Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Republicans Pushing Boldly Ahead

The November 2010 election was a major triumph for Republicans across the country. Capturing a net six governorships and net 680 state legislative seats (blowing away the post-Watergate record 628 seat swing), Republicans now control 29 governorships and 25 state legislatures (the Democrats control fifteen, ten more are divided or nonpartisan and the other seven are imaginary). So what have the Republicans done with this victory? You might be surprised.

No doubt, you’ve heard about the brouhaha in Wisconsin between Governor Walker and the unions. But that’s only the beginning. Indeed, Wisconsin Republicans are now pushing through their entire agenda before recall elections can rob them of control of their Senate. This includes (1) plans to legalize concealed weapons, (2) deregulation of the telephone industry, (3) expanding school vouchers, (4) undoing early release of prisoners, (5) requiring photo ID from voters before they can vote, (6) circumventing the court imposed stay and stripping public employee unions of their collective bargaining rights, (7) cutting one billion dollars from the budget, and (8) passing a redistricting plan to implement the 2010 census. The consequences of this could be enormous. And Wisconsin is not alone:

● Twenty states are currently taking up or completing measures designed to limit the power of public sector unions. These efforts should ultimately result in a neutering of public sector unions, who use their position to support Democrats, both financially and with volunteers. As an aside, even the Democrats in Massachusetts just took away the unions’ rights to bargain their health care . . . oddly, there were no protests or death threats when the Democrats acted.

● Eighteen states are trying to pass right-to-work laws to join the 22 states that already have them. New Hampshire passed such a law, but it doesn’t look like the Republicans can overcome a veto by the state’s Democratic governor. Right-to-work laws make closed shops illegal and prevent unions from forcing employees to pay union dues. This generally kills off unions once employees are given a genuine choice. Passage of more of these laws could spell the end for private sector unions, who are near death in most states already, and will further cripple the Democratic Party.

● Another thirty states are cracking down on illegal immigration. This has the potential of robbing the Democratic Party of its base of illegal voters.

● Another thirty states are trying to pass laws requiring voters to produce a drivers license or official picture identification before they can vote. Since Indiana’s law on this point was upheld by the United States Supreme Court 6-3 in 2008 (Crawford v. Marion County Election Board), seven other states have enacted similar laws: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan and South Dakota. Kansas just passed such a law. Ohio’s House has passed a similar law, which is expected to pass their Senate and be signed by the governor. Wisconsin will pass theirs as well. And 27 more are trying.

The Democrats are, of course, furious. They are making all kinds of false claims about the horrible consequences of passing these laws. For example, they are trying to claim this change could cost millions in training costs for poll watchers. Of course, that ignores the fact that poll watchers get training already and adding a line that says “check their drivers license” won’t add a penny. They are claiming this will intimidate minorities, which is also garbage. Any minority “brave enough” to appear at a voting booth should be brave enough to bring their drivers license. They are claiming this will keep people without drivers licenses from voting, which deliberately ignores the fact that each of these laws allows people without drivers licenses to provide alternative proof. . . which, to the horror of angry Democrats, does not include college IDs.

What’s really going on here is that this has the potential of eliminating a good deal of Democratic voter fraud, see e.g. ACORN and Wisconsin, where Democratic groups pretend to be other registered voters. This could eliminate the Democrats' ability to magically find an extra 1-2% during close elections.

● Wyoming and Missouri have barred their courts from applying Sharia law or foreign law.

● And there’s more. Gun rights are being solidified, conservative social policy issues are being passed, taxes are going down, spending is being cut and states are regaining their financial health. And redistricting is starting and it looks like a total disaster for the Democrats.

That's not a bad return on an election that only happened a few months ago.

Naturally, liberals are very upset. They are so upset that liberal mouthpieces like the New York Times are actually encouraging people to sue or protest or do anything else they can to stop these evil Republicans. Even funnier, their most recent talking point has them all whining that this “goes way beyond what Republicans campaigned on. . . they campaigned on jobs. . . not any of this!” Aw, poor babies. I guess elections do have consequences after all.

So, what else have you heard about and what else would you like to see (or not see)?


Unknown said...

To start with, I'd like to see a strong Republican presidential candidate emerge to keep the momentum going on a national basis.

DUQ said...

Sadly, locally, our Republicans are not as dedicated. They're still fighting each other over the last election. Still, this is a good show for the Republicans nationwide! Let's hope they keep get all this passed and keep it up. Then let's hope the people reward them!

Anonymous said...

When it comes to illegal immigration and voter ID, I find myself in agreement (that is, until some overreaching politician does something stupid).

And maybe it's because I'm from Florida which is a right-to-work state, I am also sympathetic to that cause as well. :-)

On the other hand...

Gov. Scott of Florida has signed a bill forbidding pediatricians from asking parents about gun ownership. I think this is stupid and can set a bad precedent. (When will the pool lobby forbid doctors from talking to parents about pool safety?) This is why, despite being pro-gun ownership, neither my dad nor I are big NRA fans.

And as the token pro-choicer on this site (I might be wrong), I understand the Planned Parenthood/defunding deal but I just hope some politician doesn't decide to overreach and try to ban all abortion (regardless of rape, incest, mother's health, etc.). Most pro-lifers are at least okay with those exceptions.

(What I said about the NRA, ditto for Planned Parenthood.)

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I think we're getting those leaders slowly but surely in people like Paul Ryan and Allen West. The only question is, can we find anyone similar in the presidential ranks.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Our locals are idiots too. They still can unify either. Plus, the Democrats still run the place. Hopefully, they'll learn from other states and start to do things to attract local voters!

Pittsburgh Enigma said...

Wow, this is all really encouraging. It's easy to overlook all this stuff that's happening on the state level when the national issues are always getting all the attention.

There's been an interesting state issue in PA lately. Republicans are trying to push through a school voucher bill, and the teacher's union has been running ads against it calling it a "new entitlement" (no kidding) and saying that two thirds of PA voters oppose it. Hardly. This is exactly the kind of stuff we voted for.

Any thoughts on the recent Canadian election? I hear that they had a conservative sweep. (I'm not sure if you already talked about this.)

AndrewPrice said...


First, 70% of the public is opposed to illegal immigration, so you're not alone. It's the other 30% who are in the extremist camp. And there are many good reasons why it needs to be limited.

And yeah, it's always the fringe that ruin it for everyone, and this issue is no different. Also, sadly, the solution to the problem is the one people tend to like the least -- punish employers rather than trying to deport 12 million people and seal up an impossible border (up to 40% simply overstay visas).

Secondly, you are in fact not our only pro-choicer on the abortion issue -- we have several, but I'll leave it up to them if they want to identify themselves.

Also, I find what you say interesting. So you agree that the government should not be funding it? Would you agree on other restrictions (like a couple day waiting period)? If so, at what point do you become uncomfortable with the restrictions?

On guns, I am a firm believer in gun rights, but I'm not a fan of the NRA either. I think they're too much in love with being a powerful lobby and they often take illogical and harmful positions that hurt the overall cause, which should be gun ownership rights for law abiding citizens within certain necessary limitations for public (not private) safety.

Anonymous said...

Also, I find what you say interesting. So you agree that the government should not be funding it? Would you agree on other restrictions (like a couple day waiting period)? If so, at what point do you become uncomfortable with the restrictions?

Truthfully, I haven't given it much thought (I don't need the headache!) but, coming from my gut, I would have to say...

... at the very least, if there was no government funding, then wouldn't much of the controversy simply disappear? I realize the battle will never end for some folks but I read something on a conservative blog that almost made sense: if folks want the government out of the bedroom, then why is it okay for the government to be involved in this? I'd say that's a fair question.

As for waiting periods (and other things), I don't know. I really don't. Maybe it's above my pay grade. :-)

(I am a little more iffy with partial-birth abortion.)

AndrewPrice said...

Pitts, I was pretty happy to read about all of this going on at the state level -- the article that tipped me off was a NYT article screaming in horror about what was going on with the voter ids. To me, all of this state-level activity is very encouraging because (1) it shows it can be done and (2) these legislators and governors will be the next generation of national Republicans. So if they're getting in this kind of experience at the state level, that should be very good for the national future!

I haven't heard about the PA voucher thing, but it's funny you should say that. I've seen the "entitlement" line in four different places this week and it struck me that it couldn't be a coincidence. Specifically, I heard it used about different tax cuts creating an "entitlement." Talk about backward reasoning! This made me think "entitlement" is the new word of the day for the left to try to tar things they don't like. This voucher issue is more proof of that.

We actually haven't spoken about Canada, but I find their results very encouraging. Granted, their conservatives aren't exactly Tea Party people, but the very fact that they would get an all-out majority after going for spending cuts, tax cuts, strengthening their military, opposing climate change regulations, and reducing their welfare state all strike me as a really good sign that people are willing to reward solid, conservative policies. I guess we'll see what they do now that they have a complete majority?!

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The cool thing about blogging is that nothing is above our pay grade! Tomorrow I reveal the true nature of God! (just kidding). :-)

You make a very good and valid point about getting out of the bedroom. This is one of those contradictions that you get in politics where people say they want one thing in principle, but then violate that principle for their pet issues. Social conservatives definitely are arguing for increased government intrusion on this issue.

In their defense, however, they would argue that they are not trying to intrude into the bedroom of the mother, so much as protect the life of the child -- just as you might argue that punishing a murderer is an intrusion into the murderer's life, but is justified to protect the innocent.

Whether you accept that depends largely on your view of when life begins.... I favor "at 25 and having voted Republican." ;-)

In terms of ending the issue by cutting funding, I think that won't end the issue for social conservatives, as they are generally pushing to ban the practice in part or total. But it would probably end the issue for the majority of people (at least assuming a few other restrictions like a ban on partial-birth abortion). So it would likely demote this issue to a fringe issue.... but that's just a guess.

And of course, anything that results in a reduction in funding or limitations wouldn't end the issue for pro-abortion groups, who would fight to undo those restrictions.

Tennessee Jed said...

It is hard to do much at the Federal level other than hold firm on spending and keep the right's coalition going. I want to see more candidates getting in to the Republican race and attacking Obama. I'd like to see a huge stink and continued pressure on Holder regarding the litigation against the interrogation folks.

How are we making out on the recount of the judgeship in Wisconsin? What is the actual story with the recall of senators?

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, In truth, I think we're doing pretty darn well at the federal level given that we only have one house of Congress. I think they've gotten some good budget cuts, some good policies, and are doing a great job holding the coalition together without much negative press for the 2012 elections.

What we really need now is, as you say, someone to become the standard bearer and push the agenda at the Presidential level. Let's hope we get that soon!

On the Wisconsin S.C., the last I heard was that they are 94% finished with the recount, but they are doing it in the wrong order so it's impossible to tell if things are changing, i.e. they started with pro-Democratic counties. That said, I can't imagine a swing of 7,000 votes, and I haven't heard anything about material changes in the recount.

AndrewPrice said...

By the way, this just in 15 minutes ago -- a federal judge has halted Utah's new immigration law which mimics Arizona's law. That's too bad, but not unexpected.

Unknown said...

Scott: As a pro-life conservative, I'd have to say the following:

First, the abortions aren't being performed in the bedroom. What they did in the bedroom is their business. What they do to unborn children is society's business.

Second: So long as there is abortion on demand, there will be a large and active group of conservatives (including me) who will continue to work to stop it.

Third: Roe v. Wade was badly decided, using incorrect science to determine at which point in a pregnancy the states should be allowed to legislate. As for the "right to privacy," where is that in the Constitution? It was a poor decision bootstrapped on top of Griswold v. Connecticut which created that "right" out of whole cloth.

Fourth: If the matter of abortion were left to the states where it belongs, many states would happily slaughter children right up through and including partial birth abortion. But in states with any moral backbone at all, the people would likely pass legislation outlawing abortion except at a stage much earlier than that set out in Roe with the exceptions for rape, incest and the physical survival of the mother (which is where I unalterably stand).

Medical science has come a long way since Roe and can identify a living, viable human being much earlier than in 1972. There are many of us who are relatively socially-liberal on most issues (I lived half my life in San Francisco and developed a live and let live attitude toward things I don't personally approve of), but abortion isn't among them. I doubt that abortion will be an issue in most of the upcoming political elections, but we are not going to give up until this convenient disposal of living human beings is stopped. The issue may take a back seat for awhile, but it's not going to go away.

Ed said...

Andrew, Excellent analysis and great news! I'm glad to hear the Republicans aren't wasting time. I like what they're doing in Washington, with Boehner talking about trillions in cuts the other day. This could be really good times for conservatism, even with Barry in office.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, If everyone would just adopt me definition of life (which is perfectly reasonable) then I'm sure this issue will go away very quickly. . .

LIFE = 25 years old plus Republican voter

Heck, we could even shorten that to "Republican voter."

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ed. I'm dubious about the math though. In this day and age, a trillion dollars seems to be a lot less than it used to be once you factor in the 100 year budget and the fake assumptions... "oh, we're going to have 100% growth for ten years?"

Still, I'm hopeful they are planning the right thing.

Anonymous said...

LawHawk -

Then may we agree to disagree. Andrew and I exchanged a couple e-mails about this very subject but I'd rather not elaborate on it here.

All I'll say is, as far as pro-choicers go, I am sympathetic. And even I have my objections to partial-birth abortion.

This is just semantics but, while I use the phrase "pro-choice," I'm not exactly part of the "Abortion 24/7!" brigade. If someone chooses not to have an abortion, that's just peachy, too. :-)

Unknown said...

Andrew: Well, it would certainly make a difference in voting demographics.

Scott: I feel very strongly on the subject, as I'm sure you can see. That doesn't mean I don't respect other people's point of view. I do feel that the more one knows about abortion, the less likely that person is to support it as a mere medical procedure (aka "getting rid of the problem") much like having an inconvenient mole removed. That said, you are honest about your opinion. Most who use the expression "pro-choice" actually mean unrestricted abortion on demand, while you are honest enough to have at least some doubts. In addition, you are willing to allow that we might actually have a moral position as opposed to the hardcore pro-choicers who say we are misogynist, backward, haters of freedom and proponents of women having hideous procdures performed on them in back alleys. Good for you. I do hope as you get older, you will come around to my way of thinking.

Writer X said...

I would like to see (any) of the Republican presidential candidates do a much better job of communicating these triumphs.

rlaWTX said...

good to hear good news! we can get too bogged down in the federal level...

Scott: as a pro-lifer with a practical perspective, I don't think the movement will ever accomplish prohibition. But, without some push back over the last 30 years, what would be allowed now? would partial-birth even be an issue? would parents have any rights over their underage daughters' medical care? would we have moved further along the progression toward euthenasia or other population controls?
I think that perhaps the prolife movement has managed to terrace out some "stop and think" ledges along the slippery slope...

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I'm all about being practical and that seems like a good way to encourage conservatism. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Writer X, Communication has always been a Republican problem. The problem is they seem to think the public goes out and investigates these things for themselves or that the MSM will give them a fair shake. None of that is true. They need to be out there selling their accomplishments!

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I agree. I don't think a flat out prohibition will ever happen. But there are many very rational and acceptable limits that the public would be willing to support short of that, and those are worthy of pursuing.

Unknown said...

Your reward is coming. That assumes that the barriers to stop voters isn't as successful as these Republican contolled states want.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, You're speaking in contradictions here. Your side claims on the one hand that this will depress "minority turnout," but now you're telling me that we're doomed because this won't stop minorities? You can't have it both ways. Take your pick.

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