Tea Party

Seven Long Years for Seventeen Short Days

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After being introduced less than three weeks ago the AHCA/Republicare was going to be voted on yesterday, but the bill now seems dead without ever seeing the floor of the House. To say the least, this is a shocking turn of events. Getting it through Congress was supposed to be the east part, and the Senate was going to be the struggle. Instead we find ourselves here. This recasts how we must view the future of multiple groups in Washington, so instead of breaking down what happened, this post will focus on what we might expect going forward.

 

Paul Ryan

In my opinion it is Paul Ryan who is dealt the biggest blow by all of this. Republicare was clearly his bill as he was easily the loudest voice trying to drum up support for it. Now he finds himself as the last remaining champion of a bill his own party shot to pieces from multiple sides of the ideological spectrum and that the American people had a 17/56 approve/disapprove opinion of.[1]

It’s also important to note his predecessor, John Boehner, had a beginning of the end that looked awfully similar to this. Boehner expressed repeated frustration at being rebuffed by the Freedom Caucus Republicans when trying to move forward on issues that benefited from party unity. February 24th of this year Boehner even commented that a replacement to Obamacare was going to be incredibly difficult because house members, “will never ever agree what the bill should be.”[2] This lack of ability to wrangle the party and whip votes is what ultimately drove Boehner out of Washington and we might be seeing the same group pull the same move against the new speaker.

Freedom Caucus

Republicare created some strange bedfellows, but probably none stranger than the elected Tea Party members known as the Freedom Caucus and those still supporting Obamacare. Their insistence that this bill was simply ‘Obamacare lite’ and ‘the largest welfare program every proposed by Republicans’ made them some of this bill’s most vocal opponents. The death of this bill is going to make this group feel emboldened and like they will be able to pull this administration further to the right.

On the morning of the second day this bill was supposed to get a vote, Trump tweeted:

Even accusations that they’d be cast as pro-choice couldn’t sway them though. There are interesting dynamics at play here because in many of their districts, they won their elections in landslides, but Trump beat Clinton by similar numbers. Trump was speaking specifically of the chairman of the Freedom Caucus Rep. Mark Meadows(R-NC) when he said, “I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote ‘yes,’”[3] Will Trump attempt to primary out some of the people who opposed him in this bill? Would he succeed if his approval among Republicans starts to slip while Reps remain popular in their own districts? It’s tough to say and I’m not quite ready to start forecasting 2018.

Donald Trump

Truthfully, I believe Trump is happy this is done. You could tell right away that this wasn’t a fight his heart was in because of how the White House rebuffed labeling the bill TrumpCare.[4] If a man who is willing to put his name on average steaks sold at the Sharper Image actively fought putting his name on this, it was obvious what his opinion of the whole thing was.

Now, I don’t think he was happy to take the loss on this, but look at his reactions following Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation compared to this Friday afternoon. Either he’s pivoted to become much more presidential, or this loss really didn’t bother him much. Trump can now shift the focus to tax reform which is an issue that the American people give him more credibility on and that is a much more personal fight for him.

The question remains though, how much political capital did this fight cost him? The Freedom Caucus played chicken with Trump and he was the one to blink first. The storied deal making abilities of the man got put to their first legislative test and he was found woefully lacking. If anyone has proven they can brush off a failure and stumble forward it’s Trump, but this could signal to the rest of his party that he’s not invincible and could be challenged more regularly.

Democrats

Finally we get to the group that Trump blamed for the whole thing falling apart.[5] It seems like the current GOP plan is to let Obamacare continue on, possibly guarantee it fails but more on that in a moment, and then tell the American people that the group that doesn’t have control of a single branch of government was the one that orchestrated it all. Trump challenged the Democrats to reach across the aisle and bring him their plan and that’s exactly what they need to do.

Republicans are going to catch a great deal of flack for promising that they had a replacement ready to go seven years ago. They just needed to be given the house, the senate, and the presidency first. It seems increasingly likely that for the vast majority of that time there was no plan but to criticize, so Democrats now need to bring forward their plan. Every Democrat I’ve heard openly admits that Obamacare has flaws that need to be addressed so they should write the bill that they would have introduced if Clinton had won the election.

Doing so would help demonstrate that they intend to remain a governing party and not just turn into an opposition party. Failure to do so will also assist Republicans in their claims that every negative truth and fiction about healthcare in this country is entirely on their heads.

ACA/Obamacare

“We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” Those were Paul Ryan’s words at the brief press conference he held after the plan to vote on Friday was scrapped.[6] Trump echoed similar sentiments in his words to the media. With no replacement to vote on, the plan from the GOP is clearly to wait until Obamacare gets so bad that everyone else will come to the table and work with them.

It is something of a strange stance because if we take Trump at his word that Obamacare is a disaster for people, businesses, and this country, but he’s content to just leave it in place for now, that seems incredibly heartless. Either its destroying the economy and the American way of life and therefor needs attention immediately, or it’s none of those things.

More importantly though, there are actually many things this administration has the power to do on its own to either help Obamacare better serve the needs of the people or to undercut it entirely. As HHS Secretary Tom Price put it:

There are also plenty of things happening on the state level with Medicaid tied to Obamacare that this administration could bolster or hamstring.[7] It would be very easy for Trump and other Republicans to say they’ll just wait for Obamacare to fail while actively working behind the scenes to guarantee it does just that and for the fifth consecutive election, campaign on the idea that the American people need to grant them more power for them to come up with a replacement plan.

Final Thought

If you would have polled any politician the day after the most recent election, I would bet 95% would have agreed that Obamacare was virtually dead and gone. I know I would have laughed in your face if you would have told me that Republicans wouldn’t even vote on either repeal or replace. You could easily argue that both Clinton’s and Obama’s attempts at healthcare fixes cost their party a majority in Congress in the following election. Normally I would suggest history will repeat itself, but nothing about this last week has made me want to use the word normal unless it’s proceeded by the letters ‘ab’.

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Penis Cake?

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Inner Dialogue Voice 1: Are you really going to put your readers through 900 words of a homophobic alarmist rant before getting to the punchline?

Inner Dialogue Voice 2: It’s important to understand the counterarguments to your beliefs if you’re going to affect change, also penis cake.

IDV1: Penis cake?

IDV2: Penis cake.

 

This is not a letter from some fringe person. Judson Phillips is the president and founder of Tea Party Nation, the group that organized the 2010 National Tea Party convention keynoted by Sarah Palin. If the name sounds familiar to Minnesotans it could be because Judson Phillips and the Tea Party Nation made several statements about Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison being unfit for office in part because he is Muslim. What follows is Judson Phillips’s full statements following Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of SB1062. I will be cutting in with my polite-ish thoughts.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed SB1062, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Arizona. No one has ever accused Governor Brewer of being the most courageous Republican around. Come to think of it, the word courageous and Jan Brewer have probably never been uttered in the same sentence.

Esquire magazine entitled their piece about Governor Brewer’s veto “A Profile in Courage” but do go on.

The left and the homosexual lobby in America went into overdrive to kill this bill. Conservatives rallied for this bill and Governor Brewer opted for cowardice instead of courage.

Conservatives were against this bill too. Arizona Republican Senator Jon McCain tweeted, “I hope Governor Brewer will veto SB 1062.” No ambiguity there. Opposition to this bill was bipartisan.

Why is this bill so important and what did it mean for not only Arizona but America?

The issue can be boiled down to one word: Freedom.

A free man or woman controls their labor. A slave has no control over their labor. A free man or woman decides who they will work for and under what conditions. The slave cannot.

The left and the homosexual lobby are both pushing slavery using the Orwellian concepts of “tolerance” and “inclusiveness.”

There are an estimated 30 million people in slavery today. Source. The definition of slavery used to get that number included people being used for forced labor, child prostitution, child soldiers, and forced marriages. It doesn’t include anything addressed by this bill. I also addressed this point in my previous post, but it bears repeating. If you enter into the food service industry(sticking with the wedding cake analogy) you already have thousands of regulations in place to ensure you keep a minimum level of sanitation for the sake of public health. Unless you also are prepared to call restaurant health inspectors slave owners, give the rhetoric a rest.

The law began as a response to a case in neighboring New Mexico. There, the state of New Mexico allowed a lawsuit against a Christian photographer who declined to photograph a homosexual commitment ceremony. There have been similar cases with bakers in Oregon and Colorado.

The Arizona legislature acted to preempt that happening in Arizona.

As long as sexual orientation remains absent from the protected class list in Arizona, it can’t happen. There is nothing to preempt. This bill didn’t change anything in regards to how LGBT people could be treated. For additional entertainment, I’d also recommend watching this interview in which one of the people who voted for the bill tries to justify to Anderson Cooper why it really could happen in Arizona.

Immediately the left and the homosexual lobby went into high dudgeon. Arizona’s SB1062 must be defeated because Americans really are no longer free and must be forced to serve the great liberal state, regardless of their beliefs.

The storm rose against Arizona and Jan Brewer proved she was no Ronald Reagan. She has an honored place in the ranks of the French Republicans. Corporations and business interests, many of whom support far left wing causes, like Apple demanded this bill be vetoed. Apple gives 96% of its political giving to Democrats. Why a Republican listens to a word from Apple or lifts a finger to help them is beyond comprehension. The NFL threatened to pull the Super Bowl from Arizona in 2015.

Someone with courage would have called their bluff. Arizona has Jan Brewer.

Three things.

1. Ronald Reagan opposed a bill when he was governor of California that would have banned homosexuals from working in the public school system.

2. You want the free market to decide everything, but then get upset when the governor listens to the free market? Apple, Delta, Verizon, and the NFL all weighed in against this bill and that represents a serious portion of jobs and income for the state. Don’t tell me we should allow money to be the ultimate decider of morality and then get defensive when the money goes against you. It reveals you’re using the free market as an excuse to cover up your inner desire to justify your bigotry.

3. Arizona has tried to call the NFL’s bluff before. The 1993 superbowl was set to be played in Tempe but got moved to Pasadena after voters in Arizona refused to recognize MLK day as a state holiday. The NFL didn’t bluff then, and it wasn’t bluffing now, especially with the NFL getting ready to draft Michael Sam.

The left came up with bizarre and insane arguments against SB1062. They tried to equate sexual preference with race. Unfortunately few will stand up against that grossly inaccurate analogy.

Remember when I said at the start of this that it’s important to understand counterarguments? The idea the sexual orientation is not a choice must be emphasized. Either that or the fact that your religion is a choice must be emphasized. Either that or both should be emphasized because both are true. Once that myth dies, so does much of the justification often used to support these things.

The left believes that it has the right to dictate what religious beliefs are allowed.

They need to be reminded what our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution say. Our rights are given to us by a higher power than the government and cannot be taken away.

Just like how you wanted to dictate whether being a Muslim was allowed in Congress? If I may quote that constitution you wanted me to read, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

The left loves to come up with absurd hypotheticals to scream that there must be compliance with their fascism, so how about a couple from our side.

Should a devout baker be required to create a cake for a homosexual wedding that has a giant phallic symbol on it or should a baker be required to create pastries for a homosexual wedding in the shape of genitallia?[SIC] Or should a photographer be required to photograph a homosexual wedding where the participants decide they want to be nude or engage in sexual behavior? Would they force a Jewish photographer to work a Klan or Nazi event? How about forcing a Muslim caterer to work a pork barbeque dinner?

SB1062 was never about discrimination. It was about the left imposing its will on Americans who disagree.

The most common victims of the left wing homosexual assault on freedom have been Christian bakers and photographers. These are not uncommon skills. In even the most rural areas you can find them.

Penis cake? Penis cake. Nice misspelling of genitalia as well, but that’s beside the point. I am glad he at least admits they are absurd hypotheticals, but I’ve heard them in other places too, so they require debunking. If you are a baker who has never baked a penis cake, and a gay couple comes in asking for one, you don’t have to bake it because it might require equipment you don’t have. I’m unfamiliar with availability of penis cake molds on the open market these days. If you are a baker who regularly bakes penis cakes for catholic priest parties, and a gay couple comes in asking for one, you do have to bake it because you’re denying the gay couple a service you already offer based upon who they are. If a Muslim caterer doesn’t already have pork on their menu, they can’t be sued to add it. If a photographer doesn’t shoot straight orgies, they can’t be sued for refusing to shoot a gay orgy. This isn’t about LGBT people asking for special treatment; this is about LGBT people asking for the same treatment.

The Jewish photographer working a Klan or Nazi event is different because neither of those are protected classes. To the best of my knowledge neither of those organizations is a race, color, national origin/ancestry, sex, religion/creed, physical/mental disability(maybe that one). This means that a business is indeed allowed to deny service to either of those groups if they wish.

Does anyone really believe these cases of Christian bakers or photographers being sued over their refusal to provide services. Over the last couple of years, a number of articles have been published in professional photography magazines about how to cater to homosexual weddings. For many photographers, this is a growth industry.

If a photographer or baker doesn’t want to take a particular job, liberty says they have the right to decide how their labor is used. Slavery is when the state tells them their labor will be used whether they like it or not.

I’m honestly confused by that first paragraph. He seems to be debunking his own argument. I think he’s saying that the free market is allowing non christian photographers to prosper therefor we shouldn’t mind the couple photographers who want to strictly obey their religious doctrine, but that’s not how business works. See all of my previous rebuttals.

If a baker doesn’t want to wash their hands between handling raw eggs and already baked products, liberty says they have a right to decide how their labor is used.

SB1062 is a bigger story than simply the story of a cowardly governor who has no core beliefs.

SB1062 is the story of liberalism at work in America.

Liberalism is the paranoid belief that leftists have that somewhere, someone may be thinking for themselves. It is the tyrannical belief that no deviation in belief is allowed from the decreed orthodoxy.

It is the antithesis of liberty.

It is tyranny on the march.

They’re nice buzzwords, but when that’s all you have left it is time to leave the policy making to those of us with substance behind our beliefs.

Does it seem obvious to most of us why SB1062 was an awful idea? Absolutely. Is similar legislation being brought up in Georgia and Pennsylvania as we speak? Sadly yes. I hope this post has helped clarify what the arguments in favor of these bills are and why they are hollow at best and bigoted at worse. This being an election year, candidates are trying to score moral victory points with this sort of legislation, so I predict we’ll be hearing these stories all year. When it’s all behind us though, I’ll be the first to order a penis cake.

As always, questions, comments, and concerns are welcome. Answers are guaranteed.

 

Why Republicans Will Retake the Senate in 2014 Unless the Republicans Stop Them.

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I’m not going to spend much time discussing the House. It’s going to keep a republican majority. Since 1910 only Clinton has gained seats in the house during a six year midterm election, and his approval rating at the time was 14 points higher than Obama’s. Even then, he only gained five seats. If Obama gains 17, all sorts of political firsts are happening. I am going to focus on a particular House raise later on, but I have no doubts the lower chamber will stay red.

If historical trends play out the same(Have you accepted Nate Silver as your lord and savior?) the Senate should turn red as well. There have been ten six year midterm senate elections since 1910. That date is important because of the passing of the 17th amendment establishing the popular vote election method for senators. Nine of those ten have seen the president’s party losing an average of 8.6 seats in the senate. The democratic majority is currently five seats. The exception to this rule was once again Clinton in ’98. The senate stayed the same in that election. The success of Clinton in that year is one of the reasons I’ve been so confused by Rand Paul bring the Lewinsky scandal up lately, but that’s another post.

When you consider there are six seats democrats must defend in red states and six in swing states, a republican gain of at least six seats in those races seems realistic(assuming they hang onto all of their current seats). Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alaska, and South Dakota are all states we’d expect a republican challenger to have at least a puncher’s chance. It should be noted that in 2012 the democrats won seats in North Dakota, Montana, Missouri, and Indiana though. Nothing is guaranteed. That was a presidential year, and this is a midterm, so we have to be careful which data points we value more heavily. More importantly though, if you were to predict the senate staying blue, you’d need a reason to ignore the established statistics.

What hasn’t been around for the past 100 years and could throw an outlier in the data is the Tea Party. I know I just told you the Indiana senate race in 2012 could be ignored because it was in a presidential year, but the reason it changed hands wasn’t because of odd voter turnout numbers. The thirty six year center right senator from that district, Richard Lugar, was widely assumed to win the seat again. His hadn’t received under 66% of the vote in a senate race since 1982.

No one would have predicted the seat changing parties. No one would have predicted him losing in the Republican Primary to Richard Mourdock. No one would have predicted Mourdock would make statements that amounted to him saying God intends on women being raped. After that there were people who predicted Mourdock would lose to democratic candidate Joe Donnely. That was without the tea party specifically targeting certain republicans in the primaries.

One race I will be watching closely is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He is leading his democratic challenger by 4.5 points in the polls right now over Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes, but he is being challenged in the primaries by tea party candidate Matt Bevin. From the United Kentucky Tea Party:

“Sen. McConnell’s Progressive Liberal voting record, his absolute iron-fisted rule over the Republican Party in Kentucky and his willingness to roll over and cede power to President Obama and the liberals in Washington prove that he is no friend to the American people or the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,”

You’ve probably never heard of the United Kentucky Tea Party. They only have 1,000 members. You may have heard of the Club for Growth. A super-pac that donates millions to candidates including Ted Cruz and Richard Mourdock. You may have also heard of the Senate Conservatives Fund. Another multi million dollar super-pac. Both organizations have expressed interest in backing Matt Bevin over Mitch McConnell. Bevin also has the endorsement of someone I know you’ve heard of, Glenn Beck.

The question is could Bevin win a national election? It’s certainly possible. Which is more likely though, a five term incumbent being reelected in a state that classically favors the incumbent’s party, or a new candidate who has no political experience whatsoever nose diving in the polls after a gaff?

All this leads to the question of the year. Which is worse, having someone from your party who you disagree with on key issues holding the seat, or having someone from the opposing political party hold the seat? The term RINO(Republican in name only) is going to get thrown around a lot this election. When it’s used, the above question is what is really being asked.

For a closer look at what I mean, watch this video of Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity debating the issue. Coulter is arguing that the republicans and tea party need unity because without a majority neither group will have any power to work towards their shared goals. Hannity is saying he has no interest in working with people who would vote to raise against repealing the Affordable Care Act even though it is currently an entirely empty political gesture because the Republican/Tea Party lacks control of any branch of government.

Here’s what I know: history tells us the non presidential party should take control of the senate during a six year midterm, history doesn’t tell us what happens when a party starts actively targeting its own members, history tells us people with no political experience have at least one skeleton in their closet revealed or slip of the tongue during an election cycle, history doesn’t tell us who will win in 2014, but I bet it will be historic.

As always, questions, comments, and concerns are welcome. Answers are guaranteed.