Ripped from the pages of Doug Welch’s: Stix Blog
While everyone is fighting over the words of Rush Limbaugh and who said what about females on both sides of the aisle, we are missing the big picture of what this battle is all about. This is a battle of Freedom of Religion and the right of Religious institutions to follow the tenets of their faith and not to have the Government infringe on those rights.
Many do not know that before the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of the Unites States of America, the various states had their state sponsored religions. And in the very beginning you could be thrown in jail if you do not attend Mass or the Religious services of that state. Catholics and Jews were discriminated and eventually found Maryland and Rhode Island where they could freely follow their own religions. This is a gloss over of most of the history, but the thing is that before the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we did not have Freedom of Religion in America. This is why the 1st Amendment was added to the Constitution along with others, that was more or less a compromise between the Federalist and Anti-Federalists.
And now we come to the 21st century and the rights that the Founding Fathers had put in place are eroding. The whole mess and controversy is all about the wrong thing. This is not about Contraceptives, this is about the Freedom to worship and follow the tenets of the Religion you follow.
This started with a question during the GOP Debate by George Stephanopoulos, where he asked about contraceptives. And everyone and their brother was asking , “What the Hell does this have to do with the GOP Presidential Race?” Well, it seems that Stephie had an inside look or knew of the HHS mandate that was coming down the pike. (Or he can see into the future)
The argument is not about access or contraceptives in themselves. It is about the Government telling a Religious Institution to go against its teachings. The Catholic Church does not agree with contraceptive and even more against the “Morning After” pills that the Government is trying to force the Catholics to have in their insurance policies. This goes against the Freedom of Religion in this country and should scare to death out of everyone, even those that are not religious.
Now we come to the Fluke/Rush debacle. I do not think that the words Rush used were the best and he could have said it differently. But in essence, he is correct. Forcing a Religious institution to have Contraceptives and morning after pills is wrong. Fluke did not help her cause by making ridiculous statement about the cost of contraceptives. $3000 Really. Yes, we know that birth control pills are not only used to stop pregnancies, but they are not anywhere near the cost shes says. And in most cases an insurance company would pay for birth controls pills if it was medically necessary.
But this is all of the track of what is really at stake here. This is about the Government telling a Private Religious Institution to pay for something that goes against the Catholic teachings. This is nothing new for the Catholic Church, it has been pro-life since it inception. One of the reasons the Romans found Catholics weird was that they valued all life and did not discard the deformed or imperfect babies. Catholics had to worship in catacombs or risk being fed to the lions , and have done so for a millenia.
Obama and the Progressives are trying to change the way the Government interprets what is religious and what is not. They are saying that while attending Mass or Synagogue is religious, but the institutions that are not part of the services are not religious. This goes against thousands of years of history. This is an affront to religion in general and I think liberties for all. Even the non religious among us. As we have seen the Government is telling private companies where they can and cannot build a plant (Boeing) and force companies to buy health care (Obamacare).
We are loosing our country to tyranny and the nanny state. Our country was never meant to have a Federal Government tell us what we can eat, drive, what light bulb we can use and force Religious Institutions to go against their religious teachings. Wake up people. This is more than just Obama or this year’s elections. Our beloved country is loosing its way and we need to get it back on the path towards personal responsibility and a limited government.
From The Desk of Rob Jesmer, Executive Director
National Republican Senatorial Committee
In the wake of recent developments in key races, I wanted to share several observations and our perspective regarding the 2012 Senate landscape.
First, broadly-speaking, Senate Republicans remain well-positioned to pick up key Senate seats in November and have a very real opportunity to win back a Senate Republican majority. According to the current analysis from the well-regarded Cook Political Report, 7 of the 10 “Toss-Up” seats are currently held by the Democrats, while at least three additional Democratic-seats are vulnerable as well.
And in yet another sign of the uphill battle facing liberal Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri, the equally well-regarded Rothenberg Political Report recently moved that race in the Republicans’ favor from “Toss-Up” to “Toss-Up/Tilt Republican.” Contrary to the conventional wisdom of some in Washington, Senator McCaskill did herself no favors by siding with President Obama, and against fellow Missouri Senator Roy Blunt and religious institutions in her state, during the recent debate over religious liberty. As top political analyst Stuart Rothenberg wrote last week, “With personal issues and a public record that offered effusive early praise for Obama, McCaskill simply has too much baggage. She must try to make her election a referendum on her Republican opponent, but that won’t be easy given the president’s performance, the public’s low opinion of Congress and her own issues.”
While Republicans play offense in a range of key states, we continue to be well-positioned in Nevada and Massachusetts as well, where recent polling shows both Dean Heller and Scott Brown beating their Democratic opponents. In fact, in Massachusetts, four straight polls have shown Scott Brown with a clear lead over Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, with the most recent poll showing Brown even gaining among female voters.
Speaking of recent events, last week all of us witnessed a lesson in how not to roll-out a campaign for the United States Senate, as mismanagement, mixed messaging and party infighting dominated former Senator, turned-New Yorker, Bob Kerrey’s first few days on the campaign trail. After a widely-panned leak from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid’s office, which led one top Democratic consultant to observe to RollCall – “Apparently, we have a bunch of bozos masquerading as political operatives in D.C. You wonder if they actually wear their clown makeup to the office” – things haven’t gotten any better for the Greenwich Village resident. Already under fire for living in New York City where he contemplated a run for Mayor just a few years ago, Kerrey finds himself on the receiving end of a formal complaint from the Nebraska Republican Party over allegations that he broke state law by misstating his residency on voter registration papers.
At the same time, Kerrey raised even more questions by admitting to local media outlets that he cut a backroom deal with Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid – who is already well known to Nebraskans for his infamous “Cornhusker Kickback – yet he still refuses to tell Nebraskans what his price for admission to the Senate race was. You can be sure that until he comes clean that outstanding question will dog Kerrey at every campaign event in the days and weeks ahead.
On a related note, Kerrey also told a local NBC affiliate this past weekend that if elected, he will in fact back Harry Reid for Leader. This one statement highlights what is by far Kerrey’s biggest liability in this election – his very liberal views and record. On virtually every major issue – from taxes to spending to government health care to abortion to a balanced budget amendment – Kerrey’s position is on the wrong side of a strong majority of voters in the Cornhusker State. You will recall that I outlined many of the problems for a Kerrey candidacy in a recent memo that you can Click Here to read.
While there is no doubt that with his pro-choice, pro-Obama, and pro-cap-and-trade credentials firmly intact, the liberal establishment will quickly rush to pad Kerry’s campaign war chest, but the narrative advanced by some in Washington last week that his candidacy is a “game-changer” is laughable at best.
As I noted last month, Bob Kerrey isn’t just far more liberal than many of his friends in Washington – he also has far more serious electability problems than Ben Nelson ever did, and we are confident Nebraskans will elect a common-sense, conservative Republican in November.
Finally, the other big development on the 2012 Senate landscape front was of course Senator Snowe’s retirement in Maine. While there is no question that any open seat adds a complicating factor – just as it did for the Democrats in Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Virginia - the chest-beating that many of us have seen from the Democratic side has been notable for both its arrogance and its ignorance.
As top political analyst Jennifer Duffy with the Cook Political Report wrote last week, “[T]he casual observer might see Maine as a solidly blue state, its two Republican U.S. Senators notwithstanding. A closer look, though, reveals a more complicated picture. In fact, Maine Democrats took quite a beating at the polls in 2010.”
Less than two years ago, Republicans not only won back the Maine Governorship – with the Democratic candidate finishing a distant third – but Republicans also captured both houses of the Maine Legislature as well. Before the last election, Democrats held a 95-seat to 55-seat (with one independent) majority that flipped to a Republican majority of 78 seats to 72 seats for Democrats with one independent. In the state Senate, Democrats saw their 20-seat to 15-seat advantage become a 20-seat Republican majority. Democrats now hold 14 seats and there is one independent.
Now of course the spin from Democrats is that 2012 being a Presidential year gives their side an added advantage. Unfortunately for our opponents, that narrative doesn’t hold up under scrutiny either. In 1996 for example, Bill Clinton won re-election and carried Maine by a whopping 21 points, defeating Bob Dole 51% to 30%. But in the Senate race, Republican Susan Collins – who had never held public office before – survived a four-way Republican primary and defeated the Democrats’ Senate candidate by a margin of 49% to 44%.
So where do things stand as of today? Already a number of strong Republican candidates, including Maine Attorney General Bill Schneider, Maine Secretary of State Charles Summers, State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and ex-Maine Senate President Rick Bennett, have stepped forward and expressed an interest in running for this seat. The deadline to collect at least 2,000 signatures is March 15th and we are confident that as that deadline comes and goes, Republicans will be well-positioned in this race.
But what’s even more notable, is not what’s taking place on the Republican side but by what’s taking place on the Democratic and Independent sides; the latter of which played a key role in the 2010 gubernatorial election.
Earlier today, the Portland Press-Herald reported that former Independent Governor Angus King plans to announce tonight at Bowdoin College that he intends to run for the Senate. And already, the Associated Press reports that King has been endorsed by fellow Independent, former gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, who placed second in the 2010 Governor’s race.
This development adds a complicating factor for national Democratic Party strategists and adds fuel to growing rumors we heard from sources on the ground in Maine this weekend that the Democratic Party establishment in Washington is pressuring liberal Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree to step aside for the Independent former Governor.
Late last week, fellow Democratic Rep. Michael Michaud announced he would forgo a bid, seemingly clearing the path for a Pingree candidacy, but while she has expressed public interest, Maine political observers must wonder what conversations may be taking place in the backrooms of Washington today. Already, the left-leaning Salon.com recalled this afternoon that King supported George W. Bush for President in 2000, before ultimately turning on him, while also speculating that he could be a “closet Republican” given his “adamantly pro-business” background.
Regardless of how the race in Maine develops, the reality is that Republicans are well-positioned to defend our current seats – just as we did in the 2010 cycle when every Republican Senator incumbent won re-election, while we successfully defended all six GOP open seats – as well as to win key Democratic seats this November. Whether it’s their failure to create jobs, the skyrocketing $15 trillion debt, or the massive growth of government and over-regulation of the last three years, every Senate Democrat candidate will be forced to defend a failed and unpopular agenda this November.
Recent developments and inside-the-beltway spin aside, Republicans are focused on the long-term view and we continue to have cautious optimism for this November.
U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE UTAH REP. STEPHEN SANDSTROM PLEDGES SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL DURING AIPAC POLICY CONFERENCE
SALT LAKE CITY– March 5, 2012 — Utah Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, who’s running for U.S. Congress in Utah’s new 4th District, recently submitted a position paper during the annual Policy Conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) pledging his legislative support of pro American-Israel policy if elected to Congress this fall. The legislative approach proposed in the position paper encourages a stronger strategic and economic partnership between the United States and Israel.
Rep. Sandstrom’s paper is available to members of the pro-Israel community and attending the AIPAC Policy Conference from March 4 to 6 as well as Utah constituents.
“As Utah’s next Congressman, I hope to actively seek to strengthen the longstanding partnership that we have built with our ally Israel,” said Rep. Sandstrom.
“America and Israel have always had a unique friendship that should be supported by all Americans because of our cultural and principled connections. Israel should be able to count on our continued support. Israel will be able to count on my continued support that I will give as Congressman for Utah’s 4th Congressional District,” Sandstrom added.
Speakers at the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. include President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
About Utah Rep. Stephen Sandstrom
Utah Representative Stephen Sandstrom favors small government, strong education, and states’ rights. A lifelong resident of Utah, he graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Political Science. He believes in promoting growth through lower taxes, which allow hard-working Utah citizens and Americans to retain their hard-earned savings. Compassionate and approachable, Sandstrom is a listener and trusted problem solver. He is well-known in the community as an honest, classic Reagan conservative. Sandstrom’s life experience as a former United States Marine, small business owner, local and state public servant, and a steadfast family man uniquely qualify him to represent the constituents of the 4th District. For more background information, go to
Stephen Sandstrom for U.S. Congress.
# # #
As the House and Senate debate the President’s budget, let’s take a step back from the rhetoric and look at the facts. For the government’s last fiscal year, which ended on September 31, 2011, we break down spending into easy to understand diagrams and give you some real world examples of what you could buy with $3.6 trillion dollars. That is if you are ok with being $1.3 trillion dollars in debt.
Washington’s spending spree is out of control. Last year was marked by last minute battles to cut the deficit and rein in out of control spending. Did it work? Where did the money go? The numbers say it all.
Overall Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Budget
Spending: $3.6 trillion
Income: $2.3 trillion
Deficit: $1.3 trillion2
The deficit is like…
Mandatory Spending: $2 trillion (56% of spending)
ie. Spending required by law, like Social Security.
Discretionary Spending: $1.3 trillion (37% of spending)
ie. Spending that goes through the appropriations process, like defense.
Interest on the debt: $230 billion (6% of spending)7
Mandatory Spending explained8
Social Security: $725 (20% of spending)
Medicare: $480 billion (13% of spending)
Income Security9: $526 billion (15% of spending)
Medicaid & Other Health: $310 billion (9% of spending)
Discretionary spending explained10
Non-Defense: $648 billion (18% of spending)
This includes international affairs, science, space, technology, energy, natural resources, transportation education housing assistance, etc.
Defense: $699 billion (19% of spending)
Less than 1,000 miles from Jerusalem, the Iranian government is operating in open violation of international law in a singular pursuit of developing nuclear weapons. Under the cloud of this threat, Israel is considering all options in order to defend its very existence, yet President Barack Obama is failing to grasp the nature of the Iranian beast and has not offered Israel the resolute support it so desperately needs and deserves.
Of course, the President’s record falls short of his rhetoric. In a speech yesterday to the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee meeting, the President professed his love for Israel, insisting that his Administration has been a staunch ally to America’s friend in the Middle East. “I have kept my commitments to the state of Israel,” he said. “At every crucial juncture — at every fork in the road — we have been there for Israel. Every single time.”
Heritage’s James Carafano writes that the President left out glaring details on his failure to stand with Israel — namely by failing to mention the years he spent trying to “engage” with the Syrian and Iranian regimes, his missed opportunity to embrace the Green Revolution against Tehran, and the time wasted pressing Israel to negotiate with a Palestinian authority that tolerates Hamas — a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
Though the President pledged that nothing is “off the table” when it comes to dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat, throughout his Administration, Obama has failed to go far enough in lending Israel the support it needs at this crucial time and, in fact, has undercut America’s ally by warning that an Israeli preventive strike would be premature.
The President’s weak commitment to Israel and inadequate posture toward Iran has resulted in a growing distance between the President and his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — a chasm that will be on full display today when the two meet for a summit at the White House. Netanyahu, of course, recognizes the significant threat that the Iranian nuclear program poses to his people. He is determined to prevent another Holocaust, through military means if necessary. Conversely, President Obama evidently does not grasp this threat, underestimates the ideologically based hostility of Iran’s Islamist dictatorship, and is relying on diplomacy backed by sanctions to keep Iran under wraps.
In a new paper, Heritage’s James Phillips explains that this conflicting view of Iran has bred a glaring lack of trust between Israel and the United States. He says that today, the two leaders must begin developing a common understanding of how to confront Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons and present a credible military threat to Tehran:
Given the bellicose statements of Iran’s leaders calling for Israel’s destruction, Iran’s long history of supporting terrorism, and its growing ballistic missile capabilities–which can already target Israel–Netanyahu is understandably determined to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear capability. President Obama should make it clear that he fully shares those concerns and pledge to take strong action to prevent that from happening.
Phillips recommends a series of actions that President Obama should take in order to bolster America’s support of Israel and combat the Iranian threat. Specifically, the President should make every effort to present a common front against Iran, clarify the red lines that will trigger U.S. military action against Iran, set strict conditions on any last-ditch diplomatic talks, and recognize Israel’s right to take military action in anticipatory self-defense.
It is one thing for the President to profess his love for Israel — particularly in an election year. It is another thing for him to take significant action to back up those words. For too long, the President has embraced the philosophy of the “Obama Doctrine” — an effort to charm America’s enemies through engagement, while turning his back on allies like Israel who need America’s support. That strategy has not worked, the Iranian threat is growing, and Israel is increasingly vulnerable to nuclear annihilation. If President Obama wants to be a true friend to Israel — and he should — then he must change course and offer America’s ally the support it needs in guarding against its enemies.
From Talking Points Memo:
All eyes are on Ohio, the one state above all others on Super Tuesday where Mitt Romney could potential nail down the nomination with a victory — or where a win by Rick Santorum could put him back into contention in the Republican race for president. But beyond tomorrow, the eyes of the country will still be on Ohio, for the general election — both for the presidential race, and for the re-election campaign of Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Brown was elected to the Senate in the 2006 Democratic wave, defeating incumbent Republican Sen. Mike DeWine by a margin of 56%-44%. Before that, he was first elected to the Ohio state Senate way back in 1974, at the age of only 22; then Ohio Secretary of State in 1982. He was defeated for re-election in 1990, then made a comeback to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992, where he served until his election to the Senate.
His opponent is state Treasurer Josh Mandel — whose political career path seems in many ways a younger, Republican version of Brown’s. He was elected to the state House in 2006, at age 29, and was then elected Treasurer in the 2010 Republican wave, defeating the appointed Democratic incumbent by 55%-41%.
President Barack Obama has a bleak message for House and Senate Democrats this year when it comes to campaign cash: You’re on your own.
Democratic congressional leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, have privately sought as much as $30 million combined from Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee — a replay of the financial help they received from Obama in 2008 and 2010.
But that’s not going to happen, top Obama aides Jim Messina and David Plouffe told Reid and Pelosi in back-to-back meetings on Capitol Hill on Thursday, according to sources familiar with the high-level talks. It was a stark admission from a presidential campaign once expected to rake in as much as $1 billion of just how closely it is watching its own bottom line.
Messina and Plouffe told the two Hill leaders that there would be no cash transfers to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from OFA or the DNC, at least not before Election Day, the sources said.
From NBC Portland:
PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — A few more candidates have officially announced their runs for the U.S. Senate and House.
The Maine Republican Party helped circulate an email from Rick Bennet who is ramping up his signature collection drive. Bennett announced his intention Friday to run for the U.S. Senate as a Republican. Bennett is a former state senator and helped run Snowe’s last re-election bid. The Republican Party says their circulation of his email should not be seen as an endorsement.
Current State House Democrat Jon Hinck formally announced his bid for Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s seat Sunday. Volunteers gathered at his press conference in Portland to start gathering the one-thousand signatures he’ll need to run for the House seat. Hinck had planned a campaign for the Senate against Snowe, but instead has decided to support Pingree’s potential senatorial run.
Shenna Bellows also announced Sunday that she’s exploring the option of running for the 1st Congressional District seat. Bellows is on unpaid leave from her post as the Executive Director of the ACLU of Maine through March 15th.
From the Houston Chronicle:
At a packed tea party meeting at the Los Cucos restaurant in Kingwood, U.S. Senate candidate Ted Cruz got laughs when he called the venue a fitting one.
“I’m sure they would find it appropriate that we’re meeting in a restaurant called ‘cuckoos,’ because they think we’re nuts,” Cruz said. “They view what we’re doing with fear and apprehension, because it threatens their power.”
Cruz was talking about the Obama administration, but just as easily could have been referring to GOP regulars betting on well-heeled longtime Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the race to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison.
The 41-year-old former Texas solicitor general has never held elected office and has neither the name identification nor huge financial resources of the deep-pocketed Dewhurst. The self-proclaimed conservative warrior is not without weapons, however.
While not a household name in Texas, Cruz is a favorite of the national conservative intellectual elite. He was the subject of a glowing cover story in the National Review, and has backing from national tea party and conservative figures, including former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks group and a cadre of U.S. senators led by arch-conservative icon Jim DeMint, R-S.C.
Supporters at home include former state GOP chairman George Strake and George P. Bush, the politically involved nephew and grandson of former presidents.