Saturday, January 28, 2012

Steve Largent honoring the Contract With America

I heard this story today and found it compelling. I should say I think Politico leans left, and I really don't think a whole lot of Joe Scarborough. When I've had the chance to watch or listen to his commentary, he doesn't seem very conservative to me. The story he relates at Politico, however, is about honor, and gave me a profound respect for Steve Largant.
In 1997, ten of my fellow classmates had led a coup attempt against Gingrich, shutting down the House over the speaker’s efforts to violate the Contract with America by swelling the number of committee staff members.

Conservative stalwarts like Steve Largent, Tom Coburn and Matt Salmon joined me and seven others to demand a cut in spending and a promise to hold firm on tax cuts.

Newt did not take the rebellion lying down. He immediately summoned the sergeant of arms to drag the 11 rebels down to a Republican caucus meeting in the bowels of the Capitol basement, where Newt lined us up in front of a packed room of seething House members who were now missing the first day of their Easter recess because of our insurgency. Gingrich then began screaming and demanded that the 11 of us account for our behavior.

He then taught me a political lesson I will always remember: Never willingly hand the microphone over to your enemies. Especially when the first rebel to speak was elected to the NFL Hall of Fame and one of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful Men Alive.

As Steve Largent grabbed the microphone, the crowd of GOP members was still shouting insults. But by the time he stood behind the podium, even our most hostile opponents grew quiet.

Steve spoke softly about how he signed a contract with the Seattle Seahawks and remembered shaking the hand of the team’s owner after the deal was done. A few years later, the NFL Players Association went on strike. But Largent told the mob, who were now transfixed, that he crossed those picket lines because he signed a contract and gave his word. Largent told the group that a few years later, the NFL players went on strike a second time and he was once again one of the few NFL players to keep reporting for work. For Steve, it was a matter of principle.

The beautiful NFL Hall of Famer then quietly moved in for the kill.

Turning to the Speaker, who a year earlier had been named Time Magazine’s person of the year, Largent said, “Newt, you were the one who drafted the contract and then told us to sign it. Now, you’re the one pressuring us to break it. But Newt, if I wasn’t intimidated by the thought of 250 pound linebackers who wanted to kill me every time I crossed the field, why would I be intimidated by you?”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gingrich's aggravating attack on self-deportation

I haven't talked much about the current presidential primary. That's mostly because I don't like our choices. I think both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are big government politicians, and Rick Santorum is highly socially conservative, but doesn't seem quite so strong on issues of actual governance. Ron Paul is tempting in several ways, but his failure to distance himself from 9/11 conspiracy theorists is a source of serious concern for me.

Of the two front runners, Gingrich and Romney, Romney is slightly more conservative. I know, many people will argue that point. There's a lot to argue, it's true. I've become convinced the more I learn about Gingrich's political past that he's a big government progressive. Romney is far too big government for my liking, but he doesn't seem to be a progressive, and that difference really does matter.

One aggravating attack Gingrich made recently was with regard to the illegal alien problem we have in the United States. We want immigrants here. We want the best and brightest, those willing to take risks to make a better life. All we ask is that they come here legally, the way my wife did.

When asked about this in a recent debate, Romney advocated self-deportation. He was absolutely right. It's the only viable solution to this problem. You really can't arrest all illegal aliens, put them on buses or planes and send them home. You can make it impossible to work here illegally, the way Mexico presently does, and then they'll leave. That's self-deportation.

Pandering to Latino voters in Florida, Gingrich held an interview with Spanish-language Univision network, and he mocked this very sensible approach to solving the problem of illegal immigration. The Washington Post reports here.
“You have to live in a world of Swiss bank accounts and Cayman Island accounts and automatic $20 million income for no work to have some fantasy this far from reality,” Gingrich told Univision interviewer Jorge Ramos. “For Romney to believe that somebody’s grandmother is going to be so cut off that she is going to self-deport, I mean this is an Obama-level fantasy.”
I'll set aside the mocking of success and the denigration of the key concept of the right to rise in the free market and focus on Gingrich's unacceptable point on immigration.

Nobody's concerned about illegal alien grandmas self-deporting, though they shouldn't be eligible for benefits that should be reserved to those lawfully entitled to them. They have committed a crime, and they shouldn't be here, but they're not the focus of those of us who want to end illegal immigration. We're far more concerned with those taking jobs they legally aren't entitled to. We're even more concerned with those who associate with gangs, endanger others by driving illegally, or commit crimes beyond and in addition to the initial crime of coming here illegally. Even simply stealing someone else's social security number to illegally gain employment is sufficient that every lawful resident should object strongly.

What do employers have to do? It's easy. When interviewing for a position, let the candidate know they use the USCIS E-Verify system. Using it is key to maintaining compliance with U.S. law. Then employers should actually use the E-Verify system. Honest people who want to come here to work are welcome. They'll just need to do it lawfully and without stealing anyone's identity. Those who come here illegally for work will leave when they can't get a job. Those here illegally to commit crimes can be arrested and deported or arrested and jailed.

Gingrich is simply wrong on this issue, and even if he doesn't like Romney and wants to beat him, Gingrich should have the courage to admit when Romney is right.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Democrats didn't complain about this

There's been a lot of fuss about Mitt Romney's effective tax rate. When John Kerry ran for the presidency, his effective tax rate was lower. I don't recall democrats complaining at all about that.


Source here.

I actually don't begrudge John Kerry his tax rate any more than I begrudge Mitt Romney his. Let me explain why. The media has failed to mention that these rates are so low because they're mostly capital gains taxes. What are capital gains? When you take income you've earned and paid taxes on and buy investments and those investments make a profit, those profits are capital gains.

The gains you've made are new income, it's true. The democrats argue that out of fairness, we should tax them at a higher rate. This is something I've addressed in a previous post, which you can read here. The short version is that if you tax capital gains at a higher rate, people don't find investing as attractive, so they do it less. That means you end up with less capital gains profits to tax. So, not only does the economy suffer because investment is critical to growth, but the government is able to steal make less money via taxation, too. Thus, everybody loses if capital gains tax rates are raised too high.

In other words, Democrats complaining against the most effective (low) capital gains tax rates aren't simply anti free market, they're anti logic, anti prosperity, anti economic growth and anti tax revenue.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jimmy Carter: Less Relevant Every Day

Real Clear Politics posted a comment by Jimmy Carter today. Carter, in a typically addled Carter way, joins the media in saying that Newt Gingrich was engaging in racism by calling President Obama the food stamp president and suggesting the poor would be benefited more by jobs, even entry level jobs, than by dependence on the government.

Jimmy Carter and the media are actually the racists on this one. It's racist to say, as they're openly saying, Blacks are the primary recipients of welfare dollars, especially since it's not even true. (Note: the article is old, but Whites still receive more welfare dollars than Blacks).

The real problem is that the current attitudes held by Jimmy Carter and media commentators are incorrect and outdated. My generation doesn't think about race the way they do. President Obama being black wasn't even a consideration for me during the last presidential election. Race and gender aren't important to me. Ideas and convictions are.

The media's focus on misperceived racism is perpetuating a foolish obsession with skin color that needs to go quietly to its grave. Most of America is post racial. The media just needs to catch up and Carter needs to go back to farming peanuts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Illegal, unConstitutional and Unprecedented

When they left for their Christmas break, Congress chose not to recess. President Obama has set up a potential Constitutional crisis by making a controversial recess appointment anyway, in a manner that would have been unacceptable even if Congress had recessed.

The details are here from the Washington Times:

Obama sets up clash with Congress over recess banking pick
Breaks Democrats’ own rule from Bush administration

Defying Congress, President Obama used his recess appointment powers Wednesday to name a head for the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a move Republican lawmakers said amounted to an unconstitutional power grab.

The president acted just a day after the Senate held a session — a move that breaks with at least three different precedents which have held that the Senate must be in recess for at least three days before a president can act. Mr. Obama himself was part of two of those precedents, both during his own time in the Senate and again in 2010 when one of his administration’s top lawyers made the three-day argument to the Supreme Court.
So what makes this appointment okay in his eyes?
The White House, though, argues Republican senators stonewalled the nominee for so long that Mr. Obama had no choice but to circumvent them.

The president introduced Mr. Cordray during a trip to Ohio Wednesday, telling a supportive crowd that the Senate Republicans’ ongoing blockade of his nomination “inexcusable.”

“I refuse to take ‘No’ for an answer. I’ve said before that I will continue to look for every opportunity to work with Congress to move this country forward. But when Congress refuses to act in a way that hurts our economy and puts people at risk, I have an obligation as president to do what I can without them,” Mr. Obama said.
Actually, if the legislative branch says "no," then the executive branch must take "no" for an answer with regard to Constitutionally-outlined checks and balances. That careful separation of powers and the ability to check the actions of another branch of government is what prevents a president from becoming a dictator. I've never seen the creation of a dictatorship for himself as President Obama's goal, but he's certainly handed those who do potent ammunition with this decision.