The American Founders designed a federal government of separated powers: They authorized Congress to pass the laws, the president to execute them, and the Supreme Court (and "such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish") to apply them in judicial proceedings. But the lawmaking power is now, illegitimately, being shared. We currently have a president who feels free to grant unilateral executive amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants in plain defiance of federal immigration law, to decree myriad changes to Obamacare at his whim, even to rename mountains and to decide who is pictured on our currency.Read more
In the aftermath of the 2012 election, conservatives/Republicans generally split into two camps about where the movement or party needed to head next. One camp thought the key was to do a better job of making the case for conservative principles and policies (and to do a better job of developing specific policies consistent with conservative principles), especially to Main Street Americans, many of whom are blue-collar voters.
This camp was particularly frustrated with Mitt Romney's failure to fight on the issue of Obamacare or to champion a conservative alternative to it, and it argued that Republicans couldn't win national elections without advancing a conservative message that would appeal to the old Reagan Democrats.Read more
The Des Moines Register, whose poll is generally regarded as the gold standard of Iowa polling, has released its final results before Monday’s Iowa caucuses. It finds Donald Trump in first place, with 28 percent support, and Ted Cruz in second, with 23 percent support. No one else is within a dozen points of Trump. The poll also finds that the race is still fluid: 9 percent of likely caucus-goers are undecided, and another 36 percent say they could still change their minds.
The poll finds Marco Rubio in third place with 15 percent support and Ben Carson in fourth place with 10 percent support. No one else is anywhere near double-digits; Rand Paul is in fifth place at 5 percent, and Chris Christie is in sixth place atRead more
Nobody dominated the final pre-Iowa Republican debate, but it was a spirited affair that will likely affect the outcome of the caucuses. The questions from Fox News were a bit all over the place and sometimes seemed to be asked more from the perspective of the Obama White House than from that of the GOP base. (Islamophobia is apparently more of a concern than a nuclear Iran; and Obamacare, Main Street economic growth, and the national debt apparently don't merit much attention.)
Still, it was a pretty good debate, and here's how the various participants (in ascending order of their Iowa poll numbers) seemed to fare:
John Kasich: He was somewhat less grating than in prior debates and probably helped himself a bitRead more
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, who has expressed concerns about Donald Trump's commitment to conservatism and the Constitution, campaigned for Ted Cruz in neighboring Iowa on Tuesday and followed that up by campaigning on Wednesday for Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina. In between campaign stops, Sasse appeared on MSNBC, where Chuck Todd asked him, "What is a conservative in your view today?"
Sasse had a strong reply, one rooted in the Declaration of Independence and focused on the Constitution:
"America is the most exceptional nation in the history of the world because the U.S. Constitution is the best political document that's ever been written, because it says something different than almost any people and any governmentRead more
When Barack Obama took office, America’s national debt was $10.6 trillion. It's now $19.0 trillion—an increase of $8.4 trillion in just seven years, or $1.2 trillion per year.
One of the key reasons the Tea Party movement was founded was out of frustration with this skyrocketing debt. Yet Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's proposed tax plan would increase the national debt by $10.1 trillion, according to scoring by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation. And that's after taking into account the increased economic growth that Trump's plan would generate. (Without such growth—and liberal scorekeepers would say the Tax Foundation's model is overly generous in projecting growth—Trump's tax planRead more
The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls finds that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are each ahead of Hillary Clinton in head-to-head polling, while Clinton is ahead of Donald Trump. Clinton leads Trump by a tally of 45 to 43 percent. Meanwhile, Rubio leads Clinton by 46 to 44 percent, and Cruz leads Clinton by 46 to 45 percent.
Limiting the results to polls taken since New Year's Day, the margins are a bit greater. Clinton leads Trump by 4 points—48 to 44 percent. Rubio leads Clinton by the same 4 points—48 to 44 percent. And Cruz leads Clinton by 2 points—48 to 46 percent.
So far out from the election, head-to-head polling should hardly be taken as gospel.Read more
Bill Kristol argues that because Republican presidential candidates aren’t focusing on such issues as Obamacare and Supreme Court appointments—crucial issues on which Donald Trump is quite vulnerable—GOP voters are becoming "increasingly comfortable" with the notion of casting a ballot for Trump. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll of likely Republican primary voters provides further evidence of this increasing level of comfort.
The poll finds that as of ten months ago, less than a quarter (23 percent) of GOP voters "could see" themselves supporting Trump for the nomination. (Trump's 23 percent then trailed the tallies for all GOP candidates except for Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina.Read more
Obamacare is closer than ever to being repealed. Congressional Republicans recently took one of their most assertive actions against it to date, while the centerpiece of the Obama presidency is playing out even worse than most of its opponents predicted. What’s missing is a presidential contender willing to run on an alternative to Obamacare. Whoever steps up with a replacement plan that is at once conservative and general-election-ready is likely to reap rewards from grateful Republican voters and, soon after, the wider electorate.
That's because Obamacare, always poised to be a disaster, is now becoming one. Obamacare supporter Charles Gaba calculates that premiums in the Obamacare exchanges have risen some 12 percentRead more
Monday night’s terrific championship game between Clemson and Alabama—the same matchup the old Bowl Championship Series system would have produced—capped yet another splendid college football season. Unlike in so many other sports, the format produced a champion that actually was the best team on the year—a product of college football's emphasis on the regular season. In fact, Alabama, which beat Clemson 45-40, was not only (by far) the best team on the year, according to the Anderson & Hester Rankings, but was the best team in the past five years. The last time a team posted a higher mark than Alabama's .830 rating this season was when the Crimson Tide's archrival Auburn went 14-0 in 2010-11 and postedRead more
Ten prominent policy experts have released a new Obamacare alternative published by the American Enterprise Institute. The most important part of any Obamacare alternative is how it would address the longstanding inequality in the tax code (which favors employer-based insurance over individually purchased insurance) that's at the root of our nation's (pre-Obamacare) health-care woes.Read more
With a deadline looming, congressional leaders unveiled "sweeping" tax and spending legislation late last night. The result makes one wonder whether congressional Republicans negotiate directly with President Obama on these deals, or whether they just send corporate lobbyists to do so, thereby cutting out the middle man.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "The agreement…is expected to suspend for two years a tax on medical devices and delay for two years the scheduled 2018 start of the so-called Cadillac tax on high-cost employer health plans.Read more
When the Democrats passed Obamacare (without a single Republican vote), part of how they were allegedly going to pay for it was through a "Cadillac tax" on expensive employer-based insurance. Yet, this week, many Republicans are working with Democrats to delay or even repeal this tax. For three reasons, Republicans' constituents shouldn't be at all happy about these efforts.
First, this is an attempt to "fix" Obamacare, something Republicans shouldn't be in the business of trying to do. Second, it would actually make Obamacare even more expensive and hence even worse—while at the same time letting Democrats off the hook for their policy choices and causing corporate lobbyists to lose a significant portion of theirRead more
The College Football Playoff Selection Committee's 4-team playoff field generated very little controversy this season, but the process—and the rankings that it yielded—raised two concerns for future seasons.
The first is the committee's lack of emphasis on conference championships, exhibited by its ranking of Iowa, which narrowly lost in the Big Ten Championship Game, ahead of Stanford, the Pac-12 champion. The committee ranked Iowa #5 and Stanford #6, thereby suggesting that if North Carolina had upset Clemson late Saturday night, the committee would have picked Iowa—not Stanford—for the last playoff spot.Read more
Obamacare has an incurable preexisting condition: It eats away at the private insurance market on which it relies. That market cannot survive Obamacare's hubristic mandates, and Obamacare cannot survive the collapse of that market. On their present course, both are doomed.
The challenge for conservatives is to figure out how, upon Obamacare's repeal, to rescue private insurance. If conservatives don't save that market, liberals will—only it will no longer be a market for private insurance, and there will no longer be millions of purchasers, but just one.Read more
With the conference championship games all set for this coming weekend, we are now down to nine teams vying for four playoff spots. The Big 12 champion, Oklahoma (#3 in the Anderson & Hester Rankings), will all but certainly be one of those four teams. (The Big 12 has no conference championship game—because its teams all play each other in conference play—so the Sooners are in the clubhouse with an 11-1 won-lost record.) Another one of the four teams will be the Big Ten champion—the winner of this Saturday's battle between (12-0) Iowa and (11-1) Michigan State, which have earned the #1 and #4 spots in the Anderson & Hester Rankings based on their success to date. That leaves two playoff spots for the taking.Read more
There are only two weeks remaining in college football’s regular season (three, counting Army-Navy), and it’s becoming pretty clear which teams still have a shot at making the 4-team playoff field. Last week, 16 teams stillRead more
With just three weeks remaining in the best regular season in all of sports—a regular season whose greatness largely results from the smallness of the playoff field to follow—various teams’ prospects for making the 4-team College Football Playoff are starting to take shape. Here’s a rundown of which teams control their own destiny, which need a little bit of help, and which need a lot of help but are still in the running for one of the four coveted slots.Read more
We are just a year from November 8, 2016, and the election that will largely determine the fate of Obamacare, and the news isn’t good for President Obama’s centerpiece legislation. Premiums continue to rise, doctor and hospital networks continue to shrink, Americans continue to balk at buying government-mandated insurance, the legislation continues to be historically unpopular, and Republicans are getting close to uniting behind a conservative alternative that can lead to full repeal.Read more
Pop quiz: Was the percentage of the U.S. population that is foreign-born higher in 1860, 1880, 1920, or on July 1, 2015? If you answered “2015,” you’re right. The portion of the U.S. population that is foreign-born is now 13.5 percent, surpassing even the tallies for 1860 (13.2 percent), 1880 (13.3 percent), and 1920 (13.2 percent), and fast approaching the all-time record set in 1890 (14.8 percent), according to the U.S. Census Bureau (see here and table 2).Read more
For 16 years, the Bowl Championship Series focused fans’ and reporters’ attention on teams’ actual success in winning games against strong opponents. Just over a year into the new Selection Committee era (in which 13 people determine which teams will be invited to a 4-team playoff), it’s clear that the sort of maddening and subjective evaluations that held sway during college football’s poll-dominated pre-BCS days are returning with a vengeance. Actual accomplishments are taking a back seat to perceptions about what a team might be able to achieve going forward.Read more
On a crazy college football Saturday that saw Michigan State pull out about the most improbable win since Stanford’s band came onto the field against Cal 33 years ago, the LSU Tigers beat previously undefeated Florida and claimed the top spot in the Anderson & Hester Rankings. In three weeks, the undefeated Tigers and star sophomore running back Leonard Fournette will travel to Tuscaloosa to play the Alabama Crimson Tide.Read more
It has been clear for some time that Republicans need just two things in order to repeal Obamacare—a winning alternative and political willpower. The jury is still out on how much of the latter the party possesses. But when it comes to uniting around a well-conceived alternative that can pave the way to full repeal, the news is increasingly good. Jeb Bush’s just-released ObamRead more
I largely agree with Lee Smith’s take on the collision between Ruben Tejada and Chase Utley in the bottom of the 7th inning at beautiful Dodger Stadium on Saturday. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Utley isn’t “to blame for Tejada’s injury”— to me, Utley’s excessively late slide deserves a strong portion of the blame—but Smith is right that Tejada’s awkward, too-late pirouette, and his related failure to get out of the way or off the ground, made him very vulnerable in a way that middle infielders are taught to avoid. This was a case where—unfortunately, both for the Mets and for Tejada’s health—extra effort didn’t pay off. (Utley’s slide was not too far wide of the bag—he could have touched it, although he didn’t.)Read more
With crime rising in America and police increasingly under siege, many Senate Republicans have decided it’s a good time to liberalize federal sentencing policies—and to do so “quickly.” One has to wonder at Republicans’ timing. At what would appear to be a Richard Nixon or Rudy Giuliani moment, Republicans are partnering with Barack Obama to respond like George McGovern.Read more
One of the least-reported substantial policy victories in recent years was stopping Obamacare’s insurer bailout through last fall’s CRomnibus bill. Now we can attach a price-tag to that victory: $2.5 billion. That’s how much taxpayers would have been funneling to President Obama’s insurance-company allies if the bailout hadn’t been thwarted, according to Obama administration officials. Insurers were hoping for $2.87 billion but, thanks to the anti-bailout legislation, which required Obamacare’s risk-corridor program to operate in a revenue-neutral manner, rather than as a bailout, they will be getting only $362 million—the same amount that other insurers paid in.Read more
The Republican congressional leadership has been nominally--but sometimes it seems only nominally--committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a conservative alternative. Now one of the two leading candidates for House majority leader—the number-two position in leadership—is Dr.Read more
Donald Trump’s newly released tax plan would add a staggering $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade, according to scoring by the Tax Foundation, a well-respected (especially in conservative circles) nonpartisan source. To put that into perspective, that’s more debt than Barack Obama—by far the most profligate president in American history—has managed to rack up so far on his watch (although he’s not done yet). According to the Treasury Department, the national debt has risen an unconscionable $9 trillion under Obama, from $9.2 trillion when he took office to $18.2 trillion today. But all by itself, Trump’s tax plan would generate more debt than 80 months of Obama.Read more
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