This Week in History: Republican Party Abolishes Slavery

On December 6, 1865 the Republican Party abolished slavery.

Grand Old Partisan reported:

On this day in 1865, the 13th Amendment — abolishing slavery — became part of the Constitution — when ratified by three-quarters of the states.

Despite protests from the Democrats, the Republican Party made banning slavery part of its national platform in 1864. Senator Lyman Trumbull (R-IL) wrote the final version of the text, combining the proposed wordings of several other Republican congressmen.

All Republicans in Congress voted for the 13th Amendment, while nearly all Democrats voted against it. So strongly did President Abraham Lincoln (R-IL) support the 13th Amendment, he signed the document, though presidential approval is not part of the amendment process.

Yes, outlawing slavery was a Republican achievement.

GOP senators won’t confirm Kerry until Clinton testifies on Benghazi

Republican senators will refuse to confirm Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., as Secretary of State until the nation’s current top diplomat, Hillary Clinton, testifies about her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack.

“The Senate is expected to take up Kerry’s nomination in early January, but multiple Republican senators have already said they won’t agree to a vote on Kerry’s nomination until Clinton testifies about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi,” The Cable’s Josh Rogin notes.

Clinton backed out of testifying at a congressional hearing last week after fainting and suffering a concussion. She was the first cabinet-level official to acknowledge that terrorists played a role in the assault on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

“For some time, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and other groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from northern Mali into neighboring countries,” Clinton said during a United Nations meeting in New York on September 26. “Now, with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions. And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions underway in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi,” (emphasis added).

A week earlier, though, Clinton was content to have people such as the father of Tyrone Woods — the former Navy Seal killed during the attack on Benghazi — believe that an anti-Islam Youtube video was the occasion for the assault, which took place on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Read more here.

TEA PARTY VS. PROGRESSIVE REPUBLICANS — BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF THE GOP

Since Nov. 6, there has been no shortage of opinions as to why challenger Mitt Romney and the Republican Party failed to ouster President Barack Obama. Pre-election divisions in the Republican Party between moderates and conservatives have only widened since Romney’s defeat and the party’s strategy for the future remains unclear, a source of contention and heated internal & external debate.

Specifically, many now wonder what the sobering 2012 election results means for the right-leaning Tea Party, the champions of personal freedom and smaller government who exploded on the political scene in the 2010 midterm elections. The re-election of a progressive like Barack Obama would seem to signal the end of the conservative Tea Party, but the movement’s conservative leaders insist that last month’s election results only vindicate the group’s message.

“The Tea Party is not a political party; it’s an informal community of Americans who support a set of fiscally conservative issues,” says FreedomWorks’ Matt Kibbe. “And when you take a look at the roster of new fiscal conservatives being sent to Congress next year, it’s clear our issues are winning.”

Indeed, although the Tea Party may be focusing the vast majority of its ongoing efforts on local issues, the conservative movement has left an undeniable mark on the national GOP establishment. The group’s mantra of uncompromising fiscal conservatism and limited government has remained a driving force in shaping Republican platform.

Read more here.

Why we need the Republican Party

I was amused to read The Daily Times editorial, “Tax hikes would hurt” on Nov. 1. The description of our “lame duck” governor’s proposals to triple the Flush Tax, add 15 cents to the gas tax and increase car registration and emission fees by 50 percent is typical for a politician on the way out.

One wonders if our esteemed leader would be so thus inclined if he were running for re-election.

On the same page of the newspaper, butted up to the tax hike opinion article, appeared Donald G. Griffin’s view that “Republicans and George Bush have caused our problems.” His solution is to eliminate the GOP — “they have been around for too long.”

Mr. Griffin’s shortsighted view is lopsided, to say the least.

May I be so bold as to describe what the country would look like if we got rid of the GOP. It would look like Maryland on a grander scale.

Ralph Cordrey

Sharptown

Bachmann, Trump to host ‘tele-townhall’

GOP presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) will participate in a “tele-townhall” with New York businessman Donald Trump on Monday.

“This is an incredible opportunity for you and everyone from Team Bachmann to hear from a businessman who knows firsthand that Barack Obama’s failed policies are crippling our nation’s job creators,” said Bachmann in an email to supporters.

“Donald Trump and I will discuss the state of the race, along with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead,” she added.

During the tele-townhall scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Oct. 17, Bachmann and Trump will answer questions from the audience.

Trump considered entering the GOP race earlier in the year and has yet to close the door on a possible presidential bid.

GOP candidates have traveled to New York to meet with the business mogul to seek his advice and possible endorsement.

Read more here.

Tea Party Movement Growing Weary of GOP Budget Plan

As U.S. lawmakers seek a compromise on how much federal spending to cut in order to avoid a government shutdown, Tea Party activists who helped propel Republicans back into power are growing impatient with the debate.

When Republicans captured the House in November, vowing to slash $100 billion in federal spending from the budget year ending in September, 76 percent of Tea Party activists supported their deficit-reduction plan, according to a new Pew Research poll released last week.

But after House Republicans approved a plan last month to cut federal spending by $61 billion, that Tea Party support fell to 52 percent.

Now Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, arguably the most vocal critic of GOP leaders, is pushing for a primary opponent against House Speaker John Boehner in 2012 for breaking his campaign pledge to cut $100 billion and for what he sees as hints that he’s willing to cut less than $61 billion in a compromise with Senate Democrats.

“Charlie Sheen is now making more sense than John Boehner,” Phillips wrote in his blog earlier this month.

In an interview with FoxNews.com Thursday, Phillips said he stands by his comments and goal of seeking a primary challenger to Boehner.

“Charlie Sheen still makes more sense than John Boehner because at least Charlie Sheen is winning,” he said.

“This is the one message the Tea Party needs to be out there pushing,” he said. “If you don’t live up to your promise, we’re going to throw you out.”

Read more here.

A rising GOP star in Santa Fe

When she took the oath of office Saturday morning in Santa Fe’s historic plaza, Susana Martinez aNew Mexico’s — and the nation’s — first elected Latina governor.

The 51-year-old, four-term Doña Ana County district attorney is also a rising star in national Republican circles, already being mentioned in the blogosphere as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2012.

But as she takes over from Bill Richardson — a termed-out Democrat whose final two years in office were clouded by federal investigations into pay-for-play allegations — Martinez faces stiff challenges as New Mexico deals with a high unemployment rate and a hefty budget deficit.

“We have to start cutting back on the wasteful spending,” Martinez said in a telephone interview last week as she drove to her hometown of Las Cruces. She wants to sell the state’s $5.5-million jet, pare administrative costs in the education budget and put the state’s generous film industry incentives under the microscope.

Martinez is also considering scaling back the Rail Runner Express commuter train service and is looking to privatize operations at Spaceport America, where Virgin Galactic soon hopes to launch suborbital space flights. She has also promised to reverse a policy of issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and to fight for reinstatement of the death penalty.

Each of these proposals could be seen as a repudiation of Richardson and his expansive approach to state government. “We’re asking people to cut back and not spend as much, but government has not been able to do that,” Martinez said.

Read more here.

Obama and GOPers Worked Together to Kill Bush Torture Probe

A WikiLeaks cable shows that when Spain considered a criminal case against ex-Bush officials, the Obama White House and Republicans got really bipartisan.

In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.

The previous month, a Spanish human rights group called the Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners had requested that Spain’s National Court indict six former Bush officials for, as the cable describes it, “creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture.” The six were former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; William Haynes, the Pentagon’s former general counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel. The human rights group contended that Spain had a duty to open an investigation under the nation’s “universal jurisdiction” law, which permits its legal system to prosecute overseas human rights crimes involving Spanish citizens and residents. Five Guantanamo detainees, the group maintained, fit that criteria.

Soon after the request was made, the US embassy in Madrid began tracking the matter. On April 1, embassy officials spoke with chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza, who indicated that he was not pleased to have been handed this case, but he believed that the complaint appeared to be well-documented and he’d have to pursue it. Around that time, the acting deputy chief of the US embassy talked to the chief of staff for Spain’s foreign minister and a senior official in the Spanish Ministry of Justice to convey, as the cable says, “that this was a very serious matter for the USG.” The two Spaniards “expressed their concern at the case but stressed the independence of the Spanish judiciary.”

Read more here.