Order Townhall Magazine today for these can't-miss topics:
--Our cover story, “Minority or Messaging Problem?,” focuses on how the GOP can better reach minority voters, specifically the black community, and how these two entities can actually help each other in the long run. Written by Stacy Washington, a conservative, African-American mother of three, it’s an excellent topic to delve into as conservatives discuss the fallout from November's elections. Check below the magazine cover in this blogpost for an exclusive excerpt!
--“Obama’s Ace: The Executive Order”: President Obama has already displayed a keen eye for wielding executive authority when Congress won’t act. Where will he take this in a second term?
--The Real Gun Culture: Katie Pavlich, author of “Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal And Its Shameless Cover-Up,” writes on the real and responsible gun culture in this country that anti-Second Amendment advocates studiously ignore whenever there’s a tragedy.
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Excerpted from Townhall Magazine's February feature, "Minority Issue or Messaging?," by Stacy Washington:
Typically, economic factors forecast voting patterns; convention suggests that there must be overall improvements in the quality of life for blacks to justify a level of support merely 5 percent lower than the last election. In August of 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unemployment rate of 14.1 percent within the black community—less than a percentage point below the 14.9 percent rate at the end of the Great Recession, and well above Bush-era rates, of 9 percent and under.
Furthermore, when looking at household wealth and homeownership, two hallmarks of the American Dream, the Census reports that blacks have fared poorly as well. Between 2005 and 2010, the gap in white and black household wealth widened: whites went from 15 times that of blacks’ to 22 times. CNN Money reports that in 2010, white median household net worth stood at $110,729 versus $4,995 for blacks. This enormous chasm of wealth disparity opened up during the Great Recession and has persisted under the leadership of President Obama. ...
The GOP has tried running black candidates on the ticket, and while that’s important, it isn’t the answer. Nor is it enough to feature conservative black pundits on television and radio. Neither of these alone will convert blacks into Republican voters. What will work is illustrating how Republican policies will improve blacks’ lives and economic standing.
History shows that many minority groups, most notably the Irish and Jewish populations, had rough beginnings here in the U.S. but turned them around for the better through hard work and sacrifice.
American Jews weren’t always members of the upper echelons of society. Prosperous Jewish leaders noticed that there were ever-increasing numbers of their people mired in poverty and living in ghettos in New York. As a part of a greater effort to improve the lives of Jewish immigrants, the Federation of Jewish Farmers of America was formed. Historical records from the Jewish Agricultural Society and the Federation of Jewish Farmers show how they set about making a proactive change to better the circumstances of new immigrants through very simple means: teaching them to speak English, and then loaning them funds to buy a farm.
Once the family was set up on their new farm and had paid back the money, that same money was loaned to another family, so they, too, could escape the city. Community leaders stressed that education was of the utmost importance. And through the hard work and determination of the affluent reaching back to help less fortunate, newer American Jews, a tidal wave of success and wealth was unleashed over a few generations.
This plan isn’t limited in its application. It could work for American blacks too. Someone must suggest and implement it; but the Obama administration certainly won’t. The Democrats don’t want more blacks to become successful and free of government handouts. After all, once an individual begins to earn enough money to escape the horrors of inner-city living, he also begins to notice that his tax burden has increased as well. And once a person attends to their tax burden, he usually feels a desire to pay less.
The last election proved that black voters are engaged and willing to go the extra mile for a candidate that connects with them on a personal level. Yet minority outreach in the Republican Party is all but nonexistent. The party must initiate voter contact in the lull between campaigns, when Democrats aren’t working the churches, neighborhoods and shopping centers. Any black person will tell you that the Democrats only show up to seek out votes during election season, and the Republicans make their first attempts just three months before the election. This is abysmal!
Excerpted from Townhall Magazine's January feature, "Think Al Qaeda's Dead? Think Again," by Peter Brookes:
President Obama’s stump speeches last fall, which often featured phrases like al Qaeda “is on the run” or “on the path to defeat,” were—like much of his overheated campaign rhetoric—prone to wishful thinking.
Yes, al Qaeda’s founder and leader Osama bin Laden is dead, but from the looks of it, al Qaeda is very much alive.
It’s true that over the years the American military and intelligence agencies have done a fabulous job of taking down “al Qaeda’s core,” those who planned, plotted, and trained in Afghanistan for the 9/11 attacks, and later found refuge in the Pakistani tribal areas. But the terrorist movement bin Laden led and the ideology he continues to inspire even after his death will likely remain relevant for a while.
According to a series of articles penned in November 2012 for The Washington Post and titled “The Permanent War,” among senior government officials at that time, there was “broad consensus that such [kill or capture counterterror] operations are likely to be extended at least another decade. Given the way al Qaeda continues to metastasize, some officials said no clear end is in sight.”
That is not good news.
Based on the above, the notion held by some that the U.S. is standing squarely in a post-al Qaeda era in light of bin Laden’s death appears rooted in hopeful—even convenient political— thinking.
Americans will need to re-familiarize themselves with an al Qaeda organization that still poses a near-global challenge 10- plus years after 9/11. Perhaps nowhere is the recent spread of the terror group’s influence more alarming than in Africa.
African Al Qaeda Allies
When one thinks of security challenges in Africa, one does not usually think of terrorism, particularly al Qaeda. But the group’s affiliates are putting down roots in places like Somalia, Mali and Nigeria, making this large continent the source of new worries.
From a review of the situation in Africa, counterterrorism officials are right to be anxious.
In fact, an article last summer in The Washington Post noted that the rise of radical Islamist groups in Africa has “raised alarm that an explosive cocktail of rebellion, terrorism, and religious extremism could spill across borders.”
Perhaps the best known of these evil terror triplets is AQIM, due to its likely involvement in the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya last fall, which resulted in the death of four brave Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
More specifically, it is likely that a pro-al Qaeda group associated with AQIM, Ansar al Sharia, is the perpetrator behind the terror attack that destroyed the American consulate and the annex with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
AQIM and its al Qaeda allies operate in the northern regions of Africa, where they seek to take advantage of instability and governance issues not only in Libya, but in Mali, too.
Unfortunately, while Americans may like to think of al Qaeda as a far-away danger in places like Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, in truth, the terror threat can be very close to home, too.
Arguably, nothing worries American counterterrorism officials more than the violent extremists that are already in the country as opposed to those which come from places outside the U.S. Imported terrorists must at least navigate U.S. immigration, often at a border entry point, where a red flag can possibly be raised.
Read the rest of Brookes' feature by ordering the January issue of Townhall Magazine.
Get ready for a new year and a new angle on one of the hottest social issues in the country. Order Townhall Magazine today to get Townhall's January "Life" cover and the fascinating stories inside. Our feature on a crisis pregnancy center in metro Detroit will be the most heartwarming story you hear this holiday season!
More can't-miss topics from the January issue:
-- Top Republicans to Watch in 2013: Our A-List section takes a look at GOP names you need to know as we begin the new year.
--Townhall reporter Leah Barkoukis gets an EXCLUSIVE behind-the-scenes look at a specialized military unit who gets called to the scene when explosive devices are discovered.
--Think Al Qaeda's dead? Think again. Peter Brookes opens your eyes to the organization's workings around the world.
-- The debut of Pavlich Dispatch, a new monthly column by Townhall news editor and best-selling author Katie Pavlich.
-- Do men belong in the abortion debate? And should conservatives ignore the issue politically? S.E. Cupp shares her opinion.
Remember, our print features are generally 100 percent exclusive ... most won't run in full online!
From Townhall Magazine's January feature, "Life at the Crossroads," by Mark Kakkuri:
On a crisp, fall day in 2012, a 27-year old woman named Jennifer pulled open the door to Crossroads Pregnancy Center in Auburn Hills, Mich. She entered the 3,800 square foot structure, formerly a bank and the westernmost building in an outdoor strip that contains a Little Caesars, ACO Hardware and Rite Aid. A 10-year old boy and a 24-year old woman both followed her in. With a kind smile on her face, Jennifer looked around the small lobby, walked up to the receptionist’s desk, and announced why she was there: “I’m sure no one here would know me, but I was a client of this pregnancy center 10 years ago.” Putting her arm around the boy while affectionately smiling at him, she continued, “This is my 10-year-old son whom I chose to have because of the help I received here.” Jennifer then looked over to the other woman, her friend, with compassion. “My friend is pregnant. She needs your help. And that’s why we’re here.”
Jennifer’s declaration carried into Executive Director Tim Stickel’s office, just a few feet away. Intrigued, he emerged to meet the three visitors. While he introduced himself, the Crossroads receptionist began the process of helping Jennifer’s friend.
After a few weeks of care and counsel from the Crossroads staff, Jennifer’s friend, like her, decided to have the baby.
“We experience referrals like that a lot,” Stickel says. “A girl realizes she’s in trouble, thinks she’s pregnant, doesn’t know what to do, asks her friends, and her friends point her to Crossroads.”
Loving the Grandkids
Stickel, 62, has held the post of executive director since 2005 and is the only full-time employee of the center, located just 30 miles north of Detroit. A veteran of the Armed Forces whose past work includes running his own print shops and construction businesses, he is also an ordained minister. He sports a 2-foot long gray ponytail that he keeps tucked in behind his shirt collar. Happily married with two grown children and one grandchild, he lovingly refers to all the babies who make their way through Crossroads as his “grandchildren.”
Since he took the post of executive director, Stickel has experienced the gamut of situations facing women with “problem” pregnancies and has seen both positive and negative trends. Eight years ago, women came in to the center alone. Now, some form of male support comes in with them. About 20 percent of the time it is the father of the baby.
“Still, some men are actually taking some responsibility—which is encouraging,” he says.
Caring for Clients in Crisis
In 2012, the Crossroads staff had appointments with well over 2,000 women—the center refers to them as “clients.” While Stickel says it is difficult to explain what constitutes a typical process, generally the client is a young woman who will come in, ask if the center will perform an abortion—“No,” he says kindly but emphatically—and is usually glad to receive some genuine care and all the helpful information that the center provides.
After some paperwork is completed, the staff asks the client some questions about her background—how she was raised, whether a boyfriend is involved, religious beliefs and some physiological data.
U“We probe a little to determine if there’s been any abuse,” says Stickel, “as I am a mandatory reporter. But our questions are our attempts to try to understand the girls so that we can truly help them.”
Many of the clients, in fact, are abused.
“Their lives are so bad it makes you wonder what the world is really like,” he says.
After the client answers these initial questions, peer counselors will take her to a counseling room for further discussion. Stickel says that most girls are pretty comfortable with the Crossroads counselors: “We have a good reputation for treating them fairly and we don’t whack them with a Bible.”
Read the rest of Kakkuri's feature by ordering the January issue of Townhall Magazine. [Editor's note: Kakkuri is a member of Five Points Community Church, which helps support the Crossroads Pregnancy Center.]
We asked bestselling author Ann Coulter to recap the year for conservatives--and she obliged, walking us through the top conservative storylines of 2012. Read an exclusive excerpt below, and get Ann's entire recap by ordering the December issue of Townhall Magazine (you can also get a FREE copy of Coulter's latest book when you place your subscription)!
From Townhall Magazine's December feature, "Top Conservative Storylines of 2012" by Ann Coulter:
In January, Mitt Romney won the love and esteem of all Americans who have ever had to deal with the DMV, the post office or any government office by saying, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.”
In February, the women of America rose up as one and demanded that Sandra Fluke set aside her law studies to be our spokeswoman. Please, Sandra, we know you have no qualifications to comment on any matter of any importance and how the glare of publicity repels you, but we need you to speak for us!
Described by a longtime Democratic congressional aide as “the least-qualified witness ever to appear before a congressional committee,” Fluke was declined by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee as a witness on a panel of theologians and members of the clergy during a hearing on religious liberty.
But that was only the beginning of Fluke’s “voice” being “silenced.” Next, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi arranged for her to testify before an unrelated House committee, where Fluke demanded that Catholic institutions be required to provide birth control with no co-pay to their students.
Fluke then appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, NPR and a number of other national media outlets to say that her voice was being silenced.
Rush Limbaugh ridiculed Fluke the way ridiculous people often are ridiculed, including, at some point, referring to her as a “slut.” President Obama called Fluke and told her that her parents should be proud of her. Fluke became a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention in September and, by October, was drawing crowds as large as 10 in Reno, Nev.
In March, the non-Fox media (NFM) charged off on the Trayvon Martin case, not waiting for any facts, to make wild allegations of racism against a Florida police force, a mixed-race Hispanic, George Zimmerman, and another mixed-race Hispanic—Geraldo Rivera.
Like Captain Ahab searching for the Great White Whale, the NFM is constantly on the hunt for proof of America as “Mississippi Burning.” In March, they had their White Male Oppressor in the person of Zimmerman, a mixed-race Hispanic.
In February, Zimmerman had spotted a suspicious-looking character walking “aimlessly” in his diverse (47 percent white) gated community, and called 911. Not long after that, Zimmerman had shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old staying with his father’s girlfriend in the community. Zimmerman claimed self-defense, saying Martin had attacked him and he was in fear for his life.
On the basis of having absolutely no information, the media conjured a Hollywood script: A “white” man was “stalking” a little black kid—who could be Obama’s son!—confronted him and then shot the small black child dead, “just because he was black.”
Liberals seem to imagine that whenever black people are shot by other blacks, they heave sighs of relief and say, “At least I wasn’t a victim of racism!”
Strangely, the media kept showing us snapshots from Martin’s childhood, rather than any recent photos, suggesting that Martin was a slight 12 year-old boy at the time of the shooting, rather than a strapping 6-foot, 160-lb 17-year-old. Indeed, he was one inch taller than Zimmerman, according to the police report.
Where were Zimmerman’s baby pictures? The media choose sides by whose childhood photos they choose to show the public. If Martin had been white, not only would we have seen Zimmerman’s baby pictures, but the media would have championed him as the victimized “Mexican” engaging in self-defense.
To be extra sure the public understood that America was faced with a KKK uprising, NBC edited Zimmerman’s 911 call about a suspicious character in his neighborhood to make Zimmerman sound like a racist nut.
This is the actual exchange Zimmerman had with a police dispatcher during his 911 call:
ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.
DISPATCHER: OK, and this guy—is he black, white or Hispanic?
ZIMMERMAN: He looks black.
Here’s NBC’s version:
ZIMMERMAN: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.
Two months of nonstop racial hysteria later, it turned out that every part of the media-invented fairytale was false.
For example, MSNBC had triumphantly produced grainy black and white photos of Zimmerman walking into the police station some time after his arrest to prove that there wasn’t a scratch on him.
A few weeks later, close up photos of Zimmerman’s blood-soaked scalp taken right after the shooting disproved that theory.
There were no apologies—the story just disappeared. As we go to press, Zimmerman is still on trial for murder as the media stand around looking at their shoes.
See what else made Ann's list (hint: a monumental U.S. scandal) by ordering Townhall Magazine!
The U.S. has spent its way into a $16 trillion national debt that is threatening its economic health. Bankrupting America's Gretchen Hamel has five principles that can help get the U.S. economy back on track.
From Townhall Magazine's December feature, "A Fiscal Fitness Plan for Washington" by Gretchen Hamel:
First, and mostly importantly, elected officials should keep their promises and listen to the voters. It’s easier said than done, but think about members of the two previous Congresses and where many of them are right now. Politicians should remember them when deciding how to vote on a bill that increases spending without offsets or gives preferential treatment to a certain constituency. Voters likely elected these politicians because they promised to make things better and change the way Washington does business. Now is time to make good on that promise and fix the problems.
Americans’ top concerns are clear from polling, skewed or otherwise. Jobs and the economy along with the debt and government spending consistently top the list. While voter concern over the economy and jobs has remained high over the past few years, concern over spending and the debt has grown rapidly—an increase of 10 percentage points since January, according to Public Notice polling. It makes sense: Americans just saw the country’s debt crest the $16 trillion mark on the promise that government spending was necessary to save the economy. The results haven’t matched the promises, so Americans are looking for a different path forward.
The next Congress cannot afford to repeat its 2010 saga: a half-hearted effort coupled with budget tricks to fool Americans into thinking spending cuts were made. By the end of the fiscal year, all the gimmicks, double-talk and baggy clothing can’t hide a growing deficit.
Take, for example, the Budget Control Act of 2011. According to Bob Woodward’s recent book “The Price of Politics,” negotiations were driven in large part by electoral concerns. Primarily, officials feared having to raise the debt ceiling before the elections. While this served as a catalyst to the negotiations, the negotiators deferred to the “super committee” to make spending cut decisions for them. As Americans now know, the committee failed. This failure is the reason the country is standing on the edge of the fiscal cliff, about to fall into a self-induced recession.
This episode is a perfect example of what passes for accountability and real work in Washington. Elected officials are so reluctant to make tough decisions that they invent absurd things like a super committee and reassure voters that things will be different this time. Meanwhile, congressional approval is abysmal. The U.S. has had four straight years with trillion dollar deficits, which has lead to a $16 trillion debt and the first credit downgrade in the nation’s history. Elected leaders need to be honest with the American people. Where does the country stand fiscally? What are elected officials doing about it?
It’s no secret where the money is going. For every dollar the U.S. spends, 19 cents goes to defense, 56 cents goes to entitlements and the rest is left for interest and non-discretionary items like education, agriculture, and other administration programs and projects. As Washington nibbles around the edges, entitlement programs continue to grow, threatening to consume most of the federal budget.
Americans want a re-energized economy and responsible federal spending. The gimmicks and half-measures aren’t working, and no one’s buying it anymore. Politicians must keep their promises.
The second prescription is for Congress to pick up where the fiscal commission left off. President Obama ceremoniously appointed the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to identify “policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run,” according to the commission’s website. Several months later, the bipartisan committee released a report that Obama unceremoniously ignored. This exercise only reinforced the “all for show” approach toward deficit reduction that frustrates Americans.
All that work should not go to waste. Next year, Washington would be well-advised to take another look at the commission’s report. For example, the commission did tackle some of the big political challenges facing the country’s fiscal future, like entitlements and taxes. For Social Security, it recommended some structural changes, which could also potentially be applied to Medicare. In addition, the group proposed something that isn’t popular on the Right, but must be addressed: defense spending cuts. They balanced that politically with recommendations that are not popular on the Left. Those include a reduction in student loan subsidies and federal pensions. The commission’s report gives negotiators a starting point, and, in any negotiation, that’s one of the biggest challenges.
A third task for Washington is to pass a responsible budget and stick to it. This sounds like common sense, but the last time Congress passed a budget was 2009. The last time they completed the entire budget and appropriations process on time was for fiscal year 1997. The world has come a long way in the advancements of technology since then, but U.S. budgeting appears to have regressed. Is it any wonder that the national debt has grown over 200 percent since fiscal year 1997?
Read the complete article by ordering Townhall Magazine!
From Townhall Magazine's December feature, "The Next Four Years" by the Townhall Staff:
For four years, President Obama and his team never failed to remind Americans of the state of the country he inherited from his Oval Office predecessor. The mess left at the end of Obama’s first term, however, makes the George W. Bush years look gift-wrapped. From the debt to entitlements to health care and education, the next four years promise a gauntlet of challenges the White House must address sooner rather than later.
The Eurozone and the Global Economy: On January 20, the president faces an even more questionable global economic outlook than previous administrations. Balance of global economic power has been shifting away from Europe toward Asia and South America. As the Financial Times pointed out, this is due in part to the growing clout of emerging nations, such as Brazil and India, but the change has been accelerated by the difficulties “advanced economies” have experienced in rebounding from the global economic meltdown.
With Europe, the president will face a problem with no easy answer and one that he has little to no control over. Unemployment rates top 20 percent in a few countries, and several have needed bailouts. Protests (some violent) in reaction to austerity measures are the new normal. Wealthy individuals consider fleeing due to more socialized and hostile governments, and questions of the euro—and even the European Union itself—breaking apart abound. The president will face great uncertainty in this region as he has to wait, with the rest of the world and financial markets, for European leaders to implement a viable solution.
Unfortunately, the global economic problems do not stop in Europe. No country is immune from the woes of another. The consequences from Europe’s multinational debt crisis have led to an “estimated 11-year low” for growth in emerging Asia, according to Businessweek. Growth of the global economy will likely slow, according to the International Monetary Fund in a Voice of America report, and is only estimated to be 3.3 percent for 2012. Carefully and correctly handling the precarious situation of the U.S. economy within the current global economy will be a major endeavor. The president will have to deal with the negative consequences of a poor financial climate worldwide while preserving America’s formidable presence in the global market.
Afghanistan: Chief among the challenges that lie ahead for the next administration will be figuring out how to stop Afghanistan from remaining a terrorist haven, says The Long War Journal’s managing editor Bill Roggio, while concomitantly implementing an effective Pakistan policy. The rise of “insider attacks” by Afghan security personnel against coalition forces has also thrown a wrench in the transition of security responsibilities to the Afghan security forces as the 2014 withdrawal date for combat troops approaches.
The surge in Afghanistan marked one of the most significant foreign policy moves of Obama’s first term. The objectives, he announced in 2009, would be to deny al Qaeda safe havens in the country, reverse the Taliban’s momentum and help secure an effective Afghan government and security force that would enable the country to take charge of its own future. Three years later, the surge is officially over, but the situation appears unresolved.
According to The Long War Journal, the surge made considerable gains against the Taliban in the southern region of Afghanistan, but the insurgency is not confined to that area. Essentially, the Taliban have not been defeated—and neither has al Qaeda, Roggio tells Townhall.
“When you look at the military’s own statements on their raids against al Qaeda, it’s astounding. You can see that these groups maintain a strong presence, and we’ve been hitting [them] at a pretty good clip for years,” he says. “It is a systematic foreign jihadist movement that is pervasive throughout large areas of Afghanistan.”
Though there are many retrospective opinions about how the U.S. should have carried out policy in the 11 year-old war, Roggio believes the time to positively affect the situation has expired. Nevertheless, work in Afghanistan will not completely end in 2014, making it imperative that the next administration learns a valuable lesson: “There’s no short-term solutions to complex problems—especially in a country that’s been fighting in a protracted war,” Roggio says. ...
Challenge at Home
The Debt and the Deficit: A mix of tax reform and spending cuts are required to reduce the federal deficit. Once that is accomplished, politicians can move on to a more in-depth approach to reducing U.S. debt. Financing the nation will take a Congress working together to make sure the government is doing its best to provide an environment for citizens to succeed.
With the national debt now above $16 trillion, Washington should first think of the employers—what is it that will make them prosper and build their businesses. With lower taxes for business owners, some of their money will be freed up to take on new employees, produce a larger number of goods or services and therefore create a greater impact on the economy. More people would be employed, and, when someone is employed, they pay taxes on their income. Those extra tax dollars will then go to paying down the debt. A study by the Journal of Public Economics found that a 10-percent reduction in the corporate tax rate would increase the annual GDP by 1.1 to 1.8 percentage points.
U.S. leaders must also concentrate on spending cuts. Several government programs funded by the U.S. taxpayers are no longer necessary. The president will need to go through each program and decide whether it is absolutely vital to the success and safety of the American people.
Education: There is perhaps no more pressing—or neglected—issue facing the next president of the United States than reforming the country’s failing public schools. Only approximately 75 percent of public high school students graduate with their class. And American teenagers are significantly lagging behind their international peers on standard measures. According to scores released by the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment, for example, the United States ranked 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading out of 34 industrialized nations. “This is an absolute wake-up call for America,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan told the Associated Press at the time. Why? Perhaps it’s because the United States spends more money per pupil (besides Switzerland) than any other nation on earth, as discovered by Education Next.
Worse, in higher education, just 56 percent of college students obtain four-year degrees within six years, according to a study conducted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2011. These numbers suggest that the nation’s public school system is in serial decline, and thus failing to teach young people how to succeed and compete in an ever-expanding global economic market.
The first step to reforming the country’s broken educational system is to increase competition and choice. For decades, students (especially in poverty-stricken rural areas and inner cities) have had no choice but to attend perpetually failing schools. But recent studies indicate that publicly funded charter schools and voucher programs are two innovative and increasingly effective ways to give the disadvantaged an opportunity to be successful. For example, a joint study conducted by the Brookings Institution and Harvard University showed, based on evidence from New York City, that African-American students given taxpayer-funded vouchers to attend private elementary schools were 24 percent more likely to enroll in college.
Developing ways to improve the American public education system—through competition, innovation and school choice— will be one of the most significant challenges facing the next president of the United States.
See what else made our list of challenges by picking up a copy of the December issue of Townhall Magazine.
From January to November, the Left never slept (except during the first presidential debate), but neither did the conservatives who countered them. Ann Coulter walks you through the top conservative storylines of 2012 in the December issue of Townhall Magazine! Order Townhall Magazine today to read Ann's take.
Remember, our print features are generally 100 percent exclusive ... most won't run in full online!
More can't-miss topics from the December issue:
-- Obama Inherits His Own Mess: What challenges must the White House address moving forward? (Hint: everything.)
-- Bankrupting America lays out a fiscal fitness plan for Washington, D.C.
--Pearl Harbor remembered, and what Obama can learn from our 32nd president...
From Townhall Magazine's November Perspectives by Kyle Bonnell:
Questioning Ronald Reagan’s electability in today’s political environment has become a preoccupation of today’s liberals. As this story goes, Ronald Reagan was too moderate and compromising for the tea party-infested, intransigent and ideologically rigid Republican Party. But is it true?
Not according to Edwin Meese, President Reagan’s Attorney General.
“If you look at his principles- limited government, individual liberty, free market economics, strong national defense– those values are the same values that the Republican Party stands for today, “he says. “I don’t think he would have any problem getting elected today.”
Likewise, the rising generation of conservatives rejects the notion that Ronald Reagan was too moderate for today’s GOP.
“The liberal notion that Reagan could not get elected today in the Republican Party is absolutely ridiculous,” said Christopher Malagisi, President of the Young Conservatives Coalition. “Almost every GOP presidential candidate this past cycle had tried to compare themselves to Reagan in one way, shape or form. The GOP base uses him as their standard-bearer and he’s that one ecumenical figure who brought together all branches of the conservative movement.”
Furthermore, historian Paul Kengor points out that today’s Republicans are looking for another Reagan: “I constantly speak to Republicans nationwide, often at the annual “Reagan Day” dinners they’ve started in lieu of the traditional Republican “Lincoln Day” dinners,” he says. “The question I get asked the most is, ‘Who’s the next Reagan?’”
Liberals like to argue that Reagan raised taxes during his time in office, and therefore would not have gotten along with the Tea Party. According to Meese, however, the Left is employing a narrow view of history to separate Reagan from his conservative roots.
“Actually, Ronald Reagan had the largest tax reduction in history when he reduced income taxes across the board,” he says. “He didn’t believe in the class warfare and divisiveness that the current administration continually preaches. Instead, he believed that taxes should be reduced across the board, which is what he did.”
Indeed, Reagan’s tax cuts took the top marginal income tax rate from 70% all the way down to 28%, and the lower bracket was reduced to 15%. Given the fact that TEA is an acronym for ‘taxed enough already,’ it’s safe to say that Reagan’s policies would have been popular with today’s grassroots conservatives. Meese agrees:
“I think Ronald Reagan would have gotten along very well with the tea party,” he says. “I think in many ways, the Tea Party is very similar to the Reagan Democrats: people who basically believed in the constitution and limited government. And I think he would have been a champion of the Tea Party, and they would have regarded him as their champion.”
When it comes to taking on excess and corruption in government unions, President Reagan would find himself at home in today’s Republican Party. The onetime president of the Screen Actors Guild famously terminated over 12,000 air traffic controllers who illegally went on strike in hopes of obtaining a $10,000 raise and 32 hour work week. Meese sees parallels between Reagan’s handling of the air traffic controllers and the efforts of current Republicans like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker. ...
Read more of this column by ordering the November issue of Townhall Magazine.
Here's something I've been trying to figure out since Obama's re-election on Tuesday, and which I included in my column in Townhall Magazine's December issue (so consider this a sneak peek!): Everyone kept saying the economy was the main issue; and the exit polls agreed. How did residents of swing states feel comfortable enough economically to think four more years of the same would help?
Of the “toss up” states in this election, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nevada and Florida all elected GOP governors post-2008, and several have GOP senators. In fact, only two toss-up states in 2012 had Democrat governors.
Most of these GOP governors, in fact, have overseen significant drops in unemployment in their states. While it may have been “trending” downward, they deserve credit for how they’ve handled much of the economic mess they inherited, in all cases but Nevada’s, from a Democratic predecessor. Scott Walker took on the unions. Bob McDonnell announced a surplus. You can, in fact, compare some of these performances with a state like North Carolina, one of the few states that switched from Obama to the GOP column this year in the election: they still have horrible unemployment compared with most states, and they’ve been under Democrat governorship since the 2008 election. They picked a GOP governor this November. Perhaps they realized what my colleague Kate Hicks reported in July: all 17 states—swing or not—which elected GOP governors in 2010 saw a reduction in unemployment.
In other words, this whole “trending” in the right direction that President Obama touted had the advantage of being filtered through some fairly responsible GOP governors in swing states. Did GOP governorship and policies create enough of a comfort zone for swing state voters that they bought Obama’s getting better message? Though unemployment has crept up slightly again in a few of these states, it’s a fascinating case study of how the GOP (for once) might be a victim of its own competence. The only confusing states in this theory are Montana and Missouri, which have relatively low unemployment under Democrat governors and went for Romney, and then Indiana, which still has unemployment above the national average but will feature back-to-back GOP administrations. Indiana residents clearly attribute part of their employment issues to the national landscape, however, since they flipped their electoral votes away from Obama and into the GOP column for 2012.
But for now, we're left pondering if people's hope unknowingly stemmed from the industriousness of some hard-working GOP governors.