Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Florida senator Marco Rubio will compete in the GOP presidential primary

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Here’s a profile of Marco Rubio posted by Rachel Alexander at The Stream.

She writes:

On Monday night, Florida Senator Marco Rubio became the third major Republican candidate to announce he was officially running for president, after Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. He made the announcement from the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami, considered the Ellis Island of Florida, where Cuban refugees seeking political asylum from Castro’s communist regime were processed by the federal government in the ’60s and early ’70s. It made a powerful statement, that the son of refugees is now running for president.

Rubio’s parents came to America before the Castro regime, and took menial jobs. He told the cheering crowd, “My father stood behind a small portable bar in the back of a room so that tonight I could stand behind this podium in front of this room.”

Rubio has been an outspoken critic of Obama’s efforts to relax relations with Cuba, and takes a hawkish approach to foreign policy. Earlier this year, he published the book American Dreams, which lays out how to rise to success economically in the U.S.

The youngest candidate in the race, Rubio reached out to younger voters in his speech, saying, “This election is not just about what laws we will pass, it is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.”

He has lots of experience and a track record we can analyze:

A lawyer, Rubio worked his way up through the political system, serving in the Florida House from 2000 to 2008 and eventually becoming Speaker. While there he developed a reputation for pursuing innovative policy ideas and while Speaker of the Florida House, he wrote a book, 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future, which contained many ideas he implemented while Speaker.

He went on to defeat liberal Republican turned Democrat Charlie Crist in a surprising underdog campaign to become U.S. Senator in 2010, making him an instant Tea Party favorite. The New York Times magazine declared him the “first Senator from the Tea Party.”

His most exciting policy is his tax policy:

On the fiscal side of the conservative equation, Rubio’s new tax reform proposal is raising some eyebrows. Introduced with conservative stalwart Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the plan would consolidate income tax rates into just two, 15 percent and 35 percent, eliminate capital gains taxes on investment income for individuals, combine all corporate tax rates to 25 percent, and resuscitate the child tax credit, which had shrunk under the Obama administration. However, individuals making as little as $75,000 would be subject to the 35 percent rate. Many conservatives prefer the more radical flat tax option advocated by Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

Mike Lee is my favorite conservative in the Senate.

Rubio is a solid conservative in terms of voting:

He has a 98.67 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, higher than most other Republican Senators.The Pulse 2016, a new site tracking the presidential election, gave Rubio an A grade on handling the Indiana religious freedom law controversy. The site noted that during an appearance on The Five, Rubio spoke “intelligently, knowledgeably, and at length about the need to protect the rights of Christians to follow their religious convictions.”

But he doesn’t have the executive accomplishments of a Scott Walker or a Bobby Jindal, since he isn’t a governor.

This is his biggest flaw:

Since taking office, Rubio has disappointed the Tea Party once, in 2013, when he joined a bipartisan group of Democrats and moderate Republicans to propose a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which went further than even Jeb Bush’s plan. Bush supports a path for legal status only. Rubio’s legislation failed, and at CPAC earlier this year, he said he now would only support a path to citizenship after securing the border.

Rubio is a strong candidate, but I can’t forgive him for endorsing a path to citizenship for those who break the law coming into the United States without a work permit. I don’t even favor work permits for people who break the law, much less permanent residencies, much less citizenship. Rubio is far to the left of me on immigration. But if you take away that negative, he is a formidable candidate in the general election. He would make an extremely difficult opponent for Hillary Clinton, or whoever the Democrats choose.

I am OK with him being our candidate in the general, and I think he would be as electable as Scott Walker, my top choice. If we were just choosing positions, I agree most with Cruz, but Cruz lacks accomplishments and I don’t see intelligent policies coming out of his mouth – the kinds of policies that can move us in a conservative direction, while still appealing to independents.

But I rank Rubio fifth in my list:

  1. Gov. Scott Walker
  2. Gov. Bobby Jindal
  3. Gov. Rick Perry
  4. Sen. Ted Cruz
  5. Sen. Marco Rubio

I like Rick Santorum more than Marco Rubio, but I’m not sure if he’s running. Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson are not on my list because of lack of experience, but I would love to see them run and be present to speak at the debates – I like listening to them both. They are both stars, but maybe not ready for the Presidency.

Rand Paul is a good candidate on fiscal policy. His statements on social policy are good, but he lacks accomplishments.His foreign policy is too much like Obama’s for me. He has said some good things, but he lacks accomplishments. I don’t want any more weakness and appeasement. Paul is to the left of Cruz and Rubio on foreign policy – I don’t want him on my list. But I’d put him in charge of the Federal Reserve in an instant.

We have SO MANY good candidates, and the Democrats have picked themselves a stinker. It’s so good! I feel bad that young people are so lousy on the marriage issue, but maybe with a good leader, we can change some of their minds during the debates? Do young people even watch debates?

Filed under: News, , , , ,

Kansas Republicans pass law banning dismemberment abortions

I'm Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this decision

I’m Scheming Unborn Baby, and I approve this message

This good news story of the day is from Life News.

They write:

The state of Kansas has been a haven for late-term abortions for decades and pro-life advocates there successfully lobbied the legislature to approve new legislation that would help put an end to some of them.

In a move that it tells LifeNews.com will transform the landscape of abortion policy in the United States, National Right to Life announced a major new component of the right to life movement’s 2015 legislative agenda with introduction in Kansas of the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act. The pro-life group says the wave of pro-life victories in the 2014 election helped set the stage for this first-of-its-kind legislation, which would protect unborn children from the brutality of dismemberment abortion.

“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D. “Before the first trimester ends, the unborn child has a beating heart, brain waves, and every organ system in place. Dismemberment abortions occur after the baby has reached these milestones.”

Now, Kansas has approved the bill.

This morning by a voice vote, the Kansas House gave first round approval to landmark pro-life legislation, Senate Bill 95,”The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act.”

Kansans for Life Executive Director, Mary Kay Culp, thanked legislators for their diligence in tackling the issue, and enacting a sound law crafted to withstand constitutional scrutimy, that will stop a horrific procedure.

“With the introduction of the bill by lead sponsor, Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma), and 24 Senate co-sponsors, the bill generated immediate grass-roots support and passed the Kansas Senate, 31-9. After a final vote in the House, (possibly later today), SB 95 will head to Gov. Sam Brownback, who has promised his signature,” Culp said.

Culp explained that SB 95 bans a particularly gruesome abortion method in which a living unborn child in her mother’s womb is ripped apart by an abortionist using sharp metal tools. In the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the unborn child, “dies just as a human adult or child would: It bleeds to death as it is torn limb from limb.”[Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 958-959].

The bill was carried on the House floor by Rep. Steve Brunk (R-Wichita), with assistance on legal areas by former judge, Rep. John Rubin (R-Shawnee) – both pro-life leaders in the House.

This is not the first time that Kansas governor Sam Brownback has come through for pro-lifers.

Kansas governor Sam Brownback

Kansas governor Sam Brownback

Here are some of his other achievements:

As you might expect, abortions are down in Kansas.

I am a 3-point conservative, not just a social conservative. It really matters to me that a politician support fiscal conservatism and foreign policy conservatism as well. I never used to like Sam Brownback much because he used to be more fiscally liberal. But that all changed when he became governor of Kansas and turned into this tax-cutting machine – and he’s cutting government spending, too. Now I can’t find a thing wrong with him. He saves unborn babies and returns money to taxpayers, so they can afford to get married and to raise children. Families need the money more than government does.

I think if you’re going to make a Democrat cry, it makes sense to make them cry a lot. So why not do all the things that they don’t want you to do?

Filed under: News, , , , ,

58 Democrats boycott Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Iran

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke before the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, and below you can find a round-up of reactions.

Here’s The Daily Signal summarizing why Netanyahi opposes the deal:

Netanyahu made the case before Congress that the White House’s efforts to negotiate a deal with Iran have about as much in common with the Camp David Accords as an SNL skit has with a State of the Union Address. The administration’s proposal is anything but a realistic plan for peace.

A real peace plan would demonstrate that all sides were committed to not adding more nuclear weapons powers to the Middle East. The deal as it stands does the opposite—it preserves the nuclear option for Iran—and as result will prompt other regional powers to hedge their bets and prepare to go nuclear as well rather than live in Tehran’s nuclear shadow.

The proposed multi-year moratorium doesn’t end concerns that Iran will build a bomb and put nuclear warheads on long-range missiles. Rather, under the agreement, Tehran can walk up to the edge of becoming a declared armed-nuclear state with a robust missile force and sit there. That hardly sets the condition for sure peace in our time.

Meanwhile, even the shaky stalemate proposed by the agreement rests on the assumption that Tehran won’t follow North Korea’s path to breakout status by cheating on the agreement and then abrogating the deal when it no longer suits the regime.

At the same time the price for Obama’s peace comes pretty high. Tehran demands significant and immediate sanctions relief. That means more money for a corrupt regime with one of the world’s worst human records to perpetuate strangled hold over the people of Iran.

Obama’s deal also means more money for Tehran to prop-up the likes of Hezbollah, Assad, Hamas, the Houthi rebels in Yemen and murderous unaccountable Shia militias in Iraq (which are as big a threat to the future of the country as ISIS). As one of the world’s premier state-sponsors of terrorism, enabling and emboldening Iran’s efforts to reshape the region by force of arms and slaughtering innocents doesn’t make the prospects for peace in the region any brighter.

All the partisan controversy and vitriol over Netanyahu’s speech cannot obscure that the White House has no good answers to the legitimate concerns he raised.

Breitbart News summarizes how the speech was received:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a passionate, inspiring, thoughtful, and “game changing” speech before the American Congress which lasted for about 45 minutes, during which time he was applauded 43 times, often for 15 seconds at a time. His words elicited many standing ovations.

The only other foreign leader to have spoken to Congress three times was Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. In honor of that, Speaker of the House, John Boehnerplans to present Netanyahu with a bust of Churchill.

Netanyahu received wild applause when he said: “The world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.”

Israel’s Prime Minister again received rather thunderous applause and a standing ovation when he noted that Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was in the audience—and when he said: “My friend, standing up to Iran is not easy. Standing up to dark and murderous regimes never is. Elie, your life and work inspires to give meaning to the words, ‘never again!’ And I wish I could promise you, Elie, that the lessons of history have been learned. I can only urge the leaders of the world not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

At this point Congress outdid itself in term of applause and a standing ovation.

PM Netanyahu was greeted with a thunderous ovation when he first arrived and again after he was introduced.

And here’s Dennis Prager, writing at Investors Business Daily, explaining why Obama refused to meet with Netanyahu:

The prime minister of Israel is at the forefront of the greatest battle against evil in our time — the battle against violent Muslims. No country other than Israel is threatened with extinction, and it is Iran and the many Islamic terror organizations that pose that threat.

It only makes sense, then, that no other country feels the need to warn the world about Iran and Islamic terror as much as Israel.

That’s why, when Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the United Nations about the threat Iran poses to his country’s survival and about the metastasizing cancer of Islamist violence, he unfortunately stands alone.

Virtually everyone listening knows he is telling the truth. And most dislike him for it. Appeasers hate those who confront evil.

Given that this president is the least likely of any president in American history to confront evil — or even identify it — while Benjamin Netanyahu is particularly vocal and eloquent about both identifying and confronting evil, it is inevitable that the former will resent the latter.

Here is the list of 58 Democrats (House and Senate) who walked out of the speech.

And a number of top Democrats — including Vice President Joe Biden, whose job description includes the title President of the Senate — didn’t attend.

[…]At least 50 Democratic House members and eight senators who caucus with the Democrats said in recent weeks they wouldn’t attend the speech, many in protest to a move that they say is an affront to the president.

The full transcript of the speech has been posted by The Weekly Standard.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Republicans legislators pushing good bills forward and blocking bad bills

What kinds of bills do Republicans pass? Let’s take a look at a couple.

The first story is about North Dakota Republican Senator John Hoeven, and it’s from the Washington Times.

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven (right)

Excerpt:

Senators approved the Keystone XL pipeline in a momentous vote Thursday as nine Democrats bucked their party leaders and joined Republicans in backing the long-stalled project, setting up an eventual showdown with President Obama, who has vowed a veto.

The vote marks the first major accomplishment for the Senate Republican majority, who carefully selected the pipeline to put at the top of the agenda in hopes of preparing Democrats for even bigger tests with Mr. Obama.

“This took a bipartisan effort to get done. That’s what the people want,” said Sen. John Hoeven, the North Dakota Republican who sponsored the legislation.

The 62-36 vote is a high-water mark for the pipeline, which had never before cleared the Senate on a binding vote, and just two months ago fell to a Democratic filibuster.

The bill still must be combined with a House version that passed the chamber this month before it heads to Mr. Obama.

This is a bill that creates jobs, lowers the price of gas, makes us less dependent on foreign sources of oil and it doesn’t harm the environment.

Having a job is good because when you earn your own success, you are usually happier than you would be receiving money from the government. Lower gas prices are good, because you can spend the money you safe on useful things, like date night with your wife, or maybe a gift for your mom or dad. Making us less dependent on foreign oil is good, because some of these nations we buy oil from don’t like us very much, and that’s putting it nicely. We really should not be buying oil from Venezuela, for example. And finally, it’s a good idea to conserve nature as it is, because we all like animals, trees, flowers, etc., and we should keep it all clean. A pipeline is safer for moving oil than using trains – fewer environmental disasters.

Next story is about Texas senator Ted Cruz, and it’s from the Daily Signal.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Texas Senator Ted Cruz

Excerpt:

Sen. Ted Cruz wants to protect taxpayers from political targeting by the Internal Revenue Service. The Texas Republican introduced legislation yesterday making it crime to engage in such behavior as questions still linger about the full extent of the IRS scandal.

This is not the first time Cruz has offered this type of legislation. In February 2014, he introduced amendments to the STOP Identity Theft Act. Those measures, however, were defeated by Democrats and did not make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Free speech is not a partisan issue. The IRS has no business meddling with the First Amendment rights of Americans,” Cruz said during last year’s debate.

With a new Republican Senate majority, Cruz is hopeful that this time the language will pass independently as a bill. In a press release, Cruz blasted the lack of action by President Obama and his administration in response to the IRS scandal.

“In May 2013, President Obama declared the IRS’s illegal targeting of conservative groups ‘intolerable and inexcusable,’ yet to this date no one has been held accountable for it,” Cruz said in a statement.

Cruz’s bill would make it a crime for any IRS employee to willfully target anyone based solely on political beliefs. Any employee found in violation would be subject to a fine, up to 10 years in prison, or both.

“This is a well thought out amendment to the IRS code to try and deter and punish the type of naked political targeting engaged in by Lois Lerner and other IRS employees,” said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the election law reform initiative and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

I think it’s a good idea for government not to be used as a weapon to punish people who want less government and more freedom. Don’t you?

Last one is about Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa, as reported by Doug Ross.

Iowa Congressman Steve King

Iowa Congressman Steve King

Excerpt:

“We’re extremely pleased that Congressman King has introduced the National Right to Work Act, intensifying a growing debate about labor law and worker freedom in our country. This legislation would enshrine the common-sense principle – already enforced in nearly half of U.S. states – that no worker should be compelled to join or pay dues to a union just to get or keep a job.

“In an age of legislative overreach, this is one of the shortest bills ever introduced. A National Right to Work Act does not add a single word to federal law. It simply removes language in the National Labor Relations Act that gives union officials the power to extract dues from nonunion workers as a condition of employment.

“Voluntary association is a quintessential American ideal and the case for Right to Work has always rested on the principles of employee freedom, but passage of a National Right to Work law will also pay economic dividends. Studies demonstrate that workers in Right to Work states enjoy greater private sector job growth and higher disposable incomes than their counterparts in states without Right to Work protections.

“The Right to Work principle is also popular with the public. Polls consistently show that 80 percent of Americans and union members support the principle of voluntary unionism.

“A National Right to Work Act enshrines worker freedom while providing significant economic benefits for workers. The National Right to Work Committee is mobilizing its 2.8 million members to call on their Congressperson to support the National Right to Work Act.”

Evidence shows that right-to-work states are more attractive to job creators, which results in lower unemployment in states that adopt right-to-work.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, Republican legislators blocked three pro-abortion bills.

If you missed my recent post on four good things that Republican governors are doing, I recommend reading that as well.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

If you want some good news, look to Republican governors

Let’s start with the leftist Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel – no fan of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

They write:

For the first time Thursday, Walker committed to drug testing recipients of BadgerCare Plus health coverage and also pledged free treatment and job training for those testing positive for drugs.

But the governor offered no details on how the state would cover the costs of that or the testing or whether he expected it to cost the state money overall, as a similar program did in Florida, or save tax dollars. The budget, he said in a statement, would also drop to four years from five the limit on how long a recipient could be in the Wisconsin Works, or W-2, program, the replacement in this state for traditional welfare.

“We know employers in Wisconsin have jobs available, but they don’t have enough qualified employees to fill those positions,” Walker said. “With this budget, we are addressing some of the barriers keeping people from achieving true freedom and prosperity and the independence that comes with having a good job and doing it well.”

The governor said the drug-testing proposal would apply only to able-bodied adults, not the elderly or children, and would include transitional jobs initiatives. Walker wants to test all FoodShare and BadgerCare applicants but limit the drug testing for unemployment benefits to certain applicants.

The idea expands on another requirement passed by Walker and Republicans in 2013 to make able-bodied FoodShare recipients receive job training.

Michigan Republican governor Rick Snyder has the same idea, and his bill was signed into law last month.

The Daily Signal reports on the latest effort by South Carolina Republican governor Nikki Haley to cut income taxes.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley

They write:

The governor of South Carolina has proposed lowering the state’s income tax rate from 7 percent to 5 percent, accompanied by a 10 cent hike in the state’s gas tax.

In her annual State of the State address on Wednesday, Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C., said the state’s income tax puts it at a competitive “disadvantage.”

“In order to keep the ball rolling in our economy, we must bring down our income tax,” Haley said.

She acknowledged that despite her desire to cut the income tax rate, South Carolina needs to invest in its infrastructure. Greenville Online reports that the South Carolina Department of Transportation “has rated almost half the state’s primary and secondary roads in poor condition.”

Haley proposed doing “three things at once that will be a win-win-win for South Carolina.”

The first would be lowering the income tax over the next decade, which amounts to a 30 percent reduction. The lower 5 percent rate would take South Carolina’s nationwide income tax ranking from 38th to 13th.

While the income tax rate would go down, the gas tax would increase by 10 cents over the next three years. Haley said that the revenue generated from this tax will go “entirely toward improving our roads.”

I have no problem with raising consumption taxes in exchange for cutting business and/or income taxes.

And here’s leftist ABC News discussing Kansas governor Sam Brownback latest proposal.

Kansas governor Sam Brownback

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback

They write:

Notable among them is a first-of-its-kind measure being drafted in Kansas, with the backing of the National Right to Life Committee, which would ban doctors from using forceps, tongs or other medical implements to dismember a living fetus in the womb to complete an abortion.

Proponents have titled the bill the Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act and say it targets a procedure used in about 8 percent of abortions in Kansas.

“Dismemberment abortion kills a baby by tearing her apart limb from limb,” said National Right to Life’s director of state legislation, Mary Spaulding Balch, who hopes the Kansas bill will be emulated in other states.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri has vowed to fight the bill “every step of the way.”

That article has a few more pro-life measures being pushed by Republicans in other states, although Democrat governors are threatening to veto them.

The American Enterprise Institute talks about the job creation juggernaut created by Republican governor Rick Perry in Texas.

Texas Governor Rick Perry

Texas Governor Rick Perry

They write:

The Texas Workforce Commission released state employment data today for the month of December, and job growth in the Lone Star State continues to lead, and in fact carry the nation’s improving labor market as the chart above shows. Here are some highlights of the December employment report for Texas:

1. Texas ended the year with the state’s largest ever year-over-year payroll gain with the eye-popping addition of 457,900 new jobs between December 2013 and December 2014. That’s more than 1,700 new payroll jobs that were added every business day last year in the Lone Star State, and 220 new jobs every business hour or almost 4 new jobs added every minute!

2. In just the last month of December, which marked the 51st consecutive month of employment growth, Texas added 45,700 new payroll jobs, which was more than 2,000 jobs every business day, almost 260 jobs every hour, and more than 4 new jobs every minute! The strong job growth in December brought the state’s jobless rate down to 4.6%, the lowest Texas unemployment rate since May 2008.

[…]It’s a pretty impressive story of how job creation in just one state – Texas – has made such a significant contribution to the 1.169 million net increase in total US employment (+1,444,290 Texas jobs minus the 275,290 non-Texas job loss) in the seven year period between the start of the Great Recession in December 2007 and December 2014. The other 49 states and the District of Columbia together employ about 275,000 fewer Americans than at the start of the recession seven years ago, while the Lone Star State has added more than 1.25 million payroll jobs and more than 190,000 non-payroll jobs (primarily self-employed and farm workers).

So, what have we learned? We learned that if you like more job creation, fewer abortions, lower taxes and drug-testing welfare recipients, then you are a Republican. I’ll be doing posts like these regularly until the 2016 election, so that everyone understands what Republicans actually get done.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

Click to see recent visitors

  Visitors Online Now

Page views since 1/30/09

  • 5,161,143 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,824 other followers

Archives

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,824 other followers

%d bloggers like this: