Artist Reveals Bill Clinton's Official White House Portrait Has Monica Lewinsky Reference
Monday, March 2
By Christine Rousselle
While the internet broke this past weekend over a debate regarding the color of a dress (#TeamWhiteAndGold), Nelson Shanks, the artist who painted President Bill Clinton's portrait, revealed in an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News that the painting contains an Easter egg reference to another infamous blue dress: the one worn by Monica Lewinsky. The portrait currently hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.
If you look at the left-hand side of it there's a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.
While the artist claims that the Clintons have tried to remove the portrait, the National Portrait Gallery disputes this claim.
While this seems like a bit of a low blow, artists inserting their beliefs into their work isn't exactly a new concept. Shanks has a point—the Lewinsky scandal definitely cast a shadow over Clinton's presidency, and one could argue that the perception of the office of the president was changed drastically by the whole affair. My first memory of anything political was asking my mother about why everyone was mad at this Monica Lewinsky woman. Given that I was six years old at the time their "relationship" became public, there was no way my mother could explain the scandal to me without any sort of permanent emotional scarring and/or complete loss of childhood innocence. Clinton was the president I grew up with, and he wasn't exactly the leadership role model the president should be.
Caring: Lengthy Obamacare Application Process is Leaving Newborns Uninsured
Monday, March 2
By Cortney O'Brien
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) wasn’t prepared for the lengthy battle he was about to endure when he and his wife Grace tried to put their newborn girl Camille on their health insurance plan. Yet, thanks to the overbearing bureaucratic process of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, that seemingly simple action became World War Three.
Appearing on Fox News’ “Varney & Co.” Friday, Rep. Mooney explained why their daughter, born in October, wasn’t added to their insurance plan until late January.
The Mooneys’ headache was brought on by Obamacare’s bureaucratic procedure. You see, in order to add your newborn to your insurance plan you have to apply for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and be either accepted or denied. It is an income-based plan, yet even if you know your income is above the threshold and you won’t qualify for CHIP, you nonetheless have to fill out an application and wait for a response. The entire process often takes longer than the 30-day period parents have to add their newborns to their plans.
Since parents aren’t getting their rejection letters back until after the 30-day deadline, they can’t add a child to their plan until the open enrollment period. This means, they are responsible for any medical costs until that period.
Mooney is not the only parent who has had to battle the HHS. KUTV.com reported on the plights of three families with newborns who tried to sign their children up through CHIP and similarly missed the deadline. One mother, Maggie, lamented the fact she knew she wouldn’t qualify and saw no reason for submitting an application, “but they said we had to.” The reporter concluded it is “impossible” for many of these parents to add their new babies to their plans:
“They are getting stuck with massive labor and delivery bills they should not have to pay.”
After their report on how newborns are being rejected insurance, KUTV reached out to the Department of Health and Human Services for an explanation. The agency responded with this helpful information:
“It is important to answer all the questions on the application, so the child can receive a correct eligibility determination…To avoid a delay in coverage, parents are encouraged to return to the marketplace to report a birth…as soon as they can.”
In case you couldn’t tell in my lead in to the quote, my use of “helpful” was sarcastic.
After KUTV contacted HHS, the local news station received at least 15 calls from other parents dealing with the same Big Government obstacles. Oh yeah, and each of the three families featured in the segment suddenly heard back that their newborn children had been added to their plans.
Seeking to draw attention to Obamacare’s unfair bureaucratic process, Rep. Mooney is writing a letter to HHS Secretary Silvia Mathews Burwell asking for clarification on the marketplace website. For instance, online it says you have 60 days to report a new birth, but in reality it’s being treated as a regular life event that you have 30 days to report. Mooney also wants clearer language regarding CHIP, as well as the process for getting covered if you miss the deadline – right now there is no clear alternative option.
“This is the latest highlight of the terrible effects of putting federal bureaucracy in between a family and their healthcare decisions, “ Mooney said. “The terrible financial impact of having a newborn go uncovered is wreaking havoc on struggling young families. I can attest to the absurdity of this process having lived through it myself in the last year, and being prevented from adding my newborn baby to my family’s insurance plan.”
Moral of the story? Bureaucracy and babies don’t mix.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski: "I Will Not Be Seeking a Sixth Term"
Monday, March 2
By Daniel Doherty
This is genuinely surprising. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) – who has served in Congress longer than any other woman in American history – announced today she is calling it quits after 2016.
“Service for me is about solving problems, helping my constituents, making sure that they not only get by, but they get ahead,” she said at a press conference in Baltimore, Maryland Monday morning. “Now, in 2016, my reelection would be on the horizon. I have thought long and hard about the next two years and I had to ask myself this question: ‘Who am I campaigning for?’”
“Do I spend my time raising money, or do I spend my time raising hell?” she asked rhetorically. “Do I focus on my election, or do I focus on the next generation?”
Clearly, after giving serious thought to her political future, she chose the latter course.
“I’m here today [to announce] that I will not be seeking a sixth term in the United States Senate,” she declared. “This has been a hard decision to make. I have served in the Senate for a while and at the conclusion of this term, I will have served over 30 years [in Congress]. That’s hard to believe.”
She made sure to emphasize, however, that she is not retiring because she is ill or disenchanted with Washington. Instead, she is retiring because she wants to focus on the job she was elected to do: Serving her constituents.
“I want the people of Maryland to know there’s nothing gloomy about this announcement: There’s no health problem, I’m not frustrated with the Senate — the Senate will always be what the Senate is,” she intoned. “But I have decided … I want to give 120 percent of my time [to] my constituents. Because it’s never been about me, it’s always been about them.”
Why Obama Fears Netanyahu's Speech
Monday, March 2
By Conn Carroll
President Obama does not want Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak in front of a joint session of Congress Tuesday.
His National Security Advisor Susan Rice even told PBS last week that the speech was "destructive to the fabric" of the Israeli-American relationship.
The Obama administration has consistently maintained that their objection to Netanyahu's visits is due to the upcoming Israeli elections. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has repeatedly claimed that the White House has a firm policy of not meeting foreign leaders too close to an election. The White House also claims that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) breached protocol by inviting Netanyahu to speak without first consulting with the president.
But the real reason Obama fears Netanyahu's speech is because he knows the Israeli prime minister will make a forceful case against Obama's imminent nuclear deal with Iran. I
Netanyahu believes this too. Which is why posted this tweet before he left Israel for the United States Sunday:
I am leaving for Washington on a fateful, even historic mission. I am the emissary of all Israelis, even those who disagree with me.
The "mission" Netanyahu is referring to, is an end to Obama's emerging nuclear deal with Iran, which Netanyahu and many Israeli's believe would be detrimental to their country's national security.
“What was achieved last night in Geneva is not a historic agreement, but a historic mistake,” Netanyahu said after Obama inked an interim agreement with Tehran in November. "Today the world has become a much more dangerous place because the most dangerous regime in the world has taken a significant step toward attaining the most dangerous weapon in the world," the prime minister continued.
Netanyahu has also signaled that he has new information for Congress about the Iranian deal that Obama has not shared with his country. "We know many details from the agreement being put together, details that we feel members of Congress are unaware of," an Israeli official told Haaretz. "According to the information we have, the deal currently taking shape will leave Iran with the capability to build a nuclear weapon, if Khamenei make a decision to do so."
The existing information on the deal is alarming to even those sympathetic to the White House. Former-Mossad official Meir Dagan, a critic of Netanyahu, told The Atlantic, "Two issues in particular concern me with respect to the talks between the world powers and Iran: What happens if and when the Iranians violate the agreement, and what happens when the period of the agreement comes to an end and they decide to pursue nuclear weapons?”
Expect Netanyahu to hammer both of the points in front of Congress Tuesday.
And if the White House has an answer to these concerns, they haven't shared it yet.
Capitol Source: Guy Benson On His New Book 'End of Discussion'
Monday, March 2
By Townhall.com Staff
Townhall's Guy Benson shares stories and facts from his forthcoming book: End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun!), which was coauthored by Hot Air's Mary Katharine Ham.
"Frankly, we wrote End of Discussion primarily for Conservatives. But we really went out of our way to try to write it, first of all, in a way that is fun and at times funny to read," Benson explains.
"But we also wanted to be as fair to the other side as possible, to be intellectually honest. So people can give this book to their Moderate or Liberal friends and say: 'Hey if you really believe yourself to be open-minded and tolerant, this is an issue that affects all of us.'"
Be sure to pre-order your copy (and maybe a few for your friends) here.
Netanyahu Arrives in U.S. Ahead of Controversial Address to Joint Session of Congress
Monday, March 2
By Katie Pavlich
As negotiations over a deal with Iran continue, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in the United States ahead of his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday night.
A senior Israeli official told reporters on Netanyahu's flight that Congress could be "the last brake" for stopping a nuclear deal with Iran.
Saying it was Israel's impression that members of Congress "do not necessarily know the details of the deal coming together, which we do not see as a good deal," the official said Netanyahu in his speech would give a detailed explanation of his objections to an Iran deal.
House Speaker John Boehner extended the speaking invitation to Netanyahu earlier this year without consulting the White House, prompting boycotts of his speech by the Congressional Black Caucus and a number of liberal Democrats. Last week former ambassador to the United Nations and current White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice claimed publicly that Netanyahu's speech, which is expected to be focused on the threat of a nuclear Iran, will be "destructive to the fabric" of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.
During his visit, Netanyahu will not be hosted by President Obama at the White House and has turned down an invitation to meet with Senate Democrats. Vice President Joe Biden will not attend the speech and Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Geneva for meetings.
Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner continues to stand by his decision to invite Netanyahu and said yesterday on CBS' Face the Nation that tickets to the speech are in high demand.
“The demand for seats in the House, the demand for tickets – I’ve never seen anything like it. Everybody wants to be there. What I do wonder, is why the White House feels threatened because the Congress wants to support Israel, and wants to hear what a trusted ally has to say? And it’s been frankly remarkable to me the extent to which, over the last five or six weeks, the White House has attacked the Prime Minister, attacked me, for wanting to hear from one of our closes allies," Boehner said. "The threat coming from Iran and the Iranians having a nuclear weapon is a threat to the region, it’s a threat to the United States, and it’s a threat to the rest of the world. This is a serious issue and we’re not going to resolve this issue by sticking our heads in the sand. The prime minister can talk about this threat, I believe, better than anyone. And the United States Congress wants to hear from him, and so do the American people.”
Saturday Night Live Skit Mocks ISIS
Sunday, March 1
By Christine Rousselle
Saturday Night Live sparked a bit of controversy last night when the show released a sketch that portrayed a daughter being dropped off at the airport by her father to join ISIS.
The skit was modeled after a Toyota commercial that showed a girl growing up from her father's point of view, culminating with him dropping her off at the airport to join the military. On the SNL version, the daughter is instead greeted by a truck full of ISIS militants armed with machine guns.
Personally, I thought the SNL sketch was funny, and this "outrage" (while relatively minor) is kind of ridiculous. To borrow a line from comedian Margaret Cho, "you imprison, starve and brainwash my people, you get made fun of by me." ISIS wants to destroy the west. ISIS has beheaded journalists. They've beheaded Christians on a beach. Polio is making a resurgence in areas under ISIS control. Yet despite these atrocities, Americans are still attempting to join up with them. These people are worthy of being mocked. They are scum. We should not be worried about offending a group of people who would have zero issue with killing the entire cast of Saturday Night Live.
Expressing outrage over a skit like this is elevating ISIS to an untouchable level. That's what they want. This shouldn't happen.
Jeb Bush: I’m A 'Practicing Reform-Minded Conservative' Named ‘Veto Corleone’
Sunday, March 1
By Matt Vespa
Friday, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush decided to venture into less than friendly territory by having a Q&A session with Fox News’ Sean Hannity that lasted almost 30 minutes. Bush was originally supposed to give a speech, but that was scrapped at the last minute.
Hannity asked the potential 2016 candidate about his quotes criticizing conservative Republicans for being too focused on what they’re against, which Bush feels has made the party look “anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, and anti-worker” to the rest of the electorate.
Bush said he feels that Republicans have fought in a principled way against the overreach of the Obama administration (Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, and the Stimulus), but there needs to come a time when the party should be for things, like a strong national defense. He also mentioned being for an agenda that focuses on growth; offering alternatives to the failed tax, regulatory, and education polices of this administration.
So, what about immigration and Common Core, the two issues that seems to be hurting Gov. Bush with the Republican base? Well, here’s what he had to say:
SEAN HANNITY: You [Jeb Bush] said, “Yeah, they broke the law, it’s not a felony, it’s an act of love.” You also said that you support a path to citizenship. And when you were governor, two other things, when you were governor, you supported drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and you supported in-state tuition prices for those children of illegal immigrants that weren’t citizens. I want to give you an opportunity to address that
JEB BUSH: So, on immigration, I wrote a book about this -- instead of people pining about what I believe, that might want to read the book. It’s called ‘Immigration Wars.’ You can get it on Amazon for probably $1.99; it’s probably deeply discounted. And in that book, I talk about first and foremost the need to enforce the borders. A great country needs to enforce borders for national security purposes, public health purposes, and the rule of law. First and foremost we have to do that. Secondly, we need to narrow family petitioning so that it’s the same as every other country, spouse and minor children. Not this broad definition of spouse, minor children, adult siblings and adult parents, that crowds out what we need, which are economic-driven immigrants. Those who come here to work, to invest in their dreams in this country, to create opportunities for all of us, and that’s what we need to get to.
And so -- the plan also includes a path to legal status. I have not seen anybody, and I know there’s disagreement here–some of these people are angry about this–and, look, I kind of feel your pain. I was in Miami this morning; it was 70 degrees. So, the simple fact is there is no plan to deport 11 million people. We should give them a path to legal status, where they work, where they don’t receive government benefits, where they don’t break the law, where they learn English, and where they make a contribution to our society. That’s what we need to be focused on.
On Common Core:
HANNITY: The second big issue that always comes up when you read about Governor Jeb Bush is the issue of Common Core. It was interesting. I didn’t know until I was researching you that you were the first governor to institute vouchers in the country, was eventually overruled by the Supreme Court of Florida. But, you were the first governor to allow a voucher system. I think a lot of conservatives believe in vouchers. I want you to address the Common Core issue.
BUSH: I’ll do it in the context of comprehensive reform because high standards, by themselves, aren’t meaningful, they’re helpful, they’re better than lower standards, but by themselves, if there is no accountability around this, if there is no consequence for mediocrity and failure or excellence, then the system won’t move forward. In Florida, we took a comprehensive approach.
Yes, we did have the first statewide voucher program, and we have more school choice in Florida, both public and private than in any state in the country, and we have the largest virtual school. We have the largest corporate tax scholarship program. We have 30,000 students, that if their parents…if their child has a learning disability, they can take the dollars, the state and local dollars, and send them to any private school of their choice. We have all of that–and that’s improved public schools. We eliminated social promotion in third grade, which was a pretty difficult thing to do. We did all this, and we raised standards. And my belief is that our standards have to be high enough, where a student going through our system is college or career ready, and that’s not what’s happening right now.
HANNITY: Is Common Core a federal takeover?
HANNITY: It’s not?
BUSH: And it shouldn’t be. Here’s where I think conservatives–and myself–all of us are deeply concerned with this president and this Department of Education, there’s a risk that they will intrude and they have, as it relates to Race to the Top. What we should say quite clearly in the authorization of the K-12 law– that is just…I think it may have actually been on the floor in the House of Representatives today, is to say, the federal government has no role in the creation of standards, either directly or indirectly. The federal government has no role in the creation of curriculum and content. The federal government should have no access to student I.D. or student information. The role of the federal government, if there’s any, is to provide incentives for more school choice. Take the Title 1 money, and the IDEA money. And if states want to innovate with their own programs–give them the money to let them create their own programs. That is a better approach.
Hannity then discussed Gov. Bush’s record, which he took tremendous pride in that fact that he issues $19 billion in tax cuts and vetoed $2 billion in spending in his eight years as governor of Florida. This earned him the nickname “Veto Corelone” in the state legislature. Bush also said he made Florida business-friendly–and they noticed. The Sunshine State grew at 3.9 percent, whereas the national average hovered around 2.6 percent.
The governor also mentioned that under his watch 1.3 million net new jobs were created in his eight years. On education, Bush noted that Florida has been an example of rising student achievement–and that kids in poverty are the leaders in education, outperforming their peers in various areas.
Bush referenced his executive order that eliminated affirmative action, “but through hard work, we ended up having a system where more African-American and Hispanic kids attending our university system than prior to the system that was discriminatory,” he said.
On fiscal matters, Gov. Bush took pride in the fact that he left the governor’s mansion with a huge surplus for his successor. He told the crowd, “I left the state with $9.5 billion of reserves–no drunken sailors were around.”
“We left my successor $9 billion+ of cash for a rainy day,” he added.
Hannity then asked his top five primary action items if he were to be elected president. Bush said he would 1. Roll back Obama’s executive actions 2. Institute a regulatory reform agenda 3. Do something about taxes 4. Have policies that focus of rebuilding America’s economic growth at high rates and sustaining them and 5. Have a robust national security, telling the world we will be their partners to maintain peace and security.
Before they exited the stage, Hannity and Bush did some word association for fun. Hannity described himself as a Reagan constitutional conservative. Bush said he's a practicing reform-minded conservative. When Barack Obama’s name came up, the first two words that came to mind for the former governor was “failed president.”
From the looks of it, one might think Jeb Bush did well at CPAC. Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post wrote that Bush did “very, very well” at the conference. The reported attendee walk out on Jeb fizzled fast–and the ballroom was packed. This was probably due to the fact that Jeb supporters were bused in from K Street.
Many will probably agree more with National Review’s Jim Geraghty’s (who was honored as Conservative Journalist of the Year at CPAC) assessment of the Bush Q&A, which is that as long as he didn’t trip up on the issues that are plaguing him thus far–Common Core and immigration–he would be fine.
Come on. @JebBush was going to do okay at CPAC as long as he didn't endorse Common Core curriculum for amnestied illegal immigrant kids.
Bush ended up in fifth place in the CPAC straw poll.
VIDEO: What is the Left's Biggest Misconception About Conservatives?
Sunday, March 1
By Townhall.com Staff
During CPAC, we asked attendees what they believed the left misunderstands the most about the conservative movement. Townhall's Ky Sisson reports:
Kerry: It Was 'Odd' Boehner Invited Netanyahu to Address Congress
Sunday, March 1
By Cortney O'Brien
Secretary of State John Kerry is awfully frustrated with House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress this Tuesday.
Here’s what Kerry had to say about Boehner’s daring invitation Sunday morning on ABC’s "This Week:
“It was odd, if not unique, that we learned of it from the speaker of the House and that an administration was not included in this process," he said. "But the administration is not seeking to politicize this.”
While insisting the White House has no political desires in regards to the foreign leaders' appearance (Kerry said they don't want it to become a "poltical football"), some have suggested that Netanyahu may have political motivations, seeing as his visit is taking place just two weeks before Israeli elections.
Kerry isn’t the only member of the Obama administration to express frustration with Netanyahu’s visit. Speaking with PBS’s Charlie Rose, National Security Advisor Susan Rice said Netanyahu’s speech will be “destructive” to the America-Israel relationship.
As for Netanyahu, he clearly seems to have other motives – and deadlines – in mind. Speaking to the Conference of Presidents last week, the prime minister passionately explained that he is going to Washington now because of the important nuclear arms deal with Iran that is approaching at the end of March.
“Israel has been offered the opportunity to make its case on this crucial issue before the world’s most important Parliament. A speech before Congress allows Israel to present its position to the elected representatives to the American people and to a worldwide audience.”
America, he continued, has the ability to place needed pressure on Iran. Netanyahu then asked an important question:
“How could any responsible Israeli Prime Minister refuse to speak to Congress on a matter so important to Israel’s survival?”
Yet, the Obama administration continues to suggest Netanyahu’s visit is an unwelcome one and some Democrats have even threatened to boycott the speech.
Perhaps sensing backlash for the Obama White House's irritated reaction to Netanyahu's upcoming surprise speech, Kerry tried to defend the administration’s relationship with Israel. He did this by pointing out that America has intervened on behalf of Israel a couple of hundred times in just the past two years.
Well, numbers tell one story, but President Obama and his administration’s exasperated attitude toward Netanyahu and Israel suggests our nations are not so close after all. Can you remember any other administration daring to say this about our long term friend in the Middle East?
After all this, President Obama, the Secretary of State and other senior officials in the White House continue to claim they are Israel’s friend.
Well, if that’s true, then they have an “odd” way of showing it.
Beast Is Slain, Publication Admits Walker Was ‘Unfairly Attacked On College Rape’ In Hit Piece
Sunday, March 1
By Matt Vespa
Yesterday, Daily Beast, acting off of the piece in Jezebel, reported that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker had removed a provision in his proposed budget that required universities to report rapes on their campuses. I bet you can guess what the reaction from some (I know I’m being generous with some) on the left. Well, it turns out the University of Wisconsin asked the governor to remove the provision since it was redundant since the Clery Act and Title IX cover reporting and responding of rapes on college campuses.
It took the Beast and Jezebel hours to get their act together andoffer retractions. Beast retitled their discredited story saying Walker was “unfairly attacked.” Jezebel did not change the headline, but their reporter, Natasha Vargas-Cooper, eventually apologized on Twitter for screwing up.
A Daily Beast college columnist at the University of Wisconsin based this article off a Jezebel posting which was incorrectly reported. Jezebel updated their post on Saturday with the following after USA Today published a story debunking Jezebel's account and clarifying Gov. Scott Walker's position. "UPDATE: After Jezebel ran this item yesterday, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin came forward—over two weeks after the budget was released—to clarify: the University requested that Gov. Walker delete the requirements because efforts were redundant with their compliance of the Cleary Act. Scott Walker's camp assures that he's committed to protecting victims.”
The Daily Beast is committed to covering the news fairly and accurately, and we should have checked this story more thoroughly. We deeply regret the error and apologize to Gov. Walker and our readers. This story should be considered retracted.
[Editor's Note: After Jezebel ran this item yesterday, a spokesman for the University of Wisconsin came forward—over two weeks after the budget was released—to clarify: the University requested that Gov. Walker delete the requirements because efforts were redundant with their compliance of the Clery Act. Scott Walker's camp assures that he's committed to protecting victims. We reported this piece without full context, and while this piece conveys factual information, omission of that context for that information presents an unfair and misleading picture. We regret the error and apologize.]
Vargas-Cooper got a little huffy on Twitter regarding her debunked piece. On Twitter, she at first refused to apologize since it was in the budget, instead saying that we should blame Walker for bad optics. She eventually relented later that day.
Ran an update on the Walker piece. Find another thing to be outraged about sweet, sweet Walkerites.
Oh, and the $300 million cut to the public university system, which is amongst his other reforms that Walker proposes, still equals a meager 2.5 percent of their operating budget. Brian Weidy, the Daily Beast reporter who wrote about this, has gone silent on Twitter since the story was published on February 27. Oh, and let’s not forget the New York Times foul-up, blaming teacher layoffs on Walker … before he was governor.
Was Gang Member Who Allegedly Committed Quadruple Homicide a DREAMer?
Sunday, March 1
By Leah Barkoukis
Sen. Chuck Grassley is demanding answers from DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson about the immigration status of Emmanuel Jesus Rangel-Hernandez, the suspected gang member who allegedly murdered four people, including a former “America’s Next Top Model,” in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this week.
“Mr. Rangel-Hernandez allegedly applied for and received deferred action under the President’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” he wrote in a letter to Johnson on Friday. Grassley then requested files on Rangel-Hernandez from DHS and its sub agencies be sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Illegal immigrants have killed tens of thousands of Americans—deaths that were entirely preventable had our nation’s leaders enforced immigration laws already on the books. If Congress loses the battle to defund President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, this trend will sadly continue in the years ahead.
As Ann Coulter argued in her column this week, Americans are much more likely to be killed, raped, or maimed by illegal immigrants than they are by ISIS. Yet, we continue to have a laser-like focus on international threats that, so far, have killed only a few Americans. While those deaths are tragic, and the threat from ISIS should by no means be ignored, “ISIS is not at our doorstep,” Coulter pointed out. On the other hand, “illegal immigrants are not only at our doorstep, but millions of them are already through the door, murdering far more Americans than ISIS ever will.”
Couldn't we please focus on Americans for a bit? Can't a Republican Congress do anything to stop the surge of foreign criminals, viruses and parasites crossing our border? Will politicians ever stop gassing on about what's happening 7,000 miles away and worry about us?
But politicians and the media only want to give us war, while aiding the enemy in the war we're already in, here at home.
The 24/7 Media Matters Machine Against Bill O'Reilly
Sunday, March 1
By Kevin Glass
Last week, Mother Jones journalist David Corn alleged that Fox News host Bill O'Reilly had been exaggerating his time as a foreign correspondent in Argentina during the Falklands War. Despite vociferous denials from O'Reilly and his bosses at Fox News, the left-wing smear machine jumped into action.
Media Matters for America, the Soros-funded "watchdog" organization that has an unhealthy obsession with Fox News, assigned just about every journalist on staff to try to dig up dirt on the Fox host. All 45 researchers working "around the clock" have been able to uncover... well, not much.
But their failure has not deterred the intrepid researchers at Media Matters. An employee over there tells Politico that their crusade to bring down O'Reilly is just one part of "a long term game."
David Brock, the founder of Media Matters, has been obsessed with taking down Fox for a long time. While the organization has had an anti-Fox agenda ever since its inception, in 2010 Brock explicitly dedicated the organization to a "War On Fox."
Brock has a lot of experience exploiting his younger staff members in pursuit of hopeless causes. Media Matters has waged a war on its staff in an effort to prevent their unionization, and David Brock's pro-Hillary Clinton PAC American Bridge has engaged in similar crusades. Paul Begala, Brock's associate and member of team Clinton, jokes of Brock that "he finds all of these nerd virgins and locks them away in a vault where they never see sunlight."
One can imagine the scene at Media Matters right now.
Rep. Rodgers Hits Obama for Robbing Americans Of Economic Opportunities At CPAC
Saturday, February 28
By Matt Vespa
National Harbor, MD -- A small, but passionate wing of attendees stayed for the fourth day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, where the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference noted how she’s inspired to see all the young conservatives who came to the Washington D.C.-area for CPAC.
She assured the audience that the conservative movement is alive, strong, diverse, and most importantly growing. Given the Republican gains in the 2014 elections, it’s a valid point. She took pride in the fact that the Republican Party has a record majority in the House of Representatives.
The main focus of her speech was grounded in rebuilding the American dream, a point that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker–a potential 2016 presidential candidate–has been making across the country.
Rep. Rodgers said she couldn’t have fathomed being the 200th woman to serve in the House of Representatives, being that she grew up in a small town in eastern Washington, picking fruit on her family farm.
Right now, she said her desire to keep the American dream alive is what makes her proud to be a conservative. She said we must have a “bottom-up” style of conservatism that looks to the future not the past; that trusts the people, not the government with ensuring their financial security and economic stability.
She noted how job creation gives you opportunity, dignity, and a sense of purpose. It gives you something to be proud about.
“We’re defined by our potential,” she said.
She also mentioned that God not only gave all of us life, but liberty as well. At the same time, it doesn’t mean that government won’t try and infringe on those rights. This segued into Rep. Rodgers noting how the top-down, one-size fits all solution approach by liberals doesn’t work–and that the best solution for economic torpor comes from the people.
Rodgers said it’s our diversity that strengthens America. We all come from different backgrounds and life stories, but liberals always believe the answer is more government, and their solutions fall short.
“They’ve confused government with compassion,” she said.
One area of policy she cited in her address was the ABLE Act, a revision of the tax code to allow people with disabilities to establish a tax-free savings account (via the National Down Syndrome Society):
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013 (S. 313/H.R.647) was introduced in the 113th Congress by a bipartisan, bicameral set of Congressional Champions including Sens. Robert Casey, Jr., (D-PA) and Richard Burr (R-NC), and Reps. Ander Crenshaw (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Pete Sessions (R-TX).
The ABLE Act would amend Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. The bill aims to ease financial strains faced by individuals with disabilities by making tax-free savings accounts available to cover qualified expenses such as education, housing, and transportation. The bill would supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurances, the Medicaid program, the supplemental security income program, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources.
An ABLE account could fund a variety of essential expenses for individuals, including medical and dental care, education, community based supports, employment training, assistive technology, housing, and transportation. The ABLE Act provides individuals with disabilities the same types of flexible savings tools that all other Americans have through college savings accounts, health savings accounts, and individual retirement accounts. The legislation also contains Medicaid fraud protection against abuse and a Medicaid pay-back provision when the beneficiary passes away. It will eliminate barriers to work and saving by preventing dollars saved through ABLE accounts from counting against an individual’s eligibility for any federal benefits program.
Nevertheless, as she concluded her speech, the congresswoman wasn’t shy about hitting Barack Obama’s economic record, alleging that his policies have robbed millions of Americans from tremendous opportunities–like the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Farewell From CPAC: Rand Paul Declared Straw Poll Winner
Saturday, February 28
By Daniel Doherty
CPAC has officially ended after an event-filled four days.
Which naturally brings us to CPAC's annual straw poll results. As it happens, polls were open to all registered attendees and conference participants. And while the results do not necessarily represent public opinion outside the conference (nearly half of respondents were between the ages of 18 and 25), it’s worth noting that Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been declared the winner for the third year in a row. He earned 26 percent of the vote.
Scott Walker (21 percent) and Ted Cruz (12 percent) finished in second and third place, respectively. There were 3,007 total participants.
Will Christians Soon Need to Leave Their Faith at Home?
Saturday, February 28
By Cortney O'Brien
Bakers are being forced to bake wedding cakes for gay couples, students are being punished for speaking up for their faith in schools and our soldiers are even being denied the opportunity to read their bibles. Is the kind of freedom loving culture our Founding Fathers envisioned?
Cal Thomas, who moderated the Conservative Political Action Conference's Saturday morning panel entitled "Religious Freedom in America: Would the Pilgrims Still Be Welcome Here?," greeted the crowd as "fundamental bigots." Why? Because that's how the media often refers to anyone who believes in religious freedom, he explained. Included on the panel were radio host Dana Loesch, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, and Representative Randy Neugebauer (TX-19).
Thomas asked the panelists to pinpoint the biggest threats to religious freedom.
"Apathy," said Loesch. "We need to lead better by example, Christians have always led. But, in the last 15 years there's been a lot of apathy."
Going to church on Sunday, she added, is not good enough.
Tony Perkins's answer also sounded like a warning.
"The loss of religous freedom," he said. "People are losing their businesses because they're refusing to leave their faith at home."
"Our future is only as bright as our religious freedom is," he remarked. "It requires personal effort and action."
Even though the Ten Commandments are being driven out by the courts, pray at home, he said.
"We should be able to take it into the workplace."
Loesch said defending religious freedom is not solely beneficial to those of the Christian faith.
"You don't have to be a Christian to be affected by the loss of religious liberty...More liberties may be taken."
In addition to speaking up for faith and freedom, Rep. Neugebauer said legislative efforts are also being made to protect rights of Americans, including those of our military.
"We're writing letters to the Secretary of Defense for soldiers to have the right to sit down with chaplains," he shared.
Unfortunately, bibles are still being banned from the hands of our nation's finest.
"It's political correctness," Neugebauer said. "We're denying soldiers the opportunities to read their bibles and protect their faith.
"It's time to make Christians a protected class," said Loesch.
All is not lost concerning traditonal values, however. Perkins shared a statistic from Rasmussen Reports, which revealed 61 percent of Americans do not think the Supreme Court should impose same sex marriage on the entire nation and should leave it to the states. Although gay marriage and other progressive issues are gaining traction, that doesn't mean those who want to defend conservative values should be cornered and silenced.
"We should not be forced to quarantine our faith," said Perkins.
Loesch emphasized Perkins' message and insisted that we can't rely on politicians to steer America into the right direction. "The government is morally bankrupt," she said. "We can't just switch out people - change has to come from us."
This is especially true when considering Christians cannot even look to their president for guidance.
Anyone who lives by their faith was likely offended by Obama's comments at this year's National Prayer Breakfast, when he likened Islamic terrorism to the Christian crusades.
The president professes to be a Christian, said Perkins, but not in practice.
So, what's next for our country if the religious standard continues to evaporate and there's no hope for revival?
"Religious figures will be targeted, dragged into court for what they're saying," Loesch said. "You will have to keep your faith at home."
Cal Thomas suggested such persecution is already reality for some of today's Christians. In Houston, for instance, the mayor tried to subpoena pastors for their supposedly bigoted sermons. The mayor dropped the bid earlier this week.
"If we lose our religious liberty, we lose the country," said Neugebauer.
Perkins offered one final call to action for Christians, suggesting that there is at least one category they should be happy to be placed in.
"It's so important we preserve that freedom, that we not grow silent," he said. "I think we shoud all join Ben Carson on the list of extremists."
Analysis: How Potential 2016 Contenders Fared at CPAC
Saturday, February 28
By Guy Benson
A brief review of CPAC speeches with potential 2016 implications, listed in chronological order:
Ben Carson: A good choice to kick off the conference on Thursday morning, drawing a large, enthusiastic crowd. Carson didn't disappoint his legions of grassroots admirers, hammering on the failures of big government liberalism, and calling for the abolishment of the IRS. (Speaking of the IRS, is anyone surprised by this development?)
Chris Christie: Though Rand Paul supporters booed his name on Friday, Christie was well-received by a large crowd on Thursday afternoon. He opted for a Q&A format, responding to tough but fair questioning from conservative radio host Laura Ingraham. I tend to agree with Breitbart's John Sexton, who thinks Christie helped himself overall. The governor dismissed concerns over his low polling numbers (nationally and at home), noting that the election isn't "next week," and vowing to run a spirited, aggressive campaign if and when he gets in. Asked what he gave up for lent, Christie joked that he tried to deprive himself of the New York Times, but his priest nixed that idea as hardly sacrificial. The Times, incidentally, lived up to Christie's allegations of bias, describing the CPAC ballroom as dotted with "many empty seats" during his presentation. Most other outlets accurately called the room a "full house," or "mostly packed."
Carly Fiorina: One of the breakout stars of the conference, the former CEO and Senate candidate drew loud applause for her direct, unapologetic salvos against Hillary Clinton's foreign policy record. One could almost sense an instant consensus forming that Fiorina would be an asset on the GOP debate stage. Fairly or unfairly, it's helpful to have a conservative woman taking the aggressive rhetorical fight to Hillary Clinton.
Ted Cruz: Unsurprisingly, Texas' junior Senator was greeted very warmly by attendees, breezing through a friendly back-and-forth with Sean Hannity after delivering some opening remarks. Cruz cracked that CPAC could have featured a speech from Hillary Clinton, but they couldn't "find a foreign nation to foot the bill." A very solid burn.
Scott Walker: The Walker buzz is real. The room was packed and raucous for the governor's remarks; he had the feel of a top-tier candidate, if not a frontrunner. Walker's address started off a bit forced and shouty, almost as if he was trying to hard to shake off the (lazy) conventional wisdom knock that he's "boring" or "bland." He seemed conversant on foreign policy, but the speech didn't hit its stride until the passage about his tremendous accomplishments in Wisconsin -- including the all-but-guaranteed implementation of Right to Work legislation. Walker shined brightest when he swatted aside a pro-union heckler who interrupted his speech. His lowest moment came in an answer on ISIS. Despite his intentions, his phrasing came across as unfair, crass and demagogic. With the 'gotcha' media hungry for gaffes to exploit, Walker needs to learn from this experience.
Bobby Jindal: The Louisiana governor focused on three issues: Repealing Obamacare in its entirety (chiding Congressional Republicans for policy incoherence and cowardice), rolling back Common Core, and fighting radical Islamic terrorism.
Marco Rubio: Sounding very much like a presidential candidate, the Florida Senator cast Hillary Clinton as a relic of the past, assured conservatives that he's learned his lesson on immigration, and highlighted his extraordinary American story. This line is especially moving. National Review's Charles Cooke summed up the case for Rubio, calling him the best communicator in the Republican Party, who's also knowledgeable on policy substance.
Rick Perry: Perhaps the most intriguing of the 'reboot' candidates, Perry subtly poked fun at his most infamous 2012 stumble by introducing -- and executing -- a three-pronged argument.
John Bolton: The no-nonsense former UN ambassador unleashed a relentless, detailed critique of Hillary Clinton's foreign policy.
Rand Paul: The libertarian-leaning Republican drew a huge crowd of young, eager supporters who cheered and chanted throughout the Kentucky Senator's address. Paul talked about the importance of national security, but warned that America must not lose its values in that pursuit. He criticized Obamacare and President Obama's illegal executive amnesty (a common theme throughout the conference), closing with a rousing pro-liberty appeal. During the question-and-answer session, Paul confirmed that his "bad" hair is, in fact, real, drawing laughter and applause.
Rick Santorum: Last cycle's second-place finisher focused primarily on foreign policy and national security issues, heavily criticizing the Obama administration over the Netanyahu flap (also a popular line of attack throughout CPAC).
Jeb Bush: In a highly-anticipated appearance, the former Florida Governor performed ably during an extended exchange with Sean Hannity, who pressed Bush on immigration and Common Core. Team Jeb bused in some supporters for the event, perhaps to counter the rumored walk-out by Paul backers. Bush ended up being welcomed with a standing ovation from most attendees, though some of his answers elicited a smattering of boos and disgruntled shouts. The walk-out mostly fizzled, drawing a tiny fraction of the audience. The establishment favorite and prolific fundraiser presented himself as a forward-looking, reform-minded conservative, tailoring his answers on certain hot-button issues to the conservative audience -- but without backing down from controversial positions. Bush said that his priority is to show voters that he really cares about improving people's lives.
Less likely 2016 entrants Mike Pence, Sarah Palin, Donald Trump also addressed the conference. I'll leave you with my Thursday afternoon Fox News appearance from CPAC, during which I (shamelessly) donned my End of Discussion pin:
PSA: Scott Walker Isn’t Telling Colleges To Stop Reporting Rape
Saturday, February 28
By Matt Vespa
Rape on America’s college campuses is one of the many issues that get the feminist left into a frenzy. That’s not to say that sexual assault isn't a serious issue–it is. But, the data is shoddy, and there is a case to be made that the new guidelines in combating rape on campus is an infringement on the rights of men in America.
Yet, since it’s one of the issues that animates the progressive base of the liberal America, what better way to strike at Gov. Scott Walker–a possible 2016 presidential candidate–by trying to say he wants colleges to stop reporting rape. There’s only one problem: it isn’t true.
Yesterday, the lefty-feminist site Jezebel reported that the governor had included this new policy in his proposed budget this year:
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's proposed budget—which would cut $300 million dollars out of the state's beloved public university system—has a non-fiscal bombshell tucked in between its insane pages.
Under Walker's budget, universities would no longer have to report the number of sexual assaults that take place on a campus to the Department of Justice. Under Walker's plan, university employees who witness a sexual assault would no longer have to report it.
There are no policy recommendations in Walker's budget how or what would replace these reporting mechanisms. The Governor simply instructs that they should be deleted.
As the election cycle drags on you will be able to tick off the boxes on Scott Walker's CONSERVATIVE STRONG MAN card. Count this as the first of many boxes.
TheDaily Beast described the language as “shocking,” reporting that the state’s attorney general had reservations about the proposal, and even spoke with University of Wisconsin students about this phantom issue:
One of the state universities, the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, is already being investigated by the Department of Education for violating Title IX with its failure to investigate and respond to campus sexual assault.
Furthermore, even Republican Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel has expressed reservations about Walker’s proposal. His office told The Daily Beast in a statement that the Attorney General “is concerned about some of the provisions in the budget that may reduce information provided to college students and take away reporting requirements. He will work with representatives from UW and the Governor’s office to determine what prompted these changes and to ensure that we provide all of the protection we reasonably can for our college students.”
Regardless of whether Walker’s proposal will eventually take effect, both male and female students the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the flagship institution of the state—are already disappointed and concerned.
Senior Marina Oliver believes removing reporting mechanism can only hurt students.
“Deleting any form of mandatory sexual assault reporting can only open up cracks for information to slip through, or allow for a cloak of ambiguity,” Oliver said in an email to The Daily Beast. “In a time when sexual assault on campus is such a painful and prevalent issue, we need way more clarity and responsibility at all levels—university, state, and federal—not less.”
Well, actually, it was the University of Wisconsin that asked Walker to remove the redundant provision since they’re already required under federal law (Clery Act) to report rapes on their campus (via AP):
The University of Wisconsin requested that Gov. Scott Walker remove a requirement that all 26 campuses report allegations of sexual assaults to the state every year because it already submits similar information to the federal government, a UW spokesman said Friday.
The proposal to delete the annual reports to the state Department of Justice is among dozens of requirements that would be removed as part of Walker’s plan to decouple the university from most state laws and state oversight. Though the budget proposal came out earlier this month, the sex assault request was explained in a summary released Thursday by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
UW System spokesman Alex Hummel said Friday that the university requested the change because information given to the state is duplicative of data required to be reported to the U.S. Department of Education under federal law. The university also posts the information on its website.
Oh, and the draconian $300 million dollar cut is about 2.5 percent of the university system’s entire budget. Again, this is another attempt to derail Gov. Walker’s potential 2016 ambitions. The university system asked Walker to remove the provision, there is no issue with Title IX, and there is no “legal line” that is in danger of being crossed.
Obama White House In Full Panic Mode Over Netanyahu Speech
Netayahu is expected to criticize any deal-making with the Iranian regime.
Just four days before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress, the Obama administration sought on Friday to refute the Israeli leader’s expected critique, arguing that he has failed to present a feasible alternative to American proposals for constraining Iran’s nuclear program.
In a briefing for reporters, senior administration officials contended that even an imperfect agreement that kept Iran’s nuclear efforts frozen for an extended period was preferable to a breakdown in talks that could allow the leadership in Tehran unfettered ability to produce enriched uranium and plutonium.
The Obama White House might see a deal with Iran over "inspections" and their nuclear arms program as a major milestone - even a 'legacy' issue - so they want Congress to be in line. But Netanyahu obviously has a lot of concerns over dealing with the Iranian regime.
Cruz: Leave the Internet to the People
Friday, February 27
By Vivian Hughbanks
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) criticized the Federal Communications Commission's rules on net neutrality as an overreach of unchecked bureaucratic power on Thursday.
“Today, the FCC decided to take over the Internet,” Cruz said. “You should feel real excited because at Barack Obama's instructions, 5 unelected bureaucrats have now declared the Internet is a public utility.”
The FCC voted yesterday to adopt the “Open Internet Order,” designed to ensure equal treatment of legal content on the Internet. The rules were neither publicly released, nor openly debated before adopted by the Commission.
“Net neutrality is Obamacare for the Internet,” Cruz said, sparking boos from the crowd. “The FCC's new rules for the Internet are 332 pages that you and I are not allowed to read – I think their strategy is that you have to pass it to find out what's in it.”
The new regulations are a violation of First Amendment rights, the 2016 hopeful explained at an event sponsored by Breitbart News at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“The Internet has been a haven for free speech,” he said. “Today with the Internet, you can start a blog right now that a million people read... Dan Rather was a master of the universe until some bloggers in pajamas said wait a second, what this guy's saying ain't true! Talk about power for the citizen.”
Cruz remarked that true freedom on the Internet isn't government intervention, but leaving citizens to use the web without regulations controlling content.
“What has made it work is we have kept politicians and government the heck away from it. Here's what we need to do with the Internet: don't tax it, don't regulate it, don't do nothin' – leave it to the people!”
Gov. Bobby Jindal on Common Core and a Presidential Run
Friday, February 27
By Townhall.com Staff
Townhall's Christine Rousselle spoke with Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal at CPAC 2015.
PPP: Public Split On Whether Williams Should Return To NBC
Friday, February 27
By Matt Vespa
The controversy surrounding Brian Williams and his non-“RPG hit my helicopter” story might not have impacted NBC’s favorability numbers with the public, but it has hurt Williams personally. In a D+6 poll by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP), 31 percent of viewers have a positive opinion of him, 39 percent have a negative one. Moreover, there’s a split between whether he should be allowed to return to the anchor’s desk, or if he should be shown the exit–immediately; 39 percent think he should be reinstated, while 36 percent say fire him.
The poll also noted two other things. If the interim anchor of Nightly News, Lester Holt, replaces Brian Williams, likability won’t be much of a factor since both Williams and Holt have the same favorability numbers. At the same time, Holt doesn’t have nearly as many haters as Williams:
Voters are evenly divided, with 40% saying they trust NBC News and 40% saying they don't. Those numbers are virtually identical to what we found on the 2014 iteration of this poll, when 39% said they trusted NBC and 39% said they didn't.
Even though the controversy hasn't affected perceptions of NBC much overall, it's definitely impacted feelings about Williams. 31% of voters have a positive opinion of him to 39% with a negative one. There's close division about whether he should be able to return- 39% say yes while 36% think he should be fired. There are big partisan divides in attitudes towards Williams. Among Democrats 52% think he should be allowed to come back to just 24% who believe he should be fired. But among Republicans only 32% support his return with 45% saying he should be let go.
If NBC does decide to replace Brian Williams with Lester Holt they won't see much of a drop off in popularity. Holt's favorability rating of 30% falls just below Williams' 31%, but he doesn't have near the quantity of voters who dislike him with only 15% giving him a negative rating to Williams' 39%.
The rest of the poll was grounded in partisan trust of media outlets. Shocker; more Republicans hate MSNBC than do Democrats who actually like the network. Democrats are also more likely to trust ABC, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, CNN, and NBC News. Less than 25 percent of Republicans can’t say the same, though they’re split 37/39 regarding trust and distrust of PBS.
Phil Robertson on Faith, the Founding Fathers, and STDs
Friday, February 27
By Leah Barkoukis
Believe it or not, Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson actually managed to discuss each of these items, at length I might add, during a speech on Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference. Robertson was there to accept the Andrew Breitbart Defender of Free Speech Award.
"All of us ought to be able to speak freely so we don't have to be awarded," he began his speech before pulling out a large, weathered-looking family Bible bound together with duct tape.
"I'm a God-loving, Bible-believing, gun-toting capitalist," he declared, before delving into other topics, such as the Founding Fathers, STDs, marriage, ISIS, and the moral decline of America.
While Robertson's speech was unpredictable, long, and a bit strange at times, he did make many valuable points, particularly about religion's role in America today.
Addressing criticisms he hears that he's "too religious," Robertson pulled several quotes from our Founding Fathers that showed how important religion was in not only their personal lives, but in guiding the decisions they made as politicians.
"[I]t is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue," he read, quoting John Adams.
"You lose your religion and you lose your morality and we're almost there," he said before going into a tangent about how 110 million Americans now have an STD. Diseases he referred to as "revenge of the hippies."
The "safe" option, he argued, was "one man, one woman, married for life."
Robertson concluded (because the event's organizers finally had to begin blasting 'exit' music) by talking about the importance of having God-fearing politicians in office.
"If you don't have spiritual men making political decisions, you're going to lose this country," he said.
"Presidential Madness": Salem All Stars Debate 2016 Candidates
Friday, February 27
By Townhall.com Staff
National, Harbor, MD -- On Friday afternoon, Salem Media Group hosted a five-person, break out session at CPAC with Townhall’s Political Editor Guy Benson titled “Presidential Madness: The Road to Sweet 16.” Ed Morrissey, Erick Erickson, Mary Katharine Ham, and Katie Pavlich, all of whom write for websites under the Townhall Media empire, weighed in and discussed the pros and cons of 16 different potential 2016 GOP hopefuls. Check out the bracket below:
To be clear, none of the panelists endorsed candidates—as this was, as Benson put it, merely a “fun” exercise. There were, however, some interesting issues raised. Most intriguing to some attendees, perhaps, was the impending candidacy of Dr. Ben Carson. Does his lack of political experience disqualify him for the nation’s highest office, Benson asked the panel, or can he navigate a path to the nomination despite having never served in government?
Mary Katharine Ham offered some cautious analysis.
“I don’t like to say disqualifying,” she intoned. “I think the problem Carson is going to have is one of a disciplined message.” She added that, while he is a tea party darling and capable messenger, his delivery can sometimes veer off track.
“He’s an electric speaker, people gravitate towards him, but that electricity can ultimately shock,” she added. “So he has to be careful.”
He also addressed what one might call the inevitable “senators vs. governors” dilemma. That is to say, how do relatively inexperienced federal legislators—like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), for example—convince grassroots activists they are more qualified to be president than seasoned and proven state chief executives?
“Everyone knows that governors are usually better presidential candidates than senators,” Townhall's Katie Pavlich said. “Because they often have to negotiate with people on the other side of the aisle. [They] have to come to terms with getting things done in their state.”
“So although we have these incredible candidates in the Senate who quite possibly might be running for president,” she added, “they are brand new.”
She pointed out that leaders like Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) have tangible and impressive accomplishments attached to their names, which might give them an advantage early in the nomination process.
Still, Hot Air's Ed Morrissey underscored an X factor that could alter the dynamics of the race.
“We are seeing in both parties a real impulse for populism, and significantly, anti-establishment populism,” he said. This is why primarygoers may take a hard look at candidates a la Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz, he suggested, despite their relatively thin resumes. This is also a reason why Hillary Clinton may struggle in the general election, he said.
“She is the ultimate Washington insider,” Morrissey continued, a point RedState’s Erick Erickson quickly seconded. Erickson, however, went a step further, and actually predicted Hillary Clinton will lose the Democratic nomination in 2016.
“I do not think that Hillary Clinton will be able to run a machine, and figure out what the rest of the party hasn’t,” he said. That [base of support] is not the Democratic coalition; it is Barack Obama’s coalition. And good luck letting the Secretary of State run as the world goes to hell in a hand basket—and she has to own it.”
“I think Hillary’s absolutely running and will be the nominee and is probably the nominee at this moment in time,” Benson later added. “But she’s going to keep coming back to the raison d'etre of her campaign, which is ‘woman.’ It’s going to be a gender election.”
At the end of the discussion, the panelists were asked to weigh in on potential 2016 presidential tickets. The following are the match ups they found “most intriguing”:*
Ed: Scott Walker, Susana Martinez
Erick: Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez
Mary Katharine: Scott Walker, Susana Martinez
Katie: Scott Walker, Susana Martinez
Guy: Scott Walker, Marco Rubio or “something like” Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz
*These are not endorsements.
Boehner's Gambit Fails
Friday, February 27
By Conn Carroll
The House of Representatives rejected a three-week funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security Friday, creating the possibility for a limited shutdown of the agency starting at midnight Friday night.
Earlier in the day, the Senate passed a DHS funding that fully funds both of President Obama's executive immigration programs through the end of September.
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) had hoped to pass his three-week DHS funding bill, which would stop Obama's amnesty programs, thus giving time for a conference committee between the Senate and House bills.
More than 50 Republicans joined with Democrats to vote no against Boehner's short-term bill while just 12 Democrats voted with Republicans. The finally tally was 203-224.
The House is now currently in recess while Boehner's team figures out their next move. But the most likely outcome is a House vote on the Senate DHS bill which would most likely pass with unanimous Democratic support.
You can see which Republican senators voted with Democrats to fund Obama's amnesty here.
You can see which Republicans voted against a short-term DHS bill here.