Civility is Just Another Talking Point for Democrats

Civility and calls for civil discourse have long been talking points for the Democrats. Their hypocrisy, however, has been pronounced.  For evidence, Floridians need to look no further than Alan Grayson, the “king of outrageous statements” and the Democrats’ front-runner in the 2016 U.S. Senate race.

Grayson has recently launched a major fundraising push, which focuses on the tea party movement — or in his words, “the ugly, racist fringe of American politics.”

Those vitriolic comments came just hours before one of Hillary Clinton’s rare press conferences on Thursday. While at the podium, Hillary was asked about a comment that a random Donald Trump supporter made at a rally, falsely claiming that President Obama was not a Christian.

Clinton reacted with the typical faux-outrage that has become so common of Democrats, insisting that Donald Trump should be held responsible for his supporter’s comment. She demanded that Trump should have “repudiated that kind of rhetoric.”

But here we have a sitting member of Congress, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, and the party’s standard-bearer in Florida, hatefully attacking the tea party movement, once again, yet the Democrat party leaders just sit silently by — the unfortunate irony of this blatant hypocrisy should be lost on no one.

And this type of rhetoric is not new for Grayson. He has been caught calling a female he didn’t like a “whore;” he called Vice President Dick Cheney a vampire; and he called a reporter that asked him a question a “sh-tting robot.”

But for some reason (maybe because it raises money from his donors) the tea party has become Grayson’s No. 1 enemy. Even though he usually resorts to using half-decade-old attacks, he rarely gets his facts straight. He also has shown no effort to actually understand the tea party movement, even though we enjoy widespread support throughout Florida from not only Republicans, but independents and Democrats alike.

The tea party movement rose up in 2009 to oppose the out-of-control spending that has occurred under both parties and a government that has grown too big and too intrusive into the lives of its citizens.

Tea party activists have called for the reductions of regulations that have prevented entrepreneurs from creating jobs, in addition to a complete overhaul or even repeal of America’s 70,000-page tax code. It’s a movement that’s most simply defined the pursuit of policies, which promote economic prosperity and fiscal responsibility for all Americans.

With Obama and Grayson in office, the life for average Americans, especially minorities, has gotten worse, not better. The tea party’s positive economic message is just as important today as it was in 2009.

Have people made wacky comments under the banner of the tea party? Sure, but we swiftly kicked them to the curb. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the Democrats.

Not even close.

In today’s Democratic Party you can’t even say, “all lives matter,” but there seems to be no problem with comparing the tea party to murderous organizations like the KKK or standing outside a police department chanting, “Oink, Oink … Bang, Bang” and “pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon.”

Alan Grayson epitomizes the disease that currently plagues the Democratic Party. The Democrats choose to embrace incendiary people and organizations like Alan Grayson, Black Lives Matter radicals, and the Occupy Wall Street movement, instead of approaching issues with a level-head and civil rhetoric.

This is truly a sad state of affairs for the Democratic Party.

Talk is cheap, but civility isn’t. It takes courage and integrity to deal with your own demons. Instead of repudiating divisive and repulsive rhetoric like Hillary Clinton lectures about from the podium, she joins her party in its complacency.

It’s time for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats to put some meaning behind their talking points. Don’t just preach civility to others, demand it within your own party and from your own candidates. It’s time for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party to unite with the tea party movement in calling for civility by demanding that Alan Grayson withdraw from Florida’s U.S. Senate race and leave the race to more mature candidates.

Taylor Budowich is the executive director of Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest tea party political action committee.

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Obamacare Waste Continues to Pile Up

Obamacare enrolleesWhen President Barack Obama was working to “sell” the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, one of the primary claims he made was that the costs associated with providing some 30 million Americans with health insurance could be offset by reducing government mismanagement and fraud. But the more time Americans have had to experience the health care reform legislation first-hand, the more obvious it has become that, like virtually all government-controlled social experiments, Obamacare’s waste of taxpayers’ money has grown to epic levels. And there’s no sign the poorly managed program is improving.

According to, an official website of the Obamacare administration, the ACA “reduces health care costs,” in part, “by … cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse.”

A new government audit of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) management of contracts made with eight companies that helped to build the website, shows the 20 contracts “most critical to the website’s operation” – worth roughly $600 million in total – were incredibly mismanaged. According to the report, millions were wasted in cost overruns, shoddy practices, and poor business practices.

John Tozzi of Bloomberg Business reports the primary reason for the mismanagement is that government employees managing the contracts were completely unprepared for the responsibilities given to them.

“In January 2012, for example, new federal rules required employees overseeing contracts worth more than $10 million to undergo 96 hours of training meant to prepare them to manage complex projects,” reported Tozzi. “CMS disregarded this requirement and allowed less qualified employees to oversee contracts worth as much as $50 million, according to the audit. One employee, who isn’t named in the report, oversaw a $130 million contract for at least 15 months without even the lower-level certification that the government requires for managing contracts worth more than $25,000.”

The reckless treatment of taxpayers’ hard-earned money is hardly a novel problem for government or Obamacare. Estimates released in 2014 found the failing state health insurance exchanges in Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Oregon wasted $474 million. Phil Kerpen at The Federalist, however, says the figure should be much closer to $1.2 billion.

Vermont wasted millions of federal and state tax dollars trying to build a single-payer health insurance system, dubbed Green Mountain Care, but after years of heated debate, even the far-left lawmakers of deep-blue Vermont couldn’t justify the massive tax increases that would have been needed to cover the program’s costs. Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) pulled the plug indefinitely on the program in December 2014, and there’s no clear sign the flat-lining Green Mountain Care will recover.

It would be easy to point to all of these examples of waste and accuse the Obama administration and Democrats of devising a terrible government program, but the reality is whenever government gets involved in the free market, there will be waste, fraud, and corruption. Some programs are worse than others of course, but as a general rule, the more power the government is entrusted with, the more taxpayers end up paying in unnecessary costs.

Politicians often say, as Obama did in 2009 when he was running around the country desperately trying to convince Americans to support the Affordable Care Act, government can pay for additional services and programs by cutting fraud and waste. History has proven over and over this is almost never the case. Government may clean up waste in one area, but whenever a new program is implemented, more waste is sure to follow.

The free market will always operate more efficiently than government-created programs because free-market businesses must be more efficient to survive. Unlike the national government, private businesses and entrepreneurs cannot simply print their own money when things don’t go as planned, and they certainly can’t go to China and other foreign powers to beg for billions of dollars, as the United States has done countless times over the past decade to cover growing costs.

Businesses have to budget their costs and make difficult decisions to keep spending from getting out of control. If they don’t, they go bankrupt. If the national government fails to make smart business decisions, they just take more money from the American people.

This unsustainable strategy must stop, and a good place to start is by repealing and replacing Obamacare with commonsense and compassionate reforms, such as allowing customers to purchase health insurance across state lines, giving more power to the states to manage Medicaid and other government health programs, and increasing the number of doctors. These solutions, and many more, empower consumers and businesses alike to make smart, cost-effective decisions that benefit everyone while providing quality medical care.

Written by Justin Haskins of

5 Stories You’ll Care About in Politics This Week

PHOTO: John Boehner speaks at a press conference about his resignation.ABC News: John Boehner speaks at a press conference about his resignation.

All it took was a papal visit to get Washington moving again -– and moving, and moving. Fast enough to get another 2016er out of the race, force the Democratic frontrunner to come up with a position on the Keystone Pipeline, and even hasten the end of a speakership. It’s a time of sweat and insecurity, empty rooms, reappearing emails, and –- cue the pope’s influence again -– just a little less Donald Trump.

Here’s a glimpse at some of the stories the ABC News political team will be tracking in the week ahead:


There will be tears. The stunning announcement by House Speaker John Boehner that he intends to resign from Congress scrambles the leadership portrait on Capitol Hill, during one of the more tense moments in recent memory. Funding for the federal government expires midnight on Wednesday, with conservatives intent on forcing a showdown over Planned Parenthood. Boehner’s exit makes a government shutdown less likely -– it lets off Tea Party steam, and frees Boehner up to rely on Democratic votes -– but it muddles the landscape beyond that. Boehner is leaving with grace and promising to work until the end. Yet the maneuvering his exit sets up pits Republicans against themselves, with several 2016ers set to play prominent roles. There’s now a vacuum at the top, with a leadership fight likely to put tea-party forces in opposition to the GOP establishment, all over again.


Trump’s rivals are sensing soft spots, as the Donald copes with half-empty rooms and escalates his battle with Fox News. Polling suggests that Trump’s rise has slowed, and several of his rivals -– Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, and Marco Rubio in particular –- are in striking distance. Characteristically, Trump is warring with all of them, and Rubio in particular. Trump drew rare boos from a crowd in Washington Friday when he called Rubio a “clown,” suggesting limits to the appeal of his act. Trump is still the GOP frontrunner, but his campaign is now facing more scrutiny and more challenges. Trump plans to huddle with a group of religious leaders on Monday, and meet separately with Fox News executives later in the week – two meetings that could determine the course of his campaign from here.


The end of the month means another Hillary Clinton e-mail document dump from the State Department. But the Clinton campaign’s concern is shifting from what’s in the emails that are being released to what’s not. It appears the FBI has been able to recover messages the Clinton team thought it had deleted, and the State Department has discovered new Benghazi emails, too. The story continues to spread in new and unpredictable directions, with questions lingering about Huma Abedin’s employment status and Clinton aides’ handling of classified materials. Apologies and a stepped-up interview schedule notwithstanding, polls continue to show interest in and enthusiasm for a more robust Democratic primary race, one that just might include Vice President Joe Biden. It might be a coincidence that this is the first year President Obama has chosen not to attend the Clinton Global Initiative summit in New York City…


Those desperate end-of-quarter fundraising appeals may have a ring of truth to them this time around. The original field of 17 Republican candidates is already down to 15, with two A-list contenders -– Scott Walker and Rick Perry -– the first to see the money dry up and force them out. They’re unlikely to be the last to drop long before voting starts, and the money crunch around the Wednesday quarterly filing deadline is a testing ground for candidates’ viability. So might be the still-to-be-released criteria for the next GOP debate – a forum that’s unlikely to include an undercard.


A week of complicated geopolitical encounters continues on Monday, with President Obama expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin while both men are in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly. It’s been a while since the world got to observe the awkward body language that comes with such meetings, and their agenda will be crammed with discussion of Ukraine and Syria, as tensions grow in both Europe and the Middle East. The discussions will cap a hectic few days of visits by powerful world leaders, with Pope Francis and President Xi Jinping of China also getting time with Obama. We can only imagine that Putin will be thinking about his first meeting with President Trump while he’s in town.

John Boehner vs. the ‘crazies’: Should Republican Party let tea party win?

The Republican Party is barreling head-first toward a worst-case scenario – or is that a best-case scenario?

The tea party wing of the party has essentially toppled House Speaker John Boehner. His replacement will almost certainly need the tea party’s stamp of approval.

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential campaign continues to confound the establishment. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz together have more support than all other Republican candidates combined, according to polls.

Is the Republican Party finally having its “Goldwater moment”?

When Barry Goldwater won the Republican presidential nomination in 1964, the base exulted. Here was a true conservative. Here was a man who would not compromise. Here was a man of rare vision.

Then he lost by 434 electoral votes, winning only 39 percent of the popular vote – the most lopsided loss in presidential history, by that measure.

To the Republican establishment, it was an unmitigated disaster. In 1968, the party nominated Richard Nixon – a moderate if not a liberal Republican – and retook the White House.

To arch-conservatives, however, Senator Goldwater’s campaign laid the groundwork for America’s conservative revolution. His doctrine of low taxes and limited government became bedrock ideals for Ronald Reagan, who campaigned for Goldwater before becoming governor of California. The conservative Heritage Foundation calls Goldwater “the most consequential loser in American politics.”

Today, much remains to play out, and the establishment almost always has the last word. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) of California, a Boehner protégé, is a front-runner for the speaker’s post. And the presidential election, in many ways, has barely even started.

Yet even if the establishment reestablishes some measure of control, does the Republican Party need a Goldwater moment?

With Mr. Boehner’s departure, the tea party has outlasted a man of legendary political patience. In the presidential race, they have taken a process that the Republican Party designed specifically to help establishment candidates and emphatically done the opposite.

In other words, there is little evidence to suggest the Republican populist rebellion is going away, though seismic changes in the country since 1964 – partly as a result of the conservative revolution – mean that the underlying situation is in many ways dramatically different.

On its face, today’s Republican insurgency echoes the conservative groundswell for Goldwater in 1964. The Atlantic’s Matthew Dallek writes that “in the late 1950s and early 1960s conservatives were widely dismissed as ‘kooks’ and ‘crackpots’ with no hope of winning political power.” Today, the conservative base is looked upon even by the Republican Party as “crazies,” said Michael Needham of Heritage Action Sunday. Mr. Boehner, only somewhat more charitably, called them “false prophets.”

“Absolutely, they’re unrealistic!” he told CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

The mainstream media also thought little of Goldwater’s conservative rebellion: “In 1962 a writer in the The Nation suggested that conservatives were more interested in thinking up ‘frivolous and simple-minded’ slogans than in developing intelligent proposals to meet the complexities of post-Second World War America,” Mr. Dallek writes.

Could today’s much-maligned conservative insurgents similarly be laying the groundwork for a new Reagan, as Goldwater did? Does the establishment need to yield in order to move forward?

Perhaps, but the lessons from the Reagan Revolution were different, some say. Reagan took something that was already a reality on the ground – the New Deal – and gave it Goldwater’s conservative spin, said Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, to the Monitor. “He permitted a conservative interpretation of the New Deal’s development that moved politics rightward.”

Today’s Republicans, by contrast, appear to be working against political realities rather than looking for ways to massage them. Mr. Trump has made his mark by advocating for the deportation of immigrants in the United States illegally – a position at odds with the country as a whole. And the political crisis that precipitated Boehner’s decision to depart also goes against broader public opinion – shutting down government to defund Planned Parenthood, an abortion provider.

On a more fundamental level, Goldwater’s vision was a new vision for America. Coming while the country was in the throes of a deep and sustained period of unvarnished liberalism – still emerging from the New Deal and with President Johnson’s War on Poverty ahead – Goldwater’s brand of conservatism promised a novel rightward pivot.

Today, by contrast, the broad strokes of American politics are still largely in the mold Reagan made from Goldwater’s model. President Clinton, a centrist Democrat, said the era of big government is over. Tax rates are near historic lows. If anything, polls suggest the country could now be shifting back leftward somewhat, with Millennials showing strong liberal leanings on a host of social and economic issues.

For Boehner, the political realities are that the country has twice elected the president who gave America Obamacare – a program that is the very opposite of Goldwater conservatism. Shutting down the government to defund it was not standing on principle, it was the height of political stupidity, he said.

“We got groups here in town, members of the House and Senate here in town, who whip people into a frenzy believing they can accomplish things that they know – they know! – are never going to happen,” he told CBS Sunday.

“Kooks,” you might call them.

Whether they are the vanguards of a new American conservatism or the last defenders of the old is what these elections – for speaker and for president – are all about.

Written by Mark Sappenfield, Christian Science Monitor

Hillary Clinton to go on offense over GOP plans to repeal Obamacare

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the New Hampshire Democratic Party State ConventionHillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the NH Dem Party State Convention (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

Hillary Rodham Clinton will begin filling in details this week of her proposal to tweak the Affordable Care Act, and she will attempt to use Republican presidential candidates’ opposition to the health-care-expansion law against them.

Clinton plans a series of events in Louisiana, Arkansas and Iowa to needle Republicans over their opposition to a law that has greatly reduced the number of uninsured Americans, her campaign said. Some details of her strategy were provided exclusively to The Washington Post ahead of her first health-care-related event on Monday.

The focus on health care represents a shift for national Democrats and a full embrace of a law that had a troubled rollout and has not always polled well. Unlike in the 2012 election, when many Democrats tiptoed around their support for Obama’s namesake law, Clinton is making it a central part of her argument that she should succeed him.

[Clinton takes aim at Trump, not a rising Sanders, in New Hampshire]

Clinton frequently praises the 2010 law, often known as Obamacare, but says it does not go far enough. She wants to address the quickly rising cost of prescription drugs, for example, and has said she is examining possible changes to the Cadillac tax, as it is often called, on premium health-care plans. She also often says that mental health care and ­substance-abuse treatment need to be simpler and cheaper to obtain. Several Republicans competing for the 2016 nomination have said they would repeal the law immediately upon taking office.

Nearly 9 million people were added to the health insurance rolls last year, according to Census Bureau data released this month. That reduced the number of uninsured Americans to slightly more than 1 in 10. That is down from just over 16 percent in 2009, when President Obama took office with a pledge to pass a national health-care mandate.

“As the latest census numbers show, the number of uninsured continues to fall and Americans are now seeing, hearing and feeling the full benefits of the Affordable Care Act,” a Clinton campaign official said Saturday. “Hillary Clinton believes protecting, defending and improving the Affordable Care Act is a top issue for this campaign, so she plans to highlight its benefits and go on offense against Republicans for their never-ending push to repeal.”

Clinton is hitching herself to the ACA as one of the most identifiable elements of the Obama legacy that she would seek to preserve and improve as president. As with Obama economic policies that she says rescued the country from the Great Recession, Clinton is arguing that she would be the best steward of successful policies for the next administration.

She will cite Obama administration figures showing that more than 16 million Americans have coverage now than when Obama took office.

Clinton will highlight Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal’s opposition to the law during a political event in Baton Rouge on Monday. Jindal, a low-polling 2016 presidential candidate, has declined to expand Medicaid under the ACA, which his critics contend has beggared hospitals and helped force the closure of emergency room services at a Baton Rouge hospital this year.

Jindal has said he would repeal the law and replace it with a conservative plan that would give states control over Medicaid and create a new insurance pool for high-risk people.

Later on Monday, Clinton will be in Little Rock to contrast Jindal’s program in Louisiana with Arkansas, where Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has opted to accept the Medicaid expansion under the ACA.

And on Tuesday, Clinton will release some details of her health-care proposal in Des Moines. The campaign did not provide specifics on those proposals but said she would address rising prescription drug costs and other patient out-of-pocket expenses not fully covered by the ACA.

The Clinton campaign will also launch an online petition against repeal of the ACA in an effort to show grass-roots support for the law, which has often been more popular in practice than in theory.

The Supreme Court upheld a key portion of the law in June, preserving what is likely to be Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Clinton enthusiastically cheered that ruling in a signed Twitter message.

“Yes!” she wrote. The ruling “affirms what we know is true in our hearts & under the law: Health insurance should be affordable & available to all.”

But the next president will inherit some of the less palatable elements of the ACA, which takes effect in phases. The next fight is likely to center on the “Cadillac tax,” as it’s often called, on the most generous health-care plans.

The provision is a key way that the law would contain costs, but it is unpopular with both employers and labor unions. Clinton said in a labor union survey earlier this year that she is looking at ways to ensure fairness.

By Anne Gearan for the Washington Post. Anne Gearan is a national politics correspondent for The Washington Post.

Obamacare: Who Will See Their Premiums Rise the Most?


The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, is the subject of endless scrutiny, as proponents and naysayers alike look at the progress of the legislation to see how well it does in achieving its stated goals of providing healthcare coverage for all. One key component in evaluating the success of Obamacare is whether healthcare coverage remains affordable, and as a result, many analysts pore over figures showing the path of premium costs from year to year.

Earlier this week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its latest look at Obamacare premiums in 13 major cities across the nation, and as you’d expect, the analysis showed some winners and losers going into 2016. Let’s take a closer look at what the study found and whether you can expect higher Obamacare premiums in your area.

Obamacare premiums start to pick up
Overall, the outlook for Obamacare premiums in 2016 doesn’t look as favorable as it did this year. For 2016, the average premium paid across the major cities that the Kaiser Family Foundation looked at is anticipated to rise by 3.1%. That’s not a huge amount, but it’s far worse than the 1.3% drop in Obamacare premiums that participants enjoyed in 2015.

In particular, the study started by focusing on a key benchmark under Obamacare: the price of the second-least expensive healthcare plan in the silver tier. In four of the 13 cities, including Hartford, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Seattle, Obamacare premiums are slated to drop from year-ago levels, with Seattle enjoying a second consecutive decline in the 10% range. Among the nine cities where premiums will increase, four — New York, Providence, Washington, D.C., and Portland, Maine — will see rises of less than 3%. Only two cities — Albuquerque and Portland, Ore. — will see double-digit increases in Obamacare premiums for 2016.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

Other measures of Obamacare premiums, however, aren’t quite as sanguine as this key benchmark. When you turn to the lowest-cost silver plan, the average premium is slated to rise by 4.2%. Five cities — Albuquerque, Baltimore, Burlington, Richmond, and Portland, Ore. — will see increases of more than 7.5%, and while a few of these figures are still preliminary and could change in the future, they still indicate an ongoing upward track for premium costs that is modest but significant for many families.

Will taxpayers pick up the tab?
One interesting aspect of the Kaiser study is that it didn’t just look at the amounts that Obamacare participants are paying for coverage. It also examined the premium tax credit on out-of-pocket costs for those who qualify for subsidized coverage, using the example of a 40-year-old non-smoker who earns $30,000 a year.

Despite the wide range of changes in premiums, the out-of-pocket cost for the second-lowest-cost silver plan after taking the tax credit into account was almost exactly the same in 12 of the 13 cities that Kaiser looked at. A tiny 0.2% increase kept the rounded figure at $208 everywhere but Albuquerque, where a lower cost of $190 was still 11% higher than the $171 amount from 2015. Overall, that pushed the average up 1% on a subsidized basis.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

For the lowest-cost silver plan, a higher 2.5% increase applied, with subsidies having a more disparate impact in several places. Los Angeles and Albuquerque saw double-digit percentage increases, with Seattle also posting a sizable 8% rise. Meanwhile, Portland, Ore., saw a nearly 10% drop in premiums after taking the tax credit into account.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation.

These figures indicate that with after-credit amounts rising less than pre-credit premiums, taxpayers could end up subsidizing a larger portion of coverage for participants in 2016 than in 2015. That in turn could have a sizable impact on the total cost of the program, including what the government remains responsible for paying.

Be smart about your Obamacare coverage
Perhaps the most important thing that the Kaiser study shows is that it’s important to look at all of your Obamacare options in figuring out which makes the most sense for you. With a wide range of plans not just in the silver tier but also in both cheaper and more expensive coverage classes, changes in premiums won’t be uniform across the Obamacare playing field. By taking the time to check on all of your healthcare coverage options, you can ensure that you make the most of what the Affordable Care Act offers you and hopefully keep any premium increases to a minimum.

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GOP’s Muslim moment: why Trump, Carson are so unsettling to party

The presidential race’s “Muslim moment” has arrived, and it is graphically laying bare, once again, the Republican dysfunction that is convulsing American government.

On the face of it, Mr. Trump’s refusal last week to silence a supporter who called Muslims a “problem” – and added that President Obama is a Muslim – would seem to have little to do with the potential gridlock in Congress this week. Nor would presidential candidate Ben Carson’s comment to NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

And yet these snapshots of Trump and Mr. Carson both have at least one thing in common with House Republicans’ threats to shut down the government – this time over federal funding to Planned Parenthood, an abortion provider.

Fundamentally at issue in both the new shutdown talk and in the insurgent candidacies of Trump and Carson is a tension that has driven Republican politics since the tea party revolution of 2010.

Establishment Republicans want to win elections, Republican voters want to feel they are being heard.

Recent evidence suggests that, at crucial times and in important ways, the two goals have been mutually exclusive. But they are clashing dramatically on the presidential campaign trail and in Congress this week.

Recent polls have found that 43 to 54 percent of Republicans think Mr. Obama is a Muslim, and only 45 percent say they would vote for a Muslim. Some 63 percent of Republicans want the main focus of United States immigration policy to be stopping the flow of immigrants and deporting those already here. And 53 percent support defunding Planned Parenthood.

All are in contrast with the broader American population, and by wide margins.

In other words, to give many Republican voters what they want on several key issues is a recipe to win House races in safe, localized districts, but to risk losing broader races for the Senate and White House. Indeed, Republicans’ success in the 2014 Senate elections began with rigorously weeding out antiestablishment tea party candidates.

Now, Trump and Carson are giving frustrated rank-and-file Republicans their voice again. And in doing so, they are forcing the Republican Party to come to terms with its own contradictions – an uncomfortable discussion the party has hoped to avoid for years.

Trump’s “willingness to say what other Republicans won’t has forced out into the open genuine policy debates among Republicans that had previously been shrouded in vagueness or imprisoned within party orthodoxy,” writes Greg Sargent of The Washington Post’s “Plum Line” blog.

Recently, the Republican establishment had also sought to tamp down potentially inflammatory talk on abortion. Comments about abortion likely lost Republicans Senate seats in Missouri and Indiana in 2012 and fed Democratic claims of a Republican “war on women.”

But a video from an antiabortion group has stirred the issue again, leading to calls for shutting down the government if Planned Parenthood is not defunded. The video shows a Planned Parenthood official talking about selling tissue from an aborted fetus. The process is legal as a part of scientific research, but the video – and the revelation of the practice – shocked many viewers, particularly for the casual tone of the conversation.

House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio is strongly against abortion. But he sees more political damage than gain in shutting down the government over the issue.

So as he tries to head off a shutdown that he believes could damage the Republican brand more broadly, Republican leaders and strategists stand appalled by a Trump campaign they believe could damage the Republican brand more broadly.

The deeper concern is that there is no obvious “solution” to the disconnect between the Republican Party and many of its voters. The party cannot abandon its most passionate, partisan supporters, who can be reliably counted on to go to the polls, even in low-turnout midterm elections. But the direction of the country appears to be moving inexorably away from the worldview of these voters.

Latino voters were not a decisive voting bloc in the 2012 presidential election, an analysis by The New York Times found, but they tipped several key states into Obama’s column. And their influence is growing.

Meanwhile, Millennials, now the largest generation in the country, are significantly left of Republican orthodoxy on immigration, gay rights, business profits, and environmentalism, one Pew Research Center study finds. Another suggests that such differences might be culturally ingrained and persist even as Millennials age.

In other words, there is evidence that what many Republicans of today want on a host of key issues runs counter to what the emerging America of tomorrow would appear to want. Establishment Republicans want to start pivoting to that potential future with candidates like Jeb Bush and Sen. Marco Rubio. Many Republican voters are having none of it.

Almost always, the establishment wins. But this year, the supporters of Trump and Carson – like the candidates themselves – are making a bold and unapologetic statement.

Wolf supporters eager for rerun of 2014 Senate campaign

Former U.S. Senate candidate Milton Wolf said Monday that an investigation by the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts into his social media posts has ended and found no wrongdoing.  FILE PHOTO/THE CAPITAL-JOURNAL

Kansas Republican rebels disgruntled with the status quo in the nation’s capital — the same crowd rallying on behalf of billionaire entrepreneur Donald Trump — are pounding the keys of social media sites to urge tea party upstart Milton Wolf to run again for U.S. Senate.

Instead of working to topple Sen. Pat Roberts, who narrowly defeated Wolf in the 2014 primary, the Johnson County radiologist’s GOP target would be Sen. Jerry Moran. The senator will be seeking a second term after surviving a brutal primary in 2010 against fellow U.S. House member Todd Tiahrt and coasting to general-election victory.

“Somebody needs to unseat this yahoo,” Brad Bennett declared in a Facebook post. “If Dr. Wolf runs against him, I’m there.”

Lorie Medina issued an anti-establishment warning: “Milton lives to fight another day. Just you watch.”

Wolf, a distant cousin to President Barack Obama who fell short 48 percent to 41 percent against Roberts in the GOP primary, has done nothing to dissuade his fan base that another campaign might be on the horizon.

He said in a statement that a majority of Republican voters across America were inclined to reject “career politicians in favor of real-world achievers.”

“Political insiders like Jerry Moran make lots of promises — lower taxes, less spending, defund Planned Parenthood, stop Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, anything to get a vote — but after Moran’s two decades in Washington, we’re still moving in exactly the wrong direction,” Wolf said.

In a bizarre August spectacle, Wolf confronted Moran at a town hall in Wamego. He used the event to accuse Moran, Roberts, Gov. Sam Brownback and other Republicans of a conspiracy — “laws have been broken” — to discredit him.

Meanwhile, Moran quietly goes about the perfunctory business of organizing a re-election campaign. He is securing cash and commitments, while comfortable with the knowledge that he doesn’t possess some of Roberts’ vulnerabilities.

Roberts was accurately portrayed as a 50-year veteran of the inner circle in Washington, D.C. He was accused, perhaps unfairly, of having lost a viable connection with Kansas’ interests because he spent more time at home in Virginia than at home in Dodge City.

Moran, who declined to comment about a potential challenge by Wolf, isn’t a four-term senator like Roberts and has obsessively returned to Kansas on weekends throughout his tenure in the U.S. House and Senate.

Wolf, an avid poster to Facebook and Twitter, was damaged in early 2014 when news reports detailed his posting to social media of horrific X-rays of dead or injured people that were accompanied by morbid commentary. The material inspired an inquiry by the Kansas Board of Healing Arts, which licenses the state’s medical professionals.

In August, Wolf declared the state board cleared him of wrongdoing. His announcement may have been designed to publicize lack of a medical disciplinary case against him or to stir the embers for another Senate campaign.

Observers’ views

Bob Beatty, a political science professor at Washburn University, said human nature dictated that first-time candidates who come close to winning a race for federal office look for second-chance opportunities.

“When you come as close as Wolf did to winning a Senate race, the normal reaction in politics is not to say, ‘I gave it my best shot, on to other things,’ ” Beatty said. “It’s perfectly reasonable he should be thinking about running again.”

Beatty also said Kansas was ready for outsider-type candidates because anti-establishment fervor exists among conservatives irritated by politics of Washington. However, he said, it isn’t clear Wolf is the right candidate for the moment.

“If you took away the Facebook part, wow. I think you’d see Wolf looking good. The Facebook stuff makes it difficult. In pure political terms, he’s a flawed candidate,” Beatty said.

Burdette Loomis, who teaches political science at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, said Wolf’s showing against Roberts, viewed skeptically by an important segment of Kansas voters, was unlikely to translate easily to a successful primary run against Moran.

“Milton Wolf should not confuse coming close to knocking off Pat Roberts with the idea that he is a strong candidate,” Loomis said.

Loomis said the influence of social media — Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram — would be part of the political toolbox exploited by candidates in the upcoming election cycle. These platforms offer political figures an inexpensive link to potential voters eager to consume their performances in text and image, he said.

A recent push by Wolf on social media illustrated the point as he sought to publicize the “D” grade given Moran by Conservative Review. The same voting record yardstick gave Roberts an “F” while awarding to others in the Kansas delegation a range of marks. Rep. Tim Huelskamp topped the class with an “A” while Reps. Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder received a “D” and Rep. Mike Pompeo a “C.”

“Why are Republican voters fleeing the GOP establishment and flocking to non-politicians like Donald Trump, Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina?” Wolf posted. “Simple. They’re sick of politicians who talk a good game but think they live under a different set of rules, even right here in Kansas.”

Social media

A review of Facebook pages maintained by Wolf and Moran reveal a different approach to sharing information.

Both offered notations about events in their personal lives, with Moran highlighting the wedding of a daughter and Wolf documenting vacations, sporting events or walks through a park.

They shared sharp-tongued observations about politics over the years, but Wolf did reduce in 2014 and 2015 the volume of crass commentary on subjects Moran has strategically avoided like the plague. There is a dullness to Moran’s posts to Facebook that Wolf seems compelled not to duplicate.

In the past week, Moran grew so frustrated with the Senate’s inability to stop Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran that he was expressing willingness to ditch the rule requiring a 60-vote consensus to move legislation in the chamber. He celebrated Constitution Day on Thursday by declaring that Americans were “blessed to live in a nation that is safe, free and prosperous.”

His Facebook pages contain a photograph of him playing a board game with his father in 1964 with grip-and-grin shots of him with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — all candidates for the GOP presidential nomination.

Moran repeatedly denounced Obama in 2011 by criticizing the Affordable Care Act as well as “heavy-handed labor and environmental regulations” that served to take a “tinder-dry economy and struck a match to it.”

After he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Moran endorsed a moratorium of federal budget earmarks because “Kansans expect government to spend less and spend wiser and this ban will help change the way Washington does business.”

In the past six years, Wolf regularly relied on Facebook to promote his radio and television appearances and share his latest blog contribution to The Washington Times. There are numerous conversations about national politics.

In 2009, Wolf also wrote on Facebook about Chuck Norris’ testicles and the search of Kansas City-area men for “100-pound boobs.” He appeared amused in 2010 by a boy who came to the emergency room after jumping off a dresser onto an upturned pencil, “and, of course, I got pictures. I’ll post them later.” That same year, he was critical of a man injured in an explosion and left in a vegetative state for several months before dying. “Nice use of tax money,” he said.

Wolf referred during 2011 and 2012 to Occupy Wall Street areas as “Nazi-endorsed rap camps,” posted a link to the collection of “great foreign body X-rays” that featured bullets, knives and other objects embedded in brains and downplayed U.S. Rep. Todd Akin’s remarks about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy.

In 2013 and 2014, Wolf’s energy on Facebook showed devotion to his U.S. Senate campaign against Roberts. As pages of the calendar turned to 2015, Wolf paid greater attention to Moran on social media.

“The reality is our country is in big trouble and the career politicians in both parties have failed us,” Wolf shared two years ago. “They’re the ones that created this mess. They’re never going to be the ones who get us out of it.”

Wolf declared support for a national sales tax to replace the income tax, denounced the $1.2 billion National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility under construction in Manhattan, concluded a “gun free zone” was the equivalent of “target-rich killing zone” and appeared to offer support for the sale of body parts for transplants to alleviate the national shortage.

“I certainly agree that the long-term solution, that could be deployed immediately, is to use market powers to increase the organ supply. Until we increase the supply, it’s a cruel game of musical chairs,” Wolf said.

Did Trump already reveal his tax plan?


During the second Republican presidential debate last Wednesday, Donald Trump teased the tax plan he says he will be releasing in about two weeks, calling it a “major reduction for the middle class.”

“What I’d like to do, and I’ll be putting in the plan in about two weeks, and I think people are going to like it, it’s a major reduction in taxes,” he said. “It’s a major reduction for the middle class. The hedge fund guys won’t like me as much as they like me right now. I know them all, but they’ll pay more.”

Donald Trump’s the man with a plan to put America on a different path. Get “Time to Get Tough: Make America Great Again!” (Paperback)

“I know people that are making a tremendous amount of money and paying virtually no tax, and I think it’s unfair,” he said.

One week earlier, on CBS’s “Face The Nation,” Trump said of his coming tax blueprint: “We have an amazing tax plan … We’re going to be reducing taxes for the middle class, but for the hedge fund guys, they’re going to be paying up.”

While Trump has yet to unveil his plan, largely ignored by media is that in his 2011 book, “Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again,” he laid out a plan to completely transform the tax code with a uniform proposal for all Americans to pay lower taxes.

Trump’s revenue prescription, which he labeled his 1-5-10-15 income tax plan in the book four years ago, could form the basis for his campaign’s platform on the issue.

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In the book, Trump wrote that his plan is so simple, it could eliminate the need for accountants and tax preparers, which he referenced during last week’s debate when he complained that someone making $50,000 a year “has to hire H&R Block to do the – because it’s so complicated.”

He wrote in 2011: “Imagine your paycheck was 40 percent higher than it currently is. What could you do with 40 percent more wealth? How many jobs and opportunities for others could you create?

“The longer you really think about it the madder you will get,” he wrote, “especially when you consider the waste, fraud, and abuse the federal government traffics in as it inflicts its self-defeating policies on hard-working Americans.”

Here’s Trump’s proposed income-tax plan as outlined in his 2011 book:

  • Those making up to $30,000 will pay 1 percent.
  • Income from $30,000 to $100,000 is assessed a flat 5 percent tax.
  • $100,000 to $1 million income will be taxed at 10 percent.
  • $1 million or above will be taxed 15 percent.

“It’s clear and fair,” wrote Trump in the book. “Best of all, it can be filled out on the back of a postcard and will save Americans big bucks on accountants and massive amounts of time wasted attempting to decipher the tax code.”

In the book, Trump offered a five-point economic plan “that encourages growth, savings, and investment.”

Here is a WND summary of his five points:

1. Abolish the estate or “death” tax

“It’s immoral for the government to tax you after you’re dead,” he wrote, “to seize a portion of your money and property that you spent your life building up, and on which you already paid taxes. Your children deserve your estate, not the federal government.”

In April, Obama proposed changes to the estate tax that critics say could bring the death tax to an effective rate of 57 percent. Adding in state inheritance taxes, the rate would average 65 percent but could go as high as 67 percent, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis.

Writing in 2011, when Obama proposed moving the death tax to an effective 45 percent, Trump cited a study by former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, who found that the 45 percent rate “is a proven jobs killer, because it will strip $1.6 trillion of small business capital out of the hands of job creators.”

Holtz-Eakin predicted a loss of 1.5 million new jobs.

2. Lower tax rates on capital gains and dividends

Trump labeled these as “two more taxes that are proven jobs and investment killers.”

“Capitalism requires capital,” he explained. “When government robs capital from investors, it takes away the money that creates jobs – real private sector jobs that contribute to the health of our economy.”

3. Lowering the U.S. corporate tax rate from 39 percent to zero to help create jobs

4. Punish companies that outsource jobs overseas with a 20 percent tax hike

The billionaire also suggested lowering to zero the tax rate for companies that outsourced overseas but decided to return to the U.S.

“Bottom line: hire American workers and you win. Send jobs overseas, and you may be fine, but you will pay a tax,” he wrote.

5. The 1-5-10-15 income tax plan for all Americans

Written by Aaron Klein for


Mid-sized businesses urge Congress to block Obamacare’s expansion

obamacare pill imageMomentum is building in Congress for legislation that would block Obamacare’s expansion of the small group health insurance market to include employers with 51 to 100 employees.

This expansion, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2016, was designed to help small businesses get a better deal on insurance by broadening the risk pool in the small group market. But it could mean higher premiums for businesses with 51 to 100 employees, because their plans would now be subject to the small group market’s rating restrictions and benefits requirements.

Businesses with 51-100 employees could face large increases in health insurance premiums if they are moved into the small group market in 2016, according to an Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting analysis.

That could lead many larger small businesses, especially those with a younger and healthier work force, to self-insure or drop coverage altogether in order to avoid higher insurance costs. That would leave the small group market with a sicker risk pool, which would drive up premiums for businesses that remain in it.

Many business groups and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners support legislation that would restore the 50-employee threshold for the small group market, but give states the option to expand it to businesses with 100 employees. The bill has 215 co-sponsors, including 40 Democrats. The health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on the bill Wednesday, and supporters are urging the House to vote on the bill soon.

A study by Oliver Wyman Actuarial Consulting makes a strong argument for keeping the small group market to companies with 50 or fewer employees. It estimates that 64 percent of employers with 51 to 100 workers would see premium increases averaging 18 percent as result of being moved into the small market. That’s because they would now be subject to the small group market’s rating restrictions. Plans for small employers also have to provide a set of essential health benefits, and that could raise premiums by another 3 percent to 5 percent, according to the Oliver Wyman study.

“Insurers will not be allowed to reflect the group’s actual claims experience in setting premiums, to vary administrative expenses or risk charges based on group size, participation rates or industry, or make any of the other adjustments to a given group’s premium rate that are currently used in the mid-sized group market,” Oliver Wyman partner Kurt Giese testified.

The scheduled expansion of the small group market appears to be helping businesses in some states, however. In Washington state, for example, 11 out of 12 insurers that cover the small group market have requested rate decreases for next year “based, in large part on the anticipation that the group size would expand to 100 and carriers would see better risks joining the market,” said Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler.

That’s why Kriedler opposes going back to the 50-employee threshold for the small group market.

“To make a change at this late date would create substantial upheaval to our market,” he said.

“In our state, we’re ready,” Kriedler said. A larger pool in the small group market “is going to be good for small business.”

But the impact of expanding the small group market will vary from state to state, said Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Monica Lindeen, who is president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

That’s why “defining the small group market should be left to the states, especially since the legislation does not prevent them from changing the definition to include all employers with 1-100 employees as they see fit, and a few states have already made the change.”
Lindeen urged Congress “to act quickly.”

“Most mid-size employers shop for coverage annually to ensure the best price for themselves and their employees, but they need final rates and product information by late September in order to make these decisions and carry on with the preparing of employee communications and open enrollment materials, and the actual conducting of open enrollment in advance of the effective date,” she said.

“Those employers who may be new entrants into the market in 2016 also need to know what options will be available to them. Quick action would avoid unnecessary confusion and disruption as we move into 2016.”