In the horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Ringside Politics bestowed its first “Turkey of the Year” award to then New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin for his woeful leadership, bad judgment and embarrassing statements. Since then, we have been recognizing “turkeys” from both of the major political parties. For example, in 2014, we gave the “Turkey of the Year” award to a very worthy recipient, Republican House Speaker John Boehner.
After years of putting the spotlight on “turkeys” we are pleased to announce our first “Champion of the Year.” For 2014, there is no one more qualified for this honor than U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Cruz is unquestionably brilliant and he has the academic credentials to prove it. He received his undergraduate degree from Princeton and graduated from Harvard Law magna cum laude. He was an award winning debater in college and the primary editor of the Law Review at Harvard. Eventually, he clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, becoming the first Hispanic (Cuban father) ever to hold such a position. From 2003-2008, he served as Solicitor General for the State of Texas, successfully arguing five cases before the Supreme Court.
In 2012, he scored a major upset in the Texas Republican primary for U.S. Senate by easily defeating Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, the establishment’s preferred candidate, and coasting to victory in the general election. He has been fighting the establishment in both parties ever since.
The U.S. Senate has never seen the likes of Ted Cruz. He does not play by the rules or the politics as usual game. Instead, Cruz acts independently, displays tremendous courage and a strong commitment to conservative values.
Last year, he led the fourth longest filibuster in Senate history to highlight the outrage of Obamacare. Although he was unsuccessful in achieving his goal of defunding Obamacare, Cruz succeeded in focusing the nation’s attention on the failed program. When his actions led to a brief government shutdown, his critics said Cruz would cost Republican seats in the next election. As usual, the establishment was wrong and Cruz’s emphasis on Obamacare helped the Republican Party win a historic victory in the mid-term elections.
In 2014, Cruz was undeterred by the relentless criticism. He fought the President’s net neutrality initiative and the misguided effort to tax the Internet. Last week, he led a group of conservative Senators in demanding a recorded vote on the President’s illegal executive decision to grant amnesty to five million undocumented aliens. Cruz’s position upset Senators from both parties who wanted to spend the weekend at home, instead of working for the American people.
Cruz is unabashedly pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. In recent days, he has rightly criticized President Obama’s unwise deal with the communist regime in Cuba. No matter how controversial the issue, Cruz can be expected to take a courageous stand, firmly rooted in the U.S. Constitution, traditional values and conservative principles.
Hopefully, he will run for President and give grassroots conservatives an alternative to establishment candidates like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
It is essential for a conservative like Cruz to win the GOP nomination in 2016. Otherwise, the party cannot win the presidency, as has been demonstrated in the last several elections.
Republicans need a presidential candidate who can articulate a clear, convincing conservative message and who is not afraid to debate. In the last election, Mitt Romney played defense in the last two presidential debates and lost the election. Romney had multiple positions on key issues, but, with Ted Cruz, Republicans have a leader who is steadfast and has the courage of his convictions.
He is the obvious choice for Ringside Politics Champion of the Year.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush’s announcement today that he will “actively explore” the presidency marks the start of an 18 month battle for control of the Republican Party.
On one side are Bush, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the candidates of the establishment or moderate wing of the party. On the other side are the conservatives who comprise the list of almost two dozen potential presidential candidates.
The nomination battle will be fierce, expensive and “wide open,” according to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who believes the race will be heavily contested and the most “open on our side since 1940.” Gingrich certainly knows his subject matter, since he lost the GOP nomination contest in 2012 to moderate heartthrob Mitt Romney. In fact, moderates have won the GOP presidential nomination every year since 1960, with the exception of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984.
While moderates have been successful in winning the nomination, the record shows that since 1992, Republican presidential nominees have either lost as moderate candidates or in the case of George W. Bush, won the White House masquerading as a conservative.
A conservative presidential nominee would give Republicans the best chance of defeating a liberal Democrat opponent. Unfortunately, the challenge has always been to wrest the nomination away from the party’s establishment moderate establishment wing, which always has superior funding and political endorsements.
Another critical problem for conservatives is that their votes are usually split between several viable presidential candidates, as was the case in 2012. In that nomination contest, Mitt Romney was the only moderate candidate in the race and garnered universal support from that wing of the party.
In contrast, the 2016 presidential race will feature at least two and possibly three moderate candidates splitting the votes. With Bush and Christie likely in the race, the big question becomes whether Mitt Romney will once again throw his hat in the ring.
On the conservative side, there are multiple Governors, U.S. Senators and potential wild card candidates like Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson who are sizing up the race right now. The clock is ticking for these potential candidates to make up their mind because in the upcoming nomination battle, the primaries and convention will be held earlier, with an official nominee being selected by June of 2016.
Thus, conservatives face the challenge of the calendar and the incredible financial demands of a serious race for the presidency. It remains to be seen how many of the roughly two dozen conservative candidates can raise the necessary funds to be a legitimate contender for the nomination.
While conservatives will struggle for funding, Jeb Bush will have plenty of money as his last name will give him a tremendous advantage. It is also a handicap because millions of conservatives are tired of the Bush family controlling the Republican Party.
The legacy of the Bush presidencies has been quite negative. Bush, Sr. raised taxes after promising “no new taxes,” while Bush, Jr. almost doubled the national debt, created new entitlement programs and foisted upon the country a massive new government department and bureaucracy.
If elected, Jeb Bush will likely follow in the footsteps of his brother and father. He advocates the controversial Common Core educational program; he supports immigration reform, which conservatives believe is glorified amnesty. He is also an advocate of gun purchase background checks, but not a supporter of the National Rifle Association.
Among many reputable conservatives, Bush’s record is quite troubling. Overall, Bush is “a very good moderate Democrat,” according to talk show host Mark Levin. Legendary activist and direct mail expert Richard Viguerie says that conservatives “don’t trust” Jeb Bush. In the view of Regan biographer Craig Shirley, the Bush family has a very disturbing history of battling conservatives as they “got their start in 1980 opposing Reagan and Reaganism, as they continue to do today.”
In making his Facebook announcement, Bush declared that he wanted to restore the “promise of America.” In reality, he wants to restore the ultimate political power for his family’s dynasty. Our country’s promise cannot be restored by electing the third member of the Bush family since 1993 to serve as President.
As noted by Trump, who is not only a famous business tycoon, but also is known for his ability to turn a phrase, our country “does not need another Bush that I can tell you.” In other words, before we can hire Jeb Bush as President, let’s steal a famous Trump phrase and tell him, “You’re fired.”
On the eve of her election defeat, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) appeared as a guest on my radio program, Ringside Politics, on WGSO 990 AM in New Orleans.
Over the past 16 years as host of Ringside Politics, I have interviewed Senator Landrieu over a dozen times. In the past, she would call in to promote a particular issue or cause, usually engaging in pleasant conversation or good natured debate.
Our relationship certainly changed in our last radio interview, which occurred over a year ago on the contentious topic of Internet taxes. It was a testy exchange as the Senator and I clashed on whether the government should extend its reach into Internet commerce and tax consumers who purchase goods online.
After our on air tax debate, the Senator refrained from appearing on my program, even though she had an open invitation. She finally relented on election eve and called in for an interview, which was a sign of her last minute desperation facing a major political loss. At the time of the interview, no respectable political analyst gave her any chance of winning re-election.
With her losing badly and battling a cold, it was clear from the beginning of the interview that Senator Landrieu was unhappy.
Initially, we discussed her infamous decision to support Obamacare and later her 97% support for President Obama and finally the shocking allegations made by State Senator Elbert Guillory (R-Opelousas) that there was rampant election fraud in her last election. In fact, Guillory alleged that 10% of Landrieu’s votes were fraudulent in the last election.
The Senator abruptly left the conversation before I could ask the dozens of questions submitted by listeners, who wanted to know why she supported the President on issues such as gun control, amnesty for illegal aliens, higher spending, more taxes, etc.
In our 11 minute exchange, she had to defend her vote on Obamacare and was unable to engage in her favorite topic of recent days: Bill Cassidy’s LSU payments and potential billing discrepancies.
Here is a link to the heated interview, http://bit.ly/1z35sEe, which showed how much pressure Senator Landrieu felt with her 35 year political career ending. However, she had no one to blame but herself for her political downfall.
While she was surely abandoned by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and her fellow Democratic Senators on the Keystone Pipeline issue, she would not have been so vulnerable if she would have listened to the people of Louisiana.
In the end, she was too invested in liberalism to connect with the voters of her state. She supported President Obama 97% of the time, while Louisiana voters only give President Obama a 37% approval rating, so it was clear she did a very poor job of representing her constituents.
She has a lifetime American Conservative Union voting record of only 20%. While that might work in Vermont, it is miserably out of step in the red state of Louisiana.
The majority of Louisiana voters were very motivated to vote against Mary Landrieu and Barack Obama for a variety of reasons, but the most important one is Obamacare. During the deliberations on the legislation, voters throughout the state bombarded Landrieu’s office with postcards, emails and calls demanding that she vote no on the bill.
Instead of listening to our concerns, she voted with President Obama. The result has been much worse than a billion dollar waste of a website; it has been massive job losses, work hours being cut, many Americans losing their doctor and millions of people facing higher insurance premiums. Today, doctors are fleeing an industry in turmoil thanks to Mary Landrieu and President Obama.
Sadly, Senator Landrieu was irritable on the air last Friday. It was not the way she should have ended her political career. Maybe she had regrets about her poor decisions in office or maybe she was just upset that her privileged lifestyle will be coming to an end. Either way, it was a good lesson for Bill Cassidy.
Hopefully, our new Senator will never forget that he works for the people of Louisiana, not a political party and certainly not a politician or a President.
Each year during the Thanksgiving season, Americans enjoy turkey as the main course in cherished family dinner traditions. However, at Ringside Politics, we evaluate political or media “turkeys” who have been nominated for our annual award.
As usual, we had plenty of nominees to consider for the 2014 “Turkey of the Year Award.” Unlike most honors our award is not coveted, for the honoree should hold his or her head in shame. The winner is someone who engaged in especially dumb behavior, befitting of the pea brained fowl we carve up each year at the holiday dinner table.
Past winners have included political “turkeys” like former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and former New Orleans Congressman Bill Jefferson, who both sit in federal prison today; filmmaker Michael Moore, who continually embarrasses himself; and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose idiotic statements could be cataloged into several volumes.
At Ringside Politics, our awards are bestowed in a bi-partisan manner, so, this year, it is especially appropriate that we give the “Turkey of the Year Award” to a Republican, Speaker of the House John Boehner.
When Mr. Boehner is not crying during an interview, tanning at the salon, or playing golf with Barack Obama, he is “leading” congressional Republicans. He is the most powerful Republican in the country today, as he is third in line to the presidency, but he does not exude confidence or leadership ability. He is a dyed in the wool member of the establishment, so he holds the Tea Party in low regard.
Sadly, the Speaker is bereft of courage, principles and political instincts. Despite the overwhelming Republican victory on November 4 and the President’s unconstitutional executive amnesty order, Speaker Boehner abdicated his authority and left for Thanksgiving vacation.
While the President is running roughshod over a Congress that has been called “inert” by constitutional professor Jonathan Turley, Boehner refuses to act decisively. For example, it took almost two years for a special house committee to be established to investigate the Benghazi attack. When Attorney General Eric Holder refused to provide Congress the needed documents on the Fast and Furious investigation and former IRS official Lois Lerner refused to cooperate on the charges her agency harassed Tea Party groups, both were held in Contempt of Congress. Unfortunately, nothing else has happened to either transgressor.
In the most recent outrage, President Obama creatively expanded executive power to grant amnesty to 5 million illegal immigrants. In response, Boehner did nothing, which is how he responds whenever the President violates the constitution.
He has moved to the left by signing a climate change agreement limiting our carbon emissions, appointing a very liberal Attorney General, and offering a bold plan to increase government oversight of the Internet. All of these initiatives are threats to this country and they should be met with a confident and clear response as Republican leaders should explore all political and legal remedies.
Since losing the mid-term election, the President has become emboldened, acting aggressively on a range of issues. He is not compromising; he is pursuing his agenda, regardless of Congress.
The Republicans just won the mid-term elections, but they are acting like the losers while the President, the big loser, is acting like the winner. Boehner is advising caution, while Obama is swinging for the fences. Republicans won the mid-term because Americans wanted the GOP to stop the Obama agenda, but, to stop it; Boehner needs to show courageous leadership.
Unfortunately, while he is reluctant to tangle with the President or illegal immigration activists, Boehner is more than willing to fight the grassroots conservatives in his own party. Maybe conservatives looking for a champion can find one in the 2016 presidential line-up of candidates, but they do not have one as House Speaker or incoming Senate Majority Leader for that matter.
Conservatives flocked to the polls in the mid-term election to restore Republicans to leadership positions in the U.S. Senate and retain control of the House, but to what avail? If the GOP in Congress will not stand up to Obama, what good is having the leadership positions?
Some in Congress have called for impeachment, lawsuits or defunding all of the activities associated with the executive amnesty. The least attractive option is to do nothing, but that has been the congressional response to date. Boehner says that the House “will act” and that Obama is “damaging the presidency,” but such rhetoric is just empty words if it is backed up by no response.
In the mid-term races, many Republican candidates campaigned on the illegal immigration issue, claiming they would stop amnesty. Now, efforts to eliminate funding for executive amnesty are being opposed by House GOP leaders who claim they do not have the power to deny funding. Baloney, according to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who asserts that Congress “has the power” to remove such funding and that “it can be done.”
Maybe Boehner and the GOP establishment are worried about a government shutdown or too afraid of their big business donors who demand cheap labor. Maybe they are scared of Hispanic leaders who will cry racism if Republicans advocate following the existing law, building the border fence and prosecuting businesses that knowingly hire illegal labor. Who knows the exact fears, but while the GOP is frozen with inaction, the President will move forward with the next radical item on his agenda, oppressive environmental regulations for example.
This inaction could split the tenuous Republican coalition that assembled for the mid-term elections. Without action on key issues such as executive amnesty, Tea Party conservatives may start to bolt from the GOP.
At the current time, bold action is required from the Republican Party, but Americans should expect little to nothing since the GOP is saddled with John Boehner at the helm.
Thus far he has proven to be a perfect “Turkey of the Year” but not much of a Speaker of the House.