Speaker Boehner

Speaker Boehner

Monday, November 15, 2010

Heath Shuler Changing Teams?

Congressman Heath Shuler of North Carolina's Eleventh Congressional District has thrown his name into the Goblet of Fire. He is all over the national news as the guy who is going to challenge Nancy Pelosi.

Shuler is not going to defeat Pelosi in the Democratic Caucus. Indeed, the Democrats may be as sorry that he is a member of their team now as the Redskins were that they drafted him. I spoke to a knowledgeable Republican in Western North Carolina today. This person was a very active supporter of Jeff Miller, the Republican who ran against Shuler this year. He reports the following:

The word is out in North Carolina that Heath Shuler is going to change parties after his failed attempt to unseat Pelosi. The word is that he would be able to say that he tried to move the Dems to the center, but that they moved to the left instead, and as such, he would leave the party.

Who knows?

If Shuler does leave the Democratic Party, then just remember that you heard it here first.

Rep. Dan Burton: The Ghost of Investigations Past

The new GOP majority in the House of Representatives needs to be very judicious in the exercise of its majority power. The whole thesis of this blog is that the voters did not give the GOP a blank check. One area of great concern is the use of the House Government Affairs and Oversight Committee.

The GOP's most recent era of legislative majority was split into two pieces: (1) From 1995-2001 when Bill Clinton was president; and (2) 2001 and beyond when George Bush was president. During the first era, the Republicans used their majority status in the House to pursue partisan political investigations, which, I would submit, interfered with their primary purpose and helped lead to their downfall.

The quintessential Republican investigator of the 90s was Indiana Congressman Dan Burton. Don't get me wrong: Congressman Burton is a reliable conservative. He votes the right way on speding, taxes, right to life, constitutionalism etc. However, he guided some very partisan investigations of the Clintonistas. He is indeed the ghost of Congressional investigations past.

Congressman Burton was then and is now a member of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee. As a member of that committee during the Clinton Administration, he dug deeply into the death of Vincent Foster. His conduct was perhaps perceived as unbecoming of a member of the House of Representatives. Congressman Burton was unable to keep a lid on his contempt for President Clinton. He was at one point quoted as saying:

"If I could prove 10 percent of what I believe happened, he'd [Clinton] be gone. This guy's a scumbag. That's why I'm after him."

His tactics and drama were over the top, worthy of a conservative Michael Moore. In the end, the American people saw the Republican use of the House investigative power as very overtly partisan.

Those attitudes still prevail. Two recent Rasmussen polls are instructive. In one, Rasmussen finds that Americans don't want the GOP to use the House investigative power on the Obama Administration itself (40 per cent favor, 44 per cent oppose). In another, Rasmussen finds by a margin of 55-32 that Americans do want the GOP to use its House investigative power to examine the fiscal costs of Obamacare.

The lesson of 1998 is reflected in those two Rasmussen polls: Don't investigate "birther" allegations or Ground Zero Mosque developers or Reverend Wright, or anything else that would bee seen as partisan. DO aggressively analyze and investigate the devastating financial impact that Obamacare will have on the Republic. If they GOP takes the latter route, then they will do the nation a great service and reap political rewards. If the GOP takes the former route, then they risk awakening the Ghost of Investigations Past, and the failure that he will bring.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


"I will say in response to Mr. Seitz, ‘Let me help you pack.’ We have real problems in our state that we have to fix and we don’t have the time, nor the money, nor the patience any longer for people who put themselves before our citizens,”

- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in response to a school administrator who threatened to take his services to another state due to new caps on public salaries.

Third-Grade Math Still Absent in the Miller Camp??

Alaska's Joe Miller doesn't appear to have a clue that he has absolutely no chance of winning the race for one of Alaska's two U.S. Senate seats. The race has gone into overtime, with hand counting of the write-in ballots taking up everyone's Saturday yesterday. A quote attributed to Mr. Miller by the Anchorage Daily News indicates that his team has failed to do some very basic mathematics.

"Miller, who visited the cavernous counting center on Juneau's outskirts, said he has not calculated what percentage of the vote would need to be challenged successfully for the race to be tight enough to possibly force a recount or make the prospect of a legal battle over ballots reality." (Anchorage Daily News, November 13, 2010)

What does that mean?

There are two possibilities:

(1) That no one in the Miller camp can do basic third-grade math;

(2) That Miller's camp has done the math, but wants to pretend that they haven't because there is a perception out there that they are challenging just enough write-in votes to keep the race "alive".

You can decide which explanation better fits the facts. The fact is that Joe Miller and his supporters are in the final seconds of Joe's fifteen minutes of fame. They are in the unenviable position of having raised money to keep the challenge alive while at the same time having no chance to prevail. This hell is probably the result of bad self-serving advice of paid political operatives and/or attorneys who stand to milk the campaign for a few more dollars. Joe Miller is a good conservative and an honorable man. It is time for him to put an end to the madness.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


"The question is not whether America can save free enterprise. The question is whether we can free enterprise to save America. "

Hon. Ronald W. Reagan, 40th President of the United States

Anchorage Joe's Fifteen Minutes Are Up

The Anchorage Daily News reports that approximately ninety-eight per cent of the write-in ballots in the race for one of Alaska's two U.S. Senate seats are counted for Lisa Murkowski. Simple mathematics says that Murkowski has won this race handily.

According to published results, "write-in" has garnered 98,565, with 87,517 for Republican Joe Miller. The ninety-eight percent trend is based on three days of counting; thus, it is a significant trend. Third-grade mathematics tells us that 98% of 98,565 is 96,593 votes for Lisa Murkowski. That total gives Murkowski a nine-thousand vote lead over Miller.

It is my sincere hope that the Miller campaign has someone who can do math at the third grade level because that person can now tell him that it is time to stand down. It is time to shut down the fundraising. It is time to stop the interviews on talk radio and Fox News. It is time to stop the attacks.

But based on reports published in the Anchorage Daily News, and based on the posts on Joe Miller's Facebook page, it does not appear that Miller. The Miller campaign is touting affidavits that they say are evidence of voter fraud. They are making chain-of-custody allegations. They are alleging that the group charged with ballot security is biased toward Senator Murkowski. They are challenging votes where the name is not spelled exactly right. They are challenging write-ins for every possible reason. This was very unnatractive when Al Gore did it in 2000 in Florida. It is very unattractive now.

They have a team of attorneys up there who are being funded by the NRSC, who started raising money after Mark Levin and others took them to task on talk radio. Senator Murkowski has stated that she would caucus with the GOP. I suspect that she is mature and experienced enough to appreciate that this is just politics, and as a result she will still caucus with the GOP. But the GOP should not take that for granted.

As an election law attorney with fourteen years experience, I can tell you that the Miller camp is using the "spaghetti justice" approach to election law. They are throwing the whole pot of pasta up on the wall to see what sticks. We have a job to do in Washington, one that Joe Miller passionately supports. It is my sincere hope that the person who understands third grade math prevails soon because the Alaska ballot count is a distraction from the task at hand: Balancing the federal budget and ending the Obama deficits.

Joe Miller's fifteen minutes of fame are expiring. Joe, please face that fact. You are making the Tea Party look bad now. You are making your patron, Sarah Palin look bad now. I understand that it is tough to face the silence after the campaign, but you are hurting the very cause for which you have so ably fought in this year's elections.

Friday, November 12, 2010

1998 + 2010 = ??

The debate over the nature of the 2010 GOP mandate continues.

This blog has only scratched the surface of what 2010 means. When thinking about 2010, we need to analyze this mandate in the light of past experience. In other words, the GOP need not repeat the past mistakes of either party.

In terms of past mistakes, 1998 jumps to mind. The GOP congress appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Bill Clinton's misdemeanors, which appointment led to impeachment hearings and a half-baked impeachment "trial". The work of the highly zealous special prosecutor, together with the work of the House Government Oversight Committee turned a situation where Slick Willie was clearly wrong into a situation where Slick Willie was the victim.

With Slick Willie giving an Oscar-worthy victim performance, the GOP lost seats in the 1998 midterm election.

One of those losses was particularly painful. My Congressman at the time lost his seat. My congressman was a tightwad fiscal conservative and one of the most hardworking public servants that you will ever meet. In his zeal, he used his time in the well of the House to sing a song parody "Twinkle Twinkle Kenneth Starr". C-SPAN captured the performance, which his ultra-liberal opponent used in massive ad buys. My congressman lost the election. His replacement, Rush Holt, still represents New Jersey's 12th Congressional District. He has the most liberal voting record in the House.

The song became a symbol of the very unpopular impeachment proceedings, Monica Lewinksy (pictured above) enjoyed her fifteen minutes of fame.

The unelected special prosecutor became the face of the GOP. He was an easy target. The GOP lost sight of fiscal restraint because impeachment had put our heads squarely up our derrieres. We never regained our focus. The GOP lost control of the debate, and as a result the public believed that we were more interested in marking Slick Willie with the Scarlet "A" than we were in governing.

I don't say this to place blame on others. Mea culpa: I was on the impeachment bandwagon big time, and even encouraged my congressman to vote to impeach the president.

So when we add 1998 and 2010, what is the sum?

Those of you who said 4008 are mathematically good, but humor challenged. The the sum is that the GOP should tread lightly where investigations of the Obama Administration are concerned, especially any investigation that smacks of impeachment or criminal charges. The public did not give the GOP the House to do that. Any inquiries by congressional committees should be civil and focus on excessive spending and reducing the size of this behemoth we call the federal government.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You Veterans!!

I would not have the freedom to sit here and run my mouth if it weren't for millions of men and women who have served in America's armed forces. On this Veteran's Day, I would like to thank those great Americans, especially the following members of my own family:

Bob Howes (uncle), U.S. Army, Viet Nam war
Bill Howes (father), U.S. Army, 1959-1961
Pat Green (uncle), U.S.A.F., 1966-1970
Alex Green (cousin), U.S. Army, current
Tom Esposito (father-in-law), U.S. Army, WWII
Joe Green (grandfather), U.S. Army, WWII
Bill Howes (grandfather), U.S. Army, WWII
Buck Green (cousin), U.S. Army, WWII
Robert Green (cousin), U.S. Army, WWII
Theron Barton (uncle), U.S. Army, WWII

All but one of my family members have returned from war. Buck Green fell in action in St. Lo France shortly after D-Day in 1944. His loss is still felt today by his surviving sister and my mother, who was young when he fell. His gift to me was not in vain.

From time to time I remind myself that if these brave souls could travel from their homes in rural South Carolina and Virginia to fight the facists, then I can get off my derriere and work for causes and candidates that I believe in. It's the least I can do. If they can risk their life for their country, I can help others in my community by teaching CCD and coaching recreational sports teams. It's the least I can do.

That's the takeaway of Veterans Day. Those of us who did not risk our lives have an obligation to make sure those who did risk their lives did not do so in vain. Exercise our freedoms well. Live our lives well. It is a gift to live in the USA.

Separated at Birth: Dolores Umbridge and Nancy Pelosi

In my most recent post, I alluded to the "Goblet of Fire", which is of course a reference to the blockbuster novel/movie "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" by J.K. Rowling. In the reference, Heath Shuler is compared to a contestant in a wizarding competition who places his name in nomination by putting it in the Goblet of Fire. In this case, Ol' Heath is placing his name in nomination for House Dem Leader.

That begs the question: "What Harry Potter character is Nancy Pelosi?"

There are so many possibilities. The nominees: Sybil Trelawney (the spacey Divinations professor who can't predict anything; Luna Lovegood (the student who is a little off center); or Ministry of Magic Bureaucrat Dolores Umbridge.

The winner is Dolores Umbridge (pictured above). Umbridge is a politician who is saccharine sweet. She is always perfectly appointed in pink. There is never a hair out of place. And she is very sanctimonious.

But what locks it up for Umbridge is her denial that Voldemort is a threat to good wizarding folks. Throughout her time on the screen, Umbridge repeats the party line that Voldemort is "not back". This is a very clear but likely unintentional analogy to the real life appeasers of the American Left, who insisted that there was no threat to America in the Middle East, either from Al-Quaeda or the former facist dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein or from the theocrats in Teheran. Umbridge is the quintessential denier who protects her cushy spot in the status quo by using her bully pulpit and her rule-making power to stife dissent.

Sound familiar?

Nancy Pelosi and Dolores Umbridge, separated at birth.

From: Tim Howes

Heath Shuler and the Goblet of Fire

Clay County NC is a small rural county in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the North Carolina-Georgia border. It has a population of approximately 9,000. To say that Clay County is beautiful is to make a severe understatement. It's newspaper of record, the Clay County Progress, hardly a beacon of national news, reported the following yesterday:

"U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) said Monday he will challenge Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for the House minority leadership position.

'At this point, no one has come forward, no one in leadership for a long time,' Shuler said. 'It will be very tough. It is probably a race we can’t win. But we need a moderate voice in the Democratic Party.”

After losing the majority in the House in the Nov. 2 election, the Republican Party takes over as the majority party. Pelosi said Friday she will try to retain her post as House Democratic leader. Leadership elections are set for Thursday, Nov. 18.

Congressman Shuler is unlikely to win the Minority Leader post. Indeed, he is very likely throwing his name into the Goblet of Fire to make good on a campaign promise. He's not going to win, you say, so why do I care? We care because the strange case of Congressman Heath Shuler fits nicely into our ongoing discussion about what the 2010 election means. Specifically, it follows very nicely behind today's earlier post, "Saturday Night Lights".

Heath Shuler is one of the remaining "Blue Dog" Democrats. He is a native of Western North Carolina. He was a football hero who played his college ball at the University of Tennesee, and who was drafted into the NFL by the Washington Redskins, where he signed a very lucrative contract. (ESPN rates Shuler as the third worst draft pick in the history of the NFL.) Heath Shuler is also a member of "The Family", a worldwide group of evangelical Christian political leaders, and former co-chairman of the National Day of Prayer.

In 2006, Rahm Emmanuel was scouring the nation for recruits to run for the House. Shuler was one of Emmanuel's pet projects. The 2006 Shuler campaign connected with voters through their faith and through Shuler's athletic past. That is, they used the Friday Night Lights approach. Shuler vanquished a sitting GOP congressman in 2006, and was handily re-elected in 2008.

In 2010, Shuler faced a formidable opponent in Hendersonville businessman Jeff Miller. Shuler, together with left-leaning independent groups, buried the district in advertising by radio, tv, mail, robocalls etc. His money advantage enabled him to fend off Jeff Miller, 54-46.

During the campaign, Shuler ran away from Nancy Pelosi. He did so, in part, by announcing during the campaign, and repeating many times his intention to run for Speaker of the House.

In the strange case of Heath Shuler, the Democrats took a page out of the GOP book and ran a proud evangelical Christian, who has been able to obscure his left-leaning tendencies by connecting with voters through faith. Shuler won't win the race for Minority Leader, and importantly, no one should be fooled. The fact that he will run and lose does not mean that there is a strong conservative or moderate wing of the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friday Night Lights

In an earlier post, I started a discourse about how advancing a socially-conservative legislative agenda as a top priority is not part of the November 2010 Republican mandate. In that post, I discussed how some people equate "Pro Life" with "conservative" and how that dynamic has derailed the fiscal conservative trolley.

I think that the political origin of this phenomenon goes back to the 1988 presidential election. (Bush 41 vs. Dukakis) The book of "Friday Night Lights" contains a beautiful passage that demonstrates how this dynamic worked in 1988, and what it meant.

The "Friday Night Lights" book was most directly about an elite high school football team from the Texas oil patch. The season was 1988. George HW Bush was running for president in an era in which the Texas-Louisiana oil patch was in a severe depression (not recession) because oil was at an all time low, as low as $11 per barrel, due to Republican policies, namely the mutual defense treaty that President Reagan signed with Saudi Arabia in 1982. Still, Bush 41 managed to win the oil patch in a convincing manner. How?

Author H.G. Bissinger was at his most eloquent when he penned the following passage:

"Dukakis forces in Texas thought they could win the state on the basis of the economy. They thought that the issues of gun control and the Pledge of Allegiance were emotional fads that would quickly die out. They never thought that Bush's rhetoric, a kinder, gentler version of the 'Morton Downey Show' would have much lasting effect. . .

Perhaps just once Dukakis should have left the rarfied atmosphere of Boston and Harvard that seemed to entrap him no matter where he was, hopped in a car by himself, and taken a drive down one of those lonely, flat-as-a-pancake roads to the gleaming lights of a Friday night football game. . . . He could have pulled down his tie and unbuttoned his collar. He could have gone to the concession stand to eat a frito pie and a chili dog . . . he could have sat in a corner of the stands to listen to th econversations around him as well as take note of the prayers both before the game and after. . .

There was a heartbeat in those stands that dotted the Friday nights of Texas and Oklahoma and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Florida and all of America like a galaxy of stars, a giant, lurking heartbeat.

Michael Dukakis never heard that sound, and even if he had he probably would have dismissed it as some silly tribal ritual rite practiced in the Amercian boondocks by people who made no difference. But his opponent didn't make the same mistake."

Gifted politicians understand the heartbeat that lives under those Friday night lights. Bill Clinton understood it. Bush 43 understood it. Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and other 2012 hopefuls understands it. They knew how to connect to the people in whom that heart beat, and by connecting on that spiritual level, they can lead and win despite their shortcomings on the issues, or in some cases, their resumes.

If Bush 41 had not connected with those folks, he may have lost Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Colorado and a few other key states. On the basis of the economy in the oil patch, conventional wisdom would tell us that Bush 41 should have lost the oil patch. The Bush campaign was certainly worried that they could lose to Dukakis. In the end, the election was not even close. One of the reasons for that result was that Bush 41 was able to connect on a more personal, spiritual level.

While the GOP won that election, the dependence on social issues as the top priority was the undoing of fiscal conservatism - at least until November 2, 2010.

Quote of the Day

"Socialists eventually run out of other people's money." Margaret Thatcher.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blog Shout-Out

My last post was born in Hudson County politics. That reminds me of a great blog run by a friend of mine from Hudson County. The blog is "Another Black Conservative". You can find it
at http://anotherblackconservative.blogspot.com/.

How a propos, considering the ascendancy of black conservatives in the GOP House caucus, and the news that Tim Scott and Allen West are making already.

Clifton B is a photographer and blogger from Hudson County. I hope that you will enjoy his work as much as I do.

From: Tim Howes

The Soprano State: Tactics out of the Obama Playbook

Elections and politics are a cottage industry in the Mile Square City of Hoboken NJ. If there were such a stat, the hometown of Old Blue Eyes would have the highest political per capita. 2009-2010 has been a tumultuous string of election cycles, exacerbated by the resignation of an elected mayor after only one month in office. And each election brings a new controversy over campaign tactics.

The recent special election in Hoboken's Fourth Ward was no exception. The winning campaign capitalized on the Soprano State's new mail-in ballot law, stuffing the ballot box with over 500 mail-in ballots. The winning campaign took approximately ninety per cent of the mail-in votes. The proud winning candidate declared in the Hoboken Patch: "We took a play right out of the Barack Obama playbook . . . "

Maybe he should clear such comments with the White House communications director because the victory is now under a cloud of voter fraud.


The usually laissez-faire Hudson County Board of Elections excluded approximately twenty percent of the total mail-in ballots submitted due to chain-of-custody issues and signature issues. That same board has referred a number of ballots to the Hudson County Prosecutor for criminal investigation. And yet to be addressed is the allegation that 79 Fourth Ward residents were paid to vote by mail.

The fact that the Hudson County Board of Elections excluded twenty per cent of the mail-in ballots and referred two for criminal investigation speaks volumes.

These are the tactics that the Left has used to keep an iron grip on urban counties such as Hudson County. This is not an isolated case in New Jersey. Voter fraud is endemic. There have been criminal prosecutions of voter fraud in the urban areas of Atlantic and Essex Counties. It looks now like there may be one in Hudson.

From: Tim Howes

If Ted Kennedy had been Pro-Life . . .

The Right to Life is an issue that is close to my heart and close to the hearts of many conservatives. Most fiscal conservatives are also Pro-Life, and I think that you would be hard pressed to find a "Pro Choice" politician who is truly a fiscal conservative, budget hawk or fiscal watchdog. The GOP primary electorate is overwhelmingly Pro-Life. America is on balance a Pro Life nation. Indeed, in 2009 New Jersey elected an avowedly Pro Life governor, Chris Christie.

Despite the fact that America is a Pro Life nation, and despite the fact that the incoming GOP majority is a pro life majority, there is no 2010 mandate to move pro life legislation.

It will take several posts to address fully how the nation arrived at this intersection, but at this point, we have to start with the proposition that the focus on the right to life and abortion in the Roe v Wade era eventually forced the fiscal conservative train off its tracks.

What happened was that to millions of conservatives, the term "Pro Life" and "conservative" became synonymous. They are of course not synonymous. There is a very large intersection between the fiscal conservatives and pro-lifers, yes, but taking the Pro Life position does not make a politician a conservative.

As the GOP coalition began to unravel this past decade, I confronted a number of activists who equated Pro-Life and conservative. My answer to them was that they needed to look at a candidate's position not only on the pro-life issue, but also on issues related to the budget, taxes and free enterprise. I found myself posing the following rhetorical question:

"If Ted Kennedy were Pro Life, would that make him a conservative?"

That is a rhetorical question because the answer is obvious. If Ted Kennedy had been Pro Life, he would not have been a conservative, but a Pro Life Socialist. Uncle Teddy supported socialized medicine, heavy regulation of free enterprises, higher taxes etc. He tolerated high deficits. No, seeing the light and becoming Pro Life would not have magically converted Uncle Teddy into a conservative.

The fact that so many Republicans began to equate Pro Life with Conservative, was one of the factors that de-railed the fiscal conservative train. This is a thesis we will re-visit on a regular basis. We will re-visit it not because we should change our principles. Au contraire! The GOP is the Pro Life party. We are not going to abandon that plank in our party.

The point now is that the GOP has control of the House of Representatives. To understand the mandate that the voters handed the GOP majority, we need to understand the history of how we lost our way while focusing on a very very important issue.

The bottom line is that there will be no functional American government to protect the Right to Life if the federal government goes bankrupt.

From: Tim Howes


QUESTION OF THE WEEK: If Ted Kennedy had been Pro-Life . . .

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: If Ted Kennedy had been Pro-Life, would he have been considered to be a conservative?

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Finance, Stupid

The focus will be on the House of Representatives, because the GOP actually won a majority of seats in the House. The GOP gained seats all across the map from the Northeast (New Hampshire, New Jersey and New York) to the South to the Midwest (notably Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin).

Because the GOP actually controls the House, GOP leaders will come into national focus. Presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner will play a large role and carry a big megaphone. Other House GOP leaders will gain prominence.

The key here is that all appropriations bills must originate in the House. Thus, the GOP-controlled House can take the initiative on cutting the size of government through the budget process. It is imperative for the US to cut the deficit and cut it now. It really doesn't matter how good sounding the programs are, the numbers just don't add up. I don't care if you include a line item to send a dozen roses each to my wife, my mother and my daughter every day for five years or give money to straighten the teeth of underprivileged children in Appalachia or to build a statue to the memory of Mother Theresa. It doesn't matter how wonderful the cause, the fact is that the money isn't there. WE HAVE TO CUT THE DEFICIT TO ZERO!

That is the imperative.

Look, I am strongly pro-life. I always have been. My Parish Respect Life Committee will shoot me if they actually read this blog but the fact is that there is no mandate to pass social legislation in this next Congress. None. There is no mandate to address marriage, gay or otherwise. There is no mandate to address the right bear arms, or to arm bears. There is no mandate to address the right to life or a woman's right to choose.

The fact is that no matter how you might feel about the various social issues, there will be no American Government to protect either the right to life or the right to choose if we continue to run 1.4 trillion dollar annual deficits. There will be no American Government to protect the sanctity of marriage or the civil rights of any Americans if we go bankrupt as a nation. And bankrupt we will be if we run one or two more 1.4 trillion dollar deficits.

The number one focus must be balancing the federal budget.

From: Tim Howes


Friday, November 5, 2010

The Electorate issued a Restraining Order

I am a lawyer, therefore, legal terms as metaphors work for me. Charles Krauthammer, the sober, mature voice of the Center-Right likens the result of the election to a restraining order. He gives warnings similar to those issued by Marco Rubio and Mike Steele (see earlier posts):

"This is not, however, a rejection of Democrats as a party. The center-left party as represented by Bill Clinton remains competitive in every cycle. (Which is why he was the most popular, sought-after Democrat in the current cycle.) The lesson of Tuesday is that the American game is played between the 40-yard lines. So long as Democrats don't repeat Obama's drive for the red zone, Democrats will cyclically prevail, just as Republicans do.

Nor should Republicans overinterpret their Tuesday mandate. They received none. They were merely rewarded for acting as the people's proxy in saying no to Obama's overreaching liberalism. As one wag put it, this wasn't an election so much as a restraining order.

The Republicans won by default. And their prize is nothing more than a two-year lease on the House. The building was available because the previous occupant had been evicted for arrogant misbehavior and, by rule, alas, the House cannot be left vacant."

In other words, the voters meant to stop the Democrats because the liberals, progressives, socialists, Green Police etc. hijacked what should be a center-left party. They didn't give the GOP carte blanche. The point of this blog will be to figure out what this means on the practical side of governance.


From: Tim Howes

Republicans are on Probation

RNC Chair Mike Steele declared Thursday that Republicans are on "probation". As an attorney who has both prosecuted criminals and defended those accused of committing a crime, I have a pretty strong understanding of what he means. His comments help answer the question of what mandate the voters gave the GOP.

Probation comes as a sentence after one is convicted of an offense. Probation is an offender's last chance to prove that he does not deserve the more harsh sentence - imprisonment. If an offender completes probation successfully, he or she stays out of jail. If not, the court sentences the offender to jail or prison.

So what was the offense the GOP committed?

Chairman Steele's comments point us in the right direction: “Big government Republicanism is not innate to us, it’s not part of our DNA and yet we tried to force ourselves into that box and instead we wound up forcing people out of the party,”

Read more:

The GOP's offense was that it became an alternate statist party. The punishment was that people left the Big Tent, and the voters did not allow them to retain power. As such, the national GOP now has a chance to live up to its stated purpose. If it does not, then the voters will bring on another wave of change; the GOP will fail again, and the Republic will fall further into debt.

From: Tim Howes

The Marco Rubio Acceptance Speech

In his acceptance speech Tuesday night, Senator-elect Marco Rubio spoke to the issue of what Tuesday's election results mean. In his preamble, he opined:

"We make a great mistake if we believe tonight that these results are somehow an embrace of the Republican Party. What they are is a second chance, a second chance for Republicans to be what they said they were going to be not so long ago."

So far, Marco Rubio has summed it up most eloquently. The fact is that in 1994 Republicans went to Washington to change Washington, but instead they let Washington change them. The national Republican Party became a big-spending, budget-busting group. The only difference between the two parties was which statists would be in charge.

The failure of the national GOP has nearly meant the failure of our republic. Democrats, liberals, progressives, neo-socialists...it is their express intention to spend a lot of money on feelgood programs. If the GOP abandons its smaller government mission, then there is no check on liberal excesses.

So, no, this election was not an embrace of the Republican Party: It was an embrace of the libertarian ideals at the heart of the Republican ideals.

From Tim Howes

Welcome to The Republican Mandate

Good morning. It is Friday, just three days after the Election. The Republicans have gained at least 61 seats in the House and 6 in the US Senate. They gained 9 governor's seats. They gained at least 600 state legislative seats and 20 state legislative chambers.

Clearly there was a very strong Republican mandate.

But just what was that mandate?

The clearest element of the mandate is a rejection of the statist policies that President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and Dingy Harry shoved down the nation's throats. But what else did the American public demand?

That's not an easy question. It is an important question because mis-calculating the mandate would mean another "change" wave could hit Republicans from the left. Overreaching cost the Democrats their majority. Overreaching would cost the Republicans theirs.

This blog will examine how we arrived at this point and what that means for the next Congress.

From: Tim Howes