Here is the latest television spot for Yes on Measure 104 by the official campaign. The Measure 104 TV ad is very good and shows what is at stake.
This is no joke. For instance, the politicians created HB 2006 in 2017 which rolled back the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction for homeowners by introducing new income limits and tough rules on which homes qualify. The tax was labeled Not-a-Tax (despite raising a $100 million) and was allowed to bypass the Constitution’s 3/5 rule.
The politicians also created HB 2060 in 2017 which voided the Small Business Tax Cut for any businesses that didn’t hire new employees. The tax was deemed Not-a-Tax (despite it raises a ¼ billion) and was allowed to bypass the Constitution’s 3/5 rule.
These are real tax raising tax bills being sold as non-tax budget tweaks. Don’t buy the lie – Vote Yes on Measure 104!
Nearly 75% of the public has not voted. Please get your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers to turn in their ballots and Vote Yes on Measure 104.
We need to honor the will of the voters.
In 1996, Oregon Voters approved a Constitutional amendment requiring all taxes and fees to require a 3/5th majority of votes.
This higher 3/5 vote (60%) threshold in the Constitution has stopped a flood of tax increases from being passed over the past 20 years.
Now, the politicians have found a way around it.
By changing who qualifies for tax credits and deductions, the politicians can raise billions in new taxes without it ever being considered a tax increase.
This is why we need Measure 104!
— Was this article helpful? Enjoy lower taxes? Support the Taxpayer Association with a small donation here. Tax credit and tax deductible options.
The news ahead is so dire, we had to cram it into a single article.
#1. Statewide gun sales stop.
The newly passed Measure 114 requires a new complicated process to obtain a firearm that goes way beyond the two different processes of current backgroudn checks and Concealed License Permits. The Democrat Herald’s Hasso Herring explains,
“Unless a court intervenes before Measure 114 takes effect on Dec. 8, it looks like after that date private citizens will no longer be allowed to buy a firearm in Oregon for a good long while. But the promoters of the initiative didn’t mention that.The measure was sold as a “common sense” safety law. It requires a police permit before you can buy a firearm, and to get a permit you have to prove you know how to use a gun. What’s wrong with that?Well, the law also says that to get a permit to buy a gun, you have to prove completion of a firearms training course that is “offered by law enforcement, a community college, or a private or public institution or organization or firearms training school utilizing instructors certified by a law enforcement agency…”Local police and sheriffs do not “certify” instructors for the general public. Nor do they offer public firearms training. Linn-Benton Community College doesn’t offer such training either. Maybe some private gun ranges or self-defense instructors do, but they are not “certified by a law enforcement agency.”The State Police say they are working on administrative rules to carry out the new statute. But whenever the rules are adopted, they presumably can’t change the plain wording of the law.”
#2. Multnomah County’s flavor ban to wipe out countless small businesses.
Could you imagine government banning a grocery store from offering flavored drinks or a liquor store from banning flavored liquor? Well, on Monday night, Multnomah County is considering a county ban on flavored vaping and tobacco products. Most people use flavored vaping products, so it will bankrupt many local shops who spent years building their small shops only to have it evaporate in a matter of weeks.
The County wants to ban flavor among adults to keep it from kids. Once politicians go down this road there is no end to the things they will ban for adults in the name of children. This is sad, because vaping is often the #1 way people quit smoking. According to the Wall Street Journal, most of the high-profile problems associated with vaping illnesses can be traced to (1) Marijuana THC-based products (2) users illegally tampering with the product and (3) cheap black-market products made in China and Mexico and illegally sold online. Instead of focusing on solutions to these three key problems, County politicians simply want to punish everyone and ban mostly everything. By wiping out the vaping market in Multnomah County, sales will flock to online black markets where the product is not regulated, and is extremely dangerous and with no tax revenue collected. This is a massive lose-lose situation: Local legal shops get destroyed. Local jobs lost. Local vaping tax revenue (to fund health care costs) declines. The winners are illegal online sales. The State/County should instead be prosecuting black market criminal enterprises and smugglers and not rewarding them with new customers. You can submit testimony here.
#3. 24,000 lost Oregon jobs.
State Representative Raquel Moore-Green review of the budget forecast says that Oregon is expected to lose 24,000 jobs in 2023.
When this happens, payroll tax revenue will decline. When this happens tax revenue declines for politicians to spend. The fact that the politicians have had 10 years of repeated record-breaking budget revenue means they will be forced to go cold turkey very quickly as they must go from lavish spender to responsible budget balancer. They won’t. They will likely call for higher taxes.
Just look at fast they have been growing the budget.
Using Prior Supreme Court Rulings as a Guide, the Legal Challenge to Measure 114 Should Succeed
The Oregon Firearms Federation has filed suit in the federal district court in Pendleton challenging Oregon voters’ recent approval of Measure 114, the controversial ballot initiative concerning firearm sale and usage. The most controversial provision is the ban of large-capacity magazines. A large-capacity magazine is defined under the Measure as those with “more than 10 rounds of ammunition and allows a shooter to keep firing without having to pause to reload.” This definition is misleading, of course, as magazines with the capacity to accept more than ten rounds of ammunition are standard issue for many firearms. But, as a political matter, the overbreadth of the definition may have assisted with his passage.
In any event, the lawsuit asserts that the effect of Measure 114 violates various state and federal constitutional provisions. As applied to the so-called large magazine provision, the challengers are correct.
Both the Oregon and U.S. Constitutions protect the right to bear arms. However, Oregon courts have concluded that the “right to bear arms” is not synonymous with the Second Amendment. Oregon protects the right to possess firearms technologically similar to those commonly available in 1859, when the Oregon Constitution was approved. However, firearms based on more recent technology, such as automatic and semiautomatic firearms, are not automatically protected. This would appear to allow for stringent state prohibitions.
But state law is subservient to federal law, and federal law provides that Second Amendment protections apply to the states. Additionally, the Supreme Court has determined that “the Second Amendment extends to all instruments that constitute bearable arms” so long as the firearm is not unusual or dangerous.
The Supreme Court has created a legal review threshold which gun restrictions must satisfy. The first step is to assesses the provision at issue and the normal and ordinary meaning of the Second Amendment.
In the landmark 2010 firearm case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court concluded that the Second Amendment’s operative clause guaranteed the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. The Heller Court struck down the handgun ban at issue because those firearms are commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, consistent with the Second Amendment.
While the right is not unlimited – and restrictions on unusual or dangerous weapons are reasonable, as are restrictions on certain locations being “gun free” – the Second Amendment protects the possession and use of weapons that are “‘in common use at the time” or are otherwise consistent with the intent and enactment of the Second Amendment.
In other words, to be constitutional, the regulation must be consistent with the text and understanding of the Second Amendment as it was intended in 1791 and not prohibit or restrict the lawful use of normal, standard firearms.
Second Amendment litigation and regulations can be inconsistent and vary on a case-by-case basis. To establish some semblance of consistency, under Heller, the proper legal review is to look to the text, tradition, and history of the Second Amendment. Doing so in the Measure 114 litigation should lead the Court to a finding that Measure 114 is unconstitutional.
That is, for an outcome consistent with federal law, the reviewing judge will need to determine whether Measure 114’s prohibitions go so far as to restrict the application of a protected right under the Second Amendment dating to 1791. Under that approach, the outcome is clear. Indeed, Justice Thomas in Heller concluded that the Second Amendment simply codified an already pre-existing right – it did nothing new, it just enshrined the standard.
Using this analysis when reviewing Measure 114 should be consistent with the findings in Heller. For example, firearms and magazines capable of firing more than ten rounds have existed since before the Founding of the nation. They have widespread use throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and are commonplace both nationally and internationally.
With no longstanding prohibitions against them, large-capacity magazines are thus entitled to the Second Amendment’s protection. As a result, Measure 114 is unconstitutional because it attempts to revise Second Amendment history and protections, without providing a clear cut constitutional standard. There is no means-end reviewing standard when it comes to firearms. Instead the Court only looks at the text of the Amendment and the provision, and determine whether the provision infringes on the protections guaranteed in the right.
Measure 114 clearly goes too far in its regulation. As a result, the challenges in the Measure 114 litigation likely have a high chance of success.
2023 Should Be Oregon’s Year of Opportunity in K-12 Education
A June poll of Oregonians conducted by Nelson Research and sponsored by the Oregon Moms Union (an education advocacy group) found that most Oregonians are unhappy with the K-12 education system. It also showed that 73% of Oregon voters support school choice, including 60% of Democrats. This shouldn’t be a surprise, as national polls consistently demonstrate overwhelming support for school choice across all demographics and political affiliations.
Families increasingly believe one-size-fits-all public schools don’t work for all students and think parents should be able to choose among the schools and resources that best meet their children’s academic and developmental needs. Last year, more than 20 states created or expanded school choice laws. Thirty-two states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico all have enacted programs that empower students to get what they need to succeed in school.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents saw their children were not well served by their district schools. A lot of them are now “voting with their feet” for other education options. Private school, charter school, and homeschool enrollments have increased in Oregon and nationwide since 2020. In Portland Public Schools, this year’s district enrollment was projected to be down a cumulative 14% from pre-pandemic levels, due to a number of factors including enrollment choices. Public schools have lost 30,000 students statewide since 2019-20.
Oregonians have elected a new governor and state legislators to work together in Salem in January. Fresh leadership provides opportunities for Oregon lawmakers to respond to parents’ demand for choice in K-12 education. Here are three ways state leaders can expand options for students in the next legislative session:
Assure a “money-back guarantee” for Oregon parents. State-level education funding is allocated per child and paid directly to district schools, regardless of outcomes or parent satisfaction. Converting a portion of this funding to portable accounts for students would empower parents to find the best fit for their students to succeed.
Last summer, the Arizona legislature expanded the nation’s first Education Savings Account (ESA) program so that every child in Arizona will be eligible to exercise the state’s ESA option. Arizona’s law allows 90% of the state-level, per-pupil funding per year (about $7,000 per child) to follow the student to private school, homeschooling, learning pod, tutoring, or other educational services chosen by the student’s family.
An Oregon ESA program like Arizona’s would expand students’ options, reduce burdens on struggling schools and districts, and make schools accountable to the parents and students they serve.
Support Oregon’s thriving public charter schools by raising the legislative cap on charter enrollment, currently 3% of students in each district. Removing the cap would allow successful and popular charters to meet demonstrated student demand.
Expand public school district transfer policies so parents can choose among public options that already exist. This would help create incentives for schools to respond to parents’ needs and concerns, and reward public schools that achieve better outcomes.
A shift in mentality from top-down, bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all education mandates to expanding options for parents would work miracles for students and promote improvement in schools. Oregon’s education landscape has become more diverse and innovative. It’s time for Oregon parents to take full advantage of the opportunities available for children and match their students’ needs and goals with teachers, schools, and resources that will serve them best.
Kathryn Hickok is Executive Vice President at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization, and Director of Cascade’s Children’s Scholarship Fund-Oregon program. A version of this article was published by The Portland Tribune on November 17, 2022.
A total of 93 people have been killed in Portland in 2022, breaking the previous record of 92 which was accomplished just last year thanks to the liberal idea of de-funding Portland police by $12 million, cutting 100 police positions, pulling police from school security, the District Attorney dropping nearly 1,000 riot related charges, State Lawmakers voting to reduce prison times for many crimes, and Governor Brown releasing 1,000 criminals early.
We still have an entire month left in the year, so the homicide rate will increase.
One of the suspects in the recent deaths involves a suspect who has a 7x criminal record and drug abuse which only serves to confirm what we already know about crime waves — they are committed by criminals who should be in jail and involve drugs.
Most of the 93 deaths involve shootings. This is ironic since Oregon has some of the nation’s most restrictive gun laws (gun storage laws, red flag laws). It appears that criminals are not keeping their guns in gun safes as they murder people. It also appears that criminals are not using red flag laws against each other.
Worried About Getting Into An Oregon Public University? Don’t Be.
What’s all the angst about getting into college?
Sure, Harvard University admitted only 3.2% of the 61,220 people who applied to join the fall 2022 class, but Harvard’s not typical.
According to U.S. News & World Report, college acceptance rates average 68%. Pew Research Center found that over half of U.S. universities have an admissions rate of at least 67%.
Then there’s Oregon.
Can you breathe, fog up a mirror? If yes, just submit an application and you’ll probably be accepted at some of Oregon’s public universities.
Acceptance rates at Oregon’s seven public universities are unusually high. For the 2022-2023 academic year, they ranged from a high of 98.43% at Portland State University (PSU) to a low of 89.21% at Oregon State University (OSU):
School & Acceptance Rate (%)
Portland State University………98.43
Eastern Oregon University…….. 97.68
University of Oregon…………. 93.00
Western Oregon University………91.57
Oregon Institute of Technology….90.62
Southern Oregon University……..89.70
Oregon State University………..89.21
Not only are acceptance rates high at Oregon’s public universities, but they’ve been going up.
At the University of Oregon, for example, the average acceptance rate over the past 10 years is 79.89%, but it has been fairly steadily increasing from 72.96% for the 2012-13 academic year to 93.00% for the 2022-23 academic year.
So hang in there high school seniors. If you want to go to an Oregon public university there will probably be a spot for you.
Lars Larson: Sick of Multnomah’s excuses for freeing criminals
As Sally Field exclaimed when she accepted the award for best actress at the 57th Academy Awards in 1985, “I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!”
Why else would you send me dozens of emails asking me for money since you won your race on Nov. 8 to represent Iowa’s 2nd congressional district as a Republican? I’m just tickled that you want to keep the “MOMENTUM alive…to restore the CONSERVATIVE AGENDA in our effort to get our country back on the RIGHT TRACK” and I’m certainly more fearful after getting one of your messages today telling me “Americans are being turned against one another as the Democrats bring CHAOS and FEAR into our country. “
I don’t really want to give you any money, however. So I responded to your first email by clicking “unsubscribe”. But that didn’t stop your emails. No sirree. You’ve been a persistent one, shooting me more pleading emails just about every day, often several a day, even though I keep clicking “unsubscribe” on every single one.
I thought about complaining to some government agency so they could stop your email barrage.
But I was astonished to discover there’s little I can do to stop your messages.
The emails are the result of vendors who buy and sell and share lists,” according to Eitan D. Hersh, an associate professor of political science at Tufts University. “You can unsubscribe from various lists, but that’s about all you can do.”
And unsubscribing from or blocking one email list doesn’t stop the deluge coming from another list.
“That, of course, is like playing whack-a-mole,” says Los Angeles Times columnist David Lazarus. “The harsh reality is that your contact information — and lots more info — is bought and sold every day by hundreds of data brokers. Once your personal information is out there, it’s out there.
As Washington Post columnist Geoffrey Fowler put it, “The few existing rules for spam, robocalls and personal data expressly don’t apply to politicians. Even clicking “Unsubscribe” often doesn’t do anything but generate more unwanted messages.”
Politicians like you always figure out a way to take care of themselves, don’t they?
We are living in unparalleled economic experimental times.
When the first near- trillion in stimulus checks to citizens and businesses arrived,, something unexpected happened. People began savings their stimulus. That’s right. Nearly 25% of all stimulus awarded was put into savings.
More stimulus came in various ways. Pausing student loan payments provided many families $5,000 to $10,000 in annual relief. Stimulus for many taxpayers with children saw $6,000 in direct cash infusions to a family of two. One measure determined that the average middle class taxpayers gained $25,000 in various stimulus.
Now that the pandemic is over, we see that $1.2 trillion is still saved.
The Wall Street Journal Reports; “Economists estimate that headed into the third quarter of this year, households still had about $1.2 trillion to $1.8 trillion in “excess savings”—the amount above what they would have saved had there been no pandemic…In 2019, before the pandemic hit, households saved 8.8% of their disposable income. That saving rate jumped to 16.8% in 2020, the highest annual saving rate on record, as government stimulus and unemployment benefits left many consumers flush with cash …Economists’ estimates for how much consumers have left vary. Mr. Shepherdson puts it at $1.3 trillion and estimates that at the current rate of rundown, that could last another year or so. JPMorgan Chase & Co. put the hoard at about $1.2 to $1.8 trillion in the third quarter, and said it could be entirely spent by the second half of next year…”
The stimulus failed to fully stimulate.
The stimulus and the entire near-$9 trillion in extra spending during the pandemic has resulted in inflation which now has wrecked the economy and shrunk people’s wages. It has also exploded the deficit for which we is crippling our budget and forcing us to pay interest that did not exist as such before the pandemic.
The fact that so many people are still hurting meant that much of the stimulus didn’t go to the people in need — as also it went to many who were not even asking for it and others simply sat on it. Still others, dumped it into junk stocks and distorted the stock market.
To spend that much money that people didn’t use and the end result is a inflation wrecked economy (that could last 5-9 years), a recession, and debts and debt interest payments that will hurt us all for a generation, seems to send alarm bells that things went horrifically wrong. Yet, few people are talking about it in this way.
Last week we received our 4th quarter revenue forecast. You may click here for the complete forecast report. Here are a few highlights:
A recession as the most likely/baseline scenario for the forecast. With a mild recession starting in q3 of 2023. With a projected 1.2% decline in jobs where Oregon would lose 24,000 jobs.
We are likely to see more job losses in industries such as construction, finance, manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing. These are the industries that face more impacts from interest rates. There are projected to be less loses in health care, leisure and hospitality.
Oregon is looking at about a $3 billion decrease in revenue from the prior biennium.
Unprecedented revenue growth in Oregon personal income tax liability last year.
Lottery, CAT, and Marijuana taxes are projected to be slightly lowered due to the recession.
Combined resources from the current and next biennium are down $13 million from the last forecast. With the 21-23 biennium up $416 million and the 23-25 biennium is down $429 million.
There is now a projected $3.6 billion Personal Kicker.
In early December we will be engaged with Legislative Days. I anticipate that we will have several reports pertaining to previous legislation including our state’s performance in their response to the COVID19 pandemic. Additionally, we will have an early look at proposed legislation for the upcoming 2023 legislative session. You can find committee schedules here.
The completion of our election cycles this fall brought forth full circle the results of the Redistricting that took place in September of 2021. To find out who will serve you beginning in January 2023 please click here.
The Kushners’ Influence on Trump Healthcare Reform
On the pages of the Oregon Catalyst, I’ve already addressed how healthcare reform under the Trump administration was made impossible by President Trump’s left-wing views on health policy here and here. Ward reports that opposition to free markets in healthcare was reinforced by his son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Priebus was deeply frustrated by Kushner’s steadfast opposition to the idea of repealing the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), put on the table at the start of the administration by Priebus’s close friend Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. So, too, for completely different reasons, was Gary Cohn. Cohn, a Democrat, agreed with Kushner that repealing and replacing Obamacare the way the Republicans wanted—by, among other things, rolling back Medicaid expansion and cutting the taxes on the rich that helped pay for it—was wrong. But he completely disagreed with Kushner’s approach to creating a workable alternative. He, and others, noticed that Kushner kept trying to get his younger brother involved. “Josh knows more about this topic than anyone else,” he’d brag. He was referring to the fact that Josh had co-founded the online health insurer, Oscar, which was predicated on Obamacare: it could be purchased on the state exchanges that the Affordable Care Act had created. Cohn knew Josh, but he thought it would be completely inappropriate for the younger Kushner to be anywhere near the shaping of a new health care bill. (Jared denied attempting to involve his brother in health policy.) Cohn knew that the Kushner brothers had a partnership arrangement in Cadre, and this made him suspicious of Jared’s motives on health care. Oscar’s valuation around the time that the White House was considering replacing Obamacare was $2.7 billion—higher than that of 666 Fifth Avenue—which meant that if new legislation rolled back Obamacare, it could be financially catastrophic. Someone close to the brothers pointed out to me that “no other asset [in the Kushner family] comes close [to Oscar].”
Josh never spoke to Cohn about the so-called repeal-and-replace efforts. However, Josh’s chief policy and strategy officer at Oscar, former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, talked (and talked) to Cohn about it, to the point that Cohn felt uncomfortable. He felt Klein was blatantly trying to sculpt health care in a way that would be best for Oscar. (In an email, Klein said that Cohn had asked him for his views. “We publicly opposed the Administration’s position and, like any other interested party, we wanted our views to be heard.”)
Jared’s next tin-eared move was to bring in Ezekiel Emanuel, a distinguished oncologist and academic, and the brother of talent agent Ari and Chicago mayor Rahm, as an ad-hoc consultant. Emanuel’s ideas were even more radical than Obama’s had been. There was no way they would garner any Republican support. Cohn felt Jared was not looking at the practical challenges of the puzzle they faced: of coming up with some kind of bill that could actually get votes. Jared was more impressed by famous names.
The popular memory has John McCain casting a deciding vote that killed Trump’s effort to repeal Obamacare. What that narrative gets wrong is that the vote was on a genuine repeal of Obamacare. It was not. McCain voted against what was called the “skinny bill” a partial repeal that kept the worst aspects of Obamacare in place, like community rating.
Why was there never a clean repeal option? The reason is the Trump administration didn’t want one, and Jared Kuschner was a part of that phony approach to repeal.
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PDX airport overspent $100M for artsy roof. Airline fees wasted
Holiday travelers in busy airports should know that Portland airport overspent by $100 million to build a luxury roof. Instead of spending an estimated $20 million for a basic steel roof, Portland International Airport spent $125 million for a super-expensive wooden art design.This $125 million was funded by airline fees.
The airport says, at $120 million, they wanted people to have a more enjoyable airport experience.
Those airline fees could have created a better customer experience by building more airport restrooms, adding more TSA agents to move lines quicker, or simply reducing airline fees so flying can be more affordable.
Multnomah County Health officials are recommending those families with children ages up to 3 years to consider cancelling Thanksgiving. There is a rise in Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases. Hospitals can’t handle the rise because Oregon hospitals are over-crowded.
The over-crowding is due to labor shortage as a result…
• Oregon’s push to fire thousands of nurses during the pandemic due to an inflexible/unusually restrictive vaccine policy (only 6 states had such specific policy).
• high hospital taxes and regulations have reduced health care staff (making Oregon one of the worst hospital capacity states in America before the pandemic).
• government paying healthy able-bodied people more to not-work rather than to work is contributing to the labor shortage.
• State government banning employers from offering hiring bonuses. While places like Montana offer nurses $12,000 (+ plus moving expenses) to come to their hospitals, Oregon kicks them out.
• During the pandemic the Oregon Legislature decided to stash away $1 billion in Covid relief funds into a slush fund for later use, instead of using COVID funds to ease hospital over-crowding.
President Joe Biden put on his Twitter page a Tweet asking other states to follow Oregon’s example to pardon 45,000 past marijuana convictions on the state level.
This is what Governor Brown did this week, “Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced that she is pardoning 45,000 people who have faced past convictions of marijuana. This also includes $14 million in unpaid fines and fees. This follows President Biden’s pardon plan for Federal cases of marijuana possession. The pardon would apply only to convictions of 1 ounce of less of marijuana,no other crimes were committed and the person was 21 or over.Governors from other states, Colorado, Nevada, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington are also considering the same pardon. The Governor of Texas has rejected the idea.”
Over a hundred days of riots, skyrocketing murder rates, and little to no accountability, all under Ted Wheeler’s watch. But what does he have to say for himself? Listen below to hear Lars talk to the feckless mayor of the city of Roses.
2020 Election,2022 Elections,2024 Presidential Election,Abuse of Power,Character,Corruption,Election Fraud,FBI Leadership Corruption,Free Speech,Government Abuse,Government corruption,Hillary Clinton,Liberalism,McCain,Mitt Romney,Nancy Pelosi,Politicians and Morons,President Donald Trump,President Joe Biden,President Obama,Progressivism |
This week, after most of the smoke had cleared regarding the mid-term elections I changed my registration in Arizona from Republican to Non-Affiliated. As you are probably tired of hearing I am a conservative, not a Republican. During that time I registered as a Republican solely because there are no real conservatives allowed in the Democrat Party. I have dallied with the idea of becoming a Libertarian but I am firmly opposed to their positions on abortion and drug use. (I understand the logic of their position and that it is consistent with their fundamental tenet regarding government interference in one’s personal life, but in both such instances there are innocent lives that are effected by their position.) The remaining political parties are largely irrelevant because they cannot reliably fill a room let alone a majority of voters.
I had thought by registering as a Republican I might find common ground with candidates in the Republican primaries. Reluctantly, over time, I have concluded that participating in the Republican primaries is a waste of my time and an interference with the Republican leadership’s intention to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on a regular basis. I know it is an aggravation to me and I’m sure that having their short comings revealed and discussed is an aggravation to them. But I’m going to do it anyway.
The great Red Wave of 2022, has turned out to be a smudge despite its hype by Republicans, the pollsters and the media – even many Democrats reluctantly concurred. I place the blame for such a monumental failure squarely on the failings of the Republican hierarchy in the following three areas which are not listed in any particular order:
The failure to enunciated a clear, consistent statement of goals and objectives that would allow voters a real choice between the chaos generated by President Joe Biden (D) and the liberal/progressive leadership of the Democrat Party and a return to traditional family and civic values.
The lingering effect of the hatred of former President Donald Trump (R) generated by the Democrats and carried by the mainstream media and ably assisted by Mr. Trump’s non-stop megalomania, big-mouth and derisive comments about his fellow Republicans. Including his insistence on primary candidates loyalty to him rather than to a set of conservative principles.
The fear by many in the Republican leadership that someone – anyone – might get a step ahead of them and the resulting continuous backstabbing of anyone gaining traction – watch out Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL). (I refer to this as the (Sen.) John McCain syndrome since he was the most active backstabber in the party prior to his death.)
It would be difficult to point to anyone of these items as decisive in the mid-term elections but, like the straw that broke the camel’s back, the accumulation of them spelled disaster and were so obvious from the beginning that a competent leadership group would have recognized and addressed them.
So, let’s take these one at a time:
1. A clear and consistent message of goals and objectives. Here is the message of goals and objectives developed by Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) the Republican nominee to become Speaker of the House:
An economy that is strong
A nation that is safe
A future that is built on freedom
A government that is accountable
I have noted previously that these are such glittering generalities that no one could disagree and more importantly no one could determine whether progress was being made. In a snide aside I have previously noted that the only thing missing from Mr. McCarthy’s list was a pledge to “do good and avoid evil” and “brush your teeth before going to bed.”
And that is precisely the point. America is facing a number of huge and critical issues: raging inflation, a war in Ukraine, a continuing invasion of illegal aliens at our Southern border, and escalating criminal violence in our major cities. The American people wanted to know what the Republicans were going to do about all or any one of those items. And what they got was pablum better suited for a nursery school than for an anxious and fearful population. That failure lies squarely on the shoulders of Mr. McCarthy and is indicative of the kind of weak and rudderless leadership that he is likely to provide.
2. The Trump effect. President Donald Trump was a unique, energetic and compelling figure in a political landscape where the first lesson to be learned was “don’t rock the boat.” He was an existential threat to the status quo and more importantly to the criminal enterprises begun and largely managed by senior Democrat officials and leaders. In order to promote these criminal enterprise they co-opted the State Department, the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They filtered federal monies through the public employee unions to finance their campaigns and they joined with the mainstream media to suppress evidence of criminal activities and the free speech rights of those who objected. It is the closest America has ever come to fascism under the guise of “social justice.”
Mr. Trump was not a product of that tight knit cabal and he talked incessantly about its corrosive effect and most particularly about the acquiescence of the mainstream press and most importantly he said that he was going to do something about it – drain the swamp, an apt description of the cesspool that federal politicians had allowed to gather and grow. He had to go. And so they mounted their combined resources:
Investigations by the FBI and Justice Department that knew from the beginning there was nothing there but continued them to maximize the damage as the 2020 elections drew near.
Planted phony evidence manufactured by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and coordinated with the Justice Department and the FBI for routine leaks and false accusations.
Congressional investigations engineered by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi and managed by a triumvirate of liars (Reps. Adam Schiff, Eric Swalwell
and Jerry Nadler) who regularly leaked unsubstantiated allegations about Mr. Trump to a voracious mainstream media.
The mainstream media who never once fact checked a leak from the Justice Department, the FBI, the Clinton campaign machine or the Democrat congressional members because they were so intent on destroying a President who routinely called them out on their corruption and lack of factual reporting.
Mr. Trump withstood the assault by the Democrats, by the congressional committees, by the mainstream media and the combined bureaucratic forces of the The Swamp and while doing so held them up to the distrust and ridicule they well deserved. Had he left it at that it he would still be president.
But it was Mr. Trump’s megalomania and big mouth that ultimately did him in. The demand for personal loyalty over constitutional duty. The ceaseless need to belittle all with whom he disagreed. (It’s not that they didn’t deserve it given the outrageous accusations and actions undertaken by them but at a point the responses became grinding and well beneath the Office of the President.) And the foghorn of “stolen election” without the requisite proof. All together they drove voters in 2022 to forget the good Mr. Trump accomplished and focused solely on the unseemly side of his personality. And there is no redemption to be found. Mr. Trump is so mired in his own delusion that he cannot back away from the very thing that is doing him in. It is like watching an alcoholic drink himself to death. And he is dragging down others with him.
3. The McCain effect. The Republican Party has often been described as a circular firing squad – firing away at each other and oblivious to the advances of their real opponents. First Mr. McCain and then Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) challenged former President Barack Obama for the presidency. They never laid a glove on him even though he was a deeply flawed snake-oil salesman. They never even tried. Instead they saved their best shots for their Republican opponents during the primaries or the Republicans that succeeded where they had failed. It was when Mr. McCain rose from his death bed to cast the deciding vote for going forward to debate the repeal of Obamacare so that he could then vote against the repeal and deny his fellow Republicans one of their primary goals. There is a malignancy in the heart of those who will sacrifice their own party not to gain something in which they believe but to ensure the defeat of something they could not accomplish themselves. And the Republicans are notorious for doing just that – so much so that it is difficult for voters to trust that they can ever accomplish a goal because of their own internal bickering and backstabbing.
All three of these flaws contributed to the debacle of the 2022 election and the crushing of a Red Wave that turned into a trickle of pink lemonade. To what degree each contributed is hard to tell but they were all there and they all bear ultimate responsibility to one of the most embarrassing defeats in recent times.
And it does not appear that a lesson has been learned from any of these. The Republicans have selected Mr. McCarthy as their leader despite his inability to put together a cogent plan to stem the corruption and ruin of Mr. Biden and the liberal/progressives. Mr. Trump has announced his is running again and immediately began to badmouth all of his would-be Republican challengers. And Mr. Romney, soon to be joined by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) are sharpening their knives with which to stab someone – anyone but a Democrat – in the back.
When asked I have said that if Mr. Trump is the Republican nominee in 2024 I will reluctantly vote for him because the alternative is far worse. However, I will not help him to become the nominee – meaning I won’t vote for him in a primary.