Welcome, Senate Conservatives: Remember what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom
By JIM DEMINT
Congratulations to all the tea party-backed candidates who overcame a determined, partisan opposition to win their elections. The next campaign begins today. Because you must now overcome determined party insiders if this nation is going to be spared from fiscal disaster.
Many of the people who will be welcoming the new class of Senate conservatives to Washington never wanted you here in the first place. The establishment is much more likely to try to buy off your votes than to buy into your limited-government philosophy. Consider what former GOP senator-turned-lobbyist Trent Lott told the Washington Post earlier this year: "As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them."
Don't let them. Co-option is coercion. Washington operates on a favor-based economy and for every earmark, committee assignment or fancy title that's given, payback is expected in return. The chits come due when the roll call votes begin. This is how big-spending bills that everyone always decries in public always manage to pass with just enough votes.
But someone can't be bribed if they aren't for sale. Here is some humble advice on how to recognize and refuse such offers.
First, don't request earmarks. If you do, you'll vote for legislation based on what's in it for your state, not what's best for the country. You will lose the ability to criticize wasteful spending. And, if you dare to oppose other pork-barrel projects, the earmarkers will retaliate against you.
In 2005, Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) offered a measure to kill funding for the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere." Before the vote, Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), an appropriator, issued a warning on the Senate floor.
"If we start cutting funding for individual projects, your project may be next," she said. "When Members come down to the floor to vote on this amendment, they need to know if they support stripping out this project, Senator Bond [a Republican appropriator] and I are likely to be taking a long, serious look at their projects to determine whether they should be preserved during our upcoming conference negotiations."
The threat worked. Hardly anyone wanted to risk losing earmarks. The Senate voted 82-15 to protect funding for the Bridge to Nowhere.
Second, hire conservative staff. The old saying "personnel is policy" is true. You don't need Beltway strategists and consultants running your office. Find people who share your values and believe in advancing the same policy reforms. Staff who are driven by conservative instincts can protect you from unwanted, outside influences when the pressure is on.
Third, beware of committees. Committee assignments can be used as bait to make senators compromise on other matters. Rookie senators are often told they must be a member of a particular committee to advance a certain piece of legislation. This may be true in the House, but a senator can legislate on any matter from the Senate floor.
Fourth, don't seek titles. The word "Senator" before your name carries plenty of clout. All senators have the power to object to bad legislation, speak on the floor and offer amendments, regardless of how they are ranked in party hierarchy.
Lastly, don't let your re-election become more important than your job. You've campaigned long and hard for the opportunity to go to Washington and restore freedom in America. People will try to convince you to moderate conservative positions and break campaign promises, all in the name of winning the next race. Resist the temptation to do so. There are worse things than losing an election—like breaking your word to voters.
At your swearing-in ceremony, you will, as all senators do, take an oath to "support and defend the Constitution." Most will fail to keep their oath. Doing these five things will help you maintain a focus on national priorities and be one who does.
Congress will never fix entitlements, simplify the tax code or balance the budget as long as members are more concerned with their own narrow, parochial interests. Time spent securing earmarks and serving personal ambitions is time that should be spent working on big-picture reforms.
When you are in Washington, remember what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom. Millions of people are out of work, the government is going bankrupt and the country is trillions in debt. Americans have watched in disgust as billions of their tax dollars have been wasted on failed jobs plans, bailouts and takeovers. It's up to us to stop the spending spree and make sure we have a government that benefits America instead of being a burden to it.
Tea party Republicans were elected to go to Washington and save the country—not be co-opted by the club. So put on your boxing gloves. The fight begins today.
Is this how Harry Reid got re-elected?
November 2nd, 2010, Fairfax, VA—The Department of Justice is deploying "more than 400 federal observers and department personnel to 30 jurisdictions in 18 states" to monitor today's elections. Of note, however, is that two notable states where irregularities have already been reported, North Carolina and Nevada, are not on the list of states.
In Clark County, Nevada, FOX 5 Vegas reported voters who, when they entering the voting booth, noted that Harry Reid's name was already checked off. Controversy emerged when it was reported that the SEIU Local 1107, which supports Harry Reid, controls the ballot boxes by contract through their representation of the voting machine technicians.
In North Carolina, a similar situation has emerged where voters attempting to vote the Republican ticket had the opposite result recorded in the machine, despite repeated attempts. And in Havelock, NC, at one point the machines only tallied 250 votes cast when 400 people had signed into vote.
However, no federal agents have been called in. Instead, they are going to Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
ACORN's latest fraud
Bertha Lewis, the potty-mouthed chief organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) announced today that her group has filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy
Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides for the liquidation of the estate of an indebted individual or corporate entity. This is different from Chapter 11 which often provides debtors with temporary protection from their creditors while they reorganize their affairs.
Regardless of what happens in the bankruptcy case, ACORN will still exist, albeit in a different form.
Its legally separate voter mobilization division, Project Vote, which used to employ President Obama, remains open for business and continues to be located in ACORN’s office in the nation’s capital. Project Vote’s current voter drive is being run by ACORN executive Amy Busefink, who goes on trial in four weeks in Las Vegas for conspiracy to commit voter registration fraud. ACORN itself is also a defendant in the criminal case. ACORN Housing still operates. It changed its name to Affordable Housing Centers of America.
The evidence strongly suggests ACORN’s bankruptcy proceeding is an exercise in public relations, rather than a genuine winding down of the group’s affairs. In 14 states plus the District of Columbia ACORN chapters have incorporated themselves under new names. In many cases the “new” groups are located in old ACORN offices and run by ACORN leaders.
According to investigators for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Lewis has been busy this year hoarding ACORN’s remaining assets. Investigators believe the group has about $20 million in cash spread out over 800 bank accounts and that ACORN affiliates hold $10 million in property.
In his book, “Seeds of Change: The Story of ACORN, America’s Most Controversial Antipoverty Community Organizing Group,” published months ago by Vanderbilt University Press, ACORN historian John Atlas said ACORN plans to resurface under a new name after the 2010 elections.
One new institution tentatively called the Community Action Support Center will be created “to provide a range of training, technical assistance, and oversight services to the new community organizations.” ACORN’s Brian Kettenring will be interim executive director. Lewis plans to create a Black Leadership Institute. ACORN executive director Steve Kest, who recently joined Van Jones as a “senior fellow” at the left-wing Center for American Progress, quit ACORN “but will work with the new community groups in a consulting and voluntary capacity.”
“The emerging community organizations will retain ACORN’s commitment to building national power, and are beginning discussions toward a process to federate at some later date, presumably after the 2010 elections or in 2011,” Atlas writes. ACORN leaders are working on “voter engagement activities.” They intend “to engage the surge voters of 2008 and turn them into permanent voters in 2010 and beyond.”
ACORN executive Nathan Henderson-James made similar statements in a leaked e-mail. ACORN will be back. In fact, it never actually went anywhere.
As America prints money wholesale, Europe says no to deficit-spending 'stimulus'
Britain was the birthplace of John Maynard Keynes, but the British government is pursuing precisely the opposite of a Keynesian approach to fiscal policy. Rather than trying to boost demand and create more jobs through extravagant increases in spending and debt, London is practicing austerity. The coalition government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron is sharply cutting public spending, pruning back everything from welfare benefits to the military. Even the sums allocated to maintain the Queen's household will be shrunk. About 8 percent of Britain's roughly 6 million public-sector jobs, or 490,000, will be eliminated.
"We have taken our country back from the brink of bankruptcy," George Osborne, the chancellor of the Exchequer, told the House of Commons. "There is nothing fair about running huge budget deficits and burdening future generations with the debts we ourselves are not prepared to pay."
Britain is not an outlier. Across Europe, The New York Times reports, "governments from Germany to Greece are slashing public outlays. . . . The debate in Europe is more on how fast to cut government spending rather than whether such reductions are the right thing to do. . . . In Europe there is hardly a policymaker to be found who is making the argument that governments need to spend more, not less."
Results so far? Economic growth in the United States has been weaker, and the loss of jobs steeper, than in the 16-country euro zone. Especially striking is the contrast with Germany, which resisted heavy US pressure to undertake substantial new deficit spending. While the US economy has been growing at an anemic annual rate of barely 2 percent in recent month, Germany's economy is currently soaring at a 9 percent annual rate. Unemployment in Germany has fallen to 7.5 percent, the lowest it has been in 18 years. Here, it has scarcely fallen at all. What does Berlin understand that Washington doesn't?
"Governments should not become addicted to borrowing as a quick fix to stimulate demand," the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, said in June, in response to the Obama administration's criticism of Germany's austerity measures. "Deficit spending cannot become a permanent state of affairs." President Obama, on the other hand, speaks blithely of "trillion-dollar deficits for years to come."
You can find economists to back up any point of view. Some will even tell you that the best way out of a hole brought on by too much debt is to dig even deeper into debt. The feeble US recovery suggests that the real world doesn't agree with those economists. Yesterday's election suggests that the voters don't, either.
In California, even a dead Democrat defeats a Republican: "With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, deceased candidate, Democrat Jenny Oropeza, defeated Republican John Stammreich in the race for State Senate in the 28th district. Oropeza, 53, died on Oct. 20. Because her death was within 10 days of the election, her name remained on the ballot. A week after her death, Democrats sent out mailers to residents, calling for voters to still reelect Oropeza. The mailers featured Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Democratic Party general counsel Martha Escutia. The 28th district includes parts of Los Angeles, Long Beach and the South Bay."
IA: Voters oust three judges who ruled in favor of homosexual marriage: "Opponents of an April 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that made Iowa the first state in the Midwest to sanction same-sex marriage celebrated on Wednesday after the ouster of three Iowa Supreme Court justices involved in the ruling. Bob Vander Plaats, lead spokesman for the pro-removal Iowa For Freedom [sic] campaign, hailed the outcome as a victory against a court that overstepped its bounds, and added he believes the vote will ripple beyond Iowa as a sign to other jurists who rule in gay-marriage cases.”
Two cheers for the gridlock: "Although I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome on November 2, 2010, that Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer, among others, would be headed back to the nation’s capital to try to continue to shore up the government’s powers, at least the election had the favorable result of producing a gridlocked regime for a while. I say, let them be bogged down in their partisan bickering. This may have the unintended consequence of making life less regimented for most Americans, even free up our productive energies somewhat.”
Unions can bully a country into bankruptcy: "We are all familiar with the power gained by labor unions in present-day Europe. Lately, it seems that they have also gained the privilege to turn to violence each time their demands aren’t met. It’s safe to say that a union’s decision has become as important as a governmental decree. Trade unions set wages, working time, retirement age, and social benefits; then they oversee and enforce them by going on strike each time the government is unwilling to succumb to their demands.”
OR: Man wins right to give police the finger: "An Oregon man has settled a federal lawsuit over what he says was his First Amendment right to express himself by giving the finger to sheriff’s deputies. The Oregonian reports Robert Ekas settled the suit for $4,000. In his lawsuit, Ekas said that in July 2007, he flipped off a Clackamas County deputy while driving, and the deputy gave him tickets for illegal lane change and improper display of license plates. Ekas was acquitted on the citations. A month later, he gave the finger to another deputy, who detained him but wrote no tickets. Ekas alleged he was being harassed. … County officials say it was cheaper to settle the case than to proceed with defending the suit.”
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