I think Cruz did the best, Rubio did well enough to take second place, and Fiorina was much improved, especially on foreign policy, where she gave a clear explanation of the doctrine of peace through strength. She did third best, but had the strongest moment of the debate when she schooled everyone on foreign policy. She really knows foreign policy cold.
Red State does a good job of providing unbiased opinion, here is their assessment:
1. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) – While Cruz hit his talking points and made some great statements, like Jeb, he did not stand out. This isn’t as big a problem for him as it is the others, because he has a natural base of conservative voters that will turn out for him no matter what. Bush doesn’t have that, and that’s why he’s free-falling at his point. Cruz coming out swinging against the agriculture lobby could very well be his testing the water for corn subsidy talk in Iowa.
2. Carly Fiorina – Carly showed why she should not be counted out yet. She speaks like a caring grandmother, and she has to be the calmest neoconservative I’ve ever seen on a stage speaking about the Middle East. She spoke calmly and coolly on every issue that came her way, and some issues that didn’t. She cannot yet be counted out.
3. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) –Rubio did not hurt himself tonight by any stretch of the imagination. He let Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) ruffle his feathers a little bit, but I think he overall hit his notes correctly. He is clearly courting the warhawks of the Republican Party right now. He hit on his family background only once, focusing instead on global affairs and fighting back against Paul.
They thought Carson and Trump did OK, and Kasich, Paul and Bush “lost”. I think that Carson and Paul did OK, but Trump and Bush underperformed, and Kasich did the worst of all. Trump just has no ability in foreign policy, Bush is too liberal on immigration. Kasich is a big government liberal across the board.
Over at the more establishment Weekly Standard, Jonathan Last – who is a bit wild – said this:
Ted Cruz: If you were forced to pick a winner, it would probably be Cruz. He picked the right fights—with Kasich and Paul. He gave a dynamite explanation of how illegal immigration impacts wage growth and was generally impressive. With each passing debate he looks more like a finalist.
Marco Rubio: This performance wasn’t as strong as his last. Rubio started out talking vocational training and the nexus of family stability, virtue, and economic growth—basically the Santorum 2012 playbook.
Carly Fiorina: She probably had the single strongest moment of the night in her blistering, detailed, canny riff on how she would approach Putin. If she’s going to get a third-look from voters, tonight might prompt it.
Ted Cruz says no to bank bailouts, yes to FDIC reimbursing depositors:
Jeb Bush vs Ted Cruz on illegal immigration and LEGAL immigration:
Marco Rubio on the importance of strong families:
Marco Rubio vs Rand Paul on tax credits for families and defense spending:
Carly Fiorina on Putin and foreign policy:
Carly Fiorina on American entrepreneurship:
Ben Carson on the minimum wage:
Finally, there is the latest episode of the Weekly Standard podcast, which is my favorite political podcast, the one you should subscribe to if you subscribe to any. Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, thought that it was a good night for Ted Cruz. I agree.
I spend the night reading and re-tweeting on Twitter – sorry to everyone for the huge number of tweets. What was striking to me was the juvenile nature of the Democrat tweets. Many of them came from professional comedians or Hollywood celebrities… but others came from liberal politicians, and even people from liberal think tanks. Yet not ONE tweet from the left was anything of substance. It was all just dismissive mocking. Literally. Not one serious tweet. It’s not surprising that they are so supportive of a clueless clown who added $10 trillion dollars to the national debt, and point that achievement as a great success. Oh well, that’s why we have elections. I would be happy with any of Jindal, Cruz or Rubio right now. I would even take Fiorina in a pinch.
One final thing. Fox Business put on the fairest and most engaging debate yet. They set the standard for everyone else, and made CNBC look like incompetent college students. Every debate should run this smoothly – the moderators just disappeared, and they let the candidates talk to America, and talk to each other. I learned a lot about the candidate’s views, and nothing at all about the moderator’s views.
I try to keep up with elections in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, so I know that there is a Canadian election today. I want to encourage all my Canadian readers to vote, and to help me answer your concerns about Stephen Harper, I have an absolutely marvelous post from Catholic writer Denyse O’Leary.
Why are traditional religious communities dying?
[…][I]n a secular society, religious traditions are usually mediated through private institutions. Each decline in the importance of such institutions shuts off a passage to the life beyond that they mediate.
A child can grow up in a religious home today and discover that there are really only two players that matter: himself and big government. The only mediator and advocate is his entitlement card.
As he loses all interest in traditional spiritual life, he discovers the true faith of the progressive society:
Government controls more and more important stuff, and free association controls less and less. Government grants “freedom” to indulge oneself, of course, but that is almost a sacrament, and one that tends to weaken the citizen.
The transformation does not happen all at once, but by degrees. Recently, I was informed by a woman who considers herself a Catholic that abortion and euthanasia are mere “boutique issues,” compared to the awful things Stephen Harper is doing.
Just take in her basic idea for a moment:
The fundamental duty of government is to protect and advance human lives, but progressives know that their real business is currying favour with the growing numbers of fashionable identity groups. Increasingly, such groups will finance their advances on the public dollar. Some of the largesse may come from stripping traditional religious people and institutions of their property (possibly also in fines for non-compliance with some secularist belief). Most people we run into in the plaza will just be “nice” about the whole thing, no matter what is happening.
How do Christians respond?
Much as I sympathize, bracing for storms to come, I think Christians are mainly victims of ourselves.
Consider the excuses I hear (I am talking about legitimate Christian ones, not fundamentally anti-Christian ones, like the “boutique issue” claim above):
* “But Harper did nothing about abortion!”
Oh, for heaven’s sakes! As someone who dealt at close quarters with the abortion lobby for decades, I know they will gladly shut down free speech and freedom of conscience altogether to gain their ends. The euthanasia people will likely do the same. Until their fangs are drawn, nothing can really be done. Harper knows that drawing their fangs will be a serious struggle. And if you are not in it for the fight of your life, don’t interfere by demanding useless demonstrations of loyalty. Other parties will advance and cement their interests more than Harper’s will.
* “A spell of persecution would do us good”
Why is it always Western Christians who think this, not the Middle Eastern Christian and Yazidi girls sold into sex slavery, partly a result of the policy choices of progressive government? Reality check: Persecution causes the worst of human nature to flourish in our own communities as well as the best. Most communities cannot handle the strain. Do any of the Seven Churches of Asia exist today? Even one? Why is that?
[…]What should we do? It will take decades to send progressivism to its deserved reward. I will start by voting for the only party that is not actually hostile to our traditional values (like the right to live, and to speak freely).
[…]We need to grow up and stop funding, and voting for our enemies, and making excuses for anti-Christian bigots. (All the while making pathetic scolding noises.) If we need to change our bank accounts, our votes, our alumni donor policies, we do it individually because that is the responsible thing for an individual Christian adult to do.
And you don’t have to take her word for it, you can just look over to Europe and see how things are going in left-turning countries that embrace social justice. It’s a Christianity-killer.
What accounts for cross-national variation in religiosity as measured by church attendance and non-religious rates? Examining answers from both secularization theory and the religious economy perspective, we assert that cross-national variation in religious participation is a function of government welfare spending and provide a theory that links macro-sociological outcomes with individual rationality. Churches historically have provided social welfare. As governments gradually assume many of these welfare functions, individuals with elastic preferences for spiritual goods will reduce their level of participation since the desired welfare goods can be obtained from secular sources. Cross-national data on welfare spending and religious participation show a strong negative relationship between these two variables after controlling for other aspects of modernization.
Kudos to Denyse for understanding what is happening in her country. At least one Canadian Christian understands the relationship between the Christian church’s influence and the size of government.
By the way, here is a voter guide to the positions of the 3 parties that will be of interest to voters:
It was posted by my Canadian friend Coralie. She follows these things quite closely.
Notice that both the leftist parties want to get rid of income splitting and tax-free savings accounts. Income-splitting for seniors allows one spouse to retire, and the income of the working spouse is split with the non-working spouse, so they pay less taxes. Families with young children also are eligible for income splitting, which is a boon to stay-at-home moms. And the tax-free savings account is like a ROTH IRA, except better – you can pull out all the tax-free gains at any time, for any reason, and the gains are NEVER taxed. We have nothing like that in the USA. It has changed the character of Canadians to value saving over spending, making them more responsible and independent from government. TFSAs are how you change the character of a nation.
Why vote for Stephen Harper?
My Canadian friend McKenzie is conservative now, but she was not always, and I remember her asking me a while back to explain what conservatives stand for. Well, I found an article that re-caps what Stephen Harper has achieved in the last 9 years. The article lists 100 accomplishments, with links to each one.
Here are some that stuck out to me:
Adoption Expense Tax Credit increased — from a one-time $13,100 to 15,000 in 2014
Age of Consent Legislation — raised from 14 to 16 effective May 1, 2008
Beyond the Border Agreement with the U.S. — passed in late 2011, on perimeter security co-operation
Canada Apprentice Loan Program — up to $4000 for those registered in any Red Seals apprenticeship training announced in January 2015
Canada/EU Trade Agreement — although ratification still required, an `End of Negotiations`Agreement signed on September 26, 2014
Canadian Wheat Board Monopoly Ends — Bill C18 removed the CWB’s monopoly regarding decisions made by many Western farmers to market their wheat
Columbia Free Trade Agreement — went into force on August 15th, 2011
Consumer Product Safety Act — came into effect June 20, 2011 to ensure manufacturers do not market dangerous products
Corporate Tax Rate — reduced from 18% to 16.5% effective January 2012, with another 1.5% reduction in 2012 to 15%
Corrupt Regimes Act (C-61) – allows Canada to act upon the request of a foreign state to freeze the assets that their former leaders and members of their entourage, including family members, senior officials and associates, may have placed in Canadian financial institutions
Employment Insurance Premiums Reduced — in the fall of 2014 by 15% for to encourage small businesses to hire
Exploited Persons Act — legislation that received Royal Assent to protect against drug, organized or prostitution type of crime
Express Entry Immigration into Canada Program — when skilled immigrants to Canada will get quick entry so that they can contribute to economy
Fairness at the Pumps Act (C-14) – protects Canadian consumers from inaccurate measurements when purchasing gasoline effective August 2014
Family Caregiver Tax Credit — Bill C-13 established a new $2000 tax credit on December 15, 2011 to help families dealing with challenging medical expenses
Family Income Splitting — families with children under 18 will be allowed to split income beginning in 2014 up to $50,000 with credit capped at $2000.00
Federal Infrastructure Plan — longest long-term plan in Canadian history supporting projects that enhance economic growth, job creation and productivity
Free Trade Agreement — signed on July 2, 2009 — between Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland
Gun Registry Scrapped — as the legislation passed Third Reading
GST /HST– Goods & Services Tax Cut — From 7% to 6% and then to 5%
Honduras Free Trade Agreement — completed and signed on November 5th, 2013 and will enter into force on June 19, 2014
Income Splitting for Canadian Seniors — a change to the Income Tax Act for pensioners starting in 2006
Jordan Free Trade Agreement — went into force on October 1st, 2012
Kid’s sport tax credit — up to $500 per child
Mission Against ISIL extended March 30, 2015 — to aid the people of Iraq and Syria
Ombudsman for Victims of Crime — Established
Panama Free Trade Agreement — went into force on April 1st, 2013
Peru – Canada Free Trade Agreement — adopted by Parliament June 18, 2009
Protecting Victims from Sexual Offenders — signed on December 15, 2010 to protect children against sexual predators
Safe Streets & Communities Act — passed March June 13, 2012 to protect children and communities against terrorism
South Korea Free Trade Agreement Signed on September 22, 2014 — 1st Asia Pacific Agreement with final legislative steps for full implementation on November 26, 2014
Tax cuts made 160 Times — since the Conservatives took office in 2006
Tax Free Savings Account with an initial annual limit of $5500.00 — which was raised to $10,000 in April 2015 budget
Taxpayers Bill of Rights
Temporary Foreign Workers Program — reforms made so that Canadians are hired first
Universal Child Care Benefit — in 2006 $1,200.00 per year for every child under age six
Universal Child Care Benefit Enhancement — effective January 1st, 2015, beginning July 1st, 2015, parents will receive $160.00 per child per month up to age six and $60.00 for each child aged 6 to 17
Victims Bill of Rights — Bill C-32 passed on June 18th, 2014
It’s important to know what you are voting for, not just what you are voting against.
I waited a couple of days to write about Speaker Boehner stepping down. I was supportive of him for a while, but even with the majority, nothing was getting done. I wanted to see bills passed that were popular with the American public, that would be voted against by Democrats, and vetoed by Obama. That would have made clear where Democrats stood. It turned out that he was more liberal than I thought.
Right now, there are 4 announced candidates to replace Boehner:
Kevin McCarthy, who is very similar to Boehner, maybe a bit more conservative. He would be a continuation of Boehner’s “do nothing” legacy. According to the American Conservative Union, he has a lifetime rating of 90.43, and his most recent rating was 72, and prior to that 86. 100 is considered a perfect score. McCarthy IS considered good enough by Tea Party conservatives, but they would like someone better if they can get the votes.
Dan Webster is another moderate Republican who is running. I don’t know much about him. According to the American Conservative Union, he has a lifetime rating of 81.11, and his most recent rating was 72, and prior to that 88. Not good enough.
Tom Price, is an ideas man in the vein of Paul Ryan. He has been endorsed by Paul Ryan and Jeb Hensarling – two gurus on economic policy. According to the American Conservative Union, he has a lifetime rating of 96.89, and his most recent rating was 92, and prior to that 100. He’s my first choice.
Steve Scalise, who is a decent candidate, but he made the mistake of giving a speech to some weird racist group billions of years ago. A terrible mistake, because it is always being used against him no matter how sorry he says he is. Well, the truth is that you can be Obama and have a racist, America-hating pastor, but Republicans don’t get forgiveness for their mistakes. According to the American Conservative Union, he has a lifetime rating of 98.00, and his most recent rating was 100, and prior to that 100.
So, we have two good candidates. Price is my pick because we don’t need a conservative purist bomb-thrower, we need a conservative purist policy wonk who can craft policies that get votes from Republicans AND moderate Democrats. Things that get moved, things that get signed. Things that solve problems.
There is some effort to draft Trey Gowdy, because of what a great job he’s done on the Benghazi hearings.
Whispers are everywhere that South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy will enter — or be drafted into — the race to be House majority leader, the second most powerful job in the Republican-controlled House. And Republicans (at least those in Washington) should be rooting like crazy for that to happen.
Here’s why: As I noted yesterday, changing out John Boehner as speaker for Kevin McCarthy as speaker (McCarthy is currently the majority leader) isn’t much of a change. Yes, McCarthy is younger and might be slightly more well-regarded among the younger and more conservative elements of the party than was Boehner. But that’s not saying much. And no one would mistake McCarthy as of the tea party base. He’s an institutionalist who is likely to face lots of the same challenges that led Boehner to call it quits.
At the moment, the choices to replace McCarthy as majority leader are Rep. Tom Price (Ga.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (La.). Scalise is currently majority whip; Price is the chair of the Budget Committee. Both are well-liked by conservatives — and got their starts from the conservative sinecures within the GOP conference. But both are already in prominent positions and neither is all that skilled as a television performer — a trait considered essential to jobs in leadership these days. (Scalise was also recent enmeshed in a controversy over his having appeared in front of a white supremacist group in the past.)
Gowdy is all the things Price and Scalise are not. He’s a regular — and a star — on Fox News Channel thanks to his job as chairman of the House select committee investigating the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012. He’s seen as the latest (and best) iteration of the tea party movement in Congress, someone who is committed to core conservative principles but is also adept at knowing which levers of power to pull when. (Gowdy is a former federal prosecutor.)
“If you want the best person to make the Republican case, if you want the best person to talk about why conservatism is the right answer for America, Trey Gowdy is our best foot forward,” Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said during an interview on Fox News Channel on Tuesday morning.
But so far, Gowdy’s not biting. His lifetime rating is 98.67, this year he is 100, last year he had 100. It’s hard to say who I like better… Price or Gowdy. I’d have to give the edge to Gowdy, because I think we need a fighter to inspire the base. Later on, with a Republican president, we can have good ideas then.
I was actually thinking of going to this annual Washington conference of value voters, because the speakers line up so closely with my values. You might think that it’s all social conservatism, but this is actually a really good place to find good talks on the free market system, as well as peace through strength foreign policy.
Anyway, they took a poll of the values voters, and Ted Cruz won:
Sen. Ted Cruz won the Values Voter Summit straw poll for the third year in a row on Saturday, a strong showing of support from evangelical voters for his 2016 presidential bid.
The firebrand Texas senator won a whopping 35 percent in the poll of summit-goers, ahead of runner-up Ben Carson’s 18 percent. That margin is significantly wider than last year, where he edged out Carson by just 5 percentage points.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.) took third with 14 percent, followed by Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.) with 13 percent. Real estate magnate Donald Trump finished a distant fifth with 5 percent.
Carson won the event’s poll for vice president, his second consecutive win for that category.
Family Research Council Action president Tony Perkins announced the results Saturday afternoon to applause from the conference’s attendees. Perkins’ group organized the three-day event.
Eight GOP presidential candidates took to the summit stage in order to make their case to the religious conservative audience—Cruz, Carson, Trump, Rubio, Huckabee, as well as Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), and Gov. Bobby Jindal (La.).
The results confirm Cruz, Carson and Huckabee’s strength among religious conservative voters. Each rely on the voting bloc as a core piece of their electorate, but the huge win for Cruz is likely encouraging considering recent polls showing the senator outside of the top tier with evangelicals.
But the figures are surprising for both Rubio and Trump. Rubio’s finish shows him continuing to make gains with religious conservative voters as he rises in national polling. But the result is a disappointment for Trump, who had led with evangelicals in two recent polls.
The Values Voter Summit though is Cruz country and several conference-goers mentioned his name first as the person they trust most on issues important to social conservatives when interviewed by The Hill during the event.
[…]A handful of candidates didn’t attend the summit—Jeb Bush, Govs. Chris Christie (N.J.), John Kasich (Ohio) and Carly Fiorina.
The ones that didn’t attend are, not surprisingly, the same ones I marked as social moderates. Better than a Democrat, not as good as real conservatives like Jindal or Cruz.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) electrified conservatives at the Values Voters Summit in Washington on Friday as he laid out plans for his first day in the White House.
Cruz vowed to rescind all of President Obama’s “illegal and unconstitutional executive actions,” said he would order the Department of Justice to prosecute Planned Parenthood, instruct the DOJ and Internal Revenue Service to end religious persecution of citizens, “rip to shreds” the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran and move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Upon each declaration, Cruz received huge applause and a standing ovation.
“That’s just day one,” Cruz said. “There are 365 days in the year, four years in a presidential term, four years in a second term. By the end of eight years, this ballroom is going to be a whole lot bigger. By the end of eight years, there will be a whole lot of reporters and journalists who have checked themselves into therapy.”
And if the idea of connecting with socially conservative voters is appealing to you, be sure to go to FRC.org and subscribe the daily and weekend podcasts. These podcasts are my favorites, along with The Weekly Standard podcast.
My original list of favorite candidates in the 2016 GOP primary:
I really hope Jindal, Cruz or Rubio can take this thing, because I don’t want to have to be promoting someone I am not excited about.
This is from the National Post, one of Canada’s two national newspapers.
The government used its new power to revoke the citizenship of convicted terrorists for the first time on Friday against the imprisoned ringleader of the 2006 al-Qaida-inspired plot to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto.
Zakaria Amara was notified in a letter sent to the Quebec penitentiary where is he serving a life sentence that he is no longer a Canadian. He still holds citizenship in Jordan and could be deported there following his release from prison.
[…]Legislation that came into force in May, over the opposition of the NDP and Liberals, allows the government to revoke the citizenship of Canadians who have been convicted of terrorism offences — provided they hold citizenship in a second country.
The law also applies to dual citizens convicted of treason and spying for foreign governments, as well as members of armed groups at war against Canada. A little more than half-a-dozen Canadians have been notified so far that the government was considering revoking their citizenship.
Now, you would think that a law like this would be common sense, but in Canada, you’d be wrong. Two-thirds of the electorate are pro-terrorism in Canada, owing largely to mass immigration from Muslim countries, and and an education system that is anti-Western civilization in a suicidal way. And the leaders of the two socialist opposition parties reflect that suicidal view.
NDP leader Tom Mulcair has said he would scrap the citizenship revocation law, and on Friday Liberal leader Justin Trudeau repeated his pledge to repeal it. “The bill creates second-class citizens,” he said. “No elected official should ever have the exclusive power to revoke Canadian citizenship. Under a Liberal government there will be no two-tiered citizenship. A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”
Let’s find out exactly who we are talking about here:
Amara emerged in 2005 as one of two leaders of a terrorist group that trained on a rural property north of the city and, inspired by al-Qaida, began planning attacks they thought would convince Canada to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan.
Amara led a faction that was acquiring the components for large truck bombs that were to be detonated during the morning rush hour outside the Toronto Stock Exchange and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service office beside the CN Tower. An Ontario military base was also to be attacked.
Justice Bruce Durno called the plot “spine chilling” and said “the potential for loss of life existed on a scale never before seen in Canada. It was almost unthinkable without the suggestion that metal chips would be put in the bombs. Had the plan been implemented it would have changed the lives of many, if not all Canadians forever.”
Under the liberal governments of the 1980s and 1990s, Canada experienced mass immigration from countries that had no understanding of nor allegiance to Western democratic ideals. This was desired in order to build a majority that would support bigger government, higher taxes, and more dependency. No effort was made to teach incoming immigrants to value democracy and Judeo-Christian values as the source of Canadian success. There were several terrorist attack in Canada during Harper’s 8 year run. If Canada elects leftists, these will continue. Only now, government will not have the tools they need to protect the public from their past immigration laxity. Be warned, Canadians.