Hillary: Both for and against the environment, and corporate largesse
Senator Hillary Clinton is contributing to global warming, and not just through her campaign rhetoric.
Environmentalists chide jet travellers because (here we go again) the CO2 emitted by jets at high altitude is supposed to have a more rapid, negative impact on the climate than the same amount of CO2 emitted at sea level. This is a frequent justification for why us little people should be riding on trains instead of flying home to see the family at Christmas.
Of course, Senator Hillary is spending a lot of time not just on jets, but on private
jets (even worse), as she campaigns for (yet another) Clinton Presidency, making her own contributions to global warming.
Adding to the irony, Senator Hillary spent part of this week railing against corporate largesse and executive pay. (Has anyone noticed what the leaders of the big labor unions
make, by the way? Not exactly chump change. Go over to the Department of Labor's website here
to see the latest union financial disclosure reports.)
So we assume Hillary is against "corporate largesse" -- except when that largesse involves corporate friends of the Clintons allowing their corporate jets to be used so Hillary can fly around the country...complaining about corporate largesse and global warming.
The icing on the cake: The AP is reporting that one of her supporters is being sued by shareholders for wasting millions of dollars of corporate funds, including $900,000 on flying around...the Clintons. AP Story
The Do Nothing Congress
When I worked in Washington I always found Bob Novak to be among the best connected columnists inside the Beltway. He combines excellent sources with good instincts and complete institutional knowledge in ways that make his column for the Chicago Sun-Times a must read.
Novak has this observation on the Democrat-controlled Congress and what it has -- or has not -- accomplished:After five months of Democratic control, Congress has enacted no major legislation and finished no regular appropriations bill. It has successfully renamed six federal buildings and one national park, extended the lives of two government commissions and reduced the membership of the Red Cross board of governors from 50 to 10.In addition, Congress kept the government going with temporary spending legislation, redesignated five Eastern European countries (Albania, Macedonia, Croatia, Georgia and Ukraine) for security aid, strengthened penalties against animal fighting and authorized construction of 541 feet of road in St. Louis County, Mo. An emergency bill financing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was vetoed by President Bush before a bill acceptable to him was passed before the Memorial Day recess.Congress faces a heavy agenda to fit into a schedule interrupted by several recesses before the end of the year.
At West Point, Cheney Describes the Enemy
Speaking at the Commencement ceremony at West Point, Vice President Dick Cheney gave a first class address giving context to what these new Army officers will face in the field.
Since the 2000 campaign, one could always count on Dick Cheney to sum up a situation in just a few, well chosen words. To that end, the Vice President had this to say about the enemy in the Global War on Terror:
As Army officers on duty in the war on terror, you will now face enemies who oppose and despise everything you know to be right, every notion of upright conduct and character, and every belief you consider worth fighting for and living for.
Capture one of these killers, and he'll be quick to demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States. Yet when they wage attacks or take captives, their delicate sensibilities seem to fall away.
These are men who glorify murder and suicide. Their cruelty is not rebuked by human suffering, only fed by it. They have given themselves to an ideology that rejects tolerance, denies freedom of conscience, and demands that women be pushed to the margins of society. The terrorists are defined entirely by their hatreds, and they hate nothing more than the country you have volunteered to defend.
Congratulations Jim Camp
Congratulations go to Jim Camp
, a veteran Republican campaigner of many years, on being appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to the post of Deputy Director of Communications for the State Department of Fish and Game
It's great to see someone with a strong campaign and communications background
plugged into a position critical to conveying what's happening in this area of the Governor's administration.
Dem John Edwards Trivializes Terrorist Threats
John Edwards announced this week that there really isn't a "Global War on Terror," and that the term is simply a slogan that was invented by President Bush (for some nefarious reason, no doubt). Perhaps this was just an attempt by Edwards to get known for something other than his $400 haircuts, or charging $55,000 for giving a speech at UC Davis about...poverty.
In any case, for a "leading" Democrat presidential candidate to make such a statement shows how lacking the Democrats are in the leadership department.
Let's take a look at this week's headlines:
1. Al Qaeda showed its face in Lebanon. The strife currently plaguing that country is due to a group called Fatah al Islam -- a group tied to al Qaeda -- infiltrating Palestinian refugee camps in that country and confronting the Lebanese army with weapons smuggled in from outside. US military supplies and support for the Lebanese military in this fight just arrived in Lebanon a few hours ago.
2. Yemen accused Iran of supporting Shiite rebels in the northern part of that country who want to turn Yemen back into a hardline Islamic state and away from support of the United States in the war on terror.
3. One of the men accused of plotting to kill American soliders at Fort Dix tried to infiltrate US police departments, according to a report in the Trentonian. "Based on what we know now, I don't think his intentions were good," a police spokesman said.
Edwards' irresponsible comments have met with an avalanche of criticism. Kayton Dawson, my counterpart in South Carolina, put it best when he said Edwards "endangers the lives of Americans at home and abroad by trivializing terrorist threats."
Democrats Abandon Their Base: Score One for President Bush
Score one for President Bush.
Democrats in Congress are about to hand the President (and the troops needing support) a major victory -- a supplemental funding bill to support the troops without the much-ballyhooed "timetable for defeat" the radical anti-war left has been demanding.
Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, et al tried pandering to their friends on the (very, very) far left by adding all kinds of conditions to the war funding -- you have to leave by this date, at this time, walking on one foot, on a Tuesday, etc.
Americans want to see victory in Iraq and a correlating withdrawal of forces, but they also don't want to see our troops in the field abandoned either. As a result, the Democrats are about to pass out a bill providing the President with much of what he asked for to support the troops, and no artificial timeline for defeat.Boy, the anti-war bunch is not happy
with Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid. One liberal group calls the new supplemental bill "a blank check" while threatening to recruit primary opponents for Democrats who vote for it.Good luck with that last one, guys
. The last time they tried that trick, they got Joe Lieberman elected as an Independent, overwhelmingly defeating the radical anti-war Democrat candidate in liberal Connecticut last November.
Here we go: Will Democrats allow new Internet access taxes?
The Democrats in Congress have a decision to make: should they renew the federal ban on Internet access taxes, or allow state and local governments to start taxing our Internet access in the same over-the-top way they already lard up our phone bills with taxes?
Former California Republican Congressman Chris Cox (now Chairman of the SEC) was a leader in moving the Republican Congress to twice ban Internet access taxes, as well as discriminatory taxes directed solely at online commerce. President Clinton signed the original Internet Tax Freedom Act, while President Bush signed the Internet Non Discrimination Act. Both laws prohibit state and local governments from levying special taxes on your Internet access.
Now, predictably, Democrats are considering allowing the ban to expire on November 1.
"The power to tax involves the power to destroy," observed Supreme Court Justice John C. Marshall in 1819. Online purchases are already
subject to state and local sales taxes. Rather than stopping there, those arguing to allow the ban on Internet access taxes to expire are arguing in favor of not just taxing your purchases -- but they are supporting the equivalent of taxing someone just for walking into the store.
Pelosi to Greenland
So Nancy Pelosi is heading to Greenland to investigate for herself the effects of global warming according to an article on Politico
Of course, all of Greenland is warming -- it's called "Summer" -- and it's interesting she's choosing to visit during perhaps the warmest part of the year in the vast region north of the equator. I can just see the quotes now...
"Oh my gosh, look at all the melting snow...this is terrible...we have to DO something..."
Hard to make those quotes stick in the middle of winter, so good thing she's going during the Greenland summer.
Pelosi will trade her Minister of the Environment
hat for her Foreign Minister
hat by traveling on to Europe after seeing the snow and ice in Greenland.
Governor Schwarzenegger: Lessons for Republicans
There's been a good deal of discussion on what Republicans can learn from Governor Schwarzenegger. After all, in a year when Republicans suffered nationally, the Governor defeated his Democrat opponent (what's his name, again?) by 16% in a state with over a million more Democrats than Republicans.
As state party Chairman, I see the most important lesson of Governor Schwarzenegger for Republicans is this: concede no issue to the Democrats.
A traditional partisan election contest sees Republicans running on their core issues (taxes, national defense, family issues) while the Democrats run on theirs (education, environment, health care). That's an approach that works fine for us in a heavy Rep district, but not in competitive districts. And California is one big competitive district.
Governor Schwarzenegger's approach has been to concede no issue
to the Democrats: environment, health care, education -- the Governor shows absolutely no hesitation in taking on these issues, and putting his ideas on the table. He's put big plans on the table for environmental protection and health care, and education is coming.
Yes, Republicans have different approaches on the best ways to address these big issues where the Democrats have long held an advantage. The key here is that the Governor has started the discussion on these issues, and having Republicans put competing ideas on the table for how to improve health care, give kids a better start in life through education, and keep the Golden State Golden is a great thing for our party.
Political scientists refer to what the Governor is doing as "issue trespass" -- when someone from one party charges in and shifts attention onto issues that are traditionally a strength for the other party. We all watched this drive the Democrats nuts during last year's campaign because it robbed them of the issues they needed to rally and save Phil Angelides' flagging campaign.
We're a big party, with a lot of people of different backgrounds and ideas, and those ideas are reflected in the different approaches we're seeing to issues where Democrats have long held a monopoly.
I suspect that as a result of the Governor's approach, we'll see more Republican candidates and elected officials boldly proposing quality, Republican solutions to the entire array of domestic issues of concern to Californians.
Democrat Champions of Tolerance Prepare to Shut Down Debate in US House
The Democrats -- who for about the last thousand years have claimed to be the champions of "diversity" and "tolerance" -- are threatening to change the rules in the U.S. House of Representatives mid-term to shut down debate and discussion in the chamber, Drudge is reporting.
Specifically, Nancy Pelosi is reported to be threatening to change the "germaneness rule" in the House for the first time since 1822 to bar Republicans from using the "Motion to Recommit" on the floor.
A mid-term change to House rules is highly unusual
. While the Senate is considered an ongoing body (and therefore does not need to re-adopt its rules every term), the U.S. House is not, and therefore House rules are adopted for each two year term on the same day Members are sworn in and the chamber is organized. To squash debate, Pelosi is considering the mid-term change after losing a string of votes on the floor.
Members of the media may want to ask a question or two the next time Democrats accuse Republicans of "intolerance."
The Debate and Taxes
Taxes were on the minds of those who attended the South Carolina debate last night -- one could hardly miss the impressive pro-tax reform rally put on by the group FairTax.org
across the street -- about 8,000 people. (The group advocates for a national retail sales tax to replace the current federal income tax code. An alternative tax reform plan is of course the flat tax, which you can learn more about from the Heritage Foundation here
The Republican candidates were strong on the principle of opposing tax increases, while reflecting a diversity of opinion on specific tax policy issues.
In contrast to the Democrats, there was no use of various code words to indicate any interest in raising taxes last night. When a liberal starts talking about "revenue enhancements," "investments" and making the tax code "fair" -- hold on to your wallet. Recall Bill Clinton and a Democrat Congress pushed through the biggest tax increase in history in his first six months in office -- there's little reason to believe the other Clinton won't do the same thing.
I suspect Democrats will spend some time talking about tax reform in this campaign. Yet what they mean and what we mean will be very different. Bill Clinton tried to sell his humongous '93 tax hike as "reform" because "reform" sounds better than "big, huge tax increase for bloated government bureaucracy in Washington."
In fact, his Treasury Department titled the spreadsheets outlining just how the tax increase would work as "Measures To Increase The Fairness of the Federal Income Tax." That's the Democrat defintion of fairness: more money for the government, and less for you.
By contast, Republicans see proposals such as the flat tax and national retail sales tax as opportunities to make our lives a little easier by vastly reducing the complexity of the tax system while removing the damaging and distorting effects of the current tax system on the economy.
Republican for a Reason...Report from Columbia, SC
The Republican state chairs from across America are gathering here in Columbia, South Carolina this afternoon, just as the second Republican Presidential debate is to take place at the Koger Center for the Arts tonight. You can watch the debate live on Fox News at 6:00 PM Pacific Time.
Numerous Republican leaders have been spotted already here at the Marriott, including RNC Chairman Mike Duncan, South Carolina Governor Governor Mark Sanford, GOPAC Chairman (and former US Senate nominee) Michael Steele, Congressman Duncan Hunter, and Governor (and former RNC Chairman) Jim Gilmore.
The theme for this state chairs meeting is "Republican for a Reason," reflecting the party's recommitment to governing from principle: lower taxes, limited government, promoting personal responsibility, and a strong national defense.
Presidential Debate on Tuesday
On Tuesday I'll be reporting in from Columbia, South Carolina where the second Republican presidential debate will take place in conjunction with the RNC State Chairmen's meeting. This debate will be broadcast live on FOX News at 6 PM Pacific, 9 PM Eastern.
Dem McNerney Abandons His Supporters
Liberal one-term Democrat Congressman Jerry McNerney
didn't wait too long to show that his "principles" run about one micron deep. In turns out that McNerney, who ran with the strong support of Bay Area liberals (mostly from outside of his district), voted last Thursday against
a bill requiring US troops to pull out of Iraq (i.e., declare defeat) within nine months.
So, did McNerney plan all along to go soft on opposition to the war? If so, perhaps he should have told all the liberal (sorry, "progressive") activists who came in from the Bay Area last year that his position on the war was closer to President Bush's position than to theirs. Or, did he suddenly change his mind and decide that unilateral defeat wasn't such a good policy for the United States in the post 9/11-era?
You might say that he was against the President's policy before he was for it. That would make him the opposite of John Kerry, who was for it before he was against it.
Resource on campus: Young America's Foundation
The Young America's Foundation is an excellent resource for Republicans on any college campus.
Led by Ron Robinson, the Foundation provides an arsenal of tools for Republicans and conservatives working to advocate for our ideas on otherwise liberal campuses. In addition to helping to arrange for conservative speakers on campuses, the Foundation hosts an annual National Conservative Student Conference. This year's event, which will feature speakers including Michael Reagan and Robert Novak, is July 29 - August 4 on the campus of George Washington University in DC. Learn more here
If you're a student but can't attend this year's conference, be sure to contact the Foundation and get any number of their conservative posters for your dorm room door and other locations of opportunity on campus. Click here for samples
Report form London: Blair Steps Down, Schwarzenegger in the News
(LONDON) -- The political landscape on the Continent shifted dramatically for the second time in a week as the victory of Nicolas Sarkozy as President of France was followed by today's news that Tony Blair will step down as Prime Minister next month.
Blair brought the Labor Party back from more than a decade in the wilderness after leading an effort to move the party to the British political center, jettisoning the some of the often kooky far-left policy positions of "old" Labor to form "New Labor."
The press here is mixed, with Blair seen as something less than what he was when he led Labor to a landslide victory more than a decade ago. Labor lost heavily in local elections recently, and the party is divided over the war in Iraq. David Cameron, the Conservative party leader, is already on the attack against Gordon Brown, who will become the new PM in June.
In the United States, Tony Blair will be known for his solid support of President Bush and America's missions in Afghanistan following 9/11, and the ongoing mission in Iraq. Unlike other European leaders of left wing parties who distanced themselves from the US (Schroeder in Germany, for example), Blair's support was refreshingly solid, reinforcing the "special relationship" between the United States and Britain.
President Bush praised Blair, and Brown, in comments following news of the resignation. “I have found him to be a man who kept his word, which sometimes is rare in the political circles I run in,” the President said. “When Tony Blair tells you something, as we say in Texas, you can take it to the bank.”
Separately, Governor Schwarzenegger was in the news here today, albeit not forany political issue: coverage centered on the fact the Governor will not be the lead actor in Terminator 4, estimated for release in 2009.
France Moves to the Right
For the last six years, American liberals could count on the French government as an ally in opposition to just about anything President Bush would do.
Sunday the French elected an openly pro-American conservative Nicolas Sarkozy
to be the next President of the Republic.
Sarkozy's victory is significant precisely because his support for the United States has been so brazen. Sarkozy describes himself as a "friend" of America, and says the United States will have an ally in France under his leadership. The Chicago Tribune characterized Sarkozy as an "unabashed admirer of many aspects of the U.S. economic model."
That model, of course, is based far more on free citizens exercising choices in a market environment than the French "economic model" which has managed to sustain sky high unemployment rates and an economy that is constantly under threat from the next labor strike.
Not that anyone is keeping score, but the Socialist defeat in France marks a further European turn away from out of control liberalism: conservative Angela Merkel is the German Chancellor, Sweden elected a conservative government several months ago, Nicolas Sarkozy becomes the new French President, and Tony Blair's Labour Party lost ground to British Conservatives in local elections last week.
Italy and Spain have elected Socialist governments in their most recent elections, but neither carries the weight within the EU that France and Germany -- Western Europe's most populous nations -- do.
Report: CRP Leadership Conference Today in Fresno
The CRP's two day Leadership Conference that wraps up in Fresno today is packed with county chairs, county treasurers, and members of county leadership teams committed to keeping Hillary Clinton from re-entering the White House as anything other than a visitor.
Congressman George Radanovich gave a great talk at lunch today, providing further encouragement to county leaders as to why Nancy Pelosi needs to relive her role as the minority
Special thanks to the team that pulled the conference together: Mike Kamburowski, Ann Whitley, Keen Butcher, John Fronefeld, Jasmine Megrabyan, Fresno Chairman Ken May and Executive Director Teresa Fierro, and all of the Fresno county Republican volunteers. Thank you for a job well done!
Live from the Spin Room at the Reagan Library
Candidates and staffers have been coming through the spin room all morning -- Duncan Hunter, Jim Gilmore, and Tommy Thompson in just the last hour. Surrogates for Guiliani, Romney and McCain are working the press too.
Carla Marinucci of the SF Chronicle is blogging, see her posts here
MS-NBC is the dominant television presence, since they are broadcasting the debate live and Chris Matthews is the moderator. MS-NBC's broadcasts throughout the day feature a "Countdown to Debate" clock ticking down to 5:00 PM Pacific Time when the action starts.
Much of the discussion with the media concerns California's role in the nominating process. (Interestingly, the Florida legislature today decided to get the jump on everyone else by moving their primary to January 29. Story
As the largest state with the biggest delegation to the national convention, California is of course critical. The new winner-take-all-by-congressional-district system will have a big impact on the dynamic here in California, although this fact has not received the same level of attention as the new February 5 primary date. In short, candidates who are not running in first place statewide now have an incentive to compete in individual congressional districts to pick up delegates. Meanwhile, the frontrunner (whoever that is come February) will need to concentrate on individual CDs too.
CRP Communications czar Hector Barajas is here working the press while keeping the Chairman on time -- no easy task in any case. Melissa Giller, the public affairs chief here at the Reagan Library, is keeping the trains running and coordinating a world class operation for the more than 250 media outlets present.
9 AM Field Report: Reagan Library for Debate
I'm in the "Spin Room" set up here at the Reagan Library for tonight's debate. MSNBC is broadcasting from here throughout the day, interviewing surrogates from the various campaigns. More than 250 media outlets are here, most of which will be filing stories from the massive Filing Center tent set up outside the Air Force One Pavilion where the debate iteself will take place.
First interview in 15 minutes...
Obama Fundraising and What It Means
I've gotten a few calls on this issue of how much money Barack Obama has raised, with the spin that somehow this is bad for Republicans.
The person who should be most concerned about Obama fundraising is Hillary Clinton. (I thought this would be obvious.)
Bill and Hillary should have the longest list of IOU's of anyone in the Democrat Party. Eight years in the White House. Zillions of dollars raised. Campaigning for every left wing cause out there.
And after all that -- Hillary is facing a real challenge from a guy absolutely no one outside of Illinois knew 12 months ago.
If anything, Obama's fundraising is an indicator of weakness on the part of Hillary Clinton within her own party.
Worse, this weakness comes without an associated strength. That is, it's not as though the Democrat base is unhappy with her because she's been so warm and cozy with President Bush and Republcians. If Hillary was spending time reaching out to the center and Republicans, causing her base to be unhappy, then one could argue she's pursuing a general election strategy and one could explain away the grumbling on the left.
Instead, she's been a hard core leftist (no "new Democrat" mumbo jumbo coming from this
Clinton), and the Democrats are still dissatisfied enough with her that Senator Nobody from Illinois will have the funds to compete in multiple primary states.
Military Launches Its Own YouTube Channel: MNFIraq
The Iraq I saw last November looked little like the "car bomb of the day" footage one sees on the news channels here at home.
The most interesting experience was meeting Iraqis who were taking serious personal risks to make the new Iraqi Parliament work day to day. From some of the news coverage, one could assume they don't exist. They do, and it further highlights the disconnect between thew news coverage and the day to day situation on the ground.
The US military is taking steps to close that gap with a new channel on YouTube to provide a "boots on the ground" perspective of what's happening day to day in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq. The channel is "MNFIraq" for "Multi National Force - Iraq" and can be accessed here.
As of this morning, the channel has been viewed 151,538 times.
MNF Iraq also has its own website with content updated daily, messages to and from the troops, and more. Visit it here.