Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sputnik Moment -- or GM Moment?

Pat Buchanan at RealClearPolitics:

What America was to the world in 1950, General Motors was to the nation.

It was the largest and most successful company with the largest number of employees. It paid the highest wages and contributed more in taxes than any other company. During World War II, no company had contributed more to the Arsenal of Democracy and America's victory.  

As one wag said, "For every shell Krupp threw at us, GM threw back four." The cars GM built -- Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Buick and Pontiac -- were the best in their class. But in the second half of the 20th century, something happened.

General Motors' executives repeatedly caved in to United Autoworkers' demands for wages, health benefits and pensions the company could not afford over the long term. Small and inexpensive foreign cars were allowed into the U.S. market and, as their quality improved, began to flood the U.S. market.
GM executives failed to see what was happening, and if they saw it, to act upon the new reality. Thus, at the end of the last decade, the U.S. government acted.

The company was taken into receivership. Shareholders and bondholders of GM were wiped out. Hundreds of GM dealerships closed. Now, a new GM has come out of bankruptcy to takes its place as one of a dozen major auto companies in the United States and the world.

The failure of GM was a failure of leadership. Executives lacked the vision to see the challenges coming. They lacked the courage to resist the demands of union bosses. They lacked the decisiveness to act, when sacrifices were clearly required.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called this America's "sputnik moment," like that October day in 1957 when we suddenly awoke to the reality that those backward Russians with their communist system had beaten America into space.

But listening to the president speak Tuesday night, one came away with a distinct impression. Either Obama does not believe this country is careening toward a fiscal and financial crisis, or he refuses to pay the political price of imposing the sacrifices needed to lead the country back from the brink.

The day after the president spoke, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the deficit this fiscal year at $1.5 trillion, largest in peacetime history and 10 percent of the entire U.S. economy. Almost 40 percent of the budget will be financed this year by borrowing from our own citizens and foreign countries, China foremost among them.

Did anyone detect in the president's pleasant demeanor that night any sense of urgency, any sense that this time the wolf is really at the door? Did anyone hear a call for sacrifices, and not just small ones, to pull our country back from the precipice of national default?

The disconnect between the Tea Party Republicans and the president could not be greater. He is talking about bullet trains and infrastructure; they are talking of defunding Amtrak and the Washington, D.C., subway system.

They are talking about raising the retirement age for Social Security, which is now sending out more in monthly checks than it is taking in in payroll taxes. Obama is being congratulated by the liberal wing of his party for refusing even to bow in that direction.

What the White House is about may be smart short-term politics, but it is the antithesis of leadership. They are going to let the Republicans take the lead and take the heat for proposing painful budget cuts, then play "good cop" and battle to restore those cuts and win the gratitude of the beneficiaries of those programs.
But it is late in the day for political games.

For both the welfare state -- the major entitlement programs, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- and the warfare state -- the near $1 trillion we spend yearly on wars, 700 to 1,000 military bases in some 140 countries, foreign aid and the military industrial complex -- have to be downsized.

We cannot make good on all the promises our politicians have made, and we cannot defend in perpetuity all the countries we agreed to defend in the Cold War.

And if this downsizing is not done by our leaders, the decisions will be forced upon us when China and our other creditors come to us to say: We have enough of your dollars. We don't want any more. But if we must take them, we want a higher rate of interest to cover the higher risk of default. For you Americans look to us to be headed for the same place where Greece and Ireland may be found today.

Obama's conscious avoidance of any specific recommendations for deep budget cuts, commensurate with the crisis we face, may be rewarded if we avert that crisis before November 2012. But if the crisis hits sooner, his epitaph will be that he lacked the vision to see what everyone else saw or he lacked the courage to rise to the occasion.

Either way, Obama will have failed his country.

Friday, January 28, 2011

It begins: First “Mitch Daniels for president” ad now airing

At Hot Air:

Via Left Coast Rebel, more big news on a day where Pence has already declared himself out and Huntsman seems close to declaring himself in? Nah. This isn’t one of Mitch the Knife’s own spots (he’s still undecided), just an attempt to draft him. Apparently, it’ll be airing in Des Moines during … the Pro Bowl. Yes, that Pro Bowl. An event so loathsome that it and its ads are now a punchline for the Onion’s new ESPN parody. Watch the second clip below and ask yourself which demographic the “Draft Mitch” spot could possibly be aimed at. Frustrated beta-male shut-ins who have nothing better to do on a January afternoon than drink and watch pro football’s worst game? No wonder I dig it.
Speaking of beta males, a new wrinkle in Mitt’s game plan for next year:
Though there is no official campaign, and no strategy decisions have been finalized, Romney’s team has considered running a very different race from the last one. After Romney spent millions of dollars and a huge chunk of time in Iowa, only to finish behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, his strategists have spoken with potential consultants about the prospect of skipping Iowa altogether this time and launching a campaign from New Hampshire.
That strategy first came up last summer in conversations with several possible advisers. But it’s not clear how far along the planning has gotten, and sources emphasize that no final decisions have been made.
No mystery as to why. After Huckabee’s win three years ago, whoever Christian conservatives support will be the heavy favorite in the caucuses next time. Why not am-scray if you’re an orman-May and focus on New Hampshire instead? The problem with that strategy: If Huck doesn’t run, Mitt’s actually well positioned in Iowa. He’d still probably lose to Palin, but at the moment they’re tied at 23 percent and he stands to pick up reluctant votes among the “she can’t win” crowd. If he pulled the upset and then, as expected, won in New Hampshire, the race would be all but over by the time South Carolina rolled around. Maybe that’s what’ll end up forcing Huck in — simply the terrible prospect of seeing his archrival run the table.

Rep. Mike Pence closes door on White House run

At The Indy Star:

U.S. Rep. Mike Pence shut the door today on a run for the presidency, but left wide open the likelihood that he’ll seek a different office: Governor of Indiana.

“In the choice between seeking national office and serving Indiana in some capacity, we choose Indiana,” Pence, R-Columbus, said of himself and wife Karen in a letter being sent to supporters. “We will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012.”

He said he would make a decision “later this year” about what his next political step is, but by not running for president it is considered a virtual certainty that he will run for the GOP nomination for governor. While he could, instead, run for a seventh term in Congress, that’s not considered likely given that Pence gave up the job that would have made him the fourth-highest ranking Republican in the House after the November elections, in order to focus on other political opportunities.

And he telegraphed his interest in the governorship by focusing on Indiana in his letter, saying his “calling is closer to home.”

He will now “be traveling across the state to listen and learn about how Hoosiers think we might best contribute in the years ahead.”

That begins Friday. Pence, who flew today to Indiana from Washington, is holding a town hall meeting in Pendleton at 10 a.m. and speaking to Muncie Central High School students at 1:20 p.m.

Pence, 51, is widely considered to be a cinch to win the GOP nomination to succeed Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is barred by law from seeking a third consecutive term and who has left the door open for a run for the presidency himself. Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman recently said she would not run for governor due to health concerns, and so far no other Republican star has stepped forward to enter the race.

In his letter, Pence said that throughout his life, “I have learned to follow my heart, and my heart is in Indiana.”

He praised the state’s people, its “highways and byways, the small towns and courthouse squares, the big cities and cornfields.”

“After years of falling behind, Indiana is on the verge of an era of growth and opportunity like no other time in my life,” he wrote. “Those of us who serve Indiana in Congress and in the Statehouse have a unique opportunity to advance the interests of Hoosiers... Indiana can lead the nation back to fiscal responsibility, reform and strong families. As we achieve an even better Indiana for our children and grandchildren, we will continue to be a model for a better and stronger America.”

Pence was being courted by both fiscal and social conservatives to enter the race for the White House against Democrat President Barack Obama.

Dick Armey, the Texas Republican who is a former House majority leader and now active in the tea party movement, sent a letter to Pence recently telling him to “seize this moment.”

“At this precarious time in our nation’s history,” the letter said, “none of us can afford to make political calculations or make decisions based on future ambitions, for what will be left of our future if we fail today?”

Recently, Ralph Benko, who had been a deputy counsel to President Ronald Reagan, formed the America’s President Committee to encourage Pence to run. And former Rep. Jim Ryun, R-Kansas, offered his help in collecting signatures from conservatives and tea party activists to encourage Pence to get into the race.

Pence thanked those who had encouraged him, but added: “While we may have been able to seek the presidency, we believe our best opportunity to continue to serve the conservative values that brought us to public life is right here in Indiana.”

But it would have been an uphill climb. No sitting member of the House of Representatives has won the presidency since James Garfield in 1880.

And he’s been mired in the bottom of polls weighing people’s early presidential favorites.

In Indiana, though, Pence would enter the race for the governor’s office as the 800-pound gorilla. He is a star among Indiana Republicans. And, after having lost bids for Congress in 1988 and 1990, he easily won election in 2000 and every election since.

In the 2010 elections, he traveled extensively to campaign for other Republicans for local, state and federal offices. And his calendar has been crowded this year with speeches at some 16 Republican party events

He’ll start this campaign with at least $460,000 in left-over funds from his congressional race that he can use to run for governor.

Several Democrats have been mentioned as potential candidates for governor, including former U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth, who lost election for the Senate in 2010; U.S. Rep. Joe Donnelly, whose northern Indiana congressional district is expected to undergo changes in redistricting that will make it lean more Republiican; Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel and Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight.

Additional Facts

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Old (Liberal) Frontier

From Jay Cost at The Weekly Standard:

At one point, it seemed as though Barack Obama was set to become the great Democratic leader for the 21st century. Here is a man who was able to ride an impossibly good angle into the White House -- in just four years, he went from being an obscure state senator to president of the United States. What's more, he had in the House and Senate the most liberal majorities that anybody has seen since the 89th Congress that enacted most of the Great Society. Everything was primed for him to implement Great Society 2.0.

Except the reason that the country installed the Democrats in the first place was this economic crisis, which began under Republican leadership. But how to get one's face onto Mount Rushmore by only coaxing the economy to add jobs? William McKinley and Calvin Coolidge were managers of economic growth after contractions, and they have been dismissed by (usually liberal) historians with a collective wave of the hand for generations. No, no ... to be great you have to reform.

That explains why Obama focused so intensely on health care in the 111th Congress. It's not that this is what the country needed or even wanted in 2009. After all, by the end of that year, when the Senate leadership was twisting arms to get Obamacare passed, the percentage of adults employed stood at just 58.2 percent, down from 60.6 percent at the start of the year, and the lowest figure in more than a quarter century. The jobs crisis is what the country wanted to focus on, but liberal majorities of the kind in the 111th Congress just don't come around everyday. They had to get health care done!

I had thought for sure that the 111th and 112th Congresses would, for the president, be the difference between Mardi Gras and Lent. In the 111th, it was clear to all that the deficit crisis was coming, yet before the liberals mended their ways they needed to have one more entitlement spending spree. Save the fiscal austerity for the 112th Congress when the liberal majority would be no more.

But this is where I was wrong about President Obama. The 111th Congress was his Great Society moment: it passed a huge new entitlement program to get his name in the pantheon of great progressive leaders -- TR, FDR, LBJ, BO. Yet here it looks like he wants to pursue in the 112th Congress something like Kennedy's New Frontier -- as Tim Carney said last night, his very long State of the Union could be aptly summarized as "national greatness liberalism." Sure, we're facing an unimaginably large budget deficit. Sure, we've been talking lately about state and local governments possibly defaulting on their loans. Sure, our entitlement problem is about to become a crisis as the Baby Boomers are set to retire en masse. But we have to "win the future!" And how do we do that? Beef up the budget for the Department of Transportation, that's how!   

Barack Obama is stuck in the 1960s. And it's not just because his style of liberalism -- spend, spend, spend! -- is reminiscent of that era. Liberals since the New Deal have enjoyed spending. It's because he likes to spend money as if we are in the middle of the greatest economic boom in the history of the nation, as if there's plenty of cash to go around. The country could afford, in the 1960s, to send a man to the moon and to create brand new entitlement programs. Real GDP increased, on average, by 4.4 percent every year for the whole decade. But those days are long gone. As much as getting a great return on an "investment" in infrastructure improvement is appealing, it's always a bad idea to invest one's spare cash when the creditors are about to bust down the door. Ever dime should go to deficit reduction -- not two for new spending, one for the deficit.

I don't think Obama realistically expects to get any of this new spending through the 112th Congress -- and, indeed, the State of the Union last night seemed more like a campaign address than anything else. If the president and his advisors are betting that national greatness liberalism can win an election in 2012, conservatives should take that bet. They need to run a candidate who brings this basic message: I'd love to improve our infrastructure as much as anybody, but the budget crisis requires us to put away our ambitions, put on the green eyeshades, and figure out how to stay open for business.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Some in tea party want Lugar to retire

From The Seymour Tribune (and AP):

SHARPSVILLE — Tea party members who want to unseat six-term U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar gathered Saturday at a rural central Indiana church, where they signed a letter urging him not to run in next year’s Republican primary.
About 180 people representing some 70 tea party groups from around the state turned out for the meeting at Heartland Family Life Center in Sharpsville, a Tipton County town about 40 miles north of Indianapolis.
Seymour resident Jon Stahl was among those attending the meeting in Sharpsville.
He backs the effort to persuade Lugar to retire.
“He has strayed away from the conservative values that he used to have and was elected for,” Stahl said.
Stahl is a leader in the local tea party group, called We the People Jack-son County.
During the four-hour meeting, they signed a letter thanking Lugar for his service but urging him not to run for re-election.
They also agreed to eventually support a single challenger to Lugar, rather than split their support among multiple candidates in the May 2012 primary.
Some tea party members consider Lugar — who has said he plans to seek a seventh term — too liberal to represent Indiana Republicans.
Saturday’s meeting was just the start of a long process, tea party member Pat Miller told Fort Wayne television station WANE. Miller said activists will now focus on educating the public about Lugar’s record and raising campaign money for the 2012 race.
“This letter will let him know, thank you for what you’ve done. We respect you greatly as a person and for what you’ve done in the past,” Miller said. “But to go forward, we feel it’s going to need to be a different candidate.”
Monica Boyer of Kosciusko County Silent No More, a northern Indiana tea party group, said Lugar lost her support when he voted to confirm both of President Barack Obama’s nominees to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.
“He’s just gotten progressively more liberal with more issues than ever before,” Boyer said after the meeting.
She said the tea party supporters left the gathering energized and with a sense of unity for their effort to end Lugar’s long tenure in the Senate.
Stahl agreed that coalescing around one candi-date will be needed to defeat Lugar in the pri-mary election next year.
“A lot of people thought Dan Coats was not the person we really wanted in Sen. Bayh’s position, but the Republican Party seemed to want to put him in there, and then all the tea party groups splintered and Coats won rather easily,” Stahl said.
Stahl said he was impressed with the number of groups at Saturday’s meeting. He said there were people from 79 tea party groups across the state, representing all nine congressional districts.
At least two Republicans have been mentioned as possible candidates to challenge Lugar: State Treasurer Richard Mourdock and state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel.
Boyer said that those at Saturday’s meeting discussed both men as potential candidates, and talked about a vetting process for determining which candidate activists will eventually support.
“Those two names are being tossed around right now and we’re just waiting to find out what they’re going to do,” she said.
Lugar, meanwhile, was in Indianapolis on Saturday being honored by a Hispanic and Latino civic group, La Plaza, for his support for the DREAM Act. That act, which would help some illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children obtain a path to citizenship, is opposed by tea party activists.
The senator told more than 50 people at that gathering that the 2012 election could be the most challenging one he has faced, but that he believes he has strong support.
As he accepted a plaque from the group, Lugar smiled and told the crowd, “I should point out that other Hoosiers are proceeding to Tipton County to plot my political end.”
During a fundraiser Friday night in Carmel, Lugar said he raised $390,000 from the 420 attendees. He said he has also gotten more than 8,000 signatures in support of his re-election run.
“People are fired up and already ready for this election,” Lugar said. “It’s encouraging, to say the least.”

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Great 2010 Cashout: Evan Bayh becomes a hedge-fund lobbyist

From Timothy Carney at The Washington Examiner:

Former Banking Committee member Evan Bayh got his payday:
Apollo Global Management, LLC (together with its subsidiaries, "Apollo" or the "Company") today announced that former Senator Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has joined the Company as a senior advisor with specific responsibility for policy issues.
Mr. Bayh most recently served as Indiana’s junior Senator, where he chaired the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs’ Subcommittee on Security and International Trade and Finance. Senator Bayh also served on the Armed Services Committee, the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Small Business Committee and the Special Committee on Aging. Mr. Bayh, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998, announced last year that he would not seek a third term.
As I said Monday: Bail them out, regulate them, work for them.

Read more at the Washington Examiner:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Should Pence seize the moment?

From Maureen Groppe at The Indianapolis Star:

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Mike Pence has to be flattered.
While he has said he will decide his political future -- which could be running for governor or president -- by the end of this month, there is a campaign to push the Columbus Republican toward the White House.
A group of South Carolina lawmakers stood on the steps of their state Capitol on Wednesday to encourage Pence to run.
"It's not a complicated message, but it's a heartfelt one," state Rep. Kris Crawford said. "We would like him on the ballot."
Leaders of the conservative movement made the same argument in a letter to Pence this week.
"Seize this moment, Mike," said the letter, signed by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and three others. "At this precarious time in our nation's history, none of us can afford to make political calculations or make decisions based on future ambitions, for what will be left of the future if we fail today?"
And Pence supporters are collecting signatures from conservatives and tea party activists through a website and social media campaigns as part of a draft effort.
"I said, 'Let's attempt to demonstrate the level of enthusiasm for him that I think is out there a millimeter under the surface,' " said Ralph Benko, a former Reagan administration aide who started the campaign. "I think it's huge. I just think it needs a little place to go. So we built a little place for it to go."
But should Pence listen to his backers or choose what some say is the safer route of running for Indiana governor? Is it realistic to try to vault from the House to the White House, something that has been done only once, in 1880?
"A number of things would have to fall into place to make him competitive," said Charlie Black, a veteran GOP strategist. "The key is the conservative movement adopting him as its favorite."
Black said those urging Pence to run are important conservative leaders. But Pence will need more.
"The folks I've heard, the names I've seen, are the leaders of the social conservative movement," said GOP strategist Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole's presidential campaign in 1996. "And that is a strong base from which to start. But it isn't going to get you to the finish line. You need to be able to expand beyond that."
Pence said Monday he's leaning in one direction but declined to say what it was.
"We're nearing the end of a process that began right after Election Day in November," Pence said. "We've determined that it would be appropriate for us to make a decision on our general direction before the end of January."
His recent activities suggest he has been keeping his options open.
Pence addressed state legislators Monday and is speaking at 16 upcoming Lincoln Day dinners across the state. He campaigned heavily for Indiana GOP candidates in last year's elections.
In November, Pence spoke at the Detroit Economic Club, which has hosted every sitting U.S. president since Richard M. Nixon. Next month, Pence and other potential GOP candidates are speaking at an Illinois GOP dinner celebrating Ronald Reagan. And he's the keynote speaker at a large February fundraiser for the Susan B. Anthony List, a group opposing abortion.
"I truly don't know (if he's running for president)," said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, who has urged Pence to run. "It's my job to really encourage talent to seize the moment, and I think he can do it."
If Pence is going to decide this month, he will have to do it without knowing who else is running. Those potential candidates include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
And, unless Gov. Mitch Daniels has divulged his plans privately to Pence, Pence won't know whether he'll have to compete against Daniels, a favorite of Republicans who like Daniels' broad experience and fiscal credentials. Daniels has said he won't make a decision about running for president until after this year's legislative season ends in April.
"If (Daniels) runs, I think it's hard for Mike, because all the financial base in Indiana would likely go to Daniels," Black said.
But Pence also can't afford to wait to decide because he has a long way to go in building a fundraising network and a campaign team, and becoming better-known.
As the No. 3 Republican in the House leadership in the last Congress, Pence traveled across the country to help Republican candidates. He traveled two times each to Iowa and South Carolina and once to New Hampshire. All are crucial states early in the election process.
He'd need to step up the travel, including getting ready for this summer's GOP straw poll in Iowa, which will draw the national media.
A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll of potential GOP candidates shows none dominating the field. The top choices were Huckabee (21 percent), Palin (19 percent) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (17 percent).
Both Pence and Daniels, however, were the top choice of 2 percent of the Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed.
Among consultants, fundraisers and other political insiders surveyed by the nonpartisan National Journal, Daniels recently was chosen as the second-most-likely to get the GOP nomination, after Romney. Pence didn't make the top 10.
So why are Pence's backers so enthusiastic about him?
"Mike Pence displays the kind of optimism, moral values and gutsy leadership we need in a president -- and a presidential nominee," says the draft-Pence website,
"He bridges the gap between the establishment and the grassroots," wrote influential conservative blogger Erick Erickson on
Pence gets credit for standing up to his party in opposing the Medicare drug benefit in 2003 and for challenging GOP leaders on other spending issues. He's also viewed as strong on defense issues and a champion of issues important to social conservatives.
"To those who say that marriage is not relevant to our budget crisis," Pence said in an enthusiastically received speech at the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit last fall, "I say you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government that you would need if the family continues to collapse."
After giving that speech, Pence won the group's straw poll for top choice for its 2012 nominee.
"He has that everyman, Indiana appeal with vision," Dannenfelser said. She said Pence, a former radio talk show host, connects with those he's speaking to.
"I hate to bring up Reagan because everybody does that," Dannenfelser said. "But it's what Reagan did and what Palin can do and what other candidates would pay any amount of money for."
Andy Smith, who heads the University of New Hampshire's Granite State Poll, said it's not surprising that activists are urging Pence to run. But, he noted, that doesn't mean he has a good chance of winning.
"Republicans and Democrats go through this all the time," Smith said. "Particularly party activists don't see a candidate who is either well enough known, or ideologically or intellectually consistent enough for them, so they try to recruit people who fit the bill.
"Unfortunately, those kinds of folks generally don't have the sort of broad name recognition or broad appeal to get the numbers of voters that it takes to win this thing."


An update and some background about today's meeting in Indiana:

In less than one day, the Tea Party movement in Indiana will create history by meeting together with the goal of uniting for a common cause.  Over 70 groups will be represented as we discuss the common desire to send a true conservative to Washington as Indiana's US Senate representative in 2012.
The sheer number of tea party groups meeting together (79) has captured the attention of the national media and politician alike.  The entire nation is aware of our efforts and will be watching closely to see if we can do what most believe, and many hope, to be the impossible...UNITE!!!
FREEDOM WORKS has stated that what we are doing will be the model for tea party groups around the nation to follow.  They have committed to helping our efforts for the duration. They will be making the trip from DC to come be apart of this historic occasion!
Many well connected political types have told us that our united effort is supported by far more than we can imagine.
Your participation on Saturday and beyond is appreciated and humbling.  This effort will take each and every one of us and our combined efforts, when successful, will prove to the nation that the Tea Party has muscle, and is willing to flex it.  The country will know that the "can do" spirit that defines American exceptional ism is alive and well in Indiana.
As you might have heard on the radio this week, Pat Miller from WOWO 1190 has agreed to come and speak to the group on the importance of this next task.  We are grateful that he has offered to play such an intricate part in this journey of uniting the TEA Parties in Indiana.  If you have not heard him speak, you are in for a real treat!
Heartland Ministries has graciously offered to provide lunch consisting of Cold Cut Sandwiches, chips and a soft drink for $5.00  Precedes to benefit the church. 
We are now granting requests for spouses of group leaders to attend.  Currently we have over 160 people confirmed and registered.  Please contact us by Friday January 21st at NOON, for any additional attendee requests.  It is critical to note that if your name is not on this list, you will be turned away.
Important Information

Place: Heartland Church
Address: 3611 North SR 19, Sharpsville, In 46068 (this is just South East of Kokomo)
Check in Time: 9:30am
Time: 10:00am-1:00pm

Please plan  a little over three (3) hours - from 10:00 - 1:30ish EST on January 22nd. We will not be able to accomplish everything in one meeting.  We understand this will be a process. We must be smart.  It will not be an easy task. We will need all hands on deck! If you have anything to contribute or concerns, please email them to us!

*No protest signs or written material will be admitted or cannot be distributed.
**Please make sure you have RSVP'd  Please note.  If you would like to bring your spouse that is OK, but we MUST have his/her name on the register list.  Please let us know. ID will be checked.  We hate to do this, but we have already had Lugar infiltrators try to sign up.  Also note, we will not be releasing the names on these emails the to the public for your safety. It is only for RSVP purposes
***One more important  thing:  If you are interested in a caravan to DC, please let us know.  We will be leaving from the meeting with a heartfelt letter to Mr. Lugar asking him to retire.  Several folks have expressed the interest in traveling with a caravan to hand deliver the letter.   If you are interested in following this caravan, please email us 
The weather looks good for tomorrow.  The only way the meeting will be cancelled is if there is a state wide emergency.    A nice FYI, Kokomo has some really great Hotel rates if you are interested in coming the night before! 

DNC chairman says 2010 midterm was a call for bipartisanship

Still in denial!!!

At The Hill:

The outcome of the 2010 midterms was a message that the American people want Republicans and Democrats to work together, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee said. 

Speaking with Bloomberg's Al Hunt in an interview set to air Friday night, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said the Democratic losses in the 2010 midterm elections was American voters' way of saying the Democrats should try to be more bipartisan. 

"[Republicans are] feeling their oats still in the House. The good news for the American public is, while we didn't like election night, I think the voters clearly were saying, 'Democrats, you can no longer do anything just with Democratic votes,' " Kaine said. "Republicans, you can no longer stand on the sideline. You've got to get in the game and be part of the governing coalition."

In the 2010 midterm elections Democrats lost 63 seats in the House and barely held onto the Senate. Since then, Republicans have interpreted the 2010 gains as a rejection of some of the Democrats' key initiatives, including healthcare reform legislation. 

Go to the link and read the comments-SP.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Everything starts with repeal

From Charles Krauthammer at The Washington Post via RealClearPolitics:

Suppose someone - say, the president of United States - proposed the following: We are drowning in debt. More than $14 trillion right now. I've got a great idea for deficit reduction. It will yield a savings of $230 billion over the next 10 years: We increase spending by $540 billion while we increase taxes by $770 billion.

He'd be laughed out of town. And yet, this is precisely what the Democrats are claiming as a virtue of Obamacare. During the debate over Republican attempts to repeal it, one of the Democrats' major talking points has been that Obamacare reduces the deficit - and therefore repeal raises it - by $230 billion. Why, the Congressional Budget Office says exactly that.

Very true. And very convincing. Until you realize where that number comes from. Explains CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf in his "preliminary analysis of H.R. 2" (the Republican health-care repeal): "CBO anticipates that enacting H.R. 2 would probably yield, for the 2012-2021 period, a reduction in revenues in the neighborhood of $770 billion and a reduction in outlays in the vicinity of $540 billion."

As National Affairs editor Yuval Levin pointed out when mining this remarkable nugget, this is a hell of a way to do deficit reduction: a radical increase in spending, topped by an even more radical increase in taxes.

Of course, the very numbers that yield this $230 billion "deficit reduction" are phony to begin with. The CBO is required to accept every assumption, promise (of future spending cuts, for example) and chronological gimmick that Congress gives it. All the CBO then does is perform the calculation and spit out the result.

In fact, the whole Obamacare bill was gamed to produce a favorable CBO number. Most glaringly, the entitlement it creates - government-subsidized health insurance for 32 million Americans - doesn't kick in until 2014. That was deliberately designed so any projection for this decade would cover only six years of expenditures - while that same 10-year projection would capture 10 years of revenue. With 10 years of money inflow vs. six years of outflow, the result is a positive - i.e., deficit-reducing - number. Surprise.
If you think that's audacious, consider this: Obamacare does not create just one new entitlement (health insurance for everyone); it actually creates a second - long-term care insurance. With an aging population, and with long-term care becoming extraordinarily expensive, this promises to be the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state.

And yet, in the CBO calculation, this new entitlement to long-term care reduces the deficit over the next 10 years. By $70 billion, no less. How is this possible? By collecting premiums now, and paying out no benefits for the first 10 years. Presto: a (temporary) surplus. As former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and scholars Joseph Antos and James Capretta note, "Only in Washington could the creation of a reckless entitlement program be used as 'offset' to grease the way for another entitlement." I would note additionally that only in Washington could such a neat little swindle be titled the "CLASS Act" (for the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act).

That a health-care reform law of such enormous size and consequence, revolutionizing one-sixth of the U.S. economy, could be sold on such flimflammery is astonishing, even by Washington standards. What should Republicans do?

Make the case. Explain the phony numbers, boring as the exercise may be. Better still, hold hearings and let the CBO director, whose integrity is beyond reproach, explain the numbers himself.

To be sure, the effect on the deficit is not the only criterion by which to judge Obamacare. But the tossing around of such clearly misleading bumper-sticker numbers calls into question the trustworthiness of other happy claims about Obamacare. Such as the repeated promise that everyone who likes his current health insurance will be able to keep it. Sure, but only if your employer continues to offer it. In fact, millions of workers will find themselves adrift because their employers will have every incentive to dump them onto the public rolls.

This does not absolve the Republicans from producing a health-care replacement. They will and should be judged by how well their alternative addresses the needs of the uninsured and the anxieties of the currently insured. But amending an insanely complicated, contradictory, incoherent and arbitrary 2,000-page bill that will generate tens of thousands of pages of regulations is a complete non-starter. Everything begins with repeal.

Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate - repost

Hoosiers for a Conservative Senate!!


Do you want a conservative voice in Washington?  
Are you tired of progressive voting in the U.S. Senate?

Hoosiers for Conservative Senate 
invites you to attend the launching of
"The Caucus, Phase 1"
January 22nd, 2011
10:00am(EST) in Fisher's Indiana (Place to be announced) 
RSVP by January 10th
ID and Press Passes will be required at the door

This will be the FIRST step to unify TEA Parties in the State of Indiana for one mission:  A Conservative Senate.    It is important that we begin working together to accomplish goals that will benefit Hoosiers.   Your group plays an intricate part in this effort; we can't accomplish this mission without you.
You MUST RSVP to attend this meeting. Due to the size of the response we are receiving, we ask that only the organizer and co-organizer of your group attend.   Please submit all of your  ideas that you might have regarding this effort It is important that we put all ideas on the table! Two weeks prior to the meeting, you will receive an agenda; please come prepared to discuss those issues.  Please note this story has caught National Media attention.  
Mission Statement: To ensure the United States Senatorial representation of Indiana reflects conservative values and is in strict adherence with the Constitution of the United States as worded and originally intended by the writers of this sacred document.
We have built a database with groups from all over the state, but we might have missed some.  Please forward this email to any group you communicate with so all can be included in this state wide effort.   
If you are interested in attending, please complete the form at:
Hoosiers for Conservative Senate 2012 

Lugar, a top Tea Party target, vows to run for reelection

From Alexander Bolton at The Hill:

Republican Sen. Dick Lugar (Ind.) vowed Tuesday to run for reelection despite early activity by Tea Party groups to knock him off in a 2012 primary. 
Lugar has invited several hundred supporters to a major fundraiser on Friday that he expects will raise $320,000, a hefty haul by Indiana standards. 
Representatives from as many as 50 Tea Party groups will meet the next day in Tipton, Ind., to plot their tactics for next year’s primary. The activists hope to establish ground rules to ensure that only one Tea Party-backed candidate squares off against Lugar. 
“It’s hard for me to evaluate how serious the threat is,” Lugar said during a breakfast with reporters hosted by The Christian Science Monitor. “I take any opposition seriously if groups are planning to meet in Tipton, Ind., as they are on Saturday.
“This is still the year before the year, and I can’t recall a time when there has been this vigorous activity in Indiana with regard to Senate campaigns,” Lugar said. 
Several candidates claiming Tea Party affiliation ran against newly elected Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) in the 2010 Republican primary, splitting the vote and giving Coats the nomination, with 39 percent of the vote. 
State Treasurer Richard Mourdock and state Sen. Mike Delph have been mentioned as possible Lugar challengers. Some activists have also touted Marlin Stutzman, who lost to Coats. 
Lugar reacted with surprise Tuesday when he heard that veteran Sen. Kent. Conrad (D) had decided to retire instead of running what was expected to be a difficult reelection campaign in a hostile environment. Conrad’s decision comes after Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), another longtime colleague, announced her retirement.

Lugar said he is committed to running for reelection because he believes he can help advance nuclear disarmament, secure loose nuclear material and weapons, and defend U.S. farmers who face trade barriers overseas, including restrictions on genetically-modified crops. 
“These are areas that are maybe not on everybody’s plate, but ones in which I believe I can make a distinct contribution,” Lugar said. “I want to continue to do so. I’ve done the homework in the past [and] know the players. So this is an opportunity to be most productive.”
Lugar said he hasn’t contemplated retirement. 
“I’ve been fortunate to have very good health and spirits and I’m grateful for that,” he said. “I don’t take it for granted, but nevertheless I’m excited about what I’m doing.”
Lugar says he has been a faithful member of the Republican Party. 
A tally of Senate votes shows he has voted with GOP leaders 84 percent of the time. But Lugar notes that 35 percent of the votes he cast differently from his party’s leadership were related to the New START nuclear treaty that was ratified last month. 
Lugar, the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, managed Republican support for the bill after GOP leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.) announced their opposition. 
Tea Party activists have faulted Lugar for co-sponsoring the DREAM Act, which would allow illegal immigrants under a certain age to become legal residents if they meet several requirements. 
He has also drawn criticism for supporting President Obama’s nominees to the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.