The DIY GOP Campaign for 2016

curly_final_diy_bannerI will begin by saying that if you have not read Martel’s On the Arrogance of the Republican Party “Experts,” go read it now and then come back.

The account of a local Republican headquarters run by a top-down bureaucracy that was not interested in feedback and lacked basic common sense is incredibly depressing. The architects of that failure all got promoted and the foot soldiers got diddly. To take it further, the architects of this state-level failure are hoping bring that same expertise to the 2016 race. The thought alone depresses me.

Read On

Why Obama’s Executive Action on Iran Does Not Violate the Law

Conservatives have much to criticize in President Obama’s deal with Iran on its nuclear program. The agreement allows Iran to operate sophisticated nuclear equipment, keep its suspected weapons labs open, and maintain stockpiles of nuclear material with ample opportunity to manipulate international inspectors. Washington and its allies must lift crippling sanctions and release $150 billion in frozen assets now, while hoping that Iran will refrain from developing an atomic bomb for the next decade.

Some conservatives may argue that Obama is violating the law, too. The Treaty Clause declares that the president “shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.” Instead of following this process, set out in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, President Obama plans to codify the deal as an executive agreement without the Senate’s supermajority approval. The Iran deal appears to run counter to decades of practice by the elected branches, which have used the Treaty Clause to make almost every significant arms-control agreement, such as the Test Ban Treaty, Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the INF, and the START and New START pacts.

Read On

Book Review: “GPS Declassified”

“GPS Declassified” by Richard D. Easton and Eric F. FrazierAt the dawn of the space age, as the United States planned to launch its Vanguard satellites during the International Geophysical Year (1957–1958), the need to track the orbit of the satellites became apparent. Optical and radar tracking were considered (and eventually used for various applications), but for the first very small satellites would have been difficult. The Naval Research Laboratory proposed a system, Minitrack, which would use the radio beacon of the satellite, received by multiple ground stations on the Earth, which by interferometry would determine the position and velocity of a satellite with great precision. For the scheme to work, a “fence” of receiving stations would have to be laid out which the satellite would regularly cross in its orbit, the positions of each of the receiving stations would have to be known very accurately, and clocks at all of the receiving stations would have to be precisely synchronised with a master clock at the control station which calculated the satellite’s orbit.

The technical challenges were overcome, and Minitrack stations were placed into operation at locations within the United States and as far flung as Cuba, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Australia, and in the Caribbean. Although designed to track the U.S. Vanguard satellites, after the unexpected launch of Sputnik, receivers were hastily modified to receive the frequency on which it transmitted its beeps, and the system successfully proved itself tracking the first Earth satellite. Minitrack was used to track subsequent U.S. and Soviet satellites until it was supplanted in 1962 by the more capable Spacecraft Tracking and Data Acquisition Network.

Read On

Goldman Sachs Says the US Economy Should be Growing a Lot Faster Than GDP Stats Say. Here’s Why

Is the US economy doing better than we think? That is the upbeat thesis Goldman Sachs put forward in May, arguing that official statistics are mismeasuring productivity growth in the digital economy. Goldman economists Jan Hatzius and Kris Dawsey on the “productivity paradox,” as they put it:

Measured productivity growth has slowed sharply in recent years … But is the weakness for real? We have our doubts. Profit margins have risen to record levels, inflation has mostly surprised on the downside, overall equity prices have surged, and technology stocks have performed even better than the broader market. None of this feels like a major IT-led productivity slowdown. One potential explanation that reconciles these observations is that structural changes in the US economy may have resulted in a statistical understatement of real GDP growth. There are several possible areas of concern, but the rapid growth of software and digital content—where quality-adjusted prices and real output are much harder to measure than in most other sectors—seems particularly important.

Read On

The Bookmonger with John J. Miller Ep. 33: The Mind of James Madison: The Legacy of Classical Republicanism

“This is the most important book published on James Madison in my lifetime,” says Paul Rahe, a Ricochet contributor as well as a scholar who is qualified to say such a thing. Bookmonger Mind of James MadisonHe refers to The Mind of James Madison, a new book by Colleen A. Sheehan of Villanova University.

In a 10-minute conversation with The Bookmonger, Sheehan argues that James Madison is America’s great political philosopher, describes how his involvement in practical politics shaped his ideas, and what he would think of our government today. She also says that some of his most important writings are poorly appreciated and rarely read.

Read On

The Milt Rosenberg Show Ep. 122: A Look to 2016: the Candidates

The race for the White House in 2016 is fully underway. The GOP side is entertaining, to say the least. The Democrat side has not, so far, been as colorful, though questions still remain as to whom will succeed President Obama in running for the presidency.

We thought it the right time to sit down with a brilliant young political scientist, Thomas Ogorzalek of Northwestern. Joining us on the phone were Genevieve Wood of the Heritage Foundation and Gabby Morrongielo of the Washington Examiner.

Read On

Christie Under Fire

In Iowa a few days ago, Chris Christie was challenged on his Second Amendment record. In response, the questioner found himself on the receiving end of a classic Christie barrage:

If you want to debate me, come in the top ten, run for president, and come… to Cleveland in August. [But] here’s what you’ll have to do then and what you failed to do this morning… come up with one fact, one thing I’ve done as Governor of New Jersey that’s done — anything — anything not to support the rights of legal gun owners.

Read On

A Ricochet Challenge

I’m torn. On the one hand, I think we should all pause from our busy schedules to consider the most salacious and astonishing tabloid scandal in British history since the Profumo affair. We could surely use the comic relief.

On the other hand, the entire story violates our Code of Conduct.

Read On

There Is No Long Game

shutterstock_180292460During his excellent speech before Congress, Sen. Ted Cruz repeated a common complaint of Republican voters:

The American people were told, “If only we have a Republican majority in the House, things will be different.” Well, in 2010, the American people showed up in enormous numbers and we got a Republican majority in the House. And very little changed. [...] Then the American people were told, “You know, the problem is the Senate. If only we get a Republican majority in the Senate and retire Harry Reid as majority leader, then things will be different.” Well, in 2014, the American people rose up in enormous numbers, voted to do exactly that. We have had a Republican majority in both houses of Congress now for about 6 months. What has that majority done?

Read On

Immigration: What Conservatives Should Say

shutterstock_232046080Scott Walker’s response to the ambush was solid, but it felt like he was dodging the questions about deportation. Here’s my proposal for what candidates should say:

  • Why is the United States an attractive destination for hard workers from all countries? Because it has rule of law. We need to enforce immigration laws to keep this place an attractive destination for talented, hard-working people from all countries. Countries fail when they fill with scofflaws.
  • Not everyone who breaks the speed limit receives a ticket. But if you break the speed limit, you have to be prepared to deal with a ticket. Similarly, no-one is arguing for mass deportation. But if you are caught living in the country illegally, you need to be prepared for deportation.
  • We need to reform our immigration laws to make it easier for legal immigrants to enter (No need to mention that they should have the right skills).
  • With respect to the particular issue of our southern neighbor, the US can work with Mexico to help it become a better country for its people. This work includes promoting competitive markets, supporting Mexican law enforcement, and exporting education solutions.

As far as facts go, that first statement, unfortunately, admit many exceptions. But as far as a message goes, what else would you propose?

Read On

Does Anthony Hervey’s Life Matter?

“It was hard to miss Anthony Hervey on the Oxford Square. A black man in a Confederate uniform with a Rebel flag over his shoulder, often talking to passers-by, sometimes to a crowd. He was never conventional, but he was always convicted. Some people wondered if he was a little crazy, but those who knew him saw him as a guy who simply believed something different. Hervey was earnest, and he was genuine, and he was very intelligent.” – Therese Apel, The Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, MS)

I asked my friend Therese to email me these thoughts on Anthony Hervey because she is one of the few people who actually knew him, and sadly, one of the only reporters writing about his death:

Read On

On the Arrogance of Republican Party “Experts”

Several years back I worked for a state Republican Party running a Victory Center, or local campaign headquarters. I devoted more to that job than I had to any job prior and more than I have to any job since. The hours were nine to nine Monday through Friday, nine to five on Saturdays, and near election day several hours on Sundays. Initially, I was thrilled to have been given the opportunity to contribute to a cause about which I cared very much. Moreover, it didn’t hurt my ego to be interacting on a regular basis with people I had regularly seen on television and their close advisors.

During my initial state of humility, I found myself taking in every bit of knowledge the “experts” for whom I worked imparted to me. When I was told to do something, I did it, and did it as well as I could without question.

Read On

Shaun’s Musings: The Internet and Privacy

My father bought the house’s first computer in 1995. Before then, I had used a rickety old typewriter with a flying ‘g’ that seemed to eat the ink cartridges faster than I could replace them. Happy with my father’s new purchase, I set to work on writing a novel. We had AOL in those days, but the Internet was not anywhere near where it is today. On the first day I started using the Internet, my father sat down with me and gave me a good piece of advice that I have never forgotten. “The Internet is a public place,” he told me. “I don’t care what website says it’s private. Automatically assume that everything you write, buy, and look at online will still be visible twenty years from now.”

That advice came in handy years later when I lost an entire manuscript I had saved since I was sixteen. Remembering that I had shared the file with some friends in order to gain some feedback, I was quickly able to find and download it. The date? May, 1997, just weeks before I graduated high school.

Read On

Why Is the Republican Base Upset?

I think there are many reasons why the Republican base is upset, and it is correct to be upset. I am not a Donald Trump supporter, and I am not sure at this point whether Mr. Trump will continue his candidacy until there is a nominee for the presidency or will discontinue his campaign before that. Donald Trump himself may not be sure what he will do at this point. However, any Republican politician who does not understand why Trump appeals to some voters in their constituency will regret it in the results of the 2016 elections.

I think I understand why The Donald appeals to many in the Republican base, but I’m not sure what to do about it in order to keep Hillary Clinton from being elected. Certainly, criticizing your base or potential voters is not a winning strategy for Trump’s opponents when those voters have reached a tipping point. Individual voters may have different tipping points, but without ranking them in importance here are my candidates for why people are saying “we have had enough.” Which significant ones have I overlooked?

Read On

Need to Know with Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger Ep. 126: Democratic Socialists

ntk-logoWhile Jay Nordlinger is dodging walruses in Alaska on the NR cruise, Mona welcomes the wise and wonderful Larry Kudlow as guest host. Radio host John Batchelor starts things off with insights about Iran – ancient and modern. He knows these things not just because he’s a polymath, but because his mother’s family hails from Persia. He shares that story.

Larry and Mona then consider Hillary Clinton’s proposal to increase the capital gains tax, which leads to a broader discussion about whether the Democratic Party believes in capitalism at all anymore. And what about the rest of the country? Is there an opening for a Republican who can talk knowledgeably about simplifying the tax code and making other common sense reforms to promote growth? At the national level, there are a number of candidates who might. At the local level, in the Connecticut senate race, the person to make that case just might be this week’s co-host!

Read On

Listen to Nearly 100 Hours of Shakespeare Free

olivier2Need some cheap entertainment this weekend, but are all caught up with your DVRed episodes of “Naked Amish Tattoo Removers” and “Say Yes to the Transgendered Storage Auction?” Elevate your entertainment by firing up the audio app Spotify for nearly 100 hours of free and fabulous Shakespeare.

The Bard’s plays and poems are meant to be heard, not read, so Spotify user Ulysses Stone collected more than four days worth of the finest actors performing his works.

Read On

Hillary’s Inconceivably Stupid Capital-Gains Tax Scheme

shutterstock_287370872The worst sectors of the worst recovery since World War II are business investment in new plants and equipment and new business start-ups. These are the biggest job-creators, and their slump is a key reason for the sub-par labor recovery, with low participation rates and high involuntary part-time workers.

So if investment is the problem, what does Hillary Clinton go out and do? She proposes jacking up the tax on investment. It’s almost inconceivably stupid.

Read On

‘No Man or Woman Is Above the Law’

Do you want me to come home… come from school and my dad get deported?” It was supposed to be a made-for-TV moment, a presidential candidate confronted by sobbing children. Wisconsin, along with 25 other states, is suing to stop DACA — the President’s unilateral amnesty — and according to these activists, that means the governor wants to break families apart. Scott Walker was having none of it, and he knows how to hold his ground graciously: firmly to the aggressive activist trying to jump in, more gently to the little eight-year-old serving as an innocent prop. The President is not above the law, Walker insisted calmly, and neither is anyone else.

Read more »

Read On

The Classicist Podcast, with Victor Davis Hanson: “Illegal Immigration and Sanctuary Cities”

In this installment of The Classicist podcast from the Hoover Institution, VDH uses the recent murder of Kate Steinle in the sanctuary city of San Francisco to discuss the issues faced by Californians dealing with illegal immigration, address whether ‘compassion’ ought to be the driving factor behind immigration policy, take issue with the idea that rates of criminal behavior are lower amongst those here illegally, explore the popular/elitist divide on the issue, and speculate on whether we’ve reached an inflection point in the public debate.

As ever, you can subscribe to The Classicist via iTunes or your favorite podcast app — or you can listen in below, right after the jump.

Read On

Shaun’s Musings: Becoming a Minimalist

130327_CBOX_MinimalistCraze.jpg.CROP.article568-largeMy parents were middle class and they worked hard all their lives. They were graced with my presence in their mid-to-late 40s. Before this they had been minimalists, working two jobs and, instead of taking vacations or buying new cars, focused on paying the mortgages on their rental properties. By the late 1970s, when I appeared on the world’s stage, they owed nothing and were continually investing in the stock market.

The allure of stuff, the collective term for things that we buy which we really could live without, has taken hold of our generation and our culture. Shortly after my father died, but before I got married, I began to remodel the house a little, installing a small room in which I could play guitar unmolested. The room started as a small idea, but as I went to yard sales, flea markets, and Guitar Center, I amassed more musical instruments (some broken) than I could possibly have room for.

Read On

The Left vs. the Sharing Economy: Where Are the Atari Democrats of Today?

Atari-2600-Wikimedia-commons-500x293Vox’s Timothy Lee looks at how Republicans and Democrats view the emerging sharing economy. Republicans — at least nationally — seem almost uniformly positive. They see Uber, for instance, as a feisty, innovative startup vs. regulators and the cronyist taxicab cartel. But Democrats are sort of split. Lee:

Some liberals dislike Uber on ideological grounds, but others — especially in the media, politics, and technology centers of New York, Washington, and San Francisco — are regular Uber customers. On one side of this debate are old-school liberals with strong ties to the labor movement and urban political machines. For them, Uber is a conventional story about worker and consumer rights. Labor unions believe Uber is flouting the law by classifying workers as independent contractors rather than employees. And they would love to unionize Uber’s fast-growing workforce.

Read On