Tag Archives: Republican Party

On the issues: assessing the 2016 Republican presidential candidates

Latest Republican presidential primary polls
Latest Republican presidential primary polls (click for larger image)

The PDF is here. (50 pages, but you only have to read about the candidates you might consider voting for)

Unfortunately, radically leftist Politico is the only one with a write-up on it, so here goes:

The hard-line conservative arm of the Heritage Foundation has tough criticism for much of the 2016 field, but high praise for the Texas senator.

The political arm of The Heritage Foundation has released a detailed assessment of the 2016 Republican presidential field — and it offers harsh words for many candidates. But not for Sen. Ted Cruz.

Cruz receives almost exclusively praise for his stances in the 50-page 2016 presidential policy scorecard, the first of its kind produced by Heritage Action. The report grades the candidates across six categories: growth, opportunity, civil society, limited government, favoritism and national security.

Many of the lines in the scorecard appear destined for future attack ads.

Jeb Bush, for instance, is accused of having “kowtowed to the state’s environmental lobby” in Florida. Chris Christie “has shown favoritism toward well-connected real estate developers.” Rand Paul’s “views at times veer outside the conservative mainstream.” And Donald Trump backs “massive tariffs that would damage the American economy.”

Cruz, by contrast, manages to emerge with barely a blemish, receiving only softly worded critiques of his adopting “sound policies advanced by others” rather than crafting his own.

[…]“Cruz has been willing to pay a political price for taking on government favoritism,” the report reads.

The group even forgives Cruz for one of the few trespasses he has made against its positions, voting for a bill that served “as a bargaining chip for [Export-Import Bank] allies to secure reauthorization.” The report credits him for later switching his vote and then publicly attacking Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for allegedly lying about his plans.

Bobby Jindal, who is running hard to the right in Iowa, receives among the more glowing reviews. So does Marco Rubio, who angered the right with his pursuit of a comprehensive immigration plan after first being elected with tea party support.

The two current front-runners in the polls, Ben Carson and Trump, were dinged for their lack of a record on conservative causes and a lack of specifics in their visions. “His unconventional foreign policy prescriptions raise more questions of significant consequence than they answer,” Heritage writes of Trump.

Bush was singled out for some of the most biting critiques. “Has shown favoritism toward Florida special interests and supports amnesty” for undocumented immigrants, reads one bullet point.

In its 2016 assessment, Heritage dings Bush for not supporting recent efforts to defund Planned Parenthood this fall because he said he opposed precipitating a government shutdown. The report accuses him of “playing to President [Barack] Obama’s talking points rather than reinforcing conservatives.”

No, everyone knows that my list of candidates favors governors who have a history of putting in place actual policies that actually affected real people in the real world and got real conservative results. So on that score, Cruz and Rubio way down the list because they have achieved very little:

  1. Scott Walker
  2. Bobby Jindal
  3. Rick Perry
  4. Ted Cruz
  5. Marco Rubio

Ted Cruz’s Twitter feed and his overall feel to me is that all he does is talk, talk, talk. He just doesn’t have the record of Bobby Jindal at putting policies into place. For example, as governor, Jindal actually cut spending. He actually put in place pro-life measures that actually saved lives. He actually put in place a school choice program that helped low-income students get out of failing schools. He actually cut off funding for Planned Parenthood. He actually defended religious liberty. Cruz is just a senator, so he hasn’t got that proven record. I believe he would be conservative, but I feel safer trusting someone with experience.

Having said that, the more I read reports like this Heritage Action Scorecard report, I am finding out that Cruz has been willing to at least pay a price politically for doing the right thing at various times. So, although he does not have the accomplishments that the governors have, he has been willing to push conservative values when it was not to his advantage, politically. I have to admit, there is some value to this in one sense – we know that he would do what he says no matter what. But there is a problem with Cruz. We don’t know whether he is able to create clever policies that will draw the votes of independents and even moderate Democrats. That’s what Walker and Jindal were able to do. So, although I respect what the Heritage Action team have written, I am not changing my rankings.

Tonight’s debate

Be sure and tune in to both debates tonight on Fox Business, as I am expecting Jindal and Cruz to outperform their competitors in their respective debates:

Republican debate – Fox Business/Wall Street Journal

Time – Primary: 9 p.m. ET. Secondary: 7 p.m. ET

Location – Milwaukee Theater, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Moderators – Gerard Baker, Neil Cavuto, Maria Bartiromo

Primary: All candidates averaging at least 2.5 percent in four most recent national polls by Nov. 4.

Secondary: Remaining candidates averaging at least 1 percent in one of the four most recent polls.

Primary: Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, Rand Paul.

Secondary: Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum.

Candidates on my list are in bold. The debate will be live-streamed, so you have no excuses for missing it. This one promises to be a good one. The moderators will not be amateurs as with the Democrat-biased CNBC debate.

All about Jenean Hampton, the new Lieutenant-Governor of Kentucky

So, there was an election for the governor of Kentucky on Monday, and all the polls said that the Democrat would win. In Kentucky, normally the Democrat does win. They only have had one Republican governor since 1971.

Kentucky.com reports:

He never led until the end, and that’s when it counted.

Republican Matt Bevin, who trailed in every public poll since winning the Republican primary in May by 83 votes, shocked Democrat Jack Conway on Tuesday to become the next governor of Kentucky.

[…]Bevin was able to defy pundits, political insiders and polling — including one released by his own campaign in October that showed him losing — and emerge a winner Tuesday night.

In the end, it wasn’t even close. Bevin won 106 of the state’s 120 counties on his way to a nine-point victory.

[…]He was quick to rush to the defense of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis when she was jailed briefly for defying a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage.

In the closing days of the race, Bevin focused on that saga and other social issues, honing in on rural voters’ contempt for Obama and career politicians.

And this is the interesting bit:

After being introduced by running mate, Lt. Gov.-elect Jenean Hampton — the first black person to win a statewide race in Kentucky — Bevin spoke of the challenges that lie ahead, saying it was time “to get the overalls on, get the boots on and get out of bed.”

Here’s her picture:

Kentucky Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton
Kentucky Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton (in her USAF uniform)

Wow. Let’s find out more about her.

National Review:

Both Bevin and Hampton are Tea Party activists who have never held elective office. Hampton’s path certainly represents triumph over adversity. Born in Detroit, the 57-year-old Hampton and her three sisters were raised by a single mom who lacked a high school education and couldn’t afford a television or a car. But Hampton was determined to better herself. She graduated with a degree in industrial engineering and worked for five years in the automobile industry to pay off her college loans. She then joined the Air Force, retiring as a Captain. She earned an MBA from the University of Rochester, moved to Kentucky and became a plant manager in a corrugated packaging plant.

Daily Signal has more about her background:

She grew up in inner-city Detroit, to parents who divorced when she was 7 years old. Her mother was left to raise her and three sisters.

She vowed when young that she would not “live a life of poverty,”  she told the Courier-Journal. “A huge part of what formed my opinions was the peer pressure that I got to fail.”

After a liberal upbringing, Hampton connected with President Ronald Reagan’s ideals and made a switch to conservative thinking.

Hampton’s mother has switched to the GOP, but Hampton’s father (who died in 2014) never accepted his daughter’s conservative views.

[…]She has been married for 14 years to Dr. Doyle Isaak, a retired Air Force flight surgeon.

Hampton is a member of the Eleventh Street Missionary Baptist Church in Bowling Green, according to her campaign website.

To pay for college, she worked for five years in the auto industry, including General Motors. She holds an industrial engineering degree from Wayne State University and a master of business administration from the University of Rochester.

At the beginning of her seven years of military service, she was a computer systems officer for the Air Force. Her job duties included writing code and testing software.

Hampton was deployed to Operation Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia, where she was an Air Force captain.

We  actually had two victories in states where the left went after social conservatives. This Kentucky victory follows after the jailing of Kim Davis for civil disobedience against the Supreme Court. And then we had the rejection of a gay rights bill that would allow men to go into women’s bathrooms, which followed the effort by the gay Houston mayor to persecute Houston pastors.

Social issues won in Kentucky and Houston

David French and Ryan T. Anderson both wrote articles talking about what these victories mean for social conservatives.

David French:

In Houston, all the right celebrities and corporations endorsed the “HERO act” — an expansive city ordinance that among other things would have granted transgender men access to women’s restrooms — but the celeb/corporate alliance failed. Voters decisively rejected dangerous sexual radicalism.

[…]One year ago, the activist, lesbian mayor of Houston subpoenaed the sermons and other communications of five pastors — men who opposed the city’s expansive nondiscrimination ordinance. The subpoenas weren’t limited to sermons about the so-called HERO act; they demanded “emails, instant messages, and text messages” on “equal rights, civil rights, homosexuality, or gender identity.” Houston had launched a direct attack on religious freedom.

Ryan T. Anderson:

As the Washington Post’s “Daily 202” notes, a major factor in Bevin’s victory—a Republican in a state that has elected Democrats as governor for 40 of the past 44 years—was “[f]ocusing on social issues, including promises to defund Planned Parenthood and defend Kim Davis, [which] helped drive the conservative base to turn out.”

No one was predicting that Bevin would win, especially not after he publicly defended Kim Davis and vigorously criticized the current governor for his handling of that situation.

It’s easy for me to keep blogging about bad news every day, we have so much of it. In particular, we haven’t done a good job of raising the next generation to respect marriage, family and children. But it’s not on us to gurantee outcomes. It’s on us to try be salt and light in a world that needs it. And sometimes, we win.

House Republicans create Select Committee to investigate Planned Parenthood

Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn
Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn

So, last week we got some real answers from Hillary Clinton about Benghzi, namely, that she lied about the cause of the attack to the American people in order to avoid losing re-election in 2012.

What I would really like to see is a similar Select Committee on Planned Parenthood, and I would like to see it led by my favorite Congresswoman (since Michele Bachmann retired) Marsha Blackburn.

Well, guess what?

Life News has great news for pro-lifers.

Several top pro-life members of Congress have been named to a new committee that will take the lead in investigating Planned Parenthood’s sale of body parts from aborted babies. The new panel is the same kind of select committee that has been investigating the terrorist attack in Beghazi, Libya responsible for killing an American ambassador and security personnel.

[…]The following are the Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s new Select Investigative Panel. The panel incudes a number of pro-life women, pro-life champion Joe Pitts, and pro-life physician Andy Harris.

  • Rep. Marsha Blackburn, Chairman (R-TN)
  • Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA)
  • Rep. Diane Black (R-TN)
  • Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN)
  • Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI)
  • Rep.  Andy Harris (R-MD)
  • Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
  • Rep. Mia Love (R-UT)

Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler of Missouri told LifeNews.com she is proud to have been named ot the investigate committee.

“I am proud to be appointed to the Select Investigative Panel and I thank the Speaker for asking me to serve,” Hartzler said.  “Much has been said on either side of this issue, and Americans are eager to uncover the truth regarding the trafficking of fetal body parts.  I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we seek the facts of this issue.”

“Ten videos were released since July showing high-level officials at organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Stem Express, and Advanced BioResources discussing actions that would potentially violate federal law. Moreover, their discussions imply that these criminal actions are widespread. This panel will be tasked with discovery as to the prevalence of these practices,” she added.

Rep. Diane Black, a nurse of more than 40 years and member of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said the new committee will engage in a “relentless pursuit of the facts.”

“I am grateful for the opportunity to bring my health care expertise to the critical work of this panel,” she told LifeNews. “It is no secret that I am passionately pro-life and have long opposed the federal funding of Planned Parenthood, but every American deserves to know that our laws are followed and that taxpayer dollars are spent with integrity. This panel will help ensure that is the case. We will be relentless in the pursuit of the facts, we will bring the truth out into the light of day, and we will hold responsible parties accountable. This panel has an obligation to taxpayers to conduct a thorough investigation that produces real answers. I am ready to get to work.”.

I had not heard of Vicki Hartzler before, but from this article, it looks like she will be a good addition to the team. She has a BS and MS, and she is an evangelical Christian. Former teacher.

So, I want to make a general point about these Select Committees. I think that these investigations are important. They allow us to find the facts that form the basis of our laws and policies. We have to know why terrorist attacks that kill our people happened, so that we can prevent it from happening again. We have to know whether the taxpayer money we give to certain organizations are being used appropriately, or whether they are being used in violation of American values. If we rely on the mainstream media to find these out, we’ll be waiting forever.

Speaker candidate Kevin McCarthy vows to repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood

Well, this is unexpected good news.

The Daily Signal reports.

Excerpt:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy further separated himself from outgoing Speaker John Boehner Tuesday night, vowing to fight to the end for conservative policies if he takes the chamber’s top seat.

Fox News’ Sean Hannity pressed McCarthy hard on conservative frustration that accelerated Boehner’s demise, repeatedly pointing to the House’s failure to unravel Obamacare despite holding majorities in both chambers and its “power of the purse” authority.

“You voted 50 times to repeal Obamacare, but there’s a constitutional power you guys have that you don’t use, and it seems all Obama has to do is mention, ‘We’re going to shut down the government and blame Republicans,’” Hannity said.

McCarthy promised a different course should he clinch the speakership in October.

He committed to pursue the string of battles conservatives have waged against congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama, including defunding Obamacare, Planned Parenthood, and executive “amnesty” and stopping the Iran nuclear agreement.

He did not detail specifics but said he would lead the fight with a “strategy” and a greater inclusion of the conservative lawmakers who helped topple Boehner from the speakership.

“Every Republican should have a voice here, and that’s going to be the fundamental difference: I believe in the bottom-up strategy,” McCarthy said.

This is not the first report I heard about his outreach to the most conservative Republicans when he was majority leader. Even the so-called Freedom Caucus that forced the more liberal Boehner to resign seemed to be OK with the conservative credentials of Kevin McCarthy.

The ultra leftist New York Times has more in this article from June 2014, when they were writing about his role as majority leader:

When he was the leader of Republicans in the California State Assembly — an ideologically diverse group of lawmakers often choleric toward both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democrats who controlled the Legislature — Kevin Owen McCarthy was known as the guy who could help bring a bill across the finish line. Gently, almost as if no one could see it.

[…]Politically obsessed (Mr. McCarthy is known for lugging the 1,883-page Almanac of American Politics to read on his almost weekly flights back to California) and manically social (he cannot seem to eat dinner in Washington with fewer than eight guests), Mr. McCarthy is likely to be more focused on deal-making and elections than on pushing proscriptive policy from on high, as Mr. Cantor did.

[…]He keeps in close contact with other Republicans through phone calls, dinners and a strategically placed basketball hoop in his office that encourages drop-ins. “He understands how important family is,” said Representative Renee Ellmers, Republican of North Carolina. “If our spouses are coming to Washington, he wants you to know he has an open door for them, too.” He has the same policy for lawmakers who want to air a grievance, and has a good ear for knowing what their requirements are, reasonable or not, to get to yes on a bill.

So, he’s not primarily a policy guy or a news media guy, he’s a consensus builder. He seems to know how to talk to lots of people and get legislation passed. He seems to be very friendly with everyone, even Democrats. He’s had to work with Democrats a lot. And he comes from a modest background. The only question is whether he wants to pass what the conservative wing of the party wants. What the grassroots voters want. His statements on Hannity make me optimistic.

Trump gets 5% in straw poll of informed voters at Values Voters Summit

Texas Senator Ted Cruz
Texas Senator Ted Cruz

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.

Anyway, Cruz’s speech was awesome:

And his list of Day One promises was also amazing.

Sample:

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:

  1. Walker
  2. Jindal
  3. Perry
  4. Cruz
  5. Rubio

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.