Archive for category Uncategorized
(April 1, 2017 – April 7, 2017) This week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Lowman Henry talks with State Representative Stephen Bloom about making Pennsylvania a Right-to-Work state; Frank Gamrat and Eric Montarti have an Allegheny Institute Report on efforts to raise the hotel tax in Allegheny County; And, Beth Anne Mumford from Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on why state budget deliberations lack serious reform.
(April 1, 2017 – April 7, 2017) This week on American Radio Journal: Lowman Henry talks with David Schoenbrod author of DC Confidential about the five tricks of Washington politicians; Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on how moderates killed health care reform; Eric Boehm of Reason magazine reviews the history of health care reform efforts; And, Col. Frank Ryan, USMC, Ret. has an American Radio Journal commentary on how property taxes are killing the dream of home ownership.
(March 25, 2017 -March 31, 2017) This week on Lincoln Radio Journal: David Taylor of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association talks with Daily Signal editor and PA Leadership Conference featured speaker Ben Shapiro about conservatism in the age of Trump; And, Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on breaking congressional rules.
(March 25, 2017 – March 31, 2017) This week on American Radio Journal: Lowman Henry talks with Elizabeth Slattery of the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal about how the Gorsuch confirmation process compares to past such proceedings; Doug Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on special elections to fill seats vacated by congressmen taking positions in the Trump Administration; Eric Boehm and Damon Root of Reason magazine look at what we learned from the Neil Gorsuch confirmation hearings; And, Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on ranking the presidents.
(March 18, 2017 – March 24, 2017) This week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Lowman Henry talks with Anne McElhinney author of Gosnell: The Untold Story of America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer; Joe Geiger from the First Nonprofit Foundation has Deborah Allen from the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health & Aging Coalition in the Community Benefit Spotlight; And, Beth Anne Mumford of Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on the GOP’s promise to repeal Obamacare.
(March 18, 2017 – March 24, 2017) This week on American Radio Journal: Lowman Henry talks with Doug Badger of the Galen Institute about how many will actually lose coverage under the GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan; Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on where that plan stands in congress; Eric Boehm of Reason magazine talks with Adam Andrzejewski of Open the Books about federal laws blocking transparency of the public pension system; And, Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on playing the Trump card in health care reform.
(March 4, 2017 – March 10, 2017) This week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Lowman Henry talks with Chris Nicholas of Eagle Consulting about how Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senators are navigating the new political landscape in Washington, D.C.; Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on the latest attempt to enact a severance tax on natural gas drillers; And, Anna McCauslin from Americans for Prosperity-PA has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on the impact of raising the minimum wage.
(March 4, 2017 – March 10, 2017) This week on American Radio Journal: Lowman Henry talks with Alison Winters of the Charles Koch Institute about policy initiatives in the President’s address to congress; Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on why congress has not yet repealed Obamacare; Eric Boehm and Ron Bailey of Reason magazine have a report on reforming the Federal Drug Administration; And, Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the Left’s latest hypocrisy.
A Pity Party, Not a TEA Party
By Lowman S. Henry
The protests began immediately upon the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency. Stunned by an election defeat they did not see coming; the far reaches of the Left reacted by taking to the streets in a brat fit seldom seen in American politics.
The temper tantrum has not subsided.
In the weeks and months since the 2016 Presidential election celebrities have vented on award shows, the aggrieved (even those who don’t know why they are aggrieved) have taken to the streets, to airports and even to the gates of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Lacking any discernible set of principles let alone a strategy for implementing them, it seems the only tactic remaining is for powerless Left wingers to complain – and to do so loudly.
The pending repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act – which turned out to be not so affordable – has sent protesters scurrying to town hall meetings held by various Republican members of congress. This has given rise to comparisons to the grassroots TEA party movement that gained considerable influence early in the Obama presidency.
But this is not your father’s TEA party. The differences between the TEA party movement of the Right and what we see happening today transcend mere ideology. The TEA party movement is reviled by the Left precisely because it occupies that sweet spot in American politics that brings together conservatives and much of the center. Its goals are clear; its principles are strongly rooted in the nation’s history and culture; and at its core it presents an optimistic vision for the future.
The effectiveness of the TEA party scared the bejesus out of the Obama Administration to the point it began using government power, namely the Internal Revenue Service, to hinder and harass development of the movement. Efforts at countering the TEA party surge with a hapless group loosely known as the Occupy movement ended up being nothing more than an opportunity for frustrated campers to spend a few weeks in public parks.
The week after the Presidential inauguration and the so-called “women’s march” protests that followed I was in Washington, D.C. As I sat at a downtown restaurant awaiting a breakfast meeting I struck up a conversation with the server and commented that the previous week must have been exciting. The expression on his face changed to one of anger as he recounted how protesters had smashed out the windows of the restaurant causing it to have to close for a day. For him that meant a day of lost wages.
This illustrates a key difference between the TEA party movement and what is happening today on the American Left. TEA partiers did not vandalize buildings and set fire to cars. Protesters opposed to the Dakota Access pipeline, apparently lacking in employment, spent weeks in an encampment. When they left litter and debris was strewn across acres of formerly pristine land. TEA party activists are respectful of public places, value private property and channeled their anger into policy reform.
And the TEA party movement is about free speech and helping average Americans make their voices heard in the halls of government. The current blob of Left wing protesters seeks to stifle free speech. They have kept conservatives from speaking at college campuses and even blocked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from entering a public school. This is a favorite tactic of the Left: when you can’t win the argument, prevent the other side from arguing.
Then there are the optics. When the TEA party rallies you see American and Gadsden flags, not women parading about town wearing hats replicating their private parts. Americans in the persuadable middle of the political spectrum are not going to be swayed on policy matters by violence and pornographic headwear. If a rally or protest looks like a Barnum & Bailey sideshow, then it won’t be taken seriously by average Americans who are looking only for family sustaining jobs for themselves and better educational opportunities for their children.
No, the endless protests are not going to morph into a TEA party of the Left. Rather what you have is a pity party thrown by a group of people with nothing to offer but footage to fill the screens of the mainstream news media.
Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.
2016 Republican Delegate/Alternate Delegate Survey: Supreme Court, Terrorist, Constitutional Rights Top Delegate Concerns
Pennsylvania’s delegation to the 2016 Republican National Convention rated U.S. Supreme Court nominations, terrorism and protecting constitutional rights as the most important issues facing the nation while viewing the GOP-controlled congress as having failed to effectively counter the policies of President Barack Obama.
The Lincoln Institute’s quadrennial survey of delegates and alternate delegates found economic issues outweighed social issues and foreign affairs in their selection of a presidential candidate, but 60% said a combination of all three issue sets factored into their decision.
That was reflected in the importance given to the various issues facing the nation. No social issues topped the delegation’s list of important issues. A clear concern over fundamental rights emerged from the survey data as the selection of nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court topped the importance scale with 90% saying the seating of justices was a very important issue. Concerns over ISIS/terrorism rated as second most important, but protecting constitutional rights followed closely as the delegation’s third most important area of concern. Jobs and the economy, the budget deficit/government spending and illegal immigration rounded out the top concerns.
Pennsylvania’s delegation hues to traditional Republican positions on President Obama’s job performance. Eighty-seven percent say his administration’s foreign policies have made the United States much less secure; only one delegate thought those policies have made the nation more secure. When asked if President Obama was on the right track or wrong track in responding to the threat of ISIS and international terrorism there was unanimity – 100% said wrong track. Until the threat of ISIS/terrorism has ended, 64% of the delegation thinks the U.S. should ban entry of citizens from countries that are hotbeds of terrorist activity; 26% want to ban all Muslims from entering the country; 13% say current laws are sufficient. Eighty-nine percent of the delegates/alternate delegates strongly disapprove of the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran, another 8% somewhat disapprove. Only 3% expressed approval.
When asked if the U.S. economy is on the right track or off in the wrong direction 97% said wrong direction. Ninety-two percent of the Pennsylvania delegation to the Republican National Convention places the blame for the nation’s economic ills on President Obama, but majorities also fault labor unions and congress. There is strong support, 72% with another 26% somewhat supporting lowering tax rates as a means of stimulating economic growth.
The delegation, reflecting the views of its presumptive presidential nominee, opposes free trade agreements such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Sixty-nine percent oppose TPP with 31% expressing strong opposition. In terms of balancing the federal budget, 79% would do so only by cutting spending; 21% would employ a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts. Concern was voiced over the viability of the Social Security system: 57% think the system will be around for future generations – but only with substantial changes. Forty percent think Social Security is headed to bankruptcy; only 4% think it will survive without changes. To provide for the nation’s energy needs, 93% favor more domestic drilling as a solution; 50% support development of alternative fuels and 30% urge conservation.
Illegal immigration has been a dominate issue in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The Pennsylvania delegation to the Republican national convention reflects his stance on the issue. Fifty-six percent of the delegation wants immediate deportation of illegal aliens; 23% would accept granting permanent worker status. Not a single delegate favors granting illegal aliens full citizenship.
Also spurring Donald Trump’s march to the Republican Presidential nomination was grassroots frustration with the ineffectiveness of the party’s elected officials in Washington, D.C. Eighty percent of the Pennsylvania delegation said the Republican-controlled congress has been ineffective at checking President Obama’s executive power.
As a result, over two-thirds hold a negative view of the job being done by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives.
A strong anti-government thread is woven into the state’s delegation as 97% said they view the federal government as an adversarial force when it comes to helping solve problems. Only two delegates view the federal government as a positive force. Likewise, 97% say our basic rights as Americans are God-given; only two delegates view our rights as granted to us by government.
The Lincoln Institute’s survey of delegates/alternate delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention found 92% want Republicans in the general assembly to continue holding the line on more spending and higher taxes. Ironically, those views were expressed as the GOP-controlled legislature approved a state budget which dramatically increased spending and included a wide array of tax hikes. Ninety-six percent agree with the strategy – now abandoned by Republican legislative leaders – that cost drivers like pension reform should be addressed before the general assembly considers any increase in taxes.
Sixty-five percent of the delegation feels the property tax-based system currently utilized by school districts, local and county governments to fund services is unfair to taxpayers. There is little agreement though on how to otherwise raise revenue. Twenty percent favor a higher state sales tax rate while 16% would support a more broad based state sales tax at the current rate. There was nominal support for local sales taxes, local earned income taxes or a higher state income tax. On a related note, 61% favor allowing vouchers or grants to students who wish to attend a public school in a district other than their own, 32% do not.
Generally speaking, 60% of the delegates/alternate delegates think the state income tax rate is too high, another 41% say it is about right. Eighty-seven percent feel state business taxes are too high, only 13% think taxes on business are about right. When it comes to economic development, 96% favor having the state cut business taxes and regulation. Just 4% favor having the state borrow money to help select business ventures.
There is strong support among Pennsylvania’s delegation for a Right to Work Law, which means that a worker cannot be fired or kept from having a job for either joining or not joining a labor union. Eighty-five percent favor the adoption of a right to work law. On a related issue, 76% support enacting a ban on public school teacher strikes.
Pennsylvania’s delegation to the Republican National Convention is a very conservative one. Forty percent say they are very conservative, another 47% say they are somewhat conservative. Thirteen percent proclaimed themselves to be moderates, and one delegate adopted the very liberal/progressive title.
The delegation is skewed to higher age demographics. About a third are over the age of 65, another third between the ages of 50-65. Twenty-eight percent fall in the 30-50 age group, while only one respondent was under 30. Of the delegates responding to the survey invitation 62% are male, 38% female.
The Lincoln Institute survey of delegates/alternate delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention was conducted electronically between June 28 and July 14. 2016. A total of 73 delegates/alternate delegates participated in the survey. Complete numeric results are available on-line at www.lincolninstitute.org.
It is not very often that a Register of Wills makes statewide headlines. But Bruce Hanes, holder of that ministerial office in the suburban Philadelphia County of Montgomery did just that recently when he began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. Apparently in his spare time Mr. Hanes dons black robes and fancies himself a state supreme court justice as he unilaterally proclaimed Pennsylvania law prohibiting same sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
The office of Register of Wills – known fully as Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans Court – is one of a number of so-called “row offices,” that perform a variety of administrative functions for the county court system. These offices date back to the pre-electronic age when a wide range of clerical tasks were broken up into various categories each assigned to an elective office. Some counties in Pennsylvania have updated the process by adopting a home rule charter and consolidating the functions into fewer offices.
At no point has the Register of Wills been viewed as a policy-making office let alone a judicial one. The actions of Mr. Hanes were so outside the norm that even the statewide association of Registers of Wills rebuked him by adopting a resolution opposing the issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples. This will apparently spare Penn’s Woods from enduring a wave of Registers of Wills gone rogue. Clearly most holders of the office have a better understanding of the limits of their governmental duties than does Mr. Hanes.
The action of Mr. Hanes can be viewed in a number of contexts. It could be merely a crass publicity stunt meant to raise his profile and secure the support of a key voting block for the next election, perhaps even a run for higher office. It could, and likely is, a set-up for legal challenges. Such court activity has increased greatly in the wake of recent rulings on same sex marriage by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Regardless, the issuance of same sex marriage licenses by Mr. Hanes has received considerable news coverage, most of it positive, and resulted in numerous editorials and commentaries heralding his historic stand in favor of same sex unions. But, let’s take the issue of same sex marriage out of the equation. Replace it, if you will, with gun rights. Would the reaction be the same?
Imagine that a sheriff in one of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties decided that gathering information on gun owners to issue a License to Carry Firearms was unconstitutional. Given that the state constitution says the right of the people to possess a firearm “shall not be questioned,” there is plausible legal basis for such a position. Now what would happen if that sheriff decided to begin issuing carry licenses to anybody who walked into his office; requiring no ID, gathering none of the information required by law, no questions asked? The howls of protest from the media and the denizens of the Left would resonate from Lake Erie to the banks of the Delaware. That sheriff would be vilified, classified as a Neanderthal, impeached and removed from office.
But how is that scenario any different from what Bruce Hanes has done in Montgomery County? There is no difference. The issue here is not same sex marriage – that is an entirely different debate. The issue is the rule of law and following the constitutionally prescribed methods for changing laws with which we may disagree. The disturbing trend of elected officials, from the President of the United States, to the state Attorney General to a Register of Wills, deciding for himself what laws are constitutional and which they will enforce must be stopped dead in its tracks before our entire system of government dissolves into utter chaos.
Register Hanes, like our mythical sheriff, have clear channels to pursue the policy changes they desire. The law itself can be changed by a majority vote of both houses of the Pennsylvania General Assembly and obtaining the signature of the governor. Those who feel a duly enacted law may violate either the state or the federal constitution have remedy in the courts. Supporters of same sex marriage are in fact doing just that, as is their right. Those forums, not the unilateral actions of a county administrative official, are the appropriate channels for debate and resolution of this issue.
Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.