Whenever John McCain drives me crazy with his actions in the US Senate I try to remember the two bright sides of his tenure. As a conservative Hawk the first is his unwavering defense of the American soldier but as a conservative the second and biggest was his catapulting of Sarah Palin into the national scene. As I’ve written many times she is not only responsible for many of the actual tea party victories that ironically have given folks like John McCain chairmanships. McCain might be embarrassed by her and the establishment might hate her but in the House and Senate they love the positions of power she made possible

In the same way I have a soft spot for Mitch McConnell. While he is a poor leader of senators (Harry Reid was able to do much more with much less) his willingness to stand and fight on the Supreme Court in defiance of a media onslaught not only prevented a liberal majority but has made possible the cementing of a conservative majority if another opening comes during the Trump years.

But even more importantly while he has not been able to get his members to vote to repeal Obamacare and has yet to deliver the votes for the GOP tax plan he has kept them in lockstep when it comes to the courts as CNBC notes:

But this isn’t just about sheer numbers, it’s about ideology too. While President Trump and conservatives have diverged in matters of policy several times over the past year, the judicial nomination process is decidedly not one of them. The nominees sent to the Senate from the White House are more conservative and even younger than what we saw during President George W. Bush’s two terms in office.

Moreover this is happening at a time when the importance of the courts are (unfortunately)

In case the importance of making an impact on the courts is lost on anyone, just note the many setbacks the Trump administration has suffered this year alone thanks to the courts. Delays and changes to the White House-imposed travel and immigration bans have grabbed the most attention. But the administration is also dealing with judicial push back and other potential hurdles on everything from its opposition to the AT&T-Time Warner merger to its transgender military ban.

Now fast forward a couple of years where the Trump judicial appointment surge will have set in across the federal system. Just for this administration alone, that could make a huge difference. And for conservative causes and cases over time, it will be even more significant.

And if the GOP wants to convince conservative voters thinking of staying home in 2018 to turn out these last two paragraphs should be used as their rallying cry.

Sure, the tax reform and Obamacare repeal bills may be jeopardized by internal spats between the GOP and the White House. But real history is being made in the courts all thanks to a bad bet made by Senator Reid and remarkable cooperation between the Trump team, Senator Grassley, and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. While the fights with other senators like Flake et al may grab headlines, these judicial confirmations will have a much bigger impact.

And unless the Democrats win control of the Senate in 2018, there’s nothing they can do about it.

So as much as Mitch & company drive me mad I’m going to urge folk to turn out and keep them in power because of one simple fact.

Lose the senate, lose the courts.

Update: I decided to change my initial link to my original piece 4 Americans Two Campaigns Bainbridge Stewart Limbaugh Palin, it’s one of my favorite pieces on two subjects I enjoy.

Scrooge:Speak comfort to me , Jacob
Marley’s Ghost:I have none to give

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

With all that is going on in the race for the GOP nomination conservatives need something to reassure them that things will be ok.

“REPORT: Obama to announce Supreme Court nominee at 11 a.m. If Mitch McConnell keeps his promise, it won’t matter.”

Well that’s certainly a load off of my mind.

 

 

As everyone knows I’ve not been very shy about calling out the Establishment GOP, John Boehner or Mitch McConnell over their actions to confound conservatives.

So when they do something right it’s only fair that I give them kudos:

The Senate passed a Republican-authored budget plan early on Friday that seeks $5.1 trillion in domestic spending cuts over 10 years while boosting military funding.

This is a double whammy not only do we get cuts rather than an increase but we get a huge contrast with the Harry Reid Era:

The House passed its budget resolution on Wednesday after a similar process of debate and amendment. Some journalists might be unfamiliar with this process after six years of Democratic Party grandstanding under the cataclysmic leadership of Harry Reid, but this is called “regular order” budgeting. Reid’s decision to abandon that process was what led to several years of budgeting by brinksmanship, “fiscal cliffs,” debt-ceiling standoffs, and the like.

Reid just announced his retirement, I wonder if he didn’t want to deal with the ads that would practically write themselves?

To be sure we likely need a lot more budget responsibility that this package produced and that’s why some people like Rand Paul voted “No” but if you are my age and lived through decades of unfettered Democrat power in congress that people under 40 might not remember the concept congress of cutting the budget,  even slightly is a huge deal.

Now granted we need a lot more cuts and we will need strong conservative to keep them honest but in the end this budget resolution means the GOP is capable of , at least slowly moving our financial house in the direction it should be in.

That’s a good sign and the leadership deserves credit for getting it done.

You remember how the National Republican Party told you that they would stand up to the Democrats & Barack Obama?

The House voted Tuesday to fund the Department of Homeland Security, ending a months long impasse over President Obama’s immigration policies and averting a weekend shutdown at the agency.

Good thing we got that majority eh?

It cleared the House on a 257-167 vote only because of the unanimous support of the House’s Democrats.

This wasn’t standing up to the Democrats, it’s standing with them.

The GOP reminds me  of an abusive husband, actually that’s unfair to abusive husbands.  While both beg you to take them back at least an abusive husband doesn’t beg you for money as well.

Any conservative who gives the national GOP money is a sucker.

Update:  the words you’re looking for are “Lying Bastards”

Because we’d rather not take someone else’s word for it, we inquired independently. This weekend, Speaker Boehner’s office assured us House Republicans had no plans to capitulate to the demands of Senate Democrats. As to the speculation that there was some kind of a deal with Pelosi? “There is no such ‘deal’ or promise,” says Boehner Spokesman Michael Steel.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise echoed the sentiments saying, “There is no such deal and there’s no such bill,” Scalise said on “Fox News Sunday.” “On Friday, there was a bill on the House floor to pass a clean funding bill. We rejected that because we said we’re fighting the president on what he’s doing illegally on immigration,” according to The Hill.

“We are not giving in to Senate Democrats’ blackmail,” Boehner said, “Will keep fighting Obama’s unilateral action on immigration to protect Constitution.”

I’m done with these people.

Update 2:  Allahpundit:

John Boehner, Democratic Speaker of the House.

From the comments

I am becoming more and more convinced it is June 6th, 1854. It may be time to travel to Jackson

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Chinese Waiter: Where’s your annoying little friend who thinks he speaks Mandarin?

Sheldon Cooper: He’s put his needs in front of the collective good. Where he comes from that’s punishable by death.

Chinese Waiter: I come from Sacramento

The Big Bang Theory, The Dumpling Paradox 2007

 

You know the GOP has done all it can to upset the base in this upcoming election to the point where a big red wave is looking more like simply a good year for the GOP.

The lamentable part of this situation, from the GOP perspective, is that McConnell and the National Republican Senatorial Committee have spent the past 18 months crushing the enthusiasm of grassroots conservatives, waging a campaign to exterminate the Tea Party. The arguably criminal — certainly dishonest and unethical — conduct of the Mississippi primary campaign to re-elect Thad Cochran was witnessed by every Tea Party activist in the country, Kentucky included. Every deceitful smear against Chris McDaniel in Mississippi was a deliberate “f–k you” to grassroots conservatives, courtesy of the D.C.-based Republican political establishment of which Mitch McConnell is the official leader. If it weren’t for this factor — the transparent selfishness and corruption of McConnell and his GOP Senate cronies — the Senate race in Kentucky would not even be close. The major obstacle to McConnell’s re-election is not the usual problem of wooing undecided “swing” voters; his problem is that many thousands of Kentucky conservatives have little motive to vote for him in November.

Luckily for Mitch the other side keep doing their best to remind GOP votes why we dislike them so:

with the Big Bang Theory’s Cast holding out perhaps Ms. Groob is looking to try out for the role of Sheldon.

But alas now that her account when from open, to protected to deleted I guess the producers won’t be able to see if she can manage any other Asian humor.

BTW it’s not as if Mitch’s wife is unknown either Elaine Cho was labor secretary during the Bush years and has a great back story too.

The daughter of Taiwanese parents who arrived in the country at 8 years old speaking no English and has since served as Cabinet secretary, director of the Peace Corps, president and CEO of United Way and numerous other posts in finance and the federal government. In short, she’s exactly the kind of woman Dems despise: accomplished, successful and conservative.

A Democrat activist and “progressive” like Groob boils all that down into one word — Asian — she hopes will appeal to the basest instincts in American politics.

But what is that next to a senate seat and remember midterms are base elections so she figured this would turn out the Democrat base that Grimes needs?

Mitch McConnell and the GOP are very lucky that the Democrats have become what they are.

El Cid: Sire, all those you see here, though none dare say so, harbor the suspicion that you may have counseled your own brother’s death. Unless you can prove your innocence you will have no loyal subjects. Your kingdom will be torn by doubt. Thus I can not give you fidelity nor own you as my liege

King Alphonso: What will satisfy you of my innocence?

El Cid: Your oath upon the holy book.

King Alphonso:  You would ask a me to swear?

El Cid:  Sire I DO ask it!

El Cid 1961

On day one of CPAC I declared that the most important Day one speech of CPAC was going to be the speech by Mitch McConnell saying:

the divisions between the Tea Party and the Establishment GOP is the one thing that can turn what should be the 2nd Red wave into the biggest upset since the Yankees took the field in the bottom of the ninth in game 4 of the 2004 ACLS.

I don’t know if Mitch and company have figured out how critical this speech is, nobody is talking about it but watch that speech and reaction. It will be the most important clue concerning election 2014.

Mitch’s speech had been scheduled earlier than it took place which is how I ended up covering the George Will / Sen Tom Coburn event.  So I was ready when Senator McConnell came on stage…holding a rifle.

Stills thursday 010

It was almost a Dukakis moment but quickly presented it to Senator Coburn generating some applause.  He instantly when to his speech spending first few minutes talking about Senator Coburn’s virtues.

)

Judged solely on content it was a pretty good. He pointed out the weaknesses of the administrations policies, their attacks on the Constitution, what the GOP senate would do as opposed to Harry Reid and had an excellent line to answer the administration’s “income inequality” attacks

Never before has it been so hard, so hard for the rich to become poorer or the poor to become rich that’s what is un-american

Stills thursday 017
In any other year that would have generated huge applause and been the headline. It perfectly summarizes both the lie of the administration and the reality that their policies have created, but it like most of the applause lines from this speech was greeted with at best polite applause and at worst silence and indifference from the crowd

Stills thursday 018

If Mike Lee gave that speech the crowd would have been on its feet but because Senator McConnell no longer has the trust of the crowd it didn’t matter. They liked the words but didn’t trust the messenger. This shook and depressed me as I recorded my commentary on the subject shortly afterwards

)

McConnell needed to address the elephant/Rino in the room, he did not.

Looking it a week later it hit me what he really needed was his version of the big scene from El Cid where Charlton Heston extracts the public promise of the king.

What he should have done and still needs to do is, in front of that Tea Party Conservative vow that he would fight for conservative principles. Ann Coulter not withstanding he needs to answer these points by Erick Erickson:

I’m talking about the candidates McConnell has supported instead of the conservatives.

Would Ann have preferred Trey Grayson over Rand Paul? Grayson is now working with an anti-gun Democratic super PAC to elect Democrats. Mitch McConnell supported Trey Grayson.

Would Ann have preferred Charlie Crist over Rubio? She and I certainly did not like Rubio’s immigration plan — the one McConnell voted to get out of committee to the floor of the Senate. But would she have preferred Charlie Crist, who was and remains to the left of Rubio on the issue? Mitch McConnell supported Charlie Crist.

Would Ann have preferred Arlen Specter to Pat Toomey like Mitch McConnell did?

What about David Dewhurst over Ted Cruz?

What about Bob Bennett? Does Ann think conservatives, led by the Senate Conservatives Fund, should have left in the Senate the Republican who helped author the federal individual mandate that went into Obamacare? His replacement was Mike Lee. Would Ann really join Mitch McConnell wanting to keep Bob Bennett in the Senate over Mike Lee.

If I was Mitch McConnell I’d arrange a meeting the Erickson, or Matt Kibbe or even myself and on video make a public promise that he will support strong conservatives and if returned to the Senate as Majority Leader fight for conservative values and principles.  It’s not a question of pride, it needs to be done for the sake of the party.

Until he does he what should be the 2nd coming of the big red wave will be an election will remain in doubt.

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There is a lot of excitement around here as CPAC 2014 day one begins.

It’s a veritable 2014 candidate-a-palloza

Ted Crus starts things off and the room will be mobbed with peopl4 dying to see him.  Paul Ryan follows him.  Later in the Day Chris Christie and Bobby Jindel and Marco Rubio will be on stage and at the end of the Day Donald Trump and his impressive hair will finish off the day.

The electricity to power the pixels these speeches will generate would be enough to power a small village for a month but for my money the speech that is not to be missed today is Senator Mitch McConnell.

By every normal measurement this should be a watershed year for conservatives.  Obamacare is crashing and burning requiring delay after delay to prevent mass defections, Assad has won in Syria, the economy is still in a rut, even with the fillibuster removed the president can’t advance radical nominees,  and this Administration’s diplomacy is making Vladimir Putin look like Peter the Great.

However the divisions between the Tea Party and the Establishment GOP is the one thing that can turn what should be the 2nd Red wave into the biggest upset since the Yankees took the field in the bottom of the ninth in game 4 of the 2004 ACLS.

I don’t know if Mitch and company have figured out how critical this speech is, nobody is talking about it but watch that speech and reaction. It will be the most important clue concerning election 2014.

For the sake of the country I hope he nails it.

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One of my most memorable moments at CPAC over the last 4 years was when Andrew Breitbart jumped onto a table and laid down on it to be interviewed.

it was quite a spectacle but Andrew understood that when the media doesn’t want to notice you, it’s necessary to act in a way to be noticed

Andrew Breitbart "sits" for an interview at CPAC 2011
Andrew Breitbart “sits” for an interview at CPAC 2011

That dynamic has just been played in the Texas GOP primary yesterday.

One of the problems when you are a candidate with a lot of passion, a message that grass roots seems to like but not a lot of money is to get noticed.

Dwayne Stovall has been campaigning for the Senate seat held by John Cornyn in Texas for a while and that has been a problem.

You can get Tea Party Endorsements:

Tea Party-endorsed candidate in Texas for U. S. Senate, Dwayne Stovall, just received a notification from JoAnn Fleming, executive director of Grassroots America – We the People – one of the largest constitutional conservative grassroots groups in Texas, that Dwayne Stovall has earned the enthusiastic and unanimous support from its board of directors. The organization will release a full statement of support later today.

Stovall also wins the support and endorsement of Southern Conservative, a group that formerly supported Rep. Steve Stockman. Southern Conservative uses all means necessary to promote conservatism and remind the country of our roots.

So far he has 23 such endorsements…and you can win straw poll…:

the Houston Young Republicans, announced the results of their straw poll, and they overwhelmingly chose Dwayne Stovall as the winner. Stovall won with three-quarters of the votes cast, and Stockman and Cornyn split most of the small remainder. This is the seventh straw poll win, and that out of seven straw polls. Stovall has won every straw poll to date across a variety of conservative groups.

…after strawpoll

Stovall won the straw poll of the Republican Liberty Caucus in Congressional District 36, which is Rep. Steve Stockman’s district. Stockman placed 4th after Stovall, Cornyn, and Undecided, and has yet to win any straw polls.

and the media won’t care.

You can even produce a pretty good ad on your opponent’s record

and not much will happen if the MSM doesn’t want to notice you.

But, if 24 hours after being mentioned by a national blogger who has had you on his radio with a big Texas readership…

If I was Dwayne Stovall with little money but lots of Tea Party support I’d be comparing Cornyn flip to Wendy Davis’ flops every time I opened my mouth from now till election day

Update: That didn’t take long

“Cornyn’s vote with the Democrats to end debate on the bill helped to clear the way for its passage. That required 60 votes, and John Cornyn joined with Mitch McConnell to hand that liberal victory to Harry Reid. Once cleared, the simple majority of Democrats in the Senate was all that was needed to pass it. This allowed Cornyn to vote No on the final bill so that he could say he voted against it. That’s a half-truth and it’s misleading. The bill would never have passed if it were not for Sen. Cornyn’s bait and switch tactics.”

…you release an ad not only highlighting Cornyn flip on the debt ceiling for the sake of McConnell but comparing the minority whip to a cartoon turtle.

Suddenly people like Dave Weigel:

In the primary for Texas’ U.S. Senate seat, Dwayne Stovall hasn’t gotten as much coverage as Rep. Steve Stockman. The reason, mostly, is that missing “Rep.” Stockman, for all his issues, has been elected to Congress. Stovall is a more typical Tea Party challenger, the kind who runs and wins a small share of the vote on the way to an incumbent’s re-election.

But he does have this ad.

and The Washington Post:

But, just when you thought you had seen it all comes this ad via Dwayne Stovall, who is also challenging Cornyn in the Texas primary.

notice you.

And then defenders of the establishment like Greta Van Susteran attack you

Fox News host Greta Van Susteren on Friday blasted a bizarre television spot by longshot Texas Senate candidate Dwayne Stovall that likens Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to a Looney Tunes turtle.

“This ad is lousy,” Van Susteren said on her Fox website. “It is gratuitously insulting.

“I have no idea whether Stovall is a great candidate or not — but his ad makes me think he is a jerk,” she added. “You can be clever and funny in ads … or you can be gratuitously insulting.”

giving you the chance to replay thus on twitter:

I’m sure Dwayne loves the attention but there is a point to be made here, consider the comments of The Huffington Post concerning the ad:

U.S. Senate candidate Dwayne Stovall stole some attention Thursday from Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) in the Republican primary against Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas).

Now maybe it’s just me but I’d say beating Rep Steve Stockman and winning a straw poll in his own district (not to mention beating him & Cornyn in 7 others) constitutes stealing a man’s thunder considerablly more than an ad with a picture of a turtle & a talking dog.

However Weigel, the Washington Post, Newsmax, Huffington Post and Greta didn’t think he was newsworthy when he was winning straw polls, nor did they notice the highly substantive ad concerning Cornyn’s voting record.

He only became worthy of note when he compared the appearance of a GOP senator the MSM wants to defeat badly, Mitch McConnell, to a cartoon turtle and he only became worthy of Greta’s attack when the comparison might stick.

It does say something unflattering but not about Dwayne Stovall & his run for Senate but about the MSM who care more about cartoons than substance.

To Dave Weigel’s credit he is heading to Texas and will be doing some ground level reporting, but my advice to Greta & the rest of the media making fun of the ad or hitting Stovall is this:

If you’re going to play gatekeeper on what news is noticed and what isn’t don’t critique a person for using your own biases against you to crash that gate…

…just like Andrew Breitbart did.

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More news keeps coming out concerning the GOP vote on the debt ceiling in the senate and none of it is good:

Roll Call reports

In a major departure from procedure during Wednesday’s climactic vote on suspending the federal debt limit, the Senate kept some senators’ votes secret while the nearly hourlong tally was under way — a move that has drawn sharp criticism from Capitol Hill reporters.

Apparently it’s never really been any of our business:

Martin Paone, who spent more than a decade overseeing Senate floor operations for the Democrats, told CQ Roll Call in an email that the vote announcement practice known as the recap was designed to help senators, not the general public.

“I see the recap … as something that evolved over time for the members convenience so they’d know how their colleagues voted and not for the press though I can see where it can be a useful tool,” said Paone, who is now executive vice president of Prime Policy Group.

Camp of the Saints is going all Roman on them but what I find most annoying is are the assumptions these guys are making.

Consider this from Byron York’s OP Ed today McConnell saw this vote as a Tactical move:

Senate Republicans met in their weekly lunch a few hours after Boehner’s announcement. The short version of events is that McConnell urged colleagues to allow a vote on the House debt limit bill. If the GOP did not object, it could be passed with a simple 51-vote majority, and since there are 55 Democrats in the Senate who would vote for it, every Republican could vote against it and it would still pass.

Of course the flip side is that vulnerable dems in Red states could vote AGAINST it and parade that vote come November but that doesn’t seem to have occurred to anyone

Then Cruz stood up and said there was no way in the world he would stand by and allow a debt ceiling increase to be passed with just 51 votes. Cruz insisted on a 60-vote threshold, which the rules allowed him to do. That meant at least five Republicans would have to join Democrats for the debt limit to be raised.

It would be an understatement to say that many of Cruz’s GOP colleagues were righteously ticked off at him. Nobody wanted to vote to raise the debt limit, but many believed strongly that a losing fight over spending would damage the party. Besides, Cruz didn’t even have a plan for what to do had his Republican colleagues improbably decided to go along with him.

That being the case there is no reason why they could have not gotten up on the Senate Floor and say: “I hate this bill, I think it’s the wrong move, but I also think this is not the hill for us to fight on.”

So after some testy exchanges at the lunch, and a lot of negotiating in the afternoon, McConnell and other leaders decided to vote for the debt limit increase. Then several other Republicans, mostly those in unthreatened seats, agreed to vote along with them to provide cover. The bill passed with 12 Republicans joining all 55 Democrats.

Question: If there were plenty of republicans in unthreatened seats who thought it was needed why didn’t THEY just bite the bullet? themselves?

Bloomberg laments that the GOP can’t do anything a href=”http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-02-14/cruz-senate-stunt-goes-unpunished-as-old-tools-don-t-work.html”>about this

In decades past, leaders could rein in such behavior by threatening to take away coveted committee assignments, withdrawing financial support, or shunning lawmakers. None of those tactics are effective in a political era in which campaign cash flows freely from outside the party machinery and cable outlets offer many ways to grab attention and influence.

Of course if the party was listening to the base they supposedly represent then those voters would be more willing to support the party financially, it’s not like those senators work for the people or anything.

All of these maneuvers seem to come from a single misconception among the GOP leader: They seem to think of the Tea Party base the same way that the Democrats think of their base, full of low information votes.

The low info voter, doesn’t pay attention to bills, doesn’t care about what’s happening today, and can tell you all about the details of Katy Perry in the Strip joint but not only can’t tell you what Harry Reid says in the Well of the Senate Well, but likely thinks the Senate Well is where they keep their water.

That means if Democrats needing only 51 votes wanted to have a few vote the other way to cover themselves it’s no big deal, they as Elizabeth Scalia points out only know what the media bothers to tell them.

The Tea Party voter is different.

They know about the bills, they know about the votes, they often will have actually read bill unlike the representatives who vote on them. If you go to a Tea Party meeting and listen to people talk, they will get into details on bill and will ask direct questions of reps who turn up to make their case.

Moreover they HATE being lied to, if you think this isn’t the hill to die on, they will respect you more for saying it up front than trying to BS them.

But the most important thing to remember is they demand respect, they know how procedural votes work.

Not only is a poll not going to pull the wool over their eyes by voting one way on the procedure that allows a vote to pass and another on a vote that’s a foregone conclusion but they will consider it an insult that you expect them to fall for it.

Bottom line, if you want to get the respect of the Tea Party voter you have to earn it, and having an “R” after your name isn’t enough to do it.

The sooner the GOP figures that out and acts accordingly the better off they and the country will be.

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