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After John McCain lost in 2008, I spoke with a friend about senators becoming presidents. I half-kiddingly said that Republicans should pass a motion that senators should never be allowed to be the GOP’s presidential nominee. I know that such a resolution is impossible, which is why I said it in jest. That being said, senators don’t run things. They aren’t the decider. They’re the pontificators. Soon-to-be former Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), weighed in on the subject:

Perry, considering a repeat presidential bid in 2016, had just spoken at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Reagan’s famous “A Time For Choosing” speech. Among his scalding criticisms of Obama, Perry explained the president’s failings as due to his background as a U.S. senator, something that happens to apply to several of his would-be challengers for the GOP presidential nomination.

“If you’re in the Senate or if you’re in the House, you can give a speech and then go home. Governors can’t. We have to govern,” Perry said, adding, “And the president of the United States, historically, has had to operate that way, too; the ones that were successful. And one of the reasons why this President is not successful is because he’s never had that experience.”

Asked if the next president will be a senator, Perry said, “No.”

It’s worth noting that the top-tier candidates on the Democratic side are both senators, too. But I digress.

Gov. Perry is right, though intentionally a bit oversimplistic. Legislators work hard if they’re doing their jobs right. That being said, their job is mostly debating legislation. Their work is done during scheduled sessions. Presidents and governors work during sessions, too, to get their legislative agendas passed. During sessions, though, they’re also called on to deal with crises, whether it’s a president responding to international hot spots or governors responding to public safety crises within their state or on their state’s borders.

Then, after the sessions are over, presidents and governors are essentially on call 24/7 the rest of the year. They’re never on recess, though President Obama certainly makes it look like he doesn’t take the White House with him.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz think they see the next president of the United States when they look in the mirror each morning. They don’t. What accomplishments do these men have? They haven’t implemented major reforms like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Perry and Bobby Jindal have. They haven’t revived their states’ economies like Kasich, Perry and Walker have. The best that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz can say is that they prevented Sen. Reid and President Obama from doing awful things.

They shouldn’t be discredited for that. What they’ve done isn’t insignificant. It just isn’t nearly as significant as what Govs. Walker, Jindal, Perry and Kasich have accomplished.

Lest this be just about Republicans, let’s ask what Hillary or Elizabeth Warren has accomplished. Hillary’s staff noted that she traveled more flight miles than any other Secretary of State in US history. That’s nice. She can redeem those miles so she and Bill can take a nice vacation together.

In terms of actual policies implemented, she got 4 American patriots killed in Benghazi by being asleep at the switch. She ignored multiple pleas from Christopher Stevens for enhanced security for the compound in Benghazi. Then she the nerve to say she hadn’t heard of those urgent requests.

Nobody will buy that BS in 2016. They didn’t buy it in 2012 and they aren’t buying it now.

Her first ‘accomplishment’ was presenting Russia with a reset switch that Russia interpreted as meaning that they could do whatever they wanted in Ukraine and anywhere else in eastern Europe and the middle east. Coddling our enemies (Russia, Iran) and mistreating our allies (Israel, the British and Iraq) isn’t what presidential resumes are built on.

As pathetic as Hillary’s list of accomplishments is, Elizabeth Warren’s list of accomplishments is more pathetic. In fact, it’s nonexistent.

It’s still early but I’d argue that 2016 is shaping up to be GOP year for taking back the White House. Rick Perry has presided over the strongest economy in the nation. Scott Walker passed collective bargaining reform, then staved off the unions’ attempts to kill the reforms. He also passed a $2.2 billion tax cut while creating 110,000 jobs. Bobby Jindal passed school choice laws that are improving educational outcomes in Louisiana. John Kasich’s economic policies have revived Ohio. He cut taxes while eliminating an $8 billion deficit upon entering office.

By comparison, the Democrats have a pair of wannabes as their top tier.

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Few apolitical people know that the Democratic Party has put in place a system that chills political involvement and that buys elections. I have proof that both statements are true. Starting with buying elections, this story proves that the DFL broke Minnesota’s campaign lawss and bought 11 Senate seats:

The Republican Party of Minnesota began filing complaints in October 2012, charging that DFL campaign materials were wrongfully listed as independent expenditures, but the materials were not because the candidates were actively engaged in photo shoots in producing the print ads, thereby breaching the legal wall between candidates and independent expenditures.

For those that want to argue that this is just Republican sour grapes, I’d ask them to explain this:

The Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board Tuesday, Dec. 17, fined the Minnesota DFL Senate Caucus $100,000 for wrongfully working with 13 of its candidates in the 2012 election.

The $100,000 civil penalty is among the biggest in state history.

These sitting senators should be kicked out of the Senate for their actions. Further, they should be fined for their actions, as should the DFL Senate Caucus for their actions. Finally, there should be a special election to replace Democrats that broke the law.

If it’s a financial hardship for these Democrats, good. I’m not interested in making their lives comfortable. I’m interested in making examples of them. They’ve lost the right to be called public servants. They’ve earned the right to be called lawbreakers. These Democrats have earned the right to be considered unethical politicians.

While buying elections is a serious thing, it’s trivial compared with the political witch hunt that’s happening in Wisconsin:

MADISON, Wis. – Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.

That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.

Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.

While there’s no doubt Democrats will deny a connection between the IRS-TEA Party scandal and this witch hunt, they’re too similar in intent to ignore. Here’s what John Chisholm, the Milwaukee County prosecutor leading this witch hunt, obtained through his pre-dawn paramilitary raids:

Court documents show the extraordinary breadth of the prosecutors’ subpoena requests.

They sought phone records for a year-and-a-half period, “which happened to be the most contentious period in political politics,” the conservatives note. They note that prosecutors did not pursue the same tactics with left-leaning organizations that pumped tens of millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s recall elections, in what certainly appeared to be a well-coordinated effort.

Among other documents, prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” according to the conservatives’ court filing.

In other words, these Democrat prosecutors wanted to intimidate people they didn’t agree with. They used tactics third world dictators use to intimidate the citizenry:

Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the dragnet two years ago, and, according to court documents, with the help of the state Government Accountability Board, the probe was expanded to five counties. The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time. Sources have described predawn “paramilitary-style” raids in which their posessions were rifled through and seized by law enforcement officers.

This isn’t just a fishing expedition. It’s a message from Democrats to Republicans that they’ll use their offices to intimidate their political enemies. It’s a message from Democrats that they’re weaponizing government agencies.

This isn’t just happening in Wisconsin. It’s happened in Texas, too, where a Democrat with a penchant for getting highly intoxicated abused her office to indict Gov. Rick Perry for doing what other governors have done since the founding of their respective states. She indicted him because he vetoed a bill cutting off funding for her office.

It isn’t coincidence that Scott Walker and Rick Perry are considered potential presidential candidates. In fact, I’d argue that Chisholm launched his fishing expedition into Gov. Walker to defeat him so he can’t run for president.

Check back later today for Part II of this series.

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Thanks to this article by the Wisconsin Reporter, conservatives can learn about the Democratic Party’s witch hunt machine. Anyone that thinks Democrats are nice people that conservatives simply disagree with is badly mistaken. Read the article, then tell me that:

MADISON, Wis. – Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.

That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.

Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.

That the John Doe prosecutors tried to get records from “at least eight phone companies” is frightening enough. Who needs the NSA when Wisconsin has these John Doe prosecutors. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there:

Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin.

“In fact, Defendants’ submissions confirm and expand upon the scope and intensity of retaliation previously demonstrated,” O’Keefe’s attorney wrote in documents ordered unsealed by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Anyone that thinks this is just a case of some rogue prosecutors gone bad apparently hasn’t paid attention to Rosemary Lehmberg’s indictment of Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX). These naive people should read this, too:

Chisholm, a Democrat, launched the dragnet two years ago, and, according to court documents, with the help of the state Government Accountability Board, the probe was expanded to five counties. The John Doe proceeding compelled scores of witnesses to testify, and a gag order compelled them to keep their mouths shut or face jail time. Sources have described predawn “paramilitary-style” raids in which their posessions were rifled through and seized by law enforcement officers.

If you thought that weaponized government was just a term used by paranoid conservatives, you’d better rethink things. This is proof that some Democratic prosecutors will use their office for blatantly political purposes. Again and unfortunately, that isn’t all these Democratic thugs with law degrees did. Here’s more:

Court documents show the extraordinary breadth of the prosecutors’ subpoena requests.

They sought phone records for a year-and-a-half period, “which happened to be the most contentious period in political politics,” the conservatives note. They note that prosecutors did not pursue the same tactics with left-leaning organizations that pumped tens of millions of dollars into Wisconsin’s recall elections, in what certainly appeared to be a well-coordinated effort.

Among other documents, prosecutors sought “all call detail records including incoming and outgoing calls,” “billing name and information,” “subscriber name and information including any application for service,” according to the conservatives’ court filing.

In other words, these Democrats wanted confidential information. That’s why the Wisconsin Club for Growth and Eric O’Keefe filed their civil rights lawsuit.

There’s little doubt that these Democrats would’ve used the information they gathered through their witch hunt to chill these conservatives’ desire to participate in the political process. The only retaliation against these Democrats is to a)prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law when possible, b) end their political careers by removing them from their positions of political power and c) pressure Democrat politicians into passing sweeping reforms to prevent these fishing expeditions from today going forward.

If Democrats aren’t willing to limit rogue prosecutors’ ability to conduct political fishing expeditions, then we’ll know that they approve of these Democrats’ behavior.

Thanks to M.D. Kittle and the Wisconsin Reporter, we now know that these Democrats were attempting to chill conservatives from exercising their right to participate in the political process. This needs to be stopped ASAP and it needs to be stopped dead in its tracks.

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One of the things that Rick Perry hasn’t gotten credit for is his moving 1,000 National Guardsmen to the Tex-Mex border. It isn’t that people haven’t commented on Gov. Perry’s decision. It’s that there’s been too much second guessing of his decision:

The governor is simply trying to grab headlines, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest replied.

He said the administration hopes “Gov. Perry will not just take these kinds of steps that are generating the kind of headlines I suspect he intended, but will actually take the kinds of steps that will be constructive to solving the problem over the long term.”

Like most of the stuff coming from this administration, Earnest’s comments are BS. It isn’t that Gov. Perry is trying to grab cheesy headlines. It’s that he’s trying to fix a problem created by the federal government that’s spilled into his lap:

Deploying 1,000 Guardsmen “has nothing to do with unaccompanied minors or children crossing the border,” Perry said, because data show “only 20 percent of those apprehended crossing the border illegally are children.”

The Texas Department of Safety found that 203,000 illegal immigrants were arrested and charged with more than 640,000 crimes since 2008, Perry told the Trib. “Of those crimes, 3,000 were homicides and nearly 8,000 were sexual assaults,” he said. “Thousands of lives have been shattered forever, that shouldn’t have (been), if the federal government had done its job.”

Thanks to President Obama’s indifference to protecting Americans, literally thousands of Texans’ lives have been ruined. The Texas Department of Safety’s statistics are irrefutable. The children flooding in are just part of the crisis. The biggest part of the crisis, though, is that thousands of illegal immigrants have committed heinous crimes that’ve ruined people’s lives.

Border Patrol data show that the number of children entering Texas illegally has grown from about 5,000 in 2012 to more than 50,000 this year. “Inaction encourages other minors to place themselves in extremely dangerous situations,” Perry wrote in his letter to the president. “…Every day of delay risks more lives. Every child allowed to remain encourages hundreds more to attempt the journey.”

President Obama doesn’t see this as a humanitarian crisis as much as he sees it as a political opportunity. He wanted tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to flood into the US in the hopes of forcing Republicans to pass “comprehensive immigration reform.” President Obama’s problem is that the crisis got tons of press, which made it look like a) the administration tried manufacturing this crisis and b) this administration and other Democrats don’t care about consistently enforcing the border.

Republicans have repeatedly said that they won’t pass immigration reform until enforcing the border becomes a high priority for this administration. That isn’t something pro-open borders organizations like La Raza or pro-open borders legislators like Luis Guttierez are interested in.

That’s their problem. The overwhelming majority of people polled demand that the border be secured before talking about legalizing the illegal immigrants already in the country.

It’s gotten to the point that Republicans get better grades on immigration than Democrats get. Gov. Perry might run for president in 2016. At this point, he should because he’s getting high marks for taking border security seriously. He’s taking his law enforcement responsibilities seriously, too, which is more than they think about President Obama.

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Harry Reid is one of the most deceitful men to ever serve in Washington, DC. He isn’t too bright, either. The things he said in this video contradict each other:

Here’s what Sen. Reid said:

“From all the reports I’ve gotten, the answer for me is no, I won’t support it,” he said.

“I believe our No. 1 concern should be this narrow issue of we take care of this situation we have on the border. As I’ve been told, the Cornyn-Cuellar legislation covers a lot of other issues other than the problem we’re having on the border,” he said.

As foolish as that statement is, this statement is breathtakingly dishonest:

“The border is secure,” he told reporters after the Senate Democrats’ weekly policy lunch. “[Sen.] Martin Heinrich [(D-N.M.)] talked to the caucus today. He’s a border state senator. He said he can say without any equivocation the border is secure.”

I wish I’d been one of the reporters at Sen. Reid’s press availability. I would’ve asked him why a supplemental appropriation was needed to handle the flood of illegal immigrants if the border was secure. This isn’t rocket science. If the border is secure, then they wouldn’t be predicting 90,000 children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

The best way to tell whether Sen. Reid is lying is to determine whether his lips are moving. If they are, it’s likely that he’s lying.

Rick Perry’s op-ed exposes Sen. Reid’s dishonesty:

In recent months, tens of thousands of children have come across the border and are now housed in federal facilities across the U.S., the result of failed federal policies and Washington’s indifference to securing the border.

I visited one of these facilities in June and saw these children, frightened and alone, who left their homes and families, survived a harrowing trip, and are now facing an unknown future. It was staggering to realize that this humanitarian crisis is not the result of a natural disaster, but of our nation’s own misguided laws and misplaced priorities. It’s nothing less than a moral outrage.

President Obama last week proposed $3.7 billion in spending to deal with the continuing crisis. But only a small fraction of that money would go to the actual core of this problem: the lack of sufficient resources to secure the border. The majority of the billions he proposes to spend—including on housing and transporting the minors around the country—is treating the symptoms of the problem instead of addressing its root cause.

Unlike Sen. Reid, Gov. Perry has been to the border. He’s seen the unaccompanied children. He’s gotten daily briefings from his staff on the flood of illegal aliens coming into the US.

Sen. Reid is attempting to hide the fact that 70% of the Border Patrol has been pulled from their normal jobs to help process the illegal aliens. There’s only 2 explanations for doing that. Either President Obama wants to leave the Tex-Mex border unsecured or the agents are being pulled to help with the flood of illegal immigrants who’ve crossed an unsecured border.

Just once, I wish a DC reporter would stand up to Sen. Reid and ask him why he’s saying such obviously contradictory things. You don’t need a $3,700,000,000 supplemental appropriation to handle a flood of illegal immigrants if the border is secure. Period.

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Whether he realizes it or not, Sen. Rand Paul sounds frighteningly like President Obama. Sen. Paul’s op-ed sounds exceptionally dovish, starting with this:

President Obama has said he might use airstrikes in the future. I have also been open to the same option if it makes sense.

Notice the qualifier-filled statements from President Obama and Sen. Paul. It’d be surprising if President Obama did anything more than token air strikes. With Sen. Paul, we just don’t know, though his record is fairly isolationist and dovish. That isn’t the worst part, though. Sen. Paul’s intellectual dishonesty is frightening:

Said Perry forthrightly during a Republican presidential primary debate in 2012, “I would send troops back into Iraq.” Obviously, this is something he advocated long before the rise of ISIS. At the time, Perry urged the United States to return troops to Iraq to act as a balance against Iran, a country my colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham says we must work with to help beat back the extremists.

Does Perry now believe that we should send U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight the Iranians—or to help Iran fight ISIS?

Why would Sen. Paul ask that question? First, he notes that Gov. Perry made that statement in 2012, when the situation in Iraq was dramatically different. Why does Sen. Paul automatically assume that Gov. Perry’s policy would be the same today as it was in 2012? As intellectually dishonest as Sen. Paul’s assumption is, that isn’t the part that frightens me most. This question is:

How many Americans should send their sons or daughters to die for a foreign country, a nation the Iraqis won’t defend for themselves?

First, it assumes that Gov. Perry would send in troops, which isn’t a safe assumption. Second, it’s the wrong question. Why doesn’t Sen. Paul understand that troops deployed to Iraq wouldn’t be there to “die for a foreign country”? Why doesn’t he understand that they’d only be deployed to obliterate a terrorist training ground in the heart of Iraq?

Isn’t Sen. Paul bright enough to understand that a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East is a huge threat to the United States, not just to our allies?

This statement is frighteningly fictional:

Reagan ended the Cold War without going to war with Russia. He achieved a relative peace with the Soviet Union—the greatest existential threat to the United States in our history—through strong diplomacy and moral leadership.

Sen. Paul, it’s time you talked with people in the Reagan national security team. They’d tell you that he didn’t miss an opportunity to talk with dissidents jailed in the Soviet Union’s gulags. They’d tell you that he beefed up Radio Free Europe to tell dissidents that he was fighting for them. They’d tell you that diplomacy didn’t work until Reagan made it clear that he’d counter anything the Soviets would attempt to do.

The negotiations didn’t start until Reagan had frightened the bejesus out of President Gorbachev. Once he’d shown President Gorbachev who was the real superpower, then the negotiations started.

Reagan had no easy options either. But he did the best he could with the hand he was dealt.

If Sen. Paul meant that Jimmy Carter left President Reagan with a crappy hand, that’s right. If Sen. Paul means that there was any doubt in President Reagan’s mind that his plan would work and work fairly quickly, the answer to that question is an emphatic no. Reagan knew that the Soviet Union’s economy was on the verge of collapse. He knew that putting pressure on the Soviets would put them on the defensive.

Apparently, Sen. Paul doesn’t really understand the genius of President Reagan’s foreign policy genius. There’s no question whether Reagan was a hawk. It’s just that his foreign policy strategy was multi-faceted.

Sen. Paul’s op-ed is based on supposition, not fact. It’s based on something Gov. Perry said in 2012, not this summer. It’s apparent that Sen. Paul is as accomplished as President Obama in using strawman arguments. I expect that from this president. From now on, I guess I should expect it from Sen. Paul, too.

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It’s sounding more and more like Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), is planning on running for president again in 2016. This op-ed sounds like the first shot against Sen. Paul:

This represents a real threat to our national security — to which Paul seems curiously blind — because any of these passport carriers can simply buy a plane ticket and show up in the United States without even a visa. It’s particularly chilling when you consider that one American has already carried out a suicide bombing and a terrorist-trained European allegedly killed four at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

Yet Paul still advocates inaction, going so far as to claim in an op-ed last month in the Wall Street Journal that President Ronald Reagan’s own doctrines would lead him to same conclusion.

The thing Sen. Paul’s supporters haven’t paid attention to is the fact that President Reagan was a confrontationalist. Though he didn’t fire a shot at the Soviet Union, he constantly confronted them strategically. He put in Pershing II missiles into western Europe. Doves like Joe Biden, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry howled at the move, saying that this would just provoke the Soviets to become more expansionist.

Gov. Perry understands what President Reagan understood then. Gov. Perry understands that a vibrant, growing economy, coupled with the right strategic vigilance and interventionism, will thwart Putin’s expansionism and ISIS’ attempt to build a caliphate where terrorists can train for their next terrorist attack.

Here’s another shot frm Gov. Perry across Sen. Paul’s bow:

Reagan identified Soviet communism as an existential threat to our national security and Western values, and he confronted this threat in every theater. Today, we count his many actions as critical to the ultimate defeat of the Soviet Union and the freeing of hundreds of millions from tyranny.

At the time, though, there were those who said that Reagan’s policies would push the Soviets to war. These voices instead promoted accommodation and timidity in the face of Soviet advancement as the surest path to peace. This, sadly, is the same policy of inaction that Paul advocates today.

It isn’t that Gov. Perry is pushing war. It’s that he isn’t pushing for America to stick its head in the sand. Like I said earlier, Reagan brought the Soviet empire to its knees without firing a shot.

The Soviet Union had a terrible economy. Today, Russia’s economy isn’t much better. Putin is flexing his country’s muscles because he thinks he can get away with it. That’ll end the minute the US economy starts hitting on all cylinders and the right president starts inserting itself in the world.

Again, this doesn’t require going to war, though it’ll require beefed up intel operations in the world’s nastiest corners. That won’t matter to Paul’s most paranoid supporters. Paul’s most paranoid supporters will still hear the drumbeats of war.

Sane people, however, will hear things clearly. Far more people will agree with Gov. Perry than will agree with Sen. Paul. Let the jockeying begin.

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For people who want to get an education in border security, I’d recommend watching this video:

I’ve been a secure-the-border guy from the start. It makes tons of sense. It’s the only thing that makes sense. I’ve been a build-the-wall guy, too. After watching Gov. Perry’s interview with Sean Hannity, I’m still a build-the-fence guy but I wouldn’t be if Rick Perry was president.

Rick Perry’s understanding of border security is only surpassed by his commitment to border security. If President Obama was as committed to securing the border as Rick Perry is, the border crisis wouldn’t have happened.

Also, Gov. Perry wants additional National Guard troops on the border so the Border Patrol “can do what they do best”, which is interdict drug traffickers and gather intel into cartel operations. That’s a show of commitment to border security that this president hasn’t shown.

One of the things that impressed me during the video is Gov. Perry’s understanding of the homeland security issues caused by illegal activities along the border. Gov. Perry’s explanation of the equipment that’s used along the border was informative. The gunboats that patrol the river are impressive. They are big, wide boats with 3 outboards mounted on jack plates. Each of the outboards are 300 hp. A boat that big usually needs lots of water to navigate. Gov. Perry said these specially-crafted rigs can operate in a foot of water.

Having fished in bass tournaments, I know a little about boats that can operate in extremely shallow water. Having fished walleyes in big water, I know a little about big, deep-water boats. A tournament walleye boat like the old Ranger 690 Fisherman required 16″ of water to operate. That boat was 18′ long.

By comparison, the gunboats that they use on the Rio Grande look like they’re at least 24 feet long. They’re loaded with some pretty lethal armaments, too, which weigh quite a bit. That these boats operate in a foot of water is astonishing.

I can’t impress on people enough how informative this is. I’d strongly recommend that you watch Hannity’s interview with Gov. Perry, too:

I’ve been impressed with Gov. Perry throughout these interviews. Yes, he’s taken a couple shots at the president but he’s mostly been focused on solving the border crisis. He’s shown he’s serious about securing the border. Most impressively, he’s shown a great command of the issues.

It’s understatement to say that Gov. Perry had a couple rough debate performancess in 2012. Predictably and justifiably, he got criticized for those performances. If this Rick Perry had shown up in those debates, he might’ve been the GOP presidential nominee. This Rick Perry is impressive.

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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Washington Post op-ed is obviously trying to prebut Texas Gov. Rick Perry prior to Perry’s visit to Maryland:

With gridlock and partisanship having all but paralyzed Washington, governors are at the forefront of our country’s policy divide. On the No. 1 issue facing our nation, how to ensure that Americans are winners, not losers, in the 21st-century economy, two divergent approaches frame the debate. Texas Gov. Rick Perry is highlighting this debate with his trip to Maryland on Wednesday.

The contrast is clear: Should we slash taxes on the wealthiest Americans, crippling our ability to invest in schools, job training, infrastructure and health care, because we believe that even lower taxes for our wealthiest will magically lead to jobs and robust economic growth? Or should we make tough choices together that provide the resources to invest in schools, bolster growing industries and create quality middle-class jobs?

First, it isn’t government’s responsibility to “ensure that Americans are winners, not losers.” Government’s responsibility is to put in place policies that give Americans the ability to win within the limits of the Constitution.

Second, raising tax rates doesn’t automatically increase revenues. Gov. O’Malley should know that because Maryland’s so-called Millionaires Tax failed miserably:

Maryland couldn’t balance its budget last year, so the state tried to close the shortfall by fleecing the wealthy. Politicians in Annapolis created a millionaire tax bracket, raising the top marginal income-tax rate to 6.25%. And because cities such as Baltimore and Bethesda also impose income taxes, the state-local tax rate can go as high as 9.45%. Governor Martin O’Malley, a dedicated class warrior, declared that these richest 0.3% of filers were “willing and able to pay their fair share.” The Baltimore Sun predicted the rich would “grin and bear it.”

One year later, nobody’s grinning. One-third of the millionaires have disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. In 2008 roughly 3,000 million-dollar income tax returns were filed by the end of April. This year there were 2,000, which the state comptroller’s office concedes is a “substantial decline.” On those missing returns, the government collects 6.25% of nothing. Instead of the state coffers gaining the extra $106 million the politicians predicted, millionaires paid $100 million less in taxes than they did last year, even at higher rates.

Apparently, Gov. O’Malley’s staff didn’t inform him that his fight with Texas was settled in 2009. Quoting the WSJ, Maryland collected “6.25% of nothing” on 1,000 returns. Predictably, those millionaires left Maryland for greener pastures, mostly to northern Virginia.

Rather than collecting an additional $106,000,000 in taxes, Maryland lost $100,000,000. That’s what’s properly known as a miserable failure. Gov. O’Malley apparently hasn’t figured out that raising taxes isn’t the same as increasing tax revenues. Increasing the size of a state’s economy is what will increase a state’s ability to “invest in schools, job training, infrastructure and health care”, if that’s what they want to do. Maryland found out recently that raising tax rates doesn’t automatically increase revenues.

Taking advice from the governor that chased 1,000 millionaires from his state in on of his first major initiatives isn’t smart. In fact, listening to him on tax policy is foolish.

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Several things caught my attention tonight about the GOP nomination race going forward. Here’s my take on what’s happened this week:

1. Mitt has a glass chin. Mitt’s great at throwing punches but he’s worthless when he’s attacked. The “looks presidential” Mitt disappears the minute he’s challenged or criticized. Considering the fact that President Obama, the pro-Obama superPACs and his media allies won’t play by Marquess of Queensberry rules, this puts Mitt at a significant disadvantage.

ADVANTAGE: President Obama

2. Newt’s capable of giving as good as he gets. There’s no question but that President Obama, like all narcissists, hates criticism. Similarly, there’s no question but that Newt’s substantive, issue-based criticisms will rattle President Obama.

There’s no reason to think that this advantage is limited to the debates. Newt will criticize President Obama for vetoing the Keystone XL Pipeline project. When Newt accuses President Obama for caving into the militant environmentalists rather than doing what’s right for America, Newt will put President Obama on the defensive.

ADVANTAGE: Newt

3. Message and connecting with voters vs. money and organization. Thus far, Mitt’s outspent his opponents by a wide margin. He’s widely acknowledged as having the best ground game of the 4 left standing, with RP a close second. Thus far, that hasn’t translated into victories. In fact, after tonight, it’s left more questions unanswered than anything else.

Newt started an online money bomb minutes after being declared the winner of South Carolina’s winner. Then there’s the well-funded pro-Newt superPAC. Combine that with the visceral connection people fel with Newt during Newt’s dressing down of Juan Williams, then strengthened when he eviscerated CNN’s John King and you’ve got the groundwork of an energized nationwide organization.

4. It seems like forever ago but Rick Perry’s dropped out. Still, Gov. Perry’s dropping out is a big deal, though not for the reasons most pundits and consultants think. I wrote about it here:

It’ll be interesting to see the media’s reaction to Gov. Perry’s endorsement. That said, the biggest thing, in my opinion, is the fact that tons of TEA Party organizations “from 25 states” will essentially pledge to be Newt’s organization in those states. Potentially, the TEA Party’s energy is a difference-maker. Look at the difference they made in last year’s midterms.

Mitt has a strong organization, he’s got a decent message but he doesn’t have the TEA Party support, organization and enthusiasm that Newt now has. Newt’s a fighter. That’s what the TEA Party is about. Fighting for the TEA Party’s principles fits Newt’s personality. Mitt doesn’t have a personality.

ADVANTAGE: Newt

4. Newt’s ‘attack’ on capitalism. Mitt’s made it clear that he’ll continue to use the line that Newt’s attacks on Bain are a full frontal assault on capitalism. Mitt’s made clear that he’ll try to convince voters that Newt’s attacks on capitalism disqualify him as the GOP nominee.

People won’t buy into that. Newt’s gotten the endorsement of Thomas Sowell, Michael Reagan and Art Laffer, 3 of the most passionate free enterprise, supply-side proponents of the past 30 years. Good luck selling that. Which leads to point 5.

5. Mitt’s attacks aren’t powerful. Mitt’s attacks are more vindictive and petty than powerful. Think jabs, not uppercuts and haymakers. When Mitt’s tried zinging people, especially Newt and Rick Santorum, they’ve dusted themselves off, then returned a solid left to the jaw.

Think Mitt’s saying that Romneycare was a great exercise in free market capitalism. Here’s Santorum’s response:

Ninety-two percent of people did have health insurance in — in Massachusetts. But that wasn’t private-sector health insurance. A lot of those people were, as you know, on Medicare and Medicaid. So they’re already on government insurance, and you just expanded.

In fact, over half the people that came on the rolls since you put Romneycare into effect are fully subsidized by the state of Massachusetts. And a lot of those are on the Medicaid program.

So the idea that you have created this marketplace in, with this government-run health care system, where you have very prescriptive programs about reimbursements rates. You have very prescriptive programs just like what President Obama is trying to put in place here.

Mitt tried his best to ward off Santorum’s accusations. In the end, they didn’t faze Sen. Santorum.

Non-DC-based GOP activists want someone who hits hard and whose opponents stay down. That isn’t Mitt.

ADVANTAGE: NEWT

6. Capturing the moment, seizing the opportunity. Newt’s ability to seize a moment is the best I’ve ever seen. It’s instinctive but it’s more than that. It’s a result of knowing the issues cold, combined with his quick wit, that seperates him from the rest.

The bottom line is that Newt’s proven, time and again, that he’s quick to spot an opportunity, then capitalize on it. Mitt has many solid qualities but that isn’t one of them.

There’s alot of primaries and caucuses still ahead. The things that must be troubling Mitt’s advisors is that Mitt’s weaknesses are getting exposed. Early on, Mitt’s weaknesses weren’t exposed, mostly because the storyline from debates was that “nobody laid a glove on Mitt.”

That’s nice but those ‘nobody laid a glove on Mitt’ days are ancient history. They aren’t returning either.

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