Posts Tagged ‘Fred Barnes’
January 5th, 2013 at 10:16 am
Fred Barnes Trashes the Media

As only he can do — sounding polite and reasonable while building a devastatingly critical case — Fred Barnes lights into the establishment media for its lily-livered lapdog act while not just kissing or licking, but slobbering over, Barack Obama’s ring. He won’t say it, but the case he lays out makes it clear that the media vis-a-vis Obama approaches the position Nina Burleigh offered vis-a-vis Bill Clinton. (Google it.)

One sample Barnes paragraph (among many):

Compare Obama’s coverage with that of President George W. Bush. The difference is startling. There was no fear of affronting Bush. He faced relentless scrutiny of his tactics in the war on terror: wiretaps, renditions, Guantánamo, the Patriot Act. The media raised questions about his motives, the constitutionality of his policies, and his brainpower. White House press conferences became tense and hostile events when national security issues were broached.

Obama’s adoption of these same policies has drawn minimal attention, much less the kind of media wrath that Bush endured. Last week, for example, Obama signed a bill extending the use of warrentless wiretapping to gather intelligence on America’s enemies. Bush was harshly criticized by the media on this very issue. Obama got a pass.

It really has been a shameful performance by the media. One might even say (read Barnes’ treatment of this issue) that the media has deliberately been putting “party before country.” But that might not really be true. I think a lot of the establishment media don’t know the difference.

December 17th, 2012 at 11:52 am
The Good News on Tim Scott

With news reports saying that South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley today will appoint U.S. Rep. Tim Scott to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jim DeMint, it’s worth revisiting a column I wrote on Scott when he was first running for Congress back in 2010. I believe mine was only the second major piece on Scott in a non-S.C. publication (Fred Barnes beat me by a week with an excellent piece). I loved the story he told about how his odyssey toward success was launched at a Chick-fil-A:

Young Mr. Scott did, however, hold down a part-time job taking tickets at a movie theater. The Chick-fil-A was next door. He bought fries there regularly. The restaurant’s proprietor, a guy named John Moniz – a “Christian conservative white Republican, although I didn’t know it at the time,” Mr. Scott said – “just started recognizing me, and one day he came up and sat down next to me and started talking.”

Moniz (now deceased) somehow struck a chord with the young customer. Moniz talked about the virtues of discipline and concentration. They talked often and built a cross-generational friendship.

And Scott is a solid conservative:

To listen to Mr. Scott himself is to hear the clear echoes of former Housing and Urban Development secretary and vice presidential nominee Jack Kemp, whom Mr. Scott revered. “That’s what I want to model as a public official. If it has to be done, let it be done by me with my own sweat equity. … The War on Poverty was four decades, and the same people are living in the same neighborhoods and the same bad houses, in the same poverty. A person who is full of compassion who is a conservative has to say that small business in a neighborhood creates jobs, not government. Government intervention does not lead to a more promising future. Entrepreneurship changes lives for real.” Also: “As a small-business owner, I cannot pay higher taxes and hire more people.”

Mr. Scott, though, seems far more comfortable talking about limiting government than Mr. Kemp was…

Now some might argue that Scott’s single term in Congress makes him a less qualified person for the Senate than some others who might have been chosen. But that ignores his 13 years on the Charleston City Council (four as chairman), his term in the state legislature, and his record of from-the-bootstraps successful business development. This extensive background in entrepreneurship and in more local levels of government is, arguably, exactly what is needed in the Senate. It should make him more dedicated to principles of federalism, and keep him better grounded. And it provided him with great experience in down-home, practical politics. He’s not just a talking head; Tim Scott is someone who produces results.

November 19th, 2012 at 6:20 pm
Overturn ObamaCare

Fred Barnes has a great column at the Weekly Standard about various ways conservatives can “push back” against the Obama regency on numerous fronts. It is well worth a read. But one point merits a bit more elaboration — and, indeed, more elaboration than it will receive in this particular blog post, although this will be a down payment on said elaboration. Anyway, Barnes leads with ways that smart people can continue to push back particularly against ObamaCare, and specifically mentions the state governors fighting against the insurance “exchanges” in the program. Barnes mentions there is a lawsuit pending against the administration’s implementation of the federal version of the exchange. What needs emphasis, though, is that the lawsuit, filed by the state of Oklahoma, actually has the potential to unravel a large chunk of the whole ObamaCare scheme. Read about it here.

And that’s not the only suit outstanding against ObamaCare. When the dozens of lawsuits against the liberty-destroying HHS mandate, for example are finally consolidated and heard, I predict a very, very, very heavy likelihood that the mandate will be thrown out. Now, granted, that won’t overturn the whole law, but only that particular regulation. It does, however, allow some other, technical questions to be piggybacked upon the challenge, and those questions, too, can help unravel parts of the superstructure of the law.

Then there is Liberty University’s suit, which for now has been resurrected after wrongly being thought mooted by Chief Justice Roberts’ awful decision on the “individual mandate.” There is certainly a scenario under which a win by Liberty could actually lead to the whole law being adjudged unconstitutional. This bears watching.

Finally, and most importantly, the Goldwater Institute’s lawsuit, especially including its challenge to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, is still alive — and I believe it has tremendous merit. Indeed, I predict that Goldwater will win this case of Coons v. Geithner. And if IPAB is thrown out, there is at least an even chance, in my estimation, that the justices determine it is not severable from the rest of the law, which would mean the whole law would be ruled unconstitutional.

That lawsuit merits a full column of its own, and will receive one soon, here at CFIF.

August 20th, 2012 at 7:54 pm
Ryan is the Linchpin to Enacting Conservative Reform

William Kristol sums up the grassroots enthusiasm over the Paul Ryan pick:

Until last week, the Romney campaign was a few hundred operatives working hard in Boston trying to win a presidential election. Now Romney-Ryan is a groundswell of citizens spontaneously writing, volunteering, and proselytizing on behalf of a cause. The first was going to be a grueling uphill climb. The second could be more like running downhill with the wind at your back. Even in the second instance, of course, the candidate still has to jump the hurdles and avoid the obstacles. But it’s a lot easier to prevail when you stand for a cause citizens are eager to join than when you’re engaged in a campaign voters may diffidently support.

And it’s not just politically involved citizens who are energized by Ryan’s elevation to be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate.

As Fred Barnes notes, the 87 House Republicans who won office in 2010 have helped heighten Ryan’s profile by supporting his budget reforms.  At least 70 of these are considered likely to be reelected this year, thus solidifying their importance in the caucus.  By putting their party on record as supporting Ryan’s vision, these House GOPers make Romney’s embrace of Ryan a clear legitimization of conservative, market-based reform.

Ryan is the linchpin.  Without him providing the bridge between the reform-minded conservatives in the House and the Romney campaign, it’s very likely that a Romney Administration would be reluctant to move on a policy package the candidate did not run on.  Now, Romney owns it.

Let the proselytizing continue.

December 12th, 2011 at 12:11 pm
Candidate X… or Candidate J

Talk is heating up about the need for a new entrant in the Republican presidential sweepstakes, with not only The Weekly Standard keeping up its long-running and always-thoughtful drumbeat now called the Valentine’s Day Option, but George Will saying as much on Sunday, after Rhodes Cook of the Sabato Crystal Ball explained why it is still definitely feasible.

A name I am increasingly hearing is that of Bobby Jindal, subject of glowing reviews in the past three or so months by Fred Barnes, Jim Geraghty, Michael Barone, Chris Cillizza,  and Yours Truly.

Here’s the key thing: There is not an elected official in the country who knows health care policy as well as Jindal, and once the Supreme Court decides the Obamacare case, health care will be front and center in the campaign. Why does Jindal know so much about it? First, he was the wunderkind Secretary of the Louisiana health department, where he flat-out saved the state budget from disaster while completely and successfully renovating its Medicaid program (after explaining Medicaid’s rules to the federal Medicaid officials who didn’t even understand them as well as Jindal did). Second, he was executive director of the Breaux-Thomas entitlement commission in the late 1990s that not only pushed the idea of premium support (the heart of Paul Ryan’s Medicare plans), but got several Democratic senators to buy in to the concept.  Third, he worked on health care in the private sector, for McKinsey and Company.  Also, (from Wikipedia), “as a Rhodes Scholar. He received an M.Litt. degree in political science with an emphasis in health policy from the University of Oxford in 1994 for his thesis “A needs-based approach to health care”.

He also served as the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If Republicans want somebody who not only will oppose Obamacare (that’s an easy thing to do), but also to be able to outline a positive alternative and explain it understandably, nobody, not even Paul Ryan, can do it better than Bobby Jindal.

November 28th, 2011 at 3:11 pm
Young Guns Now in Charge

Fred Barnes has a great article in The Weekly Standard about how the trio of Republican House members his magazine first dubbed “Young Guns” back in 2007 is now perhaps the single weightiest force in Washington Republican politics. The three are Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan. “Cantor is majority leader, McCarthy is Republican whip, and Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee and the leading Republican voice on domestic policy,” Barnes wrote. ” [….] They knew Republicans had lost their way, ideologically and politically. And they were eager to promote House candidates from diverse backgrounds, with little or no political experience but a zeal for bold conservative reforms. ‘We focused our effort,” Cantor says, “on recruitment of people who wanted to run for the right reasons’.”

Now I haven’t always liked what Cantor, McCarthy or even Ryan have done or said, but for the most part, they (especially Ryan) have been tremendous forces for a revitalization of the GOP as a party of new ideas and bold, serious proposals.  But the key, bigger point emerges from this Barnes explanation: “[T]heir political skills were complementary: Cantor the party leader, McCarthy the strategist, and Ryan the policy thinker.” One of my biggest complaints through the years has been that far too few conservatives married practical politics well with policy expertise, and that fewer still knew how to breed those two skills together to produce something that looks good and will sell well in the public arena.

The next best thing to having one person able to do all three is to have one person who is really good at one or two of them and also wise enough to affiliate himself with the right person or people to do whichever of the other three functions at which he might be lacking.

Alas, it has been decades since we have seen a Republican presidential nominee even come close. Hence the clamor earlier this year for Ryan himself to enter the fray.

The search continues. But Barnes’ article well identifies not just the players but the troika of required skills. It’s well worth a close read.

July 18th, 2011 at 2:57 pm
A President Who WANTS a Crisis

Fred Barnes’ story at the Weekly Standard about our supercilious, self-important, rude, overbearing, blowhard of a president is absolute must reading. It explains why these budget talks have been unproductive: because Barack Hussein The One The Redeemer Obama has absolutely no regard for anybody else’s opinion, no patience with dissent of any kind — and no manners. In short, he’s a boor — a boor with authoritarian inclinations:

The president has been less genial away from the prying eyes of the press and the public. In the private talks, he’s dominated the discussion with the eight most senior members of Congress in an overbearing way not likely to lead to compromise. He’s been argumentative. He’s come across as President Blowhard.

After Sperling briefed the group on the deficit cap proposal, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi addressed another subject. When a Republican participant criticized the deficit cap, Obama interrupted with a monologue. When the Republican tried to speak a second time, the president quickly cut him off and delivered another sermon on why the criticism was wrong.

I have argued all along that Obama doesn’t really even want a deal. He wants  a crisis. His behavior — pretending to be the adult and compromiser in public while actually torpedoing progress in private — is exactly that of somebody who is trying to foment a crisis from which he can benefit.

That’s why Charles Krauthammer makes sense:

[D]are the president to put the country in default on the basis of ‘I won’t accept anything short. I only want something that will serve me on Election Day.’

All of this talk about a Balanced Budget Amendment is fine and dandy, but it has NOTHING to do with the debt ceiling fight. It is literally impossible to get a BBA in time for the debt limit deadline. The best thing to do is to stop talking and actually pass spending cuts attached to a short-term lifting of the debt limit. Even better, doing a shorter-term debt limit hike also means the spending cuts, while substantial, are less likely to include things against which Obama can demagogue. In other words, the cuts, while not as big in total dollars, can be more carefully chosen for PR purposes — and they will accompany a more restrained debt-limit hike, which itself sends a message that conservatives refuse to give carte blanche to debt as high as Obama wants the new limit to be.

Yes, call Obama’s bluff. The way to do that is to pass a politically palatable bill with real savings — and leave extraneous things out of it.