Tag Archives: Congress

Which candidate for Speaker of the House is the most conservative?

Republican Speaker John Boehner
Republican Speaker John Boehner

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.

The leftist Washington Post explains:

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.

58 Democrats boycott Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, and below you can find a round-up of reactions.

Here’s The Daily Signal summarizing why Netanyahi opposes the deal:

Netanyahu made the case before Congress that the White House’s efforts to negotiate a deal with Iran have about as much in common with the Camp David Accords as an SNL skit has with a State of the Union Address. The administration’s proposal is anything but a realistic plan for peace.

A real peace plan would demonstrate that all sides were committed to not adding more nuclear weapons powers to the Middle East. The deal as it stands does the opposite—it preserves the nuclear option for Iran—and as result will prompt other regional powers to hedge their bets and prepare to go nuclear as well rather than live in Tehran’s nuclear shadow.

The proposed multi-year moratorium doesn’t end concerns that Iran will build a bomb and put nuclear warheads on long-range missiles. Rather, under the agreement, Tehran can walk up to the edge of becoming a declared armed-nuclear state with a robust missile force and sit there. That hardly sets the condition for sure peace in our time.

Meanwhile, even the shaky stalemate proposed by the agreement rests on the assumption that Tehran won’t follow North Korea’s path to breakout status by cheating on the agreement and then abrogating the deal when it no longer suits the regime.

At the same time the price for Obama’s peace comes pretty high. Tehran demands significant and immediate sanctions relief. That means more money for a corrupt regime with one of the world’s worst human records to perpetuate strangled hold over the people of Iran.

Obama’s deal also means more money for Tehran to prop-up the likes of Hezbollah, Assad, Hamas, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and murderous unaccountable Shia militias in Iraq (which are as big a threat to the future of the country as ISIS). As one of the world’s premier state-sponsors of terrorism, enabling and emboldening Iran’s efforts to reshape the region by force of arms and slaughtering innocents doesn’t make the prospects for peace in the region any brighter.

All the partisan controversy and vitriol over Netanyahu’s speech cannot obscure that the White House has no good answers to the legitimate concerns he raised.

Breitbart News summarizes how the speech was received:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a passionate, inspiring, thoughtful, and “game changing” speech before the American Congress which lasted for about 45 minutes, during which time he was applauded 43 times, often for 15 seconds at a time. His words elicited many standing ovations.

The only other foreign leader to have spoken to Congress three times was Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. In honor of that, Speaker of the House, John Boehnerplans to present Netanyahu with a bust of Churchill.

Netanyahu received wild applause when he said: “The world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.”

Israel’s Prime Minister again received rather thunderous applause and a standing ovation when he noted that Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was in the audience—and when he said: “My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, ‘never again!’ And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

At this point Congress outdid itself in term of applause and a standing ovation.

PM Netanyahu was greeted with a thunderous ovation when he first arrived and again after he was introduced.

And here’s Dennis Prager, writing at Investors Business Daily, explaining why Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu:

The prime minister of Israel is at the forefront of the greatest battle against evil in our time — the battle against violent Muslims. No country other than Israel is threatened with extinction, and it is Iran and the many Islamic terror organizations that pose that threat.

It only makes sense, then, that no other country feels the need to warn the world about Iran and Islamic terror as much as Israel.

That’s why, when Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the United Nations about the threat Iran poses to his country’s survival and about the metastasizing cancer of Islamist violence, he unfortunately stands alone.

Virtually everyone listening knows he is telling the truth. And most dislike him for it. Appeasers hate those who confront evil.

Given that this president is the least likely of any president in American history to confront evil — or even identify it — while Benjamin Netanyahu is particularly vocal and eloquent about both identifying and confronting evil, it is inevitable that the former will resent the latter.

Here is the list of 58 Democrats (House and Senate) who walked out of the speech.

And a number of top Democrats — including Vice President Joe Biden, whose job description includes the title President of the Senate — didn’t attend.

[…]At least 50 Democratic House members and eight senators who caucus with the Democrats said in recent weeks they wouldn’t attend the speech, many in protest to a move that they say is an affront to the president.

The full transcript of the speech has been posted by The Weekly Standard.

Senator David Vitter’s amendment to revoke Obamacare exemption for Congress

Republican Senator David Vitter is trying to revoke the exemption from Obamacare for members of Congress and their staff.

The Heritage Foundation explains what the Vitter amendment would do.

Excerpt:

President Obama, the White House staff, Cabinet secretaries, and all of the Administration’s political appointees are exempt from any legal requirement to enroll in Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges. While Members of Congress and their personal staffs are required to enroll in Obamacare’s exchanges, the White House, through questionable administrative action, is providing them hefty taxpayer subsidies to offset the resultant increase in their personal health care costs. In other words, Washington’s arrogant political class is getting exemptions or special treatment denied to ordinary Americans.

[…]During Senate floor debate on energy legislation last week, Louisiana Senator David Vitter (R) proposed an amendment that would end Obamacare exemptions and special taxpayer subsidies for Congress. His amendment is cosponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ron Johnson (R- WI), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The prospect of having to vote on Vitter’s amendment shut down floor debate on the bill last week.

Vitter’s amendment would do two things. First, the President, Vice President, Cabinet secretaries, and all political appointees—the policymaking agents of the executive branch—would be enrolled in the health insurance exchanges, just like millions of other Americans. Second, Members of Congress and their staffs—including all committee and leadership office staff—would also be enrolled in the health insurance exchanges under the same terms and conditions as other Americans. In other words, Congress and its staff would not get any special subsidies at taxpayer expense for their health insurance.

[…]The Vitter Amendment is equitable. It targets only Washington’s political class, those who make policy for the national government. Federal employees, all career civil servants, would not be deprived of their current private health insurance plans through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Vitter’s approach is only fair: Capitol Hill cops, National Park Rangers, and Secret Service agents and their families are not responsible for Obamacare. Washington’s political class and allied big special interest lobbyists are responsible. And until this bad law is fully repealed, the President’s team and Congress should submit fully to its multiple and costly requirements, just like everybody else.

[…]Because of hasty legislative maneuvering, sloppy drafting, and an inability or unwillingness to focus on the consequences of what they were doing, Members of Congress who voted for Obamacare managed to dump themselves out of their existing coverage. Under Section 1312 of the law, they are to be enrolled in health insurance exchange plans, and will lose existing coverage in the popular and successful Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). And just like millions of other Americans dumped out of their existing coverage, they lose their employer’s subsidy for insurance plus the generous federal and state tax breaks that accompany employer-based coverage. But the Obama Administration recently “fixed” that for them by providing special subsidies for Members and congressional staff to reduce their premium costs in the Obamacare exchanges.

Vitter’s amendment would overturn this recent action. That would be appropriate because there is no statutory authority, either in Obamacare or in Title V of the U.S Code, for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to make government insurance contributions on behalf of federal employees to any plan other than an FEHBP plan. Curiously, the original health care law provided for employers to make a defined contribution for workers in the exchanges (a “free choice voucher”), but Congress scrapped it.

Millions of Americans are going to be losing their existing coverage and paying more for health insurance. Under the Vitter Amendment, so would the Obama Administration’s appointees, Congress, and congressional staff. They baked that cake. Now they can eat it, too.

If you don’t like what Obamacare is doing to your health care, only a few people in the Republican Party are trying to help you. David Vitter is one of them. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are two others. But don’t expect the Democrat legislators to lift a finger to help, because this law doesn’t apply to them. It doesn’t apply to many of their union supporters, who also got exemptions. It doesn’t apply to big corporations who support the Democrats – they got exemptions, too.

Erika Harold: Harvard law graduate and former Miss America runs for Congress

Republican candidate Erika Harold
Republican candidate Erika Harold

The Weekly Standard reports.

Excerpt:

The most interesting House primary of the 2014 cycle began in June in the 13th District of Illinois. It pits freshman Republican congressman Rodney Davis against an insurgent candidate named Erika Harold. Davis is a political operative who won his seat last year nearly by accident. Erika Harold is a 33-year-old lawyer. Who happens to have been Miss America.

[…]In addition to the charisma and poise native to good politicians, Harold has exhibited the principled toughness of the best pols. And again, to appreciate this aspect of her character, you need only go back to Miss America.

Her platform as a Miss America candidate included abstinence:

Harold competed three times for the Miss Illinois crown, which she finally won in 2003. Each time, she ran on a platform of abstinence. But one of the arcane traditions of Miss America is that while contestants choose their own platforms when competing for the state crown, it’s the state organization that decides what platform the winner will take to Atlantic City. The year Harold was named Miss Illinois, her state committee settled on a bland platform opposing “youth violence.” (Think of it as “world peace,” for the children.) Harold agreed to oppose youth violence.

After she was named Miss America, however, Harold decided to add abstinence to her platform for the year of her reign. She didn’t abandon “youth violence” but rather included it, along with abstinence, in a broad appeal to kids to respect themselves by standing up to bullies and avoiding sex, drugs, and alcohol. This was, as a matter of both intellectual coherence and moral sense, a significant improvement on the pure “youth violence” platform she’d been handed. The Miss America organization did not like it one bit.

The organization pushed back hard and told Harold to keep quiet—especially about sex. The disagreement made national headlines and culminated in a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, where the newly crowned Harold told reporters, “I will not be bullied. I’ve gone through enough adversity in my life to stand up for what I believe in.” Miss America stared down the pageant and won.

Promotes fiscal conservativism to African Americans:

Harold was already interested in politics. During a Miss America appearance at East St. Louis High School, students asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She told them, “My ultimate goal is that I want to be the first black female president of the United States.” While still an undergraduate at Illinois, she volunteered for conservative Patrick O’Malley’s doomed 2002 Illinois gubernatorial campaign. She also volunteered with the Republican National Committee in an effort to promote conservative economic principles in African-American communities. After graduating from law school, she joined a Chicago firm where her practice has specialized in health care law and religious freedom.

[…][W]hile Harold tries to resist easy classification, her ideological markers are highly suggestive of a conservative worldview. There’s the abstinence, of course. She’s fiercely pro-life. She favors concealed-carry gun laws. And she’s on the board of Prison Fellowship Ministries, the program founded by Chuck Colson.

Focused on religious liberty:

The most interesting part of Harold’s legal practice has been her work defending faith-based entities. In one case, for example, she represented a retirement community affiliated with a religious group. The organization featured a cross on its logo and used a Bible verse in its mission statement—which attracted a lawsuit from an advocacy group contending that this amounted to discrimination. Describing this work, Harold says, “It’s a passion of mine.”

Looking across the broader national landscape, Harold sees ample reason to be concerned about religious freedom. “We’re starting to see ways in which our constitutional protections are being encroached upon,” she says. “We all are less free when any group isn’t afforded their constitutional protections.”

And not just less free, but less well off. Harold says that her time with Prison Fellowship Ministries has deepened her appreciation for the good religious organizations can do. “I’ve seen firsthand the need for there to be a space in public life for religious groups to be able to offer service to their fellow man,” she says. When government seeks to quarantine religious organizations, moving from freedom of religion to “freedom of worship” (to use the formulation President Obama favors), “it’s far too limiting in terms of the good they can do for the public, and it’s far too restrictive in terms of the protections which are afforded religious groups by the Constitution. We give something up when we say that certain voices aren’t welcome in the public square.”

Harold says she intends to make religious freedom an issue in her campaign. This is fitting at a time when the HHS mandate, the Hobby Lobby case, and the torrent of litigation about to be unleashed by the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decisions appear likely to make religious freedom a central front in the culture war.

We have such a deep bench, so there’s reason for optimism – if you’re a Republican like me! Here’s another story I found about another young, female Republican candidate Elise Stefanik. I would not be annoyed at all if all of our candidates were women or minorities or minority women. I wouldn’t even be annoyed if our candidates were some sort of dolphin-alligator hybrid monstrosities, (although I prefer pretty lawyers ladies). The main thing I want is that our candidates are conservative. That’s what really matters to me.

Colonel Martha McSally enters congressional race for vacant Arizona seat

Colonel  Martha McSally
Colonel Martha McSally

From Military.com. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

Excerpt:

The first woman to fly fighters in combat for the Air Force, and first to command a fighter squadron in combat, is entering Arizona’s special election to fill U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ vacated congressional seat.

Martha McSally confirmed her intentions Wednesday to join the Republican primary. She made her decision after analyzing three factors: was it feasible, was she electable, and did she feel called to run.

McSally said she’s sure she is the right person for the job. “I believe my leadership and my demonstrated moral courage and experience is what this community and this nation needs right now.”

[…]She commanded a squadron of A-10 attack jets in Afghanistan. After that, she was sent to the Air War College in Alabama, where she finished first in a class of 225 people being groomed as senior leaders. She spent her final three years in the Air Force in Stuttgart, Germany.

Gateway Pundit adds:

Southern Arizona is buzzing with the possible entrance of a new candidate in the special election to replace Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Martha McSally, the woman who, in 2002, challenged the Department of Defense rule requiring American servicewoman in Saudi Arabia to dress in a Muslim Abaya and headscarf when travelling off base, reportedly plans to formally announce her candidacy Thursday.

McSally, who retired from the Air Force as a colonel, was also the first woman in United States history to fly in combat, and the first woman to lead a squadron into combat, in the skies above Iraq and Afghanistan. McSally is a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force Academy, earned her Master’s Degree, in Public Policy, from the JFK School of Government at Harvard, and in 1995 was one of only seven active duty Air Force officers selected for the prestigious Legislative Fellowship Program in Washington. She spent the last few years teaching military and foreign affairs to world leaders at the George C. Marshall Center in Germany.

She’s also champion triathlete and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro

Democrats in the Southern Arizona district, are lining up behind former Giffords’ aide Ron Barber to replace the outgoing congresswoman. Barber is being described by local Democrats as a “placeholder” or “caretaker” until the end of Giffords’ term. But it’s hard not to wonder if the entrance of a dynamic, young Republican woman will change the nature of this race.

McSally is conservative, pro-life, pro-2nd amendment, and everything else that voters in a Republican-leaning district are yearning for. So have the Democrats in Arizona’s 8th congressional district made a mistake? Some people are starting to think so. Martha McSally isn’t Gabrielle Giffords. But her dynamic personality, her clear convictions and accomplished resume could be just what conservatives need if they want to win the race that one Washington insider called, “the next biggest thing to the Presidential” race this year.

I’d like to know her views on the definition of marriage, but that’s still a good resume. I think I know one reason why she might be running – her A-10 Thunderbolt II was targeted in the Obama’s administration’s most recent round of cuts to American defense capabilities.

Here’s an interview she did with the radically left-wing 60 Minutes:

Here’s a bit more about the A-10 Thunderbolt II that she flew. (Picture, Specifications)

Part 1 of 2:

Part 2 of 2:

I built a model of one of these as a child, and hung it from the ceiling of my room. A great strike platform. I have mounted Rockeye cluster munitions on these guys when playing Steel Panthers and used them to immobilize/destroy multiple Russian T-72s in one pass. The AGM-65 Mavericks are effective at long range, as well.