Category Archives: Conservative Movement

IRS flagged Tea Party groups

The IRS flagged “tea party” and “patriot” groups for extra scrutiny in 2012, the Associated Press and others are reporting. The agency acknowledged and apologized today for the practice, which amounted to political profiling of conservative groups during the last presidential campaign. It points to local office staff in Cincinnati as being responsible.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) is calling on the White House to investigate, and tea party groups are claiming vindication for their earlier assertions of political favoritism at the IRS.

Two things here:

1) Although none of the 75 or so targeted groups had its tax-exempt status revoked, some did withdraw their application for 501c4 designation. If they did so in response to this admittedly undue level of IRS attention, then the damage is still done.

2) It’s quite possible – as its Bush-appointed chief asserts – that the IRS proper did nothing wrong, at least in an immediate sense. If culpability or complicity does reach into higher levels of the department, it may be more likely that officials ignored or avoided something that should have been investigated earlier.

Stay tuned…


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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election, Conservative Movement, Corruption

Republicans should negotiate with strength and wisdom

Charles Krauthammer advocates real compromise when it comes to avoiding the fiscal cliff, saying Republicans should concede to tax increases only as accompanied by cuts to discretionary and entitlement spending along with tax code reform. In his weekly Washington Post column, Krauthammer writes that Speaker Boehner and his House Republican majority shouldn’t deal as if they come to the table without a card to play. They’ll take a hit, but President Obama will suffer lasting damage to his legacy if the American economy gets hit with across-the-board tax hikes in January.

There’s been a scuffle within the GOP family about the best way to proceed here. The reality is that we have a massive and growing national debt that must be addressed. The fiscal cliff does just that – but so suddenly and substantially that it seems untenable. The better way is with a deal that steadily reduces debt but also promotes prosperity and growth.

Real cuts to discretionary spending is probably the easiest place to start politically, and the need for them should be self-evident. Some of the fiscal cliff cuts are actually a decent place to start, but a new deal could contain a smaller package of cuts and one that no longer requires the military to take on the largest proportional share of spending reductions.

Entitlement reform will be incredibly difficult to agree (especially in such a short period of time) but really it must be included – even if it is a modest, incremental change, such as the gradual raising of the age of social security eligibility, say, by one or two years over the next decade. Something that will at least begin to change the liability curve over time and prevent these programs from not only consuming an ever-greater share of the budget annually but eventually drowning us in red ink entirely. We have got to start somewhere.

In exchange for these cuts, Republicans should go along with the removal of certain exemptions from the tax code. Everything should be looked at. All things being equal, you avoid popular programs like the home mortgage interest deduction to the degree possible. You also bring to the table cuts to corporate welfare; most obviously cases like Solyndra, where economically dubious pet projects are being promoted, but handouts for other business interests as well. Scaling back exemptions and subsidies not only relieves deficits but also flattens the tax code, which should be a perennial goal for the Republican Party.

All of that is easier said than done of course, but it could be a good road map for the next month as lawmakers try to avoid walking us off this cliff we have created for ourselves.

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Filed under Conservative Movement, Finance & Investing, Fiscal Cliff

Western Conservative Conference

Landed in Denver this afternoon to attend the Western Conservative Summit, which kicks off in less than hour. While it’s the third annual such gathering, it’s my first time around so I’m excited for it and interested to see how it compares and contrasts to other big conservative conferences like CPAC. The event is hosted by Colorado Christian University and the Centennial Institute at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Denver.

Some good speakers are on tap. Tonight it’s Glenn Beck and Wayne LaPierre (of the NRA). I hope LaPierre comments on the recent incident in Minnesota in which cops apparently confiscated a concealed-carry permit holder’s firearm and caused a great deal of public commotion to do so.

The first event I’ll attend is a panel on education reform. There are simultaneous sessions on social media on Hollywood/media culture.

On a side note I’m trying out the iPhone WordPress app to make posts – which should make it a lot easier to post more often. So far, so good.

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Filed under Conservative Movement

Push for Pence in South Carolina

From CNN. Some state lawmakers there are promoting Mike Pence (R-Indiana) for president. Former Kansas congressman Jim Ryun came on board earlier this week, according to the article. Pence is expected to decide by month’s end whether he’ll run for president – he may run for governor of Indiana, or he could of course run for re-election to his house seat. If Pence signals his intention to enter the primary, that immediately changes things in the GOP field.

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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election, Conservative Movement

Sarah Palin in Iowa

The Des Moines Register reports that Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) will visit the state later this month to appear at Iowa Republicans’ annual Reagan Day dinner. Drudge screams the headline: LOOK WHO’S GOING TO IOWA!

Obviously, Palin has been considered a potential contender in 2012 ever since at least the end of the 2008 campaign. I’ve got to say, however, that some of her moves have suggested to me that she’s not serious about being a candidate. Resigning as governor, becoming a tv commentator, and the general, well, un-presidentialness of her overall routine. On the other hand, she’s also come out with a book and been making candidate endorsements, exactly the type of thing a contender would do.

Whether or not Palin runs, the Iowa trip guarantees her one thing, and that is publicity. Buzz. No one ever became president, sold a book or propelled a movement without it. It keeps her in the game, keeps her viable, whether she wants to run, or thinks she may want to run, or doesn’t want to run but simply wants to stay in the game.

Here’s the thing. Palin continues to be a lightening rod. A kind of cultural Rorschach test. She’s going to generate controversy, and I don’t think she particularly minds that. Indeed, sometimes she seems to welcome it. Critics have attempted, at times rather cheaply or unfairly, to make her into a controversial figure, but so it always is in politics.

Through the tremors and aftershocks of the last presidential election, Sarah Palin has revealed social faultlines of the American electorate, and may soon fully reverberate into the nominating base of the Republican Party. My caution to my party is that we must now brace ourselves and be prepared. We will need to do so if we’re to remain a house united, fixed on firm foundations, standing strong now and for the future.

This means we need to actually be thoughtful about who Sarah Palin is, and what she means. Why she has struck a chord. Actually, understanding Sarah Palin and her significance to the GOP requires asking the same five questions in any story: Who, Why, What, Where, and When? I won’t try to answer all of those at the moment, but my guess is that each of them would tell us something interesting.

What I’d simply like to get out there right now is that we’ll need to be mindful of these things as we discuss our nomination process moving forward. With any figure like Sarah Palin, it becomes too easy simply to love her or hate her. To become a fanatic or regard her supporters with contempt. And we need to not do that. We need to be civil and reasonable and producive.

The fact is, even though I’m not a Sarah Palin fan – that is, I don’t favor her for the Republican Party presidential nomination – I recognize what she’s got going for her, and I can understand and empathize with those who support her. That includes a sense of genuine respect for Palin and her supporters. I’ve mentioned before on this blog a few of the things I like about Palin: she is devoted to family, as a wife to her husband and a mother to her five children; she is an energetic and ambitious person, savvy enough to become governor of a consequential state in the union; she clearly has charisma and an outgoing personality that tends toward good cheer and optimism; she also has some sensible positions on some of the political issues of the day, and has been honest, open and resolute in relating those positions to the public.

However, I’ll say again that I do not, under any current circumstance, believe that Sarah Palin is by any means the best qualifed person to lead either the Republican Party or the United States of America. She simply lacks the sort of intellectual formation that I would want to see in a partisan and national leader. I’m not saying she’s unintelligent, but I don’t see a good grasp of the issues or the policy process, or a well cultivated political philosophy. I also simply don’t think she relates well to the broader electorate, and along with some other commentators (Bill Maher, I’m thinking?), I have a problem with some of her rural/small town = “real America” rhetoric (just like I had a problem with John Edwards‘ “two America” thesis).

Again, though, the point right now is that we need to understand this potential candidate and why she may resonate with some voters. Many people simply like Sarah Palin. They relate to her. They can identify with her. She connects with them. She’s one of them. And she is an embodying expression of their values and way of life, or at least a way of life that they can understand and appreciate.  She sticks to her guns on many of the issues that are important to them, which happen to include, well, guns. What else do you hope for in a politician?

Anyway. I’ve gone on too long. But my hope is truly that within the GOP, if Sarah Palin continues to look like a candidate, that we can have a reasonable discussion and not tear each other into shreds over this one personage. People always ask me what I think about Sarah Palin. I always say roughly the same thing: Great woman, not likely a great president. I think at their most honest, both supporters and detractors would have to acknowledge that there’s something to this. Maybe in that sense, Sarah Palin can bring us all together.

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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election, Conservative Movement, Republican Party

Mad Men

I just saw a tv commercial, and it made me wonder.

Is Fred Thompson the next J.D. Hayworth?

In the commercial and on the website, former Senator and GOP presidential candidate invites seniors to sell their homes with a government backed reverse mortgage. Unfortunately, some seniors might find themselves in a position to need to do that, and that’s understandable.  However, there are other issues involved with pitching reverse mortgages, such as whether the practice encourages seniors to spend down assets that they might otherwise pass on to children as an inheritance.

I’d want to know more about AAG before I criticize Thompson too harshly on this. But one of my first thoughts when I saw this commercial was that “he can’t be too seriously considering running in 2012.”

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Filed under 2012 Presidential Election, Conservative Movement

ACT Launch

This Sunday at 6pm, Americans for Conservative Training will cut the ribbon on its new headquarters in the Northland.  The group’s founder, Andrea Plunkett, welcomes friends and supporters along with 980 KMBZ host Darla Jaye and the Jim King Band. Before starting ACT, Plunkett worked on the McCain campaign and others. If the name sounds familiar, you may know that Andrea’s father, Jim Plunkett, is Platte County Commissioner for the second district. Here’s the email invitation:

ACT HQ Ribbon Cutting

Its just around the corner- our ACT HQ Ribbon Cutting Ceremony! This is not just your average ribbon cutting, because ACT is not your average organization.

Join us on April 11th, 6PM at 10920 NW Ambassador Drive, Suite 214.

Darla Jaye from 980 News Radio will be our celebrity guest, along with lots of local candidates.

There’s free food, drinks, and the award winning Jim King Band will be playing all night.

Bring your family and friends, and join us to see what the 2010 election cycle has in store, what we’re doing to help good candidates win, and how you can get involved!


Sunday, April 11, 2010 from 6:00 PM9:00 PM


10920 NW Ambassador Drive, Suite 214

Kansas City, MO

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Filed under Conservative Movement, Missouri Politics