Posts Tagged ‘hillyer’
January 9th, 2013 at 12:21 pm
On Procedure

Ashton, just to be clear (in response to your post), I do understand the procedures. Here’s the thing: There is plenty of time to gauge, from press statements and elsewhere, a rather good sense of how many senators support a nomination, and therefore whether or not it will be killed in an up or down vote. My contention is that a senator seeing the tea leaves going in favor of Hagel could consider a hold before the nomination technically reaches the floor. I do not necessarily advocate this, but I think it’s worth looking into.

Sure, a majority leader can disregard a hold, technically. But if he does so, members of one’s own party, looking to protect their own prerogatives, are then MORE likely to join the “holder” in a subsequent filibuster.

But the main thing I advocate is not a hold, but the willingness to filibuster this thing to death. Of course I know that Reid is threatening to kill the filibuster, but there is blowback on his side, too. The rules will be determined in just a few weeks; from what I have read, the most likely outcome is that he will kill the ability to filibuster the motion to proceed to debate in the first place, but will probably not change the rules to disallow a filibuster on the motion to “call the question” — in other words, to end debate and hold a straight up-or-down vote.

Because this motion comes already after at least some debate has been held, it is perfectly consistent with my agreement with Ashton’s advocacy of using open debate to try to kill the nomination. Indeed, I think enough Democrats are skittish about Hagel that the nomination can indeed by killed in a straight up or down vote — and that there will be enough clear statements of Democratic opposition that it will be safe to allow it to go to such a vote.

BUT… BUT… BUT! — if it looks like Obama has strong-armed enough Dems that Hagel will get through, or has a good chance of doing so, THEN I think a filibuster is in order to keep debate going (technically speaking) and, in short, to forever block the nomination. By that time, the rules will be set already. Reid of course could then still use the nuclear option, but it would be mighty risky of him to do that after having already agreed to rules for this Congress that do allow a filibuster before proceeding to a final vote.

So I am not “wrong” about procedures. You may disagree with my advocacy of certain procedures, but that’s different from not understanding them fully.

And, for the record, I am not a huge fan of killing ANYTHING with a permanent filibuster. I am an advocate of a different kind of filibuster reform, which I have written about elsewhere. But the rules and their use should be consistent from party to party. Unless a fair-minded, apolitical reform is introduced, and absent serious constitutional (letter OR spirit) concerns that apply in the case of judicial nominees but not executive branch nominees, I think that a precedent as recent as the filibuster against John Bolton is one that should apply the first time the shoe is on the other party’s foot, so to speak, in terms of a major executive branch nomination.

This is especially true when the concerns go, as they do with Hagel, not just to mere political differences, but to major policy misjudgments, major evidence of unseemly bias, and character concerns.

Just as no anti-black racist should ever be confirmed for a high post, so to should no anti-Semite be so confirmed. This is basic stuff, getting to the very heart of moral fitness for office. I think there is solid evidence that Hagel has anti-Semitic (not just anti-Israel’s foreign policy) tendencies, and that he is also dangerously unwilling to even acknowledge obvious proof of terrorism if the terrorism in question is mostly aimed at Israel. He cannot, must not, ever, be confirmed.

December 2nd, 2012 at 9:51 am
At Least Gingrich Learns

I have always had extremely mixed feelings about Newt Gingrich, admiring much about him and being appalled by much about him. Usually, when he is NOT directly in the political arena he makes more sense commenting on the arena than he does as an actor in the arena. So it is with the passage quoted by Ashton below.

Here is the key part of that quotation: “At any point they wanted to, the President and the Congress could reduce the “cliff” to a series of foothills by breaking the problem into ten or twenty component parts. They could then focus on solving each problem on its own merits and out in the open with public hearings, public understanding and public involvement.”

Gingrich is absolutely right on this. Maybe he learned from his mistakes as speaker, when he repeatedly tried to put big packages together rather than break things into, yes, component parts. Not that it was all Gingrich’s fault, and not that I had much of an audience then, but as a leadership press secretary I talked myself blue in the face (I wasn’t important enough to have the ear of somebody who could do anything about it, I guess) complaining that we kept forcing all-or-nothing, edge-of-cliff battles rather than fighting and winning discrete skirmishes where we could stake out the high ground and dominate the field.

In fact, Republicans in 1995 were winning the budget battles until Gingrich let Bill Thomas talk him into including a tiny little Medicare “fix” in what had been a clean fight over Appropriations. Once that happened, Clinton was able to unleash his “Mediscare” campaign and seize the upper hand.

Way back in the early 1990s, New Orleans Mayor Sidney Barthelemy wanted to push through major tax reforms and other changes, and he put them into one huge package. At Gambit Weekly, we urged him to break it down into component parts and present a menu to the voters. He didn’t, and his initiative lost big. He came back the next time and did it our way, and got almost everything he wanted. And that’s what usually happens: Give citizens a chance to look at things in chewable bites, and common sense often wins. Try to make them swallow something massive, and they can’t grasp the whole thing, so they buy the liberal media narrative, whatever it is.

Anyway, I’m rambling here, but the point is that whatever Gingrich’s history — some of it excellent as speaker, some of it awful — he is right on target in the remarks cited above, and he should be listened to. Actually, I have a version of the “component part” idea waiting for this week’s column, already written.  Messrs. Boehner and McConnell really should take Gingrich’s advice.

November 17th, 2012 at 10:35 am
Obamacare Medical Device Tax Already Killing Jobs

Recently, Quin argued that Obamacare’s medical device tax would be a huge job-killer if implemented.  A story from Fox News about massive layoffs at medical supply giant Stryker confirms his grim prediction:

The company will cut 1,170 jobs, or five percent of its worldwide workforce…

A “medical device excise tax” included in the mandate imposes a 2.3 percent levy on medical device manufacturers and suppliers, which critics say will raise prices on everything from pacemakers to prosthetics to stents. Companies will be required to pay the tax regardless if they have a profit or loss for the year. The tax is estimated to cost the medical device industry $20 billion.

“Here we are, one of the greatest industries in the country, and we’re staring down on Jan. 1, 2013 and the addition of a 2.3 percent excise tax, while meanwhile on the other side all the discussion in Washington is about creating jobs,” Stryker President and CEO Stephen McMillian said during a national conference of medical device manufacturers in Washington, D.C. last September.

November 14th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
Pathetic Press Corps

The Enemies of the American People — a.k.a., the White House press corps — were, by normal standards, only halfway pathetic at today’s Obama genuflection exercise. But, considering that he hasn’t taken their questions for eight months, and considering the seriousness of the questions that needed to be asked, and considering that they had an opportunity to lay down a marker showing they would kowtow less to His Oneness than before, their performance today compared to what it should have been was fully pathetic. More on The Enemies later this week…..

November 3rd, 2012 at 11:51 am
Medical Device Tax Kills Jobs, Could Kill Patients

Cross-posted at AmSpec with additional commentary, I have a column up right now at USA Today that looks into what might be the most horrid tax in ObamaCare.

November 1st, 2012 at 11:44 am
A Clash of Visions

Read about it here.

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November 1st, 2012 at 8:18 am
Military Ballots Are Still a Problem

All over the country, there are reports of problems getting ballots to military personnel and contract civilians working abroad. This has been a problem for two years, largely because the Obama administration refuses to fully enforce the law requiring a certain set of procedures to help the ballots get there on time, etctera.

Last week, I was on local WKRG-TV to talk about this.

This continues my work on this; two years ago, I was on Fox News several times to discuss these problems.

This refusal/failure on the administration’s part is an outrage.

October 19th, 2012 at 12:29 pm
Smaller Government, Strong Economy

At the University of Mobile’s Center for Leadership, I review the record showing that limited government leads to stronger economies. There much more in the column than the following passage, but here’s a taste:

Indeed, historians are hard-pressed to show any time in American history when major domestic-discretionary spending growth actually generated a stronger economy. But when Reagan cut discretionary spending in the 1980s, combined with his tax cuts, the economy did superbly. When the Newt Gingrich Congress passed major spending cuts in 1995-96, the economy again boomed.

October 9th, 2012 at 4:20 pm
Ya Gotta Believe!

Mets fans and Phillies fans in particular might like my American Spectator column today, wherein a Volleyball Mom channels her husband channeling Tug McGraw. Said Volleyball Mom:

And my husband kept saying that we need to be like Tug, that we ‘gotta believe.’ We gotta believe Romney’s gonna win. We gotta believe the country isn’t doomed. We gotta believe the Constitution still matters. Gotta believe, gotta believe, gotta believe. …

And, wrote I:

Ya gotta believe Romney will win because citizens are tired of crushing debt, high energy prices, a large drop in household net worth, and several downgrades of the federal government’s credit ratings.

But Americans believe in more lasting things, and more positive things, than a mere need to stop bad times and bad tidings. We hold dear some noble ideals, noble ideas, and noble aspirations. Ya gotta believe — we gotta believe — in some of the great truths recognized in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. We should believe them not because they are recognized in those great documents, but because they already were truths before the writers of those documents had the wisdom to recognize them, and because they remain true today and always will…..

September 26th, 2012 at 5:09 pm
Two TV Appearances Explaining Romney’s Challenge

Last week two different outlets were kind enough to invite me on their news shows. In these interviews, I explained why I think Romney has fallen slightly behind, and how I think he can start to turn it around. First, on the Christian Broadcasting Network, which generously interviewed me for about 3 minutes, 45 seconds, I give my fullest advice, which I can boil down to this: Connect the dots better. Here, my part starts at the 7:59 mark.

Chris Stirewalt’s “Power Play” show on Fox News Online also gave me some air time. The key part of Chris’ introduction of my segment starts at precisely the 10-minute mark, and I myself come on air here at the 10:40 mark.

So I’m not the greatest TV guy, not great with short sound bites — but please watch and see if I got my main points across.

September 20th, 2012 at 4:59 pm
Celebrating the Constitution

The University of Mobile held a “Constitution Day” event this week to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the great document’s signing, with me emceeing an address by and discussion with the superb federal appellate court judge William H. Pryor, in front of university students plus 120 pupils from nearby high schools. It inspired me to write this column. A sample passage:

The United States and its Constitution serve as one big laboratory of republican government. When the Constitution was written, most of the world’s people thought true republics were by their very nature unstable, destined to be short-lived and to lead to either anarchy or tyranny. The men of Philadelphia, and then the American people who put into practice the system the founders designed, proved otherwise. Indeed, we continue to prove that representative democracy works. It can assure freedom, ensure a high degree of justice, and promote societal stability, simultaneously.

It remains for us to make sure that we ourselves in the United States do not let down our guard. Just because our Constitution has worked for so long does not mean, in the words of the title of a famous book on the Constitution, that our government is “a machine that would go of itself.”  The Constitution only provides a framework by which American citizens can protect our liberties; The Constitution does not do the work all by itself.

September 11th, 2012 at 11:05 am
Romney’s Messaging is Weak; Election in Doubt

Charlie Cook is right on target this morning in criticizing the messaging and tactics of Mitt Romney’s campaign.

Only in the last few days has the Romney campaign begun buying any time in swing states on local cable systems, something the Obama team has been doing for months. While one campaign has been looking for every nookand cranny to reach votersand has been doing so for some time, the other didn’t bother until after the conventions. Go figure.

The Romney campaign made the extraordinary decision to not try seriously to connecttheir candidate with voters on a personal level untiltheir convention. As dubious as that decision was, they were rewarded by having a convention shortened by a day due to a hurricane, then compounded the error of waiting until the convention by putting much of what was most needed to be seen in the 8and 9 p.m. hours, when the only viewers would be C-SPAN fans. Wow! The biographical filmand the testimonials of people whose lives had been touched by Romney were powerful, necessary,and largely unseen. Instead, the Romney campaign treated them to the Clint Eastwood debacleand a serviceable speech by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that should have been made earlier, not chewing up precious broadcast airtime.

Meanwhile, I have a column out today at The American Spectator that predicts a narrow win for Barack The One Obama. But it’s close enough that Romney could turn things around — if he starts running a smarter campaign:

Now, how can Romney pull off the victory anyway? By mobilizing discrete groups of voters who might be unexcited or might wish a pox on both parties, but who will be motivated to turn out (rather than stay home, or go hunting, or whatever)and vote for a candidate who shows commitment to a particular issue stance.

Taking a page from Newt Gingrich’s playbook, Romney could easily identify such issues where a clear majority of voters agree with conservatives.

July 27th, 2012 at 1:40 pm
Virginia’s Bob McDonnell as Romney’s VP?

The Washington Times quotes some GOP operatives as saying the culturally conservative Virginia governor could provide the link to the conservative base Romney needs while not upstaging the presidential candidate on the stump (an apparent consideration given the rhetorical abilities of other possibilities Chris Christie and Marco Rubio).

I don’t know much about McDonnell’s tenure as governor or his political chops, and the Times article may just be a puff piece doing McDonnell a favor by keeping his name in the mix and on Drudge Report where I first saw the article.

But since Quin has weighed in on McDonnell as a possible vice presidential candidate – sort of – I wonder what he thinks about the potential for a Romney-McDonnell ticket.

Quin, thoughts?

July 12th, 2012 at 2:34 pm
More Legal Challenges to ObamaCare

Discussed here. Here’s just a small taste:

Multitudinous other lawsuits against the law remain outstanding, and at least a few of them still could result in the court invalidating the entire law at a later date….First, the suit with the largest potential reach – the one perhaps most likely, if the plaintiffs win, to cause the whole law to be invalidated – is a case out of Arizona called Coons v. Geithner. A state think tank called the Goldwater Institute is providing the legal firepower here, while two congressmen are among the plaintiffs. While the lawsuit incorporates challenges to the law on multiple fronts, its most legally explosive issue involves whether something called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is constitutionally permissible….In short, the suit alleges that IPAB amounts to an illegal “delegation” of legislative powers to an unaccountable board.

June 29th, 2012 at 11:40 am
No, The Taxing Power Isn’t Infinitely Elastic

I hate to disagree with my friend Tim, with whom I almost always agree, but I think he is dead wrong (and the dissenting opinion provides ample evidence, much more eloquently than I, as to why) why he says:

It is beyond significant dispute that Obama and the Pelosi-Reid Congress could have passed ObamaCare and its individual mandate as a “tax.”  The text of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution explicitly provides that “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States.”  Thus, the federal government can tax and spend on behalf of almost anything it considers to advance the nation’s general welfare, even if its power to more crudely compel or prohibit actual behavior beyond that spending carrot is more limited.

Well, no. Not really.

The taxing power, as the dissent notes, NEVER EVER EVER has been construed to extend that far. The government can tax people; it can tax property; it can tax purchases or other activity; — but it CANNOT (or at least could not, until now) tax inactivity or the decision to remain inactive. Just as with the Commerce Clause argument, the same applies here: Under Roberts’ theory, now the government can impose a tax on you for NOT doing calisthenics in the morning, for NOT eating broccoli, for NOT buying a Chevy Volt, or for anything else it darn well pleases.

The taxing authority has never stretched so far.

And that leaves aside all the other facts at play here, such as that this isn’t a tax at all, but a penalty; that it isn’t even in the section of the bill devoted to revenue (thus indicating again that it is not a tax); and that it doesn’t operate like a tax because it is assessed in a way completely at odds with all definitions of a tax. (The dissent explains this well.)

Roberts bizzarrely conflates a tax “incentive” (an exemption from paying a tax otherwise generally levied) with a tax. He says giving a tax break for buying a home is meant to encourage home buying, so what’s the big deal about placing a tax on not purchasing health insurance in order to encourage the purchase of said insurance? Well, the key word is “not.” In the first instance, the tax already exists. It is a property tax. The property tax is reduced, though, if it is a primary homestead. But NOWHERE IS THERE A TAX ON NOT OWNING PROPERTY. Thus, it is an entirely different thing than imposing a tax on not purchasing insurance.

It’s an incredibly foolish comparison for Roberts to have made — but it is in keeping with the slipshod, hurried, almost desperate way he wrote the three pages on the taxing power, completely at odds with the careful exposition he made of the limits on the Commerce Clause.

This wasn’t a constitutional exposition at all; it was a politicized act of judicial legislating from the bench to create an entirely different law than the one passed by Congress and signed by the president.

June 21st, 2012 at 3:10 pm
Answering Pelosi’s Bunk: Holder Enables Vote Fraud

Nancy Pelosi today made the risible claim that the contempt citation against Eric Holder is part of an effort at voter suppression. What bunk. But it is true that Holder is heavily involved with the flip side of vote suppression, which is that he is deliberately taking steps that enable vote fraud, via his lawsuits against Texas, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina, etcetera, concerning voter ID and cleaning up voter rolls.

Well, here is the little-known background to all this:

It goes back to the Clinton Administration’s very first big battle — which wasn’t about health care, or energy taxes, or spending. The first battle involved the Motor Voter bill, which Democrats in Congress introduced on the very first legislative day in 1993, several weeks before Bill Clinton was inaugurated. Motor Voter was assigned to the House Administration Committee – and Louisiana Congressman Bob Livingston, the committee’s ranking Republican, had the job of deciding whether to object. I happened to be Livingston’s press secretary back then…. Livingston didn’t object to registration at drivers’-license bureaus, but he argued that other bill provisions (too numerous to list here) would promote vote fraud. Livingston’s legislative aide Tripp Funderburk had the brilliant idea to say that “Motor Voter” would better be described as “Auto Fraudo.” Using Tripp’s new catch-phrase, I started a media pushback, including a column in the Washington Times and many radio appearances for Livingston.

The pushback failed to kill the bill – but it did succeed in forcing acceptance of some anti-fraud provisions into the bill’s Section 8…. But, as reported by whistleblowers J. Christian Adams and Christopher Coates, DoJ official Julie Fernandes announced in late 2009 that the department would refuse to enforce Section 8’s anti-fraud provisions because “it has nothing to do with increasing turnout, and we are just not going to do it.” Now that Florida is doing its job to enforce it anyway, DoJ is trying to stop the state’s efforts.

June 13th, 2012 at 12:42 pm
More Support for Kyl… or Jindal

Last week Troy had this excellent column on why Jon Kyl would be an excellent choice for Mitt Romney’s running mate. He was right. I’ve been a big Kyl fan for years, and wrote about him just a few weeks ago. Today I go all the way in the direction I was hinting at in that column, namely joining Troy in his suggestion that Kyl would be a great choice for veep. In this case, I make him choice 1b, with Bobby Jindal of Louisiana as 1a. I also linked to Troy’s piece within mine; do read his solid reasoning, please, as well as mine.

Here’s part of my case for Kyl:

Kyl also adds particular heft where Romney has no real record, namely foreign and defense policy. From Kyl’s long service on the Judiciary Committee, he also is well equipped to carry the fight to Obama on the subject of Eric Holder’s corrupt Justice Department, and also to parry attacks on the Supreme Court that Obama is expected to make if the court throws out all or part of Obamacare. With Romney having shown a bit of ineptness in describing legal issues and explaining conservative jurisprudence, Kyl’s abilities here could be tremendously important.

Finally, while few people think Republicans are seriously at risk of losing Arizona, Kyl does perhaps, at the very margins, offer an overlooked geographical advantage. In a very close election, many observers are starting to think the entire outcome could depend on a razor-thin difference, one way or another, not in Ohio but in Iowa. Well, Kyl grew up in Iowa, and his father actually was a U.S. congressman from there.

And here’s part of my case for Jindal:

Some will gripe that Jindal adds no geographical advantage to the ticket — and they are right. But that consideration pales in comparison with what he will add in one particular area. It is almost certain that, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on Obamacare, the question of “what would Republicans do to replace it” will dominate campaign coverage throughout the summer and perhaps all the way until Election Day. Romney himself, as the author of Romneycare and a once-avid advocate of an individual insurance mandate, is poorly equipped to handle this question. No high-ranking elected official in the country, however, can match Jindal for his expert knowledge on health-care policy, nor can anybody else match Jindal’s ability to explain positive, conservative alternatives to the Left’s state-controlled systems. In short, he takes a major Romney weakness and turns it into a strength, on an issue that really could sway the whole election.

June 11th, 2012 at 1:56 pm
Conservatives Against Bad Judge, TODAY

I have a long blog post at The American Spectator about why conservative are rallying around Obama’s nominee to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, a guy named Andrew Hurwitz. This is important. Please read.

August 11th, 2011 at 11:08 am
Cost of Government Day…. Tomorrow

Cost of Government Day, as calculated by Americans for Tax Reform, falls tomorrow, Friday August 12. “This is the day on which the average American has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government at the federal, state, and local levels.”

This is “a full 27 days longer than 2008.” What’s worse is that further costs, via regulation alone, are built into the system for future years via regulatory burdens imposed by the Dodd-Frank financial bill and by Obamacare. Again, read the summary here. EPA regs also are in the offing, and of course the regulatory behemoth continues via the NLRB, the CPSC, the FDA, and others.

The Obama administration is filled with officious zealots who like to tell other people how to live. The result makes all of our wallets lighter, and erodes our freedom.

August 9th, 2011 at 11:52 am
Debt Ceiling Deal Sets Limits, Not Mandates

There will be much more to say on this in weeks to come, but here’s an absolutely essential thought for conservatives in Congress: The discretionary spending numbers mentioned in the debt-ceiling deal are upper limits. They do not require so much money to be spent; they only ensure that no more than those limits can be spent. My understanding is that the House has six Appropriations bills outstanding. On all six bills, it should approve significantly less than the limits allow. If conservatives choose their cuts carefully, the left will be forced to explain why, in a time of a ratings downgrade, they want to spend more money on bridges to nowhere, museums for silly things, programs that don’t work, and bureaucrats who won’t work. Get the bills done quickly; avoid a massive “omnibus bill” where so many items get wrapped in all at once that the details of lefty largess get lost. But keep on cutting and saving, saving and cutting. Keep the pressure on, for limited government and for freedom.