Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney says his administration deleted all its emails near the end of his term specifically to frustrate political opponents. Though the move appears unorthodox, if not downright illegal, the Republican presidential candidate claims everything was above board and dismisses the recent flap about the emails as pure politics.
On November 17 the Boston Globe reported that at the end of 2006, just as Romney was leaving office and gearing up for his first presidential run, “11 of his top aides purchased their state-issued computer hard drives, and the Romney administration’s emails were all wiped from a server.” In addition, the remaining computers in the Governor’s office were replaced. “As a result,” explains the paper, “[Gov. Deval] Patrick’s office, which has been bombarded with inquires for records from the Romney era, has no electronic record of any Romney administration emails.”
Mark Nielsen, Romney’s chief legal counsel as Governor, told the Globe that the administration “fully complied with the law and complied with longstanding executive branch practice,” a refrain repeated by the Romney campaign. The campaign points out that in 1997 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Governor is not explicitly included in the state Public Records Law, which requires the preservation of electronic communications.
Here’s some news that could turn the entire election upside down. Leading Democrats are urging Barack Hussein Obama to withdraw as a candidate for re-election in 2012, as Lyndon Baines Johnson did almost 50 years ago.
The campaign to get Obama to quit the race kicked into high gear on November 21, when influential Democratic leaders Pat Caddell and Doug Schoen wrote a lengthy piece for the Wall Street Journal on why Obama should withdraw. Here’s part of what they said: “[Obama] should abandon his candidacy for re-election in favor of a clear alternative, one capable not only of saving the Democratic Party, but more important, of governing effectively and in a way that preserves the most important of the president’s accomplishments.”
Who would they have run instead? Get ready for their totally predictable pitch: “He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.”
Democrat lawmakers and a coalition of radical activist groups are pushing for constitutional amendments to reverse the Supreme Court’s landmark “Citizens United” ruling, a decision that recognized that groups of people have a right to free speech even if they are acting together under the banner of a corporation, union, or non-profit organization.
One of the amendments, introduced in the U.S. Senate this month by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and other Democrats, would give Congress the authority to further regulate and limit spending in federal elections. State governments would also be allowed to intrude in state-level political campaigning.
"As we head into another election year, we are about to see unprecedented amounts of money spent on efforts to influence the outcome of our elections,” Udall said in a statement. “With the Supreme Court striking down the sensible regulations Congress has passed, the only way to address the root cause of this problem is to give Congress clear authority to regulate the campaign finance system."
While the amendment does not specify the regulations, it would allow Congress to pass laws limiting contributions to candidates. Independent political spending for or against any campaign — such as through advertisements highlighting a candidate’s voting record — could also be restricted or prohibited if the amendment were to pass.
One of the great virtues of the 11 debates the Republican candidates have undergone is that by now we know much more about them as human beings and as individuals potentially capable of leading the nation in the post-Obama era. The candidates have had so much television and video exposure, that by now they have become the refrigerator magnets of the mind. Also, the public has been able to learn a great deal about the crucial issues we face — and that, perhaps not surprisingly, the only candidate who gets down to constitutional fundamentals is Ron Paul.
During Tuesday's foreign policy debate in Washington, the Texas libertarian Congressman forcefully articulated his pro-freedom views without any hesitation or equivocation, thus presenting a philosophical alternative to the other contenders, who have adopted a neo-conservative Establishment consensus. For example, on the subject of aiding Israel, all of the candidates except Paul agreed that the U.S. government should continue to financially aid Israel. Paul argued that the Israelis were quite capable of taking care of themselves and that our so-called help was undermining their sovereignty. Why should an American President put pressure on the Israelis in the matter of borders, settlements, or constructing houses? To Paul, that’s the high price that Israel pays for America’s help, which in reality diminishes Israel’s ability to make decisions which are in its own best interests. He is against foreign aid to all countries as a matter of principle. We gave all of that aid to Egypt, and the country is now in complete turmoil.
The House of Representatives voted down the latest proposal for a balanced budget amendment on November 18.
Under the terms of the Constitution, a constitutional amendment must be passed by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress and then be ratified by three-fourths of the states in order to become part of the Constitution. The vote in the House was 261 in favor and 165 opposed. That is 23 votes short of the necessary two-thirds.
In a statement issued by his office after the vote was taken, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) scolded the party across the aisle: “It’s unfortunate that Democrats still don’t recognize the urgency of stopping Washington’s job-crushing spending binge."
Others were pleased with the outcome, however.
Gerald McEntee, head of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, rejoiced in the rejection, calling it “a win for working families.” He praised Democrats in the House for boldly withstanding the attempt by supporters to pass a bill and “the deep cuts it would have made to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”
The Supreme Court approved petitions last week to hear arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of ObamaCare. One of the issues that will be argued before the justices of the high court is the legality of the currently operating Medicaid scheme.
Admittedly, the question is a very “narrow” one, but it will have far-reaching impact on the future of federalism and on the power of Congress to raise and spend revenue.
In one of the cases filed against President Obama’s pet project, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta rejected a similar claim against provisions of Medicaid. In that suit, filed by the Attorneys General of the states of Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Nebraska, the court held that the expansion of the program made under provisions of ObamaCare was constitutional.
The essence of the states’ argument is that the use of the existing Medicaid arrangement to provide expanded healthcare coverage to citizens of the states is unduly burdensome on the governments of those states. ObamaCare mandates that the states cover 100 percent of the administrative expenses associated with implementing the new Medicaid policies set out in ObamaCare.
The federal government continues its infringement upon private business rights by proposing legislation that mandates that airlines may no longer charge baggage fees to their passengers. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) — who introduced the bill on Tuesday, just days before one of the busiest travel days of the year — described it as a way to spare passengers from having to pay “unfair fees.”
Entitled the Airline Passenger BASICS — Basic Airline Standards to Improve Customer Satisfaction — Landrieu’s proposal permits passengers to check in a single piece of luggage and carry on an additional one free of charge, as long as the two items are within the size limits. It also mandates that airlines provide free access to water and restrooms, imposing a penalty on any airline which fails to comply.
They arrive now with monotonous regularity. Another day, another announcement by a New Hampshire politician of his or her endorsement of Mitt Romney for President. Former Governor John Sununu. Former Governor and U.S. Senator Judd Gregg. Senator Kelly Ayotte. Umpteen members of the New Hampshire House and Senate. Romney's the one. A businessman. A leader. The one who will create what all America wants — jobs, jobs, jobs! Overseas, seas, seas. Yet the Romney record suggests he'll be creating the jobs overseas, seas, seas, and that's what we'll be hearing from the Obama camp from here to reelection.
Oh, how those beltway bandits love to promise jobs, jobs, jobs. That was the promise of the first President Bush. When we went to war with Iraq to liberate Kuwait, it was, said Secretary of State James Baker, for “o-i-l” and “jobs, jobs, jobs.” A year later, GOP challenger Pat Buchanan would ridicule the promise of new jobs, noting that Bush never told us they would be in Shanghai, Tokyo, and other ports of call. Manufacturing jobs. Good pay. Jobs that are gone and aren't coming back any time soon.
By their fruits, you shall know them. Our largest employer used to be General Motors. Now it's Wal-Mart. The siren song of free trade has carried off the best of American jobs and creativity.
Judge Roy Moore, the former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was unseated eight years ago for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments display from the state’s Judicial Building, has launched a campaign to regain his position.
During a press conference November 22 on the steps of the Alabama Judicial Building, Moore said the time is right for a solidly conservative justice to lead the state’s judicial arm. “There is no question that I know this job,” he said, “and I believe the people of Alabama know exactly what I stand for.”
In announcing his candidacy, the 64-year-old Moore “pointed to his previous experience as chief justice, including keeping the courts open despite what he said were significant budget cuts,” reported the Associated Press. “He also said the court under his leadership effectively outlawed gambling machines in Alabama, ended an occupational tax in Montgomery County, and stopped a long-running school equity funding lawsuit.”
Governor Rick Perry, so goes the conventional wisdom, is a real conservative. How could he not be? After all, his three terms as governor of Texas has marked a period of spectacular job creation. It has been said that nearly 40 percent of all jobs in the United States at present are to be found in the Lone Star State. In addition to this consideration, there are several others to substantiate the pervasive belief that, from the conservative Republican’s perspective, Perry is the genuine article.
If we are to accept Republican Party rhetoric of “constitutionalism,” “limited government,” “individualism,” etc., then what we must determine is whether Perry is the partisan of liberty that, presumably, Republicans should want as their party’s presidential nominee and, ultimately, their President. It is to the end of making this determination that we shall now look at some highlights from Perry’s political career.