Monday, February 4, 2013

February 4, 2013

Conservative Groups Mock Crossroads' Initiative
by Sandy Fitzgerald
February 3, 2013

Two powerful conservative groups say a new American Crossroads' initiative, formed to work against Republican candidates it deems unelectable, is just another attempt to muzzle the GOP's true base.

American Crossroads, a super PAC founded by a group led by former Bush White House advisor Karl Rove, was the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle. The idea behind the PAC's latest effort is to intensely vet prospective contenders for Congressional races to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections, The New York Times reported Sunday.

The new organization, the Conservative Victory Project, was formed because “there is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” American Crossroads President Steven Law told Politico.

Law and others want to avoid what has become known as the "Todd Akin problem" in some GOP circles. Republicans lost two high-profile Senate battles last year in which their candidate had expressed controversial views on social issues.

Then-Representative Todd Akin had been a favorite to take a Senate seat representing Missouri before commenting on TV that pregnancy rarely occurs in the case of "legitimate rape".

Rove and other senior Republican figures called on him to step down from the campaign, but he refused to do so. The resulting backlash from, in particular, female voters saw him lose a seat that many party officials believed was very winnable.

In Indiana, Republican candidate Richard Mourdock lost the Senate battle after suggesting that rape was "something God intended to happen".

But the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, both of which boost candidates on the right, said the new group — which they mockingly nicknamed the “Conservative Defeat Project,” is another example of “the Republican establishment's hostility toward its conservative base.”

“Rather than listening to the grassroots and working to advance their principles, the establishment has chosen to declare war on the party's most loyal supporters,” said Matt Hoskins, executive director of the Senate Conservatives Fund.

SCF, which works to push tea party-leaning conservative candidates, backed Ted Cruz, Deb Fischer and Jeff flake in their successful Senate races last year. It was founded in 2008 by then-Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, becoming an independent PAC in July, 2012.

"The Conservative Defeat Project is... a continuation of the establishment's effort to avoid blame for their horrible performance in the 2012 elections," Hoskins added.

"They blew a ton of races up and down the ticket because they recruited moderate Republicans who didn't stand for anything. Now they want to use this new PAC to trick donors into giving them more money so they can lose more races."

Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin tweeted: "TPPatriots want to save USA. Karl Rove wants to line pockets-Don't Tread on Us! Tea Party bites back-never gives up!"

The First Things' "Postmodern Conservative" blog blasted Rove in a column on Sunday.

"The 'establishment' candidates aren’t losing because of a lack of money, and giving Karl Rove more bucks won’t lead to better Republican Senate candidacies anymore than the $300 million that Rove raised and spent in 2012 helped Republicans win the presidency and pick up Senate seats," blogger Pete Spiliakos wrote.

He advised Republican donors to "stop giving money to super-PACs who will spend the money on thirty second ads designed to win elections in 1988. All you are doing is making old school Republican consultants even more rich without their even having to think through the specific problems of our time."

Barney Keller, spokesman for Club for Growth, said many conservative insurgents have emerged as influential GOP leaders.

“They are welcome to support the likes of Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist and David Dewhurst,” Keller said of the new Crossroads group. “We will continue to proudly support the likes of Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.”

The tea party-influenced groups spent millions of dollars in 2012 to boost candidates, but American Crossroads was the heaviest spender. However, it did not get involved in nomination fights — something that's changing this spring as it gets involved in competitive races starting to take shape.

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True the Vote Files Lawsuit Against Supervisor of Elections Over Mishandling of Allen West Recount
by Katie Pavlich
February 4, 2013

Voter integrity group True the Vote (TTV) filed a federal lawsuit Monday against St. Lucie County Florida Supervisor of Elections Gertrude Walker for failing to uphold election law and for failing to enforce record inspection rights under the National Voter Registration Act and the Florida Constitution. The lawsuit has been filed in light of the gross mishandling of the recount between Rep. Allen West and now Rep. Patrick Murphy by St. Lucie County election officials.

"True the Vote's lawsuit will provide information kept from the public. It will allow for a public debate on exactly what happened, why it happened, why it seems to happen repeatedly and how it can be stopped from happening again," True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said in a video statement about the lawsuit.

Walker has already admitted mistakes were made during the recount process but has been less than transparent when it comes to allowing TTV or even the West campaign to access information about votes cast. On November 10, days after the election took place, Walker "unofficially" certified the results and three days later on November 13, she held a press conference where she admitted her staff had acted with "haste" and that "mistakes were made" throughout the tabulation and partial recount process.

According to the NVRA of 1993, Walker "shall maintain for at least 2 years and shall make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters.”

According to a press release, TTV is seeking to "compel St. Lucie County election authorities to grant complete inspection rights to all election records pertaining to the 18th District race and voter registration records under federal and state law. In addition, TTV demands that the court order the Supervisor of Elections to preserve all records. If granted access, TTV will determine a precise vote count, document any illegal participation in the election and offer solutions to prevent similar failures in future recounts."

"Gone are the days when Motor Voter is a law used only by a couple of special interest groups. The law requires physical inspections, I hope we reach a quick agreement," TTV attorney J. Christian Adams of the Election Law Center said.

The lawsuit provides an extensive timeline of events and documented non-cooperation from election officials after information requests were filed.

“This dramatic recount was an extraordinary example of how our elections can suffer systematic failure,” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht said. “We run the risk seeing episodes like this becoming ordinary if citizens do not demand answers and hold election officials accountable. The American people own the voting system – we have the right to ask tough questions when we witness the failure of one of America’s core functions. The clock is ticking on the opportunity for a comprehensive, outside audit of this recount...each passing day heightens the risk of critical documents being disposed of. If you thought voter fraud could erode America’s confidence in elections, unchecked incompetence in the vote tabulation process will destroy all faith remaining in our systems.”

The lawsuit was filed by TTV in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida – Fort Pierce Division.

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The Real Barack Obama 
He’s a man of the Left, and now he sees no need to hide it.
by John Fund
February 4, 2013

The country may be catching on: Barack Obama is our first knee-jerk liberal president. And now that he will never face the voters again, he doesn’t mind showing it.

“There is a deep recognition that he has a short period of time to get a lot done,” says Jennifer Psaki, Obama’s 2012 campaign spokeswoman. So the moderate mask is slipping.

In his second inaugural address, he gave a full-throated defense of the entitlement state and made no mention of reforming Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security before they go bust. He is issuing a stream of executive orders, and he backed the Pentagon’s recently announced plan to lift the ban that kept female soldiers out of combat positions.

Once in a while, Obama still feints to the center. A sharp reaction to his gun-control proposals prompted him to declare that he is sympathetic to gun owners and that he goes skeet shooting “all the time.” The skepticism this boast generated was so rampant that the White House released a photo of Obama holding a shotgun, awkwardly, while skeet shooting. Few people found his claim to enthusiasm for the sport to be credible. Michael Hampton, a top official with the National Skeet Shooting Association, told AP that the photo suggests Obama is a novice shooter. “This isn’t something he’s done very often because of how he’s standing, how he has the gun mounted,” he said.

What is believable is that Obama is showing his true colors. If personnel are policy, there is no better demonstration of his priorities than his second-term appointments. In every case — John Kerry for secretary of state, Chuck Hagel for secretary of defense, Jack Lew for secretary of the treasury — he has moved to the left. In the case of Hagel and Lew, his nominees’ political alignment, or propensity to serve as “yes men,” seems to have mattered far more to Obama than their capability and relevant experience, which are less than stellar. The choice of Hagel led last week to the embarrassing spectacle of a presidential nominee’s flunking a confirmation hearing he had spent many hours preparing for.

Nor is Obama’s lurch to the left limited to cabinet appointments. Last month he named Denis McDonough as his new chief of staff and Jennifer Palmieri as the new White House communications director. Both aides have blogged for the left-wing website Think Progress and have ties to the George Soros–funded Center for American Progress. McDonough was a senior fellow at CAP before joining Obama’s Senate staff in 2006, and Palmieri served as president of the group’s political-action fund. CAP is a respectable voice for progressive politics, and John Podesta, the group’s founder, also served for a time as Bill Clinton’s chief of staff. But it is undeniably a hard-left group.

Obama will soon fill key vacant posts at the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Reuters reports that the front runner in the race to become the new head of the EPA is Gina McCarthy, who is now the assistant administrator for the Office of Air and Radiation, which makes her the point person for the administration’s “war on coal” campaign. McCarthy has superficial credentials as a moderate, having served as the top environmental regulator in Massachusetts and Connecticut under Democratic and Republican governors. She advised Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts and began the state’s first Climate Protection Action Plan. But Romney campaign aides tell me that they got no end of grief from business interests who were worried she might find a place in a Romney administration. “There was no way, no how she was going to be part of anything,” one aide says. “But we know her well enough to know that if Obama promotes her, the EPA is going to go all out in support of climate controls.”

Similarly, energy companies — at least those not subsidized by the federal government — are appalled that former Washington governor Christine Gregoire, who tried to pass a state version of Obama’s cap-and-trade regulatory policy, is a leading candidate to become the new secretary of energy. Gregoire saw her proposal crash and burn, just as Obama saw his plan fail, after key Democratic legislators opposed it.

No one should be surprised by Obama’s embrace of aides and advisers who are clearly more liberal than his first-term picks. The mainstream media have for years largely ignored the evidence that Obama is solidly a man of the Left. Back in 1985, the 24-year-old Obama answered a help-wanted ad for a job with a group run by Saul Alinsky’s Chicago disciples. The late Alinsky has long been the patron saint of radical “community organizers” on the left.

Obama was deeply influenced by his years as an Alinsky-style organizer in Chicago. “Obama embraced many of Alinsky’s tactics and recently said his years as an organizer gave him the best education of his life,” wrote Peter Slevin of the Washington Post in 2007. That same year, The New Republic’s Ryan Lizza found Obama still “at home talking Alinskian jargon about ‘agitation’” and fondly recalling workshops where he had learned Alinsky’s concepts and methods for infiltrating power structures.

In 1992, after Obama returned to Chicago from Harvard Law School, he ran a voter-registration drive for Project Vote, an affiliate of the now-disgraced ACORN, a community-organizing group founded by Alinksy acolytes. Obama then moonlighted as a top trainer for ACORN and later became its attorney in voting-litigation cases.

Some media observers aren’t at all surprised that the Obama of his ACORN years is resurfacing. “I think Obama . . . sees himself as a Reagan-like president,” Charles Krauthammer said at the National Review Institute summit in Washington, D.C., last month. He pointed to an Obama statement from 2008 that he found “utterly fascinating.” In it, “[Obama] said that Ronald Reagan was consequential historically in a way that Clinton was not.”

Obama has every right to reach far to the left as he tries to reorient America to his liking, much as Reagan did his best to turn America to the right in the 1980s. The difference is that Reagan never hid who he was, what he believed in, and who his staunchest allies were. Obama has consistently cloaked his beliefs and associations, aided by a compliant media that have abetted and adored him every step of his career. Now that Obama has become more forthright about who he is, we can fight the ideological battle over his ideas in earnest. Let’s hope that he now displays more honesty and clarity about his beliefs than he treated the American people to during his two presidential campaigns.

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