Sunday, February 21, 2010

Glenn Beck The Jester

Glenn Beck lectured the Republican Party on purity before the Conservative Political Action Conference, berating the GOP for spending too much and expanding the size and scope of the federal government. Mr. Beck called on the GOP to show contrition and follow the same twelve steps Mr. Beck took when recovering from alcoholism. The irony that that the explosive spending Mr. Beck decries occurred at the hands of self-proclaimed conservative Republicans, some born again and others recovering alcoholics, who have been the leaders of the GOP in Congress and the White House does not seem to faze his frenzy.

Mr. Beck attacked the “big tent” Republican philosophy and equated the policy to Republican elected officials losing their soul upon arriving in Washington. However, the only forsaken souls are those of conservative politicians who gladly conspired with President George W. Bush to expand the size of government and its debt and deficit. Moderates in the GOP are the ones who have traditionally fought for PayGo legislation that checks government spending with offsetting budget cuts or tax increases; legislation that forces tough decisions by lawmakers when constructing a budget.

Mr. Beck went so far as to impugned President Teddy Roosevelt by confusing Roosevelt’s promotion of philanthropy (a trait central to the American spirit) with progressive government spending when quoting the 26th President. Perhaps Mr. Beck should be aware of another Roosevelt quote: “The men with the muck rakes are often indispensible to the well of society; but only if they know when to stop raking the muck.”

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Mount Vernon Statement

The Mount Vernon Statement, recently released by leading conservatives, is to be applauded for its sincerity and principled stance. Only in one paragraph does it veer into the paranoid, asserting that the ideas around the founding of the country are under sustained attack. However, this is an effort to fuel a call to action to rally agreeable and persuadable citizens around the statement’s signers. That aside, this is a clear definition of the principles by which these particular conservatives will define themselves and their cause in contrast with their opposition.

Those who read this statement and decide to rally to its call should also realize that those behind the promotion of the Mount Vernon Statement are in the business of politics. Instilling fear of a sustained attack on the nation’s founding principles is a method to mine potential new donors and subscribers to their causes and publications.

The conservatives signing the statement are in the business of promoting and instilling conservative values in legislation which, fortunately, is their constitutional right. The ideal disposition of these same conservatives would be to also recognize the rights of those whom may be in conflict with their personal faith, but inevitably guaranteed the same right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

P.S. Red Elephant gets the intent of the use of cursive font for the signatories, but it's a little hokey.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Hunting for Healthcare Reform

A lobbyist friend described the Democrat’s performance on healthcare reform by equating it to a joke he’d heard. The joke goes like this: a hunter sees a bear and shoots to kill. He misses the bear, who becomes enraged. The bear chases down the hunter, bends him over a tree limb and takes liberties then goes on his way. The hunter tracks the bear again and takes another shot, missing. The bear again attacks the hunter, bending him over a tree for another go then departs again. One more time the hunter tracks the bear and fires, again missing. The bear charges the hunter and pins him to the ground. Snarling, the bear says, “You’re missing on purpose!”

This seems to be the mindset of Democrats when it comes to healthcare reform. They don’t really want it but take the shot anyway despite knowing what’s in store for their failure. There was no will in the Senate to pass a bill that satisfied both the White House and U.S. House Democrats and the threat of a Republican filibuster was convenient. If the Senate Democrats truly wanted a bill on healthcare reform they would have called the Republican bluff on a filibuster. Having had 60 Senators in the Democratic caucus Majority Leader Reid could have forced Republicans to take to the Senate floor and speak continuously to delay the vote, rather than taking the Republicans at their word that an indefinite delay was desired.

This is not to say that Red Elephant thinks the healthcare reform bill was good legislation. Senate Democrat's efforts indicate no desire to pass the legislation. Where there's will there's a way, and if the Senate Democrats had the will they could have made the bill happen before the Massachusetts special election that lost them their 60 seat majority. If there’s any doubt, simple ask oneself, does a bear evacuate in the words?

Monday, February 01, 2010

GOP Heavy Hitters Announce New Initiative

The American Action Network (AAN) is a new Republican non-profit that is perfectly positioned to take advantage of the recent Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance outside of the structure of the Republican National Committee (RNC). The AAN brings together some of the biggest and best political networks through the participation of The Hon. Jeb Bush and Governor Haley Barbour (R-MS). Joining these Republican leaders is superlative GOP major donor Fred Malek and political mastermind Karl Rove. AAN will be a group to watch going into the 2010 and 2012 elections.

The fact that Jeb Bush and Haley Barbour are involved means that there are nationwide, presidential-level political resources involved. Both of these men have networks that span the American political compass and have decided to apply them on behalf of the GOP via the AAN. These are serious, thoughtful minds with the ability to successfully implement a political agenda.

The addition of Karl Rove speaks to the intent of AAN to organize nationwide and apply the accompanying muscle for the purpose of winning elections. Mr. Rove may be considered negatively by many opposed to his political views and denounced as the Dark Lord of elections, but he has a set of skills like few others. The Democratic and liberal opposition would do well to stay abreast of AAN activities under Mr. Rove’s guidance.

Mr. Malek’s inclusion in AAN speaks volumes to the state of affairs at the RNC. It has been reported and can be trusted that there are many high net worth individuals who have been long time donors to the RNC who are unhappy with the current management of Chairman Michael Steele. Mr. Malek’s decision to be front and center at the launch of the AAN means there are many like him who will choose to put their contributions in the hands of this outfit of powerful thinkers who can get it done at the ballot box.

The initial criticism of the AAN will draw parallels between it, the National Policy Forum (NPF) and the more recent National Council for a New America. The NPF was conceived in 1993 by then RNC Chairman Barbour as a vehicle to raise money, develop policy ideas and germinate those ideas by building grassroots coalitions. The NPF was derailed by questions around a $2.1 million loan guarantee from the U.S. subsidiary of a foreign corporation. The National Council for a New America was launched in 2009 and died quickly of its own accord due to questions around its founding out of the leadership office of U.S. Representative Eric Cantor. The difference is the Supreme Court ruling, particularly in the case of the NPF. With this ruling comes the ability for the NPF concept to achieve expectations in the shape of the AAN.

The AAN has been established and will be developed by influential, wealthy people with the intent of winning elections on behalf of the Republican Party. In turn, the AAN will have the ability to attract grassroots supporters. More importantly, AAN will have the resources to conduct outstanding research that will manifest as persuasive electoral communications. Despite the Supreme Court decision on corporate free speech, the national political party committees are still prevented from accepting corporate contributions. This is a bucket of money the party committees desire to dip into but may not. Thus, while the influence of the RNC will not be wholly diminished, the AAN formation indicates a power shift within the GOP.