After the slightly embarrassing mishap last week (a Brown staffer evidently forgot to check the ‘Republican’ box when filling out paperwork so his/her boss could legally run for Senate in New Hampshire), things are starting to look up. In a recent poll acquired exclusively by the Weekly Standard, the ex-Massachusetts Senator is perhaps polling higher than many of us expected:
Republican Scott Brown leads incumbent Democratic senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire by five points in a recent poll obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD. The poll, commissioned by the Republican Governor's Association, was conducted on March 19 and 20 and asked 600 likely voters in New Hampshire who they would vote for in the U.S. Senate election. Respondents were given both Brown and Shaheen's names and their respective parties.
According to the poll, 36 percent said they would "definitely" vote for Brown, the former senator from Massachusetts, while 13 percent said they would "probably" vote for him, bringing his total support to 49 percent. The same poll found 37 percent said they would "definitely" vote for Shaheen with 6 percent saying they would "probably" vote for her, with a total of 44 percent in support of the incumbent Democrat. Seven percent said they did not know who they would vote for.
There are a few issues with the sample, naturally. For starters, my headline is perhaps a bit deceptive. Yes, a higher percentage of total respondents said they’ll either “definitely” or “probably” vote for Scott Brown -- which gives him that top-line “49 percent” number you see above -- but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of them will. In fact, more voters actually said they would “definitely” vote for Shaheen than would “definitely” vote for Brown. So that’s something to keep in mind.
Secondly, the poll was conducted by the Republican Governors Association; therefore one could reasonably assume the poll is heavily skewed in favor of the GOP candidate. But alas there’s no way to tell: if one dives into the survey itself, there’s no data explaining the D/R/I breakdown -- an important measurement we often use to sniff out partisan bias. Sure, we know 600 likely voters filled out the survey, but what political parties did they belong to or “lean” towards? How many respondents were non-affiliated likely voters? We don’t know. Still, the question must be asked: is this survey an outlier, or evidence the race has swung in Brown’s favor after trailing in the polls for so long?
We’ll need to see much more polling data to answer that question. And Brown still needs to officially declare, of course. But suffice it to say this is going to be a competitive race after Brown wins the Republican primary.
That is, if he does.
Nothing in politics is certain.
When the IRS auditing scandal emerged last year, many were quick to claim that progressive groups had been targeted for audits or had also faced increased scrutiny. However, according to documents obtained by the Daily Caller, the only groups targeted by the IRS specifically for political reasons were conservative in nature.
IRS agents testified before Oversight that ACORN groups were scrutinized because the agency thought they were old organizations applying as new ones. Emerge America was scrutinized for potential “improper private benefit.” No evidence exists that the IRS requested additional information from any Occupy Wall Street group.
“Only seven applications in the IRS backlog contained the word ‘progressive,’ all of which were then approved by the IRS, while Tea Party groups received unprecedented review and experienced years-long delays. While some liberal-oriented groups were singled out for scrutiny, evidence shows it was due to non-political reasons,” according to the Oversight staff report, which was obtained by The Daily Caller.
Is anyone surprised?
Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) came under fire this weekend after the Drudge Report linked to an Associated Press article using the headline "Republicans expand Obamacare."
And reading the AP article, one can see why Drudge used that headline. Under the header "GOP seeks coverage choices in health law they hate," AP writer David Espo reported:
At the prodding of business organizations, House Republicans quietly secured a recent change in President Barack Obama's health law to expand coverage choices, a striking, one-of-a-kind departure from dozens of high-decibel attempts to repeal or dismember it.
Unfortunately Espo's reporting is just plain false. There was nothing one-of-a-kind about the "recent change" House Republicans passed on Obamacare. In fact, not only did the law shrink the size and scope of the federal government by repealing a specific portion of Obamacare, it fits into a long line of previous House Republican measures that have done the same.
And all have been signed by President Obama.
But first, here are the specifics of last weeks change according to the AP:
The provision itself was relatively minor. It eliminated a cap on deductibles for small group policies offered inside the law's health care exchanges as well as outside; the cap was set at $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families.
Republicans said they sought it so small businesses can offer high-deductible plans that could be purchased by individuals who also have health savings accounts. These tax-preferred accounts are a long-time favorite of many Republicans, who say they give consumers greater control over their own health care.
The health law contains no deductible caps for individual plans or those offered by large employers, and the Department of Health and Human Services already had waived them for small businesses through 2015. The legislation means they will never go into effect.
So the change in question: 1) repealed part of Obamacare; 2) reduced federal government health care regulations; 3) made the health care market more market orientated; and 4) will lower health premiums for small business. Why would any conservative not vote for this?
More importantly, this is not the first time House Republicans have managed to get Obama to sign a partial repeal of his signature domestic accomplishment. As the list partially prepared by Boehner's office below shows, Republicans have now successfully repealed or defunded parts of Obamacare eight times:
None of these are full repeals of Obamacare. But they all shrink the size and scope of the federal government while improving, marginally, our nation's health care system. If anything, Republicans should be more ambitious in pushing partial repeals.
While the House has approved delays of the employer and individual mandates, they have never voted on full repeal of either measure.
According to the CBO, a one-year delay in the individual mandate would cut Obamacare spending by $28 billion, which could easily pay for a one-year delay in the employer mandate, which would reduce taxes on hiring by $10 billion. That is $10 billion more employers could spend hiring more Americans right there.
These CBO figures are for just one-year delays. Full repeals would garner much higher spending cuts and free up far more money for businesses to hire new people.
House Republicans should at least pass full repeals of the individual and employer mandates out of committee so we could get a full CBO score on what the benefits would be.
There would also be some costs too, however. Delaying the individual and employer mandates for a year would increase the number of uninsured by 2.5 million and raise insurance premiums. But most of the people that would lose health care from such a repeal (2 million) would be those who did not want to buy it in the first place! And Republicans could further cut premiums by repealing the essential benefits packages that are driving up the cost of health care nation wide.
Obama would never sign full repeals of the individual and employer mandates. But by forcing votes on the issue, and getting CBO scores of the repeals, Republicans can show Americans that Obamacare can be rolled back in a way that lowers health care costs and increases employment.
As we discussed yesterday, Democrats are hoping to replicate their successful 2012 playbook by shifting voters' focus onto ancillary issues, and away from the political fundamentals. This week they're trotting out equal pay for women in an effort to underscore their "Republican war on women" meme. President Obama is signing two executive orders related to the issue today, while the Senate will debate the Paycheck Fairness Act:
Obama's latest foray into the issue also comes with the Senate set soon to consider the Paycheck Fairness Act , which would impose new regulations on how companies pay employees in an effort to ensure women are not unfairly earning less than their male counterparts...While the Paycheck Fair Act legislation has little chance of gaining traction, the White House is counting on the issue to resonate with women--particularly racial minorities--whose turnout will prove to be critical to Democrats chances in the midterm elections.
This is all smoke and mirrors. First of all, the very first bill Obama signed into law -- the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act -- was supposed to have fixed this problem. Obama's speech at the signing ceremony was peppered with the same rhetoric and statistics that's being dredged up again today. Secondly, numerous economists have determined that the infamous pay gap isn't caused by "unfairness," but rather by choices women make of their own volition:
The supposed pay gap appears when marriage and children enter the picture. Child care takes mothers out of the labor market, so when they return they have less work experience than similarly-aged males. Many working mothers seek jobs that provide greater flexibility, such as telecommuting or flexible hours. Not all jobs can be flexible, and all other things being equal, those which are will pay less than those that do not. Education also matters. Even within groups with the same educational attainment, women often choose fields of study, such as sociology, liberal arts or psychology, that pay less in the labor market. Men are more likely to major in finance, accounting or engineering. And as the American Association of University Women reports, men are four times more likely to bargain over salaries once they enter the job market. Risk is another factor. Nearly all the most dangerous occupations, such as loggers or iron workers, are majority male and 92% of work-related deaths in 2012 were to men. Dangerous jobs tend to pay higher salaries to attract workers...In a more comprehensive study that controlled for most of these relevant variables simultaneously—such as that from economists June and Dave O'Neill for the American Enterprise Institute in 2012—nearly all of the 23% raw gender pay gap cited by Mr. Obama can be attributed to factors other than discrimination. The O'Neills conclude that, "labor market discrimination is unlikely to account for more than 5% but may not be present at all."
Some people at the White House even seem to understand that this isn't an issue of discrimination, yet they're willing to obfuscate the truth in order to exploit the irresistible political optics. "I agree that the 77 cents on the dollar is not all due to discrimination. No one is trying to say that it is," said Betsey Stevenson, a member of Obama's council of economic advisers, in a recent interview. But as National Review's Patrick Brennan notes, Democrats are seeking to "fix" this highly misleading problem via anti-discrimination laws. Finally there's the "physician, heal thyself" angle to all of this. The White House and top Congressional Democrats pay female employees less than men, based on their own tortured calculation standards. Why are these Democrats discriminating against women? Emily Miller highlights some additional ironies:
Mr. Schumer, Mr. Reid and the others in the Senate Democratic leadership — Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Conference Secretary Patty Murray — are hypocritical in saying they want women to have equal seniority and pay. Not one of them has a female chief of staff or communications director, the [people] spearheading this week’s publicity stunts. Mr. Reid's spokesman, Adam Jentleson, did not respond to a request for comment...On the contrary, Senate GOP leaders demonstrate gender equality in the workplace. The top two leaders have female chiefs of staff — Sharon Soderstrom for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Beth Jafari for Minority Whip John Cornyn. These women are also the highest-paid chiefs of staff in leadership, which is commensurate with their positions. These high-power jobs usually are not family-friendly, yet two of these women are working mothers. Furthermore, these women are paid an average salary of $124,000, which is about $18,000 a year more than Democrats pay men doing the same job.
I'll leave you with a report from Ed Henry, in which spokesman Jay Carney tries to explain why the White House's pay gap is just fine:
Carney's points make sense, but don't those exact same arguments apply to the big, bad corporations Democrats are targeting? Of course they do. But that's not the point.
Just one week after President Obama bragged about a mere 7.1 million Obamacare "enrollees" from the Rose Garden (after asking for a prime time television slot and being denied by all networks), a new poll from Rasmussen shows just 23 percent of Americans believe Obamacare is working.
Few voters consider the new national health care law a success, and most think repeal of the law is likely if Republicans take over Congress in November.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 23% of Likely U.S. Voters view Obamacare as a success so far. Twice as many (46%) describe the health care law as a failure. For 29%, it’s somewhere in between the two.
The House of Representatives has voted more than 50 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act and voters believe that if Republicans take the Senate in November, repeal of the legislation is likely. Further, repeal is supported by 44 percent of voters.
Given the problems with the new law, a plurality (44%) of voters still believes Congress and the president should repeal it and start over again. Nearly as many (39%) think they should go through the law piece by piece to improve it. Just 15% say they should leave the law as it is.
Support for leaving the law as is hasn’t changed since late last year. But 50% at that time favored repeal and starting over again, while 31% said Congress and the president should go through the law piece by piece to improve it.
Sixty-two percent (62%) of voters believe it is at least somewhat likely that the health care law will be repealed if Republicans win control of Congress in the November elections.
It may be shocking, but at least one Hollywood starlet is making sense. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar in the U.K., actress Kirsten Dunst promoted the importance of traditional gender roles. Unsurprisingly, her remarks have been accompanied with backlash from self-righteous feminists. Here were a few of Dunst's "controversial" comments:
“I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued… We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking – it’s a valuable thing my mum created."
“And sometimes, you need your knight in shining armor. I’m sorry. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That’s why relationships work…"
These are honest and heartfelt statements, yet her critics are lining up to condemn her. Some are calling her "insufferable," others say she's "dumb," but all are pushing that same tired argument that comments like these work to take women back to the 1950s. On Twitter, one person even tweeted that Dunst should join the list of actresses who "should never be allowed to talk near young girls."
Maybe when these offended feminists are through with their immature name calling, they'll realize Dunst's perspective actually makes some sense. We should be celebrating the differences between men and women. If we are constantly striving for "equality," we miss the opportunity to truly embrace our femininity. Others are of the same mind. Just look at how people quickly acted to defend Ann Romney when in 2012 Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen accused her of "not working a day in her life." That insensitive comment inspired her very first tweet.
“I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
New research reveals an increase in the amount of women choosing to be stay-home moms. Three in 10 women are remaining home with their children, up 3 percent from 2008. I wonder if they consider it a "luxury" to cook, clean and care for their household as some feminists suggest.
Dunst's comments are a breath of fresh air in a culture that has brought us "war on women" propaganda from actresses like Scarlett Johannsen, who in 2012 appeared in a MoveOn.org video with Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria, suggesting Republicans were trying to "redefine rape." Speaking of Longoria, she also pushed men out of the picture in her sexist animated show on Hulu, "Mother Up," which more or less defined men as absent fathers and heartless misogynists.
At least one actress is not afraid to admit that sometimes fish need bicycles.
Former Vice President Cheney recently appeared at American University to give a speech to the student body. What came up most often was the former vice president’s support for enhanced interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists. Mr. Cheney was forced to defend these techniques saying, “The accusations are not true…Some people call it torture. It wasn’t torture.” He continued by stating that if he had to do it all over again, he would.
Following these statements last week, Senator Angus King (I-ME) appeared on MSNBC this past Sunday. His reaction was not so kind to the former vice president. He said,
“I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney,” King explained. “If he doesn’t think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go through what those people went through, one of them a hundred and plus-odd times.”
“That’s ridiculous to make that claim! This was torture by anybody’s definition,” he continued. “John McCain says it’s torture, and I think he’s in a better position to know this than Vice President Cheney. I was shocked to hear that statement that he just made.”
“And to say that it was carefully managed, and everybody knew what was going on, that’s absolutely nonsense.”
King concluded: “Sorry to be sort of wound up on this, but I couldn’t believe that quote from Vice President Cheney.”
A report completed by the Senate Intelligence Committee found that the CIA misled the government and overstated the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation techniques. Watch the clip of Senator King’s statements below. Perhaps threatening the former vice president is not the way to go about making your argument!
Few politicians are remembered more fondly by American conservatives today than the late Margaret Thatcher, who died one year ago, at the age of 87:
The grocer’s daughter from Grantham went on to serve as Great Britain’s first female prime minister for 11 and a half years, the 7th longest-serving prime minister in British political history. During her premiership, she oversaw the revival of the British economy, the end of the Cold War, and the reforging of the “Special Relationship” between Great Britain and the United States. Her quick wit and prowess in the political arena are the stuff of legend.
There is much to admire about Lady Thatcher. Her tenacity, her eloquence, and her courage under fire are only some of her more memorable qualities. But based on my own understanding of her life it was her convictions above all else -- and her refusal to jettison them -- that made her great. I believe she was successful because she stood on principle. How many U.S. politicians can say they do the same?
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus is done being patient. There was a time when an Oval Office meeting with President Obama could buy their silence. But no longer.
On Friday April 4, the CHC sent a six-page letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson demanding that Obama use "all legal means available" to "suspend, delay, or dispense with the deportations of immigrants who would qualify for legal status and protection under S. 744."
At no point does the letter bother to call for new legislation or the passage of S.744. Instead, the CHC just demands that Obama enforce current law as if he had already signed S.744. The CHC believes Obama has the same legal authority to do this as he did to enact his June 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
And the CHC is correct: if DACA is legal, than it would also be legal for Obama to pretend S.744 was the law of the land as well. However, Obama and the CHC begin with a faulty premise: DACA is completely illegal.
Obama has only gotten away with his illegal DACA amnesty because of its limited scope. But the more people who benefit from Obama's illegal amnesties, the more likely someone will gain the standing to challenge them in court.
So why are amnesty advocates suddenly so willing to abandon legislation and go the executive route?
Just look at Sen. Dick Durbin's (D-IL) reaction to an op-ed by Compete America Executive Director Scott Corley calling on House Republicans to pass the SKILLS Act, which would increase the number of H-1B visas the tech community so badly wants.
"I write to ask you to renew your commitment to passing comprehensive immigration reform legislation and to pledge that you will not support stand-alone legislation to increase the H-1B visa cap,” Durbin wrote in a letter to the CEOs of Accenture, Amazon, Cisco, Deloitte, Facebook, Google, IBM, Intel, Microsoft and Oracle.
"I am troubled by recent statements suggesting that some in the technology industry may shift their focus to passage of stand-alone legislation that would only resolve the industry's concerns," Durbin continued. "This 'divide and conquer' approach destroys the delicate political balance achieved in our bipartisan bill and calls into question the good faith of those who would sacrifice millions of lives for H-1B relief." (emphasis added)
So basically Durbin and the Democrats are now calling Google, Facebook, Amazon, et al murderers if they support standalone legislation that would allow more high-tech workers into the country.
But even if the House did pass a standalone H-1B bill, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) would never allow a vote on it. So why bother with the murder accusations?
Because amnesty advocates know that there is a very real chance Reid will not be majority leader next year. And if Republicans control the Senate, then the odds of piecemeal immigration reform that does not include the same broad amnesty of S.744 goes up substantially.
That is why amnesty advocates are freaking out now. They know that if Democrats lose the Senate this November, they'll be cut out of the debate entirely.
Instead of letting their female candidates run on their records, Democrats are crying ‘sexism’ to silence all debate. In the April issue of Townhall Magazine, where this article originally appeared, S.E. Cupp explains how liberals are protecting their female candidates from a political process they should be able to survive.
Look out. The next two years are sure to be fraught with all sorts of GOP sexism meant to tank the campaigns of liberal political heroines like Hillary Clinton, Wendy Davis, and Sandra Fluke.
How do I know? Because liberals have said so.
Before Hillary has even announced her intentions for 2016, the war-on-women agitators are already overzealously predicting Republicans’ hostile, sexist, and downright rude treatment of her. It’s like they think they can will it into fruition.
The Daily Beast’s Sam Kleiner, for one, invoked some seriously Freudian projection when he accused RNC chair Reince Priebus of sexism for his promise to be “very aggressive” against Hillary. But not on issues like Monica Lewinsky or even reproductive rights. Rather, on Benghazi and Obamacare, you know, issues the president had to debate in 2012 and issues Hillary helped oversee. How dare he? What a terrible future sexist.
And in the wake of newly released documents from 1992 Clinton polling, liberals really didn’t appreciate that Hillary was referred to, not by Republicans but by their own polls, as “ruthless.” If Republicans repeat the charge in the future, well that’s sexist.
Newsday columnist Ellis Henican declared, “if gender were flipped, it would be very different.”
I don’t have to point out, but I will, that Republicans have been called all kinds of things, from “Hitler” to “Caribou Barbie.” But I can see how “ruthless” crosses the line of civility.
Mitt Romney recently argued that when it comes to Hillary’s candidacy, if she ends up running, Republicans should focus on her record and not Bill’s dalliances. It’s a nice thought, and one that might be worth considering if holding up our end of the bargain resulted in any reciprocal good will from the other side. But the Republican nominee will not be granted such niceties, that’s for sure.
Nor will Republicans be allowed to ask Hillary about, well, anything. The list of topics that appear to be off limits thus far: Benghazi, Bill, her health, Whitewater, Marc Rich, Vince Foster, driving, and anything before 2014.
The sexism dog whistles aren’t limited to the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Apparently, Wendy Davis, running for governor in Texas, has also felt the vicious hand of Republican gender bias during her sudden rise to fame.
When reporters (not Republicans) discovered she’d altered significant facts in her autobiography, she fended off critics by hauling out the sexism trope:
“…I would expect people who are inclined to think negatively about me to pick on something like this. Do I think it’s reasonable? No. Do I think that I’m being held to a different standard than a man who would be in this exact same race with the exact same story might be? Yes.”
It would be funny if it weren’t so embarrassing. Does Davis really think we’ve all forgotten about all the probes into the personal lives of John McCain, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and, for that matter, President Obama? Does she really think that stories she’s offered up as facts are above scrutiny because she’s a woman?
Then, of course, there’s Sandra Fluke, who decided not to run for Congress after all and instead to run for California State Senate. When the Daily Caller ran the headline “Fluke Goes for Plan B” and Breitbart.com ran “Sandra Fluke Aborts
Congressional Bid” Media Matters of course pounced on the rabid sexism...of puns. What, are we not allowed to mention the very things that made her a thing in the first place?
Liberals sure don’t seem to have much faith in these women. If they did they wouldn’t be so quick to protect them from a necessary political process that they should be able to survive. The rush to defend them against invisible sexism isn’t exactly confidence inspiring. In fact, it reeks of insecurity...get the vapors, she might faint!
Promising sexism that hasn’t even happened yet, or jumping on sexism that isn’t there doesn’t do these women any favors. In fact, it just makes them look like weak, incapable victims. But I know, I know...we’re the sexists. •