Commentary Magazine has very little good to say about Donald Trump's immigration platform. The neoconservative publication says the fiery candidate's highly restrictionist plan to seal the borders spells doom for the GOP in next year's election. Not only that but the entire plan to ship out the 'dreamers" is "heartless" and an assault on American values. The pushback isn't going to make many on the Right (some who don't hold pro-immigration views) comfortable. The implications of such a far-reaching plan are counterproductive.
Trump's "plan" is an assault on not merely the illegal immigrants who have violated American laws, but those who have played by the existing rules to come to the United States. The proposal amounts to a declaration of war on America's immigrant community, an attack on the foundational nature of America's character as a melting pot for all the peoples of the world, and the inception of a police state that is incompatible with a free republican democracy.
Trump's "plan" to address his key belief, the need to construct a great wall across the southern border and make Mexico pay for it, is no plan at all. Rather, it is an effort to justify this retributive policy. There is not one Republican candidate who disputes the need to enhance border security provisions. Indeed, that was why so many Senate Republicans voted against the supplemental appropriations measure to address the border crisis in the summer of 2014, when Trump was promoting the latest season of his reality television show, because it was not a border security bill but a measure to address a refugee crisis.
The problem with Trump's wall is that it is infeasible; the geography of the border simply does not allow for one unbroken wall. Nor would it be effective. Even if you could erect this barrier around, say, Florida, walls can be surmounted, tunneled under, and circumvented in other ways. Policing the border requires police; human capital that comes at taxpayer expense. Mexico will not be paying their salaries, but Trump has a plan for that, too: confiscate all remittances from illegal immigrants working in America and hike the fees on all Mexican tourism and work visas. Erecting the structures necessary to identify much less confiscate illegal wages would prove daunting. Even if it was legal and could survive court challenges, a dubious prospect, this is a policy that would require a dramatic expansion of government's ability to intrude on the lives of American citizens - a principle to which conservatives were once constitutionally opposed.
Trump's "plan" should give conservatives who revere and appreciate their country's history pause.
Add to that the fact that Trump wants to triple funding for ICE and you have the making of a disaster for the GOP says Commentary. Is the magazine correct? Are conservatives who support Trump selling their souls on the basis of a cheap issue?
Columnist Arthur Chu had a primal scream of an article published in this past week's Daily Beast titled "The Mass Murderer On Your $20". In it, the leftist writer decries having the double sawbuck tainted with the image of a man whom the author views as a psychotic "mass murderer" of the American Indians, an "anti-intellectual" demagogue, & a bully whose "presidency demonstrate(d) the ugliness of an American populace that wanted to be led" by him.
But you know what? If the Reagan people want to put Ronald Reagan on the $20 bill and boot Andrew Jackson off, I'm all for it.
The problem with Chu's article is that there's no context to it. He's quick to highlight the ugly, indisputable facts that tarnish - if not damn - Jackson's tenure as our nation's seventh president but he fails to comprehend why many historians place the man among the "greats" of American history (which is material for another blog in & of itself).
Nor does Chu want to confront the fact that today's Democrat Party owes its existence to Jackson (he was a co-founder) & that the ugliness Chu thinks Jackson alone personified was actually an ugliness shared by many within the party itself.
He was a "man of the people," in that his election marked the beginning of content-free, vicious mass-media-driven personality politics. Although operatives of both sides slung copious quantities of mud, Jackson's opponent John Quincy Adams was personally one of the most educated, idealistic, decent people to serve as president, and was thus easily taken down by Jackson as being a limp-wristed, out-of-touch elitist you wouldn't want to have a beer with.
This set the tone for attacks to be used against educated, idealistic, decent people for the entire future history of American politics. Neither sushi nor lattes were commonly consumed in America in 1828, but one gets the feeling if they had been they would have figured prominently in Jackson's campaign.
As more & more young leftists like Chu discover the truth about the Democrat Party's sordid past, they'll either dismiss it, denounce it, or ignore it. But if they want to expunge one of their party's founding father's from his place on the $20 bill and replace Jackson with Reagan, who am I to disagree? So I now ask the RMG community: should Jackson's image be dropped from the $20 bill? If so, which past American president should have his image replace that of Jackson's?
D.W. Griffith's legendary racist masterpiece just turned one hundred years old this month. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) revolutionized the art of making movies (techniques that are still used in today's Hollywood) while at the same time it poisoned race relations & contributed to a brief resurgence of popularity for the Ku Klux Klan (KKK).
What always intrigues me about the movie is its unspoken subtext. Although a portion of the movie delves into politics, it doesn't talk about Democrats or Republicans. It does, however, casually quote Democrats like Woodrow Wilson:
"The white men were roused by a mere instinct of self-preservation... until at last there had sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the South, to protect the Southern country." - WOODROW WILSON
The movie was based on a book written by Thomas Dixon who once declared his goal "was to revolutionize Northern sentiments by a presentation of history that would transform every [white] man in the audience into a good Democrat!"
The Birth of a Nation focused on the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War when formerly enslaved men were allowed to vote and hold office in 11 Southern states. Dixon was a young former Baptist minister in love with gallant Ku Klux Klan stories he heard as a child and decided to write a book, a play, and a movie.
Dixon described Reconstruction as a clash between white good and black evil. He briefly touched history since from 1868 to 1898 African American men under the protection of three constitutional amendments and 25,000 federal troops were elected to office in Southern states. Then his film omits a lot: With white allies, black elected officials helped rewrite the constitutions of Mississippi and South Carolina, elected 22 black congressmen, including two senators from Mississippi, a Supreme Court justice in South Carolina, and a host of state representatives, sheriffs, mayors, and other local officials in 10 states.
This coalition managed to introduce the South's first public school system, and bring economic, political, and prison reforms to their states, including laws to help the poor of both races and to end racial injustice. Nonetheless, black legislators did not challenge segregation in Southern education, business, or personal life.
After about half a dozen years, as the federal government largely sat silent, these governments were overthrown by KKK violence and systematic election fraud. In 1877 the federal government caved in, made a deal with former slaveholders and withdrew all troops. A democratic experiment was overthrown and white supremacy reigned.
The Birth of a Nation sought to erase any memories of the role of African Americans and the unity they forged with whites to bring democracy to Southern states. The film's lesson: Race relations must remain in the hands of those who once owned, "understood," and controlled black people. And white violence is justified to ensure this noble end.
Even GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) had a touch of revisionism to it. You'll note that the Northern carpetbagger (played by Victor Jory) along with his black associate are portrayed as less buffoonish as the carpetbaggers in THE BIRTH OF A NATION but they are still the "enemy" - probable members of the Radical Republicans who won the Civil War.
It's sad that the black hole of memory affects many members of today's Republican Party. Not long after its founding, the GOP declared itself to be the party opposed to the "twin relics of barbarism, polygamy, and slavery". It was a party of modernism - a party of liberalism - that wanted to build upon the foundation laid down by the nation's revolutionary Founding Fathers. It's no surprise that Ronald Reagan - a man of the Old Left who was drawn to the Republican Party - would often quote Thomas Paine, the most radical of the Founding Fathers because he shared Paine's liberal view of politics. And by "liberal" I mean the classical liberalism that was a hallmark of the Anglo-Scotch Enlightenment which, in turn, made the American Revolution a reality that even today remains imitated by few yet despised by many.
The Republican Party in the past used to be the standard-bearer of that proud American tradition of classical liberalism. Where is THAT party today? Is it as invisible as the (black) Republicans in THE BIRTH OF A NATION whose grotesque caricatures live on in the academic archives about popular culture - or has the party's liberalism extinguished itself?
According to Boston Herald reporter Hillary Chabot, GOP Chairwoman Kirsten Hughesjust got a raise:
But the Massachusetts Republican Party needs more than a strong governor. Thanks to a recent $240,000 settlement payout to former gubernatorial candidate Mark Fisher, the party is scrambling for money. Add the fact that the executive committee voted on Feb. 4 to start paying Hughes a $90,000 salary - the first time she's taken a salary since she started chairing two years ago.
"It was a unanimous vote," said Hughes. "It's not taken from the operating budget in terms of candidates."
(Charlie) Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito have plans to help boost the state's GOP coffers at a March fundraiser, said Hughes.
I've long argued that the party needed its position of chair to be a paid gig if the party ever hoped to attract talented individuals to apply for the job. So I've no problem with the compensation part of the news.
Now does Hughes herself deserve the salary? I'd venture to guess a lot of activists would say no based on how the last GOP convention was mismanaged & how said mismanagement contributed to the party's payoff of Fisher.
I wasn't at the State Committee meeting when the decision was "unanimously" supported by its members in attendance. I hope said decision was reached after due deliberations had been made springing from the pros & cons of the issue itself. I'd be VERY disappointed if powerful people rather than an impartial process had determined the outcome of Hughes getting a raise in spite of a performance that one could charitably describe as "underwhelming".
A recent Boston Globe article posits that a few conservatives within the Massachusetts Republican Party have expressed serious concerns over some of the cabinet appointments being made by Governor Charlie Baker.
"We are bracing ourselves,'' said Mark Fisher, the GOP's Tea Party gubernatorial candidate who was crushed in his primary challenge against Baker.
"Charlie said he wasn't going to raise taxes and fees. Now he's got some Democrats in the Cabinet," said Fisher, the former gubernatorial candidate. "The question I hear from conservative Republicans, is he going to raise taxes?"
The Globe also cited this blog as proof that Bay State conservatives are upset with some of Baker's choices:
"Baker AGAIN forsakes his party" was the headline on the conservative RedMass group website on Jan. 16, the day after Baker appointed a Democrat to fill the seat vacated by Bristol District Attorney Sam Sutter.
"Shame, Charlie, Shame,'' said the anonymous blog that was posted by Rob Eno, publisher of the website that promotes the GOP.
Count me as unimpressed. Baker repeatedly said on the campaign trail that he would have an array of ideological voices to guide his administration & he's kept his word. Given the paucity of GOP talent, Baker's appointment of experienced moderate or left-of-center individuals to manage certain departments makes sense.
The man prides himself on his non-ideological management skills & that's how I'll judge him (with the MBTA management crisis being his first test). I suspect most voters in Massachusetts will judge him in the same way.
Conservatives should continue to respectfully press their issues with Baker while being mindful that, since he isn't going to change things (he accepts the Democrat paradigm but not the status quo left behind by former Governor Deval Patrick), they must mentor candidates for future offices who will be the true change agents of the GOP.
Secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli raise even more questions about America's involvement in Libya and suggest that the chaos now consuming the North African nation could have been avoided at the very outset.
Top Pentagon officials and a senior Democrat in Congress so distrusted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2011 march to war in Libya that they opened their own diplomatic channels with the Gadhafi regime in an effort to halt the escalating crisis, according to secret audio recordings recovered from Tripoli.
The tapes, reviewed by The Washington Times and authenticated by the participants, chronicle U.S. officials' unfiltered conversations with Col. Moammar Gadhafi's son and a top Libyan leader, including criticisms that Mrs. Clinton had developed tunnel vision and led the U.S. into an unnecessary war without adequately weighing the intelligence community's concerns.
"You should see these internal State Department reports that are produced in the State Department that go out to the Congress. They're just full of stupid, stupid facts," an American intermediary specifically dispatched by the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Gadhafi regime in July 2011, saying the State Department was controlling what intelligence would be reported to U.S. officials.
The audio recordings raise serious questions about Clinton & Barack Obama's Libya gambit:
A man who broke barriers in Massachusetts politics has passed away. Ed Brooke was a congenial and sharp pol. They don't make them like Ed Brooke any more and the lessons he left behind are priceless. Brooke, a Republican, appealed to a majority of Massachusetts voters. Many forget that while the Dixiecrats were opposing civil rights and defending Jim Crow, Ed Brooke and the GOP were out front for equality before the law.
Former Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Edward W. Brooke III, a liberal Republican and civil rights champion who was the first black to win popular election to the U.S. Senate, paving the way for scores of minority politicians including President Obama, died yesterday at age 95. “Before there was a President Barack Obama, there was a Sen. Edward W. Brooke,” Ralph Neas, Brooke’s former chief counsel, told the Herald. “The president has said on a number of occasions that Sen. Brooke helped pave the way for him and that is true ... He was the undisputed champion of civil rights on Capitol Hill and the Constitution never had a more diligent protector.” Brooke, who died of natural causes at his home in Coral Gables, Fla., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1966, becoming the first black to sit in that branch since Reconstruction.
Watching key Obamacare architect & MIT academic slimeball Jonathan Grubertestify at this week's House Oversight & Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington (DC), I couldn't help but be reminded of Uriah Heep, the disgustingly obsequious fictional toady created by English writer Charles Dickens for his novel DAVID COPPERFIELD.
Gruber spent a good amount of time groveling before tough grilling from the likes of Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC). But if you pay close attention to the tense exchange between both men, you can see that Gruber's rehearsed responses are a clever form of "pleading the Fifth" without calling attention to the fact that he's deliberately NOT answering Gowdy's questions. Like the ever "umble" Heep, Gruber glibly pretends to be contrite & self-abasing as a way to cloak his true character, his true motivations, & his true role in Obamacare from any further scrutiny.
Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) tersely remind Gruber that "glibness" can have unintended consequences in the lives of ordinary Americans whom Gruber infamously derided as "stupid". But her admonitions will have no impact on Gruber & his ilk. They will put up with the discomfort of what they perceive to be the GOP version of a show trail because they know that most Republicans are spineless & will be loathe to do the unpleasant job of (to paraphrase Conan The Barbarian) crushing their enemies, repealing the legislation of said enemies, & listening to the genuine lamentations of the NGOs, the media, & the academies of whom Gruber The Glib is its most notable personification.
The list of Jones' supporters includes James Kelcourse, an Amesbury Republican who awaits the results of a recount for the seat formerly held by Rep. Michael Costello (D-Newburyport). Kelcourse holds a 10 vote lead over Democrat Ed Cameron. Rep. Matthew Beaton, a Shrewsbury Republican who was re-elected but plans to resign to serve as energy secretary in Baker's administration, is also on the list of supporters.
Last spring, Republican Reps. James Lyons of Andover and Marc Lombardo of Billerica called for Jones to step aside as minority Leader, saying he was too cozy with Democrats and unwilling to fight for conservative viewpoints. Lyons, Lombardo, O'Connell, and Rep. Geoff Diehl (R-Whitman) are not among those who signed pledge cards.
The latest edition of Commonwealth Magazine has an insightful article written by James Aloisi. He opines that this year's state election might turn out to be a watershed moment if opportunities are seized to position Massachusetts at the forefront of economic development. However, the former Deval Patrick cabinet member issued this warning:
For the Democratic Party, this is a watershed moment not unlike what it faced in the early 1990s. In 1991 the party was reeling from the turbulence and unpredictability of the 1990 election, when John Silber effectively took control of the party for a brief, tumultuous two months, before losing to Bill Weld. It was the first time since the mid-1970s when the party was not dominated by Michael Dukakis and Frank Bellotti. January 1991 saw the inauguration of a new speaker (Charlie Flaherty), a new (Republican) treasurer (Joe Malone) and new secretary of state (Bill Galvin).
It took a long time for the Democratic Party to regain its footing. A short list of capable people - Mark Roosevelt, Scott Harshbarger, and Shannon O'Brien - tried to take on the mantle of gubernatorial leadership. All were destined to fail. Patrick's imminent exit doesn't quite resemble the vacuum that was caused with Dukakis's exit in 1991, but it will likely leave state Democrats repeating the pattern of the 1990s. There will be decentralized nodes of power, centered most obviously in the House and Senate, but also thriving in the offices of the new Attorney General and Treasurer. (Stan) Rosenberg, who has waited for his moment of leadership for well over a decade, serving for a time as Senate Ways and Means Chair, comes better prepared to lead the Senate than any of his recent predecessors. Neither he nor the governor-elect will need a nano-second of on-the-job training.
Aloisi thinks Evan Falchuk & his United Independent Party might become a long-term threat to the political hegemony of the Democrats. Now that Falchuk has legitimized his party (the UIP secured more than 3% of the gubernatorial vote), he has an opportunity to attract disaffected Bay State voters who are turned off by the corrupt practices of one party & the serial incompetence of the other party. Such a development, however, wouldn't bode well for the GOP either.
The Republican Party is basically ignored in Aloisi's article. He mentions Charlie Baker within the context of what he would like to see the governor-elect do given the tectonic changes that are making themselves felt in politics, economics, & culture. If the GOP wants to avoid the ashcan of history, its going to have to get serious about re-imagining & re-tooling itself. Its gains this past election cycle are hopeful. Let's hope they aren't a transient aberration.
Massachusetts Republican candidate Charlie Baker may have cinched the 2014 gubernatorial election due in part to the anecdote he delivered during a debate sponsored by WCVB-Channel 5. As he spoke about talking issues with a fisherman, Baker became visibly emotional. Democrat candidate Martha Coakley gamely tried to tap into the moment by providing her own take on how federal regulations are destroying the local fishing industry in Massachusetts.
During the course of Baker's story, the studio camera went from a CU of Baker to a "two-shot" that presented Coakley left of center on the TV screen & Baker framed on the far right. The cut happens roughly at the 00:36 mark & at that moment Coakley appears distracted - if not bored. Then the camera cuts back to a CU of Baker. At roughly 01:03, Baker places his right hand over his face in an attempt to contain his emotions. After an awkward pause, Baker regains his composure and continues his story. At roughly the 01:15 point, Baker's emotions compel him to pause again.
Just as he delivers the close of his story, the studio camera cuts back to the two-shot. Coakley can be seen looking distant as Baker is in the middle of his close. The camera cuts back to Baker's CU at roughly the 01:27 mark. When it does, we see the full emotion in Baker's eyes & in his voice as he finishes his story. An awkward silence hangs in the air for a few seconds. At roughly 01:34, the camera then cuts to an establishing shot with Baker on the far left, Coakley on the far right, & the three representatives for Channel 5 in the center. Check out Coakley's demeanor if you can.
The minute Baker provides a coda to his anecdote, the camera cuts back at around 01:38 to a CU of him with the emotion weighing heavily on his face. He regains his composure and in a gentlemanly way he proffers that stories like the one he delivered on the fisherman is the reason why he & Coakley have done public service. The camera cuts back to the two-shot of Coakley & Baker at roughly the 01:46 mark. Coakley seizes the baton Baker hands to her (when he says both of them seek to help people through public service) and reiterates the main themes raised by Baker.
Regrettably, Coakley opines "they are not unique" when commenting on the fisherman & his family. Obviously she means the hardship suffered by the fisherman of Baker's story is a story shared by hundreds if not thousands of people like him. However her inelegant way of expressing that sentiment comes across as cold. Prior to making that statement, the camera at roughly 02:07 cuts to a CU of Baker with a pensive look of sadness in his eyes just as we hear Coakley's off-camera voice utter "they are not unique". It creates a subtle contrast between Coakley & Baker.
A split screen occurs at roughly the 02:15 mark so that we see Coakley in a CU on the left & Baker in a CU on the right. It's at this moment that Coakley hurts herself. While Baker damns Massachusetts for not sticking up for its fishing industry, Coakley rarely looks at Baker. Instead, she glances at the reporters in front of her or looks off into the distance. She reacts negatively when Baker declares federal regulations have distorted the state's "rule-making process". Baker picks up on her ruffled feathers & quickly reassures her that she has "fought the legal fight - which I admire." He then closes with a promise to fight for the state's fishing industry when he becomes governor.
I won't be surprised if this clip from the debate goes viral nor will I be surprised if the reaction said clip produces among Massachusetts voters results in Baker becoming the Bay State's new governor. In less than three minutes, the clip shows Baker to be a man of compassion for those less fortunate than himself as well as a policy wonk determined to change the kind of politics that forces people to become less fortunate than himself. This is the kind of moment that pulls in rank & file Republicans, independent voters, & Old Left Democrats. It's the kind of moment that wins elections.
In 2014, Republican Governors are staving off attacks in their respective contests. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Michigan's Rick Snyder are breaking away from their Democratic opponents, despite a few months of setbacks, with middling poll numbers. Other Republican Governors are struggling, or have become political dead meat. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback enshrined comprehensive tax and spending cuts. He also tried to get rid of public funding for the arts, and attempted to put private special needs providers in charge of disabled adults. Kansas Republicans as well Democrats have cried foul. In a state which has been ruby red for decades, a blue governor and a liberal independent may sweep state offices for the first time in years.
Other governors who are struggling for reelection include Nathan Deal of Georgia, where allegations of cronyism and corruption have marred his campaign. He has maintained a mere one point lead over President Jimmy Carter's grandson. Like Brownback, Governor Deal partnered with a ruby red legislature, and enacted extensive conservative reforms, including expanded concealed carry permits, as well as direct legislation repudiating the Affordable Care Act. Have Georgians gotten tired of conservative principles? Do they believe that Deal has gone too far?
The deeper ideological divides in the several states stem from the unprecedented number of legislatures where the Governor and the majority belonged to the same party. A laboratory of conservative reforms have emerged in Republican states, and progressive activism (or epic stagnation) now defines the super-majority Democratic states.
Based on consistent polling, voters in red states may be souring on their conservative leaders uninhibited reforms, and those politicians are paying the price for their political boldness.
Could the same be happening in one-party Democratic states?
California, one of the super-majority blue states, had a moderate governor, old retread Jerry Brown. Yes, he balanced the state's budget, but only on paper, and the wall of pension debt lingers like the fiscal sword of Damocles over the entire state. Four state senators have been arrested, indicted, and/or convicted of corruption. Brown has turned California into a sanctuary state for illegal immigration. The legislature passed laws to allow transgender youth to use public school bathrooms, and let owners take their dogs out for dinner, and banned the plastic bag. Brown reelection is assured.
Illinois has the worst bond ratings, pension liabilities, and crime rates. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has combined brass-knuckles politicking with progressive pandering. Gun-control, jobs for illegals, and salary increases for do-nothing (or do-wrong) teachers unions. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner gathered the endorsements of life-long Democrats, who recognize that the Land of Lincoln is in big trouble.
Then there's New England. . .where Democratic majorities have dominated key states for years. Will New England start going red again in 2014, as part of the national voter backlash to entrenched hegemony?
Rhode Island has had a super-majority Democratic legislature for eight decades. The result? A culture of cronyism, taxation, and regulatory burdens. Like his Left Coast counterpart, GOP-Indie-Dem Governor Lincoln Chafee has turned Rhode Island into a sanctuary state of progressive secularism: no more eVerify for employers, HealthSourceRI (which is going bankrupt). No matter how a state leans, however, money cannot materialize from nothing. Necessary pension reforms put the Ocean State on the map, and the reform, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gina Raimondo, has the twin challenges of running against Wall Street and the Labor Unions.
Enter Republican Mayor Allan Fung. He balanced budgets, enacted pension reforms, supported businesses in Cranston. He opposes driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, will reinstate eVerify, and he opposes taxpayer payback for 38 Studios. Fung is running neck-and-neck with Dem Gina in a five-to-one Democratic cesspool.
Then there's Massachusetts, or Marxachussetts for its defining cultural relativism, or Taxachusetts for the take-and-take-some-more Beacon Hill legislature. Critics have lost count of the number of Mass Dems arrested, indicted, convicted, then reinstated in the media or the Boston political machine. In this deep blue state, a Republican state senator became a US Senator, and the 2014 GOP Gubernatorial candidate, Charlie Baker, is polling within the margins of error. Of course, he is running to the left of President Obama on social issues, but by his word he opposes illegal immigration. Will the Mass GOP take back the Corner Office? Will the fallout over RomneyCare and then Massachusetts' Obamacare add-on beef up GOP numbers in Beacon Hill, too?
Then there's Connecticut, where Governor Dannel Malloy expanded the regulatory burdens in his state as well, and then implemented a disconcerting gun registration program. This sweeping legislation felonized at least three hundred thousand gun owners, who in an act of civil disobedience refused to register anything. Malloy is losing by six points to a Republican challenger in this deep blue state.
While Republican governors in deep red states are facing a backlash for their sweeping reforms, Democratic leaders (and their party) are bracing for the same backlash. Could New England be going red for the first time since Reagan was President? If unrest continues over illegal immigration, and individual candidates ride the anti-Obama groundswell, New England Republicans may resurrect their presence and influence again.
We are pleased to learn that Christian Whiton over at Fox News has thought one of our long-standing research agenda items (reforming the Davis Bacon Act and prevailing wages in general) was a good enough of an idea to place in any New Contract with America that the GOP might want to present to the American public up to November. In the context of rebuilding our infrastructure (an issue close to home) and increasing our competitiveness, Whiton writes:
Americans waste an average of 38 hours per year in traffic jams according to researchers at Texas A&M. Most U.S. airports are also in terrible shape. Antiquated laws and regulations that needlessly elevate the cost of new infrastructure are to blame. The worst offender is the Davis-Bacon law. Originally passed in part to suppress black labor, the law today is used by unions to eliminate the cost advantages of their non-union competitors. A study by the Beacon Hill Institute estimated that Davis-Bacon requirements increase the cost of infrastructure-related labor by 22% over the market rate. The law should go.
Read more at http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/10/02/nine-ideas-for-new-contract-with-america/
The sentiment carries over to state Democratic Party as a whole when it comes to BHI's State Competitiveness Index which usually finds the Bay State at the top according to a variety of indicators of economic growth that we've assembled since 2001. (We guess our friends at the Democratic Party are using our index since most are not so favorable.)
A friendly reminder to Chairman McGee, MA was also on top when a Republican occupied the corner office on Beacon Hill.
An article posted on Breitbart.com should be utilized as an important memo for all GOP candidates running this year for either the US Senate or the House of Representatives: make the 2014 midterm elections a national referendum on President Barack Obama's post-election scheme to provide amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.
James P. Pinkerton, a veteran of the Reagan White House and now a Fox News contributor, argues that Republicans need a 1980 or 2004-type "wave" election highlighting a "wave" issue to win the Senate. He asserts that it's not too late to nationalize the campaign, recalling Newt Gingrich's Contract with America, unveiled September 27, just six weeks before the historic 1994 midterm election.
Twenty years later, the issues are different but the strategy remains the same. When a wave comes, candidates must ride it - and most Republican challengers would probably sweep into office on an immigration-control tsunami washing away the Democrats. In fact, we're halfway there, as tough anti-amnesty spots are being aired in support of GOP Senate candidates in Kentucky, New Hampshire, Michigan, Arkansas, and Louisiana, among the competitive states surveyed by Politico.
Those ads need to be broadcast nationally and especially in battlegrounds, hammering Obama and the Democrats on the risks that porous borders pose to national security and middle-class jobs. If Republicans do that, they'll retire more than enough Democratic senators to retake the Senate - and lead a transformation of American politics that Karl Rove never saw coming.
Scott Brown has found the tactic to be effective enough to make his US Senate race in New Hampshire against Democrat incumbent Jeanne ShaheenVERY competitive. Hopefully MA Republican US Senate candidate Brian Herr will effectively use the same kind of strategy against Democrat incumbent Ed Markey. Ride the wave, boys. Ride it!
It's a sweet dream. But don't count on seeing it come true.
One can forgive Jacoby's cynicism regarding the changeability of House Reps in Congressional elections, particularly off-years (although 1994 and 2010 served as tsunami elections against the Democratic incumbent President). For two decades, the Massachusetts GOP has witnesses its own slow demosie, losing its last two house reps in 1996 (in part because of the 1994-1995 shutdown, but more likely the liberalizing trends shaping the Bay State). Determined that 2014 will provide little change in Congressional representation, Jacoby half-heartedly acknowledeges the defeat of nine-term incumbent John Tierney, who barely gripped onto his MA-6 seat in Northeast Massachusetts by one percentage point in 2012. His Republican challenger during the last cycle, openly gay moderate Richard Tisei, was prepped to challenge him again as one of a slate of House GOP "Young Guns".
Suprisingly enough, Tierney lost to a dismissed challenger, Seth Moulton, who has blasted the now-ousted Tierney's incapacity to get things done. Still, even with Tierney and Cantor's loss (plus two other incumbent losses to primary challenges thisy year), Jacoby surmises that such revolutions in representation are quite rare. Regarding Jacoby's expectations of a whimper as opposed to a wave, Jacoby's frustration is justified, at least regarding a term-by-term analysis, particularly in Massachusetts.
With the 2014 Massachusetts Republican Primary just days away, I hope GOP activists ask themselves one crucial if not existential question before they cast their vote. The question they all should seriously ponder is this: will the candidate they support maintain the status quo for Beacon Hill's minority party or will said candidate join other like-minded Republicans in electing new leadership representing a new GOP when the time comes for its members to do so?
If activists are happy with the faux opposition party on Beacon Hill led by Brad Jones then - by all means - said activists should proudly vote for those GOP candidates who get a thrill up their leg at the thought of being a dependable rubber stamp. And if Jones prevails thanks to said candidates, said activists shouldn't bitch & moan over the gradual yet continuing diminishment of the Massachusetts Republican Party as a serious political party in the eyes of the voters.
If activists are unhappy with Jones' obsequious relationship with Democrat House Speakers (no matter who holds the title), his indifference towards the Republican rank-&-file, & his lack of interest (if not imagination) in building an effective opposition party with an eye towards one day making the GOP the majority party, then said activists & their respective networks of family, friends, & colleagues should identify & vote for those who share their vision of a post-Jones Republican Party. It's going to take time & a lot of effort to make that dream a reality. But the time to effectuate that change starts on September 9, 2014. Think strategically. Be the change you seek. Vote for change this Tuesday.
For election year 2014, Mississippi State Senator Chris McDaniel threw all into unseating a decades-old Establishment GOP incumbent in Mississippi.
McDaniel was a favored candidate not just of his candor, but for his respect for opponent Thad Cochran. McDaniel outlined his plan not to get along to go along in Washington. Frustrated with the tepid decisions of the incumbent to vote against cloture and resist pressing against US Senate Democratic dominance, McDaniel claimed that the voters needed a fighter. Following the spate of scandals spouting out of the White House, from Operation Fast and Furious to the numerous lies about ObamaCare, to the IRS and EPA abuses, along with the invasion of our privacy from the NSA and the CIA, demand immediate response and retribution from our representatives, Cochran has done nothing. McDaniel would.
Indeed, the former radio host is an articulate fighter, and we need lawmakers like him to fight back against the institutionalized fraud, deceit, and endemic arrogance of Washington DC. Unlike more prescient politicians, like minority leader Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch, Cochran did not plan for a fight, nor did he prepare for the tenacity of a challenger from the libertarian right. Cochran was going to find himself facing the fight of his political career, one which campaign aids and political king-makers took more seriously than the incumbent himself. For months, conservative groups descended into Mississippi, the reliably red state whose thirty-plus year senator had admitted privately that they Republicans could never stop Obamacare. Cochran shared support for Common Core legislation, and he touted his influence to bring in the pork for Magnolia State residents.
Therein lay a problem. When a state needs financial aid following a natural disaster, should its Senator not take the initiative to ensure that his constituents receive necessary funding? McDaniel's common sense demand for less government should not limit the role of state as defender of the people. Still, primary challenger did not slacken his pace to win the race, nor did he have to.
McDaniel railed against Common Core and shared his outraged with the unsustainable debt of Washington. Presenting himself as an iron stalwart who would stand with US Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, the state senator from Mississippi would prove a formidable plank in a new wave of resistance to big government encroachment, whether from Democrats or Republicans.
McDaniel did so well in the June 3rd primary, that he bested the incumbent by a percentage point, but the win was not decisive enough, so Cochran and McDaniel would face off in a run-off. Tea Party supporters rallied to the former radio host's aid, a slick young operator with a libertarian streak, one who declared his bold pastels in contrast to the fading shades of Cochran's greying tenure.
Still, politics is a full-contact support, and incumbents, especially with four decades of experience and connections, do not give up easily. Defined by the Washington culture as well as immersed in it, Cochran and state party supporters not only increased their efforts, but they reached out to Democratic voters who had not participated in the first primary. Some operatives decry such tactics, shouting that Cochran and company played on unfounded racism smears to bring down McDaniel. The incumbent Senator also argued his support for food stamps and federal largesse, which appeal to Democratic voters.
Following the second vote at the end of June, Cochran carried the day with a slightly wider margin. McDaniel supporters cried foul, citing not just pandering with taxpayer dollars, but outright lies and voter fraud. Still, Cochran won the race, and he is the Republican nominee of Mississippi's US Senator. What can McDaniel draw from this outcome? Should he keep fighting? He should let go of the election lawsuit. He made his case, the state party rejected it, and so have Mississippi state courts. He is not a loser for spotlighting the importance of incumbents not taking their seats for granted. He has a ground game in place which have enlarged his name ID while strengthening his outreach for the next race. Cochran's victory has enhanced GOP outreach to black communities, proving that voter discrimination even in the Deep South is a thing of the past. McDaniel can capitalize on this subtle victory for the future, too, and prepare for another statewide run, whether as a US Senator or even as Governor.
The state senator and radio host has every right to be outraged, but he should learn from the measured examples of other Republicans, like Richard Nixon and his admired example Ronald Reagan. Running more than once for President, both men did reach the office at last. Nixon had time and opportunity to contest dubious results in his 1960 campaign, but chose not to, for the sake of the country. Reagan lost twice before getting the nomination, and the second time, in 1976, a fractured primary fight led to a contested floor vote at the Republican convention. The Establishment won in 1976, but four years later the conservative upstart finished on top.
McDaniel's loss in 2014 can promote him to victory in years to come.
Major upsets in primaries are sending shockwaves across the political landscape nationally, and Massachusetts gubernatorial underdogs may yet ride low voter turnout to longshot wins against Martha Coakley and Charlie Baker, experts say.
But there's a long road ahead if second-tier Democrats Steve Grossman and Don Berwick and Republican Mark Fisher want to take a serious shot at the two front-runners, but low voter turnout in the primary just a week after Labor Day can lead to upsets, experts say.
So, if you're Baker or Fisher, the darling of the Tea Party, where do you go for votes? Consider that in the last contested statewide Republican primary for the special U.S. Senate seat, Gabriel Gomez won with just over 96,000 votes statewide. That's a paltry amount when you consider that there are well over 2 million registered independents in Massachusetts. If just a sliver of independents - all of whom are eligible to vote in the Republican primary - join with Tea Party activists and vote for Fisher, Baker could suffer a surprise attack similar to what former Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor experienced when he lost to fellow Republican David Brat in June.
Jim O'Sullivan of The Boston Globe could barely contain his sarcastic snark in the article he wrote about the Massachusetts Republican Party titled "The Republican Revolution Is Underway. Maybe."
After enumerating the fallen condition of the state GOP, O'Sullivan informed his readership that help was on the way:
With financial backing from Christopher Egan, son of the late EMC founder and hefty Republican donor Dick Egan, (Rob Gray & Andrew Goodrich) are launching a super PAC and sister nonprofit focused on state lawmakers.
The five-year plan, operating with a planned cumulative budget of more than $4 million for the twin organizations, is to serve as a sort of clearinghouse of opposition research on Democratic lawmakers. For instance, under an entirely plausible scenario, if a Democratic state rep in a contestable district makes an asinine comment at a town meeting, the group, inventively titled Massachusetts Citizens for Jobs, is hoping to have a camera there to record it for posterity and political utility.
Modeled after national groups like American Bridge and America Rising (the next stage of evolution in campaign finance is to come up with better names), the group, which planned to formally file organization papers Thursday, will track votes, collect testimony, issue reports, send direct mail. All in the name of, as Goodrich puts it, "lifting the veil on Beacon Hill." They've been making fund-raising visits to reliably Republican enclaves and plan "dispassionate" decisions about which districts to contest. Read: Worcester County, the South Shore, the Cape, and near the New Hampshire border.
This is the way parties are built - or, in this case, rebuilt. Most of it is far from sexy: long drives to boring meetings and longer hours trawling through tape. But if the Republican Party's heart is to beat again in Massachusetts at any healthy frequency, the resuscitation is better coming from the bottom up, rather than the top down.
"It should make it more of a fair fight, anyway," said Gray.
How does one react to this news beyond the automatic instinct to scream, "are you shitting me?"