Congress

17th June
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, the Internal Revenue Service informed the House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means that they had “lost” nearly three years worth of emails from Lois Lerner, the disgraced IRS official at the center of the scandal involving the IRS targeting of conservative and tea party groups, because her computer crashed.  Naturally, many were skeptical of the claim given its questionable convenience.

Many also arrived at the logical conclusion that if the IRS had actually “lost” Lerner’s emails, then surely they would be able to recover them from the emails of other officials at the IRS that she was communicating with. Yet, today the IRS announced that it has also “lost” the emails of six other high-level officials at the center of the investigation into the suppression of conservative groups by the agency.

The Obama administration promised to be the most transparent administration in history, little did we know this would mean they could make things disappear entirely. Given the convenient details of the misplaced emails this is clearly not a computer problem, as the IRS claims. This is a fundamental failure of leadership at the highest levels and a betrayal of the nation’s trust. ‘It’s a glitch’ may as well be the 21st Century version of ‘I am not a crook.’

As Charles Krauthammer said, “Nixon was a piker to the Obama Administration when it comes to concealment, hiding, or pretending that they can’t find stuff.”

Think about it.  Why didn’t Nixon use the excuse that the recording system crashed? Maybe he wasn’t as corrupt as our current administration.

The overly convenient and lousy excuses coming from the Obama administration are generally reserved for guilty adolescents and banana republics. It’s clear that the administration has moved from obstructing the activity of conservative and tea party groups to stonewalling Congress by whatever means necessary.

The rampant cover-up by the IRS of its targeting of conservatives is beyond outrage. If this were a Republican administration, Democrats would have already drawn up articles of impeachment.  You doubt that? Democrats introduced six different impeachment resolutions during President George W. Bush’s tenure in the White House. Republicans have introduced exactly zero impeachment resolutions against Obama.

I think it is past time for a special prosecutor to be appointed to investigate the IRS from top to bottom. It’s clear that a deceitful administration will not police itself.

29th January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The State of the Union has evolved into a national conversation on social media.  Twitter and Facebook light up for a couple hours in ways rarely seen in politics. I did my duty by tweeting out snarky comments and posting on Facebook.

The best post-speech commentary came from National Review’s Jim Geraghty:

 

My Fellow Americans, the State of Our Union Is . . . Interminable

Okay, let’s get this out of the way. The only part of the president’s State of the Union address that you need to read:

“I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program — a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.

A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.

For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again — and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.

“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”

Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.”

Cory Remsburg is a Dagwood sandwich of courage, determination, inspiration, and all-around bad-assery.

The rest of the speech was interminable, meandering, shifting in tone, unfocused, and at least twice as long as it needed to be. In a development that surprises no one, his fans liked it, his critics largely hated it, and millions upon millions of Americans wondered what happened to their favorite shows that usually air at 9 p.m. Eastern.

This was my tweet from last night about Cory Remsburg: “Obama would have done better to tell 90 minutes worth of stories of real heroes like Ranger Cory Remsburg. ‪#SOTU ‪#USA

The only thing worse than a boring State of the Union? Having three GOP responses. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers did a fine job, but I don’t understand why Sen. Mike Lee and Sen. Rand Paul gave responses other than feeding their own egos.

The thing that mystifies me is why the response is not done with a live audience. One of the best GOP responses in recent years was Gov. Bob McDonnell when he delivered his response from the state capital of Virginia with a live audience.  It made a world of difference on how the response played to viewers across the country.  But no one has replicated that model since, and the responses have been mostly yawns.

I’m just glad it’s over.

 

15th January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Donald Rumsfeld said, “You go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time,” he was roundly criticized.  But it was true.

In war, life, and good governance, you must recognize reality and act within those conditions.  You can’t sit around, twiddling your thumbs and wishing it were different.

An even larger mistake is the current liberal method of governance: reject reality and take action with the assumption that conditions will change because you reeeeaaally want them to and think they should.

Like, for example, launching a massive new entitlement that restructures almost 20% of the US economy based entirely on the premise that young, healthy, “invincibles” who chose not to buy health insurance in the past will buy it now…because you’ve launched a massive new program that depends on them to buy health insurance.

In the wisdom of Maya Angelou, “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”  These young invincibles showed us they wouldn’t buy insurance before and they’re not buying it now (though the White House assures us, the young are just procrastinating—they do that you know, silly young people).

The White House seems surprised by this fact.  Are they, really??  If so, Barack Obama’s Administration is even more incompetent than we thought, actually believing Obama’s alternate reality on healthcare.  Good grief, didn’t think that was possible!

 

1st November
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

30th October
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

17th September
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

13th September
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

27th June
2013
written by Sean Noble

Random thoughts…

 

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.

 

15th May
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could it be true? Has Obama fallen victim to the second term curse? That remains to be seen, but the outlook is rather promising… for us. Through his first term right up until two weeks ago the president seemed untouchable. Yet now, Jay Carney and Obama’s spin team must wage a daily game of whack-a-mole, trying to squash one scandal only to have another pop up.

September 11, 2012 – four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. The Americans called for help, radioed in their position, and hoped for backup—it never came. Somewhere between Ambassador Chris Stevens’ harrowing call that they were under attack and his death and that of three other Americans, a special operations rescue team was called off; exactly who made that call, we still don’t know. In the immediate aftermath, the State Department and the White House claimed it wasn’t a terrorist attack, but rather a demonstration in response to an anti-Islam video. Talking points were scrubbed and Americans were intentionally misled in a purely political play designed to secure Obama’s re-election.

Next, we have officials at the IRS targeting conservative groups as far back as 2009. A government agency attacking others on a basis of political belief is reprehensible and should not be tolerated at any level; especially when that agency is the universally despised IRS. This was not just an isolated, obscure event at the bureau in Cincinnati; it now appears to be by design with national implications—and, let’s not forget that these are the guys responsible for enforcing Obamacare. Facts are still coming out, but it’s clear that the Obama administration knew about this in April, if not before. Was he hoping this would pass just as the others? Or did they sit on this information and then release it this week in an attempt to drown out the Benghazi coverage?  How calculating are they?

Lastly, we have the most recent scandal wherein the Department of Justice ‘secretly’ pulled phone records of Associated Press reporters. The AP found this out on Friday and went public on Monday, calling it “a massive and unprecedented intrusion”. The DOJ says they were investigating the source of a national security leak in 2012, and had to look into reporters and their information gathering.  This may be the most damning episode in ‘Down Goes The Administration’.  The AP and other media outlets are furious.  Obama’s presidency will not survive if the love affair between him and the press goes sour.

Am I surprised? No. From the Fast and Furious operation that left Brian Terry, a border patrol agent dead; to Solyndra, where $535 million in taxpayer went straight to Obama’s friends and supporters in a textbook case of crony corruption, this Administration has never played by the rules, respected the truth, or honored its promises of transparency. Of course, nothing has changed from the first term to the second term.  Why would it?  He’s gotten away with this behavior for over four years.

I’m not sure if any of these scandals will end up sticking to the Teflon President.  Keep in mind, that all of the current scandals happened during Obama’s FIRST term and I’ve gotta say, I’m afraid to find out what’s in store for his encore.

7th May
2013
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, former South Carolina Governor was kind of a laughing stock after it was revealed that he had disappeared to Argentina for a few days to spend time with his “soul mate.”

And yes, his press conference to explain himself was one of the most painful political moments in history– actually more painful than the infamous Rep. Enid Greene Waldholtz 5-hour press conference of 1995. (Long before the days of YouTube, unfortunately, I couldn’t find video of it.)

But, defying conventional wisdom and the odds, Sanford has been elected to represent the 1st district of South Carolina in a special election.

Good.

Sanford was one of the revolutionaries of 1994.  I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to the early days of the Republican Revolution and to watch the likes of John Shadegg, Sam Brownback, Steve Largent, Mark Neumann, Matt Salmon, and Mark Sanford work to implement the mandate that they felt they carried to reform Washington.

They fought Newt when he tried to compromise with Clinton.  They held the line on spending, leading to the one time in 40 years that federal spending actually went down in real dollars (although it was for only one year).  They were the true believers.

*** Sidebar ***

Sometime after Mark Sanford was elected Governor of South Carolina, he graciously accepted an invitation to speak at a conservative conference in Reno, NV.  The conference organizers were awe-struck when he insisted that he travel alone, in coach, and refused a car service.  He flew into Reno by himself (no entourage, no security detail), grabbed a cab, and checked himself into the hotel.  It was quintessentially Mark Sanford – low key, regular guy.

*** End Sidebar ***

Congress needs more Mark Sanfords.  Yes, he is flawed.  But few great leaders are not flawed in some way.  They are human.

What I know is that the country will be better off with Mark Sanford back in Congress.

 

 

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