America’s ‘Last Chance’
On the eve of the Iowa caucuses, where the first ballots for the next president were cast, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who has not endorsed a candidate, gave a round of interviews declaring that 2016 “is the last chance for the American people to take back control of their government. . . . This election is different because we have pell mell erosion of law, the constitutional order, where President Obama has pushed an agenda that eviscerates the immigration legal system, and pushed this trade agreement that will commence decades of transferring American economic power to an ever-expanding international commission. It’s just not going to stop.”
“This is the way the European Union began,” he added. Daily news reports are now vividly describing how the EU is disintegrating, making Americans mighty glad we never joined any proposed North American Union.
Europe has been in an uproar for months over Germany’s decision to admit 1.1 million refugees, mostly young men of fighting age from war-torn countries, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has finally started to backtrack from that reckless decision. Merkel announced that refugees will be sent back home after the war is over in their homeland, and she even suggested that border guards should shoot at migrants who try to enter Germany illegally.
In Britain, meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has been trying to get permission from the EUrocrats to impose a four-year waiting period for England’s generous welfare benefits, in order to discourage new immigrants from other EU countries. A spokesman for the grassroots organization called Leave EU points out that even if Cameron’s proposal were approved, “we are not even asking for an end to the supremacy of EU law over national law, genuine control over migration or independent representation on global bodies and the power to make our own trade deals.”
Our nation’s sovereignty depends on control of both immigration and trade, and that’s why Senator Sessions urges voters to choose candidates who promise to kill the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal with nearly a dozen Asian nations. A new study by economists at Tufts University predicts that U.S. ratification of the TPP would shrink our GDP by $100 billion, leading to a loss of 448,000 American jobs.
“This election will be the last chance for Americans to get control of their government,” said Sessions, after 30 years of promises to end illegal immigration. “I think this election is the big one.”
“To win, Republicans need to demonstrate that they care about the average person who goes to work every day,” he added. Average Americans are tired of paying billions in welfare handouts to immigrants who are undermining U.S. wages. People should have total confidence and a clear commitment on those issues. If they don’t, then they don’t have my vote,” he said.
The importance of Sessions’ statements on key issues in the presidential race, especially immigration and TPP, should not be underestimated. Sessions warned that, if the next president approves the TPP, it would put our trade with Asia under a powerful international commission on which the United States would have only one vote.
Our immigration policy has been anti-American, decade after decade, and the voters need to know that 2016 might be our last chance to elect a president who can reduce this tide of illegals crossing our borders. The interests of working Americans must “be put first,” Sessions urged. “We need a president with the credibility to tell the world that the time of illegality is over. Do not come to this country unlawfully,” he said.
“Make sure — because this could be the last chance — that the vote you cast is for a person who is going to, with courage and steadfastness, fix the immigration system that’s so broken and is impacting adversely Americans’ safety, their wages, their hospitals, their schools,” Sessions said during an appearance on the Howie Carr radio program, which is heard throughout New Hampshire.
“And also we need to know with absolute clarity: are you for or against the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” he added. “It must not pass.”
Justice Scalia’s Untimely Death Should Wake Up Congress
The passing of Justice Antonin Scalia is a terrible loss for our Nation, and a reason for Republicans to rethink their approach to the judicial branch of our government. Scalia’s departure leaves conservatives at a 5-3 disadvantage on the Supreme Court for all-important social issues, with the prospect of a Democratic president increasing that margin to a commanding 6-3 majority.
Nearly all the Republican presidential candidates urged the Senate not to allow a lame-duck president to fill that vacancy. They pointed out that this vacancy hangs in the balance for the upcoming presidential election.
Several GOP candidates promised to appoint a justice who will interpret the Constitution as it was written, rather than changing it as liberals want. But by now it should be painfully obvious that picking good judges is not sufficient to stop liberal activism by the courts.
Of course Senate Republicans should block President Obama from filling this Supreme Court vacancy in an election year, and they have 80 years of precedent on their side. But Republicans should go further and block nominations for all the other vacancies in the federal judiciary, too.
Reagan and Scalia
Obama has already placed more than 300 judges on the federal bench with little or no opposition by Senate Republicans. He has already handpicked roughly the same number of federal judges as George W. Bush did in his entire two terms.
Let’s not pretend that merely electing a Republican President will repair the damage caused by liberal judges. President Reagan had three vacancies on the Supreme Court, yet placed only one conservative there, Justice Scalia, and President George W. Bush picked a Chief Justice who wrote two decisions upholding Obamacare.
Less than two years ago, the five Republican appointees on the Supreme Court had the opportunity to end the power of labor unions to collect compulsory dues from government workers such as teachers. But they blinked amid liberal objections and instead awaited a future opportunity, and now their 5-4 majority on this issue is lost for the foreseeable future.
It’s fine for the Republican presidential candidates to point out that a vacancy on the Supreme Court is part of the upcoming election, and to promise to fill Justice Scalia’s immense shoes with someone similar. But even if a Republican wins the upcoming presidential election, even if he picks another Justice Scalia, and even if he is confirmed by the Senate, the federal judiciary will still be stuffed with hundreds of activist judges appointed by Obama, Clinton, and even Jimmy Carter.
The Founders gave Congress everything necessary to take power away from this runaway federal judiciary. Congress can deprive the federal courts of power over immigration, abortion and marriage, and can completely defund enforcement of bad federal court decisions that are already on the books.
Congress spent months trying unsuccessfully to defund Planned Parenthood, a laudable goal, but Congress can more effectively defund enforcement of the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage decisions by the judiciary without sparking a phony “war on women” debate.
Congress should also defund use of taxpayer money by the Department of Justice to push the liberal agenda in the liberal courts. Congress should cut back on the funding for the courts themselves, too, and eliminate rather than fill some of the vacancies.
While some presidential candidates promise to work with Congress, none of them promise to rein in the Supreme Court in the absence of Justice Scalia. None of them promise to stand up against an unconstitutional order by an activist court by refusing to enforce it, as the next president could do with respect to activist Supreme Court rulings on immigration, abortion, and marriage.
Justice Scalia left us with his brilliant, colorful writings both on and off the bench. One of the best was his stinging dissent from the same-sex marriage ruling called Obergefell v. Hodges.
Scalia recalled Alexander Hamilton’s assurance that the judiciary would be the “least dangerous” branch of the federal government, because it “must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm,” and of the states, “even for the efficacy of its judgments.” Scalia concluded: “With each decision of ours that takes from the People a question properly left to them — with each decision that is unabashedly based not on law, but on the ‘reasoned judgment’ of a bare majority of this Court — we move one step closer to being reminded of our impotence.”
The answer is not gimmicks like a Constitutional Convention being pushed in some state legislatures — which Justice Scalia properly called a “horrible idea” — but a Congress and a new president who do their constitutional duty to limit the power of the Supreme Court to change our laws on immigration, abortion, and marriage.
Will the Republican Establishment Stand Down?
As Republicans prepare to cast their first presidential ballots in Iowa and New Hampshire, the field remains dominated by “outsider” candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, while Establishment favorites Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich and Marco Rubio have been unable to advance to the finals. Will the Republican kingmakers and consultants who picked every nominee since Reagan (Bush, Dole, Bush, McCain and Romney) step aside to let the grassroots, also known as the “base,” work its will this year?
After months of waiting for Trump to self-destruct, the Washington-based Republican Establishment whom I labeled the “kingmakers” in A Choice Not An Echo has finally found a way to take back control of the party from the outsiders and grassroots. The plan revolves around the newly empowered House Speaker, Paul Ryan, who is openly contemptuous of Trump and has little use for Cruz.
To signal his intentions, Ryan tapped South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to give the official Republican response to President Obama’s final State of the Union address. Haley admitted she cleared her remarks with the Speaker, who then let it be known that she would be a fine choice for vice president.
With Ryan’s blessing, Haley used her national platform to slam the “angriest voices” in the presidential campaign and disavow the Republican front-runner’s popular call for a temporary pause in Muslim immigration. She seemed to be responding more to Trump than Obama, so it’s no wonder that her speech was praised by Obama’s press secretary and the White House chief of staff.
The Spanish-language version of Haley’s response was delivered by Congressman Diaz-Balart, who was also selected by Speaker Ryan. According to a translation provided by the Miami Herald, Diaz-Balart promised that Republicans would work toward “a legislative solution . . . to those who live in the shadows” (i.e., amnesty), and would also “modernize the visa system and push the economy forward” (i.e., import even more low-wage guest workers).
Ryan then led Republicans on a two-day retreat with an “aspirational agenda” of “inclusiveness and optimism,” which is meant to be a direct contrast to the campaign themes of Trump and Cruz. Much favorable press coverage describes Ryan as a “counterweight to Trump” or the “anti-Trump” who wants to give the eventual nominee a “platform to run on.”
Memo to the Speaker: the official Republican platform will be written and adopted by delegates to the national convention, most of whom are disappointed with the ineffectiveness of the Boehner-Cantor-McCarthy-Ryan Congress. As a veteran of past platform writing committees, I promise that this year’s delegates will have no use for Ryan’s open-borders ideology, which holds that anyone who can find a low-wage job should be allowed to settle in the United States.
Paul Ryan obviously resents the rise of Trump and Cruz and would do anything in his power to prevent either from winning the nomination, but could he influence the convention? To answer that question, consider a remarkable article in the Wall Street Journal by the kingmakers’ top lawyer, Ben Ginsberg.
Ginsberg predicts “pure chaos” if the convention opens on July 18 with no candidate holding a majority of the delegates, and he suggests plausible scenarios by which the Establishment kingmakers could try to manage a “chaotic” convention to produce a nominee acceptable to them. The RNC needs to “be sure that the arena and hotel rooms are available if the convention goes more than four days,” which hasn’t happened in my lifetime.
To see what can happen at a deadlocked convention, consider the Republican convention of 1880, which ran for seven days because none of the three leading candidates could reach a majority. After 34 failed ballots the convention finally turned to a “dark horse,” nominating Congressman James Garfield for president and Chester Arthur for vice president, neither of whom was even running when the convention opened.
Ben Ginsberg understands the critical importance of convention rules and credentials for boxing out the grassroots in favor of the Establishment candidate. That’s what happened at the 1952 Republican convention, where I watched the kingmakers steal the nomination for Dwight Eisenhower by unseating delegates pledged to the Republican favorite, Senator Robert A. Taft. For delivering the big California delegation on the crucial vote against seating the Taft delegates, Governor Earl Warren was rewarded with the first appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Ginsberg admits he wants to change the infamous Rule 40 which he wrote in 2012 to prevent a second candidate (Ron Paul) from being placed in nomination at Mitt Romney’s convention. If no candidate wins on the first ballot, delegates are no longer bound to vote for their state’s primary winner and are free to support a “dark horse” who never competed in a presidential primary or participated in a televised debate.
That’s how “dark horse” Paul Ryan might become our nominee. Such an outcome could destroy the Republican Party and guarantee a Democratic victory by causing disheartened grassroots voters to stay home and tempting an aggrieved candidate to mount a third-party or independent presidential campaign.
Senator Sessions’ Test for Candidates
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) has laid out five questions all candidates seeking the Republican nomination for President, Senator, or Representative must answer before the 2016 election.
“This may be the last opportunity the American people will have to have their will imposed and create a lawful immigration system that serves the national interest,” Sessions emphasized.
In 2013, Sen. Sessions warned that passing so-called “immigration reform as Washington understood the term would be an unmitigated disaster.” Now he urges candidates to “speak directly to the real and legitimate concerns of millions of hurting Americans whose wages have declined and whose job prospects have grown only bleaker.”
“I know we have to talk about the economy, national security, and the military, and the budget, and it’s hard to know who’s got the best idea,” Sessions said. “But on these two issues [immigration and TPP], I think the voters should say, ‘If you’re not going to be right on those, I’m not voting for you in this primary and I’m not going to vote for you as president.’ I really think it’s that important.”
How would you vote (or how did you vote) on fast-track, and would you support or oppose advancing a final trade agreement which enters the United States into a new international commission with binding authority on future United States trade policy?
If the vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership were held today, and you had a vote to cast in Congress, would you vote for it or against it?
Upon entering office, will you promptly and unconditionally terminate and rescind all of President Obama’s illegal executive amnesties — which provide work permits and entitlements to illegal aliens — including President Obama’s first executive amnesty in 2012, which remains in effect?
A supermajority of GOP voters say immigration is too high. Every year, on autopilot, we let in another 1 million immigrants on green cards, 700,000 foreign guest workers, half a million foreign students, and 100,000 refugees and asylees. Historical precedent would be to reduce record-breaking immigration, rather than continuing to surge it beyond all historical precedent. Will you support legislation to reduce immigration numbers, and will you oppose legislation that would add to the number?
Today, law enforcement are under increasing scrutiny and face excessive criticism from the political elites and the media, and are being targeted by criminals and terrorists. Meanwhile, since 2011, the federal prison population has declined by over 20,000, and is on track to be at its lowest level since 2005. Since 2009, the total state prison population has dropped every year, and is over 56,000 lower than it was then. These circumstances may have contributed to a nationwide spike in crime. The FBI recently reported an overall increase in violent crime and a 17 percent increase in homicides in the nation’s 50 largest cities. At the same time, the CDC reports that heroin and opioid drug overdoses have reached an all-time record high. Do you support efforts by President Obama and some Republicans in Congress to reduce penalties for drug-trafficking and further reduce the federal prison population, or do you think government should do more to keep drug traffickers off the streets?