Tag: Republicans

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I originally just joked about this, really. I wasn’t actually serious about it. I mean, for most of my voting life I’ve been in the minority party. In my early voting adulthood, I registered independent because at the age of eighteen I was smarter than all the other voters in the room. Oh, and I […]

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A Surreal World

 

The temptation arises, when one has been away for too long, to unleash a tidal wave of prose that risks drowning all but the most hearty readers. And since, as Oscar Wilde observed, “I can resist anything except temptation,” I will do all I can to keep things snappy, but beyond that all bets are off. Besides which, my wonderful fiancé and her delightful mother are dining with a small group of Catholic ladies this evening, which gives me the perfect opportunity to relax with a delicious bowl of gumbo and a glass of smooth bourbon while trying to hone disparate thoughts for your enjoyment, or consternation, as the case may be.

I don’t know the extent to which my absence was conspicuous, but I, for one, certainly missed the company of the good people here at Ricochet. Now, lest you think I’ve been slouching into a full RNC-like stupor, and perhaps to help balance the productivity ledger, I should explain that I’ve spent the last six weeks or so finishing the book I swore to complete by the end of the year. The time to write being a precious and fleeting commodity, I elected to devote all of my energy to the book rather than split it between competing projects. A compilation of travel pieces, the book is pretty evenly divided between life as an over-the-road truck driver and life as an active duty military member deploying across the globe, with a few surprise chapters thrown in for good measure. The search is now on for a publisher.

Eliminate the Filibuster

 

hero1_1Ever since Democrats changed the Senate’s rules to prohibit filibusters of judicial appointments, Republicans have been debating what to do in response once they take the majority. Some have argued for returning to the status quo before the changes, while others contend that we should stick to the new rules to give Democrats a taste of their own medicine. I argue we should advance the changes and eliminate the filibuster entirely.

Liberals generally think they’ll benefit from the end of the filibuster, but the truth is that conservatives would gain far more from its repeal. For decades, the filibuster has been used to entrench the bureaucratic state. In the thirties, Roosevelt successfully intimidated the Supreme Court into overturning a century of precedent, saying that the federal and state governments had little authority to interfere in freely negotiated, private, contractual arrangements. That move paved the way for the Wagner Act, minimum wage laws, price controls, and — eventually — the ACA; basically the entire progressive agenda. The Supreme Court’s panicked reversal allowed progressive vote-buying by government spending, which led to the formation of durable progressive constituencies, and a decades-long, successful campaign to take over the judiciary.

Fortunately, Democrats have not learned the lesson of their own success. Unfortunately, neither have Republicans who favor reinstating the filibuster, despite the fact that Obama’s appointments can’t be rescinded  and that unilaterally reestablishing the old rules will only concede the conservative agenda. Conservatives have to recognize that progressives have changed the nature of the relationship between the organs of government and — while adhering to the rules in the constitution — we mustn’t shy away from changing other rules to advance our agenda of greater individual freedom.

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MARIJUANA AND PLASTIC BAGS Most of us are old enough to remember when plastic grocery bags were legal but not marijuana. If envy really is the only deadly sin which does not provide even temporary pleasure, then it’s my unhappy lot to look on as Colorado, Alaska, Oregon and Washington (state and District) legalize recreational marijuana […]

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The Coalition of the Stop Calling Us Evil Privileged Oppressors

 

shutterstock_179064074There’s new coalition in town: the Coalition of the Stop Calling Us Evil, Privileged Oppressors. And it grows every time they’re demonized. Which is all the time.

It grows every time Joe Biden says that they’re going to put black people back in chains. Every time those who oppose redefining marriage are called homophobes. Every time those who oppose third trimester abortions are condemned for fighting a war on women. And when those who oppose Obamacare are accused of wanting poor people to get sicker and die.

It grows when those who support gun rights are blamed for all shooting deaths. When people who believe in God, or who question any part of the global warming narrative, are called anti-science.

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I personally believe that the Republicans should start small and pass bills with bipartisan support and force the President either to sign or to appear intransigent.  This will build up Republican credibility for larger fights later.  Nonetheless, I had to be amused by the commentary on “This Week.” The roundtable consensus  seemed to be that […]

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I’ve watched post after post on Ricochet about the impending victory for the Republicans in the Senate. Okay, the Republicans took the Senate, now what?  McConnell has already said he will re-institute the traditional rules in the Senate. The House is poised to pass a universal spending bill that will take the Congress into 2015. […]

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Senate Republican Candidates Badly Underperforming in Midterm Elections So Far

 

shutterstock_180961367Writing in the Washington Examiner, Michael Barone has a sunny take on the upcoming midterms, predicting big trouble for the Senate Democrats. The essence of the argument comes from an excellent analytical article by Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post. Cillizza compared the public approval of Democrat Senate candidates with President Obama’s approval in their state. In every case but one (South Dakota), the Democrat Senate candidates are outperforming the president, sometimes by a wide margin. For instance, the Democrat running for the Senate in Alaska and Arkansas is 14% more popular than Obama is in that state. And these candidates are running behind their Republican adversary. In West Virginia and Kentucky, Democratic senate candidates outperform Obama by 12%. Barone (and Cillizza) use these numbers to show how much of a gale-force headwind Democrats face in the upcoming mid-terms. In other words, 2014 is a Republican year.

While it is undoubtedly true that the GOP has been enjoying exceptionally favourable circumstances, I have a more pessimistic take: look at how poorly the Republican candidates themselves are doing. A perfect illustration is Kentucky’s Mitch McConnell. He was first elected in the Reagan wave of 1984. He is currently the Senate minority leader, the most powerful Republican in the Senate, and has held this post since 2007. In 2012, Mitt Romney won the state of Kentucky with 61% of the popular vote. Obama only got 38%. No Obama sweep there. In the two years since then, Obama’s popularity in Kentucky has plunged to 30%.

By these measures, Mitch McConnell should be cruising to victory, and his opponent, Allison Grimes, should be a non-entity. And yet, he is only barely leading her in the polls. The possibility that the GOP will retake the Senate and Mitch McConnell will lose is unlikely, but it is nevertheless real. All of these facts taken together say one thing: Mitch McConnell is performing extraordinarily badly. He is simply an awful, unappealing candidate.

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I just ranted on Twitter. I defied their 140 character rules and spewed forth a rant about Oregon politics. What’s wrong with it? Let’s start here. Republican Senatorial candidate Monica Wehby is everything that the pundits say will be a winner. She’s moderate. She’s a doctor who’s against the ACA. She’s a she. She’s moderate […]

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Are Republicans Going To Blow It Again?

 

More evidence that Republicans are flailing without a plan of action. Nate Silver* now has Democrats pulling close to even in the battle for the Senate:

Republicans’ odds have improved in several important races since the launch of our model. Democrats’ odds have improved in several others. But the two states with the largest shifts have been Colorado and North Carolina — in both cases, the movement has been in Democrats’ direction. That accounts for most of the difference in the forecast.

Class, Not Race

 

shutterstock_127547669In New Geography, Joel Kotkin proposes a better way to look at what’s happening in America:

Today America’s class structure is increasingly ossified, and this affects not only minorities, who are hit disproportionately, but also many whites, who constitute more than 40 percent of the nation’s poor. Upward mobility has stalled under both Bush and Obama, not only for minorities but for vast swaths of working class and middle class Americans. Increasingly, it’s not the color of one’s skin that determines one’s place in society, but access to education and capital, often the inherited variety.

Worries about upward mobility have been mounting for a generation, and according to Pew, only one-third of Americans currently believe the next generation will do better than them. Indeed, in some surveys pessimism about the next generation stands at an all-time high.

Rick Perry Indicted

 

rickperryglasses

Hot off the wire from the Associated Press:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption — making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state’s first indicted governor in nearly a century.

Republicans Used to Play to Win

 

601px-Reagan_Bush_1984

I’m old enough to remember when the Republican Party still played to win. It honestly wasn’t all that long ago, but it seems like a lifetime sometimes. While many might say that the fighting spirit was lost after Reagan, that isn’t quite true. Carrying 49 out of 50 states in 1984 did take a fight, but that was a “kinder and gentler” time.

No, the real fighting I remember very well happened when George W. Bush ran for office. Those campaigns weren’t remotely close to gentlemanly. The detractors that wrote about it — and even made documentary films to show the political steamroller that lead from Texas to the White House — weren’t lying, at least not completely. While the talk in the spotlight was about principles, the actions in the shadows were singularly focused on one thing: winning. I’m reminded of what was every time I see Karl Rove on the screen.

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  (Note: For entertainment purposes only. – DD) The family I grew up in, like so many American families, was divided politically. On one side there was my mom and two brothers (the conservatives) and on the other there was my dad, sister and me (the right-wing nut jobs). As an adult, the milieu I […]

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What Do You Want from a Republican Congress? — Troy Senik

 

A piece of heartening news, from USA Today:

A nationwide USA TODAY/Pew Research Center Poll shows the strongest tilt to Republican candidates at this point in a midterm year in at least two decades, including before partisan “waves” in 1994 and 2010 that swept the GOP into power. Though Election Day is six months away — a lifetime in politics — at the moment, Democrats are saddled by angst over the economy, skepticism about the health care law and tepid approval of the president.

Memo to Republicans: How to Make Them Fall in Love with You — Rob Long

 

Relationships are tricky, especially political ones. Once people choose a side, getting them to switch is a tough proposition, which is why the old cliché is true: Democrats vote for Democrats, Republicans for Republicans, and both sides fight over the narrower slice in the center.

So, a thought experiment: how do you get so-called “independents” to declare a side? How do you get them to commit? Or, in other words, how do you get them to fall in love with you?

What Is the Difference Between Harry Reid and Most Other Public Servants?

 

Well, for starters, most other public servants are not nearly as rich as Harry Reid. Of course, there is nothing wrong with being wealthy, but the way in which Reid has acquired his wealth ought to raise more than a few eyebrows:

Last month, as the Senate was busy negotiating the final details of its Ukraine aid package, Majority Leader Harry Reid became temporarily distracted with a campaign finance issue. Since winning re-election in 2010, Reid’s campaign had purchased gifts for supporters and donors from vendors like Bed Bath & Beyond, Amazon, Nordstrom, and the Senate gift shop, among others. But one round of spending was directed to a less recognizable firm: Ryan Elisabeth, a jewelry line.

Explaining Paul Krugman — Pejman Yousefzadeh

 

Greg Mankiw is rightly exasperated with Paul Krugman’s propensity to write columns that “[take] a policy favored by the right, [attribute] the most vile motives to those who advance the policy, and [ignore] all the reasonable arguments in favor of it.” There are two possible reasons why Krugman likes doing this kind of thing:

  1. Krugman actually believes that the most vile motives should be attributed to people who advance policies that he doesn’t like, which indicates that Krugman is epistemically closed off from competing theories and beliefs; or
  2. Krugman knows that he is engaging in rhetorical excess, but does it anyway because rhetorical excess is what his fan base wants, and they love him for providing it on a regular basis.

Neither scenario makes Krugman look good. And neither scenario makes the New York Times look good for giving him a platform and refusing to check his worst impulses.