Immigration Reform Again?

President Obama has given notice that his next priority is to return to immigration reform. Not sure the Congress will agree with that priority, but he’s going to push for it. There’s no question something needs to be reformed, even if it’s just enforcing the laws already in place, but conservatives are wary of the Senate-passed bill that they say is nothing more than amnesty. While it gives lip service to securing the border first, it doesn’t really accomplish that. They foresee greater problems unless the border is secured before we even consider anything else:

Secure the Border

I believe that concern is legitimate. Another concern is the path to citizenship that will allow those who broke the law to get here to be voters eventually. Some argue that Hispanics, in particular, will be more conservative in their voting habits, but I don’t think that’s a cogent analysis. They’re going to be far more apt to vote for the party that promises everything while requiring little:

Electing Democrats

Meanwhile, the media and the Democrats will paint those who want to be more cautious and who believe in the rule of law as hard-hearted, mean-spirited, narrow-minded [have I captured the most prominent of the clichés?] bigots/racists. It’s all part of the strategy for “winning” the politics of the situation:

Just a Bigot

It would be nice for any upcoming debate to be focused on the merits of the proposed policy rather than ad hominem attacks on the personal character of those who oppose the comprehensive package being promoted. It would also be highly unlikely. The attack dogs are just waiting to be loosed, and the media will play their game.

Pray for common sense to prevail, which would include upholding the rule of law.

The Republic Is Saved?

So the big shutdown is over. The republic is saved. We may now go about our business borrowing more money and digging an even deeper hole. And on top of it all, nothing was done to chip away at the Obamacare nightmare.

I understand political realities. With a Democrat Senate and Obama in the White House, nothing drastic was going to happen. But when the final result appears to be a total cave, the disappointment among those who take these matters seriously is palpable.

Critics will continue to harp on Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and others who stood tall in their attempt to draw attention to the principles of constitutionalism and reined-in government. As I’ve said before, I’m not sure they chose the right strategy to advance those principles, but they nevertheless performed a valuable service by making the arguments.

The public, and unfortunately many of their Republican colleagues, became skittish about a shutdown that was anything but a real shutdown and about the horror stories of default, even though tax revenues are enough each month to cover all debts, Social Security, and most other aspects of the government. Are we really to believe we can’t live within our means? With 83% of the government functioning as usual, are we truly in dire straits?

Obama and his minions used this “crisis” to their advantage, helped along as always by a subservient media. Not everything went the way they hoped, however:

Capt. Obama

The trashing of the WWII veterans was one of the biggest missteps the administration could have made. It highlighted the arrogance of those in power:

Get Off My Lawn

And all for a compromise—if one can call something this lopsided a compromise—that solved virtually nothing and will be replayed again in a few months:

Pull Him Free

Yet the administration/media theme will forever be the irresponsibility of only one party—the one that at least had some members willing to tackle the tough issues and put us on a path to recovery. If only the media had any integrity, they would be informing an ignorant public about the true source of most of the irresponsibility:

So Irresponsible

We’re back at square one. We’ll rerun this scenario again in the near future. I wonder what a united Republican party based on the principles Cruz and others enunciated would look like? What could it accomplish?

On Barrycades & the Fantasy of Obamaworld

Did you see pictures of what happened yesterday? Veterans groups descended on Washington, DC, and picked up and carried the “Barrycades” from the WWII Memorial to the White House. Here’s some photographic evidence:

Barrycades 2

Barrycades at WH

The second photo shows the “Barrycades” being deposited on the lawn in front of the White House. Looks like some people have had enough. This administration’s attitude toward veterans has become one of the lightning rods of this “slimdown.” As I’ve noted in previous posts, there’s no valid reason to close many of these memorials because they are open-air and require more people to police them when shut down than when they are open to the public.

There’s something else that has been shut down for nearly the past five years:

Closed

Then there’s the language that has been used by Obama and his minions against Republicans who have a different view of how the nation should proceed; they’ve been branded terrorists and hostage-takers, for instance. Overblown rhetoric, anyone?

Hostage Takers

Refuse to Negotiate

The president seems more than a little peeved that he isn’t getting his way. He may be running out of options:

Holding Your Breath

Yet despite his policy of making life difficult for everyone and his refusal to negotiate, public opinion polls continue to show more people blaming the Republicans for this impasse:

Won Again

Yes, it makes no sense. But then, quite often public opinion makes no sense, particularly when helped along by Obama’s subservient media. What’s it going to take to pop the bubble on this fantasy called Obamaworld?

The Obama Narrative

I like the new word being used to replace “shutdown” with regard to what’s happening at the federal level; some are now referring to it as the government “slimdown.” That’s really more accurate. Basic necessities continue because tax revenues have not stopped flowing into the federal coffers. So decisions have to be made to cut back on nonessential services. What this shows us is how much of the activity of the government is nonessential. Unfortunately, Vice President Biden is still drawing his salary.

Sorry about that. I’ll get serious now.

WWII MemorialDid you read about or see video of what occurred at the WWII Memorial in DC yesterday? The Obama administration shut it down, so no one was supposed to visit it. If you’ve ever seen that memorial, you realize it’s out in the open on the Mall. It doesn’t require any special service for people to view it. It’s no different than walking past any monument. A group of WWII veterans had been flown to DC to commemorate their service by visiting this memorial. They were barred from entering it. That was one of the dumbest moves by an administration that specializes in dumb moves. The group, with an assist from Congressman Steve King of Iowa and others, removed the barriers and walked through the memorial anyway.

Normally, I want people to respect the rule of law, but this administrative fiat was foolish, and trying to keep this group away from the memorial was asinine. Kudos to those who ignored the makeshift barriers.

As usual, Republicans have been blamed by the media for this “slimdown.” Yet if you watched closely the machinations, you realize both sides have positions to which they wish to hold firm. For Republicans, it’s the desire to stall the disaster known as Obamacare; for Democrats, it’s the insistence that this unpopular law go forward without any reconsideration. The final appeal of House Republicans was to have a conference with Senate Democrats to iron out the differences. Their appeal was refused. Where is the real obstructionism in this case?

Inflexible

I thought negotiation was a normal part of politics. It certainly is in the international realm, so why not here?

Today's Schedule

What Democrats refuse to acknowledge is that the laughably named Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable, and that it is increasingly unpopular, and not only with those on the other end of the political spectrum:

Isn't the Tea Party

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Obamacare exchanges:

O'Care Start

Well, it was supposed to be the beginning, but this bureaucratic nightmare was largely unavailable to anyone who tried to access it online. I guess there are a few “glitches” to be worked out:

Crank to Start

We need a clear understanding of the dangers facing us as a nation. Yet what do we hear from this administration?

Greatest Threat

They even go one step further:

White House Tells You

I just saw the following in an e-mail sent by a friend. I think it captures the worldview of those currently in charge of our federal government:

Cruz-Hasan

When this becomes the narrative, we’re not in a good place. The president and his party need to be called out on this. Will the mainstream media do it? Of course not. That’s why the responsibility for informing the public rests on those of us who have opportunities to get out the truth. That’s why I write every day. If we are faithful to our call to disseminate truth, we can make a difference.

The Obamacare Poison

To get the pulse of our mainstream media, all you have to do is compare the coverage of Ted Cruz’s all-night speech to the Senate objecting to the funding of Obamacare with that of Texas state senator Wendy Davis’s stalling speech in favor of unlimited abortion. Davis was treated as some kind of hero, and the favorable coverage has catapulted her into the race for Texas governor. Cruz, on the other hand, was largely depicted as a looney extremist. Never mind that Cruz’s position on Obamacare is in line with all the polls and that Davis’s views on abortion are in the minority—the Leftward, progressive media has its own agenda.

Readers of this daily commentary know I was not completely on board with Cruz’s tactic, but I am glad he highlighted throughout his long speech the dangers and absurdities of the Obamacare law. If nothing else, he raised a banner, a standard, if you will, for people to rally around. Now, will his Republican colleagues follow suit, or will they do what they often do, which is to raise their own flag of a different character?

You Lose

John McCain already has done so. He says we have to respect the results of the election. Well, I respect it in the sense that I have to live with the reality that Barack Obama is still in the White House and the Senate remains in Democrat hands. But that doesn’t mean principles should be surrendered. One must continue to fight for what is right. Unfortunately, senators like McCain have become little more than tools of the opposing party. Some have commented he ought to go ahead and change his political affiliation and make it official.

Of course, the big fear of Republicans is that there will be a government shutdown and they will be blamed. First, essential services never shut down. They need to make sure the public grasps that fact. Second, yes, they will be blamed if they communicate as ineffectively as they are wont to do; but if they can for once devise an excellent strategy for getting out the truth, they should be able to convince enough of the public that it’s Democrats who refuse to go forward with full funding of the government, minus Obamacare. Republicans in the House already have passed a bill that provides funding for everything else. The sticking point is Obamacare. Let’s be honest: what would a government shutdown really look like?

If Govt Shuts Down

Yes, but Obamacare is the law, its proponents argue. True. But if that’s really the case, how can Obama autonomously delay implementation of certain aspects, as he has done on more than one occasion? How can he legitimately provide exemptions to the law that don’t exist in the law? You can’t have it both ways. At least, if Congress is the one defunding or delaying the implementation, it has the right to do so, since it’s the lawmaking body. The president has no authority to do what he has done with what is supposedly the law of the land. I’m not impressed by arguments that ignore that double standard.

The closer we get to Obamacare’s full implementation, the ills of the law become more evident:

Obamacare Kicks In

And if it’s really all that beneficial, why are the ones who made it a law so reluctant to be part of it?

Totally Safe

Republicans need to do all they can to delay the spread of this poison into the general population. If they are smart, they can take steps now that may ultimately dismantle it. It’s so bad it might fall of its own weight, but we cannot depend on that. Action is imperative.

Ted Cruz & His Detractors

Ted CruzThe lines are drawn, and they aren’t strictly Republican vs. Democrat, at least not when it comes to tactics. While most Republicans want to get rid of Obamacare, they disagree on how to do so. Texas Senator Ted Cruz has become the leader of the “defund Obamacare now” approach. He has been criticized for this because Republicans control only the House, and that this tactic will not succeed. Further, all it can do, the critics say, is lead to a government shutdown for which Republicans will be blamed.

I have been one of those critics, not because I disapprove of measures to get rid of Obamacare—it has to go—but because I want to be sure such measures don’t make things worse politically for Republicans. The problem is the uninformed, ignorant public that will follow the lead of the media and unscrupulous Democrats in casting aspersions on those seek to overturn this disastrous law.

House Republicans took the step of passing a continuing resolution to fund all government operations except Obamacare. That’s hardly a shutdown of the government. But will the public understand that? If the Senate refuses to go along with that bill—and it most assuredly will not due to Democrat control of that chamber—how can the Republicans be blamed for any so-called shutdown? Wouldn’t this simply be an impasse with both sides having a different idea on just exactly what should be funded?

By the way, it’s misleading to even use the term “shutdown.” The government will go on operating. All essential services will be offered, despite the dire threats emanating from the Capitol and the White House. The scenario being painted is somewhat phony.

I wish the general public would pay more attention to the tone of the two parties. Republicans are focusing on the real issues, whereby individuals and families are being removed from their current healthcare insurance or are being informed that premiums are rising astronomically due to the Obamacare requirements. One family’s story, told on Fox last evening, showed a spike in monthly premiums from about $330 to nearly $1000. Companies are either dropping coverage or reducing the hours of their employees to part-time. Forcing people into the ephemeral exchanges will also force them into higher healthcare costs than they have currently.

REIDYet what do we hear from Democrats like Harry Reid, Majority Leader in the Senate? He accuses Ted Cruz and others of being “anarchists.” Let’s define that term. An anarchist is someone who wants to throw off all government. Anarchists seek to get rid of all restraint on personal actions so they can do whatever they wish, even if to the detriment of all others. Is that really what Cruz and his allies are bent on doing? Or are they merely trying to reverse a devastating law that will help sink the entire economy?

As Obamacare goes, so goes the American economy, since it affects directly about 1/6 of that economy. But that’s only the direct effect. The indirect damage is incalculable.

Treading Water

Yet President Obama acts like this is some kind of civil war brought on by Republicans:

Civil War

He’s always ready to negotiate with foreign leaders over anything, but when it comes to working with Republicans, his attitude is rather different:

No Negotiating

While I haven’t been won over to the defund tactic, my heart certainly is sympathetic to the aims of that tactic. And I’m more disturbed by the potshots being taken at Cruz and others by erstwhile Republicans. When Cruz appeared on Fox News Sunday this past week, the host, Chris Wallace, let it be known that he received damaging background info on Cruz, not from Democrats, but from fellow Republicans. That’s outrageous. Even if you disagree with a tactic, you don’t try to destroy someone who is working to achieve the same goal you say you are also seeking.

Listening to Cruz, I don’t see a fanatical firebrand who doesn’t understand consequences. What I see is a leader who is hoping to ignite the troops in the general populace. He wants to alert them to the dangers and get them to inundate their representatives with their concerns, thereby forestalling the unfortunate future that awaits us under Obamacare. He’s principled. Unlike the supposed leaders of his party, he’s actually demonstrating leadership. While I’m still unsure as to whether this was the best tactic to achieve the overall goal, I do admire him for putting himself on the line on an issue that others are apparently too timid to tackle.

Repealing Obamacare: Tactics vs. Strategy

I spend a lot of time writing about principles. One of my key warnings is that we remain principled in our thinking and our actions; pure pragmatism is dangerous because it neglects the basic truths. Yet that doesn’t mean that principled people shouldn’t be wise. Jesus told His disciples to be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. He said that as He sent them out to deliver His message. On occasion, Jesus even told people He had healed to say nothing, as it would have set in motion events that would have hindered His mission because it would have aroused too much animosity from enemies at the wrong time. Was Jesus unprincipled?

The apostle Paul didn’t hesitate to use his Roman citizenship to forestall a beating; in fact, he depended on that citizenship to take him to Rome for a legal appeal. Should we question his commitment to suffering for the Lord? Of course not.

Why am I broaching this subject today? I want to relate it to the attempts by some to challenge the Obama administration. As you know from reading my daily posts, I challenge the actions of the Obama administration all the time, so I’m not averse to speaking out. Not all responses to what Obama has done, though, are necessarily wise. Take, for instance, the movement to impeach him. Now, I believe he is eminently impeachable. He has willfully ignored the Constitution continually. If impeachment could be carried out successfully, I would be fully behind the effort. But there are practicalities that must be considered. Even if the House—controlled by the Republicans—passed impeachment articles, the Senate—controlled by Democrats—would never remove Obama from office.

I supported the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. He certainly deserved to be removed from office. Yet even in a Senate that had a majority of Republicans at that time, not one Democrat voted in favor of his removal. Does anyone think it would be different today? I have no problem with advocates of fidelity to the Constitution making the argument for why Obama deserves impeachment; that would perform a valuable educational service for the voters. But there is no hope of seeing this man kicked out of the presidency.

Unfortunately, all that would be accomplished by moving forward with articles of impeachment would be the tarnishing of Republicans in general and conservatives in particular. It shouldn’t be that way, of course, but that’s the reality we’re dealing with. Rush Limbaugh has come up with the term “low-information voters.” It accurately describes a significant segment of our electorate:

Only Candidate

In a more perfect world, such people would never be allowed to choose their leaders. This is not that more perfect world. We have to live with what we have.

Those who read this blog regularly also know I’m a firm opponent of Obamacare. My heart’s desire is to see that abomination repealed immediately, if not sooner. Yet the current effort by some senators—all of whom I admire for their principles—to defund Obamacare is doomed to failure as well. It might pass the House, but would never even get a vote in the Senate. If, by some miracle, enough Democrats, distressed over what they now see are terrible consequences of this law, vote to defund it, Obama will never sign that repeal. Unfortunately, Obamacare is here for now. It will take a Republican electoral tidal wave in the 2014 congressional elections and the election of a committed conservative as president in 2016 to relegate Obamacare to the footnote in history it deserves to be.

The wisest approach for now seems to be to find those parts of Obamacare that bother Democrats the most and focus on those. Take it apart, piece by piece. Make it untenable for it ever to come to fruition. It’s already crumbling from its own inadequacies; help it along that road so it never sees the light of day.

We are called to be both principled and wise.

I’m reminded of the concerns expressed by Whittaker Chambers to William F. Buckley back in the early 1950s as he viewed the tactics of Sen. Joe McCarthy in his fight against communism. Chambers was an ex-communist. He had been the most effective communicator of the evil of the communist system as he exposed Alger Hiss as an underground communist agent in the American government. Yet he could not support what McCarthy was doing. Why not? Here’s what Chambers wrote at the time:

Chambers at DeskAs the picture unfolds, the awful sense begins to invade you, like a wave of fatigue, that the Senator is a bore. . . . The Senator is not, like Truman, a swift jabber, who does his dirty work with a glee that is infectiously impish; nor, like F.D. Roosevelt, an artful and experienced ringmaster whose techniques may be studied again and again. . . .

The Senator is a heavy-handed slugger who telegraphs his fouls in advance. . . . But it is repetitious and unartful, and, with time, the repeated dull thud of the low blow may prove to be the real factor in his undoing. Not necessarily because the blow is low, or because he lacks heart and purpose, but because he lacks variety, and, in the end, simply puts the audience to sleep. . . .

It is more and more my reluctant opinion that he is a tactician, rather than a strategist; that he continually, by reflex rather than calculation, sacrifices the long view for the short pull. . . .

All of us would like to be his partisans, if only because all are engaged in the same war. . . . But, all of us, to one degree or another, have slowly come to question his judgment and to fear acutely that his flair for the sensational, his inaccuracies and distortions, his tendency to sacrifice the greater objective for the momentary effect, will lead him and us into trouble. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that we live in terror that Senator McCarthy will one day make some irreparable blunder which will play directly into the hands of our common enemy and discredit the whole anti-Communist effort for a long while to come.

Chambers was prophetic. McCarthy blundered. Today the term “McCarthyism” is now used to discredit any real investigation into wrongdoing. I’m not suggesting that the conservatives in Congress are like McCarthy in his flair for sensationalism without regard to fact. They clearly have the facts on their side. There is the very real threat, however, that by using the wrong strategy, they may discredit the entire effort. Any government shutdown over defunding Obamacare will be jumped on gleefully by the administration and its media allies. Republicans will be blamed. How do I know? It’s happened in the past, we have all those low-information voters, and Republicans are often the worst communicators of their side of an argument. It’s astounding how ineffective they often are when they try to educate the public.

Therefore, I support all efforts to delay Obamacare’s implementation. I support the conservative senators’ attempts to enlighten the public about its overwhelming deficiencies and its blatant unconstitutional nature (despite the unthinkable ruling last year by the Supreme Court). Take on Obama, Obamacare, and all of his unconstitutional power grabs head-on—but be wise in how to do so. Don’t be tacticians who see only the short term; devise a long-term strategy for success.