Posted by: Debby Durkee | March 8, 2010

Lessons from the states.

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Lessons from the states.

Last week and this week should show those on the federal level and involved in party politics throughout the country the way forward. Two things—one that has happened and one sure to happen–should serve as wake-up calls.

VA legislature: “No” on health care mandates.

Here’s the one sure to happen this week. As states look at the Obama administration’s and the current Congress’ attempts to expand their power at the states’ expense, more and more revolts are popping up in state houses throughout the country. The latest, and what might be the most important first step, comes to us via our revolutionary brothers in the state of Virginia. Hey, Obama, can you hear us now? This is from Michael Kranish of the Boston Globe.

The Virginia Legislature this week is poised to become the first state to pass legislation that says citizens cannot be required to have medical insurance.

Dozens of other states are considering similar measures, possibly setting the stage for one of the greatest tests of federal power over the states since the civil rights era.

If states are allowed to opt out of the mandate, the foundation of Obama’s effort would be undermined, turning the nascent revolt here into one with national implications.

The debate goes far beyond a disagreement with the approach to health care coverage taken in Massachusetts.

Rather, Virginia’s lawmakers are focused on constitutional questions and the power of states to run their own affairs.

“The administration is trying to shift from a government by social compact, agreement between elected officials and citizens, to a government where the leaders tell the subjects what to do,’’ said Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall, a Republican and chief sponsor of the measure. “That is not what the American Revolution was about.’’

Versions of the bill have passed the Virginia House and Senate, with final passage considered all but certain. The Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, supports the measure.  Snip –

The National Conference of State Legislatures says similar bills or state constitutional amendments are being proposed in at least 32 states. Snip –

…opponents insist an insurance mandate is not legal because there is nothing in the Constitution that gives the federal government the right to penalize citizens for failing to purchase something. That is different, proponents says, from specifically enumerated federal powers such as taxation, raising an army, or regulating commerce.

But if states such as Virginia opted out of the federal mandate, the plan could unravel.

Clint Bolick, a litigation specialist with the conservative Goldwater Institute who wants to test the mandate in the US Supreme Court if it passes, said Obama’s plan to mandate insurance coverage is nothing more than an effort to require one group of people to subsidize insurance for another.

“To the extent it would unravel an important component of the bill, we would be ecstatic if that happened,’’ Bolick said.

There is much more at the link. Many say that Obama’s ramming through of a federal mandate to buy health insurance is like a tax, and therefore is constitutional. Seems a stretch to me, but please read the entire article if you want to be armed with the arguments from the other side in order to refute them.

Texas-sized lesson for Republicans.

The Texas Republican gubernatorial primary last week has many lessons for RINO Republicans and the Bush-McCain era of reaching across the aisle to “get things done.” Not only did Rick Perry defeat Washington insider, moderate Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, 52% to 31%, but the other person running (Medina) claimed she was a Tea Partier and got 17% of the vote. Add that to Perry’s tally (since he supported the Tea Party movement from the beginning), and you get Republicans voting against Hutchison 69% to 31%. Pay attention, incumbent Republicans, Americans want to vote for constitution-loving, limited-government-believing Americans, not wishy-washy moderates. This is from C. Edmund Wright at the American Thinker.

While the ever-helpful Jurassic media is trying to force-feed conservatives and Republicans groupthink analysis of Rick Perry’s thumping of Kay Bailey Hutchison (KBH), the GOP had better heed the main lesson: The “new tone” era is over.

Or as Rush Limbaugh has been saying, “The era of John McCain is over.” Lindsey Graham had better stop playing footsie with the Obama administration on cap and trade and immigration if he knows what’s good for him. You’ll notice it’s Graham not McCain parlaying with Obama and Senate Democrats on these issues. Could it be because McCain is up for re-election this year, and Graham was just re-elected in 2008? (What’s wrong with you, South Carolina ?)

… Perry and Tea Party candidate Debra Medina did not have to do much but get out of the way and let the KBH campaign prove that the senior senator and her top advisers were indeed all creatures of Washington who are hopelessly out of touch.

And for some reason, Hutchison, along with advisers Karl Rove and Karen Hughes, thought that the best way to counter this was to bring in George Bush 41, George Bush 43, and James Baker to campaign. Were John McCain, Bob Dole, and Olympia Snowe too busy to come?

… Conversely, Perry brought in Sarah Palin to campaign for him and proudly addressed numerous tea party rallies.

…The net result is a KBH campaign that was on the wrong side of a two-to-one landslide. Yes, a three-term sitting senator who had never before lost a statewide race just got doubled up, in effect.

How did this happen to the once-all-powerful Texas machine of Bush, Rove, Hughes, et al?  Snip –

Rove was brilliant in carrying Ohio for Bush in 2004, was he not?! Yes, he was — in a very retail micro-management way to gin up a huge turnout among a specific group of thirty thousand voters that he had correctly identified as the key to the entire national election. 

 I submit that this precinct-by-precinct micro-genius covered up a macro-blind spot.

With all due respect to Bush and his entire campaign staffs of 2000 and 2004, forging a statistical tie with Al Gore and beating Kerry-Edwards by 3 points is not the stuff of genius. Perhaps they simply had very weak competition and Clinton fatigue in their favor.

Election history matters, and there are lessons here critical for conservatives and the GOP to learn for 2010. And this includes questioning assumptions made about who the real political geniuses are, who the right candidates are, and what the right messages are to take forward. The folks running the KBH campaign decided that her big message was, in effect, that she “can work with people.” Does this sound familiar?

… Remember that Rove was the architect of Bush’s “new tone” governing and communications strategy that was implemented right after Bush was declared the winner in 2000. The new tone was much like being able to “work with people.” …

The bottom line is that the new tone was never called for by Americans. To think so was to be rather tone-deaf. Any strategy based on the assumption that people just could not get along — and ignores the possibility of legitimate and deep ideological divides — misses the point. By definition, the new tone more or less meant not debating your opponents very vigorously before compromising with them on almost everything.

Now, who does that last line bring to mind? McCain, Graham, Bush? Americans want fighters in their political leaders, not people who are going to just tread the path of least resistance. The country is at stake. We can no longer afford to be nice and go along to get along. That’s the road to an America foreign to most Americans. We don’t want to go there, and we won’t without a fight.

And this is the type of message that KBH brought into the campaign with Perry, who on emotional and philosophical issues like the Tenth Amendment, President Obama’s performance, and even secession is not at all interested in playing nice or working with people or forging a new tone.  

The KBH style is just another tired iteration of “reaching across the aisle.” Perry’s is closer to “Don’t mess with Texas !” The KBH campaign was the classic inside-the-Beltway RINO effort fueled by groupthink assumptions. Perry, though certainly hip-deep in the Texas party establishment, heralded a pro-tea party, pro-Tenth Amendment, anti-big government, and anti-Obama message.  

…It’s the message launched by Rick Santelli and his ” Chicago tea party” rant on CNBC just over a year ago. It’s the message of those tea parties of the spring — and the town hall meetings of the late summer and fall.

It’s the message of Virginia , New Jersey , and Massachusetts . It is a conservative message of less government, less taxation, less regulation, and more freedom. It is a message about soundly defeating anyone who would stand in the way of that message, and not of “working with them.”

As Wright so wisely says, the new tone is dead and anyone who wants to win on the Republican side had better realize it. We’re in a new political era. Americans want to save their country from the radicals that have taken over. Republicans had better get on board. Read it all here:


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