Rubio, Walker Release Plans to Slay the Obamacare Dragon


Marco-Rubio-Scott-WalkerAs Peter Suderman writes in Reason any Republican effort to repeal and replace ObamaCare is likely going to be disappointing, given both the enormity of the task and the fact that they’ll be starting with a ball further down left field than when the President took office.

Still, there’s room to maneuver and maybe even to reverse the ratchet in a few areas. Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Scott Walker issued fairly similar plans that attempt to do just that (Walker issued a short white paper; Rubio wrote an op-ed for Politico that sketches his ideas, albeit with fewer details).

After repealing ObamaCare, both plans start by removing the single greatest inanity of our system: that insurance purchased through one’s employer is tax-free, while insurance purchased directly is not. This system is virtually unique in the world — a bad example of American exceptionalism if ever there was one. Moreover, making it easier for people to purchase insurance directly not only removes an extraneous layer from the healthcare system but also will reduce a major source of governmental intrusion (i.e., Hobby Lobby).

Interpreting the Fourteenth in the Context of Chinese Birth Tourism


shutterstock_73473043Amendment XIV: Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

“Anchor babies” and “birth-right citizenship” have been the topic of a great many of our political discussions lately — when we’re not talking about Donald Trump. Though we tend to concentrate on illegal immigration from Latin America — and the ethics and legality of deporting entire families once some of their children have been “born American” — This completely ignores another part of the “birth-right citizenship” phenomenon.

Denver talk-radio host and freelance columnist Mike Rosen has long articulated the most convincing interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment in the context of Chinese “birth tourism.” From his 2011 Denver Post column on Birth Rights and Wrongs:

Sunday Morning Reflections: When Politicians Matter


When I first proposed to write a book about Margaret Thatcher, I had a smaller book in mind. The title I proposed was Coal and Iron. I wanted to look at one episode in Margaret Thatcher’s career: the crushing of the National Union of Mineworkers between 1984 and 1985. To me, this was the most interesting story from her time in power. But publishers did not agree. The proposal was rejected everywhere I sent it; only Basic Books took an interest, but they asked me to broaden my focus. They wanted a proper biography of Margaret Thatcher, which they would sell as part of their series about the significance of various historic figures. The best-known in that series is Christopher Hitchens’ Why Orwell Matters. Thus my proposal became a book titled Why Margaret Thatcher Matters. While it was always clear to me that she was an interesting and significant 20th century figure, I couldn’t bring myself to conclude with certanly that she mattered in quite the same way Orwell did. It was, I thought, too soon to tell; and in the conclusion of the book, I nearly said so:


The Party of Adults


Candidates, please steal this.

Anyone who’s encountered (or recalls being) a teenager is familiar with the “Why can’t you just treat me like an adult!?” refrain. It’s powerful because adulthood is associated with liberty and a greater deal of control over one’s life, things just about everyone wants. The catch, of course, is that adulthood also entails greater responsibilities. Most people, however, decide — more or less … eventually … in most things — that they prefer the opportunities of maturity to the coddled safety of childhood.

Mitch McConnell, the Corker Bill, and the Secret to Trump’s Success — Revealed


McConnell, flanked by Corker, Barrasso and Thune, holds a news conference after the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol in WashingtonAce of Spades points out a GOP pattern: They construct a compromise with the White House that gives Obama all the power he requests and then pretend to vote against it, so that “they can then they go home to their districts and states and say ‘we did everything we could to stop him, but by jiminy, we just couldn’t manage it.'”

Do you remember how Mitch McConnell schemed to increase the debt limit, while suckering conservatives with a claim that conservatives voted against it?

The scheme worked like this: Congress authorized the president to increase the debt limit on his authority. (Actually, we’re already at the stage of falsehood, because he wouldn’t be raising the debt limit on his own authority, but with the authority Congress had just voted him.)

Think the Donald Can Get Us a Better Deal on Porter Goss?


live-auction-ideasI’m on everyone’s mailing list for “News from Turkey,” so this morning I received an excited missive about a piece in the Huffington Post. It revealed the non-news that Turkey spends a lot of money lobbying the United States:

… within days of starting its war on the Kurds, Ankara hired Squire Patton Boggs for $32,000 a month, as a subcontractor to the powerful lobbying firm, the Gephardt Group. Squire Patton Boggs includes former Senators Trent Lott and John Breaux, and retired White House official Robert Kapla. The Gephardt lobbying team for Turkey consists of subcontractors Greenberg Traurig, Brian Forni, Lydia Borland, and Dickstein Shapiro LLP; the latter recently added to its lobbying staff former CIA Director Porter Goss. Other lobbying firms hired by Turkey are: Goldin Solutions, Alpaytac, Finn Partners, Ferah Ozbek, and Golin/Harris International. According to U.S. Justice Department records, Turkey pays these lobbying/public relations firms around $5 million a year. Furthermore, several U.S. non-profit organizations serve as fronts for the Turkish government to promote its interests in the United States and take Members of Congress and journalists on all-expense paid junkets to Turkey.

Among the U.S. lobbyists for Turkey, perhaps the most questionable is Porter Goss, CIA Director from 2004 to 2006, who has agreed to sell his soul and possibly U.S. national secrets for a fistful of Turkish Liras.

Can Conservatives Unite When the Time is Right?


DisUnited States of AmericaThe election is more than a year away, but I already have a sinking feeling about it. Why? Heck, people don’t even start voting until Iowa goes the polls on February 1, right? Still I sense what’s coming.

Right now, many candidates and many of my fellow conservatives are going in lots of different directions — and that is fine. But as the 17 candidates are winnowed down, we’ll be left with fewer and fewer, until finally, in 2016, we’ll be left with one. That’s when I worry about what’s to come.

Whoever that candidate is — my choice right now is Ted Cruz; others prefer Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, etc. — needs to receive full, 100-percent support from everyone who supported other candidates. Then we need to come together. And I have a bad feeling right now that we haven’t learned any lessons from the last two presidential elections, when voters who were disappointed by the results of the primaries abstained from voting entirely. As Cruz told Hannity last March, “Republicans need to bring back “the conservatives who stayed home in ’08 and ’12.” If we don’t, he warned, “Hillary Clinton’s the next president.” (And Hillary Clinton might be the optimistic scenario.)

Do These Poll Numbers Conform to Your Experience?


I’m looking at the results of a CNN/ORC poll released a few hours ago and finding some of the results truly bewildering. Go have a close look at those numbers, then come back and tell me what’s going on back home, because I’m confused. I’m not surprised at all that Trump has (by far) the highest name recognition. Nor am I surprised that this translates into “approval.” It’s the rest of it I don’t get.

Should I be as surprised as I am that 43 percent responded that they’d never heard of Carly Fiorina? Their view of her was neither “favorable” nor “unfavorable.” It was “never heard of her.” More than half the country (give or take a sampling error of about five percent) has never heard of Scott Walker. No name recognition at all.

Moderation Isn’t Compromise


Responding to a Vox article by Ezra Klein, Mark Steyn explains how the common understanding of “moderate” voters is mistaken:

Because the first position is “left” and the second position is “right,” the pollsters split the difference and label such a person a “moderate.” But he isn’t actually a moderate, so much as bipartisanly extreme. In practice, most “moderates” boil down to that: They hold some leftie and some rightie positions. The most familiar type of “moderate” in American politics are the so-called “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” red governors of blue states. […] As Trump’s detractors see it, he’s just a reality-show buffoon with a portfolio of incoherent attitudes that display no coherent worldview. But very few people go around with a philosophically consistent attitude to life: Your approach to, say, health insurance is determined less by abstract principles than by whether you can afford it. Likewise, your attitude to the DREAMers may owe more to whether your local school district is collapsing under the weight of all this heartwarming diversity.

What Liberals Mean By “Swing Voter”


DemocraticLogoAs much as I try to avoid this kind of thing — “liberal MSM!” — this just can’t go unremarked. On Face the Nation, National Journal‘s Ron Fournier — who is, by my lights anyway, a pretty good reporter — showed that he has a problem understanding what “independent” means:

JOHN DICKERSON, FACE THE NATION: Ron, you’ve covered the Clintons since the mid-’80s.What’s your take on it?

RON FOURNIER, NATIONAL JOURNAL: I don’t — I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying, but it’s not the only issue. Covering politics isn’t just about who’s winning and losing and who’s going to win or lose. The same bigger issues involved [sic].

Responding to Donald Trump’s Immigration Plan


GovDear Grand Old Party — particularly all candidates, consultants, and media:

I know how you want to respond to this. Don’t do it. You’re outraged — it’s crazy, unworkable, and a political disaster. I agree. I don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye with you on everything, but you’re right about that.

But here’s what you should have learned by now: When you furiously attack Trump, even on policy, you make his fans ever more defensive and ever more loyal. Moreover, to debate policy with Trump is to wrestle Proteus. Lay hand on him and he changes shape. Two blinks ago he supported complete amnesty. On air today he said he’d round up and deport everyone, including children born here. (He can’t, by the way.) But he also says he’ll let most of them right back in. The actual written plan says only that he’ll deport all aliens with criminal convictions. What’s real? Don’t bother trying to figure it out; it’ll be different tomorrow.

The Price of Everything, the Value of Nothing


College-Students-opt-1024x682Free things are rarely ever free. The Left is fond of saying that Canada’s socialized health care system is “free” for all its citizens. It certainly is, so long as you’re a Canadian who doesn’t pay taxes. In the same spirit, Hillary’s college plan would mean that students may not have to borrow for tuition, however much the federal government would be borrowing on their behalf. No prizes for guessing who gets the bill in the end. As the Wall Street Journal reports:

Hillary Clinton is proposing an expansive program aimed at enabling students to attend public colleges and universities without taking on loans for tuition, her attempt to address a source of anxiety for American families while advancing one of the left’s most sweeping new ideas.

The plan – dubbed the “New College Compact” and estimated to cost $350 billion over 10 years – would fundamentally reshape the federal government’s role in higher education by offering new federal money, but with strings attached.

The Lie Upon Which Rubio’s Social Security Plan is Built


Social-Security-CardMarco Rubio has laid out his plan to save Social Security in the 21st century at National Review Online. As with pretty much every other Republican candidate’s plan save Huckabee’s, it basically entails three steps.

The first: Raise the retirement age for receipt of Social Security benefits:

With Americans now living longer than ever before, the strain on Social Security’s finances is steadily increasing. … First, we must gradually increase the retirement age for individuals under 55.

Dear RNC Leadership: Why I’m Not Donating


I recently received a letter from Tony Parker, treasurer of the RNC, excerpted below:

Chairman Priebus has written to you several times this year asking you to renew your Republican National Committee membership for 2012  As the Treasurer of the RNC, I’m concerned that we haven’t heard back from you … I know other things come up, and perhaps you’ve just been delayed in renewing your membership.  If that’s the case I understand … I hope you haven’t deserted our Party.

Donald Trump: The Honest Crony Capitalist


Trump-ClintonLet us give a moment of thanks to Donald Trump. Amid the swirl of political spin he has given the American people a frank and brilliant lecture on the nature of modern capitalism. The thesis of Mr Trump’s discussion, whether he understands it or not, is that capitalism is dead in America.

The spectacle of the primetime debate was impressive. Here is a billionaire, standing as a semi-serious candidate for the presidency, who openly brags about his use of political influence in acquiring his fortune. Witness this exchange early on between Rand Paul and Donald Trump:

PAUL: Hey, look, look! He’s already hedging his bet on the Clintons, OK? So if he doesn’t run as a Republican, maybe he supports Clinton, or maybe he runs as an independent…

Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey – a Review


RisingChallengeCarly Fiorina’s latest book, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey, was released in May. She’s already written a bestselling autobiography, so this isn’t one. It’s part update and part manifesto — as one would expect from a book tied to a presidential bid. As might be expected, it suffers somewhat from the defects of the genre. Still, it’s short, punchy, and gives you the essence of what a Fiorina presidency would be about: unlocking human potential and, as a part of that, dismantling bureaucracies. Puncturing politics-as-usual balloons. It’s a well-crafted message, delivered with panache and the extreme message discipline she exhibits when addressing The View, CPAC, or Chris Matthews.

There is some biz-speak witchdoctory in her discussions of technology and globalization, although she recognizes that they “are inexorable and unstoppable, in part because, despite all the disruption they cause, they also satisfy the basic human desire for lives of more opportunity and more control.” She conjures up her DMVP Big Idea (Digital, Mobile, Virtual, Personal) or her Leadership Framework. (With diagrams!) But she pulls it together in an appealing way:

America’s decline is neither necessary nor inevitable. Our wounds are all self-inflicted, our problems are all solvable, out potential and possibilities are as vast as they have ever been. We need different politics, different policies, and different leaders.

Why Not Cruz?


shutterstock_284062760For years, conservative frustration slowly built against the go-along-get-along crowd in Washington that values seniority, committee appointments, and admittance to those legendary cocktail parties over implementing a real conservative agenda. Conservatives grew tired of the excuses, tired of the rough-riding, and tired of being told to be patient and wait until circumstances improve. Then along came a candidate who not only understood their frustration, but who championed it as his raison d’être. Suddenly — and to the shock and horror of Republican Party dons from K Street to Wall Street — his take-no-prisoners, never-mind-maneuvers, telling-it-like-it-is message shot him to the top of the polls among 2016 contenders.

Why isn’t that man Senator Ted Cruz?

To be sure, Cruz has his flaws. He’s been in the Senate  — where his record and decisions are controversial — for just a few years, has never held executive office, and often speaks with an odd, smug assurance that every word he utters “deserves to be an applause line.” Like Rick Perry, Cruz also faces a general electorate that is unlikely to be hankering for another conservative Texan as its chief executive.