Boehner lame-duck: Conservatives mostly celebrated the announcement from Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that he was retiring as Speaker of the House (and from Congress) at the end of October. More on what that means in a moment.
But if conservatives are going to be expressing emotion at the moment, it should probably instead be concern — especially about what Boehner could do before his term is over.
There is much talk now about who will succeed Boehner. But at this moment, there is no announced or likely candidate for Speaker who supports reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank. Even Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Boehner’s next-in-line and the putative establishment candidate for speaker, has already come out against it, and any prospective conservative challenger will surely oppose it as well.
Conservatives have complained a lot about Boehner’s speakership, often about things that he had little or no control over. But they should be positively alarmed to hear of Boehner’s aspirations to move Ex-Im reauthorization as part of his swan song. The other things Boehner hopes to move include a transportation bill and a budget deal that changes the current budget cap arrangements.
Ideology aside, it stands to reason that the guy who’s quitting next month should not be setting the agenda for years to come. But the spending caps and the expiration of Ex-Im are also among the biggest accomplishments conservatives can claim from the Boehner era.
The next Speaker: So far, only Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla., a real longshot, has rushed forward to declare his
candidacy for Speaker. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has ruled himself out. So has House Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., who has said he will run for Majority Leader if Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., becomes Speaker. McCarthy will probably seek the position (he hasn’t announced yet), and there will probably be others as well — perhaps Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, or Pete Sessions, R-Texas.Party members are expected, on the House floor, to back whomever the party chooses in advance in a closed-door vote. In that closed-door vote, as many ballots will be held as is necessary to produce a majority winner.
It’s too early to say how that battle will turn out, but it’s never too early to point out that it probably doesn’t matter as much as you think who replaces Boehner. What really matters is not who leads, but what the caucus will tolerate from him. The caucus is not going to change overnight, and so Boehner’s exit probably won’t have the effects that some conservatives seem to expect.
All other things being equal, it’s probably better to have someone in the slot who is ideologically reliable. But a more conservative Speaker or majority leader does not necessarily make for a more conservative House agenda.
Changes in party leadership matter mostly from a technical perspective rather than an ideological one. New leaders may be stronger or worse fundraisers — an important thing to remember, since that’s a huge part of the party leader’s job. They might be more or less competent at specific things, such as whipping votes or outmaneuvering the opposition. They may have broader visions (think Newt Gingrich) or narrower ones (think Dennis Hastert).
But party leaders cannot be counted on to change the people who elect them., i.e. the members of their caucus. The idea that a stronger, more conservative Speaker gets you a whole new House Republican caucus is widespread, but incorrect. All it really guarantees is a new set of House leaders that conservatives can be disappointed by later on.
A great leader can change the political character of a nation and its population. Presidents Reagan and Clinton can both be viewed in hindsight as leaders who successfully persuaded millions of people to change their politics. But the electors of a party leader are all seasoned politicians and members of a legislative body. They are less susceptible to a leader’s transformative charms and more precise about their own self-interest. Unlike the broader electorate, they can also dump their leader at any moment they wish — there’s no fixed term.
Parties adopted the caucus system and selected legislative leaders for purposes of efficiency. A group of 240 congressmen, left to act independently, will accomplish far less and find itself thwarted more often if its members do not mutually agree to entrust major decisions about tactics and legislative agenda to a smaller group. Members’ opinions will always vary and often clash, but when they move to the floor, everyone has to be on the same page. This is why members of both parties are always expected to vote with their party leadership on floor rules, even if they sometimes vote against them on legislation and amendments.
This all means that a legislative leader’s personal ideology matters less than one might expect. A more conservative Speaker or Majority Leader does not necessarily mean a more conservative House. In fact, a relatively moderate leader could steer his caucus in a far less moderate direction (take Harry Reid as an example of this for the Democrats). A relatively conservative leader can defang his party’s conservatives (take Tom DeLay as an example of this).
The methods and results of leadership are effects, not causes, of a caucus’s ideology. There is only one way to make leaders think and behave differently, and that is to elect more members who will prompt them to think differently.
To understand why this is so, consider it from the leaders’ perspective: They spend their every waking hour raising money for their members, and listening to complaints from each one that their priorities are being neglected or that their seats are in danger if they follow the party’s plan to vote for this or that. A leader who fails in keeping his constituents (his members) happy and getting them re-elected will not last long, and so he is always looking for ways to accommodate everyone as he can, and then demanding from them from when he has to.
Conservatives want one of their own as speaker now, but that is not a sufficient condition to bring about change in the House. Whoever becomes Speaker will have to face the same challenges and lead the same group of congressmen as Boehner, and as a result, his (or her) decisions will probably look a lot like the ones Boehner has been making.
This implies that most of Boehner’s decisions as Speaker since 2011 have been predetermined for him in the House. The great danger at this moment, as noted above, is what Boehner could try to do now that he has nothing to lose.
The bottom line: If you want a more conservative leader, it won’t do to choose a different guy with a better voting record or even a more confrontational disposition. Rather, you need to elect a larger and more conservative crop of congressmen, or otherwise change the calculation for everyone (for example, by electing a Republican president or a Senate supermajority).
This is the work of multiple consecutive elections — something Democrats accomplished when the elections of 2006 and 2008 empowered their liberal wing. Republicans, for all of the success they enjoyed in the Obama era, never managed to pull off two in a row, and so the desire for change remains pent-up and frustrated.
Ideally, the next Speaker will be a conservative who is eventually willing at times to do what Speaker Dennis Hastert never would — to work against a Republican president. Part of the reason public approval of Congress has been so low for so long is that congressional leaders have been institutional failures. Instead of working for what their voters believe in, they tend to play goalkeeper and protect a president of their own party from any embarrassment. This cost Harry Reid dearly in 2014 — it cost Republicans dearly in 2006.
Which is to say, the Republican congressional leadership is probably despised for all the wrong reasons. The problem has never been a failure to symbolically defy President Obama. The great crime against conservatism in the Bush era, and the movement’s greatest modern obstacle, was a Republican Congress content to play a subservient role to a Republican president’s agenda.
More than merely finding a conservative replacement for Boehner, conservatives need to think about the long term. The real goal is one that’s much more difficult than simply replacing a Speaker or even ousting one. The focus must be on finding and electing dozens of new Republican candidates to Congress who will back up any Speaker who is willing to defy a straying President Bush, Fiorina or Rubio.
Read more at http://conservativeintel.com/2015/09/28/the-briefing-vol-iii-issue-31/
They call it “bacha bazi,” translated as “boy play” — Afghan militia men throwing boys into sexual slavery. What’s worse yet, the U.S. military has turned a blind eye to this obscene practice. The front page of The New York Times carried the headline “US Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies.”
Soldiers who tried to stop this abuse act have been punished by the U.S. military. A photo caption read: “Dan Quinn was relieved of his Special Forces command after a fight with a U.S.-backed militia leader who had a boy as a sex slave chained to his bed.” Quinn beat up the abuser.
Given the media’s obsession with all things anti-military and anti-sexual abuse of boys, you’d expect a coverage stampede. Except for one thing.
Terry Mattingly at the media site Get Religion observed that the Times piece itself had a “massive, gaping hole.” Islam was left out, with bland sentences like “the American policy of treating child sexual abuse as a cultural issue has often alienated the villages whose children are being preyed upon.”
Mattingly asked “How can the world’s most powerful newsroom address this topic without (a) mentioning Islamic law and (b) discussing whether or not these U.S. policies are actually helping the Taliban?”
This story deals directly with Islamic culture, so this scandal was a public-relations problem that might please “Islamophobes” and Obama critics, meaning it’s dead on arrival. It’s obviously a more serious human-rights abuse than the barking-dog scares and naked pyramids of Muslim prisoners at Abu Ghraib, which the media exaggerated into a massive scandal in 2004, with the obvious hope of ruining President Bush’s chance for re-election.
Besides, who cares when the victims in this case are compassionate American servicemen?
But there’s more than the double standard in the treatment of U.S. presidents. There’s the double standard in covering religious faiths. On the night Pope Francis arrived in America at Andrews Air Force Base, the “PBS NewsHour” aired an almost 10-minute report pounding away at a controversy over a single priest’s sex abuse in Minneapolis in the last few years.
The military’s blind eye toward “boy play” was also reported on PBS — for two sentences lasting 14 seconds. It was a bland denial of the military’s disinterest in child sexual abuse, systematic abuse that’s going on right now, and being officially tolerated by our government.
It’s just like the recent child-rape scandal in Rotherham, England. The British press discovered at least 1,400 children, some as young as 11, were groomed for sexual exploitation and rape (even gang rape) while the authorities looked the other way — from 1997 to 2013. The abusers were Muslims. The American press — even most newspapers — looked the other way, too.
It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that secular American journalists have the same mysterious affinity for and defensiveness toward Islam that the president does. And just like Obama, they consider the Catholic Church and its clergy and laity to be an obstacle to their leftist agenda. They find sex-abuse scandals to be effective tools in the culture war — their culture war.
It’s unlikely Pope Francis would use this trip to denounce the American media for their transparent double standard, and their shocking apathy for child sex abuse when it might sound “Islamophobic” or “racist” to object. But anyone who cares about media fairness and childhood innocence should.
If you have heard about Jeb Bush’s new tax plan by reading political reporters, you have probably heard that it is a “proposal to reform the tax code” that will “crack down on hedge fund managers” (CNN), that it is “mainstream and ordinary” with “a populist note” (NPR), that it “challenged some long-held tenets of conservative tax policy” (the New York Times), and has “a nod to the populist anger roiling both parties” (The Wall Street Journal). It is, in other words, the same sort of coverage George W. Bush received when he unveiled his tax cuts in 1999, and which the campaign successfully cast as a populist departure from traditional Republican priorities.
On the other hand, if you have learned about the tax plan from some of the new policy-focused writers, you have drawn a very different impression. It is a “large tax cut for the wealthiest” (the Upshot) and a reprise of the Bush tax cuts, but “with more exclamation points” (Wonkblog). The difference lies between journalists who write narratives drawn from quotes from campaign sources and those who build their coverage on data. George W. Bush was fortunate that data-based journalism barely existed 16 years ago. His brother is counting on the power of narrative to obscure the data.
The overall structure of Bush’s plan is crystal clear. It is made of good old-fashioned, gigantic, regressive, debt-financed tax cuts, just like his brother used to do. Politically, Bush’s plan runs into the party’s classic resource-allocation problem: Tax cuts whose benefits overwhelmingly accrue to the very rich mean less money to finance spending programs that benefit a much broader share of the population. Taking stuff from the many and giving it to the few is bad politics because the many have more votes. Bush’s solution to this dilemma involves a number of misdirection attempts.
1. Emphasize the hedge-fund loophole. The narrative news stories all led with the news of Bush’s plan eliminating the carried-interest loophole, a completely unjustifiable giveaway to hedge-funders that Republicans have long refused to eliminate. And that is a positive step. But it is a tiny one, accounting for less than one percent of the size of the revenue lost by Bush’s tax cuts. The Bush campaign bought some great press coverage very cheaply by having its minuscule tax hike on the rich obscure its overwhelmingly larger tax cuts for the rich.
2. “Growth.” The Bush campaign has circulated estimates that its tax cuts will cost $3.4 trillion if you assume no effect on economic growth, but only $1.2 trillion if you share its optimistic projections. Such a deal! But this range of outcomes frames the question squarely on the Republican side of the playing field. Why should we assume that deep tax cuts would help economic growth at all? Bill Clinton raised taxes on the rich, and conservatives predicted disaster, but a boom followed. George W. Bush cut taxes for the rich, predicted faster growth, and produced a mediocre recovery. After the Bush tax cuts on the rich expired in 2013, economic growth has accelerated. This doesn’t prove higher taxes on the rich yield higher growth, but it certainly casts doubt on the theory that cutting them from current rates will do any good at all. And, indeed, a Brookings study found that the Bush tax cuts slightly reduced economic growth — an assumption that found its way into the wonkosphere’s coverage, but not the political narrative coverage. CNN, unbelievably, reports, “It’s not clear if Bush’s tax plan would be revenue neutral,” when even the delusionally optimistic forecasts of the Bush campaign itself concede a $1.2 trillion revenue loss.
3. Trade-offs. The Bush tax cuts do offer significant tax cuts to middle- and lower-income workers. But what are the trade-offs? Well, the plan doesn’t say. The campaign’s assumption that the tax cuts will produce growth, which are themselves shaky, rely on the assumption that the plan will come with what it calls “fiscal discipline.” That means unstated spending cuts. But nobody knows what spending would be cut, enabling Bush to offer what looks like a cost-free trade-off of lower taxes to the middle class, without any specified losses. The spending cuts are real enough to appear as a solid assumption in the growth projections, but they disappear in the benefit side.
That is, of course, an utterly crucial element. Many spending programs are too popular to cut. Many others are crucial for economic growth. If the Bush administration is going to leave popular social insurance programs intact, it will put more pressure to cut transportation infrastructure, scientific research, education, and other public investments, which will further depress the economy’s long-term potential.
The trade-off problem is a political economy dilemma the Republicans have never been able to crack in three and a half decades of manic tax-cutting. They have never figured out a way to get government spending down to levels concurrent with their preferred levels of taxation. The only creativity they have shown in this area is developing new and innovative ways to hide the ball.
Peach Pundit/GA Politics: New York News
The Emancipation Proclamation was on this date in 1862, and the Great Smyrna Fire was finally extinguished after nine days in 1922. No, different Smyrna. The above is a photograph of Downtown Atlanta shot in 1895 from the Equitable Building’s roof. No, different Equitable Building.
Jefferson High School Marching Colonials performing at the National Archives Building on Constitution Day, 1974
|Official name||Constitution Day and Citizenship Day|
|Observed by||United States|
|Celebrations||Constitution Day and Citizenship Day commemorate the formation and signing on September 17, 1787, of the Constitution and recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.|
|Date||nearest weekday to September 17|
|2014 date||Wednesday, September 17|
|2015 date||Thursday, September 17|
|2016 date||Friday, September 16 (observed)|
|2017 date||Monday, September 18 (observed)|
|Related to||I am an American Day|
Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal observance that recognizes the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is normally observed on September 17, the day in 1787 that delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed the document in Philadelphia.
When Constitution Day falls on a weekend or on another holiday, schools and other institutions observe the holiday on an adjacent weekday.
The law establishing the present holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day”. In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions, and all federal agencies, provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind. This holiday is not observed by granting time off work for federal employees.
Universities and colleges nationwide have created “U.S. Constitution and Citizenship Weeks” in order to meet the requirements of the law. For example, the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) has created a celebration week that includes “Constitution Trivia Contests”, distribution of free copies of the U.S. Constitution, a campus & community fair (in which volunteer and community groups can share information with students), a web page with facts and links related to the Constitution and history of the United States. MSOE has also distributed thousands of free “Presidential quote” T-shirts to all students on campus.
THE “PATRIOT DRAGON RADIO SHOW” will be broadcast each Saturday about 1 PM, just before the football game. This show is a team effort by several local community organizations to bring news of interest to Pickens County residents. This Saturday’s show will include a discussion on the topic of a potential school tax exemption for senior citizens residing in Pickens County. Please tune in and get the latest news on this event. Let us know your comments and if you would like to participate in a future broadcast. The next taping of the show will be on Tuesday, September 15, at Rocco’s Pub, at 5PM.
|Date||September 11, 2001
8:46 a.m. – 10:28 a.m. (EDT)
|Deaths||2,996 (2,977 victimsPatriot Day falls on 11th September (also commonly known as ‘Nine-Eleven’) and is remembered globally as the anniversary of the catastrophic terrorist attacks on the USA of 11th September 2001.Embedded in the memories of everyone who lived through it, this was the day four jet planes were hijacked and crashed into the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, causing the deaths of 2,977 people. The fourth plane (United Airlines Flight 93) was directed at Washington DC, but its passengers bravely attempted to take back control and it crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The large majority of those lost after the attacks on the Twin Towers were working at or above the points of collision; thousands of people who had gone to work that morning like every other day, found themselves suddenly stranded at the top of a burning skyscraper. A number made the choice to jump from the flaming buildings rather than wait to be caught by the flames or for the building to collapse. No one could forget the terrifying and heartbreaking stories and images captured by the news footage of the day.
In the wake of the World Trade Center collisions, many brave men and women from the emergency services risked their lives to try to help rescue victims of the attacks, and of them 411 lost their own lives attempting to fight fires and rescue people.
Patriot Day is recognized by US law as the official day of remembrance for these tragic events, and has been observed every year since. Each year on this day, American flags are flown at half-staff to honour and commemorate those lives lost. The US President asks fellow Americans to observe a moment of silence at 8.46am (Eastern Daylight Time), the time of the first plane collision into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
While the events took place within the USA, the shock and grief experienced in response to the attacks was shared across the globe, and for this reason Patriot Day will be observed not only in America, but all over the world.
+ 19 hijackers)
From the desk of Alex Johnson for Advance the GOP
If we hope to win elections, we need to inspire and encourage people to support the truly Republican candidates. To make that happen, we must have a brand that people believe in. A brand and philosophy that shows that when people vote Republican, they are voting for someone who is going to push limited government, low tax, and value centered policy that is good for all. This will both show that our candidates care about people and also that they can trust our candidates to do the right thing. Is this happening now? Two recent stories help shed light on how we can improve.
First, the AJC reported last Tuesday that the Georgia Republican Party is still suffering from significant financial woes, including “recently missed payrolls – though only briefly”. As we discussed at the end of July, it is possible that this lack of funding is due to lies from one of the largest sources of Georgia GOP funding: unprincipled corporate donors. Those donors are the ones who claim that if their demands (often contrary to the Republican platform and promises) are not complied with, they will withhold money needed to grow the party and win elections, yet then withhold the funding regardless of what is done. But how does this affect us?
As we can see from the most recent legislative session which included a tax increase and an attempt to silence Republican activists, it is clear that when we abandon our party’s platform and principles in exchange for promises of strong funding, we end up with neither, in addition to poor credibility among party volunteers, activists, and voters. Yet, a common lie is that there is nothing the Republican Party can do to encourage that those politicians claiming to be Republican even do the bare minimum in acting like Republicans and following our platform.
Last week, the RNC accidentally provided an answer. The Republican Party can require candidates to conduct themselves in a manner that leads to Republican victories. While as recently as 2010, the Republican National Committee had no problem with a “moderate” pro-abortion incumbent politician, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, running an independent write-in campaign against a conservative Republican after losing to him in the primary election, that has changed. They have now decided that this is not good for Republican victories as they (and multiple state Republican party organizations) decided to require Donald Trump to sign a “loyalty pledge” that he will support the party’s nominee.
This sets a very strong precedent, since if the Republican Party can require a person to sign an oath to support the party’s nominee if they wish to run as a Republican, then there’s nothing stopping the Georgia Republican Party from easily requiring our politicians to sign an oath that they will support the platform or resolutions that you, the party’s grassroots, advocate if they wish to run as a Republican. That is a solution that will ensure that our brand is maintained and true Republicans are elected far into the future.
Please e-mail me your thoughts on this here. Of course, there will still be a vocal minority of people who will continue to falsely argue that corporate donations will disappear if we take a stand and demand that politicians actually institute policy that’s good for all people, not just their donors. Thankfully, even though donations will eventually pick up, those arguments are easily proven false by the lack of funding in the past year (Link 1)(Link 2), and the current lack of funding now (Link 3).
Let’s work together to find ways to make the Republican Party brand strong. Let’s work together to ensure that Republican policies are enacted which, naturally, make our nation strong. Let’s work together to Advance the GOP.
Foundation for Applied Conservative Leadership
Political Leadership School
Sunday, October 3rd, 2015 from 9 AM – 5:30 PM. Cost depends on registration date. Link here.
If you’re looking to learn methods on how to ensure Republican politicians act like Republicans, FACL is hosting a training class on one method on how to encourage politicians to vote appropriately. Content is the viewpoint of persons presenting/trainers and not necessarily Advance the GOP. See more details here.
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