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Ryan M. Horn holds a master's degree in Public Administration from Cornell University. He specializes in the fields of international relations and public policy analysis. Mr. Horn is a freelance writer and is the editor-at-large of The Cornell American.

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Thu Mar 15, 2007

Betrayers of Conservatism Inherit the Wind

Republican National Committee Treasurer Tim Morgan began a February fundraiser letter to delinquent donors with an inquiry: “I don’t want to believe you’ve abandoned the Republican Party, but I have to ask…Have you given up?”

Concise, yet it conveys the trepidation the party’s current leadership should rightly have about its conservative base. Since President Bush assumed office in 2001 conservative leaders have argued that his policies of “big government conservatism”—both at home and abroad—have shaken the devotion of GOP conservatives. As American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene warned, unless the Republicans remember who elected them, there will “ultimately be electoral consequences as voters who share Republican or conservative values, but aren’t Republicans first, decide to abandon the GOP or simply to stay home.”

The answer to Morgan’s plea: “We haven’t abandoned you yet, but we just might.” Even if most conservatives stay put, enough will defect to dash Rove-ian hopes of a “permanent Republican majority.”

Given the performance of the Republican Party over the last 12 years, especially in the 2006 elections, it is not surprising for Republicans to solicit contributions with a “your support is needed now more than ever” message. In recent years, Republicans have managed to reverse a modern political tradition by turning out more voters on Election Day than their Democratic counterparts. The turnout edge, which has twice delivered the presidency to George W. Bush, costs million of dollars—especially the grassroots organization deployed in tight congressional races. But even the notorious 72-Hour Get Out the Vote Program with its Voter Vault data could not save incumbents. As Keene reported, during that effort, “a small but significant number of previously loyal GOP voters” said “they would vote, but not for Republican candidates.”

Why? For the most part, Bush and his allies in the former congressional leadership have failed the conservative movement. Through what they have done and what they have failed to do—because of incompetence, intention, or indifference—they have betrayed the Reagan legacy and lost the reigns of power. Like Solomon warned, “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind.”

The president’s tax cuts, though made nominal due to years of Republican-sanctioned overspending, are a tribute to limited government. And Mr. Bush’s judicial appointments are closer to returning America’s courts to constitutionalism than others have been in a generation. (Though who could forget Harriet Miers?) However, for all the votes, money, time, and Dallas Cowgirl-esque support conservatives have been asked to give the president, his chain of half-successes do not constitute an agenda. They are merely a patchwork of talking points that the press team must assemble in hindsight and make sellable at election time.

But if the Republicans are so terrible, why haven’t conservatives left them? The most compelling reason is this: there is no where else to go. Most conservatives believe they already have too much invested in the party. They also understand that if a conservative order is ever to return to govern America, it will come through a Republican presidency and Republican congressional leadership. Democrats haven’t been for limited government since Stephen Douglas ran against Lincoln. That party had evicted the last of the “values voters” by 1972, and Democrats haven’t championed “America First” since the 1890s.

As for the Republicans, some try to be conservative, but fail. Others want to try, but do not know how. Then there are those called RINOs (Republicans in Name Only), that are just that. They harbor a deep-seated hostility for traditional conservatives, openly attacking them or consistently opposing the Right on central issues. At the same time each seeks to pay just enough lip-service to carry essential support on Election Day.

Whenever conservatives begin to resist a RINO candidate, particularly in the blue states, they are often met with the canned response: “Well, we have to win. Even if we don’t agree with moderate Candidate A on issue X, we agree with him on issue Y. Besides, he has the best chance of winning. And what’s the point of principle if we cannot win?”

Whether it is out of habit or choosing the lesser of two evils, most conservatives will stick with the Republican candidate regardless of how liberal he is or how conservative the Democratic opponent. Nevertheless, no one likes being taken for granted. And while it may be necessary for them to compromise during candidate selection, the reality is that there are times when many conservatives are not willing. These are conservatives who find “somewhere else to go,” namely, to the Democratic opponent. For some, it’s a vote to punish a RINO. For others, like Reagan Democrats, it’s simply a matter of returning home. What need concern the RINO is how many defectors can make the difference.

Consider the cases of liberal Republicans Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Mike DeWine of Ohio. Of all the winning Democrats in the six states that went red to blue in 2006, it was the ultra liberal opponents of Chafee and DeWine that won the highest share of the conservative vote.

While Chafee won 94% of the Republican vote, he won the support of only 74% of voters who consider themselves conservative. He also won only 52% of those who attend church at least once a week. Chafee lost big-time among voters who consider “values issues” to be “extremely” or “very important.” And they constituted 43% of those who casts ballots that day. At the same time, 59% of those who thought Chafee was “too liberal” stuck with him. But over 40% of those who are more conservative than him voted for Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.

Similar results are true for DeWine, whose wipeout came from winning only 86% of the Republican vote, 77% of the conservative vote, and only 56% of those who attend church at least once a week. DeWine won only 80% of Bush supporters, and failed to win a majority of any religious groups. He lost the vote of suburbanites and barely won the rural areas (52% to 48%).

So it appears that despite the prospect of a Pelosi-Reid Congress, conservatives who felt played by Republicans made it a reality by being more likely to vote against liberal Republicans than for moderate and conservative Democrats.

The lesson for 2008: Republicans ignore the Right at their peril. Despite pro-illegal immigration, pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-campaign finance reform Republicans leading the race for the presidential nod, most conservatives will be ready to block a Hillary presidency. But will enough remain to elect President Rudy?

Posted by: Ryan Horn on Mar 15, 07 | 7:31 pm | Profile

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Mon Jun 19, 2006

There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

Economist Milton Friedman said, "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

For the same reason, "There's no such thing as cheap labor" -- not when it comes to illegal aliens.

Vernon Robinson, a GOP congressional candidate in North Carolina, summarized the problems posed by 12 million illegal immigrants:

"These illegal aliens are taking jobs away from American citizens and they're sponging off the American taxpayer. They're overflowing our public schools and colleges for a FREE EDUCATION, scamming our welfare and food stamp programs for a FREE HAND-OUT, filling our court rooms as criminal defendants, swarming our hospital emergency rooms for FREE MEDICAL CARE, and clogging the line at the DMV."

Perhaps you think Robinson is being a little harsh but to understand what he is talking about, let's look at how the Senate amnesty bill would benefit a fictional family of six illegal aliens.

The head of the household fraudulently obtained a Social Security number years ago but NEVER filed an income tax return. However, since the Senate amnesty bill requires him to "pay" some of his back taxes, he files an income tax return.

And -- because he worked for ABC Corporation at a ridiculously low wage -- he receives an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200 for each filing year! That's a clear profit of $1,200 over the so-called $2,000 fine he'll have to pay. And that's just for one year's worth of taxes. That money comes out of YOUR pocket.

In addition, this family of illegal aliens also receives low-cost Section 8 housing and federal help with the rent. Once again, you foot the bill.

This family of six will also receive food stamps, free medical care under Medicaid and free school lunches. Once again, you pay.

In other words, ABC Corporation gets cheap labor and the American taxpayer foots the bill.

Posted by: Ryan Horn on Jun 19, 06 | 10:59 pm | Profile

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Visiting the Hamptons Might Get a Whole Lot Easier

In local news, Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman (R-Montauk) is proposing making the communte to Eastern Long Island a whole lot easier--with the help of this writer. Granted, these aren't the sexier social issues of the culture war that drew me into politics, but this legislative decision will affect at the drivers of at least 30,000 vehicles each day. That touches even more people's lives than the Cornell American articles on race. :)

From News12 Long Island (You can view the article and better yet, the press conference we organized, if you are a news12 subscriber)

Suffolk officials look to ease traffic woes in Southampton.

Commuters say they struggle through bumper-to-bumper traffic during the morning rush, known as the "daily trade parade." Now Suffolk Legislator Jay Schneiderman (R-Sag Harbor) is endorsing a bill calling for emergency measures to ease the traffic woes. The bill will turn the left-turn lane into another eastbound lane from 5:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. on Fridays.

Schneiderman says his plan is only a short-term solution and work must be done to solve the issue in the future. County Executive Steve Levy says he expects the engineer’s report within two weeks and will approve the measure if no problems arise.

For some background on the issue: Lack of Federal Funds May Kill CR 39 Project

Posted by: Ryan Horn on Jun 19, 06 | 10:30 pm | Profile

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Wed Jun 14, 2006

Latest RINO Amnesty Rampage

Right now--even as you read this--pro-amnesty forces in Washington are STILL scheming to grant amnesty to over 12 million illegal aliens.

Can you believe it?

And it could happen in a matter of days unless good, decent Americans like you fight even harder than you've fought thus far.

Here's one of the newest schemes -- a new, highly-publicized Republican National Committee (RNC) poll that supposedly shows that:

**70 percent of Americans and 64 percent of Republicans want "compromise" on the amnesty issue.

**The candidate who focuses only on border security loses to the candidate who talks about "comprehensive reform" (i.e. the "scamnesty" bill approved by the Senate) 25 percent to 71 percent.

Seems a little outlandish -- doesn't it?

Especially when you consider what Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) recently said:

"My constituents are outraged by the Senate's actions. I hear about it when I'm at the supermarket, when I am getting gas, when I'm doing constituent meetings. To a person, they mention immigration as a top-tier issue. And I've yet to hear one constituent say anything positive about the Senate bill."

Just how did the RNC get those figures?


Posted by: Ryan Horn on Jun 14, 06 | 8:33 pm | Profile

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Bush's Upbeat Pessimisim

There have been fewer times in American history when our leaders have been so diametrically opposed to the people. President Bush is optimistic about the fruits of an Iraq policy the nation says is failing; and down in the dumps about America’s call to reign-in illegal immigration.

How is it Mr. Bush can be “upbeat” about Iraqis securing Iraq, but pessimistic about Americans trying to secure America?

It “ain't gonna work” he said, referring to non-existent calls by conservatives to deport every single illegal alien that broke in or overstayed their visa welcomes. Two dissents. First, of course it “ain’t gonna work,” when the man responsible for enforcing the laws of the nation refuses to do it. Second, no proponent of sealing America’s borders—from Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) to the American Conservative Union—has called for mass deportations.

Just as Simpsons character Ned Flanders said little Lisa Simpson always had the “answer to the questions that never get asked,” George W. Bush (and his liberal open-border allies) have the rebuttal to an argument that has never been made. Unlike Lisa, the president has never been labeled a know-it-all—and for good reason. “We don’t have to choose between the extremes,” Mr. Bush says. Translation: “I won’t choose between right and wrong.”

As the president, McCain, Kennedy, and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) seek that elusive “rational middle ground,” they might be wise to remember the self-penned political epitaph of former Democratic Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower: “There's nothin’ in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos.”

Posted by: Ryan Horn on Jun 14, 06 | 8:18 pm | Profile

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Mon Jun 12, 2006

D.C. Voting Rights:
Kemp's Constitution Fumble

Being he’s a former upstate New York congressman, the former GOP candidate for Vice President in 1996, and a champion of economic liberty, I’m usually a big fan of Jack Kemp. In particular, I’ve admired how he frames his views in the way a deft political warrior should—illustrating how his policies will help the underdog. (See: tax cuts, free enterprise, and school vouchers).

However, his latest project, pushing Rep. Tom Davis’s bill granting the District of Columbia a vote in the House of Representatives, is dead wrong.

Among the many reasons, is the unconstitutional nature of the proposal. The Constitution explicitly declares that representation in Congress can be granted only to states. Article 1, Section 2 states that “Representatives ... shall be apportioned among the several states...”

This begs the question, “Couldn’t D.C. just petition for statehood—like Arizona, Alaska or Hawaii did?” Well, no. As Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) points out at Human Events, the District of Columbia is unique among all other non-state territories, because Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress exclusive jurisdiction “in all cases whatsoever” over the District of Columbia. Congress would need to be relieved of all responsibility for the district in order for it to pursue statehood. “And, says Miller, “until such an amendment to the Constitution is passed, there will always be a question as to the constitutionality of a potential D.C. representative.”

Oddly, Kemp dismisses this with an old liberal cliché: “However, not so long ago, the Constitution defined African-American people as ‘three-fifths of a man.’” My how he would have fit well among the distinguished gentlemen of South Carolina.

The Constitution says:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

Blacks who weren’t slaves were counted as full persons for the purposes of representation. Additionally, any reading of Kemp’s words would have us believing that had he been present at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, he would have supported counting slaves as full persons too. Had the representatives been apportioned this way, it would have boosted the number of pro-slavery representatives and abolitionists would never have gotten the number of votes required to abolish the importation of slaves in 1808.

So when Mr. Kemp writes that granting D.C. a vote in the House “is an historical turning point for the Grand Old Party to get on the right side of history,” one can’t help but wonder what history he’s referring to.

Moreover, it is clear as much of Kemp’s column is dedicated to political strategy than high moral principle:

"Fast forward to 2006, the Republican Party, in desperate need of more votes in urban areas and among people of color, has a great chance to turn the tide by going ‘outside the box’ politically speaking and leading the way”

Specifically, Kemp blames the Republican Party for it’s chronically small-percentage of the black vote. And to some extent, that is true—conservatives at the national level could formulate a better strategy for framing the Republican agenda in a way that is appealing to African Americans. But it’s not, as Kemp implies, for lack of trying. George W. Bush has attempted far more than any other national Republican to win back the black vote.

Among President Bush’s many minority “outreach” strategies are: a) millions spent on faith-based initiatives aimed at fighting inner-city poverty; b) mandatory testing to evaluate and improve failing government schools, a disproportionate number of whose trapped pupils include blacks and Hispanics; c) the appointment of Condoleezza Rice as the first black National Security Advisor and Colin Powell as the first black Secretary of State in U.S. history.

Not to mention defying his own party in an attempt to legalize and grant citizenship (read: voting rights) to between 12 and 20 million illegal aliens.

President Bush alone has earned the Republican Party’s right to say it is “serious about civil and voting rights for all people.” Yet, even he garnered only 11 percent of the black vote November 2004.

It would seem that black conservative Ward Connerly was closer to the truth when he wrote in National Review that it’s not that Republicans have a black problem; blacks have a problem with Republicans. And it isn’t worth Kemp and Davis straining our constitutional republic in an attempt to prove that theory wrong.

Posted by: Ryan Horn on Jun 12, 06 | 12:44 am | Profile

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Mon Oct 24, 2005

The Case Against Darwin

The chief evidence used by the Left to press the case that there is no God has been the idea that man was not made in His image, but by accidental evolution from a lower order of animals. Framing man’s origins as such allows them to speculate on man’s nature and legitimize their political agenda.

Consider: if man is just a more intelligent animal, then there’s no moral harm in passing an environmental regulation that pushes thousands of farmers into poverty. If man, and not God, sits atop the universe’s hierarchy, then it is man-made law that ought to reign supreme. In this sense there are no just or unjust laws since there is no higher moral law by which to judge them.

To their credit, Christians have rolled out some new culture war artillery and inflicted some heavy casualties. As national attention gravitates toward “Intelligent Design” theories, the bodies of those who blindly follow evolutionist doctrine continue to pile high.


Posted by: Ryan Horn on Oct 24, 05 | 11:22 pm | Profile

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