Archive for the ‘John Kline’ Category

Though I didn’t get to watch the entire summit, what I did see impressed me. Going in, I knew I’d be confident that John Kline, Eric Cantor, Dave Camp and Paul Ryan would be persuasive. They didn’t disappoint in that respect.

Paul Ryan was particularly persuasive. His dissertation on the CBO’s deficit projections was a thing of beauty. When Xavier Becerra tried accusing Ryan of criticizing the CBO, Ryan’s strong response quickly forced Becerra to quickly backpedal. Here’s that exchange:

BECERRA: Mr. President, thank you very much for bringing us all together. I do want to address something that my friend, Paul Ryan, said, because I almost think that we can’t have this discussion any further without addressing something Paul said.

Paul, you called into question the Congressional Budget Office. Now, we could all agree to disagree. We could all have our politics, but if there’s no referee on the field, we can never agree how the game should be played.

RYAN: Let me clarify just to be clear.

BECERRA: No, no, let me…if I could just finish. And so I think we have to decide, do we believe in the Congressional Budget Office or not? Because Paul, you and I have sat on the Budget Committee for years together and you have on any number of occasions in those years cited the Congressional Budget Office to make your point, referred to the Congressional Budget Office’s projections to make your point. And today, you essentially said you can’t trust the Congressional Budget Office.

RYAN: No, that is not what I’m saying.

BECERRA: Well, that was my interpretation. I apologize if I misinterpreted.

RYAN: I am not questioning the quality of their scoring. I am questioning the reality of their scoring.

BECERRA: If I could just finish my — OK. I — I take your point on your clarification.

As good as Congressman Ryan’s exchange was with Rep. Becerra, Eric Cantor’s substantive criticism of the Senate health care bill was even better. Here’s a portion of Cantor’s criticism:

So…but I do want to go back to your suggestion as to why we’re here. And you suggested that maybe we are here to find some points of agreement to bridge the gap in our differences. And I do like…to go back to basics, we’re here because we Republicans care about health care just as the Democrats in this room.

And when the speaker cites her letters from the folks in Michigan and the leader talks about the letters he’s received, Mr. Andrews his, all of us share the concerns when people are allegedly wronged in our health care system.

I mean, I think that is sort of a given.

We don’t care for this bill. I think you know that. The American people don’t care for the bill. I think that we demonstrated, you know, in the polling that they don’t.

But there is…there is a reason why we all voted no. And it does have to do with the philosophical difference that you point out. It does have to do with our fear that if you say that Washington can be the one to define essential health benefits, there may be a problem with that.

And that’s the language in the Section 1302 of this bill, that it says that the secretary shall define for people what essential health benefits are.

I’m certain that the American people agree with Rep. Cantor. I’m certain that they don’t trust Washington with setting the right regulations, especially when the legislation cedes all authority to the HHS secretary. I’m betting that the American people aren’t comfortable handing that much authority to an unelected official.

Dave Camp also skewered President Obama with his presentation:

CAMP: Thank you, Leader Boehner. And thank you, Mr. President, for the invitation today.

I think as we focus this part of the conversation on cost, a lot of Americans say to me, “If you’re really interested in controlling costs, well, maybe you shouldn’t be spending a trillion dollars on health care, as the Senate and House bills do.”

Also, cutting Medicare benefits by a half-trillion dollars to fund this new entitlement is I think a step in the wrong direction, and many Americans do as well. The nonpartisan actuaries at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services say on page four of their letter on the Senate-passed bill that it would bend the cost curve in the wrong direction by about a quarter-trillion dollars. They specifically say the health expenditures under the Senate bill would increase by $222 billion.

A key way of reducing costs that’s missing from the House and Senate bills is responsible lawsuit reform that guarantees injured parties, much like our two largest states have adopted, Texas and California, access to all economic damages such as future medical care. If they need nursing care in the future, they’ll get it, lost wages, reasonable awards for punitive damages and pain and suffering.

Again, I’m betting that most people would agree with Rep. Camp that lawsuit abuse reform must be part of any health care legislation. Camp and Ryan also did a great job of highlighting the fact that Democrats are cutting Medicare with the intent of using that money to pay for a new entitlement. It’s one thing to cut Medicare to strengthen it long term. It’s unacceptable to cut Medicare to pay for a new entitlement because that would make Medicare less solvent while creating a new entitlement at a time when entitlement reform is badly needed.

The Democrats’ storyline of Republicans being the Party of No was demolished, too, though I’d be surprised if they didn’t play that card again. It just won’t have any credibility. Yesterday, America got to see the Republicans’ poise, their ideas and their solutions. I think they did themselves an immense amount of good for November.

This was likely the first time America got to see John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor and Dave Camp. They now can picture them as credible alternatives to Speaker Pelosi’s leadership team.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

In his op-ed in Wednesday morning’s Strib, Rep. John Kline implored President Obama to not give the same speech he’s seemingly given the last 6 months:

Pundits predict that the president will strike a sharp tone in his remarks, forcefully outlining his proposals for the coming year. Unfortunately, by all accounts, the policies will be more of the same. The American people need strong, determined leadership from their commander in chief, but now is not the time to draw lines in the sand and dismiss the very collaboration he will need to restart our struggling economy and create jobs.

Unfortunately, President Obama threw in a couple new things to the same speech he’s delivered the past 6 months. If only he’d listened to the American people. Apparently, that isn’t part of his program.

Instead of changing directions and pivoting away from his failed stimulus and his commitment to job-killing Cap and Trade legislation, President Obama stood defiant.

President Obama had the perfect opportunity to tell the American people that he’d heard the verdicts they delivered in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Instead, President Obama told the American people that he accepted fault for not doing a good job….of explaining his health care plan to them.

For a man who ran such a great campaign, President Obama hasn’t proved that he’s willing to listen to the American people. Instead, he’s turned into the Lecturer-In-Chief. That isn’t what this nation needs right nwo. It’s certainly not something that the American people will put up with much longer.

With the uninterrupted attention of millions of Americans, President Obama has a wonderful opportunity to put our nation at ease. He should acknowledge that initial efforts were misguided and that he and his party’s leadership in Congress will now push the reset button and come together with Republicans to chart a new course for meaningful health care reform that increases affordability, reduces the number of uninsured Americans, improves quality at a price our country can afford and ensures that Americans who like their health care coverage can keep it.

Instead, President Obama chose to double down on the current legislation. Towards the end of the speech, President Obama implored Republicans to work with Democrats on major legislative initiatives. That’s difficult to do when the health care bills were written by Democrats with input from special interest groups. It’s difficult to give your input when you aren’t invited into the negotiations.

Hopefully, President Obama will give a speech more to Congressman Kline’s liking after a solid thrashing this November. He might change directions but I wouldn’t bet on it.

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According to this post, Rep. John Kline and I are on the same page in terms of the 2010 elections:

A few political observers are starting to predict that Republicans could regain the majority in the House, Kline said.

“That’s a dream that very few of us could have six months ago and it’s a dream now that is starting to have legs, ” Kline said. “My colleagues and I are starting to talk about regaining the House in a serious way.”

From Hawaii to Maine, concern about Democratic leadership will “bring districts in play that were not in play six months ago,” he said.

There’s no question that that goal is an uphill fight that’ll require alot of hard work. Still, the hill’s incline isn’t as sharp as it was 6 months ago. It’s gone from having an incline like the Tetons to having an incline of the Minnesota foothills.

I’ve been preaching that the Democrats have misread their mandate and that they’ve overreached because they misread 2008’s elections. They’ve been hurt by the health care debate, their piling up of unprecedented deficits and their reckless spending.

The TEA Parties must be credited with starting the GOP’s momentum. There’s alot to be said for the blogger conference calls conducted by House GOP Conference and the House Minority Whip’s office, too. Those calls connected DC’s politicians with the real world.

The momentum started when the House GOP voted unanimously against the failed stimulus legislation. Once the activists saw that the House GOP had regained its spine, activists started reporting on the group’s return to fiscal sanity. Now we’re seeing that gain momentum.

The first proof of the aforementioned momentum was provided in Virginia, where Bob McDonnell annihilated Creigh Deeds, and in New Jersey, where Chris Christie defeated corrupt incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine. In both those elections, independents voted for the Republican by a 2:1 margin.

Another bit of proof comes from Scott Rasmussen’s polling on the generic ballot question. In this week’s polling, Republicans led Democrats by 8 points, their biggest lead in a decade.

In a recent interview, Frank Luntz said that 72 percent of the people said that they were “mad as hell and that they weren’t going to take it anymore.” Dr. Luntz said that that’s almost identical to what they were in 1994.

Kline said he wasn’t sure what will happen with the proposed health care overhaul making its way through Congress. “My crystal ball is entirely broken on this thing,” he said.

He remains opposed to the overhaul and doesn’t think the version in the Senate will get a single Republican vote if it comes back to the House. “That’s a fight still coming,” he said. “Believe me, we are going to engage in the fight.

I said in this post that that’s a fight well worth having if you’re a Republican. It’s a winning issue nationwide, from Maine to California, from Minnesota to Texas.

It’s a winning issue because the American people have seen the corruption in the process. They’ve seen the spinelessness of moderates like Ben Nelson (Yes, I know he’s a senator but I’m betting voters won’t make that fine a distinction.) and Mary Landrieu.

Factor in the huge tax increases in the bill and the spending involved in it and you’ve got something that touches a nerve with voters.

That’s before factoring in the failed stimulus, the bailouts and the Democrats’ reckless spending and you’ve got the makings of a disastrous year for Democrats.

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According to this DC Examiner article, Michael Burgess just introduced a bill to restore the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. The bill’s name is the DC Student Opportunity and Choice Act.

“The DC school voucher program has been undeniably successful for the student who have had the opportunity to participate, so it would make sense to continue the program and expand it to even more students in the District of Columbia,” Burgess said.

This is one of those rare times when great policy mixes with putting the Democrats in a difficult position. If they oppose this legislation, they’ll be rightly characterized as the NEA’s puppet. They’d also rightly be characterized as opposing a program that’s lifting education outcomes for inner city children. (I wouldn’t want to defend a vote that gives students a great opportunity to succeed in life.)

This bill would overwrite the language contained in the recent 1,000 page omnibus spending bill by a joint conference of a House and Senate Appropriations Committee awaiting the President’s signature that effectively ends private school choice in the city.

Co-sponsoring the legislation are Congressmen John Boehner (R-Ohio), John Kline (R-Minnesota), Darrell Issa (R-California), and Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-New Jersey).

Speaker Pelosi and President Obama, welcome to hell’s tiny corner — east of the rock, just barely to the west of the hard place. If I didn’t know better, I’d say that the “Party of No” just proposed a bill that would improve the lives of children growing up in abject poverty. Doesn’t that contradict the Democrats’ characterization that the Republicans’ agenda was just saying no all the time?

For years, the Democrats have catered to the wishes of the NEA. There’s emerging a group of savvy GOP politicians, both at the national, state and local levels, who have figured out that this is a winning issue for conservatives. Here in Minnesota, Mitch Berg has been outstanding on education issues, highlighting the shortcomings of the current public school system. Legislators like David Hann, Mark Buesgens and Steve Gottwalt are pushing for edcuation reform that focuses on educational outcomes in exchange for funding.

Saying that this isn’t part of EdMinn’s agenda is understatement. I’d be surprised if the NEA’s reaction to the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program isn’t privately met with disdain. (They don’t dare say that publicly out of fear for the political hit they’d take.) I’m betting that this bill gets a hearing and that it’s amended in committee to include one poison pill after another.

If the NEA and other special interests take that approach, the GOP should challenge them on that. I’d force the Democrats to defend their amendments to the bill.

I’m betting that it gets a hearing because Rep. John Kline is the ranking member of the House Education and Labor Committee. If Chairman Miller tries playing games with this, I’m confident that Rep. Kline can make life miserable for him.

With us heading into an election year, Democrats will be especially jumpy. They know that they’re in for a difficult year. Every time that they propose something foolish, I’d highlight the amendment. I’d force them to either withdraw the amendment out of embarassment or I’d make them regret their votes on foolish amendments, especially if they’re aimed at appeasing a special interest group.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

It isn’t surprising that the DNC is targeting Erik Paulsen. In fact, it’s pretty predictable. The DNC’s targeting of Paulsen, though, doesn’t mean that he’s in trouble. It just means that the DNC is challenging GOP freshmen.

Forget, for a moment, about Michele Bachmann. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has put Minnesota Republican Erik Paulsen on their list of Republican targets in next year’s elections, largely on the strength of Barack Obama’s win in Paulsen’s suburban Twin Cities district in 2008.

Paulsen, a freshman who took over the seat of former boss Jim Ramstad, generally doesn’t get mentioned as Democratic cannon fodder. But he’s the only one of three GOP House members from Minnesota on the DNC list, which was put out today, in the wake of the big health care vote in the House Saturday night.

With the Democrats needing to defend seats they won in 2006 and 2008, Democrats have to pick wisely which races they’ll put money into. The fact that they aren’t targeting Michele tells me that they’ll have to see proof that the DFL challenger has a legitimate shot at defeating Michele. (It’s quite possible that Tarryl runs a decent campaign but is still defeated by Michele.)

At this point, I haven’t seen anything that indicates that Rep. Paulsen is in trouble for re-election. Quite the opposite: I’ve seen indications only that he’s doing a good job and that his constituents are happy with the job he’s doing. combine that with this being a decidely pro-GOP cycle and it’s easy picturing Rep. Paulsen getting re-elected.

It’s difficult picturing Terry Bonoff winning, though it’s possible she’ll run a good campaign and put up a decent fight.

When the confetti and balloons settle on Election Night, expect Erik Paulsen, John Kline and Michele Bachmann to get another term in office.

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Salon.com’s Thomas Schaller isn’t sure what derailed Obamacare. That’s evidenced by his string of questions in his latest column. Here’s the list of questions:

Was the White House’s public relations rollout insufficient to counter the stronger-than-anticipated resistance from healthcare opponents? Was the public option always just a bargaining chip to give away in exchange for what the president really wants? What happened to the vaunted Obama campaign apparatus, which was supposed to morph into a machine delivering support for Obama’s agenda? Did Obama simply lack the political will or political capital? Or should he have been less of a consensus seeker and more of a Rove-ian steamroller?

the simple explanation is that it’s none of the above. Obamacare failed because the American people found out what’s in H.R. 3200. The minute they did is the minute they turned on Obamacare. It didn’t have anything to do with packaging. It isn’t that President Obama didn’t have the political will.

When objective people look back at this, they’ll agree that CBO Director Elmendorf’s testimony torpedoed any chance of passing the wide-ranging reforms that President Obama wanted. Here’s what Director Elmendorf said during testimony:

Under questioning from Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., Elmendorf told the Senate Budget Committee that the congressional proposals released so far do not meet that second test.

“In the legislation that has been reported, we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount and, on the contrary, the legislation significantly expands the federal responsibility for health care costs,” he said.

Another thing that hurt the Democrats’ chances for passing this bill was President Obama’s increasing unpopularity. He portrayed himself as a moderate, a post-racial, post-partisan healer who believed in transparency, accountability and puppies. Now he’s seen as just another liberal with a better than average speaking ability.

When it comes to selling transformational changes to the most personal of all domestic policies, salesmanship isn’t what matters. Substance is what matters. Still, Democrats can’t resist blaming the people who couldn’t block anything mathematically:

Apparently, Obama is no LBJ (presidential version), either. Given the reflexive Republican biting of Obama’s extended hand, perhaps the president should have dispensed from the start with any serious effort to find accommodation with the GOP. The White House could have spoken otherwise for public consumption, but it should have assumed all along that this would be a Democratic-led proposal. Instead of wasting energy on trying to persuade Republicans, it could have worked over dissenting Democrats in the Senate, and had a better shot at jamming the public option through.

The notion that President Obama reached out to Republicans in anything more than a token way is laughable. Having them up to the White House, saying a few flowery words about bipartisanship, then restarting the partisanship the minute the GOP leadership has left the building isn’t bipartisanship. It’s an empty photo-op.

2. Obama misplayed his hand by failing to properly explain what the public option is, how it works, who will have to pay for it, and, most of all, to show that he’s prepared to fight for it.

A president has to be educator in chief as well as commander in chief. But the White House lost control of the public option narrative very early on because, as Salon’s own Joan Walsh wrote on July 21, Obama hesitated from the start to lay down clear markers and defend them publicly. “I’m clear about why this is a tough fight for Obama. But I think he may be making it harder than it needs to be. I realize it’s difficult to define when still playing politics, necessarily, but I really want to know his bottom line,” Walsh pleaded, noting that on a range of disputed elements, including the public option, Obama was curiously vague and uncommitted about his intentions. That he has been only slightly more clear and committed in the ensuing month hasn’t helped.

First off, President Obama’s agenda is audacious but he isn’t. He’s the most risk-averse president in recent history.

More importantly, it’s becoming apparent that President Obama lacks Bill Clinton’s wonkishness. Conservatives said throughout the campaign that he lacked the experience to be competent. Now we’ve been proven right.

The other thing that’s happening is that conservatives are winning battles by being conservative:

Inside Washington, they were urged to reduce the influence of pro-lifers in the party and distance themselves from conservative talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. They were told to warm up to Mr. Obama, the new master of American politics, and they were told to fret about all those voting blocs that were drifting away from the GOP—Hispanics, young people, gays, urbanites, blacks, voters in Northeastern states and independents. To survive, in short, they needed to move the party to the center. Conservatism was dead.

In hindsight, it’s fortunate that they ignored the Beltway wisdom. But it was a gamble—it wasn’t clear at the time that a strategy of pure opposition would do anything other than marginalize Republicans.

Anything that’s considered conventional wisdom isn’t worthy of respect. Outside-the-box thinking is what changes minority parties into majority status. It also helps return the White House to its rightful place.

It took awhile but Republicans started taking the advice I gave the day after the 2006 disaster:

3. We need to pick some fights on the most important issues of the day.

The first fight I’d pick is on national security. I’m hearing that the Democrats are thinking of ways of gutting the Patriot Act. It’s important that President Bush knows that ‘We the Activists’ will fight with him if the Pelosi puppets attempt to gut the Patriot Act.

Simply put, it was important that we stopped walking on eggshells and started responding to the Democrats’ radical policies with confidence. Thanks to the leadership of House Republicans like Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter, John Boehner, Tom Price, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and John Kline, we’re on offense.

Gone from the House GOP Conference are the people who just went along. They’ve been replaced by people who believe in conservatism. More importantly, these new leaders know how to explain the main tenets of conservatism in plain-spoken language.

On health care, it’s nice that Republicans have offered several alternatives to Mr. Obama’s government-heavy plan. But these alternatives have played no role in turning America against the president’s ideas. Opposition to ObamaCare in all its parts (not only its cost) has been the chief factor in flipping public opinion.

And that opposition has validated the noisy protests at Democratic town-hall meetings. Absent Republican opposition in Washington, the protests could be dismissed as insignificant. Together, congressional Republicans and their grassroots allies have become an influential force.

Simply put, Paul Ryan and Mike Pence have more credibility on health care than does President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and congressional Democrats. That’s before we factor in people like Dr. Phil Gingrey, Dr. Tom Price, Dr. Charles Boustany, Dr. John Fleming and Dr. Tom Coburn. These gentlemen can talk from firsthand experience about what it’s like to fight with the Medicare bureaucracy to get procedures approved.

Because they’re able to talk from experience, those that hear the ‘doctor’s caucus’ message determine that they’re credible and worth listening to. Best of all, these gentlemen know what’s in H.R. 3200. They’ve pointed out with specificity and authority H.R. 3200’s shortcomings.

That, more than anything else, is what sunk Obamacare. It didn’t help that Henry Waxman wrote a bill that’s considerably to the left of the American people. The Democrats viewed this as the perfect opportunity to ram through highly ideological legislation.

On that, they guessed wrong.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

House Democrats are upset with Republicans after a House Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations meeting. Here’s what the Hill is reporting:

Republicans ignited a firestorm of controversy on Thursday by revealing some of what they had been told at a closed-door Intelligence Committee hearing on the interrogation of terrorism suspects.

Democrats immediately blasted the GOP lawmakers for publicly discussing classified information, while Republicans said Democrats are trying to hide the truth that enhanced interrogation of detainees is effective.

GOP members on the Intelligence Committee on Thursday told The Hill in on-the-record interviews that they were informed that the controversial methods have led to information that prevented terrorist attacks.

When told of the GOP claims, Democrats strongly criticized the members who revealed information that was provided at the closed House Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing. Democrats on the panel said they could not respond substantively, pointing out that the hearing was closed.

Cry me a river. The Democrats weren’t upset when President Obama declassified the so-called Torture Memos even though those documents included sources and methods. Now they’re freaking out over Republicans telling reporters about a briefing by the intelligence community that says the EITs prevented terrorist attacks.

I’d be upset with Republicans if they’d given these Hill reporters specific details on what information led to the thwarting of the attempted terrorist attacks. That didn’t happen:

Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.), a member of the subcommittee who attended the hearing, concurred with Hoekstra.

“The hearing did address the enhanced interrogation techniques that have been much in the news lately,” Kline said, noting that he was intentionally choosing his words carefully in observance of the committee rules and the nature of the information presented.

The Hill’s reporters note that Rep. Kline’s comments didn’t violate the subcommittee’s rules. If that weren’t the case, Democrats could file ethics charges against Republicans who talked. That that isn’t happening speaks volumes. If Republicans had violated the committee’s rules, ethics charges would’ve been filed within minutes of that violation.

If these Democrats had any integrity, they’d be investigating Speaker Pelosi for saying that the CIA routinely and frequently lied to Congress. Knowingly misleading Congress is a crime. Until the Democrats investigate Speaker Pelosi’s comments, I won’t take their whining seriously.

President Obama can clear this up by declassifying the memos that former VP Dick Cheney has requested be declassified. Then we could determine whether the EITs prevented terrorist attacks.

Democrats lambasted their Republican counterparts for discussing the information that was provided behind locked doors.

“I am absolutely shocked that members of the Intelligence committee who attended a closed-door hearing…then walked out that hearing, early, by the way, and characterized anything that happened in that hearing,” said Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairwoman Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). “My understanding is that’s a violation of the rules. It may be more than that.”

I wouldn’t trust Rep. Schakowsky as far as I could throw her if I had two broken arms and a bad back. She’s a political hack and a mindless one at that. If I’m forced to choose between trusting her or trusting Rep. Kline, that decision won’t take a split-second. I’ll trust Rep. Kline in a heartbeat because he’s a man of integrity.

This next quote is rich:

Both Schakowsky and Reyes accused GOP members of playing politics with national security.

“I think they are playing a very dangerous game when it comes to the discussion of matters that were sensitive enough to be part of a closed hearing,” Schakowsky said.

If Rep. Schakowsky weren’t such a hyperpartisan, I might give her statements serious consideration. If President Obama is going to tell the world that EITs are wrong by releasing documents that include sources and methods, then the American people have a right to know the entire picture so they can decide whether President Obama made the right national security decision.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Friday morning, I participated in a blogger conference call with Rep. John Kline. The subject for Friday’s conference call was the National Energy Tax (the House GOP’s nickname for the bill). In his opening statement, Rep. Kline said that an MIT study showed that the National Energy Tax bill would increase the average family’s energy bill by $3,100 annually. Rep. Kline then said that the CBO figure was significantly smaller and that another reputable study said it would increase families’ taxes by over $4,000.

When it was my turn to speak, I said that we’re seeing gas prices going up again as driving season getting started and that it wouldn’t surprise me to read about $3.00 a gallon gas before it’s all over. I then asked if that shouldn’t be used in the upcoming debate over this bill. Rep. Kline said that that should and will be included in the debate.

I then said that the Democrats’ ‘solution’ was based alot on conserving energy. I said that conservation is important but that it doesn’t work for young couples with little babies at home in the winter. They need to keep the thermostat turned up so that the baby stays warm.

Rep. Kline said that that was a good way of making things personal, which he said was important in fighting and defeating the National Energy Tax bill.

Rep. Kline said that the Democrats’ so-called solution didn’t include increasing supplies of fossil fuels or nuclear power. He said that, “with all due respect to Mr. Pickens”, you can’t build enough wind farms. I couldn’t agree more.

I also mentioned that last year’s House Oil Party brought about the American Energy Act, which is the embodiment of a true all-of-the-above energy reform bill. Rep. Kline said that much of what’s in that bill will be part of the House Republicans’ energy bill alternative.

OBSERVATION: The Democrats’ energy policy is based on the belief that alternative energy sources can replace fossil fuels. Wind farms and solar panels are ok as limited options but they can’t replace coal-fired power plants and fossil fuels for our cars.

It’s time that the Democrats started saying no every once in awhile to their green allies. It’s time they faced the reality that we need increased energy production.

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According to this USA Today article, Joe Lieberman will hold a hearing into the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. The Democrats’ education monolith is cracking. President Obama might have the NEA’s support on this but more people are asking why he isn’t supporting a real path to hope for DC’s children.

Back when he was on the city council for the District of Columbia, attorney Kevin Chavous would occasionally run into fellow Democrats concerned about the state of the USA’s urban schools. They were open to a lot of ideas, but most Democrats have historically rejected taxpayer-supported private-school vouchers, saying they drain precious cash from needy public schools. Chavous, who served from 1992 to 2005, openly supported vouchers. He would ask others why they didn’t.

“Several of them would whisper to me, ‘I’m with you, but I can’t come out in front,'” Chavous says.

That was then.

While vouchers will likely never be the clarion call of Democrats, they’re beginning to make inroads among a group of young black lawmakers, mayors and school officials who have split with party and teachers union orthodoxy on school reform. The group includes Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former Washington, D.C., mayor Anthony Williams.

Rep. John Kline has the right idea with regards to DC vouchers:

“Public schools are the foundation of our education system and I am committed to doing everything I can to make sure they get the support necessary to educate our children effectively. But sometimes schools fail their obligation to our children. When that happens, parents and children deserve an alternative. In several cities with failing schools, school choice programs have been successful at giving children fresh hope and opportunities – for a relatively small investment.

Unfortunately, the majority party in Congress recently passed a law that will kill one such program in Washington, DC that has shown great promise for success. This is not only unfair to children who are being forced back into failing schools but also sets a dangerous precedent. I will continue to fight for reauthorizing this program and supporting others like it.”

Thanks for fighting the good fight on vouchers, Rep. Kline. It’s time people told Rep. Obey it isn’t about the unions, that it’s about giving children a world class education. President Obama recently said that he’d let all the children currently in DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program finish out their education in private schools.

What a concession.

NOT!!!

Until DC’s schools have been fixed, DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program must continue. Letting current students finish their education in quality schools is a nice start but it’s just that: a start. Ending the program without fixing the public school system is unforgivable. It sells DC’s children out for some campaign contributions from the NEA’s leadership.

That’s unforgiveable.

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This post provides a great explanation why the GOP should focus on shoring up the base first. Here’s the part I agree most with:

5) It’s conservatives, not moderates, who contribute the money, work on GOP campaigns, and are generally going to vote Republican, if they vote at all.

Although it’s fine to reach out to moderates, if you go too far and alienate the conservative base, it will hurt your fundraising, leave you without enough campaign volunteers, and may depress turnout amongst your most loyal supporters.

Our ‘alphabets’ fundraising has stunk the last 2 election cycles. That’s because the activists have refused to support candidates that would be as comfortable in the Democratic Party as they’d be in the GOP. The Democrats hire their GOTV machine. The GOP doesn’t. That’s why we need enthusiastic activists. The perfect example of this is in Minnesota’s 2nd District.

John Kline has impeccable conservative credentials. As a result, Rep. Kline had a big base of volunteers this campaign season:

John Kline and his supporters have turned out in force, in numbers ranging the low 30’s to over 70 per parade, and expect to continue such turnouts through the fall. Sarvi has missed a number of parades, and the number of his supporters has been much smaller when he has shown up.

John Kline gives CD-2 activists reason to volunteer. The above paragraph is proof that people will volunteer if our politicians are steadfast, principled conservatives.

John’s on the right track but he isn’t the only person on the right track. Erick Erickson of Redstate, Patrick Ruffini of the Next Right and others have started a project called Rebuild the Party. Here’s a little teaser of what they’ve come up with:

The time is now to set in motion the changes needed to rebuild our party from the grassroots up, modernize the way we run campaigns, and attract different, energetic, and younger candidates at all levels.

We must be conservative in philosophy but bold in our approach. We don’t need a slight tweak here or there. We need transformation. We can’t keep fighting a 21st century war with 20th century weapons.

Patrick Ruffini is one of the brightest political minds in the conservative movement. Having spoken with Erick Erickson from time to time, I can vouch for Erick’s vision for the conservative movement and for his impeccable conservative credentials. I’ll enthusiastically fight this fight with Erick and Patrick. I encourage every conservative to join in this effort.

What’s needed now is principled leadership. There isn’t a minute to waste if we we want to stay relevant. It’s imperative that we commit to this project. Liberalism can’t defeat principled, well-enunciated conservatism. It’s just that simple. On October 27, 1964, Ronald Wilson Reagan delivered his famous “Time for Choosing” speech. Forty-four years later, it’s still a time for choosing. It’s also a time for action.

Let’s get started.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative