Paul Ryan says he’s trying to provide leadership for “decentralized” GOP

Rep. Paul Ryan, the fast-talking, number-crunching Republican from Wisconsin, caused a stir last week when he called out his own party for not offering Americans a substantive alternative to Democrats in this fall’s elections.

“They’re talking to their pollsters and their pollsters are saying, ‘Stay away from this. We’re going to win an election,’” Ryan said, speaking at the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution.

Ryan, in the second of back-to-back high profile speeches touting his “Road Map” plan that proposes to make long-term entitlement spending solvent, lumped Republicans in with Democrats as having failed to talk seriously about the nation’s debt and deficit problem.

“Unfortunately, you know, when I jumped in the pool and encouraged other people to jump in the pool, we haven’t had many other folks swimming around. And that’s from both sides of the aisle, I would say,” Ryan said.

House Republican leadership aides downplayed the remarks.

Michael Steel, spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner, the Ohio Republican who figures to become House Speaker if the GOP regains control, said Boehner “has said that Rep. Ryan’s ‘Roadmap’ is a strong, long-term plan for conservative reform, and he thanked Rep. Ryan for offering it.”

In an interview with The Daily Caller, Ryan said he was not trying to embarrass his party or his party’s leadership, but acknowledged that in speaking twice last week – at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and then at Brookings – he was trying to fill a leadership vacuum within the GOP.

Read more here.

Brian Murphy For Maryland Governor on the Issues….

Brian intends to run an honest, transparent, and principled campaign. In the coming months, he looks forward to making the case with voters across Maryland that his approach to governance will provide the most opportunity to the most Marylanders.

Economy


Jobs are job one: Brian’s primary concern is the economy. Maryland’s high taxes, deficit spending, and anti-business environment have already destroyed hundreds of thousands of jobs. Maryland is a great place to live, but we need to start making it a great place to do business. Every point in Maryland is 50 miles from Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, DC, Delaware, or West Virginia. We must not take Maryland jobs for granted. Our tax policies must compete with those of our neighbors. If we don’t compete, Maryland jobs will continue to leave. And Maryland must rebuild its reputation with the business community. Maryland has the most talented labor pool in the nation. We deserve a Governor who will work with companies and encourage them to bring their operations here.

Leadership in Balancing the Budget


A top priority for Brian is balancing the budget without raising taxes. This will take leadership and it will take discipline. To that end, Brian will take a 25% pay cut for his first year in office, and ask his Lieutenant Governor, and all Senior Leadership to do the same. It is irresponsible for Brian to ask anyone in Maryland to do something he would not first do himself.

Healthcare


Brian is committed to ensuring every Marylander has access to safe, affordable healthcare. The first step is to grow Maryland’s economy, so every Marylander has more income. The second step is to address rising healthcare costs.

Our current model is like an “all you can eat” bonanza, where you never see the bill and have no incentive to spend less. This is foolish and unsustainable. Brian wants every Marylander to have more control over their healthcare, not less. When Brian lost his job at Constellation, he didn’t lose his car insurance, his life insurance, or his home insurance. So why did he and his family lose their health insurance? If healthcare is tied to employment, Marylanders feel less free.

To lower costs, every policy will be explored. Health Savings Accounts, wellness incentives, and tort reform are just the beginning to meaningful healthcare reform in Maryland. Costs can, and will, come down. Marylanders demand meaningful reform, and Brian is committed to implementing policies that provide it.

Education


Brian is the son of an English teacher, and he and his siblings are products of Maryland’s public schools. Brian has an unwavering commitment to the education of every child in Maryland, especially those who live in lower income school districts and the urban areas of Baltimore City and Prince George’s County. While our public schools are among the best in the nation, a great deal of work remains to be done. Every dollar the government spends must be reviewed and accounted for. Brian wants to review the quality of dollars spent, not just the quantity of dollars. Successful programs must be supported and fully funded, and wasteful programs must end. Our children deserve nothing less.

Environment


Brian is committed to protecting our shared green spaces, our mountains, our farmland, our coasts and wetlands, and our spectacular Chesapeake Bay. He has heard innovative proposals from entrepreneurs on how to address the Bay’s dead zones, where oxygen levels are too low to sustain life. He wants to work with local farmers on ways to address run-off levels, without making farming even more expensive. He wants to address transportation issues, to find scalable, affordable, environmentally sensitive long-term solutions. By working with the private sector to craft solutions to these problems, Maryland will solve its own problems, and develop an expertise from which other states can learn.

One easy way to address our transportation issues is to make Baltimore City safer and more affordable. Hundreds of thousands of people commute into and out of the city every day. Just imagine the economic impact, and the environmental impact, if they actually lived in Baltimore.

Energy

Like all of America, Maryland has an unhealthy addiction to foreign oil. We send billions of dollars to countries that don’t like us very much, and that’s a problem. We have been saying this for 30 years, but are more dependent today than ever.

Brian has spent the majority of his career in the energy business. He supports bringing energy production closer to home and exploring alternative sources of energy. Brian supports Constellation Energy’s proposed expansion of their award winning Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Facility. This would create thousands of jobs, grow our economy, and build our tax base. Brian is disappointed in the current administration’s delaying of the Calvert Cliffs project for political reasons. Our energy needs, just like our economic needs, should not be politicized.

2nd Amendment Issues


Brian has the same view on the 2nd Amendment as the founding fathers: the right to bear arms was preceded only by freedom of speech. Brian is committed to protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of Maryland residents.

Immigration


Brian understands that immigration is what defines America (after all, his last name is Murphy). But becoming an American citizen is a process, and no one is above the law. Our Federal Government refuses to secure our borders, so all Americans are less safe. Illegal immigration is against the law, it cheapens American citizenship, and it makes police officers’ jobs more difficult. Maryland must enforce our laws, we must protect our citizens, and we must do all we can to ensure the safety of our law enforcement officers.

Abortion


Brian is Pro-Life, and is committed to standing firm for the sanctity of life. Brian opposes embryonic stem cell research, and he supports legislation which gives pregnant Marylanders the best possible information about abortion. Along with his wife, Joy, Brian intends to establish a program called “Joy’s House”, in which pregnant girls and women can gain the support they need should they decide to carry their pregnancy to term. Joy’s Houses will be established across the state, and will be funded exclusively with private money.

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For those on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, there is information, t-shirts, bumper stickers and yard signs available. Please send an email to salisburymdteaparty@earthlink.net for more information.

—C. Lewis

How Many Liberals Want To Limit the Military Vote?

Democrat Bill White Would Disenfranchise Thousands of Overseas US Military Members

AUSTIN — Today, the Friday before Texans remember America’s fallen heroes on Memorial Day, the Bill White campaign attempted to defend his past statements on military voting rights by referring to a 2003 Houston Chronicle article quoting Bill White on military members and their sacred right to vote.

…Bill White stated his support for military voters’ right to vote in local elections and described his support by saying, “Military voters have every right to vote where their children are enrolled in school. Military personnel should be allowed to cast ballots in local elections that determine city or county taxes, police and fire protection, etc.”

“Anyone who knows anything about the military knows that White’s statement is the very opposite of supporting the military,” said US Air Force veteran and Texas GOP spokesman Bryan Preston. “When I was stationed in Tokyo for four years, my home of record remained Texas. Bill White would have disenfranchised me because I didn’t have children at the time, and if I had, they would have been with me and attending a Department of Defense school at my overseas base.

Thousand of military families serve together at US military bases all over the world, from Italy to the UK to South Korea and Japan. And liberal Bill White’s attitude seems to be that even if they have spent their entire lives in their stateside home of record, that time serving their country at Yokota or near the Korean tripwire would cost them their right to vote back home. That’s a travesty. It tells us quite a bit about how little Bill White really knows about the lives of sacrifice that our military families endure to keep us free.”

Our serving military families endure a great deal on all our behalf. We should encourage them to vote, not find ways to restrict their rights as Bill White would.”

More info here.

GOP Lawmakers Say Blair a Scapegoat for the White House

n this April 21 photo, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair is joined by CIA Director Leon Panetta, left, and Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence James Clapper, right, during a ceremony in McLean, Va., (AP Photo)

FOXNews.com

Republican lawmakers from the top national security committees in Congress roundly criticized the White House for forcing the resignation of Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, saying the spy chief took the fall for other top officials President Obama chose to protect.

Blair, who had a reputation as a “know-it-all” on Capitol Hill, was not the most popular member of the Obama administration. He also had been feuding with CIA Director Leon Panetta and other officials. His off-the-cuff public comments have caused problems for the administration and a scathing report released just days ago outlining intelligence failures before the attempted Christmas Day bombing — one of three major security breaches since last fall — could have put the nail in the coffin.

But top-ranking Republicans called the change-up a crass political move by Obama that ignored more entrenched intelligence problems in the administration. They said Blair’s authority had been systematically weakened during his 16-month tenure and pointed the finger at Attorney General Eric Holder, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan.

“Blair’s resignation is the result of the Obama administration’s rampant politicization of national security and outright disregard for congressional intelligence oversight,” said Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. “Dennis Blair was the one person you could count on for rationality among Holder, Napolitano and Brennan — and he’s the one the president let go.”

The lawmakers slammed the administration for transferring intelligence oversight to the White House and Justice Department — in an apparent reference to the decision to create a specialized interrogation unit under the purview of the FBI and subject to oversight from the White House-based National Security Council.

“It must have been challenging to be forced on the sidelines by the attorney general but still catch all the blame for failings,” Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, told Fox News.

The White House has already been interviewing potential successors. An administration official told Fox News that “several strong candidates” are in the running.

Some lawmakers, while praising Blair for his service, withheld criticism of the administration’s decision, suggesting a change in leadership was needed after a string of high-profile plots against the United States.

A report from the Senate Intelligence Committee this week found 14 intelligence failures that allowed suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to allegedly board a plane to Detroit on Christmas Day armed with explosives. That came after the deadly Fort Hood shooting in November. Then on May 1, suspect Faisal Shahzad, an American citizen of Pakistani descent, allegedly tried to blow up a vehicle filled with explosives. As with the Christmas Day attempt, the explosives failed to properly detonate and the vigilance of bystanders helped defuse the situation.

“This type of failure cannot be tolerated,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said.

Senators are apparently eager to hear Blair’s side of the story. His resignation is effective May 28.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement that he looks forward to meeting with Blair “to understand why he is leaving his office now and whether he thinks the DNI needs more statutory authority than it currently has.”

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee, accused the administration of stifling Blair.

“It is unfortunate that the Obama administration did not allow him to do his job and tried to make him the scapegoat for the administration’s intelligence failures. The problem was not with Dennis Blair, but with the White House itself, which, under John Brennan, attempts to control intelligence policy beyond the scope of congressional oversight while withholding necessary information from Congress,” he said.

Palin: ‘Mama grizzlies’ will take back US

WASHINGTON (AP) – Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Friday that “mama grizzlies” will help Republicans win this November, sweeping away the agenda of President Barack Obama and the Democrats.

Addressing an anti-abortion group, the potential 2012 presidential candidate also said she understood how some women might consider abortion, citing her own experiences as the mother of a child with Down syndrome and the parent of an unwed teen mother. Last year, Palin said that “for a fleeting moment” she considered having an abortion when she learned of her son Trig’s prognosis.

Palin said Friday that abortion is morally wrong and women should carry a fetus to term.

“It may not be the easiest path, but it’s always the right path,” she said.

Palin, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, used a speech to the Susan B. Anthony List to remind activists why they rallied behind the Republican ticket and why they should work to stop Obama’s agenda.

She said Obama is “the most pro-abortion president ever to occupy the White House” and asserted that the health care law would fund abortions.

In fact, Obama’s health care law would not allow federal dollars to pay for elective abortions. Catholic hospitals and organizations of Catholic nuns backed the measure. U.S. Catholic bishops and major anti-abortion groups opposed it, arguing that federal dollars could end up paying for abortions.

Palin challenged Republican women—”mama grizzlies,” she called them—to help the GOP “take this country back” and elect anti-abortion lawmakers. She praised female leaders of the tea party movement and invoked her 2008 acceptance speech where she compared herself to a pit bull.

“You don’t want to mess with moms who are rising up,” Palin said. “If you thought pit bulls were tough, you don’t want to mess with mama grizzlies.”

Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, said Palin talks a good game, but her version of what American women want doesn’t honor freedom and independence. She mentioned the Democratic lawmakers whom Palin had targeted for their votes for health care overhaul.

“First she puts targets on their back, then she wants the government in their bedrooms—what is Sarah Palin doing to Western women?” said Schriock. EMILY’S List helps candidates who back abortion rights.

Palin also criticized the media, singling out their coverage of her daughter Bristol, whose pregnancy was announced days after Palin was named the vice presidential nominee. Bristol Palin is a single mother who works on an abstinence-only campaign.

“Choosing life was the right road, the right choice. … It hasn’t been easy and society, culture sure hasn’t been easy on her,” Palin said. “Wow, our culture and our media has made it rough on her.”

She said some young women would see what happened to Bristol and perhaps be encouraged to seek an abortion instead of facing similar criticism.

She cast herself as a victim of a liberal media and elite academics.

“Some of them refused to admit I’m even a woman,” she said.

Will the GOP Wake Up and Smell the Tea?

By J.R. Dunn

It’s a painful thing to imagine Robert Bennett over the past few days, sitting alone in a darkened room, staring off into space wondering what hit him and whistling Nick Cave’s “There She Goes My Beautiful World” over and over again.

It happened quickly. Events in politics aren’t supposed to happen that quickly. It came out of nowhere, with next to no warning at all. Even a few weeks ago, there was little sign that Bennett was in trouble. Then the spirit of 2010 suddenly rose out the darkness and took him down.

It also wrong-footed the chattering classes, most of whom have echoed that master of analysis David Brooks in sputtering, “It’s an outrage.” From a certain point of view, perhaps so. But outrages don’t occur for no reason. After Bennett, three things can be said with certainty:

That the Tea Party movement is in no way a partisan phenomenon.

That it is not a minor event, one of those weird little upheavals common to democracies such as the Perotista uproar of the 90s, which appeared, wreaked havoc, and then vanished leaving no measurable effect on national politics.

That it is not simply a revolt. As the Duc de la Rochefoucauld explained to Louis XVI one fine July morning: “No sire, it is a revolution.”

The Tea Parties were well named. Like the Committees of Correspondence of the 1770s, they are the leading edge of a revolutionary change in American politics, one that has been gathering force for decades. This is the third wave foreshadowed by the Reagan Revolution of the 80s and the Gingrich Revolution of the mid-90s. It is a widespread national revolt against managerialism, administrative government, liberal paternalism, and the policies they embody.

The Reagan and Gingrich revolutions were aimed at the same targets. Other similarities exist as well, but the differences are just as profound. The previous movements were limited by party; as the Bennett ambush reveals, this one is not. They were doctrinal in basis; this one based almost purely on principle. They were only partially successful. And this one…?

Neither party yet grasps any of this. The Dems are in the position of a chicken in the middle of a thruway gazing bladly at an oncoming eighteen-wheeler. The only question is who will brush the feathers off the road?

The Republican stance is more complicated and problematic. The GOP is eagerly counting up the possible gains in the midterms (the number, according to Jim Geraghty, is now up to 90 seats in the House). It appears that the GOP is set to take over the House and make dramatic gains in the Senate. This is all well and good, but the problem with the Republicans is that, as usual, they are giving little or no thought as to what such a victory will be all about.

The ’94 revolution failed in large part due to the flakiness of its leader (“The mayor of Sominex City,” as Dame L. put it last weekend.) but also thanks to institutional pressures inherent in both the GOP and Congress itself. Within a short time, the fire kindled in ’94 was extinguished amid the damp chill of business as usual and a pathetically limited post-Gingrich leadership, to be replaced by seat-counting, earmark-trading, and open corruption. This led to 2006, to 2008, and, in due time, to the Tea Parties.

The question arises as to whether the GOP understands this course of events. The signs are not encouraging. Shortly after the passage of ObamaCare, Sen. John Cornyn, one of the party’s old bulls, announced that the party would make no effort to repeal the bill. He was echoed by Sen. Bob Corker and several House members — a nonentity named Richard Burr, and one or two others whose names slip my mind. No clear rationale was given, and none was required. ObamaCare will be embraced by the GOP mainstream because it represents a return to the status quo ante 2006 –` it represents a mammoth opportunity to practice what George Washington Plunkitt called “honest graft”: trading earmarks, placing US HealthCare installations in your district, and, not the least, guaranteeing that your supporters get to jump the line after rationing starts.

Voters? They get to do what they’re told.

But of course, they’re not doing what they’re told. And since Cornyn is insulated from the voters’ wrath this year, they instead turned the phaser banks on poor Robert Bennett.

It can be argued that Bennett didn’t deserve to be let down so harshly, that he was a conservative of sorts, and that we shouldn’t batter members of our own team. All good points. But none of them will play this year. Because, quite apart from all that, Bennett had sold out, and more publicly and completely than many. There was the broken pledge not to serve more than two terms, the vote for TARP (some form of bailout might have been necessary, but not that one), and his “bipartisan” health-care bill, of which the best that can be said is the fact that it went nowhere. Bennett was much the same as Bob Dole, and George H.W. Bush, and today’s Newt Gingrich: a member of the managerial elite. Somebody who, apart from the rhetoric, is simply another cog in the legislative machinery (or like Newt, would like to be once again). Arguing that Bennett was no worse than anyone else was not going to save him, not in 2010. And it won’t save anyone else either.

Will the Republicans get the message? That remains to be seen. It often appears that Republicans are not a message-getting species. 2006… 2008… ObamaCare… the dominos fall and make no impression in the elephantine mind. They still believe they can continue playing the numbers game, rewarding each other with earmarks, making deals across the aisle, and playing both ends against the middle. The voters will never notice.

Well, the Utah voters sure noticed.

To avoid Robert Bennett’s fate, the GOP must do things. ObamaCare must either be repealed or emasculated (if a veto-proof majority cannot be put together). The illegals problem must be solved firmly and quickly. The southern border must be secured before it explodes. The plague of PC that has overwhelmed political decision-making in this country since the first Bush administration must be ended. These only comprise a start. What people are demanding is a rollback. They will get it, or the politicians who stand in their way will wind up on the same ashheap as Bennett.

It happens that what the people are calling for matches the platform of the GOP almost point for point. The Republicans can prevail simply by being themselves, living up to their own standards and rhetoric. But we should never underestimate the Republican capacity for blowing a two-foot putt. Remember Dede Scozzafava, for one example.

If the Republicans drop the ball this time, if they toss aside their principles, break their promises, lose themselves in deals, Bennett’s downfall will expand to the level of massacre. 2012 will become the year of the third party, a serious third party, not the vanity productions of Ross Perot, but something we haven’t seen since 1912. And more than likely led by a populist crank of the Ron Paul variety. The last such upsurge by the Perotistas gave us Bill Clinton. And the next one…?

The GOP is being given that rarity in politics, a second chance. There will not be a third. Learn the lesson of Robert Bennett, or go to the wall.

J.R. Dunn is consulting editor of American Thinker and editor of the forthcoming Military Thinker.