As of Wednesday, November 7, the electoral count (FoxNews) stands at 303 – 206 in Obama’s favor, with only Florida having yet to complete their tallies. Aside from being shocked (I allowed myself to succumb to the eccentricities of the Morris/Rove/Barone/Ulsterman-WHI “Romeny’s-going-to-win-by-a-landslide” contingent), the bottom line is that Team Obama simply had a better ground game:
The story of the election: Obama turned out his base. As a percentage of the electorate, young voters (18-29) actually increased by a point. So did turnout among Latinos. And turnout among blacks matched 2008. O’s ground game was simply amazing.
On the exceptionally negative side, the following must be fully understood (and I’m convinced it’s not, by anyone on any side, yet):
The Senate (for the next two years) is controlled by the Democrats. This means that even if the GOP-controlled House decides to, say, draw up articles of impeachment over a hot issue like the Benghazi massacre, it would very likely be stopped in the Senate
The House, while still solidly in the control of the GOP (with no less Tea Party influence than it is now), gives Obama every chance to simply route Executive Orders around them without thinking twice
On the other hand, now that there are 30 States with Republican Governors, Tenth Amendment-based initiatives have become significantly easier to come by. Consider that 6 out of 10 such ballot initiatives passed last night by overwhelming majorities. Ironically, they were set to satisfy both the right (healthcare mandate nullifications) and the left (consumer-based marijuana usage).
Could it be possible that if the Federalists in DC become so overly zealous with mandates that the States — at least the most red ones — would rise up and say, “no?” Maybe, but the threat of federal money removal is a strong incentive to keep States in line.
Beyond the statecraft of it all, it is my opinion that the GOP needs to take itself to the proverbial woodshed and get a personality makeover:
This race was not about ideology. On a local basis, Tea Party-backed candidates had no problems getting elected. It was only when certain pro-life senatorial candidates decided to dive head-first into foot-in-mouth syndrome did they lose handily
White people no longer make up the majority of the electorate, even as much as they did ten years ago. Multiple ethnic groups are becoming bigger pluralities in the electorate
Hurricane Sandy was Obama’s uncontrolled November Surprise. His being seen alongside New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was essentially the icing on the cake, likely giving Obama the extra point or two of “looking presidential” that he needed at the right time to push over the finish line. Why? Well, if Obama can be seen amicably appearing to deal with a disastrous situation next to an exceptionally outspoken Republican Governor, then the perception is that Obama can just as easily reach across the aisle as Romney could have
Let’s not forget that it is nevertheless exceptionally difficult to unseat an incumbent President.
In my view, here is a key question that the GOP must successfully answer if it is to succeed at the national level, going forward:
Why is it that Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. can win a landslide victory from the Mayo Clinic but Rep. Allen West cannot? Seriously. What’s the difference?
I think the GOP has a trust and an image problem with a growing segment of the electorate. Why can’t the GOP be trusted with “minority” votes, even though its ranks include the likes of Gov. Mendendez, Gov. Jindal, Gov. Haley, and Sen. Rubio?
Tell me this: What’s the first reaction that Democrats have when the GOP speaks of one of the aforementioned individuals? You’re just putting a token [insert favorite ethnic group here] on the dashboard; it doesn’t mean anything.
Am I right? OK, then how does one turn this around?
Hint: In 2016, if the GOP does not nominate someone like Sen. Rubio as its standard-bearer, they will lose. I’m going to go ahead and call it, merely one day after the 2012 General Election.
Do I think the GOP has a conservative message issue? Yes. But conservatism isn’t the actual issue. Remember the bad logic? Just because someone possesses contraception doesn’t mean they will automatically go out and have sex with someone. Just because someone possesses a gun doesn’t mean they’re going to automatically shoot someone. Wrap such social issues up in libertarian terms and you win the argument.
The path to victory: Aggressively reach out to ethnic groups like your party depends on it (I think it does), and demonstrate that taking responsibility is both a good and cool thing to do. Then, celebrate the crap out of such victories at all levels in the organization and, in time, the trust and image issues will take care of themselves.
People think the system is stacked against them, and maybe it is. But people also conduct their lives in a generally conservative manner. Take advantage of that.
This comment from Prof. Jacobson’s bog links to EvilBloggerLady, further confirming my thoughts RE: expanding demographics (read: you can’t count solely on only white people voting with you to win nationally anymore).
Also: Wisconsin’s State government is now in full GOP control, even though they’re not sending senatorial candidate Tommy Thompson nor their share of electoral votes for Mitt Romney to Washington.
Regardless, Veep candidate and re-elected Representative from the same State Paul Ryan will be back in the next Congress, still chairing the Budget Committee in the House.
The vote, which officially started at approximately 5:30pm ET, came to a close just before 11:00pm ET tonight after Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) got back from Mansfield, OH after attending a wake for his late mother.
Aside from the fact that this bill has been, thus far, the biggest “stimulus” package America has ever passed (and all indications are that it will expand the scope of the federal government, probably even to unconstitutional lengths), I’m not exactly thrilled to hear that certain Democratic members of Congress have such a poor view of their constituents. This is by no means any way to get honest and true leadership moving in Congress per the majority party.
There has been much debate on this site between those who are for and against this bill. I have received critical comments on my calling it “Porkulus Maximus,” as the term “porkulus” does originate from Rush Limbaugh; however, I attached the qualifier, “Maximus” to this label, as I think it’s pretty clear that this bill absolutely maximizes the number and amount of sheer earmarks being pushed through (here’s a listing of some of them, based on the original bill).
While many commenters are clearly Keynesian in nature, I cannot help but be exceptionally Laissez-faire in my viewpoint, and I suppose that this debate will never be completely decided, as each side believes that some semblance of the other is necessary for its own side to proceed forward.
I hope that Congress and the President are right about this bill. I honestly hope things go well, but I am skeptically doubtful, as I’ve never seen government at any level do anything nearly as well as a fully motivated and entrepreneurial individual — or group thereof — could do.
Ask yourself this, dear reader: Can we trust the Democrats going forward? Are they going to continue to run roughshod over legislative procedure in both Chambers of our national Bicameral Legislature with future bills? Will the minority GOP party be given short shrift by not being aloud to negotiate their interests into future legislation?
I respect the Democrats as being the majority party; I do not yet trust them to adequately lead our nation. Yet, the only way to build trust is to act as leaders and not procedural totalitarians. Yes, they have every right to manage both Chambers as they choose; the real question is, just because you can, does that mean you should act in such an authoritarian fashion?
The great debate — and American experiment in constitutional republicanism — goes on.
“A unanimous-consent agreement was reached providing that for the duration of the 111th Congress there will be a limitation of 15-minutes each upon any roll call vote, with the warning signal to be sounded at the midway point, beginning at the last 7 1/2-minutes, and when roll call votes are of 10-minute duration, the warning signal be sounded at the beginning of the last 7 1/2 minutes.”
How many hours was the roll call vote open last night? Seems to me that their own rules were broken, there doesn’t appear to be any exception to this rule in the resolution, does there, except when our freedom is at stake. Hold them accountable.
Yet again, it’s that trust thing that I’m having a really difficult time wrapping my head around.
There are many reasons to believe that only a slight handful of GOP Senators are going to be proverbially peeled away from the caucus to vote for this thing. For starters:
It seems the House passed bill on ’stimulus’ is not going to survive the Senate. First off, no Republicans (rightfully) voted for it and 11 Democrats joined them. Now Rassmussen is showing that support and opposition for the bill is now equalized:
Forty-two percent (42%) of the nation’s likely voters now support the president’s plan, … The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 39% are opposed to it …
An influential Senate Democrat said Friday that it’s unclear whether President Obama’s $819 economic stimulus bill will win enough support to pass in the Senate.
“I don’t even know how many Democrats will vote for it, as it stands today,” Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., told FOX News.
Nelson, a moderate Democrat, is famous for gathering lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in a so-called “Gang of 14″ to avert a shutdown of the Senate over judicial nominations. He is seeking a similar bipartisan effort to improve the stimulus bill.
Angry Republican senators vowed Thursday to put up a fight against President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill after the package passed the House of Representatives with no opposition support.The senators denied they were indulging in political games against Obama, insisting that the 819-billion-dollar stimulus bill would prove a colossal waste of money without a greater emphasis on tax cuts and targeted investment.
“This isn’t about playing the game, this is about doing something good for the American people,” Republican Jon Kyl said at a briefing with several of his Senate colleagues, accusing the Democrats of ignoring their objections.
“It doesn’t seem they were interested in the same kind of bipartisan outreach that the president was,” Kyl said. “We are too often met with this response: ‘we won.’”
And it also appears that Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) is seriously taking the lead on this issue:
I fully expect Republican Main-Streeters like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Arlen Specter [emphasis mine] to vote for this monstrosity which borrows and transfers more money than there is total currency currently in circulation; however, I’m hereby challenging every one of them and their colleagues to prove me wrong. …
Call your Senator and tell him or her not to abandon the House GOP on the Front Lines of the current battle for Congress and for America’s future.
The Democrats have enough votes to pass this and every other rotten item on their agenda without Republican help. Let’s make them do it — and, through that, make them own every single negative outcome that results from their awful policies.
To: Interested Parties
From: Brendan Daly [Speaker Pelosi's communications director]
Re: The Republican Problem
Date: January 29, 2009
The House Republican Leadership put its Members in another politically untenable position yesterday: trying to reclaim the mantle of lower taxes and small government — at the exact time when economists of every ideological stripe agree that government investments are the only way to get our economy moving again and make us competitive for the long term.
So yesterday, while we are facing the greatest economic crisis in decades, Republican House Members ended up voting unanimously against:
* Jobs in their own communities
* Tax cuts for 95 percent of American workers
* Long overdue investments that will transform and grow their economies to compete globally
* Critical services in their own communities, such as police officers, teachers, and health care
Instead, their substitute did not create as many jobs and it increased the number of people subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax.
The hypocrisy of the Republicans complaining about the process does not obscure the record of recent Republican leadership:
* 2.6 million American jobs were lost in 2008 alone.
* The national debt has almost doubled in the last eight years; the debt borrowed from foreign countries has tripled.
* The Clinton Administration left a record budget surplus. President Bush turned it into the worst deficit in American history.
* We face an economic recession unrivaled since the Great Depression, as a result of years of failure to invest in our own global competitiveness, failures to bring common sense to Wall Street and our housing market, and tax policies that favored massive corporations and most affluent individuals.
This is not the first time the Republicans in the House have unanimously voted against a needed economic package. The last time, in 1993, when Democrats voted for tough action to clean up after Republican economic mess, not a single Republican voted for the legislation that produced record surpluses and a balanced budget.
Once again this week, as another Democratic President and Democratic Congress worked to address historic deficits and recession brought on by Republican mismanagement of the economy, not a single Republican voted for the legislation. There’s a pattern here of Republican economic mismanagement and Democrats stepping up to do what’s needed for the good of the country while Republicans acted in a partisan and irresponsible manner.
They almost swerved into the truth of 1994. What they failed to remember was that the GOP absolutely sweeped the House in that year, giving the Republican caucus majority status for the first time in roughly 40 years.
One would think that once one began hitting the proverbial septic tank that one would stop digging. Or, maybe not.
He [the President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. [emphases mine]
On March 30, 2011, Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) with 15 cosponsors, including the Senate Majority and Republican Leaders, as well as six other Democratic Senators, six other Republican Senators, and an Independent Senator, introduced in the Senate the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011 (S. 679). The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
The bill reduces the number of presidential appointments that require the consent of the Senate and establishes within the executive branch a Working Group on Streamlining Paperwork for Executive Nominations. Individuals nominated to senior executive offices suffer slow and detailed background investigations and mounds of duplicative paperwork before a President sends their nominations to the Senate. After nomination, many nominees suffer time-consuming inaction or time-consuming and excruciating action as the Senate proceeds (or does not) with consideration of the nomination. The sponsors of S. 679 have identified a valid problem, but proposed the wrong solution. Congress should not enact S. 679.
While a good case could be made to streamline governing processes, the conservative think-tank warns:
When the delegates of the states gathered in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 and wrote the Constitution, they distributed the powers of the federal government among two Houses of Congress, a President, and a judiciary, and required in many cases that two of them work together to exercise a particular constitutional power. That separation of powers protects the liberties of the American people by preventing any one officer of the government from aggregating too much power.
The Framers of the Constitution did not give the President the kingly power to appoint the senior officers of the government by himself. Instead, they allowed the President to name an individual for a senior office, but then required the President to obtain the Senate’s consent before appointing the individual to office. Thus, they required the cooperation of the President and the Senate to put someone in high office. …
The Congress should not reduce the number of Senate-confirmed appointments as a means of dealing with its cumbersome and inefficient internal process for considering nominations. Doing so gives away Senate influence over a number of significant appointments, does nothing to improve the Senate process, and still leaves nominees whose offices require nominations mired in the Senate process. The proper solution to the problem of a slow Senate is to speed up the Senate rather than to diminish the role of the Senate. The Senate should look inward and streamline its internal procedures for considering all nominations. The proper solution also is the faster one, as the Senate can accomplish the solution by acting on its own in the exercise of its power to make Senate rules, while S. 679 requires approval by both Houses of Congress. …
The sponsors of the legislation have identified some appropriate objectives with respect to the nominations process: simplify executive branch nominations paperwork, facilitate sharing of the information with appropriate officials in the executive branch, tailor the requirements of background investigations to the nature of the offices involved in the appointment, and increase the efficiency of, and thereby accelerate, each element of the process. The President should direct his subordinates to work together to plan how to accomplish these objectives, execute the plan, and report regularly to him on progress until they achieve all the objectives. The Congress, however, should not mandate by S. 679 that the President do so, for the manner by which a President decides whom to nominate to federal office is beyond the power of Congress to regulate.
According to a CRS (Congressional Research Service) report from 2003, routine nominations in any given Congress number between 50,000 and 100,000. According to the Senate Rules committee, the number of nominations that require a true vetting process, FBI reports etc… is about 1409, vs 286 in the Kennedy administration
The bill would reclassify about 200 non-political, non-senior positions so as to not require Senate confirmation. The Congress can control an out of control POTUS on the nomination process by the power of the purse. In other words, if POTUS loads up an agency or department with too many pols or CZARS that aren’t confirmed by the Senate, then Congress can zero fund those positions or get rid of them all together by legislation. …
Since 1781 we operated under a system known as the Articles of Confederation. Congress had one chamber and every state had one vote. There was no President. By 1787, it was clear our government wasn’t functioning, so our Constitution emerged. It created our three branches with checks and balances. No part of our government can accrue too much power because the power is offset somewhere else. The House was created to move legislation, the Senate was built to slow things down. The Senate confirmation process is part of that slowing down process. However, if they are bogged down by too many non-senior nominations to process then they will fail in other areas. …
The media and Democratic spokespersons will likely spin this withdrawal as a selfishly partisan move by Sen. Gregg, particularly in light of his honesty about his differences in ideology and policy with the President — despite the fact it is President Obama, not Gregg, who has the unblemished history of working exclusively on one side of the aisle.
In truth, this was the right final move by a Senator who should never have accepted President Obama’s offer in the first place. Now that this is behind him, perhaps Gregg will be able to once again focus all of his efforts on his Senatorial duties — including making every effort to stop the incredibly irresponsible $800 billion borrow-and-spend bill currently being considered in Congress. [emphasis in original]
Wow. This is an embarrassment for Obama, and might imperil the stimulus package, if Gregg has any influence over the waverers. The decision to strip him of authority over the census looks like the last straw, however — as it should have been.
Update: Barack Obama will take another big hit to his transition, but the man who really deserves the obloquy this time is Rahm Emanuel. The census ploy was a transparent attempt to hijack the data for political purposes, and pulling that stunt after Gregg’s appointment made Gregg look like a political eunuch. It was classic overreach, and it’s classic Emanuel.
Now he’s embarrassed himself, made his boss look impotent, and managed at the same time to damage Obama’s most critical piece of domestic policy legislation. If Gregg hits the media circuit to criticize Porkulus, his credibility as an Obama appointee will create a lot of heat on other Republicans and even a few Democrats to stop the runaway train of this bill and force it back into debate.
Update II: Gregg never resigned as Senator; that usually happens after confirmation. He is still and will continue to be the senior Senator from New Hampshire.
Update III: One of the commenters makes a good point. Democratic governor John Lynch had to agree to appoint a Republican to the seat and take some political heat for it — and now it’s all for nothing. I’m sure he’s happy with Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama today, too.
The withdrawal appeared to take the White House by surprise, with members of the president’s media operation learning of Gregg’s decision from reporters. An administration official said Gregg dropped out without warning for a position that he had expressed interest in just a few weeks ago.
They heard about it from reporters? Wow again. Gregg apparently got so incensed that he didn’t bother to apprise them, or the people he did tell didn’t get the word to the media-relations folks. What a breakdown, and an embarrassment as well.
SENATOR GREGG STATEMENT ON HIS WITHDRAWAL FROM CONSIDERATION OF U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY
February 12, 2009 Contact: Andrea Wuebker/Laena Fallon (GREGG)
Sen. Gregg stated, “I want to thank the President for nominating me to serve in his Cabinet as Secretary of Commerce. This was a great honor, and I had felt that I could bring some views and ideas that would assist him in governing during this difficult time. I especially admire his willingness to reach across the aisle.
“However, it has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census there are irresolvable conflicts for me. Prior to accepting this post, we had discussed these and other potential differences, but unfortunately we did not adequately focus on these concerns. We are functioning from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.
“Obviously the President requires a team that is fully supportive of all his initiatives.
“I greatly admire President Obama and know our country will benefit from his leadership, but at this time I must withdraw my name from consideration for this position.
“As we move forward, I expect there will be many issues and initiatives where I can and will work to assure the success of the President’s proposals. This will certainly be a goal of mine.
“Kathy and I also want to specifically thank Governor Lynch and Bonnie Newman for their friendship and assistance during this period. In addition we wish to thank all the people, especially in New Hampshire, who have been so kind and generous in their supportive comments.
“As a further matter of clarification, nothing about the vetting process played any role in this decision. I will continue to represent the people of New Hampshire in the United States Senate.”
Results from a new Rasmussen Reports surveyreleased today shows that only 37% of those polled now favor the Democrat’s idea of stimulus, while 43% oppose it and 20% cannot make up their minds. …
Even though sixty-four percent (64%) of Democrats still support the plan, that figure is down from the 74% who favored it just a week ago. Only 13% of Republicans and 27% of independents like the stimulus. …
Opposition has risen from 34% two weeks ago to 39% last week and 43% today. …
Forty-six percent (46%) of [voters] fear that the government will overreach in trying to fix the country’s economic problems. …
For his part, the president is … making a desperate appeal to his most ardent supporters to help him out.
Could the Senate be the epicenter of a push for true bipartisanship? Here’s what Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had to say this weekend:
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday the massive stimulus bill backed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats could go down to defeat if it’s not stripped of unnecessary spending and focused more on housing issues and tax cuts.
The Senate version of the bill, which topped out at nearly $900 billion, is headed to the floor for debate. The House bill totaled about $819 billion and earned no Republican votes, even though it easily passed the Democratic-controlled House. At some point lawmakers will need to compromise on the competing versions.
McConnell and other Republicans suggested that the bill needed an overhaul because it doesn’t pump enough into the private sector through tax cuts and allows Democrats to go on a spending spree unlikely to jolt the economy. The Republican leader also complained that Democrats had not been as bipartisan in writing the bill as Obama had said he wanted.
“I think it may be time … for the president to kind of get a hold of these Democrats in the Senate and the House, who have rather significant majorities, and shake them a little bit and say, ‘Look, let’s do this the right way,’” McConnell said. “I can’t believe that the president isn’t embarrassed about the products that have been produced so far.”
Better get shakin’, ’cause Senate Dem #2 seems to disagree:
“We cannot delay this,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the Senate Democrats’ No. 2 leader. “We can’t engage in the old political rhetoric of saying, ‘Well, maybe it could be a little bit better here and a little bit better there.’ We’ve got to pull together.”
Senator John McCain, the former Republican presidential nominee, offered a prelude to what might be heard from the Senate floor as lawmakers begin taking up proposals that could cost upward of $900 billion. On CBS’ “The Early Show,” Mr. McCain said: “Now’s the time to sit down and take into consideration the ideas that we have, particularly on things like tax cuts. We should have payroll tax cuts. We should be having taxes — incentives for people to stay in their homes. There’s a lot of other proposals we have. We think they–we need to eliminate a lot of the wasteful pork-barrel spending that’s been put in and have a real, meaningful stimulus package. We realize they need the package. We need the package, America needs the package. But we’re not there yet.”
He continued by calling “outrageous” some of the spending measures built into the package.
A group of conservative Senate Republicans vowed Thursday to vote against an $888 billion economic stimulus package when it comes up for a vote in the Senate.
“A trillion dollars is a terrible thing to waste,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., standing with Republican colleagues who said they feel shut out of the process of crafting the stimulus despite Democratic promises of bipartisan cooperation.
All of this leaves me wondering if the “F”-bomb — meaning, “filibuster” — won’t be dropped soon. Also, where’s the Majority Leader (Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)) in all of this? We haven’t heard a word from him lately!
South Carolina GOP Senator Jim DeMint spoke out today on behalf of the five conservative Senate wins he backed — (pictured above, in order) Senators-Elect Pat Toomey (PA), Marco Rubio (FL), Rand Paul (KY), Mike Lee (UT) and Ron Johnson (WI) — with the following Wall Street Journalop-ed piece.
I expect it to be the first of many good pieces of strategic advice that constitutional conservatives receive (and that I post here):
November 3, 2010
By JIM DEMINT
Congratulations to all the tea party-backed candidates who overcame a determined, partisan opposition to win their elections. The next campaign begins today. Because you must now overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going to be spared from fiscal disaster.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott told the Washington Post earlier this year: “As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them.”
Don’t let them. Co-option is coercion. Washington operates on a favor-based economy and for every earmark, committee assignment or fancy title that’s given, payback is expected in return. The chits come due when the roll call votes begin. This is how big-spending bills that everyone always decries in public always manage to pass with just enough votes.
But someone can’t be bribed if they aren’t for sale. Here is some humble advice on how to recognize and refuse such offers.
First, don’t request earmarks. If you do, you’ll vote for legislation based on what’s in it for your state, not what’s best for the country. You will lose the ability to criticize wasteful spending. And, if you dare to oppose other pork-barrel projects, the earmarkers will retaliate against you.
In 2005, Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) offered a measure to kill funding for the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere.” Before the vote, Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), an appropriator, issued a warning on the Senate floor.
“If we start cutting funding for individual projects, your project may be next,” she said. “When Members come down to the floor to vote on this amendment, they need to know if they support stripping out this project, Senator Bond [a Republican appropriator] and I are likely to be taking a long, serious look at their projects to determine whether they should be preserved during our upcoming conference negotiations.”
The threat worked. Hardly anyone wanted to risk losing earmarks. The Senate voted 82-15 to protect funding for the Bridge to Nowhere.
Second, hire conservative staff. The old saying “personnel is policy” is true. You don’t need Beltway strategists and consultants running your office. Find people who share your values and believe in advancing the same policy reforms. Staff who are driven by conservative instincts can protect you from unwanted, outside influences when the pressure is on.
Third, beware of committees. Committee assignments can be used as bait to make senators compromise on other matters. Rookie senators are often told they must be a member of a particular committee to advance a certain piece of legislation. This may be true in the House, but a senator can legislate on any matter from the Senate floor.
Fourth, don’t seek titles. The word “Senator” before your name carries plenty of clout. All senators have the power to object to bad legislation, speak on the floor and offer amendments, regardless of how they are ranked in party hierarchy.
Election Night at Opinion Journal
Lastly, don’t let your re-election become more important than your job. You’ve campaigned long and hard for the opportunity to go to Washington and restore freedom in America. People will try to convince you to moderate conservative positions and break campaign promises, all in the name of winning the next race. Resist the temptation to do so. There are worse things than losing an election-like breaking your word to voters.
At your swearing-in ceremony, you will, as all senators do, take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” Most will fail to keep their oath. Doing these five things will help you maintain a focus on national priorities and be one who does.
Congress will never fix entitlements, simplify the tax code or balance the budget as long as members are more concerned with their own narrow, parochial interests. Time spent securing earmarks and serving personal ambitions is time that should be spent working on big-picture reforms.
When you are in Washington, remember what the voters back home want-less government and more freedom. Millions of people are out of work, the government is going bankrupt and the country is trillions in debt. Americans have watched in disgust as billions of their tax dollars have been wasted on failed jobs plans, bailouts and takeovers. It’s up to us to stop the spending spree and make sure we have a government that benefits America instead of being a burden to it.
Tea party Republicans were elected to go to Washington and save the country-not be co-opted by the club. So put on your boxing gloves. The fight begins today.
Hold true to your word, hold true to your staff members, and read the freakin’ bills before you put your imprimatur on any legislation. And as far as titles or parties (as in, the food type) go, isn’t it joyous enough to be called, “Senator?” Holy crap! When did that become “not enough?”
Only when you’ve worn out your welcome in Washington, according to the People.
You have to start sometime and somewhere. Better to do it now when you can prep for it.
Besides — I’m hearing reports that this tea-nami wave has only gotten started.
Senate Democratic leaders struck a deal with a handful of moderate Republicans late Friday on a leaner economic-recovery package and pushed for a vote after five days of partisan deadlock over a plan that had swollen to $930 billion.
Senate leaders valued the compromise, struck on the same day as the government announced the loss of nearly 600,000 more jobs in January, at about $780 billion, although some aspects of the plan remained unclear late Friday. The deal’s proponents said the new plan would cut spending for an array of projects, such as $870 million for pandemic flu preparedness, included in the earlier House and Senate bills. …
White House aides refused to call [the] cuts a defeat for the president. Instead, one called it “a strategic retreat” to get the bill into House-Senate negotiations and off the Senate floor where it was being picked apart.
“Wait til conference,” another White House aide cautioned. The reference was to the House-Senate conference that will shape the final bill. …
Mr. Reid had to compromise to win the handful of Republicans he needs to swing behind the president’s plan and pass the bill. Democrats control the chamber with a 58-41 majority. But they need Republican support to achieve the 60 votes needed to ensure passage of any measure.
Two Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania — endorsed the package, Friday night.
Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has been ill, was flying back to Washington Friday night to bolster the vote for the plan.
But Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.) Friday night criticized the compromise plan, and said the plan is “not likely…to produce the results we desire.”
The tenacity of the Republicans’ opposition to the stimulus plan in the House and Senate has appeared to catch the Obama administration off balance.
Multiple sources are reporting that Republican Senators Arlen Specter, Olympia Snowe, and Susan Collins have reached an agreement with Democrats on a final $780 billion version of the so-called “stimulus” package.
Way to sell out your team, folks.
Pamela Geller, Ms. Atlas Shrugs herself, is reporting:
Here are the GOP turncoats. Call now. Call back if it’s busy.
America’s future in freedom hangs in the balance as three RINO senators on Friday announced they will join Democrats in their scheme to move this country irretrievably down the path to socialism. Senators Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) have indicated they will vote for the $1.3 trillion “stimulus” spending bill that purposes none other than precisely that outcome. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office ruled that less than 20 percent of the bill could in any way be considered stimulative.
The vote for cloture in the Senate is scheduled for 5:30 pm today. If cloture is invoked, debate would end on the 778-page bill that was not released to the Senate until 11:00 pm Saturday.
At noon on Tuesday the bill will be subject to another 60 vote hurdle by either waiving a budget point of order or achieving 60 votes on final passage. This bill that will ground this country in socialism will have passed the “greatest deliberative body in the world” with only one small window of debate on the bill as actually written on Monday afternoon.
These three Republican senators should forever be held accountable for bringing unfettered socialism to bear on the American people. Remember their names — Specter, Collins, Snowe — and let this forever be their legacy.
Update: The GOP strikes back — Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN):
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):
My question is, aren’t there any Democrats at all who are going to vote “Nay” on this bill?
At least in the House there are significantly more reasonable voices. This is what Rep. John Linder (R-GA) had to say in an email to opponents of the bill in the House:
It is evident that our nation is in the midst of an economic crisis. In order to provide our lethargic economy a much-needed boost, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives introduced H.R. 1, an $825 billion stimulus proposal that attempts to spend our way out of the current recession. While I agree that the Federal government has a role in restoring the prosperity of our nation, it is naive to believe that spending $6 billion weatherizing private homes, $600 million to train physicians to prepare for universal healthcare, $400 million for NASA to study climate change, or $50 million to repair cemeteries – all of which are included in this package, has the capacity to restore and grow our economy. I, along with every Republican Member of Congress, opposed H.R. 1, when it passed the House on January 28, 2009, by a 244-188 roll call vote.
While the terms “hope” and “change” are commonplace in Washington, D.C., these days, uncertainty is what envelops American taxpayers. In fact, the only certainty that exists is that compounded with our existing $10.6 trillion deficit, the long-term costs of this proposal will burden future generations. Even more alarming is the observation from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office that only 7 percent of the spending included in the proposal will be realized in 2009, while two-thirds of the spending will occur in 2011, the very year economists forecast the end of the recession. This fact certainly undermines the premise of a stimulus for a timely, temporary, and targeted economic recovery.
I fear that Depression-era spending of this nature will only encourage Depression-era conditions. The cornerstone of an effective stimulus must be jobs; not jobs artificially created by growing the government in both size and significance to individuals’ lives, but private sector jobs where innovation and accountability exist in practice, not solely in theory. Under the Democratic stimulus proposal, 4 million jobs are promised to be created; a noble goal. However, when questioned during consideration of the stimulus bill in the Ways and Means Committee, a representative from the Joint Committee on Taxation could not verify that even a single new job would be created. Even assuming 4 million jobs are created, at a cost of $206,000 per job, this figure is roughly four times the average earnings of private sector employees. This is yet another example of a government plan that offers low results at a high cost; a gamble our sick economy cannot afford.
Instead of taking a nearly trillion dollar gamble, I believe the path to our economic recovery can begin by implementing H.R. 470, the “Economic Recovery and Middle Class Tax Relief Act,” legislation I have co-sponsored which provides tax relief to families and encourages businesses to invest and innovate. Families will experience relief through a 5 percent reduction in income taxes, increased child tax credit, and protection from the Alternative Minimum Tax. Businesses will be able to make projections into the future and create new jobs knowing their tax rates will be stable, investments will be incentivized, and losses can be recovered. Providing individuals and businesses the ability to project for the future brings certainty to the forefront and calms fears. Americans deserve a stimulus that can provide long-term solutions, not just another excessive spending spree by Democratic leadership.
An Obama administration official tells ABC News that Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is now the leading candidate for Commerce Secretary and could be announced as soon as Monday.
Gregg would be at least the third Republican to join the Obama administration, joining the ranks of Transportation Secretary and former GOP congressman Ray LaHood and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. (The political party of National Security Advisor and retired Army General Jim Jones is unclear, though he is a longtime friend of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and appeared at a McCain campaign event.)
Gregg’s announcement, while making the Obama administration more bipartisan, would likely have the opposite effect on the U.S. Senate. New Hampshire’s Democratic governor John Lynch could appoint a Democrat to replace Gregg, thus delivering to Democrats their elusive 60-vote majority, empowering them to stave off Republican filibusters.
Gregg, a former governor, is up for re-election in 2010 in a state that has been trending Democratic for the last few years.
Obviously, the GOP really could not afford to lose another Senator with respect to its filibuster-ability. I’ll be watching this story to see how legitimate the information is that ABC News has received.
Update: CNN reports that Sen. Gregg will, in fact, accept the position. In return, Sen. McConnell is reporting that New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor is promising to appoint a Republican. Really.