Illinois on Verge of Becoming America’s Most Democratic State

Illinois-Flag

Written by Russ Stewart

Illinois is an anomaly. It is “The Land of Lassitude.” Voters are passive, partisan and forgiving. In state government, there are no checks and balances to Democratic abuses, ineptitude and favoritism.

In any other state, when a governor is impeached, indicted, convicted and imprisoned, the party of that incumbent would be shamed, tarnished and ousted. Not in Illinois.

In any other state, when one party controls all the levers of government — governor, both houses of the state legislature and the supreme court — and that party fails to govern effectively, voters would hold them accountable and they would be ousted. Not in Illinois.

In any other state, when a governor raises $24 million over a 5-year period, much of it from vendors doing business with the state government, there should be an inkling of voter, media and legislative concern, if not outrage, over “pay to play.” Not in Illinois.

In any other state, when the speaker of the house, in power for 30 years, has a daughter who is the state attorney general, raises $6 million per election cycle from corporations and unions, and uses that money to elect compliant, controllable Democrats, voters would rebel. Not in Illinois.

In any other state, when a governor poses as a reformer, raises individual and corporate income taxes “temporarily,” then reneges on the promise and wants to make the increase permanent, his credibility is shot. Not in Illinois.

In any other state, when the governor ceaselessly panders to voter blocs, advocating gay marriage, driver’s licenses for illegal aliens and minimum wage hikes, but dithers on key fiscal issues, he’s a goner. Not in Illinois.

In most states, ethnic, racial, religious and cultural groupings typify the political environment. Among the more heterogeneous Democrats, intrinsic differences and rivalries occasionally contribute to the election of a Republican over an “unacceptable” Democrat. Not in Illinois. With the exception of conservative Glenn Poshard’s defeat for governor in 1998 by George Ryan, every Democratic constituency supports every Democrat.

In any other state, when the governor, faced with state debt of $44.7 billion, unfunded pensions of $85 billion, unpaid Medicaid bills of $7 billion, and the certainty that one-third ($10 billion) of the state’s annual revenue stream will be allocated to pension payments by 2017, he has a problem. When he adopts a pro-union position of no pension cuts, he’s a goner. Not in Illinois.

In any other state, where the governor and legislature constantly bicker and squabble, where the more liberal senate is constantly at variance with the more conservative house, and where the Democrats control both chambers by veto-proof super majorities (over 60 percent) of 40-19 and 71-47, one would expect voter disgust. Not in Illinois. In 2012 even more Democrats were elected to the General Assembly.

In Illinois, politicians who are mendacious, inept and felonious don’t poison the party well as long as they’re Democrats. Yet a Republican like George Ryan, who did what the Democrats have always done — extorted campaign donations from state employees — went to jail and poisoned the Republican statewide ticket in 2002. Of course, the equally disgraced Rod Blagojevich, now in federal prison, didn’t elicit anti-Democratic revulsion in 2010, when Pat Quinn kept the governorship by 31,834 votes.

Illinois’ problem, and Republican candidate Bruce Rauner’s conundrum in 2014, is that it has become an obsessively partisan state. The Republican brand is hugely unacceptable. Democratic abuses are overlooked. Minorities simply will not vote for any Republican candidate, no matter how repugnant the Democratic candidate is. Blacks are 15 percent of Illinois’ 2010 population of 12,864,380, Hispanics are 16 percent, and Asians are 5 percent, and the white population is 73 percent. That’s gives the Democrats a locked-in voter base of 20 to 25 percent. To win, a Republican needs to get 65 percent of the white vote. Unfortunately, white women vote for Democrats, usually by 60-40 margins, while white men back Republicans by 55-45.

In addition, Illinois has evolved into a city-state. The urban population in Chicago, the Cook County suburbs and the Collar Counties outnumbers the state’s other 95 counties by 2-1. More than 62 percent of the state’s registered voters are in the Chicago metropolitan area, and 38 percent are Downstate.

In virtually every other Midwestern state, politics is driven by ideology. The Republicans are the party of white conservatives from the suburbs or rural areas, and the Democrats are the party of white liberals, minorities, gays and feminists. The moderate or independent vote, usually about 15 to 20 percent, determines the outcome. That is the norm in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Iowa.

Interestingly, Illinois is not yet one of the country’s most habitual Democratic states. That distinction belongs to Hawaii, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, Maryland and Connecticut, all of which are city-states dominated by urban Democrats, but each of which recently has elected a Republican governor to compensate for overwhelmingly Democratic legislatures. That’s “checks and balances.” Not in Illinois.

Here’s a review of a few states:

Hawaii: Nowhere is ethnic, religious and cultural factionalism more evident than in Barack Obama’s birthplace. Hawaii makes Illinois look like an oasis of tranquility. It is a prototype of America’s emerging bi-racial society, where half of all married couples are biracial. Of the general population, 42 percent are at least partly white, 57 percent are of Japanese, Chinese or Filipino heritage, and 26 percent are native Hawaiians or Pacific Islanders. Japanese Americans are dominant. There are Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Jews. Virtually all the factions detest the Republicans.

The state’s preeminent politician was the late Daniel Inouye, a Japanese American who was a senator from 1962 to 2012 and who built the state’s Democratic machine. After becoming a state in 1959, a Republican governor was elected, but a Democrat controlled the statehouse from 1962 to 2002. Obama won the state with 71 percent of the vote in 2012. The Democrats have 24-1 and 44-7 majorities in the Senate and House. In 2002 voters rebelled and elected Jewish Republican Linda Lingle as governor. She was re-elected in 2006 but was term-limited in 2010. New York-born Congressman Neil Abercrombie won the governorship in 2010 with 58 percent of the vote, but he created a firestorm when, after Inouye’s death in 2012, he appointed white Jewish lieutenant governor Brian Schatz to the vacancy rather than Japanese-American Buddhist congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa. Now Hanabusa is challenging Schatz, and Abercrombie has a Japanese-American primary foe. It’s biracial warfare.

Honolulu’s former native Hawaiian mayor is running for governor as an independent, and the Republican candidate is Lingle’s former lieutenant governor, a Japanese American. In a three-way race, the Republican can win.

Massachusetts: Legendary for being the only state to support George McGovern in 1972 and for foisting Michael Dukakis on the Democrats in 1988, Massachusetts last voted for a Republican for president in 1956. It is a one-party state, with the Democrats up 9-0 in the congressional delegation and with legislative majorities of 36-4 in the Senate and 129-29 in the House. Obama won Massachusetts with 61 percent of the vote against the state’s former Republican governor, Mitt Romney. Yet Massachusetts had a Republican governor for 32 of the 62 years from 1952 to 2014, and continuously from 1990 to 2006. Voters are sophisticated. They intuitively understand that rapacious legislative Democrats (sounds like Illinois) need the check and balance of a Republican governor.

Rhode Island: Obama won the state with 63 percent of the vote in 2012, and the Democrats have majorities of 32-5 in the Senate and 69-6 in the House. There is no Republican presence in Providence. Yet the Democrats haven’t elected a governor since 1990. A Republican was elected in 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006, and a liberal former Republican U.S. senator was elected as an independent in 2010. The winner in November likely will be Democratic state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who is pro-charter schools and anti-union.

Vermont: The state boasts Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, as a senator. Obama won 67 percent of the vote in 2012, and the legislature is 23-7 and 97-44. Yet a Republican was the governor from 2002 to 2010 and, before Democrat Howard Dean, for many years in the 1970s and 1980s.

Maryland: Call it “Washingmore,” a true city-state comprising Baltimore and the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Illinois has had Republican governors for 38 of 62 years since 1952. In Maryland, in the 60 years since 1954, Republicans have been elected governor twice, and they served a total of 6 years. Spiro Agnew, later the disgraced vice president, won in 1966 and resigned in 1968. Bob Erlich won in 2002, defeating Bobby Kennedy’s daughter, but he lost in 2006. Obama won an astonishing 78 percent of the vote in 2012, in a state with a 31 percent black population. In November Democratic Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, will be elected to succeed Marty O’Malley, who is running for president.

Republican states such as Kansas, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Indiana and North Dakota occasionally elect a member of the opposite party as governor, as a reaction to an incumbent’s ineptitude. So do Democratic states Connecticut, New Jersey, Maine and Michigan.

However, if Quinn beats Rauner, Illinois arguably will rank as America’s most Democratic state.


This article was originally posted at the RussStewart.com blog.

Chicago Red-Light Camera Scandals

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Written by Hilary Gowins

The controversy surrounding Chicago’s red-light camera program just got even more interesting. A judge revealed he is dismissing tickets by the fistful while former key players in the program have been indicted on federal bribery charges.

Less than two weeks after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city will be reviewing more than 16,000 red-light camera tickets, a Chicago judge revealed that he has recently been dismissing as many as 70 percent of contested tickets.

During an Aug. 11 hearing, administrative judge Robert A. Sussman made the announcement that he’s been overturning a vast majority of red-light camera tickets brought before him, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Sussman’s main contention is that many red-light camera tickets are issued after a yellow light that lasts less than three seconds, which Fox 32 Chicago reports is the legally required minimum.

“I’ve been calling up a lot of tickets where the amber times are 2.9 (seconds),” Sussman told the Tribune on Tuesday. “That’s what I said on the record and I stand by that.”

Sussman’s bold stance against the city’s expansive red-light camera program – which is the largest in the country – sheds more light on just how broken the program is.

And while it’s welcome news for those whose tickets were overturned, they likely had already paid their fines months ago and may have had to miss work to contest the violation.

But that’s not all – on Aug. 13, the red-light camera program’s former leader and the ex-CEO of Redflex Traffic Systems (the city’s former vendor) were indicted on conspiracy charges related to a $2 million federal bribery investigation.

According to the Tribune:

“Prosecutors accused the former CEO, Karen Finley, of agreeing to enrich former city manager John Bills in exchange for his help securing the Chicago contract and growing it into the largest red light camera program in the nation. Bills was charged with bribery in a May criminal complaint.”

Federal prosecutors issued a press release announcing that the investigation is ongoing. Redflex is also involved in litigation in Louisiana related to a red-light camera program that ended in 2010 in Jefferson Parish.

Evidence is mounting that Chicago’s red-light camera program is less about increasing public safety and more about gaining revenue. Though Chicago’s red-light cameras have been in place for years, no comprehensive performance research exists.

Despite the lack of evidence as to the cameras’ necessity and effectiveness, Chicago  has the largest red-light camera program in the U.S., and charges a cool $100 every time a driver is cited. Red-light camera tickets have raised nearly $500 million for the city in fines, according to the Tribune.


This article was originally posted at the IllinoisPolicy.org website.

An Inside Look at How Democrats Rig the Election Game

Written by James Simpson

Elections matter. President Barack Obama proves it every day as he willfully seeks to wreck our nation. But this is very evident elsewhere, too. The 2010 elections reversed decades of Democrat majority control in state houses. Since then, GOP governors and legislatures all over the country have been restoring sanity to state government. Most Americans don’t know this of course, because the media won’t tell you.

One good example is North Carolina. Republicans took over the North Carolina legislature in 2010, and Charlotte’s popular Republican mayor, Pat McCrory, won the governor’s mansion in 2012. This gave the GOP full control of the state government for the first time since 1898. In 2013 Governor McCrory signed a new voter ID law, and a fairly strong Republican majority, willing to take political risks, took over leadership of the State Board of Elections (SBOE). The Democrats are having fits.

An interesting email received this week offers a window into how Democrats used to rig the voter game.

A History of Voter Fraud

Vote fraud has been a long-standing tradition in Democrat-controlled North Carolina. For example, in 2012 the Democrat-controlled NC State Board of Elections (SBOE) openly, blatantly violated state election law by partnering with the Obama administration in offering illegal online voter registration. The corruptadministration of Democratic Governor Beverly Purdue—who declined to seek a second term rather than face a certain punishing defeat by McCrory in 2012—did nothing.

Participating in Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’sCrosscheck” program, North Carolina’s new GOP-led SBOE matched 765 voters registered in both NC and another state with the exact name, DOB and last four digits of SSN of those who voted in both states in the 2012 election. They found a total of 35,750 matching with the exact name and DOB who voted in two states in 2012 (many states don’t provide SSN information). They also found 13,416 deceased voters on the voter rolls, some of whom have come back from the dead to vote.

Some of this will certainly wind up to be clerical errors, but elections officials believe that partisans regularly use out-of-date voter registrations of people who have died or left the state in order to vote multiple times. In so doing they are committing both vote fraud and identity theft. This is a strong case for effective voter ID laws and cleaning the voter rolls—which are in shambles nationwide.

The Eric Holder Justice Department has pointedly resisted such efforts, battling states that enact voter ID laws—including North Carolina—and even suing states that attempt to clean their rolls. The reader can judge why. Opponents to cleaning up the rolls claim they are fighting “minority voter suppression,” but following enactment of voter ID laws in NC minority voter participation in 2014 primaries spiked 29.5 percent.

Students at the historically black Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) have been captive votes for city Democrats for ages. They have literally been ordered by faculty to register and vote in Elizabeth City, whether they live there or not. Some former students have even continued to vote by absentee ballot using the college address while residing and voting in other states. In April, 2013, the county board of elections sustained 57 of 60 voter registration challenges. All voters listed ECSU as their residence.

North Carolina’s Voter Integrity Project (VIP) discovered hundreds of individuals registered to vote who declined jury duty because they claimed non-citizen status. If their non-citizen status is accurate, they committed a crime by registering to vote. More than half of them voted one or more times. VIP has identified 147 cases of double voting by NC residents who moved to Florida and managed to vote in both locations. VIP has also identified over 20,000 voters registered with false addresses. Some counties even allow voters to register with non-existent addresses. The SBOE is now following up. The former Democrat-controlled SBOE couldn’t be bothered.

The NAACP is predictably suing Governor Pat McCrory, and has subpoenaed VIP, Civitas Institute and the John Locke Foundation for all their records and lists of supporters in what is obviously an effort to intimidate and destroy the organizations. VIP Director Jay DeLancy noted with irony, “During America’s civil rights era, several Governors and Attorney Generals attempted to destroy the NAACP by demanding their membership records and then punishing their supporters. The Supreme Court banned the practice in 1964’s NAACP v. Alabama decision,” he said, “but today, the NAACP are trying to use that tactic against us—private citizens who worry about election integrity.”

A Curious Email

So now back to that email. It appears innocent enough. Nothing more than an announcement of an upcoming county board of elections meeting. It is addressed to various local news media, a few local activists, and Democracy NC. The activists’ names and emails have been deleted out of respect for their privacy.

From: Sheila Holloman [mailto:sheila.holloman@bertie.nc.gov]
Sent: Monday, August 04, 2014 11:12 AM
To: bward@ncweeklies.com; Democracy NC; gene.motley@r-cnews.com; (twhite@ncweeklies.com); Wrcs-am;
Subject: Board Meeting Date

The Bertie County Board of Elections will meet on Tuesday, August 12that 5pm at the Board of Elections Office at 210 W. Watson Street for a regular monthly meeting.

Sheila Holloman
Director
Bertie County Board of Elections
PO Box 312
Windsor, NC  27983
E-mail:  bertie.boe@ncsbe.gov
Ph:  252.794.5306
Fax:  252.794.5368

Conspicuously absent from that email are any GOP organizations or individuals who might want to participate in the process. There is nothing stopping Republicans from attending, but for some reason they are not on the list. So while the GOP has taken over the government in Raleigh, locally, many election board meetings are still packed with Democrats and their media supporters. Local activists might want to fix that.

North Carolina’s Blueprint 

Democracy NC is a large leftist activist organization that gets a lot of money from George Soros. The organization dominates state politics. Members attend every county board of elections meeting in the state, and in the past were able to browbeat election boards into accepting Democracy NC-selected locations for early voting. These were, of course, always in areas with democratic, usually minority, populations. As a result, Democrats have been able to take much more advantage of early voting and have shaped their campaigns around it.

Emails uncovered by NC Civitas, a think tank in Raleigh, found extensive coordination between Democracy NC’s Director, Bob Hall, Gary Bartlett, the (former) SBOE Chairman, and NC’s media establishment, who all work together in a coordinated effort to rig the elections and vilify political opposition in the press. Sound familiar? Here are a few goals outlined in a leaked strategy memo of Blueprint North Carolina, a notorious leftist umbrella group of non-profits, activists and media organizations that includes Democracy NC and many others:

  • “Crippling their leaders ([Gov.] McCrory, [House Speaker] Tillis, [Senate President Pro Tem] Berger etc.).” (Tillis is now in a close race for the U.S. Senate with Democrat Kay Hagan. Ed.)
  • “Eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”
  • “Pressure McCrory at every public event.”
  • “Private investigators and investigative reporting, especially in the executive branch. …”
  • “Organizers focus on year round voter registration. …”

Blueprint NC is simply North Carolina’s application of the Democrats’ Blueprint, a nationwide strategy using the same smear tactics. It was originally developed in Colorado to turn the state blue using the vast funding of a few ultra-partisan leftist billionaires. Their example birthed Democracy Alliance, a secretive group of billionaires dedicated to pushing America into the socialist camp. Anyone who cares about America’s future, but is unfamiliar with Blueprint or DA, is well advised to bone up.

north carolina leftist non profits

North Carolina’s Constellation of Leftist Non-profits

NC Democrats are still vilifying, but HB 589, the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA) voter ID law passed in 2013, really messed up their game. In addition to requiring photo voter ID, which will make all the forms of vote fraud described earlier much more difficult, the law abolished same-day registration and voting, reduced early voting from 17 to 10 days, and added some obscure but very meaningful provisions.

As a price for passing the legislation, Democrats demanded that while early voting days could be reduced to 10, the number of hours couldn’t. This meant, in many cases, more early voting locations had to be found. Unexpectedly, this put Democrats in a quandary. There are only so many potential voting sites in many districts, and in order to find new locations, local boards of elections have been forced to look outside their reliably Democratic voting areas. Republicans may finally be able to early vote in numbers.

Video

The accompanying video shows the Democrat-led SBOE discussing ways to handle 767 provisional votes that could not be verified as legitimate during the 2012 election. All the votes were cast outside of the county where the voter was legally required to vote. SBOE Director Gary Bartlett is on the right doing most of the talking. He offers many reasons voters might have done this. For example, they didn’t know any better, had moved within 30 days—which would make the vote legal—or they were lying. These votes were important, as one member describes, because there was a recount in process. In one state senate race, candidates were separated by only 21 votes. One of the three Democratic members asks (there was only one Republican on the Board), “But at this point none of these ballots are counted?” Bartlett responds, “Yes they are.” Surprised, the member asks, “For the statewide race?” Bartlett answers, “For every race…” All of the votes were counted even though they were made outside of their legal districts because voting officials did not have sufficient time to check records. What is not stated is that Bartlett, who had been in the post for 20 years, set the deadlines for verifying provisional ballots. Bartlett is also among the NAACP’s list of plaintiff witnesses.

Numbering Provisional Ballots

Here’s another change that is making Democrats scream. The elimination of same-day voter registration and voting abolished a lot of fraud because verifying same-day registrations takes time, and often couldn’t or wouldn’t be completed before the certification date. Votes that couldn’t be verified still counted. But worse for vote fraudsters, the new law has reestablished the requirement to number provisional votes. Why does this matter?

Provisional ballots are supposed to be placed in separate envelopes to be verified following elections. According to Civitas Institute Policy Analyst Susan Myrick, a former Wake County elections official and one of the state’s foremost experts on voting law, what often happened in those minority districts that Democracy NC loves so much was that provisional ballots ended up in the regular voting box instead of in a safe place waiting to be researched and approved.

An innocent mistake, right? No problem. With a numbering system, all one had to do was find the provisional vote in the box, set it aside and verify it. Except that in recent years, Democrats removed the requirement to number provisional votes. That meant, if the vote went into a voting box instead of the envelope set aside for provisional votes, it got counted, period, and there was no way to verify its validity.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is one of many obscure little ways Democrats in North Carolina rigged elections in their favor. In safe Democrat districts, away from the prying eyes of poll watchers, phony provisional ballots easily found their way into the voting box to be counted as legitimate votes. Elections do matter, and North Carolina’s dedicated activists and newly-installed political leaders deserve credit for seeking to restore integrity to the process under a tidal wave of hate-filled invective and frivolous lawsuits launched by a bunch of sore losers.


This article was originally posted at the Accuracy in Media website.

Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Makes Huge Stand Against “Clearly Incompetent” Obama

Originally posted at ConservativeTribune.com

President Barack Obama has not enjoyed many successes in his five-plus years in office, though the number of mistakes, scandals, and total failures continue to mount: Syria’s civil war continues unabated. A terrorist released from Guantanamo Bay is currently leading the radical Islamist ISIS group invading Iraq. Lois Lerner’s IRS scandal grows more damning with each new revelation. Obamacare suffers one legal defeat after another, with more likely in the offing.

The long litany of Obama’s problems has led an increasing number to wonder at what such an ineffectual person is doing occupying the Oval Office. Some have gone so far as to call for his impeachment.

Adding his name to the list of those who question whether Barack Obama is equal to the task of leading the free world is Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Dan Hampton, who in the discussion of another crisis–Russia’s adventurism in the Ukraine–dismisses the president as not even worth talking about.

From Breitbart:

Retired Air Force Lt. Colonel and author of “Viper Pilot: A Memoir of Air Combat,” Dan Hampton, ripped President Obama on Wednesday’s “Hannity” on the Fox News Channel.

“I don’t want to get into Barack Obama and the White House. He’s clearly incompetent and it’s a waste of time” Hampton declared.

He also pointed out that finding an individual who could use the missile used to shoot down the airliner would not be difficult because “Ukraine was part of the USSR for the entire time there was a USSR. So finding somebody in the rebel separatist forces that had been trained on [the missile that shot down the Malaysia Airlines flight] isn’t going to be a far stretch. So I don’t see any smoking gun there.”

Conspiracy theories regarding President Obama and his execution of his liberal agenda abound. Some undoubtedly make more sense than others, but all imply his competence–that he knows, in short, what he’s doing and how to do it.

Each new revelation of this president’s actions, combined with his lack of leadership on the world scene, seems to call that claim into greater question.

Regardless of whether by calculation or clumsiness, there can be no doubt that America and most Americans are worse off than they were when Barack Obama took office in 2008.

Please share this article if you agree that President Barack Obama is incompetent and unequal to the task of leading the greatest nation in the world.

Unimpeachable Tales in Washington

 

Written by Robert Knight

All this talk of Republicans on the verge of impeaching President Barack Obama is nonsense, stoked by Democrats and a few wistful conservatives who dream aloud about what, in a constitutional republic, should actually happen to a lawless president.

With Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) running the U.S. Senate, however, it’s not going to happen right now, regardless of the clear merit. If the U.S. House passed an impeachment resolution, Reid would give it no more respect than a used tissue – after waving it around to whip up the party’s base.

House Speaker John Boehner has said this clearly to no good effect other than to provide more ammo to the Left. His denials have had roughly the same impact as when Richard Nixon assured us, “I’m not a crook.” It’s never good to repeat something that your opponents want to pin on you.

But now we have to listen to revisionist history on top of all this.

U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) impugned the motives of Mr. Boehner for bringing to a floor vote last Wednesday a resolution to sue Mr. Obama for usurping powers delegated by the Constitution to Congress. The measure passed on a party line vote of 225 to 221.

“I ask my colleagues to oppose this resolution for it is in fact a veiled attempt for impeachment and it undermines the law that allows a president to do his job,” Ms. Jackson Lee said, reading from the North Korean Constitution. Just kidding about that last part.

She noted, as reported by the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, that Democrats who were upset over the war in Iraq “did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.”

To do what? Anything he wants, apparently.

Ms. Jackson Lee seems to have forgotten that she was one of 11 Democrat co-sponsors of a resolution introduced by U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) in June 2008, entitled, ”Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors.”

If you don’t think that was about impeachment, I have some cool, arid, mountainous, seaside property to sell you in Ms. Jackson Lee’s Houston, Texas district.

Just because the impeachment bill didn’t go anywhere doesn’t mean Ms. Jackson Lee can rewrite history, even if that’s her hobby. In January, she said that Americans have done little to help the poor, and that the word “welfare” should be replaced by “transitional living fund.”

As noted on the website DiscovertheNetworks.org, on other occasions, she declared in 2005 that the United States has been a constitutional republic for 400 years (not 217 years), and that astronaut Neil Armstrong planted an American flag on Mars (not the moon).

She outdid herself back in 2010, when she took to the floor to tell fellow congressmen that, in Vietnam, “Victory had been achieved. Today we have two Vietnams, side by side, North and South, exchanging and working. We may not agree with all that North Vietnam is doing, but they are living in peace. I would look for a better human rights record for North Vietnam, but they are living side by side.”

The North won the war in 1975 and tucked the South into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 1976.

On the bright side, at least Rep. Jackson Lee knows that Vietnam is a country or two. Many graduates today think that “Vietnamese” is merely a type of ethnic food.

Speaking of the concept of “victory,” I’d like to go retro for a moment and take issue with something regarded for decades in the popular and political culture as really clever. In 1966, U.S. Sen. George D. Aiken, a liberal Republican from Vermont, suggested that the United States should declare victory in Vietnam and leave. That sage advice has been repeated ad nauseum over the years.

I bet the immediate victims of the communist takeover or the hundreds of thousands of boat people who fled are not laughing. To be fair to Sen. Aiken, what he actually said was far more nuanced:

“The United States could well declare unilaterally … that we have ‘won’ in the sense that our armed forces are in control of most of the field and no potential enemy is in a position to establish its authority over South Vietnam. … It may be a far-fetched proposal, but nothing else has worked.”

Even before Twitter, this half-serious analysis became “declare victory and pull out” – the all-purpose, smart aleck answer to what America should have done. In fact, it’s still being used in reference to Iraq, which is descending into murderous madness. Are we laughing yet?

The same month that Ms. Jackson Lee made her gaffe about Vietnam, she spoke at an NAACP meeting where, as “Gateway Pundit” Glenn Reynolds reports, she derided Tea Party members as racists, saying:

“All those who wore [Klansman] sheets a long time ago have now lifted them off and started wearing [applause], uh, clothing, uh, with a name, say, I am part of the Tea Party.”

Well, this fits President Obama’s supporters’ mantra that anyone opposing his authoritarianism or disastrous foreign policies is a hater.

Responding to the House vote to sue him, Mr. Obama actually told Republicans, “just stop hatin’ all the time.”

Whatever else that is, it’s not presidential. It’s right down there with Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. warning Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert at a hearing, “you don’t want to go there, buddy.”

In a few years, Ms. Jackson Lee will probably tell us that the two men had been discussing vacation plans.


Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.com, where this article was originally posted.

Big Government’s IT Problem

There’s a reason so many states didn't create their own health exchanges. 

Written by Michael Barone

Earlier this week, I was thinking of writing a column about the lying and duplicity of Obamacare backers who argued that the difference between providing subsidies in states with state-run health exchanges and providing no subsidies in states with federal exchanges resulted from inadvertence or a typographical error.

Typical among them was MIT health-care expert Jonathan Gruber. The folks at the Competitive Enterprise Institute found video of him in 2012 arguing that all or most states would create their own exchanges because they wouldn’t get subsidies if they let the federal government run their exchanges. That was just a “speako” (the oral equivalent of a typo), Gruber replied.

And Phil Kerpen of American Commitment published 2010 comments from New Republic health-care maven Jonathan Cohn in which he explained that “a state could opt out of the exchanges.” But it’s “not something I’ve looked into that closely,” Cohn added.

Yet people like Gruber, Cohn, and columnist E. J. Dionne attacked the D.C. Circuit’s Halbig v. Burwell decision – which, quoting the statute’s language, ruled that subsidies can’t be paid in states with federal exchanges – as “judicial activism,” based on a typo.

And White House press secretary Josh Earnest, not evidently a legal scholar, explained that Congress wanted to give lots of people lots of money – so who cares what the law says?

But, on reflection, I decided that there’s something other than blatant dishonesty and political hackery going on here. It’s something that discredits Obamacare in particular and big-government enterprises generally more than run-of-the-mill partisan dishonesty: Cohn in 2010 and Gruber in 2012 evidently really believed that almost all states would set up their own exchanges, because their residents would get more money than if the feds ran the exchange.

That’s how federal powers have increased over the years. Congress can’t order states to adopt policies, but it can dangle money in front of them if they meet certain conditions. That’s how we got the 21-year-old drinking age even though the 22nd Amendment recognizes states’ powers to regulate alcohol.

As Cohn notes, that’s how Medicaid, passed in 1965, worked, too. Forty-nine states signed on by 1972. Only Arizona held out until 1982.

So why did 36 states refuse to create their own health exchanges? One reason is that Obamacare turned out to be massively unpopular. Another is that conservative policy experts argued it would weaken the law. Most important, setting up health exchanges is hard to do. Government doesn’t handle information technology well, here or around the world. The State Department’s visa system is currently offline for weeks, keeping businessmen, tourists, and exchange students from entering the country. The FBI had to abandon a massive IT project after spending hundreds of millions of dollars. These bureaucracies did a good job of delivering passports and maintaining files in the industrial age. But they can’t keep up in the information age. Moore’s Law says that computer capacity doubles in two years or less. Government procurement cycles are a lot longer than that.

Governors and legislators had reason to fear that state health exchange IT wouldn’t work well (as it hasn’t in about half the states that tried), and that they would get blamed — and blamed for being associated with an unpopular law.

All of which suggests a broader lesson. Government was reasonably good at replicating the bureaucratic processes of large corporations in the industrial age. But it’s not very good — it’s often downright incompetent — at replicating the IT processes of firms such as Walmart and Amazon.

Markets work better than government ukase in the information age. The Medicare Part D prescription drug program, with many market components, has produced high satisfaction and costs lower than projections. Obamacare has not done as well.

Obamacare required states to expand Medicaid or lose all Medicaid funds. In June 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7–2 that this violates the Constitution. Once they had a choice, some Republican states chose more Medicaid money. But 21 states have said “No, thanks” to the extra funds, and three are debating the issue. Only 54 percent of Americans are receiving Medicaid programs Obamacare promised to give — or impose on — everyone.

This is not what Obamacare boosters like Gruber and Cohn expected. They thought Obamacare money would be too tantalizing to resist. But for many or most states, it wasn’t.

The Obamacare cheerleaders failed to understand that in this information age most Americans mistrust big-government policies.


— Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.  This article was originally published at National Review Online.

Modified by Matthew Medlen.com