Lifetime's new reality series "The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns" is set to premiere this Tuesday, Nov. 25 and will follow five women discerning religious life and entering a Catholic convent. The network was given permission to film at three convents: The Carmelites for the Aged and Infirm in Germantown, New York; The Daughters of St. Mary of Providence in Chicago, Illinois; and The Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker in Walton, Kentucky.
The all-new groundbreaking Lifetime® series "The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns" (#TheSisterhood) follows five young women who are considering the life-changing decision of taking religious vows to become Catholic nuns. For the first time ever, cameras were granted access to three convents* where the women live and work together alongside nuns during the discernment phase, the process wherein they decide if they want to formally continue on their holy path.
In observance of the sacred vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, they leave behind everything they have come to love—boyfriends, family members and all their worldly possessions—to see if they have what it takes to become servants of the church and brides of Christ. See them test their devotion when The Sisterhood premieres Tuesday, November 25, at 10PM ET/PT.
All three convents visited by the Lifetime cameras are members of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), an association of more "traditional" religious institutes in the United States that was founded by the Vatican in 1992. In contrast to the Leadership Council of Women Religious, another association of religious institutes, CMSWR members are headed up by major superiors and wear the traditional habit. While only 20 percent of religious institutes for women belong to the CMSWR, their members have a far younger median age compared to the LCWR (60 as opposed to 74) and nearly half of CMSWR institutes have at least five novices (girls in training to become a full-fledged sister) compared to only 9 percent of LCWR institutes.
While I'm not entirely sure how this show is going to work (the women appear to be some form of aspirant rather than formal postulants), I'm rather intrigued by its premise. The girls in the preview all appear to be normal, everyday girls, and it's interesting that entering a convent is portrayed as a tough, but completely rational decision. While MTV's "True Life" did an episode in 2006 that featured a girl who aspired to enter a convent, the premise behind the episode was that she "didn't fit in" with her peers and her religious vocation was highly unusual. This show seems to be going in the opposite direction. Granted, there's always the risk that things will be played-up for cameras (hey, drama sells), but the sisters portrayed at the convent appear to be serious in guiding these women to finding their true vocations and helping them to grow spiritually.
I also find it interesting that Lifetime chose to film (or that the girls were drawn to) more traditional convents rather than the modern, "progressive" LCWR communities. LCWR has gotten a fair amount of press in recent months, and filming at one of their institutes would certainly fit the media's trope of progressive activist sisters much nicer than say, a community of veiled Carmelites.
Regardless of what happens to the women at the end of the show, I'm glad to see that a television network is positively promoting the option of entering religious life. While I'll admit it's unlikely that "The Sisterhood: Becoming Nuns" will result in a flood of vocation applications, it's entirely possible that the show may force some people to open their eyes to something they had previously never considered for themselves.
Six episodes have been ordered for this season.
President Barack Obama’s recent decision to bypass Congress and offer temporary legal status to approximately five million illegal aliens has sparked controversy across the nation. Even NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” couldn’t resist turning the incident into a satire.
The cast put a poignant twist on the famous “I’m Just Bill” cartoon created by “Schoolhouse Rock.” In the original version, a bill talks to the camera as it sits on Capitol Hill waiting to go through the long legislative process needed to become a law.
“It's not easy to become a law, is it?” a student asks. The bill responds with a resounding “No!”
But apparently, those were the old days. Just watch:
Scott Walker appears to be unbeatable. He’s won in a purplish state three times (2010, 2012, and 2014), humiliating labor unions, accruing the support of conservatives, and increasing the odds of a presidential run in 2016.
Also, as Republican political consultant Mike Murphy once said, if you’re going to run for president, make sure your wife is going to vote for you; Walker has seemingly clinched that constituency, along with the rest of his family.
According to Politico, an announcement will be made sometime in the summer of 2015. Walker needs to expand his campaign staff beyond his usual crew of loyalists and everyone knows that, which is why his office is being flooded with consultant resumes. His team is also trying to avoid mistakes from past 2012 candidacies; Perry got in too late and Pawlenty tossed his hat into the ring too early.
Right now, he’s working on pushing through his legislative agenda to strengthen his conservative bona fides:
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, pivoting from his bigger-than-expected reelection win this month, is taking active steps toward a presidential campaign that would launch next summer and contrast his record of conservative achievements in a swing state with paralysis in Washington.
In interviews this week, Walker and his top political advisers provided the fullest account yet of his plans for the likely rollout of a national campaign. The 47-year-old Republican intends to use an upcoming legislative session in Wisconsin to push an ambitious agenda that could, in combination with his triumphs over Big Labor, bolster his standing with Republican primary voters: repealing unpopular Common Core standards, requiring drug tests for welfare beneficiaries and cutting property taxes.
Walker cut income and property taxes in the first term, but he wants to go further, pushing a flatter income tax system. On education, he’s planning to push an expansion of school choice and to replace the Common Core program with state standards.
His plan to require welfare beneficiaries to undergo drug testing, he said, is about showing employers that people on public assistance are capable of holding jobs.
“We want to help able-bodied adults transition from government dependence into the workplace,” Walker said, whose efforts will be aided by a state Legislature controlled by Republicans.
For the next few months, political travel will be relatively limited, aides say, as Walker focuses on his legislative agenda. He appears eager to paint a contrast with not only a gridlocked Washington but also New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who faces a hostile Democratic Legislature and has fewer legislative accomplishments to point to.
But Walker lacks the charisma that other likely candidates, such as Christie or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), possess on the stump. He did not graduate from college, though some blue-collar voters might see this as a positive, and lacks foreign policy experience.
While there’s enough time for Walker to formulate his vision of American foreign policy, the humble, blue-collar appeal will be a stark contrast to that of Romney.
Romney won the over $50k demographic 53/45 over Obama, but when you expand the category to anyone making less than $100k; Obama easily trounced Romney 54/44. This is mostly likely due to Obama winning the vast share of the working class vote in and around urban areas where in some states, like Pennsylvania, that’s where elections are decided–and the majority of people live.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, working class whites will be key to Democrats remaining competitive in elections–and they’re breaking for Republicans.
So, will the “rise of the rust belt Republican” help the GOP’s prospects in 2016? For Walker, he thinks so, but the Midwest road to the White House he speaks of isn’t an easy one–and he knows it:
“Strong leadership, combined with Midwestern nice, there’s just a certain appeal to that,” Walker said.
“You look at the Electoral College map and what’s required to win. A good chunk of that runs through the Midwest,” Walker said. “There’s Florida, Virginia, out West — Colorado, Nevada – maybe New Hampshire depending on the year – but really most of the rest of the map is Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa. It’s all kind of right there. At least in recent political history, that’s kind of where it happens.”
Since 1988, Michigan and Pennsylvania haven’t gone Republican in presidential contests; Iowa has flipped only once (2004); Nevada only twice in 1992 and 1996; and Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, and Florida are solid swing states.
It seems any GOP candidate has some work to do in states that will likely decide who will succeed Obama.
Earlier this week, Noah Rothman wrote over at Hot Air that Team Hillary thinks they can net 386 electoral votes if she decided to run in 2016. The folks that could become Clinton’s campaign staff think it’s possible since Clinton can reach the voters Democrats have struggle with in past election cycles: working class whites.
Their targets: Arizona, Indiana, Arkansas, Missouri, and Georgia
White working class appeal and demographics trending toward the Democrats are the reasons why Hillary’s potential campaign team is eyeing these states. Yet, before conservatives start hyperventilating, Harry Enten over at FiveThirtyEight said flipping these states is highly unlikely. For starters, voter registration is comfortably Republican–and these voters flocking toward the GOP aren’t just anti-Obama; they’re anti-Democrat:
If anything, the first three states have become less sympathetic to Democrats in recent years. And there’s no evidence that Clinton is the exception. Georgia and Arizona have become more diverse, but they’ve yet to become more Democratic. [...]
In all five states, the Republican lead in party identification is at least 5 percentage points greater in the past two years than it was nationwide. It’s not just that voters in these states dislike Obama. They dislike Democrats.
In the first “bucket” Clinton targets — Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri — voters were about as Democratic-leaning as the nation in 2009. Since then, however, voters there have shifted away from the Democratic brand. The Republican lead in party identification among Arkansans, Hoosiers and Missourians is now about 10 percentage points greater than it is nationwide.
Republicans hold more than 60 percent of the seats in both houses of the state legislatures in these states. And the GOP majorities in all three states increased after the 2014 elections. So, it’s not like Clinton can localize these races. These states are solidly Republican from the top down.
Arizona and Georgia have long been listed by Democrats as potential pickup opportunities because of each state’s growing racial diversity. And it’s possible they’ll become presidential battlegrounds. But there isn’t any sign that will happen in the next two years.
So, what about her ability to connect with working class whites?
With the exception of Georgia, 2008 exit polls from those states during the Democratic primaries (I couldn’t find exit polls for Arizona and Arkansas), showed that Clinton won working class voters.
With Georgia, Clinton fared poorly with these voters, but it could shift in the opposite way since Obama isn’t on the ticket.
Then again, 2008 was supposed to be Hillary’s year; it ended up being about then-Sen. Obama’s Hope and Change. She’s a bad campaigner, her book tour was marred by torpid sales, and she’s a highly polarizing figure. It seems the more she’s in the spotlight, the more unpopular she becomes.
Even Obama admitted that after he’s gone, voters are going to be looking for “that new car smell;” Hillary isn’t any of that.It’s politics; anything can happen. But as Enten noted, even if she manages to win all five states, she probably already clinched the 270 electoral votes to win making this a rather “superfluous” exercise. Team Hillary is just posturing.
The 2016 map will look different. Voter attitudes toward the Democrats will probably not be as appealing after eight years of Obama, Barack himself will be gone, and the field is potentially open to anyone, Democratic or Republican.
At the same time, Ohio and Florida will be front-and-center as always.
If ur Clinton, don't get fancy. Concentrate hard on FL/OH/NH. Win those 3, u can lose MN, WI, IA, VA, NC, CO, NM, NV... and still win 273 ev— Harry Enten (@ForecasterEnten) November 18, 2014
Not even the crew over at The Daily Show could overlook Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) obviously desperate and sad attempt to save her own Senate seat.
During a hilarious segment three nights ago, host Jon Stewart skewered the soon-to-be “ex-Senator” for putting all her metaphorical eggs into the Keystone basket—and failing spectacularly.
He also delicately reminded Democrats that they were whipped in the midterm elections, among other reasons, for not “[standing] for anything.” Why, then, did some Senate Democrats stop fighting a bill to save a Senate seat that was all but lost, and of little consequence?
“Oh, I got an idea," he teased. “What if we stood for less?”
In fairness, he mocked both opponents and supporters of the Keystone bill, mostly for reaching wildly different conclusions about how many permanent jobs it would create. For example, if one listened to the Senate floor discussions, estimates varied between 35 (that’s not a typo) and millions. With this kind of conflicting misinformation thrown around by members of Congress, is it any wonder the entire spectacle devolved into a farce?
Most significantly, however, he derided Sen. Landrieu for her desperation and off-the-mark “Hail Mary” pass.
“It’s just like my dad always said,” Stewart said at the end of the clip. “You’re just not good enough.”
"As a lifelong member of the NRA, I'm proud that we've got plenty of both guns and religion! I guess I wasn't smart enough to know I was supposed to be insulted by that," Jindal said. "Mary Landrieu has voted against our Second Amendment rights, she has voted to confirm a radical, anti-gun justice of the Supreme Court, she has a 'D' rating from the NRA. Does Mary Landrieu represent our values?"
Bill Cassidy was greeted with a rock star welcome to the party being held in his honor. He didn't let the fanfare distract him though and quickly got to business. He spent a good chunk of his remarks contrasting his own agenda with that of Landrieu's. Like Jindal, he too mentioned Landrieu's infamous 'D' rating from the NRA, touting his own impressive 'A' rating. What's more, while the Democrat has a zero percent record from the Right to Life, Cassidy said he has a 100 percent rating. I explained just how misleading Landrieu has been on pro-life issues in an earlier piece. Finally, while Landrieu voted for Obamacare and would do so again, 'tomorrow,' Cassidy voted to repeal and replace the job killing bill over 50 times.
Rubio said it's 'insulting' to hear Democrats like Harry Reid say they're fighting for the middle class, especially when they've pushed through such harmful legislation.
That's where Bill Cassidy comes in, he said.
"I know of no one who's going to be a more forceful voice on repealing and replacing Obamacare, than your next Senator Bill Cassidy. He understands health care because he's a health care practitioner, because he knows patients, because he's dealt with patients. He understands that they way to bring affordable health coverage to people is not to put the government in charge, it's to put you in charge of health care."
Editor's Note: This column originally appeared in the November issue of Townhall Magazine.
There is no doubt Americans are war weary, and according to a recent Military Times survey, our soldiers are too. But as the public debate about whether ground troops will be necessary to “degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS” rages on in Washington D.C., at the Pentagon and on television screens across the country, one question isn’t being discussed or answered: Why do our modern wars take so long?
The current worn-out American attitude toward the Middle East and the world as a whole comes from 13 years in Afghanistan and Iraq. Things feel drawn out, and military families who haven’t made the ultimate sacrifice of a loved one dying for their country have made serious sacrifices of missing far too many birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones due to multiple deployments. Time is a precious thing that nobody can get back.
When it comes to the complicated situation in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry has said the United States’ approach and potential attack on President Bashar al-Assad’s assets would be “unbelievably small” in a war with more than 191,00 dead since 2011.
“Now, I believe that the aftermath of the Iraq experience and Afghanistan leave a lot of people saying, ‘We don’t want to see our young people coming back in a body bag,’ and so forth. But that’s not what we’re talking about. And what we have to do is make clear to people that this is—we’re not talking about war. We’re not going to war. We will not have people at risk in that way,” Kerry said during a joint press conference with the British foreign secretary back in 2013.
“We will be able to hold Bashar Assad accountable without engaging in troops on the ground or any other prolonged kind of effort in a very limited, very targeted, very short-term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria’s civil war,” Kerry continued.
“That is exactly what we’re talking about doing—unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.”
President Obama later walked back Kerry’s comments, saying any action in Syria wouldn’t be “pinpricks.” Too bad that wasn’t true.
Obama’s latest strategy against ISIS, the terror army that has now erased the border between Syria and Iraq to form an Islamic caliphate, is by all accounts a drawn out half-attempt to do something.
“America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid,” Obama said on the eve of 9/11 in an address to the nation. “I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.”
If Obama isn’t interested in going back to the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq, then why the “steady” plan to take out ISIS? The White House and the Pentagon have also said in press reports this mission could “take years.” America is about to spend a whole lot of time and resources training “moderate” forces incapable of getting the job done. Many military leaders and experts say the mission is destined to fail.
“I don’t think the president’s plan has a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding,” retired head of the Marine Corps General James Conway said at the Maverick PAC Conference in Washing- ton, D.C., recently.
The bottom line is this: Our soldiers have to be able to fight wars to win, not simply to damage the enemy. Doing otherwise only results in bigger problems and longer combat time on the ground. Training and depending on local fighters on the ground to get the job done for us isn’t a viable option either. Further, telling the enemy what we are not going to do only makes wars last longer as terrorists are able to reassess strategy, move into civilian population centers, and therefore drag out wars they’re willing to fight until the end of eternity in the name of Allah. The rules of engagement, which I’ve extensively detailed in the Dispatch before, make it impossible for our troops to get the job done by eliminating our enemies quickly and without regret or reassessment in life or death moments. They must be rewritten.
America is tired because our wars have been long, but the reasons for the past 13 years of drawn out, extensive conflict are a result of useless and oftentimes dangerous policies, which are heavily influenced by the international community and political correctness rather than by military leaders who have been pushed aside by the president.
When we use our military to fight our enemies, it should be used quickly and to win. Our men and women in uniform deserve nothing less. •
New Orleans, LA -- I'm here reporting on the extended Senate race in Louisiana, which just happens to be the most pro-life state in the nation. For years, incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu, who faces a tough, expected-to-win GOP opponent in Bill Cassidy, had fooled voters into thinking she was a moderate on the issue of abortion - until now.
Benjamin Clapper, executive director of Louisiana Right to Life, a nonpartisan 501(c)(4) organization, told Townhall how Landrieu is misleading voters on her abortion record ahead of next month's runoff election.
“Mary Landrieu and throughout all her time through 1996 as a Louisiana senator, has masked ways that she has voted in DC when she speaks to people, especially on the life issues," Clapper said. "Right now, if she ever talks about the issue of abortion, she focuses on votes she made in 1998, a long time ago. She also talks about her support for adoption and she omits a decade of her voting record in support of abortion and the abortion industry."
Reality, however, paints a quite starker picture.
“If you look at her record, it’s gotten worse since 2008," Clapper explains. "There were times before 2008 that she voted with the pro-life side, on occasion. But since 2008, it’s been clear that she stands with President Obama and his abortion agenda.”
In fact, Landrieu has a zero percent pro-life voting record, according to Louisiana Right to Life's records.
“It’s based on the fact that there are 16 votes the National Right to Life has scored since 2008 and she’s 0 for 16 on all of them."
That's why Clapper and his pro-life colleagues are determined to ensure that Louisiana voters know where their candidates stand on life.
"Anything that is done in the state to reach voters and tell them the truth about her voting record, is critical because we find even now, there’s so many people in the state that are confused about her voting record on the issue of abortion. So, whether it’s been door-to-door efforts, whether it’s been through the mail, or radio, all of those things have been important to open people’s eyes to how she stands.”
The pro-life group has distributed about 220,000 grassroots pieces of candidate comparison material to people across the state, both in a lot of different churches and a lot of different groups, according to Clapper.
A couple other entities are involved in the pro-life battle in the Bayou, including the Women Speak Out PAC, a partner of the Susan B. Anthony List. That group, says Clapper, has knocked on about 150,000 doors since May, telling people about Landrieu’s support of taxpayer-funded abortion and her 100 percent pro-abortion voting record since reelection.
Finally, the National Right to Life Victory Fund has performed much needed research and exposed voters to Landrieu's abortion agenda. Specifically, they’ve been focused on doing billboards, mail and radio ads. One place in particular in which the group is focusing its efforts, is Vermilion Parish, which is south of Lafayette. Abbeville is the name of the city there and has a very high Catholic population, Clapper explained. He laid out how their strategy there has gradually, yet successfully, developed.
"Abbeville is a place that has voted with Mary Landrieu in past elections, oftentimes because of the connection of the oil and gas industry, but it did not go for Mary Landrieu on November 4. We have talked to people on the ground who say that they believe part of the movement has been the disgust with Senator Landrieu’s support of abortion. We have billboards there and radio ads running in that area, we had our mobile trailer that’s gone through that area often. So, we really think that the issue of abortion in the pro-life community has played a strong role in this election.
"Mary Landrieu’s extreme pro-abortion record is far, far away from the values of the people of Louisiana.”
He’s not kidding. Louisiana has been voted the most pro-life state in the nation for the past five years by Americans United for Life.
If anything, Landrieu's extreme pro-abortion record obliterates those lofty claims that she’s a "moderate."
“She continually claims that she’s in the middle and even the Wednesday before November 4, she had an ad in the Lafayette advertiser, which was defending her position on abortion and it was all somewhat factual in the way that she presented it," explained Clapper. "What was not factual about it was the tons of information that she left out about her voting record. So, she’s tried to go to those areas that would be pro-life and say, ‘Hey, I’m not really that bad on this issue.’ In the past, they might have bought it, they’re not really buying it this time.”
This time, Clapper and his fellow pro-life warriors foresee Landrieu's 18-year reign and shadowy pro-abortion legacy coming to an end. This is assuming that those who voted for former GOP candidate Col. Rob Maness, who dropped out of the running after Nov. 4, will be voting for Cassidy. But this isn't guaranteed.
“It’s going to all come down to the turnout on December 6. By and large, those voters who voted for Col. Maness are pro-life and so we believe they need to be reminded where the candidates stand on abortion and make sure they realize how important it is for the pro-life cause that they get out and vote on December 6.”
Stay tuned for more coverage from here in the Bayou State as I attend a rally tonight in Kenner headlined by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
“I think the president took an historic step and I support it,” Hillary Clinton said about President Obama’s executive immigration overhaul during an appearance at the New York Historical Society on Friday. But the Democratic presidential front-runner didn’t stop there.
"This is about people's lives," she said, “people, I would venture to guess, who served us tonight.”
@aseitzwald Wonder how this would be reported if a conservative made the same comment? Spoiler Alert: The tone would be a wee bit different— Andy Waldron (@AndyWIII) November 22, 2014
Just a bit.
This comment, of course, came after President Obama already classified illegal immigrants in his speech as fruit pickers, maids, and landscapers.
Vox's Ezra Klein, then at the Washington Post, declared that there was a "Republican war on the CBO," and said that it was "an effort to discredit the last truly neutral, truly respected scorekeeper in Washington." It's true that the CBO is immensely respected: a bad CBO score can kill a major piece of legislation, and a good CBO score will help convince fence-sitters that legislation has limited downside. And it's not that the CBO isn't valuable. Republicans never hated the player; they just hated the game.
The CBO has rules that they have to abide by and judgment calls they have to make. It's not math that Republicans took issue with. It's the subjectivity that definitionally has to be involved. The CBO, for example, scores all legislation in a ten-year budget window from date of enactment. Not the date that a policy comes into effect, mind you; the date that it's passed. This is a useful rule, because it's often nearly useless to extrapolate government policy out past ten years. But what it means is that if a governing party wants to frontload budget savings and backload the costs, it'll get a much more favorable score than if the costs and savings were scored over ten years of enactment. It's undeniable that this happened with ACA, as the costs of full implementation have only just come into effect (and they're still not 100% in effect; the Cadillac tax won't take hold for another few years) even though the legislation was signed in 2010.
Obamacare Architect/Non-Architect/Friend/Adjacent Policy Guy Jonathan Gruber admitted as much. President Obama needed to include an individual mandate in his health law or the whole thing would fall apart. The problem was that the CBO had, in the past, scored private sector mandates as on-budget. These were thought to have killed the Clinton health reform plan in 1994. Obama-era Democrats - most likely with Gruber's help - massaged their plan in order to fit CBO's judgment of what kind of a private sector mandate wouldn't count as a tax. And this is indeed a judgment call. The Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate's constitutionality rests on the government's taxing power after the CBo ruled that the mandate didn't count as a tax. That's a difficult needle to thread, but the Democrats, with Jonathan Gruber's assistance, managed to make it happen.
So instead of a piece of legislation whose spending is near $2 trillion over ten years, ACA's delayed phase-in gives us an official CBO spending estimate of $800 billion. Instead of a bill where we see mandate-tax increases on all Americans, we discuss the bill as something with minimal tax hikes like the Cadillac tax and the tanning salon tax.
Republican allegations that the CBO score was achieved through budget gimmicks and smoke and mirrors were correct all along. There was no "war" on the CBO here. It was a war on the Obamacare architects who gamed the process, using the CBO's own rules against them, and presented to the public a legislation that used every loophole possible to hide its true costs and taxes.
This isn't to say that there have been no Republicans who have gone beyond merely criticizing the way that policymakers have exploited the CBO's self-imposed rules. Newt Gingrich called to "abolish the Congressional Budget Office because it lies," which is overboard and unhelpful. For all of the faults of the CBO - and there are many - it's a necessary institution in Washington and imperative for getting ballpark scores. But for all the reasons outlined, and for Jonathan Gruber's comments, a CBO score should not be a conversation-ender. CBO projections have been wrong, and legislators have turned its scores into such a powerful weapon that policymakers like Gruber are consistently attempting to game the system to produce favorable numbers.
There are other scorekeepers in the game whose legislative analysis is useful as well. The Joint Committee on Taxation scores legislation, as do think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Committee on Budget and Policy Priorities. All of these methods have their own upsides and downsides - CBO's upsides included. What's dangerous is worshiping at the alter of the CBO and refusing to lend credence to other scorekeepers. The problem is precisely that the CBO is viewed as the "last truly neutral, truly respected scorekeeper." That's what Republican complaints about the CBO's ACA score were getting at - and that's what needs to change.