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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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Opinions

5 reasons President Trump should consider Allen West for Chief of Staff

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5 reasons President Trump should consider Allen West for Chief of Staff

It’s not a secret I’m a fan of Lt. Gen. Allen West. From his time in Congress when I first started following his career to his post-DC days when he became even more influential through speeches and writing, I’ve seen West as a guy I’d love to see in the White House. There seems to be a spot coming open soon. West is the guy to insert into the position.

Here are five reasons he’s the perfect choice:

No-Nonsense leader

John Kelly is also a non-nonsense leader. It was his greatest strength in the position and the reason why many things were cleaned up in the White House within weeks after he took over the role. The President doesn’t need to completely change those things that were working. West will continue (and likely improve) the smooth running among White House staff.

Actual conservative credentials

There really isn’t a whole lot to add. West is a conservative. He values the strengths within our Republic and will honorably defend the Constitution until his final breath is taken. If the White House can use anything, it’s an infusion of conservatism.

Loyalty to a pro-American agenda

President Trump wants to make America great again. Lt. Col. West has worked most of his adult life to make that dream come true. He is a true patriot who wants the best for America and Americans.

He’ll challenge the President privately

If the President is looking for a “yes man,” he should probably skip West. He has never been one to simply go with the flow without voicing his opinion. This is one of the reasons he left DC in the first place. It’s also a trait that will serve the President well leading up to the 2020 election. If the President really wants someone who isn’t afraid to voice his opinions, he’ll find that in West.

He’ll support the President publicly

Unlike many who have passed through the White House in the last two years, West is not a gossip. He isn’t going to badmouth the President to journalists, pen anonymous articles for the New York Times, or tolerate leaks from anyone on the staff. Even if he disagrees with the President, you won’t find a hint of that in the press.

There are few people in the world who would serve the nation in the role of White House Chief of Staff better than Allen West. If President Trump wants an honorable and intelligent person by his side, he should get on the phone with West immediately.

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Opinions

Trump, GOP will work with Dems to add global warming legislation to infrastructure spending

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Trump GOP will work with Dems to add global warming legislation to infrastructure spending

As 2018 winds to a close and the failed two-year experiment giving Trump, McConnell, and Ryan complete control of Washington breathes its last, Democrats have been busy charting a course correction after having their agenda temporarily knocked off course in 2016.

I wrote last week about how Democrats would be placing a new focus on their Democratic Socialist-inspired agenda in a host of areas from gun control to global warming. In that piece, I introduced you to the Green New Deal, a plan being promoted by Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic Socialist from New York.

The goal of the Green New Deal is to pass laws in Washington forcing the United States to become 100 percent dependent on so-called green energy. And while it’s tempting to write-off Ocasio-Cortez’s plan to create an environmental Xanadu as nothing more than the naïve rantings of a textbook left-wing loon — which she is, by the way — the reality is that Al Gore’s Church of Global Warming is about to experience a revival.

Since the Democrats will control the House, it’s a given that the global warming agenda will be advanced under Nancy Pelosi’s “leadership.” But what about the Senate?

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wrote in an open letter to Donald Trump on Friday that the United States’ transition to renewable energy “must” be included in the infrastructure spending debate expected to take place in 2019.

“It is crucial that we immediately enact legislation to combat climate change and create millions of jobs. Therefore, any clean infrastructure package considered in 2019 must include policies and funding to transition to a clean energy economy and mitigate risks that the United States is already facing due to climate change.”

So, who cares? Right? After all, the Senate is still under GOP control and Trump could always veto the bill even if it makes it through the Senate.

Well, besides the fact that Trump has NEVER used his veto pen — probably because he’s been busy using his executive order pen to destroy the Second Amendment — he and the GOP love big-government spending as much as the Democrats.

You may recall that Trump announced in his first State of the Union address — and repeated in his second — plans to spend $1 trillion or more on infrastructure. On top of that, Republicans in the House released an infrastructure-spending plan back in July when they were busy trying to buy votes in the hope that it would save their majority.

By the way, the GOP would pay for their Obama-esque infrastructure plan by raising gasoline taxes by 15-cents-a-gallon and diesel taxes by 20-cents-a-gallon. It would also raise taxes on a host of “green transportation” alternatives, such as: bikes, bicycle tires, and car batteries. All of these tax increases are supported by Trump.

I can hear the cult now; “Trump said last week that he doesn’t believe in global warming, and he called on the world to end the ‘ridiculous‘ Paris climate agreement that he withdrew the U.S. from last summer.”

As is usually the case when it comes to Donald Trump, nothing he says can be counted on.

First, Trump has pretty much made Ivanka his climate czar and she’s a devotee to Al Gore’s global warming religion. Second, Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement was in-name-only. In the same speech where he announced the withdrawal, Trump made a commitment to negotiate a way to get back in it. Third, to borrow a phrase from Al Gore, we have the “inconvenient truth” that only days after his 2016 victory, Trump said in an interview that he believes there is “some connectivity” between humans and climate change.

The Democrats will control the agenda in 2019. And when you add Trump’s lack of any firm convictions, his past commitment to work with “Chuck and Nancy,” his 2020 aspirations, and his love of big government, then a budget-busting infrastructure bill that includes some or all of the Green New Deal is pretty much a done deal.

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.

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Binge-worthy show: The Night Manager shows why Tom Hiddleston should be the next James Bond

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Binge-worthy show The Night Manager shows why Tom Hiddleston should be the next James Bond

He’s too posh. He’s too pretty. He isn’t intimidating. He’s too big as a Marvel character. There are many reasons people have dismissed the notion of Tom Hiddleston playing the role of James Bond in the famed series. All of these reasons can be dismissed by watching The Night Manager.

Available on Amazon, the AMC-BBC collaboration is six episodes long. There are reports that it could be brought back for another series, but if it never comes back, rest assured the single series is still worth a watch. The funny part is that Hiddleston might be the main draw, but he’s not even the best overall performance. That honor goes to Hugh Laurie, the well-mannered villain of the show.

As usual, no spoilers.

Much effort is put into making the beautiful people look as beautiful as possible in lovely settings even when things get crazy. It opens with Hiddleston cutting through a crowd of protesters just prior to the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. He’s on his way to work to engage in his craft as a manager at a high-end hotel in Cairo. Even through the chaos, Hiddleston holds an air of separation from both the protesters and the military holding them back. And he does all this while wearing cargo pants and an untucked linen dress shirt.

This is where the presence of Hiddleston comes into play and demonstrates why he would be able to play James Bond. His sharp eyes announce he’s not to be reckoned with while simultaneously charming the observer. As one character later notes, “Everybody is attracted to you.”

The men want to be on his side and the women (and one man) want him to be by their side.

His impish grin may have been perfect for playing Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it takes a more menacing turn in The Night Manager. We realize there’s grit behind his boyish looks that betrays two tours in Iraq and a personal grudge he’s held with him for years. If Daniel Craig brought emotionless chills to the Bond character, Hiddleston would bring an emotional fortitude. He’s only truly happy when he’s doing the right thing, which may go against the stereotypes associated with a world-class assassin, but luckily we’re in a world where stereotypes are being broken.

There’s another reason Hiddleston would be the right person for the role. Unfortunately, it’s a political one. Some are pushing for a minority or a woman to take the role to the next level. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as it’s done with the most qualified person in mind and not just to make a political statement about inclusion. With Hiddleston, it’s an opportunity to use the same formula while mitigating the damage that is sure to come if they don’t select a minority or a woman. Everyone likes Hiddleston. He’ll make the passing on a controversial choice easier to swallow.

There’s even a scene when he orders a vodka martini at a bar in Cairo. It was the most obvious nod to the Bond franchise they could have made without asking for the drink to be shaken.

If you only watch The Night Manager to verify my Bond assertions, so be it. If you watch it for its great acting, engaging espionage, and brilliant storyline, well that’s even better. Either way, get your six-hour binging snacks ready.

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