American Politics

Mia Love: Symbol for GOP’s Challenge in 2016

Mia_Love_by_Gage_Skidmore“Miracles happen,” said venerable Sen. Oren Hatch of Utah, speaking of Republican gains in the Senate Tuesday night, but he might as well have been speaking of the victory of Mia Love as the first black Republican woman to Congress, maybe ever. From lily white Utah, no less.

Love’s win came late in a day full of political news, so its significance may have been lost to mainstream media and even the conservative press. Love, a former small town mayor, is an outspoken conservative, the sort that have to start showing up more often in Republican ranks if that party is to have a chance in elections going forward.

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Thank You, Candidates

We pause before the election returns come in to thank the candidates of both parties (and independents) who ran this year. Because of you, the voters had choices. The process is grueling and candidates are often twisted around by consultants and managers to be something in a campaign that they are not in real life; it’s humiliating. Imagine for example that you were one of the Democrats who declined to say whether they had voted for Obama. That was consultants using them a puppets.

Matt Miller, who lost a Democratic primary race for Congress in California earlier this year, writes for Politico Magazine an unusual and fully credible account of what it is like these days to be a candidate. Candidates in both parties could relate to what he describes.

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They Check Voter IDs in Tunisia

Official foreign observers are in Tunisia this week for the parliamentary elections that take place on the 26th–three years after “the Arab Spring” revolution that returned democracy to this nation of 10 million. Today, leaders of the Independent Election Commission that has put 15,000 trained polling officials on duty assured the International Republican Institute delegation (of which I am a member) that every effort is made to avoid fraud.

For example, if someone appears at a voting center without acceptable ID, he or she will be turned away. Without exceptions. Read More ›

The Spectacle of a Political Committee Pulling its Campaign Spots

The very public decision of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to pulls its TV ads in Kentucky in support of Democrat Alice Lundergran Grimes’ campaign–because they now expect her to lose–is an example of the increasingly callous abuse of parties and candidates by pollsters and consultants. It stimulates the “horse race” coverage of elections and demoralizes the party faithful. And the cynical spectacle is not only limited to Kentucky.

Publicly pulling a fund-raising group’s financial support is also a cruel trick to play on candidates. Various political operatives help persuade a candidate to run, then feel no embarrassment later for undercutting the candidate publicly in the often-crucial weeks of a campaign. The candidate not only loses monetary backing, but he or she also is damaged by the “loser” label applied in the media by erstwhile friends.

Alice Lundergran Grimes is a good example. She is no match for the experience and political acumen of Sen. Mitch McConnell, whom she seeks to replace. But she also seems to have a surplus of humility in the presence of campaign consultants who no doubt have told her not to mention whom she voted for in the presidential races of 2008 and 2012. Several other candidates on the Democratic ticket nationally are taking the same strange stand and you can almost hear their advisors insisting that such a position is necessary in a country where President Obama is increasingly unpopular. Surely someone with common sense–including the candidates themselves–would have figured out that the ploy would backfire and that voters would decide that someone who refused to answer such an obvious question is not ready for the big time.

So taking such bad advice hurts the candidate. Then the fundraising pros take the money away–because the candidate is weaker now. Read More ›

Someone at Harvard Gets It

Was it really sixty some years ago that Harvard stood up against Sen. Joe McCarthy and and his exaggerated charges of communism on campuses? Today, Harvard has swung far to the other end of the ideological spectrum. For example, it has new policies that encourage tendentious prosecution of males who have sex with females without getting adequate permission. The whole idea is ludicrous. It’s hard enough to get students to use birth control, let alone to abstain. But to arrange some sort of sex contract? Get serious. (Some are suggesting that the new rules are such a turn-off that rampant sex on campus will have cold water thrown on it, so to speak. Not altogether a bad thing. But threatening prosecution for sex acts after the fact is a strange way to achieve moral reform.)

Some Harvard Law professors have, indeed, become serious and are objecting to Harvard’s new standards as extra-legal and ethically unsound. Their arguments make sense and, one hopes, will have influence on faculty at other universities.

But, meanwhile, why do universities think it is their business to adjudicate rape charges in the first place? We have good civil/criminal laws on the subject. A charge of rape is far too serious to be handled by appointed university boards–especially since many of them are kangaroo courts. Call the police, people! Read More ›

Politics of Education Necessary for Reform

Discovery Institute’s site on our new book on education is up online now: Every School, by Donald P. Nielsen. Don is a successful technology businessman whose volunteer service included the Seattle School Board, where he was President. From that experience and a great deal of study and travel, he has learned enough about what makes reform possible and has encapsulated it in what amounts to a very readable manual for executives, legislators and community leaders. Here is how to get to the new site and, while you are there, listen to my brief interview of Don about this book.

Bruce-&-DonWhat is crucial is to get broad political involvement in reform where it really counts, which, Don found out, is mainly at the state level, rather than at the local or national levels. Every School is published by Discovery Press, and you can be sure we will promote it as much as possible.

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Obama Giving Up; Really?

Leon Panetta, former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense, told Andrea Mitchell of MSNBC that he thinks that Barrack Obama and his White House team have “given up.”

Says Panetta, “…I have a feeling that the leadership and the president have given up on the big issues facing this country whether it’s immigration or a budget deal or infrastructure funding or trade or energy. There is a sense that you can’t deal with that.”

If that is true—that Obama has “given up”–and even if it becomes a widespread opinion, the country is in trouble during the coming two years. At a point when the media and other elites conclude that a leader is no longer interested in his job and is just running the clock (to use a basketball metaphor appropriate to our current Commander in Chief), they start to find fault with everything he does. There is a tipping point, and the November election, if Democrats lose the Senate, could be that point.

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New Court Victory for Free Speech

Twenty states have “false statement” laws that allow a government agency to adjudicate complaints of “lying” in political campaigns. A prolonged effort by the Susan B. Anthony List in Ohio has concluded with a court ruling today that nullifies a version of the “false statement” act in the Buckeye State, placing judgement about political truths and falsehoods back in the hands of voters, where it belongs. This win will reverberate around the country. Read More ›