Category Archives: Republican(s)

A New Coalition to Advance U.S. Global Interests

WSJ 4/28/21  By Elliot Abrams

The U.S. is at a critical crossroads when it comes to the defense of American freedom, security and prosperity. Around the world, the U.S. faces significant national-security threats. Chief among them are revisionist powers, the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and transnational terrorism and crime—all made more dangerous by renewed great-power competition with, and myriad threats posed by, the Chinese Communist Party.

None of these challenges will disappear if America abandons the international role it has maintained since World War II as the superpower leader of the free world. Each threat requires U.S. leadership if the country’s security, economic interests, and values are to be protected. That is why today I am joining with 75 other national security scholars and practitioners to launch the Vandenberg Coalition, a new network committed to advancing a strong and proud American foreign policy.

The coalition brings together people representing diverse approaches, experiences and political views. All share a belief in the U.S. role in world affairs and a deep concern that the Republican Party needs to adopt a forward-looking foreign policy for today’s unprecedented security environment—an approach that draws on the best successes of all previous administrations while learning from the failures. Those of us joined in this effort split during the Trump years: Some (including me) served in the administration; some were “never Trumpers.” But we were never divided over the importance of American global leadership, and today we reassert that unity in advancing U.S. national interests.

Vandenberg’s philosophy is based on six principles:

First, American security depends on leadership. The U.S. must remain the most powerful and influential nation in the world. Tempting though it may be, threats won’t simply go away if America retreats into isolationism. On the contrary, these challenges are likely to get worse.

Second, a strong America is a safe America. The U.S. must have a well-funded, effective military and security infrastructure to protect its people and deter aggression.

Third, strategic cooperation serves U.S. interests. Robust alliances among sovereign nations and the strategic use of multilateral institutions advance American security. The U.S. alliance system is a huge asset that must be strengthened.

Fourth, free and fair trade advances the prosperity and security of the American people. The U.S. must sustain its defense industrial base, lead efforts against predatory economic practices such as intellectual-property theft experienced in recent decades at the hands of China, and promote respect for the rules of international trade and commerce.

Fifth, we support a proud U.S. foreign policy that champions American values without apology.

Sixth, foreign policy should be responsive to all Americans—not only those in Washington or with the clout to hire lobbyists. The effect of trade deals on employment, for example, should weigh at least as much on policy makers as their effect on the corporate bottom line.

The coalition will promote this foreign-policy approach through vigorous engagement with elected officials, candidates, policy makers and the public. Our governing board, advisory board, and staff represent an array of universities, think tanks and previous administrations. This includes the highest levels of the Trump administration, both Bush administrations, and the Reagan administration. Our board itself shows this: It is comprised of Eric Edelman, Matt Pottinger, Kristen Silverberg, Kathryn Wheelbarger and myself. Vandenberg is a coalition in the truest sense, unifying a range of men and women in common cause to advance the principles and policies that we believe will strengthen our nation and protect Americans.

Mr. Abrams served in the White House and State Department in the Reagan, George W. Bush and Trump administrations. He is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.


Obama was moderate

This should not be a surprise to anyone. Not only our children, but we will pay a very heavy price; financially with a weaker dollar, and with significant loss of freedoms that the left is pushing. mrossol

WSJ  3/11/2021

Democrats on Wednesday passed their $1.9 trillion spending and welfare bill that would have been unimaginable even in the Obama years, and the big news is how easily they did it. The party is united behind the most left-wing agenda in decades, while Republicans are divided and in intellectual disarray. This is only the beginning of the progressive steamroller, and it’s worth understanding why.


One lesson from the Covid non-fight is that there are no Democratic moderates in Congress. The party base has moved so sharply left that even swing-state Members are more liberal than many liberals in the Clinton years. Democrats lost not a single vote in the Senate and only one in the House. The fear of primary challenges from the left, which took out House war horses in 2018 and 2020, has concentrated incumbent minds.


A second lesson is that President Biden is no moderating political force. Democrats in the House and Senate are setting the agenda, and Mr. Biden is along for the ride. He’s the ideal political front-man for this agenda with his talk of “unity” and anti-Trump persona, but he isn’t shaping legislation. He is signing on to whatever chief of staff Ron Klain tells him he needs to support.

For now at least, there also isn’t much of an opposition. With a few exceptions, the media are marching in lockstep support of whatever Democrats want. The substance of the Covid bill was barely covered outside of these pages. Opposition to H.R.1, the federal takeover of state election law, is literally reported as a revival of Jim Crow racism.

The business community has also been co-opted, as it often is at the beginning of a Democratic Presidency. Industries are trying to protect their specific iron rice bowls, but one price is their accommodation with the larger progressive agenda. Small business opposes the $15 minimum wage, but bigger businesses don’t mind saddling smaller competitors with higher costs. Big Oil doesn’t mind selling out independent frackers on climate rules.  (Good luck trying to find anyone or any company that operates on the basis of Principal.  We will all pay one day.  mrossol)

Despite their sizable minorities, Republicans are a divided mess. They stayed united on the Covid vote but they had no consistent strategy or message. They’re focused on the culture war over Dr. Seuss, while Democrats are moving legislation with huge economic consequences.

The House this week passed the most radical pro-union labor bill since the 1935 Wagner Act, but you wouldn’t know it from the muted GOP protests. The bill would erase right-to-work laws in 27 states, but the GOP has no media message to let voters in those states know.


This is in part a legacy of the Trump years, and especially the post-election meltdown. The party is still preoccupied with Donald Trump, who is preoccupied with revenge against Republicans who don’t bow to the Mar-a-Lago throne. Members are fighting each other rather than Democrats.

The party also lost some of its intellectual moorings during the Trump years, notably on spending and economics. Right-wing anti-business populism has empowered left-wing populism, and too few GOP Members are able to make an economic argument. The prediction of an immigration border crisis has been the dominant message from Republicans on Capitol Hill or cable TV. That’s about it.


All of this is giving Democrats growing confidence that they can drive their agenda into law despite historically narrow majorities. They’ll pass huge tax increases on a party-line vote. They also still hope to peel off enough GOP Senators to raise the minimum wage, perhaps to $11 or $12 an hour, and for $2 trillion in green energy and public-works spending. Don’t be surprised if they succeed.

Republicans counting on Democrat Joe Manchin to maintain the Senate filibuster may also be disappointed. He’s from Trumpy West Virginia, but he is also a partisan Democrat. He said he wouldn’t vote for the $1.9 trillion bill unless it was bipartisan but went along anyway in the end.

As bills that pass the House pile up at the Senate door, the pressure to break the filibuster will be enormous. The media will turn Mr. Manchin into the moral equivalent of GOP leader Mitch McConnell.

Dick Durbin, the Senate’s second ranking Democrat, said this week that Democrats plan to bring two or three bills from the House to the floor soon. “We need some floor experience first,” he told the Capitol Hill press. “I think this is progression. First, try the legislation. Second, try modifications to filibuster. Then see what happens.” They’ll use the threat of breaking the filibuster as leverage to win GOP policy concessions even if they don’t formally rewrite the Senate rules.

Politics is never static, and perhaps this momentum will ebb as Democrats lose the false cover of “Covid relief” for their agenda. But it’s no exaggeration to say the country is facing the most confident left-wing majority since 1965. This isn’t what Joe Biden promised, but it is what we’re getting.


The GOP’s ‘D’oh!’ Moment

Why Republicans can’t seem to think politically straight is not only frustrating, but incomprehensible.

WSJ 7/31/2020  by Kimberley A. Strassel

Senate Republicans experienced their “D’oh!” moment this week, and better late than never. If even Homer Simpson can experience moments of clarity, maybe the GOP can yet do a virus economy—and itself—some good.

As Congress spent another tortuous week nonnegotiating a fifth virus-relief bill, it finally dawned on Republicans that they are being played for fools. Democrats don’t want a bill; they want to win an election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi—who may go down as one of Washington’s greatest cynics—knew exactly what she was doing in May, when she cooked up the $3 trillion monstrosity known as the Heroes Act. If the GOP said no to her outlandish demands, Democrats would brand them as uncaring, unable to lead, unworthy of controlling Washington. If instead she bludgeoned them into swallowing her spendathon, Democrats would wave the win as proof they should control Washington. Heads Democrats win; tails Republicans lose.


The GOP did its mightiest to aid this strategy, by having no alternative of its own. By May, Congress had spent nearly $3 trillion on the virus, and Republicans had plenty to pack into a message: The bills provided generous aid to the unemployed, small businesses, families, vital industry, schools, states, renters and health providers. The goals were to stave off economic collapse, provide a lifeline during a national shutdown, lay the groundwork for reopening. All that was accomplished—not that you hear Republicans noting it. The bills, moreover, provided a cushion to deal with lingering needs; as Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson recently noted, more than $1 trillion of those original packages has yet to be spent or obligated.


Instead of making these points, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled the GOP was open to tacking Democratic demands on to the Republican priority of liability protection for businesses and organizations. The White House rolled out Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who invited Mrs. Pelosi to dictate the GOP bill. Instead of putting together a plan focused on pro-growth economic policies, the Senate GOP cobbled together a hodgepodge of its own spending demands—money for schools, aid for farmers and, yes, $1.75 billion for a new FBI building. Cue a revolt by fiscal conservatives and party infighting—and two weeks of headlines about Republican “chaos.”


All the while, Democrats have broadcast—in plain English—that they have no intention of letting legislation succeed. Mrs. Pelosi this week described the two bills as a “giraffe” and a “flamingo” and said they were “not mateable.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer won’t even try, refusing to engage in regular order—to bring a bill to the floor, to hold amendments and votes, and to send a rival product to a House-Senate conference. Democrats have a plan—blame Republicans for the bill’s failure and, by laughable extension, the nation’s economic woes.

And so it was encouraging to see Mr. McConnell acknowledge reality and move to put the GOP back on offense. Stepping back from talks on a big bill, the Senate GOP tackled the most pressing deadline—the Friday expiration of federal enhanced unemployment benefits. Sen. Johnson proposed renewing these benefits at about two-thirds of lost wages, or roughly $200 a week. This would allow the federal government to continue providing some aid, though not the current, crazy $600 a week that is discouraging so many from returning to work. Senate Republicans asked for unanimous consent on that plan, and Democrats blocked it. That means Democrats own the expiration.

Not that the press will put it that way, which is why it is also encouraging that Mr. McConnell now intends to put a legislative version of that unemployment extension on the floor next week and put Democrats on record voting it down. The only way to expose Democratic cynicism and intransigence is to beat the public over the head with proof—something the GOP failed to do with policing reform. A GOP vote would force Democrats to explain why two-thirds of regular pay is not enough—especially given prior Democratic proposals that set virus sick leave and family medical leave at two-thirds regular pay. When Democrats vote it down, Mr. McConnell needs to bring it up again. And again.

The GOP meantime also has an opportunity to rethink and put together proposals sharply tailored to economic growth. Then bring them up again, and again. Hammer home that Democrats are blocking economic revival. (You can bet that is what Mr. Schumer would be doing to Republicans right now, were the situation reversed.)


If Republicans allow this election to become a contest over which party can spend more taxpayer dollars, they will lose. Better to treat it as an opportunity to present true competing visions—between a GOP that has a plan for a bigger and better economy, and a Democratic Party that wants a vastly larger entitlement state. Yet making that contrast first requires Republicans to get there themselves. Get a plan, make the case.

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Republicans Suppress Their Own Voters

Why does the Republican Party do such STUPID things???

The Georgia and North Carolina Republican parties decided this week that Donald Trump will be the only name on their 2020 presidential primary ballots, and they aren’t alone. The Minnesota Republican Party pulled the same move a few weeks ago, and earlier the parties in South Carolina, Arizona, Kansas, Nevada and Alaska canceled their nominating contests outright. The party is disenfranchising GOP voters in eight states—so far.

The Republican Party apparatus has been bound to one man through power plays and intimidation. Since Mr. Trump was elected, 40 Republican state party chairmen have turned over. The party’s leadership is unrecognizable from what it was before Mr. Trump.

The president’s record staff turnover—high-profile departures like chief of staff Reince Priebus, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, national security adviser John Bolton and Energy Secretary Rick Perry— also reflects his disregard for anyone who disagrees with him. Ten members have departed his cabinet, more than any other first-term president since Gerald Ford, and Mr. Trump isn’t even through his third year.

Retribution for defying Mr. Trump extends to elected officials. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has drawn threats of a primary challenger for appointing Kelly Loeffler to the U.S. Senate rather than Mr. Trump’s recommendation. That’s one reason 32 congressional Republicans decided to retire in 2018, and 22 so far say they will in 2020.

The Republican Party effectively no longer exists. It’s been stolen from its longtime supporters, donors, volunteers, voters, members and elected representatives. The Party has been overrun and forced to abandon its principles of limited government, free trade and a strong national defense. For many Republican voters their only options are no options except for the one the party bosses have chosen. The new class of party bosses won’t allow challenges, won’t allow dissent, won’t allow other voices. Apparently even Republicans voters can’t be trusted enough to choose a presidential candidate.

It shouldn’t have to be said, but I’ll say it anyway: This shouldn’t happen in America. We should never cancel elections. No wonder young voters are turning away from the Republican Party. Mr. Trump said he was going to drain the swamp, but instead he’s destroying the Republican Party from the inside.

Political parties and primaries should be about fostering competition to nominate candidates preferred by the voters of that party. But today’s Republican Party demands fealty to Donald Trump, instead of fealty to core beliefs and principles.

I intend to do whatever I can to reverse what the GOP bosses have done in these eight states, but here’s hoping Republican voters realize it and rise up against this un-American action.

Mr. Walsh, a former U.S. representative from Illinois, is a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination.