Posts Tagged leadership

The Charlie Dent Effect


Establishment Republicans are in a panic over the enduring popularity of Donald Trump.  If Trump ends up being the GOP nominee party regulars can blame one of their own: Congressman Charlie Dent.

Congressman Dent (PA-15) has emerged as a spokesman for one of the most endangered species on Earth: moderate members of the U.S. House of Representatives.  His votes consistently defy the view of the party’s base and his rhetoric is what is driving the current national grassroots revolution against the party establishment.

Dent hails from the Lehigh Valley-based district once represented by Pat Toomey.  Toomey became a conservative darling and used the district as a base to successfully launch a campaign for United State Senator.  The region is known for being politically schizophrenic and is one of the true “swing” areas of the commonwealth in statewide and national elections.

The apostasies of Dent are many.  He is staunchly pro-abortion in a party that views defense of life as a litmus test issue.  On fiscal issues he ranks in the bottom quarter of the entire Republican conference with a 2014 Club for Growth scorecard rating of just 37%.  On the more broad-based American Conservative Union (ACU) scorecard, he scored just 54%, again making him one of the more liberal members of the conference.

Briefly put, Charlie Dent is the personification of what Republican voters across the nation are rebelling against in the presidential race.  Having elected a House majority in 2010 and a Senate majority in 2014 voters are fed up with the tepid course charted by legislative Republicans.  They see congressional Republican leadership as ineffective at communicating a coherent party message and outmaneuvered legislatively at every turn by Barack Obama and the Democrats.

The most recent Real Clear Politics average of national polling in the presidential race finds Donald Trump and Ben Carson holding onto 47% of the vote.  Add in the ten percent supporting Carly Fiorina and the “outsider” vote tallies 57%.   U. S. Senator Ted Cruz, technically not an “outsider,” but perhaps the most solidly conservative candidate in the race pulls 8%.  Meanwhile, establishment favorites Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have fallen into also-ran status.

The resignation of House Speaker John Boehner has given members of that chamber the opportunity to change the dynamic of both feckless legislative leadership and the presidential race by electing a speaker who can become an effective voice for the party over the next year until the election of a new Republican president.

Instead the House Republican caucus has descended into chaos.  Rather than put forth bold new leadership, Plan A was simply to fall back on business as usual and move everyone up a step on the leadership ladder.  When it became clear the real conservatives in the conference would not go along, heir apparent Kevin McCarthy withdrew from the race.  Plan B is to elevate 2012 Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan to the seat, but Ryan appears unwilling to go along with the procedural reforms conservatives are rightfully demanding as the price for their support.

Enter Congressman Dent who suggested Republicans should meet with Democrats and come up with a “bipartisan coalition to elect the next speaker.”  What?!?   At precisely the time the party’s grassroots are practically shouting from the rooftops of Iowa and New Hampshire that they want a strong new voice for the party Dent proposes the exact opposite.

Dent and his diminishing band of fellow moderates would rather share power with Democrats than accommodate conservative members of their own conference and hear the very clear message being sent by the party’s grassroots.  Nothing could be worse for the GOP than the spectacle of the next speaker being elected by the moderate faction of the Republican conference joining with Democrats against their conservative brethren.

The result of such an outcome would be twofold:  First, any possibility of the GOP being an effective counter to President Obama’s “pen and phone” government would evaporate effectively rendering congress a useless appendage for the next year.  Second, look for Donald Trump’s polling numbers to skyrocket as voters flock in ever larger numbers to the one man who they increasingly view as being able to fix things.

And, when Donald Trump stands in front of the Capitol building and places his hand on the Bible to take the oath of office as the next president of the United States, he should give a front row seat to Charlie Dent and the other Republican congressmen who made his victory possible.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

 

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PA Dems Flounder on Shoals of Corruption


There are two ways to remove a Band-Aid; in one sharp motion getting the pain over quickly, or pulling it off slowly allowing the pain to linger.  Democrats in Pennsylvania appear to subscribe to both approaches when it comes to dealing with the misdeeds of their statewide elected officials.

 

Former State Treasurer Rob McCord abruptly resigned from office in late January revealing he was going to plead guilty to charges that he attempted to extort campaign funds from companies interested in doing business with the state.  The crimes occurred while McCord was battling now-Governor Tom Wolf for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last spring.

 

The McCord denouement came swiftly.  In a town that leaks like a sieve, there was surprisingly little advance rumor of the charges; news of which McCord broke himself.  The former treasurer spared the commonwealth the usual drama which surrounds such things by accepting responsibility for his actions and promptly leaving office.  He has now disappeared from the headlines.

 

And then there is the case of Kathleen Kane.  The term “embattled” is appended to virtually every news article written about the attorney general who is currently under investigation by the Montgomery County District Attorney for allegedly leaking secret grand jury information.  Charges have been recommended by that grand jury and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently ruled the process legal and correct.

 

Suffice it to say General Kane is in hot water.  As if that were not enough, news broke that she scuttled an investigation into a northeastern Pennsylvania casino probe.  And, the Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has successfully prosecuted another investigation Kane dropped involving several Philadelphia legislators who allegedly took bribes.  This, along with a revolving door among her top staffers has produced an agency in crisis and an attorney general in political peril.

 

Unlike McCord, Kane is fighting back.  She has hired big guns associated with her political patrons, Bill and Hillary Clinton, refuses to resign and plans to fight any criminal charges which may be filed against her.

This could not be worse news for Pennsylvania Democrats.  The party can ill afford going into a major election year with the state’s highest elected law enforcement official under a cloud, or possibly under indictment.  Add in the McCord misfire, along with the Philadelphia legislator scandal, and what you have is the image of a political party steeped in corruption.

Already the steady stream of negative headlines is having an effect.  In just the last couple of weeks Democrats lost a special election for a legislative seat in Philadelphia, something that hasn’t happened in decades.  A Quinnipiac University poll shows Republican U.S. Senator Pat Toomey leading likely Democratic challenger Joe Sestak by double digits.  The poll even found U.S. Senator Rand Paul leading presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton by one point.  And, the poll was taken before Senator Paul’s official announcement of candidacy which likely will give him a further bounce.

Clearly the scandals surrounding Pennsylvania Democrats could have national implications.  Pat Toomey has been listed as one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for re-election next year, if only because of the large Democratic voter registration lead in Pennsylvania.  But, to date, he has overcome that edge.  And, there is absolutely no plausible mathematical formula for Democrats to win the White House in 2016 without carrying Pennsylvania.

It remains to be seen whether or not Republicans will be able to take advantage of the culture of corruption surrounding state Democrats.  But one thing is for sure, the slow removal of the Kane Band-Aide ensures the issue will remain alive for the foreseeable future.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org)

 

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Jonah Goldberg Talks Leadership


Radio Program Schedule for the week of March 22, 2014 – March 28, 2014

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Dr. Paul Kengor of Grove City College about his new book The 11 Principles of a Reagan Conservative
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on how the U.S. can apply economic pressure on Russia
  • Benjamin Yount and Eric Boehm have a Watchdog Radio look at financial problems in state pension systems
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on what happens when a community organizer meets a former KGB agent

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm and Maura Pennington have news headlines from www.paindependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks with Jonah Goldberg of Fox News/National Review about American leadership
  • Joe Geiger from the First Nonprofit Foundation has Penina Lieber of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in the Community Benefit Spotlight
  • Anna McCauslin has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on the latest delays in Obamacare

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Policy Envy


By Lowman S. Henry

Conservative activists from across Penn’s Woods gathered recently for the annual Pennsylvania Leadership Conference. From the podium and through the hallways a common theme emerged. There is a palpable sense of disappointment – and growing anger – over the slow pace of Governor Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled General Assembly toward enactment of the conservative agenda.

Activists are quick to credit the Governor and his legislative allies for last year’s state budget which held the line on both spending and taxes. Credit is also given for the fact this year’s proposed budget – and likely final budget – will follow suit. But those accomplishments are the only reason why conservative anger has not turned into outright hostility and rebellion.

Fueling disillusionment among the party’s base is the progress being made in other states. Conservatives have watched with envy as Indiana enacted a Right to Work law. Wisconsin – liberal Wisconsin – passed sweeping reforms that threw off the yoke of labor union repression that had bloated that state’s budget for decades. From Chris Christie’s war against the education establishment in New Jersey to policy victories in Virginia, Florida, Ohio and other states conservatives nationwide are enacting their agenda.

Here in Pennsylvania the conservative agenda is dead in the water. During the early months of the Corbett Administration we were told the budget came first, that other issues would be addressed after the budget was passed. The budget was passed nine months ago and the record of accomplishment since then is, well, dismal.

School choice was to be the crown jewel in this session’s legislative crown. But even a watered down version of school choice failed to pass the General Assembly. Ditto privatization of the state’s liquor stores. Efforts to protect the unborn via the Women’s Right to Know Act floundered and was pulled from the legislative agenda. Right to Work is mentioned in hushed tones and even a modest update to the state’s Prevailing Wage law remains bottled up in a House committee.

Pointing to policy victories in other states, conservatives are demanding to know why, with a Republican in the Governor’s Office and historic Republican majorities in the General Assembly more progress is not being made. Matthew Brouillette, President of the Commonwealth Foundation, has the answer. He correctly points out that the Republican/Democrat model does not apply in Pennsylvania. Rather the legislature is divided between the union party and the taxpayer party.

And the union party is winning. Last summer a number of contracts with state labor unions were up for renewal. Rather than take a stand to bring labor costs under control, the Corbett Administration simply caved into union demands. It bought labor peace, but that tranquility will come at a considerable price to taxpayers. In the state Senate, leadership has opposed liquor store privatization and other conservative initiatives. Simply put, the upper chamber has become a conservative policy graveyard. In the House, labor leaders recently lauded House Labor Committee Chairman Ron Miller (R-York) as “our man in Harrisburg.” Is it any wonder legislation aimed at curbing the excesses of organized labor is stuck in his committee?

Simply put while Republicans are the governing majority in Harrisburg conservatives and taxpayers remain in the minority. That is why the upcoming primary election is so important. It is no longer good enough to simply return Republicans to office because the alternative is worse. Primary elections are held for a reason. Primaries are where the battle for the heart and soul of the party is fought. Incumbent Republicans who take money from labor unions are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

With Pennsylvania’s primary election now just weeks away voters should take the time to find out whether their elected representative stands with the unions or with the taxpayers. If only a few incumbents lose because they sided with the special interests rather than the public interest, then the culture of state government will begin to change. And change must come soon. Because if it does not, that simmering conservative anger will boil over when the spotlight returns to state government in 2014.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal. His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

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2012 PA Leadership Conference Panel Topics Announced


Four interactive panel discussions to be presented at conference

Harrisburg, PA – The 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, to be held March 23rd and 24th at the Radisson Penn Harris Convention Center in Camp Hill (Harrisburg), will feature four interactive panel presentations including Right-Sizing State Government; Marcellus: How Shale We Proceed?; Obama’s Regulatory Overkill; and Reaganizing the PA GOP. The panels will be interactive, with conference participants having the opportunity to submit questions to panelists.

Selected as moderators of the panels are:

Right-Sizing State Government

Matthew Brouillette, President of the Commonwealth Foundation

Marcellus: How Shale We Proceed?

Gregory Wrightstone, PA Coalition for Responsible Government

Obama’s Regulator Overkill

Hon. Colleen Sheehan, Villanova University

Reaganizing the PA GOP

Colin Hanna, President of Let Freedom Ring, USA

Also added to the 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference schedule is a debate among the Republican candidates for United State Senator which will take place at the conference’s concluding luncheon on Saturday, March 24th.

Featured speakers at the 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference include Fox News Senior Political Analyst Brit Hume; U.S. Senator Pat Toomey; Grover Norquist from Americans for Tax Reform and John Gizzi, Political Editor of Human Events.

Additional featured speakers, panelists, and seminar topics will be announced in the near future.

Complete information and registration for the 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference is available at www.paleadershipconference.org.

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U.S. Senator Pat Toomey to Address PA Leadership Conference


Joins Brit Hume, Grover Norquist & John Gizzi as announced speakers

PA Leadership Conference 2012United State Senator Pat Toomey will be the kick-off speaker at the 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference, the premiere annual gathering of conservatives each year in Pennsylvania.   This year’s conference will be held March 23rd and 24th at the Radisson Penn Harris in Camp Hill (Harrisburg), Pennsylvania.

Elected in 2010, Senator Toomey has quickly become a major player in pushing a conservative economic agenda in congress. He has authored a number of bills and played a key role in efforts to restore America’s historic free market system.

In addition to Senator Toomey, Fox News Senior Political Analyst Britt Hume, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform and Human Event’s Political Editor John Gizzi are confirmed conference speakers.   The conference will also feature a debate among the candidates seeking to become the Republican nominee to take on incumbent U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. this November.

“Early bird” discounted registration for the 2012 Pennsylvania Leadership Conference is now open at www.paleadershipconference.org. An updated conference agenda and listing of conference sponsors and exhibitors can also be found on the web site.

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