Tim Carney

A winning message for the GOP: Separate big business and state

Barack Obama

Republicans are poised for another successful mid-term election, the reasons for which are voter dissatisfaction with President Barack Obama and Obamacare, his signature domestic achievement. In other words, voters are, to this point, flocking to Republicans not because of any agenda they’ve put forward, but rather because they’re the lesser of two evils on the ballot.

After 50-plus votes to repeal, delay, or defund the law, voters know that Republicans oppose Obamacare, though, the haven’t yet seen party leaders rollout out a replacement. They know that the GOP believes in limited government, fewer taxes and regulation, but leaders haven’t effectively communicated that message to the public.

There are some conservatives, however, who are pushing the party to adopt a positive reform agenda, one that advances opportunities for all Americans. One of the most notable aspects of this message is that it targets cronyism — the collusion between government and big business that rips off taxpayers through bailouts and subsidies.

Among the issues that Republicans could use to advance this message with voters are the Obamacare’s $5.5 billion bailout for health insurance companies and reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, known as “Boeing’s Bank,” which is seeking to raise its borrowing limit to $610 billion over the next four years.

Today in Liberty: Harry Reid is the new Nancy Pelosi, taxpayers subsidize state-owned businesses

Today in Liberty is a daily roundup of recent political news and other interesting stories presented with liberty-minded commentary. We frequently keep tabs on liberty-minded politicians and candidates in these updates. We also inject some humor on occasion. Click here to receive Today in Liberty every weekday morning via email.

— Harry Reid is the new hotness: The Senate majority leader is the villain in this year’s mid-term election, in case you haven’t already noticed, and he’s one that can be used in both House and Senate races. “A GOP strategist said Pelosi is still No. 2 on the list of liberal villains that scare conservative donors into action, after President Obama. But others say Reid has become a more compelling bogeyman,” The Hill explains. “The main reason? Pelosi no longer runs the House after the GOP reclaimed the lower chamber in 2010. Republicans have been unable to strip Reid of his majority leader title, but they think this will be the year they do that.”

— Al Gore is still around: And he’s stull super serial about climate change. After three  pretentious opening paragraphs, Politico Magazine catches us up on what former Vice President Al Gore is doing these days and his frustrations with the lack of action on climate change. Basically, big money and the Koch brothers are blamed. Oh, and when asked if he’ll run for president again, Gore said this: “I am a recovering politician. And the longer I avoid a relapse the more confidence that I will not succumb to the temptation to run yet again. But I’m a recovering politician. I’ll just leave it at that.”

Today in Liberty: NAACP praises Rand Paul, GOP winning the Twitter war

“There is an ongoing national discussion about marijuana sentencing reform, and I want to make sure the Republicans are leading the charge. It’s an issue that can unite members of our community, regardless of party, race or gender.”Matthew Hurtt

— NAACP leader praises Rand Paul: The Kentucky Republican’s message on civil rights has won praise from the NAACP, a group not usually sympathetic to Republicans. “It is such a pervasive issue in our community,” NAACP President and CEO Lorraine Miller told NPR, “and, quite honestly, if we can get the ear of someone like Rand Paul, that helps us in trying to find solutions that make sense.” Paul has pushed issues like mandatory minimum reform, school choice, and restoring felon voting rights in various speeches around the country. The NAACP has contacted Paul about speaking to the organization.

Senate Conservatives Fund slams GOP leaders for “war on conservatives”

John Boehner and Mitch McConnell

Conservative groups criticized by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) last week aren’t backing down from their opposition to the budget deal. One of the groups has fired back at Republican congressional leaders for what it calls a “war on conservatives.”

The Senate Conservatives Fund sent out a fundraising email blast to supporters on Monday blasting Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for comments the two have made that are hostile to conservative activists.

“House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) last week in declaring war on conservatives,” said Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund, a PAC founded in 2008 by then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).

“John Boehner called conservatives ‘ridiculous’ for opposing the budget agreement that increases spending, raises taxes, and funds Obamacare while Mitch McConnell previously called us stupid ‘traitors’ who should be locked in a bar and ‘punched in the nose,’” he said, adding that Republican leaders don’t want to be held accountable for their actions.

Paul Ryan: Budget opponents are “very important elements of our conservative family”

Paul Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) sought to smooth things over with conservative groups on the budget deal he struck with Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) in a pre-recorded appearance with on NBC’s Meet the Press, saying that the groups are “very important elements of our conservative family.”

Ryan’s comments came after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) blasted conservative groups on Wednesday and Thursday for opposing the budget agreement before it was formally released, telling reporters that they’ve “lost all credibility.”

“I think John just kind of got his Irish up. He was frustrated that these groups came out in opposition to our budget agreement before we reached a budget agreement,” Ryan told host David Gregory. “I was frustrated, too.”

“But I think these are very important elements of our conservative family.  I would prefer to keep those conversations within the family,” the House Budget Committee chairman said. “And I think he was just basically voicing his frustration with their opposition before we had reached our agreement.”

Government shutdown puts Republicans in a corner on debt ceiling

Whether they like it or not, congressional Republicans may have squandered their chance to deal on the debt ceiling because of the current government shutdown.

House Republicans are absolutely right when they say that President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) have been unwilling to negotiate on a Continuing Resolution that would keep the government open. But they made a tactical political mistake by trying to defund and delay ObamaCare through a measure that would keep the federal government running.

Poll after poll shows that Americans disapprove of ObamaCare, the 2010 healthcare law, and they want it repealed. They’re seeing the effects of the law through higher insurance premiums and its effects on workers as many employers drop or change benefits, cut hours to avoid mandates and/or have scaled back plans to hire. Republicans have won the messaging battle on ObamaCare.

But early polls show Americans placing more blame on Republicans for the government shutdown than President Obama and Democrats. This isn’t entirely self-inflicted; after all, the media isn’t exactly doing them any favors by framing the narrative in a manner that helps the White House.

What is Libertarian Populism?

See Video

Via Reason Magazine on YouTube, Nick Gillespie chats with Ben Domenech, Tim Carney, and Jesse Walker about “libertarian populism” and the potential appeal it could have to Americans who are tired of cronyism and big government.

Real Leadership Comes from Tea Party Senators

Forget what you think you know about the Republican leadership in the United States Senate. Sure, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is the Minority Leader of the Senate Republican Conference, but the real leadership lies with at least three members.

Writing at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney notes that Sens. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee, each of whom were elected with Tea Party support, are setting the tone for the caucus on pressing legislative matters:

There are two power centers in the Senate Republican Conference. One is the official leadership under Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The second is the Tea Party Troika of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul.

It’s not that there are two Republican parties. Nor is there a chasm running along ideological lines. The new dynamic is this: The official leadership has even less power than Senate leadership typically has, and the Tea Party Troika, mastering what’s called the “inside-outside game,” has more power to swing their colleagues than backbenchers normally have.

Carney cites the gun control issue as an example of the clout these three carry. Paul, Cruz, and Lee were able to turn a letter sent to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) expressing their opposition to new gun control measures into something that gained the support of a majorty of the Republican caucus. The new gun control measures, which Cruz said were all but a done deal at one point, were eventually defeated.

Carney also notes that outside groups have been a key to their success in stopping bad legislation or raising awareness to their causes:

Daniel Hannan on Big Pharma and the “Precautionary Principle”


Over the last few years, Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner has highlighted some of the connections between the Obama Administration and Big Pharma, especially when it comes to ObamaCare. The sort of cronyism that we’ve seen in the Obama Administration, despite the harsh rhetoric toward corprorations, is typical of Washington culture. However, it’s not a uniquely American phenomenon.

During a speech at the European Parliment, MEP Daniel Hannan, who has been hailed as a free market hero, used the example of the reclassification of vitamins and minerals in the EU to note the problem of the “precautionary principle,” which plays right into the hands of special interest groups seeking legislative and regulatory favors.

His brief speech is worth a listen:

Remember when executive power and civil liberties were a big deal?

You mad, bro?

Consistency matters, folks. When George W. Bush was in office, there were near endless complaints from the Left as civil liberties were being diminished and executive power was being strengthened, far beyond what our Founding Fathers had ever intended. The complaints make against Bush were well-founded at the time. However, since Barack Obama has been running the show, we’ve heard nary a peep out of those same people. Apparently, civil liberties are only abused when the president has an “R” next to his name. Or something.

Interestingly, The New York Times recently noted that President Obama was worried that the expansion of executive power undertaken during his first term — including the targeted killing of American citizens — would fall into Republican hands:

Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials.
“There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,” said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an “amorphous” program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said.

Mr. Obama himself, in little-noticed remarks, has acknowledged that the legal governance of drone strikes is still a work in progress.

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