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After watching this video, it’s clear that Jeb Bush doesn’t have a clue about conservatism:

This post shows that Paige Lavender, a reporter/commentator for Huffington Post, is utterly clueless. Before we get into Jeb Bush’s statements, here’s what Ms. Lavender said:

PAIGE LAVENDER: We’ve seen in the last 2 election cycles that the Republican primary tends to favor the more conservative candidate.

In 2008, there weren’t any conservatives in the race. Of the liberals, John McCain was the most liberal. He got the nomination. In 2012, the GOP candidates were marginally more conservative. Mitt Romney wasn’t as liberal as McCain but he wasn’t a conservative, either. He was simply the least liberal of the liberals running.

The good news is that Republicans will have a handful of conservatives to pick from in 2016, starting with Scott Walker, then adding John Kasich and possibly Mike Pence. GOP activists won’t have to hold their noses when supporting one of these candidates. Conservatives will be able to enthusiastically support one of these three candidates.

The last 20 seconds of this video will hurt Gov. Bush:

Here’s what Gov. Bush said:

GOV. BUSH: I kinda know how a Republican can win, whether it’s me or somebody else and it has to be much more uplifting, much more positive, much more willing to, you know, to be practical now in the Washington world, to be willing to lose the primary to win the general without violating your principles.

Jeb Bush, like Mike Huckabee before him, doesn’t have a clue about conservatism. True conservatism has a healthy libertarian streak to it, mixed with a healthy skepticism of Washington, DC-run programs. We prefer smallish programs administered at the local level because that’s the best way to ensure accountability. Gov. Bush enthusiastically supports Common Core, which is federalizing education curriculum and standardizing tests nationwide. It’s even telling school boards which text books fit with Common Core’s curriculum.

Conservatism is about giving people lots of positive options, whether we’re talking about families’ health care decisions or telling parents that they can send their children to schools that aren’t failing students.

For the last 6-8 years, Republicans had to play defense because Democrats controlled the agenda. The next Republican president will work with GOP majorities in the House and Senate. That means they’ll be setting the agenda. Their first assignment must be to fix the messes created by President Obama, Sen. Reid and Nancy Pelosi. That means finally getting the fed to shut off the QE2 spigot. That’ll require the GOP to starting over with health care reform. This time, it’s imperative to get it right. Getting America’s economy requires siding with construction unions while ignoring environmental activists on pipeline projects.

There’s no shortage of things that need fixing. When a Republican governor is elected to become the 45th president of the United States, he’ll have lots of things to fix or to get started on. Hopefully, the 45th president won’t be Jeb Bush.

Despite what Sartell Mayor Joe Perske told WCCO’s Esme Murphy, he’s still fighting a steep uphill fight:

Perske said that he thinks, while the district may be heavily favored toward Republican candidates, “people want a change.”

Perkse added that he believes “people are sick of the polarizing politics that we’ve seen with Michele Bachmann, and I think we’re just going to get more of the same with Tom Emmer. If you take a look at his past record of what he’s done in the state legislature, and you take a look at the things he’s said, (he’s) very similar in being on that right side with the Tea Party.”

First, it’s clear that Perske’s only hope of getting elected is in a) turning Tom Emmer into the biggest boogeyman this side of the Koch Brothers and b) getting voters to ignore what’s important to them.

Perske needs three other things to happen to win. He needs to have an instant name ID bomb to go off in the Sixth so people south of St. Cloud know who he is. At the moment, his name ID in Andover, Annandale, Anoka, Becker, Big Lake, Clear Lake and Clearwater is on a par with my name ID in those cities.

I’m pretty certain my name ID is virtually non-existent in those cities. Welcome to the club, Joe.

Another thing Perske needs is a mass cash infusion so he can at least run enough ads so people in Big Lake and Clearwater know who he is. (Perske should forget about becoming known in the south Metro part of the district.)

Finally, to be competitive, Perske needs the Sixth to become much more moderate between now and election day. Since that ain’t happening, Perske should accept the fact that he’s gonna get beaten like a drum.

Emmer’s team is working hard. They’re showing up at all the right events. They’re having discussions with all the right people. They’ve got a great GOTV operation.

Most importantly, Emmer’s team has something that Perske doesn’t have. Specifically, they’ve got a candidate who’s a great fit for the Sixth.

In 2010, Tarryl Clark had a well-financed campaign. Michele beat her by 13 points. This year, Perske is woefully underfunded in a year that’s likely to be another good year for the MNGOP.

The likely outcome is Emmer beating Perske like a drum.

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It’s often a big deal when Sarah Palin endorses a candidate. Much pomp and circumstance accompanies Ms. Palin’s endorsements. It’s perfectly within Ms. Palin’s First Amendment rights to endorse the candidates she chooses. I’d just respect Ms. Palin’s endorsements if she’d do her homework, which she didn’t do with her latest endorsement:

A 12-year state senator, Ortman is challenging Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota. Palin contrasted her qualifications with those of the incumbent, whom she labeled a “clown.” (Franken had a successful career as a comedian before entering politics.)

Ortman “is a conservative champion. … She is running a grassroots campaign against a well-funded favorite of the Washington GOP establishment whose policy record is a blank slate,” Palin said in her endorsement.

Is a politician who won’t repeal Obamacare, who’s proposed raising taxes and who’s voted for Cap and Trade “a conservative champion” just because Sarah Palin says so?

By contrast, the candidate that Ms. Palin criticized as being a “favorite of the Washington GOP establishment”, Mike McFadden, favors repealing Obamacare, reducing regulations, simplifying our tax code and limiting government spending.

The reality is that Mike McFadden has laid out a legislative agenda that’s conservative. Altogether too often, Julianne Ortman has voted against common sense conservative principles because she’s been a go-along-to-get-along legislator for nearly 12 years.

The proof is clear. Contrary to Ms. Palin’s endorsing statement, Julianne Ortman isn’t “a conservative champion.” She’s the type of politician that Ms. Palin has railed against in the past.

That’s why Ms. Palin’s endorsement rings hollow. That’s why I’m questioning Ms. Palin’s endorsement. If she doesn’t want her credibility questioned, she needs to prove that she consistently stands for conservative principles.

This time, Ms. Palin didn’t stand for conservative principles.

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It isn’t likely that Sen. Ortman wants delegates to the GOP State Convention to hear this audio:
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Here’s the transcript from that brief exchange:

Sen. Tom Bakk: “Senator Ortman.”
Sen. Ortman: “Good morning Mr. Chair and members. Thank you for hearing this bill. This bill proposes a new tax. It’s the first time I’ve ever proposed a new tax, and so-“
Sen. Bakk: “How’s it feel?”
[LAUGHTER]
Sen. Ortman: “I definitely feel like I’m in the hot seat, but that’s alright. I’ve been a lightening rod before and I probably will be again. I’m back in a zone of comfort.”

The first post I wrote about Sen. Ortman highlighted how she isn’t a full repeal person with regards to Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act. In her attempt to curry favor with unprincipled moderates, Sen. Ortman essentially sounded like Al Franken. I wrote this post to highlight Sen. Ortman’s ‘flexibility’ on raising taxes. This post isn’t about highlighting Sen. Ortman’s flexibility on raising taxes. It’s to highlight the fact that she’s got a history of proposing tax increases.

I don’t want a senator in DC that I have to worry about raising taxes because she’s ‘flexible’ on the issue. For some reason, the thought of GOP lawmakers being ‘flexible’ on raising taxes reminds me of this nightmare:
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Here’s my ‘read my lips’ statement to Sen. Ortman: Sen. Ortman, read my lips. I say no to Republicans who want to raise taxes.

We’re taxed enough already. The federal government spends money recklessly. The last thing we need is a senator who’s flexible on raising taxes. We already have 2 senators that support raising taxes. We don’t need to replace one tax-raising senator with another tax-raising senator.

In fact, that’s the last thing we need. We already have 2 too many tax-raising senators. If Sen. Ortman stands before the delegates at this year’s State Convention and explain why she’s been flexible on raising taxes, the endorsement fight won’t last long.

Sen. Ortman’s policy positions keep raising questions about how conservative she is. At this point, I’d argue that she isn’t that conservative. I’d argue that because raising taxes and not wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, sounds kinda liberal to me. I suspect lots of delegates agree with me.

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Harry Reid’s disgraceful diatribe included his accusation that people who told the truth about the Affordable Care Act’s disasters were un-American. Sen. Reid’s accusation is disgusting, one worthy of throwing him out of the Senate. Still, let’s not dwell on Sen. Reid’s comments to the exclusion of learning the definition of patriotism. Without a doubt, this person is a patriot:

There doesn’t seem to be any other large company trying to do this so it might as well be us. Somebody has got to work to save the country and preserve a system of opportunity. I think one of the biggest problems we have in the country is this rampant cronyism where all these large companies are into smash and grab, short-term profits, (saying) how do I get a regulation, we don’t want to export natural gas because of my raw materials.

Well, you say you believe in free markets, but by your actions, you obviously don’t. You believe in cronyism. And that’s true even at the local level. I mean, how does somebody get started if you have to pay $100,000 or $300,000 to get a medallion to drive a taxi cab? You have to go to school for two years to be a hairdresser. You name it, in every industry we have this. The successful companies try to keep the new entrants down.

Now that’s great for a company like ours. We make more money that way because we have less competition and less innovation. But for the country as a whole, it’s horrible. And for disadvantaged people trying to get started, it’s unconscionable in my view. I think it’s in our long-term interest, in every American’s long-term interest, to fight against this cronyism.

As you all have heard me say, the role of business is to create products that make peoples’ lives better while using less resources to do it and making more resources available to satisfy other needs.

When a company is not being guided by the products they make and what the customers need, but by how they can manipulate the system, get regulations on their competitors, or mandates on using their products, or eliminating foreign competition, it just lowers the overall standard of living and hurts the disadvantaged the most. We end up with a two-tier system.

Those that have, have welfare for the rich. The poor, OK, you have welfare, but you’ve condemned them to a lifetime of dependency and hopelessness. Yeah, we want hope and change, but we want people to have the hope that they can advance on their own merits, rather than the hope that somebody gives them something. That’s better than starving to death, but that, I think, is going to wreck the country.

Is it in our business interest? I think it’s in all our long-term interests. It’s not in our short-term interest. And it’s about making money honorably. People should only profit to the extent they make other people’s lives better. You should profit because you created a better restaurant and people enjoyed going to it.

You didn’t force them to go, you don’t have a mandate that you have to go to my restaurant on Tuesdays and Wednesdays or you go to prison. I mean, come on. You feel good about that?

In my estimation, that’s the definition of American patriotism. Capitalism and innovation being used to make the United States the greatest nation on the face of the earth is the definition of patriotism.

When companies makes money because their lobbyists get the government to build roadblocks in front of the competitors, that’s crony capitalism, which hurts the American economy overall. When companies’ profits increase because they’ve built a product that improves people’s lives, that’s competitive capitalism. That type of capitalism is the type of capitalism that strengthens the economy while improving people’s lives.

People that put the long-term health of the nation ahead of short-term profits and personal gain are patriots. That isn’t to say short-term profits are automatically evil. In many instances, they aren’t. It’s that building products that create profits now and long into the future has a stabilizing effect on a nation’s health.

That’s the definition of patriotism. That’s what Sen. Reid apparently doesn’t understand.

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One thing that can’t be tolerated is a Republican candidate who treads lightly on the issue of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Sen. Ortman’s statement about Obamacare is disappointing:

Regarding the federal health care law, known as ObamaCare, she said: “There are some things about that that are good but I think that when you engage in a conversation in such a comprehensive way, you are going to see some things that people like and you are going see some things that people don’t like. And I think, overall, the system doesn’t work.”

This simply won’t cut it. Obamacare, aka the ACA, is a gigantic failure that should be scrapped and replaced with something that limits governmental ‘participation’. Preferably, the replacement bill should permit families and their physicians to determine what coverages they need or don’t need.

One of the significant flaws of the ACA is that the legislation created a one-size-fits-all plan across America. That’s the last thing we need. Another thing that’s counterproductive to getting rid of the plague of Obamacare is Republicans criticizing the attempted repeal of Obamacare:

“I’m not a full repeal person. I think the House of Representatives has voted 40 times to repeal it. The Senate is not going to repeal it. So if plan A is ‘Let’s do a repeal,’ we better start talking about Plan B. Because plan A got nowhere,” she said. Ortman said she would like to see Congress go “piece-by-piece through that new law and figure out what works and what doesn’t.”

As conservatives, the first thing we need is to admit that the ACA isn’t fixable. If we think that it’s fixable, then the only path forward is tinkering around the edges. That won’t work. What’s needed is a replacement plan that’s patient-centered, a plan that lets families and the physicians they know and trust choose what’s best for the families.

Anything that tinkers around the edges is defeatist thinking. I don’t accept the premise that the ACA is fixable because it’s exceptionally complex. For instance, if you think that government shouldn’t be in the business of telling families what coverages their health insurance policies must include, then catastrophic policies must be offered. The problem with that fix is that that totally messes up Obamacare’s funding mechanism.

That means Obamacare a) isn’t sustainable financially and b) doesn’t put families in charge of their health insurance. That isn’t acceptable.

Here’s Sen. Franken’s (predictable) position on repealing the ACA:

But repealing the law would strip Americans of this new freedom and take us back to the days when big insurance companies had the power to decide what care residents of Minnesota could receive-allowing them to once again deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, cancel coverage when people get sick, and place limits on the amount of care people can get, even if they need it. What’s more, without the law, insurance companies could overcharge for insurance just to boost their profits, or use fine print to deny medical treatments that are covered under people’s policies.

Ask people who can’t keep the policies they bought and liked because Washington, DC said they knew what’s best for families if they like their new options. Across the nation, people are telling their horror stories. If Sen. Ortman agrees with Sen. Franken that repealing Obamacare isn’t the right thing, then she’s sending the wrong message to Minnesotans.

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According to the Minnesota Morning Watchdog, Tom Emmer got a shot of good news from last night’s precinct caucuses:

6th District Congress (97% Reporting):

Tom Emmer with 67.7%, Rhonda Sivarajah with 17.7%, Phil Krinkie with 10.1%

Only 4.3% of caucus voters were undecided. While this straw poll isn’t binding, it can’t be ignored. Rhonda Sivarajah can’t be happy finishing 50 points behind Emmer. Phil Krinkie can’t be happy that he finished almost 60 points behind Emmer.

I’d be surprised if CD-6 delegates will be impressed with Commissioner Sivarajah’s or Rep. Krinkie’s showing. At this point, I’d argue that both face steep uphill fights to win the endorsement. I’d also argue that the odds of Tom Emmer winning a first ballot endorsement victory seem more likely this morning than they were a week ago.

In other straw poll news, Marty Seifert, Jeff Johnson and Dave Thompson appear to be heading for top 3 finishes in the gubernatorial straw poll. With 96% of precincts reporting, Seifert had 28% of the vote, followed by Dave Thompson with 26% and Jeff Johnson with 17%.

That’s got to put a smile on Sen. Thompson’s face. With a strong finish like that, Sen. Thompson can credibly tell potential contributors that his message is popular.

Marty Seifert has to be pleased, too. He can credibly tell potential contributors that he’s got the experience, organization and name recognition it’ll take to defeat Gov. Dayton.

While this wasn’t the strong showing the Johnson campaign was hoping for, Jeff Johnson must still be considered a top tier candidate. He’s got a solid fundraising team. He’s managing his resources well (he’s got the most cash-on-hand of the candidates) and he’s got a terrific record of being a fiscal conservative.

This couldn’t have been the night that Kurt Zellers was hoping for. Finishing a next-to-last 6th place with 8% can’t instill confidence in potential campaign contributors or in potential delegates.

Based on the results of last night’s U.S. Senate Straw Poll, it’s looking like it’s down to a 2-person race. With 96% of precincts reporting, Julianne Ortman led Mike McFadden by a 31%-22% margin. Finishing in third place was Undecided with 16%, followed by Jim Abeler with 15%.

With that many undecideds and soon-to-be undecided delegates, this is another race to watch.

Earlier this afternoon, the McFadden for Senate campaign announced their fundraising totals for the last quarter of 2013. Here’s their statement:

McFadden Has Best Fundraising Quarter Yet

Franken Challenger Starts 2014 With $1.7 Million Cash On Hand

Eagan Minn. – After posting his best fundraising quarter yet, Senate candidate Mike McFadden will report having $1.7 million cash-on-hand in his race against Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). In its year-end report, the McFadden for Senate campaign will report raising approximately $780,000 during the last three months of 2013. McFadden has raised $2.2 million since entering the race in late May.

“I am truly grateful for all the support Minnesotans have given to my campaign over the past few months,” said McFadden. “If there’s anything to learn from 2013, it’s that we can do better as a state and as a nation. Obamacare is still a disaster, the government is still spending too much money and middle class families are still worried about the economy. I look forward to hitting the campaign trail again in 2014 and holding Al Franken accountable for failing to address the challenges that Minnesota families face today.”

The McFadden for Senate campaign will file its report with the Secretary of the Senate later this month.

If Sen. Franken thought that he’d win without a challenge, he’ll need to rethink that opinion. Private polling shows Franken in trouble at this early stage of the campaign. Potentially, that’s trouble because more Obamacare trouble is heading his direction. Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, is causing Minnesotans heartburn because it’s triggered 140,000 cancellation notices in Minnesota. That’s just the first shoe to drop with the ACA.

To defeat an incumbent, a candidate needs a) to raise lots of money, b) an appealing message and c) for things to break right. At this point, Mr. McFadden has at least 2 of those 3 things going for him. He’s certainly raised lots of money. He certainly has a positive, pro-growth message that should appeal to Minnesota’s middle class.

What’s still to be determined is whether things will break in Mr. McFadden’s direction. With Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, being a disaster and with more bad news heading in Sen. Franken’s direction on that, it isn’t a stretch to think McFadden has a shot at having things break his direction.

This race is shaping up to be one of the interesting sleeper races across the nation. If Mr. McFadden continues raising money at this pace, he’ll be a formidable opponent for Sen. Franken.

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About 6 minutes into this video, Harry Reid said some things that Republicans should tattoo into Sen. Reid’s forehead:

Here’s what Sen. Reid said:

SEN. REID: The rich keep getting richer. The poor keep getting poorer and the middle class is under siege. This country can’t allow the gap between the fabulously wealthy and those that are just getting by to let their incomes going up and the middle class going down.

A little history lesson is in order to emphatically drive this important point home. In 2009, the Democrats controlled (dominated might be more descriptive) Washington. They passed a pork-filled stimulus bill that didn’t jumpstart the economy. Shortly thereafter, they passed a budget funding the government for the rest of FY2009. Since then, the budget blueprint hasn’t changed. After the Democrats’ shellacking in 2010, government has been funded through continuing resolutions. That means that, prior to a month ago, the government was funded by the Democrats’ FY2009 budget.

In short, Sen. Reid’s diatribe was unwittingly an anti-Democrat rant. He disparaged the Democrats’ budget blueprint.

Here’s another history lesson for the less-than-informed. As a youth, Harry Reid was an amateur boxer. It’s possible that Harry took a few too many shots to the head during his boxing career.

As usual, Charles added the requisite clarity to the situation:

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Look, I think when you heard Harry Reid talking, it sounded as if the Democrats had been out of office and were railing against the current administration. Income inequality has risen dramatically under this administration. The Fed, with the blessing of the administration, is pumping $1,000,000,000,000 a year into the economy, which goes right into the stock market…

I’ve said for quite some time that there’s really 2 economies right now. There’s the Wall Street economy, which is assisted by K Street lobbyists and the Democrats’ crony capitalist policies. That economy is going strong. After all, it’s impossible to do poorly when a) you’re borrowing money without paying interest and b) you’re getting the benefit of a well-funded army of K Street lobbyists.

The other economy is struggling. It’s best called the Small Business Economy or the Main Street Economy. It’s struggling because it’s getting buried beneath an avalanche of regulations and tax increases. As the name suggests, this economy isn’t doing well because they a) don’t have an army of lobbyists or b) aren’t part of the Obama administration’s crony capitalist economy.

The DC suburbs and New York City are doing well. The stock market frequently hits new record highs. Meanwhile, people dealing with the Main Street economy are telling pollsters that they think we’re still in a recession.

During the coming campaign, Republicans should highlight this fact daily. They should remind people that the Democrats’ policies have been the policies that’ve directed this economy. Republicans should tell President Obama and Sen. Reid that, if they want to talk about income inequality, their first conversation should be with the man they see in the mirror each morning.

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GOP gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert is running on a reform-minded platform. One of the reforms he’ll push is elimination of the Met Council. Here’s Seifert’s statement on why the MC should disappear:

Dear Fellow Minnesotan,

As the start of a new year approaches, we can look forward to the opportunity for new leadership in our state in 2014. My campaign for governor is less than a month old, but our message of restoring leadership at the State Capitol is resonating across Minnesota.

Part of leadership is offering bold ideas to address critical problems. The Metropolitan Council is a major problem for the people of Minnesota and I am calling for it to be abolished. For far too long, the Met Council’s unelected bureaucrats have imposed higher taxes, burdensome regulations and “urban planning” without representation and against the will of local governments. This weekend’s Star Tribune called the Met Council a “master of imposition” – I encourage you to read the editorial.

I hope you will visit my website, learn more about the issues I am focusing on, and consider making a small donation to help our campaign finish this year strong. I’m asking for your support to dramatically downsize the size and scope of state government, reverse harmful taxes and regulations, bring real job growth to our economy and halt the damaging implications of Obamacare in Minnesota.

From my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Marty Seifert

No taxation without representation was one of the principles that started the Revolutionary War. Nearly 250 years later, Minnesota politicians think that taxation without representation is a great idea. The DFL and the Met Council’s lobbyists will fight against abolishing the Met Council if Rep. Seifert is elected. In fact, they’re likely to fight him to prevent him from becoming governor.

Here’s what Rep. Seifert said about abolishing the Met Council on his issues page:

Abolishment of three cabinet departments, in addition to complete elimination of the Metropolitan Council. Over a one-year period, the functions no longer required will be eliminated and needed functions will be transferred to local units of government or other cabinet departments.

Assuming that each part of the Met Council is essential is foolish. Ditto with cabinet offices.

Republicans should run on a positive, pro-growth reform agenda next year, whether they’re runnning for the legislature, governor, Congress or the US Senate. Telling the people how electing Republicans will lead to more prosperity with more disposable income and more representative government will sell.

Just telling people that the next Republican administration won’t rationalize a bureaucrat going on a 2-week vacation while her agency is in crisis will highlight the difference between Republicans and Democrats.

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