The Top Five Republican Rising Stars

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Welcome back to our look at Congress’ incoming freshmen class. On Wednesday, we looked at the top five incoming Republicans who, judging from their campaigns, don’t look like they are ready for the bright lights — and media attention — of being in Congress.

We now turn to the freshmen who are poised to stand out in the very large incoming class and could become rising stars. Who, for example, will make a bee line for their party’s leadership, like Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) did? And who will be good fits for the cable news circuit — and pages of GQa la Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.)?

Of course, becoming a rising star comes with a word of warning: Several Democrats who were touted as the future of the party just two or four years ago lost last Tuesday — like Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) and Tom Perriello (D-Va.).

And with that, here are our Top Five Ready-For-Primetime Freshmen:

1. Tim Scott (R-S.C.)

Scott is the first African American Republican elected from the South since Reconstruction (joining West, whose personality couldn’t be more different than Scott’s). Scott has already been named to the GOP’s Transition Team and was featured in former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin‘s (R) post election video. The Republican Party has been seeking to showcase its increased diversity, and Scott will be a major part of that. (Scott has, however, been unclear about whether he wants to join the Congressional Black Caucus.)

2. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.)

Noem, who unseated Democrat Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, was touted as a top recruit by the National Republican Congressional Committee and showcased her political know-how in easily defeating the state’s Secretary of State in the primary. She’s got a made-for-TV demeanor, she was one of the party’s strongest fundraisers and she unseated one of the Democratic rising stars in Herseth Sandlin. (Check out the career trajectory of another South Dakota Republican who defeated a powerful statewide Democrat.) Noem is relatively young (she’s 38), attractive and, like McMorris Rodgers, will offer needed diversity to the Republican leadership.

3. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)

Kinzinger is shaping up to be the Republican version of Patrick Murphy, at least based on his biography. A decorated captain in the Air Force, the 32-year-old scored one of the most resounding victories of any Republican challenger, easily ousting Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.).

He also received numerous accolades for saving a young woman who was violently attacked in Milwaukee in 2006. Republican leadership, recognizing his potential, named him to the GOP’s Transition Team.

4. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.)

In the year he’s been running for Congress, Fincher has made his small rural hometown of Frog Jump, Tennessee, famous. His gospel singing quartet and farming roots made him one of the earliest recruits du jour for the GOP, making him something of a legend at NRCC headquarters.

And by winning a seat in a region of Tennessee that had been in Democratic hands since Reconstruction (John Tanner held it before announcing his retirement), Fincher can credibly claim his victory was historic.

5. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio)

It took him two tries, but Stivers finally unseated Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D) this year. Stivers, who has been described at the GOP’s “golden boy” for his political savvy, military record and fundraising ability, is a sure bet for some plum committee assignments. Stivers will need to make a mark — his Columbus-based district may be hard to hold in a presidential year, even it if is redrawn after the census.

Honorable Mention:

Hotline On Call

Republican Hypocrisy Watch

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

By Sallie James

Last week I urged readers to be on the lookout for Republicans seeking to exclude farm subsidies from any cuts they plan to make to federal spending. And it seems the first example of “smaller government for thee, but not for me” has been provided by incoming congresswoman Vicki Hartzler, who campaigned on a Tea Party-ish platform and defeated long-time congressman Ike Skelton (in Missouri’s 4th congressional district).

Ms. Hartzler calls Margaret Thatcher her role model because she “took principled stands.” (As, indeed, she often did.) Ms. Hartzler also says economic issues — cutting government spending, complete repeal of the health care bill — are her main concern. But read the fine-print in this article from the St. Louis Beacon:

Hartzler says cutting spending is a top personal priority; she wants to roll back non-discretionary funding levels to 2008 levels, before the economic stimulus and TARP programs. …

The congresswoman-elect would exempt some of the federal budget’s high-cost categories — including Social Security, Medicare and the Pentagon budget — from cutbacks. But she would not exempt agricultural subsidies,* another major area of federal spending popular in rural areas such as west-central Missouri’s Fourth District. Among the many farms to receive such subsidies is the 1,700-acre Hartzler farm, which — according to the Environmental Working Group’s “Farm Subsidy Database” — received about $ 774,000 in federal payments (mainly commodity subsidies for corn, soybeans and wheat) from 1995 through 2009.

“Everything should be on the table,” she says. While she says some agriculture programs represent a “national defense issue” because they help guarantee that “we have a safety net to make sure we have food security in our country,” Hartzler adds: “Should we continue the CRP [Conservation Reserve] program, where you pay farmers to not plant ground and set it aside for awhile? I’m not sure. The time for that may be over.” [emphasis added]

Let’s be clear about what Ms. Hartzler is talking about here. Those “some” agricultural programs she says should be guaranteed on “national defense” grounds (see below) are what we commonly think about as “farm subsidies” — payments to farmers to produce certain commodities, whether those payments are funded by taxpayers or consumersThey encourage overproduction and thus alienate our trade partners, complicate efforts to make global trade freer, harm poor farmers abroad and damage America’s reputation in the process. They cost us billions of dollars a year.

She is, on the other hand, open to cutting farm programs that at least pretend to have environmental benefits. I’m not commenting here on the validity of those sorts of ”public goods” claims, and of course I am not conceding that the federal government should be involved in them. But I think most reasonable  people would agree that they are less economically damaging than traditional farm subsidies.  In other words, in the hierarchy of damage, and therefore in the hierarchy of what should be cut first, I would put farm subsidies ahead of the CRP. And I fail, in any event, to see how anyone calling themselves a fiscal conservative can promote the idea of excluding a priori that which we commonly think of as “farm subsidies.”

[Also, can we please abandon once and for all this nonsense idea that we need farm subsidies to have food security? Appeals to “national defense” are disingenuous and cynical. They are also belied (rather obviously) by the fact that we see abundant supplies of fruit, vegetables and other horticultural goods even though those products attract no subsidies directly. The best way to ensure a food security is to ensure open markets, so food can flow from where it is abundant to where it is scarce. Self-sufficiency is a misguided policy, as the experience of North Korea can attest.]

So, in summary, when Ms. Hartzler says “everything should be on the table”, she basically means “not much, and certainly nothing that might harm powerful special interests that I care about.” I lost count of the number of Republican politicians being interviewed during the campaign and on election night talking about the need for “across-the-board cuts to discretionary spending” as their fiscal plan. Most if not all of them emphasized that so-called mandatory spending (which includes some farm subsidies) would be exempt from their cuts. I’m sorry, but I cannot take seriously the “fiscal conservative” credentials of any politician who adopts such a line.

*It appears, judging from the quote below, that she would indeed exempt farm subsidies from cuts, even if other farm programs would be on the chopping block. I’m going to assume here the reporter was using the term “farm subsidies” in an imprecise manner.

Republican Hypocrisy Watch is a post from Cato @ Liberty – Cato Institute Blog


Cato @ Liberty

Another Republican for 2012: Former Governor Gary Johnson Deserves a Look

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

A week before the Election I had occasion to be on the hot Fox Business show Money Rocks, hosted by Eric Bolling. Also on the panel was former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. In the brief discussion Johnson impressed me deeply. A Libertarian Republican in the Ron Paul tradition, Johnson is an outspoken and articulate critic of our failed war on drugs and a proponent of legalizing Marijuana.

The topic on the show was gang violence and kidnapping on the Mexican Boarder but Johnson turned that deftly to a discussion of how drug legalization would end Mexican gang violence. It was a tour de force.

There is high demand, It’s a huge cash crop and it’s not going away. Johnson makes a strong case that it’s dangerous only it is because it is illegal. People are forced to go to drug dealers and it funds gangs and terrorists. The government continues to spend $ 70 billion a year on the most failed policy in U.S. history.

Johnson points out marijuana is considerably less hazardous than alcohol, and even arguably less a public health risk than sugar and processed foods given the national expensive epidemic of diabetes and heart disease. Marijuana is easily grown virtually anywhere and despite billions spent to stem its use, it is as easy to acquire today as it was before the war against it was launched. Marijuana is easier than cigarettes for children to acquire, specifically because it is peddled by drug dealers as opposed to licensed and monitored providers.

The war on marijuana is costly, makes criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens, and costs resources better spent on other efforts.

New York wastes a whopping $ 390 million a year on marijuana arrests- a simple non-violent crime . Nationally more people are arrested for marijuana than all violent crimes combined. Johnson is unapologetically in favor of all out legalization and also also sites the massive financial boon that legalization and taxation would provide.

With America in the worst financial crisis of our lifetime and the advantages of legalizing and taxing it ? Johnson says legalization would permit the government to re-assign highly trained people to go combat more serious problems. Governments at the State and federal level could realize billions in revenues.

A 2012 Presidential candidacy by Johnson would lead to a needed public dialog on the failed war on drugs. Prop 19 failed only because of the gross lies told about marijuana use by police groups, Senator Diane Feinstein and , get this, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Anyone who has seen “Pumping Iron” remembers Arnold puffing on a joint between heavy sets. Do as I say, not as I do, Ahhnold ?

This is not to say Johnson is a one dimensional candidate and their will be plenty of opposition to ending the prohibition of Marijuana in the Republican Party, but a Johnson candidacy would find a constituency in the early primary states, particularly “Live Free or Die” New Hampshire and would spark a national discussion that must be had.

Sarah Palin won’t run ( you heard it here first!). The race is wide open. Run, Gary Run.


Big Government

The Republican Wonk Exodus, Ctd

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Drum wants to understand why the GOP is losing the intellectual elite:

[M]y guess is that this is primarily a reaction to social conservatism. Students at top universities just can't stomach the anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-civil rights, anti-religious-tolerance attitude of the current GOP. But Andresen's conjecture about "policy positions that do not make logical sense" may have something to it too. In the mid-70s, for example, liberal interest groups engaged in their own version of magical thinking by pushing hard for the passage of the Humphrey-Hawkins full employment act, which essentially tried to mandate low unemployment by fiat.

Jimmy Carter eventually managed to water it down into a purely symbolic piece of legislation, but the sheer spectacle of liberal lunacy on display for months on end probably turned off a lot of smart students. Liberals eventually learned their lesson on this score — overlearned it, in fact — but their place in the magical thinking department was immediately taken over by supply-side Republicans, who have gotten ever more hardened and ever balmier during the past couple of decades.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Republican Wonk Exodus, Ctd

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Drum wants to understand why the GOP is losing the intellectual elite:

[M]y guess is that this is primarily a reaction to social conservatism. Students at top universities just can't stomach the anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-civil rights, anti-religious-tolerance attitude of the current GOP. But Andresen's conjecture about "policy positions that do not make logical sense" may have something to it too. In the mid-70s, for example, liberal interest groups engaged in their own version of magical thinking by pushing hard for the passage of the Humphrey-Hawkins full employment act, which essentially tried to mandate low unemployment by fiat.

Jimmy Carter eventually managed to water it down into a purely symbolic piece of legislation, but the sheer spectacle of liberal lunacy on display for months on end probably turned off a lot of smart students. Liberals eventually learned their lesson on this score — overlearned it, in fact — but their place in the magical thinking department was immediately taken over by supply-side Republicans, who have gotten ever more hardened and ever balmier during the past couple of decades.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Republican Wonk Exodus, Ctd

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Drum wants to understand why the GOP is losing the intellectual elite:

[M]y guess is that this is primarily a reaction to social conservatism. Students at top universities just can't stomach the anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-civil rights, anti-religious-tolerance attitude of the current GOP. But Andresen's conjecture about "policy positions that do not make logical sense" may have something to it too. In the mid-70s, for example, liberal interest groups engaged in their own version of magical thinking by pushing hard for the passage of the Humphrey-Hawkins full employment act, which essentially tried to mandate low unemployment by fiat.

Jimmy Carter eventually managed to water it down into a purely symbolic piece of legislation, but the sheer spectacle of liberal lunacy on display for months on end probably turned off a lot of smart students. Liberals eventually learned their lesson on this score — overlearned it, in fact — but their place in the magical thinking department was immediately taken over by supply-side Republicans, who have gotten ever more hardened and ever balmier during the past couple of decades.





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The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Connecticut’s Chris Healy As The Next Republican National Chairman? Mentioned Despite Big Losses In Nutmeg State

November 11, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

The 2010 elections provided some of the greatest political advances in history for Republicans, but that wave never fully arrived in Connecticut as the party lost races for governor, U.S. Senator, and five Congressional seats.

Those failures have prompted some rumbling that the losses should spell the end of the nearly four-year tenure of Connecticut state Republican chairman Chris Healy.

But in a bizarre twist, Healy is now being mentioned in the national media for a major promotion – to be chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Healy’s name has been floated widely in The Associated Press, Roll Call, and The Washington Post’s influential political blog, among others.

In a 24-hour whirlwind, Healy’s candidacy has grown from a behind-the-scenes, back-room whispering campaign to a full-blown public race. As a nearly four-year member of the national committee because of his state chairmanship, Healy already knows many of the 168 national members – and he needs 85 votes to oust embattled, outspoken chairman Michael Steele.

“A number of people on the committee, which is where it counts, urged me to think about running,” Healy said in an interview. “We need to create a real national Republican army. The record does not indicate that the Steele team can do it. At some point, you have to come out and say the emperor has no clothes.”

Healy, 53, said he has no idea who mentioned his name to The Washington Post, adding that he has “full confidence of passing a polygraph” on the leak. He is being mentioned along with former Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, former Nevada Gov. Robert List, former New Jersey chairman David Norcross, and current Wisconsin chairman Reince Priebus, among others.

Based on the losses last week in high-profile races, Healy said he is prepared to hear questions about why Connecticut’s party chairman should be picked over others in states where Republicans made huge gains.

“I think that’s a fair point,” Healy said. “We were unsuccessful, but in the big strategic picture, people on the RNC can look me in the eye and say I took a party that was dormant and made it fully engaged in the Internet age. We recruited a lot of good candidates without a lot of help from the chief executive – and that’s fine. … We didn’t even have a web page when I took over. Now, we have one of the best social media networks. We’ve got thousands and thousands of people on Facebook and Twitter.”

Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell taped radio commercials for U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon and gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley, but she was not a major public presence on the campaign trail.

When asked if Rell had helped the Republicans, Healy responded, “No, she didn’t do anything, which is unfortunate. She chose not to, and that’s her choice. It just is what it is. You can’t make people do things if they don’t want to.”

Healy said he would not criticize Rell personally, saying she needed to speak for herself. Rell could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Insiders also said that Rell did not help the state House Republicans, who increased their total by 14 seats – the highest one-year gain by any political party since the state’s party lever was eliminated in 1986.

A leading Republican, though, disagreed sharply with Healy.

“It’s amazing,” the Republican said. “Chris Healy evidently recruited every candidate, raised every dollar, and was evidently responsible for every Republican who won this year. At the same time, Governor Rell and other Republican leaders seemingly did nothing to help any candidate. The only thing bigger and more inflated than Chris’s ego is the Goodyear blimp. He would fit right in with all the other modest, team-playing politicos already dominating the Washington scene.”

Capitol Watch

Republican Who Co-Authored Light Bulb Law Wants Energy Chair

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Here’s a test for the GOP: do they let this guy have the chairmanship? He has some really good points and some really bad points, yet, we have this little bit of Big Government climate alarmism

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) may have some explaining to do to fellow GOP colleagues as he seeks the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, given the incoming wave of new conservatives who may not appreciate some aspects of Upton’s voting record.

Upton joined with Rep. Jane Harman (D.-Calif.) in 2007 to co-author the legislation that effectively banned indoor incandescent light bulbs in the United States. In the last Congress, he an Harman teamed up again to offer new legislation that would extend the ban on incandescent bulbs to outdoor lighting also.

“In 2007, Harman and Upton introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation-which became law as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act-that bans the famously inefficient 100-watt incandescent light bulb by 2012, phases out remaining inefficient light bulbs by 2014, and requires that light bulbs be at least three times as efficient as today’s 100-watt incandescent bulb by 2020,” explained a 2009 press release put out by the two House members.

What you have is that all incandescent bulbs between 40 and 100 watts will go bye bye. The jobs are already gone. And CFLs are pretty much being made mostly in China. On the bright side (sic) “reflector flood, 3-way, candelabra, colored, and other specialty bulbs” are exempt. Plant lights are exempt, which is good for Upton, since he has the fortitude of a petunia.

“Current incandescent bulbs on store shelves are obsolete and highly inefficient-only 10 percent of the energy consumed by each bulb is for light, and 90 percent is wasted on heat,” Upton and Harman told the Post. “Today’s incandescents employ the same technology as the bulbs Thomas Edison created more than 120 years ago. By upgrading to 21st-century technology, we will help preserve energy resources and reduce emissions, all the while saving American families billions of dollars in their electric bills.”

The heat is one of the reasons I used to use CFLs: I lived on the top floor with a thin roof, little insulation, and, North Carolina summers. Anything to reduce heat is most excellent. Yet, CFLs have become, well, crap over the past 7 years, and I have switched back to incandescent bulbs. There is no energy savings in CFLs as they last about the same length as incandescent bulbs. Obviously, though, this legislation and light bulb restrictions are simply about anthropogenic global warming hysteria. Yet

Upton, due to his seniority, is the frontrunner for the post and has recently sought to bolster his conservative credentials by vowing to investigate President Obama’s energy czar Carol Browner, EPA chief Lisa Jackson, and Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

“We’ll paint the curb yellow for them,” Upton told Politico on Oct. 29.

Here’s a little exercise for you, folks: if you live in or near D.C., or plan on visiting soon, make sure to plan time to stop by Upton’s office in the Rayburn building. If you are near St. Joseph or Kalamazoo, Mi, stop by. If not, drop him an email, asking if he himself has replaced all his 40 to 100 watt light-bulbs with CFLs. His website is here.

On the bright side (yes, again), he is against Net Neutrality. On the dark side, he seems more concerned that it is unelected Obama appointees and czars making AGW rules, rather than Congress.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach. sit back and Relax. we’ll dRive!

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Stop The ACLU

Republican Congressman: Bush Destroyed The GOP

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Dana Rohrbacher isn’t among those willing to cut George Bush any slack:

Former President George W. Bush is no “class act,” a Republican lawmaker insisted Wednesday. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said Bush had “destroyed” the GOP during his eight years in office in a blunt shot at the former Republican president, who on Tuesday released his book, “Decision Points.”

Rohrabacher tweeted Wednesday:

@MarkRMatthews Bush not class act, destroyed GOP, jailed Ramos & Compean, left us bailouts, gave more power to fed gov & China.

The GOP lawmaker, who won reelection to his fifth term last week, was responding to another conservative on Twitter who called Bush a “class act” for avoiding criticism of President Obama since leaving office. Even in interviews supporting his book, Bush has refused to take any shots at his successor.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Rohrbacher has consistently been a strong fiscal conservative, and his political beliefs are rooted in 70s era California libertarianism.




Outside the Beltway

Republican Congressman: Bush Destroyed The GOP

November 10, 2010 · Posted in The Capitol · Comment 

Dana Rohrbacher isn’t among those willing to cut George Bush any slack:

Former President George W. Bush is no “class act,” a Republican lawmaker insisted Wednesday. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) said Bush had “destroyed” the GOP during his eight years in office in a blunt shot at the former Republican president, who on Tuesday released his book, “Decision Points.”

Rohrabacher tweeted Wednesday:

@MarkRMatthews Bush not class act, destroyed GOP, jailed Ramos & Compean, left us bailouts, gave more power to fed gov & China.

The GOP lawmaker, who won reelection to his fifth term last week, was responding to another conservative on Twitter who called Bush a “class act” for avoiding criticism of President Obama since leaving office. Even in interviews supporting his book, Bush has refused to take any shots at his successor.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Rohrbacher has consistently been a strong fiscal conservative, and his political beliefs are rooted in 70s era California libertarianism.




Outside the Beltway

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