Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has the undesirable task of running for re-election in a deeply red state. To make matters worse, many of her constituents are Christians, and therefore presumably find her pro-abortion voting record appalling. As a Catholic, she has struggled mightily in the past to square her unmitigated support for abortion rights with the tenets of her faith. This is why she has come under tremendous pressure from national pro-life groups to explain herself.
To her credit, she did try to defend her voting record in a recent statement. But needless to say it didn’t go so well:
"Sen. Landrieu believes that life is precious and a gift from God, but that every birth involves at least two lives: the life of the unborn child and the life of the mother. The government should not be involved in forcing decisions that are very personal and essentially family — and private — matters," Landrieu spokesman Matthew Lehner said in a statement.
How can one declare “life is precious” and, in the very same sentence, suggest that abortion rights are sacrosanct? It is one thing to argue that unborn children (read: “fetuses”) are nothing more than a “clump of cells,” unworthy of constitutional protections. This is an argument advanced by many pro-abortion activists. It’s quite another to start with the premise that all life is “precious,” shortly before declaring government has no vested interest in ending the culture of abortion in this country. It’s a total non sequitur.
That is to say, she can’t have it both ways. Is every life “precious and a gift from God,” or not? If not, she should say so upfront, and let the voters of Louisiana decide her fate. If it is, however, perhaps she should stop endorsing legislation that hurts both women and unborn children.
H/T: Steven Ertelt.
On CNN last night, the disproportionality line got the full roll out. Look for it coming to a media outlet near you all day, every day, for the next month.
Two national opinion polls released over the last two days reflect a deeply frustrated and pessimistic American public. The new NBC/WSJ survey, which tracks President Obama's approval to an all-time low in the series (40/54) and shows a slight Republican edge heading into November's elections, is bursting at the seams with negativity:
(1) Right track/Wrong track is at an abysmal (22/71).
(2) By a 22-point margin, Americans say the country is in a state of decline. On the question of whether people believe that "life for our children's generation will be than it has been for us," respondents said they are "not confident" on that score by nearly a four-to-one margin.
(3) This whole chart:
(4) On another 'satisfaction' issue set, respondents gave negative marks to the US government's handling of a series of international crises. The most acute dissatisfaction was expressed over the border crisis, with featured a 53-point thumbs-down margin. A majority of Americans said they agreed that, "we do not have the resources to deal with the thousands of children who have entered the country illegally and they should be returned immediately."
A fresh Associated Press poll is just as bleak on virtually every count. Obama's approval is upside down (40/59) overall, and underwater on every single issue polled. He's in the 30's on many of them. His best number is on handling relationships with other countries, at (43/55). Voters split evenly between preferring Republicans or Democrats to control Congress after the elections. Fully one-third of respondents said it doesn't matter either way. Republicans held a "trust" edge on seven of the eight specific issues polled. Noah Rothman's conclusion upon surveying these numbers: "These are awful numbers for incumbent Democrats heading into the fall. And we haven’t even started applying likely voter screens yet." True, but I suspect Pete Wehner's take is more lasting in its relevance:
Whatever the causes–and there are many of them–it can’t be good when there’s such massive dissatisfaction with our political system. For one thing, we have urgent challenges that require a political system that works, that people have confidence in. Beyond that, though, our political system–the extraordinary handiwork of our founding generation–produced what Lincoln called an “inestimable jewel.” It is one of the main reasons we revere our country. Sustained contempt for our political system is corrosive. It undermines our affections for America. And unless it is reversed, it will find increasingly disturbing outlets and end up doing durable damage to the nation we love.
America is in the grips of a crisis of confidence, and most people don't see a light at the end of the tunnel at the moment.
On April 16, 2007 a crazed man walked onto the Virginia Tech campus and murdered 32 people. They were killed in a gun free zone and had no way to fight back.
Earlier this week during the annual Students for Concealed Carry conference in Washington D.C. Holly Adam Sherman, a retired Naval officer, advocated for concealed carry on campus. Sherman is the mother of Leslie Sherman, who was murdered at Virginia Tech. Last year during the Navy Yard shooting, Sherman and her husband anxiously waited to hear if their other daughter, who worked there, was a victim. Luckily this time, she was not.
"Put yourself in my shoes and wonder, 'What's the answer?'" she said. "If only on that horrible day someone in the dorm or in the classroom could have carried a weapon and stopped the killer in his tracks before he claimed 32 precious lives."
The Washington Post's intrepid reporter Greg Sargent scored a big interview with one of the architects of President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, former-Department of Homeland Security general counsel John Sandweg. Here is how Sandweg explains the legal justification for Obama's infamous temporary-amnesty program:
The president is doing what every single law enforcement agency across the country does: Put in place rational priorities to ensure that limited resources are focused on the populations that pose the greatest threat to public safety and border security. Every single law enforcement agency in America struggles with the fact that their resources are not conditioned to cover every single violation of the law. What prosecutors and police chiefs have done for years is implement enforcement priorities. That’s what the president has done.
So Obama's entire legal justification for his DACA program rests on the premise that a broad based invitation for illegal immigrants to apply for temporary amnesty ensures "that limited resources are focused on the populations that pose the greatest threat to public safety and border security."
But we already know, for a fact, that DACA did the exact opposite. Instead of conserving limited resources, DACA stretched DHS capabilities and degraded its ability to enforce good congressionally approved immigration law.
How do we know this? Well for starters, just look at the DACA application* which requires a $465 filing fee. If DACA is such a saver of DHS resources, then why is Obama charging generally cash-strapped illegal immigrants $500?
More importantly, we know from subsequent reporting that Obama underpriced the cost of administering his temporary amnesty program. The New York Times reports:
Many thousands of Americans seeking green cards for foreign spouses or other immediate relatives have been separated from them for a year or more because of swelling bureaucratic delays at a federal immigration agency in recent months.
The long waits came when the agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, shifted attention and resources to a program President Obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants, according to administration officials and official data. …
Until recently, an American could obtain a green card for a spouse, child or parent — probably the easiest document in the immigration system — in five months or less. But over the past year, waits for approvals of those resident visas stretched to 15 months, and more than 500,000 applications became stuck in the pipeline, playing havoc with international moves and children’s schools and keeping families apart.
(emphasis added) In other words, instead of ensuring that limited resources were saved so that the DHS could better enforce good immigration law, Obama's DACA program shifted existing resources away from those programs thus degrading DHS's immigration law enforcement capabilities.
Amnesties are never free. They take huge sums of cash and employee time to administer. If DACA's legal justification is built on the premise that it enables DHS to better enforce the law by conserving limited resources, then it is built on a lie.
* Never before his any president ever created an application process to apply for deferred action, which all presidents before Obama used sparingly.
Last weekend Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega was shot and killed by two illegal immigrants while fishing off duty with his parents, wife and children in Santa Monica, Texas. Last night on the Kelly File, National Border Patrol Council Vice President Chris Cabrera, who works in the Rio Grande Valley, explained that the border is anything but secure and that in fact it has become more dangerous.
"We hear a lot on TV that the border is secure, that the border is safer and that couldn't be any farther from being true. It seems to be getting more and more dangerous as the days go by," Cabrera said. "It seems with all of this talk about amnesty or comprehensive immigration reform, getting [legislation] through people seem to be more and more desperate to get into this country."
When asked about the illegal status of the men charged with murdering Vega, Cabrera said he isn't surprised.
"Unfortunately it's not surprising to me, the laws that we have on the books aren't enforced the way that they need to be. The time served, the detention time that they're giving is often very short," he said. "It's frustrating to see and then when something like this happens, whether or not it's a Border Patrol agent that gets killed, there's multiple people killed everyday, some of them by illegals and it's just frustrating."
In the August issue of Townhall Magazine, where this column originally appeared, RedState director Bryan Pruitt makes the case for why it's far past time for Arizona Republicans to find a real conservative to represent their state.
It seems that you can’t go a day lately without Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) appearing on television advocating the United States invade another country. On a recent particularly snarky appearance, when asked to name one country we absolutely shouldn’t invade no matter what the circumstance, an answer eluded him. Not even Canada, really?
Now of course, the context for the conversation was the Middle East, but it is illustrative of his worldview that he was left speechless when introduced to the idea of not using our military might. He would never think of such a thing.
The good senator may be a war hero, but even heroes sometimes lose their way when they have spent decades basking in the glow of their own heroism. It seems the senator didn’t learn the many lessons of that war, or the two in our most recent past. If left to his own devises, the sun would never set on John McCain’s American Empire. That was once said about Great Britain, and we see how well that turned out. But I guess those royals sure are fun to keep track of in the tabloids.
Conservatives encounter the world as it is, and take as fact that we cannot create mini-Americas around the globe with brute force. Our military strength is valuable, and as such, should be reserved and only deployed strategically when absolutely necessary. It is called the Department of Defense for a reason, not the Department of Attempt to Create a Perfect World.
Has McCain even spoken to many troops lately? These courageous men and women are ready to come home, recuperate, and prepare for the next battle that will face us someday down the road. There will be another challenge, most likely bigger than we now imagine. We need a military ready to do its job, not weighed down by never-ending peacekeeping and democracy-building missions in countries whose people never wanted us there in the first place.
There is also the issue of the financial impact this has on our country. More than a decade of war and trillions more in debt lands us in a precarious economic position no matter what the Democrats and liberal economists might say to the contrary. The United States government must, hopefully sometime very soon, start paying back the trillions we have borrowed against the country’s future. The only way to do this is to stop spending more than it receives in revenue. Perhaps not in our lifetime, but as conservatives, our calling is to leave the world better than we found it. Entitlements are obviously the largest part of the equation, but that is a subject for another column.
Defense spending is not far behind, and this is where many Republicans, led by the Pied Piper senior senator from Arizona and his friends, tend to lose their way. The simple fact is that our fighting force can be the strongest, most agile in the world without bankrupting our children’s children. Too many Republican lawmakers, wooed by maintaining outdated military bases that guarantee government jobs and reliable voters, try to equate rightsizing defense spending with a weaker military. The two are not one and the same.
And finally, there are the obvious geopolitical implications, as China and to a lesser extent Russia stand on the sidelines with Cheshire cat grins on their face, hoarding resources for the future, loaning us money to fight the permanent war, waiting for the right time to turn off the faucet of easy money, and watch the illusion come to an end.
McCain has an admirable record of service and a great life story. But every great life story includes a chapter where the torch is passed. McCain is up for reelection in 2016. It is never too early to begin identifying a real conservative in Arizona who recognizes both the value of our men and women in uniform and that a conservative defense policy doesn’t include American boots on every inch of land across the planet. It is about time McCain take a bow and exit stage left, I hear Arizona is nice this time of year. •
Bryan Pruitt is a Washington, D.C.-based director at RedState. He can be reached at email@example.com.
It looks like “the corner of happy and healthy” will remain right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
After much speculation, Walgreen Co. has announced that it will keep its headquarters in the Chicago area despite its $15.3 billion acquisition of Swiss-based Alliance Boots. Walgreen currently owns 45 percent of the European pharmacy chain and will purchase the remaining 55 percent over the course of the next three years.
As I’ve noted before, lawmakers are becoming more and more concerned about tax inversion, the increasingly popular strategy by which American companies buy foreign businesses in order to dodge our nation’s steep corporate tax rates.
CBS reports that “Walgreen cited ‘ongoing public reaction’ as a reason it ruled against the strategy, given its ‘unique role as an iconic American consumer retail company.’” This may certainly be valid considering nearly 300,000 people have signed an online petition threatening to shop elsewhere if Walgreen changes its address.
The drug store giant’s president and CEO also expressed doubt that the IRS would even allow such a deal to occur. Forbes explains:
Walgreen CEO Gregory Wasson said the board was not confident that such a symbolic tax inversion deal could withstand extensive review from the Internal Revenue Service. “The company concluded it was not in the best long-term interest of our shareholders to attempt to re-domicile outside the U.S,” Wasson said in a statement.
[Wasson] said Walgreen and Alliance Boots would have had to scrap their 2012 agreement and rework it entirely to structure the deal so that it would qualify for an inversion, a maneuver that potentially could have added hundreds of millions of dollars annually to the combined company’s bottom line.
Shareholders such as Och-Ziff Capital Management and Jana Partners encouraged Walgreen to relocate to no prevail. As predicted, shares dropped 4 percent on Tuesday afternoon and another 15 percent this morning.
Forty-seven American companies have moved overseas within the past decade. Nearly a dozen more are planning to do so. Walgreen Co. is a house-hold name and is therefore subject to more scrutiny than other businesses. Just because Walgreen has decided against inversion does not mean that other corporations will do the same.
The recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll surely doesn’t bode well for the Obama administration, which promised hope and change on a platter back in 2008. Seventy-one percent of Americans feels that the country is going in the wrong direction. President Obama’s job approval has dropped to 40 percent–and only 42 percent approve of how he’s handling the economy. Approval on foreign policy, an area where this administration polled somewhat strongly, fell to 36 percent among Americans.
Regarding the economy, Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal said earlier this morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that “there’s a total disconnect” between reality and rhetoric on Obama’s economic agenda:
CAROL LEE, WSJ: If you look at what the president is saying, his messages publicly, there's a total disconnect between, clearly, what the American public feels and what he is saying is going on in the economy. On Friday he came out and said things are getting better. And clearly, people don't feel that way. The president was campaigning -- raising money in California -- a few weeks ago and he was saying people feel better than they did five years ago. And some of the folks who were interviewed, who participated in this poll explicitly said that they don't feel better than they did five years ago, and so I think what the White House has to contend with is how you match the president's rhetoric and how he's approaching the public on this issue with more what you're seeing in this poll, which is that people are not feeling good about the future -- the 79% of people who think their kids' future is not going to be better than their own.
But where there is a connection shouldn't make any supporter of the president hopeful as the 2014 midterms approach since these numbers are eerily similar to Bush's in 2006 (via Roll Call/ Stu Rothenberg):
The new survey, conducted July 30-August 3, showed Obama’s approval at 40 percent, with 54 percent disapproving of his performance.
Since Bush’s late July 2006 job ratings stood at 39 percent approve/56 percent disapprove, the new Obama numbers bear an even more uncomfortably close resemblance to Bush’s.
As I noted in the column, foreign policy has become a significant problem for the president — and therefore for his party — in the midterms.
The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found Obama’s job performance on foreign policy as a weak 36 percent approve/60 percent disapprove — by far his worst numbers in that area.
While Congress — and Republicans in Congress — remain unpopular, the bad news for the president in the survey continues to raise the possibility the midterms will be more “about” President Obama than about anyone or anything else.
"That's what I was elected to do."
ABC's Jonathan Karl also ends the discussion asking President Obama if he will grant permits to illegal aliens.
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