CRP Blog

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Governor Weighs in Against Proposition 92

The CRP opposes Prop 92, and today the Governor announced he is opposing the measure as well. Here's the text of the Governor's announcement:

Governor Schwarzenegger Opposes Proposition 92

As California faces a $14 billion state budget deficit and continues to struggle with a chronically out of balance budget system, Governor Schwarzenegger today announced his opposition to Proposition 92. The Governor made the following statement regarding this decision:

"California's budget system is dysfunctional and in serious need of reform. Year after year funding for education, health care, public safety and other important programs is threatened because of fluctuating tax revenue and auto-pilot spending. Proposition 92 will only worsen this problem. This measure would constitutionally lock in nearly a billion in new mandated spending over the next three years without any way to pay for it.

"California's community colleges provide an important path for many of our students to quality, affordable higher education. As Governor, I have made keeping California's community college fees the lowest in the nation a priority and I am committed to continuing to strengthen our state's education system."

Monday, January 28, 2008

President Bush Takes Tough Action on Earmarks

The President's State of the Union Address will advance several policy initiatives based on sound Republican principles.

Setting the stage for tonight's speech, the White House this morning announced the President is taking action to fight wasteful earmarks in federal spending. Specifically, the President will issue an Executive Order telling federal agencies to ignore earmarks that appear in "report language" accompanying the budget but does not appear in the legislation itself.

The key difference is that "report language" is not voted on by Congress, and therefore avoids most public scrutiny.

Equally important, the President indicated he will veto any appropriations bill that does not cut the number and cost of earmarks in half. While additional steps can always be taken, this is serious action in getting federal spending under control, and restoring public confidence in our federal institutions.

Observations on the Dem Primary: South Carolina, Ted Kennedy Endorses

It's going to get pretty uncomfortable in the Senate Cloakroom as another Democrat Senator endorses Barack Obama. Today, it's Sen. Ted Kennedy, whose stamp of approval provides just the latest evidence that Barack Obama has about as much appeal to centrist voters as...Ted Kennedy.

USA Today noted in their editorial today that "The record shows Obama to be a fairly doctrinaire liberal Democrat..." Meanwhile, National Journal notes that Obama was one of just 13 Democrats to score a "perfect" score in the Senate on economic issues. And being a liberal on economic issues means supporting higher taxes and more government poking around the economy. Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) gives Obama a 95% score.

Senator Clinton's trouncing in South Carolina suggests it's not just Republicans and independents who see her as difficult to trust, but many Democrats share the same concern, choosing instead Barack Obama, who clearly lacks the experience necessary to serve as Commander in Chief at this point in our nation's history.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dem Civil War Rages: Kerry Blasts Clinton's Truthfulness

Interesting news item from CNN:

John Kerry, the Democratic Party's 2004 nominee for president, took aim at Bill Clinton Friday, telling the National Journal the former president does "not have a license to abuse the truth."

The Massachusetts senator, who endorsed
Barack Obama's White House bid earlier this month, said Clinton's criticisms of the Illinois senator have been "over the top," and suggested the former president is getting "frantic."

Targeting Clinton's recent spate of attacks on Obama, Kerry said, "I think you had an abuse of the truth, is what happened. …I mean, being an ex-president does not give you license to abuse the truth, and I think that over the last days it's been over the top.

"I think it's very unfortunate, but I think the voters can see through that," Kerry added. "When somebody's coming on strong and they are growing, people get a little frantic, and I think people have seen this sort of franticness in the air, if you will."

Click for full article

From DC: McKeon Calls for Reinstatement of Border Fence Funding

This just in from our friend Congressman Buck McKeon's shop:

McKeon Calls for Reinstatement of Border Fence Funding

Congressman joins over 90 colleagues in sending "Build the Fence" letter to Speaker Pelosi

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) has joined over 90 members of Congress in calling on Congress and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to complete construction of the border fence that helps prevent illegal immigrants from crossing U.S. borders.

"The people of my district have made it clear that they want the border fence to be completed as soon as possible," stated McKeon. "Before Congress fell under Democratic control, we made great strides in gaining control of our borders; but then funding for the already approved border fence was effectively stripped from the Omnibus bill that passed last December. It is outrageous that given today’s atmosphere and the American people’s discontent with the lack of border security that we are even having this discussion. This is a non-negotiable item. We need to build the border fence. We needed it yesterday."

In a letter addressed to Speaker Pelosi, McKeon and others highlighted the Secure Fence Act that required double-layered fencing and the imminent need for greater control of our borders.

[From "Build the Fence" letter to Speaker Pelosi]

"Operational control of our borders should be among the highest priorities of
Congress. Every sovereign country has the right to control who enters and
remains within its borders. The United States is no exception. At risk are not
only demographic and economic considerations; but also porous borders entice
terrorists, drug cartel operatives and gang members to enter our country, and
therefore our communities."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Rep. Issa to Chair NRCC Dinner

This just in from the National Republican Congressional Committee...

Chairman Cole Announces Rep. Darrell Issa to Chair NRCC’s March Dinner

Washington- NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) announced today that Representative Darrell Issa (CA-49) will chair the annual NRCC March Dinner that will be held on March 12, 2008 at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

"I am very pleased to have Darrell Issa taking the lead on this year’s NRCC March Dinner," NRCC Chairman Tom Cole said. "This is going to be a very exciting election year and we need to work together to make sure we have the resources in place to be successful."

Chairman Cole and Representative Issa announced a goal of raising $7.5 million at the dinner, headlined by President George W. Bush.

"It is an honor to chair this year’s dinner. Our conference is very excited about our prospects in '08 and we are ready and willing to do everything it takes to make sure we win in November," Representative Darrell Issa said.

A group of 24 team captains representing all regions of the country will be helping Issa meet the NRCC’s fundraising goal. Following are team captains for the 2008 NRCC March Dinner:
Spencer Bachus (AL-06); Joe Barton (TX-06); Kevin Brady (TX-08); Michael Burgess (TX-26); Ken Calvert (CA-44); Dave Camp (MI-04); Eric Cantor (VA-07); Mike Conaway (TX-11); Nathan Deal (GA-09); Mary Fallin (OK-05); Virginia Foxx (NC-05); Scott Garrett (NJ-05); Wally Herger (CA-02); John Kline (MN-02); Kevin McCarthy (CA-22); John Mica (FL-07); Randy Neugebauer (TX-19); Tom Price (GA-06); Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-18); Pete Sessions (TX-32); John Shimkus (IL-19); Greg Walden (OR-02); Ed Whitfield (KY-01) and Joe Wilson (SC-02).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Thank You, Duncan Hunter

Congressman Duncan Hunter lives just a few miles from me. We're both residents of San Diego's East County, a thoroughly Republican region where rugged individualism is popular and taxes are not.

In leaving the Presidental contest this weekend, Congressman Hunter wraps up a lengthy political career that brought common sense and reason to a Congress where it is often in short supply.

Politically, Duncan Hunter has been a strong Republican team player, yet one unafraid of bringing added attention to the issues he's most passionate about, with national defense and border security at the top of that list. As Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, he always put support for the troops at the top of the agenda.

On behalf of the entire California Republican Party, we thank and respect Duncan Hunter for his service to his community and his country.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Successful RNC Meeting

Our team is en route back to California following the conclusion of a successful Republican National Committee meeting in Washington, D.C. that sets the stage for the forthcoming national convention in Minneapolis.

It's clear that reform of the national primary system/calendar will be a dominant issue going into the convention. Clearly, reform is needed if for no other reason than to ensure that future conventions will benefit from full representation of each state, in contrast to this coming convention which will see five states penalized by a 50% reduction in their delegation for setting their primary/caucus to be before February 5.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Radical anti-war groups retreat

The Politico is reporting: "After a series of legislative defeats in 2007 that saw the year end with more U.S. troops in Iraq than when it began, a coalition of anti-war groups is backing away from its multimillion-dollar drive to cut funding for the war and force Congress to pass timelines for bringing U.S. troops home."

Translation: victory for President Bush and the mission of staying on offense through victory in Iraq.

There's more: "In recognition of hard political reality, the groups instead will lower their sights and push for legislation to prevent President Bush from entering into a long-term agreement with the Iraqi government that could keep significant numbers of troops in Iraq for years to come."

The left's agenda in Iraq is becoming less coherent and comprehensible each day. The foreign basing of US troops is neither controversial nor inherently problematic. Rather, the presence of US forces in many foreign countries has had a positive, stabilizing effect since World War II. Obvious examples include Germany, Japan, and Korea.

The issue in Iraq is not the basing of US troops there, but rather bringing an end to the violence, which the current strategy is achieving with great success.

By contrast, if Nancy Pelosi had prevailed, Iraq would today be descending into a hell of violence and sectarian retribution that would have jeopardized hundreds of thousands of lives while generating a massive refugee crisis and new venues for Iranian aggression and Al Queda operations.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Brokered Convention?

More than once in the last week I've been asked about the possibility of a brokered Republican National Convention, so this is a good time to discuss it.

Under party rules, a candidate must receive the votes of the majority of delegates to become the party's nominee for President or Vice President. With multiple candidates, no clear frontrunner, and a hyper-compressed primary schedule, the possibility of a brokered convention is higher than it has been at any point in recent years, although in my estimation it remains slim.

The term "brokered" convention suggests that instead of anyone being guaranteed the nomination at the onset of the convention due to the commitment of a majority of candidates, a nominee can only emerge once someone "brokers" a deal where someone throws their support (and presumably delegates) to someone else to reach the vote threshold.

It's an interesting scenario, although one that has not occured in 60 years, as former Senator John Lewis notes in his column on Red County.

The present primary system is specifically designed to avoid a brokered convention. The reason is clear: the party that first establishes its (inevitable) nominee has the advantage in being the first to shift to a general election mode, adjusting strategy, tactics, and message to fit the general election audience, rather than primary voters.

(A brokered convention on the Democrat side is a virtual impossibility due to their contest now being a two-person contest, much to the dismay of John Edwards, no doubt.)

Recent conventions have become so predictable that media coverage has waned as the events become non-stop informercials for the respective parties, albeit important ones in our democratic process. Platforms are shaped largely at the behest of the inevitable nominee, and rules requiring delegates to vote for the candidate to whom they are committed (on the first ballot, anyway) limit the possibility of the nominee being unknown in advance.

The compressed primary schedule increases the uncertainty factor because we now look at a series of "snapshot" primary days, rather than a longer series of contests where one candidate builds momentum over time, leading to the eventual thinning of the field as one candidate becomes the clear winner.

The snapshot is most evident when we see that by the time the polls close on February 5th, 27 states will have voted. Meaning, only 23 (mostly smaller) states will remain to determine the eventual nominee if it is not already determined. Many of the largest states, such as California, New York and Florida will have already voted, meaning a supermajority of delegates will have been selected.

While interesting fodder for pundits and political scientists, a brokered convention is not even remotely desirable. This year's national convention will be the latest in our party's history: Septemeber 1 - 4. The "other" Super Tuesday is March 4th, with a handful of states voting thereafter. If no one emerges with a majority of delegates by then, we look at the possibility of six months without a nominee. No nominee means no campaign, except for those who plan to compete at the convention coneying a blur of differing messages to delegates and voters. This is not a best case scenario, to say the least.

Fortuantely, again, this is an extremely unlikely case, and in all probability we will know the Republican nominee by mid-March, if not sooner. In the meantime, expect the columnists, bloggers, and political scientists to discuss this possibility even more in the coming weeks.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Senator Clinton's Politics of Personal Destruction

Trust is emerging as a key weakness in Senator Clinton's campaign for the White House, and it appears that Iowa Democrats have some of the same "trust issues" with the Senator that we do. Ditto New Hampshire Democrats.

Senator Clinton is well known for her lamenting the "politics of personal destruction." Her high-minded rhetoric was on particular display during the unveiling of her book, "Living History," even working itself into the headlines. "Clinton laments 'politics of personal destruction' as she hawks book" was the headline on June 9, 2003.

"I think that these were obviously personal and private moments that unfortunately were made public for partisan, political purposes -- a part of the ongoing politics of personal destruction that was so much a part of our country's life and certainly our time in the White House," Clinton said.

Message: Senator Clinton is against "the politics of personal destruction."

Fast forward to her troubled campaign for the White House, and voters see the Senator's campaign engaging in...the politics of personal destruction. This kind of hypocrisy is precisely why voters -- Democrats and Republicans -- are having a hard time trusting her.

Her campaign was already in attack mode prior to her anemic, third place finish in Iowa. Recall that her campaign went on the offense against Barack Obama with writings of his dating back to Kindergarten. The USA Today blog put it this way:

Campaigns routinely dig up things opponents have said or written to accuse the other guys of being hypocrites. We don't recall ever seeing one side use something the other person wrote while in kindergarten, but it's happened now. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has used words attributed to Sen. Barack Obama from when he was a kindergartner -- and from when he was in third grade -- to accuse him of "rewriting history" when he says he hasn't been planning for a long time to run for president.

Now, facing her second defeat in a week, Senator Clinton's campaign appears to continue setting aside any aversion for personal destruction while going on the attack against Senator Obama. A quick Google news search for the terms Clinton, attack, and Obama produces 10 pages of results.

Friday, January 4, 2008

How economic freedom benefits people

Does greater economic freedom lead to prosperity and a higher quality of life for people? The answer is yes, and a new map from the Fraser Institute demonstrates why.

The Institute ranked each country in the world by the level of economic freedom within that country, taking into account how free people are to trade with others, compete in markets, buy what they want, earn a living in a job they choose, keep what they earn, and own things privately. Not surprisingly, the United States, Canada, Australia and all of Western Europe ranked in the highest category ("mostly free").

Interestingly, the Institute then compared the level of economic freedom in countries to quality of life issues such as life expectancy at birth, annual growth in real income, etc. They found that life expectancy at birth was highest for those born in countries with high levels of economic freedom (77.8 years), compared to those in economically unfree countries (55.0 years).

Concurrently, income growth was highest in economically free countries (2.1% on average), compared to negative income growth in those which are unfree.

The lesson is clear: if you want your people to live longer, and live better, then pursue policies allowing people to trade freely, keep most of what they earn, choose their own job, and protect their property rights.

Iowa: Sen. Clinton Places Third, Thoughts on Republican Race

It appears that Iowa Democrats have some of the same misgivings about Senator Clinton that we do, with trust being a central issue.

It's tough to trust a candidate, in this case Sen. Clinton, who on the one hand says she's all for fiscal responsibility, then proposes $800 billion in more federal spending and no way to pay for it. She's also simultanously claimed to want to give our troops in the field the support they need, while voting in the Senate to...deny them the support they need. The list goes on.

Barack Obama, on the other hand, has his own list of issues, particularly his lack of experience and some interesting votes taken (or not taken) in the Illinois legislature. More on that later...

On the Republican side, a dynamic race for the nomination is under way. California's role has been elevated by the fact that an inevitable nominee may not be established by the time we vote (along with voters in 21 other states) on February 5. Well organized campaigns will aggressively make the round of county Republican committee meetings that take place this month, turning meetings with Republican activists into potential earned media opportunities as well. This is especially important in light of our new system for awarding national convention delegates by congressional district.

Upcoming contests: Wyoming (Jan 5), New Hampshire (Jan 8), Michigan (Jan 15), South Carolina (Jan 19), Nevada (Jan 19), Florida (Jan 29).

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