Last week, John Boehner (R-Ohio) easily won re-election as Speaker of the House. Only 25 Republicans defected, with 216 Republicans voting for him. In the days before the election, there was a flurry of emails and activity on social media about the vote, calling on members of Congress to oust Boehner. After the vote, conservative talk show hosts were outraged, denouncing Republicans who voted for him as RINOs and traitors. Even well-loved, conservative members of Congress like Utah's Mia Love did not escape the anger. Tea Party favorite Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) missed the vote, but said he would have voted for Boehner.
To many, it did not make sense why conservative Republicans would settle for another term of the compromising Boehner, considering Republicans now control both chambers. In Arizona, the most conservative members of the delegation all voted to retain Boehner: Rep. David Schweikert, Rep. Matt Salmon and Rep. Trent Franks. Only Rep. Paul Gosar, who has the lowest American Conservative Union rating of the four, voted against Boehner. Newly elected Republican Rep. Martha McSally of Tucson also voted for Boehner. After the vote, some conservative activists in Arizona started calling Gosar the only true conservative in the delegation. Something wasn't right. I called Rep. Schweikert to get to the bottom of it.
He told me the vote was largely ceremonial. The real decision was made six weeks ago, at the House Republican Conference. After that, it was too late to persuade most members to change their minds, deals had been made. Anyone who agreed to switch their vote after that could not be trusted based on prior experience. South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney confirmed this in a post on his Facebook page. Two years ago, the Boehner opposition collected signed pledges from enough members of Congress to defeat him. But when it came time to vote, almost half of them changed their minds. more >>
French Officials defended President Barack Obama on Monday amid growing criticisms about his absence from an anti-terrorism rally in Paris on Sunday. The United States was represented by the Ambassador to France Jane Hartley.
World leaders from around the world joined an estimated 3.7 million people who marched in rallies across France yesterday (1.5 million in Paris), to promote peace and unity days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
Top White House officials, including the president himself, were noticeably absent from the unity march, which drew criticism, but on Monday senior French officials defended Obama to veteran CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour. more >>
In a pitch that has garnered public support since he teased it in a video on Facebook Thursday night, President Barack Obama is expected to announce a proposal Friday that will give a free community college education to anyone who is willing to work for it.
"Put simply, what I'd like to do is to see the first two years of community college free for everybody who is willing to work for it. That's right, free for everybody that's willing to work for it. It's something that we can accomplish and it's something that will train our workforce so that we can compete with anybody in the world," said Obama speaking in a video recorded on Air Force One and uploaded to the Facebook page of The White House at about 7 p.m. Thursday.
The president explained in the video that had been viewed more than 5 million times and shared more than 100,000 times on Facebook Friday morning that he had planned to unveil the proposal in his State of the Union Address scheduled for Jan. 20 but he thought it would be better to pitch it a little earlier. more >>
President Barack Obama condemned a deadly shooting at a satirical newspaper in Paris that left 12 people dead on Wednesday, calling it "an attack on our free press."
The shootings mark the worst terrorist attack France has seen in the last decade, which Obama called "cowardly, evil attacks."
Charlie Hebdo had long been threatened by jihadists for its caricatures of the Muslim prophet Muhammad and other controversial sketches. The paper is notorious for its satirical attacks on political and religious leaders of all faiths. more >>
Pundits and prognosticators have but one goal: making fortune cookies and astrology seem respectable. Here are my annual predictions.
Weather will continue to plague Southern California, emboldening global warming advocates. Los Angelenos are willing to put up with earthquakes, crime, gangs, high taxes and mudslides just for a chance to see one of the Baldwin brothers at the grocery store.
The Left will continue its new mantra, "Climate Change." "Global Warming" confined advocates to one side of the argument. The Founding Fathers dropped the ball on this one, making no provisions in the Constitution for the weather (apparently they did not have weather back then). So executive action by an imperial president, who willfully ignores both prudent economics and the consumer, will continue. more >>
America has always been a nation with great respect for the right of conscience. As a people, we like the idea that a person should follow their heart, go with their gut, do what feels right. Our laws have traditionally followed this course by according deference to individual conscience on a whole host of matters. Perhaps the most well know example is that of conscientious objection to war, in which a person can claim exemption from conscripted military service on the basis of freedom of thought, conscience, or religion. Our President appeals to the concept of conscience perhaps more than any other in recent memory, often defending his administrations' actions with the simple phrase "it's the right thing to do."
Of course, when he says this what he really means, "it's what I think is the right thing to do." On a whole host of policy issues the President has swum against the tide of public opinion in the name of executive conscience, to the point of getting himself into legally shaky territory. It is disappointing then, though perhaps not surprising, that the President and his ideological bed fellows have very little respect for the consciences of those who don't think like them. This hypocrisy shines brightest when it comes to social issues. The owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties were sued by the Obama Administration for refusing to comply with the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, specifically for refusing to cover certain types of contraception that can lead to the termination of the life of a nascent child. These employers were compelled to resist the law by their conscience, their belief that life begins at conception and is sacred, that abortion is murder. President Obama could not care less. In his mind, free birth control and abortifacients (and abortion, I'm sure, if he had his way), is "the right thing to do." If you disagree, you are an enemy of progress.
Then of course there is the issue of same-sex marriage. Again, for the President there is only one civilized opinion you can possibly hold (at least, since his own opinion has "evolved" on the matter). Love is love is love. Equal protection under the law requires the complete cultural normalization and legal protection of same-sex marriage, and there is no room for conscientious objection, no matter who you are or what you do. The public relations campaign waged by pro-gay activists over the past 30 years has been enormously successful, to the extent that today anything less than the total embrace and celebration of homosexuality and gay rights is seen as analogous to the racism of the Jim Crow south. The belief that marriage is a divinely established institution designed for one man and one woman is disparaged as toxic hate speech. more >>