State of the Union

“Flat”… “Unconvincing”.

Those are some of the more common reactions I’ve heard. Some of our readers have been a little more pointed in their comments about the Obama Show on Tuesday night… like a lot of Conservatives who have come to the conclusion that Obama never says anything new. He just rehashes stuff he’s already said, putting fresh lipstick on the pig time after time.

Actually, I had decided not to listen to Obama’s little extravaganza for just that reason. I felt I knew what he was going to say. The radio that I listen to when I’m writing betrayed me, and once President Obama started speaking I left it on.

I wasn’t disappointed. He spouted about 1950s Russian Sputniks and roofing companies reinventing themselves. He talked about all the neat things he was going to do for business instead of to business. Gee, that would be a nice change.

Barack has a problem. He can get people to listen to him. Getting people to believe him is another story altogether. He is learning the lesson that all liars learn sooner or later. You can only go to the well just so many times and then even the thickest airheads start seeing the light.

He still has the considerable power of the bully pulpit… he still has the slavish devotion of the main stream media and their influence, greatly diminished though it may be. What he doesn’t have is the American people. Obama has been tried in the court of the mind of the American citizen and was found wanting.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

Prom Night.

The only thing missing was Barney Frank as Prom Queen… well, queen anyway. I can’t tell you how uncomfortable I felt when our chosen warriors were duped into the ridiculous pose of sitting with the opposition, to illustrate some sort of new ‘tone’ at the State of the Union show.

Many times I’ve talked about and warned the Republicans about letting the opposition control the message. Time after time we’ve allowed them to do it to us. And time after time they have succeeded, simply because they were allowed to.

I thought with the advent of the new Congress we would see a Republican party of much sterner stuff than the wishy-washy, panty-waisted establishment types which we’ve all come to recognize and despise. The only reason the left engineered this touching nouveaux amis was so that the visual of the huge Republican numbers wouldn’t be broadcast to millions of American homes during prime time. It’s a significant difference in numbers, and it shows.

What bothers me most is that a ten year old could have seen this coming a block away. The left playing off of the emotional backwash of the Tucson tragedy, the whole thing reminiscent of the anti-gun, anti-conservative frenzy whipped up by the Democrats, after James S. Brady was paralyzed during the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley Jr.

The only reason the clearly unconstitutional Brady bill was enabled to be passed was that principled Republicans did not make a stand on behalf of the second amendment. It’s time, it’s long past time, for our Conservative Republicans to assert themselves.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

Response to President Obama's State of the Union Address

Introductory Note: In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama gave a response to the State of the Union Address of then-President George W. Bush prior to President Bush’s address to the joint session of Congress. I believe that turnabout is only fair play so I will give my response to President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union Address before he delivers it.

Good evening. My name is Alan Peel and I am a private citizen and small business owner in Leawood, Kansas.

Before I begin, I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her family as well as the other victims and the victims’ families in the recent shooting in Tucson, Arizona. We wish a speedy recovery for those who were injured and solace for those who lost loved ones in this senseless act.

We Americans are confronted with several issues and problems either with us currently or on the horizon that could imperil our country as we go deeper into the 21st Century. Applying many of the same solutions that have been implemented in the last century will not solve our debt problems, lack of spending restraint, everyday issues affecting businesses and households and challenges abroad.

We all agree that America has a debt problem. Borrowing $14 trillion without any ideas as to how to reduce our debt to countries that may or may not have our best interests at heart is not a good thing for our country. However, the way in which we get to complete debt elimination is where we the American people disagree vehemently with President Obama.

The American public has come to the conclusion that America has a spending problem and not a revenue problem. We already have some of the highest tax rates in the world even when state and local tax rates are excluded. Instead of hoping for an economic recovery to reduce our deficit or raising taxes in the middle of a fragile economic period, we should consider cutting spending significantly. I am personally looking forward to the House Republican’s unveiling of their plan to cut spending and reduce the debt by over $2 trillion by the end of the decade. I also invite President Obama to outline a budget that will significantly reduce the deficit and lead us to a balanced budget within the next three years.

One quick way for the president to reduce the debt in the future would be to support the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare. When proposed, there were only six years of benefits, ten years of new taxes, kickbacks and pork-barrel spending and several accounting gimmicks that would make Bernie Madoff blush.  This was used by President Obama to sell his own party on passage of his disastrous health care plan and ultimately led to the a midterm election last November that even he called a "shellacking". Even as millions of jobs hang in the balance thanks to ObamaCare’s existence, we look forward to having ideas presented to the president as to how we can expand coverage for all Americans and to reduce health care costs without onerous levels of government regulations and bureaucratic interference.

Another understanding that has been reached by the American public is the idea that government spending as a means to create jobs and create prosperity is nothing more than an overhyped myth that leaves government deeper in debt and Americans jobless. Instead, we should be looking to permanently extend all of the Bush tax cuts before the end of the year and extend the payroll tax cuts for another three to five years while looking for ideas as to how we can improve the revenue streams for Social Security while looking for ways to reduce the tax burden for everyday Americans and by not cutting benefits for those who have paid into the system.

The American people are wide awake and realize that the plans of bailouts and stimulus do not work.  In fact, the recent actions taken by the Federal Reserve to inject more printed money into circulation will actually lead us to further chaos with massive inflation coming this year that risks ending any hopes of a strong economic rebound and puts us on the road to a lost decade similar to that of Japan's lost decade of the 1990's where stimulus and central planning hurt that nation's economy.

Furthermore, Washington needs to learn lessons from what families are doing during hard times. Most families have been getting their family budgets under control and have made great sacrifices to ensure their own financial security. In learning from everyday Americans, fiscal restraint is our only option at this time and we should solve our nation’s fiscal nightmare of trillion-dollar deficits by drastically reducing spending and getting government within its means.

The surest way to create jobs is to empower entrepreneurs. Keeping tax rates low and eliminating onerous regulations are essential for job growth and job creation. Millions of jobs can be created by unleashing the entrepreneurial spirit of our country. We have the most resourceful, talented, and knowledgeable workforce in the world. The only way that we can take advantage of our workforce is to motivate and empower them to produce for themselves so that they can take the necessary risks of hiring employees and improving America’s jobs picture.

Also, the American people are disheartened that we are getting more of the same from President Obama on energy policy. The drilling moratorium because of last year’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has begun the rise in fuel and energy prices. Sharing and depending on already scarce resources is not the way to ensure low energy prices. Instead, we need an all-at-once approach to cultivate and develop new resources and to allow the free markets to determine America’s energy future, not environmentalists using junk science and empty promises to manipulate us to pursue unproven energy technologies that are still a good 15 to 20 years away from being ready for the over 300 million people who require energy to for all of our everyday uses. Instead, we need to develop short-term resources such as domestic oil drilling and coal mining, develop more mid-range resources including nuclear energy, and longer-term resources that will ensure that we no longer import another drop of energy from OPEC.

Finally, America is best when she is at her strongest abroad. It hurts to see President Obama deferring to the United Nations and other countries when America’s leadership is essential and necessary.  We also believe that it is not constructive for our president to conduct constant apology tours or for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner to host a state dinner for the leader of a regime that currently has the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize recipient in prison whose only crime was speaking out for freedom.

Furthermore, a country without borders is not a nation.  Posting signs telling Americans on American soil that going beyond a certain point is not a sound border protection plan.  Instead, we need to empower border patrol agents to do their jobs and to stop this act of human trafficing, drug trafficing and rampant crime on our southern border.  Instead of pursuing politically-motivated amnesty for people here in this country illegally, we should be looking to enforce the law and to work with state and local law enforcement agencies to deal with the crime-related issues of illegal immigration.  Suing states like Arizona who have lost their patience with the federal government's refusal to enforce the law is not constructive and should be abandoned immediately.

Make no mistake: we care about the people in other countries and we especially love to have visitors and people who want to become Americans.  We just ask that we enforce the laws and regulations and expect everyone who comes to our country to become a part of America the right way.  Permitting those to come across our borders in violation of our laws is not the way it should be done.  Instead, we need to change our system so that more legal immigrants can enter our country and not be turned away.  Those who can provide skills to our already outstanding job force or those who want to pursue better educational opportunities for themselves and their children are always welcomed and our policies should be a reflection of that and not that of quotas or limits as to who can and cannot come to America.

We also have questions about whether or not America will win in Afghanistan before we draw down from our current troop levels. If we are to fight this war the right way, we should either be fighting to win in Afghanistan or we should immediately withdraw all our troops from Afghanistan. Instead of fighting to appease special interest anti-war groups, we should be fighting to ensure that our troops come home victorious and to do soon. We also don’t want to see future generations of Americans dying in our streets in acts of terrorism or have to fight wars in the future because we didn’t fight to win the ones we are currently fighting.

With these approaches and an embracing of American exceptionalism, America will be an even greater and stronger nation in the future. Thank you for your time. Good night and may God continue to bless this great nation of ours that we all love.

The ‘New Tone’ Is The Same Tired Tune.

In the first place, I don’t want my representatives cozying up to the Marxists who have done, and are doing, everything in their power to destroy this country. So I urge you, as Patriots, to contact your representatives and tell them we won’t appreciate their little tete a tete with the Democrats at the State of the Union speech.

Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin announced that they will sit together for the State of the Union address. “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”- Shakespeare.

As for the ‘new tone’… it’s newspeak for idiots. The DeMarxists have reverted to their passive-aggressive role with guilt, vituperation and outrageous falsehoods towards all. This is their new tone. What it means is surrender for Conservatives, in order to gain some semblance of cooperation from the left side of the aisle.

It’s the same sort of political scam they’ve pulled for almost forever. What’s even more remarkable is that Republicans have fallen for it time after time. All the leftists have had to do, up to the present time, is yank out the guilt card and we’d all cower down and go into our sickening accommodation mode.

Being sold out and sold down the creek by generations of our own party has left most conservatives a skeptical bunch… much more prone to asking pointed questions in their pursuit of the truth. Our response to the assault of the leftists has got to be as pragmatic as it is simple.

Say ‘no!’… Just say ‘no’ and keep saying ‘no’. The DeMarxists back down virtually each and every time they are confronted with principled truths. If they can’t change the story line they’re out of luck. That’s our job, folks… to sink the liberals and keep them sunk.

Semper Vigilans, Semper Fidelis

© Skip MacLure 2011

The Two Hands of Barack Obama: the Olive Branch and the Right Hook

Let’s play a game. Try to guess who each of the following statements is directed to. Here we go…

  1. We extend a hand and get a fist in return.”
  2. Yet even as ____ reached across the aisle with one hand, ____ pushed back with the other.”

They seem to be saying similar things. They both deal with bipartisanship. They both accuse someone of disingenuously acting in a partisan fashion. They both use hand metaphors. But interestingly enough, they describe two different parties. The first one was said by Obama at a recent New Hampshire town hall in which he called out Republicans for opposing him on health care. The second one was written by the Associated Press in an article discussing Obama’s recent speeches in which he simultaneously makes a play for bipartisanship while throwing jabs at Republicans.

It’s been a confusing few weeks for bipartisanship. It started with the President addressing the House Republican caucus extolling the virtues of different points of view:

“I’m a big believer not just in the value of a loyal opposition, but in its necessity. Having differences of opinion, having a real [is] . . . not something that’s only good for our country, it’s absolutely essential. It’s only through the process of disagreement and debate that bad ideas get tossed out and good ideas get refined and made better. And that kind of vigorous back and forth – that imperfect but well-founded process, messy as it often is – is at the heart of our democracy.”

I agree. And I challenge you to find a Republican who wouldn’t agree. The problem is that President Obama’s calls for bipartisanship can be nothing more than mere rhetoric, aimed at scoring some political points. There is no other explanation for why he followed up a week later with these jabs at Republican’s “differences of opinion:”

In an attempt to portray Republicans unanimous opposition to the Democrat’s health care plan as a political tool:

“You can't walk away from your responsibilities to confront the challenges facing this country because you think it's good short-term politics.”

On Republicans opposing last year’s massive stimulus package Obama argued:

“They’ve found a way to have their cake and vote against it too.”

In a response to Senator Lincoln Obama suggested that adopting their policies isn’t going to do any good for Democrats:

“If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years, leading up to the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression – we don’t tinke with health care, let the insurance companies do what they want; we don’t put in place any insurance eforms; we don’t mess with the banks, let them keep on doing what they’re doing now because we don’t want to stir up Wall Street – the result is going to be the same.”

Together it represents a strategy that Obama has perfected: extending the olive branch with one hand and delivering a right cross with the other. Republicans must punch back. We must counter Robert Gibbs baseless assertion that “the party of ‘no’ has become the party of no new ideas.” And we must rebut any attempts by Obama to mischaracterize Republican alternatives. Because frankly we do have ideas, including:

  1. Providing affordable insurance to those with preexisting conditions through Universal Access Programs designed to expand and reform high risk pools
  2. Malpractice tort reform including capping noneconomic and punitive damages which the CBO says would “reduce spending on mandatory programs by about $41 billion and would increase revenues by $13 billion”
  3. Regulatory reform in the small group an nongroup market, including establishing association health plans to pool random risks and allowing individuals to purchase across state lines. The CBO estimates these reforms would reduce premiums:
    1. 10% for employers who get coverage through a small business
    2. 8% for those who do not have access to employer-provided coverage
    3. 3% for employees who get coverage through a large business

While the President continues to play political parlor tricks, Republicans have been given the opportunity to rise above the fray. Leave Obama standing at the pulpit of illusory bipartisanship and take a step towards the needs of the American people. If Obama’s remarks are any indication, I have a feeling he won’t be willing to meet us there.

- Brandon Greife, Political Director of the College Republican National Committee

LIVE BLOG: President Obama's Address to Congress and Questions to Ask

* 10:12 EST PM *

Republican Leadership: The President of the United States has mastered rhetoric, storytelling, artificial confidence-building, and the ability to come off as someone with candor even though he has contradicted himself several times during his address. Will you be pro-freedom or Anti-Obama? Will you be in a reactionary position or a pro-action stance? Will you put message over policy or policy over message?

Republican Leadership: Will you offer ground-breaking ideas to President Obama before he offers his own?

Mr. President: Congratulations on your first address to Congress as President. If Republicans offer their ideas, will you seriously consider them, or will you continue to mask the lack of substantive bipartisanship with procedural bipartisanship (i.e. inviting them to White House Super Bowl parties)?


* 10:03 PM EST *

Mr. President: You say that you will end "direct payments to large agribusinesses that don't need them." Can you define "large" and "need" for the American people?

Mr. President: When it comes to making decisions on national security, do you believe in the sovereignty of the United States over international bodies that have no enforcement powers?


* 9:58 PM EST *

Mr. President: Exactly where in the tax code does it specify tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas?


* 9:52 PM EST *

Mr. President: I agree with you that education is important. Do you believe it's important to keep teachers accountable? Do you believe that bad teachers and administrators need to be fired?

Mr. President: Do you believe that college is appropriate for everybody?

Republican Leadership: Will you fight to protect the successful DC school voucher system?


* 9:45 PM EST *

Mr. President: Why is it up to government to determine the alternative energies that need to be used? Why is it up to government to determine the market cap on carbon?

Mr. President: When is an industry "too big too fail" or "too important to fail"? What makes the car industry more important than any other industry in America? Why should we reward an industry that is rooted in a bad business plan while plenty of small businesses in America have great business plans but are struggling because of the economic downturn?


* 9:39 PM EST *

Mr. President: You say that your budget will be a "blueprint for America's future." Why do you believe that our plan for America's future has to be completely quantitative?

Republican Leadership: Have you learned your lesson your time in the majority? Will you notice that the qualitative structure of government programs is more important than the amount of money you throw at these agencies?


* 9:32 PM EST *

Mr. President: You say you want to get rid of waste in government bureacracy. What is your definition of "waste"?

Mr. President: If economic recovery will be determined by regaining a proper flow of credit, why didn't you focus on lending in your first month as President instead of a spending bill of which less than a fifth will actually be spent this fiscal year?

Mr. President: Do you believe housing is so important that it deserves a further bailout of bad mortgages in the short term and a distortion in the tax code through the mortgage interest deduction in the long term?

Mr. President: Do you believe in the concept of moral hazard?


* 9:25 PM EST *

Mr. President: How can you talk about the wrongful actions of those who put short term gains over long term prosperty when the stimulus does exactly that? You say that the stimulus will create or save 3.5 million jobs. How exactly will you calculate a saved job?

Republican Leadership: If the tax "cut" provisions (which really are tax expenditures) in the stimulus were in a stand alone bill without the rest of the spending, would you have voted for that stand alone bill?


* 9:21 PM EST *

Mr. President: Who will rebuild? Who will recover? And who will emerge stronger than before? Will it be government? Or will it be our economy? Why do you feel that it's your job - the government's job - to pick who will rebuild and who will recover through your stimulus package?


* 8:56 PM EST *

Over three months have passed since the election, and a month since the inauguration. The new Congress and the new administration have successfully committed the single largest legislative generational theft in American history, otherwise known as the stimulus. Some Republican governors gave in. Congressional Republicans have taken a great stand against the stimulus, but have failed to come up with solid alternatives to promote economic growth.

Even worse, Republican leaders seem to have given up on trying to communicate complicated, but critical principles to proper governing: eliminating moral hazard, promoting long term economic growth vs. short term Keynesian countercyclical fiscal policy, reducing distortions and complexity in the tax code, targeting market failures instead of targeting the market. We are very close to conceding to Democrats that we should talk about how best to get government involved in everything, instead of talking about where government should or should not be involved at all.

I, for one, am very glad that Governor Bobby Jindal will be representing Republicans tonight in the response to President Obama's address to Congress. He has the best combination of both worlds: the ability to communicate simply with the average voter while also championing pragmatic intellectualism within public policy formulation. I just wish there was more opportunities for one-on-one debate within the political process between all branches and all levels of government.

Tonight, as I live blog the President's address to Congress, I will do so by using a favorite debate tactic of mine: asking questions. And I won't just pose questions to the President. I'll also be posing questions to the Republican leadership. So to those on both the left and the right who read this blog, feel free to answer any of these questions or come up with any relevant questions you might have.

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