Congress

President Obama today announced that he is running for a second term. No surprise there.

On the same day his Attorney General Eric Holder announced that 9/11 terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed would be tired in front of a military tribunal in Guantanamo Prison. A remarkable turnaround from Obama’s campaign promise to close Gitmo in the first year of his administration and his announcement in 2009 that Khalid Sheik Mohammed would be tried in New York City. On this point at least, Obama has had to face the foolishness of his position and reverse himself much to the fury of left wing of his party.

Obama kicks off his reelection campaign not only on the same day as the Gitmo trial announcement, but also in the same week in which House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan unveils the Republicans’ 2012 budget. Ryan proves that he is a leader by proposing reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, reforms that are critical for these programs to survive. Republicans will soon move beyond the do-nothing President and Senate Democrats who call $60 billion in cuts for 2011 extreme. Ryan will propose trillions of cuts in federal spending, cuts proportional to the problem we have that, if enacted, will turn America back to fiscal sanity. The President, of course, as usual is unwilling to lead and wants to avoid discussion of real change in Washington.

Here is the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s spoof on Obama’s 2012 campaign:

At least, unlike the real announcement today this add shows the President.

And here is Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty’s response to Obama’s announcement:

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Florida Pundit took a little break from blogging over the past month. I kept expecting that our politicians would start getting serious about cutting the size of government, but progress is slow and consist of tiny baby steps. House Republicans have proposed to cut $60 billion in discretionary spending. The Democrat-controlled Senate and our Spectator-in-Chief Barak Obama have not proposed any cuts. I guess that makes the House Republicans the better alternative, but when you cut $60 billion from a $3.7 trillion budget and a $1.6 trillion deficit, this looks less than impressive.

What happens if we don’t act? Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) asked just this question of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke about a month ago. Watch this. It is scary:

Crisis could come quickly and precise timing is impossible to predict. On Tuesday everything could be ok and on Wednesday collapse could be upon us. So what do we do to demonstrate that we are serious about the problem?

Republicans now have shown with several two or three week extension that they are not the evil monsters who want to spoil your vacation by shutting down Yellowstone and other national parks. It is time to stop temporary extension and insist on Democrats to stop acting like spoiled brats.

We should insist on a few condition to any budget that is passed for the rest of the year: stop funding of the implementation of Obamacare, prohibit the EPA from regulating CO2, stop all funding of NPR and Planned Parenthood. Yes, the last two are relatively small amounts, i.e. just a few hundred million dollars – not even a rounding error in federal spending, but they are indicators if any government program can ever be stopped. If these conditions mean that Democrats will shut down the government, we need to be prepared to let them and make clear who the party to blame is.

Then Republicans need to get beyond working on remedies for the Pelosi-Reid Congress’s failure to pass a budget for 2011 last year. The next opportunity to put in place processes and conditions to shrink the government is when raising the debt ceiling comes up next month. Starting in April Republicans also need to focus on rolling a budget for 2012 that will cut spending all areas including entitlement spending.

I believe Americans are ready to support changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security especially if Republican explain that if we don’t change these programs there won’t be anything left and the collapse of these programs will quickly become inevitable. Yes, there is the risk that not enough Americans will listen and voters will re-elect Obama and the Democrats in 2012. If that were to happen, at least we will know we have tried to save the United States from permanent long-term decline. If we do nothing, the end of the United States as we have known it is inevitable.

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While Republicans in Congress are falling short of their promise to cut at least $100 billion in spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Republican governors are starting to address the root cause of many of our states teetering on becoming the American equivalent of Greece. They are changing unsustainable terms for benefits and pensions of public employees.

Chris Christie of New Jersey has become just about the most popular politician in the country during his first year as governor by pursuing austerity in the state budget. Now, a new crop of governors including Rick Scott in Florida and John Kasich in Ohio are following similar paths. Rick Scott has turned down billions of dollars in federal taxpayer money to subsidize building of a high speed rail line which would ultimately cost the Florida taxpayers billions and for which there is no demonstrated economic need.

But the fastest rising star among the new governors is Scott Walker of Wisconsin whose challenge to public employee unions sparked protests by government employees in Madison, the state capital. All fourteen Democrats in the state senate have fled the state in order to deny Republicans a quorum to vote on Walker’s proposed bill. President Obama has again entered the debate on a state issue by attacking the side voted into office last November and defending public employee unions. Governor Walker’s response to Obama has been that the president should be focused on the deficit in Washington. Effectively he told the president to mind his own business.

Here is Governor Walker explaining what he is doing (via The Right Scoop):

Walker is standing by his proposal which still offers terms to public employees more generous than those enjoyed by most employees in the private sector. He also insists that there have to be some limits on the public unions’ collective bargaining rights so that state and local governments can meet the demands of the voters of Wisconsin and eliminate government spending they cannot afford.

We desperately need in Washington the clarity on the issues and resolve to address them that governors like Scott Walker and Chris Christie bring at the state level. Will Republican leaders in Congress join their freshman colleagues who were elected with Tea Party support and draw a firm line on cutting federal spending in every area including entitlements and defense?

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Today, President Obama demonstrated again that he is not serious about defending America against the biggest threat to our future: runaway government spending. He proposed a budget with a record $1.65 trillion deficit for 2012. No surprise there.

Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan has offered an appropriate response about Obama “punting” on the budget crisis:

But let’s look a little deeper into the Republicans’ action on spending because we have been disappointed before. Last year, Republicans published a pledge to cut discretionary spending to 2008 levels, i.e. before the financial meltdown, TARP, the bailouts, etc. They promised that they would save at least $100 billion.

Over the past week, Republicans have stumbled in keeping that pledge when it comes to spending for the rest of the year. Rather than reducing discretionary spending to 2008 levels, they proposed initially to cut much less not from current spending, but from Obama’s proposed 2011 budget which was never passed. They have since increased the amount, but they still have failed to keep their promise to go back to 2008 levels. Radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt has covered this issue extensively on his show and on his blog.

Some Republican like John Campbell of California are trying to fix this issue in amendments that will be voted on later this week. See Hugh Hewitt’s “The Pledge-Keepers”: Congressman John Campbell’s Two Budget Amendments.

We hope that the Republican representatives elected with Tea Party support will support Congressman Campbell’s amendments and reject the position of Republicans that have been compromised by Washington’s culture of spending and still don’t get why we sent eighty-seven new Republicans to Congress in November.

Beyond this current test of Republican resolve, Republican will need to take the lead in having what Paul Ryan calls an “adult conversation” with the American people about the long-term spending on so-called non-discretionary items including Social Security and Medicare. No one advocates any cuts for current recipients and those who are close to retirement. But why do we have to wait decades to raise the retirement age? People today live longer and healthier lives. For example, what’s wrong with raising the retirement age to 70 for everyone under the age of 50 today? Paul Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future isn’t this aggressive on the retirement age, but it outlines a plan to return America to fiscal sanity avoiding the fate of Greece.

Opinion polls show that most Americans are still in denial about the need for spending cuts. A recent poll shows that most Americans have no idea that we cannot balance the budget without cutting more than foreign aid:

What Republicans need to realize is that the Tea Party movement recognizes the need for across-the-board spending cuts and Americans are more ready than ever for an adult conversation on this topic. The polls reflect a lack of understanding of what makes up our deficit. This is the time for Republicans to inform and educate the public about what needs to be done to achieve what the vast of Americans agrees is necessary in principle.

Americans who want us to return to constitutional limited government have a responsibility to understand that this is our last chance to avoid a financial catastrophe and that this will require not just cuts, but elimination of entire programs. Republicans have an unprecedented opportunity to lead, inform and educate people. If they fail to do so, they will lose support of the Tea Party movement in 2012 and we will most like be faced with a ruinous second term for President Obama.

In leading and being frank about the issue, Republicans take the risk that not enough people will understand the message and will reject them in favor of the Democrats’ fairy tales about a government that caters to everyone. That is a risk worth taking. If they succeed, they will be responsible for what Allen West recently called a “new dawn for America” and they will be the trusted majority party for a generation. If they honestly and effectively advocate limited constitutional government and a majority of Americans reject their message, then they will at least have offered American a final chance to keep the principles the United States was founded on.

If we do nothing to change the current state, a decline of America is inevitable. The American people today face a huge responsibility in prevent this decline. But America needs leaders that can show the way to a new dawn with confidence. Republican must not shrink from the task ahead when they face inevitable lies that they will “hurt the poor” or that they will “cut your Social Security.” Everyone benefits when individual initiative is valued and the government stays out of our lives except where it is absolutely needed. When America prospers, we can be generous with those in need. Will Republican leaders have the backbone to stand up to the demagogues of the Left or will they revert once again to caving to the demands of the Left in the media and the Democrat Party?

Watch what happens and contact your representatives and senators in the coming weeks and months and urge them to stand firm in support of constitutional effective and efficient government and in keeping American free.

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South Florida Congressman Allen West gave the keynote speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Saturday. West predicted “a new dawn in America” if we stick with the the “three pillars of conservatism:” 1) effective and efficient constitutional government, 2) keeping peace through strength and 3) defending American values.

Support for these conservative principles elected eighty-seven new Republican Congressmen last November. West’s speech gave a different and more complete vision of conservatism than Rep. Ron Paul, the winner of the CPAC presidential straw poll. His message was received with standing ovations by the CPAC audience. Watch Rep. West’s inspiring speech:

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