A Republican Manifesto For the 21st Century

The Minnesota Republican Party has gone through some hard times in recent years, but it has rebounded under chairman Keith Downey. Today, Downey had an op-ed in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that succinctly states the party’s case. While there are a couple of items I might treat a bit differently, it is an excellent example of the message Republicans should be delivering consistently around the country:

SOLUTIONS_OPPORTUNITY.090314

On July 4, 1854, a group of Minnesotans calling themselves “friends of freedom” gathered for the first time. They were Whigs and Democrats, opposed to slavery and government corruption, believing that only a new political party could accomplish their aims.

They founded the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Today, 160 years later, Republicans are still on the side of the people. We share the tried and true ethic of everyday folks — family and faith, enterprise and hard work, loving our neighbor and giving back. Simply put, we care.

The party of Lincoln believes every Minnesotan is invaluable. We trust Minnesotans, not bigger government, for our future. And the party of Reagan’s principles of liberty and justice for all and free enterprise have proven to lift everyone. Our ideas work. …

SOLUTIONS_FAMILY.130313Why vote Republican? Because for all the recent Democrat claims of victory, regular folks sense they are the ones losing.

If you are a farmer who can’t afford rising property taxes, an Iron Range family or college student who just needs a good job to flourish, a parent whose child is stuck in a failing school, a veteran without adequate health care, a family child care provider being forced to unionize, a small business struggling with over 20 percent increases in health care costs, a taxpayer wondering why a luxury $90 million Senate office building was a priority, a parent watching everything you need get more expensive, or a family watching the global crisis unfold and feeling nervous about our country’s safety, you see how Democrat leadership is failing you.

Lower- and middle-income people, especially minorities, are worse off since Barack Obama and Al Franken were elected. Women’s median income has dropped, women’s poverty rate has increased, and the number of families on food stamps has risen dramatically.

Now that the Dayton budget has kicked in, private sector job growth dropped alarmingly to a mere 700 jobs per month since January. If you live on the Iron Range or are young or a minority, your unemployment rate is double the rest of the state, or worse. And Minnesota’s underemployment rate is a staggering 50 percent.

SOLUTIONS_EDICATION.130330Republicans know this opportunity gap is real — and that it’s unacceptable. Yet Democrats are killing the Keystone and Sandpiper pipelines and the Poly-Met mine, denying Minnesotans great jobs.

All the while, the education achievement gap persists, arguably the defining issue of our time in Minnesota. Republicans are fighting for reforms to help disadvantaged kids succeed in school, while Democrats defend their union-bureaucratic model at all costs, ignoring practices that would actually work for Minnesota’s kids.

Democrats, using their one-party rule, eliminated the basic skills test for teachers, reinstated seniority-only retention rules robbing kids of some of the most effective teachers, and reduced Minnesota’s graduation requirements, creating a false sense of progress. …

If you believe every child deserves a chance, with a successful school and excellent teachers, join us.

SOLUTIONS_HEALTHCARE.090411If you want maximum opportunity and better jobs for workers, and agree that disparities for minorities are unacceptable, join us.

If you agree that family budgets should come first before government budgets, and that leaving unsustainable government debt to our kids is immoral, join us.

If you want sensible healthcare reforms that actually reduce cost and improve care, join us.

These are the causes Republicans will lead. We will be on the side of the people with solutions that work. We will bring Minnesotans together to tackle our biggest challenges and advance our state.

And as we have for 160 years, Republicans will stand for what elevates the human condition and allows everyone to realize their God-given liberty and potential in life.

Come join us; we are on your side.

Obama: The CIA Assured Me They Were JVs!

On 60 Minutes, President Obama explained why his administration let ISIL get so out of hand: our intelligence agencies underestimated them! The exchange is at the beginning of this clip, followed by the usual Obama filibuster, with another interesting question and answer at the end:

IowaHawk comments pungently:

Barack Obama: a stand-up guy, as always.

Poor, Poor Obama: The World Is Just Too Complicated

What, did Thomas Friedman run out of taxi drivers or pink-haired hipsters to help him with today’s column? Today’s Friedman thumb-sucker, “Who Had It Easier—Reagan or Obama?”, he offers up one of the most ironic and tired out tropes of liberalism—that the Cold War era was so much less complicated than today because it was a binary conflict between two otherwise rational superpowers. Hate to break this to Friedman, but other liberals were using this line ten years ago.

In several critical areas, Reagan had a much easier world to lead in than Obama does now. . .

Here’s how: The defining struggle in Reagan’s day was the Cold War, and the defining feature of the Cold War was that it was a war between two different systems of order: Communism versus democratic capitalism. But both systems competed to build order — to reinforce weak states around the world with military and economic aid and win their support in the Cold War. . .

This isn’t what the New York Times, or nearly all of Friedman’s predecessors on the Times’ op-ed page (not to mention nearly all of the academic Sovietologists and arms controllers dug in like ticks at the State Department), said back in the 1980s. Then, Reagan was a dangerous simpleton who didn’t understand how complex the Cold War world was.  Anyway, to continue with Tom-Tom:

Obama’s world is different. It is increasingly divided by regions of order and regions of disorder, where there is no one to answer the phone, and the main competition is not between two organized superpowers but between a superpower and many superempowered angry men.

I suspect if Reagan were here today, he’d speak plainly about how we needed do “disempower” these “superempowered angry men,” chiefly by killing them, and certainly by calling them by their proper names—evil people who represent the suppression of every civilizing sentiment that ever existed in the Islamic world. (I have noted before how the medieval tradition of what might be called “Islamic humanism,” embodied by philosophers and theologians who noted points of harmony with Christian and Jewish culture, is actively suppressed in the Arab world today. Why don’t we try to revive this tradition with active propaganda measures, like we did against Communism in the Cold War? Why not “Radio Free Arabia”?)

And I have no doubt Friedman would be the first to condemn this “simplistic” thinking.

The case of Conor Powell

This past week FOX News aired Conor Powell’s report on Israel’s West Bank operation to apprehend Hamas operatives suspected of participation in the the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens. (I saw Powell’s report on Special Report with Bret Baier. It may have aired on other shows that day.)

IDF forces were unable to apprehend the operatives; they were killed in a shootout. The Washington Post reported on the incident here.

Powell reported that Hamas denied responsibility for the kidnapping, but that the kidnappers themselves were members of Hamas. Powell’s report left Hamas’s responsibility for the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers an open question.

I asked Powell via Twitter whether he was aware of Hamas’s admission of responsibility for the kidnapping operation. The admission was widely reported last month, as in this Associated Press account:

A senior Hamas leader has said the group carried out the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June — the first time anyone from the Islamic militant group has said it was behind an attack that helped spark the current war in the Gaza Strip.

Saleh Arouri told a conference in Turkey on Wednesday that Hamas’s military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, carried out what he described as a “heroic operation” with the broader goal of sparking a new Palestinian uprising.

“It was an operation by your brothers from the al-Qassam Brigades,” he said, saying Hamas hoped to exchange the youths for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

Hamas has repeatedly praised the kidnappings, but Arouri, the group’s exiled West Bank leader, is the first member to claim responsibility.

I linked to the AP story in two Twitter messages to Powell, but Powell didn’t acknowledge the story in his responses to me. He wrote:

I never denied connection btwn kidnappers & hamas. But hamas boss Khalid Marshal & others have denied “planning” attack

I clearly say hamas leaders say they weren’t “behind” kidnapping. Video says hamas members did it. There is a distinction

As Powell notes, there is a distinction. That is why the admission of responsibility by a senior Hamas official was big news. It showed not only that Hamas itself was responsible for the kidnapping and murders, but strongly suggested that Hamas was looking for the war that Israel proceeded to deliver.

Powell reported regularly from Gaza during the war. I thought his work was incredibly lame, especially for a FOX News correspondent. Powell was FOX’s principal reporter from Gaza during the war; I complained about the shabby quality of his work on Power Line.

Powell’s responses to me raise the question whether he simply doesn’t know what he is talking about, or whether he is a knowing tool. Powell has not responded to my follow-up inquiry on Twitter. In either case, what is this guy doing on FOX News?

To borrow a phrase, we report, you decide.

RELATED: Matthew Continetti’s September Commentary column “Hamas’s useful idiots.”

Alton Nolen: A self-portrait

Reliable information about Oklahoma beheader Alton Nolen seems to be in short supply. His likeness is subject to the full Trayvon Martin treatment although the local authorities have called in the FBI. Seen on Twitter, the photo Nolen took of himself earlier this month (below) adds a certain context to the news of his horrifying crimes. Why is Breitbart News the only media outlet I can find publishing the photo? (Compare, e.g., CBS News and CNN.) Is it because one might prematurely infer from the photo that, like Nidal Hasan, Nolen is a Soldier of Allah and that his faith inspired his crimes? The FBI is on the case and, perhaps, we shall see.

AH

RELATED: William Jacobson’s post “Did Oklahoma beheading just win Senate for Republicans?”

This day in baseball — Phillies overtaken

On September 27, 1964, the Milwaukee Braves completed a four-game sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies, extending the Phils’ losing streak to seven games. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Reds took a double-header from the New York Mets to extend their winning steak to nine.

As a result, the Reds leap-frogged the Phillies, moving into first place by one game. The St. Louis Cardinals lurked just a game and a half behind Cincinnati. Ten days earlier, Philadelphia had led the Cards by six and a half games and the Reds by seven and a half.

The Phillies still controlled their own destiny — their remaining schedule consisted of a three game series with St. Louis and two games with Cincinnati (all on the road). But after the Milwaukee series, most Phillies fans would have preferred that someone else control it.

Jim Bunning started two of the four games against the Braves. He entered the series with a record of 18-5 and a 2.33 ERA. He left with a 18-7 record and 2.58 ERA.

The Braves beat Bunning 5-3 in the series opener. Joe Torre did much of the damage with two triples and three RBIs.

The next day, Phillies manager Gene Mauch decided to start Chris Short on two days race. It was a surprising move because Art Mahaffey, whose turn it was to start, had pitched brilliantly in his previous outing — the 1-0 loss to Cincinnati in which the only run scored on Chico Ruiz’s steal of home.

Short pitched fairly, though. He shut out Milwaukee through six innings before yielding two runs in the seventh.

The Phils were trailing 2-1 in the top of the eighth when Mauch pulled Short with one out and one on. His runner later scored to give the Braves a two run lead. But Philadelphia tied the game in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run homer by Johnny Callison.

The Phillies again overcame a two run deficit in the tenth inning, The Braves pulled ahead 5-3 on a two-run homer by that man, Joe Torre. In the bottom of the inning, Richie Allen tied the score with a two-out inside-the-park home run.

But the Braves won the game with two more runs in the top of the twelfth inning. Eddie Mathews had the game-winning RBI.

In game three, the Phillies jumped out to an four run lead behind Mahaffey. The Braves got two back in the fifth inning, but Philadelphia still led 4-2 heading into the eighth inning.

Torre and Rico Carty led off that inning with singles off of Mahaffey, so Mauch pulled his starter and brought on relief ace Jack Baldschun. When Baldschun couldn’t close out the inning, Mauch turned to veteran left-hander Bobby Shantz. He struck out Ed Bailey and retired Lee Maye on a pop-up. The Braves had managed to score a run, but Philadelphia led 4-3 with just one inning to go.

In the ninth, the scheduled Braves batters were future Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, followed by the pitcher’s slot and then Rico Carty. Mauch elected to stay with Shantz, a southpaw, despite this array of mostly right-hand sluggers.

It made sense. Shantz had been excellent since coming to Philadelphia in August, and Mauch had already used Baldschun. Moreover, throughout his career Shantz had been fairly effective against right-handed hitters.

Aaron led off the ninth with a single. Mathews, a left-handed hitter, was next. He also singled, advancing Aaron to second base.

Frank Bolling, another right handed hitter, batted for the pincher. He hit a ground ball to Ruben Amaro, who flipped it to Tony Taylor. But Taylor failed to make the play. Bases loaded.

With deadly-dangerous right-handed hitting Rico Carty up, now was surely the time to pull Shantz and bring on Ed Roebuck, a competent veteran right-hander who had saved 12 games and pitched to a 2.33 ERA. But Mauch didn’t.

Carty tripled home three runs to give the Braves a 6-4 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, 43 year-old Warren Spahn retired the Phils one-two-three to earn the save.

For the final game of the series, a desperate Mauch turned to his ace, Jim Bunning, on only two days rest. Bunning later told David Halberstam that he volunteered to pitch the game.

More importantly, as Bryan Soderholm-Difatte points out in this excellent article about the Phillies collapse, Mauch’s alternatives were unappealing. Dennis Bennett’s shoulder was ailing, and Mauch simply didn’t trust 19 year-old Rick Wise, who had been chased in the first inning in both of his previous starts.

Mauch’s biggest Bunning blunder had less than two weeks earlier when, with the Phillies holding a six game lead, he inexplicably started Bunning on two days rest against Houston. Soderholm-Difatte argues that Mauch did this because he was trying to set up Bunning to pitch the World Series opener (the Phillies had already printed World Series tickets). This explanation seems far-fetched until one considers the alternatives.

Bunning was shelled in his short-rest start against Houston, but that was nothing compared to what happened against the hard-hitting Braves. Milwaukee reached him for two runs in the first inning and five more in the fourth, in which Bunning was chased before he retired a batter.

By the end of the fifth inning, the Braves led 12-3. They cruised to a 14-8 victory.

Milwaukee accumulated 22 hits. Lee Maye went 5-6. Torre went 3-5 with another home run. Pitcher Tony Cloninger, a decent hitter, went 2-4 with two RBIs.

St. Louis awaited with Bob Gibson (17-11), Ray Sadecki (19-10), and former Phillie Curt Simmons (17-9)all scheduled to pitch on normal rest. With whom would Mauch, his rotation in shambles, counter?

Who reads Power Line?

The brilliant attorney, widely acclaimed good chap, and Socratic radio host Hugh Hewitt. We found ourselves at the same retreat this weekend. And look what he had to say:

Hugh would probably also advise that you become a Power Line VIP.

Previous installments in “Who reads Power Line.”