THE SAPIENT SPARROW: conservatism for commoners

"What has always made the State a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."–Holderlin


Yesterday, Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative John Boehner were interviewed on “Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace”.  Mr. Wallace asked a question about retaining the “Bush Tax Cuts”, and requested that the Republicans respond to charges by the Democrats that these would add to the deficit, because the Republicans were not offering a way to pay for them.  His question presented a wonderful opportunity for these Republican leaders to articulate the difference between “revenue” and “spending”.  Unfortunately,  neither of these two gentlemen took advantage of the opportunity offered.

Now, in general, I like both of these guys.  However, if their answers are representative of how Republicans will be speaking to the Country in the months leading up to the mid-term elections, opportunities will not be the only things lost.  Surely our Republican members of Congress have at least one person on their staffs who know how to explain the application of conservative economic principles in simple, relevant terms.  For example:

A person is told that s/he will not be receiving a raise in the upcoming year.  That person has a few options: 1) postpones projects, purchases, etc. that s/he has been considering, 2) s/he seeks to find a second job or sells some of his/her possessions, and/or 3) finds expenditures in his/her budget that can be eliminated or reduced.  The one thing that the (sane) person does not do is put a gun to the employer’s head and demand that s/he give the raise, or else…

On a much larger scale, this example also holds true for the Government.  Retaining the “Bush Tax Cuts” is not an expenditure that needs to be paid for.  Instead, their retention is equivalent to the Government not receiving a raise.  In general the Government has the same options as an individual would in the same situation.  Letting the “Bush Tax Cuts” expire, therefore, is tantamount to putting a gun to the heads of taxpayers and demanding the raise be given.

It seems to me, that questions such as Mr. Wallace asked on Sunday of Senator McConnell and Representative Boehner will continue to be asked by both the media and Democrat candidates.  The Republicans need to be able to predict such questions and have clear and readily understood answers prepared that reflect conservative principles.  The game’s afoot, and Republicans would do well to perfect theirs very soon.

Filed under: November 2010 midterm elections, , , , ,


Yesterday, Representative Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA), offered a resolution on the House floor aimed at eliminating the threat of a “lame duck” Congress passing yet more unpopular legislation prior to the 112th Congress being seated.  Unsurprisingly, House Democrats chose to delay a vote on the resolution of Rep. Price.

Watch the video below, then consider doing what I did.  Contact Representative Price to thank and support him in his efforts.  Without shackling a lame duck 111th Congress, the 112th Congress could find itself occupied for months in the task of trying to undo the additional shackles that the lame duck could force upon the Nation.

Filed under: lame duck congress, , ,

GOT SCISSORS? Let’s start cutting

This link will take you to Rep. Eric Cantor’s site “You Cut” where you can vote for which government spending program needs to be cut, in your opinion.  After the week long voting, Rep. Cantor will take the “winner” to the floor of the House for an up or down vote to cut that spending measure.  Each week a new list of big government spending programs will be listed here to vote on.  It would be surprising if the Democrat-controlled House would actually vote to cut any of these programs, however, this site can help your voice to be heard in Washington.  Additionally, it is a good educative tool as it publicizes the waste and idiotic spending that is ruining our economy, not only for us, but also for future generations.

Take a moment to visit the site and cast your vote!

P.S.  The site is very busy, so if your vote does not initially register, please try again later.

Filed under: big government, , , ,


Cartoon by Erin Bonsteel

On National Review online, Jeffrey H. Anderson has written a piece called, “The Battle Is Lost, and the War Has Begun”.  His views are worthwhile to read on this day after our hard fought battle against Obamacare has ended in defeat.  Mr. Anderson is right, I believe, concerning the conflicts to come over this Bill that was narrowly passed in the House last night. Obamacare is not the last word on our health care system.  It will not stand, but neither will it have its legs cut off in quick fashion.  And, let us not lose sight of the fact that this is only the opening gambit in a war against the American people and their Constitution.  Obama and his soldiers will not long linger on this victory.  They have immigration “reform”, Cap and Trade, card check, regulation of the airwaves and internet, among other things, still to accomplish.

It is important for us to ensure that the passage of this Bill is simply a “Pyrrhic Victory”.  Read its definition:

The phrase is named after King Pyrrhus of Epirus, whose army suffered irreplaceable casualties in defeating the Romans at Heraclea in 280 BC and Asculum in 279 BC during the Pyrrhic War. After the latter battle, Plutarch  relates in a report by Dionysius:

The armies separated; and, it is said, Pyrrhus replied to one that gave him joy of his victory that one more such victory would utterly undo him. For he had lost a great part of the forces he brought with him, and almost all his particular friends and principal commanders; there were no others there to make recruits, and he found the confederates in Italy backward. On the other hand, as from a fountain continually flowing out of the city, the Roman camp was quickly and plentifully filled up with fresh men, not at all abating in courage for the loss they sustained, but even from their very anger gaining new force and resolution to go on with the war.-Wikipedia

Obama has expended tremendous political capital, as well as financial capital, to pass this very unpopular Bill—the thing that will define his Presidency.  We, on the other hand, are like the Romans that Pyrrhus describes, “not at all abating in courage for the loss they sustained, but even from their very anger gaining new force and resolution to go on with the war”.

Ben Stein offers these words of comfort and encouragement in the aftermath of this exhausting contest:

For those of us who still believe in the Constitution, I offer the words of the great civil rights anthem, “We shall overcome, ” and “We are not afraid.” In that spirit, we continue the fight for the return to Constitutional government. Loyal to the nation and the Constitution, but most certainly opposed to the subversion or either.

As Churchill said, “In war, resolution. In defeat, defiance.” And this is a war for Constitutional government. A war of words, to be sure, but a war we must win.

For those of you who have read J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, (or have at least seen the movies), remember that the Balrog did not pass Gandalf on the bridge, but took him into the void using one last desperate lunge.  However, even then Gandalf did not stop fighting it, and in the end the Balrog was defeated.  May this be a parable for our own circumstances and give us true hope.

Hang on until November, and during the ensuing 7 months let our battle cry be, “Resist.  Roll back. Repeal.”

God bless you.  God bless our beloved America.

Filed under: healthcare, LEGISLATION, liberal activism, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , ,


Yesterday afternoon, Roll Call reported that the Senate Parliamentarian had verbally ruled that the Senate process of reconciliation could not proceed until such time as the House passed the Senate Obamacare Bill “as is”, and the President signs it into law.  Although the ruling has not yet become “official”, and there is always a chance that V.P. Biden, as President of the Senate, could overrule the Parliamentarian, it seems as if the fate of Obamacare is once again squarely on the shoulders of the House.  The piece is reprinted below:

Ruling Kills an Option for Moving Health Bill
March 11, 2010, 2:30 P.M.
By David M. Drucker
Roll Call Staff

The Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that President Barack Obama must sign Congress’ original health care reform bill before the Senate can act on a companion reconciliation package, senior GOP sources said Thursday.

The Senate Parliamentarian’s Office was responding to questions posed by the Republican leadership. The answers were provided verbally, sources said.

House Democratic leaders have been searching for a way to ensure that any move they make to approve the Senate-passed $871 billion health care reform bill is followed by Senate action on a reconciliation package of adjustments to the original bill. One idea is to have the House and Senate act on reconciliation prior to House action on the Senate’s original health care bill.

Information Republicans say they have received from the Senate Parliamentarian’s Office eliminates that option. House Democratic leaders last week began looking at crafting a legislative rule that would allow the House to approve the Senate health care bill, but not forward it to Obama for his signature until the Senate clears the reconciliation package.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved Thursday to put Senate Republicans on the defensive over health care, sending a letter to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in which he dared the GOP to vote against reform.

Reid also defended the Democrats’ use of reconciliation to get a final health care reform bill to the president’s desk, noting that the bulk of health care reform was approved under regular order via the package that cleared the Senate on Christmas Eve. Reid also emphasized that Republicans have used the procedure several times over the years.

However, Reid also promised in the letter that Republicans would have ample opportunity to amend the reconciliation package.

“Reconciliation is designed to deal with budget-related matters, and some have expressed doubt that it could be used for comprehensive health care reform that includes many policies with no budget implications. But the reconciliation bill now under consideration would not be the vehicle for comprehensive reform — that bill already passed outside of reconciliation with 60 votes,” Reid wrote to McConnell.

“Reconciliation will not exclude Republicans from the legislative process. You will continue to have an opportunity to offer amendments and change the shape of the legislation. In addition, at the end of the process, the bill can pass only if it wins a democratic, up-or-down majority vote. If Republicans want to vote against a bill that reduces health care costs, fills the prescription drug ‘donut hole’ for seniors and reduces the deficit, you will have every right to do so,” he said.

From the commentary last evening, it also appears that the “Slaughter Solution” would not meet the standard of “passing the Senate Bill”, i.e., a rule that “deems” it passed is not the same thing as actually passing the Bill.  The “Slaughter Solution” was being devised to give cover to those Democrats, such as the “Stupakers”, and make it easier to vote for the Bill by technically voting for the “rule”.  Now, this tactic seems to be moot.

However, it was reported this morning that Mr. Obama has postponed his Asia trip to stay in Washington D. C. and “work on” (read strong-arm/coerce) passage of “Healthcare Reform”.  He now plans to start his trip on March 21st, instead of March 18th.  It is not immediately clear to me what he thinks he can do in an extra two days in the Capitol, but I’m sure he will come up with something that is sure to be thuggishly sleazy.

Filed under: U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , ,


Well, what will they think of next?  I am utterly amazed, though perhaps I shouldn’t be, at the lengths that Pelosi, et. al. will go to in order to force the passage of the immensely unpopular Obamacare bill.  The most recent shameless tactic is being designed by Rep. Louise Slaughter, hence its name the “Slaughter Solution”.  If used, it will definitely live up to its name!

Mary Katharine Ham at the Weekly Standard sums up the measure below:

Symbolism: Dems Mull Ramming of Health-Care With ‘Slaughter Solution’
3:21 PM, Mar 10, 2010 ·
BY Mary Katharine Ham

Congress Daily reports today that the Senate may try to find a way to pass the Senate bill without a final House vote. Sounds improbable, but Rube Goldberg would be proud.

I present to you the Slaughter Solution, devised by Rep. Louise Slaughter. (What Sen. Death Panel was not available to put his name to it?). Via Congress Daily ($):

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

Slaughter has not taken the plan to Speaker Pelosi as Democrats await CBO scores on the corrections bill. “Once the CBO gives us the score we’ll spring right on it,” she said.

NRO: “Crucially, it gives the lie — in a big, big way — to the Democratic narrative that health-care reform should and will be finished via simple “majority rule,” and not bound up in the arcane rules of the United States Senate.”

From the GOP Leader blog: “You see, Democratic leaders currently lack the votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill through the House.  Under Slaughter’s scheme, Democratic leaders will overcome this problem by simply ‘deeming’ the Senate bill passed in the House – without an actual vote by members of the House.”

The blogosphere has been replete with analysis of using this twisted tactic.  At the Foundry Blog there is a very good description of the strategy, the implementation process and its Constitutional problems.  An excerpt follows:

Procedurally, this would happen in the following order.  The House Rules Committee would approve this self-executing rule.  The House would vote on the rule that allows this scenario.  Then the House will vote on the reconciliation measure.  Upon passage of the reconciliation measure the Senate Obamacare bill will be deemed to have passed the House and the reconciliation measure will be sent to the Senate.  This so called “Deeming Resolution” is a trick that allows the House to pass a bill they never voted upon.  Therefore, the real vote on the pro-abortion Senate passed bill will be the vote on the rule to allow this scenario to roll out on the House floor.

One provision that may make the rule is a provision that does not allow the House to report the Senate passed Obamacare bill to the President until the Senate passes a reconciliation bill.  Bills are enrolled before being sent to the President for his signature and the House can prevent the enrollment and delivery of Obamacare to the President until the Senate completes work on the reconciliation measure.  Sound complicated?  Yes and it is supposed to so the American people can’t understand that the House is on the verge of passing an unpopular Obamacare bill, yet they are reserving the right to claim that they did not vote for the Senate passed bill.

For a more complete understanding of the “Slaughter Solution” and its consequences for passage of Obamacare, take time to read the entries from the New York Post, Red State, American Thinker and Big Government.

This is Chicago slaughter house politics at its best, or worst depending on how one looks at it.  “If they bring a knife to the the fight, we bring a gun”, our Dear Leader has said.  The “Slaughter Solution” is not a gun, it is a nuclear bomb.

Filed under: U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , , , , ,

"His eye is on the sparrow, and He surely watches me." --Mrs. Doolittle, 1905