02-19-2017  8:02 pm      •     

With President Barack Obama's election last November, the Republican Party was left rudderless and adrift at sea, unsure which direction to turn or whom to turn for direction. The crushing defeat of Republicans across the board in 2008 was a resounding rejection of the party's policies under former President George W. Bush.
However, as the new administration has undertaken bold and unprecedented actions to address the multitude of problems facing the country, the Republican Party has discovered a new purpose, unifying around a fervent desire to prevent the president from achieving his left-leaning political agenda.
The divisive debates over the stimulus package and its effectiveness, bailouts and buy-ins, cash for clunkers, and health care, have expended a considerable amount of Obama's political capital just a short nine months in office. Widely publicized Tea Parties this past summer helped to galvanize opposition to the president, who is no longer as wildly popular as he once was.
As happens periodically in American politics, the pendulum of public opinion has begun to swing slightly away from the party in power, and back towards an increasingly confident - though still rudderless – out of power Republican Party.
With falling approval ratings, the president's ability to sway reluctant members of either party into supporting his legislative agenda has been noticeably diminished. And should Obama fail to pass health care reform, he will be severely wounded politically, thus further encouraging the Republican Party's resurgence.
Sensing opportunity on the distant horizon, several figures within the Republican Party have already begun laying claim to the nomination of their party, and the right to challenge President Obama in his anticipated re-election bid in 2012.
At a recent Family Research Council's Values Voters Summit in Washington, 597 members of the organization participated in a straw poll of would-be presidential nominees after hearing speeches from the top three early contenders.
Present to give their conservative pitches were former Ark. Gov. and Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, and Minn. Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
With the first real tests of the Republican presidential nominating contest; the Iowa Caucuses and the N.H. Primary, still a full 28 months away, the troika of governors are already running hard against each other, and President Obama, for the nomination.
In his address to the organization, Huckabee used his infamous acerbic wit to needle Romney on his claims of successful health care reform while governor of Massachusetts. "The only thing inexpensive about Massachusetts' health care bill is that there, you can get a $50 abortion," he told he crowd.
For his part, Romney defended his health care reform efforts in Massachusetts, telling reporters, "Not every feature of our plan is perfect, but the lesson it teaches is this: You can get everyone insured, without breaking the bank and without a government option."
The lesser-known Pawlenty also used his speech to criticize Romney's health care reforms as governor, and continued to sharply condemn President Obama's policies.
Of the eight names under consideration in the straw poll, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, LA Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Mike Pence, and former Sen. Rick Santorum, the clear favorite of the ultra-conservative organization was Mike Huckabee, winning with nearly 29 percent of the vote. Receiving 12 percent each were Romney, Pawlenty, Palin, and Pence. The others registered in the single digits.
While the results of the straw poll are essentially meaningless (remember that Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani led polls two years out from the previous contests), the Huckabee, Romney, and Pawlenty speeches clearly indicate that the Republican Party has begun to reassert itself nationally, if only in opposition to the president's policies.
The next step in the party's return to significance must be to go beyond simply resisting everything the president proposes, and to develop policies of their own to address the difficult problems facing the country.

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • WASHINGTON (AP) — One month after the inauguration, the stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Donald Trump's White House still is a hard-hat zone. Skeletal remains of the inaugural reviewing stands poke skyward. Random piles of plywood and cables are heaped on the ground inside crooked lines of metal fencing. The disarray outside the president's front door, though not his fault, serves as a metaphor for the tumult still unfolding inside. Four weeks in, the man who says he inherited "a mess" at home and abroad is presiding over a White House that is widely described as itself being a mess. At a stunning pace, Trump has riled world leaders and frustrated allies. He was dealt a bruising legal blow on one of his signature policies. He lost his national security adviser and his pick for labor secretary to scandal. He's seen forces within his government push back against his policies and leak confidential information. All of this has played out amid a steady drip of revelations about an FBI investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian intelligence officials. Trump says his administration is running like a "fine-tuned machine." He points to the rising stock market and the devotion of his still-loyal supporters as evidence that all is well, although his job approval rating is much lower than that for prior presidents in their first weeks in office. Stung by the unrelenting criticism coming his way, Trump dismisses much of it as "fake news" delivered by "the enemy of the people" — aka the press. Daily denunciations of the media are just one of the new White House fixtures Americans are adjusting to. Most days start (and end) with presidential tweets riffing off of whatever's on TV talk shows or teasing coming events or hurling insults at the media. At some point in the day, count on Trump to cast back to the marvels of his upset of Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November election and quite possibly overstate his margins of support. Expect more denunciations of the "dishonest" press and its "fake news." From there, things can veer in unexpected directions as Trump offers up policy pronouncements or offhand remarks that leave even White House aides struggling to interpret them. The long-standing U.S. policy of seeking a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump this past week offered this cryptic pronouncement: "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one." His U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, the next day insisted, "We absolutely support a two-state solution." Trump's days are busy. Outside groups troop in for "listening sessions." Foreign leaders call or come to visit. (Or, in the case of Mexico's president, cancel out in pique over Trump's talk about the planned border wall.) After the president signed two dozen executive actions, the White House was awaiting a rush order of more of the gold-plated Cross pens that Trump prefers to the chrome-plated ones used by his predecessor. Trump hands them out as souvenirs at the signing ceremonies that he points to as evidence of his ambitious pace. "This last month has represented an unprecedented degree of action on behalf of the great citizens of our country," Trump said at a Thursday news conference. "Again, I say it. There has never been a presidency that's done so much in such a short period of time." That's all music to the ears of his followers, who sent him to Washington to upend the established order and play the role of disrupter. "I can't believe there's actually a politician doing what he says he would do," says an approving Scott Hiltgen, a 66-year-old office furniture sales broker from River Falls, Wisconsin. "That never happens." Disrupt Trump has. But there may be more sound and fury than substance to many of his early actions. Trump did select Judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a nomination that has drawn strong reviews from conservatives. But the president is regrouping on immigration after federal judges blocked his order to suspend the United States' refugee program and ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, which had caused chaos for travelers around the globe. Some other orders on issues such as the U.S.-Mexico border wall and former President Barack Obama's health care law are of limited effect. Trump says his early actions show he means to deliver on the promises he made during the campaign. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, oh, Trump was only kidding with the wall,'" the president told a group of police chiefs recently. "I wasn't kidding. I don't kid." But the Republican-led Congress is still waiting to see specifics on how Trump wants to proceed legislatively on top initiatives such as replacing the health care law, enacting tax cuts and revising trade deals. The messy rollout of the travel ban and tumult over the ouster of national security adviser Michael Flynn for misrepresenting his contacts with Russia are part of a broader state of disarray as different figures in Trump's White House jockey for power and leaks reveal internal discord in the machinations of the presidency. "I thought by now you'd at least hear the outlines of domestic legislation like tax cuts," says Princeton historian Julian Zelizer. "But a lot of that has slowed. Trump shouldn't mistake the fact that some of his supporters like his style with the fact that a lot of Republicans just want the policies he promised them. He has to deliver that." Put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in the camp of those more interested in substance than style. "I'm not a great fan of daily tweets," McConnell said Friday, referring to the "extra discussion" that Trump likes to engage in. But McConnell was quick to add: "What I am a fan of is what he's been actually doing." He credits Trump with assembling a conservative Cabinet and taking steps to reduce government regulation, and promised: "We like his positions and we're going to pursue them as vigorously as we can." The challenge may be to tease out exactly what Trump wants in the way of a health care plan, tax changes and trade policy. At his long and defiant news conference on Thursday, Trump tried to dispel the impression of a White House in crisis, squarely blaming the press for keeping him from moving forward more decisively on his agenda. Pointing to his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, Trump said, "You take a look at Reince, he's working so hard just putting out fires that are fake fires. I mean, they're fake. They're not true. And isn't that a shame because he'd rather be working on health care, he'd rather be working on tax reform." For all the frustrations of his early days as president, Trump still seems tickled by the trappings of his office. When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited the White House last week to discuss the national opioid epidemic over lunch, the governor said Trump informed him: "Chris, you and I are going to have the meatloaf.'" Trump added: "I'm telling you, the meatloaf is fabulous." ___Follow Nancy Benac on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nbenac
    Read More
  • FDR executive order sent 120,000 Japanese immigrants and citizens into camps
    Read More
  • Pruitt's nomination was strongly opposed by environmental groups and hundreds of former EPA employees
    Read More
load morehold SHIFT key to load allload all
Carpentry Professionals


Reed College Jobs
His Eye is on the Sparrow