New at American Clarion: Disappointment in Paul Ryan Provides Clue to America’s Current Mess

Wilfred McClay of the University of Oklahoma best summarized the root cause of conservatives’ unpleasant choice for president this fall: “when a political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising essential topics, the electorate will soon turn to ‘unrespectable’ ones” like Donald Trump.

Unfortunately, the punditry remains slow to recognize this, and nothing symbolizes its cognitive dissonance more than the reactions to House Speaker Paul Ryan supporting Trump despite Trump’s attacks on Judge Gonzalo Curiel. The past few weeks have been filled with fears and lamentations over the threat to Ryan’s standing as, Wisconsin radio host Charlie Sykes puts it, “the intellectual leader of the conservative movement in the GOP.”

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg sums up the sentiment in writing that it’s “more difficult for me to write than it should be” that Ryan’s “a disappointment”:

[P]hilosophically and temperamentally, I’ve long felt that Ryan is my kind of politician, and that judgment didn’t change after getting to know him (which is rare, given how most politicians are all too human). His vision for government’s role and the kind of party the GOP should be has always resonated with me, even if I didn’t agree with him on every policy or vote.

It should tell you all you need to know about the sorry state of the Right that disappointment in Ryan took this long for so many.

Read the rest at American Clarion.

New at American Clarion – Trump Won Because Conservatives Let Him

Now that we’re stuck with the ugly choice of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, we’re long overdue for a chat about just how easily this mess could have been avoided. Shocking though it may be that such a cartoonishly unqualified and un-conservative figure could sweep the Republican nomination, it was inevitable that the mistakes and blind spots that establishmentarians and conservatives allowed to fester for years would eventually blow up in our faces.

Most agree on the first cause: feckless Republican leaders, whose record of surrender has made their base desperate for someone to take a wrecking ball to Capitol Hill, and doubtful that anyone from within the party could suffice. So when Trump swept in sounding like that someone—and making immigration, the issue on which party and base are most divided, his centerpiece—of course he forged an emotional bond impervious to subsequent reviews of his record.

It’s not Trump’s fault nobody stepped in to fill that demand first—even Ted Cruz, who fought the establishment from day one, underestimated the stridency he needed to project, or how moves like his poison pill amendments to the Gang of 8 bill would backfire.

Read the rest at American Clarion.

How Awful Would Paul Ryan Be as House Speaker?

Let us count the ways:

  1. His Heritage Action and Conservative Review scorecards are 55% and 58%, respectively. That’s far worse than “imperfect”—Ryan’s record of standing with conservatives doesn’t even rise to the level of “below average.” It’s in F territory. I know liberals believe in rewarding failing grades, but are conservatives ready to join them?
  2. Ryan is an open-borders fanatic of the worst order, from sabotaging efforts to control immigration early in his career to championing the most recent amnesty bill, without regard for how utterly its border and enforcement provisions were proven to be fraudulent. Indeed, his immigration zealotry overrides his other supposed conservative principles so fully that he openly supports “guest workers” for the express purpose of relieving employers of the burden of having to offer Americans higher wages.
  3. Pro-lifers and marriage defenders can’t count on Ryan to have our back when it counts. He has repeatedly voted for budget resolutions that include funding for Planned Parenthood, supports unprincipled and unworkable “truces” on social issues, and voted for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which threatened religious employers’ right to require adherence to a faith’s principles even when relevant to the position.
  4. The sole rationale for Ryan’s stature on the Right is his supposed fiscal seriousness, his reputation as the smartest adult in the room when it comes to getting spending under control. Thing is, even that is wildly overblown. For all the hysterics it inspired at the time, his 2012 budget plan would have actually increased spending by trillions over the next decade, left countless wasteful and destructive programs and agencies untouched, and wouldn’t have balanced the budget until 2040. Worse, a year later he joined forces with Democrat Patty Murray to sabotage one of Hill Republicans’ only substantive accomplishments in recent memory, the sequester budget caps.
  5. Apart from his budgets’ substantive deficiencies, Ryan has never been any good at selling his ideas to the public. The pattern is pretty simple: Ryan churns out a plan, does little to no work helping his fellow Republicans prepare a real campaign to make the case for it, leftists inevitably scream that it means the elderly dying and poor people thrown on the streets, and Ryan responds with wonkish technobabble that impresses political junkies who already know better but means nothing to the voters he needs to reassure. Shouldn’t the fact that he couldn’t even put away Joe Biden have been a red flag here?
  6. Ryan favors other terrible fiscal policies: TARP and the internet sales tax scheme known as the Marketplace Fairness Act.
  7. Here’s Ryan in 2013 saying “if we had a Clinton presidency […] I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now,” and here he is in 2014 saying Barack Obama’s repeated violations of federal law, separation of powers, and the Constitution “do not rise to the high crime and misdemeanor level”…just in case any part of you was still expecting Speaker Ryan to give the Left a real fight.

New at Live Action: Don’t Let Iowa Gov. Branstad Chicken Out on Defunding Planned Parenthood

In July, Iowa Republican Governor Terry Branstad responded to the news of Planned Parenthood’s organ harvesting side business by ordering a comprehensive review of state women’s health and family planning funding to ensure none of it was helping Planned Parenthood perform abortions. Alas, now he says he can’t defund Planned Parenthood after all:

“It appears to me, and the advice that we have received from the attorney general’s office, is that we cannot defund Planned Parenthood,” Branstad said last week, according to The Des Moines Register. “The attorney general’s office has notified us that we don’t have reasons; [Planned Parenthood hasn’t] violated their responsibilities under the grants that they have received from the state.”

The Iowa social conservative group The Family Leader is not impressed, and has been doing a lot of work to refute Branstad’s claims and pressure him into doing the right thing.

Read the rest at Live Action News.

Abysmal Kasich-Rubio ’16 Case Illustrates Why GOP Keeps Losing Elections

The following article was originally written in August. Given the lack of responses at the time and that the subject of conservative publications giving platforms to disastrously unconservative political advice remains newsworthy, I am publishing it here.

In most fields, past failures to produce results tend to diminish one’s standing as an authority on future successes. So while it’s natural that alumni of John McCain’s presidential campaign would favor a 2016 nominee as centrist as John Kasich and a running mate as amnesty-minded as Marco Rubio, it’s also alarming to see their prescriptions disseminated in a leading conservative publication.

None of Myra Adams’s five points for Kasich-Rubio ’16 are persuasive. In fact, her August 14 National Review column making the case reads more like a catalogue of the Beltway myths, shallow assumptions, and unconservative priorities that have created countless Republican defeats. Continue reading