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I won’t sugarcoat this. Democrats have shown recently that they’re soft on crime, including mass murderers. Thanks to Ed Morrissey’s post and Paul Sperry’s reporting, we’re finally getting a view of why Nikolas Cruz wasn’t flagged.

Simply put, the Obama administration’s Department of Education essentially ordered schools to stop reporting crimes or risk getting federal funding pulled. Let’s remember that then-Attorney General Eric Holder went on a crusade against mass incarcerations. (I’ll return to this in a bit.)

According to Sperry’s reporting, the “responsibility falls on the Obama administration’s Department of Education, which attempted to disconnect punishment from crimes committed by students.” Further, “In 2013, the school district in Broward County rewrote its disciplinary procedures to avoid referrals to law enforcement. Current superintendent Robert Runcie developed the program, and the Department of Education not only endorsed it but made it part of their own policies.”

It goes further:

In January 2014, Duncan’s department issued new discipline guidelines strongly recommending that schools use law enforcement measures and out-of-school suspensions as a last resort. Announced jointly by Duncan and then-Attorney General Eric Holder, the new procedures came as more than friendly guidance from Uncle Sam – they also came with threats of federal investigations and defunding for districts that refused to fully comply.

Broward County was a willing participant:

No district has taken this new approach further than Broward County. The core of the approach is a program called PROMISE (Preventing Recidivism through Opportunities, Mentoring, Interventions, Support & Education), which substitutes counseling for criminal detention for students who break the law. According to the district website, the program is “designed to address the unique needs of students who have committed a behavioral infraction that would normally lead to a juvenile delinquency arrest and, therefore, entry into the juvenile justice system.”

In other words, the new disciplinary system implemented at Holder’s insistence is minimal, almost non-existent discipline based on … who knows what?

We’ve got another school shooting but at least we don’t have increased recidivism. I can’t imagine how relieved those parents in Broward County are to hear that.

Additional literature reveals that students referred to PROMISE for in-school misdemeanors – including assault, theft, vandalism, underage drinking and drug use – receive a controversial alternative punishment known as restorative justice.

“Rather than focusing on punishment, restorative justice seeks to repair the harm done,” the district explains. Indeed, it isn’t really punishment at all. It’s more like therapy. Delinquents gather in “healing circles” with counselors, and sometimes even the victims of their crime, and talk about their feelings and “root causes” of their anger.

What type of stupidity is this? Holder and Broward County superintendent Robert Runcie should be named as defendants in the parents’ wrongful death lawsuit. This should never have happened. Think of the list of crimes that are overlooked by PROMISE: assault, theft, vandalism, underage drinking and drug use. Which of those crimes sounds like a touchy-feely type of crime.

To the liberals and the shit-for-brains libertarians that think we should look past these things, I have a simple message. Tell that to the parents of those that died on Valentines Day inside Marjory Stoneman-Douglas HS.

Then there’s Holder’s foolish campaign against mass incarceration. In Medellin, Columbia, Holder said this:

The path we are currently on is far from sustainable. As we speak, roughly one out of every 100 American adults is behind bars. Although the United States comprises just five percent of the world’s population, we incarcerate almost a quarter of the world’s prisoners. While few would dispute the fact that incarceration has a role to play in any comprehensive public safety strategy, it’s become evident that such widespread incarceration is both inadvisable and unsustainable. It requires that we routinely spend billions of dollars on prison construction—and tens of billions more, on an annual basis, to house those who are convicted of crimes. It carries both human and moral costs that are too much to bear. And it results in far too many Americans serving too much time in too many prisons—and beyond the point of serving any good law enforcement reason.

Mr. Holder, I triple-dog dare you to give that speech to the parents of the students who will never see their kids again. Mr. Holder and Sheriff Israel had the ability to prevent this mass shooting. Instead, they did nothing.

Sheriff Israel should be terminated ASAP and stripped of his pension, if that’s possible. The harm he’s done is immense and irreparable. Holder should never be allowed to be part of an administration ever again. Between this mass shooting and the deaths from Fast and Furious, he’s had a hand in too much killing of innocents.

Again, the government screwed up multiple times but Democrat politicians insist that the remedy for governmental incompetence is impinging on our constitutional rights. It isn’t surprising that people think politicians are stupid.

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The Democratic Party has waged a war against straightforward speech for decades. They aren’t pro-abortion. They’re pro-choice. They aren’t anti-gun. They’re for gun control. They aren’t pro-terrorist. They’re just opposed to racial and religious profiling. They aren’t big spenders. They’re pro-government ‘investment’. They aren’t the party of tax increases. They’re the party that favors the one-percent paying their fair share. They aren’t anti-fossil fuel. They’re pro-green energy. They aren’t pro-oppressive regulation. They’re for ‘common-sense regulations’.

Pardon my French but that’s BS. Democrats are pro-euphemism because that’s the only way their ideas sound palatable. If they didn’t spin what they’re for, they’d never win another election throughout eternity. At minimum, they’d get their butts kicked each year if they couldn’t hide their real identity.

The truth is that today’s Democratic Party is a collection of lunatics that don’t care about national security or our Constitution. The proof of that is the legislation that they pushed and the faux sit-in they staged. I wrote this article to highlight Hawaii’s disgust with the Constitution. Their governor just signed a bill that requires Hawaiians who buy a gun in Hawaii to register that gun, which then requires law enforcement to put all gun owners on the FBI’s criminal watch list. The bill blatantly thumbs its nose at the constitutional principles of due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

The Democrats’ fundraising rally on the House floor shows that Democrats aren’t serious about protecting our nation from terrorists. Democrats put a higher priority on playing word games to achieve their goal of controlling people.

The Democratic Party of Hubert Humphrey, Pat Moynihan and JFK had a healthy libertarian streak to it. The Democratic Party of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi is defined by its fascist and authoritarian tendencies.

Today’s Democratic Party isn’t anything like the Democratic Party of 25 years ago, much less like the Democratic Party of JFK. It’s a shame. We could use that party again.

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I’ve written here frequently about foolish people writing for the St. Cloud Times. This time, I get to write about Dr. Roy Saigo’s wise words, mostly because they’re the skills I learned as a supervisor at Fingerhut. Here’s something Dr. Saigo said that I can relate to:

The second thing Collins emphasizes is the most effective CEO is not a celebrity. If the boss is a celebrity, then you have “one genius and 1,000 helpers.” He talks about CEOs who tell the media they are going to produce the best products, be the best grocery chain, university, football team, etc. Yet, successful companies build their businesses with practical, achievable goals and little fanfare. I call this accountability.

Part of my training to be a supervisor was a class called Interaction Management. One of the things that IM emphasized was identifying key principles. These key principles could be anything from getting a simple job done that takes little time to empowering workers to master a multi-faceted responsibility that might take 3-4 hours.

At Fingerhut then, the key to accomplishing important responsibilities wasn’t about instructing the employee what he or she needed to do. It was about telling them about their responsibilities to their co-workers and their employer. How they got from Point A to Point B wasn’t important as long as the thing got done properly and in the fastest time possible.

I tried to live by a saying I’d heard from a former night shift supervisor. His instructions to his workers was simple: make me look good in the morning. Which leads to this key paragraph in Dr. Saigo’s article:

A successful team develops a positive, can-do spirit, toughness and, most importantly, trust and a sharing of the joy of success.

Ronald Reagan once said that “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.” Of all of the wise things Ronald Reagan said, that sentence was consistently proven true. It’s something that others have picked up on. Superblogger Glenn Reynolds wrote a book a few years back. Appropriately, it was titled “An Army of Davids.” The key principle that Reynolds conveyed to his audience was that there were hundreds of experts just waiting to be discovered and utilized through the internet. He didn’t think that everyone on the internet was a genius. It’s just that he thought that he knew that, for every highly-publicized expert on TV, there were hundreds of experts on the internet just waiting to be found.

Reynolds’ attitude wouldn’t be possible if he was an egomaniac. Successful people have to have an ego because they couldn’t survive without it. The difference between successful people and and egomaniac is that egomaniacs are control freaks. They’re the fastest people to the microphone when there’s success. They’re also the people you won’t see admitting failure.

Reynolds couldn’t have written that book if he was a control freak because he needed to admit that there were lots of outstanding people in every discipline in the United States. Thanks to his book, lots of people were empowered.

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Yesterday, George Will was asked about the feud between Sen. Paul and Gov. Christie. Here’s his succinct response:

Here’s the transcript of what Brother Will said:

“Let’s be clear what libertarianism is and what it isn’t: It is not anarchism; it has a role for government,” Mr. Will said.

“What libertarianism says; it comes in many flavors and many degrees of severity, and it basically says before the government, it bridges the freedom of an individual or the freedom of several individuals contracting together, that government ought to have, A) a compelling reason and B) a constitutional warrant for doing so. Now, if Mr. Christie thinks that’s a dangerous thought, a number of people are going to say that Mr. Christie himself may be dangerous.”

Balancing the U.S.’s national security needs and the imperative of protecting people from government run amok is tricky on the best of days. During war, the task becomes nearly impossible. Gov. Christie’s hyperemotional response is understandable, especially considering his proximity to Ground Zero.

That consideration aside, it’s imperative to maintain our national vigilence against administrations from abusing their authority by collecting information it doesn’t have a right to look at without a warrant. It’s imperative that courts uphold the Fourth Amendment. It’s imperative that the intelligence community respect the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. It doesn’t protect from reasonable searches or seizures.

Is Gov. Christie worried about intel agencies overstepping their authority? At this point, it’s impossible to know. That’s alarming considering how frequently this administration has overstepped its authority.

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After watching last night’s debate on national security, I’ve reached the conclusion that it’s time to write off Crazy Uncle, aka Ron Paul. Like Herman Cain, Crazy Uncle is totally out of his element the minute the subject shifts to national security.

His statement that he doesn’t remember voting for going to war simply isn’t credible. The AUMF clearly states that it’s giving President Bush the authority to wage war:

(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-
against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

Approved September 18, 2001.

Clearly, Congress voted to give President Bush the permission to wage war “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

That’s pretty clear in its intent. Congressman Paul, like his supporters, insist that this isn’t Congress approving going to war. What part of “the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force” and that “the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution” doesn’t Congressman Paul understand?

Does Congressman Paul think that that isn’t sufficient because it doesn’t follow a mythical form letter that’s to be used in declaring war?

Crazy Uncle was at it again when he talked about Timothy McVeigh in the context of the Patriot Act. Thankfully, Newt Gingrich explained that there’s a difference between criminal law and acts of war and that the Constitution makes clear the differences. Here’s Byron York’s take on the exchange:

Better to treat terrorism as a crime, Paul argued. “I think the Patriot Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty,” he said. “I’m concerned, as everybody is, about the terrorist attack. Timothy McVeigh was a vicious terrorist. He was arrested. Terrorism is still on the books, internationally and nationally, it’s a crime and we should deal with it. We dealt with it rather well with Timothy McVeigh.”

At that point, it was Gingrich’s turn to look like a man who couldn’t believe what he had heard. “Timothy McVeigh succeeded,” Gingrich said incredulously. “That’s the whole point. Timothy McVeigh killed a lot of Americans. I don’t want a law that says after we lose a major American city, we’re sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, you try to take out an American city, we’re going to stop you.”

First, the Presidential Oath of Office says that, as Commander-in-Chief, he’ll protect against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It doesn’t say that he’ll prosecute them after they’ve killed hundreds of people.

Second, there’s a distinction between reasonable searches and unreasonable searches. The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches. It doesn’t prohibit reasonable searches.

Among the things that the Fourth Amendment doesn’t prohibit are items in plain sight or gathering intelligence in times of war.

Last night’s debate showed why Ron Paul shouldn’t and won’t be president. That’s why this article shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Still, Ron Paul keeps moving steadily toward a position of strength in the early voting, especially in Iowa. So he may yet surprise the pundits writing him off today.

Ron Paul will have a decent finish in Iowa. The minute he gets to New Hampshire and especially South Carolina, though, he’s history. Northeastern libertarians are more centrist than Dr. Paul. South Carolina is home of conservatives, not libertarians. Dr. Paul’s faithful followers will show up but there aren’t nearly enough of them to make a difference.

That’s why I’m certain that the Ron Paul boomlet won’t happen. It’s time for Crazy Uncle to retire.

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Hypothetically speaking, it’s never wise for the conservative party to nominate a liberal. Similarly, it isn’t wise for liberals to nominate a conservative. What’s odd is that, according to the inside-the-beltway punditry, that’s what the GOP is fixing to do.

There’s no question but that Mitt Romney isn’t a conservative. He wants to cut the corporate tax rate…but only from 35% to 25%. He wants to cut capital gains taxes…but only on people making less than $200,000. He wants to cut the EPA’s influence…after implementing regulations that look like they’re straight from this administration’s EPA:

As reported in the conservative blogs Moonbattery and HOTAIR; “the Romney administration in 2005 essentially did what Barack Obama’s EPA wants to do now. He imposed CO2 emission caps, the “toughest in the nation”, in an effort to curtail traditional energy production.

“Not only did Romney impose these costly new regulations, he then imposed price caps to keep power companies from passing the cost along to the consumer. As we have seen in Romney-Care, regulation and price controls eventually drive businesses into bankruptcy or relocation.”

More chilling than that bit of socialist nanny-state big government interference is who Romney looked to for advice regarding the plan. As reported by these two conservative sites, it was none other than Obama’s Chief “science” adviser, John Holdren.

Kim Strassel’s column highlights Mitt’s liberalism is spreading to tax policy:

At a town hall in Iowa Thursday, Mr. Romney took it further: “For me, one of the key criteria in looking at tax policy is to make sure that we help the people that need the help the most.”

Doesn’t that sound like a line from President Obama’s speeches? Conservatives were rightly worried about President Bush’s compassionate conservatism. Mitt’s brand of politics isn’t compassionate conservatism. It’s bordering on nanny-state liberalism.

With this great nation at a crossroads badly in need of a major change of direction, this isn’t the time to nominate a part-time liberal like Mitt. I say part-time because he pretends to be a conservative when he thinks the spotlight is on him.

He reverts to reality when he thinks the cameras aren’t rolling.

These are the sort of statements that cause conservative voters to doubt Mr. Romney’s convictions. It also makes them doubt the ability of a President Romney to convince a Congress of the need for fundamental tax reform. If anything he owes a debt to Newt Gingrich, who in a recent debate gave him a taste of how politically and intellectually vulnerable he is on this argument, asking Mr. Romney to justify the $200,000 threshold.

Mr. Romney’s non-responsive response included five references to the “middle” class and another admonition that the “rich” are “doing just fine.” Mr. Obama can’t wait to agree, even as he shames Mr. Romney over his bank account.

Contrary to the inside-the-Beltway pundits, I’ll predict that Mitt won’t be the GOP nominee. I don’t know who will be but it won’t be Mitt.

I’m not alone in thinking that. Last night, on Hannnity’s Great American Panel, Democratic strategist Joe Trippi said that the food fight that Mitt waged with Rick Perry hurt both candidates. He likened their fights to Dick Gephardt’s fight with Howard Dean, saying that it was like Gephardt was on a murder suicide mission.

In the end, Gephardt’s criticisms of Dean took both men down.

Starting this week, Mitt’s liberal tendencies are getting highlighted. It’s difficult to not notice his liberal weaknesses on subjects like taxes, Cap and Trade and Romneycare. He used progressive John Holdren, who consulted with Paul Ehrlich when Ehrlich wrote the 1960’s liberal best-seller The Population Bomb.

Romney’s advisors on Romneycare later advised President Obama on how to implement O’Care, which is now the law of the land.

He’s now sounding like President Obama in saying that we should use the tax code for social engineering. That alone puts into question whether Mitt’s the job-creating genius he professes to be.

It’s difficult picturing Mitt as being as awful as President Obama. It’s worth noting, though, that that isn’t a particularly difficult test to pass. Clearing that test shouldn’t be particularly valuable in determining the GOP presidential nominee.

The tests that TEA Party activists and other conservatives should apply to candidates is whether a) the candidate’s policies are conservative, b) the candidate’s policies have been consistent and c) the candidate’s policies will get the economy roaring.

Clearly, Mitt hasn’t been consistent with his policies. Most importantly, Mitt’s policies haven’t been conservative or particularly effective. (See Romneycare.)

In this instance, 2 out of 3 is bad:

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First, let me admit that I’m a big Nolan Finley fan. When I saw that RealClearPolitics linking to a Finley column, I read it. Nolan Finley’s column in this morning’s Detroit News is sweet music to this TEA Party activist’s ears:

Democrats have effectively turned “tea party” into a pejorative, making the words conjure a rigid, uncompromising movement that is at the root of Washington’s dysfunction.

You won’t hear a Democratic mouth open today without a slur against the tea party spilling out.

What are these Republican revolutionaries doing that Dems find so divisive and dangerous?

Best I can tell, their major offense is holding Washington accountable. Listen to them, as I did on Mackinac Island last week during the Republican Leadership Conference, and the only demand you hear is that politicians stop mortgaging America’s future to reckless spending and swelling deficits.

All they want is for politicians to finally do what both Democrats and Republicans always said they’d do, make the government live within its means, but never got around to doing until the tea party forced their hand.

In other words, the tea party is the adult in a roomful of overindulged children who resent the call to accountability. How much greater would the debt be today, how much larger the deficit, if the tea party hadn’t shouted, “Enough!”

The real reason why Democrats hate the TEA Party is that TEA Party activists don’t just settle for hearing their representatives in DC say they’ll stop the spending. TEA Party activists actually monitor whether their representatives live up to their promises.

Apparently, the thought of being held accountable by the peasants displeases the lords of DC. That’s ok. If they whine about petty things like transparency and accountability, TEA Party activists will help them transition into a new role where we won’t hold them accountable…because we’ll fire their asses.

Either the nitwits of DC start acting like public servants or they can be replaced with people who flourish in the role of public servant.

This comparison is stunning in its simplicity:

Its members are mostly civil libertarians who want to restore the protections the Constitution grants individuals against an intrusive and powerful government. They want the government to do its assigned job, no more and no less. They’re telling the truth about the dangers ahead.

For that they’re accused of jeopardizing America’s viability.

Are they single-minded in their mission? Sure. They don’t compromise, and they don’t forgive politicians who break their promises.

In that sense, they are most like the environmentalists who lead the Democratic Party around by its nose, but less destructive. Nobody has lost a job, at least not in the private sector, because of tea party activism.

Compare that to the pain wrought by the unyielding environmental movement, which has put light bulb makers out of work in Kentucky, coal miners out of work in West Virginia, oil riggers out of work in Alabama, and on and on.

The private sector never tanked because oil and coal were too abundant. Neither has it tanked because they were manufacturing the wrong lightbulbs to light people’s homes.

The private sector has tanked, however, when crony-filled government told them to stop making coal and oil too plentiful for their own taste. Entrepreneurial activity is most often stopped when regulations start costing too much and when those regulations are too unpredictable.

Free markets can’t function when this or any other administration attempts to pick winners and losers. That’s what happened when they tried propping up Solyndra with ill-advised loan guarantees.

The TEA Party, at its finest, is the adult in the government’s living room telling them to do only those things that governments are told to do and let the private sector, private citizens and charities handle everything else.

For those who’ve invested the last forty years creating, then sustaining the poverty industry, the TEA Party poses an existential threat. The last thing they want is to be held accountable. The last thing they want is for people to question whether the money spent shouldn’t be spent more wisely.

The lords of DC don’t like being questioned. That’s why the TEA Party needs to keep questioning their every move.

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Based on this article, I’d say that President Obama’s election coalition has all but disappeared:

A study by the Pew Research Center, being released Wednesday, highlights the eroding support from 18- to 29-year-olds whose strong turnout in November 2008 was read by some demographers as the start of a new Democratic movement.

The findings are significant because they offer further proof that the diverse coalition of voters Obama cobbled together in 2008, including high numbers of first-timers, young minorities and youths, are not Democratic Party voters who can necessarily be counted on.

While young adults remain decidedly more liberal, the survey found the Democratic advantage among 18- to 29-year-olds has substantially narrowed, from a record 62 percent identifying as Democrat vs. 30 percent for the Republicans in 2008, down to 54 percent vs. 40 percent last December. It was the largest percentage point jump in those who identified or leaned Republican among all the voting age groups.

Young adults’ voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

The finding that the support gap has narrowed is troubling enough. That’s enough to make a Democratic strategist cringe. That said, that last sentence is the sentence I’d most be worried about:

Young adults’ voting enthusiasm also crumbled.

Young Americans for Liberty, college students who support Ron Paul’s principles on campus, haven’t experienced that enthusiasm gap like their liberal counterparts. In fact, they’re pumped and ready to get liberty-loving young people to the polls this November.

I’ve met with their group here in St. Cloud. They’re one of the most active student groups on SCSU’s campus. SCSU’s chapter of the College Republicans, while not as robust a presence as the Young Americans for Liberty group, are still plenty energized.

According to Pew’s polling, SCSU’s conservative students are pretty much typical in terms of intensity with what they’re finding nationwide.

“This is a generation of young adults who made a big splash politically in 2008,” said Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and co-author of the report. “But a year and a half later, they show signs of disillusionment with the president and, perhaps, with politics itself.”

Democrats saw evidence of this last November, when Republicans removed Democrats from power in the New Jersey and Virginia governors’s races. Young, minority and new voters who Obama pulled into the fold in 2008 did not turn out at the same levels for the two Democratic candidates. The same thing happened in the Massachusetts U.S. Senate race last month in which a Republican won a solidly Democratic seat.

With young people supporting him less than enthusiastically, President Obama’s coalition has all but disappeared. His support amongst independents was large and enthusiastic. They’re now supporting Republicans by 2:1 margins. Seniors supported President Obama, too. Thanks to the Democrats’ proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicare Advantage, seniors have abandoned President Obama, too.

Couple that with the luster going off his speeches and I think it’s safe to say that the lightning has left President Obama’s bottle.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

This morning at CPAC, Ed Morrissey was given the Blogger of the Year Award, something that Ed’s deserved many times over. Giving the introduction for Ed’s award was none other than RUSH LIMBAUGH!!! Check this introduction out:

I’ve said often that the blogging talent in Minnesota is as good as anywhere in the nation. I stand enthusiastically and unabashedly by that statement. In fact, today, I’m prouder than ever of that fact.

While the first blog I ever read was Powerline, Captains Quarters quickly became my favorite, mostly because of Ed’s great research and analytical skills. I’ve never said this in public before but I will now. Many of the things I’ve incorporated into my blogging are the result of studying Ed’s blogging style.

When Ed was still at Captains Quarters, I loved reading Ed’s long posts because I simply couldn’t find that type of depth of pertinent information anywhere in the Washington Post or the NY Times or on the network news. Frankly, I learned more about DC and the world in half an hour reading Captains Quarters than I got from the newspapers and the network news. In fact, it wasn’t even close.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Ed’s brand of conservatism in this post. To be blunt, the Republican Party, both in Minnesota and nationally, would be alot better off if there were more Ed Morrissey conservatives. There’s nothing reactionary or knee-jerk about Ed’s conservatism. Ed’s brand of conservatism features healthy doses of libertarianism, deep thought conservatism and common sense.

Congratulations, Ed. I can’t think of anyone more deserving. I can’t think of anyone more decent. You give blogging a good reputation.

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I’ve been for the Republicans attending the health care summit even though I know it’s a presidential photo op. I’ve changed my mind because of something Betsy McCaughey wrote on the subject:

Republicans are dithering over whether to accept President Obama’s invitation to a Feb. 25 health-care summit. The White House says the health bills passed with Democratic support, the Pelosi and Reid bills, will be the basis for talks. Republicans should just say no to a summit based on these bills.

These bills reduce American freedom. Forcing people to buy insurance and empowering government to dictate what your doctor does, key elements of these bills, need to be off the table. There can be no negotiation between coercion and freedom.

King likes to say that “there’s no halfway point between right and wrong.” That principle applies here. It’s important that we first recognize that the American people are a freedom-loving bunch when left to their own devices. Any plan that restricts their liberty enough will draw their ire. Accepting things that limit the American people’s liberty isn’t acceptable. PERIOD.

With that in mind, Republicans should settle on a single plan with a catchy name, like the Patients’ Choice Act, then highlight the fact that their legislation would lower health care costs and health insurance premiums without injecting government into health care decisions. Speaking of which, Ms. McCaughey talks about government inserting itself into the doctor-patient relationship:

Also, for the first time in history, government officials are given power over how doctors treat privately insured patients. Doctors who don’t adhere to whatever regulations the Secretary of Health and Human Services imposes to improve health-care “quality” cannot contract with your insurer (Senate bill, pp. 148-149).

I’m pretty certain that people aren’t interested in a doctor-patient-bureaucrat relationship. I’m even more certain that they aren’t interested in that relationship if they thought the bureaucrat would hinder their physician’s treatment of them.

It isn’t surprising that Democrats are already taking potshots at Republicans:

Democrats said the Republican proposals would do little to solve the crisis in health care. The proposals are “as skimpy as a hospital gown,” said Representative Lloyd Doggett, Democrat of Texas.

Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, said, “If the Republicans’ health care plan was a plan for a fire department, they would rush into a burning building, and they would rush out and leave everybody behind.”

What Rep. Doggett apparently hasn’t grasped is that the American people are totally capable of making their own decisions. they don’t need a 2,400 page bill to help them make smart decisions. Rep. Doggett should learn that smart health care shoppers are using the internet to gather information on what policies best suit them, which hospitals do the best job at the cheapest prices and other important considerations.

I know that Democrats aren’t used to believing that people are capable of making good decisions without the government’s help but that’s reality. If Democrats don’t adjust to that reality, which I suspect they won’t, they’re in for a difficult election cycle.

I don’t take Rep. Miller’s comments seriously because Rep. Miller’s comments are typical liberal hyperbole. In fact, that’s what I expect from him. Rep. Miller has never been in the habit of accepting the fact that Republicans have great ideas because he thinks, rightly, that Republicans trust people to make good decisions. That’s a foreign concept to Democrats but it’s what libertarian-leaning conservatives believe.

Since President Obama’s HHS secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has notified everyone that the Democrats’ bills will be the starting point and that the structure was built so that Democrats could control the event from start to finish, there isn’t that much to be gained from attending.

If President Obama and the Democrats insist on pushing the Democrats’ bills, which the American people have rejected, then the Republicans should state clearly and consistently that they’re only open in attending a process where 80+ percent of the outcome isn’t predetermined.

Otherwise, they’re just attending a made-for-Obama-reelection photo op.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative