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Author Topic: The Way Forward for the American Creed  (Read 69262 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #50 on: November 19, 2008, 07:41:01 AM »

And on a more mundane level, we also need to end gerrymandering and to kill "campaign finance reform"-- both of which make it harder to take on an incumbent.  I don't know what the current numbers are, but not so lmany years ago, the incumbency re-election rate was well above 95%!!!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #51 on: November 19, 2008, 10:21:51 AM »

Crafty wrote: "not so many years ago, the incumbency re-election rate was well above 95%!"

Here is a link for your stat: http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/reelect.php  In the years 1998, 2000 and 2004 the reelection rate was 98%!  2002 was 96% and during the changeover of congress in 2006 it was still 94%.  This year was also extremely high even though the approval rate for congress was 17% or so.  I have seen statistics claiming that 92% of election money spent is by the incumbents.

If not for the fun and sport of earmarks, pork, over-regulation and corruption, maybe these brave public servants wouldn't want to stay in Washington so long.  On the flip side, if your industry (free enterprise for example) exists only on the whim of some congressional committee, making heavy donations to both sides is extremely rational.
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Limbaugh and Hannity are not leaders of anything.  Hannity show is relevant because of his guests.  Rush often has spot-on political commentary but he is REACTING to the stories of the day, not setting an agenda.  Not as extreme as Coulter, but these guys have the job of holding/pleasing an audience, not solving problems or setting the agenda.  I think Rush offends CCP by his tone and attitude more so than by his positions and I highly doubt that the Economists editors listen consistently to the radio shows.  Both of these  conservatives failed to give any verbal backing to a candidate, then whined about the result.  Oprah did better than that.
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SB's question about 'intelligentsia' remains unanswered and I am still pondering it.  If the college educated favored Bush 04 by a couple of points and Obama 08 by a couple of points then they appear to be caught up in the same excitement of the moment as the less educated, whether that is excitement for Obama or excitement to be rid of a bad bunch of Republicans.  Meanwhile they sell off their assets in anticipation of the new confiscatory regime.

Every issue presents an opportunity look for some intelligence-based book learning wisdom; today it is the auto bailout.  Any first look at the issue is - 'big three are failing, Oh that's bad.  Many will be hurt.  How can we stop it.'

Any thoughtful, intelligence based look at capitalism such as Thomas Sowell's book 'Basic Economics' would tell you in a longer sound bite that things like foreclosure, bankruptcy and being fired from a job that you are lousy at are all very GOOD things for the economy.  Immobility of resources is a terrible thing.  The fact that all these people have no clue about any other way to make a living except to show up 9 to 5 and have a union shakedown a losing business for 3 times the industry value only to have your congressman lobby the feds for a stopgap measure that won't change the underlying fundamentals is pathetic, from an intelligence-based analytical perspective.

But what happens in the knee jerk media and with the emotions based electorate when a conservative supports allowing failing businesses to fail?  He/she will be destroyed and some spineless, mushy, 'compassionate' new politician will be found to take the seat and the nationalizations and bailouts will continue until no industry is untouched or self sufficient.  JMHO.

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G M
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« Reply #52 on: November 19, 2008, 11:00:43 AM »

The nation, as a "debtoholic" probably has to hit rock bottom before facing reality. God help us.
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #53 on: November 19, 2008, 11:34:25 AM »

Quote
The nation, as a "debtoholic" probably has to hit rock bottom before facing reality.

I hear ya on that. And as twisted as it might seem, I think the easy credit lifestyle so many have become accustomed to needed a serious slap in the face. Unfortunately, the reprecussions will be felt by many for a looooooooooong time.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #54 on: November 19, 2008, 12:16:43 PM »

Closely related to debt is the matter of interest rates.  The Fed/Govt has been pushing interest rates to artificially low levels for quite some time now-- to the point where interest rates are actually negative!!!  shocked

Who on earth wants to save when in constant dollars after inflation and taxes you lose money?

Who doesn't want to borrow at no money down with negative interest rates?
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ccp
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« Reply #55 on: February 17, 2009, 08:53:08 AM »

You know Crafty,
I think the Republicans could get popular again if they get new blood and if they get take "Reaganism" to the next level.

We need a national effort for the party to get new people who are committed not just in talk but in deed to stop the corruption in Washington.  Unfortunately we hear this every cycle - yet we need to find a way to break this.   

We need to get rid of the the financial interest in lobbyists  - they can be heard but not able to buy representatives.  One way this would work is to legislate that bills only tackle one issue at a time.  We can't pass bills that have hundreds of pages with benefits to local districts of the influenced.

We need to legislate the Federal dollars only really gets spent on Federal issues.  Why and where did become the norm for Federal government to be spending Federal tax dollars that goes out to state or local programs.  That is the root of the corrupt process in my opinion.  This is a real opportunity for Republicans to clean house.  Yet to do so they need to clean there own house.

Limbaugh IS wrong.  Reaganism is NOT enough.  I just got a Hillsdale College report with Rush's dissertation on how "moderate" repblicans are not conservatives and we are wrong.  I beg to differ. 

Colin Powell is right.  If we don't change our message we are destined to continue losing market share.  Yes we can hope for a catastrophy that will spell doom for BO but is that what we want?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2009, 09:07:10 AM »

Here is the key question:  Change the message to , , , what?

Something like this? 
====================

NYT

WASHINGTON — President Obama must wish governors could vote in Congress: While just three of the 219 Republican lawmakers backed the $787 billion economic recovery plan that he is signing into law on Tuesday, that trifling total would have been several times greater if support among the 22 Republican state executives counted.

The contrast reflects the two faces of the Republican Party these days.

Leaderless after losing the White House, the party is mostly defined by its Congressional wing, which flaunted its anti-spending ideology in opposing the stimulus package. That militancy drew the mockery of late-night television comics, but the praise of conservative talk-show stars and the party faithful.

In the states, meanwhile, many Republican governors are practicing a pragmatic — their Congressional counterparts would say less-principled — conservatism.

Governors, unlike members of Congress, have to balance their budgets each year. And that requires compromise with state legislators, including Democrats, as well as more openness to the occasional state tax increase and to deficit-spending from Washington.

Across the country, from California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger to Florida’s Charlie Crist and New England’s Jim Douglas in Vermont and M. Jodi Rell in Connecticut, Republican governors showed in the stimulus debate that they could be allies with Mr. Obama even as Congressional Republicans spurned him.

“It really is a matter of perspective,” Mr. Crist said in an interview. “As a governor, the pragmatism that you have to exercise because of the constitutional obligation to balance your budget is a very compelling pull” generally.

With Florida facing a projected $5 billion shortfall in a $66 billion budget, and social costs rising, the stimulus package “helps plug that hole,” Mr. Crist said, “but it also helps us meet the needs of the people in a very difficult economic time.”

Mr. Obama’s two-year stimulus package includes more than $135 billion for states, to help them pay for education, Medicaid and infrastructure projects. Yet even that sum would cover less than half of the total budget deficits the states will face through 2010, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal research and advocacy organization.

The states’ reliance on the federal government in times of distress will be showcased this weekend, when the governors come to Washington for their annual winter meeting. Their focus will be on infrastructure needs and home foreclosures.

The disconnect between Republican members of Congress and governors recalls the mid-1990s, when Republicans took control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years. After an initial public show of being partners in a “Republican revolution,” the partnership all but dissolved when governors strongly objected as the more dogmatic conservatives in Congress tried to cut domestic programs and then shut down the federal government in an unsuccessful showdown with President Bill Clinton.

Recently, Governors Schwarzenegger, Crist, Douglas and Rell joined 14 Democratic governors in signing a letter to Mr. Obama lauding his economic plan. Other Republicans would have signed on, said a person familiar with the letter’s drafting, but for party pressure in their states.

The National Governors Association sent a bipartisan letter of support to Congressional leaders of both parties, signed by its Democratic chairman, Edward G. Rendell of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Douglas, its Republican vice chairman. “The combination of funds for Medicaid, education and other essential services is critical for governors as they work to manage the downturn in their states and improve government for the long term,” it said.

Mr. Crist even campaigned last week with Mr. Obama in Florida for the recovery package.

“Whether it’s teachers or people on road crews helping our infrastructure, those in the health care arena as it might relate to Medicaid, all of these areas are important, all of them can produce jobs,” Mr. Crist said, adding, “Regardless of what your party is, Republican or Democrat, it really doesn’t matter. We have a duty and an obligation to the people who elected us, no matter what our position happens to be, to work together to get through this thing.”

Yet all 16 of Florida’s Republicans in Congress voted against the package. Representative Cliff Stearns condemned it during the final debate as an “unprecedented big-government grab for citizen reliance on the federal government.” Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, called the bill “a steaming pile of garbage” on his cable television talk show.

The House Republican leader, John A. Boehner of Ohio, angrily dumped the 1,073-page bill to the floor during debate. In the Senate, John McCain of Arizona called it “nothing less than generational theft.” And Republicans in both chambers derided what they described, often misleadingly, as pork spending for the likes of marsh mouse preservation.

Many projects, however, reflected the job-creation wish lists that governors had sent in.

Utah’s Republican governor, Jon Huntsman Jr. sought up to $14.4 billion for roads, rail and sewer projects and for construction of a prison, courthouses and veterans’ nursing homes. Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama, another Republican, came to Washington to discuss transportation projects with his state’s Congressional delegation. “He’s going to make sure Alabama doesn’t miss out on the money we’re entitled to,” a spokesman said.

Mr. Obama began courting the governors before taking office. He invited them to Independence Hall in Philadelphia in December to discuss the economic challenges. Nearly all accepted.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Obama had “a special word” for the Republicans: “I offer you the same hand of friendship and cooperation that I offer our Democratic governors.” He deferred to Mr. Douglas, the Vermont Republican, to steer the discussion.

Privately, Republicans favorably contrasted Mr. Obama with the outgoing Republican president, George W. Bush, according to two participants.

Though Mr. Bush had been a governor — in good economic times — his relations with state executives were distant at best. Amid a downturn early in the decade, he unsuccessfully opposed $20 billion for the states. Last fall, he resisted some Republicans’ pleas for aid.

Mr. Douglas in January sought a meeting with the new administration at the White House office that is a liaison to governors. Instead, he got an Oval Office meeting with Mr. Obama.

When reporters briefly came in — the two men flanked the fireplace just as presidents and foreign heads of state typically do — Mr. Douglas praised Mr. Obama for his leadership. The stimulus bill “might be a little different” if he had written it, the Republican said. “But the essence of a recovery package is essential to get our nation’s economy moving.”


« Last Edit: February 17, 2009, 09:12:57 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2009, 10:20:51 AM »

Actually no.  This is the opposite of what I was suggesting.  Sure Repblican governors have to suck up to BO because if they don't the electorate will vote them out and vote in crats who are more than happy to buy their votes with taxpayers (the fewer and fewer of us) dollars.  How can this be stemmed if not stopped?  There seems no end.

"The states’ reliance on the federal government in times of distress will be showcased this weekend"

This may be the problem.  Why do States suck up and go begging for Federal dollars every five minutes?
It is always for entitlements.  For education?  you mean property tax does not cover this?
How come every time money goes into education we hear that money is not the answer.
Maybe it is for teacher unions?
Infrastructure is a code word for union jobs - no?
Medicaid?

When did it become the role of the Federal government to bail out states for every darn thing?

Is this good?  Is this necessary?  Will not local and state pols endlessly ask for Federal dollars to buy votes for themselves?
Isn't this part of the problem?

It seems reasonalbe to have some Federal disaster relief but everything now is a disaster.  It seems like evwery week we are hearing another Disaster.  Every flood, every fire, every earthquake, tornado hurricans storm you name is now a "disaster" it seems to me.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #58 on: February 17, 2009, 03:01:45 PM »

"Colin Powell is right.  If we don't change our message we are destined to continue losing market share."

    - I am curious what you think would be a good summary of Colin Powell's positions on the issues of the day.  I don't know what they are and I don't think Republicans will ever win by running with Clinton or Obama style ambiguity.  I also think he can get away with flip-flopping (supporting Bush, then supporting Obama) only because he is a war hero and a NON-candidate.


"Limbaugh IS wrong." 

   - Wrong on style to run for office, but like Colin Powell, Rush will not be the candidate.  He is intentionally too rough on people who hold different views (as if Obama is tolerant of other views, lol).  So aside from style or temperament, what positions do you think Rush holds on the issues of the day that are too conservative?
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ccp
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« Reply #59 on: February 18, 2009, 06:44:19 PM »

Hi Doug,  I am tired at the end of along day but I hope this sort of helps explain the mindset.  Sometimes I lament and think out loud but I am trying to figure out how to better the republican party.
Powell's talk with Zakaria:

***“I think the party has to take a hard look at itself,” Powell said in the interview… “There is nothing wrong with being conservative. There is nothing wrong with having socially conservative views — I don’t object to that. But if the party wants to have a future in this country, it has to face some realities. In another 20 years, the majority in this country will be the minority.”

Powell, who crossed party lines and endorsed President-elect Barack Obama just weeks before the election, said the GOP must see what is in the “hearts and minds” of African-American, Hispanic and Asian voters “and not just try to influence them by… the principles and dogma.”***

I agree with him that "dogma and principles" is just too abstract to appeal to most people. How can this message be expanded so all groups that Powell talks about can relate to it?  I don't know.  Maybe Michael Steele will help us sort it out.  How can we change the 70% Latin and 90% Black vote to republican? 

What is wrong with that question?  It seems to me that is what Powell is saying. 

And to me that is where Limbaugh fails.  He just cannot appeal to all except a small minority of these groups. 

On the other hand W tried to reach out to minorities and it appears to have mostly failed. 
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DougMacG
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« Reply #60 on: February 19, 2009, 09:40:34 AM »

CCP,  Thanks as always for the thoughtful reply.  I appreciate Colin Powell for all the things he did for this country - past tense.  For my money, he is worthless now to the party.  'We' nominated the least conservative, most centrist candidate for the purposes of winning in a Republican-unfriendly environment - and he ran against the Senate's most liberal and least experienced member.  Gen. Powell couldn't contain himself with the excitement of voting for a half-black man and the media attention of finally distancing himself with the administration he once served proudly.

For sake of argument, let's just stipulate that Rush is another negative that R's have to deal with while 'reaching out' to minorities, young people or other potential new supporters.

Obama gave away to me in his pork, massive government-enlargement bill signing ceremony the key to the message for Republicans moving forward:

"We have begun the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time."

The party and the candidate of the opposition better learn to articulate a different view of the American dream.  $5 billion to ACORN, picking and choosing which homeowners to help, federal takeovers of banking, housing, healthcare, transportation, education... Is socialism unevenly applied by lobyists and staffers who write bills that representatives can't read the American dream.  I thought that term was coined to describe something like the viewpoints you read here: rugged individualism, self-discipline, work hard, retain a right to self-defense, look back regularly at statements about individual liberties in the actual words of the founding fathers, the right to personal freedoms and self-determination and maybe even the right to choose which charities you support with your excess income instead of having it rammed down your throat by Washington.

We need someone to paint that picture.  Reagan was 1980s and our next leader runs in 2012 so he is no longer relevant, and we can pick at his errors or inconsistencies, but what he did overall was project the bigger picture of the American dream for all, over the hodgepiodge of federal programs for the unlucky who qualify.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 02:17:56 PM by DougMacG » Logged
SB_Mig
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« Reply #61 on: February 19, 2009, 12:16:22 PM »

Quote
The party and the candidate of the opposition better learn to articulate a different view of the American dream.

This is the obvious key. Re-tooling the message is the biggest part of the equation IMHO.

1) Rush, Hannity, Coulter - The "mouthpieces" of the party. Whether or not they actually speak for all conservatives is irrelevant. They are perceived as "semi-official" spokespeople. Conservative politicians go on their shows and to some that people that equals tacit approval of their views. Big minus if you're looking to for a "big tent" party. The voice that is heard is the one that counts. Conservatives need a voice(s) that can reach the masses on both sides both in office and on the air.

2) Getting the message across - "Mouthpieces" aside, the tone of the discourse is key. Obama's campaign was a masterpiece of massaged message. "WE", "TOGETHER", "DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS ALIKE", "GAY AND STRAIGHT", "YOU AND I", etc. Sounds silly, but it WORKS. Conservatives need to make liberals FEEL welcome. They need to make people WANT to become Republican. Tell them WHY. A huge part of the Obama machines power came from manipulation of image. Stay positive, stay cool, let them attack us, we'll take the higher ground, etc. The fingerpointing by the McCain campaign (again, massaged by the MSM) came across as angry, paranoid, and out of touch, all of which was used by Obama to his benefit. Republicans need to get across their message using modern means (see #4) and a modern face (see #3).

3) The FUTURE not the PAST - Whether us old folks like it or not, our world/way of thinking/views are slowly but surely becoming unimportant. The world is moving on. One of the biggest perceived failures of the Republican party was/is their inability to see that and their desire to cling to the past. Reagan is gone. Period. He is irrelevant to the majority of the voting population. Period. Take the IDEAS, let go of the MAN. In four years, what will most voters remember: 8 years of Bush (which to many equal war and the creation of a recession) and 4 years of...who knows. Republicans can't use Bush. Resurrecting presidents is only useful if they have been overwhelming successes while in office. So even if Obama tanks, Republicans need to come up with a new face to carry the brand forward.

4) Being "in touch" - Internet, facebook, myspace, twitter, bebo, blackplanet, flickr, friendster, linkedin, plaxo, xanga. Have you heard of them? Has your friendly politician heard of them? No? Then they've already lost the race. We are in a world where people are more and more reliant on social networking and the internet. You want votes? Get to those people on the Web. Obama sent texts, uses a BlackBerry, does webcasts, has a website. McCain didn't even use email. Seems silly to those of us in older generations, but the reality is the functionality, usefullness, and yes percieves "coolness" attached to these sites is hugely influential nowadays.

5) The Look - Bodysurfing, BlackBerry using, Facebooking basketball player. That is our president. Again as galling as the image may be to some, to others it signifies being in touch with today's world and IMAGE IS EVERYTHING REGARDLESS OF REALITY. Once the reality hits, it's too late, the dude is in office. Palin's appearance on the scene is HUGE for Republican's. Why? Not because she espouses certain views (which is a large part of it), but because she LOOKS COOL. Soccer moms want someone who looks like them AND has some great ideas. So much of our world is based on image now it isn't even funny. Image first. Vacuous? Yes. But it works.

Now, am I suggesting that Republicans put out a skateboarding, myspace user who plays in a rock band? No. But they do need to break out of the tired old ways of approaching politics and put on new twist on things. They have to CHANGE the way they do business. All politicians need to. Does that mean rebuilding the foundation? No. But it does mean big time remodel.

I actually believe that we are going to witness some massive battles within each party in the next 4-8 years as the old guard starts to fade. It should be interesting.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2009, 12:19:16 PM by SB_Mig » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #62 on: February 19, 2009, 03:59:30 PM »

Last night on Fox they had their panel discuss what they thought of the mortgage bailout to homeowners that BO claims will keep 7 to 9 million in their homes.  Krauthammer stated "I am a Republican" and I am for it only because while it is unfair to most people who have not taken out unreasonable mortgages it tries to get to the root cause of the problem starting at the bottom. Another panelist stated that it helps those whose do not have a mortgage problem by maintaining the value of their home by hopefully preventing further home value drops.  Juan Williams who I think tends to feel the exact way I feel the Rep party's problem is that while he doesn't necessariy agree with the plan or that Reps are wrong "they really offer no other solutions".

Saying basically, we all have to crash and burn before we can rise from ashes (which is the repubs message) is a pretty tough act to sell. Sorry but I don't think that the answer of tax cuts is stimulating too many people by itself.  And what about the what, 40% who pay no taxes.  They don't give a hoot about that.  And this group is being widely expanded as we speak.

I thought this is the delemma in a nutshell.
Why do Reps even have to sell the American dream to minorities?  Aren't we ALL Americans?  Why does the pitch have to be different for specific groups?

Obviously the root cause is minorities and immigrants views of America is or should be about are different from conservatives.
So Republicans are faced with how to bridge this gap.  Is it even possible?

How can we sell the American dream as it was meant to be to all Americans?

The answer is we may not be able to.  We keep hearing about social injustice....


 This will require more thought and more time than I have at the moment.
 


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SB_Mig
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« Reply #63 on: February 19, 2009, 05:02:56 PM »

Quote
Why do Reps even have to sell the American dream to minorities?  Aren't we ALL Americans?
 

Ahhh, here comes the heart of the matter! Minorities have been force fed/taught/experienced the opposite. Opposition to racism, sexism, economic disparity, are the bastions upon which the Democratic party has built its foundation (For sake of this response I won't get into the reality of their positions... wink) In that regard, they have "branded" themselves as the helping hand.

The idea the we are "all Americans" is solid. It looks good on paper. But when you look at the spokespeople/rallies/conventions of the Republican party for the past 30 years, what do you see: old white men. So, when you take say an African American and tell them, "Our party believes in X ideals", but the IMAGE that they see does not jibe with the rhetoric, the trouble starts. I think in many regards Republicans have been late in coming to the table in terms of "demonstrating" their inclusivity. Should they have to? I personally don't believe so. But the viewing public needs a face that matches what they hear.

Michael Steele is a step in the right direction for a number of different reason. Unfortunately, the response I've heard to his choice tends to be more along the lines of "Do the Republicans really think that by putting an African American in the spotlight, people will rush to their side?" It's going to take some very serious strategy and brainstorming by the Republicans to turn stuff around.

More later...I actually need to do some work today grin
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #64 on: February 19, 2009, 05:52:18 PM »

I think in similar ways on this point SB Mig.  Recently I wrote a little something.  If I find it I will bring over over.
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G M
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« Reply #65 on: February 19, 2009, 07:39:49 PM »

As much as Obama is going to ruin things, the question will be how much we can do to recover from the damage inflicted.
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #66 on: February 19, 2009, 10:28:50 PM »

From CNN.com today:

The Republican Party needs to change — at least when it comes to its use of technology, Meghan McCain says....

McCain, who authored a popular blog on her father's Web site while he was running for president, also recounts early pushback from Republican strategists when she first sought to establish the Web site.

"Many of the established Republican strategists told me that young people would not visit my web site," she wrote. "I used to categorize many of the advisors in my father's campaign into one of two groups: those that 'respected' the Internet and those who didn't. It was a running line between me and my friends who worked on my site."

McCain also suggested the party's lack of online savvy greatly contributed to her father's defeat last November.

"The Obama administration understands that my generation spends most of its day on a laptop or a BlackBerry, and that using the Web is easy way to communicate their ideas to their constituents," she said. "Until the Republican Party joins the twenty-first century and learns how to use the Internet, its members will keep getting older and the youth of America will just keep logging on to the other side."


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #67 on: February 20, 2009, 01:12:43 AM »

The Rep Party office in Manhattan Beach (the office nearest to me) is like a deranged SNL parody of stereotypes of the Reps being white haired old farts.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #68 on: February 20, 2009, 10:48:00 AM »

Yeah, between the patrician fossils and the vapid bible thumpers it's pretty hard for me to get much invested in the Rebups.
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G M
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« Reply #69 on: February 20, 2009, 02:25:11 PM »

Got a better option?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #70 on: February 20, 2009, 02:31:49 PM »

Libertarians, baby. (Countdown starts for GM's brains to extrude out his ears. . . . evil)
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G M
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« Reply #71 on: February 20, 2009, 02:47:19 PM »

LOL.

I'd post some pics of libertarians, but I can't stomach going to "9/11 troof" websites right now.   grin
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #72 on: February 22, 2009, 03:34:52 PM »

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/02/21/tea-party-usa-the-movement-grows/

Malkin on the incipient tax revolt movement , , ,
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #73 on: February 25, 2009, 12:58:04 PM »

"Democratic leaders say their legislation will grow the economy. What it will do is grow the government, increase our taxes down the line and saddle future generations with debt. Who among us would ask our children for a loan, so we could spend money we do not have, on things we do not need? That is precisely what the Democrats in Congress just did. It's irresponsible. And it's no way to strengthen our economy, create jobs or build a prosperous future for our children." --Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in his rebuttal to Obama's address Tuesday night
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #74 on: March 02, 2009, 03:34:04 AM »

By PAUL RYAN
Inheriting countless challenges, Congress and the Obama administration have moved quickly on many fronts to implement their economic agenda. After two months of drastic interventions, has hope replaced fear, and confidence pushed aside uncertainty? Hardly.

 
David GothardThe budget the president released last week, however, does provide some certainty about where we are headed: higher taxes on small businesses, work and capital investment.

Add to this the costly burdens of a cap-and-trade carbon emissions scheme and an effective nationalization of health care, and it is clear that the government is going to grow while the economy will shrink. In a nutshell, the president's budget seemingly seeks to replace the American political idea of equalizing opportunity with the European notion of equalizing results.

A constructive opposition party should be willing to call out the majority when it falls short. More important, Republicans must offer alternatives. In this spirit, here is what I would do differently:

- A pro-growth tax policy. Rather than raise the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6%, it should be dropped to 25%. The lower tax brackets should be collapsed to one 10% rate on the first $100,000 for couples. And the top corporate tax rate should be lowered to 25%. This modest reform would put American companies' tax liability more in line with the prevailing rates of our competitors.

We've seen 10 years of growth in our equity markets wiped out in recent months, while 401(k)s, IRAs and college savings plans are down by an average of 40%. The administration and congressional Democrats want to raise capital gains tax rates by a third. Instead, we should eliminate the capital gains tax. It supplies about 4% of federal revenues, yet it places a substantial drag on economic growth. Individuals already pay taxes on income when they earn it. They should not be socked again when they are saving and investing for their retirement and their children's education.

Capital gains taxes are a needless burden on investment, savings and risk-taking, activities in short supply these days. Getting rid of this tax could help establish a floor on stock prices and stem the decline in the value of retirement plans by increasing the after-tax rate of return on capital.

Democrats oppose this, playing on emotions of fear and envy. But while class warfare may make good short-term politics, it produces terrible economics.

- Guarantee sound money. For the last decade, the Federal Reserve's easy-money policy has helped fuel the housing bubble that precipitated our current crisis. We need to return to a sound money policy. That would end uncertainty, help keep interest rates down, and increase the confidence entrepreneurs and investors need to take the risks required for future growth.

I believe the best way to guarantee sound money is to use an explicit, market-based price guide, such as a basket of commodities, in setting monetary policy. A more politically realistic path to price stability would be for the Fed to explicitly embrace inflation targeting.

Transcripts from recent meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee meetings suggest that the Fed may already be moving in this direction. This would be an improvement over the status quo: It could help combat near-term deflation concerns while also calming the market's longer-term inflation fears.

- Fix the financial sector. A durable economic recovery requires a solution to the banking crisis. There are no easy or painless solutions, but the most damaging solution over the long term would be to nationalize our financial system. Once we put politicians in charge of allocating credit and resources in our economy, it is hard to imagine them letting go.

The underlying structural problem at our financial institutions is the toxic assets infecting their balance sheets and impairing their operations. In order to help purge these assets from the system, we need a government-sponsored, comprehensive solution, but one that is transparent and temporary, and which leverages -- rather than chases away -- private-sector capital.

The general idea is to establish an entity or fund to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions and then hold them until they could be sold once the market has recovered. The Treasury has announced its intention to use capital from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, along with financing from the Fed's soon-to-be operational Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, to set up such an entity. It will be a tall task to get all the details and incentives right, but the administration's general strategy appears to be sound.

A good model for this government-sponsored entity is the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC), which helped clean up bank failures in the wake of the savings-and-loan crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s by absorbing and selling off bad bank assets. The circumstances of today's financial sector are different, but the goals of our current efforts should mirror the general merits of an RTC-like entity. We should aim to recoup a portion of our initial expenditures, and we should leave only a fleeting government footprint on the financial sector and the economy.

- Get a grip on entitlements. With $56 trillion in unfunded liabilities and our social insurance programs set to implode, we must tackle the entitlement crisis. President Barack Obama deserves credit for his recent efforts to build a bipartisan consensus on entitlement reform. But we can't solve the entitlement problem unless we acknowledge why the costs are exploding, and then take action.

I have proposed legislation, called "A Roadmap for America's Future," that would bring permanent solvency to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. By transforming these open-ended entitlements into a system with a defined benefit safety net for the low-income and chronically ill, in conjunction with an individually owned, defined contribution system for health and retirement, we can reach the goal of these programs without bankrupting the next generation. It would also show the world and the credit markets that we are serious about our debt and unfunded liabilities.

Republicans can help Washington become part of the solution, not part of the problem. We can do this by pushing to enact tax policies that boost incentives for economic growth and job creation, focus the Fed on price stability, fix our banking system to get credit flowing again, stop reckless spending, and reform our entitlement programs.

Our economy is begging for clear leadership that inspires confidence and hope that the entrepreneurial spirit will flourish again. Our goal must be to offer Americans that leadership.

Mr. Ryan, from Wisconsin, is ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee and also serves on Ways and Means.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #75 on: March 02, 2009, 11:36:56 AM »

Eyeing Newt For '12
By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Friday, February 27, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Politics: As the Republican Party hunts for new faces for 2012, an old face has intruded from out of right field. Clearly, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is running for president.


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Read More: General Politics


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Can the man who a decade and a half ago led Republicans to control of Congress for the first time in over 40 years perform another unlikely feat and replace Barack Obama in the White House?

Gingrich gave the speech of his life Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington. His pre-planned grand entrance, working an overflow hotel ballroom crowd as he inched to the podium in State of the Union fashion to the rhythmic strains of "Eye of the Tiger," left no doubt of his intention to run for the highest office in the land.

Considering that Gingrich was thrown out of the speakership by his own House Republicans after serving only four years, the roaring CPAC crowd might justly be accused of amnesia. But the real electricity came from Gingrich's extraordinary rhetoric.

Again and again, he referred to the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress as the "left-wing machine." Repeatedly he referred to Attorney General Eric Holder's accusation that America is a nation of cowards — challenging him to a one-on-one "dialogue about cowardice anywhere and anytime."

Gingrich suggested that the best locale for such a talk might be a poor neighborhood in Detroit, a city whose once-prosperous population of 1.8 million was halved by liberal policies that "trap children in schools that are disasters."

The former speaker taunted President Obama for opposing earmarks yet supporting spending legislation containing 8,000 such items, contending that the nation would rally behind this president "if he were to take on the Democratic machine" against wasteful spending.

He mocked the president's vow that taxes wouldn't be raised on those making under $250,000, saying the $650 billion pegged for energy tax revenues in Obama's budget would only hit those below $250k who use electricity, gasoline, heating oil or natural gas.

Those taxed the least under the new plan are apparently only "the Amish in central Pennsylvania," he quipped.

The most inventive content in Gingrich's electrifying address, however, was the political prescriptions for the coming Obama years. "We are bigger than the Republican Party," he said of the political movement that has found the GOP to be its most effective vehicle.

He accused the Bush administration of launching a "Bush-Obama continuity in economic policy" with its financial bailout last fall, noting Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's role in that government intervention.

The political division in America, rather than Democratic-Republican, he said, is "a party of the American people" and "a party of big government and political elites." And unfortunately, according to Gingrich, Republicans became "the right wing of that party" of massive government and elitism.

In this context, remembering that Ronald Reagan as a former Democrat "reached out to Democrats and independents" in all of his major speeches, this Republican revolutionary actually called on conservative activists to recruit candidates to run in Democratic Party primaries against incumbent Democratic members of Congress.

He also touted the audacious economic proposals of his AmericanSolutions.com think tank, which include cutting Social Security taxes in half, a zero capital gains tax and matching Ireland's low 12.5% corporate tax rate.

How you sell the scrapping of capital gains taxes, Gingrich said, is by asking Americans how they would like an overnight increase of between 20% and 40% in the value of their 401(k)s and other savings.

As speaker, the talented-but-flawed Newt Gingrich was taken to the cleaners by President Clinton. Veteran Washington reporter Robert Novak found Gingrich guilty of "a mindless tactical incompetence that invites defeat."

But if Washington really is dominated by a "left-wing machine" intent on imposing socialism on America, Republicans may end up turning not to an outsider to fight the Goliath, but to a warrior who knows Washington well.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #76 on: March 02, 2009, 12:34:11 PM »

Interesting piece on Newt.  Of course the person who can electrify the room at CPAC is not likely same one who can connect with the other demographics that need to stop seeing a massive government in control of everything as the American dream.  Far more urgent than the Presidential election of 2012 is the congressional election cycle of 2010.  For certain, the Republicans / conservatives need to nationalize these contests the way Newt did in 1994.  Even then, very few Democratic Senate seats are vulnerable (maybe Harry Reid in Nevada?) while several Republican ones are.

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ccp
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« Reply #77 on: March 03, 2009, 10:19:33 AM »

Of course everone has heard of the Steele Limbaugh thing and of course all the Democrat bent talk shows are having a field day with this. 

I agree with those who say listen to Limbaugh and the Rebs are doomed to minority status. Rush is not going to win anyone new over with this stuff.  But if the economy continues to tank and BO gets the blame than there is a chance for a Republican come back.  The only one of prominence who I see gets it is Newt who was on the other day saying that we need new ideas, we need to take conservatism, Reagonism to the next level.  We can't just throw out the same old song and dance. Newt is the only one of prominence who I agree with.  I think Steele is on the right track but I don't think he is quite level of spokeperson needed.  Only Newt can IMO that I can see.  Romeny might be able to but I am not sure if he can attract new faces.
 
****RUSH: I was not going to talk about Michael Steele. I have had e-mails from the Drive-By Media. I have had interview requests to be on television shows to talk about Michael Steele and what he said about my speech Saturday night. He was on CNN and I was going to ignore it, but so many of you are e-mailing me asking me to respond to this that I have changed my mind and I'm going to do so. Here is what has prompted all of the irritation at Michael Steele. He was on the D. L. Hughley show on CNN Saturday night, and the other voice you'll hear is the other guest, the rapper Chuck D. They had this exchange about me.

HUGHLEY: Rush Limbaugh, who is the de facto leader of the Republican Party --

STEELE: No, he's not.

HUGHLEY: Well, I'll tell you what, I've never --

STEELE: I'm the de facto leader of the Republican Party.

HUGHLEY: Then you know what? Then I can appreciate that, but no -- no one will -- will actually pry down some of the things he says, like when he comes out and says that he wants the president to fail, I understand he wants liberalism to fail.

STEELE: How is that any different than what was said about George Bush during his presidency? Let's put it into context here. Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer. Rush Limbaugh, the whole thing is entertainment. Yes, it's incendiary, yes, it's ugly --

RUSH: Okay, so I am an entertainer, and I have 20 million listeners, 22 million listeners because of my great song-and-dance routines here. Yes, said Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, I'm incendiary, and yes, it's ugly. Michael Steele, you are head of the RNC. You are not head of the Republican Party. Tens of millions of conservatives and Republicans have nothing to do with the RNC and right now they want nothing to do with it, and when you call them asking them for money, they hang up on you. I hope that changes. I hope the RNC will get its act together. I hope the RNC chairman will realize he's not a talking head pundit, that he is supposed to be working on the grassroots and rebuilding it, and maybe doing something about our open primary system and fixing it so that Democrats do not nominate our candidates. It's time, Mr. Steele, for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of trying to be some talking head media star, which you're having a tough time pulling off. I hope you figure out how to run a primary system. But it seems to me that it's Michael Steele who is off to a shaky start. 
 
 
My parents taught me when I was growing up that you always stood behind people who defended you, you never abandoned people who stood up for you and who defended you against assault. Michael Steele was a candidate for the Senate in Maryland. Michael Steele was on this program, he got airtime on this program to attempt to refute the lies being told about him by Michael J. Fox in those famous ads way back when that were also run against Jim Talent in Missouri. I personally took time to defend Michael Steele and to rip the substance of those ads, had him on the show. I went after Chuck Schumer when Chuck Schumer's former employee stole Michael Steele's private credit record information and released it. When I went to Washington a couple years ago for a personal appearance from my station there, WMAL, WMAL arranged for a number of dignitaries to meet me backstage. One of them was Michael Steele, who thanked me very much for coming to his defense. Something's happened. Now I'm just an entertainer and now I am ugly and my program is incendiary.

Michael Steele has been around long enough to know that the liberal media will use him by twisting what I say or what others say. He took the bait, he bit down hard on the bait, he launched an attack on me even though the premise of what was said to him was false. He took the bait and he went for it. Now, Mr. Steele, if it is your position as the chairman of the Republican National Committee that you want a left wing Democrat president and a left wing Democrat Congress to succeed in advancing their agenda, if it's your position that you want President Obama and Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid to succeed with their massive spending and taxing and nationalization plans, I think you have some explaining to do. Why are you running the Republican Party? Why do you claim you lead the Republican Party when you seem obsessed with seeing to it that President Obama succeeds? I frankly am stunned that the chairman of the Republican National Committee endorses such an agenda. I have to conclude that he does because he attacks me for wanting it to fail.

This isn't complicated stuff here, folks. It's difficult to organize the defeat of Obama and the Democrat Congress in 2012, if we want to. It's going to be difficult enough, but on one hand it shouldn't be difficult at all. But it's going to be really hard, Mr. Steele, if you, as the chairman of the RNC, want Obama to succeed. Where does the Republican Party go if you, who are supposed to be redesigning our primary system and helping reestablish our grassroots movement, how are we going to retake elective office if you want this agenda of Obama's and Pelosi's and Reid's to succeed. My colleagues in talk radio can attest to this next point. We get press release after press release after press release from the Republican National Committee attacking the Democrat agenda. They send us points of refutation. I never use them 'cause I don't need them. But they send out all these points of refutation about how this part of what Dingy Harry wants or Pelosi wants is wrong, is wrong, is wrong. Why are you sending out these things, Mr. Steele? Why is your office sending out all these talking points to defeat the Democrat agenda in Congress if your position is you want it to succeed? And I don't understand why you're asking Republicans to donate to the Republican National Committee if their money is going to be spent furthering the agenda of Barack Obama.

If we don't want Obama and Reid and Pelosi to fail, then why does the RNC exist, Mr. Steele? Why are you even raising money? What do you want from us? If I want Obama and Democrats to succeed, I suppose we should be sending the RNC donations? You know, these people, it's a bizarre discussion to have because there's a news story on this, on this feud now between me and Michael Steele. And listen to this. This is a quote from RNC spokesman, Alex Conant, I'm not sure how he pronounces his last name. "The feud between radio host Rush and Rahm makes great political theater, but it is a sideshow to the important work going on in Washington. RNC Chairman Michael Steele and elected Republicans are focused on fighting for reform and winning elections. The Democrats' problem is that the American people are growing skeptical of the massive government spending being pushed by congressional leaders like [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi."

Mr. Steele, your spokesman sounds like the RNC wants 'em to fail, to me. You're opposing 'em. You say the American people are growing weary of it, getting suspicious of it. But it's not just Pelosi's spending. It's Obama's. Where are your guts? Why can't you tie Obama to these policies? They're his! Where are your guts? (interruption) Snerdley, they don't want me doing the dirty work because when I go out there and, quote, unquote, do the dirty work, they try to cut me off at the knees for doing so. The point is, when you read that statement from Alex Conant, they're opposed to the Obama agenda, too, they're just too gutless to say so, and they get frightened when they hear the words, "I want Obama to fail." "Oh, no, no, no, we can't be associated with that." Yet you're sending out all these talking points designed to help people explain to other people why the Obama agenda is wrong. So I think it's bizarre. They put out statements and press releases damning Obama and Pelosi policies and they object when somebody like me says he doesn't want them to succeed.

Now, if it's the purpose of the Republican National Committee to urge the success of the Obama and congressional agenda, then stop sending these press releases here. I don't want 'em anymore. Stop sending all these quotes and facts and figures to prove how the Obama and Pelosi agenda is full of lies. I don't want to see it anymore, because you don't believe it. Why are you even sending these things out, Mr. Steele? It's amazing how many Republican politicians contact this show wanting on it. It's amazing how many Republicans want to come on this show. It's amazing how many send this show an endless number of press releases, their PR flacks are constantly sending me press releases and points, Congressman X saying this, special interest group X saying that, hoping I will mention it, hoping I will promote their cause. Why do they work so hard to be on this show? Why are they so eager to get me to take up their cause? I'm just an entertainer, ugly, incendiary, they say. We don't discuss current issues or policies or history or economics. So on the one hand, they had their PR flaks inundating me every day with this group or this congressman's doing that. I'm supposed to take it and make this or that congressman look good or this or that RNC chairman look good. And then they do what they do.

They chicken out when I happen to articulate exactly what their agenda really is. They don't have the guts to admit it, and I do. I'm going further and telling you today it's not that I want Obama to fail; that's not it anymore. The president is presiding over economic failure. The president is watching it, doing nothing about it. He's watching unemployment grow; he's watching the stock market plummet; he is watching people sign up for unemployment. The president of the United States is doing nothing to stop the downward spiral of this economy. He has no economic recovery plan. The truth is, the president of the United States and Rahm Emanuel, who, remember, said, "Crisis is too great a thing to waste." What does that mean? They want you suffering, they want you miserable, they want it worse, they want you rejecting conservatism. They want you rejecting capitalism. They want you turning to them in fear and desperation and angst for an immediate fix to the problem. They want you thinking you have no ability to fix your own problems. They think you have and they want you to have no ability to take care of yourself. So as the stock market now approaches minus 2,800 since Obama was elected, the statement today is to speed up the economic recovery, we're going to focus on health care. Ask yourself how that is going to get you your next job.

One other thing. Mr. Steele, if you want to lead the Republican Party, as you say you do, then you need to run for and win the presidency. You are chairman of the Republican National Committee. That is your job. To run the Republican establishment bureaucracy and prove you can defeat Democrats and elect Republicans, to come up with a new primary system that eliminates Democrats participating in ours and choosing our candidates and getting the grassroots revved up again. This is how you're going to be measured, not by how entertaining or cute you are on talk shows. By the same token, I'm not in charge of the Republican Party, and I don't want to be. I would be embarrassed to say that I'm in charge of the Republican Party in the sad-sack state that it's in. If I were chairman of the Republican Party, given the state that it's in, I would quit. I might get out the hari-kari knife because I would have presided over a failure that is embarrassing to the Republicans and conservatives who have supported it and invested in it all these years. I certainly couldn't say I am proud of the Republican Party, as I am leading the Republican Party. Right now the Republican Party needs to be led, and it will be. The next Republican president is going to be the head of the party. Last time I checked, I don't think Mr. Steele is running.

And finally, Mr. Steele, we do like to entertain people here. The audience is very smart, sir. They know the difference between entertainment, and they know the difference between deadly serious issues that affect their country. Don't underestimate the intelligence of this audience or Republicans and conservatives generally. The biggest problem with all of you who live inside the Beltway is you look out over America and you think you see idiocy and unsophisticated people, ignorant people, and when you're looking at liberal Democrats, largely you're correct, but your own voters are every bit as informed, involved, engaged, and caring, if not more so than you are. We don't care, first and foremost, about the success of the Republican Party. We care about the United States of America and its future, because we cherish it and love it, and we know what it is that made it the greatest nation on earth, and we don't hear you articulating that you understand that, not just you, Mr. Steele, but hardly anybody else in Washington, DC. So send those fundraising requests out, and, by the way, when you send those fundraising requests out, Mr. Steele, make sure you say, "We want Obama to succeed." So people understand your compassion. Republicans, conservatives, are sick and tired of being talked down to, sick and tired of being lectured to, and until you show some understanding and respect for who they are, you're going to have a tough time rebuilding your party.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT
 
 
RUSH: Hey, psst, folks, just a little secret between us. Don't tell anybody, all right? This is just between us. Don't tell the Drive-Bys. The Drive-Bys were tuning in for that because they've been asking me for quotes on this. So the way they're gonna interpret -- and really don't tell anybody, this is between us, because I don't want this getting out beyond the show -- the way they are going to interpret what I just did in response to Michael Steele is, "Oh, this is great, this is great! Emanuel's strategy is working great, the Republican Party and Limbaugh are splitting apart, there's a feud, there's infighting." They will miss the whole point, and even if there are any Drive-Bys listening while I tell them the real point, they will reject it because it doesn't fit their template. What happened starting Saturday -- actually, CPAC started on Thursday, but what culminated with my speech on Saturday at CPAC was the reawakening of a huge sleeping giant that is ready to rumble, and that is American conservatism, which is found in the Democrat Party, it's found among independents, and it's found in the Republican Party.

More Americans live their lives as conservatives than you would believe. They don't get their paychecks and walk down the street and say, "Hi, you want some of this?" They'll vote for people who will do it for them, but they're trying to raise their kids right and make money, save money. They've got morality and values, most of them, not all, but most, they may not vote that way, but they live that way. They're waiting to be awakened and that awakening has started. The pressure is on the Republican Party to be more Democrat Party-like, and too many Republicans in Washington want to make that happen. Well, just the opposite is going to happen. The sleeping conservative giant has been awakened here. It's a beautiful thing. ****
 
 
END TRANSCRIPT
 
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Chad
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« Reply #78 on: March 09, 2009, 04:31:34 PM »

By CURT ANDERSON | 3/9/09 4:59 PM EDT 

Over the past week, new RNC Chairman Michael Steele has walked through the fire, or more accurately, through a shooting gallery inside the Beltway. To be clear, some of this was self-inflicted. As the chairman has said, he made some missteps in a few media appearances. Live and learn.

Behind the noise however, there is a different scene unfolding, and one that should give hope to Republicans everywhere, or at least Republicans outside the beltway. For the first time ever, the new chairman is conducting a complete and thorough overhaul of all party operations. Anyone associated with the Republican campaigns of the past few cycles knows the real truth: Our party has been out-gunned, out-worked and "out-technologied.”

The chairman promised to clean house at the RNC if he won. He did, and he did. This has led to some serious griping inside the Beltway. Many were lying in wait, hoping he would stumble, so they could pounce. He did, and they did.

As part of Steele’s transition at the RNC, 10 members of the RNC have descended from around the country onto the headquarters at 310 First St. Their mission has been to conduct a thorough forensic audit of all the functions of each department — everything from finance to communications to research to politics. Every line item in the budget has been scrubbed; every position in the organizational chart has been reviewed.

This process was completed on time at the end of February. Now comes the hard part — taking the recommendations of this ten-member transition team and melding them into a new RNC that will do more with less and move the party to the place where we can compete and win in the 2010 elections.

Change is never easy, of course, and many feel threatened by it. Steele’s election as chairman of the Republican Party was a shock to the system for many of the Republican ruling class, the old guard in Washington. Over the past week, countless anonymous sources have brought out the long knives. Indeed, over the past week, the empire has struck back.

To be clear, some of the criticisms have been legitimate. This process has not been perfect. This new administration at the RNC has made mistakes, and all of us on Team Steele will make more, and we will own up to them.

That said, the vast majority of RNC members, both old and new, both those who supported Steele and those who did not, are on board with this overhaul of party operations. There is great unanimity on one thing: The 2006 and 2008 elections were not just bad, they were disastrous. Staying the course is not an option.

The best news is this — over the course of the past month, there is increasing evidence that the Republican Party as a whole is once again finding its voice. With 99 percent of elected Republicans in Washington standing on principle against the so-called stimulus package, the unprecedented expansion of government and wasteful spending, Republicans are coalescing.

We did not get into this mess in a just a few months, and we won’t get out of it in just a few weeks. But the seeds of the comeback are being sown. 2010 will be a different story.

Curt Anderson is a partner at OnMessage Inc, a Republican media and polling firm. He is a top adviser to Chairman Steele and has been Steele’s personal friend for 15 years.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #79 on: March 09, 2009, 05:58:14 PM »

Chad, Thanks for posting.  Steele will be fine IMO if he can now hit the ground running.  If not for the mis-steps (all publicity is good publicity?) no one would have noticed or cared that a black man is now running the Republican Party.  Repubs had a black man and black woman at the highest cabinet posts and a black man to the highest court in the land without black voters noticing or caring.  If/when Michael Steele has accomplishments as RNC Chair, maybe then he will become a national voice and begin to influence a voter or two.  There is plenty of room for Steele to make a huge difference, but this defense of Steele came from his own PR person. We will see.  We will see what he can do with top down leadership for a deflated structure that needs to be re-built from the bottom up.

One public improvement that comes to mind is to stop having the equal-time opposition speaker talk to an empty room.  These should be done with enthusiasm that spills from the live audience to the television, radio and internet audience - either with stadium sized support or in a staged, Letterman/Leno type setting.  A citizens version of a joint session of congress is what they need IMO.  The future political leaders need to speak to a crowd and the party had better go find and train the candidates that can do it.  They also need clarity of message...
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Chad
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« Reply #80 on: March 10, 2009, 02:41:19 PM »

Chad, Thanks for posting.  Steele will be fine IMO if he can now hit the ground running.  If not for the mis-steps (all publicity is good publicity?) no one would have noticed or cared that a black man is now running the Republican Party.  Repubs had a black man and black woman at the highest cabinet posts and a black man to the highest court in the land without black voters noticing or caring.  If/when Michael Steele has accomplishments as RNC Chair, maybe then he will become a national voice and begin to influence a voter or two.  There is plenty of room for Steele to make a huge difference, but this defense of Steele came from his own PR person. We will see.  We will see what he can do with top down leadership for a deflated structure that needs to be re-built from the bottom up.

One public improvement that comes to mind is to stop having the equal-time opposition speaker talk to an empty room.  These should be done with enthusiasm that spills from the live audience to the television, radio and internet audience - either with stadium sized support or in a staged, Letterman/Leno type setting.  A citizens version of a joint session of congress is what they need IMO.  The future political leaders need to speak to a crowd and the party had better go find and train the candidates that can do it.  They also need clarity of message...

I enjoy posting  thought provoking articles here, and enjoy reading what others find and post here...  smiley

I'm wondering if Steele (and Jindahl for that matter) are to be victims of the "Palin effect" it seems like any conservative that comes along who has been competant in any way, will be trashed by the media. The more competant, the dirtier the trashing. God forbid you ask the president an honest question ala JTP.
I just don't see anyone that will be able to hurdle the media double standard put on Repubs. Obama is handling the economy in the same exact way that Bush did, but somehow now it "change"? As long as the Dems own the media the right side of the aisle will continue to shrink. IF they ever take power again I hope and pray it is fashioned after Reagan's first term and then stop there. No more new tone.

/RANT
« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 03:20:04 PM by Chad » Logged
prentice crawford
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« Reply #81 on: March 13, 2009, 09:45:14 AM »

Woof,
 This should be interesting.

www.glenbeck.com
                               P.C.
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ccp
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« Reply #82 on: March 13, 2009, 10:22:07 AM »

It was bad enough for Steele to offend the religious right's defacto spokeman Rush Limbaugh but he commited the greatest transgression after that.   I believe the religious right will force him out.  What a pity that more moderate views are simply not tolerated by the religious right.  They rightly claim that Republicans will lose much of their base by not pleasing them.  I can also tell something they won't:

The party loses millions of the women's vote because of this same view.  Sure the party would be happy to take all Balcks, Latinos, Asians.  But they must abide by all *our* beliefs.  No compormise no prisoners, no discussion.  And that folks is why we lost.
I don't know how being a Republican means I have to believe in every Christian value to be considered worthy.  There are more Republicans who are not the religious right than vice a versa.  Yet they claim to be the defacto party.  I am not afraid to stand up to them.

"RNC chief Steele clarifies his abortion stance after 'choice' remark
By Ann Sanner | The Associated Press
7:06 PM EDT, March 12, 2009
WASHINGTON - A day after a magazine quoted him as saying abortion was "an individual choice," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said today he opposes abortion and that Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

A leading conservative called Steele's remarks in the magazine "cavalier and flippant," underscoring the new chairman's precarious position with party regulars concerned about his off-the-cuff style and penchant for miscues.

Steele, who was adopted, told GQ magazine that his mother had the option of getting an abortion or giving birth to him.

"The choice issue cuts two ways," Steele said in the wide-ranging interview published online Wednesday. "You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life."

This morning, Steele attempted to clarify his remarks in a statement.

"I am pro-life, always have been, always will be," he said. "I tried to present why I am pro-life while recognizing that my mother had a 'choice' before deciding to put me up for adoption."

Both in the interview and in his statement, Steele said he believed Roe v. Wade was "wrongly decided." He said the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion should be overturned and the decision left to the states.

In the GQ interview, Steele said he was opposed to gay marriage but wasn't going to "beat people upside the head about it."

Steele, a Catholic and former Maryland lieutenant governor, was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee nearly six weeks ago.

Since then, Steele has compared Republicans to alcoholics on a 12-step program and called Rush Limbaugh "incendiary and ugly," though he has apologized to the conservative radio host. Steele has also promised to give the party a "hip-hop makeover" that would be "off the hook" and would attract even "one-armed midgets."

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said in a written statement that he was disappointed with Steele's remarks to the magazine on abortion and gay marriage.

"This only serves to reinforce the belief by many social conservatives that one major party is unfriendly while the other gives only lip service to core moral issues," Perkins said, "which is why many have dropped their affiliation with the GOP."

The Republican platform asserts the GOP's opposition to abortion, saying that "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed."

In his statement, Steele said he supports the platform. "The Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life," he said.

Steele said in the magazine interview that he believed marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman. "I just draw the line at the gay marriage," he said.

"And I'm not gonna jump up and down and beat people upside the head about it, and tell gays that they're wrong for wanting to aspire to that, and all of that craziness," he continued.

Steele said states should address gay marriage.

"Just as a general principle, I don't like mucking around with the Constitution," he said."

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DougMacG
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« Reply #83 on: March 13, 2009, 11:03:27 AM »

CCP, The way forward IMO involves building the coalition between the factions you allude to, not to abandon EITHER core group in favor of another.  There is nothing 'Christian' about being pro-life or else at least half of Christians aren't Christian.  The second strongest defense of pro-life views I ever heard came from radio host Dr. Laura Schlesinger who is Jewish, and the strongest argument I've seen comes from science and ultrasound photography.

The point you make about the platform is correct.  The platform tradition should be ended instead of ignored by the elected candidates.  It is used only by opponents to demonstrate the extremism of their opponent.  The pro-life wording in the platform you cite would trump abortion for even the areas where all serious elected conservatives politicians would draw an exception.  The platform process is dominated the small minority of the involved and should be replaced by a Newt-style contract, agreed to and promoted in public, finding core principles that overlap realistic, electable plans for governing. 
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #84 on: March 13, 2009, 12:12:45 PM »

Woof,
 There has been a push within the leadership of the Republican Party over a number of years, to have what they call a "big tent" membership. This is how President Bush and John McCain became the front runners for the Party's nomination for President. Most of the true Conservatives of the Party didn't like either of these two candidates; even with GW being a "born again" the religious right were leery of him because of his dad's appointment of a Liberal to the Supreme Court. Many Conservatives voted for these guys simply because they would be better than Al Gore or Kerry or Obama as President.
 Many of us are now thinking, well if we're going to lose anyany, why not make it a "smaller tent" membership and restore Conservative principles and push out the so called moderates, that are basically Liberals and becoming more Liberal everyday. So what you're seeing now are the first shots in that war. I'm on Rush's side of things, he is not an extremist and the people that want to cast him in that light, are the ones that want the "big tent".
                     
                                         P.C.
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Chad
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« Reply #85 on: March 13, 2009, 12:20:19 PM »

Many of us are now thinking, well if we're going to lose anyany, why not make it a "smaller tent" membership and restore Conservative principles and push out the so called moderates, that are basically Liberals and becoming more Liberal everyday.

ah-men. The Republicans need to stand for something other than just being "democrat lite". I won't get my hopes up tho, the whole opposition party thing is ringing hollow after the last eight years.
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ccp
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« Reply #86 on: March 13, 2009, 02:18:44 PM »

"well if we're going to lose anyany, why not make it a "smaller tent" membership and restore Conservative principles and push out the so called moderates"

Prentice,
I have to respectfully disagree.  Most of the Republicans would not call themselves "religious right" though they may think of themselves as "conservatives". 
I am not exactly sure what you mean by "moderate". You and or Chad suggest that those of us who are less strict on principle are Dems lite or not really Republicans or conservatives.

Yet I am sure that most of the Rep party would fall into this group.  Without them/us, you or I like it or not the strict conservatives are a shrinking group in the overall population.  Rush doesn't get it.  Hannity doesn't get it.  Colin Powell does - in this regard IMO.

I am not sure Michael Steele has the abilities to "lead" the party but I think having a minority at the forefront is a good idea.  I would like to give him backing and the chance to try to show minorities they too have a stake in America and a real chance at the pie if they work hard, take responsibility and stop giving in to a party that is more like slave master whitey whose idea of helping them is with their benevolent handouts that was obtained by confiscation from others.

And speaking of W being born again, what the heck does that have to do with being President?
Why is a religious group running a political party?
Is it not all about abortion?  Please correct me if I am wrong.




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Chad
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« Reply #87 on: March 13, 2009, 02:53:38 PM »

I am not exactly sure what you mean by "moderate". You and or Chad suggest that those of us who are less strict on principle are Dems lite or not really Republicans or conservatives.

For the record I am fiscally conservative and when I say "dem lite" it is the people in the party that want to be democrat, but not all the way democrat. That is to say they will tell us that a $400B stimulus bill is outrageous, but a $350B stimulus bill is responsible.

As for how I feel about social issues is that everyone should be free do do as they please as long as it does'nt interfere with the freedom of others.
So when I say small tent I mean the people who want liberty and can be adult enough to let others enjoy their liberties.
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #88 on: March 13, 2009, 03:12:43 PM »


Quote
Yet I am sure that most of the Rep party would fall into this group.  Without them/us, you or I like it or not the strict conservatives are a shrinking group in the overall population.  Rush doesn't get it.  Hannity doesn't get it.  Colin Powell does - in this regard IMO.
Hey ccp,
 I'm not religious right either, I was just pointing out that the religious right had problems with Bush but voted for him anyway just like a lot of Conservatives did. It was more difficult for Conservatives to vote for Bush the second time because he practically doubled the size of government when he created Homeland Security and it became obvious that he wasn't going to tighten up the border. He was finally forced into it because a majority of citizens showed that they were in favor of a border fence and workplace enforcement of immigration laws.
 And I need to disagree with you that Conservatives are a shrinking part of the population, I think the majority of Americans are Conservative. The problem is that they don't vote. I believe if the Republican Party returns to actually doing what they say they will do then these people will rejoin the process and help make our nation a strong Republic again.

Quote
And speaking of W being born again, what the heck does that have to do with being President?
Why is a religious group running a political party?
Is it not all about abortion?  Please correct me if I am wrong.
The abortion issue is one part of the much larger issue of moral character and values, it's not about a religion running anything.
                                     P.C.
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ccp
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« Reply #89 on: March 14, 2009, 10:04:18 AM »

As Chad points out:  "I just don't see anyone that will be able to hurdle the media double standard put on Repubs"

And as we are seeing it doesn't have to be a Rep they go after.  Perhaps that is why Dems who are criticizing BO are doing it indirectly like criticize Hillary for speaking out against Israel when her policy is obviously based on BO's design.  Or Finemans somewhat negative citique of BO but then he pulls up short with oh "but Obama is definitley not a socialist".  Maybe they are actually afraid to go after the chosen one?

The liberal media is going after anyone who criticizes the chosen one.  Of course Stewart goes after Cramer only now because Cramer came out against the latest liberal icon:

****Cramer vs. Stewart: Post-Fight Analysis
Posted Mar 13, 2009 05:07pm EDT by Aaron Task in Newsmakers, Banking
Related: TSCM, VIA, JPM, BAC, WB, ^DJI, ^GSPC
A week-long verbal battle between cable TV personalities Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer came to a head on The Daily Show Thursday night. By nearly all accounts, Stewart won in a unanimous decision, if not a knockout:

"Cramer was playing rope-a-dope while Stewart swung away," writes Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz. "Jim seemed more concerned with being liked than justifying what he does for a living. It was a mismatch."

Some other items of note:

While eager to admit some mistakes, Cramer defended himself (in part) by saying Wall Street CEOs such as Dick Fuld lied to him and (by extension) other CNBC personalities. "I had a lot of CEOs lie to me on the show," he said, suggesting former Bear Stearns and Wachovia executives also misled him.
Stewart's populist rants often got in the way of any real conversation, and Cramer rarely has been at such a loss for words. Stewart tapped into the anger many Americans are feeling toward Wall Street and the financial media, given the ongoing bailout bonanza and the decimation to our collective portfolios: Americans' total wealth fell 18% in 2008, according to the Fed, the biggest annual loss since they started tracking the data after WW2.
Stewart said repeatedly his issue was with CNBC generally, not Cramer personally. But it sure seemed like Stewart's attack was directed at Cramer. (Of course, Cramer was sitting there and further invited attack by sarcastically dismissing Stewart earlier in the week.)
Speaking of the personal, I made a cameo appearance on 'The Daily Show' last night when Stewart showed clips of a segment I filmed with Cramer for TheStreet.com back in 2006. (Full disclosure: I worked for TheStreet.com, which Cramer co-founded, from 1998 to 2007. The company and Cramer were good to me and I still own some shares, much to my dismay.)

In the clip, "Cramer explained how traders gamed the system and seemed to say he had used such techniques in his Wall Street days," as Kurtz writes. There was a minor flap about the segment back in early 2007 and it's certainly received a lot of attention this week.

On The Daily Show, Cramer said he was speaking hyperbolically and denied having done those things personally. "I didn't do it," he said.

While I have no doubt Cramer pushed the envelope before he got out of the hedge fund business in 2000, I had assumed the same during the "infamous" video. I believed he was speaking hypothetically and trying to call attention to what hedge fund managers were doing then versus what he had done five-plus years prior.****
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ccp
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« Reply #90 on: March 27, 2009, 08:23:49 AM »

BOs poll ratings will not come down as long as the majority of Americans think they will not be footing the bill for the unprecedented budgets he is proposing.  Until events prove that they too are screwed, along with those of us who know they are his poll numbers will be over 50%.
At this time the Republicans have not convinced many of this IMO.
The Dems keep throwing the chant Rep are the party of "no" and offer no alternatives.  I am not sure it is in the interest of Rep to present an alternative while they are out of power and most elections are still a bit off.
OTOH I don't know anyone but Newt who could articulate a message that would get through the left MSM filter.
Perhaps it is best to keep up the no tactics and let BO;s policies eventually fail as I believe will by themselves.


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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #91 on: March 27, 2009, 08:38:59 AM »

At the moment   wink I disagree.

I think we are in serious danger of cultural transmission of the American Creed crossing a tipping point from which we may never recover.     Reagan was a clarion voice in the wilderness for many, many years before he was elected.  People trusted that he believed what he said because of this.
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ccp
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« Reply #92 on: March 27, 2009, 09:51:46 AM »

Well, I am not sure we disagree.
I am not saying we should not articulate conservative values.  What I am saying is the majority of Americans do not think conservative values will benefit them - hence BOs continued popularity. So are you saying rep should come up with a plan and articulate it or are you saying is the plan is to let the markets crash and burn because that is the best long term course of action?
It does not appear most in this country want to hear that.
While I hate BO's politics I am not clear strictly leave the markets alone to "repair" themselves is enough either.  Certainly the majority of Americans don't want to hear that. 

That is why I like Newt.  He recognizes this shortcoming and is searching for ideas that take conservatism foward in a way that applies to todays problems at least in a practical and sensible way.
One risk of articulating your plan now is the other side will steal the ideas for themselves and take the credit.  That is what Clinton always did.  The great example is welfare reform. 
But you certainly raise a good point that that risk is a far better alternative to allowing BO, Pelosi and the other cooks to have their way and destroy what made this country great.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #93 on: March 27, 2009, 10:41:47 AM »

I too like Newt a lot.

One of my deep concerns is that the Big Lie that "the free market caused it" is becoming accepted fact.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #94 on: March 28, 2009, 12:05:27 AM »

"...the Big Lie that "the free market caused it" is becoming accepted fact." - the markets that are the most screwed up are the ones that experienced the most government intervention, and vice versa.  Besides housing finance with Fannie Mae and the Community Reinvestment Act Program (CRAP), health care is very close to the top of that list.

Whatever and whoever 'our side' is, we always seem to lack a war room with a rapid response team and a clear message back refuting falsehoods.  Maybe that is Michael Steele's job.  Conservatives answer this kind of bs but they are only heard and read by conservatives.

Luckily, some truths are so true and so obvious that even unspoken they can become known truths.  For example, the fact that the policies of the current left machine embody tyrannical socialism. 

People have learned hate Nancy Pelosi and the politics she represents even though we are only fed glowing fluff reports about her everywhere we turn.  'Rasmussen Reports has the latest numbers:  Sixty percent (60%) of U.S. voters now have an unfavorable opinion of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including 42% Very Unfavorable, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey.  Even Democrats are now bailing on Pelosi.'

Reelection rates in congress are typically 98-99%, but every seat goes up for campaign and reelection next year.  The way forward - step one - is to retake the house or at least retake the momentum in the country in the next congressional election.  I'm sure the Republicans are already working on the next 'contract with America'.  It will feature a number of positive agenda items but the underlying message is that 'we' offer a vision a little closer to the pursuit of happiness that Jefferson, Madison or Lincoln might have called the American Dream and a little further from the rationed benefits and downsized equality handed out by central planners and central enforcers like Stalin and Pelosi.

Right now the only check/balance on the American Left machine is 'Communist China'.  If they stop buying our debt, we will have to cut spending by most of the $10 trillion (and eat the rest as inflation) even without the participation in the process of Republicans.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2009, 12:08:35 AM by DougMacG » Logged
ccp
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« Reply #95 on: March 28, 2009, 01:14:26 PM »

"Conservatives answer this kind of bs but they are only heard and read by conservatives.

Luckily, some truths are so true and so obvious that even unspoken they can become known truths"

Doug, well said.  And that is the thrust of my concerns about "conservatism" whatever the reitierations.  It doesn't seem to be heard by those who are not already "conservatives".  Or the message just does not appeal to others.

I am hoping the new contract with America will appeal to all of us with common sense.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #96 on: April 01, 2009, 12:25:42 AM »

By PAUL D. RYAN
Today, the House of Representatives will consider two budget plans that represent dramatically different visions for our nation's future.

We will first consider President Barack Obama's plan. To be clear, this is no ordinary budget. In a nutshell, the president and Democratic leaders in Congress are attempting to bring about the third and final great wave of progressivism, building on top of the New Deal and the Great Society. So America is placed in a special moment in our history -- brought about by the deep recession, Mr. Obama's ambitious agenda, and the pending fiscal tidal-wave of red ink brought forward by the looming insolvency of our entitlement programs. If this agenda comes to pass, it will mark this period in history as the moment America turned European.

House Republicans will offer an alternative plan. This too is no ordinary budget. As the opposition party, we believe this moment must be met by offering the American people a different way forward -- one based on our belief that America is an exceptional nation, and we want to keep it that way. Our budget applies our country's enduring first principles to the problems of our day. Rather than attempting to equalize the results of peoples' lives and micromanaging their affairs, we seek to preserve our system of protecting our natural rights and equalizing opportunity for all. The plan works to accomplish four main goals: 1) fulfill the mission of health and retirement security; 2) control our nation's debts; 3) put the economy on a path of growth and leadership in the global economy; and 4) preserve the American legacy of leaving the next generation better off.

Under the president's plan, spending will top $4 trillion this year alone, and consume 28.5% of our nation's economy. His plan would mean a $1 trillion increase to the already unsustainable spending growth of our nation's entitlement programs -- including a "down payment" toward government-controlled health care and education; a $1.5 trillion tax increase to further shackle the small businesses and investors we rely on to create jobs; a massive increase in energy costs for families via cap and trade. Moreover, the Obama plan would result in an exploding deficit, a doubling of the nation's debt in five years, and an increase of that debt to more than 82% of our nation's GDP by the last year of the budget. This approach will ultimately debase our currency and reduce the living standards of the American people.

 Instead of doubling the debt in five years, and tripling it in 10, the Republican budget curbs the explosion in spending called for by the president and his party. Our plan halts the borrow-and-spend philosophy that brought about today's economic problems, and puts a stop to heaping ever-growing debt on future generations -- and it does so by controlling spending, not by raising taxes. The greatest difference lies in the size of government our budgets achieve over time (see nearby chart).

While our approach ensures a sturdy safety net for those facing chronic or temporary difficulties, it understands that the reliability of this protection and the other functions of government depend on a vibrant, free and growing private sector to generate the resources necessary for it.

Here's an outline of what we propose:

- Deficits/Debt. The Republican budget achieves lower deficits than the Democratic plan in every year, and by 2019 yields half the deficit proposed by the president. By doing so, we control government debt: Under our plan, debt held by the public is $3.6 trillion less during the budget period.

- Spending. Our budget gives priority to national defense and veterans' health care. We freeze all other discretionary spending for five years, allowing it to grow modestly after that. We also place all spending under a statutory spending cap backed up by tough budget enforcement.

- Energy. Our budget lays a firm foundation to position the U.S. to meet three important strategic energy goals: reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, deploying more clean and renewable energy sources free of greenhouse gas, and supporting economic growth. We do these things by rejecting the president's cap-and-trade scheme, by opening exploration on our nation's oil and gas fields, and by investing the proceeds in a new clean energy trust fund, infrastructure and further deficit reduction.

- Entitlements. Our budget also takes steps toward fulfilling the mission of health and retirement security, in part by making these programs fiscally sustainable. The budget moves toward making quality health care affordable and accessible to all Americans by strengthening the relationship between patients and their doctors, not the dictates of government bureaucrats. We preserve the existing Medicare program for all those 55 or older; and then, to make the program sustainable and dependable, those 54 and younger will enter a Medicare program reformed to work like the health plan members of Congress and federal employees now enjoy. Starting in 2021, seniors would receive a premium support payment equal to 100% of the Medicare benefit on average. This would be income related, so low-income seniors receive extra support, and high-income seniors receive support relative to their incomes -- along the same lines as the president's Medicare Part D proposal.

We strengthen the Medicaid safety net by converting the federal share of Medicaid payments into an allotment tailored for each state's low-income population. This will enhance state flexibility and sensitivity to spending growth.

In one of the most valued government programs -- Social Security -- our budget begins to develop a bipartisan solution to the program's pending bankruptcy by incorporating some of the reforms advocated by the president's budget director. Specifically, we provide for a trigger that would make small adjustments in the benefits for higher-income beneficiaries if the Social Security Administration determines the Social Security Trust Fund cannot meet its obligations. This is a modest but serious proposal which would not affect those in or near retirement, but is aimed at helping develop a consensus, across party lines, toward saving this important retirement program. We also assure that benefits for lower-income recipients are large enough to keep them out of poverty.

- Tax Reform. Our budget does not raise taxes, and makes permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax laws. In fact, we cut taxes and reform the tax system. Individuals can choose to pay their federal taxes under the existing code, or move to a highly simplified system that fits on a post card, with few deductions and two rates. Specifically, couples pay 10% on their first $100,000 in income (singles on $50,000) and 25% above that. Capital gains and dividends are taxed at 15%, and the death tax is repealed. The proposal includes generous standard and personal exemptions such that a family of four earning $39,000 would not pay tax on that amount. In an effort to revive peoples' lost savings, and to create an incentive for risk-taking and investment, the budget repeals the capital gains tax through 2010 for all taxpayers.

On the business side, the budget permanently cuts the uncompetitive corporate income tax rate -- currently the second highest in the industrialized world -- to 25%. This puts American companies in a better position to lead in the global economy, promotes jobs here at home, and strengthens worker paychecks.

We hope the administration and Democratic leaders in Congress do not distort and preach fear about our Republican plan. Some may be tempted to appeal to the darker emotions of envy and insecurity that surely run high in times like these. Yet we know Americans are stronger, smarter and prouder than this ploy assumes.

In the recent past, the Republican Party failed to offer the nation an inspiring vision and a concrete plan to tackle our problems with innovative and principled solutions. We do not intend to repeat that mistake. America is not the greatest nation on earth by chance. We earned this greatness by rewarding individual achievement, by advancing and protecting natural rights, and by embracing freedom. We intend to continue this uniquely American tradition.

Mr. Ryan, from Wisconsin, is the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #97 on: April 13, 2009, 09:03:23 AM »

A worthy House Republican plan
Borrows less and would keep spending within bounds

By Donald Lambro (Washington Times) | Monday, April 13, 2009

When President Obama delivered his record-breaking $3.6 trillion budget to Congress, it was Page One news and led all the TV broadcasts - with little or no critical analysis.

But when the Republicans brought forth their alternative budget, it was relegated to the back pages and received only a cursory mention on the nightly news shows, usually accompanied by a Democratic talking head who dismissed the GOP plan as coldhearted and a penny-pinching approach that turned its back on people in need during these hard economic times.

Actually, the House Republican plan does a number of things to grow the economy that the Democrats do not, like provide tax incentives for business investment, economic growth and job creation; borrow a lot less than the Democrats would and create less debt; and not raise taxes, when to do so would be job-killer in a recession.

In short, House Republicans took up Mr. Obama's challenge to offer their own budget, and it turns out to be pretty good. It deserves a lot more attention than it got from the news media, says Brian M. Riedl, chief budget analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Among its provisions:

• It borrows $3.6 trillion less than Mr. Obama's budget. That works out to $23,000 less debt per household.

• It keeps total federal spending slightly above 20 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), roughly the same rate of spending we had before the recession.

• It contains no tax increases and would shorten and simplify the federal tax code.

• It places a moratorium on wasteful earmarks and tackles needed Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid reforms.

Mr. Obama's budget and the barely trimmed-down version the House and Senate Democrats taped together would slap more than $9 trillion in new debt on our children and grandchildren. "This is more debt than has been accumulated by all previous presidents in American history from George Washington to George W. Bush - combined," Mr. Riedl says.

The Republicans would freeze nondefense, nonveterans discretionary spending for five years at present levels, and stop the stimulus spending planned in 2010 and beyond when the economy is expected to be in recovery.

Unlike Mr. Obama's budget and the Democrats' proposals, the GOP plan would raise no one's taxes. Instead, it would make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent, along with the alternative minimum tax reduction. But it would give beleaguered taxpayers a further tax break by giving anyone a choice between a 10 percent marginal tax rate for those making less than $100,000, and a 25 percent rate for those making more than $100,000.

And they would offer needed pro-growth incentives that include cutting the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 25 percent and suspending the capital-gains taxes through the end of 2010 to spur capital investment.

"Even with all those benefits, the House Republican budget proposal would bring in revenues averaging just below 18 percent of GDP, which is near the historical average," Mr. Riedl says.

The Obama budget and the versions hatched by Democrats on Capitol Hill would push federal spending as a share of GDP from 23.6 percent in 2011 to 24.5 percent in 2019 - "significantly above the past 40-year average of 20.7 percent," says Americans for Tax Reform.

The Democrats respond to all of this by saying it is just a repeat of the policies offered by former President George W. Bush.

In fact, as Mr. Riedl points out, the Obama and Democratic budgets would "actually accelerate" Mr. Bush's fiscal policies, producing "more runaway spending, more bailouts and even bigger deficits. The president is not repudiating Bushism - he's doubling down on it."

Is he ever. Increasing government spending by $1 trillion during the next 10 years; raising taxes on millions of Americans and businesses by $1.4 trillion during the next decade; and doubling the publicly held federal debt to more than $15 trillion.

In a few days, millions of taxpayers will send hundreds of billions of dollars to the U.S. Treasury to pay for the costs of Mr. Obama's voraciously growing government - in many cases, this is money Americans desperately need to make ends meet.

This is not a time - now or next year - to take more money out of a recessionary, cash-strapped economy with an unemployment rate that is fast approaching 10 percent.

This is a time when the government's policy should be to let the businesses and their workers keep more of what they earn. Mr. Obama's minuscule $7 a week for most workers provides little if any real relief.

Taking less money out of an anemic economy is a message that still resonates with taxpayers, who are beginning to doubt that the Democrats' dubious, snake-oil, tax-and-spend remedies will strengthen the economy.

It didn't make sense when Franklin D. Roosevelt did it in the 1930s, and it doesn't make any sense now.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #98 on: April 18, 2009, 12:42:07 PM »

'There's a stereotype that if you're gay, you're liberal - and if you are a conservative, you're a bigot. Well, there are people like me who are gay and conservative, and we think it's important that we have a voice."

The speaker is Jimmy LaSalvia. Tomorrow morning in Washington, Mr. LaSalvia and his allies will launch a new tax-exempt 527 political organization they hope will be that voice for gay conservatives. Called GOProud, it will certainly make for a more interesting Republican Party -- and a richer internal debate.

Mr. LaSalvia, the new group's executive director, points to the arithmetic. In the 2008 presidential election, between 4% and 5% of voters self-identified as gay. Of these, 27% went for John McCain. That works out to 1.4 to 1.8 million gay Republican votes.

"If you pulled the lever for John McCain in 2008, then passing hate-crimes legislation or ENDA [Employment Non-Discrimination Act] is probably not your priority," says Mr. LaSalvia. "Most issues that are defined as 'gay' issues have been defined by the left. We take a different approach."

Health care is one example. Mr. LaSalvia points out that many gays do not believe their best interests are served by government-run health care. To the contrary, he says, they believe they would be better served by private-run individual accounts that are portable, that put them in charge of their own health care, and that would allow them to designate their own beneficiaries.

Some of these issues are explored at GayPatriot.org, whose founder, Bruce Carroll, is also on the board of GOProud. From the disastrous economic policies of Massachusetts Democrat Rep. Barney Frank to the outing of gay Republicans to the importance of male sexual monogamy, this conservative site offers a perspective you just won't see anywhere else. Even on hot-button social issues, it can make for some strange bedfellows.

Take abortion. Christopher Barron, GOProud's chairman of the board, points to an example from a few years back, when a Maine state legislator introduced a bill that would have outlawed abortion for a child thought to be gay, in the event genetic testing ever reached that point. That politician, Mr. Barron says, received virtually no support from gay groups. Though he himself is pro-choice, he says, "I want pro-life gays to know they have a home here."

There may even be some common ground on the issue that most divides GOProud from long-standing Republican orthodoxy: gay marriage. Like most conservative organizations, GOProud is skeptical about using courts to advance social change. They also tend to believe that social issues like this one are best left to the American people acting through their state legislatures.

"I opposed the federal marriage amendment because I do not believe we should federalize marriage," says Mr. Barron. "Marriage is and always has been a state issue. The last thing I want is for some federal court to impose a tortured Roe v. Wade law on gay marriage that will make sure that this issue is never resolved."

That's not likely to be satisfying to those who oppose gay marriage on the merits. But the approach is consistent with a conservative respect for process. Even more important today, this approach also helps make possible a real conversation between people who share the same principles but operate from strong, opposing beliefs.

As Mr. LaSalvia puts it, "Demonstrating common ground is just as important as saying it exists, and that's where we're different."

Whatever else it is, these are not your father's gay Republicans. To the contrary, GOProud springs from a growing dissatisfaction among some gay Republicans that the Log Cabin Republicans, the traditional gay advocacy group within the party, has drifted to the point where its positions are indistinguishable from those of the left. It didn't help when the Washington Blade chimed in with a report that Log Cabin's biggest contributor, Tim Gill, is a Democrat.

Messrs. LaSalvia and Barron are themselves former officers for the Log Cabin Republicans. They know they belong to a defeated party that has no clear leaders but is now making decisions that will determine that party's future in the years to come. They say they have formed GOProud in part to participate in that conversation -- as conservatives who want to contribute to the team.

The ironies are legion. Since the loss of Congress and Mr. McCain's defeat in November, any number of people have come forward to suggest that if the party ever wants to win again, it has to abandon its conservative principles. What does it say about the Beltway's established ideological boxes that it is the gay wing of the Republican Party which is now advocating for a return to the party's Reaganite roots?

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« Reply #99 on: April 25, 2009, 07:01:25 AM »

By BRIAN M. CARNEY
Sen. Judd Gregg is perhaps best known for something he didn't do. Two weeks into the Obama administration, he announced that he was leaving the Senate to become commerce secretary. Two weeks later, he withdrew his name, drawing a testy jab from the administration for denying it a bipartisan feather in its cap.

 
Zina SaundersIt's hard to reconcile the man who nearly boarded the Obama express with the tough-minded Republican senator who sat across from The Wall Street Journal's editorial board at our offices earlier this week. As for the lessons he learned from his dalliance with the administration, he reserves his criticism for himself: "I should have been smart enough to see the daylight before I walked in the door. . . . I don't think there's any big lesson here for anybody but myself, which is the obvious: It would have been impossible for me to be with the president 100% of the time, which is what a cabinet secretary has to be."

Just how obvious that should have been became clear in the course of our interview. Also obvious, Mr. Gregg said, was that the Obama administration is filled with "really capable, dedicated, smart, sharp people with an agenda that they intend to pursue aggressively."

The kind words mostly stop there. From health care to global warming, financial regulation, spending and tax policy, Mr. Gregg doesn't pull any punches in his criticism of the new president. He may be "a charismatic person" with "a very strong understanding of who he is and what he wants to do," but when it comes to the substance of what Mr. Obama seeks to accomplish, Mr. Gregg is less charitable. "They have a goal," the senator says, "and he's very open about it. They are going to grow this government."

Mr. Gregg believes the stakes are high. "This is the first time a budget's had real meaning in a long time," he says. In recent years, presidential budgets have been formulaic exercises. Even if Congress went on to adopt them, they would only serve, at best, as rough guidelines for the real work of crafting the appropriations bills that actually set discretionary funding levels. But this budget "is real, and he [Mr. Obama] intends to push it."

That's bad news, in Mr. Gregg's view, because "We're headed on an unsustainable path. The simple fact is these [budget] numbers don't work and the practical implications of them are staggering for the nation and the next generation."

His "main concern," he says, "is that if you look at the Obama budget, it projects on average about a $1 trillion deficit [every year] over the next 10 years." And as a result of all that spending, "You see the size of government growing from 21% [of gross domestic product] to 22%, to 23%, 24%, 25% . . . toward 30%."

Set against this spending growth, Mr. Gregg points out, "the revenue base is only so big. Granted, right now it's way down because of the economic situation. But even if you took it back to an economy that's performing extremely well, say [revenues of] even 19% [of GDP], you can't close that gap under the present projected situation. And so we're in trouble. And the policies of this administration are driving that to an even more acute situation." Spending and deficits are both heading skyward, and government debt held by the public is heading toward 80% of GDP.

For Mr. Gregg, this is like living a nightmare. He has been a hard-nosed advocate for government spending restraint since his days as a Congressman (1981-87) and governor of New Hampshire (1987-93). At times, his commitment to fiscal responsibility led him to oppose tax cuts when they weren't matched by spending restraint. Those stances incurred the ire of his Republican colleagues, but he always stuck to his fiscal-responsibility guns. Now he's staring down a spending explosion that makes those battles look picayune.

One of the big drivers of government spending in the Obama budget is universal health insurance. And on this point, Mr. Gregg says, "At least Obama was half-way honest about how much he was going to spend on health care. He had it at $600 billion. And the real number . . . is $1.2 trillion." But that's better than Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad. "What Conrad did was take the entire amount off-budget and not account for any of it." Mr. Obama's budget, therefore, "was honest to a higher degree. It held itself to a higher degree of integrity than the Senate budget or the House budget."

Well, except for one point: "the huge savings that they claimed on defense spending, which was a total fraud." Mr. Gregg refers to the fact that the administration's budget builds the full cost of the surge in Iraq into the budget baseline. Under that assumption, we would continue to appropriate money for the surge every year for the next 10 years. That allows the administration to "find" $1.6 trillion in savings, "all of which is spending we would never do," according to Mr. Gregg.

Health-care reform is not just about the price tag. How it gets done matters too. And in Mr. Gregg's view, the Obama administration's goal is crystal-clear. "This is a single-payer government. . . . It doesn't want to say that publicly and it rejects it publicly. But the goal is to push that substantively. Because that's what they believe." In other words, what Mr. Obama bills as a "public option" for those who need health insurance but can't get it through their employer or in the private market would soon become the only option -- even for those happy with their current insurance.

Before you cry "conspiracy," Mr. Gregg argues that he has history on his side. The Democrats, he says, pulled the same public-private switcheroo before with student loans for college. Back in the late 1990s, "there was a huge debate in the committee . . . between myself and [Senator Ted] Kennedy over a private plan versus a public plan." In the end, they compromised -- the government would offer loans directly to students, but that program would have to compete with private-sector lenders. "And the agreement was very formal, and the record shows this very clearly. We agreed to level the playing field, put both plans on the playing field at an equal status and see who won. Well, private plans won. Big time."

Given the choice, most borrowers went to the private sector for their loans. But the Democrats who wanted to nationalize the student-loan market did not take defeat in the marketplace gracefully. "They didn't like that," Mr. Gregg says. "So ever since then they've tilted the playing field back and now they're going to wipe out the private plans in their budget."

When it comes to health insurance, Mr. Gregg expects more of the same. "That's the scenario that you're going to see if you have a public plan for insurance that competes with the private plans. That's the game plan" -- call it competition at first, but tighten the screws until the private insurers leave the market or get forced out. But with health-care spending representing 17% of GDP and climbing, the stakes are much, much larger. "Everyone in this country is affected by these policies."

And while the aspiration for universal coverage may be noble, the practical realities of getting there may prove harder for the American public to swallow. "There's no question," the senator says, "that this is a debate about rationing to a large degree. All your single-payer systems are rationing systems. It's also a debate about technology and innovation. Because you will not have capital pursuing technology, innovation and science if it's health-care related, because the return on capital won't be there. And these things are so expensive, especially on the pharmaceutical side and the biologic side, that you'll dramatically slow improvements in the quality of health care through science with a single-payer plan." Mr. Gregg thinks that critique will resonate with the public.

Even so, given the balance of power in Washington, Mr. Gregg gives the Democrats good chances of success in nationalizing our health-insurance market. "I think the odds are pretty good that it's going to happen -- that you'll have a major health-care reform bill pass." As he says, "Elections have consequences."

That said, Mr. Gregg doesn't necessarily think the American people will be happy with those consequences if the Democrats succeed in pushing through a "stalking horse" for a single-payer health-care system. "If they produce a partisan bill and pass it on a party-line vote, it's their baby," he warns. "They're going to have to defend it in the next election cycle and it's likely that it's not going to be perceived as fair by the American people."

Moreover, he says, "I don't think the American people want unilateral government control over the entire health-care system. I think most people understand that we've got a pretty good health-care system. It doesn't reach as many people as it should, and that has to be corrected. But it's innovative, it gives you decent health care for most Americans, and it's a lot better than any of the other countries that have these massive national plans."

That, together with the runaway spending and growing pile of debt, could yet set the stage for a Republican comeback, and sooner than most pundits would predict. Mr. Gregg will not run for re-election when his current term ends next year. Republicans, he says, "became very clouded as to what we stood for under the Bush presidency." But now they're getting their "definition" back.

"We're beginning to speak in a much more definitional voice on issues that were historically Republican issues: fiscal responsibility, giving individuals the opportunity to go out and create a better life for themselves, American exceptionalism, viewing America as a special place, not apologizing for our nation. These are things that we've always, as a party, resonated around. And I think we're starting to do it again." He corrects himself: "I know we are."

The Republican excesses during the Bush administration "haven't been forgiven and they haven't been forgotten" by voters. But if the president and his majorities in Congress get their way, voters will, Mr. Gregg believes, be ready for an alternative. "And we're the only show in town."

Mr. Carney is a member of the Journal's editorial board and the coauthor of "Freedom, Inc.," forthcoming from Crown Business in the fall.

 
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