A Conservative Republican Wish for 2014

As 2013 comes to a close, the GOP finds itself in the enviable, if somewhat unexpected, position of commanding the political high ground in a mid-second term election year. With the generic vote showing the GOP with a 5 point lead over the democrats, a pickup of more than a dozen house seats is more than likely and the 7 needed to gain control of the senate, while not as likely, very much achievable. Yet we saw in 2012 the right GOP coalition of conservatives, libertarians and right of center moderates is more than capable of seizing defeat from the jaws of victory. Remember, we allowed a president who presided over the worst economy in half a century, imposed a widely unpopular government takeover of health care and implemented a disastrous foreign policy to be reelected. Controlling the high ground means we have the advantage of defining the agenda, but it also presents the opportunity for spectacular defeat.

In 2014 the Republican Leadership and the Party as a Whole Faces the Challenge of Capitalizing on the Political High Ground They Now Occupy, or Squandering Opportunity

In 2014 the Republican Leadership and the Party as a Whole Faces the Challenge of Capitalizing on the Political High Ground They Now Occupy, or Squandering Opportunity

For those of us who believe in free markets, limited government, equality of opportunity and personal responsibility, the imperative is to stop the Obama left in 2014 and set the groundwork for a Republican to take back the White house in 2016. We can play “could have, would have, should have” over missed opportunities in 2010 and 2012, or we can seize the moment and begin to right the course of the nation in 2014. The words here are not a policy prescription for renewal but rather a wish for the right to unite in its pursuit of a single shared objective, to stop the leftist drift we have been on since 2006 and begin the restoration of America by releasing the potential of the American people. It is my hope that as we move forward in the battles that will define 2014 we keep these few guiding principles in mind.

  1. The American People Seek Solutions, Not Opposition. Obamacare represents the greatest threat to the America economy of any government policy in half a century. Almost since it was adopted the majority of Americans have opposed the takeover of our health care by government.  To the frustration of Nancy Pelosi, the more Americans have come to know Obamacare, the less they have liked it.         While it is well and good that we on the right hang the O-Care albatross around the necks of the democrat left that shoved this down the throats of the American people with zero bi-partisan support, 2012 showed us that is not enough. The GOP and the right coalition have failed to present a single cohesive and comprehensive free market alternative to Obamacare. People want to believe in something, not simply oppose the wrong. Health care does need reform, free market reform. While some have tried to propose alternatives, no single viable plan has emerged. If Washington conservatives stop simply screaming “Repeal” and propose reforms that will truly improve healthcare, they will be embraced. The American people want to believe again.
  2. Shout Less, Think More. I am tired of idiots claiming to be conservative guiding lights. Growing up in the Goldwater, Reagan and Gingrich era’s, the right were the ones proposing the innovative and effective policy alternatives to the challenges and future of America. Somehow we lost that and have allowed those who simply scream no at increasingly loud volumes to take the helm. The left is still peddling the discredited neo-socialist ideology that they pushed for the last half of the 20th century. The American people have not moved left, but they will only follow the conservative/libertarian right if we demonstrate we are in fact the grownups in the room and are ready to lead. We have no right to power in 2014/16; leadership must be earned. Ideas and words matter, it’s time we think before we speak, they will listen.
  3. The Media Establishment Will Never Be Balanced, Take The Message to the People. The media establishment, particularly in the New York/Washington corridor will never give the GOP fair coverage, nothing new here. Get over it. In the early days of the internet it was conservatives who initially effectively embraced technology. Those days are gone. For the right to successfully regain control of government, we must bypass the media and take our ideas directly to the people. Forget converting viewers of MSNBC, they are the extreme left who wallow in their hate and envy. However, we must also stop talking to ourselves about how right we are and take our intellectual arguments directly to the people. Obsess on those who seek solutions and alternatives and forget the leftist screamers.
  4. Purity in Martyrdom is for Suicide Bombers. Those were the words of former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and with which I could not agree more. We must once again not only accept but embrace the diversity of ideas of the coalition of the right. Moderate is not a bad word, but rather a friend who needs support and encouragement to support you. Fight for your ideas based on their merits, rather than against those who do not agree totally with you. The conservative movement can never allow the ideological perfect to become the enemy of the politically achievable. In 1980 Ronald Reagan ran on a promise of an across the board 30 percent cut in personal income tax rates. Once in office in 1981 when the democrat controlled congress passed the Kemp-Roth Tax Cut which only contained a 25 percent cut, he did not veto it and issue an all or nothing demand. Reagan embraced victory and signed the bill before they changed their mind. Embrace those who are inclined to support, trust in the virtue of our beliefs and ideals.
  5. Be Aware of Motivation of Those Who Seek to Lead:  Each of us needs to consider the motivations of self promoters who put their personal advancement ahead of advancing the cause and national interest. An idiot with a large following on Twitter is still and idiot. Presidential ambition can be admirable unless it is put ahead of the nation’s interest.
  6. America Cannot Afford Even 2 More Years of Obama Unchecked. With Harry Reid exercising the nuclear option and abandoning senate traditions to force through more leftist judges and appointees, we need to check mate Obama with effective, if not our right, GOP control of the senate. And don’t take 2016 for granted. The media establishment is ready to put Hillary in the White House in 2016 and never underestimate their ability to get what they want. That which advances our cause is virtuous, all else is working for the left.
  7. Embrace Reagan’s 11th Commandment, “Thou Shall Not Speak Ill of a Fellow Republican”. We have come to confuse high follower counts on Twitter with wisdom. Many cheered when moderate GOP senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) did not seek reelection in 2012. They celebrated the departure of a moderate who was not as conservative as most of us. What they got in exchange was a leftist senator, while declaring himself independent he caucuses with the D’s and is to the left of all but few in the senate. In what idiotic logic was this an improvement? Snowe supported every Republican Presidents Supreme Court nominations and most proposals. Most important, she voted for the GOP leadership in the senate and not Sen Reid.  Think about this one long and hard. An 80 percent friend is better than a 100 percent advisory.

History is on our side and the apatite of the people for change is strong. Barack Obama has produced the worst economic record of any two term president in 75 years. Harry Reid and the do nothing Democrat Senate has produced one budget in his 7 years as Majority leader. Nancy Pelosi consumed so much leftist cool-aid that she is self delusional in her pursuit of an extreme left wing agenda which is supported only by the left wing of the democrat party. The political high ground is truly owned by Republicans in 2014, yet I wonder will we again let victory slip from our grasp. Only in victory will we stop the leftward drift in America and begin to restore the personal and economic freedoms we cherish.

To one and all an outstanding 2014, and let’s make 2014 the year Americans take back our freedoms.

3 Comments

Filed under 2014 Election, 2016 Election, Media, Politics, Republican Party, The Grand Old Party

Freedom of Speech in Russia Crushed Under the Boot of Strongman Putin: Pussy Riot Jailed

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”  Edmund Burke

Normally members of a Punk Rock bank being sentenced to two years in prison would hardly raise an eyebrow, let alone have the attention of people all over the world. For me personally that is almost as surprising as that I am about to use the “P” word in writing for which I fear my mother is about to roll over in her grave. Yet this seemingly irrelevant event has shaken those who cherish freedom around the world. In a Moscow court today, three members of the Russian punk rock band Pussy Riot were sentenced to two years in prison for the crime of “Hooliganism”. Yet to virtually the entire world this is seen for what it is, retaliation for these three artists speaking out against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Members of the Russian Punk Rock Band Pussy Riot Protest in Moscow

This past March, three of the 10 members of Pussy Riot entered the Main Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow, Cathedral of Christ the Savior, and from the alter protested the alleged stealing of the Russian Presidential election by Vladimir Putin. As to whether those allegations are true is the subject of considerable debate and not the point of this essay. Indeed, I find the taking of political protests into a church distasteful and imprudent. However it is the reaction of the Russian prosecutors to the protest that has caused artists, politicians and average citizens around the world to speak out against the repressive actions of the Russian administration. The charges under which these young women were prosecuted carried up to 10 years imprisonment in Russia’s notorious prison system.

Since first becoming President on December 31, 1999 upon the resignation of Boris Yeltsin, Putin has restored a sense of order in Russia as well as establishing relative economic stability. Yet at the same time Putin has given cause for concern as to his commitment to freedom and democracy, especially in the wake of the constitutional two step which returned him to the presidency this year. I suspect his overwhelming election was in fact legitimate given the overwhelming desire of the Russian people to see stability and safety restored. At the same time his methods have only brought the legitimacy of his administration into question.

This is why three members of a formerly obscure punk rock band have been elevated to international symbols of freedom. While their words of protest may have been concerning to all those who value freedom, President Putin’s reaction has been frightening. Had Putin simply allowed these three to sing their songs and have their protest, they would be long forgotten. It has been Putin’s own actions which has given legitimacy to their words and united the free world in protest. If freedom fails in Russia we will find ourselves in a geopolitical crisis which could elevate tensions with the west to Cold War levels. The Russian people themselves rid themselves of the tyranny of the soviet system. President Putin would be well advised to embrace freedom and trust the Russian people themselves.

Thus I join millions of others around the world in calling for President Putin to immediately free these women and pardon them for all crimes they have been convicted. Furthermore, President Putin must embrace the freedoms the Russian people have given themselves. Ultimately his power is derived from the people of Russia and not imposed upon them. Should he fail to do this, the international community must not let this wrong stand. History has shown us that appeasement is simply an invitation to the extension of tyranny. So today the unlikely symbols of freedom are the three members of Pussy Riot who find themselves behind bars simply for their words. President Putin cannot be allowed to think that the world will allow this affront to democracy to go unchallenged or we may all find ourselves paying too high a price.

Leave a comment

Filed under Foreign Policy, Politics, Russia, State Department

The Supreme Court Sends Obamacare Back to the People, Where it Rightfully Belongs.

“Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.”  William Shakespeare

Like many conservatives I had come to hope the United States Supreme Court would not only put an end to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but would also breathe life into the 10th Amendment by placing much needed limitation on the “Commerce Clause”. That hope was awkward and indeed misplaces as one who has opposed judicial activism relying on the court to overturn a legislative act was uncomfortable. It ended just after 10 am yesterday as the court essentially upheld most of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In doing so the court put Obamacare exactly where it belonged, in the hands of the American People who will almost certainly decide its fate at the ballot box November 6, 2012.

John G. Roberts, 17th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

To be clear, I disagree strongly with Chief Justice Roberts and his majority opinion, believing Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong dissent was on firmer constitutional ground. Yet my faith in the constitution and the institutions it defines necessitates respect for the decision of the court. I suspect history will long debate the words we first read yesterday but the fate of Obamacare has now passed back to the legislative branch the people who elect their representatives.

We can play “who wins the polls” all day and do nothing but waste hot air. What is clear is Obamacare has failed to secure the majority support among the American people that any major piece of social legislation (think Civil Rights which had strong majority bi-partisan support) has in modern American history. The President and the Democratic leaders in congress were hard pressed to pass the legislation despite strong majorities in both houses of congress. Indeed in all votes more Democrats voted in opposition to their own parties proposal than Republicans voting for healthcare. Then Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi famously told Democrats they had to pass the bill so the public would come to understand and support healthcare reform. Without a doubt this was the central issue in the 2010 Congressional election which resulted in significant Democratic losses in the senate and a near record loss in the House which saw control pass to the Republicans. Throughout the 112th Congress Obamacare has continued to be the focus of debate with the House passing legislation repealing and Senate democrats killing those bills without a vote. Indeed the repeal votes have been little more than political theater since with Barack Obama in the White House, no repeal can ever become law. So Republicans have had to settle for preventing key elements of Obamacare from being funded (such as IRS agents being hired to enforce the taxation elements).

Obamacare

Obamacare is the Largest Tax Increase in American History

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the solution to this situation seems crystal clear as Obamacare now stands to be one of if not the central issue of the 2012 Presidential & Congressional elections. Indeed, it would seem that in authoring that decision, Chief Justice John Roberts may have helped the conservative cause much more than was first apparent. Clearly, the Obama fabrication that Obamacare was not a tax increase was undermined by his own Solicitor Generals oral argument and was killed in Roberts ruling. Republicans how have a clear case to present that Barack Obama has put into place the largest tax increase in American history, for the middle class and every other class. While initially less apparent but potentially of greater long term significant, Chief Justice Roberts has for the first time in modern history placed significant limits on the Commerce Clause, indeed stating that if the act had relied upon that it would have been unconstitutional. This guidance will live on for generations and many liberals may come to have considerable indigestion over this.

Mitt Romney Pledges to Repeal and Replace Obamacare as First Act Upon becoming President in the Wake of June 28th Supreme Court Decision

Thus Obamacare will be put to its most significant vote exactly where the decision should be made, by the American People. Mitt Romney was quick to say that if he is elected president and sworn in on January 20, 2013 his first act will be to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Given the GOP has a strong majority in the house and with 23 Democrats to just 10 Republicans up for election in the senate this year, a President Romney would almost certainly have majorities in both houses of congress. Obamacare would soon find a place of honor on the ash pile of history. However, if President Obama is reelected, it much less likely he would have both houses of congress, yet he would have a real mandate to move forward with Obamacare. He may well have to finally negotiate in a truly bi-partisan manner to realize the funding required to implement Obamacare, but he would have a moral mandate to move forward (even though we conservatives would like it no better). The only way Obamacare can be implemented as it now exists would be for the American People themselves to show their support by not only re-electing President Obama but giving the Pelosi-Reid Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress.

So the battle lines are drawn and the fight has been joined. Within 24 hours of the court’s decision Mitt Romney raised more than $5 million in small donor online funds and a yet unknown non-online donations. While many things have been said and debated about Barack Obama, one thing is for certain, he is the great unifier of Republicans. Mitt Romney in one day has seen significant divisions in his own base evaporate and conservatives find enthusiasm for his candidacy. Mitt Romney has become the great, if unlikely, savior of free market health care in America. Barack Obama is now clearly the advocate of socialized medicine and the massive tax increases which will be needed to affect such a program. To be certain there will be other issues in the 2012 election such as America’s role in the world, keeping American’s Safe and restoring our nation’s economic base and getting millions of Americans back to work. Yet the fate of health care in America is almost certainly to be decided in this election and the debate over it pivotal to the election itself.

Let the fight begin, it sure will not be boring.

1 Comment

Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Congress, Constitution, Free Markets, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Supreme Court of the United States, Taxes, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

America, a Nation of Legal Immigrants

I am proud to be an immigrant; honored to be American by choice. Legal immigration is part of the DNA of a nation founded and built by immigrants. Unless you are a pure blood Native American, you are the product of immigrants, even if you are a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I embraced the American ideal of achievement based on your ability and hard work as opposed to the neo-socialist nanny state of my native Canada. My path to citizenship involved crafting my career to achieve the skill set needed to immigrate to America. What followed was years of filing forms and dozens of trips to the then Immigration & Naturalization Service and its successor the U.S. Citizenship and immigration Service. This was not easy, convenient or even at times logical but it was the process established by my new home. Forms were diligently completed and the legal system embraced. The day I raised my right hand and took the oath of citizenship was among the proudest of my life, second only to the day I married my wife.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus from “The New Colossus”

 

As an immigrant I truly understand what attracts millions to aspire to not only move to America but to embrace the culture that defines being American, I feel it in my heart. America needs immigrants to sustain growth and to enrich the very fiber of the country. Yet the foundation of any immigration policy must be one of the core elements of America, the rule of law. As an immigrant, there was much of the process I found to be nonsensical, the test of American History so simple and uninspired no idiot with a pulse could fail; the one sentence of monosyllable words test of English competence. But this process was defined by law, American law, and it was the first test of citizenship to be passed. The American People must define our nation’s immigration policy, not those who aspire to join the American family.

While the debate has been dominated by radicals on both sides of the issue, fundamental immigration reform must be affected for both the economic and national security interest of the nation. The core principles below would provide the foundation for sensible and sustainable immigration reform.

  1. Respect for the Rule of Law: At the core of citizenship is respect for the rule of law; any immigrant must fully embrace and respect those laws even if they do not agree with them. If ones first act upon entering the United States is to violate its national laws, that person has disqualified themselves from the privilege of making America their home. Any form of amnesty, direct or back door, is a slap in the face to all of us who have followed the legal path to enter America. Further, those illegal’s who have been in America for years have violated our laws by either working “off the books” or by using falsified or stolen identities to maintain a legal appearance. Those who violate our laws must never be rewarded for their illegal activities and should be deported and barred from reentry into the United States.
  2. The Defense of the Boarder is one of the Fundamental Responsibilities of Government: The current administration has failed in its obligation to secure the nations boarders. To the south illegal migrants pass through the boarders with little difficulty. To the north world’s largest undefended border with Canada is utterly unprotected with little more than warning signs in most places. Given Canada’s open immigration policy, particularly from countries who wish America harm, necessitates securing that border in the same manner as our border with Mexico. If the Department of Homeland Security cannot adequatly secure the nations boarders, then the assistance of the Department of Defense must be sought.
  3. Immigrants must Embrace American Culture & Institutions: A nation is defined by a common culture, language and legal structure. Those who wish to come to America must in their hearts embrace these before seeking to live on our shores. Those who hate America and what it stands for must not be allowed to abuse a welcoming nation to do it harm. Competence in the English language is essential to a successful immigrant experience and must be mastered before arriving at the gates. Political activism and dissent are at the foundation of our fundamental rights, but these must be done within the rule of law and our political system. In short, America, love it or stay home.
  4. All Immigrants Should be on a Path to Citizenship: We want those who come to America to embrace the American experience and seek to be a permanent part of our society. Temporary work permits simply allow American corporations to bring foreign workers to America, often at wages well below paid to American workers and use their temporary status to keep them from complaining. If a legitimate need exists for bring a foreign worker to America, they should be brought in on a single immigrant track and subject to the same requirements and controls. The concept of “Permanent Resident” status, the so called Green Card should be ended. Foreigners should not be allowed to reside in America indefinably without becoming citizens and fully participating in American Society. At the end of a single 10 year residency period (the valid period of a current Green Card) an immigrant has not become a citizen, they should return to their country of origin. A permanent sub class of residents does nothing to elevate the nation as a whole.
  5. Knowledge of American History, Government and the English Language is Required to be a Productive American: All immigrants should be expected to have the same understanding of American History and Government as is expected of an American high school graduate (leave aside what high school graduates actually know). In the same way competence in the English language is essential to take part in the public discourse and succeed economically. Those who cannot, or will not, achieve these should not be welcomed to America.
  6. Multiculturalism and Hyphenated Americanism are a Cancer on the Nation: While it is fine to have pride in one’s heritage and fore fathers, at the core of citizenship is becoming an American in ones heart and soul, not only the color of the passport. One can be an American proud of their heritage, but being American must come first, last and always.
  7. Immigration must be Maintained at Sustainable Levels: Recognizing the danger to the very fabric of the United States, the levels of immigration must never be allowed to exceed the number of immigrants who can be effectively assimilated into American society. We must cherish and protect the melting pot of our society and its ability to bring newly arrived immigrants into our communities. To allow levels of new immigrants to overwhelm American society not only does a disservice to the immigrants themselves, it represents a danger to the future of the nation itself.

I am sure there will be many on the left and the right who will disagree with these views, such is the American way. Yet balancing the conflicting interest will require compromise. What cannot be compromised is maintaining the fundamental qualities of what it is to be an American. Many, such as the current Administration seek to place their political interests in before those of the nation. It is the responsibility of the American people to prevent this from destroying the very character of our nation.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus from “The New Colossus”

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Department of Defence, Department of Homeland Security, Immigration, Politics

On Hypocrisy, Barack Obama and the Buffett Rule

There are few issues in American politics today that I find more hypocritical or concerning than the so called “Buffett Rule”. Based upon the Billionaire of Omaha suddenly realizing late in life that he pays a lower rate of tax than his secretary. For starters let’s leave aside that if he had concern over his secretary’s financial situation, he could simply dip into his piggy bank and give her a well deserved raise. No, that Warren Buffett would suddenly have a concern that he pays lower tax rates than most Americans is laughable. What did Warren think he was paying those tax attorneys for over the decades? Why did he structure his investments in corporate structures aimed to qualify resultant earning as capital gains rather than standing up like a man and simply characterizing it as ordinary income? No, Warren has built his fortune exploiting every tax scheme available. Now Warren wants other Americans who have been successful to pay higher taxes than the now 80 year old Buffett has for decades. Well, I may not be a financial genius like Warren, but I can spot a blue blooded hypocrite when I see one Warren Buffett is in a hypocritical league of his own.

This story becomes more pathetic when President Obama comes along and latches onto “The Buffett Rule” as the salvation to the nation’s economic ills. Unfortunately President Obama is more a political opportunist and liberal who can never let the opportunity to increase taxes pass them by. Instead of applying the Buffet Rule revenue to debt reductions President Obama would simply use it to fund his liberal democrat social agenda. The President Obama & the Do Nothing Democrats in congress have bet their future upon a political class warfare platform. Any political opportunist cannot resist an opportunity to leverage someone else’s reputation for their gain and Warren Buffett is big league butt cover.

America is a nation where the dream of a better life for one’s self and children was always a core value of the people.  American’s aspire to success and work to give their children a better life than they have. Those who have succeeded have been seen as inspirations to be emulated, not objects of scorn and envy to be torn down. Class warfare has never been a cornerstone of our nation’s political discourse. Today we have a president who in seeking a second term to advance an extreme leftist agenda is basing his reelection on class division and envy without regard to the damage it can do to the nation’s character. In and of itself, hypocrisy is usually a benign personality trait which simply diminished the reputation of the hypocrite. Rarely do hypocrites succeed for long as their lack of character is transparent. However when a national leader bases his partisan future on such a hypocritical platform to advance the big lie, then real harm can be done to the nation.

I will leave it to others to demonstrate how little good the Buffett Rule would do for the debt and the damage raising taxes during a recovery could do (for reference see the Heritage Foundation Article). I actually share the president’s view that there are fundamental inequalities in our tax system. Corporate Cronyism has permeated the tax code leaving it littered with the best loop holes money can buy. But the Buffett Rule is not a solution to inequality but rather a syndical revenue grab by a tax & spend liberal administration. The only way to solve the inequality is a revenue neutral fundamental round of tax reform with simplification as its goal. The more flat our tax system becomes with fewer deductions and loop holes, the more fairness we would see. Mr. President, real tax reform does not make for as good a rally speech, but it is good for the country and the honesty may just help your reputation and the nation’s future. Country first, what a novel concept.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Budget, Free Markets, National Debt, Politics, Taxes