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This article highlights the fact that money isn’t everything in politics. According to statistics reported by Minnesota’s Campaign Finance Disclosure Board, “party groups and political action committees supporting DFL candidates outspent their Republican opponents in 2016, according to end-of-year finance statements that were due Tuesday with the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board from every candidate, party and committee. Despite totals that far exceed recent elections and sometimes massive imbalances in spending, both seats went to Republicans on election night.”

In fact, the article said “Outside groups spent more than $588,000 in 2016 to support Jensen or bash Jasinski through TV, radio, print and online advertising and other support. The Minnesota DFL Central Committee alone spent $330,000 on pro-Jensen advertisements and another $105,000 against Jasinski. Despite such heavy spending, Jasinski won the vote 59 percent to Jensen’s 41 percent. Of course, Jasinski was not without his own third-party support. The Minnesota Action Network PAC and Freedom Club State PAC together spent almost $23,000 in his support and $128,400 against Jensen. Even so, the combined $150,700 spent on his behalf was barely a quarter of what was spent by Jensen supporters.”

This is proof that terrible candidates with a terrible message don’t automatically win. Apparently, that principle applies equally to national and local races. Hillary had tons of money and lost to President Trump. The point is that Democrats don’t have an appealing message. They have an organization that’s shrinking and some wealthy donors but that’s it. That’s as true in Minnesota as it is nationally.

Not far behind Senate District 24 in independent expenditures was House District 24B, in which Republican Rep. Brian Daniels faced a rematch with former Rep. Patti Fritz, both of Faribault, whom he had defeated two years before. On Election Day, he retained his seat by a margin of 58 percent to 41 percent.

Then there’s this:

All told, independent expenditures from Fritz allies came to almost $388,000, with another $299,000 spent on behalf of Daniels. Combined, the district drew about $687,000, a 916 percent increase from two years before.

Eugene Robinson’s latest article is proof that there aren’t many great strategists left in the Democratic Party. A topnotch political strategist wouldn’t say “In the two weeks since, Trump has only piled outrage upon outrage, as far as progressives are concerned. He took the first steps toward building his ridiculous wall along the southern border, but with U.S. taxpayers’ dollars, not Mexico’s. He squelched government experts who work on climate change. He weakened the Affordable Care Act in the hope that it would begin to collapse, which would make it easier for Congress to kill it.”

That’s because they’d know that the ACA started collapsing a year ago. Its collapse is inevitable because it’s terrible legislation. A relatively healthy person is better off not buying insurance because the ACA’s out-of-pocket expenses (premiums plus deductibles) in some states are so high that families are better off paying the penalty rather than buying the insurance. As I’ve written before, the ACA is catastrophic coverage at Cadillac plan prices.

And I can’t help thinking back to 2009. Republicans made an all-out effort to stop the Affordable Care Act. Their motives were purely political; some GOP senators railed against policies they had favored in the past. Ultimately, they failed.  Obamacare became law.

But this losing battle gave tremendous energy and passion to the tea party movement — which propelled Republicans to a sweeping victory in the 2010 midterm election. It is hard not to see an analogous situation on the Democratic side right now.

Democrats haven’t learned the TEA Party lesson, which is that politicians better listen to We The People or else. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi didn’t listen to people and lost 12 seats and 63 seats respectively. Chuck Schumer isn’t listening to the people, either. The chances of Democrats picking up Senate seats is remote at best.

Democrats cannot stop Gorsuch from being confirmed. But they can hearten and animate the party’s base by fighting this nomination tooth and nail, even if it means giving up some of the backslapping comity of the Senate cloakroom. They can inspire grass-roots activists to fight just as hard to win back state legislatures and governorships. They can help make 2018 a Democratic year.

This is delusional thinking. Democrats will lose more governorships and legislative seats because they’re owned by special interests. They haven’t talked about doing what’s best for the people. President Trump constantly talks about putting people first. Democrats reflexively side with environmental activists, which has alienated blue collar union rank-and-file.

Democrats in Illinois haven’t pressured Rahm Emanuel to actually crack down on Chicago’s crime-infested streets. New York City’s City Council hasn’t blasted Bill De Blasio’s sanctuary city policies. In both cities, people don’t feel safe. Former President Obama insisted that terrorism wasn’t a threat while ISIS killed people in shopping malls and at Christmas parties. The Obama administration insisted, too, that the borders were secured. Voters knew that wasn’t true.

Voters won’t vote for the party that won’t protect them. Right now, people don’t trust Democrats to handle the basic government functions. Until that happens, people won’t trust Democrats.

It’s clear that Sen. Schumer and his leadership team can’t resist acting like spoiled brats. This article offers an unsightly insight into Sen. Schumer’s peevish mindset. According to the article, “Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democratic Senate leaders refused to meet with Judge Neil Gorsuch Thursday. The act appears to be revenge against Republicans for holding the seat of the late Justice Antonin Scalia open and not holding a hearing for Obama Supreme Court appointee Merrick Garland.”

Sen. Schumer doesn’t sound like the Senate Minority Leader. He sounds like a toddler going through terrible twos while constantly throwing hissy fits. Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network, issued a statement, saying “By refusing to meet with Judge Gorsuch, Senate Democratic leadership is taking Washington gridlock and obstruction to a new low and placing Senators McCaskill, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester, and other Democrats up for reelection in 2018 on the endangered politicians list.”

Apparently, Sen. Schumer thinks it’s more important to fire up his out-of-touch base than to act like an adult. Lou Dobbs put it perfectly in this video:

Sen. Schumer’s stupidity and tone-deafness will keep him as the Senate Minority Leader until 2022 and possibly longer. He has only himself to blame for that.

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In picking Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court, President Trump didn’t hit a home run. Metaphorically speaking, he hit a grand slam in his first major league at-bat. It’s apparent that it’s a grand slam when the NY Times publishes an op-ed gushing about Judge Gorsuch.

Neal Katyal’s op-ed isn’t something that you’d expect to find on the NY Times’ op-ed page. The fourth paragraph of Katyal’s op-ed is gushy, saying “I believe this, even though we come from different sides of the political spectrum. I was an acting solicitor general for President Barack Obama; Judge Gorsuch has strong conservative bona fides and was appointed to the 10th Circuit by President George W. Bush. But I have seen him up close and in action, both in court and on the Federal Appellate Rules Committee (where both of us serve); he brings a sense of fairness and decency to the job, and a temperament that suits the nation’s highest court.”

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, the editors at National Review wrote “Originalism has faced resistance in modern times mostly because liberals would rather not go through the formal process of amending the Constitution in order to edit it to their liking, removing its structural limits on governmental power and putting their preferred policies beyond democratic review. Gorsuch’s record gives us cause to believe that he would use his vote and his voice to side with the actual Constitution.”

President Trump looked totally confident when he announced his pick:

President Trump explained why he picked Judge Gorsuch. He outlined the lengthy, impressive list of qualities Judge Gorsuch possesses. After President Trump finished his presentation, he turned the microphone over to Judge Gorsuch.

One thing that seemed to jump out at everyone was when Judge Gorsuch said that a judge that agrees with every ruling he’s made “is probably a bad judge.” The clear intent of that statement is that judges that agree with their rulings are most likely substituting their policy preferences for the text on the page. For instance, a judge that bans flag-burning isn’t doing his/her job. Few people think that burning the flag is the right thing to do. Most people would criticize it. The First Amendment, though, says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” It doesn’t prohibit people from saying things we find hateful.

Based on what’s out there, Judge Gorsuch understands that perfectly. That’s why we should think he’s the best possible pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia.

This morning, Senate Democrats staged a protest walkout of the Finance Committee hearing. Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch had scheduled confirmation votes for Tom Price and Steve Mnuchin. Instead, Democrats proved that they’re incapable of governing. (It’s impossible to govern if you don’t show up, right?) The simple truth is that this walkout essentially ended the political careers of 4 Democrat senators. Vulnerable Democratic senators serving on the Committee are Bill Nelson of Florida, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Mark Warner of Virginia. Nelson, Brown, McCaskill and Casey are up for re-election in 2018.

Chairman Hatch is right in criticizing Democrats for this boycott. First, let’s go over what happened. According to the article, “Senate Democrats on Tuesday refused to attend a committee vote on two of President Trump’s more controversial nominees, effectively delaying their consideration. Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee boycotted votes to advance Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trump’s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, and Steven Mnuchin, his selection to head the Treasury Department. The pair had been among some of the more contentious selections to join Trump’s Cabinet.”

Let’s cut this crap. Pete Schroeder’s description of Price and Mnuchin as “controversial” is parroting the Democrats’ chanting points. They aren’t controversial. They’re just highly qualified people that the Democrats vehemently disagree with. Further, Democrats are denying that they’re protesting this hearing for political reasons. This video gives the Democrats’ official explanation for why they’re protesting the hearing:

According to their ‘official’ explanation, Democrats insist that Dr. Price and Mr. Mnuchin lied to the Committee. That’s a lie. Democrats haven’t offered a single bit of proof that justifies that accusation. The key for the Democrats is that they’re throwing out these accusations without providing proof, knowing that the media won’t question the Democrats’ accusations.

The Democrats are sore losers, with a heavy emphasis on them being losers. They lost the election. Rather than accepting defeat and putting Americans first, Democrats are putting political gamesmanship first.

Democrats said they wanted to bring Price and Mnuchin in for further questions, saying some of their statements did not line up with the facts.
 
We have great concern that Chairman Hatch is asking us to vote today on two nominees who out and out lied to our committee,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). Both Price and Mnuchin had been targeted fiercely by Democrats on a range of ethical issues. Price was pressed on his investment activity in various medical companies, and whether he improperly mixed his political activity with his personal portfolio.

Where’s the proof, Sen. Brown? Accusations aren’t proof. The truth is that Sen. Brown hasn’t offered proof for his accusations because it doesn’t exist.

The only thing that’s worse than the Democrats’ wild accusations is the media’s willingness to parrot the Democrats’ accusations as Gospel truth. If the media won’t do its job, we should treat them with contempt. They aren’t speaking truth to power because they aren’t interested in the truth. The Agenda Media is interested only in advancing the progressive agenda.

The good news for Republicans is that the American people voted on this. They rejected the “dishonest media”. Finally, if Democrats continue to refuse to govern, they should expect to take a terrible beating in the 2018 midterm elections.

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Sally Yates decided Monday night was the perfect time to not do her job. The good news is that President Trump decided that national security trumped putting up with corrupt lawyers. What triggered Ms. Yates’ termination was the fact that she was frustrated “with a President who seems to be running roughshod over American policy, Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, an Obama appointee, announced she would not defend the order. Yates said she would refuse to put the power of the Department of Justice behind this measure in the courts. Human rights, civil rights, and civil liberties supporters were bolstered by her defiance.”

It isn’t Yates’ responsibility to agree or disagree with the policy. Yates’ responsibility is to uphold the law. She said that she wouldn’t defend President Trump’s executive order on vetting. Whether that fits the legal definition of insubordination is something others can debate. What’s indisputable is whether it fits the dictionary definition of insubordination. That definition is “the quality or condition of being insubordinate, or of being disobedient to authority”. Dana Boente, the new acting head of the Justice Department, said that he’ll enforce and defend the laws of this land.

Of course, Sen. Schumer isn’t impressed:

“The firing of Sally Yates underscores how important it is to have an Attorney General who will stand up to the White House when they are violating the law,” said Schumer, who has choked up while discussing the impact of Trump’s travel ban. “Many people have doubts about whether Jeff Sessions can be that person.”

Speaking of speaking truth to power, why was Sen. Schumer silent so often when the Obama administration’s decisions got people killed? This article highlights Sen. Schumer’s insincerity:

When an American facility was under attack in Libya and the president, secretary of state, and others did not lift a finger to save the Americans, I did not see any protests, outrage, or empathy from the media, Hollywood, or Democrats – nor when Obama, Hillary, and others concocted alternative facts instead of telling the truth. Instead of the media calling the president and Hillary the liars they were, they went after Republicans for trying to get to the truth. I did not see Schumer shed a tear for the families of those who died.

Sen. Schumer, spare me the theatrics. You aren’t a man of integrity. You’re a man of poorly scripted theatrics.

This video shows how the legal merits of President Trump’s EO should be debated:

Finally, isn’t it time Democrats allowed a vote for Jeff Sessions to become the next US Attorney General?

The Democratic Party of Hubert Humphrey, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Scoop Jackson is ancient history. The Democratic Party of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, aka The One-Man Pocket Veto, and (especially) Chuck Schumer can be described succinctly. They party of Obama, Reid and Schumer is all obstruction, all the time.

This article highlights just how unhinged today’s Democratic Party is. The article opens by saying “Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) on Monday predicted that Democrats would launch a filibuster against whoever President Trump picks for the Supreme Court. ‘This is a stolen seat. This is the first time a Senate majority has stolen a seat,’ Merkley told Politico. ‘We will use every lever in our power to stop this. … I will definitely object to a simple majority.'”

This isn’t surprising. Democrats are upset because they thought they’d get former President Obama’s third term. They thought they’d win back the majority in the Senate, too, so they could confirm lots of liberal justices. Instead, they nominated a corrupt politician who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Instead, they gained 2 seats in the Senate when they needed 5.

The important point, though, is that today’s Democratic Party isn’t interested in being public servants who listen to their constituents. Today’s Democratic Party isn’t interested in putting America first. Today’s Democratic Party is mostly about complaining when they don’t get their way. Today’s Democratic Party is about obstruction when people say no to their ideological wish list.

Simply put, Sen. Merkley has passionately and emphatically stated that his fidelity is to the Democratic Party, not the people he was elected to represent or the Constitution he swore an oath to defend.

The Senate Leadership Fund (SLF), which has ties to McConnell, quickly sent out emails questioning whether the red-state Democrats would back Merkley’s filibuster.

Of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the group said: “Will he stand with the people of his state who overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump to be able to pick a Supreme Court nominee? Or will he stand with [Sens.] Elizabeth Warren [Mass.], Bernie Sanders [Vt.], and the rest of the Democratic caucus that only cares about its far left base of permanent protesters?”

If Democrats want to filibuster President Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, let them. That will expose them as obstructionists who obstruct for the sake of appeasing their political base. Democrats don’t care about this:

Democrats only care about maintaining power.

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This article in the Pi-Press is disgusting in its dishonesty. In the article, the ‘reporter’ says that “Trump’s highly controversial order suspends refugee admissions for 120 days and bars all immigration for 90 days of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries with terrorism concerns: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Those now being barred from the country include refugees who have already been thoroughly vetted by U.S. agencies.”

Either this reporter is telling an outright lie or he’s incredibly ignorant of the truth. Though Politifact attempts to sweep things under the carpet, the fact remains that FBI Director James Comey testified that “We can only query against that which we have collected, and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our database, we can query our database till the cows come home, but … there’ll be nothing show up, because we have no record on that person.”

Politifact tried spinning things by saying “But did James Comey actually say the FBI “cannot properly vet” people coming from the Middle East? No, he didn’t. Beruff is distorting a point Comey was making about a flaw in the vetting process, but he was reiterating the system in place was actually much better than it had been in the past.”

Here’s the real exchange:

Ranking member Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) asked Comey, “Mr. Director, before this committee, [FBI] Assistant Director [Michael] Steinbach said that the concerns in Syria is that we don’t have the systems in place on the ground to collect the information to vet. That would be the concern. Databases don’t hold the information on these individuals. Is that still the position of the department?”

“Yes, I think that’s the challenge we’re all talking about, is that we can only query against that which we have collected, and so if someone has never made a ripple in the pond in Syria in a way that would get their identity or their interests reflected in our database, we can query our database till the cows come home, but we’re not gonna—there’ll be nothing show up, because we have no record on that person,” said Comey. “That’s what Assistant Director Steinbach was talking about,” he added.

Not having verifiable data to compare against isn’t “a flaw in the vetting process.” That’s admitting that it’s impossible to vet people. Here’s video of FBI Director Comey’s testimony:

That’s pretty open-and-shut testimony.

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This article points to the possibility that the Democrats’ uproar over the so-called Muslim ban is manufactured. The article starts by saying “Many of President Donald Trump’s core political supporters had a simple message on Sunday for the fiercest opponents of his immigration ban: Calm down. The relaxed reaction among the kind of voters who drove Trump’s historic upset victory – working- and middle-class residents of Midwest and the South – provided a striking contrast to the uproar that has gripped major coastal cities, where thousands of protesters flocked to airports where immigrants had been detained.”

Let’s get serious about something. Democrats didn’t utter a peep in 2011 when then-President Obama temporarily stopped admitting Iraqis when 2 al-Qa’ida in Iraq terrorists were discovered in Bowling Green, KY after getting admitted as refugees. The Washington Post’s ‘fact-checker’, Glenn Kessler tweeted his explanation for why the media didn’t say anything about Obama’s temporary halt in bringing in refugees, saying “two big differences: 1) pause was not announced at the time, done quietly. reporters only found out years later. 2) not based on religion.” Roxanne Chester put Kessler in his place with this tweet, saying “The most transparent adm did things they didn’t publish? Isn’t it the job of a free press to monitor that?”

The chances of the Democrats’ protests being spontaneous aren’t high. They’re pretty unlikely. It’s difficult to say that the grass roots are rising up when they’re rent-a-protesters. If these ‘grass roots’ activists are that into human rights, why didn’t they say anything about this?

These protests are as phony as the Democrats. It’s that simple.

This article puts forth an interesting legal theory, though I’m not sure it’s applicable. The novel legal theory revolves around whether President Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities is unconstitutional. I’m betting this theory fails.

In the article, Damon Root brings up the original Obamacare lawsuit, otherwise known as National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, aka NFIB v. Sebelius. Mr. Root notes that “At issue was whether Congress exceeded its Spending Clause powers when it threatened to cut off all existing Medicaid funding to any state that refused to expand Medicaid in accordance with the new health care law. The federal government’s Medicaid expansion amounted to a ‘gun to the head,’ the Supreme Court held. ‘A State that opts out of the Affordable Care Act’s expansion in health care coverage…stands to lose not merely ‘a relatively small percentage’ of its existing Medicaid funding, but all of it.'” That sort of ‘economic dragooning…leaves the States with no real option but to acquiesce.'”

The difference between the commandeering of state budgets in NFIB v. Sebelius and cutting off of law enforcement grants is that the ACA told states that they had to expand Medicaid. The federal government, through the ACA, said that states that didn’t expand Medicaid would lose all Medicaid funding. The withholding of funding to sanctuary cities isn’t commandeering because these sanctuary cities opted to apply for grants in exchange for helping the Department of Homeland Security with immigration-related issues.

In NFIB v. Sebelius, the federal government told states what they had to do without giving them an option. Cutting off funds to sanctuary cities isn’t the same because these cities applied for (think requested) federal grants. In exchange for these grants, those cities sign maintenance of service agreements that obligate them to specific things. In this instance, that means helping DHS capture illegal aliens.

The short story is simple. These sanctuary cities want the money but they refuse to enforce the law. That isn’t commandeering. That’s negotiating in bad faith.

What’s ignored is what’s important. After Congress appropriates the money, it’s the Executive Branch’s responsibility to ensure that the money is spent in accordance to the law. With sanctuary cities, they aren’t spending the money in accordance with our nation’s laws. It isn’t just within the Trump administration’s rights to monitor how cities spend this grant money. It’s their affirmative responsibility to verify that this grant money is spent in compliance with our nation’s laws.

Summarizing, commandeering is when the federal government tells local governments what they must spend their money on. In this instance, cutting off grants that cities requested in exchange for doing things that the federal government wants done isn’t commandeering. That’s simple contract law.

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