Republican Leadership (?) in Congress

John BoehnerJohn Boehner surprised everyone last week with his announcement that he would be stepping down as Speaker of the House and also retiring from Congress at the end of October. His speakership has been a source of great consternation for the more activist conservatives in the Republican party; his announcement brought them great relief.

The primary complaint against him has been his lack of strong leadership, an unwillingness to take on President Obama and the Democrat agenda. His response—as well as the response of Mitch McConnell, Majority Leader in the Senate—is that nothing they would have done could have accomplished anything because of the political hurdles they would have to overcome.

Their realism is understandable—to a point. Yes, to get any legislation passed, the Senate, first of all, would have to break any Democrat filibuster with 60 votes. As long as the Democrats hold firm, that won’t happen. If, perchance, a filibuster were to be broken and a bill sent to Obama, it would receive an immediate veto that would be near to impossible to override with the 67 votes necessary.

I understand those obstacles.

What has been lacking, though, with these surrenders before the fact, is courage and a determination to educate the public on the most important public policy issues.

Let’s take just one example: defunding Planned Parenthood. The strategies used to try to achieve this have been less than strategic. The votes have been nothing more than a public show, without any attempt to explain the urgency of the measure.

Republican leadership, with Boehner and McConnell as the point men, has done virtually nothing to accomplish this goal, surrendering preemptively. They provided absolutely no leadership, fearing public opinion of a possible government shutdown coming back on them.

First, the main reason why public opinion blames Republicans for a shutdown (which isn’t really a shutdown, but that’s for another day) is that Republicans allow the Democrats to frame the message. “Oh, look, Republicans’ insistence on defunding Planned Parenthood is shutting down the government! They are evil!”

True leadership would reframe that perception into “We have passed a bill that provides a budget for all government functions except giving taxpayer money to a private agency that tears apart the bodies of innocent children. President Obama wants those children to continue to be murdered in this grotesque way. Of course we have withheld funding. No civilized society should do otherwise.”

Such an approach would show principle, devotion to the sanctity of life, would educate the public, and put Obama on the spot to defend the indefensible. But the current leadership doesn’t have the stomach for that. Might I add that taking such a stance, explained in that way, might actually help in the coming election? Courage is in such short supply that many might respond to it positively.

I haven’t been a constant critic of Boehner; he did some good things, like inviting Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress. I applaud him for having done that.

Yet, even as he prepares to depart, he has harsh words for his conservative critics, getting Biblical by calling them “false prophets.” Be careful, sir. While there may be some on the conservative side who are unrealistic in their expectations of what can be accomplished while Obama still holds the reins of the executive branch, most are simply fed up and disgusted with your lack of a backbone in standing up to his unconstitutional actions.

Your Record

The selection of the new House leadership team will tell us what to expect in the near future. At the very least, I hope the Republicans will choose someone open to challenging the status quo.

Meanwhile, the next most welcome announcement would be Mitch McConnell’s retirement. A clean sweep is needed.

Planned Parenthood: Defund Now

What does it take to inform the American people of a holocaust? Planned Parenthood performs approximately 330,000 abortions annually, yet surveys show that while the organization has a near 100% name identity, only about 45% of those questioned know that its primary function is to promote abortion.

Cecile RichardsNow that’s not what the organization says, of course. It’s all for “women’s health.” Cecile Richards, the head of this butcher shop, went on ABC’s “This Week” for an interview, in which she did the usual thing—attack the integrity of those who caught Planned Parenthood doctors bartering for the sale of babies’ body parts. You see, those are the real perpetrators of evil in her view, not the organization that would feel comfortable in Hitler’s Germany.

Margaret SangerLest you think I’m exaggerating, keep in mind that the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, had ties with Nazi doctors who even wrote articles in her journal. She also, like Hitler, was a great advocate of eugenics, and she sought, like Hitler, to exterminate certain races of people who were, in her mind, too backward to benefit society. African Americans were high on her list. Planned Parenthood even had something called “The Negro Project,” the purpose of which was to limit the number of black babies born.

We like to think of ourselves as more civilized in the 21st century. Where did we ever get that idea? More than 56 million innocent lives taken by abortion since 1973 and now the revelation that we treat the body parts of those innocent children as commodities to be sold should put to rest that lie. Those who do such things are depraved human beings, and we have become more barbaric than in the past.

Progress

Another awful truth that goes along with this is that the federal government funds this atrocious organization to the tune of half a billion dollars per year.

Blood Money

No wonder Planned Parenthood comes out swinging and trying to position itself as a savior for women and the victim of highly edited videos. It doesn’t want its cozy little relationship with the government and the money it provides to be altered in any way.

Bundle of Joy

Republican leadership in the Congress has dropped the ball on the defunding effort. Despite promises that they would lead the pro-life fight, both Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have stalled those efforts. Boehner says he needs more evidence first; McConnell refused to allow a defunding amendment to be added to another bill that would have required only 51 votes to pass. He now says he will offer a stand-alone bill to defund the organization, but that requires 60 votes for passage. Is it any wonder there is a brewing conservative revolt against this type of “leadership”?

As for the Democrats, if you will go back up to the photo of Cecile Richards, you will see the logo behind her is “DNC.” That stands for Democratic National Committee. Democrats are fully on board with the Planned Parenthood agenda.

As I’ve noted before, but bears repeating again, Barack Obama was the first president ever to speak to a gathering of Planned Parenthood backers and gave them his blessing for their “work.” He also invoked God’s blessing on them.

Never Mind

Then there’s the current frontrunner for the Democrat nomination who has linked herself closely with Planned Parenthood, who has publicly praised Sanger, and who has received the Margaret Sanger Award. What an honor to be tied to a racist eugenicist.

Hillary-PP

This monstrosity needs to be defunded immediately, and anyone who claims the name of Christ as Lord and Savior must roundly denounce Planned Parenthood for the sinful, depraved organization that it is. Anything less is a denial of Christ Himself.

Netanyahu’s Historic Warning

Yesterday, while watching Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to a joint session of Congress, I felt as if I were a participant in a historic event of the same stature as Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” and “Tear Down This Wall” speeches. Even as Reagan confronted the evil of totalitarian communism, Netanyahu forcefully focused our attention on the current totalitarian evil of radical Islamism.

Reagan succeeded in toppling the Evil Empire and the Wall came down. Will Netanyahu’s speech lead us to a similar success against Islamism?

Netanyahu Speech

Netanyahu was very politic in praising Obama and John Kerry—he had to be—but he made it quite clear that not only Israel, but America as well, was facing a firestorm should Iran get nuclear capability.

The speech was filled with poignant quotes.

“The greatest danger facing our world is the marriage of militant Islam with nuclear weapons.”

“When it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.”

“Iran’s regime is not merely a Jewish problem, anymore than the Nazi regime was merely a Jewish problem.”

Commentator Stephen Hayes summed up the message well: “This is the clearest description of the threat from Iran presented to the American people in the last decade. Long overdue.”

Congress, on both sides of the political divide, applauded his words continually. There’s hope. However, there remains the one greatest hurdle:

Israel's Concerns

In effect, rhetoric notwithstanding, President Obama has conceded the inevitability of Iran’s nuclear desires. The only problem, of course, is that Iran has publicly stated it wants to wipe Israel off the map, and that it seeks to develop ICBMs that can be used to direct nuclear bombs at faraway targets, i.e., the United States. Yet we are supposed to believe his assurances that this will never happen? What is there in his history of his pronouncements that would give us such assurance?

No Consequences

He’s not exactly a tough negotiator:

Obama Negotiations

He pushes for a deal with Iran that is clearly not sufficient, yet he tells us to accept it. Again, his ideological blindness takes over. Unfortunately, the rest of us suffer for it:

Good Nuclear Deal

Frankly, I agree with another comment I heard—Obama probably wouldn’t shed one tear if Israel no longer existed. In his view, that nation is the main agitator in the Middle East, even as he sees his own country as the primary abettor of everything he considers evil in the world.

If only we had a Netanyahu in charge of our nation at this perilous time. Before he spoke, House Speaker Boehner presented Netanyahu with a bust of Winston Churchill. I think that is most fitting. He is the new Churchill, warning the world of the coming holocaust.

Does anyone recall that one of the first actions Obama took as president was to return a bust of Churchill to Britain? That was fitting as well. It was only a sign of things to come.

Needed: A Republican Spine

The new legislative session is underway. President Obama, even before any piece of legislation was introduced, already indicated his staunch position of using the veto for nearly everything a Republican Congress wants to pass. Should that be considered a preemptive strike?

The president doesn’t like the idea that Congress can have a say in things. That pesky Constitution just keeps getting in his way. His “Reagan Moment” is slightly different than the original:

Tear Down This Wall

The Republicans, meanwhile, had their own little scrape within: an attempt to deny John Boehner the Speaker’s chair. It didn’t succeed, and I knew it wouldn’t. Many on the Right are so disgruntled with Boehner that they almost can’t stand the idea of his continuance in that position.

Personally, I would like a different congressional leader as well—in a perfect world. However, the opposition to Boehner was disorganized and doomed from the start. It takes more than being a conservative firebrand to be put in charge. One also needs the organizational skills and the ability to project a vision and create unity. None of the challengers had those qualities, apparently. What’s even more interesting is that Boehner’s voting record is more conservative than some of those challengers.

Speaker Boehner, though, seems to have gotten the message, both by the election results and the abortive attempt to remove him. He allowed conservatives to shape the legislation to overturn Obama’s executive amnesty. It passed the House and is now before the Senate. The House also passed, with significant Democrat support, the Keystone pipeline bill. Both bills will probably be subject to a presidential veto, and it will be difficult to override the vetoes. What that does, however, is put Obama on the record as opposing measures that many Americans want to see made law.

Will Republicans in Congress continue to chip away at the Obama legacy? It will take real leadership based on principle:

Human Spine

Then, over the last weekend, we got the news that Mitt Romney might be running again. I made it clear last time around that he was not my choice, but that I had no real option but to support his candidacy—it was the only possible way to remove Obama from office.

Although I think Romney is a nice person, I’ve never trusted him to be consistently principled in a conservative philosophy of government. I still have a hard time believing he got the nomination after being the face of Romneycare in Massachusetts, which was the model upon which Obamacare was based. The now-infamous Jonathan Gruber was the architect for both.

If Republicans go for the squishy middle once again in 2016, I predict failure once again. This will be Romney’s third attempt for the presidency. If he falls short this time, does that mean he’ll finally stop trying?

Romney 2036

After a while, one tends to become a joke.

Whom should the Republicans nominate in 2016? Well, my thoughts on that will have to wait. We’re not close enough yet to know for sure who’s really serious about running. But when we get to that point, I promise I won’t stay silent.

Rejoicing Over What Has Gone Right

I’ve decided to devote today’s post to praise for a number of things that have gone right lately. It’s always easy to critique the development of current events, given the Obama administration’s penchant for upending the Constitution and Biblical morality, so it’s nice to point out the other side for a change.

All of these praises today come, surprisingly, as a result of Supreme Court decisions. After the agony of the Court’s rulings on Obamacare and the Defense of Marriage Act, it’s a relief to see the Court, once in a while, come out on the side of the Constitution, particularly religious liberty and free speech.

For instance, the Court overturned a Massachusetts law that created a so-called “buffer zone” that banned pro-lifers from entering. Outside abortion clinics, pro-life citizens were not allowed to speak to women entering the clinics in that state. They had to stay a “safe” distance away. The Court ruled that this was a direct violation of those citizens’ right to free speech. They were not protesters, said the Court, but concerned citizens who sought to engage other citizens in a discussion of issues. I’ve read where Massachusetts authorities are livid over this decision and are trying to figure a way around it, but for now, free speech and the sanctity of life prevail.

Colorado Christian University won a temporary injunction against the imposition of the Obamacare requirements for providing all types of birth control. This is similar to the Hobby Lobby case, which I’ll get to shortly.

Prior to ruling on Hobby Lobby, the Court exercised a restraining order, so to speak, on President Obama when it comes to making recess appointments. The problem was that Obama himself determined that the Senate wasn’t in session, so he went ahead and filled positions without the Senate’s approval. The Senate, however, still deemed itself in session. The president has no right under the Constitution to declare the Senate not in session. Interestingly, this was a 9-0 decision, with even the liberal/progressive justices in agreement.

In Session

Obama’s attempt to govern unilaterally was struck down, and it was only the precursor to what the Court had to say about Hobby Lobby:

Romeo & Juliet

Actually, two cases, very similar, were decided. Along with Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit against being forced to offer its employees aborifacients, another company operating on its Christian faith, Conestoga Wood, had filed suit as well. Both were vindicated by the Court’s decisions. Justice Samuel Alito, in his majority opinion, made it clear that closely held corporations like these two have all the rights of individuals, including liberty of conscience in matters of religious belief. Both companies operate with Biblical foundations, and both were given exemptions from the mandate. The opinion rested on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law passed in the House by acclamation and in the Senate by a vote of 97-3 back in 1993. The president who signed it into law was Bill Clinton. It seems Democrats were for it back then; now they cry foul when it is actually put into practice.

The only sad part of this is that the decision revealed a split Court, ruling in those companies’ favor by only 5-4. This shows how we remain on a precipice as we look toward the future of religious liberty in America:

Land of Religious Liberty

Meanwhile, the silly argument that this is somehow a war on women and that women’s health is now endangered continues unabated. Never mind that no woman has been cut off from birth control; ignore that the cost is not prohibitive; and don’t let the general public know the truth about Hobby Lobby—that it does offer birth control in its health plan, just not the types that may cause abortions:

Setback

What the Supreme Court has done these last couple of weeks is rein in a president who has been acting like a king:

Three Branches

For now, at least, his pretensions have been challenged:

Gavel

On top of all this, Speaker John Boehner has announced that he is bringing a lawsuit against the president for his unlawful actions, taking upon himself the prerogatives of Congress. Obama is unbowed by this new threat to his quest for complete authority:

Executive Order

He will never allow the Constitution to get in his way. That’s why we must remain vigilant.

But, for today, I rejoice over the recent victories.

Spiritual Poverty’s Children

If you read this blog regularly, you might wonder why I’ve not commented directly on the fiscal cliff deal reached recently. For starters, I’ve wanted instead to concentrate on some bigger issues—bigger in the sense of greater in scope and fundamental to the innumerable crises we seem to be facing. That’s why I’ve written about the problems in modern Christianity; more correctly, I’m referring to the problems in what is perceived as Christianity in our day. Some of it, however, is a false perception because the supposed Christianity isn’t the real thing at all.

When the real is on the wane, a door opens for all sorts of problems. Spiritual poverty begets moral, economic, and political poverty, to name a few. Our governmental crises focusing on the economy are directly related to our spiritual blindness as a people. That’s why we don’t deliver genuine solutions; instead, we become captive to a false ideology promoted by a highly ideological president. How ideological? An interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner reveals that in his one-to-one talks with Obama, the president stated flatly that we do not have a spending problem.

This is the conclusion of the man who has added approximately $6 trillion to the national debt on his watch. And how does he propose to remedy the situation? Tax more those in the upper echelons of income. What will we receive from this new tax rate on the evil rich people? About enough to run the government for 8 days. Yes, that’s a real solution.

Everyone was so worried. Now they’re trying to believe that something has been resolved. It takes a lot of blind faith to hold that view. No precipice has been avoided, no crisis averted.

Instead, we find ourselves staring into a rather gargantuan black hole—or is it red?

Next we have to tackle the debt ceiling. Obama says he should have unlimited authority to raise that ceiling at will. He also says we need more revenues, which is Obamacode for higher taxes. Republicans have countered with statements that sound good—no more revenues, only spending cuts—but will they follow through?

The task may appear insurmountable. Yet I believe if we can get on track spiritually, hope remains. I am realistic about the odds, but I am never without some hope.

Campaigner-in-Chief

Speaker John Boehner says President Obama “checked out” of being president quite a while ago. Instead, he has been in full campaign mode. He’s jetting around the country on Air Force One, paid for by the taxpayers, holding one rally after another. Of course, at every stop he schedules one event he can claim is policy-oriented. This provides wonderful cover for the real purpose of his travels. Why pay for campaigning with one’s own money when one can use the money provided by all Americans, regardless of political party? And everywhere he goes, the campaign strategy is pretty obvious:

This week, his choice of venue has been college campuses where he can talk about keeping the student interest rate low and blaming Republicans should it rise. Of course, this is a program that is now fully under control of the federal government rather than just guaranteed by the government—another takeover of the private sector, but one that didn’t get the same scrutiny as his healthcare ploy. As he talks to the swooning college audiences, he likes to use the “common touch,” which is really rather a stretch for him:

He seems kind of hooked on that “silver spoon” rhetoric:

Of course the silver spoon comment is directed at Romney—you know, the guy with all the advantages—while our poor, beleaguered president has to overcome tremendous financial obstacles:

I get worried when I see the rapture in the faces of those college students as he speaks. College used to be a place where one learned how to think. I didn’t see much genuine thinking going on. Will the emotion of “hope and change” carry the day again? Well, I’m certainly hoping for a change.