GOP Can’t Win In 2016 By Losing Now

Some Republicans in Congress will never learn.

This time, the GOP’s hard-right conservative minority had dreams of shutting Washington down over Planned Parenthood’s illegal profiteering in fetal tissue from its abortion business.

They hoped to defund Planned Parenthood of its half-billion in annual federal dollars by attaching a measure that did exactly that to a larger spending bill.

They thought their legislative trickery would force President Obama into vetoing the spending bill, thereby shutting down the government in Washington.

Obama would then get the blame for the shut down and — what? — not get reelected in 2016?

Come on. The super-conservatives were never going to get enough votes in Congress to catch Obama in their trap.

Luckily, they were saved from seriously hurting themselves, their party and the conservative cause on Wednesday, when the Senate and the House each voted for a stopgap spending bill that keeps D.C. operating until Dec. 11.

But the televised hearing on Tuesday, where Republicans grilled Planned Parenthood boss Cecile Richards, was a PR disaster for the GOP.

Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz and his allies scored some points during their five-hour interrogation.

They got Richards to admit she earned $600,000 a year and exposed that Planned Parenthood had transferred millions of dollars from its charitable arm to its lobbying and political operations.

Planned Parenthood’s claim that only 3 percent of its services are for abortions was also shown to be a lie. About a tenth of its clients get an abortion, and abortions account for about a third of its annual revenue.

Those Republican highlights were featured later on Fox News and talk radio and gave their conservative audiences something to gloat about for 24 hours.

But they were not what most of the country saw or heard.

When the mainstream media covered the Planned Parenthood hearings, what they focused on was a nice woman being badgered and rudely interrupted by a gang of nasty Republicans.

No matter how evasive Richards was, no matter how she tried to downplay or spin Planned Parenthood’s gruesome and immoral abortion business, she was always going to receive nothing but sympathy from the mainstream media.

And where do most American voters — and most independents — get their news?  From CBS, CNN, the Washington Post and dozens of other liberal media outlets.

If any Republican thinks that their side of the Planned Parenthood argument will ever get a friendly or even fair presentation on those places, they are smoking crack.

In the Age of Obama and bigger government, the idea of shutting down the D.C. government over a matter of principle is thrilling to any true conservative.

But if Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood right now, the best way to do it is through the states.

There are 31 states with Republican governors. Five of them have already defunded Planned Parenthood by prohibiting the use of Medicaid funds for abortion.

Putting pressure on the states to remove taxpayer support of abortion mills can work, and it can be done without sabotaging the Republicans’ presidential chances next year.

Meanwhile, the super-conservatives in Congress need to get smart and get real.

If every conservative and every Republican in the country votes for the GOP’s nominee for president, we still lose.

We need independents and Democrats in 2016. Lots of them.

And for most of those voters, especially the younger ones in their 30s and 40s, Planned Parenthood is simply not a presidential issue.

Jobs and the economy are.

Republicans of all kinds from moderates to super-conservative need to keep their eyes on the GOP’s most important prize — winning the White House.

To do that, we have to broaden our message and our appeal, not narrow it.

Otherwise, we lose again.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Here’s The Pope’s Problem

I’ve been a Roman Catholic since 1954.

I have great respect for Pope Francis. When it comes to matters of faith and morals, what he says, goes.

But when it comes to politics and economics, the pope is about as far from infallible as anyone can get.

For example, he was in Cuba earlier this week, meeting informally with Fidel Castro and touring the island to say Masses and meet with priests.

Apparently, the pope was having such a good time he forgot that for more than half a century, Cuba has been a rotten communist prison camp–and his hosts Fidel, and his brother Raul, have been the wardens.

The people of Cuba have been denied every basic human freedom there is, plus they’ve been impoverished en masse and deprived of the simple blessings of modern life by the Castros’ brand of atheistic socialism.

Yet apparently, Pope Francis couldn’t see the barbed wire that still surrounds Fidel’s broken-down paradise.

His visit to Cuba was a perfect chance for him to throw his moral weight around and shame the Castro brothers before the whole world.

But unlike John Paul II, who went to Communist Poland to encourage the creation of Solidarity and meet with its brave leaders, Francis ignored the existence of Cuba’s political dissenters and prisoners of conscience.

How great would it have been if Pope Francis had stood in Havana Cathedral and delivered a “Mr. Castro, cut down that barbed wire” sermon?

Instead, in the poorest and least free dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere, he warned the people against letting riches rule your life.

Getting too rich and losing your spiritual values is the last thing the poor of Cuba need to fear right now.

I’m afraid Pope Francis wouldn’t get that joke because, unfortunately, he really does think capitalism and its love child, manmade climate change, are the world’s two biggest problems.

Not ISL taking territory and beheading people. Not terrorism. Not the Syrian refugees. Not a nuclear Iran. Not the civil wars in Ukraine or Yemen or Libya or Iraq. Not the poverty or lack of electricity or clean water for half of Africa. Not a hundred other things.

Global warming and capitalism. Seriously.

On Wednesday, one of the first things the pope did in Washington was call for a fight against climate change, which he said is a planetary crisis so serious it “can no longer be left to future generations.”

He didn’t explain how spending hundreds of billions of dollars to lower the global temperature a tenth of degree a hundred years from now will help the poor, because it’s unexplainable even for a pope.

Before he heads back to Rome, Francis will surely get around to scolding America for the inequalities of its capitalist economic system and the greed of Wall Street.

But like so many Americans of the liberal faith, he has capitalism and socialism backwards.

It’s capitalism that has made America the wealthiest and most generous country in the history of mankind and has brought forth everything we eat, use and enjoy.

It’s capitalism and freedom, not socialism and its chains, that have brought a much better life on Earth for billions of the poor souls the pope cares so much about.

Does the pope realize that 401(k)s and pension funds owe their good returns to the health of Wall Street and the stock market?

Or that most of the enormous wealth the Catholic Church has acquired over the centuries was generated by greedy immoral capitalism?

I bet not.

Pope Francis is rightly praised for caring deeply about the poor and the marginalized.

But he’ll never figure out how to actually help them until he understands what made America so wealthy and stops worrying about the wrong things.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Scoring The Great Debate

I didn’t watch CNN’s telecast of the Republican debate because I was there in person.

For some reason — maybe it was my last name — I was able to score three second-row seats at the Reagan Library for the two debates.

More than 20 million people around the world tuned in, apparently making the three-hour debate CNN’s highest rated show ever.

It was a long night of politics and entertainment. I just hope my fellow conservative Republicans watching on TV saw the same political reality show I did — and learned some lessons.

It’s pretty clear to everyone from Joe Scarborough to the New York Times editorial board that the three big winners Wednesday night were Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie and Marco Rubio.

All three shined on stage when it came to substance, but Fiorina made herself a national household name overnight.

She was smart, tough, passionate and quick on her feet, proving why she deserves to be on the main stage. She had several big “moments” and demonstrated a phenomenal grasp of the issues.

Christie did well, connecting with voters, hitting several questions out of the park and reminding us why he was once a favorite in the 2016 race.

Rubio still looks like he’s in grad school, but he showed he’s done his foreign policy homework and knows what makes America great.

Meanwhile, the good doctor Ben Carson was a clear loser.

He offered virtually no specifics, had no “moments” and showed that while he’s a nice guy and a great surgeon, the presidency is out of his league.

The biggest loser of the night was Trump, who was as awful in person as he reportedly appeared on millions of split-screen TVs.

He made crazy faces, offended people, refused to apologize when he should have, spoke in his usual platitudes and never said a substantive sentence.

I heard more than a few groans and complaints from the Republicans sitting behind me.

Most of the other candidates — the governors and others who were not there because of their celebrity — did OK. They didn’t hurt themselves, but they didn’t stand out, either.

Jeb Bush did better than last time, which isn’t saying much, but he’s in for the long haul. He’ll do better when there are fewer candidates left and the debates turn more serious.

Scott Walker did better too, though he seemed to disappear sometime late in hour two. Last time I remember seeing him, he was staring at fiery Fiorina and nodding in agreement like a bobblehead.

Ted Cruz was correct on all the issues, but he’s not as likable as Rubio, whose only flaw is he still looks like he’s in grad school.

Mike Huckabee got in a lick or two, but he’s still beating the drum for his Fair Tax, which everyone except him knows will never go anywhere.

Rand Paul was there, I think.  So was Gov. John Kasich. Kasich was Kasich — solid and substantive.

He’s a winner who knows how to govern Ohio sensibly, but he probably should have been included in the preliminary debate with Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham.

The opening debate, which Graham stole with his humor and GOP team spirit, was better in some ways because without the 2,000-pound celebrity in the room, it was all substance.

I’m concerned about Trump for a lot of reasons. Yet for all the trouble he’s causing the GOP, his celebrity presence is actually doing real conservatives a great favor.

He’s already brought tens of millions of new eyeballs to the debate broadcasts that otherwise would never have been made aware of the existence of candidates like Fiorina or Kasich.

I just hope those millions of viewers saw what I saw at the Reagan Library — that Emperor Trump had no clothes on and most of the other real Republican candidates were well dressed.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

Huckabee Plays The Fool

Watching Republicans on TV is getting more painful by the week.

And believe it or not, my pain has nothing to do with the successful candidacy of Donald Trump.

The pain started Tuesday, when, joining a few score of my fellow Americans, I accidentally tuned into MSNBC.

There was big Mike Huckabee, live, making a religious, political and constitutional fool of himself.

He was standing in front of a public building somewhere in Kentucky, railing about “judicial tyranny,” damning the Supreme Court for upholding gay marriage, pretending to be crying now and then and openly pandering to Christian conservatives for their votes.

The event was supposed to be a rally for Kim Davis, the anti-gay marriage county clerk who’d just been released from jail after serving six days for refusing a judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to all couples, gay and straight.

But it really was a campaign stop for Huckabee — and not a very successful one.

When he urged the crowd to defy the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage in the name of religious liberty or state rights, he only proved he’s not a constitutional scholar.

When he said that what the Supreme Court decides is not the law of the land, he proved it’s time for him and his faith-based conservatism to quit running for the White House.

And when Huckabee acted as if Ms. Davis was a cross between Rosa Parks and Joan of Arc, instead of a local bureaucrat who decided she wouldn’t do the job she took an oath to do, he insulted everyone’s intelligence.

Huckabee clearly — and cynically — used Davis and her dilemma to try to advance his own political cause.

But all he actually managed to do was hurt the Republican Party’s already beat up brand and give the mainstream media another chance to make it look like the GOP’s Big Tent is crawling with freaks.

Huckabee, who has become an embarrassment-by-association that hurts the other Republican presidential candidates, had the Davis case all wrong from the start.

He tweeted that “Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubts about the criminalization of Christianity in this country. We must defend #religiousliberty.”

It’s true that religious liberty needs to be defended in the private sector, whenever the law is used to force owners of bakeries or photographers or preachers to violate their religious beliefs and take part in a gay marriage.

But Davis is not a private citizen. She’s an elected public official.

As a county clerk, as a part of the government, it’s her job to follow the law — including the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriages — until it’s overturned.

Or she’s free to quit if her moral principles won’t let her sign same-sex marriage licenses.

Most Republican candidates — the smartest ones — stayed as far away as they could from Kentucky and Davis.

But Donald Trump, who can say anything about anything without suffering the slightest political scratch, waded right in — and was right.

He basically said America is a “nation of laws,” and Davis should have followed the law or figured out a way to recuse herself from any gay marriage licensing process.

That sounds like something Ronald Reagan might have said if he had been watching the Davis sideshow. I know he definitely would have followed the law, not Mike Huckabee.

I also know my father would agree with me that the worst thing the Davis circus in Kentucky did this week was make his Republican Party look bad.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

School Days, School Days

When I first read that the San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously to give 107 students high school diplomas, even though the students have not met the requirements for graduation, I naturally assumed it was a case of educrats bending the rules to boost graduation statistics.

But when I looked at the situation more closely, the board’s action was fair and made sense.

The San Francisco board’s vote was a response to the high-handed decision from the California Department of Education that suddenly canceled the required high school exit exam. Those 107 students from San Francisco International High arrived at the testing center only to find there was no test and no way to get their diploma, since state law requires passing the test before a diploma is issued.

High school students can try to pass the test beginning as early as their sophomore year and continue to attempt to pass for the rest of their high school career. The fact the vast majority of students taking the test fail it is a damning commentary of the state of education here.

KQED reports: “According to state data, last summer 4,847 math tests were given with 1,286 (26.5 percent) students passing and 5,826 English Language Arts tests were given with 1,248 (21.4 percent) students passing.”

That’s a quality control standard so bad it makes Chinese sheet rock manufacturers look like the picture of high standards.

Since students obviously can’t pass the test, California educrats are presented with two choices: Improve education so students are learning and not simply warming a chair, or change the test. Naturally, California decided to change the test; and I don’t think the goal is to make it harder.

State bureaucrats decided to cancel “because the exam does not reflect the new state academic standards.”

Then, after ruining thousands of seniors’ attempts to graduate, the department went to the legislature to ask them to retroactively remove the testing requirement for three years so the monkeys at the state department of education can type up a new test.

In other words, in typical bureaucracy fashion, out-of-touch educrats happily put the cart before the horse and were shocked the ride was so dangerous.

No one bothered to think that suddenly changing the rules of the game in the 4th quarter might be controversial for the players.

When informed about the problem with students planning to go to college, state Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley breezily told the San Francisco Chronicle: “Our hope is that the few students who find themselves in this situation will only have to defer their dreams of attending the college of their choice for one semester. In the meantime, there are other options available to these students, including our California Community Colleges. I received excellent preparation at my local community college before attending university.”

Which is the way elite bureaucrats dismiss the concerns of the little people whose lives they’ve disrupted.

So for at least once, the San Francisco board has done the right thing. Congratulations. Try to make it a habit.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth