Posts Tagged ‘National Review’
May 14th, 2013 at 5:10 pm
DeMint Supports Defense

Newly installed Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, former senator from South Carolina and favorite of conservatives just about everywhere, was in Mobile, AL last week to give  a speech for the superb Alabama Policy Institute. I wrote about it here.

But one part of my interview I did not write about last week (because it didn’t fit the main theme I was writing about) should give pause to those so-called conservatives, mostly younger ones, who seem blithely unconcerned (or at least only marginally concerned) with the continuing cutbacks in the U.S. defense budget.

I asked DeMint if he was more or less satisfied with how the battle over the budget “sequester” had played out. Frankly, I was not even thinking about defense, even though I have written that Republicans should have moved heaven and earth to protect defense from most of the effects of sequestration. When I asked the question, my assumption was that he would say he was largely satisfied with this interim step in the ongoing budget battles; my idea was to ask a follow-up question, based on the details of his response, about the bigger pictures of the larger, long-term budget problem.

I give that context only to show that I did not prompt DeMint in the slightest about defense. But here’s what he said, with his first words in response to my question:

“No, I’m not happy because so much was taken out of defense.” Then, after about three sentences to say he also didn’t think sequestration did enough to restrain spending on matters other than defense, he returned to his original point: “We do need to go back and figure out if we have enough money for modernization of our defense forces. I don’t think we do.”

This is significant. DeMint is well-known as a spending cutter, a hero to small-government advocates, a budget balancer extraordinaire. Yet, given the chance to crow about how Republicans had won a political skirmish against Obama with regard to sequestration, DeMint’s first thought instead turned toward protecting our nation from foreign threats. Tea Partiers, younger conservatives, and the increasing strain of conservatives who tend toward isolationism all should pay heed.

The fact of the matter, as Frederick W. Kagan wrote in the May 6 National Review (and as the good folks at The Weekly Standard have repeatedly argued in theme if not in the following specific examples), the sequester directly has caused “the cancellation of scheduled deployments of eight U.S. Navy ships, including an aircraft carrier destined for the Persian Gulf, and the grounding of 17 U.S. Air Force squadrons,” resulting in “a devastating blow to American global credibility just when our enemies and friends are watching most closely.” We thus have “created a window in 2013 during which the United States will have no aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf,” thus leading the Iranian Revolutionary Guard publication Mashregh to exult that this move gives the lie to any perceived threat of American military force (if Iran suddenly brings to full fruition a nuclear weapons program).

Kagan described plenty of other dangerous effects on our defense forces as a result of sequestration, and explained why it is that President Obama has far less ability to move funds among Pentagon accounts (and thus to avoid some of these ill effects) than is widely assumed.

Kagan is correct, as is DeMint. It’s long past time for conservatives to start again recalling, and acting on, those once-prominent parts of our beliefs, growing from our Goldwater-Reagan roots, that always have placed a strong national defense posture front and center among public-policy imperatives.

March 11th, 2013 at 10:27 am
Ted Cruz: Boffo, not ‘Wacko’

In a remarkable editorial six weeks ago, The NYT attacked new U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), arguing the Republican Party “should marginalize lawmakers like Mr. Cruz.” Last week, the hyper-mercurial (to put it kindly) John McCain included Cruz among the group of younger lawmakers he labeled as “wackos.” Very nice. Those are both the sorts of non-endorsements that should make Cruz a hero among all correct-thinking Americans.

With last week’s strong questioning of AG Eric Holder, then on the Senate floor supporting Rand Paul’s filibuster as the second longest speaker (about two hours), and now with his amendment to defund Obamacare, which is rallying conservatives and gaining support from Senate Republicans (so far Lee, Paul, Rubio, and Inhofe, plus supportive comments from Mitch McConnell), Sen. Cruz — along with his friends Rand Paul and Mike Lee — is emerging as a smart, proactive force on policy and message. And, despite the howls from the likes of McCain and Chris Matthews (again, birds of a feather), there is not a thing that Cruz has done or said that, in any reasonable context, have been remotely objectionable (as National Review noted here, saying Cruz had “ably and aggressively executed his duty as a United States senator).

Cruz also has put together a staff of rising conservative superstars (who I won’t list here because good staffers usually are loathe to draw attention away from their boss), more than a few of whom I know personally to be among the savviest and most principled of public servants.

All of which is to say that this new senator continues to bear watching, and applauding.

August 29th, 2012 at 4:45 pm
Leftist Racists

At The American Spectator, I blasted yet another leftist for projecting her own race-baiting onto Republicans. As it turns out, the editors of National Review did a much more thorough and thoughtful job toward the same end.

Here’s part of it:

Mr. Matthews’s accusations were, as is his style, presented without evidence or argument, and indeed without anything that might even charitably be called intellectual content. That he immediately connects welfare in his mind with race is of course telling: The majority of American welfare recipients are white. Blacks are disproportionately represented on the welfare rolls, it is true. That is not the only place in which black Americans are overrepresented: As conservatives have been shouting from the rooftops for a couple of years now, the black unemployment rate is a national scandal — reason enough to fire Barack Obama on its own. But the majority of unemployed people, like the majority of welfare recipients — and the majority of the country, of course — are white. Reducing the welfare rolls, like reducing the unemployment rate (and the two are not unrelated), is necessary to rebuilding the economic and human strength of the country for Americans of all races. Mr. Matthews here exhibits a crude, zero-sum view of politics and the economy, and then takes the extra step of attributing that crude, zero-sum view to his opponents. This is startling in its simplemindedness.

Enough is enough. This cry of racism from racial-minded numbskulls is the philosophical equivalent of blood libel. The left loves to say that certain forms of speech are not allowable because they are “fighting words.” If so, here’s hoping somebody lands the equivalent of a Joe Frazier hook on these purveyors of calumny. Oh, one day, there will be a reckoning. Yes indeed. Severe and painful ostracism would be a good start.

July 20th, 2012 at 12:49 pm
Podcast: The Hidden Politics of the Welfare State
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In an interview with CFIF, National Review deputy managing editor Kevin Williamson discusses his new book, The Dependency Agenda, and the plot by Democrats to earn votes by making more Americans more dependent on the government.

 Listen to the interview here.

April 14th, 2011 at 12:00 am
Gimmicky Budget Deal Causes National Review to Turn on Boehner
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If you’ve lost National Review — the most consistently conservative child of William F. Buckley — you’ve lost the conservative moment. Thus, House Speaker John Boehner should be insecure about NR’s new staff editorial reacting to the recently revealed gimmicks in last week’s budget deal, ominously entitled “Strike One.” Reading the content won’t assuage those fears:

There’s realism and then there’s cynicism. This deal — oversold and dependent on classic Washington budget trickery — comes too close to the latter. John Boehner has repeatedly said he’s going to reject “business as usual,” but that’s what he’s offered his caucus. It’s one thing for Tea Party Republicans to vote for a cut that falls short of what they’d get if the controlled all of Washington; it’s another thing for them, after making so much of bringing transparency and honesty to the Beltway, to vote for a deal sold partly on false pretenses.

Last week, some of us held out hope that the budget deal represented real — albeit incremental — change. The disappointment that would have resulted from a less satisfying outcome would have been bad. But the betrayal that results from feeling duped by your own leadership is far worse.

March 1st, 2011 at 6:28 pm
Obama Makes Phony Concessions on Health Care Implementation
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Over at The Corner, the incomparable Yuval Levin has a great explainer on why President Obama’s accomodationist tone on health care in yesterday’s White House speech to the National Governors Association was a headfake. He notes:

Speaking to a group of governors yesterday, the president said he would support legislation that would allow states to opt out of some of Obamacare’s requirements (including the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and the state exchanges) if they show they can achieve exactly the same results in some other way. Obamacare itself actually already contains such a provision, but it would allow states to apply for such waivers starting in 2017—after these mandates and requirements have been in place for three years. Obama now says he would let states apply for waivers in 2014, when the new rules begin.

This change of heart, like the one regarding the CLASS Act, is a concession to the fact that the law’s requirements are understood by many state officials (of both parties) as immensely burdensome and problematic. But like the one regarding the CLASS Act, it is also not an actual concession in practice. The states would be required to show that their alternative policies would provide the same or greater insurance benefits to the same or greater number of people, presumably as assessed by HHS. So it allows no flexibility regarding ends, and therefore very little flexibility regarding means. In fact, while it would allow conservative-leaning governors essentially no freedom to move in the direction of greater competition and more consumer-driven health care (which conservatives tend to see as the actual path to reducing costs and therefore insuring more people while improving quality) it would give liberal-leaning governors significant freedom to move in the direction of more government control. Indeed, as the New York Times notes today, while the approach Obama supports would not allow for many consumer-driven reforms it “might allow interested states to establish a single-payer system in which the government is the sole insurer.”
Leave it to Barack Obama to think that the road to the political center runs through making it easier to establish single-payer health care. And leave it to the American people to disabuse him of that notion.
January 5th, 2011 at 7:39 pm
It’s Soon or Never on Repealing Obamacare
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While House Republicans are planning on bringing the repeal of Obamacare to a vote next week, even the staunchest opponents of the healthcare law admit that a fullblown reversal isn’t coming anytime soon.

With that in mind, healthcare analyst Avik Roy lays out the practical implications for conservatives in a piece on National Review Online. Roy is sagacious across the board, but his delineation of the consequences for the 2012 presidential election are especially pertinent — and jarring:

We must remind ourselves of the electoral realities. For Republicans to succeed in repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), they will need to control the House, the Senate, and the White House. From a political standpoint, if Republicans are not able to achieve this in 2012, they are unlikely ever to repeal Obamacare.

 This means that influential Republican activists must — must — coalesce around the most electable Republican presidential candidate who can articulate conservative health-care principles. This is no time for single-issue small-ball or personal score-settling. A GOP nominee who passes all the litmus tests but can’t win in November would only succeed in making Obamacare permanent. One who can win but isn’t capable of pushing for real health-care reform wouldn’t be much better.

Roy is right. Who the Republican nominee is in 2012 could well determine how free of a nation the United States is for the forseeable future. Vote accordingly.

June 14th, 2010 at 8:00 pm
We Are Doomed
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With apologies to John Derbyshire, that’s the conclusion it’s difficult to avoid reading the latest from Derb’s National Review colleague, Kevin Williamson. In a piece entitled “The Other National Debt“, Williamson looks at all of the extra liabilities that don’t make their way into the conventional tally of a $14 trillion national debt. His conclusions are hair-raising.

On state and local debt:

Beyond the official federal debt, there is another $2.5 trillion or so in state and local debt, according to Federal Reserve figures. Why so much? A lot of that debt comes from spending that is extraordinarily stupid and wasteful, even by government standards. Because state and local authorities can issue tax-free securities — municipal bonds — there’s a lot of appetite for their debt on the marketplace, and a whole platoon of local special-interest hustlers looking to get a piece. This results in a lot of misallocated capital: By shacking up with your local economic-development authority, you can build yourself a new major-league sports stadium with tax-free bonds, but you have to use old-fashioned financing, with no tax benefits, if you want to build a factory — which is to say, you can use tax-free municipal bonds to help create jobs, so long as those jobs are selling hot dogs to sports fans.

On exploding public pensions:

States aren’t going to be able to make up those pension shortfalls out of general tax revenue, at least not at current levels of taxation. In Ohio, for instance, the benefit payments in 2031 would total 55 percent of projected 2031 tax revenues. For most states, pension payments will total more than a quarter of all tax revenues in the years after they run out of money. Most of those pensions cannot be modified: Illinois, for instance, has a constitutional provision that prevents reducing them. Unless there is a radical restructuring of these programs, and soon, states will either have to subsidize their pension systems with onerous new taxes or seek a bailout from Washington.

And — the death shot — entitlements:

The debt numbers start to get really hairy when you add in liabilities under Social Security and Medicare— in other words, when you account for the present value of those future payments in the same way that businesses have to account for the obligations they incur. Start with the entitlements and those numbers get run-for-the-hills ugly in a hurry: a combined $106 trillion in liabilities for Social Security and Medicare, or more than five times the total federal, state, and local debt we’ve totaled up so far. In real terms, what that means is that we’d need $106 trillion in real, investable capital, earning 6 percent a year, on hand, today, to meet the obligations we have under those entitlement programs. For perspective, that’s about twice the total private net worth of the United States. (A little more, in fact.)

These numbers underscore the need for real change, quickly advanced. Keep your eyes fixed to CFIF, where we’ll soon be unveiling a campaign to corral the runaway spending.

November 11th, 2009 at 1:59 pm
SEIU & Obama: Organizing for a More Liberal America

Over on National Review, Stephen Spruiell gives an in-depth look at how the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is helping President Barack Obama remake America into a much more liberal place, one piece of legislation at a time. The excerpts below offer a powerful wake-up call to anyone thinking that the stimulus bill, health care reform, and card-check are anything other than massive redistributions of wealth.

On getting a union-friendly stimulus bill:

The stimulus bill was a top priority for SEIU because it contained massive bailouts for state governments and Medicaid. As mentioned above, states such as California, New York, and New Jersey have expanded their social-welfare systems beyond what they can afford, in response to pressures from SEIU and other public-sector unions. At the same time, their progressive income-tax structures have made them especially vulnerable to boom-and-bust cycles. When the credit bubble burst, these states were looking at massive deficits, layoffs, furloughs, and budget cuts. The stimulus bill included a $50 billion slush fund for state governments and $90 billion in Medicaid expansions, helping the states avoid a necessary round of belt-tightening and tax reform.”

A bit surprisingly, California came in for particularly rough treatment:

The most illustrative example of SEIU’s clout during this process came when the Obama administration threatened to withhold stimulus funds from the state of California if it went ahead with a planned reduction in payments to home health-care workers. The administration set up a conference call with state officials to discuss whether the cuts violated the terms of the stimulus, and state officials were surprised to learn that the administration had invited SEIU representatives to join the call. “This was really atypical and outside any norm I am familiar with,” California secretary of health and human services Kim Belshe told the Los Angeles Times. The administration backed down from the threat, but only after the story had leaked and caused significant blowback.”

On getting a union-friendly health care reform bill:

SEIU has poured millions into a group called Health Care for America Now, which has dispatched envoys to deliver portable pavilions, professionally printed placards, and uniform attire at almost every major health-care protest this year. Dennis Rivera sent hundreds of union activists to meetings this summer in an attempt to counteract opposition to the Democrats’ bill. “We’re running this campaign like this was a presidential campaign, and our candidate is health-care reform,” Rivera told the New York Times. Why does SEIU care so much about health-care reform? The subsidies and mandates in Democrats’ legislation would drive up demand for health-care services, meaning more revenue for hospitals, more health-care workers, and more members for SEIU.

The creation of a government-run insurance plan is an especially important priority for the SEIU. “The nexus between government and private industry would give SEIU a toehold to organize more workers,” explains J. Justin Wilson, managing director of the Center for Union Facts. Once the public option is in place, SEIU can pressure the bureaucracy to implement union-friendly policies. For example, the public option “might only reimburse hospitals that are unionized or have a neutrality position toward unions,” Wilson says.

And finally, supporting card-check legislation:

As important as the Democrats’ health-care plan is to SEIU, the union’s top priority remains the Employee Free Choice Act, otherwise known as the card-check bill. Under SEIU’s preferred version of the bill, employers would have to recognize a union once a majority of its employees had signed petition cards. This process would allow union organizers to identify holdouts and pressure them into signing up. The bill would also require business owners to allow union organizers to hold meetings with employees on the business’s property, while forbidding the owners to hold mandatory meetings to discuss unionization.

Finally, the bill includes a binding-arbitration provision that would allow the NLRB to impose a union contract on a business if negotiations with its union broke down. SEIU loves this provision, because Obama just named one of its lawyers, Craig Becker, to the NLRB. Businesses negotiating with the SEIU would have two choices: accept SEIU’s demands voluntarily or have the SEIU-friendly NLRB accept them for you.”

You can read the entire article here.

November 3rd, 2009 at 5:23 pm
History of the New York Conservative Party in 5 Minutes (Maybe 10)

For those wanting to impress others at your election returns party tonight (and if you’re reading this blog, you’ve at least thought about it), here’s the link to the New York Conservative Party website.

And below is a link to short video description of its history by the incomparable Rick Brookhiser of National Review:

Rick Brookhiser on the New York Conservative Party

Don’t be upstaged by that know-it-all acquaintance who can quote Michael Barone’s “Almanac of American Politics” from memory.  You’ll be able to counter with factoids like this:

The 1994 elections were a breakthrough for the Conservative Party as we provided the margin of victory for Governor George E. Pataki with the 326,605 votes cast on our line.  Attorney General Vacco nosed out radical Karen Burstein by 88,340 votes.  He received 305,961 votes on the Conservative Line.  In 1998, 348,272 votes for Governor George E. Pataki were cast on the Conservative line, almost 20,000 more than in 1994, an anomaly in political history.”