The Intransigent Conservative
Sunday, February 17, 2013
View the story "Weekend Potpourri (2/16/13-2/17/13)" on Storify
Weekend Potpourri (2/16/13-2/17/13)
· Sun, Feb 17 2013 17:26:09
Alex Burns reports on the pair of PR firms,
CRC Public Relations
Shirley & Banister Public Affairs
, who are working with their clients to advance the conservative grassroots uprising against the national GOP establishment.
“During almost any given controversy, there’s a barrage of indignant subject lines from both firms cementing the backbone of what the national press calls the ‘anti-establishment’ message of the day.
Call them the anti-establishment establishment
“The founders of both firms are
conservative true believers
, whose biographies are intertwined with the rise of the modern activist right and with each other’s careers.
“In fact, the current leadership of CRC and S&B looks a bit like the Pat Buchanan alumni association: CRC founder Greg Mueller (
) worked with Banister on Buchanan’s insurgent 1996 campaign. Craig Shirley (
), the S&B partner, worked for the Reagan-era Republican National Committee and for the National Conservative Political Action Committee in 1984, and has more recently become a kind of court historian for the Age of Reagan.”
“Over the past decade and a half, they’ve dived in — together or separately — to
countless conservatives-versus-Washington fights and political campaigns
… Indeed, choose at random a conservative activist, author or organization thundering against Washington, and there’s a decent chance you’ll come up with a client of one firm or both.”
Fun note in that "anti-establishment establishment" story: both CRC and S&B are led by Buchanan '96 alums http://www.politico.com/story/2013/02/the-anti-establishment-establishment-87643.html?hp=t2_3Alex Burns
On the website of the magazine founded by William F. Buckley, Jr., Neal B. Freeman explains what supporting “
the rightwardmost viable candidate
” meant in Buckley’s lexicon. Freeman was present at the formulation of the Buckley Rule in 1964, when National Review was deciding whether to support Barry Goldwater or Nelson Rockefeller.
“These intramural arguments, as I say, were protracted, begun in the winter and carrying on into the early spring. WFB sat at the head of the table, encouraging others to speak, keeping his own counsel. In early June, after Rockefeller had won the Oregon primary and Goldwater had won California, after all of us had had our say, after rumors had begun to creep out of 35th Street that NR might shift its support to Nelson Rockefeller — the equivalent, today, of word leaking out of 15th Street that the Washington Post might endorse Michele Bachmann — Bill, who rarely proposed, decided that it was time to dispose.
With each of us in our assigned seat and with six pairs of eyeballs staring at him unblinkingly, Bill announced that ‘National Review will support the rightwardmost viable candidate.’
“Victory for Team Goldwater! We all knew what ‘viable’ meant in Bill’s lexicon. It meant somebody who saw the world as we did. Somebody who would bring credit to our cause.
Somebody who, win or lose, would conservatize the Republican party and the country
. It meant somebody like Barry Goldwater.”
“Bill Buckley was careful with words. If he had opted on that June day for the words ‘rightwardmost
candidate,’ we would all have recognized it as a victory for Team Rockefeller. And life might look very different today. If there had been no Goldwater, National Review might not have become so influential,
and if there had been no Goldwater, no National Review, there might have been no Reagan
“We all understand that it is Karl Rove’s mission to promote the Republican party. It was the mission of Bill Buckley to promote the conservative cause.
There should be no confusion between the two
The Buckley rule - an originalist interpretation: http://bit.ly/ZalLiHNational Review
Nate Cohn writes that the House Republican obstructionism “fever” did not break after Obama’s re-election, but safe, gerrymandered districts are not to blame like Obama has argued.
The wide ideological divide between conservatives and liberals is why Obama has not been able to “break the fever.”
“It's not surprising that Obama holds this view, since much of the mainstream media does, too.
But the president is
: Republicans aren't in safe districts because of gerrymandering;
increasing the number of competitive districts wouldn't necessarily make Republicans more likely to support the president's agenda
; and it's even possible that the number of moderate Republicans has been inflated by gerrymandering in blue states.”
“It's difficult to draw competitive districts in a deeply polarized country. Americans are geographically segregated along a variety of demographic lines, and most demographic groups side decidedly with one party or the other… Since ‘fair’ congressional districts preserve geographic integrity and tend to promote homogenous districts,
even a fair redistricting process would leave Republicans in deeply conservative districts
“The combination of de facto segregation, extreme racial polarization, and the Voting Rights Act (which requires the creation of minority-majority districts) ensure that Republicans preside over extraordinarily red districts in the former Confederacy.”
“Even if a gerrymander created a modest number of artificially balanced districts, it might not moderate the House Republican caucus.
In a useful if underreported piece
, John Sides used data from political scientists Simon Jackman and Nolan McCarty to show that there is only a weak relationship between the partisanship of a district and the partisanship of its representative. Put differently:
The Republicans from blue states just aren't much more moderate than their peers from blood-red districts
“Partisan gerrymandering works by piling your opponent's voters into a small number of deeply partisan districts, and then dividing the rest of the state into a larger number of less partisan districts that lean in the direction of the gerrymandering party. Because the party in charge is spreading its votes over a larger number of districts, their districts are relatively competitive.”
Obama's got it all wrong: @electionate explains why gerrymandering doesn't explain the GOP fever http://on.tnr.com/XOMqwCThe New Republic
Mike Murphy writes that Obama has great theatrical campaign skills, but “
a strategy based on doing what is comfortable rather than what is difficult will doom his second term
“President Obama has started his second term as if his re-election campaign had never ended.
That is a titanic mistake.
White House aides are fundamentally misreading the political landscape if they think a barrage of fiery stump speeches and campaign-style advocacy will achieve anything in Washington. In reality, the it-is-always-a-campaign thinking will subvert any chance for a meaningful Obama success in his second term.”
Unlike his congressional opponents, President Obama faces a merciless countdown clock
. In about 18 months, the national political agenda will become hostage to the 2014 midterm elections. After that, a high-stakes 2016 presidential-nomination contest will shift into high gear inside both parties. The President has little time to waste.”
“Showing the hubris of all things Obama, the White House has forgotten that while he won re-election fair and square with about 66 million votes, 61 million (
) other Americans voted to fire the President. Many of those anti-Obama voters live and vote in the 232 (
) congressional districts firmly held by Republicans. It is terribly naive to think that stuffing e-mail inboxes and presidential hectoring on the stump will persuade those voters — and their members of Congress — to support the President’s decidedly left-tilting second-term agenda.
When the President threatens the Republicans in Congress with ‘or else,’ they just roll their eyes and wonder ‘or else what?’ In their precincts, he is not even a paper tiger.
So the President must choose
: Does he want a second term of rhetoric without results while the rest of us suffer under an exploding federal debt and endless recession? Or does he want to actually get big, important things like immigration and entitlement reform done?”
"Organizing for Failure" - @MurphyMike on President Obama's second term this week in @TIME - http://ti.me/Y9eN6OTIME Communications
Lydia Saad reports that federal government and private sector hiring has faltered the most in recent months. The Gallup Job Creation Index – the percentage of employers hiring new people minus percentage letting people go –
averaged +16 last month
, the lowest monthly index level in 11 months.
“January's results are based on
of U.S. adult workers saying their employers are hiring and expanding the size of their workforces, and
saying their employers are letting workers go and reducing the size of their workforces.”
“January also saw the continuation of
a decline in hiring in the federal and nongovernment sectors
of the economy, a trend that started in November. At the same time, hiring reported by state and local government employees has been fairly steady at the highest levels in more than four years.”
“As has been typical since late 2010, the Midwest continues to show slightly stronger hiring than the other regions. Net hiring is currently +18 in the Midwest, versus +17 in the West, +15 in the South, and +14 in the East.”
“Most of the decline in net hiring in the past few months is due to a weakening of reported hiring by employees working in the private sector as well as in the federal government,
while reported hiring by employees of state and local government has held fairly steady
U.S. Job Creation Index Dips to 11-Month Low in January... http://www.gallup.com/poll/160313/job-creation-index-dips-month-low-january.aspx?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=gallupnews&utm_campaign=syndication #Jobs #JobCreationgallupnews
gallup job creation indexBrian_Empric
gallup jci by employer typeBrian_Empric
Phil Galewitz reports that illegal immigrants are usually prohibited by federal law from being covered by Medicaid, but
about $2 billion is spent each year
on more than 100,000 patients for Emergency Medicaid. Primarily, this money is being spent to reimburse hospitals for delivering “
” in their emergency rooms, which encourages people to cross the border for care.
In 2011, Florida spent $214 million on 31,000 Emergency Medicaid patients ($6,900/each).
“The funding -- which has been around since the late 1980s and is less than 1 percent of the cost of Medicaid -- underscores the political and practical challenges of refusing to cover an entire class of people. Congress approved the program after lawmakers required hospitals to screen and stabilize all emergency patients regardless of their insurance or citizenship status.”
Hospitals can't ask patients whether they're illegal immigrants
, but instead determine that after checking whether they have Social Security numbers, birth certificates or other documents.”
“A 2007 medical article in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that
of those who used Emergency Medicaid during a four-year period in North Carolina
were thought to be illegal immigrants
The Federation for American Immigration Reform
, which seeks to limit immigration, said the funding led more women to give birth in the United States, especially since they knew that children born here would be American citizens.
The group believes that tens of thousands of ‘anchor babies’ are born each year to illegal immigrants who hope that giving birth to children recognized as citizens will help the women gain legal status themselves.
“Last year, for instance, Florida changed its policy to pay for emergency services for eligible undocumented immigrants only until their conditions had been ‘stabilized.’ Previously, its policy was to pay for care that was ‘medically necessary to relieve or eliminate the emergency medical condition’…
An administrative law judge ruled in December that Florida had enacted the change improperly because it didn't go through a public hearing process; the state is appealing
$2 Billion Medicaid Program Helps Mostly Illegal Immigrants, @PhilGalewitz has the story: http://khne.ws/XB20xPKaiser Health News
Jonathan Weisman writes that Senator Ted Cruz (
) is running counter to the Senate’s courtly ways. Cruz was instrumental in blocking the passage of a cloture motion to nominate Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, and the obstruction “was due in no small part to the very junior senator’s relentless pursuit of speeches, financial records or any other documents with Mr. Hagel’s name on them going back at least five years.”
“In just two months, Mr. Cruz, 42, has made his presence felt in an institution where new arrivals are usually not heard from for months, if not years. Besides suggesting that Mr. Hagel might have received compensation from foreign enemies, he has tangled with the mayor of Chicago, challenged the Senate’s third-ranking Democrat on national television, voted against virtually everything before him — including the confirmation of John Kerry as secretary of state — and raised the hackles of colleagues from both parties.
He could not be more pleased. Washington’s new bad boy feels good.
Comity does not mean avoiding the truth
,” Cruz said. “And it would be wrong to avoid speaking the truth about someone’s record and past policy positions, even if doing so inevitably subjects me to personal criticism from Democrats and the media.”
“Chris Chocola, the president of the Club for Growth, a conservative free-market political action committee that strongly backed Mr. Cruz in his victory last year against the establishment’s favorite, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, said
the new senator was doing precisely what he had expected
. The growing caucus of ardent conservatives — Mr. Cruz, Mr. (Rand) Paul, Marco Rubio of Florida, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Mike Lee of Utah, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Tim Scott of South Carolina — has begun reshaping what it means to be a Republican in the Senate, he said.”
’The last thing we need is another status quo senator or congressman who will go along to get along,’
said former Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, who pumped money into Mr. Cruz’s campaign, then left the Senate to lead the conservative Heritage Foundation.”
Very Junior Senator’s Bomb-Throwing Debut; Shaking status quo "what I intend to do, have done in every way possible" http://nyti.ms/Vnb1fMJonathan Weisman
Romina Boccia, a Research Coordinator in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, confirms that America is on a dangerous budget path,
with high debt today and even higher debt projected in the future
. Solutions include raising the Social Security and Medicare eligibility age, correcting the cost-of-living adjustment, and phasing out benefits for upper-income retirees.
“Current spending and debt are dangerously high, and future spending and debt are on track to rise even higher in large part due to increasing entitlement spending.
Academic research shows that advanced economies like the United States are at risk of significant and prolonged reductions in economic growth when public debt reaches levels of 90 percent of GDP
. High public debt threatens to drive interest rates up, to crowd out private investment, and to raise price inflation. The implications would be severe and pronounced for all Americans, but most especially for the poor, the elderly, and the middle class.”
“Recent economic research, especially
the work of Carmen Reinhart, Vincent Reinhart, and Kenneth Rogoff
, confirms that federal debt at such high levels puts the United States at risk for a number of harmful economic consequences, including
slower economic growth, a weakened ability to respond to unexpected challenges, and quite possibly a debt-driven financial crisis
“The federal government is quickly exhausting its ability to manage its bills, with debt having already reached the statutory debt ceiling. The resulting debate should focus on the need to
reduce federal spending immediately
and over the long term by making
necessary and prudent reforms to the nation’s major entitlement programs
, and thus reduce the continued buildup of debt and the expected harmful consequences increasingly confirmed by academic research.”
“America’s entitlement programs, by definition, span generations. It is vital in assessing their sustainability to consider their long-term implications.
Over the 75-year long-term horizon, the combined unfunded obligations arising from promised benefits in Medicare and Social Security alone exceed $48 trillion (net-present value).
Debt overhang – where the debt exceeds the future capacity to repay it - reduces economic growth significantly and for a prolonged period with
higher interest rates
(which hurts middle-class borrowers),
(which hurts the poor and those on fixed incomes), and
crowding out of private investment
(which lowers innovation and productivity).
“Creditors may lose confidence in the country’s ability to service its debt and demand higher interest rates to offset the additional risk… Higher interest rates on government bonds also lead to higher rates for other domestic investments,
including mortgages, credit cards, consumer loans, and business loans
“The government could, through the Federal Reserve, inflate the money supply. The resulting increase in the rate of price inflation would devalue the principal of the remaining public debt.
The resulting inflation would also destabilize the private economy, increase uncertainty, increase real interest rates, and slow economic growth markedly
“Government deficit spending and its associated debt subtracts from the amount of private saving available for private investment, leading to slower economic growth.
Unlike what staunch believers of government spending for economic stimulus claim,
government stimulus spending does the opposite of growing the economy
. Less economic growth caused by high government spending and debt results in fewer available jobs, lower wages and salaries, and fewer opportunities for career advancement.”
Boccia concludes with a clear message: “
The Time to Act Is Now
“By neglecting the regular budget order—the institutional schedule to assess government spending and allocate taxpayer dollars with prudence—
Congress and the President are increasingly failing to govern
… As U.S. debt is quickly approaching economically damaging debt levels, U.S. lawmakers should delay no more.”
New paper just out: How the United States’ High Debt Will Weaken the Economy and Hurt Americans: http://tinyurl.com/bg3yktbRomina Boccia
Entitlements and Interest Drive Future Spending SurgeBrian_Empric
High Public Debt Levels Depress Economic GrowthBrian_Empric
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