Aftermath

If nothing else, the government ‘shutdown’ and debt struggle has allowed us to definitively weed the the useless pols in Washington from the productive Congressmen. Of the Missouri congressional delegation, four voted to support Reid and Obama—that’s what the vote really was all about. Those MO Congressmen were Lacy Clay, representative from St. Louis, Emmanuel Clever, representative from Kansas City, Claire McCaskill, democrat senator, and Roy Blunt, GOP establishment senator. Roy Blunt’s votes validate the ‘Replace Roy Blunt‘ movement that is growing in the state.

The Senate passed the ‘Run up more debt’ bill by a vote of 81-18. It’s easier to document who, among the GOP senators voted against the bill—and against Reid, Obama and McConnell, than it is to document those who supported Reid and Obama.

Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.)
Marco Rubio (Fla.)
Rand Paul (Ky.)

These first three are expected to be front runners for a conservative presidential candidate in 2016 according to WaPo. I have my strong doubts about Rubio. He’s burned all his bridges with the Tea Party and grassroots conservatives.

Sens. Charles Grassley (Iowa)
Dean Heller (Nev.)
Ron Johnson (Wis.)
Pat Toomey (Pa.)
Sens. Mike Enzi (Wyo.)
Pat Roberts (Kan.)

Two Senators face strong opposition in the next election. Liz Cheney is said to be running against Enzi and Milton Wolfe against Pat Roberts.

Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.)
John Cornyn (Tex.)
Mike Crapo (Idaho)
Mike Lee (Utah)
Jim Risch (Idaho)
Tim Scott (S.C.)
Jeff Sessions (Ala.)
Richard Shelby (Ala.)
David Vitter (La.)

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who would probably have voted, “No,” did not vote. He was recovering from heart surgery. (From The Washington Post.)

There is a graphic, if you follow the link above, that depicts the actual breakdown by political party.

The House—John Boehner approved the Senate bill. Boehner had to enlist Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats to get that approval. In the end the Senate bill passed in the House on a vote of 285 to 144.

Locally, I was gratified to see all of Missouri’s GOP Representatives voting against the Senate bill and Boehner. The only two MO representatives who voted yes were democrats Clay and Cleaver. I have had some harsh words for GOP Representative Vicky Hartzler over her votes on the massive Ag bill earlier this year. I have to applaud her for her votes on this bill. She stayed with her constituents.

The votes from the Kansas congressional delegation was more mixed.

Kansas:
• Sen. Jerry Moran — Yes
• Sen. Pat Roberts — No
• Rep. Kevin Yoder — No
• Rep. Tim Huelskamp — No
• Rep. Lynn Jenkins — Yes
• Rep. Mike Pompeo — No
Kansas City Business Journal

To say I’m disappointed in Senator Jerry Moran and Representative Lynn Jenkins is an understatement.

So where do we go from here? As usual, Erick Erickson from Red State has thoughts on that.

Much cynicism has been expressed over the past month about the effort, led by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, to fight Obamacare. It was about money or defeating Republicans or something other than what it was about — undermining Obamacare with a united front.

It was always about undermining Obamacare, despite the claims of others. But, those of us who were in this fight against Obamacare have been quite open that we knew there were side benefits. This fight would expose conservative activists to the frauds they have funded.

Men like Mitch McConnell, John Cornyn, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and others have preached a great sermon against Obamacare, but now conservatives who supported them see that these men have refused to actually practice what they’ve been preaching. They’ve refused to stand and fight with the rest of us.

The fight was always about Obamacare. Today we know we must keep fighting and fight harder against even our own supposed side. But we always knew the fight would force the charlatans of the GOP out of the shadows into disinfecting sunlight. It has happened as I wrote it would almost a month ago.

Now conservatives can keep advancing. They should not be disheartened.

In reality, the GOP of a decade ago would never have fought like it has fought now. The party that gave us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and TARP would never have stood for two weeks embarrassing Democrats with short term spending bills.

Ted Cruz and Mike Lee may not have been able to strike a death blow to Obamacare today, but they were able to fight a fight that would have been impossible before them. They have now made it less and less possible for Republicans to collaborate with Democrats to fix or stabilize Obamacare.

So we must advance. Two Republicans in the Senate caused this fight that their colleagues would have surrendered on more quickly but for them. Imagine a Senate filled with more. We have an opportunity to replace Mitch McConnell in Kentucky with a better conservative. We should do that. We have the opportunity to send a strong conservative from North Carolina and we should do that. Same in Colorado. Kansas looks to be in play. Chris McDaniel will declare his candidacy for the Senate in Mississippi. Conservatives will rally to him quickly. Tennessee could be in play too.

The establishment has given conservatives a brilliant opportunity to advance against them and then against the Democrats. As Obamacare now goes into full swing, conservatives can show that they tried to stop it while Mitch McConnell and so many others sat and watched from a cozy booth the Capitol Hill Club leaving the fighting to others while they did everything possible to undermine the fight.

As more Americans watch Obamacare fail them through the Republican primary season, conservatives will be able to put the focus on Republicans who funded Obamacare instead of fighting it. Whether they like it or not, Republicans in Congress will find their names on ballots in 2014. They cannot hide or escape fate.

Conservatives must advance — ever advancing against the Republicans who have folded in the fight against Obamacare. We will not win all the fights. But Ted Cruz and Mike Lee show we do not have to win them all. We just need reinforcements.

The last time the major leaders of an American political party tried to compromise their way to power, the party broke apart giving us the Republicans. This fight too will break apart the GOP. There will not necessarily be a new party from it, but there will be a fundamentally altered party of new faces fueled by a grassroots movement now able to connect with each other and independent from Wall Street and K Street funders.

Never before have the people been less dependent on a party apparatus to play in primaries. Conservatives now have groups like Heritage Action, Senate Conservatives Fund, Madison Project, Club for Growth, FreedomWorks, For America, and others to fund and rely on.

Grassroots upset about this fight should be encouraged. We’d have never gotten this far with the GOP before 2010. Imagine now the possibilities in 2014 if we make examples of a GOP that refused to fight Obamacare.

2014 must now be about advancing, ever advancing, even through the ranks of the GOP to have the fights that must be had.

Republican leaders in Washington want you to get off the field.  Instead, get involved and get even. — Red State.

Our enemies have chosen us. Now it is time for us to choose their replacements.

 

 

 

Monday’s Moments for July 1, 2013

A collection of miscellany for today. Today is the date a series of new state laws take affect across the country. The Senate, the dems and fifteen ‘pubs, passed their Illegal Alien Amnesty bill. The House rejected the Food Stamp and Pork bill with the help of democrats and Heritage Action for America had a presentation at a local Tea Party gathering.

Starting with the last item, last Friday night, Mrs. Crucis and I were invited to attend a Tea Party meeting where the regional Hertiage Action representative Ben Evans would be speaking. It was an interesting session. The HA representative was accompanied by the MOGOP Political Director, Steve Michael.

That, by itself, was an interesting connection. The Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action purport themselves to be non-establishment. The Missouri GOP is the establishment…at least at the state level. The question is, is Heritage Action supporting the establishment or is the MO GOP establishment distancing themselves from Washington?

The actual presentation was about what I expected. I did have my opinion confirmed that sending emails to our elected US Representatives and Senators was useless. At best, they are just counted. Some officials may tally by subject. A few, a very few apparently, may note the number of pros and cons on a subject. For the most part, emails, unless addressed to a specific staffer, go into the bit bucket. Unfortunately, the same applies for phone calls. Unless you connect to the specific staffer working the issue, your call is ignored.

Signing online petitions is worth even less. There are a few exceptions when the petitions are conducted by some lobbyists. They use the petitions to brow-beat pols into believing whatever position the lobbyist represents.

What does work? Personal visits and actual snail-mail letters according to Heritage Action. I have my doubts on the former. I’ve spoken several times with my local US representative on a number of issues. Regardless, she votes the Washington establishment line.

What did I take away from this meeting? Personal meetings and letters work for some but I’m not convinced it will be all that effective.

A woman at the meeting, in the Q&A session, asked if our ‘Pub representatives really understand how angry people are becoming. The answer? “No, they’re not.” Apparently, once in office, our representatives become isolated behind their hired staffers—staffers whose job it is to formulate policy and to isolate their boss from the public.

Many of these hired staffers are long-time members of the establishment. When a Congressman leaves office, they migrate to another Congressman. In their view, contrary positions from constituents are ignored and public trends are modified to support political positions of the Washington establishment. Establishment staffers insure inexperienced Congressmen toe the establishment line.

Not only do our officials not understand how angry people are, neither, I believe, do the Heritage Action rep and the MOGOP political director. My impression is that these two heard what they expected to hear.

I have been a Heritage Action member since it was created over a year ago. I will continue to be a member. Unfortunately, I’m coming to believe the Heritage Action leadership and by extension, the Heritage Foundation are behind the curve. Both the HA and HF believe in action by lobbying ‘Pub politicians. I no longer believe that tactic works.

***

One aspect of the HA meeting was the Heritage Foundation scorecard of Missouri’s U.S. elected officials. I was surprised to hear that Billy Long, Congressman from Missouri’s 7th District had a score above 90%. The score reflected how consistent Billy Long voted on issues—conservative vs. non-conservative, as judged by the Heritage Foundation.

During the last primary, I heard a lot of criticism about Billy Long. I had no real basis to judge, I’m not in his district. In retrospect, if Billy Long was so bad, how did he acquire such a high score? I have some opinions why but those aren’t the subject of this post.

Newly elected Jason Smith (R-MO-8) who was recently replaced Jo Ann Emerson, had a very low score. Jason Smith had only voted once when the last scoreboard scores were calculated. He voted, “Yes,” on the Food Stamp bill, in contradiction of his campaign rhetoric. He campaigned that he’d vote, “No.” Jason, you disappoint me. In office a week and already you’ve already reneged on meeting your campaign promises to your constituents.

But, Jason Smith wasn’t alone. Every Representative in Missouri voted for that monstrous welfare bill—as did all the ‘Pubs from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, and other midwestern states. It lost because 71 ‘Pubs, and the House dems (who wanted MORE welfare,) voted against the bill.

It’s a sad tale when we have to rely on dems to kill a wasteful bill. Yes, Jason Smith, disappointed me. I’d hoped you’d be more than just an establishment rubber-stamp.

***

The Senate, with the help of 15 ‘Pub Senators, passed the Illegal Alien Amnesty bill—a bill masquerading as an immigration ‘reform’ bill. The primary spokesman for the ‘Gang of Eight’, Marco Rubio staked his political career on the vote and will likely now bear the consequences. Rubio used the Tea Party to get elected. I doubt the Tea Party members in Florida will repeat their mistake.

***

Today is July 1st and across the country new laws take effect. Here’s a summary.

Around the nation, July 1 marks the start of new fiscal years and the date recently passed legislation goes into effect, although states often mark their independence by enacting new regulations on their own calendars.

The laws and effective dates vary somewhat from state to state, but an overview of legislation set to hit the books July 1st shows that state lawmakers took positions on the following five topics of national debate:

– GUNS: State legislatures across the U.S. discussed gun laws in the wake of mass shootings that shocked the nation in 2012. Most efforts to pass restrictions faded amid fierce opposition. Only a handful of states enacted new limits, some of which go into effect Monday. Among them Colorado is notable for requiring background checks for private and online gun sales and outlawing high-capacity ammunition magazines. At least 18 states, however, have gone the other way and loosened gun laws. Kansas laws set to take effect will allow schools to arm employees with concealed handguns and ensure that weapons can be carried into more public buildings.

– TECH: Dozens of states examined technology laws. Recently passed legislation in eight states will prevent businesses from demanding passwords to social media sites as a condition of employment. The law in Washington state also stops employers from compelling workers to add managers as “friends” so their profile can be viewed. Four states updated tech laws to allow drivers to show proof of car insurance on an electronic device, such as a smartphone.

– CARS: A handful of states have restricted cellphone use while driving. Starting Monday in Hawaii and West Virginia motorists will have to put down handheld devices. Meanwhile, in South Dakota beginning drivers will face similar restrictions. Utah also enacted limits for newbies with a law that has already taken effect. A few states have banned texting while driving. Other state laws affecting drivers will make it illegal to smoke in a car with a child, raise highway speed limits, crackdown on drunken drivers and raise gas taxes. NOTE: in Kansas, texting in an automobile is illegal even when the auto is stopped or not moving.

– ABORTION: Nationally, state lawmakers proposed more than 300 bills that would have restricted abortions, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. At least 13 state legislatures passed new limits, though two are waiting for governors to sign off. Notably, a bill that would have closed almost every abortion clinic in Texas was defeated by a Democratic filibuster and a restless crowd in late June. The Texas governor, however, has ordered another special legislative session to push the bill through. North Dakota has passed the nation’s strictest abortion law, which takes effect in August, banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

-DRONES: An Idaho law taking effect Monday forbids anyone from using an unmanned aircraft for spying on another. Virginia has passed a ban preventing authorities from using drones for the next two years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Four other states approved anti-drone regulations, though legislation aimed at law enforcement in Texas isn’t effective until fall.

Not all of the measures set to take effect were matters dominating national political discussion. The following five examples of recently approved legislation show state-level updates can cover a variety of topics:

– SEXIST LANGUAGE: Washington lawmakers are completing work to strip the state’s books of sexist language. References to “his” will be changed to “his or her,” college “freshmen” will become “first-year students” and “penmanship” will be called “handwriting.”

– JACKPOT: Wyoming residents might soon consider 7, 1 and 13 as lucky numbers. A Cowboy State law kicking in Monday calls for the state to establish a lottery for the first time, leaving a dwindling list of only a handful of states without such a prize drawing.

– ELECTION DAY DRINKING: Kentucky has lifted a ban on election day drinking. It was one of the last states with Prohibition-era restrictions on the sale of alcohol while polls are open.

– EDIBLE LANDSCAPING: Maine lawmakers this session have directed officials to plant edible landscaping, such as fruit trees or berry shrubs, around the Statehouse.

– TANNING: Dozens of states this year considered keeping minors out of tanning beds. New Jersey and Nevada restrictions kick in July 1, and an Oregon limit takes effect in January.