Alexander Brunk's blog

Breaking: Specter to make announcement on card check

I've heard in the last 20 minutes from two sources that Arlen Specter is going to go to the floor of the Senate today to make an announcement with regards to the Employee Free Choice Act.

Rumor is that that he will announce he is going to be voting against cloture.

Will post more information as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: GrassrootsPA has this:


According to multiple sources, Senator Arlen Specter will vote against cloture and passage on Employee Free Choice Act legislation…

 UPDATE: The American Spectator has the story:

Grover Norquist said today that he received a call from Arlen Specter's chief of staff informing him that the Pennsylvania Senator will vote against cloture on card check, dealing a serious blow to big labor's efforts to pass the legislation that would make it easier to form unions by denying workers a secret ballot on unionization.

Specter, who has received union backing in his past campaigns, did not support the Republican filibuster of card check last time it came up for a vote, and his support was seen as essential to passing the legislation this time around.

Norquist made the announcement during remarks at a labor conference sponsored by the Capital Research Center, and I confirmed them with our own Jim Antle, who is in attendence.


Conservatives vs. Reformers?

Two weeks ago, I attended the National Review Institute's post-election conference, titled "Whither Conservatism?"  The final forum of the day was on the future of the conservative movement, and included some fantastic panelists with different perspectives on the question we've all been trying to answer: where do we go from here?

David Brooks was the moderator.  He has stated that the Republican party right now is split between the "reformers" and the "traditionalists" - with the reformers dedicated to moving the party forward and the traditionalists wanting to "go back" to the old ideas of the 80s and 90s.

He's taken a lot of flack for this.  But he's hardly the only person to try to corral the various parts of the conservative movement and the GOP into two factions.  

Others have claimed the grand struggle is between between moderates and conservatives, social cons vs. libertarians, etc...

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan, Chairman of the House GOP Policy Committee, probably had the most interesting way of splitting us up, identifying the principle struggle as being between "globalists" and "traditionalists":

Globalists tend to view America as an economy, not a country. The traditionalists tend to view it as a country — a very delicate microcosm, a collection of individuals with different hopes, dreams, aspirations.

I would take a different tack and say that, fundamentally, the conflict in the GOP is between the people who were satisfied with where we were as a party in 2003-04, and those of us who weren't.  Between the people who are satisfied with the GOP holding power and stopping a liberal agenda, and people who actually want the GOP to push a serious plan to reduce the size of government.

But we shouldn't spend too much time thinking about dividing ourselves up into camps.  Thats not a constructive way to move forward.  

On the panel at the National Review Institute, Ross Douthat spent some time talking about how to appeal to suburban voters, with increased child tax credits and the like.  Jonah Goldberg, on the other hand, and the representative from CATO stated that it was the duty of conservatives to speak truth to power, even when going against popular opinion.  And more to the point, that we aren't going to inspire people to get involved and believe in the conservative movement with a increased child tax credit.

But these two ideas aren't mutually exclusive.  There are different roles in this for different members of the coalition.  Social conservatives aren't standing in the way of libertarians pushing for a reduction in the size of government.  Many of the most libertarian-minded elected officials in the GOP are also pro-life (even Ron Paul).  Nor are the Ross Douthats of the world who are trying to lay out winning strategies for appealing to suburban voters preventing think tanks from developing grand plans for reducing the size and scope of government.  

We're all in this together, and we all have a role to play.  Be wary of anyone trying to tell you that you have to fight someone else in the party or the movement in order for us to succeed.  Thats not how we're going to rebuild the party.

Crossposted at

The challenge for the rightosphere

Promoted. This adds tremendously to the discussion and I'd like to associate myself with everything Alexander has written. We'd like to think The Next Right is a small part of the solution to the problems Alexander and Jon have identified. -Patrick

Partly in response to Jon's earlier post, I think its important for all of us to look seriously at the right side of the blogosphere and see why we are ineffective.

And this is the truth.  By any measure of effectiveness, we are way behind.  In terms of money raised, attention brought to candidates, or ability to drive a message.

The reason, above all, is that their side is full of activists, and ours is full of pundits.  Spend a few minutes perusing some of the top liberal blogs and everything is about driving attention to a specific race, or something else thats happening NOW, with a means of taking action.

On conservative blogs on the other hand, you have a thousand different bloggers who all want to be a talking head on one of the cable networks.  Everyone has an opinion and feels the need to explain why they are correct.  As such, most of the time the rightosphere is just a circular sounding board.

Granted, there have been a few moments when we've been more.  Dan Rather & the Bush National Guard records.  The fight over the Arlen Specter judiciary chairmanship.  The Harriet Miers nomination.  The early days of the Fred Thompson pre-candidacy. 

The challenge for the rightosphere is for us to actually work together, and not just be ten thousand individuals moving randomly in varying directions. 

I think things are improving, partly because there seems to be a shift in the center of the conservative blogosphere from simply news and opinion (Captain's Quarters, Instapundit, Power Line) to more activism-focused blogs like RedState, The Next Right, Newsbusters, etc.  But we have a long way still to go.

ARG: Hillary up by 26 points in South Dakota

The conventional wisdom is that Obama will win handily in both of the remaining primaries. But that may not be the case. H/T


South Dakota:

Hillary 60

Obama 34



Hillary 44

Obama 48

Now, ARG has been wrong before. But 26 points is quite a margin.

Bob Barr is not an alternative

As of Saturday, Bob Barr is now the official Libertarian party nominee for President of the United States.  Some conservatives, dissatisfied with John McCain as the GOP's standard bearer, seem to think that here is a candidate ripe to receive the protest votes of thousands of movement conservatives dissatisfied with the direction that McCain is taking our party.

I wasn't shocked that the libertarian party picked Barr - they are desperate for a candidate who more than a tiny fraction of the country has actually heard of.  He's a compelling speaker and will gain publicity for the party.  But I'm surprised at how willing they are to ignore much of Barr's history in doing so.

Certainly, it seems ironic that the man who was once congress's greatest champion of the "War on Drugs" is now the leader of a fringe party devoted to opposing it.  A man who rails against overspending in Washington himself voted for No Child Left Behind, which libertarians hate.  A man who was one of the main movers and shakers in the impeachment trial of President Clinton, which most libertarians opposed.  A man who voted for the Patriot Act, but has now spent the last five years speaking out against it.

The bottom line is that when he was in congress, Barr was a loyal Republican footsoldier, not a movement conservative or libertarian who just happened to have an R next to his name.

His criticism of big government Republicanism, and then his movement toward the libertarian party and his rejection of Republicans altogether only occurred after Republicans rejected him - tossing him out of his congressional district in a 2002 primary, and failing to support an attempted return to congress the following year. 

When Bob Barr was in congress, when he had the opportunity to stand up for the principles he now claims to champion, he didn't.  He is not the principled leader he claims to be.  And conservatives and libertarians alike looking to cast a protest vote should look past him.

 Crossposted at

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