Morning Briefing for December 8, 2011

RedState Morning Briefing

December 8, 2011
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1. The Most Important Fight For Conservatives in America

Forget the Presidential race. We can get back to it another day. This is the most important fight for the conservative movement in America right now and it happens next week.

Well, it was going to happen in January. But conservatives started gaining momentum. Naturally, Mitch McConnell had to go try to pull the rug out from under conservatives. Far be it for fresh ideas to enter into the hallowed corridors of Senate Republican power.

I’m talking about the Senate Republicans’ leadership fight for Vice Chairman of the Republican Conference. There is an election to fill that seat.

The election was to be held in January. The only declared candidate was Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (HAFA Score 91%). But then Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri (HAFA Score 64%) announced this week he wanted the job too. Immediately after announcing his entry, Senator Mitch McConnell moved the election up from January to next week and began whipping votes on behalf of Senator Roy Blunt.

Both Senators Blunt and Johnson are freshman senators. But prior to 2010, Senator Blunt spent 14 years in the House of Representatives. Prior to 2010, Senator Johnson was the CEO of a private manufacturing firm in Wisconsin.

I like both senators tremendously, but for conservatives Ron Johnson is a no brainer here. Senator Blunt’s thinking is the same thinking that has plagued Senate Republicans for a decade now — the same old ideas and same old strategies.

Ron Johnson is also one of the very unique bridge builders between conservatives and the establishment. He was the one Senate candidate in 2010 that both the GOP Establishment and Tea Party agreed on. The National Republican Senatorial Committee, Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservatives Fund, and RedState all aligned behind Senator Johnson in the primary.

One might think Senator McConnell and his colleagues would want to find some level of truce with conservatives and give them a seat at the table with Senator Johnson. Instead, they are ramping up the election to shut us out.

If we really want the Senate GOP to turn the corner, we need guys like Ron Johnson at the table. It is important that if you have a Republican Senator you call them today and ask them to support Senator Johnson for Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman.

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2. My Endorsement for President

Yesterday I posted my confession about supporting Gingrich. Some people viewed it as a non-endorsement endorsement of Gingrich. Others viewed it as an endorsement of Perry or Huntsman. It was none of the above.

Over the course of the past few months, people have accused me of supporting Bachmann, Cain, Gingrich, Huntsman, Pawlenty, Perry, and believe it or not, even Mitt Romney.

In truth, I support none of the above and as I am constantly called on these days to make an endorsement of one of the candidates, I suppose we have now reached the time for me to explain why I have no plans to endorse anyone.

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3. Fast & Furious – ATF Weapons Scheme Designed to Push Gun Control

Obama’s tactics are becoming obvious. Whether it’s destroying coal to prop up green, endlessly extending unemployment benefits to keep the public desperate so as to allow him to push through more entitlements, how he intends to bring his “fundamental changes“ to the United States are about as veiled as laminate. He is a radical trying to institute change by manipulating the facts on the ground in order to create a narrative that allows his “solutions.”

Now comes the news that the gun walker scandal known as “Fast & Furious” in which thousands of guns were permitted to cross the Mexican border, ostensibly to help the ATF track the guns to “big fish,” may have actually been used as a justification for new and stricter gun laws.

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4. The Regulatory Climate is Affecting More Than Business

The chorus of CEOs and business leaders saying that regulation is choking business and growth had a new addition yesterday: CEO Clarence Otis, Jr. of Darden Restaurants, Orlando, Florida’s only Fortune 500 company and the parent company of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse.

This is interesting to me for a handful of reasons. The first is that a quick look at campaign donations from Otis shows that he has historically been a supporter of Democrat candidates, including Obama himself. He gave the maximum donations ($2,400) to Democrats in his home state. Democrats like Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Ron Klein and Kendrick Meek. Granted he supported a Republican (sort of) last year by contributing to Charlie Crist’s campaign, but that was the only one since late 2007.

In 2008 he contributed thousands of dollars on multiple occasions to the campaign of Barack Obama as well as giving over $28,000 to the “Obama Victory Fund.” He’s even been invited to some of those high profile meet and greets that the President has from time to time, though there is little evidence that he actually listens to the people he meets with.

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5. Don’t Conflate Super-Long Unemployment Extension With Payroll Tax Cut

The outcome of the impending payroll tax imbroglio seems to be clear. With Republicans offering spending offsets and Democrats demanding tax increases, my safe premonition is that, for better or worse, the simple tax cut extension will pass, albeit without either “offset” plan. Due to some divisions among conservatives, such an outcome seems to be intractable at this point.

At this point, we must focus on unemployment benefits with a unified message. My concern is that all of the proposed GOP packages conflate the passage of the payroll tax cut with UI extension. We all know that Democrats will abjure all Republican proposals to pay for the package, most notably, cuts to the federal workforce. The only thing this package will do is telegraph a public message to Democrats and the voters that Republicans agree to the premise of extending unemployment benefits.

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6. Mitt Romney flip-flops a grenade into illegal immigration debate.

How do I put this? Actually, that’s easy: with malice aforethought. Below are two key quotes of Mitt Romney with regard to his discussion with the Washington Examiner about illegal immigration:

“I listened to Lindsey Graham the other day… I went down to Florida and met with Jeb Bush…”

Yeah. As The Examiner put it – succinctly – “Lindsey Graham. Jeb Bush. If you are an “attrition-through-enforcement” conservative on illegal immigration, then this answer is probably setting off alarms.”

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