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The drunk RINO, the lying bumper sticker, and the crook

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Having lost the Senate seat in Indiana due to a weak candidate in 2012, Republicans are trying to take back the seat. It should be relatively easy to win a Senate seat from a state that swung Trump in 2016, but the GOP sure is making it hard on themselves. The candidates who seek to unseat Joe Donnelly are already faltering with the enormous smell of weakness. The three hopefuls: Luke Messer, Todd Rokita and Mike Braun are stumbling to the finish line in the hopes that the other two fall on their faces first.

The Drunk RINO

It sounds like a politically themed bar name, but the honor of this title goes to Luke Messer. The is little doubt that Messer would contribute to the ineffectiveness of the Senate. Too few Republicans in the Senate stand by the principles that they campaign on and Luke Messer is one of them but in the House. Messer supported the Omnibus spending bill which spent money we don’t have to increase a government that’s too big. On the endorsement front, Messer has Rep. Susan Brooks of District 5. She is also a notorious RINO. The “drunk” part of the title refers to how by omission, Messer lied about his drunk driving arrest when running for the House. This is particularly substantial because of the circumstances at the time in which Messer replaced a lawmaker killed by a drunk driver. Having won the seat concealing damning information means that Messer has sat on a throne of lies for decades.

The Lying Bumper Sticker

Where fellow Congressman, Todd Rokita, stands apart from Luke Messer is his Conservative voting record in the House. Rokita did not vote for Omnibus and otherwise has a much stronger record voting. Yet even after deviating from Trump from the right, Rokita has sought in his campaign to tie himself as close to Trump as humanly possible. This is disingenuous since, by certain standards, it is Luke Messer who is most aligned with the President. However the offense most gravely concerning Rokita’s campaign was his staff taking the endorsement of Trump’s Indiana team a little too far. On yard signs intentionally mislead by implying the endorsement of the President himself. Though there was fine print, the intent is there nonetheless. This offense brought rebuke from the Trump Campaign and is the most damaging wound to the GOP hopeful.

Yard signs are not the same as bumper stickers though. That is to say the “lying” portion of Todd Rokita has been covered. The bumper sticker was not his misleading yard signs but his mouth. There isn’t an original thought or policy that comes out of his mouth. “Guns don’t kill people.”

Todd Rokita is more interested in using cute bumper sticker lines than using succinct riginal thought. For that reason he sounds like the elite he is trying to defeat.

The Crook

Mike Braun is the “political outsider” or so he’d have us believe. Indeed, he is self funding his campaign but similarly to Trump he isn’t actually an outsider, and unlike Trump he isn’t actually unique compared to a politician. Matt Bruan is currently a Representative in the Indiana House. But his record in the House is far from Conservative, and further from someone who genuinely believes in the free market. In 2017, the vote that causes him the most grief, particularly from Rokita, was his vote for a 55% gas tax increase in a bill that allowed for automatic hikes without additional legislative approval. Additionally, Braun voted against reducing regulations on hair braiders and increased regulation on car dealerships. Braun doesn’t have a record that would indicate he would vote Conservative when it counts. In all likelihood, Braun in the Senate would be adding an additional RINO to the herd.

But aside from gambling on his principles, one of the chief concerns is his cronyism. A report from the Indy Star Times states:

But during his short tenure as a state lawmaker, Braun worked to reduce taxes and regulations on an industry in which he holds a significant personal financial interest — a connection that raises ethical concerns, critics say.

Braun owns more than 5,000 acres of timber land in southern Indiana valued at more than $5 million. He harvests the trees on that land for hardwood, yielding tens of thousands of dollars in income each year.

At the same time, he successfully pushed legislation at the Statehouse that provided millions of dollars in tax breaks for the timber industry and cut regulatory costs for hauling logs. He also tried unsuccessfully to put new limits on logging in state forests, potentially forcing more logging onto private timber lands like his.

The exact bill HB 1089 seems to have provided Braun with financial gain in an industry specific to his background. While the benefit of the doubt ought to be afforded, the evidence of Braun’s behavior is substantial. Braun is not simply a believer of the free market, voting on bills that so happen to benefit him personally. If Braun’s actions were principled why weren’t the hair braiders or Telsa afforded the same luxury of fewer regulations? Furthermore Indy Star points out his record.

  • A tax break in 2015 that exempted tree harvesting equipment from state sales tax. The measure saved the industry $1.8 million to $2.7 million a year, according to a fiscal note. 
  • Looser regulations on logging trucks, allowing them to carry more weight. The 2017 law effectively cut the cost of hauling timber from forests to saw mills.
  • Limits on logging in state forests, which compete with private timber land as a source of hardwood. The 2016 legislation would have prohibited the state forestry division from cutting down trees on at least 10 percent of the land in each state forest. The proposal put Braun at odds with the administration of then-Gov. Mike Pence and the bill failed to advance.

His industry specific legislation is enough to point out that the line between public policy and personal gain is blurred at very least and molested at worst.

My Take

This is a terrible field of candidates. In a state where Trump won by 19, the Republicans are fielding candidates that are giving Joe Donnelly the best chance at keeping his seat. The safest bet in this race is Todd Rokita who is the only candidate with a Conservative voting record. Messer is a RINO and Braun a cronyist. Their behavior in the Senate will be as such. We always say we don’t want RINOs, but somehow they keep getting voted into office. Proper vetting of candidates is a surefire way to prevent voting RINOs in office, at least when information is as widely available as it is for this race. After vetting the three candidates, Rokita stands out as the one least likely to contribute to out of control government spending and voter betrayal in the Senate.

For more candidate vetting in Indiana or your state, stay tuned. We’re planning on writing up all fifty this primary season.

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Judiciary

Jeff Flake has become a punchline

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Jeff Flake has become a punchline

There are conservatives who oppose the President through conscientious means and with discernment of who to support and what to oppose. Then, there are “conservatives” like Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

In his final days in the United States Senate, Flake has decided to go out with his conscience intact. At least that’s what he’s telling himself and anyone who would listen. In reality, he’s going out with his middle finger raised to the man he blames the most for his career failures: President Trump.

Flake has threatened to hold up judicial nominations until the Senate votes to protect special counsel Robert Mueller. Let’s set aside the likelihood that such an action by Congress would be unconstitutional with Article 2 giving the President wide powers over the Justice Department. That’s a debate for Constitutional scholars.

Instead, let’s focus on what Flake is actually doing. He’s willing to jeopardize the judicial system which desperately needs an infusion of originalists just to fire a parting blow at the President. That’s really what this comes down to. He’s not obeying his conscience. He’s not protecting Mueller. He’s not trying to right a wrong. He’s being a child.

He’s a punchline.

Even if there was a real threat that President Trump might somehow interfere with the Mueller investigation, this wouldn’t be the way to try to protect him. All Flake is doing is pulverizing the few pieces of his credibility that were left standing.

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Democrats

Good news for the Democrat agenda: McConnell and McCarthy will lead the GOP

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Good news for the Democrat agenda McConnell and McCarthy will lead the GOP

Trumplicans chalked one up for the status quo yesterday when they chose Paul Ryan’s right-hand man, Kevin McCarthy, to be the party leader in the House and unanimously re-elected Mitch McConnell to lead the Senate. Both men were endorsed by Donald Trump for the jobs.

Despite the fact that Republicans suffered the worst mid-term defeat since Watergate, McConnell and McCarthy touted a list of vague GOP accomplishments that conveniently failed to mention the party’s failure to keep their promises, which is why the Democrats won last week.

In an opinion piece for FOX News, McConnell bragged — now try not to laugh — about how the past two years of Republican leadership “will be remembered as a period of historic productivity.” He then challenged the new Democrat majority in the House to put aside partisan politics and work with Republicans to get things done.

Apparently, the concept of irony is lost on McConnell. Outside of the GOP’s alleged success at saving the Supreme Court, Democrats and Republicans have always been working together, which is why they still fund Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, DACA, and sanctuary cities with massive new spending that exploded the budget deficit.

While McConnell and McCarthy have adopted Trump’s “blame the Democrats for my failures” playbook, the sad reality is that Republicans favor the Democrat agenda because it’s their agenda; bipartisanship is a given.

Based on developments during the lame duck session, it’s going to be worse when the 116th Congress opens for business in January.

Nancy Pelosi called last week’s victory a mandate to save Obamacare and she will promote legislation designed to move America closer to a single-payer healthcare system. Trump has a track record of support for Obamacare and he promoted single-payer healthcare during his 2016 campaign.

Following the recent shootings in California, Pelosi announced that she would make gun control a top priority. Trump and the GOP have actively promoted radical gun-control legislation, including: seizing guns without due process, establishing an FBI database to track guns and gun owners, and requiring a license to own a gun.

Now comes word from the Democrats that they will work to bring back a classic of Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialists — a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. As expected, Trump appears to be a fan of the idea.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump supported raising the minimum wage to at least $10 and hour. And as part of the recent US-Mexico trade deal, he fought for and won a $16 an hour minimum wage for auto workers on both sides of the border in an effort to price Mexico out of the auto industry. Ironic because he’s essentially admitting that mandatory minimum wages eventually result in lost jobs.

Even thought economic advisor Larry Kudlow recently stated his preference to see the federal minimum wage eliminated, Trump’s history of flip-flopping on this along with a host of other issues, along with his 2020 re-election hopes, means that the Democrats will likely win on the issue.

We were repeatedly told last week to vote Red to make sure we stop the Democrats. But to quote Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings, when it comes to the difference between Republicans and Democrats . . .

“What difference, at this point, does it make?”

 

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Guns and Crime

‘Release criminals early and reduce sentencing’ wasn’t a MAGA promise

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Release criminals early and reduce sentencing wasnt a MAGA promise

What happened to the “law and order” President? Some on the right are asking how we went from getting tougher on crime to suddenly endorsing a bill that gets weaker on crime on the front-end AND the back-end. Unfortunately, it’s only some on the right. Most seem to be buying into this new brand of conservatism just as they bought into “fair trade” and tariffs as their new foreign trade mantra.

If this isn’t what the President promised, then what is it? We can say many things about President Trump’s demeanor and style, but one thing that’s been impressive about his administration so far is that they’ve been more consistent than most when it comes to keeping promises. This is one of the first 180’s the administration has performed. And don’t get fooled into thinking this isn’t a 180. Do you remember at any point during his campaign when he said, “Let’s release current criminals early and reduce sentencing on future criminals!”

I don’t remember hearing that at any MAGA rallies, either.

So what’s the motivation here? We can look at individual lawmakers and see why they may be surprisingly accepting of this legislation. Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), for example, has personal experiences as a prosecutor that drove him to the conclusion that he needed to support the bill.

Sen. Mike Lee: A conservative case for criminal justice reform

https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/sen-mike-lee-a-conservative-case-for-criminal-justice-reformFor example, when I served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Salt Lake City, Weldon Angelos — a young father of two with no criminal record — was convicted of selling three dime bags of marijuana to a paid informant over a short period of time.

These were not violent crimes. No one was hurt. But because Angelos had been in possession of a gun at the time he sold the drugs (a gun which was neither brandished nor discharged in connection with the offense), the judge was forced by federal law to give him a 55-year prison sentence. The average federal sentence for assault is just two years. The average murderer only gets 15 years. While acknowledging the obvious excessiveness of the sentence, the judge explained that the applicable federal statutes gave him no authority to impose a less-severe prison term, noting that “only Congress can fix this problem.”

To be clear, what Senator Lee is describing is the front-end of the problem. Yes, there are certain mandated sentencing requirements that need to be addressed. But to do this properly, you don’t unleash 4,000+ hardened criminals as a result. Fix sentencing problems for the future, then allow those who would have been affected by reduced mandatory sentencing appeal their individual cases. In light of the new sentencing requirements, judges can take a case-by-case look to identify people, such as the one Senator Lee describes, who should be eligible for early release. Don’t just open the floodgates.

Other conservatives who support the bill, such as Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), are taking a Libertarian stance against victimless crimes. But there’s a flaw with their thinking as well. Even if one believes drugs should be legal and their sale should be regulated, that doesn’t change the fact that when these criminals committed their crimes, drugs were illegal. They weren’t acting on their civic duty to protest an abusive system. They were selling illegal drugs, often while carrying firearms. Many of them avoided being labeled as violent criminals simply because the opportunity hadn’t presented itself at the time they committed their crimes.

Releasing lawbreakers because one doesn’t believe the law is just doesn’t change the fact that they broke the law. If you’re going to change the laws first, fine. But don’t release criminals ahead of changes in the law.

Many proponents of criminal justice reform look at the costs associated with running overpopulated prisons as the reason for their support. Again, this is backwards. The prisons are overpopulated in large part because we’re not deporting enough criminal illegal immigrants. If you remove them first, then assess the costs, you’ll find prison overpopulation mitigated and costs dramatically reduced.

Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz did an amazing writeup yesterday on the subject. It’s one of several listed by the site as “must reads” before making up your own mind on the topic.

‘Criminal Justice Reform’ or Jailbreak? Here’s the TRUTH

https://www.conservativereview.com/news/criminal-justice-reform-or-jailbreak-heres-the-truth/Congress and President Donald Trump are making a big push for “criminal justice reform” legislation, but there are problems with the First Step Act.

We’ll keep updating this page as news develops, so be sure to check back with Conservative Review for updates on the bipartisan jailbreak bill.

With the President behind it, many Republicans will now believe they support it, too. Before you let someone else make up your mind, you should look into these “reforms” for yourself. Law and order are still important even if its alleged proponents abandon it.

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