The Fall of the Incumbents

The Fall of the Incumbents

Posted By Frontpagemag.com On May 19, 2010 @ 1:03 am In FrontPage | 5 Comments

For months now, speculation has been rife that the Tea Party movement and the grassroots revolt against big-government that it represents poses a real threat to political incumbents of both parties. Yesterday’s primary election results have transformed such speculation into political reality.

In Kentucky, the Tea-Party backed candidate, Rand Paul, the son of libertarian Texas Congressman Ron Paul, won a convincing victory over Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Greyson. Greyson enjoyed the support of the GOP establishment, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConell, but Paul had the Tea Party insurgents on his side. Unapologetically embracing the Tea Partiers, Paul ran on a straightforward small-government platform, calling for a balanced federal budget, a reduced national debt, and an end to government bailouts and subsidies for private industries and interests. In the end, he won by a comfortable margin.

Rand Paul’s victory is only the latest example of the Tea Partiers successfully gate-crashing the official Republican camp. In Utah earlier this month, voters in the Republican nomination convention heeded the Tea Party movement’s urging to dump Sen. Bob Bennett. Dooming Bennett was his support for several big-government initiatives, most prominently the Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has also met with the wrath of the Tea Partiers, whose opposition forced him surrender the Republican mantle to Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio in favor of an independent run. Polls suggest he faces an uphill struggle.

While the Tea Parties have had their greatest impact on Republican primary races, Democrats have also born the brunt of the anti-incumbent backlash. In Pennsylvania last night, Republican defector Sen. Arlen Specter lost the state’s Democratic primary to two-term Rep. Joe Sestak, effectively ending his political career. Even in the absence of anti-incumbent sentiment, Specter’s was a tall order: He had to convince voters that his political conversion was a matter of principle rather than, as was apparent to all, pure political expedience. It was an obvious fiction that not even President Obama, who campaigned for Specter and even cut radio and television ads on his behalf, could make credible.

Even here, though, the Tea Party, or at least its brand of anti-Washington angst, made its presence felt. In his victory speech, Sestak sounded like nothing so much as a Tea Party candidate, as he hailed his win as a triumph “over the establishment, over the status quo, even over Washington, D.C.” Of course, it’s a bit rich for a Democrat to style himself as an opponent of Washington, where after all Democrats control both houses of Congress. But such is the national mood that even the party in charge must distance itself from any association with leadership.

Arlen Specter meanwhile is not the only political veteran on the Democratic side, however recent his affiliation, to find himself out of a job for too-close a connection with Washington’s failures. In West Virginia last week, 14-term Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan became the first House member in 2010 to lose a reelection bid. Although he lost to a fellow Democrat, key in Mollohan’s defeat was his support for the Obama administration’s health care overhaul. It is a sign of perilous times ahead for the party that, even in a Democratic primary, support for the Democratic administration’s signature legislative initiative has become a political death warrant.

Still, that does not yet make the Tea Party and its small-government vision kingmaker in political races. While the influence of the Tea Partiers has obviously been important, the usual primary season caveats apply. Primary elections tend to draw a more ideologically motivated cohort of voters, and it remains to be seen whether the Tea Party will be a significant factor in the fall’s elections races. And yet it is becoming increasingly implausible to claim, as many in the prestige media have, that the Tea Party and the backlash against big government are fringe phenomena. As Rand Paul declared in his victory speech last night: “I have a message from the Tea Party. We’ve come to take our government back.” They will soon have their chance.

Everybody vs. Obama

Everybody vs. Obama

May 18th, 2010

By JOHN FUND, WSJ

President Obama is playing an unusual role in tomorrow’s special election in Pennsylvania to replace the late Rep. Jack Murtha, king of Democratic pork barrelers. Both major party candidates are doing their best to distance themselves from Mr. Obama’s policies.

It’s not surprising that Republican Tim Burns would be running against the Obama White House. But Mark Critz, a former staffer to Mr. Murtha, is spending much of his time as the Democratic candidate beating up on the president’s priorities too.

As a sign of just how much blue-collar districts like Mr. Murtha’s are shifting, Mr. Critz sometimes appears to be trying to outflank Mr. Burns, a local businessman, on the right. He declares that he wants to be “an independent voice” and highlights how he disagrees with Washington Democrats by opposing gun control and abortion rights. But he goes further and says he would have voted against ObamaCare and the cap-and-trade climate change bill passed by the House last year. Both pieces of legislation were supported by Murtha. Nor has Mr. Critz asked President Obama to campaign for him or even sought an endorsement.

Democrats in Washington are willing to cut Mr. Critz all the slack he wants. “Candidates need to reflect their districts, the values and priorities of their voters,” says Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Democrats fear a loss of the Murtha seat — which hasn’t elected a Republican since 1972 — might create a panic among other northeastern Democrats to distance themselves from the Obama agenda.

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Memo from 2002 could complicate challenge of Arizona immigration law

Memo from 2002 could complicate challenge of Arizona immigration law

May 19th, 2010

By Jerry Markon, Washington Post

 maybe Holder and Obama need to review the Federal government’s memo which authorizes states to enforce federal law

In the legal battle over Arizona’s new immigration law, an ironic subtext has emerged: whether a Bush-era legal opinion complicates a potential Obama administration lawsuit against Arizona.

The document, written in 2002 by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, concluded that state police officers have “inherent power” to arrest undocumented immigrants for violating federal law. It was issued by Jay S. Bybee, who also helped write controversial memos from the same era that sanctioned harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.

The author of the Arizona law — which has drawn strong opposition from top Obama administration officials — has cited the authority granted in the 2002 memo as a basis for the legislation. The Obama administration has not withdrawn the memo, and some backers of the Arizona law said Monday that because it remains in place, a Justice Department lawsuit against Arizona would be awkward at best.

“The Justice Department’s official position as of now is that local law enforcement has the inherent authority to enforce federal immigration law,” said Robert Driscoll, a former Justice Department Civil Rights Division official in the George W. Bush administration who represents an Arizona sheriff known for aggressive immigration enforcement. “How can you blame someone for exercising authority that the department says they have?”

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The U.S. Department of Blame America First

Lead Story

The U.S. Department of Blame America First

By Michelle Malkin  •  May 19, 2010 03:37 AM


The new State Department mascot

Today’s syndicated column builds on my weekend post about Foggy Bottom foghorn Michael Posner. If you thought the State Department’s handling of Posner’s Arizona-bashing, China-pandering couldn’t get worse than ignoramus P.J. Crowley’s clueless defense yesterday, think again. As Allahpundit points out, Posner is in full spin cycle, playing the “taken out of context card.” Next thing you know, he’ll say it was all just a misunderstood joke between regimes. Tee-hee.

Gird your loins, meanwhile, for the full State Department pander-fest scheduled for Thursday, when Arizona-bashing, U.S.-bashing Mexican President Felipe Calderon marches to Washington with one hand demanding more foreign aid while the other hand smacks America around for failing to grant more amnesty and other taxpayer-funded benefits to illegal aliens from his misery-racked, violence-plagued country — which, I remind you again, has no qualms about enforcing its own southern border and sending illegals home in a heartbeat. Will anyone speak truth to open-borders power in the Beltway when Calderon comes calling? He has been granted the rare honor of speaking to a joint session of Congress.

Don’t forget what Calderon said in his first inaugural address in 2007:

President Felipe Calderon blasted U.S. immigration policies on Sunday and promised to fight harder to protect the rights of Mexicans in the U.S., saying “Mexico does not end at its borders.”

“We strongly protest the unilateral measures taken by the U.S. Congress and government that have only persecuted and exacerbated the mistreatment of Mexican undocumented workers,” he said. “The insensitivity toward those who support the U.S. economy and society has only served as an impetus to reinforce the battle … for their rights.”

He also reached out to the millions of Mexicans living in the United States, many illegally, saying: “Where there is a Mexican, there is Mexico.”

I hope Joe Wilson is ready to call him out if and when needed. Here’s how to do it right.

***

The U.S. Department of Blame America First
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2010

Back in 1984, when the late Jeane J. Kirkpatrick gave her famous “Blame America First” speech to the Republican National Convention, liberals at least waited for something bad to happen before blaming America.

Today, Obama Democrats have now mastered the treacherous art of the pre-emptive global apology. Foggy Bottom is crammed with so many “human rights” zealots embarrassed by the country they serve that the State Department mission statement should be replaced with a condolence card.

Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner is probably not the first Obama State Department official to badmouth America in front of foreign delegations. He was just dumb enough to get caught.

Last week, the former head agitator at the transnationalist outfit Human Rights First trashed our country’s human rights record to Chinese government officials.

Posner is an unrepentant open-borders radical who has long fought immigration enforcement and vociferously opposed post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism measures to detain enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay. He was active in supporting the establishment of the International Criminal Court, an American sovereignty-undermining tribunal that would trump U.S. judicial authority over war crimes and “crimes of humanity.”

And New Yorkers may recall that he joined with Human Rights First board member Tom Goldstein, far-left billionaire George Soros and other American self-loathers in the failed effort to turn the Sept. 11 Ground Zero Memorial into a national guilt complex to showcase how George W. Bush-era counterterrorism policies were curtailing civil liberties.

In short, Posner views our homeland security policies as unforgivable sins of discrimination. And he couldn’t wait to let China know it.

From Posner’s press briefing on Friday:

Q: Did the recently passed Arizona immigration law come up? And if so, did they bring it up? Or did you bring it up?

MR. POSNER: We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session and as a troubling trend in our society, and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination. And these are issues very much being debated in our own society.

The Arizona law is indeed being “debated in our own society” — mostly by a parade of willful ignoramuses from Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano to Attorney General Eric Holder to State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, who have all gone on television to attack the Arizona law and then admit they have yet to read the legislation.

At least all the know-nothings in Washington who voted to cram the health care and stimulus bills down our throats without reading them had a semblance of an excuse. Those mammoth packages were thousands of pages long. The Arizona law is a mere 10 pages.

The betrayal of America’s interests by the Obama State Department cannot be understated. Posner proactively brought up the Arizona law “early and often” as an issue of “discrimination or potential discrimination” to smear his own countrymen in front of one of the world’s leading repressive regimes — so repressive, in fact, that Posner’s own boss, Hillary Clinton, once demanded that former President Bush boycott the ChiComs over their miserable human rights record. Posner had nothing publicly to say at the briefing about China’s own draconian immigration enforcement measures, let alone how it treats its own citizen political dissidents.

But this extreme moral equivalence is par for the course. Remember: The State Department’s legal adviser is former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh, who believes that America is such a flagrant violator of international law that it belongs in an “axis of disobedience” with totalitarian regimes like North Korea and Saddam Hussein’s Iraq — and that U.S. Supreme Court rulings should “tip more decisively toward a transnationalist jurisprudence.”

And remember: One of President Obama’s closest foreign policy advisers is Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Harvard law professor and State Department transition team leader Samantha Power, who pooh-poohs the threat of nuclear Iran and praises Obama’s commitment to “crossing boundaries” and “talk[ing] to dictators,” as the New Statesman reported.

Then there’s Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is busy coddling another government that has been bashing Arizona’s law while unapologetically policing its own southern border and kicking out illegal immigrants without a shred of due process: Mexico.

Instead of voicing concern about endangered American citizens, Clinton fretted about the political well-being of Mexican President Felipe Calderon: “We don’t want to make his life any harder,” Clinton said. I guarantee you he won’t show any of the same concern when he comes to Washington on Thursday to beg for more U.S. aid while attacking America as a racist, fascist country.

Foggy Bottom isn’t just stuck on stupid. It’s stuck on American self-sabotage.

Democrats and Vote Fraud: On the Road to Rigged Elections

Democrats and Vote Fraud: On the Road to Rigged Elections

By Scott Swett

Lest we forget, Democrats were not given a mandate in 2008 to nationalize General Motors, the insurance industry, and health care. Most Americans want government to be less expensive, less intrusive, and more accountable. Yet despite the looming prospect of electoral dismemberment in November, the Democrats continue pushing a radical agenda: piling up debt and creating new entitlements, with crushing tax increases inevitably to follow. Why the evident lack of concern?
Perhaps they intend to cheat.
Examples of vote fraud by Democrats have not been widely publicized, thanks to the symbiotic relationship between the party and most of the media. In 2000, major TV networks wrongly projected Al Gore as the winner in Florida before the polls even closed in the state’s heavily Republican Panhandle. Many prospective voters stepped out of line and went home. Later studies estimated that the error had reduced President Bush’s margin by 8,000 to 11,500 votes.
In his book Stealing Elections, writer John Fund suggests that another 15,000+ Bush votes were destroyed in Democrat-controlled Palm Beach County. Palm Beach reported 19,120 “over votes” — ballots marked for more than one candidate — representing nearly ten times the error rate for the rest of the state. Former law enforcement officials told Fund that stacks of paper ballots had been altered by pushing a thin prod through the Gore column, invalidating votes for Bush while leaving those for Gore intact. National Democrats hired a telemarketing firm to make thousands of calls to Palm Beach County on Election Day, urging residents to say they were “confused” by the ballot. 
Statistician John Lott and others asked for the suspect Palm Beach ballots to be examined when media teams conducted their own Florida recount the following year. The request was ignored.
Motor Voter: opening the door to fraud
In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, better known as the “Motor Voter” law, which requires motor vehicle departments, welfare offices, and other government agencies to provide forms and register voters. Motor Voter made it illegal to check the IDs of applicants and ordered the states to allow registration by mail.
Motor Voter opened the door to a massive increase in fraudulent registrations. For example, the number of registered voters in Philadelphia increased by 24% from 1995 to 2004, even as the city’s population declined by 13%. By 2009, an independent study estimated that America’s voter registration rolls included more than 16 million invalid voters. This provides fertile ground for ACORN and other groups that seek to turn phony registrations into votes.
Democrats have consistently attacked anti-fraud proposals, claiming that they violate voters’ civil rights. In particular, they oppose requiring voters to show identification. A recent poll found that 82% of Americans think a photo ID should be required to vote. However, only 25 states check any form of voter identification, and a photo ID is required by just seven.
A PowerPoint presentation available at ElectionCenter.org describes new election legislation proposed by congressional Democrats. They intend to nationalize voter registration and force the states to eliminate voter ID checks, provide absentee ballots to all voters, register voters on Election Day, and permit felons (who overwhelmingly support Democrats) to vote. Each of these measures would create new opportunities for fraud. 
Voting early and often — the risks of early and absentee voting
In 2001, the bipartisan National Commission on Election Reform reported that the increasing use of absentee ballots and early voting is inconsistent with five key objectives of fair elections:
  • 1. Assure the privacy of the secret ballot and protection against coerced voting
  • 2. Verify that only duly registered voters cast ballots
  • 3. Safeguard ballots against loss or alteration
  • 4. Assure their prompt counting
  • 5. Foster the communal aspects of citizens voting together
Nevertheless, these trends have continued unabated. “No excuses” early voting (voting early without having to provide a reason) is now allowed by 36 states, starting as early as 45 days before the actual election. Large-scale absentee voting also creates delays in deciding elections — delays that offer additional opportunities for fraud.
Non-citizens who vote
Many non-citizens use easily-obtained voter registrations to acquire other documents identifying them as U.S. citizens, along with other benefits such as Social Security and even government jobs. According to a recent Heritage Foundation study,
There is no systematic review of voter registration rolls by states to find non-citizens, and the relevant federal agencies — in direct violation of federal law — refuse to cooperate with state election officials seeking to verify the citizenship status of registered voters.

Local officials in several states who tried to remove felons and non-citizens from the registration rolls have also been sued by leftist groups alleging civil rights violations.
SEIU International Executive Vice President Eliseo Medina advocates amnesty for non-citizens (“immigration reform”) as a way of adding 8 million new Democratic voters.
Manufacturing an election crisis
The changes that have made our election system less manageable, less accountable, and more vulnerable to fraud did not come about by accident. They are entirely consistent with the Cloward/Piven strategy, which seeks to undermine government institutions by overwhelming them with demands for services. The goal is to achieve a socialist state that will redistribute the nation’s wealth. ACORN was specifically created to execute this strategy, targeting U.S. elections through its voter mobilization arm, Project Vote. Cloward and Piven themselves were longtime proponents of the Motor Voter Act, and they appeared on the podium with President Clinton for the signing ceremony. Earlier this year, Frances Fox Piven joined the Board of Project Vote
Author Richard Poe writes:
The stated purpose of Project Vote is to … secure the rights of minority and low-income voters under the U.S. Constitution. However, Project Vote’s actions suggest that its true agenda is more radical.  Its activities appear to be aimed at overwhelming, paralyzing and discrediting the voting system through fraud, protests, propaganda and vexatious litigation.
ACORN and Project Vote have been repeatedly cited and investigated for abuses that include turning in fraudulent registrations and destroying applications by Republicans.  Nevertheless, ACORN may be slated to receive as much as $4 billion in Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget. 
Barack Obama ran the Chicago branch of Project Vote in the early 1990s, an effort credited with electing leftist radical Carole Moseley-Braun to the Senate. Multiple scandals and charges of corruption followed, and Moseley-Braun served only one term.
Buying the referee
The Secretary of State Project was created in 2006 by the Democracy Alliance, a 527 non-profit funded by anti-capitalist billionaire George Soros. SOSP seeks to place Democrats in crucial Secretary of State jobs that oversee elections in swing states.  SOSP cash played a key role in electing Democrats in Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, and Ohio in 2006 and in Missouri, Montana, Oregon, and West Virginia two years later.
Minnesota’s fraudulent senator
Years of leftist planning and effort came together in Minnesota in 2008, where the nation’s closest statewide contest pitted Democrat Al Franken against Republican incumbent Senator Norm Coleman. Presiding over the election was SOSP Secretary Mark Ritchie, whose extensive ties to ACORN were predictably ignored by the media. Shortly before the election, Ritchie was asked to investigate serious problems with the registration rolls, including 261,000 duplicates and 63,000 voters who had listed non-existent addresses. He dismissed the request as an attempt “to create a cloud over an election so people don’t accept the outcome.” After the polls closed, Secretary Ritchie reported that his office “received no reports whatsoever” of fraudulent voting.
The final tally showed Coleman with a narrow 725-vote victory. It wasn’t enough. Over the next four days, his lead fell to 221 as officials “discovered” errors in the vote. Most came from three small precincts controlled by Democrats. Other irregularities included “misplaced” ballots turning up in an official’s trunk, and vote total adjustments that affected only the Senate race. The manipulation continued during the official recount, as the Minnesota Canvassing Board detected just enough “ballot errors” to put Franken over the top. John Lott later analyzed the Board’s inconsistent decisions, nearly all of which favored the Democratic candidate.
Some 17,000 more ballots were counted in the Minnesota Senate election than there were recorded voters. Mark Ritchie had dismantled the state’s ballot reconciliation program, which previously required voting districts to validate the number of votes cast against the number of ballots issued.  Outside investigators also found that 1,400 convicted felons had voted illegally.
The Secretary of State Project is supporting Ritchie once again in 2010, pleased with what the organization refers to as “a scrupulously fair and transparent election recount.”
A spark in Houston
Last fall, 35 tea party members in Houston signed up to monitor the off-year Texas elections. The new poll watchers came back appalled at the abuses they saw. Precinct judges regularly failed to check voter IDs, and some even filled out ballots to “help” people vote. Investigating further, they made a second unpleasant discovery: Voting violation reports submitted to the District Attorney’s office after the 2008 elections had yet to be processed or even reviewed. They resolved to make stopping vote fraud a top priority for 2010. 
Now rebranded as the King Street Patriots, the group is greatly expanding its efforts to recruit and train election monitors. With more than 350 already signed up, KSP is well on the way to meeting an ambitious goal — placing volunteers in each of Harris County’s 874 precincts.
Other tea party and patriot groups might consider following suit. Eternal vigilance is often described as the price of freedom, and that promises to be especially true on November 2.