Archive for January, 2008

I’ve been meaning to write about what Reaganite conservatism is and isn’t since this summer. In the aftermath of Fred Thompson’s dropping, now’s the time to write it.

Alot of people think that Reaganite conservatism is about cutting taxes, a strong defense and appointing strict constructionist judges. That’s a mistake, not because Reagan didn’t espouse these things but because Reaganite conservatism was much more than that.

At its core, Reaganite conservatism was about liberty. Every economic and foreign policy had liberty as its goal. The byproducts of that liberty were economic prosperity and the collapse of the Soviet Union. To achieve these goals, Reagan understood that he had to stand conventional wisdom on its head. Reagan knew that conventional wisdom wasn’t based on the Constitution’s first principles but on the latest Beltway buzz. Instinctively, Reagan knew that anything born inside Washington’s Beltway was foolishness compared with the common sense found in America’s heartland.

At the heart of Reaganite conservatism was Reagan’s passionate belief that everyone cherished liberty deep in the core of their being. (That’s something that George W. Bush understood, which is why liberating Iraq and Afghanistan was the centerpiece of his foreign policy.) That understanding shined through when he told Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall” even after his speechwriters tried deleting it from the speech several times. He knew that that message needed to be told to stoke the fires of long-suffering Soviet dissidents.

Decades later, one of the dissidents that was re-invigorate by Reagan’s call to tear down the Berlin Wall passed that along to George W. Bush. His name is Natan Sharansky. President Bush read Sharansky’s book, then gave it to his national security team as their reading assignment.

Reagan knew that free people aspired to peace and prosperity. When Reagan talked about that “shining city on a hill”, it was because Reagan’s optimism wouldn’t permit him to picture anything less. The policy co-centerpieces of Reagan’s vision of a “shining city on a hill” were low taxes and low regulations. Reagan knew that the American people, if given sufficient freedom, would achieve economic prosperity. Reagan knew that low taxes gave individuals economic liberty to chart their own course. Once his tax cuts were implemented, Reagan knew that the best thing that he could do was to remind the American people how much they’d achieved during his time in office.

Another first principle of Reaganite conservatism was his demandment that judges believed that the Constitution wasn’t a “living, breathing document” but rather that it was the blueprint that the wisest group of leaders in the history of the world had put together. Reagan knew that the Constitution’s principles provided a pathway to our prosperity. Reagan knew that the vitality of a nation depended, at least in part, on the stability of the Constitution. The Founding Fathers knew what they were doing. The principles that they codified into the Constitution were both wise and applicable to any situation we’d encounter.

That meant that federalism and the Tenth Amendment were key components to Reagan’s beliefs.

Of the remaining GOP candidates, John McCain has the worst federalist/Tenth Amendment record. His votes are based more on conseensus than on the Constitution.

In fact, his teaming with Joe Lieberman on global warming legislation is one of the biggest assaults on our liberties since BCRA. Based on his history, it isn’t surprising that Sen. McCain played a lead role in that legislation. Couple that with his contempt for liberating tax cuts and it isn’t difficult to think of McCain as the biggest opponent to an individual’s liberty.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Last Friday, Eric at Liberal in a Land of Conservatives posted a press release from Tarryl Clark about Minnesota’s economy. This statement from her press release struck me as absurd:

It’s clear now that Minnesota’s experiment with trickle-down economics has not produced the results that its backers promised. Minnesotans were promised that cutting taxes on the wealthy, along with cuts in services, would spur private investment and job growth.

Tarryl’s statement admits that trickle down economics is predicated on cutting taxes. I’d defy her to tell me when the last time was that the DFL Senate passed genuine tax cuts of any sort. I’ve been voting since 1974 & I don’t recall them ever passing tax cuts.

I’d further defy her to find a single statement where Gov. Pawlenty or anyone in GOP leadership promised to cut taxes on the wealthy. She can’t because it didn’t happen. Tarryl should be ashamed of herself for making this type of strawman argument.

In other words, Tarryl’s argument isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on because trickle down economics weren’t tried. In fact, the closest things we’ve had to tax cuts were the back-to-back tax rebates during the Ventura administration. That doesn’t qualify as trickle down economics.

I’d further point out that we haven’t had a tax cut of any sort during the Pawlenty administration. He inherited the DFL-Ventura disaster, which was a $4.5 billion budget deficit that required deep spending cuts. That’s just additional proof that Tarryl’s trickle down argument is more myth than truth.

The verifiable truth is that we’ve tried everything except cutting taxes to improve our business climate. When Tarryl issued a statement titled “Minnesota must do more to spur job growth“, I wrote that I agreed with her. I even sent her an email to that effect. Here’s what I wrote in that email:

Now would be a perfect time to cut taxes & restrengthen our economy. It’s also time to pass a small increase in the gas tax & a big increase in bonding to fix our existing roads & bridges. It’s also time to initiate a moratorium on LRT. Our highest priorities should be to fix the existing roads & bridges while not shackling small businesses & individual taxpayers with the crippling tax increases the Legislature passed last session.

Isn’t it time for you & Sen. Pogemiller, Speaker Kelliher & Rep. Sertich to realize that the tax increases on every Minnesotan is driving businesses out of the state? Shouldn’t you re-examine your priorities so that they aren’t preventing average citizens the ability to pursue their dreams?

Cutting taxes isn’t a DFL priority because that’d eliminate their plans to massively grow the budget. You needn’t look further than the budget that the DFL passed last year. The DFL’s obscene budget called for a spending increase of almost 20 percent. What’s worse is that many of the bills have even bigger spending increases for the next biennium.

Additionionally, we’ve become a ‘magnet state’, attracting people seeking welfare benefits. It’s more accurate to say that we tried the DFL’s way of increasing taxes & more generous welfare benefits, which has been a failure. Despit that, Tarryl is advocating more of the same:

It’s time to change course. Minnesota’s economic woes can be effectively addressed. We should start by recognizing what worked for us when our state was a national economic leader and act to return to proven strategies for rebuilding long-term health to the state’s economy. We need smart investments in education and transportation infrastructure—they will incubate and sustain job growth. We need to rebuild and support a strong middle class by holding the line on property taxes and the growth of health care costs.

I agree with Tarryl that it’s time to change course. Unfortunately, while she’s talking about “smart investments in education and transportation infrastructure”, she’s also talking quietly about a constitutional amendment that would make government-run health care a constitutional right. If that were to pass, the tax increases of the past will pale in comparison. The tax increase would easily be the largest in state history.

That’s before we start talking about how many additional responsibilities we’ve dumped tons onto our schools. These additional responsibilities have driven property taxes through the roof. I agree with Tarryl that we need to return to making smart investments in education. By most people’s definition, smart investment in education means prioritizing spending. It doesn’t mean throwing more money at everything that EdMinn has on their laundry list.

If people want a picture of what happens if the DFL’s plan is implemented, just look at Michigan & California. Both have dramatically increased taxes. Neither state has prioritized spending, which has resulted in passing spending bills that are totally irresponsible. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) Both are economic disasters and getting worse.

It’s time that we rejected the DFL’s irresponsible plan of irresponsible spending increases, lenient welfare regulations (that attract people from other states) & major tax increases.

It’s long past time to start implementing sustainable spending growth patterns, a tax system that is pro-growth & wise investments in our transportation infrastructure than emphasizes bonding first.

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We all remember how Democrats campaigned on reforming earmarks. We remember that Tim Walz campaigned on being an independent voice in the House. This editorial has the proof that they failed miserably on fulfilling those campaign promises.

Walz had 50 opportunities to vote against earmarks. His record? Zero for 50. That’s 0 percent. Minnesota Reps. Collin Peterson and Betty McCollum also joined Walz at 0 percent. Reps. Jim Oberstar and Keith Ellison were way up there at 2 percent. Average score for Democrats overall? Just 2 percent.

That’s shameful. I’ll bet that Rep. Walz will talk about voting for the Earmark Reform bill. The omnibus budget bill contained thousands of airdropped earmarks. Rep. Walz voted for that bill.

Based on this information, it’s safe to say that Rep. Walz isn’t an independent voice for southeastern Minnesota. It’s equally safe to say that he isn’t fiscally responsible.

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In this op-ed, John Marty argues that health care should be a community need, not a commodity. That wrong-headed thinking is the motivation behind his crusade for a constitutional amendment that would mandate “affordable health insurance.” Here’s how the amendment would read on November’s ballot:

“Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to state that every resident of Minnesota has the right to health care and that it is the responsibility of the governor and the legislature to implement all necessary legislation to ensure affordable health care? Yes? No?

Here’s how Sen. Marty argues that thinking of health insurance as a commodity is wrong:

Many politicians view it as a commodity, something that is bought and sold in the marketplace. “Bought,” that is, to the extent you can afford it. However, if you believe that all people deserve access to affordable health care, as two-thirds of Americans do believe, then there is a problem. Many people don’t earn enough to buy health care.

One thing that single-payer activists won’t discuss is that socialized medicine is part of the problem, not part of the solution. For instance, someone else has to pick up the costs when the VA negotiates (at gunpoint) with the pharmaceutical companies.

Another thing that single-payer activists won’t discuss is the impact that illegal immigrants have on the system. Anytime that someone goes to the ER, someone else has to pay for it, either through higher taxes or with cost shifting to insurance premiums and co-pays.

Here’s John Marty’s thoughts on what’s driving up costs:

Equally troubling, Minnesotans who have insurance still face astronomical health costs, and they would get little relief from this type of reform.

Let’s focus on government mandates. State legislators whine about the Fed’s passing unfunded mandates down to state legislatures but they don’t think twice about passing along their unfunded mandates to private businesses. It’s difficult thinking of a more unjustly regulated industry than medicine.

Despite these things, John Marty and like-minded legislators think that the solution to their imagined crisis is to put Minnesota’s health care system under legislators’ control.

Here’s another of Marty’s arguments for single-payer:

If health care were treated as a community need, when you were sick you would get the care you needed. And you would get sick less often, because you would receive preventive care and health education to assist you in taking responsibility for your health. As with police and fire protection, we all would pay for it, and we all would benefit from it.

The first sentence is accurate as far as it goes. What’s cleverly hidden is that it doesn’t say how long a wait you’d face to “get the care you needed.” It also assumes, incorrectly, that cutting the pharmaceuticals’ profits won’t have a negative effect on research and development spending. In fact, the American Medical Students Association admits that that will have an impact:

Although there are some advantages and some disadvantages to each system, universal health care confers the greatest number of advantages. They include:

  • Every individual would receive necessary medical coverage, regardless of age, health, employment, or socio-economic status.
  • Health care spending would decline because centralized billing procedures would reduce administrative overhead. Consequently, a larger percentage of the cost of health care would actually be spent on patient treatment.
  • Increased access to preventive care and the ability of government to purchase prescription medications in bulk would also help drive down health care costs. However, the corresponding drop in revenue for pharmaceutical companies could lead to a reduction in overall research and development, slowing down technological advancement.
  • Patients can choose their physician and physicians can choose the most appropriate treatment for their patients.
  • There would be a removal of profit-motive in health care. The driving force behind the health industry would be patient care and not profit maximization.

For all his bluster, Sen. Marty is right about this part:

We end up paying more because people don’t have health care up front. We don’t focus on prevention.

It doesn’t take a complete overhaul of the health care industry to fix that. I just talked with Steve Gottwalt, who pointed out a couple interesting things:

Most of the uninsured are already eligible for state-subsidized health insurance probrams but they either haven’t signed up or simply don’t know that they’d qualify. I’d think that budgeting more for outreach would quickly remedy that situation.

Another thing Steve emphasized is that incenting people to buy preventive care would be a step in the right direction, possibly through the tax code.

I recently read that Minnesota’s population is 6.5 million people and that 91 percent of Minnesotans have health insurance. Of the people that don’t, 59 percent are eligible for existing government health insurance programs. Let’s do the math on that. There are approximately 600,000 people uninsured in Minnesota, of which 354,000 are eligible for existing programs. That means only 246,000 Minnesotans are (a) without health insurance and (b) not eligible for taxpayer subsidized health care. That means approximately 3.8 percent of Minnesotans aren’t insured or eligible for taxpayer-subsidized health insurance.

Frankly, that doesn’t qualify as a crisis to me, especially when Minnesota has ranked as the first or second ranked state in overall health. In fact, other states are coming to us asking how we do such a remarkable, consistent job with our health.

With all due respect to Sen. Marty, I’m unwilling to concede that government would do a better job running the health care industry.

Many middle-income families have insurance but are still only one serious illness away from bankruptcy. Our businesses, schools and government face skyrocketing health-care costs.

It is time for Minnesota to make sure that every Minnesotan has access to the health care that they need. By treating health care as a community need, not as an optional commodity, we will live healthier lives and save money, too.

It’s impossible to get everyone covered whether it’s through government, private insurance or a combination thereof. That’s the first reality that must be faced. Another undeniable reality is that when government negotiates the price of perscription medications, the pharmaceutical companies don’t just give up on recovering the profit; they get it back by charging us more. The bad part about government dictating the prices that pharmaceuticals can charge is that it limits research and development.

John Marty and his allies won’t accept as fact that taking away profits, whether it’s from pharmaceutical companies or health care professionals, reduces the availability of new products and reduces the quality of care given.

Single-payer is nothing more than a race to the bottom for quality healthcare. Considering how many cures we’ve developed in the last decade, I’m wondering why we need a dramatic change of any sort.

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Jonah Goldberg has a great article up talking about the various types of conservatism. Here’s a little glimpse into his article:

Many of the younger conservative policy mavens and intellectuals have become steadily less enamored of free markets and limited government. Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, formerly Bush’s chief speechwriter, has crafted a whole doctrine of “heroic conservatism” intended to beat back the right’s supposed death-embrace with small government and laissez-faire economics. He calls for moral crusade to become the animating spirit of the right. He’s hardly alone. “Crunchy conservatism,” the brainchild of Dallas Morning News columnist Rod Dreher, is also a cri de coeur against mainstream conservatism. Both of these derive from the kind of thinking that led Bush to insist in 2000 that he was a “different kind of Republican” because he was a “compassionate conservative”, a political program that apparently measures compassion by how much money the government spends on education, marriage counseling and the like.

What these gentlemen are talking about isn’t conservatism. Gerson particularly isn’t talking about conservatism. What he’s talking about is a mix of populism and conservatism. It’s the product of his belief that government is part of the solution. Personally, I’d call it watered-down liberalism.

Bill Kristol’s editorial tries making the argument that conservatives should welcome this year’s candidates, an argument that I reject:

For example: John McCain, with a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 82.3, is allegedly in no way a conservative. And, though the most favorably viewed of all the candidates right now, both among Republicans and the electorate as a whole, he would allegedly destroy the Republican party if nominated.

Or take Mike Huckabee. He was a well-regarded and successful governor of Arkansas, reelected twice, the second time with 40 percent of the black vote. He’s come from an asterisk to second in the national GOP polls with no money and no establishment support. Yet he is supposedly a buffoon and political naïf. He’s been staunchly pro-life and pro-gun and is consistently supported by the most conservative primary voters, but he is, we’re told, no conservative either.

Or Mitt Romney. He’s a man of considerable accomplishments, respected by many who have worked with and for him in various endeavors. He took conservative positions on social issues as governor of Massachusetts, and parlayed a one-term governorship of a blue state into a first-tier position in the Republican race. But he, too, we’re told, is deserving of no respect. And though he’s embraced conservative policies and seems likely to be steadfast in pursuing them–he’s no conservative either.

Kristol’s blinders prevents him from seeing that we need a Reaganesque conservative now. His argument for John McCain, in particular, is feeble. McCain’s lifetime conservative rating isn’t the issue. Most of that rating was built his first 2 terms. The statistic that Mr. Kristol should be talking about is McCain’s conservative rating during the Bush administration. Why is Mr. Kristol ignoring McCain’s global warming legislation? Why is Mr. Kristol ignoring McCain-Feingold, the most despicable assault on the First Amendment in US history? How can Mr. Kristol ignore the McCain-Kennedy amnesty bill, which abandons any pretense of abiding by the rule of law?

This morning, George Will takes a dramatically different perspective on John McCain:

In the New Hampshire debate, McCain asserted that corruption is the reason drugs currently cannot be reimported from Canada. The reason is “the power of the pharmaceutical companies.” When Mitt Romney interjected, “Don’t turn the pharmaceutical companies into the big bad guys,” McCain replied, “Well, they are.”

That’s a socialist’s attitude of pharmaceutical companies. Shouldn’t that scare every Republican in the nation?

That isn’t the only complaint Mr. Will, along with hundreds of thousands of other conservatives, has with him. Here’s another complaint:

McCain says he would nominate Supreme Court justices similar to Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, John Roberts and Sam Alito. But how likely is he to nominate jurists who resemble those four: They consider his signature achievement constitutionally dubious.

When the Supreme Court upheld McCain-Feingold 5-4, Scalia and Thomas were in the minority. That was before Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor, who was in the majority. Two years later, McCain filed his own brief supporting federal suppression of a right-to-life group’s issue advertisement in Wisconsin because it mentioned a candidate for federal office during the McCain-Feingold blackout period prior to an election. The court ruled 5-4 against McCain’s position, with Alito in the majority.

Sen. McCain isn’t credible when he says that he’d nominate strict constructionist judges. That’s nothing more than pandering. They’d imperil his ‘greatest’ legislative achievement.

Simply put, John McCain opposes too much of the GOP’s best thinking to be trusted as their leader. I can’t support him. PERIOD. He’s shown a willingness to totally abandon the principles of Reagan and Goldwater. There’s no hint whatsoever that he’s got an instinct for libertarianism. Quite the opposite. He’s shown a propensity for worshiping at the altar of megaregulation. Here’s proof of that propensity:

When McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced legislation empowering Congress to comprehensively regulate U.S. industries’ emissions of greenhouse gases in order to “prevent catastrophic global warming,” they co-authored an op-ed column that radiated McCainian intolerance of disagreement. It said that a U.N. panel’s report “puts the final nail in denial’s coffin about the problem of global warming.” Concerning the question of whether human activity is causing catastrophic warming, they said, “the debate has ended.”

Sen. McCain’s attempt at stopping debate on a hotly contested issue is typical. He’s shown a pattern of total certitude on issues where major questions exist, especially if the idea has been proven in the court of popular opinion. If we think about it, it’s fair to conclude that that fits his personality. He didn’t want to debate McCain-Feingold on the basis of its assault on the First Amendment. He spoke only about ridding the system of corruption. He didn’t want McCain-Kennedy to be debated. PERIOD. They didn’t want committee hearings. They wanted to limit debate and restrict the amendment process. They knew that it couldn’t pass if it was debated on its merits.

I reject Romney’s convenient conservatism because it isn’t conservatism. It’s populism disguised as conservatism. Last week in Michigan, we saw how little regard Mitt has for the Tenth Amendment. While pandering for votes, he told Michiganders that the federal government would bail the state out after Jennifer Granholm ran that state’s economy into the toilet. That isn’t proof of holding fast to federalist principles. I won’t trust Mitt on federalist issues. While I’m certain that he’d cut some spending, I’m equally certain that he’d grow government in other places that it shouldn’t grow in.

I won’t trust Huckabee. PERIOD. After watching Common Sense Issues fill the phone lines in South Carolina with lies about Fred Thompson’s record, then watching him halfheartedly tell them to stop, I’m certain that Huckabee is one of the sleaziest politicians I’ve seen on the national stage.

Even though I’m pro life, I don’t have trust issues with Rudy. I disagree with him but that isn’t the same as not trusting someone. I’m confident that Rudy’s a federalist who’d nominate strict constructionist judges. The fact that he’s got Ted Olson, someone with impeccable strict constructionist credentials, higlights Rudy’s fidelity to the strict constructionist perspective. I’m also certain that he’d keep taxes low and that he’d try and keep government under control.

More importantly, I’m confident Rudy wouldn’t govern by moistening a finger before making a decision. I’ve watched him long enough to know that he’ll listen to all perspectives, even if he doesn’t agree with that perspective. He accumulates information first, then makes a decision. McCain starts with a conclusion, then works back from there.

Of course, Fred’s still the gold standard. Unfortunately, voters thus far haven’t asked the right questions. The discussion’s centered on process (he didn’t get in soon enough) and measurables (cash on hand) instead of qualifications and fidelity to conservatism’s proven ideals.

Hugh Hewitt avoided talking about Fred’s libertarianism, Fred’s adherence to federalist principles and his record of fiscal conservatism. Hewitt rejected his conservative principles to pad his wallet, which is troubling.

It’s time for movement conservatives to withhold support from the populist wolves in sheeps’ clothing. It’s time that We The People told Hugh Hewitt that we don’t give a damn about his boy Mitt. It’s time that We The People told Ed Rollins to slink off the national stage along with his liberal client Gov. Huckabee. It’s time that we told Sen. Sell Republicans Down the River (aka Sen. McCain) that we won’t tolerate his consistent liberalism.

It’s time that harking back to Reagan became Republicans’ motivation, not just talk.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

During my daily perusal of the WC Trib, I spotted an article titled Civility needed in immigration talks. Here’s the text of the second paragraph of the ‘staff’ article:

The organization issued a news release Thursday in response to recent statements by Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the community meetings organized by Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria. The Minneapolis group also calls for a moratorium on local and state immigration policy efforts and calls on Congress to take responsibility for solving the problem at the federal level.

The organization they’re talking about is the Main Street Project. Being the curious sort that I am, I decided to check MSP’s website for myself. Here’s the opening paragraph of their press release:

In response to recent statements by Governor Tim Pawlenty and the community meetings organized by Senator Joe Gimse, (R-Willmar) and Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen, (R-Alexandria) the Minneapolis-based Main Street Project today released a recommendation on a constructive approach to addressing the issue of
immigration.

Anybody notice a similarity between the ‘article’ & the press release? Let’s check out another portion of the ‘article’:

A “respectful, civil debate” is needed while addressing the issue of immigration,” according to the Minneapolis-based Main Street Project.

Here’s the corresponding portion of MSP’s press release:

In addition to asking for a respectful, civil debate, the statement also calls for a moratorium on local and state immigration policy efforts and calls on Congress to take responsibility for solving the problem at the federal level.

It’s clear that they’re almost identical with a couple slight deviations. They rearranged the wording a couple times but that’s it.

The point I’m making is that the WC Trib is essentially taking an advocate’s official statement at face value, then running it as a news article. I’m not betting that that’s a shock to many people. It’s just another bit of proof as to how little reporting is done.

Another interesting thing I noticed on MSP’s website is that the president of Main Street Project is Niel Ritchie. The red flags went off when I noticed part of his resume:

From 1991-2004, he served as a policy analyst and national organizer at the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Here’s the information that a simple google search of IATP produced:

As many IATP supporters may be aware, Mark Ritchie (pictured right) will be stepping down as President at the end of 2006. IATP’s board of directors has
been working with staff to plan for the best possible transition.

According to the website, this information was posted in September, 2005.

The questions that leap to mind are kinda scary, such as:

  • Are these ‘staff reporters’ who changed the wording around like-minded activists who ‘moonlight’ as objective reporters?
  • Did these ‘staff reporters’ bother checking into the effects the espoused policy will have on the community?
  • Do the ‘staff reporters’ (I’m betting an editor at the paper) think it’s ok to accept as news the press releases of DFL activists?

Here’s what 21st Century Democrats’ bio on Mark Ritchie reads:

Furthering his efforts to increase voter participation in rural communities throughout Minnesota and across the country, Mark help create the League of Rural Voters.

It’s obvious that Mark & Niel Ritchie are building a network of liberal activists in rural Minnesota through Main Street Project.

Scary, huh?

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Ed Rollins is at it again. He’s back with the stalking horse story. Here he goes again:

“Why would he get aggressive all of a sudden here?” asked Ed Rollins, Huckabee’s campaign chairman, noting the series of attacks that Thompson directed at Huckabee in a recent debate. Rollins added: “Thirty-five seconds after he drops out, he endorses McCain…Anything he takes from us I’m concerned about, because it’s a close race.”

Ed Rollins is totally sleazy. Rollins is the Republican’s Bob Shrum. He’s a total loser. Now that Huckabee’s ties to Common Sense Issues’ push-polling have been exposed, it’s likely that voters are fleeing Huckabee like he’s the devil himself.

Despite what the media has said, Huckabee’s always been a second tier candidate. He can’t expand his base. He’s an electoral disaster waiting to happen. He won’t attract conservatives because he’s a liberal. He won’t attract country club conservatives, either, because he’s disparaged them. On top of all that, he’s a political lightweight, a package of cute one-liners and no substance.

Here’s something that I found interesting:

Thompson, who touts what he calls a “100 percent pro-life” record on abortion, could peel religious conservatives from Huckabee. Romney aides fear that Thompson could take away anybody-but-McCain mainline conservatives.

It’s like that Fred will pull religious conservatives from Huckabee and mainstream conservatives from Romney. It’s noteworthy that he’s got the movement conservatives all to himself. When you combine those things together, isn’t that what’s needed to be the next GOP presidential nominee?

Let’s remember that Ed Rollins is the villain who handed the 1992 election to Bill Clinton by managing Ross Perot’s campaign. In other words, Mike Huckabee is a sleazy street fighter, not this virtuous God-fearing Christian.

Once this information gets out, Huckabee’s Christian supporters will shrink in a hurry.

It couldn’t happen to a more deserving ‘couple’.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The endorsements keep piling up for Fred Thompson. This time, South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom has endorsed him:

“Senator Thompson’s clear leadership on social, fiscal, and defense issues, as well as his strong and proven stance for border security and the rule of law make him a leader like Mark Sanford,” General Eckstrom said. “I proudly and fully support his candidacy for President, and I ask all conservatives to do the same. Senator Thompson is the only conservative candidate who is now strongly surging in the polls. Momentum is crucial and Senator Thompson has it.”

Here’s Fred’s response to General Eckstrom’s endorsement:

“It is always gratifying when an elected official chooses to support my campaign for President, but even more so when that official is known as a ‘Watchdog for the Taxpayers’ and a leading voice for conservative principles as is General Eckstrom,” said Senator Thompson. “I am also humbled that General Eckstrom joins so many other veterans of our armed forces that are supporting our campaign.”

It’ll be difficult to measure how much this endorsement helps Fred, especially in light of David Limbaugh’s endorsement of Fred. Even if this doesn’t move lots of votes in Fred’s direction, it’s still worthwhile because another fiscal conservative has signed onto Fred’s campaign.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

When Tom DeLay stepped down as Majority Leader, I let it be known that I didn’t think highly of John Boehner as his replacement. As I said here, my image of Rep. Boehner is starting to change. Today, after reading Andrew Roth’s post, I can enthusiastically say that John Boehner has earned my respect:

Boehner Holds Off On Filling Appropriations Vacancy Pending Conference Discussion On Earmarks.

Yesterday, House Minority Leader John Boehner told his House Republican colleagues that they were destined to remain in the political wilderness if they couldn’t kick their spending habits. Today, he took that debate one step further, announcing that the Steering Committee will not make an appointment to the vacant Appropriations Committee seat until after the House Republican retreat, where the GOP Leader has urged that a conference-wide discussion take place on earmarks.

Boehner is also expected to follow up later today at an RNC briefing, where he is expected to say, “We need to get serious about eliminating wasteful spending. Earmarks are a symptom of a much larger problem in Washington with runaway spending. We need to bring an end to wasteful earmarks, and we need to do it now.” Boehner is expected to add, “The Democratic candidates all talk as if America has failed, that if only we’d raise taxes, put our faith in government bureaucracies, and withdraw from the world stage, we’d be better off. Well I don’t buy it. And the more Americans hear that message, the more I think they’ll reject it.”

Following yesterday’s post about Boehner’s taking on earmarks, I said that Rep. Boehner’s speaking out was “music to my ears.” Today, I can say that Rep. Boehner sounds like he’s very serious about re-establishing the GOP as the party of fiscal sanity. Democrats will rightly point to porkmeisters like Ted Stevens as proof that the GOP hasn’t changed its ways.

If the GOP in general, and the House GOP in particular, want to regain the American people’s respect, they’ll have to produce. Good intentions aren’t enough. the road to liberal sainthood is paved with honorable intentions. If the GOP doesn’t produce measurable results, they won’t seperate themselves from the liberals.

I suspect that Boehner will get loud support from the GOP presidential candidates because it’ll help solidify the GOP base and because it’ll help in winning over northeastern moderates who claim that they’re fiscal conservatives. If the GOP wins over northeastern fiscal conservatives, then they’ll have a chance of being a truly national party again.

The best part is that they will have done it without them having pandered to those voters. Instead, they will have won them over without abandoning their principles.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Yesterday, Common Sense Issues got caught on tape push-polling South Carolina. This morning, I decided to check into them so I started with their website. Here’s what I found on their About page:

Common Sense Issues is a 501(c)(4) social welfare, grassroots lobbying organization, comprised of individuals dedicated to educating and informing citizens in an in-depth manner about public policy issues. We encourage citizens to seek ways to work together to encourage opinion leaders and public officials to approach America’s problems using basic common sense principles. We seek solutions to public policy problems and issues that mirror the God-given common sense of the American people.

That’s a crock. Based on this report from South Carolina, their goal is to smear any candidate not named Huckabee:

Among the people receiving the push polling calls was a county co-chairman of former Sen. Fred Thompson’s campaign.

Jason Goings, the Aiken County co-chairman for Thompson, said the call he received started by asking him if he was a Republican who planned to vote in Saturday’s primary and then asked whom he supported. After he hit the button for Thompson, a voice highlighted Huckabee’s position against abortion and said Thompson worked as a lawyer for a lobbying firm that protected abortion rights.

The call also attacked Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and actor, on same-sex marriage, illegal immigration and taxes.

Let’s hope South Carolinians take their anger at Common Sense Issues out on Gov. Huckabee. To say that Common Sense Issues is a sleazy operation is understatement.

Here’s some more information on Common Sense Issues:

An organizer for Mike Huckabee supporters in southern Tennessee and northern Georgia made a large donation to the group that has been sending out hundreds of thousands of automated telephone calls to voters in South Carolina attacking Huckabee’s opponents for the Republican nomination for president.

Common Sense Issues Inc. portrays itself as an independent political organization and Huckabee’s campaign denied any involvement with the group and disavowed its tactics, which have included millions of phone calls in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada.

Mark West of Ooltewah, Tenn., near Chattanooga, gave a total of $48,500 to Common Sense Issues Inc., according to Federal Election Commission records. West and his wife, Lori, also gave the maximum of $2,300 each to Huckabee’s presidential primary campaign.

And West is the organizer of the Chattanooga Mike Huckabee supporters meet-up group and the northern Georgia meet-up group as well. Huckabee has no formal state organizations in either state, according to his campaign Web site, but supporters are encouraged to click on a link that takes them to the online meet-up groups in their community, including West’s two groups.

It’ll next to impossible for Huckabee to distance himself from the Wests now that that’s public. this isn’t just an unknown contributor to Huckabee. This is a Huckabee campaign insider. He’s also paying for alot of the push-polling that’s going on.

Davis said Common Sense Issues is not affiliated with Huckabee and does not coordinate with his campaign. He said his group backs the former governor because of his views on issues including a strong defense and cutting taxes.

“The folks who have been critical of our phone calls generally are supporting Mike Huckabee’s opponents. They criticize the fact that the calls are happening, but there has not been criticism of the fact that the information we provide is factual,” he said.

Factual? Technically, that might be true. What isn’t difficult is saying that the statements on the public record are deceptive at best. It’s time that the Huckabee campaign apologized to Sen. Thompson and Sen. McCain. As I said here, Davis’ statement that they’re supporting Huckabee because of “his views on issues including a strong defense and cutting taxes” didn’t pass the laugh test:

That’s laughable. Why would this organization tell South Carolinians that Fred Thompson supported “partial birth abortion” if they’re now saying that they’re “backing Huckabee because of his views on issues including a strong defense and cutting taxes”?

It’s one thing to have Democrats pull this type of crap. That’s expected. Having a Republican pull this is totally unacceptable. It’s time voters shut down the Huckabee campaign. He’s a disgrace to Christians and Republicans.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative