis; this is not a joyous prospect. Neither man has a record of leadership on those issues and in fact, both men have proven time and time again to be advocates of more government, more spending, and more debt. No matter who is elected President, I’m not optimistic that our serious issues, especially concerning the debt and the economy will be addressed. We need to look elsewhere to at least hold the tide against more spending and more debt. We need to really pour our energies into the Congressional elections and electing more Constitutional conservatives and libertarians.
Every even numbered year, we have the chance to change the entire makeup of the House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. Imagine what kind of difference we can make if we elected Constituional conservative majority in the House and give Jim DeMint, Tom Coburn, Rand Paul, and Mike Lee some more company in the Senate this go around. The only way to do that is get involved. Find a Constitutional conservative candidate in the primaries and back them and volunteer for them. If there isn’t one in your district, consider running yourself. Granted, it maybe too late in many states to do this for 2012, but consider it for 2014.
Stephen Slivinski is senior economist at the Goldwater Institute. Previously he was director of budget studies at the Cato Institute, senior economist at the Tax Foundation, and a senior editor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Mr. Slivinski is the author of the book, Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, published in 2006.
One thing that makes Newt Gingrich an attractive presidential candidate to many conservatives is his term as Speaker of the House and his role as the captain of the Republican Revolution of 1994. But a closer look at the history of the years between 1995 and when he stepped down as speaker in 1998 show that Gingrich was usually at odds with those pushing the Reaganite vision of a truly limited federal government. In fact, when the Republican Revolution succeeded at all it was often in spite of Newt Gingrich, not because of him. Unfortunately, too many conservatives have forgotten this or perhaps may not have known it at all.
Gingrich does indeed come across as an eloquent defender of limited government principles. In 1995, he envisioned the new GOP congressional majority presaging a cultural revolution in Washington, D.C. “The real breaking point is when you find yourself having a whole new debate, with new terms. That’s more important than legislative achievements,” Gingrich told a reporter on the first day of the 104th Congress. “We’ll know in six months whether we have accomplished that.”
Guess what? The race for the Republican nomination has been shaken up again. Many of us saw Herman Cain’s downfall coming, it was only a matter of time. But still the fact that he lasted this far into the race is concerning given his lack of experience and complete lack of knowledge on some of the most basic issues, including foreign policy.
It looks as though Newt Gingrich has been able to capitalize on Cain’s misfortune and, as noted earlier, seems like to receive an endorsement. Gingrich leads in six of the last nine national polls, hold a single-digit lead in Iowa, and double-digit leads in Florida and South Carolina. Mitt Romney still leads in New Hampshire, but Gingrich and Ron Paul are gaining steam.
On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) took a shot at the Tea Party movement while discussing the sequester and the Simpson-Bowles fiscal reform plan with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
Coburn, who is serving his last term in the Senate, objected to S. 788, which would suspend the sequester for the current fiscal year. The sequester — a plan that merely cuts the rate of spending increases, is being blamed for flight delays due to FAA furloughs of air traffic controllers — a move with political motivations behind it.
“What is happening in the Senate is phenomenal, and I want the American people to see this, Coburn explained. “The Federal Government is 89 percent bigger than it was 10 years ago. We just heard the majority leader say flexibility can’t work because we are already dealing with the same amount of money — 89 percent more than we were 10 years ago.”
“I didn’t vote for the Budget Control Act. I think sequester is a stupid way to cut spending. But I want us to understand exactly what is going on,” Coburn continued. “This is a contrived situation because no effort — zero effort — by the FAA or the Department of Transportation has been made to have any flexibility in terms of how they spend their money. They have made no request for a reprogramming of funds within the FAA. They have over $500 million unobligated sitting in balances that aren’t obligated, so none of this had to happen. This has been a created situation.”
Reid responded with revisionist history, bogus numbers, and a slam against both Coburn and the Tea Party movement.
There is a real push on to try and and enact stricter gun control in this country after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s proposed bill is scaring the pants out of gun owners throughout the nation. However, ABC News points out that there is one really big roadblock in the way, and that is Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK).
Conservatives revere the Oklahoma Republican for his fiscal hawkishness and regular reports on government waste. But he’s also a staunch gun-rights advocate, and he’s shown a willingness to obstruct even popular legislation, something in the Senate that a single member can easily accomplish.
That mixture could make Coburn the biggest threat to quick passage of new gun-control laws in the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., shooting that has prompted even pro-gun NRA-member lawmakers like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to endorse a new look at how access to the most powerful weapons can be limited.
Coburn’s office did not respond to multiple requests to discuss the current push for gun legislation. But given his record, it’s hard to imagine Coburn agreeing to a major, new proposal without some fuss.
Personally, I happen to agree with them on this one. Why? History. Coburn was instrumental in blocking the last knee jerk bill that came about after one of these rampage shootings. As ABC points out:
Oklahoma’s Sen. Tom Coburn has put forth an amendment on the new NDAA (not to be confused with last year’s NDAA that we have written about a lot here at United LIberty). The proposal deals with veterans gun rights, and it’s definitely churned the waters a bit in the senate:
Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican, wants veterans who have been deemed “mentally incompetent” to have their cases adjudicated by a judge — rather than the Department of Veterans Affairs, as happens currently — and argued that veterans who simply cannot support themselves financially are needlessly given the label and, as such, cannot buy or possess firearms.
“We’re not asking for anything big,” Mr. Coburn said Thursday evening on the Senate floor. “We’re just saying that if you’re going to take away the Second Amendment rights … they ought to have it adjudicated, rather than mandated by someone who’s unqualified to state that they should lose their rights.”
Written by Christopher Preble, Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
The fiscal cliff is looming and Washington is scrambling to reach a deal to avoid a Thelma and Louise ending in January. To start, policymakers need to identify spending cuts, and they could begin with Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) just-released report on wasteful and duplicative spending in the Pentagon. The report identifies savings totaling at least $67.9 billion over the next decade in the Department of Defense. The common thread linking these disparate recommendations—from axing non-military research and development projects ($6 billion) to eliminating Pentagon-operated grocery stores ($9 billion)—is that the expenditures “have little to do with national security” and therefore could be implemented “without impacting our national security.” “Many of these programs, initiatives or research projects,” the report explains:
may serve worthy interests, but should not be the job of our military tasked with fighting and winning the nation’s wars.
It may not sound like a lot of money when compared to the $1 trillion budget deficit this year, but a new report released today by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) indentifies 100 projects representing $18.9 billion in wasteful spending approved by Congress in the last fiscal year, the National Journal reports:
As part of an annual “Wastebook” he released [Tuesday], the Oklahoma Republican identified 100 government-backed projects, including a $300,000 effort to promote caviar consumption, that he says highlight the spend-happy nature of Congress at a time Americans are “struggling just to put the basics on the family dinner table.” Combined, the projects total $18.9 billion in what Coburn sees as excess spending.
“How many nutritious school lunches could have been served with the $1.8 million in financial assistance provided to cupcake specialty shops?,” Coburn asks in a letter at the start of the report.
The report derides initiatives from all branches of government, including some increased food stamp benefits for recipients that use medical marijuana, a NASA program designed to research proper food and drink for an unscheduled future mission to Mars and a $32,000 project to recreate a historic street out of Legos.
Coburn also calls out his colleagues for failing to address enough legislation, citing the statistic that they are on track to be the least productive legislature in history. The cost of their inactivity? $132 million, according to the report.
Yesterday Senators Mark Udall and Tom Coburn introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of Presidential Election Campaign Funds for party conventions after 2012. Many people don’t even know that the federal government puts over $36 million into the parties’ presidential campaigns. There are a couple things to mention about this proposal.
First, it prohibits use of funds for presidential campaigns after 2012. So this wouldn’t save us a dime for four years. It tends to make you think that maybe this proposal is just election year politics.
On top of that, the money to be saved is only 0.002% of the national deficit. It’s $36.6 million with a deficit of more than $1.5 trillion. To put this in perspective, I made this chart:
Even though the proposed savings here is such a small fraction of what needs to be cut, and even though this is done in the heat of an election year when it’s probably not being done for all the right reasons, we should embrace this proposal. Getting any senator to give specifics of what to cut is a feat. (To be fair, there are exceptions, and Coburn is usually one of them.)
We need to balance the federal budget. There is no chance that we can sustain adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt each year. Even though this proposal is barely cutting into that deficit at all, it’s a start. And Senators Udall and Coburn should be commended for their efforts.
During the fight over the debt ceiling last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) took a lot of heat from conservative groups for his part in the “Gang of Six” negotiations, which would have raised taxes in addition to cutting spending.
Coburn, who has been on the frontlines in fighting government waste during his two terms in the Senate, fought back as loudly as much as he could until it was evident that the bipartisan group’s efforts would go to waste. While I don’t agree that revenues are the problem in Washington, Coburn at least took a principled stand and worked for a solution to the nation’s long-term fiscal problems, not just short-term fix on which so many eventually settled.
But Coburn done with the issue. In his new book, The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting America, Coburn explains our fiscal situation and offers his own plan for bring Washington back on the path to sustainability. He also criticizes “careerist” politicians for catering to special interests instead of tackling fiscal issues:
Sen. Tom Coburn’s new book, “The Debt Bomb: A Bold Plan to Stop Washington from Bankrupting American,” critiques Congress in harsh terms and warns of further economic crisis if lawmakers do not get the nation’s deficit under control.
“Congress today is a stagnant pond that needs to be drained and refilled with a steady stream of new public servants,” he writes, according to excerpts provided to ABC News. “I’m a fan of the Jack Welch principle in reverse for Congress … fire 90 percent of members every election and only keep the 10 percent who were productive.”