tipsheet
Kevin Glass - Kansas Supreme Court May Swing KS Senate Race
Posted: 9/21/2014 8:23:00 AM EST
The national Democratic Party was celebrating this week after a ruling from the Kansas Supreme Court will allow the Democratic Party to remove its candidate from the race to represent Kansas in the U.S. Senate.

Chad Taylor, the Democratic Party nominee, is withdrawing from the race because of pressure from Democrats. Greg Orman, an "independent" candidate who has been a Democrat for his whole life, will for the time being be opposing incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Roberts with no Democrat on the ballot. (A Libertarian Party candidate is also in the running but polling poorly.)

Greg Orman will likely caucus with the Democratic Party in the Senate.

A poll from liberal outfit Public Policy Polling this week placed Orman with a ten-point lead in a head-to-head matchup with Roberts:

Orman leads Roberts 41-34, with Democrat Chad Taylor — who announced plans to end his campaign earlier this month — capturing 6 percent of the vote. Libertarian Randall Batson earned 4 percent support in the poll, which was first provided to the Huffington Post. The automated phone and online survey of 1,328 likely voters was taken between Sept. 11 and Sept. 14. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.7 percentage points.

In a head-to-head matchup, Orman’s lead grows to 10 percentage points, according to the poll.

Republican secretary of state Kris Kobach insists that Democrats must nominate a replacement candidate if Taylor is removed from the ballot, but that has not proven to be binding so far.

Leah Barkoukis - Mich. Senate Race: Terri Lynn Land Promises to ‘Turn the Page on Washington’
Posted: 9/20/2014 4:12:00 PM EST

Republican Senate hopeful Terri Lynn Land is out with a new ad campaign, “Turn the Page,” touting her Michigan First plan.

“How will Terri Lynn Land put Michigan first?” the narrator asks, before going on to say she will ask for trade deals, work to secure the borders, and keep tax dollars in Michigan.

The ad spot began running statewide on Friday.

According to the most recent poll, the former secretary of state, who’s up against Democratic Rep. Gary Peters for the seat held by retiring Sen. Carl Levin, is closing in on her opponent's lead.

A September 14 poll conducted by Mitchell Research has Peters up 2 points, 43 percent to 41 percent, which is within the margin of error.

The most recent poll comes amid reports of Peters’ petcoke hypocrisy.

Democratic Michigan Congressman and Senate candidate Gary Peters refused to sell his stock in the substance petroleum coke (petcoke), despite the fact that he has called petcoke “dirtier than the dirtiest fuel” and launched a public campaign to highlight the evils of a petcoke buildup in the area around the Detroit River.

Peters owns $19,000 in stock in the French oil company Total S.A., which produces petcoke, among other things. Peters’ 2014 Republican Senate opponent, Terri Lynn Land, has been hammering Peters on the investment.

“Am I going to sell it? I have no plans of it, no,” Peters said in comments Monday to The Detroit News. “It is an investment in the fourth largest oil company in the world. It has nothing to do with the Detroit situation.”

Peters had previously been ahead of Land by seven to nine points. Real Clear Politics ranks the race as leaning Democratic, but with 44 days until the election and Peters continuing to slip in the polls, the race is still very much in play.

Amanda Muñoz - Obama's ISIS Tap Dance
Posted: 9/20/2014 1:50:00 PM EST

Don’t let a rare act of bipartisanship fool you. Just because Congress came together (miraculously and quickly before, ahem, their midterm elections) in passage of a continuing resolution which also authorizes the training and arming of Syrian troops, doesn’t mean that the American people - or the military for that matter – are fully buying into the president’s plan.

All the hustle and bustle on Capitol Hill this week laid bare the confusion and political calculation behind the White House’s recent push to go after the ISIS (ISIL) terrorist group, which increases its threats against the U.S. and its allies every day. Despite overwhelming support in both the House and Senate, many members of Congress continue to push for additional details from administration officials on just exactly what the U.S. is getting into.

One major point of contention is whether or not President Obama has the legal authority to carry out the airstrikes that are currently taking place. Secretary of State John Kerry hashed this out with both the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, saying that the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) grants the president the authority he needs to go after “Al Qaeda and associated forces.” He argued that ISIS is a direct offshoot of Al Qaeda, only recently changing its name because of an internal disagreement.

Some members of Congress buy this, others don’t; but most have requested that the President seek a new AUMF – a request that Kerry said was welcomed and encouraged by the President. Although with Congress out of session for the next 45 days, just when that measure might be taken up remains in the air.

Many questions remain concerning the international coalition and the viability of Syrian ground forces. 40 - 50 countries have been reported as partners in the fight, but very little detail has been released on exactly what each nation plans to contribute - particularly from the Arab countries. Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed their hesitancy to ally with Saudi Arabia, who has funded terrorist activity, and have expressed concern over the potential impact this operation will have on empowering enemies such as Iran, Assad, and other regional terrorist organizations.

But, despite having already moved forward with airstrikes and building an international team of (somewhat questionable) allies, the most baffling moments of last week’s PR push for support was that administration officials still prefer to say that the U.S. is in the process of degrading and destroying, rather than engaging in war, and cannot determine the most politically correct way to refer to the enemy at hand. 

The White House has taken great effort to structure talking points that separate ISIS from the Islamic religion, instead of highlighting the very real threat that radical Muslim extremists continue to pose to the American way of life. President Obama told the nation that ISIS “is not Islamic,” and Secretary Kerry made several statements while on the Hill that ISIS is a cult “masquerading” as a religious movement.

Even when directly asked if the U.S. is at war, Secretary Kerry could only stammer a roundabout response that referred to ISIS as “the enemy of Islam” and “the enemy of humanity.” (See Townhall.com Web Editor Sarah Jean Seaman’s footage from Thursday's House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing below.)

Right now, the country needs a strong Commander-in-Chief instead of a political tap dancer. It has long been a plague of this administration – which has resulted in an even more gridlocked and bitterly political culture within Washington - that the American people get nothing but loose rhetoric and false promises.

But, taking into account that it took two American beheadings (and several rounds of golf) for the president to react to this “jayvee” enemy, it does not seem likely that change will occur soon.

The president must be clear-eyed about the reality of the world we live in. The U.S. cannot afford for its leaders to focus more on political correctness than dealing head-on with the sometimes harsh, but definitive, red lines that provide for greater national security.

Pray for this country. We need it.

Sarah Jean Seman - Louisiana School System Says Educating Illegal Immigrant Children Will Cost $4.6 Million
Posted: 9/20/2014 1:00:00 PM EST

The cost of educating illegal immigrant children who are residing in the United States will cost one school district in Louisiana almost $5 million, according to the Louisiana Department of Education. State Superintendent of Education John White crunched the numbers in response to a request from Senator David Vitter (R-LA).

According to White:

The Jefferson Parish School System estimates the total cost associated with educating these students to be $4.6 million. The district will receive an estimated $2.2 million toward this cost through the state funding formula based on the October 1 enrollment count adjustment (533 students x $4,261 per student). The other affected districts are calculating their estimated costs and will report them to the state next week.

In addition to normal cost of sending a child into the public school system, these aliens often need additional aid to address the language barrier. White noted that to serve the 533 illegal immigrants, the district would need to hire several additional English as a Second Language teachers.

The Washington Free Beacon, the media outlet that broke the story, has more:

Louisiana is among the 10 states that have received the most unaccompanied alien children, according to data compiled by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). The state will pay $25.8 million to educate 1,250 illegal alien children this school year.

Unaccompanied alien children have been relocated to every state in the nation, stressing local education budgets. Costs of accepting the young illegal immigrants range from $147.7 million in New York with the addition of 4,159 students, to $18,630 in Montana, which will enroll just one child.

Sen. Vitter attributed the sharp increase in illegal immigrant minors to the Obama administration policies, and in particular to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive action in 2012.

As I noted in a previous post, communities are required by law to educate illegal immigrants in public schools. So, taxpayers are being forced by law to pay to educate the very individuals who have broken the law. Something about this just seems terribly amiss.

Kevin Glass - Report: GOP Leadership Considering Rules To Punish Party Disloyalty
Posted: 9/19/2014 6:22:00 PM EST

A new congressional delegation will bring a new vote for leadership. With Democrats needing a miracle to gain a few seats, much less actually take the House, Republicans are close to a sure bet to be in control come November. That'll mean elections, and elections means a John Boehner who needs to have the support of his caucus.

There are a lot of members of the GOP caucus who don't very much like John Boehner. He's taken a lot of heat for being insufficiently conservative. To avoid an embarrassing vote, leadership might have some "rules tweaks" in the pipeline, as National Journal reports:

House Republicans are quietly discussing a proposal that could fundamentally alter the way future speakers of the House are chosen, according to multiple GOP sources, with the objective of avoiding a repeat of John Boehner's embarrassing reelection vote in 2013.

The rule tweak began as an informal discussion but has morphed into a concrete proposal that is beginning to circulate in the House. According to people briefed on it, any Republican who votes on the House floor in January against the conference's nominee for House speaker—that is, the candidate chosen by a majority of the House GOP during its closed-door leadership elections in November—would be severely punished. Specifically, sources say, any dissenters would be stripped of all committee assignments for that Congress.

"There's a real concern that there's between 30 and 40 people that would vote against the speaker on the House floor, so they're trying to change the conference rules to make sure that doesn't happen," said a GOP member familiar with the proposal.

The last time, as National Journal notes, there were 12 members who voted against Boehner's speakership on the House floor. The GOP leadership wants to present a more united front this time around.

Matt Vespa - As Tillis Trails Hagan, NRA Launches Major Ad Buy
Posted: 9/19/2014 5:30:00 PM EST

This isn’t a surprise, but Thom Tillis needs something to happen if he’s to unseat Hagan by Election Day.

Recent news hasn’t been too kind to Tillis. A poll from the conservative Civitas Institute showed that unaffiliated voters in North Carolina, who make up 27 percent of the electorate, back Hagan over him.

Fox News poll of likely North Carolina voters showed that Sen. Hagan has the advantage, beating Tillis 41/36. Yet, 19 percent said that they could change their mind between now and Election Day.

An Elon University poll also found Hagan beating Tillis 45/41 amongst likely voters. Tillis’ 47-point deficit amongst single women (they’re breaking 65/18 for Hagan) could be one of the reasons why he’s continued to trail Hagan in the polls. The poll surveyed 1,078 residents, 983 were registered to vote in North Carolina, and 629 described themselves as likely voters.

But there are some areas where Tillis can maneuver. For the first time since 2007, likely voters said the most important issue in the United States had to do with national security, or something related to international relations. Republicans have a clear advantage on foreign affairs heading into the 2014 midterms.

At the same time, from this poll, it looks as if immigration won’t be such an animating force as it is in New Hampshire amongst North Carolina’s registered voters, of which 47 percent think “immigrants are a benefit to North Carolina because of their hard work.” Forty percent feel they will be a burden to public services.

Abortion is another tricky issue, as 44 percent favor fewer restrictions on abortion; 40 percent want more restrictions. On Obamacare, almost half of registered voters–48 percent– think the ACA would make North Carolina health care worse, according to the Elon Poll. Thirty-one percent think it will make it better.

Then again, 7.5 percent of likely voters polled said they were undecided. When pressed whom they would vote for, 49 percent still said they were not sure. Elon predicted that means 4.6 percent of the electorate is up for grabs.

Recently, the National Rifle Association is planning a $11.4 million dollar advertising campaign in key senate and gubernatorial races (via Politico):

The National Rifle Association has reserved $11.4 million for its initial fall advertising campaign and will begin airing its first TV commercials Wednesday in three Senate races crucial to determining which party controls the chamber next year.

The gun rights group, which outlined its fall priorities exclusively for POLITICO Campaign Pro, said it plans to spend much more than the initial outlay during the final weeks before the midterm elections.

The first ads will begin airing in the Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina Senate races. They will be followed in the next few days with a mix of TV, radio and digital ads to help out the GOP Senate candidates in Georgia, Kentucky, Iowa and Louisiana.

The NRA has reserved $1.4 million of time in each state.

The bulk of the North Carolina buy, just over $1 million, will air in the Raleigh-Durham market, and about $350,000 will be spent in Greensboro.

Additionally, Freedom Partners Action Fund launched a $750,000 ad buy with two ads hitting Sen. Hagan over the Veterans Affairs fiasco and Obamacare.

The Obamacare ad actually ties in education, where we hear from a registered Democrat named Brenda, who taught in North Carolina for over 40 years, but had her hours cut as a substitute teacher due to Obamacare.

While not from the Tillis campaign, the Freedom Partners ad does a nice job in expanding the Obamacare blast radius to not just about gutted plans and higher premiums; it tied in education, which is an issue where Democrats are hammering Tillis.

Speaking of which, here’s an ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee slamming Tillis over his education cuts.

Sen. Kay Hagan, who garnered an endorsement from Cosmopolitan this week, also had this direct ad stating she’s "tough enough to keep taking the punches."

As Election Day draws closer, more voters are likely to become more attentive to this race. Elon predicts that North Carolina will have a higher than average voter turnout this year, so the possible fall groundswell could benefit either campaign. We’ll have to see what happens.

Christine Rousselle - Could ISIS Hurt Franken's Chance for Reelection?
Posted: 9/19/2014 4:15:00 PM EST

While incumbent Minnesota Sen. Al Franken (D) has a comfortable lead in opinion polls, some are wondering if his relatively muted response to ISIS actively recruiting soldiers from Minnesota will come back to haunt him in November.

Minnesota has been a hotbed for ISIS recruitment, with over a dozen residents of the Twin Cities traveling to the Middle East to fight for the Islamic State. Two have been killed.

Mike McFadden, the Republican candidate for Franken's seat, has jumped on the issue of ISIS in Minneapolis by portraying Franken as ineffectively combating the terror threat.

More from ABC:

Hours after the release of the ISIS video showing the execution of American journalist Steven Sotloff on Sept. 2, McFadden blasted Franken for his support of the president’s “foreign policy blunders.”

He later said Franken was “asleep at the wheel” after the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on a federal grand jury investigation of an attempt to convince 20 to 30 Somali men to leave Minnesota and join ISIS.

“This is a very, very serious issue, and it has not received the attention from Sen. Franken it deserves,” McFadden told ABC News. “We’re sitting here today six years after Sen. Franken and President Obama were elected, and the world is a more dangerous place.”

While Franken wrote a letter to the Department of Justice asking for assistance on addressing the matter of his constituents being successfully recruited to terrorist groups, McFadden called the effort “a day late and a dollar short.”

Franken was narrowly elected in 2009. Despite polls earlier this year showing low favorability and approval ratings, he leads recent polls by 13 points.

Katie Pavlich - Joe Biden at DNC Women's Lunch: I Sure Miss That Serial Sexual Assaulter Bob Packwood
Posted: 9/19/2014 3:15:00 PM EST

Vice President Joe Biden is having quite the week. First he used the Jewish slur "Shylock" while attempting to describe greed. Then in another speech, Biden described Asia as "The Orient."

Today at a DNC women's event (reminder, the folks over at the DNC, including Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, love using war on women rhetoric) Biden said he misses the days of bipartisanship in Washington and especially misses Republican Senator Bob Packwood. 

"It was Republicans that were involved," Biden said in a speech at a DNC Women’s Leadership Forum breakfast. "Guys like [former Maryland Sen.] Mac Mathias and Packwood and so many others. It wasn't Democrats alone. Republicans were the sponsors of the raises of the minimum wage. I could go on and on. I'm not joking: This is not your father's Republican Party, or your mother's Republican Party."

As a reminder, Bob Packwood was run out of the Senate for abhorrent behavior as a misogynist, serial sexual harasser/assaulter and creep. 

After Republican Robert W. Packwood was narrowly reelected to the Senate by Oregon voters in 1992, The Washington Post published a lengthy front-page story outlining the senator's unwanted sexual advances as reported by 10 women, mainly former staff members and lobbyists.

The extremely detailed and convincing accounts of Packwood's gross misbehavior were appalling. Outrage toward Packwood in his home state of Oregon and across the nation grew by day. The scandal and legal entanglements surrounding it would lead the senator to tearfully end his political career in 1995.

But hey, you can't really blame Biden. Excusing sexual abuse is just a habit. After all, he's in the party that praises and glorifies Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton (who have the same records as Packwood, but because they vote the right way on abortion, were allowed by Democrats to stay in politics). At the 2012 DNC convention, Bill Clinton spoke and a seven-minute long tribute video was played in honor of Ted Kennedy's life. Naturally, they left out the chapter when Kennedy left a young woman, Mary Jo Kopechne, to die in his car. 

Townhall.com Staff - Why Was David Limbaugh's Book Left Off NYT's Bestseller List?
Posted: 9/19/2014 1:55:00 PM EST

Was this an innocent mistake or another calculated ploy to slight a conservative author? You decide.

The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard reports that David Limbaugh, a best-selling author and popular Townhall columnist, has been curiously left off the New York Times bestseller list -- even though his book is flying off bookshelves everywhere. As a matter of fact, it’s already reached pinnacle status on Amazon.com, boasting higher book sales in recent days than most other print publications on the market.

What, then, could possibly explain this glaring omission?

The New York Times Book Review, which has a history of belatedly recognizing conservative bestsellers, has banished conservative legal author David Limbaugh’s latest, Jesus on Trial, from its upcoming best seller list despite having sales better than 17 other books on the list.

According to publishing sources, Limbaugh’s probe into the accuracy of the Bible sold 9,660 in its first week out, according to Nielsen BookScan. That should have made it No. 4 on the NYT print hardcover sales list.

Instead, Henry Kissinger’s World Order, praised by Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post, is No. 4 despite weekly sales of 6,607.

As Secrets wrote about a similar banishment early in the sales of conservative Dinesh D’Souza’s America, the Gray Lady is mysterious in how it calculates its list. A spokeswoman said, “We let the rankings speak for themselves and are confident they are accurate.”

If so, Limbaugh’s book should easily have made the bestseller list. The fact that it didn't certainly suggests that the New York Times is once again engaging in anti-conservative bias.

President and publisher of Regnery Publishing, Marji Ross, told Townhall she was absolutely "flabbergasted" by the news.

“Basically, we were flabbergasted when we got the New York Times bestseller list...and saw that Jesus on Trial wasn’t listed on their top 20 print books,” she said. “We saw sales of nearly 10,000 copies for David’s book, and we knew from past experience what that translates into. And that certainly is enough copies to always make it onto the bestseller list.”

She explained that Limbaugh’s book sold roughly 9,600 copies (according to advanced figures) while Henry Kissinger’s book sold roughly only 6,600 copies -- and yet Kissinger’s book landed at No. 4 on the bestseller list.

“When we saw Henry Kissinger’s book at #4, we literally couldn’t believe it,” she said.

Be that as it may, this isn't the first time something like this has happened.

“We’ve seen this kind of thing before where one of our books [is slighted], and frankly, I think it happens a lot to conservative authors and conservative titles and conservative publishers,” she added. “But this time was truly the most shocking.”

You can learn more about ways to receive a free copy of Jesus on Trial by clicking here.

After all, regardless of what the Times thinks, the book is still very much worth reading.

Katie Pavlich - Military Leaders Increasingly at Odds With Obama Over ISIS Strategy
Posted: 9/19/2014 1:00:00 PM EST

Obama's strategy on how to combat ISIS is confusing at best, but one thing is clear: the battle brewing between Obama and America's top generals about how to move forward against the terror army. 

Earlier this week during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey said there is potential he will recommend ground troops should the coalition with Arab countries against ISIS fail. 

“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true but if it fails to be true and if there are threats to the United States then I of course would go back to the President and make a recommendation that we include the use of U.S. military ground forces. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president," Dempsey said.

The next day, President Obama gave a speech in Florida at U.S. Central Command and stressed, "I will not commit you, and the rest of our armed forces, to fighting another ground war in Iraq." Obama has repeatedly insisted ground troops will not be used against ISIS.

Regardless, the line of generals and other high ranking military officials expressing skepticism over President Obama's plan and strategy is quickly getting longer. 

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis:

"Half‐hearted or tentative efforts, or air strikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foe’s credibility, reinforcing his recruiting efforts which are already strong. I do not necessarily advocate American ground forces at this point, but we should never reassure our enemy that our commander‐in‐chief would not commit them at the time and place of his choosing. When we act it should be unequivocal, designed to end the fight as swiftly as possible. While no one is more reluctant to see us again in combat than those of us who have signed letters to the next of kin of our fallen, if something is worth fighting for we must bring full strength to bear."
General Loyd Austin:
President Obama had been given advice on how to handle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but did not act on it, according to a new report from Real Clear Defense.Obama was preparing his strategy when he rejected the “best military advice” of Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command.

General Ray Odierno:

Airstrikes have halted the advance of the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, General Odierno, now the Army chief of staff, told journalists from four news organizations, including The New York Times, in what aides said were his first public comments on the current situation in Iraq. Ultimately, though, “you’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting them out,” he said, referring to the Islamic extremists.

The airstrikes “will not be the end all and be all solution in Iraq,” he said. Similarly, he added, the jihadis cannot be allowed to have a safe haven across the border in Syria.

Lt. Col. Oliver North:

"In my military mind what you have is Operation Enduring Confusion. You have a President who cannot make up his mind about what he wants." 

"I've spent my whole life hanging around the U.S. military. I've been on plenty of times with you from Iraq and other places. I've spent my life with these young guys. I'm waiting for the general or admiral who will stand up on his hind feet and say this is mission impossible. Given the constraints that you've [Obama] given we cannot accomplish the objective you have set. It is impossible to do."

"Somebody has to tell the truth...Some general or admiral at the Pentagon or somewhere else in Central Command has got to stand up and say, 'The mission we've been given we can do but we can't with the constraints you've places upon us.'"

Last night on The Kelly File, General Jack Keane gave his analysis: 


And then there's this:

The current situation in Iraq is a direct result of President Obama choosing politics over the advice of his generals. Even with the threat of ISIS, things haven't changed.