That Rick Perry has emerged in recent weeks as the front-runner in the GOP race is not really surprising. There was a lot of pent-up feelings over the summer about whether he would throw his hat into the ring or not, and when he finally did, it felt like voters were relieved that there was a new face. Which only confirmed my suspicions that conservatives and Republicans weren’t that fond of this particular group of contenders.
With his rise in the polls, and the media lamenting his brash approach to politics, his outspoken demeanor, etc., conservatives began taking to him as the most electable candidate–the one most likely to beat Obama. And so began the inevitable comparisons to Ronald Reagan circa 1980.
I didn’t watch last night’s CNN/Tea Party debate, but I was glad to see that Bachmann landed some jabs at Governor Perry for his Gardasil debacle. If only because someone on the stage of contenders actually addressed the issue.
To conservatives who are embracing Perry with open arms, how do you reconcile his Gardasil law with your conservative values? The chief executive of Texas signed
a law an executive order that mandated teenage girls receive a vaccination, whether they want to or not, whether their parents approve or not, under the penalty of law. That isn’t a conservative trait.
It’s certainly not the conservatism of the Tea Party, but more like a big government conservatism. Republicans have seen this movie before and it doesn’t end well for conservatives, and certainly not for the Republican party.
UPDATE. And just like that, Bachmann took any success she had with her Gardasil attack and flushed it down the toilet.
Signing a bill that mandates all 13-year-old girls receive a vaccination, produced by a company who has a lobbying relationship with someone in your administration, doesn’t really sound like something a conservative would do, does it?
But that’s just me.
More from Malkin here.
Six Republican seats were up for recall elections in the Wisconsin State Senate last night, and the Republicans held four of them.
The Tea Party effectively smacked the vitriolic left-wing progressive movement upside the head:
…[T]he union-backed Democrats picked up only two state Senate seats in Wisconsin last night, at a staggering cost in time, effort, and of course money. One of the seats was solidly Democratic, held by a Republican due to an apparent fluke of nature. The other was held by an alleged adulterer who had moved outside his district to live with his young mistress, and whose wife was supporting his recall.[...]
The people” were supposed to be on the side of the unions who protested at the state capitol when Walker’s bill passed, limiting the unions’ collective bargaining privileges against taxpayers and school districts. But it turns out that “the people” had other ideas. In the end, even a massive infusion of cash and union volunteers was not enough to deliver the three state Senate recall races the unions needed, despite the fact that President Obama carried all six of the seats in question in 2008.
This marks the unions’ third huge defeat in Wisconsin this year. The other two were the passage of Walker’s bill and the re-election of David Prosser to the state Supreme Court. The grand talk of recalling Walker himself next year seems a bit blustery now, given the great failure of last night.
The implications are clear:
…[A]almost 350,000 people voted in Tuesday’s recall elections — and Republicans won 53 percent of the total vote. After blowtorching the state with negative ads and benefiting from a favorable timetable, the unions could still only get 47 percent of Wisconsinites to support their effort.
This should make the unions think long and hard about whether they want to embark on a mission to recall Gov. Scott Walker next year. Doing so successfully would easily cost them five times as much as they just spent — and even with their recent deluge of cash, most of the public still didn’t support them at the polls. Additionally, the extra time will also give Walker’s reforms more time to work — and once the public sees that schools can manage their affairs effectively without being hamstrung by union regulations, organized labor’s argument gets even weaker.
When establishment Republicans talk about shying away from political battles, the “hills” that are not worth politically taking a hit for, I would urge them to look at Wisconsin. The Republicans there, with the Tea Party having their backs, stood for conservatism, stood for true reform, and won. Twice.
And a major hat-tip to Governor Walker who, in my book, is Republican of the Year. He stood up to the vitriol, to the onslaught of hate and violent rhetoric from the Left, to the deluge of union money and their thuggery, all for doing his job and standing up for conservatism. He never resorted to chest-thumping, never spoke with malice. He just made his case to the people of Wisconsin and they voted accordingly. All of this in the cradle of America’s modern progressive movement.
Kudos to Governor Walker, the GOP senators who won, and to the people of Wisconsin.
[Hat Tip: Memeorandum]
Walker, whose state faces a $3.6 billion budget shortfall, outlined a two-year, $59 billion budget that would cut spending across the board. Over $4 billion would be gutted from state coffers, a 6.7 percent reduction. “The facts are clear: Wisconsin is broke,” he said. “It’s time to start paying our bills today — so our kids are not stuck with even bigger bills tomorrow.”
Walker, who is not shy about his fiscal conservatism, takes an axe to numerous state programs in his proposal. If passed, over $700 million in education funds and over $1 billion in county and municipal aid would be slashed. That state’s Medicaid budget would be cut by $500 million. Over 20,000 government jobs would be eliminated. The state commerce department would disappear. It would also require, as his budget-repair bill stipulates, for public employees to contribute 5.8 percent of their salaries toward their pensions and pay 12.6 percent of their health-care premiums. Taxes would not be raised.
“Our budget reduces the structural deficit by 90 percent,” Walker said. “Gone are the segregated fund raids, illegal transfers, and accounting gimmicks. Gone are the tax or fee increases. Our state cannot grow if our people are weighed down paying for a larger and larger government. A government that pays its workers unsustainable benefits that are out of line with the private sector. We need a leaner and cleaner state government.”
There will be a lot of financial pain for people in Wisconsin, people who
are not in public employee unions go to work everyday to feed their families, depend on state services, etc. I hope those people realize that they have their local union boss to thank for all of that. Scott Walker is merely trying to clean up the mess.
Happy New Year to
all my loyal readers anyone who’s reading this!
The 112th Congress will be sworn in in three days, and although I try never to put too much faith in any politician, there are glimmers of hope and optimism in this class, Tea Party conservatives and all.
Primary among them has to be Allen West, who was interviewed by the New York Times Magazine, which ran it this morning. This is what I’m talking about:
Do you consider President Obama a good leader?
Even though you’re a Republican, did you feel a sense of pride when President Obama was elected?
I don’t look to a man to get pride in myself. It’s not about having a black president, it’s about having a good president, and I think that’s the most important thing. This country needs a good leader, and I don’t care if he’s purple or green but yes, there are some people that saw in him a sense of pride.
You don’t necessarily hear a lot about people like Alan West in the media and such, because people like him scare the bejeezus out of the left. See, in their world, African-Americans are only supposed to be mindless Democrats.
Read the whole interview, it’s short and sweet. Very sweet. We need more Republicans like Allen West. Period.
Ruth McClung is making life hell for the socialist Democrat, Raul Grijalva in Arizona’s 7th congressional district. RCP currently lists this race as a Toss Up which is something the Democrats were not expecting as recently as September, and has caught the Grijalva campaign off-guard and light in the treasury.
The Democrats don’t want this to be a problem:
Democrats won’t let Grijalva go down without a fight, and his once-depleted coffers are beginning to swell again.
Since Saturday, he’s reported raising $75,500 — $15,400 of which came from Arizona, according to campaign finance records.
The competition for the seat was sleepy until the last few weeks when polling showed the contest tightening. Many Democrats believe Grijalva will pull it out in the end — mostly because the Democratic-leaning district gave President Obama 57 percent of its votes in 2008.
But they are privately critical of his failure to build a stronger campaign and of his political misfire on the boycott, which he endorsed in response to Arizona’s tough new immigration crackdown law.
The book on Grijalva: If he loses, it will be from a self-inflicted wound. If he wins, he will have drawn valualbe resources away from other Democratic campaigns that could have used the money.
Democrats losing districts like Arizona’s 7th means the difference between a wave and a tsunami for Republicans in 2010. I prefer the latter.
Conservative activists need to bleed Grijalva’s coffers dry by supporting Ruth McClung and get out the vote.
And what better time for a Ruth McClung moneybomb than tomorrow?
New Jersey politics has been the focus of my last few posts, so why stop now?
The Newark Star-Ledger reports:
Two weeks ago, the federal government awarded Gov. Chris Christie’s administration nearly $4.7 million in federal funding for teenage pregnancy prevention programs. But one-fifth of the money comes with one unbreakable string attached.
Nearly $1 million must be spent teaching kids to say no to premarital sex.
New Jersey had not sought abstinence funding since shortly after Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine took office in 2006, and he stopped competing for it the following year, said Michele Jaker, executive director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of New Jersey. “We were among the first states to stop,” she said.
The decision to pursue abstinence funding didn’t get much attention as Christie carved himself a national reputation as a fiscal conservative. But it is the latest sign the governor is also beginning to pursue a socially conservative agenda, according to some advocacy groups from both the left and right, lawmakers and political scientists.
“Governor Christie is our first pro-life governor,” said Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life. “He is trying very hard to fix our state and restore our culture from the bad decisions and failed policies of previous administrations so that it will be a better place to raise our children and future generations.”
Social conservatives had eyed Christie warily as a gubernatorial candidate, questioning the sincerity of his conversion from being pro-abortion-rights to anti-abortion in the mid-1990s after becoming a father.
All of this, of course, doesn’t stop the extremism:
Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) said the change in state health policy “is not pretty.”
“Between the cuts in funding access to birth control and applying for abstinence education, somehow we have people caught somewhere in the last century mentally,” she said.
Yeah. Who would’ve thought that teaching personal responsibility to teenagers and kids was a “last-century” concept? That, instead of the incessant funding of abortions and unlimited condoms on the back of taxpayers and at the expense of being able to teach their own children. What a novel idea.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard some concern-trolling on behalf of conservative commentators and others, that Christie is not really a conservative for any number of reasons– he supported Mike Castle in the Delaware Senate race, or his position on immigration reform, etc.
To that I say, wake up! Dare I say that Chris Christie is as conservative a governor as New Jersey will get in probably my lifetime. That he’s willing to bring his fiscal conservative ideals to fruition in the Garden State is more than what most voters imagined. For conservatives, that he wasn’t trumpeting his social conservative beliefs shouldn’t be so much of an issue, at least not in New Jersey, where fiscal matters were primarily on the minds of most voters. It doesn’t really matter anyway, as he’s speaking with actions and not words.
That’s what’s key.
The day is finally here.
The Castle vs O’Donnell flame war has gotten ugly, at a time when the Republican party needs to be unified.
Stacy McCain unearths the root cause of our dilemma:
Let’s be clear who is responsible for this vituperative environment: Mike Castle, his campaign consultants, Delaware GOP chairman Tom Ross and the national Republican Establishment.
Just as when they tried to fix the Florida primary for Charlie Crist — “Those treacherous bastards!” — the Establishment’s cliquish favoritism angered and alienated the grassroots. O’Donnell’s candidacy thus became a rallying point for those who have tired of the top-down control approach to politics that became standard operating procedure for Republicans during the Bush administration, when the Rove-Mehlman axis called the shots and expected everyone to fall in line.
Such centralization of political authority might have been tolerable if it had actually led to the promised “Permanent Republican Majority.” Instead, it gave us Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid in 2006, then gave us President Obama in 2008.
So this online fight in Delaware isn’t about who’s a “True Conservative.” It’s about whether we are going to let the GOP elite do our thinking for us.
The problem with the GOP elite is not that they’ve got all the money and prestige. The problem isn’t that their egos are swollen with the arrogance of entitled privilege. The problem is that they’re politically incompetent.
Yes, yes! A million times yes!
One of the reasons I started blogging in the first place was this pent-up frustration I had with the establishment GOP, the RNC and the rest of the DC cocktail party set that were setting the rules from Washington. All the while neglecting the average Republican (read: conservative) voter.
McCain is right–this primary encapsulates that entire dynamic in a nutshell.
Michelle Malkin runs a great post on what the Mike Castle choice means–more lethargic, political careerism.
She makes the case for O’Donnell:
…[S]he is certainly far from perfect (who is?). But I think nine terms are enough for duck-and-hide, cap-and-tax liberal Republican Mike Castle — and it looks like GOP primary voters in Delaware are coming to the same conclusion as the primary looms tomorrow. I repeat: Entrenched incumbency is not an argument for more entrenched incumbency.
As I thought in my earlier post, Malkin confirms that the winner of the general election, will be seated immediately, with huge implications:
[T]he stakes are raised — not just for Delaware, but for the nation — in this race because this is a special election for VP Joe Biden’s Senate seat. The next Senator from Delaware will serve the remaining four years of Biden’s term. Which means he or she will be seated immediately after election and will be in place to vote in any lame duck Senate session. Cap-and-tax is on the table for this session. From his record and from his radical enviro associations, we know what Castle would do in the name of “Republican Main Street” values to screw over not only Delawareans, but all taxpayers.
Click through the link and read the entire post. Also, Michelle has a list of Castle’s hideous voting record. Yeesh.
Meanwhile, Castle appears to be girding his loins for a potential defeat by playing the victim card:
Rep. Mike Castle is blaming the influence of outsiders for the closer-than-expected GOP Senate primary he’s locked in against tea party favorite Christine O’Donnell.
Castle, who last faced a primary election challenger in 1992, said the six-figure sums pumped into the state by the Tea Party Express, and the recent endorsements of O’Donnell by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, prove that his opposition is being powered by out-of-state forces.
“It’s clear they have spent several hundred thousand dollars to not only take me out but to take anybody who dares to vote with the other party at any time out,” he said.
What’s startling to me about this whole debate is the extent to which the establishment Republicans are willing to trash the grassroots activists. Pathetic.
Mark Hemingway is in the Castle camp, pointing to the Congressman’s “no” vote on healthcare reform:
Castle may be a liberal Republican, but that’s better than a liberal Democrat. True, Castle has in the past supported cap and trade and other legislation that makes conservatives wince. But he’s also a co-sponsor of the bill to repeal Obamacare. Good luck getting a Democratic senator from Delaware to sign on to that.
Jeffrey Lord, an O”Donnell supporter, (making some great arguments for her candidacy at the American Spectator over the past several weeks) on why Castle’s anti-healthcare reform stance is less than genuine:
[...] Castle defenders cite Castle’s signing on to a legislative repeal of ObamaCare. On the surface, this is laudable. Castle did in fact vote against the bill in the first place. But the date plays a role here. Castle is listed by the House of Representatives itself as having signed on for this on…July 30. Which is to say, the law was signed in March.
Where was Castle then? Out there demanding repeal the next day? Introducing his own version of total repeal? No.
What did happen is that on May 9, Utah GOP Senator Robert Bennett abruptly lost his Senate re-nomination to a Utah version of Christine O’Donnell. On June 8, Nevada Republicans threw over two establishment frontrunners to nominate Tea Party backed Sharron Angle to oppose Harry Reid.
[...]Mike Castle, liberal Republican, cautious Republican, Ruling Class Republican, Establishment Republican, seems to have had his finger up in the air, detected an oncoming political tornado in the form of O’Donnell — and by July 30 was a co-sponsor of repealing ObamaCare.
Which, one suspects, is why he’s trailing by three points in the latest poll.
So Mike Castle is a crass, political opportunist, on top of being one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress. At the least, both candidates have dubious histories. But one is more conservative than the other, with the potential for a shift in Senate control hanging in the balance.
I’d hate to be a Delaware Republican right about now.