Tag: GOP

Religion and Republicans

 

shutterstock_295810463About 15 years ago, on Christmas Eve, our family departed from the traditional American Jewish observance of the holiday (ordering Chinese take-out) and elected to find an open restaurant. We drove to the local city center (or what passes for it in suburbia) and were stunned to find that not only were all of the restaurants open, they were packed.

I had pictured my Christian friends and neighbors at home, gathered around the table Norman Rockwell-style, eating goose or ham or whatever Gentiles eat, bathed in the twinkling lights of decorated trees. In fact, I liked to think of them that way, and finding crowds treating Christmas Eve as just another night was almost a sacrilege.

Americans have long resisted the secularizing trend of Western Europe. In many Western European countries, churches stand virtually empty on Sundays and few profess belief in God (37 percent in the United Kingdom; 27 percent in France; 28 percent in The Netherlands). In the United States, according to Gallup, 92 percent said they believed in God as recently as 2011, which was down only 4 points from the 1944 response.

Globalization and the Elite Chasm

 

I read with great interest David Frum’s piece on the Great Republican Revolt, Jon’s reply to it, and all of your comments. I’m very frustrated by my inability to find good polling data — as opposed to impressionistic and obviously partisan sketches — about who Trump’s supporters really are and what their political preferences really are. I don’t know whether it’s true, as Frum suggests, that there’s an important equivalence between between them European populist parties, as Frum believes:

You hear from people like them in many other democratic countries too. Across Europe, populist parties are delivering a message that combines defense of the welfare state with skepticism about immigration; that denounces the corruption of parliamentary democracy and also the risks of global capitalism. Some of these parties have a leftish flavor, like Italy’s Five Star Movement. Some are rooted to the right of center, like the U.K. Independence Party. Some descend from neofascists, like France’s National Front. Others trace their DNA to Communist parties, like Slovakia’s governing Direction–Social Democracy.

David Frum and “The Great Republican Revolt”

 

Jeb BushThe GOP plotted to restore the Bush dynasty, but instead triggered a class war. That’s the thesis of David Frum’s latest piece for The Atlantic, “The Great Republican Revolt,” which is really worth reading:

The angriest and most pessimistic people in America are the people we used to call Middle Americans. Middle-class and middle-aged; not rich and not poor; people who are irked when asked to press 1 for English, and who wonder how white male became an accusation rather than a description.

You can measure their pessimism in polls that ask about their expectations for their lives—and for those of their children. On both counts, whites without a college degree express the bleakest view. You can see the effects of their despair in the new statistics describing horrifying rates of suicide and substance-abuse fatality among this same group, in middle age.

What Will Jeb Do with His Money?

 

Jeb BushJeb Bush is behind in the polls. Not only does he barely register in the Ricochet poll, he barely registers in national polls. Jeb would be an asterisk in the GOP primary race, except for one thing: He has raised unbelievable amounts of money. On top of Jeb’s $25 million in campaign fundraising (through September 30), his super-PAC and other PACs have raised$109 million so far — and spent relatively little of it.

So here’s something to ponder: When Jeb finally comes to terms with the fact that he can’t persuade GOP voters to pull the lever for him, what will he do with his money? After he drops out of the race, will his PAC run ads against Trump? For Rubio? For Christie? Against Cruz? Who will benefit most?

The GOP’s Middle Class Challenge Isn’t Going Away

 

RTR2THQX_reagan_statue-e1450369185189The GOP has “four faces” or camps, according to Henry Olsen: moderate or liberal voters; somewhat conservative voters; very conservative, evangelical voters; and very conservative, secular voters. And the GOP candidates for 2016 will have to navigate those groups if they want to be the nominee. (Olsen sees the likeliest outcome to be a  “a repeat of the traditional GOP three-way war between its somewhat conservative center and the two large ideological wings: the moderate secularists and conservative evangelicals.”)

Another way to look at the White House race is think about which flavor of Reagan is most appealing to those four groups. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat looks at the race — and the GOP’s future — this way:

Rubio aspires to be Reagan (with a dash of Bill Clinton-in-1992 thrown in) but risks being another Dubya. Cruz aspires to be Reagan (with a dash of the elder Bush and Richard Nixon) but might be Barry Goldwater in 1964. And then Trump aspires to be no one but himself, a mash-up of Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, Silvio Berlusconi — and Jean-Marie Le Pen.

If We Want to Destroy ISIS, We Can Destroy ISIS

 

140929-afghanistan-chinook-ga-1810_58a400ee3e3c26a5fdf0a7c395ac8d34If we want to destroy ISIS, we can destroy ISIS. Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but I want to state it anyway. Why? Because I am not hearing it enough.

I’m certainly not hearing it from the White House, where the original goal of destruction is barely mentioned. President Obama is listless. He’s also petulant, pointing political fingers at Republicans. But he doesn’t have a trace of a coherent policy to destroy ISIS. Not a trace.

This is from General Jack Keane, in his recent congressional testimony: “Having the best security defensive system in America is not sufficient; we must have as good an offense to stop and defeat ISIS. We do not. We are not even close.”

GOP Not Yet There on Growth

 

shutterstock_76996180The singular economic issue of our time is the quest for more rapid economic growth. In the past century the American economy grew at roughly 3.5 percent per year. That included huge booms and even worse busts, such as the Great Depression.

But over the past 15 years that growth has slumped to roughly 2 percent per annum. This has put average Americans in a cranky mood. They want change.

Though a list of current economic wrongs could go on forever, I see three major problems: an uncompetitive business tax code that blocks investment and job creation, a burdensome state-run regulatory apparatus, and an erratic monetary policy that has undermined the value of the dollar.

Member Post

 

Today’s Weekly Standard has Bill Kristol reconsidering his previous statements grouping Ben Carson with Donald Trump, as having insufficient conservative policy chops to merit support as a GOP candidate in 2016.  In Kristol’s case, this appears to be due to a lengthy Facebook post by Carson singing admittedly lovely tune from the “citizen government” hymnal […]

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The GOP Needs a New Vision of Social Security Reform — and It’s Not Privatization

 

shutterstock_181599206Recently I wrote about some conservatives who think Republicans should talk less about entitlement reform. Too gloomy. Too much “root canal” politics. But at least when it comes to Social Security reform, there is a path other than cut, cut, cut. It would make the program fiscally sustainable, create a reliable anti-poverty safety net in retirement, and encourage more Americans to save for retirement. AEI’s Andrew Biggs in National Review:

Beginning immediately, Social Security would pay every long-term U.S. resident a minimum benefit pegged at the poverty threshold of $950 a month, regardless of the retiree’s work history or earnings. This minimum benefit would take the place of both the redistributive aspects of Social Security and the Supplemental Security Income program, but do so with greater protections against poverty and no prohibition on work and saving. In fact, the Social Security payroll tax would be eliminated at age 62 to encourage longer work lives. But over several decades, the maximum Social Security benefit would be scaled down so that eventually every retiree will receive the same flat dollar benefit from the government.

For the bottom third of retirees, benefits would increase, but for middle and upper income Americans, benefits would decline relative to currently promised levels. This makes sense. At any given time, higher-income Americans are less dependent upon government than lower-income households. As incomes rise over time, Americans should gradually become less dependent on the government for income in retirement and more able to build their own savings.

Member Post

 

The GOP Establishment has been excusing their rubber-stamping of Obama’s entire agenda by saying “Nothing will change until we get a Republican president.” But how can conservatives be sure the next GOP president will advance a conservative agenda — which for our purposes we will define in terms of reducing Government spending; eliminating, reforming or at […]

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Kevin McCarthy Drops Out of House Speaker Race

 

Rep. Kevin McCarthyShocking development in the race to replace Speaker of the House John Boehner:

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has dropped out of elections for House Speaker, shocking Capitol Hill and raising questions about who can possibly lead the House Republican conference.

Republicans were to meet Thursday at noon to elect a new Speaker. Instead, they received the surprising news from McCarthy.

Having My Fill

 

GOPCOM

Nice little email box ya got there… It would be a shame if anything happened to it. I mean we could fill the thing up hourly…  This morning’s beg-a-thon letter from the Grand Old Party: GOPFRaising

Such a deal! The GOP is now the equivalent of the squeegee guy at the intersection promising to leave me alone if I just give him twenty bucks.

A Litmus Test for GOP Leadership

 

shutterstock_225535513A big topic of conversation in the Beltway and beyond is the new Republican leadership elections scheduled for next week. While most are asking who will replace Boehner’s team, the more important question is what will they do differently?

There’s a great opportunity for new GOP leadership to differentiate themselves, which will start the process of taking advantage of their majorities in both houses. It’s past time for Republicans to move legislation that Democrats can’t duck and that will advance our strategic interests and policy goals, and it’s what Americans want to see Republicans do.

As I recently wrote in The Hill, here’s the most effective one:

Why I Admire the Democratic Party

 

shutterstock_238956442I will stipulate that the policies of the Democrat Party are both fiscally irresponsible and socially destructive. I will stipulate that Democrats lie to advance their destructive and irresponsible policies. I will stipulate that Democrat politicians are by and large corrupt, irresponsible, and often display a disturbing hostility toward Constitutional rights.

Having said that, there are things one cannot help but admire, even envy, about the Democrat Party versus the Republican Party.

1. Democrat Leaders Don’t Attack Their Own Members.