Conservative News

America’s Fast Pass for Saudi Arabia

National Review Online - Fri, 03/22/2013 - 00:00

It’s business as usual in the post-9/11 world. Your federal government is back to pandering to wealthy travelers from Saudi Arabia. In the eyes of our massive homeland-security apparatus, the comfort of Saudis is a higher priority than the safety of American citizens.

And thanks to reckless, feckless bureaucrats who fear being labeled “racists,” “xenophobes,” and “Islamophobes,” political correctness remains the handmaiden of terror.

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Where Is Today’s Jack Kemp?

National Review Online - Fri, 03/22/2013 - 00:00

The harsh assessment of the RNC “autopsy” committee would be that it talked to 2,600 people, yet one of its top proposals is reviving a minority inclusion council from the 1990s. It takes months of research to come up with this stuff?

But that would be too harsh. The autopsy is a good-faith effort to stare the Republican predicament straight in the face.

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The 50 Percent Solution

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 20:00

The proposition that entitlement curbs are the key to maintaining national solvency is widely accepted, though not by many congressional Democrats. President Obama, however, has endorsed it on various occasions. And he could make it happen.

If he wants. I remain skeptical that he does. But national solvency is important enough to test this proposition at least once more. The obstacle is Obama’s current position that entitlement cuts must be “balanced” with new revenue from closing loopholes.

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Obamacare, the Ugly Duckling

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 18:30

They sure do grow up fast.

In the three years since Obamacare — the legislative darling of the president’s first term — was signed into law, it has grown from an adorable 2,700-page binder full of rules and kickbacks into a towering 7-foot-3-inch, 300-pound behemoth totaling more than 20,000 pages of byzantine mandates and regulations. When House speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “We have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,” she wasn’t kidding.  

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Has Bernanke Gotten the Story Right?

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 17:00

The most important point in Ben Bernanke’s Wednesday press conference was the announcement that the Fed will adjust the amount of monthly bond purchases according to economic conditions. In other words, an improving economy with stronger payrolls and lower unemployment could lead to a decline in Fed bond buying, from $85 billion a month to something gradually lower, so long as the economy keeps looking better.

It won’t happen all at once. The Fed is not convinced that the current economic upturn is truly sustainable. But Bernanke is implying that the Fed may become less easy in the second half of this year, perhaps ending QE in 2014.

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Pope Francis, Say Yes to the Pill

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 04:00

The new pope was scarcely installed, with a clear mandate to clean up whatever remains of the sex-abuse crisis, when the snipers who always surround the Holy See opened skirmishing on the subject of Pope Francis’s conduct 35 years ago when Argentina was governed by the heavy-handed military junta that evicted Juan Perón’s politically inept widow, a former nightclub dancer, in 1976. (The junta was sent packing by Margaret Thatcher, who evicted them from the Falkland Islands in 1982.) The sex-abuse crisis has been a horrible and shaming problem, but Catholicism’s enemies have amplified and exploited it to incite the inference that most of the Roman clergy are deviates compounding superstition with perversion. The most frequent and wishful version of these events is as a mighty coruscation before the great Christian scam expires in a Wagnerian inferno, an inadvertent Waco. It took the most antagonistic pundits, in their uncomprehending skepticism of the viability of what they regard as a medieval flimflam factory anyway, only one day to assimilate the election of a man none of them had mentioned, in their omniscience, as a contender, before pronouncing his papacy dead on arrival at the Sistine Chapel.

No one really has any idea what this new pope is going to do, but there seems no doubt that he has a mandate to impose a draconian screening and evaluation process to clear out sex offenders, prevent the admission of potential future offenders, and give everyone except the most rabid anti-papists a comfort level that this ghastly affair, which simmered and bubbled for centuries, has been finally lanced and ended and that the weaknesses that gave rise to it and tolerated it have been excised. Sensing that the Church may survive this wicked and psychotic conduct by 1 or 2 percent of its ordained personnel, the Church’s enemies have already moved on to Francis’s supposed lack of rebellious fervor toward the Argentinean military 35 years ago. It is reminiscent of the tempest in a thimble over Pope Benedict’s conscription as an “air-force child soldier” in an inactive German anti-aircraft battery in 1943. (He deserted at the first opportunity to do so without being executed.)

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Categories: Conservative News

The Republican ‘Autopsy’

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 04:00

The Republican National Committee’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election, the work of the Growth and Opportunity Project, has received a great deal of criticism from conservatives since its release on Monday. Their general take seems to be that, as Brent Bozell put it, establishment Republicans are trying to “out-Democrat” the Democrats.

While it remains to be seen how much buy-in the report will receive from the Right, it is worth noting that the proposed solutions parallel those offered by establishment Republicans immediately after World War II. Since the GOP had been in power when the economy collapsed in 1929, many voters equated it with the poverty and suffering of the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt did nothing to disabuse the public of this notion while he built the Democratic party into a liberal juggernaut.

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Mad for March

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 04:00

What will the Final Four look like? Some brave and loyal guesses.

JONATHAN ADLER
Louisville.

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Can Paul Broun Win?

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 04:00

Representative Paul Broun is a true believer.

When Georgia political insiders talk about Paul Broun, one theme emerges again and again: Broun says what he thinks and thinks what he says.

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A House GOP Win

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 04:00

When it comes to this year’s budget debate, Republicans are united, and they are winning. At least for now.

On Thursday, House Republicans plan to pass a budget that reaches balance in ten years — decades sooner than previous efforts, and without additional tax increases — with near-unanimous GOP support. Shortly thereafter, they are likely to approve a continuing resolution that locks in federal spending at sequestration levels through September 30. President Obama will sign the continuing resolution, despite his objections and those of congressional Democrats. And Senate Democrats are poised to pass a budget for the first time in nearly four years, so the budget playing field has been leveled at last.

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Obama’s Mangled Quotation

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 04:00

President Obama met recently with a group of Jewish leaders about his trip to Israel that begins today. The Washington Post reported that Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, “expressed concern that Obama might be softening his pledge to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, based on recent reports of frustrated international diplomatic efforts,” and then asked Obama what he intends to do to stop Tehran from having nuclear weapons.

The president’s reply, as quoted in the Post: “I’m not going to beat my chest to prove my toughness on this.”

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Categories: Conservative News

America’s Big Fat Advantage

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:00

For all the Obama-era talk of decline, there is at least one reason why America probably won’t, at least not quite yet.

“Peak oil” and our “oil addiction” were supposed to have ensured that we ran out of either gas or the money to buy it. Now, suddenly, we have more gas and oil than ever before. But the key question is: Why do we?

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The Return of Missile Defense

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:00

Chuck Hagel deserves praise — four words I did not expect to be writing — for announcing an expansion of the U.S. missile-defense system. Fourteen additional ground-based long-range missile interceptors are to be installed in Alaska by 2017 at a cost of $1 billion. Their purpose: to destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles before those ICBMs can reach their intended victims. Combined with interceptors in California, this will bring the total number of West Coast interceptors to 44.

More praise will be due if this turns out to represent a broader change of heart on missile defense within the Obama administration. Consider: In 2001, Barack Obama, then a state senator, said flatly: “I don’t agree with a missile-defense system.” Seven years later, during his first presidential campaign, then-senator Obama pledged to slash $10 billion from the Pentagon’s missile-defense budget — about $1 billion more than the U.S. was actually spending on missile defense at the time. In 2009 then-senator Chuck Hagel, appearing on Al Jazeera, asked: “How can we preach to other countries that you can’t have nuclear weapons but we can and our allies can?” (One possible answer — that some countries threaten their neighbors, proliferate nuclear technology, sponsor terrorism, and oppress their citizens, while others do not — eluded him at that moment.)

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Categories: Conservative News

Friendship, &c.

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:00

President Obama has described the U.S. as Israel’s “greatest friend.” True. But can we say there isn’t very much competition?

I hadn’t heard the phrase since the Clinton years, I believe. Clinton said, on at least one occasion, “I believe in a God of second chances.” And here comes South Carolina’s Mark Sanford: “I believe in a God of second chances.”

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The RNC’s Immigration Advice

National Review Online - Thu, 03/21/2013 - 00:00

Rarely does a political party issue a document so scathingly critical of itself and its most recent presidential nominee as the report of the five-member Growth and Opportunity Project of the Republican National Committee.

It refers to Mitt Romney on occasion as “our presidential nominee” and notes disapprovingly his reference in the debate about immigration to “self-deportation.”

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Categories: Conservative News

Arizona in Court

National Review Online - Wed, 03/20/2013 - 16:00

On Monday, March 18, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona. The case epitomizes both the radicalism of the Obama Justice Department and the extremes of the doctrine of federal preemption, under which judges find supposed conflicts between federal and state law, thereby invalidating the latter, often by stretching the intent of federal lawmakers. Further, the case is a challenge to a law that most people regard as a matter of common sense.

Arizona is one of four states that have had the temerity to ask newly registering voters to prove that they are U.S. citizens (the others are Kansas, Georgia, and Alabama). All four adopted their laws in response to a massive and growing problem — the presence of huge numbers of aliens on states’ voter rolls across the country. In some states, such as Colorado and Florida, the relevant officials have recently estimated the number of enfranchised aliens in the thousands. The problem is especially troublesome because, once an alien gets on the voter rolls, it is extremely difficult to identify him as an alien and take him off. The aliens that have been discovered and removed have typically been identified by comparing a state’s voter rolls with its driver’s license database, because most driver’s license databases now identify which drivers are aliens. However, that only allows a state to identify a subset of aliens residing in the state — the ones who decide to apply for a driver’s license. The rest are nearly impossible to detect.

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Categories: Conservative News

The RNC Shows Up

National Review Online - Wed, 03/20/2013 - 04:00

On Monday, the Republican National Committee’s Growth and Opportunity Project released its 100-page investigative report on the party’s recent electoral failures. The report bluntly highlights the GOP’s well-documented failure to persuade minority voters, the Democrats’ overwhelming advantage in data-driven voter targeting, the Republicans’ suboptimal presidential nominating process, and many other issues. The report is refreshingly frank about the party’s problems, and it contains hundreds of concrete and constructive recommendations for reform. So why is that so many conservatives — including the editors of National Review — are so displeased?

As the authors of the report note, the Republican party is performing catastrophically with ethnic and racial minorities. “In both 2008 and 2012, President Obama won a combined 80 percent of the votes of all minority voters, including not only African Americans but also Hispanics, Asians, and others.” Today, these voters represent 37 percent of the population; by 2050, if present trends continue, they will represent a majority.

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Unions vs. Self-Employed Day-Care Providers

National Review Online - Wed, 03/20/2013 - 04:00

As union membership has fallen, union organizers have become increasingly aggressive. They have now turned to organizing recipients of government benefits — an unwelcome shock for many needy families.

In Michigan, for example, Medicaid reimburses people who care for their disabled relatives at home. This helps parents look after their disabled children while saving taxpayers from paying for more costly care at state-run facilities. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) decided to organize these at-home health-care providers.

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Categories: Conservative News

Why the Size of Government Matters

National Review Online - Wed, 03/20/2013 - 04:00

When one moves beyond all the budget numbers floating around Washington these days, much of the debate over future policy boils down to a question of the size of government. The Left often dismisses this issue as symbolism or rhetoric, but it is much more than that.

The question of big government vs. limited government is not an abstraction. How we answer that question has real consequences for real people. For example:

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Categories: Conservative News

Crumbling Infrastructure?

National Review Online - Wed, 03/20/2013 - 04:00

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently said that “America is one big pothole.” President Obama, members of Congress, and pundits often claim that our infrastructure is “crumbling.” The Senate Budget Committee’s new spending plan, for example, uses that word no fewer than ten times in calling for a $100 billion infrastructure package. And in a report released yesterday, the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the nation a grade of D+ on its infrastructure.

But is America’s infrastructure really crumbling? For highways and bridges, the government’s own data show that the answer is generally no.

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Categories: Conservative News
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