Smugness is obnoxious. Since the failed ObamaCare rollout, there have been a lot of smug Republicans.
They gleefully recount healthcare.gov horror stories—hours spent on the site without being able to sign up—and people who haven’t been able to keep their plans, period. Contrary to the pervasive joy in Conservative circles, these aren’t good things.
The average American may not have been a huge fan of the Affordable Care Act when it passed, but now that it’s law, they’d like it to work properly, make their lives easier. They’re worried. It seems like their government can’t do anything right. Their country appears to be faltering.
They look around for an alternative, someone to rescue them from this leaderless chaos, and what do they see? Republicans with sh**-eating grins on their faces taking triumphant turns on talking head shows. We don’t look like the better option.
If Republicans don’t change our behavior and attitude, we will squander the opportunity to right the terrible wrongs of Obama’s presidency. We can’t dance in the end zone.
We need to let people know that we don’t want to win for the sake of winning. We want to provide constructive solutions to improve their lives. Sometimes, those solutions are just to get government out of the way, a point Obamacare is effectively illustrating for us.
We have to say, “I know you’re frustrated and disappointed the health care law is not working, we are too and here’s what we’d like to do to make it better.” Or, “I recognize that aspects of Obamacare—letting young adults stay on their parents’ plan until age 26 or enabling people with pre-existing conditions to get coverage—really help your family, but we think there’s an even better way to help you and others, and here it is.”
As Republicans, we have the better ideas. If we truly want the American people to give us the chance to prove it, we’d better shape up.
From her blog posted at 4:31pm yesterday, it would appear Peggy Noonan is psychic.
In her advice to Republicans on the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Noonan instructs, “Do not be defeated by Sebelius’s media coaches. Do not let the secretary’s slightly dazed unflappability get under your skin. All representatives of government are surrounded by communications advisers. Sebelius’s are no doubt advising her right now to do what they always tell officials in trouble to do: Come forth with long, meaningless yet on some level data-filled sentences that will steer clear of speaking plain truth and yet on some level imply the effort to be candid.”
Noonan then provides a hypothetical transcript that bears a striking resemblance to the actual transcript from today’s hearing:
Q: Madame Secretary, did you know or have reason to know the ObamaCare website would crash on opening day? If you did, did you tell the White House? Who in the White House? If you did not know, how did it happen that you, the person in charge of the program, did not understand the depth of its problems?
A: So, we know through historical experience that a vast, multitiered, horizontally integrated program will always yield or produce certain unanticipated challenges of a technological or other nature, which is inevitably and also predictably the pattern, and it’s increased by the scale and size of the endeavor . . .
Q: Let me ask: Did you know that as soon as the program debuted, millions of Americans would see their own health insurance policies canceled or terminated? And that they would often find that newer policies would be more expensive with less coverage? When did you come to understand this—during the writing of the law, after its passage, in the ensuing years? If you did not know that millions would lose their coverage, how did it happen that you did not know?
A: So, in the intervening days and months following the passage of the ACA, a focused task force composed of peer-reviewed stakeholders throughout the government and the private sector, in addition to appropriate designated agency officials, along with contractors and subcontractors . . .
Of course, initial headlines covering the hearing highlight Sebelius’s apology for the failed rollout. Another delightful tidbit making the rounds online is this exchange between Sebelius and Mississippi representative, Greg Harper, in which Sebelius replies to Harper’s insistence that Obama is ultimately responsible with, “whatever.”
Really however, there was nothing new or earth shattering in the testimony. In fact, for those of us who fought Obamacare since its inception, the failed rollout and millions of Americans losing their current plans is not at all surprising. It’s what we always knew would happen.
As was clear in today’s hearing and this week’s coverage, Democrats have seized on our forewarnings of failure as proof that the failure is our fault.
That’s right. Republicans’ mental power is so strong that we can make things come true simply by stating them out loud. If that were the case, President Romney would currently be dismantling the Affordable Care Act, aided by a Republican controlled House and Senate.
No, responsibility for Obamacare—it’s failures and lies—rests fully with the president and congressional Democrats (reason #123 why it’s best to pass massive legislation with bipartisan support).
The Obamacare debate and debacle highlights big government liberalism’s inherent flaw: Overpromising and under-delivering is the only thing government consistently does well. Conservatives recognize this reality and legislate accordingly. Democrats do not. Thus, we knew Obamacare wouldn’t work, while they’re stunned it’s not going smoothly.
In the end, I guess the problems of Obamacare could be blamed on Republicans—despite our wisdom, we failed to defeat the bill.
On this day in 1787, 38 of the 41 delegates at the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention signed the document setting into motion the establishment of the greatest nation in the world. Unfortunately today, many people have not even taken the time to read the U.S. Constitution, and even more are unsure of what it says. In our classrooms, most kids can name what day the new iPhone comes out, but can’t name a single part in the Constitution. (Read it here – not a bad activity on a day like today)
Constitution Day was established in 2004 as an amendment to a congressional spending bill with the primary purpose of educating people on the founding principals of America. It seems that recently, the Constitution has been under particular scrutiny. Opinions on the interpretation of the Constitution have run the gambit and will continue to do so.
Two hundred and twenty-six years ago, the Framers of our Constitution may not have imagined the arguments that would take place today. What they did imagine is a nation where debate was encouraged, liberty and privacy respected, and each branch of government held in check by the other.
In practice, what they set out to create has continued to serve our nation, and the world, well. We can argue on any issue, and the precepts of that tattered document shine through like the beacon held by Lady Liberty protecting our nation.
The Constitution is the heart of America, breathing life into every decision that is ultimately made for its people. Everyone can pontificate the right and wrong decisions made by presidents, legislatures and courts throughout our history, but right or wrong, we have weathered the storms of wars, economic collapse, natural disasters, and other calamities. Our lifeline has always been the Constitution.
America has always had the “can do” spirit and optimism to overcome any adversity. The same spirit shown by those 38 brave Americans penning their name to the greatest document the world has seen.
When you have someone help set stuff up for you (like a blog page) it’s a good idea to write down passwords. I changed computers a couple weeks ago and haven’t been able to log into NobleThinking – sorry about the silent treatment.
As you likely know, I fly. A lot. So I read this headline with interest:
Friday 13th travellers take chance on flight 666 to HEL
Now, they aren’t actually flying to hell. Every airport in the world has a three letter code, some which are obvious like LAX, PHX or SFO and some which aren’t as obvious like ORD (Chicago) or MCO (Orlando). HEL is the airport code for Helsinki.
Would I take that flight? Sure. I’m not superstitious (expect in baseball) and I’m writing this while on a flight on Friday the 13th already.
Sometimes it’s better to not listen to your kid’s playlist. It makes you realize they are growing up way too fast.
When it comes to Syria, I can’t imagine it makes sense to say, “Hey Russia, great idea!” Russia may not be the menace that it was during the Cold War, but it is not an ally. Still, Putin is way more cool than our President.
I’ve been in politics for more than 20 years and I figure I have pretty much seen it all. But sometimes in politics I see something so beyond the pale that it still shocks me. That is the case with the latest move by Senate President Harry Reid (D-NV) and other Senate Democrats.
They are really unhappy that Sen. David Vitter continues to denounce ObamaCare and is saying that lawmakers shouldn’t be getting subsidized health care coverage. You may remember that Sen. Vitter was accused of having a relationship with a call girl a number of years ago.
With that context, check out this story by Politico:
Senate Democrats have had all they can take from David Vitter and his fixation on Obamacare — and they’re dredging up his past prostitution scandal to hit back.
Vitter, a Louisiana Republican, has infuriated Democrats this week by commandeering the Senate floor, demanding a vote on his amendment repealing federal contributions to help pay for lawmakers’ health care coverage.
But Democratic senators are preparing a legislative response targeting a sordid Vitter episode. If Vitter continues to insist on a vote on his proposal, Democrats could counter with one of their own: Lawmakers will be denied those government contributions if there is “probable cause” they solicited prostitutes.
You couldn’t make this stuff up. This is junior high school level bullying. Now, I’ve never been a fan of Harry Reid, but this is so beneath someone who is supposed to represent the people that you have to call him what is: a real a**. He truly demonstrates why the Democratic mascot is a donkey.
I love the Disney movie “Up.” So I read with interest that there was a guy who used hundreds of colored balloons to take off from Maine to cross the Atlantic Ocean. That takes some serious guts.
Alas, about 12 hours into the trip, he landed in Newfoundland and proclaimed, “This doesn’t look like France.” At least he has a sense of humor.
It is said that Mormons are a “peculiar” people. As such, especially in the present-day world we live in, we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.
In bars and restaurants across Manhattan, London, Chicago and D.C., people are talking about the LDS Church. Is that a bad thing?
No, but I’m guessing when former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Ezra Taft Benson spoke about a day when films, songs, musicals and plays would be written about the Book of Mormon he didn’t have the current Broadway show “Book of Mormon” in mind.
The first thing to know about the musical is that it was written by the same guys who created South Park. Maybe that’s all you need to know. Their humor can be irreverent, crude, biting and often downright offensive. But it can be very, very funny.
As it turns out, “Book of Mormon” is also irreverent, crude, biting and (depending on your sensitivities) downright offensive. And it is very, very funny.
I bristled, I cringed, I clucked disapproval and shook my head in disbelief a few times. But most of all I laughed.
And during the performance of a piece called “I Believe” I had an epiphany. Every line of substance in the song is something I have said or heard over the pulpit – maybe not in exactly the same way it is written – but substantively, it’s true. (Warning: the full lyrics are of a graphic nature)
Here is a sample:
That the Lord God created the universe.
That he sent his only son to die for my sins.
And I believe-
That ancient Jews built boats and sailed
You cannot just believe part-way.
You have to believe in it all.
My problem was doubting
the Lord’s will.
Instead of standing tall.
I can’t allow myself to have any doubt.
That God has a plan for all of us.
That plan involves
Me getting my own planet.
And I believe
That the current President of the church,
Thomas Monson, speaks, directly to God.
I know that I must go and do-
The things my God commands.
I realize now why he sent me here!
If you ask the Lord in faith
He will always answer you just believe
In him and have no fear.
The scriptures say that if you ask in faith,
If you ask God himself you’ll know.
But you must ask him without any doubt,
And let your spirit grow!
That God lives on a planet called Kolob!
That Jesus has his own planet as well.
And I believe
That the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri.
If you believe,
The Lord will reveal it.
And you’ll know it’s all true-
You’ll just feel it.
Now, when this is being performed in a musical rendition meant to poke fun at how “naïve” Mormons are, it gets some big laughs – particularly the line about the Garden of Eden being in Jackson County, Missouri.
But strip away the mocking tone and in some cases adjust the language slightly, and the kid is singing Mormon doctrine.
I wouldn’t doubt that there have been some people who watched the production and then earnestly sought to know more. In fact, early on in the run of the production the LDS Church bought space in the playbill with the message, “You’ve seen the musical, now read the book,” with an offer for an actual Book of Mormon.
Given that millions more people will hear about “Book of Mormon” than ever actually see it, the publicity is probably not all bad for the LDS Church or its members. Given how over-the-top the humor is, there are bound to be questions about the LDS faith that will lead to thoughtful and serious conversations.
Look, we can’t take ourselves too seriously. After all, we are a “peculiar” people.
Lately, President Obama has been giving “big, important, economic speeches” that give us that “meh” feeling. But enough work, right?
Last night’s appearance on Jay Leno was to be a decidedly more relaxed environment before Obama goes on another vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. Obama and Jay talked candidly about the issues of the day, from Trayvon Martin, Vladimir Putin, and the economy, to the infrastructure of our ports. That’s when the president probably could’ve used a map… er, more talking points.
The president was mentioning the expansion of the Panama Canal and how improved port infrastructure is needed to allow for the new fleet of super-tankers that would soon be coming to the Gulf of Mexico, when he said:
“If we don’t deepen our ports all along the Gulf — places like Charleston, South Carolina, or Savannah, Georgia, or Jacksonville, Florida — if we don’t do that, those ships are going to go someplace else. And we’ll lose jobs. Businesses won’t locate here.”
I checked a map to make sure global warming hasn’t changed the location of the Gulf or something like that. Sure enough, “the Gulf ports” of Charleston, Savannah, and Jacksonville are still on the Atlantic Ocean. So yes, Mr. President, those ships will probably go to ports in New Orleans, Louisiana, or Mobile, Alabama, or Tampa, Florida, or one of the four ports in Texas.
It’s not really a surprise that Obama doesn’t know the geographical make-up of the Southern states. He never really campaigned there, so why would need to?
I’d like to say I’m surprised by the lack of media attention this major gaffe has received. But I’m not. I don’t think that a political gaffe should define multiple news cycles, but remember when President Bush would make one? The media would go in to a tailspin and Saturday Night Live would do a skit. Now? Not even a passing mention on the 24-hour news channels.
“That must be why the unemployment rate in D.C. is 8.5 percent — and 20.3 percent among blacks. That must explain the 37.8 percent unemployment rate for black teens, and the 43.3 percent rate for black male teens. It would explain why about a third of the District’s residents are currently receiving food stamps, Medicaid, or welfare — and why more than 18 percent are living below the poverty line.”
Wouldn’t it be fascinating to listen into the White House conversations about Arizona, and in particular, Governor Jan Brewer?
Staffer: “Mr. President, that Governor that wagged her finger in your face is doing more than even Democrat Governors to implement your health care bill!”
POTUS: “ReallyShould we consider her for an Administration post?”
Staffer: “You want her wagging her finger at you at every Cabinet meeting?”
POTUS: “Good point. Let’s just send her some flowers.”
It’s been interesting to watch the reaction from national reporters in watching Brewer cheerlead Medicaid expansion. Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court gave State the “out” from one of the most egregious parts of Obamacare and a “conservative” Republican Governor not only decides to opt-in, she does so with the enthusiasm of a school girl getting ready for prom.
So there is a cognitive dissonance in the heads of DC-based reporters who, if you mention “Arizona Governor” immediately think about immigration crackdowns. No open borders, but it’ll be open enrollment.
The Supreme Court ruling, striking down the federal component of the Defense of Marriage Act, affirms, for now, the state’s ability to define marriage. This was expected, and as a believer in State’s Rights, it was the right decision.
While my friends in the gay community celebrated the “overturning” of California’s Proposition 8, what the Court did was much more nuanced and process oriented. They basically ruled that the federal appellate courts had no jurisdiction over the appeal because backers of Prop. 8 didn’t have standing to carry the appeal. Only the state could have done that. Call it a victory for gay marriage on a technicality. That is, the higher courts have not affirmed the district court’s overturning of Prop. 8 (yet).
That’s not to say that there isn’t a obvious trend towards gay marriage becoming more accepted and eventually legal across the board. The challenge will be how to balance the rights of gay couples with the religious freedom of churches and faith-based institutions.
For example, while I believe gay couples should have the same rights afforded straight couples, I don’t think the Catholic Church’s adoption services should be required to facilitate adoptions by gay couples. However, as a result of Massachusetts state law, the Catholic Church was faced with the choice of facilitating such adoptions or close their doors. That’s a clear overreach of the First Amendment, which protects religious liberty.
Needless to say, this discussion is far from over.
Obama’s big play on dealing with “climate change” exposes, yet again, his complete disregard for Congress, the will of the American people or the rule of law. Keep in mind, it was five years ago this month that Obama said, “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
This is a President who claims to be looking out for the little guy, but subsidizes his billionaire friends with “green energy” cash and wants to shut down coal-fired power plants, even admitting that “under my plan, electricity rates will necessarily sky-rocket.” Who gets hurt? The poor and those on fixed-income. With friends like these…
The Arizona Capitol Times had their “Best of the Capitol” awards dinner this week. Inexplicably, I was nominated for a couple categories in which the competition was overwhelming. Congrats to Arizona Chamber President Glenn Hamer for his “Power Broker” award and to Chuck Coughlin for “Best Political Operative.” Well-deserved by both.
Happy Flag Day! As you may or may not know June 14th is the celebration of Flag Day, as formally adopted by the Second Continental Congress in 1777. The establishment of an official flag for the United States was a powerful symbol for the nation. Sadly, this holiday is not officially recognized by the federal government, therefore people do not have a day off of work to fire up their grill under said flag, and if you were to conduct a random survey, most people probably wouldn’t know what Flag Day signifies.
As a nation we often forget the sacrifices that have been made in the name of Old Glory. Not only for Americans, but also for those around the world who catch a glimpse of the stars and stripes, the American flag represents freedom from tyranny and the rights granted to every citizen under our Constitution. In these turbulent times, I look at the flag waving atop the U.S. Capitol’s rotunda and remember that freedom isn’t free.
Whatever you want to call the current issues and events facing the United States – be it scandals, lies, cover-ups, dilemmas – in the end truth and justice will prevail, as it has throughout this nation’s history. The flag represents everything that is so good about America’s democracy. It serves as a symbol to let the world know that, though divisions may exist in our country, all is well. Politicians have come and gone, flags have been defaced across the world, but history has shown that we as a nation have endured trouble, only to rise like a phoenix – better and stronger. Long may that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Four years ago, I wrote the post below. I think it bears repeating today:
Ronald Reagan gave two moving speeches on the 40th anniversary of D-Day. The first was at Omaha Beach and the second was at Pointe de Hoc, where Rangers scaled the cliffs to take out machine gun posts. Both are great speeches, but the Pointe de Hoc is the one I like better (probably because it was written by Peggy Noonan). Below is an excerpt of the moving prose, still inspiring 25 years later and 65 years from the day that changed the course of the War and the course of history.
Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.
These are the boys of Pointe de Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.
Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life…and left the vivid air signed with your honor….”
Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith, and belief; it was loyalty and love.
The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.
You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.