It’s The National Security, Stupid

Did the Secretary of State put the nation at risk? Tonight’s show began with coverage of the Hillary presser. The email scandal is still boiling, Hillary finally took a few questions, nothing surprising, all so very sad and predictable. How do we, as conservatives, talk about this is a way that will help our movement, help our side? It’s the National Security, stupid. Hillary’s homegrown email server is a humongous risk to the nation.

We haven’t quite gotten to the point in the scandal where we are discussing that with intensity, but we’ll get there, and we need to be ready for it. So we talk about how to talk about it, effectively.

Next we talked about how to recover from our ongoing disappointments with the Washington GOP. Still recovering from the disappointment with the DHS bill, but now it’s time to look for next steps. Fortunately there’s a stable of thoughtful, helpful writers out there that we can look to. Tying together articles from Jim DeMint, Jon Gabriel, Andy Peth, and Kurt Schlichter we find our way to optimism and energy.

It’s all in the podcast


Your hosts

THIS WEEK’S LINKS:

 Hillary: I Have Two Phones – http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/hillary-clinton-i-have-two-phones/

Why the Clinton email server story matters — and why it may be worse than you think – http://www.geekwire.com/2015/why-the-clinton-email-server-story-matters-and-why-it-may-be-worse-than-you-think

A Message to my Fellow Republicans
Let’s stay out of the way of Hillary Clinton’s email fiasco – http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/03/clinton-emails-gop-115884.html

Will the GOP Majority Ever Stand for Anything? – http://dailysignal.com/2015/03/03/not-now-will-gop-majority-ever-stand-anything/

Ted Cruz Says GOP Leaders Planned To Cave On Immigration All Along – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/03/ted-cruz-immigration_n_6793748.html

A Federalist Moment – https://ricochet.com/a-federalist-moment/

Selling Like Girl Scouts – http://www.thepartyofchoice.com/articles1/selling-like-girl-scouts-by-andy-peth

MMFA Planned to Hire Investigators to Target Fox News – http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/13/media-matters-memo-called-for-hiring-private-investigators-to-look-into-the-personal-lives-of-fox-employees/

Schlichter – Knock Off The Loser Talk. This Fight Hasn’t Even Begun – http://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2015/03/09/knock-off-the-loser-talk-this-fight-hasnt-even-begun-n1966463

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A collaborative project of Free Radical NetworkThe Party of Choice, and The Conservative Union. Members of each group come together to discuss messaging successes, failures, and strategies in an effort to make ourselves, and the movement as a whole, better at selling Liberty.

“Because if we can’t sell Liberty, we suck; but if we can’t learn how to sell Liberty, we are defeated”

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Action Plan 2014

2014-bullseye[1]This is the time to strengthen the GOP. The mid-term elections give us a chance to slow down Obama’s march toward Progressive Utopia. We can do that by taking the Senate and strengthening the GOP In the House, and getting as many strong Conservatives elected to state offices as is possible.

By now you’ve seen NJ Libertarian’s article about Turning the Tables you’re pumped up about changing the GOP to reflect your values, you’re excited to really make something heppen! But…

That’s a lot of elections, too much to focus on, where do you start? You/we have to spend our precious time and money wisely. The first task is to get the BEST GOP Candidates through the primaries and ready to fight and win against a Democrat opponent.

We do need to get better at vetting our candidates – what are the important things to know about a GOP candidate before we put our weight behind him* and help him get elected?

How can we Learn about and Promote our candidates?

The Conservative Union, The Party of Choice, and Free Radical Network came together to formulate a plan of action. Interview the candidates ourselves and provide shorter comparison-type “meet the candidate” videos for people to view. You’ll get more information about the candidate that way than from reading a posistion paper on the internet.

We decided to come up with a few key job interview type questions – they’re applying for a sales position. They want to sell conservatism to the public and get elected in November, and then sell conservatism to their fellow Republicans and the Democrats via legislation that can serve the needs of their constituents. We need to know if they’re any good at that.

We’re not asking the standard questions about policy. We’re going around the talking points, to some deeper questions. We’re trying to find out if they can be the guy to sell Conservatism to a larger audience, to elevate our brand

The kinds of questions we will be asking:

  • How do you differentiate yourself from your primary competitor, and how will you, after fighting against him in a primary, change gears to pull the party together to defeat the Democrat?
  • How do you plan to carry that “winning GOP” strategy forward into the office?
  • How would you grow the GOP once in office?
  • What is your online presence and strategy for communicating with your constituents – talking and listening – once in office?

We’ve done two already, and the results are great – I feel like I have a feel for who these NJ Senate candidates are, MUCH more so than from a formal TV interview or an advertisement. It’s a real conversation.

New Jersey Senate Candidate Brian Goldberg  – Goldberg For Senate

New Jersey Senate Candidate  – Rich Pezzullo- Conservative Republican for US Senate

This is good for the campaigns too -they can choose to direct people to them, they can take bits and pieces and use them as marketing info, we can share them with friends and family who are wondering – who are these guys, what are they like?

We can even get some good excerpts ourselves to use whether we are pushing a candidate or just pushing the conservative message

[This is where I would’ve linked an excerpt video, if video editing were part of my skillset]

To make this successful, we need your help.

  1. Point us in the direction of candidates or even party chairs who would be good to interview
  2. Help us get to the candidates we’re targeting and get them to agree to an interview
  3. Watch the interviews we’ve done so far, and promote THEM, so that the concept itself gets a bit more known – beyond just G+, it’s a YouTube thing!
  4. Sit down and interview some folks yourself, and send us the video
  5. Create excerpt videos from the ones we already have and share them with your friends – show that there ARE GOP candidates with good things to say
  6. Other ideas – give me your ideas, I’ll steal them and claim them for my own!!!

*I use “he” and “him” instead of “he or she” and “him or her” because it’s easier, faster, and clearer. Also I find that the people who do that, or worse sometimes use “he” and sometimes use “she” are more interested in impressing you with their gender inclusiveness than they are in communicating clearly. I don’t suffer from that pretension. You think I’m a woman hater? Come at me.

Texas Primary – Early Voting Starts Today! Here’s a Bit of Assistance

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The Texas Primary – it happens early, election day is March 4, early voting starts today. Get out there and vote! In SO many of the races, the district is so heavily one party or another that the Primary IS the election. If you wait until November to let your voice be heard, and think that just voting straight GOP ticket is enough – you’ve let someone else make your decision for you. Don’t like the current state of the GOP? It’s the PRIMARY where you can have some say in the matter.early-voting

It’s the Primary where you choose your party officials, the guys or gals who will REALLY pull the levers of power for the next few years. It’s the PRIMARY where you can upgrade from a moderate to a conservative GOP candidate. If your district is run by a moderate who

has been in office forever and who seems to go his own way, go vote for the guy running against him. That incumbent will probably still win, but if he sees his margin of victory is narrower, and that there’s a groundswell of opposition, he might change his behavior. Don’t ever stop fighting, don’t ever stop letting your voice be heard. Make sure you are speaking in a language they understand – VOTES.

Here are a few sources to help you out with the voting:
Vote Texas – the official site of the TX Secretary of State
Republican Party of Texas – find out who is running
Michael Berry’s Commentary and recommendations – I believe you can trust this guy to shoot straight with you. You may disagree with him, sure, but I think you can trust his integrity.
Empower Texans warns about some of the conservative slate mailers you’ve received
Bryan Preston of the PJ Tatler has interviews with the 4 Lt.Gov candidates, and a bunch of VERY useful links

vote-2012_11If you’ve got some other good resources, I’d love to know, and I’ll update this post. It’s RIDICULOUSLY hard to figure out who to vote for in the primaries. SO many races!

And I took to G+ to remind you to take your photo ID, and let you know that Eric Holder still thinks you’re a racist. Mostly because you’re Texan and have the audacity to think you don’t need him and his dumb Washington control freaks. Go vote, it’s like poking your finger in Eric Holder’s eye!

You’ll notice that the Comptroller race doesn’t have a recommendation on the HRBC slate mentioned by Michael Berry. I admit to not having researched this one myself, either. However, and it’s a BIG however, my friend Felicia Cravens is working for the Debra Medina campaign. Felicia founded the Houston Tea Party, substitute hosts on Houston AM Radio sometimes, is Editor-in-Chief at Free Radical Network, and if SHE supprorts Debra Medina for Comptroller, that’s really good enough for me!

CU Talks: SOTU, Over-regulation, and Obamacare ep.1404

state_of_the_union[1]In this show we began with a discussion of the State of the Union Address. Our expert, James Pisano, was unavailable, so rather than get into detailed analysis of the speech and the policies therein, we talked about the concept itself. It’s over the top and pompous and really not befitting a nation that went to war so that we wouldn’t have to answer to a King and have an aristocracy.

Then we discussed over-regulation, over-taxation, and haphazard legal enforcement – the limits those put on our ability to choose how to spend our time and our money. Next we talked Obamacare, and a lawsuit over 4 little words that could end up meaning a whole lot. We capped the episode with a mention of a coalition forming between conservative radio hosts – deciding to work together rather than against one another to help the country.

Give the show a listen, then use the comments to let us know what topics you’d like us to cover in future episodes.

Sources:

About the show:

Every Thursday, 9pm Central, join us for an hour of Conservative Discussion with Real People from Real Places in America, NOT DC and NOT the Media.

CU Talks is the one hour weekly program from The Conservative Union, largest conservative community on Google Plus. We talk politics, with a focus on informing and educating our listeners, and finding ways to create the positive future we all want for ourselves and our posterity.

Your hosts will include James Pisano (The Chief), Nikolaos Dimopolous (Nikos) and Leslie P.

  • The Chief lives in California, is currently active duty in the Coast Guard, and drives a Prius – not because he’s afraid of global warming, but because it made sense for him to purchase it – FREE MARKET, YEAH!
  • Nikos was born in Greece, got here as soon as he could, will be a US Citizen eligible to vote in 2016, and is the American Dream personified.
  • Leslie is a native Texan and a redhead, she’ll cut you.

We may or may not all be armed.

CU Talks: Open Mic Night! ep.1403

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It’s a video hangout with our members. Topic of discussion – how to address the issue of ever greater dependence on Government.

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the “war on poverty”. What did the “war on poverty” set out to do — and how well did it do it, if at all?

The purpose of the “war on poverty,” Johnson said, was to make “taxpayers out of taxeaters.” Its slogan was “Give a hand up, not a handout.” When Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark legislation into law, he declared: “The days of the dole in our country are numbered.” Those promises have not been kept.

How do conservatives change the conversation? How do we help needy people understand that the money we want to give them is in the form of a paycheck not a welfare check – so that they choose how to spend the money they earned and they control how much they can get?

Give the show a listen, then use the comments to let us know what topics you’d like us to cover in future episodes.

Sources:

About the show:

Every Thursday, 9pm Central, join us for an hour of Conservative Discussion with Real People from Real Places in America, NOT DC and NOT the Media.

CU Talks is the one hour weekly program from The Conservative Union, largest conservative community on Google Plus. We talk politics, with a focus on informing and educating our listeners, and finding ways to create the positive future we all want for ourselves and our posterity.

Your hosts will include James Pisano (The Chief), Nikolaos Dimopolous (Nikos) and Leslie P.

  • The Chief lives in California, is currently active duty in the Coast Guard, and drives a Prius – not because he’s afraid of global warming, but because it made sense for him to purchase it – FREE MARKET, YEAH!
  • Nikos was born in Greece, got here as soon as he could, will be a US Citizen eligible to vote in 2016, and is the American Dream personified.
  • Leslie is a native Texan and a redhead, she’ll cut you.

We may or may not all be armed.

Why The Media Is Doing Chris Christie , And The Entire Conservative Movement, A Favor With Bridgegate

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Bridgegate, as ludicrous as the term is, has now become the popular metaphor for the political shenanigans played by underlings of the Chris Christie administration in their Keystone Cops manuever to punish political enemies by closing down lanes of the George Washington Bridge for reasons that I still fail to fathom.  But as ludicrous as the term is, or the scandal as a whole is, the entire escapade should be thought of as a boon.

Why, might you ask?

For conservatives, it gives the entire GOP establishment time to take a deep, relaxing breath. Many of my ‘establishment’ contacts within the Republican Party were on the verge of jumping on to the Christie train, because they felt it was leaving the station, and nobody wanted to be left behind.  Romney confidants were lining up to join the Christie campaign, as were major Bush donors.  All the ducks were lining up in a neat little row.

Forget whether or not Christie was the best Republican candidate, or if he is even a conservative at all.  The entire concept of anointing anyone at this early stage, barely a year after our last losing campaign, is stupid. We have barely come to terms with the real reasons we lost with Mitt Romney, and we are ready to jump ship with another Northeastern quasi-Republican because he talks tough and get RINOs to fund him?

These are the moments that I accept the GOP is the stupid party.

But Bridgegate?  It is a gift from the heavens.  Truly and deeply, thank you for this gift.

What this scandal does is forces the establishment to look at the field of competitors. And the field, despite the media narrative, is quite strong.  For all the joking you hear from mainstream journalists, there are a multitude of qualified Governors, Executives, and Legislators that could all make fine Presidential material. I am more than happy to allow the nomination process run its due course before jumping on anyone’s bandwagon this early in the cycle.

Additionally, this keeps the bulk of political money off the table for the time being.  Once donors start giving to a candidate, it is very difficult from them to stop…even when they know their candidate has lost, or will eventually lose.

As for Chris Christie, he may not see it now because he is in the eye of the storm, but this was a boon to him as well. He has been the media darling; the GOP example of someone who could ‘work with both sides’, who would go on MSNBC and be praised by liberals as a ‘good Republican’.

How long did that love affair last after Bridgegate broke?

All moderate Republicans who are in love with the mainstream media come to this reality sooner or later.  John McCain didn’t realize it until he was well into the 2008 campaign.  Jon Huntsman remains a media darling to this day for a simple reason: he lost…badly.  Better Christie wakes up now, and realizes a simple, innate reality of the media today:

The mainstream media is no friend of yours, if you are a Republican.

If Christie survives this, first it teaches us that he has the strength of will and the character to fight the Democrat smear machine.  If he goes down in flames, it teaches us that he was never fit to be Presidential material anyway.

All in all, I find the entire episode as a net positive.

CU Talks: The Elephant in the Room ep.1402

Mom! Dad! Stop Fighting!
Mom! Dad! Stop Fighting!

This week – the GOP is in all ways, the elephant in the room. We are conservatives, and want to advance the conservative movement, but the GOP, God Bless ’em, is becoming more a hindrance than a help. What do we do?

GOP as an ORGANIZATION is messed up – like really any big organization gets over time, they lose focus, lose the innovation, the spirit that they started out with. A few cycles ago we did pretty well with Rove’s info gathering, micro targeting and get out the vote structure. But then, we got lazy or faltered or distracted or something. Now the guys at the top seem to have lost not just the principled drive and the passion, but the effectiveness.

They tell US to suck it up and get behind the establishment guy once our guy loses the primary, or whatever – but they don’t do likewise. They are untrustworthy. They say the right things during campaign-time, and then always always move to the left once elected, they are unreliable.

So do we stick with the GOP and work to reform them, or do we just give up? This will be, I’m sure, an ongoing question as the months tick by.

Give the show a listen, then use the comments to let us know what topics you’d like us to cover in future episodes.

Sources:

About the show:

Every Thursday, 9pm Central, join us for an hour of Conservative Discussion with Real People from Real Places in America, NOT DC and NOT the Media.

CU Talks is the one hour weekly program from The Conservative Union, largest conservative community on Google Plus. We talk politics, with a focus on informing and educating our listeners, and finding ways to create the positive future we all want for ourselves and our posterity.

Your hosts will include James Pisano (The Chief), Nikolaos Dimopolous (Nikos) and Leslie P.

  • The Chief lives in California, is currently active duty in the Coast Guard, and drives a Prius – not because he’s afraid of global warming, but because it made sense for him to purchase it – FREE MARKET, YEAH!
  • Nikos was born in Greece, got here as soon as he could, will be a US Citizen eligible to vote in 2016, and is the American Dream personified.
  • Leslie is a native Texan and a redhead, she’ll cut you.

We may or may not all be armed.

The Band-Aid Presidency

bandaid

 

Last night, in the most classic way imaginable, the Obama administration dumped a 800 lb lump of coal into the stockings of liberal America on the eve of the Christmas holiday.

The Administration announced that any person who had their health insurance cancelled late this year are no longer obligated to legally abide by the individual mandate, the central taxation component of the Affordable Care Act.  Additionally, these same people could satisfy the mandate requirement by purchasing catastrophic insurance alone, which previously was not considered sufficient to satisfy the mandate requirements.

The argument that the administration is making is ironic in so many ways.  They argue that the individual mandate, arguably the most important cog to the workings of Obamacare, is a ‘hardship’ to millions of Americans.  Furthermore, they are arguing that because of this hardship, they will simply delay that part of the law.

Think about the legality for a second:  President Obama is issuing a hardship exemption for something the Supreme Court has defined…as a tax.

Can you imagine the fun a Republican President can have with that power?

Let us also remember that this invalidates virtually every Democrat and liberal argument against a deal to avert October’s congressional shutdown.  Let us not forget that Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee put a proposal on the table to avert the shutdown if the administration simply agreed to a 1 year delay to the individual mandate.  Yesterday, Barack Obama did just that…proving that much of his stance on the shutdown was political theater, nothing more.

In the larger picture, this type of policy change largely defines the entire Obama Presidency. The pattern is as follows:  Obama and liberals propose a policy that, any common sense would tell you, cannot function in the real world. They pass this policy, often distorting the facts to the American public to get their support.  Once passed, they all of a sudden realize the idiocies contained in their plan, and rush to distance themselves from the plan they were recently advocating.  Once the policy becomes active, they realize that reality is more powerful than ideology, and thus, look for any and all ways to get themselves out of the mess they created.   And they use every ‘Band-Aid’ measure possible to cover-up the mess they have created.

The Band-Aids are piling up, and it does not only refer to health care.  Look no further than foreign policy this.  Obama’s Syria ‘Red line’ policy is a perfect example.  Obama talked a good game, but then realize that there was no way to enforce his red-line in the real world.  He quickly ran away from that policy, only to end up with a policy that, ironically, strengthened the power of a man Obama said was ‘evil’, Bashar Assad.

If you want to go further back, the Obama stimulus often had many of these characteristics as well. They passed statutes for ‘shovel-ready’ projects, and later realized there was no such thing.  They then pumped out the money, regardless of effect, to lackluster consequences.

Think of the fallacy of this latest Band-Aid on Obamacare.  The administration is arguing that they have imposed a hardship on at least 5 million Americans who lost their health insurance because of Obamacare.  So, to help these people, they are going to exempt them from the individual mandate.  However, these same people argued during the shutdown that any delay of the individual mandate would be catastrophic to the functionality of the entire ACA system.

Furthermore, the hardship claim is dubious.  Is Obama actually saying that it is more a hardship for people to lose their insurance and have to purchase it on his own exchange, than the hardship of forcing the previously uninsured to dig deep in their pocketbooks to purchase that very same insurance on the exchanges?  He is saying the previously uninsured have no burden of hardship as well?

Another liberal fallacy also dies: the argument that these were ‘substandard’ insurance policies.  Obama has now stated it is o.k. for people to move to catastrophic insurance, when the majority of this cohort had comprehensive insurance prior to Obamacare coming into effect.  In other words, Obamacare diminished  the quality of health insurance plans in America, and Obama is not legitimizing that change.

Each of the policy changes are chinks in the armor of Obamacare; that armor is now thin and rusting. This is a virtual universal delay of the individual mandate for 2014, no matter how liberals spin it.  They will never politically be able to argue that those that lost their insurance because of Obamacare bear more hardship than the uninsured do, and thus, they will be forced to exempt all Americans.  Ted Cruz wins the policy debate.

Even worse, this fixes nothing long-term.  This is a classic Obama ‘Band-Aid’.  Sure, it theoretically stops millions of people from being required to pay approximately $95 in tax penalty this April. But the real issue is not the tax, but the health care exchange.  By exempting all of these people, the administration makes the entire insurance system much less financially stable.

Insurers who were already dubious of the administration’s competence on this are now outright furious at being lied to, time and again.  They fear this will further push the risk portfolios of their insurance plans to the extreme, and thus, will increase their costs. That further increases cost pressures on health insurance premiums across the board, increasing costs for everyone. The Obamacare upward bending of the cost curve continues.

The ‘Band-Aids’ are all for show.  Ultimately, the problem is that the law itself was inherently broken.  These temporary measures actually fix nothing in the system. They are a political attempt at cover.  But nobody can protect Democrats from the onslaught of public anger that is going to arise when they realize what the ACA does, when the Band-Aids finally come off.

Conservatism Explained, Again

While digging through our archives I found something I decided needed a little dusting off; a little revision and re-iteration, if you will.

One of my first posts at Liberty’s Torch, back then called “The Spitcracker Picayune”, was a defining of Conservatism as a mindset, a way of life, and a lifestyle. There are very clearly established principles we live by that shape our perception of the world around us. What I wrote on the 22nd of November, 2012 may not be everyone’s definition of Conservatism, but it is mine, and it is shared by those of us at Liberty’s Torch, and many in The Conservative Union.

Take a few minutes to digest my thoughts, edited and shared again.

 

From my original post, dated 22NOV12, Conservatism Explained:

There isn’t a lot of push within what most Americans would think of as the bastions of Conservatism to actually express what being a Conservative means. I believe the GOP’s biggest problem over the course of the last 30 years and more has been a blurring of morality; a penchant for personal gain, regardless of means, if you will. Politicians find very shortly after election that they’re able to amass a vast amount of power and wealth in a relatively short amount of time if they only go along to get along inside the Beltway.

Conservatism isn’t about one aspect of one’s life; Conservatism it is a lifestyle. People who are Conservative believe what they believe to be true because over the course of history and the expanse of observation of human nature the core aspects of Conservatism have been proven over and over again. To espouse Conservatism isn’t the be all and end all of what it means to be a Conservative. It is simply a beginning. One must live their lives within the confines of moral and ethical purity; to do the right thing every time, especially when no one is looking. What one does when no one is there to witness their actions is the simplest measure of the quality of one’s character, and the willingness to hold oneself to being ethically and morally pure even when temptation would cause human nature to prompt us to take care of Number One at the unknowing expense of humanity, in whole or in part, is anathema to Conservatism.
Once the ethical and moral litmus test comes back positive for Conservatism there are a few Core Values that Conservatives apply to their lives. These Core Values, much like the Core Values of our military services, shape the lens through which a Conservative views the world around them, and guides them through the tumult that invariably stands between humanity and prosperity.Conservatism’s Core Values are:

  • Constitutional Republicanism, or the preservation of the true representative republic under which all Americans are supposed to be governed by, as outlined in the Constitution
  • Limited Federalism, or the intentional hobbling of the Federal Government so as to purposefully prevent a totalitarian tyranny from springing up within the centralized aspects of government that are necessary
  • Sovereignty of the States over the wishes of the Administrative State, except where the Constitution outlines enumerated powers held exclusively by the Federal Government
  • The Right to Ownership of Personal Arms, or the right to own a means of protecting oneself from assault, regardless of source
  • Fiscal Conservatism, or the application of proper and just stewardship of the public trust that is accumulated by the Government through taxation and tariffs as a means to fund the necessary functions of Federalism
  • Peace Through Strength, or the forming, training, supplying and sustaining of a strong military force as a means of deterrence to aggression to enemies foreign and domestic as well as a means to stand by and defend our allies from the same
  • A Strong Currency, made and kept strong through the application of all of the other Core Values.

Our Nation lives and breathes these Values in some shape or form. Although not every American is able to identify with more than a few of Conservatism’s Core Values, most will find that they believe in at least one of these keystones that make up what it means to be a Constitutional Conservative. Sadly, temptation, always the enemy of every man, woman and child in this great nation, pulls the attention of even the most devoted Conservative away from the application of these values to their lives. Diversion of attention isn’t a failing. Allowing for temptation to spur action in the hearts of man, at the expense of others, is a severe failing, and can be traced as a direct causative factor in nearly every detrimental aspect of American life.

The path toward solving the problems that face America today is very much the same as it was during the founding of the United States following the Revolutionary War. Many of our problems stem from what temptation causes man to do unto his fellow man. Application of Conservatism, Constitutional and otherwise, is a spectacular first step down the path toward restoring America’s greatness, and protecting it for generations to come. Many have already begun taking this step.

Will you join them, and us, in starting down the path toward restoring America?

A Positive Few Weeks For The GOP

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It has been an inglorious few months for the Republican brand.  Everything that could go wrong has, and the momentum politically has been all in the direction of the President and his allies.

The past couple weeks however marked the first time since the election that is not the case.

It began, predictably, with gun control.  I predicted long ago that the gun control fight would be a political road bump that the Democrats would not pleased by.  Last week saw the first inkling of that reality.  Mr. Obama released his presidential orders (of which, all that can be said is they were of no real consequence, either to defenders of the 2nd amendment or prohibitionists).  He then followed with his legislative plan for Congress.  This week Senator Feinstein released her plan to the public as well.

And that was largely responded to with a big ‘thud’.

What is glorious about the gun control debate for Republicans is that this is a fight that will be fought completely on the Democrat side.  For the most part, Republicans will vote against any assault weapons ban.  They may be willing to look at background checks, the so-called ‘gun show loophole’, and other fringe items.  But the prohibitionist wing of the Democrat Party demand a Brady-like assault ban.

To have any chance of getting this through, they need to be able to get it through the Senate.  Even if somehow they can get around filibuster rules, it is uncertain whether they can get 51 votes needed to pass the measure.  At least 10 Democrats (including 7 from red states running for re-election in 2014) have signaled distaste for the ban.  And of course, they don’t want to be holding the bag if the House GOP vote against it.

Boehner, in a moment of great wisdom, refused to take a stand on the issue…thus leaving the onus on Senate Democrats.  That is precarious position for them.  First, they refused to overturn the filibuster rules, which means on top of having to take unpopular votes, they need several Republicans to side with them.  And with momentum in the media and in polls significantly slowing for gun control, time is running out.

The GOP had little to do with the gun control debate, but had to a lot to do with the shift in the debate on the debt ceiling and the sequester.  This week, they made public a plan to give a short term extension to the debt ceiling, but promised progress only if the Senate held up their legally bound duties and passed a budget.

Again, this is a situation where the GOP has now shifted the responsibility, to some extent, to Democrats. The fight over the artificial debt ceiling was a defensive posture for the GOP, and not they were ever going to win.  However, we see the first rays of light that this posture may pay dividends.  From the Washington Post‘s editorial board, lauding the move:

Mr. Obama must distinguish between the Republicans’ unreasonable positions and their reasonable ones. Refusing to consider tax increases and holding the debt ceiling hostage were examples of the former; both have now been significantly modified, if not abandoned.

Insisting on serious reforms to entitlement programs, however, was the GOP’s reasonable demand, one the Republicans have not abandoned. This presents Mr. Obama with a choice: He can continue driving a hard bargain, in both political and policy terms. That would presumably entail refusing to deal on entitlements until the Republicans capitulate with regard to the sequester and a partial government shutdown on March 27.

Or the president could act on his past promises to tackle entitlements and engage in good faith with Republicans now, so that they have no further reason to exploit the sequester or threaten a shutdown. In that regard, a reference Friday by the White House to purported GOP plans for “drastic cuts in Medicare” was not an encouraging development. There is still plenty of time for Mr. Obama and Mr. Reid to show that they are willing to treat the GOP’s change in position as an opportunity to address the country’s long-term fiscal needs, rather than their party’s short-term political ones.

This is the first times in months that I can remember a major liberal publication taking any GOP argument’s side in the debate.  Surely, others like the New York Times will pull a ‘Pelosi’, and argue that any discussion of a normally passed budget and proper appropriations process is, in her words, ‘ludicrous’. But most common sense people have been arguing for this for at least four years.  The budgetary system is broken.  Yes, Republicans played a part in it.  But now, the Republicans are willing to fix their mistakes; are the Democrats?  I think it is doubtful, but this places the responsibility for failure back on the shoulders of Harry Reid and Barack Obama, squarely where they belong.
The last shift may be the most important, in the long term.  Sen. Marco Rubio finally released major portions of his long awaited immigration plan.  Rubio’s plan would allow illegal aliens to get a pathway to a green card and citizenship, but unlike Obama, would not allow them to ‘jump the line’, as it were, and demand they enter the normal naturalization process with all those that have followed the law and applied for entry in the United States in the proper way.
Rubio’s position was quickly supported by Paul Ryan and others, and likely allows the GOP a workable way forward in the immigration debate.  Rubio’s position is actually much more logical and a stronger position than that of Obama, which would give preference to illegals over those that followed the law; a policy which I believe the public would find abhorrent.
Whether the far right would accept this, or would still call it ‘amnesty’ is up for debate, and also there still needs to be a discussion about how to shore up border security.  However, for the first time since President Bush suggested immigration reform in 2005, we are in a position of discussing policies, instead of simply playing a defensive posture going forward.
The path for the Republican Party is quite clear in these three examples.  We must first accept the reality that we do not, in any real way, control Washington. Second, although the above is the case, we must still provide policy solutions to the problems at hand, and more specifically, show why Democrats positions are either untenable or simply ludicrous.
There are of course many potholes on the way for the GOP.  And a comeback, politically speaking, is a long way off.  But the seeds of how to get the Republican party moving in the right direction is here…if we look hard enough and accept it.
This was cross posted at Neoavatara