Conservative columnist and former Reagan administration aide Douglas MacKinnon is out with a new book calling for Southern states to secede…again.
While speaking yesterday with Janet Mefferd about his book, “The Secessionist States of America: The Blueprint for Creating a Traditional Values Country…Now,” MacKinnon called for a movement of states, starting with South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, to establish a new country that will adhere to the Religious Right’s political agenda.
Texas, MacKinnon explained, was not included in his secessionist blueprint because “there have been a number of incursions into Texas and other places from some of the folks in Mexico.”
He added that the South had “seceded legally” and “peacefully” during the Civil War, but greedy Northerners like President Lincoln “waged an illegal war that was in fact not declared against the South after the South basically did what we’re talking about in this book now in terms of peacefully, legally and constitutionally leaving the union.” - See more at: rightwingwatch.org
The Internet is abuzz over the latest Quinnipiac poll, which not only shows that Americans find President Barack Obama to be the worst commander-in-chief since World War II, but that a large number of voters (45 percent) think that America would be better off if Mitt Romney had been elected in 2012. At a first glance, those numbers look really rough for Obama. A closer look, however, tells a slightly different story.
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,446 voters from June 24-30; 26 percent identify as Republicans, 31 percent as Democrats, and 35 percent are Independents. Of those voters, 73 percent are white, 13 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic, and 8 percent identify as “other.” Only 18 percent are from the Northeast, 24 percent hail from the Midwest, 37 percent from the South, and 22 percent from the West.
So the largest representation of voters surveyed in this poll are from the South, which isn’t exactly representative of all Americans as a whole. In the 2012 election, the South was the only region where more voters voted for Romney than Obama (54 to 41 percent). Gallup shows that only 33 percent of voters in 2012 were from the South, while 23 percent were from the Northeast and Midwest, and 22 percent lived in the West. Consequently, this poll is slightly skewed towards Southern voters.
Though 33 percent of Americans think Obama is the worst president since World War II, compared to 28 percent who chose George W. Bush, Slate’s Dave Weigel shows why it’s important to take a second look at those numbers.
Since Republicans overwhelmingly (66 percent) think that Ronald Reagan was the best president, he’s easily at the top of the poll. But Democrats are conflicted about who they would choose for their top pick, with the vote split between Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy, and Obama.
Thatcher and Reagan might have gotten along, but her staff and others in the British government, including ambassadors to the U.S., regarded him as couple of bricks short of a load.
It says a lot about the people who worship St. Reagan.
Former Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole said Ronald Reagan wouldn’t have been accepted in today’s GOP. Maybe, like Dole, he just wouldn’t have understood today’s D.C.
Where did the whole idea of sequestration originate? It goes back to 1985. The tax cuts of Ronald’s Reagan early years, combined with his aggressive defense buildup, produced a growing budget deficit that eventually prompted passage of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act. GRH set out a series of ambitious deficit reduction targets, and to put teeth into them it specified that if the targets weren’t met, money would automatically be “sequestered,” or held back, by the Treasury Department from the agencies to which it was originally appropriated. The act was declared unconstitutional in 1986, and a new version was passed in 1987.
Sequestration never really worked, though, and it was repealed in 1990 and replaced by a new budget deal. After that, it disappeared down the Washington, DC, memory hole for the next 20 years.
What about the 2013 version? Where did that come from? In the summer of 2011, Republicans decided to hold the country hostage, insisting that they’d refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless President Obama agreed to substantial deficit reduction. After months of negotiations over a “grand bargain” finally broke down in July, Republicans proposed a plan that would (a) make some cuts immediately and (b) create a bipartisan committee to propose further cuts down the road. But they wanted some kind of automatic trigger in case the committee couldn’t agree on those further cuts, so the White House hauled out sequestration from the dustbin of history as an enforcement mechanism. It would go into effect automatically if no deal was reached.
In the end, no immediate cuts were made, but a “supercommittee” was set up to propose $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction later in the year. To make sure everyone was motivated to make a deal, the sequester was designed to be brutal: a set of immediate, across-the-board cuts to both defense spending and domestic spending, starting on January 1, 2013. The idea was that everyone would hate this so much they’d be sure to agree on a substitute.
Needless to say, no such agreement was reached. So now we’re stuck with the automatic sequestration cuts.
More: The Sequester, Explained
When he was in his late 20s, John Roberts was a foot soldier in the Reagan administration’s crusade against the Voting Rights Act. Now, as chief justice of the Supreme Court, he will help determine whether a key part of the law survives a constitutional challenge.
Memos that Roberts wrote as a lawyer in President Reagan’s Justice Department during the 1980s show that he was deeply involved in efforts to curtail the effectiveness of the Voting Rights Act, the hard-won landmark 1965 law that is intended to ensure all Americans can vote. Roberts’ anti-VRA efforts during the 1980s ultimately failed. But on Wednesday, when the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, he’ll get another chance to gut the law. Roberts’ history suggests a crucial part of the VRA may not survive the rematch.
At issue in Shelby County is whether a major portion of the Voting Rights Act, called Section 5, is constitutional. Section 5 compels jurisdictions with a history of discrimination, mostly in the South, to ask the Justice Department for permission—preclearance, in legalese—before making any changes to election laws. Shelby County, Alabama, is arguing that Section 5 is an extreme measure that is no longer justified because racism is no longer the problem it once was. If Section 5 is overturned, voting rights groups say, the federal government’s ability to ensure Americans are not denied the right to vote on the basis of race—at a time when race has been used as a proxy for party identification—will be severely weakened.
Shelby County offers Roberts an opportunity to complete a mission he began three decades ago. When the chief justice was a young lawyer, in 1981, Southern legislators hoped an ascendant conservative movement could pressure Reagan into opposing an extension of the VRA. In June of that year, Reagan wrote a letter to Attorney General William French Smith requesting an “assessment” of the law.
The real fault line for Republicans is between Norquist-style radicals and Ronald Reagan, who presided over the bipartisan 1986 tax simplification deal by closing loopholes to raise revenues. As Reagan said at the time, “We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.” In addition, the “sainted” Reagan oversaw some 11 tax increases during his administration. To be sure, his overall goal was to slash rates and simplify the system — but he was not nearly as absolutist as his activist acolytes who do not have to deal with actually governing.
Norquist’s hold on the GOP has been loosening as congressional leaders recognize that this extreme, unelected activist is helping to hold a balanced bipartisan deal hostage. The election is over. The time for hatred, ideological obstruction and overheated rhetoric has passed. Reasonable Republicans and Democrats need to take on their respective special interests to get a long-term deficit and debt deal done.
It’s foolish to be afraid of Norquist. The only pledge members of Congress should take is the Pledge of Allegiance.
After embracing stridently partisan positions during the primaries, campaigns traditionally etch-a-sketch to the center after securing the nomination. But while Romney adopted his fair share of conservative positions to squeeze past Santorum, he has yet to move back to the center: He hasn’t discovered any new centrist positions, he hasn’t attempted to co-opt any Democratic strengths, he hasn’t established an independent-minded theme, and he hasn’t found a Sister Souljah moment. He could use one.
Most presidential candidates adopt an image that distinguishes them from the most partisan wing of their party, whether it was Bush running as a “compassionate conservative,” Clinton’s “New Democrat,” Obama’s post-partisan appeals to change, or McCain’s “maverick.” And realistically, Romney needs it as much or more than any of those prior candidates. The Republican Party is decidedly unpopular—more unpopular than the parties were in any of those prior presidential elections (with the exception of McCain in 2008). Yet here’s Romney, a candidate who entered presidential politics positioned to run as a moderate, running as a generic conservative Republican candidate with a splash of Bain Capital.
It’s important to remember that Romney needs moderate, independent, and even traditionally Democratic-leaning voters to win this election. It’s not 2004 anymore: The influx of non-white voters into the electorate over the last eight years, as well as their movement toward the Democratic party, has raised the bar for what Romney needs among white voters. Romney will probably need to carry at least 60 percent of white voters to secure the presidency, more than any GOP candidate since Reagan. Now, deep dissatisfaction with Obama’s performance and the state of the country has given Romney a real opportunity to pull that off, but that essentially requires Romney to sweep persuadable swing white voters—and we can infer that many have traditionally voted for Democratic candidates in national elections.
Likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney will visit the United Kingdom and Poland at a time when the GOP’s policy toward Europe seems to be trapped in the days of the Cold War. It will be a chance for him to update his outdated views.
Mitt Romney’s first foreign tour as the Republican Party’s likely presidential candidate includes visits to two European states. While designed to send a message to potential voters at home, particularly blue-collar Reagan Democrats in the Midwest, the trip will be about photo opportunities. Romney’s visit to London is meant to echo his own successful management of the 2002 winter games in Salt Lake City and play into a campaign narrative built on executive experience and sober business acumen.
His visit to Gdansk and Warsaw will highlight the triangle that broke the back of communism: the Polish people’s courage, their Catholic faith and Western resolve. Not coincidentally, Polish-American immigrants dot the landscape in important battleground states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Romney’s visit will inevitably draw parallels to that of candidate Barack Obama, who on a visit to Germany in July 2008, resolutely declared on the steps of Berlin’s Victory Column that he is a “citizen of the world.” Now the Republican candidate has an opportunity to articulate his vision for US relations with Europe, which has so far remained underdeveloped and reliant on dated platitudes.