Over the last eight years we’ve had the MSM tell us how horrible government shutdowns were and excoriate the GOP each time they brought up the prospect of one.

Now that Donald Trump is President and Democrats no longer control either house of congress the media is as you might have already guessed, ready to blame you guessed it republicans.

People blame whoever they think is in charge. And although in the past two shutdowns that was somewhat up for debate, it isn’t this time around. Which is why tweets from President Donald Trump insisting that “Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security” won’t work. Sure, the base of the GOP will respond to that red-meat-throwing. But, there is no amount of Trump tweets that can overcome the fact that Republicans totally control Washington at the moment.

Given President Trump’s willingness to push back against this nonsense there is a real question if this meme will sell however there is a much simpler solution to the problem and it’s one I suggested during both of the last two shutdowns first in 2013 with Ted Cruz leading the fight until Mitch McConnell was bought off with some dam locks and the Democrat/Media left got what it wanted.

Two years later it happened again and the GOP this time had both the Senate and the House but not the White House

All the GOP has to do is wait till the MSM starts screaming about food stamps, or government workers or any other thing the left cares about
As soon as they do the House can pass funding for that piece, the senate using reconciliation can force a vote causing Democrats in the senate to choose between voting for spending for their constituents or not.

And Unlike 2013 these spending bills can’t be stopped from getting to the President’s desk.

Let the president veto funding for food stamps and unemployment, let him veto veterans spending and if he does wait a couple of week and pass the spending again and let him veto it again, and again and again until Obama voters scream.

Well it’s 2018 and this time the GOP has not only a president anxious to sign funding bills for vets, for tax refunds and national parks but a loud enough bully pulpit to clobber the Democrats and the media for blocking that funding.  So there are two alternatives:

PLAN A:  Pass spending bills for each priority from the Vet to the National parks and use reconciliation to allow them to be approved by the senate with 50 votes vs 60.  These bills will get signed by the President and the net effect will be the only parts of government left unfunded are parts will be unnecessary stuff (which leads to the question as to why they were funded in the first place).

PLAN B:  If for whatever reason reconciliation can’t be used pass the bills in the house and force the Democrats in the Senate into a REAL filibuster, with senators actually staying up all night, holding the floor and giving speech after speech as to why veterans hospitals, or tax refunds etc shouldn’t be funded.  The GOP can have even more fun  with this by passing bills that fund BOTH democrat and GOP priorities (such as food stamps and government workers along with the VA) and let POTUS go long on twitter hitting Democrats from blocking relief to the poor and the vets.

If the party stays on message and shows half the guts this president does in fighting back they can use this issue to completely turn around the election season.  I’d even make sure to pass priorities that fund things in swing district that the Democrats want to hold and allow their candidates to explain to voters why they blocked funding for the very districts they want to win.

This plan is so basic and so obvious that only a stupid party could fail to pull this off.

Uh oh.


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It took them nearly a year to pass anything meaningful. This fact is absolutely ridiculous as they’ve had over six years to prepare for the inevitable control of the House, Senate, and White House once Obamacare passed and sealed the short-term fate of the Democrats. Coming into 2017 flatfooted and disorganized was inexcusable, but that’s what happened. They can’t let it happen again in 2018.

Most conservative pundits say their next task is selling the tax cuts they just passed to the American people. This is somewhat true, but it’s more of a game of attachment rather than hitting the streets and selling it as some are suggesting. They need to hope the economy stays strong and point to the tax cuts any time good things happen. This doesn’t take much effort. They just have to be aware of their fiscal surroundings.

Now, their goal must be to get more accomplished if they have any hope of retaining control of both the House and the Senate with the 2018 election. Now’s not a popular time to sound skeptical. Most Republicans have high spirits, but this tax bill will not suddenly convert voters to support them come election day. It can, however, be used to drag some of them down. That’s the curse of a majority.

For full disclosure, my skepticism is rooted in a year-long detachment from the GOP. I stopped being an apologist and started trying to build an alternative in the Federalist Party. I do everything I can to be fair, highlighting when Republicans do well and denouncing when they do things that continue to expand the government, increase spending, or build more reliance on DC in areas they don’t belong.

I’m an American before a Federalist which is why I can, in good conscience, give the GOP advice. If they play it safe in 2018 and let tax cuts do all the talking for them come election time, they’ll lose big time. They definitely won’t plan on doing that, but if they can’t come together in the Senate, tax cuts may be all they really have. They need much more.

Here’s a short list of accomplishments they need to add to their resume for 2018. Keep in mind that there are plenty of other things they need to do, but some of it will need to wait until after 2018. They need to get certain things accomplished before the election knowing they may not have the same opportunity after it. They also will have to save certain issues until after the election. As badly as we need entitlement reform, I can’t see that being on the table until after the 2020 election no matter how hard Speaker of the House Paul Ryan pushes for it.

Their 2018 to-do list:

  • Repeal Obamacare: This is non-negotiable. It’s the reason they have a majority in the first place. They missed their opportunity to do it early in the summer when public sentiment supported repealing it. Now that sentiment has shifted under them, they may be tempted to table it. This would be a catastrophic mistake. The Republican base that gave them their Capitol Hill majorities will not be energized by a request for two more years after being given everything they need to repeal it already. This has to happen early. It cannot wait until around election time. They need to repeal Obamacare before the summer and then hit the road selling whatever plan replaces it.
  • Fund the Wall: Some would argue they should wait until 2019 so they can ride it to another term for President Trump. There’s some validity to this argument, but what’s more valid is the questioning they’ll get if they can’t deliver before the election. Who will be asking those questions? President Trump. They can’t prompt him to turn on them.
  • Pass a Weak DACA Fix: I wish I could say they’ll let DACA die, but that’s not going to happen. Even a good chunk of their base has followed the President’s lead in softening on Dreamers, so Republicans in Congress have a problem. If they pass a strong DACA fix, the Democrats will make it their victory. The only way Republicans can keep their own base energized is to pass something weak under Democratic protest that still “fixes” DACA.
  • Defund Planned Parenthood: If taxpayers are still paying for abortion come election time, the GOP will be officially worthless to social conservatives. This isn’t an issue where the sentiment can be shifted. The lines are drawn. They must defund it and let them raise their own money. They’ll be fine on their own, and those who have lukewarm support for Planned Parenthood need to see they’ll be fine so it doesn’t become an issue during the election.
  • Tackle Cyberterrorism: George W. Bush won his second term because he had the war and a terrorist boogeyman keeping Americans concerned. We simply didn’t trust John Kerry to protect us. Now that the threats against us have shifted, the GOP needs to build themselves up as the party capable of protecting us from North Korea, Islamic terrorism, and cyberterrorism. The President will help with the first two,  so all Congress needs to do is make be proactive against the third.

There are plenty of other things that need to happen, but this is strictly for the election itself.

It makes me cringe knowing how many decisions are made in Washington DC based upon election campaigns rather than the well-being of the nation. That’s the biggest problem with a two-party system. The ruling party’s agenda is driven by party first, America second. Sometimes these goals are aligned. Other times, they’re in direct opposition. We need to end the duopoly. Otherwise, we’ll continue to be stuck with representatives who think no more than two years ahead with all of their decisions.

There was such high hopes for Republicans going into 2017. A GOP-controlled House and Senate putting legislation on a Republican President’s desk is exactly what they’ve been asking for since Barack Obama first took office. Voters delivered. All was well in the world. 2017 was going to be the year the GOP finally got stuff done.

I don’t have to tell you the punchline. It’s more like a punch in the gut. I know there are readers who will have valid excuses why Obamacare wasn’t repealed, Planned Parenthood wasn’t defunded, the wall wasn’t funded, and DACA is on its way to becoming law. I also know there are plenty of readers who will point fingers at this faction, that branch, or this person about why we don’t have anything of substance after nearly a year of trying. I’ll nod in agreement with pretty much all of the excuses and finger-pointing because all will likely be valid to some extent. The only one I won’t accept is that the Democrats obstructed. That would be false. They didn’t have to. The GOP obstructed itself just fine.

All of this leads me to the current dilemma. The GOP must pass tax cuts before the end of year. Why? Because the aforementioned utter failures at everything else they’ve attempted have forced them into a position where they might get literally nothing big accomplished in their entire first year with full control. That label is too much for them to want to carry, so they’re doing everything they can to get something they can call tax “reform” on the books. This should terrify us all.

Not only is the plan not what most Republicans would have wanted, it actually does worse by some of the people who wanted it. The effects on the middle class are debatable, but one thing that’s very clear is a huge mistake they have to get fixed before they can pass it. As reported by the Wall Street Journal:

That means a business owner’s next $100 in earnings, under certain circumstances, would require paying more than $100 in additional federal and state taxes.

As lawmakers rush to write the final tax bill over the next week, they already are looking at changes to prevent this from happening. Broadly, House and Senate Republicans are trying to reconcile the bills they passed, looking for ways to pay for eliminating the most contentious proposals. The formal House-Senate conference committee will meet Wednesday, and GOP lawmakers may unveil an agreement by the end of the week.

The possible marginal tax rate of more than 100% results from the combination of tax policies designed to provide benefits to businesses and families but then deny them to the richest people. As income climbs and those breaks phase out, each dollar of income faces regular tax rates and a hidden marginal rate on top of that, in the form of vanishing tax breaks. That structure, if maintained in a final law, would create some of the disincentives to working and to earning business profits that Republicans have long complained about, while opening lucrative avenues for tax avoidance.

In reality, this is should be pretty easy to fix. I’m not going to blow this out of proportion like so many in the media will, but it demonstrates a reality: these tax bills were rushed with the sole purpose of getting something passed in 2017. Had they repealed Obamacare, they would have been much more careful and methodical about putting out a tax cut package that wasn’t loaded with glaring holes and fiscal irresponsibility. Had they gotten the wall funded and started building it in full force, they might have held the tax bill a little longer to make sure they weren’t making huge mistakes with the nation’s economy.

We are riding a wave when the economy is in great shape. By rushing a mistake-ridden tax plan through to the President’s desk, they’re putting all of that at risk. This economy would be strong with very few risks of backsliding if it weren’t for Capitol Hill’s arbitrary deadline prompted by their failure to accomplish anything in 2017. For the sake of their majority, the GOP is willing to put the economy at risk with a sloppy tax plan.

We need tax cuts badly, but I’d rather wait a little longer and get the right tax plan in place instead of rushing it to protect a few politicians fighting for their careers.

Let’s set aside, for a moment, whether or not you (or I) support the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare replacement bill. That’s been debated publicly and privately more tenaciously than any bill since Obamacare and in a much smaller time frame. Instead, let’s look at one argument: future elections.

There have been a lot of fallback arguments made. These are the indirect arguments not associated with the substance of the bill that people will make in an attempt to paint passage as a proper strategic move. The most common one is that the GOP needs to pass SOMETHING in order to go into the midterm elections from a position of strength with the claim that they kept their promise.

In one sense, this is true. As a whole, if the GOP cannot pass some form of Obamacare repeal, they’ll lose face… as a party. It will reflect poorly on the party in a way that sparks national discussions. RNC representatives will have to spin feverishly. Fundraising, their strong point for a long time, will be hampered.

In every other sense, it’s false to believe they’ll lose the midterm elections by not passing Graham-Cassidy. First, let’s look at the obvious example: Obamacare. When it passed in 2010, every leftwing media outlet heralded it as a show of strength for the Democratic Party and President Obama. It was. However, that show of strength did not translate into electoral wins. Later that year, the Democrats lost the House. Four years later, they lost the Senate. Two years later, they lost the White House. They were defeated by GOP candidates who incessantly hammered on the need to repeal Obamacare.

The same scenario looms for the GOP. Will the party be strengthened? Yes. Will the President? Yes. Will individual candidates in the House and Senate be strengthened? No. By passing Graham-Cassidy, the GOP will be taking the same red meat they’ve been using for seven years and handing it to their Democratic competitors. Every Democrat running for seats on Capitol Hill will use Graham-Cassidy and any shortcomings that come to light before election day as all the ammunition they need to win.

On a national stage, it would be hard for the GOP to argue their failure to repeal Obamacare. In individual elections for the House and Senate, a good GOP candidate can easily remove that albatross from their neck based upon their personal voting record. If they voted for repeal, the issue is no longer a valid attack point. In fact, PASSING Graham-Cassidy will force them to answer more questions on the defensive… just as Democrats had to do in 2010 after Obamacare passed. That didn’t work out well for them and it won’t work out for many vulnerable GOP candidates.

Passing Graham-Cassidy will help the President win reelection in 2020 and will make the GOP look good. It will harm midterm GOP candidates in 2018 just as Obamacare harmed midterm Democrats in 2010.

Who here trusts the GOP?” Not a single hand went up, but people over and over promised me that if the GOP spent like the democrats they would be back to throw them out too. No wonder the GOP is scared of the tea party.

What I asked at the Tea Party Sept 25th 2010

At CPAC 2017 I interviewed a lot of people about what they wanted to see and there were two things that were desired overall that I highlighted in my final post

The only thing that matters in the long run is this: Is Donald Trump going to deliver on these big issues (Obamacare and the Wall) that he highlighted during the campaign?

If this administration can’t answer yes, he is in danger of losing these folks and risks a primary, but if Donald Trump, in the end keeps his eyes on this prize, then these grass room activists are going to be with him when he needs them no matter what anyone in the media says.

As long as President Trump understand this fact, he’s going to do fine, and I have the distinct feeling that he does.

And so what did the GOP senate with a chance to pass the repeal of Obamacare do?

Broken Promise: GOP-Run Senate Votes Down Clean Repeal Of ObamaCare, 45/54

Allahpundit has it pegged:

The demise of the 7-year promise to repeal Obamacare is just the latest twist of the knife that Republicans have delivered to advocates of limited government. It’s a reminder that for all the shouting, the United States only really has one party: the party of big government. Democrats expand government when they’re in power, and Republicans cry foul when they’re in the opposition. But when Republicans gain power, they either expand government in their own way (as President Bush did with the Medicare prescription drug bill and No Child Left Behind federal education power grab) or merely preserve Democrats’ gains until Democrats can regain enough power to expand government some more.

It looks very much like the Tea Party was quite correct to distrust these dishonest and dishonorable leeches.

I think the time has come to start to start putting Mike Rogers’ of Granite Grok plan into effect:

The time to take over the GOP (state by state) or set up a real third party (let’s call it the conservative party, like NY state), is NOW, after a historic election that demonstrated the ineptness of the “Wizards of Smart”.

The time NOT to talk about and vote for a third part candidate, or stay home and pout about rules that work against you is DURING an historic election, when one of the evils is immeasurably worse than the guy you can’t quite warm to.

If we successfully set up a conservative party, and win some seats, we can choose to align with Republicans or even endorse their candidate as a tactical matter on a vote by vote basis.

I think the first step is to run pro-repeal candidates as primary opponents to sitting GOP senators and congressmen and if they are defeated or rejected by the GOP then the very moment that the 2018 midterms are done to start setting up those conservative parties.

Until the GOP sees consequences for this betrayal it will not change.

One irony, it will be the GOP party but not Donald Trump who will suffer for this betrayal, and deservedly so.


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Last year, I was very encouraged by much of what the GOP platform stated. Yes, I’m one of those weird people who actually read it. Apparently, most of our elected Republican officials in DC either didn’t read it or dismissed it after they won. There are key elements that are getting missed.

Before anyone says “it’s too early to judge,” let’s take a few things into consideration. “Reducing the Federal Debt” is a big one that’s highlighted on page 8 of the platform. It discusses spending restraints as “a necessary component that must be vigorously pursued.” Thus far, the only proposals coming out of Congress have been to increase the debt. They promised to reduce it and I’d even accept it if they just kept it in check but with budget talks reaching a head at the end of the month, it’s almost certain that they’re going to raise it. Why put that in the platform if you’re just going to do the opposite?

“Defending Marriage Against an Activist Judiciary” is a big part of the platform, as is defending religious liberties. So far, nothing positive in this regard has even sniffed the President’s desk and actions from the administration seem bent on keeping the new status quo in regards to both marriage and religious freedoms. Judge Gorsuch was a nice addition, but his presence on the bench will not be able to defend marriage if Congress doesn’t give him something to defend.

Then, we get to the least discussed promise in the platform. “Federalism as the Foundation of Personal Liberty” outlines states’ rights and how the 10th Amendment must be brought to prominence once again. Other than Scott Pruitt at the EPA, no other efforts have been hinted at by any Republicans in DC from Congress to the White House. In fact, there have been direct attacks on the concepts of Federalism within the administration as they discuss imposing Washington’s will on the states when it comes to crime, immigration, and trade.

One of the most popular Republican issues of the day is how to handle sanctuary cities. I’m not a supporter of these havens of illegal immigration, but there’s a proper way for the government to reward states who crack down on sanctuary cities rather than harm those who do not. Mandates from DC that do not include sufficient compensation are tyrannical and force states to comply or feel the wrath of the fed. That’s not how the founders intended it, nor is it necessary to achieve the end results. We can rid our nation of sanctuary cities through federal assistance. When DC uses mandates and punishments to push their agenda, the end result is never good even if the intentions are righteous.

Don’t get me started on their stated platform promise to balance the budget when we have a trillion dollar infrastructure project to pay for on top of everything else that’s been flying around DC for the past three months. At what point to do we stop accepting that the Republicans are slightly less liberal than the Democrats? When are we going to tell them that being better isn’t good enough?

The GOP platform is nothing more than a piece of digital paper. The Democrats are even worse. It’s no coincidence that the Federalist Party’s idea for holding politicians accountable to the platform is getting attention from both major parties. If our elected officials are unwilling to fulfill the promises they sign, why should we believe they’ll do anything they say?

There are many ways that you can make a suggestion in a story and create the meme you want to make in a persons mind.

A great little example of this took place in the coverage of the pro-forma vote for speaker in the new congress.

First lets look at the coverage via The Hill

Ryan reelected Speaker in near-unanimous GOP vote

Updated 1:50 p.m.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday won reelection as Speaker of the House in a near-unanimous GOP vote that reflected a unified Republican party dead set on dismantling the past eight years of the Obama administration.

Conservative Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a frequent thorn in leadership’s side, was the sole Republican to defect from Ryan. Massie cast his vote for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), who challenged Ryan for the Speaker’s gavel in 2015 but not this year.

The final vote totals were 239 votes for Paul Ryan, 189 votes for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), two votes for Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) and one vote each for Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Daniel Webster (R-Fla.).

Pelosi loses four, Ryan one

Updated 1:44

Paul Ryan and Nancy Pelosi are both basically winners today.

Ryan is the bigger winner. While the Speaker certainly would prefer to have not had a single defection, losing just one vote is a huge victory since just last year he lost nine votes in the House Speaker election from his own party.

Before Donald Trump‘s win in the presidential election, members of Ryan’s own conference were at least talking about voting against him. That talk completely died down after the election, and only Rep. Thomas Massie cast a GOP ballot against Ryan on Tuesday.

Pelosi lost only four votes, which suggests that she retains an iron grip on her caucus — despite terrible results in last year’s election for Democrats up and down the ballot. 

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) ran a relatively strong challenge against Pelosi in the internal Democratic caucus vote last year, but it appeared most Democrats wanted to rally around their longtime leader in Tuesday’s vote. 

Who what when where how.  Basic strait forward facts. Reporting as it should be.

Now let’s contrast that with how the Washington Post tells the same story.

Lawmakers reelected Paul D. Ryan as House speaker Tuesday, choosing the Wisconsin Republican with a fraught history with President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Trump’s chief legislative partner.

Ryan won the support of all but one Republican, winning with many fewer GOP defectors than when he first won the speakership in 2015. The vast majority of Democrats voted for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was reelected as party leader last year despite an abortive effort among some colleagues to oust her after November’s disappointing election results.

But the 24 hours preceding the vote showed that unity can be fleeting: His reelection came less than two hours after Republicans held an emergency meeting to reverse proposed changes that would roll back the authority of the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. Ryan opposed those changes ahead of a Monday night conference meeting, but lawmakers voted for them anyway — then agreed to reverse course Tuesday after a public firestorm.

Notice the wording. Negative. Ryan has a “fraught history” the “unity can be fleeting”, lawmakers despite Ryan’s opposition “voted for them anyway.” Those who had opposed him were “defectors”

The take away? Paul Ryan may have won but he’s not sitting well with either his members or his president, he’s weak!

Now notice how the contrast with Pelosi. the “Vast Majority” of Democrats voted for Pelosi. A positive adjective not noting that with a caucus with 47 less members she lost four times as many votes. (4-1 by vote for 2.1% defections for her vs 0.5% for Ryan) The effort to oust her were “abortive”, The problem “disappointing election results” not anything to do with her leadership.

Now if it’s in one story it’s not a big deal, but if you use this subtle wording in say 10 stories a day, (the same wording is repeated in a later story at the post) every day then you plant the idea in the mind of the reader. Ryan weak, Pelosi strong, GOP divided, Dems united.

It’s all rather subtle but that’s what selling a meme is all about.

And that’s how the MSM continues to try to play you day after day, year after year, decade after decade, which is likely why you’re here.


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While I was volunteering for WQPH at the Johnny Appleseed Festival in Leominster MA I did several interviews for the station but there were also some political people worth getting on camera which of course could not be associated with the station.

So I left the WQPH booth and went out into the festival where I saw a tea party friend working a pair of booths, one for national GOP candidate Donald Trump and one for Frank Ardinger running for state rep in the 4th Worcester District His web site is here.(Leominster) who I interviewed here. (Full disclosure he is a subscriber to the website and has been for years.)

It turns out Gwen is now the chair of the Leominster GOP committee.

Three things really jumped out at me, the first was the giant Lost in Space Robot which really got some attention, The second was the list of events which indicate quite an outreach for the GOP, but the big thing that jumped out was the fact that in the blue state of Massachusetts the Ardinger booth was right next the Donald Trump one & sharing some staff while there was no booth for Hillary Clinton that I saw and if there was one I missed it certainly wasn’t near the booth for Frank’s opponent Natalie Higgins. That it had no Hillary signs anywhere near it speaks volumes and all of it in Trump’s favor.

One more thing

You might wonder why I didn’t interview Natalie Higgins the upset winner of the Democrat primary in the 4th Worcester district particularly as her booth was right across of the WQPH booth.

Normally I would not have hesitated to do so, but as Tom is both a friend and a longtime subscriber to the blog I didn’t want to put myself in a spot where I might find myself doing an unfair interview. That wouldn’t be fair to the readers nor to candidate Higgins, although I would have really liked to ask her why I didn’t see any Hillary buttons in her group.


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