Saturday, January 23, 2010

It's Your Government Episode 01

It's Your Government Episode 01 Underwood Fellow Eric DiVito interviews Republican Minority Leader Tim Armstead about the 2010 West Virginia legislative session

Friday, January 22, 2010

State Republican Discussions Resolved By Recent Supreme Court Ruling

Under American law, corporations and individuals enjoy the same legal status with only a very few exceptions. The United States Supreme Court on Thursday in a 5-4 vote eliminated one of them and allowed corporate entities to freely donate in federal elections for the first time since 1907. This also undercuts the McCain Feingold campaign financing act.

According to the majority opinion, laws that restrict corporate donations violate the First Amendment guarantee of free speech. The Court historically gives free speech issues the widest possible latitude. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy explained that “The 1st Amendment does not permit Congress to make these categorical distinctions based on the corporate identity of the speaker and the content of the political speech.” This decision also possibly indirectly overturned a ban on labor union donations that extends back to World War II since the same standards would likely apply. Predictably the president and his cronies screamed that it means Big Oil will dominate politics, but they will soon be encouraged by their friends in Big Labor to not complain so loudly since it helps them as well. Of course it remedied a problem in that the law banned some corporations and other combinations from making political statements via donations, but placed no limits on Big Media. Now all corporations will have the same right as media outlets to make funded political statements.

This ruling automatically solves an issue oft discussed within the ranks of the West Virginia Republican Party. A corporate donation allowed the WVGOP to purchase the headquarters building in South Charleston. Recently its leadership decided to move from there to a more appealing central location across Greenbrier Street from the Capitol Complex in Charleston. To cover some payments and expenses, the leadership proposed to use part of the money generated from the sale of the former headquarters. Some argued that under campaign finance laws, this money could not be used for this purpose. State Party leadership interpreted the law otherwise. Now that the Supreme Court declared that law as a violation of the Constitution, active Republicans can hopefully come together and work together for victory this coming November.

What Now on the Health Bill? We Have Not Won Yet.

In 1941 after Japanese planes levelled Pearl Harbor and their Emperor declared war on the United States. Winston Churchill's initial reaction was "So we have won after all." Like Churchill in those dark days, those who believe in freedom, limited government, and lower taxes have reason for cautious optimism, but definitely not certainty. There is no historical inevitability to the momentum here, either against left wing socialized health care or reducing or eliminating Democratic majorities. Up until now we have relied very heavily upon the incompetence and arrogance of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. Now Republicans have to step up and give the country an alternative.

Scott Brown in his acceptance speech did what he had done for his entire campaign, speak bluntly. Some conservatives do not like that he supports reform of the system, but the fact is that something must be done to stem rising costs. Republicans should seize the opportunity to work with the public and craft an alternative that is not costly, does not raise taxes, and does not fine or jail individuals for the choices they make. Many have floated ideas on tort reform, portability, small business pools and other ideas. Time to put them together and take a comprehensive alternative plan to the public.

On other issues we need to start attacking Obama and his executive branch assumption of power. Through regulatory law, executive orders, and special appointments he has avoided congressional oversight of his activities and appointments. Republicans need to attack this centralizing of power around the president and restore not only the balance between the branches of the federal government, but also between the feds, the states, and the people.

That all being said, our main priority is electing people who stand for our principles and who will not forget them while in office. Sure it is easier to make a name by spending taxpayer money, but the voters want accountability. They want to limit, not expand the government. If Massachusetts wants smaller government, what state doesn't?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Breaking News: Supreme Court Makes Decision on Corporate Donations

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 vote ruled that corporations and labor unions may now spend freely in federal elections.
This question comes down to whether one believes in absolute natural rights interpretations of how our legal system should be run, or whether we think the law should be used to support some ideal of the greater good.
Natural rights law believes that liberty is important. Infringing upon that liberty is a larger problem than whatever might result from it. Legal posivitism states that the law ought to shape a better society and liberty is less important than that goal. Certainly those that voted to retain the prohibitions fear the results on the election process. Those who opposed the laws use free speech arguments in their favor.
The fact is that these prohibitions do not keep this money away from elections. All they do is to force the money to run an obstacle course to get to its final destination. Without a lot of investigation, it is hard to figure out where the money came from. In any event we spend more on elections now than ever. Where would the national economy be without them? Without prohibitions, we are more likely to see the real origin of the money spent on elections. That is a transparency that the process has lacked for some time.


National Weather Service Statement as of 4:09 AM EST on January 21, 2010

... Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from this evening through
Friday afternoon...

A Winter Storm Watch remains in effect from this evening through
Friday afternoon.

* Precipitation type... freezing rain... sleet... and snow.

* Accumulations... potential for ice accumulation of one quarter
inch. Snow and sleet accumulation of 5 inches or more is

* Timing... Thursday evening through Friday.

* Temperatures... upper 20s to lower 30s throughout the event.

* Winds... north-northeast 5 10 10 mph through Thursday night...
and 15 to 20 mph Friday.

Precautionary/preparedness actions...

A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant
snow... sleet... or ice accumulations that may impact travel.
Continue to monitor the latest forecasts.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

After a Crushing Loss in Massachusetts, Will Mollohan Fold on Healthcare?

Washington- A win for Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown in the country’s bluest state is sending shivers down Democrats’ spines. Brown’s defeat of Democrat Martha Coakley is a clear reflection of the public’s dissatisfaction with the Democrats’ sweeping government healthcare takeover, proving that the Obama-Pelosi agenda is exceedingly unpopular even in the state once represented by Ted Kennedy. This result should serve as a stark warning for Alan Mollohan and other Democrat lap dogs that have supported Nancy Pelosi’s government-run healthcare overhaul: Your seat is no longer safe.

"’Even in liberal Massachusetts, most voters are opposed to it,’ said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, a Democratic pollster in Raleigh, N.C., who has conducted polls in that state and others on health care. "If it's not popular in Massachusetts, it's really not popular anywhere." (Janet Adamy & Naftali Bendavid, “Massachusetts Race Now Key to Health Bill,” Wall Street Journal, 1/18/2010)

“He said Democrats have learned a crucial lesson: that even in very blue states, Democrats should expect a ‘volatile’ environment with a ‘tough’ electorate — and ‘you can’t afford not to be aggressive.’” (Manu Raju, Jonathan Martin and John Bresnahan, “Finger-pointing begins for Democratic insiders,” Politico, 1/19/2010)

“’My message to my clients? Jump ship now,’ said one Democratic operative who advises a number of targeted Members of Congress. ‘Obama can't help you.’” (Chris Cillizza, “Scott Brown wins Massachusetts Senate special election race,” Washington Post, 1/20/2010)

Over the past few months, polling has consistently shown that support for Democrats and their healthcare overhaul is sagging.

“The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 38% of voters nationwide favor the health care reform plan proposed by President Obama and congressional Democrats. That matches the lowest level of support yet. Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters oppose the plan.” (“Health Care Reform” Rasmussen Reports, 1/18/2010)

The polling so far for red district Democrats has been uniformly atrocious… If you look at the RCP average, you see a sea of red markings showing Republicans leading the generic ballot test. It isn’t just Rasmussen Reports: CNN, Battleground, Bloomberg, and Gallup have all measured the GOP ahead in the generic ballot in the past few months.” (Sean Trende, “The House Is Very Much In Play,” Real Clear Politics, 1/19/2010)

Despite the writing on the wall, Pelosi remains adamant on pushing her reckless healthcare bill through Congress.

‘’Let’s remove all doubt,’ she added. ‘We will have health care one way or another.’” (Domenico Montanaro, “Congress: A speedy vote?,” MSNBC, 1/19/2009)

“With the cards stacked against him, Alan Mollohan's re-election campaign is going to make the Massachusetts special election look like a walk in the park,” said NRCC Communications Director Ken Spain. “After serving as a consummate lap dog for Nancy Pelosi and her reckless healthcare bill, Mollohan has put himself in political jeopardy. The Democrats’ big-government, big-spending policies cost them a Senate seat in Massachusetts, now the question is: Will it cost Mollohan his own?”

With his job on the line, will Alan Mollohan fold on healthcare or will he continue to push himself out of office by being the lap dog West Virginia families know him to be?

Did Scott Brown's Election Save Highland Arts Unlimited's Funding?

Okay, Scott Brown winning in Massachusetts being the savior of our local Highland Arts Unlimited's state funding might be a stretch of logic. However, health care deform as currently proposed by Congress could eliminate state funding for these kinds of programs.

The West Virginia State Constitution, unlike its federal counterpart, requires that the budget be balanced every year. We cannot go into debt. That is a pretty good idea that Congress may want to consider someday.

Health care deform, Obama and Pelosi style, will require that the State of West Virginia pick up the tab on hundreds of millions of dollars worth of medical care coverage for the elderly. It is yet another unfunded mandate where Congress tells a state they must do this or that, then declines to send money. In this case they cannot send money because thei idea is extremely expensive and they have already given much of the cash to ACORN anyway.

West Virginia, one of a very few states meeting all its obligations with a surplus to boot, would have to take on this massive new cost. Since we are overtaxed already, funding cuts to non essential programs would be necessary. Bye bye to other things such as state employee raises, including teachers. Health care deform as advocated by the left wing powers that be not only bankrupts the federal government and raises our taxes, it hurts everything.

Scott Brown's election proves that even many liberals hate health care deform and are suspicious of Obama and Reid. Hopefully it forces a complete reconsideration of this issue. Few people recall that Medicare took many years to create. The left wants to put a more massive program together in the space of one year, rushing it out the door after secret meetings, leaving states, companies, and individuals paying the bill for decades to come. Brown's election, hopefully, sends a message by conservatives and liberals that this monstrosity cannot pass as is.

And if that happens, West Virginia's budget will not be busted. And we can keep funding these programs that help brighten our community.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Scott Brown Wins Substantial Victory in Massachusetts Special Senatorial Election

With 69% of the vote in, Senator Martha Coakley conceded victory to Republican challenger Scott Brown. We'll leave it to others to explain thenational ramifications of this election. Right now this has to concern two West Virginians, Alan Mollohan and Nick Joe Rahall.

Massachusetts loved Barack Obama, giving him a victory in that state by 26 points. Brown won this election by taking on the Obama/Pelosi/Reid signature policy of health care deform head on. If Massachusetts hates socialized health care, what does that say about the people of West Virginia who have cordially detested Nancy Pelosi and have little love for Obama?

Mollohan and Rahall actually have more problems. They are associated with not only health care deform and the potential for skyrocketing costs for state taxpayers, but also the War on Coal. Some speculated that Mollohan might bow out gracefully, but he did file his papers. Democrats might have actually benefited from a new face in that race unconnected to the Upas treelike Washington Left. Mollohan specifically has an army of viable opponents with possibly more intriguing names on the way. Local Democrats have taken great pains to separate themselves from Obama and Pelosi, unlike Mollohan and Rahall.

West Virginia Republicans have a chance to take advantage in a year where voters increasingly detest Democrats on the national level.

With Over 60% of Precincts Reporting Scott Brown Leads

Brown leads Coakley 53 to 46. This will more than likely hold up, giving Brown a strong win over the incumbent Democrat in a state where Obama won by 26 points.

Scott Brown: the Latest Name to Keep Democrats Awake A Nights

Who woulda thunk it? The seat christened by Democrats as "Ted Kennedy's" as if by feudal right may fall to the Republican Scott Brown today.

Kennedy in his last few years dedicated himself to getting a socialist or semi-socialist health care system passed in the United States. He already achieved his goal of promoting endlessly expanding federal intervention into the educational system (much to the ire of almost every teacher.) Democrats sought to make his death a catalyst for their ideas passing into law.

The most liberal state in the Union may be about to say no. Brown ran a strictly conservative campaign squarely against federal level health care deform. Massachusetts already has their own system, thank you very much. Why should they pay again for people in other states? Good question! Why should they saddle themselves with billions of dollars more in costs that the federal government will provide zero help to cover? Obama talks about savings(that do not exist), but declines to mention that state taxpayers will pick up much of the tab left unpaid by federal taxes. Brown proves that the plan has failed to even get support among the most liberal electorate in America.

If Brown wins, Democrats will try to circumvent Senate rules and push their deformed monstrosity through anyway. They know that this issue has tarnished their brand and made a mockery of all their claims to support transparent government. Even if Brown loses, it demonstrates that conservative momentum is still picking up and that Democrats not willing to commit political hari-kari over this issue have just cause for concern next November. Alan Mollohan, perhaps to the consternation of Democrats at this point, has decided to file for re-election. Republicans in the first district, contrary to usual political convention, would probably have a more difficult time against a more conservative Democratic newcomer than an established Obama/Pelosi supporter. Against Mollohan they can fire away at associations between him and the extremely unpopular speaker for months and gain tremendous support.

This month it comes back to Scott Brown. We hope that the Massachusetts voters can step up and demand the kind of change that favors voters and their interests, not taxing and giving away. They rebelled against unfair taxation once before and started a nationwide revolution. They can do it again today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Contact Your Republican Committee Members

You hear it all the time in the conservative world. People get upset with what they think their party is doing compared to what they think their party is supposed to do. Accusations fly that so and so is not a "real Republican." It's nothing new. When I researched communications between Republicans from a century ago, you saw and heard the same things. Sometimes the problem is the gap between perception and reality.

Here's an idea. Get to know your representatives to the Republican Party. Many do not even know that state and local Republican committees exist, or that representation to them is based upon the votes of the registered Republican voters. Your state Republican Party can give you contact information so that you may call or e mail your district's representative on the state committee, and/or your county chair. Meetings of state and county GOP executive committees are open to the public (of course you have to travel to the state meetings, held twice a year in West Virginia.)

Does this mean that you will automatically agree with these folks? Maybe, maybe not. But by getting in contact with representatives and leaders, asking questions, and getting involved, you will get a better idea of what is going on and why. Public involvement is a goal of most GOP organizations. They benefit from volunteers and the influx of new ideas and perspectives.

Just remember, these organizations, like our government, are elected by the people. They are your Republican Party organizations. You have a right as a registered Republican to attend meetings, ask questions, and get a better idea of what is going on. This is especially good in states such as West Virginia where the liberal media only reports on Republicans during disagreements or other problems that create bad press.

Right now candidates are filing to run for the State Legislature, county commission, and other races. They need your help. Time to continue the momentum from Tuesday and start working on bringing to office more who believe in the principles of the Republican Party.

The Dream

Two years ago I was getting to know West Virginia's Republican nominee for Secretary of State, Charles Minimah. Minimah, an immigrant from Nigeria, operated a home health care business in Charleston and ran the the request of the West Virginia Republican Party.

In asking for Minimah's help, the state party hearkened back to its roots. In the 1870s, civil rights leader Booker T. Washington was asked by the Kanawha County Republican Executive Committee to speak in Charleston and points east. As a loyal Republican and resident of Malden, his oratory struck a chord among residents. Although it failed to win many victories in those lean years, it did push Washington towards his famous career and contributions. The 1870s were a fearful time as Republican president Ulysses S. Grant attacked Ku Klux Klan violence and terrorism with federal laws, attorneys, and troops. It was a dangerous time for anyone to advocate for black rights, much less promote black civil rights leaders.

By 1900, Republicans gained control of the state. Black legislators won election in several districts and West Virginia GOP governors proudly appointed blacks to some leadership positions in the executive branch. The Black Republican newspaper McDowell Times urged blacks to come to West Virginia to find work and the freedom to vote. Democrats complained about the efforts of Republican appointees to US Attorney and US Marshal because they worked tirelessly to ensure black access to the polls on election day. Decades later, Cecil Underwood led the smoothest transition to desegregated schools of any southern state. West Virginia Republicans, among states considered southern, took the lead time and time again in trying to defy the oppressive Jim Crow culture dominating much of the country in that time. We can be very proud of that history.

Today we rightly reflect on the struggle made by blacks in the hundred years after the Civil War for their political rights and ability to enjoy full citizenship. We also remember our West Virginia Republican Party's own contribution to that fight. Finally we remember the martyrdom of Martin Luther King who strove so hard to create a world not of racial preferences, but of racial blindness.