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22nd January
2014
written by Sean Noble

If you only read the mainstream media, you probably know it’s cold and snowy in Washington, D.C., today.  But you probably don’t know that thousands of pro-life Americans braved the tundra to march for life on Washington – unless you caught the Washington Post article labeling the 41st Annual March for Life as a bunch of “abortion foes.”

That’s right.  While the media is busy covering up abortion-loving Wendy Davis’s past – including abandoning her daughters and leaving her husband the day after he finished paying off her law school bills – they’re working hard not to cover the March for Life.

Are Bridgegate and Richard Sherman’s rant making today such a busy news day that there’s just no room for the March for Life?  Or does the media, desperate to make you think being pro-life is an “extreme” position that will “die off” with the elderly, just want to hide the fact that the young now lead the pro-life movement?  Twenty-something March for Lifer and president of Students for Life America, Kristan Hawkins, labeled her generation the “pro-life generation.”

She’s right.  In a recent study, 44% of 18-24 year olds identified themselves as “pro-life” and 45% identified as “pro-choice.”  Twice as many viewed abortion as a “bad thing” as those who viewed it as a “good thing.”  Additionally, a plurality selected “abortion should only be legal in the cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother” as the position they agreed with most.  This is hardly the “abortion on demand” position the media touts as “mainstream.”

But, even if the media took no notice of the march, that didn’t stop their favorite Pope from tweeting his support.

 

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!

 

10th January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

If it turns out that Chris Christie lied yesterday during his nearly two-hour press conference, he’s screwed.  I hope he was honest, (and I’m guessing he was) we’ll find out if he wasn’t.  You can’t scandalously cause a major traffic jam in the center of the mainstream media’s universe and expect the story to die anytime soon.

In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal says, “compared to using the IRS against political opponents during an election campaign, closing traffic lanes for four days is jaywalking.”  True, and the media should be admonished for its lethargy in hunting down the truth when it comes to Obama’s cover-ups, but both acts would demonstrate an inability to be trusted with power.  Should the investigation uncover that Christie had even the slightest inkling that this “traffic study” was a petty political play, I don’t want him in the White House.

Christie’s performance yesterday however, provided a great service to the American people that cannot be undone—no matter the eventual outcome of this scandal.  He reminded us all what leadership is supposed to look like: something goes wrong, a leader acknowledges it, determines who is responsible, and fires the person before any further harm can be done to the people the leader serves.

Christie’s immediate candor and what appears to be heartfelt embarrassment was completely opposite from Obama’s response to numerous scandals: Fast & Furious, Benghazi, the IRS, the Obamacare rollout…I’m sure I’m missing at least one more, but you get the picture.  Christie offered the perfect foil to Obama.

Whether Christie is honest or not, Americans clearly saw that such a leader could exist, such a leader is what our country deserves, such a leader Obama is not.  So, thank you Governor Christie, for that.

 

 

9th January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the last few months there has been an undercurrent of murmuring, mostly within the beltway, that Rubio’s presidential hopes had been dashed on the rocks of immigration reform and that the shiny objects of Rand Paul and Ted Cruz had eclipsed the former tea-party darling.

But we’re a long, long way from the next presidential nominating contest in the GOP and Rubio is proving that he is still a relevant voice for the party, particularly when calling folks to the higher visions of American Exceptionalism in a way that would make Ronald Reagan proud.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Lyndon Johnson’s speech on the “War on Poverty,” Rubio gave a stem-winder that demonstrates that he has a compelling story to tell and that he understands, in his bones, the kind of things that do and don’t work when striving for the American Dream.

I have excerpted some of my favorite portions below, but it’s well worth the time to read the whole thing.

My parents, like most people that have ever lived, were raised in a country where they were trapped by the circumstances of their birth. But just ninety miles away there was a country where, through hard work and perseverance, anyone could get ahead. And so they came here with virtually nothing.

Their first years in America were difficult. They worked long hours for little pay. But they kept on, and in time, their lives improved. They never became rich or famous and yet they lived the American Dream. Because like most people, for them happiness wasn’t about becoming wealthy. It was about finding work that paid a livable wage. It was about a happy family life, retiring with security, and one day giving their children the chance to be anything they wanted.

My parents’ story, of two everyday people who were given the chance to work their way into a better life, is a common one here in America. A defining national characteristic rooted in a principle that was at the core of our nation’s birth: that everyone has a God given right to live freely and pursue happiness.

This conviction has proven to be far more than just a line on a founding document. It has become the shared and defining value of a nation. It has set America apart and attracted people from every corner of the world.

The visionaries, the ambitious, the people who refused to accept the stagnant ways of the old world, they came here. They brought their ideas and their dreams. And finally, free from the restraints placed upon them in the nations of their birth, they helped build the most prosperous nation in human history.

***

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson sought to address the plight of poverty by waging a war against it. On that day, he stood before a joint session of Congress and vowed, “It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.”

His very next sentence served as a small window into his big-government vision for this war, and into its future failures. He said of the War on Poverty, “The richest nation on earth can afford to win it.” And with those words, he foreshadowed the belief still held by liberals to this very day: that government spending is the central answer to healing the wounds of poverty.

***

Social factors also play a major role in denying equal opportunity. The truth is, the greatest tool to lift children and families from poverty is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82%. But it isn’t a government spending program. It’s called marriage.

Fifty years ago, today, when the War on Poverty was launched, 93% of children born in the United States were born to married parents. By 2010 that number had plummeted to 60%. It should not surprise us that 71% of poor families with children are not headed by a married couple.

The decline of marriage and the increase in the percentage of children born out of wedlock is driven by a complex set of cultural and societal factors. But there is another interesting impediment to marriage worth keeping in mind. A 2011 report by the Pew Research Center found that 64% of adults with college degrees are married, while only 47% of those with a high-school education or less are.

***

Real American free enterprise is about a broad and growing economy that creates opportunities for everyone to get ahead. It creates the opportunity to become wealthy. But it also creates good and stable middle class jobs like the ones my parents had.

But instead of fostering a vibrant job-producing economy, our federal government is a major impediment to the enterprise and ingenuity of our people. An expensive tax code, burdensome regulations, and an unsustainable national debt are suffocating our economy’s ability to create enough steady and good paying jobs. That is why poverty and inequality have only gotten worse under the current administration.

Instead we need policies that make our country the easiest and best place in the world to create jobs. This means removing the uncertainty created by a dangerous and growing national debt, enacting a simple and affordable tax code that incentivizes investment, and eliminating regulations that prevent employers from expanding and our energy sector from growing.

***

Therefore, what I am proposing today is the most fundamental change to how the federal government fights poverty and encourages income mobility since President Johnson first conceived of the War on Poverty fifty years ago. I am proposing that we turn Washington’s anti-poverty programs – and the trillions spent on them – over to the states.

Our anti-poverty programs should be replaced with a revenue neutral Flex Fund. We would streamline most of our existing federal anti-poverty funding into one single agency. Then each year, these Flex Funds would be transferred to the states so they can design and fund creative initiatives that address the factors behind inequality of opportunity.

This worked in the 1990s with welfare reform. In that case, Congress gave the states the ability to design their own programs, and in turn the states enacted policies that promoted work rather than dependence. In the years that followed, this led to a decline in poverty rates and welfare expenses.

***

I haven’t been in Washington long, but I’ve been here long enough to know that everything here gets analyzed through the lens of electoral politics. But upward mobility and equal opportunity is not a partisan issue, it is our unifying American principle.

And it has always been a focus of my public service going back to my days as a state representative. Because for me, this is personal.

I am but a generation removed from poverty and despair. Where would I be today if there had never been an America? What kind of lives or future would my children have if this was not a land of opportunity? What if my father had been stuck working as a bar boy his whole life instead of making it to head bartender.

What kind of life would I have right now? In all likelihood, I too would be among those on the outside looking in, forever frustrated that my parents had no power or privilege and that I was therefore unable to achieve my full potential.

Our status as a land of equal opportunity has made us a rich and powerful nation, but it has also transformed lives. It has given people like me the chance to grow up knowing that no dream was too big and no goal out of reach.

7th January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arizona State Treasurer Doug Ducey dropped a money bomb yesterday announcing he had raised a whopping $1,050,000 in his exploratory bid for Governor.  His campaign announced that he will report more than $900,000 cash on hand – showing a remarkably low burn rate.

Even more impressive is that the majority of the funds were raised under the lower contribution limits.  Ducey’s campaign reported that 80% of the roughly 1,000 donors gave less than $1,000.  If only half of those folks gave again to meet the new max contribution, that would garner Ducey another $1.2 million.

The depth and breadth of Ducey’s support is stunning and bound to send shivers down the spines of any potential opponents.

This will certainly throw a wrench in the thinking of Mesa Mayor Scott Smith, who has been coy about his plans.  Rather than announcing that he is running, as he is expected to do in the next few days, look for him to announce an exploratory committee so he can continue to “think about it.”  Sometime this spring, he will officially bow out. This will be his face-saving way of avoiding the buzzsaw that would be the Ducey campaign.

As for other potential opponents, Secretary of State of Ken Bennett, who has had an exploratory committee for the better part of a year, likely doesn’t even have 1,000 five-dollar contributions to count towards his receiving Clean Elections money.  Christine Jones is expected to spend a lot of her own money, but money is only one part of the equation that makes a good candidate (exhibit 1: Jim Pedersen, Buzz Mills, Wil Cardon, and John Hurlburd).

Ducey is what we in the political hackery business call “the complete package.”  He is a successful businessman, established leader, smart as a whip, willing to work his tail off, and has great people skills. He is a dream candidate and someone who will make a superb Governor for our great state.

 

*For the record, Doug Ducey is not a client of mine or my firm, nor do I play any role in his campaign for Governor.

 

3rd January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A story in the New York Times last week about President Obama’s TV watching habits set off a buzz among conservative commentators about whether it was appropriate for the White House to release the President’s “must see TV” shows.

Peter Roff, at U.S. News and World Report, wrote a response that should be required reading for any conservative politician, commentator, operative, and activist.

To summarize, the complaints about the piece boiled down to the idea that such revelations – if you can call them that – are unpresidential. That somehow the president’s television preferences are not the business of the American people.

It’s one thing for Obama to appear in a commercial hawking a late-night television show. It’s another thing entirely for the White House to take steps to make it known to the American people what the nation’s chief executive likes to watch in his downtime. In fact, it’s a stroke of brilliance.

What the liberals understand and conservative fail to grasp is that in the age of information everything is media. By disclosing what the president’s favorite television shows are or what his picks for the NCAA brackets may be or what music he likes to listen to, his political team is giving him the opportunity to meet the people where they are, not where they might want them to be.

This is a critically important concept that many Republicans fail to grasp. The country is turned off to politics. Americans think Washington is dysfunctional, that both parties are seeking political advantage, that neither are wedded to principle, and that they are ignoring what is in the country’s best interests in order to position themselves for the next election.

***

Obama was sold to the American people like new and improved laundry soap, the latest model sports car coming out of Detroit or Hollywood’s newest teen idol. The American people met him in places that were essentially on the fringes of the political arena rather than in the middle of it. By talking about what he likes to watch on television, his political team is keeping that conversation going, even stepping it up because – as his approval numbers continue to drop – the ancillary conversations about seemingly extraneous subjects become all the more important. Rather than attack the communications strategy it represents, Republicans would do well to analyze it, understand it and adopt it.

Roff nails it on the head when he discusses the need for conservatives to “meet the people where they are” the way liberals have been doing for generations. It is why, as I pointed out in my last post, we have to embrace popular culture that makes our arguments for us like Hunger Games, Divergent, and to rip one off from Obama, Downton Abbey (see my previous thoughts on that show here and here).

We have to stop viewing this as a culture war, in which we must vanquish the enemy (liberal Hollywood), and start to treat this as a competition.  Let’s embrace and make huge successes of the books, movies and TV shows that carry conservative messages.  At the end of the day, while Hollywood may think they are engaged in a “higher cause” with some of the liberal tripe they serve up, it’s really all about the money.

2nd January
2014
written by Sean Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What was that?”  My car had just made a very loud thump and I looked in the rearview mirror to see what it was.  “It” was 2013 and it was lying motionless in the road behind me, the life drained out forever.

Ok, that was a little graphic, but what’s behind us, is behind us. And we move on.

However, we know that we are supposed to learn from the past so that we don’t repeat our mistakes, so it’s probably worth thinking about what we can learn from 2013.

So, what’s the big lesson learned from 2013?

It’s time for conservatives to assert ourselves and push back on the complete tripe that the Left sputters on a daily basis.

Yes, we took a beating in 2012 – with Romney losing to Obama and losing seats in the U.S. Senate.  We were rocked back on our heels and needed to lick our wounds and regroup.

The conservative movement largely sat out of the biggest race of the year in 2013 – the Virginia Governor’s race – and as a result, the king of cronyism and corrupt business dealings, Terry McAuliffe, is now the Governor of Virginia.

So it’s time that we grab our bootstraps and pull ourselves up and make the arguments – from the head and from the heart – that less government involvement in our lives is a good thing.

And I know that we can win the argument.  We just need to help people see what is right in front of them.

Think about it.  The “Hunger Games” trilogy has been wildly successful and created two blockbuster films.  The story is a manifesto against bigger government.

Same goes for “Divergent” which will be released as a major motion picture this year.  We (conservatives) lament how the popular culture is working against us, but when something in popular culture makes our point, we need to celebrate it, promote it, expand on it.

The lesson of 2013?  Two young girls, each in their own way, asserted themselves to shine the light of truth in a dark world.  We need to follow their example.

Here’s to Katniss and Tris – true freedom fighters.

 

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.

 

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