Archive for the ‘Libertarianism’ Category

Michael Barone’s latest column characterizes President Obama’s erstwhile supporters as superficial while characterizing TEA Party activists as people of substance. It’s quite a thumping:

Remember those rapturous crowds that swooned at Barack Obama’s rhetoric. “We are the change we are seeking,” he proclaimed. “We will be able to look back and tell our children” that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

A lot of style there, but not very much substance. A Brookings Institution scholar who produced nothing more than that would soon be looking for a new job.

In retrospect, the Obama enthusiasts seem to have been motivated by a yearning for a rapturous, nuanced leader. Send that terrible tyrant with his tortured sentences and moral certitude back to Texas and install The One in the White House, and all would be well.

The Obama enthusiasts have achieved that goal, and perhaps it’s not surprising that, as polls show, they’re not much engaged in the details of the health care bills or cap-and-trade legislation or looming tax increases and the like. They, or at least most of them, were never much interested in those things anyway.

In contrast, the tea party protesters, many of them as fractious and loudmouthed as Brooks thinks, are interested in substantive political issues. They decry the dangers of expanding the national debt, increasing government spending and putting government in command of the health care sector.

Their concerns have basis in fact. The national debt is on a trajectory to double as a percentage of the economy over 10 years, and the Democrats’ health care bills threaten to bend the cost curve up. Higher taxes could choke off economic recovery and keep unemployment up near double-digit rates for years.

Last year’s stimulus bill surreptitiously raised the budget baseline for many domestic spending programs and sent money to state and local governments, a payoff to the public employee unions who spent more than $100 million to elect Democrats in 2008.

Agree with the tea party folk or not, these are substantive public policy issues of fundamental importance.

Mr. Barone is right that President Obama’s hallmark is giving speeches but that they’re lacking in substance. He’s also right in stating that TEA Party activists have a substantive agenda. If anyone is listening, they know that TEA Party activists (a) believe in limited government, (b) are disgusted with Bailoutmania, (c) want the federal goverment to obey the U.S. Constitution and (d) want politicians to listen to them.

Unlike TV pundits who insist that there needs to be a national leader, TEA Party activists are more focused on issues than on personalities. They start with the premise that time-tested solutions on the issues will inspire the next generation of leaders. I think it’s the most trustworthy premise to start from.

The underpinnings of Obama have disappeared. His stump speeches frequently mentioned a need to change Washington and a need to move beyond bitter partisanship. Instead, President Obama has divided the nation while being the ultimate partisan. Worse is that he’s tried changing America instead of changing Washington.

Tonight on Hannity, Father Jonathan Morris hit on something that I’ve talked about here for months. Specifically, he talked about trust and how the American people don’t trust President Obama. I wholeheartedly agree with Father Morris. This is bigger than disagreeing with a president’s policies, too. Once people don’t trust another, the distrusted person’s words are tuned out.

While I agree that events will shape the midterms and the presidential elections, I think that’s only partially the case. I think there will be a significant number of people voting against Democrats, including President Obama, who simply don’t trust them or because the Democrats, again including President Obama, refused to listen to the American people.

Trust is a huge issue with TEA Party activists. Accountability is, too. Thus far, President Obama’s words don’t match his actions. For instance, last week, I posted about President Obama’s speech on the Christmas Day terrorist. Here’s what he said that bothered me:

In our ever-changing world, America’s first line of defense is timely, accurate intelligence that is shared, integrated, analyzed, and acted upon quickly and effectively.

I said then that I agree with that. It’s unfortunate that President Obama doesn’t appear to agree with that. If he was serious about that, he would’ve instructed AG Holder to not Mirandize Abdulmutallab. Because President Obama’s words ring hollow, TEA Party activists will hold him accountable in 2012.

That’s the most important lesson to be learned when you pit style against substance. Or, to put it another way, you can’t beat something with sweet nothings.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Tuesday afternoon, I interviewed longtime GOP activist Chris Tiedeman about his latest project. Titled “Reinventing the Right; Conservative Voices for the New Millennium“, Chris talked about how his new project fits nicely into the TEA Party movement. Here’s Chris’s reply to my comment that his project fits into the TEA Party movement:

Many or most of the folks who have become self activated by the TEA Party movement are out there for that very reason. They are nurses solving health care without Harry Reid’s input.

The pioneering American spirit is still alive and well, although it’s been hibernating for far too long. Since the days of building the railroad to building the Golden Gate Bridge and into the twentieth century, America has had a spirit of ingenuity and innovation. Chris’s book, Reinventing the Right: Conservative Voices for the New Millennium, is a solutions-oriented book. Follow this link to buy a copy of Chris’s book.

The current majority isn’t convinced that people can make smart decisions. That seams fair since We The People think that Washington and St. Paul politicians haven’t made alot of great decisions lately.

Here’s another great exchange:

GARY: Chris, You mentioned earlier that we’re at a crossroads…How will free market capitalism help people prosper?

CHRIS: We are at a point in history where information is instant and nearly perfect. That isn’t to say that all information is accurate, but everyone has access to such a vast amount of information that the consumer is in control. Markets, with the kind of information available, lead almost by necessity to prosperity.

Chris is exactly right. It’s time We The People accessed the information we need. It’s time that our government got out of the way. The thought that people can chart their own course is a liberating thought. That makes it appealling, too.

Reinventing the Right has a definite libertarian theme to it. That’s always been an important force in Minnesota and national politics. It’s the direction that the nation is trending in right now.

With Election 2010 looming, Chris won’t have long to wait to see whether the people accept the challenge of living more independent lives. That’s essentially what this election comes down to. This is the clearest choice between the philosophies in a generation.

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This post at Reality Check about the TEA Party movement asks a couple of great questions about the movement. Permit me to give a couple answers to these questions:

Unless we are able to foresee this limitation of the Tea Party movement and take concrete measures to prevent it we will see the passion and engagement of these millions of Americans frittered away until just cynicism is left.

Passion about politics is great and likely the fervor of Tea Party participants will help fuel a 2010 resurgence of Republicans in the midterm elections. But what after that? In fact, what during it?

The best way to avoid the cynicism is to get politicians understand that TEA Party activists demand accountability and fiscal restraint. The politicians I’ve talked with understand that already. In fact, it’s their identity as politicians. In fact, most are bigtime supporters of the Live Within Our Means movement.

Another way to channel the energy into a productive political force is by reminding the TEA Party faithful that there’s alot of bureaucratic crud that’s built up over the years, crud that’s going to take lots of time to undo the damage. In other words, this isn’t a one-and-done type thing. It’s important that TEA Party activists preech vigilance, persistence and making common sense arguments on the issues we care most deeply about.

Here’s an interestin observation on the TEA Party movement from the post:

Here’s the problem and, as I see it, it’s a problem that is actually sort of built right into the Tea Party movement from its inception. That would be its essentially leaderless nature.

The beauty of the TEA Party movement is that its activists don’t pledge allegiance to a group of politicians. RatherTEA Party activists pledge allegiance to the U.S. Constitution and to the liberty our Founding Fathers put their highest priority on.

Isn’t it past time that we dropped the petty Cult-Of-Personality politics and reverted back to the principles that made us the freest, most prosperous nation of the last 2 centuries?

If there are any political leaders of the TEA Party movement, they’d be Gov. Sarah Palin, Reps. Mike Pence and Michele Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint. Having watched Rep. Bachmann speak at the 9/12 TEA Party in St. Cloud, it’s obvious that she gets it in terms of what the TEA Party movement is about.

Rep. Bachmann understands that it’s about returning to first principles, especially respecting the Constitution and, as a result, limited government. Based on her speech, it’s apparent that she understands that it’s about accountability and being a public servant.

There’s no way I can agree with this statement:

There was no unifying single goal of the Tea Partiers and no agency or party directing them.

It’s true that the two major political parties don’t control TEA Party events because they’re bottom-up in nature. It’s totally false to say that there’s “no unifying single goal.” The single biggest goal is to return to a federalist, limited government federal government. The Obama administration’s out-of-control spending, its bailoutmania and its takeover of CM and Chrysler.

The TEA Party mocvement will continue to confound those who aren’t part of it because we’re living in a top-down, control freak political environment. The TEA Party movement is a bottom up movement, which is why it confuses people.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Colin McNickle’s column isn’t a breath of fresh air. It’s a blast of fresh air common sense. Here’s what I’m talking about:

It was in 1774 that John Adams reminded how the “most sensible and jealous people are so little attentive to government that there are no instances of resistance until repeated, multiple oppressions have placed it beyond a doubt that their rulers had formed settled plans to deprive them of their liberties.”

And that’s not merely to “oppress the individual or a few,” the father of the Constitution added, “but to break down the fences of a free constitution, and deprive the people at large of all share in the government, and all the checks by which it is limited.”

Mr. Adams, of course, would have been labeled a “right-wing extremist” or a “militia maniac” by today’s “progressives” in Congress who have been working so assiduously to soil the fabric of America. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would dismiss Adams’ sentiment as “un-American” and tap dance around its implications of unconstitutional freelancing.

But on the cusp of a new year and the second decade of the 21st century, this is where America finds itself: Constitutional perverts and rule of law scofflaws are in charge, the once-creeping crud of socialism has broken into a trot and an increasing number of good and decent people really are mad as hell and not willing to take another centimeter of the shaft.

And perhaps, just perhaps, revolution is nigh.

“Revolution” is a dicey word in any era. Indeed, it can be accomplished by the ballot and not the bullet. But the Founders and the Framers had no qualms about the latter. How soon today’s “leaders”, supposed custodians of the Constitution but merely unionized garbagemen, seem to forget that America was born in armed revolt and that the luminaries of the era acknowledged its necessity in the defense of natural rights.

Let’s be blunt about something. This administration isn’t interested in following the law if it doesn’t serve its purposes. And rarely does the law serve this administration’s purpose.

Remember Speaker Pelosi’s reaction when a reporter asked what constitutional authority she had for health care? Here’s her reaction: “Madam Speaker, where specifically does the Constitution grant Congress the authority to enact an individual health insurance mandate?”

Pelosi: “Are you serious? Are you serious?” “Yes, yes I am.”

Pelosi then shook her head before taking a question from another reporter. Her press spokesman, Nadeam Elshami, then told that asking the speaker of the House where the Constitution authorized Congress to mandated that individual Americans buy health insurance as not a “serious question.”

“You can put this on the record,” said Elshami. “That is not a serious question. That is not a serious question.”

Later, Pelosi’s office gave this reply to CNSNews:

Pelosi’s press secretary later responded to written follow-up questions from by emailing a press release on the “Constitutionality of Health Insurance Reform,” that argues that Congress derives the authority to mandate that people purchase health insurance from its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce.

The ICC is the liberals’ crutch upon which they rest all their arguments for expanding the federal government’s authority. the liberals’ argument essentially says that the Tenth Amendment isn’t a counterbalance to the ICC. That’s nonsense, especially since the Tenth Amendment hasn’t been repealed.

Mr. McNickle’s statement that “perhaps revolution is nigh” isn’t preposterous. If you talk with TEA Party activists of all politicial persuasions, you’ll find out that they’re all worried that government has gone into maniac-drive. Sensible center-leftists like Doug Schoen and William Daley notice the leftward drift and are worried about it. Based on what Schoen said during an interview with Mark Steyn, it’s obvious that he’s a big TEA Party fan. There are lots of independents who see government as out-of-control. They don’t see President Obama or congressional Democrats exercising any fiscal discipline.

The thing that’s making revolution likely, in my opinion, is watching Democrats ignore what We The People are saying, especially on health care. Dr. Frank Luntz said that the phrase that most accurately describes voters’ mood is they’re “mad as hell and they’re not going to take it anymore.”

There’s another part to this TEA Party revolution, too. Not only are people in a foul mood over the Obama administration’s policies but they’re upset that the Democrats don’t care about the Constitution. Tenth Amendment groups are popping up nationwide. They’re afraid that this administration would trample their state’s ability to govern.

In years past, frankly, they didn’t care because we weren’t in the dire straits that we’re in now. This administration’s policies and their overreaching is telling people that the Obama administration is deeply incompetent and power hungry. Simply put, people are worried that this administration wants to ruin everyone’s lives, not just a few people’s lives.

Americans and Pennsylvanians faces a crucial test in 2010. They can either continue traveling down the road to serfdom or return to liberty’s boulevard. The republic’s future hangs in the balance.

Mr. McNickle’s framed it perfectly. The choice is our’s. As Ronald Reagan once said, “it’s a time for choosing.”

Let’s hope we choose liberty over comfortable nanny state serfdom.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

QUESTION: What’s the difference between Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar?
ANSWER: Sen. Franken doesn’t pretend to be a centrist.

The reality is that Amy Klobuchar, for all her rhetoric, isn’t a centrist. Remember the 2006 campaign? In one of Ms. Klobuchar’s shining moments, Ms. Klobuchar said this about the Iraq war:

Since April, I have been asking the President to give the nation a clear plan to bring our troops home safely. As with any effective plan, there should be a realistic time-frame based on specific milestones and benchmarks, with honest and current information from the administration about the status of our efforts, the training of the Iraqi forces, and the restoration of basic services to Iraq. In fact, the leaders of Iraq’s otherwise sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis agreed that there should be a time frame for the drawdown of American troops. If the president is unwilling to provide a plan, Congress should call upon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to do so. By establishing such a plan and setting a time frame for a drawdown of forces, we send an important signal to the people of Iraq that we do not intend to stay indefinitely and that we expect them to take on the responsibility of governing and securing their own nation. That is why I oppose establishing permanent military bases in Iraq.

What an idiot. Congress can’t compel the Pentagon to draw up plans for anything. Congress doesn’t have that authority over the Pentagon.

The reason I mention this is that Sen. Klobuchar’s respect for the Constitution still doesn’t exist. Thursday morning, Sen. Klobuchar voted for Harry Reid’s health care bill knowing that it contained an individual mandate that is unconstitutional. It also contained some tax provisions in it that aren’t constitutional either. You can’t tax insurance companies, then exempt the Michigan Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the Nebraska Blue Cross-Blue Shield companies from that tax. That violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protections Clause:

The Equal Protection Clause, part of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, provides that “no state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws”.

Sen. Klobuchar should stop pretending that she’s a moderate. Senators take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Thus far, she’s failed miserably in defending the Constitution. Frankly, I haven’t seen proof that she even thinks about the Constitution.

Here’s Republican Party Chairman Tony Sutton’s statement on Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar voting for Sen. Reid’s health care legislation:

After weeks of shady backroom payoffs, unseemly sweetheart deals and Enron style accounting, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar sold out Minnesota today by voting for a reckless nearly trillion dollar spending bill that increases premiums, raises taxes by $500 billion, cuts Medicare by over $470 billion and mandates that taxpayers fund abortion on demand. Candidate Obama promised America an open legislative process played out on C-SPAN. Instead, we saw a sleazy, secretive power play where Harry Reid bought off senators to get to 60 votes. In 2010, Democrats will pay a steep political price for their decision to ram this unpopular bill down the throats of the American people.

The only correction that I’d make to Chairman Sutton’s statement is that it costs $2,500,000,000,000 when all the provisions are fully implemented. The “nearly trillion dollar spending bill” is the CBO’s number that they arrived at only because the Democrats’ bill taxes us starting immediately but doesn’t start spending until 2014.

Another indication that Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar vote the same way is that their votes would’ve been the same on President Obama’s failed stimulus bill, just like their votes have been the same on President Obama’s omnibus spending bill this year. (NOTE: Sen. Franken was still locked in his recount fight when the stimulus bill was voted on. However, he’s quoted as saying he would’ve voted for the pork-filled, less-than-stimuluating bill.)

Sen. Klobuchar isn’t the only so-called moderate whose reputation got disintegrated during the health care debate. Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Claire McCaskill, Mark Pryor and Evan Bayh all saw their reputation as fiscal conservatives disintegrated by voting for this job-killing, tax-increasing monument to fiscal insanity. Instead of putting the nation first, they put their ideological priorities first.

Rest assured that voters, especially independents, will remember that the next time they’re up for re-election. They’ll remember because they will have been paying the taxes and they will have dealt with the individual health insurance mandate.

Contrary to Sen. Schumer’s bald-faced lie, this legislation’s popularity has hit its peak. Here’s Sen. Schumer’s lie:

“This is a happy day. (Senate Republican Leader) Mitch McConnell said on the floor that we’re going to go home and hear our constituents rail against this bill. I don’t believe that. I believe that the negativity that Leader McConnell and others have continually displayed on the floor has peaked, and now when people learn what’s actually in the bill, and all the good it does, it is going to become more and more popular because it is good for America, good for the American people, and a true symbol of what we can do if we all pull together,” said Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer.

When the bill gets published and dissected, people will learn about the CLASS Act, which is the start of another entitlement. People will get hit with the legislation’s tax increases and fines for not doing what the politicians have told them to do.

That, by itself, will doom the Democrats’ election chances for the next decade. In my opinion, Sen. Schumer’s statements are said to tell his colleagues that the protesters at their townhalls aren’t real, that they’re just astroturfed supporters of the evil insurance companies and the evil pharmaceutical companies. (Isn’t it ironic that Sen. Schumer is attempting to villify the insurance companies that he voted to a huge windfall profit to?)

Sen. Schumer shouldn’t worry about townhalls, though, because neither Sen. Franken nor Sen. Klobuchar have the fortitude to subject themselves to open events. They’ll only enter the event if it’s a totally controlled environment.

If there’s one thing I know, it’s that America has a strong libertarian streak in them. Sen. Franken and Sen. Klobuchar stand opposed to most of what the libertarian movement believes in. Sen. Klobuchar should worry about this because she’ll have to deal with a revitalized libertarian movement in 2012.

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This Cato Institute research paper is spot on in its analysis. I found this information to be particularly powerful:

Compulsory health insurance could require nearly 100 million Americans to switch to a more expensive health plan and would therefore violate President Barack Obama’s pledge to let people keep their current health insurance. In particular, the legislation before Congress could eliminate many or all health savings account plans. Making health insurance compulsory would also spark an unnecessary fight over abortion and would enable government to ration care to those with private health insurance.

Obama adviser Larry Summers writes that mandates “are like public programs financed by benefit taxes,” meaning that compulsory health insurance would also violate President Obama’s promise not to increase taxes on the middle class. Under the House Democrats’ legislation, some middle-income earners would face marginal tax rates over 50 percent (before state taxes).

It’s been established that President Obama’s promises aren’t worth anything, often because they’ve all been broken. President Obama’s initial pledge that people could keep their health care plan if they liked it isn’t credible in light of the mandates included in the Democrats’ health care legislation. With all of the mandates included, there’s little chance that people can keep their policies.

Mandates in the various bills appear to drive HSAs out of existence. Democrats, including President Obama, should be forced to explain why HSAs are being driven out of existence. It’s long been my belief that making people better health care shoppers would lower health care costs. It’s also been my belief that a policy with minimal mandates, a few basic coverages, a modest deductible and catastrophic insurance would be significantly cheaper than the policies that the Democrats’ mandates would allow.

If you bring the cost of health insurance down without price controls, more people would buy it. There’s little doubt but that people whose incomes are in the $75,000-$100,000 range choose to go without health because of the priciness of insurance premiums. If premiums drop, there’s little doubt that they’ll start buying health insurance again.

The experience in Massachusetts belies the claim that compulsory health insurance brings down health care costs. The “shared responsibility” ruse allows Massachusetts politicians to declare success for a compulsory health insurance scheme whose actual costs reveal it to be a failure. Massachusetts also demonstrates that compulsory health insurance enables, and ultimately requires, politicians and government bureaus to control nearly all aspects of health care and medical practice.

Simply put, mandated health care ruined people’s lives in Massachusetts. It’s an abject failure. Health care costs have skyrocketed. Taxes are going up. Does that sound like success to you? The only thing that’s worse than MittCare is Mitt Romney on TV criticizing the Democrats’ health care legislation.

Mitt would do well to learn the first rule of holes, which is, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. It’s obvious that Mitt hasn’t learned that lesson. He insists that his idea is a free market plan. I didn’t know that mandates became part of a free marketer’s first principles.

Whether at the state or federal levels, mandates aren’t part of a free market advocate’s vocabulary. The words free markets and mandates fit into the same sentence as smoothly as fist fits into a glove. They simply don’t go together.

I wrote yesterday that I’d doubt that most mandates would pass a laugh test. Essentially, they’re monuments to special interests. Most mandates have little to do with smart health care policy.

The Democrats’ legislation is built on a faulty premise. They think that it’s most important to start with covering everyone, then forcing the other pieces of the puzzle to fit together once their first goal is accomplished. I’d argue that there’d be a better chance of success if health insurance was made more affordable by limiting mandates and by forcing people to be better health care shoppers.

Once prices dropped, I’d bet that most of the people who choose not to buy insurance would start buying health insurance again. Building a health insurance policy on those principles would make portability a better option, too.

I’d submit that my idea is vastly superior to anything that the Democrats have put into their legislation, mostly because their legislation does nothing to reduce health insurance or health care costs but also because their legislation does little to insure all of the uninsured.

Why should we call the Democrats’ plans smart when they do little to insure the uninsured and do even less to lower health care costs? Only in Washington, DC could they call that reform.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

When everything is stripped away, that’s what the Democrats’ health care proposals consist of. The Cato Institute’s Michael Tanner makes a compelling argument to start over in this USA Today op-ed. The first thing that caught my attention was this cautionary note:

Problematic as our system often is, it is possible to make things worse.

Shortly thereafter, Tanner offers this ‘multi-count indictment’ against the Democrats’ legislation:

All the bills making their way through Congress start from the same failed premise: They would put the government in charge of one-sixth of our economy and some of the important personal and private decisions in our lives.

They would force people to buy a government-designed insurance package or face a penalty. They would establish incentives and structures that could eventually lead to the rationing of care. Some versions would force millions of workers into a government-run plan.

And they would do so at enormous cost to the American people in terms of higher taxes, greater debt and increased insurance premiums. Even the cheapest bill costs more than $800 billion ($2 trillion if off-budget costs are included) over the next decade. Americans would end up paying more, but getting less.

If you’re ok with a government that’s given you Katrina relief and the failed stimulus bill, then the Democrats’ health care bills are for you. However, if you’re expecting results for the taxes you pay, then it’s time to stand up and be heard. Without your passionate and coherent arguments, the Democrats will ram this down our throats.

If you’re ok with higher individual taxes on the middle class and small businesses, then the Democrats’ plan is for you. If you’re ok with higher medical expenses, then the Democrats’ plan is for you. If you’re ok with getting penalized because you didn’t buy the things that Big Brother’s told you to, then the Democrats’ plan is for you.

If, however, you’re upset that the Democrats are making the most personal decisions of your life for you, then it’s time we expressed our rage. If you’re upset with the fact that the Democrats are about to turn a good system into a terrible system, then you can’t sit idly by. It’s time to stand up and let Washington know that you aren’t apathetic anymore, that you won’t tolerate the Democrats’ ignoring you.

Do nothing if you aren’t bothered by this statistic:

Government regulations add more than $169 billion annually to the cost of health care.

I’m not suggesting total deregulation but this is just plain nuts. Experts predict that prices would drop if we got rid of the regulations that haven’t been well thought out.

But the problems facing our health care system stem not from too little government control, but too much. Government regulations add more than $169 billion annually to the cost of health care. Other regulations limit competition between insurers and providers by, for instance, prohibiting people from buying insurance across state lines. Government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are trillions of dollars in debt and are models of waste, fraud and inefficiency.

And our current tax laws penalize people who don’t receive insurance through their work, meaning that if you lose your job, you lose your insurance.

The bills now before Congress don’t fix these problems. They simply pile on new mandates, regulations, taxes and subsidies. No amount of tinkering, or budgetary sleight of hand, can make them better.

I’ve said for days now that deficit neutrality wasn’t the right benchmark to measure the Democrats’ legislation by, that it was important to consider what the total cost of the legislation is and to find out if the Democrats’ legislation does anything to reduce costs to families, companies and insurers.

I can state with total certainty that that won’t happen with this legislation. Unfortunately, I can state with total certainty that each of the Democrats’ bills will raise taxes on the middle class as well as the rich, on the small businesses and on manufacturers.

If you can enthusiastically support that type of ill-conceived legislation, then you’re reading the wrong blog. If, however, you insist on fewer regulations in exchange for being personally accountable for your health insurance and health care outcomes, then it’s time to stand up and fight the intelligent fight.

If you’re opposed to the Democrats cutting $404,000,000,000 from the Medicare budget over the next decade, then you need to stand up and take the fight to corridors of power in Washington, DC. You need to melt the Capitol Hill switchboard down. You need to tell the people who work for us that they’d better start paying attention to us or they can start planning their retirement.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Jeannette Blonigen-Clancy is a DFL activist from Central Minnesota who frequently submits LTEs to the St. Cloud Times. She has another LTE in this morning’s edition that’s particularly easy fisking. In her attempt to criticize Mrs. Scholar’s column, Ms. Blonigen-Clancy made some wild statements, some of which lacked substantiation. Here’s the first instance:

Why was there no outcry upon learning that the Bush administration wiretapped phones and computers to eavesdrop on the private lives of American citizens?

The NSA didn’t wiretap the phones of American citizens. PERIOD. The NSA is all about collecting foreign intelligence. When the NSA spotted communications going from a country like Pakistan or Afghanistan to someone in the United States, they turned that information over to a domestic intelligence agency. That agency then applied for a wire tap warrant.

Here’s another of Ms. Blonigen-Clancy’s revealing statements:

If they “transcend party politics and focus on government spending and loss of freedoms,” why did Banaian mention critically only Democratic politicians?

Mrs. Scholar interviewed Leo Pusateri and myself for her column because we were the primary organizers of September’s 9/12 TEA Party in St. Cloud. The only Democratic politicians who were mentioned in the article were Speaker Pelosi and Howard Dean. I know because I brought them into the interview. In other words, Mrs. Scholar mentioned them because she was quoting me.

I said that Speaker Pelosi’s priorities didn’t represent the priorities of many rank-and-file Democrats. I know that because I’ve had Democrats tell me that they didn’t agree with Speaker Pelosi’s views. The Democrats that I’ve talked with have specifically mentioned Cap and Trade and on health care reform.

I mentioned Howard Dean because he said that “We’re in a battle between good and evil and we’re the good.” Here’s precisely what I said in the interview:

“Neither Republicans nor Democrats have cornered the market on good ideas. We need to reject the politics of Howard Dean: ‘This is a battle between good and evil and we are the good.’”

I’ve long respected, though not necessarily agreed with, Democrats like John Breaux, Zell Miller, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Scoop Jackson. If we had more of those type of Democrats in Congress, they wouldn’t have voted for the irresponsible legislation that this Congress has passed. We wouldn’t have been in the bad shape that we’re currently in.

This statement epitomizes what the libertarian TEA Party activists are opposed to:

It would make more sense for citizens to unite in opposition to $100 million bonuses, to pressure Congress to reregulate Wall Street, to pressure the present administration into waging peace in Afghanistan.

I’m all for private citizens and stockholders speaking out if they think a CEO is making too much money. That’s part of their rights under the First Amendment. What I’m opposed to, though, is government setting corporate pay scales, mostly because the Constitution doesn’t give them the authority to interfere in such matters.

As bad as that statement was, this one’s totally agravating:

Concern about government spending and loss of freedom is legitimate, but the TEA parties obviously were planned by right-wing political groups manipulating the public’s uneasiness in this critical time of American history.

As a principle organizer of the St. Cloud TEA Party, I’ll freely admit that CMCC, aka the Central Minnesota Conservative Coalition, sponsored the event. What I reject is that we’re attempting to manipulate the public during this time of great apprehension. We stand for a positive set of principles, starting with honesty, accountability and the notion that politicians work for us, not vice versa. We believe in the literal translation of the Constitution and we believe that government functions best when government respects the Tenth Amendment.

Rather than attempting to manipulate people, the TEA parties are attempting to prevent politicians from manipulating the people.

Ms. Blonigen-Clancy’s misuse of the word manipulate is especially galling considering its definition:

to manage or influence skillfully, esp. in an unfair manner

Rather than attempting to manipulate people, the TEA parties are attempting to prevent politicians from manipulating the people.

Ms. Blonigen-Clancy obviously is deeply suspicious of conservatives. Perhaps that’s because she isn’t willing to consider the possibility that conservatives and libertarians have worthwhile ideas. If that’s the case, then I feel sorry for her. I hope some day she starts thinking things through rather than drinking the liberal Kool-Aid.

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PIM has officially endorsed Tony Sutton to be the next chairman of the Minnesota Republican Party.

Let’s be perfectly clear about something: I don’t have an axe to grind with Mr. Sutton. I think he’s done a great job straightening out the mess Ron Carey left him. Tony deserves our thanks for straightening out that mess.

I don’t consider the fact that he’s done a great job straightening out Ron Carey’s mess to be a qualification for being State Party Chairman. After talking with a number of activists about Mr. Sutton, I’m worried that he doesn’t have the requisite communications skills. I haven’t seen proof, either, that Mr. Sutton won’t devote too many resources to top-of-the-ticket candidates.

That’s a major red flag with me!!!

The Carey years produced a top-down mentality. Honest people readily admit that that model put our party years behind the DFL. Nothing I’ve heard about Mr. Sutton suggests that he doesn’t share that mentality. More importantly, nothing suggests that he’d correct that problem. Based on my interview of Mr. Thompson, I’m totally certain that he doesn’t share that top-down mentality. Based on my interview of him, I’m confident that Dave Thompson is committed to correcting those problems.

That’s the biggest reason why I enthusiastically endorsed Dave Thompson.

Another question I have is whether Tony Sutton has the public presence that’s required of state political party chairmen. I DON’T HAVE THAT QUESTION with Dave Thompson. Dave’s got that department down in spades. In fact, that’s another major strength of Mr. Thompson’s.

Put differently, I want Dave Thompson speaking for conservatives, especially when he’s on stage with Brian Melendez. As an activist, I demand that our state party chairman has the obvious gravitas needed to go toe-to-toe with Brian Melendez or to ridicule Margaret Anderson-Kelliher’s policies. I demand a heavyweight in that office.

I know that Dave Thompson fits that description.

Another thing that impressed me about Dave is his commitment to consistently making the best arguments on the most important issues of the day. I’m tired of the daily tit-for-tat noise that passes for MNGOP communications. THAT’S GOTTA STOP ASAP!!!

In my interview with him, Dave Thompson promised that it would end, then offered proof that it would end if he’s elected as the state party chairman. In fact, looking back on the interview, Dave Thompson re-inforced that principle numerous times.

I really take exception to Sarah’s article. Specifically, I take exception to this statement:

Thompson knows nothing of the nuts and bolts work it takes to run a political party and elect candidates.

Based on my extensive interview with him, I’m totally confident Dave Thompson knows what “it takes to run a political party and elect candidates.” During our interview, Dave spoke about the need to stay in contact with the BPOUs throughout the state. Dave spoke about recruiting appealing conservatives for every legislative district in the state. Dave spoke about the need to stay in contact with conservatives on the Iron Range and with conservatives in northwest Minnesota.

I also thought Sarah’s use of this line was a cheap stunt:

I’m betting Thompson drops out shortly, too.

This is the equivalent of a reporter asking a presidential candidate if he’d consider his chief rival as a running mate. It’s a statement that’s intended to tell GOP activists not to take Dave Thompson’s candidacy seriously. It’s an old political tactic that serious conservative activists should instantly and wholeheartedly reject. It’s a statement that Ms. Janacek needs to apologize to Dave Thompson for.

Finally, I’ve gained a reputation for thinking outside the box. It’s a reputation I’m proud of. In my opinion, outside-the-box thinkers connect with people. Next-in-line people don’t. Our presidential ticket was proof of that.

John McCain needed Sarah Palin at his side so there’d be a detectable pulse at his events. If she wouldn’t have been there, he would’ve been written off the day after the convention.

Tony Sutton has loyally served our party. For that, we should thank him. Dave Thompson has the gravitas and the star power to be the best state party chairman in recent history.

Should we vote for the next-in-line candidate or should we vote for the candidate with gravitas and star power? That isn’t a difficult decision.

Voting yes for Dave Thompson is the best way to rebuild the Minnesota Republican Party and restore it to full health.

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Conservatives have tried defining RINOs the past couple of election cycles without much success. While conservatives wouldn’t argue that Chuckie Hagel or Linc Chaffee are RINOs, plenty of conservatives would argue about others who’ve been tagged with that label.

I don’t know of any GOP activists who’d say that Tom Emmer, Laura Brod or Mark Buesgens are RINOs. Nonetheless, some hardline conservatives haven’t hesitated in calling Mike Beard and Steve Gottwalt RINOs. I find that type of namecalling totally assinine.

This ast session, both men voted against each of the DFL’s tax increases, then voted to sustain Gov. Pawlenty’s vetoes of those tax increases. Both men have voted for and/or proposed market-based health care reforms. Both men voted against the DFL’s original set of irresponsible omnibus spending bills, then voted to sustain Gov. Pawlenty’s vetoes of those irresponsible spending bills.

Sue Jeffers is the quintessential portrait of a hardline ‘RINOhunter’. This week, she accused Rep. Gottwalt of being a RINO because he voted for the smoking ban. I’ve told Steve that I didn’t agree with him on that vote. I also told Steve that that wouldn’t prevent me from enthusiastically supporting his re-election campaign.

Sue Jeffers hasn’t bothered letting facts get in the way of her opinions. That’s why it’s easy for people like Ms. Jeffers to throw around the RINO tag. It’s also why it’s easy for people like Jason Lewis to call Norm Coleman and Dave Senjem elitists for not supporting a convicted criminal’s Senate campaign. What’s tragic about Lewis’ diatribe is that he chose to ignore the fact that Alison Krueger defeated Mark Olson in the SD-16 primary.

When Lewis ignored the will of the people in SD-16, he became the elitist. When Ms. Jeffers ignored the conservative, market-based policies that Steve Gottwalt advocated and instead focused on a single vote, Ms. Jeffers’ credibility disappeared.

It’s time that thinking conservatives ignored the hyperbolic rants of hardliners like Ms. Jeffers and Mr. Lewis until they start consistently thinking things through.

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