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Archive for the ‘Senate’ Category

Delaware GOP Files FEC Complaint Against O’Donnell

In Republican, Senate, Tea Party on September 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Dirty, dirty pool by establishment Republican Mike Castle.

From Roll Call:

The Republican Party of Delaware has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing one of its own Senate candidates of illegally collaborating with the Tea Party Express.

Attorneys for the state party asked the FEC to launch an immediate and thorough investigation into conservative GOP candidate Christine O’Donnell “to remedy the alleged violations and to ensure that these violations immediately cease and do not reoccur,” according to the complaint filed Thursday.

O’Donnell, a solidly conservative Republican candidate in comparison to her opponent Mike Castle, is a favorite of Tea Party groups and was today endorsed by Sarah Palin. Castle, on the other hand, is a career politician who supports Cap and Trade and is widely considered a RINO.

The FEC complaint alleges that:

  • O’Donnell has knowingly accepted excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express that were directly solicited on behalf of the O’Donnell campaign, according to the filing.
  • O’Donnell has accepted illegal excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express by engaging in a statewide coordinated communications effort in support of her campaign. This means, according to the complaint, that every advertisement that is being run by the Tea Party Express in support of O’Donnell is a violation of federal law.

Federal Election Commission guidelines do not place limits on independent expenditures, which is where Tea Party Express’ ads in support of O’Donnell fall. The hitch in independent expenditures is that the efforts from an independent group cannot be coordinated with the candidate. At this point, there is no evidence that such coordination took place.

An FEC Spokesperson has stated that it is “highly unlikely” that this case can be expedited before the September 14 primary.

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Dear Lisa Murkowski…

In Elections, Senate, Tea Party on August 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Senator Murkowski calls for primary "do-overs."

Senator, I’m interested in taking our country back from the progressives who have taken it so far off course. By your record I, and apparently many Alaskans, see that you are not.

There is a special kind of contempt that the public has for the likes of Al Gore and Al Franken for their electoral childishness. Senator, by your actions in this primary you are on the verge of reserving yourself a spot at that same table.

If you are indeed considering making a switch to run in the General Election as a Libertarian candidate then I have to question what that means for your beliefs and priorities. If choosing a party is a matter not of convictions but political expediency then I daresay you, Senator Murkowski, are a part of the problem in Washington D.C. and the Tea Party is right in looking to replace you.

It’s time to concede, Senator. The race was close and hard-fought but it’s done. Further tantrums on your part may succeed only in handing the General Election to your Democrat opponent.

Rossi Wastes No Time, Issues Debate Challenge to Murray

In Congress, Elections, Senate on August 20, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Challenger Dino Rossi (R) issues debate challenge to Senate incumbent Murray (D)

With the Washington State Primary just days behind him, Republican primary winner Dino Rossi has challenged Democrat incumbent Patty Murray to a series of public debates as he vies for the Senate seat she has occupied since 1993. From Rossi’s press release:

The U.S. Senate race is one of the most important elections in the State of Washington in 2010.  Given the importance of this election, and the desire for voters to make an informed decision this fall, I propose we hold five debates in Washington State, in addition to one nationally televised debate.  I further propose we hold one debate in each media market hosted by local civic organizations, with two debates in the Seattle area.
The five debates in Washington State would be Lincoln-Douglas style, in which we would be allotted equal time to make opening statements, ask questions of each other, introduce new ideas, or defend policy positions.  A timekeeper would ensure each side adheres to time limits which are mutually agreed upon.

This is an opportunity for us to question each other on various policy positions in a manner which allows the public, not the press or interest groups, to dictate the issues covered.

The Washington Primary was flush with Republican contenders, some of whom earned noteworthy numbers. Pooling the votes cast for various candidates into “Rossi” and “Murray” voters (see graphic below), the two candidates are dead even heading for the General Election in November. In a left leaning state with a Democrat incumbent, that’s a significant statement.

Washington State Primary results. Candidates whose supporters would likely vote for Murray in the General Election are designated "D" while supporters who would likely vote for Rossi are designated "R".

Fake “Tea Party Candidate” May Qualify For a Cabinet Position

In Senate, Tea Party on March 27, 2010 at 4:35 am

The Clark County, Nevada District Attorney’s office plans to seek an arrest warrant for Scott Ashjian, a candidate running for Harry Reid’s Senate seat from the freshly minted “Tea Party of Nevada”. Ashjian is accused of bouncing a $5000 business check last year.

Since February, other Tea Party groups have declared Tea Party of Nevada a liberal front group and a fake from its inception, even going so far as to say Tea Party of Nevada is a liberal ploy to siphon votes away from a Republican candidate. Twenty Nevada tea party groups have issued a joint statement denouncing Tea Party of Nevada (TPN) and rejecting the notion of a third party candidate:

-o The TPN is not a conservative party who speaks for grassroots and tea party activists in Nevada.
-o The TPN is not now, has never been, and will never be affiliated with grassroots efforts in Nevada.
-o The term “Tea Party Candidate” will no longer be used to indicate grassroots support for a candidate or candidates.
-o The TPN will not be invited to or allowed to represent themselves at conservative grassroots events and functions across Nevada.

In addition to the warrant for the bad check (a felony theft charge), Ashjian recently lost his contractor’s license for failing to appear before a disciplinary board in a matter of another bad check to a supplier. Mr. Ashjian has also faced foreclosure on more than a million dollars in home loans and, among other debts, reportedly owes the IRS $200,000.

A conviction on the felony theft charge will disqualify Ashjian from elected office but, combined with the rest of his reported transgressions, he’s a shoo-in as an Obama appointee. Perhaps he could serve as Obama’s “Opponent Marginalization” Czar.

H/T Dan Riehl

GOP Identifies Flaws In Reconciliation Bill

In health care, Senate on March 25, 2010 at 8:12 am

From NYT:

With the Senate working through an all-night session on a package of changes to the Democrats’ sweeping health care legislation, Republicans early Thursday morning identified parliamentary problems with at least two provisions that will require the measure to be sent back to the House for yet another vote, once the Senate adopts it.

After spending the night shooting down Republican amendments to the bill (see here and here), the Democrat controlled Senate had hoped to have the reconciliation process complete and ready for the President’s signature by this morning. With revisions to the legislation now necessary, the changes will have to be sent back to the House for another vote.

Ed Morrissey on the strategy:

…the only effect will be to lengthen the debate on health care.  Obviously, that’s exactly what the Republicans want.  With 62% of voters wanting the GOP to keep fighting against ObamaCare, their leadership has no reason to let up.

In the end, the delay won’t be particularly significant. The House has no reason to challenge minor fixes and the primary legislation was already signed into law on Tuesday.

Dems Vote to Provide Viagra to Rapists

In health care, Senate on March 24, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Picture is, um... unrelated.

Senate Democrats today voted down an amendment to the health care bill aimed to prohibit the use of Federal funds to purchase Viagra and other ED drugs to rapists, pedophiles and other sex offenders. The amendment, defeated 57-42, was submitted by Senator Coburn (R-OK).

Via Politico:

Democrats have defeated every amendment offered by Republicans so far, arguing that any change will kill the bill.

I think that was the point… In any case, the defeat of this amendment will make the political ads more entertaining this fall.

Next Steps After Obamacare Passage

In Congress, Economy, health care, House, Republican, Senate, Tea Party on March 22, 2010 at 12:52 pm

The United States House of Representatives, on March 21, 2010, passed the Senate’s health care reform legislation, sending it on to President Obama who will sign the bill into law. Those of you who have fought, argued, railed and protested against this legislation don’t need me to describe any further the unconstitutionality, erosion of freedom, fiscal irresponsibility and exponential expansion of government bureaucracy that this represents. Those who argued for the passage of this legislation will find out soon enough the truth behind the bill of goods you’ve been sold. Already the bond market has reacted unfavorably because, unlike politicians who lie about the  numbers, the numbers themselves don’t lie.

At the founding of our nation, the events that fomented revolution were strikingly similar to what we are experiencing today. While they bridled against them, the taxes that led to the Boston Tea Party weren’t the root of the issue with the colonists, the beef with Britain was that the taxes were levied without someone representing the interests of the colonists in Parliament; taxation without representation. The correlation between that and the passage of sweeping legislation against the will of a majority of Americans today ought to be obvious.

Heritage describes the “Intolerable Acts”, legislation enacted by the British Parliament in the wake of the Boston Tea Party.

The British government responded harshly by punishing Massachusetts— closing Boston Harbor, virtually dissolving the Massachusetts Charter, taking control of colonial courts and restricting town meetings, and allowing British troops to be quartered in any home or private building. Richard Henry Lee wrote that these laws were “a most wicked system for destroying the liberty of America.” The American colonists, outraged by these violations of their first principles, their basic rights and the rule of law itself, called them what they were: Intolerable Acts.

The contrast between colonial American society and modern American society is largely what has allowed this current debasement of our freedoms. It’s almost as if Aldous Huxley was a prophet.

Heartening is the knowledge that our founding patriots began as a small, fringe group from which the idea of liberty spread. Having laid that foundation for us, our work in restoring those liberties, while challenging, is somewhat easier. The notion of Freedom has not yet been lost in our society, though there is a cost to freedom as Doctor Zero reminds us:

Freedom is not a gift. It is not given to you by the government, in a precise dosage that can be adjusted to match a politician’s diagnosis of what ails the body politic. Your forefathers won an impossible Revolution against an invincible foe to declare the self-evident truth that your rights descend from your Creator. Whether that Creator is a transcendent God, or a random combination of genetic material in the primordial soup, it is a power that existed before the first king assumed his throne, or the first president was elected.

In paying that price, we will have to face our own shortcomings, our past laziness, political opportunism and shortsightedness:

Not once during that period [of Republican majority in 2006] did the party seriously attempt to reform the health-care cost structure, let alone through the use of market-based strategies now expounded by Paul Ryan, among others.  Why?  First, Republicans did attempt to reform Social Security in 2005 with market-based strategies and got demagogued by Democrats for making the effort.  But it wasn’t really that reason that kept the GOP from engaging on health-care reform.  That issue was widely seen as a Democratic strength, and Republicans didn’t want to engage heavily on their turf. – Ed Morrissey, Hot Air.

Drew at Ace of Spades lays out a battle plan in an open letter to Republicans:

You need to be the party of No for the next 6 months on just about every issue. The only issue (other than national security) that matters is repealing this monstrosity. I don’t know if it can be done but it has to be tried.

Please don’t let Obama drag you into a pissing match over the small stuff. If he has another idiotic jobs bill, just let it go. Vote no but don’t fight about it, reframe the fight in terms of health care. Reframe everything in terms of health care…immigration, taxes, Cap and Trade, whatever other crap they throw at you. It all comes down to health care and the fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the people.

Repeal is indeed the word of the day. The trouble is that entitlement programs become rapidly entrenched in society, as evidenced by the inability to reform Medicare which we’ve known for years is on the verge of bankruptcy. The fact that the end of the line for Medicare’s feasibility is in sight and yet we’ve been unable to do more than delay the inevitable speaks volumes of the task we’ll have reversing this health care legislation. The Cato Institute lends a little perspective on this, taking a pessimistic view of Republican will:

Republicans will run this fall on a promise to repeal this deeply unpopular bill, and will likely reap the political advantages of that promise. But in reality there is little chance of their following through. Even if Republicans were to take both houses of Congress, they would still face a presidential veto and a Democratic filibuster.

But more important, once an entitlement is in place, it becomes virtually impossible to take away. The fact that Republicans have been criticizing Obamacare for cutting Medicare shows that they are not really willing to take the heat for cutting people’s benefits once they have them — no matter how unaffordable those benefits are. Paul Ryan put forth a serious plan for entitlement reform — and attracted just six co-sponsors at last count. Enough said.

I have to admit that such lack of follow-through concerns me, as well. For that reason, as I vet candidates for the mid-term election, commitment to repeal will be a crucial factor. If I don’t find that commitment I might actually join the vote out all incumbents crowd and begin beating the drum loudly.

Stupak May Get His Abortion Language But, Will it Work? Update: Press Conference Cancelled

In Congress, health care, House, Senate on March 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm

Rep. Bart Stupak (D, MI)

Rep. Bart Stupak (D, MI) and his coalition of fellow representatives, the pro-life “Stupak 12”, have been yes-vote holdouts on the Senate health care bill due to its lack of restriction on the use of federal funds for abortion services. Without the “yes” votes of the Stupak 12, which actually varies between 6 and 9 depending on best guesses, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a much tighter margin collecting the required votes for (deeming) passage of the Senate bill.

Hat tip to Le-gal In-sur-rec-tion for pointing out a post by FireDogLake chief lib-tard, Jane Hamsher, indicating that Stupak and Pelosi may have struck a deal:

The deal calls for Stupak to have a vote on his amendment either before or after the House votes to confirm the Senate bill on Sunday. Stupak is confident that he has the votes to pass the measure, and is happy to have the vote after the House passes the Senate bill. He believes that by using a “tie bar” approach, his amendment would be “tied” to the health care bill — which would require just 51 votes in the Senate.

I guarantee that congressional parliamentarians will be required to sort out the building legislative shenanigans. It appears that, in order to use reconciliation which requires only 51 votes in the Senate, this would have to be a budget related matter. That’s a bit of a stretch for an abortion clause. The second tactic may  be to use an “Enrollment Resolution”, a procedure intended to make minor corrections between passage in congress and the president’s signature. The Enrollment Resolution would instruct the Senate Clerk to change the wording of the Senate bill to mirror Stupak’s restrictions on abortion funding. This is also a bit of a stretch as this is hardly a minor correction.

Further, if the Senate makes any changes to Stupak’s wording, the whole thing goes back to the House and the process starts over again. This deal is clearly a risky move on the part of House leadership and one not without its own consequences. According to The Hill, the more than forty votes of the pro-choice caucus are at stake:

“This concurrent resolution which Congressman Stupak and several others have filed, from the position of the people who signed my letter back in November, is a non-starter,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), a Pro-Choice Caucus co-chairwoman. “We compromised to the concept ‘no federal funding for abortion,’ which is current law — we don’t like that. And so if Mr. Stupak and a few members, along with the Republicans, decide to use this to take healthcare down, then that loss on healthcare coverage is going to be on their hands.”

Allahpundit posits two possible reasons for the seeming risk:

(1) It’s all for show. The pro-lifers want nothing more than a vote in the Senate. They expect to lose, but the political cover they’ll gain for making a minor stand on principle is enough to make it worth their while…

(2) The pro-choicers are planning to cave. They caved in November, didn’t they? Problem is, this is the final bill and they … sure don’t sound like they’re going to cave. Diana DeGette, leader of the pro-choice caucus, claims she has the votes to kill it if Stupak gets his way, and given how close the margin is, it’d only take three or four stalwarts to walk to torpedo the whole thing. Drama!

Stupak will hold a press conference Saturday morning, presumably to discuss these developments. In the mean time, Michelle Malkin and Ace have more.

Update:

NYT: Representative Bart Stupak, Democrat of Michigan and a leader of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, has postponed a news conference that had been scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, a sign that there is still serious maneuvering under way in the fight over abortion language in the major health care legislation.

The fate of the bill now largely rests with a small group of anti-abortion Democrats, who have demanded tighter restrictions on insurance coverage for abortions.

Keep Hoping ‘Cause You’re Certainly Not Getting Change

In Congress, health care, House, Obama, Senate on January 5, 2010 at 8:08 am

Pay attention here, it’s only 22 seconds:

From Heritage:

Politico is reporting that President Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will meet at the White House today (joined by Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) via conference call) to set the parameters for reconciling the House and Senate versions of health care legislation. However, instead of proceeding with the usual public and open conference committee process, the White House is going to take a very active role in secret behind-closed-door meetings between the House and Senate. The Sunlight Foundation explains the implications for the American people: “Both House and Senate rules require that all conference committee meetings be open to the public unless a majority of conferees votes in open session to close the meetings. Senate rules require all conference committee reports be publicly available for at least 48 hours prior to a final vote. Without conference, there is no mechanism to provide for openness in the final discussions regarding the health care bill.”

If a candidate promises “hope” and “change” and one observes no change, is it reasonable to continue to hope?

Coryn to Conservatives: Accept Moderates

In Republican, Senate on December 24, 2009 at 5:15 am

From The Hill:

Sen. John Cornyn (Texas), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), suggested that conservatives need to have a more realistic sense of which races are winnable and with which candidates.

“Folks on the right, and frankly I’m one of them in terms of voting record, have to yield to the world as it is and not necessarily how they wish it would be,” Cornyn told Reuters for a story about centrist Rep. Mike Castle’s (R) bid for Senate next year in Delaware.

Conservatives to Coryn: No.

Conservatives weren’t particularly excited about ‘moderate’ McCain’s presidential bid until he added the decidedly not moderate Palin. Even then, the excitement wasn’t for McCain himself but for the hope that his choice indicated that he wasn’t as mealy-mouthed as we thought and that maybe, just maybe she’d rub off on him a little.

A moderate Republican will be viewed as a half-assed by both Republicans and Democrats and will not be elected in a run against either. The fact that Coryn is still espousing a proven loser of a strategy shows that there is still cleanup to do on the right side of the aisle. “Undecided” voters are not looking for a candidate from the right or the left who is simultaneously neither and both. Undecided voters are looking for a reason to decide. If we can’t give them a reason, someone else will.

UPDATE: Judging by the comments to Allahpundit‘s post over at Hot Air, I’m not alone in my thinking.