Everyone seems to be uniting firmly behind Mitt Romney with enthusiasm. There is a lot of excitement surrounding his choice of Paul Ryan as a running mate and a hope that he will push us over the finish line to beat Obama. The consensus is that the key will be to stay on message--jobs and the economy--and not get sidetracked by distractions--Todd Akin, etc.
The Alabama delegation has heard from some excellent speakers these last few days including former Gov. John Sununu, WI Gov. Scott Walker, former Alabama congressman Artur Davis, pollster Kelly Anne Conway, Grover Norquist and former Sen. Rick Santorum. Artur Davis recently switched parties and this is really his first major event as a Republican so a lot of people were curious as to how he would fare, but I have to say, he gave one of the best speeches we've heard so far. He's on the agenda to address the full convention tonight and if he does as well as he did this morning he'll be a star.
Also on tonight's agenda are Gov. Bob McDonnell, Gov. Scott Walker, Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, Senate Republican Candidate Ted Cruz, Gov. Chris Christie and Ann Romney. We're all looking forward to an exciting evening.
There's been a bit of controversy surrounding a proposed rule change that would allow the presumptive nominee to replace delegates at will. The rule was designed to deal with an issue that has cropped up this year with people running as delegates for one candidate while intending to vote for another candidate when on the floor. More specifically, there is a concern that there have been Ron Paul supporters who have run as delegates for Romney or Gingrich or Santorum who intend to vote for Ron Paul on the floor. The rule would allow the presumptive nominee to request these people be replaced. If a delegate is removed, the state would then have to elect a replacement. The rule would not go into effect until the next election cycle, so it would have no effect this year. The goal is to prevent this from happening in the future.
Many Republicans are concerned about the rule change because they feel it gives the presidential nominee too much power and is an attack on the grassroots. From what I hear they are working on a compromise to avoid a fight on the floor.
I'll be posting updates from the evening session tonight, so stay tuned...
Santorum told a reporter:
One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea.... It's not okay because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They're supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal...but also procreative.
That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that's not for purposes of procreation, that's not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can't you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it's simply pleasure. And that's certainly a part of it—and it's an important part of it, don't get me wrong—but there's a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special....
I'm not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues.
He has now attempted to clarify his statements by saying he thinks birth control should be legal and available as a matter of policy, but that he considers it harmful to America and our culture personally. I don't know about you, but that doesn't really make me feel any better…
Moving on…his latest gaffe is
Rick Santorum is not a conservative. Period. If you need convincing, check out this 2006 quote from his book tour. Here he shows his absolute disdain for what he calls the "libertarianish right" or what we now refer to as the tea party…
One of the criticisms I make is to what I refer to as more of a libertarianish right. You know, the left has gone so far left and the right in some respects has gone so far right that they touch each other. They come around in the circle. This whole idea of personal autonomy, well I don’t think most conservatives hold that point of view. Some do. They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues. You know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world and I think most conservatives understand that individuals can’t go it alone. That there is no such society that I am aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.
The idea of personal autonomy is crazy? Since when? Individual liberty is (or at least used to be) one of the core tenants of conservatism, along with low taxes, few regulations, and the free market. None of which Santorum likes apparently…
And if that's not enough to convince you, here are a few highlights from his record in Congress:
- -he supported No Child Left Behind which was a massive expansion of the federal government's role in education
- -he supported Medicare Part D which speaks for itself
- -he voted for the 2005 Highway Bill full of earmarks including the infamous Bridge to Nowhere
- -to make it worse, he later voted to continue funding the Bridge to Nowhere rather than send the money to New Orleans for clean up after Hurricane Katrina
- -requested billions for pork projects in PA during his time in Congress
- -In the 2003/2004 session of Congress, Santorum sponsored or cosponsored 51 bills to increase spending and failed to sponsor even one spending cut proposal
- -During his last Congress in 2005/2006 Santorum had one of the biggest spending agendas of any Republican, he sponsored more spending increases than even RINOs like Lisa Murkowski, Thad Cochran and Lincoln Chafee
- -he voted against NAFTA
- -voted for imported steel tariffs
- -voted for Sarbanes-Oxley
- -he supported supported RINO Arlen Specter over conservative Pat Toomey
- and finally, in a 1994 questionnaire (when he was running for Senate) Santorum said he wanted national standards in education and was opposed to eliminating the Dept of Education.
So basically, Rick Santorum supports a nanny state collectivist government that spends a lot of money and heavily regulates business. Why in the world would conservatives vote for someone like that? The answer is that they probably wouldn't if they knew the above, but we live in a sound bite world where people don't dig in that deep.
But for those people who are paying attention, reading up on the candidates, finding out about their positions, their records…look closely at Rick Santorum because he is NOT a conservative.
BEHIND THE CURTAIN - Michael Lewis, in a new afterword to the paperback edition of "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine": "Half a dozen U.S. senators phoned to chat [after publication of the hardcover] ... The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, which had been created by Congress to investigate the causes of the collapse, became a kind of pestilence in my life. ... Most of what I knew about the financial crisis I knew from the characters in my book. Yet important people who read it felt the need to talk to me rather than to these people who had firsthand knowledge of events. ... The absurdity of the relationship between author and government finally became clear on the sixth call from the Financial Inquiry Commission. It came from a man assigned to formally depose witnesses. It quickly became clear that he knew more than I did about the U.S. financial crisis ... An hour or so into the conversation he asked me who else in the U.S. government I had spoken to about the financial crisis. I rattled off the long list of dignitaries I had met in the last few months. 'So what did they tell you?' he asked. ... 'What did THEY tell ME?' 'Yes, any insights into what happened. Anything we might pursue.' 'No, no, no,' I said, 'you don't understand: THEY called ME to ask what happened.' With that, he began to laugh." $9 on Amazon http://amzn.to/erGqbY
Remember that these are the people running this country...
I was sitting in the Atlanta airport reflecting on this year’s CPAC, and I realized I was slightly disappointed. While it was still a great conference and boasted a record crowd, it lacked some of its usual energy for me. Maybe it was due to all the controversy surrounding the event, maybe it was just the overall dissatisfaction with the current crop of presidential candidates (57% of attendees were not satisfied with the current field and wanted stronger candidates--CPAC Straw Poll), or maybe it was the mediocre speaker line up, but I didn’t sense the enthusiasm of years past.
Several would-be presidential candidates showed up at CPAC, but only a couple wowed the crowd. Mitt Romney’s speech was typical, and he largely skipped over the health care issue. The response was tepid. Only three quarters of the ballroom was full (it had previously been standing room only), and most CPAC-goers didn’t have much to say about it. Tim Pawlenty’s speech was mostly red meat, and was short on specifics. John Thune was okay, but certainly not a standout. Gary Johnson did a good job, but his position on the legalization of marijuana keeps a lot of people from supporting him. Ron Paul got the best reception, but that was largely due to the abundance of Paulies in attendance.
The only two who really stood out were Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels. Daniels spoke at the Reagan Banquet on Friday night, and according to those in attendance, he hit a home run. I watched the video of his speech on the CPAC website, and I agree that he did an excellent job. I even heard some Paul supporters would be willing to get behind Daniels should Dr. Paul not run. Haley Barbour was the topic of a lot of conversation re: 2012, and he delivered a solid performance. Hitting on topics like spending, energy and health care, Barbour sounded like a presidential candidate. He hasn’t announced his intentions, but it sounded like a stump speech to me. I heard he was mobbed all the way to the door.
I was surprised at the number of high profile conservatives that skipped the conference this year. I know some of them refused to participate because of GOProud, but other regulars like Mike Pence didn’t really offer a reason (at least not that I heard). Sarah Palin claimed it was a scheduling problem for the second year in a row. I find that interesting because if I were gearing up to run for president, I think I would make time for the largest gathering of conservative activists in the world. I also think it is worth noting her lackluster performance in the straw poll coming in 9th with 3% of the vote.
The CPAC Straw Poll didn’t contain many surprises this year. Ron Paul won as predicted helped along by his organization, Campaign 4 Liberty, selling discounted tickets to their members. Whatever you think about the Paulies, you have to give them credit for showing up in droves and being very well organized. Romney was the only other candidate with an organized effort and came in second. Gary Johnson and Chris Christie tied for third, followed by Newt, Pawlenty, Bachmann and Daniels.
You can find videos of all the speeches here.
The big surprise yesterday was Donald Trump. Trump showed up yesterday afternoon to a fairly responsive crowd, but quickly digressed into a fight over Ron Paul with a heckler. Considering the room was stacked with Paulie’s waiting to hear Rand Paul, that was NOT a smart move. No one seems to be taking Trump for President seriously. Rand Paul did a really good job. He seems to have more charisma than his father.
Speaking of presidential candidates, Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, looks like he’s gearing up for a run. Johnson has a booth and professional campaign consultants wandering around. He actually gave a good speech yesterday, but is still considered a long, long, long shot candidate. Johnson’s biggest obstacle is his drug policy (he supports the legalization of marijuana) and he will have a hard time getting traditional Republican primary voters to buy into him because of it.
Mitt Romney spoke earlier today and got a very tepid response from the crowd. The ballroom was only three quarters of the way full, and he largely skipped over the health care issue which did not go unnoticed. The fake Sarah Palin was a bigger hit than Mitt.
John Thune has been considered a possible candidate for 2012 in some circles, and had a speaking spot this afternoon. He was good, but not great in both content and delivery. I think he’ll wait until 2016 to throw his name in the hat.
Former Governor of Minnesota Tim Pawlenty spoke this afternoon as well. He was long on red meat and short on specifics. I don’t really know that he lost any support, but probably didn’t gain much either.
On the conference in general, there seems to be a weaker line-up of speakers this year. Noticeably absent are Sarah Palin, Marco Rubio, Mike Pence, Mike Huckabee and Jim DeMint. The energy seems a little down compared to last year, and I think it is due to the lack of enthusiasm with our current crop of presidential candidates. I expect Ron Paul to win the straw poll again this year--his supporters are, if nothing else, well organized.
I’ve been coming to CPAC since 2004, and looking around this year I’m amazed at how libertarian this conference has become. When I first started coming, the conference has always been fiscally conservative, but social issues were also prominently featured. This year, there are a few panels discussing social issues (Traditional Marriage, DADT) but they’re not getting as much attendance or support as in the past. The easy acceptance of GOProud is also an example of how the attitude has changed. The younger generation of conservatives appears to have more of an libertarian, anti-government bent.
I’m looking forward to seeing Haley Barbour tomorrow morning, and to hearing how Mitch Daniels does later tonight. There’s a lot of buzz about both men, and I think their performance here could make or break their momentum.
Believers in limited government should be worried. Conservatives in general should be worried. The current crop of potential Republican presidential candidates is largely bereft of real leadership and consists mostly of a bevy of recycled candidates from 2008. All of the polls cover the same names you’ve been hearing since the end of the last presidential election--Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Huckabee, Pawlenty, et al.
Anyone who could not beat John McCain last time should automatically be disqualified from this primary cycle. If Romney wasn’t already disqualified by his failure to be beat McCain, Romneycare in Massachusetts would definitely disqualify him. Obamacare is one of the top three issues on voters’ minds. 53% of American voters support a repeal of the 2000+ page health care overhaul. How can we have a Presidential candidate that speaks out against this federal takeover of our health care system when he passed a very similar law in Massachusetts? We can’t. That’s a deficit that Romney cannot overcome.
Palin--while she is wildly popular with the base, I do not believe she can win in a general election. Palin lacks gravitas. She has to convince moderate Republicans and Independents that she can be presidential. To accomplish this, she would have been wise to travel, meeting with heads of state and foreign dignitaries, and beef up her knowledge of domestic policy issues. Instead, she did a reality TV show. Now, I know many people say Obama got elected because he was a celebrity--the “hip” quality that made it popular to be a supporter. The difference is that Obama still came across as a serious guy, he was not gutting salmon on national television. Don’t get me wrong--I like Sarah as much as the next person, but I don’t think she has a broad enough appeal with the center/right voters.
I also really like Newt Gingrich. Newt is a great “ideas man.” The problem with Newt as a candidate is two-fold. First, he has a lot of personal baggage. While I personally could care less about his personal life, there are a lot of conservatives who will have a problem with him being on wife #3. The recent interview with his second wife in Esquire magazine demonstrates the kind of dirt that will come out. The second, and more formidable problem is his record. We see Newt saying all the right things on Fox News. What many have forgotten is that he went squishy on us after the Republicans took control of the US House of Representatives in ’94. Remember the compromise with President Clinton on welfare reform? He still shows some poor judgement from time to time, such as endorsing DeDe Scozzafava in the 2009 special election in NY 23. His “climate change” commercials with Nancy Pelosi are another example. So although I like Newt and believe he performs a very important function in the conservative movement, his time for the presidency has come and gone.
I don’t even know where to begin with Mike Huckabee. He raised taxes, and allied himself with the teacher’s union in Arkansas. He gave in-state tuition to illegal aliens. He has indicated his support for a national smoking ban in public places. The list goes on and on. No liberty-loving fiscal conservative could support him.
Other names frequently mentioned like Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, and Haley Barbour don’t inspire the same disgust as a Huckabee candidacy, but don’t really inspire any great excitement either. Mike Pence, the one name that was starting to generate some momentum among both fiscal and social conservatives, has decided not to seek the nomination.
So where does that leave us? The country is largely united in their opposition to big government and big spending. If you have any doubts about that, see the election results for Nov. 2, 2010. The tea party movement has sparked a new political enthusiasm, and budget/deficit woes have set the stage for some massive cuts in spending and entitlement reform. The mood of the country is in our favor. At a time like this, you would think we would have someone step forward to lead the movement. But, for all the great talent in the Republican party (Christie, Rubio, Haley, Cuccinelli) no one is really ready for the big job.
That’s why I’m a little nervous. Are Republicans headed for a ’96-like moment with another Bob Dole? The time is right for a real leader to step forward. Limited government, fiscal conservative, individual rights-loving activists across the country are desperate for a leader. They want someone they can get excited about in 2012. They want someone who has a record of saying AND doing the right things. They want someone not steeped in the mindset of Washington elites and the go along to get along crowd. They want a reformer who is willing to challenge the status quo and make the hard, politically risky decisions. Someone who dares to address the problems with Social Security, someone who will challenge the stranglehold labor unions have on industry and our education system, and someone who will actually cut spending and reduce the deficit.
I haven’t seen that someone yet. That’s troublesome because by this time in 2008, Romney, Huckabee, and McCain already had offices in Iowa and New Hampshire and were building campaign infrastructure. Whoever our candidate is doesn’t have time to waste. I think a lot of Republicans and conservatives have been lulled into a false sense of security due to Obama’s lackluster approval ratings. Many think there is no way he could get re-elected. But they forget Obama the candidate is much different from Obama the President. Obama the candidate was charming, charismatic and much more moderate. It’s true that this time, he will have more of a record to defend. However, the American electorate can have a very short memory when it comes to candidates (ex: Jerry Brown in California getting re-elected as Governor). Regardless of his record and approval ratings, beating him will not be a walk in the park.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court began oral arguments in FCC vs AT&T. Joshua Trevino has a breakdown of the case and what's at stake:
By way of background, the case stems from a 2004 incident in which AT&T discovered it was overcharging the federal government on work related to E-Rate. The company voluntarily reported itself to the FCC, which then opened an investigation. David Johnson recountswhat happened next:During the course of the investigation, the FCC ordered AT&T to produce invoices, internal emails and billing information, responses to interrogatories, names of employees involved in the alleged overbilling, and AT&T’s own assessment of the extent to which its employees’ actions violated its internal code of conduct.Therein lay the cause of the trouble. Once this information was in the FCC’s hands, a trade association called CompTel — comprised of AT&T’s competitors — filed a FOIA request for all the hitherto-proprietary AT&T info in the FCC’s possession. This abuse of the intent of FOIA, which was meant to promote open government rather than corporate intelligence gathering, was — to the surprise of many observers — validated by the FCC in late 2008, when it ruled that corporations are not protected by FOIA’s privacy exemptions. Just over one year later, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals overruled the FCC (PDF) in a defense of FOIA’s plain intent.
If the FCC wins this case it will be a signal to companies around the country that FOIA is the vehicle to get information on your competitors. As Trevino explains:
The FCC is already unpopular with many Americans due to their blatant power grab called "Net Neutrality". It seems they are pushing an increasingly aggressive agenda these days, and I just hope enough conservatives are paying attention.
Now the FCC has appealed to the Supreme Court, and the arguments begin in just two days. If the Court upholds the Third Circuit, all is well: the processes of government cannot be used to further either private agendas, whether driven by profit or ideology. If the Court upholds the FCC, on the other hand, American business is in for a rough time. There’s little doubt that liberals seeking to strike back after Citizens United will exploit FOIA to cause havoc and harm to any corporation that doesn’t toe their line. (As is on cue, here’s Senator Leahy weighing in for the FCC this past November.) It doesn’t take much imagination to see where this leads — especially with the executive agencies of the federal government in Barack Obama’s hands through at least January 2013.... In the larger sense, it’s about whether the left gets to use FOIA to pry open and terrorize American businesses at will.
On January 7, 2011, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke joined the White House cybersecurity advisor to announce a new government ID card that will contain all your private, personal data like passwords, bank account numbers, etc., and will track your web activity. The White House wants to create an "identity ecosystem" that will centralize personal information and credentials. For more info on the supposedly "voluntary" program, check out this editorial from the Washington Times.
The absurdity in all of this is the fact that the government doesn't have such a great record of keeping information secure. One just has to think back a couple of months to the WikiLeaks scandal to realize data security and government don't go hand in hand. The Washington Times article has a good list of other instances where the government has tried and failed to secure private information.
Ability to secure the data aside, the potential misuse of data is another serious problem. They claim the Commerce Department is the only agency that will have access to the information, however, it is a short jump to imagine Homeland Security gaining access. Also, the data would be worth a large amount of money in the wrong hands. The temptation to sell the information would be great.
Is all of our personal data really something we want to trust the government with? For the reasons stated above and many, many more, I'm going with a resounding...NO.
That's what tenure is intended to do. What it actually does, is protect teachers like Curtis Robinson.
During his 18 years teaching disabled students in Paterson, Robinson hurled classroom chairs, punched a boy in the chest for failing to do his homework and shoved another kid against a blackboard until he cried, staff and students said.
Robinson still insists he had a gift with children. But he admits that using cocaine after school early in his career sometimes made him “preoccupied.”
“Immediately after work, I’d have a line or two,” he told The Record in August. “I been teaching so long, you can function with your eyes closed.”
Granted this is an extreme case, but the point is the same--tenure has had the practical effect of creating job security for bad teachers. It protects incompetence, laziness, and misconduct. Proponents of tenure will argue that there is a system in place to fire those teachers who demonstrate the above inadequacies. However, that system is extremely costly, and often comes at the expense of funding of other positions or other programs. For instance, the state of New Jersey spent more than $100,000 and four years in the quest to fire Curtis Robinson. That's in addition to the $120,000 they had to spend hiring a substitute, and the $283,864 they had to pay Robinson in wages during the legal battle.
This is not a system that works. There are better ways to protect academic freedom.
When you are in Washington, remember what the voters back home want—less government and more freedom. Millions of people are out of work, the government is going bankrupt and the country is trillions in debt. Americans have watched in disgust as billions of their tax dollars have been wasted on failed jobs plans, bailouts and takeovers. It's up to us to stop the spending spree and make sure we have a government that benefits America instead of being a burden to it.
Tea party Republicans were elected to go to Washington and save the country—not be co-opted by the club. So put on your boxing gloves. The fight begins today.
Now we must go forward. Republicans are going to have to govern, which is much different from campaigning. In Alabama, Republicans are going to have to change their strategy from that of a minority party to one of a party in charge. With the GOP winning large majorities in the Alabama House and Senate, the Governorship, and all state-wide constitutional offices, there will be no excuse for not getting things done. If Republicans provide four more years of the same dirty politics in Montgomery, they will not hold on to their majorities for very long.
Republicans in the Alabama legislature are going to have tough decisions to make with a severe budget crisis looming. The decisions are going to be hard and some may be unpopular. These votes will seperate those who are willing to do the right thing no matter what, from those who just want to be re-elected. In the long run, if Republicans make the tough decisions and do the right thing, the people of Alabama will benefit. Republicans did not put us where we are now, but they will have to get us out.
Tea party groups across the country have vowed to hold Republicans' feet to the fire, and they will remember come next election day if the GOP doesn't deliver on its promises. Republicans now have a choice, they can continue business as usual, with the same establishment mentality, or they can commit to what the American people want--less government, more freedom.
Rep. Waxman is using the lack of Republican support as an argument to go ahead and allow the FCC to regulate. Opponents of net neutrality are now focused on the Lame Duck session as it may be the last hope for a free internet.
States across the union, already faced with a steep decline in revenues, are facing yet another economic crisis--public employee pension funds. Nina Easton points out some of the more egregious cases in Fortune magazine:
But Alabama has its own share of the pension problem. As of September 30, 2007, the unfunded liability for the Teacher's Retirement System (TRS) Pension Fund was 5.2 billion. That's in addition to the 12.6 billion in unfunded liability for the Public Education Employees Health Insurance Program (PEEHIP) program. Total tax revenues are down 22.9%, the education budget is in proration, and the projected budget shortfall for 2011 is $586 million or 8.3% of the total budget.
California is at the forefront of this voter revolt. In Los Angeles County, the summer of 2010 was defined by populist heat over the disclosure of salaries being collected by officials of the working-class city of Bell. Some of them, including chief administrative officer Robert Rizzo -- who stood to collect a $600,000 pension after allegedly writing himself a $1 million-plus compensation agreement -- have been arrested on corruption charges.
Even more widespread are troubling legal pensions. In Northern California,Contra Costa Times columnist Daniel Borenstein reported the salary of the city manager of San Ramon (pop. 63,000) at $344,200, and then calculated the pension due this 65-year-old government official: $261,000 a year. And a local fire chief was able to "spike" his base pension to $284,000 a year.
The bottom line is that our next Governor and Legislature are going to be facing some very tough decisions. They're going to have to be realistic about where we are and what we must do. We can only hope they will be willing and able to work out a solution.
In the case of education, we are confronting an immense prejudice, inculcated by the education system itself. There is a long history of political intervention in schools in North America, and an even longer ideological history from the Reformation; the Scottish one, especially. Books could be written, and have been: But, in a single phrase, the notion that "education is too important to be left to chance" is so universally accepted, that the public at large is capable of overlooking universal failure. Our state schools, which were (contrary to myth) never all that good, have degenerated into dysfunctional propaganda mills.
We easily accept the associated notion that "in a democracy, public schooling is necessary to assure minimum standards for citizenship." That schools should provide the machinery for the indoctrination of the masses follows naturally from this. Think it through. The proposition actually reverses the first principle of democracy: that government should answer to citizens, and not citizens to government. And remember, that all "progressive" educational proposals require political compulsion.
The question is, "how do we get there?" Most conservatives favor privatization of education on some level, but have different opinions on how we achieve that goal. On one side, you have charter school advocates who believe that public schools are so engrained in the American psyche, we need charters as a middle step. The argument is that the public will be reluctant to go from completely public education to completely private education in one step. Authorizing charter schools will, theoretically, demonstrate to the public that privatization can improve the quality of education, and make them more willing to do away with public education all together.
On the other side, you have those that argue that because charter schools are still public schools, you will have the same indoctrination of students, and same bureaucratic nightmares in a charter. They believe we must take the big step to complete privatization in one fell swoop. The time wasted on the middle step with charters comes at the expense of the children who could be getting a better education. They also point out that charters don't give much more control to parents and students than the public school system.
Despite the differences, we all agree that education reform is necessary. I'm glad that movies like The Lottery and Waiting For Superman have opened the debate, and brought the issue to the attention of many Americans who weren't engaged.
Mary Jo Kilroy
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
Trent Van Haaften
Stephene Ann Moore
Sanford Bishop, Jr.
Hogan acknowledges that the current conservative coalition has different opinions on social issues, and correctly points out that the war against government spending is what unites us. I don't think anyone is saying the Republican Party should change its position on social issues. But, we must realize that if we lose the war against spending, we won't have a country left to worry about social issues. I think of it like a house on fire. First you've got to put out the fire, then you can see what is salvageable and start to rebuild.
That's also what I think what Daniels, Ryan and Boaz are trying to say. The fiscal crisis our country is facing takes priority over our differences on social issues. That is not to say that we compromise our principles on social issues, but that we must fight and win the fiscal war first, and then we can work out our differences on social issues.
In order to build coalitions, you have to find common ground. In this case, that common ground is fiscal responsiblity. Let's work with those who agree with us on the principles of limited government and freedom to win that war. Most of the time, those who believe in those values will be in agreement with us on social issues as well...but maybe for different reasons. Regardless, putting government back in it's proper role should be our first priority.