Terry McAuliffe’s Anti-Catholic Campaign

There may be no more misleading newspaper sentence in the Virginia governor’s race than this one from reporter Carol Morello in the Oct. 26 Washington Post: “The two major-party candidates running for governor in Virginia are both practicing Catholics.” The Post did not ask McAuliffe where near his home in Fairfax County he attends church every Sunday and holy day of obligation, which is part of the definition of a “practicing Catholic.” When radio show host Hugh Hewitt pressed him in 2007 about his church attendance after McAuliffe repeatedly cited his “Irish Catholic” bona fides in his autobiography “What a Party,” McAuliffe shot back, “I don’t pretend to be a priest, and I don’t pretend to be citing … I don’t cite the Bible once in the book.” This is not how a practicing Catholic would respond. When Hewitt asked how his liberal-stands clash with the church, McAuliffe snapped: “I wish I could follow 100 percent the teachings of the Catholic Church, but believe it or not, much to your chagrin, I am not Jesus Christ.” So a politician has to be Jesus to agree with Catholic teaching in public policy? Claiming membership in a church usually translates to some level of association on religious issues. As an ultraliberal, McAuliffe doesn’t believe in Catholic dogma but in Planned Parenthood dogma, which stretches the definition of what is “Catholic” beyond all recognition. Morello and her editors would not describe someone who appears in steakhouse commercials as a “practicing vegetarian.” McAuliffe is no practicing Catholic. In fact, McAuliffe is running a transparently, viciously anti-Catholic campaign all over television, trashing Ken Cuccinelli as a woman-hating extremist for backing proposals that line up with Catholic-church teachings on abortion, contraception and divorce. Any reporter with 15 minutes to kill can discover that. In the D.C. area, TV viewers are inundated with McAuliffe ads that claim, “Cuccinelli tried to ban common forms of birth control.” Women echo: “Even the pill! Even the pill!” Then four people echo, one after the other, he’s “way too extreme for Virginia.” McAuliffe supporters in the “NextGen PAC” even accused Cuccinelli of “wanting to eliminate all forms of birth control.” Cuccinelli has never supported a bill or taken a campaign stand for banning contraceptive pills, and McAuliffe knows it. In 2007, then-state Sen. Cuccinelli supported a “personhood” bill that simply stated, “life begins at the moment of fertilization.” Abortion advocates have twisted that simple sentence into some kind of church invasion of the state. In another ad, McAuliffe trashed another of Cuccinelli’s Senate proposals: “2008: Ken Cuccinelli writes a bill to give Virginia among the most extreme divorce laws in America. If Cuccinelli had it his way, a mom trying to get out of a bad marriage, over her husband’s objections, could only get divorced if she could prove adultery or physical abuse or her spouse had abandoned her or was sentenced to jail.” In another ad, a woman claims, “He tried to change Virginia’s divorce laws to prevent women from getting out of a bad marriage.” This is why people despise political ads. McAuliffe’s painting Cuccinelli as if he had proclaimed his biggest goal in life was to prevent women from divorcing abusive husbands. Cuccinelli offered a bill against no-fault divorce, but it was gender neutral and designed to make it tougher for (set ital) parents (end ital) to get divorced quickly. Childless spouses were unaffected. “Studies show that the dissolution of marriage has long term negative impacts on children and those marriages that last for five years are much more likely to go the distance,” he wrote. “For this reason, the state has an interest in marital preservation.” Here again, the media and the feminists justify these wild exaggerations by noting Cuccinelli is friendly with “father’s rights” activists. Men have rights when it comes to their children? Horrors! Cuccinelli has every right to be disgusted by these ads. He told radio host Steve Malzberg, “I have never seen an opponent who just lies like he’s taking a drink of water like Terry McAuliffe.” Finally, McAuliffe is anti-Catholic when he insists religious liberty is null and void under Obamacare. His website claims, “Terry believes that women in Virginia should have access to birth control through insurance.” That is — surprise — Clintonian. Obamacare, which he supports, (set ital) demands (end ital) the public fund birth control. Abortion, too. McAuliffe is demanding subsidized access to contraceptives, untrammeled access to abortion and easy access to divorce. His TV commercials insist that if you’re religious and oppose that agenda, you hate all women and can’t have any access to public office. Pope Francis and all his faithful flock are “way too extreme” to be trusted. This is The Washington Post’s description of a “practicing Catholic.” L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

The Thuggery of Obamacare Czarina Kathleen Sebelius

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius is allergic to the truth. She is the ruthless enforcer of Obamacare’s Jenga tower of lies upon lies upon lies. Now that this fatally flawed government edifice is collapsing, you can expect Sebelius to do what she has done her entire career: blame, bully and pile on more lies. Three years ago, when insurers and other companies had the audacity to expose Obamacare’s damage to their customers and workers, Sebelius brought out her brass knuckles. Remember? As I reported at the time, the White House coordinated a demonization campaign against Anthem Blue Cross in California for raising rates because of the new mandate’s costs. Obama singled out the company in a “60 Minutes” interview, and Sebelius sent a nasty-gram demanding that Anthem “justify” its rate hikes to the federal government. A private company trying to survive in the marketplace was forced to “explain” itself to federal bureaucrats and career politicians who have never run a business (successful or otherwise) in their lives. Sebelius went even further. She called on Anthem to provide public disclosure of how the rate increases would be spent — a mandate that no other private companies must follow. In an even more heavy-handed effort to suppress criticism, Sebelius wrote America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national association of health insurers, “calling on their members to stop using scare tactics and misinformation to falsely blame premium increases for 2011 on the patient protections in the Affordable Care Act.” The threatening cease-and-desist letter commanded: “I urge you to inform your members that there will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation and unjustified rate increases. … Simply stated, we will not stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes and increased profits on the requirement that they provide consumers with basic protections.” The speech-stifling gag order declared war on every opponent of Obamacare who dared to question the administration’s phony claims of cost-savings or expanded access. When McDonald’s notified the feds that it might have to cancel health insurance plans for 30,000 workers because of Obamacare’s effective prohibition on low-cost plans, Sebelius slammed The Wall Street Journal for reporting the story. She then rushed to issue McDonald’s an Obamacare waiver, the first of thousands to quell criticism and bleeding. Health care policy analyst Merrill Matthews points out that Sebelius cracked her whip against health insurer Humana even before the law had passed. When the insurer warned seniors that an Obamacare proposal to cut reimbursements could harm their Medicare Advantage benefits and coverage, Sebelius demanded that the company “suspend potentially misleading mailings to beneficiaries about health care and insurance reform.” The warning, of course, proved true. In September 2010, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care canceled MA policies covering 22,000 seniors precisely because of Obamacare rules on reimbursements and MA-style plans. Sebelius’ power-mad partner on Capitol Hill, Henry Waxman, targeted companies including Deere, Caterpillar, Verizon and ATT in a brass-knuckled effort to silence companies speaking out about the cost implications and financial burdens of Obamacare. After the firms reported write-downs related to the Obamacare mandate (disclosures that are required by law), Waxman scheduled an inquisition hearing to berate them publicly. After the Democrats’ own congressional staff pointed out that the companies “acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards” in submitting filings that were required by law, Waxman called off the hounds. It was a temporary reprieve. Caught with their pants down on the Obamacare website abomination and unable to stifle the cries of millions of Americans who are unable to keep the plans and doctors they like, Sebelius and her corrupt company are now blaming insurers, contractors and customers for the Obama administration’s ideological mess. In short: They lied, but for your own good. Culture of Corruption 101. Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

GOP Must Not Get Into Bed With Democrats on Obamacare

Two snares stand in the way of conservatives’ fervent desire to dismantle Obamacare: 1) a possible perception that its problems are limited to the technical issues with the rollout and 2) the GOP’s potentially suicidal impulse to bail Obama out. Though the problems with the rollout are far more than website “glitches,” they can and will be fixed. But once fixed, substantive problems will remain that will only be corrected if Obamacare is undone. Both the technical and substantive problems with Obamacare reveal a disgraceful level of deceit and incompetence born of the conceit of a ruling class that doesn’t afford the people it serves the respect of medieval serfs. Remember the jaw-dropping admissions by congressional supporters of Obamacare that they hadn’t read the bill and didn’t know what the bill contained? Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s statement — “We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” — ranks as one of the most appalling statements ever uttered by a congressperson. This arrogance emanates from the top, with President Obama making claims about the bill that he divined out of whole cloth in order to pacify the masses just long enough to get it passed. It’s obvious he didn’t have the faintest idea about the particulars of Obamacare or its abominable website. Obama repeatedly guaranteed us that if we liked our health insurance plans and were satisfied with our doctors, we could keep them. He said an average family of four would save $2,500 on a health insurance plan and assured the Congressional Budget Office the legislation would be essentially budget-neutral, costing the government some $900 billion in 10 years. Those statements were outrageously false. People are losing their plans left and right without their consent; many will lose their physicians; it has been estimated that an average family of four will see health care premiums increase by $7,400 rather than decrease by a third of that amount; and Obamacare will easily cost the government between two and three times what Obama promised the CBO and us. This pattern of administration and Democratic Party arrogance has manifested itself in the rollout, as well. The Wall Street Journal reports that there were many different groups in various cities involved in the formation of the HealthCare.gov website but that no one was responsible for overseeing the implementation of the website. Please stop and go back and reread that sentence. Even for Obama, this is staggering. This is what happens when the liberal media and others refuse to hold politicians accountable. It leads them to believe they can do whatever they want and get away with it. They didn’t bother to think through the complexities of the launch website or the falsity of the promises they made. Their mission was to get the bill passed and deal with any flak later. Now back to the main point. Long after the website problems are corrected, the substantive problems will survive as long as the law remains on the books. People will still have lost their plans and doctors. Individual and government costs will continue to greatly exceed Obama’s guarantees. (Even liberal professors are becoming hapless victims of Obamacare’s “sticker shock.”) The quality of health care will crater. Access will decline. The young and healthy will be forced to take it in the shorts. And statists will have in place a frighteningly complex and intrusive infrastructure to control heretofore unimagined areas of our everyday lives. Add to all this the administration’s enormous hurdle of conning 7 million people to sign up for this nightmare by the end of March and dealing with the angst of people paying penalties for refusing to fall for the con. Obamacare is the worst self-inflicted assault on American liberty in my lifetime, so genuine patriots must remain committed to doing everything within their power to end it. The problem with this is many of the same people on the right who told us that Sen. Ted Cruz was leading a fool’s errand in trying to defund Obamacare and that we should let the law implode on its own will next be urging that we bail out Obamacare by helping massage the law to mitigate its damage. Otherwise, we’ll be punished for being partisan saboteurs. Afraid of the wrath of liberals who will criticize those Republicans who actually stand up for their own principles, our moderates will tell us to stand down. “Wait until the next election.” But by that time, Obamacare will have metastasized throughout the system and harmed countless people. We must not be falsely frightened into collaborating with the Obama statists to save this law, a gesture that would be tantamount to assisting him in consummating his fundamental transformation of the nation. David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Is There a Way Out?

According to a recent Fox News poll, 73 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the direction of the country, up 20 points from 2012. Americans sense that there’s a lot going wrong in our nation, but most don’t have a clue about the true nature of our problem. If they had a clue, most would have little stomach for what would be necessary to arrest our national decline. Let’s look at it. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of federal spending, in contravention of the U.S. Constitution, can be described as Congress taking the earnings or property of one American to give to another, to whom it does not belong. You say, “Williams, what do you mean?” Congress has no resources of its very own. Moreover, there’s no Santa Claus or tooth fairy who gives it resources. The fact that Congress has no resources of its very own forces us to recognize that the only way Congress can give one American one dollar is to first — through intimidation, threats and coercion — confiscate that dollar from some other American through the tax code. If any American did privately what Congress does publicly, he’d be condemned as an ordinary thief. Taking what belongs to one American to give to another is theft, and the receiver is a recipient of stolen property. Most Americans would suffer considerable anguish and cognitive dissonance seeing themselves as recipients of stolen property, so congressional theft has to be euphemized and given a respectable name. That respectable name is “entitlement.” Merriam-Webster defines entitlement as “the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something.” For example, I am entitled to walk into the house that I own. I am entitled to drive the car that I own. The challenging question is whether I am also entitled to what you or some other American owns. Let’s look at a few of these entitlements. More than 40 percent of federal spending is for entitlements for the elderly in the forms of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, housing and other assistance programs. The Office of Management and Budget calculates that total entitlement spending comes to about 62 percent of federal spending. Military spending totals 19 percent of federal spending. By the way, putting those two figures into historical perspective demonstrates the success we’ve had becoming a handout nation. In 1962, military expenditures were almost 50 percent of the federal budget, and entitlement spending was a mere 31 percent. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that entitlement spending will consume all federal tax revenue by 2048. Entitlement spending is not the only form of legalized theft. The Department of Agriculture gives billions of dollars to farmers. The departments of Energy and Commerce give billions of dollars and subsidized loans to corporations. In fact, every Cabinet-level department in Washington is in charge of handing out at least one kind of subsidy or special privilege. Most federal non-defense “discretionary spending” by Congress is for handouts. Despite the fact that today’s increasing levels of federal government spending are unsustainable, there is little evidence that Americans have the willingness to do anything about it. Any politician who’d even talk about significantly reining in unsustainable entitlement spending would be run out of town. Any politician telling the American people they must pay higher taxes to support handout spending, instead of concealing spending through deficits and running up the national debt and inflation, would also be run out of town. Can you imagine what the American people would do to a presidential candidate who’d declare, as James Madison did in a 1794 speech to the House of Representatives, “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government”? If we are to be able to avoid ultimate collapse, it’s going to take a moral reawakening and renewed constitutional respect — not by politicians but by the American people. The prospect of that happening may be whistlin’ “Dixie.” Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Health Care and Shutdown Debacles Are Mere Symptoms

Many reporters caught up in the bizarre world of official Washington have written extensively on political tactics and implications of the so-called government shutdown and disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov. Typical was a New York Times headline that blared “Republicans, Sensing Weakness in Health Law Rollout, Switch Tactics.” But there’s been precious little analysis about the underlying realities that led us to this point. Perhaps that’s because neither political party wants to face up to those realities. So, instead of substance, D.C. journalists cover politics like junior high school students trying to keep up with who’s in, who’s out, and who likes who. Admittedly, dealing with reality is hard. But ignoring it is even worse. For example, many problems with the HealthCare.gov website can be traced directly to a problem with the law itself, not the computer coding. Reports indicate that government officials directed the site designers to require people to sign up first before being able to explore pricing options. Later, when an upfront way to get pricing information was added, it was structured to deliberately understate the actual costs for most people. No private business would attract customers this way, but it was not a programming glitch. The real problem is that the prices for insurance offered under the “Affordable Care Act” guidelines are just too high to attract consumers. The political challenge was how to cover up this reality. The disconnect can be seen in the president’s sales pitch as well. He points out, correctly, that young healthy Americans should have health insurance because one unforeseen accident could wipe them out financially. However, that’s an argument for a relatively inexpensive major medical policy that covers only the big expenses. Unfortunately, the president’s law does not allow them to buy such a policy. This is a problem that computer programmers can’t solve. It’s not the website that’s broken, it’s the law. Until consumers are empowered to make their own health care spending decisions, the problems will remain. A similar problem can be found with Republican efforts to reduce federal spending. For four decades, official government accounting policies have been designed to hide the growth of government spending. Famously, Congress has decreed that a reduction in planned spending growth should be deemed a spending cut. On top of that, Congress has deemed some spending “uncontrollable,” a category that now includes a majority of the federal budget. The underlying reality that neither political party wants to address is that three programs account for roughly 60 percent of the federal budget. Those programs are Social Security, National Security and Medicare, and they include automatic spending increases every single year. There is simply no way to reduce government spending without addressing these three budget items. And if long-term fixes are not implemented, there is no way taxes can be raised enough to cover the spending. These are the challenges our elected politicians prefer to avoid: finding a way to put consumers in charge of health care choices and reforming the three programs that drive federal spending. Their failure to address these realities is the reason we are stuck with petty partisan bickering over shutdowns and websites. To find out more about Scott Rasmussen and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 SCOTT RASMUSSEN DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Superhero Disappears in the High-Tech World

We no longer have to play at goblins and ghosts on Halloween. We’ve got real snoops and authentic spooks, and they’re plenty scary, reading our mail and tracing us through social media. Safety and security are the crucial domestic interests in the high-tech world where we all live. We feel helpless in trying to keep control over our most minute musings; we’re sure that Big Brother is watching us, and not necessarily to watch over us. It’s the season when doubts and fears, some real and some not, assail. We’re frustrated with the breakout of Obamacare, which betrayed its promise to link Americans with health care they could afford. The doubts about how the quality of medical care might be compromised were replaced by fears wrought by the failed technology. The new technology stands exposed again as a mixed blessing. The Internet that puts the world at our fingertips and connects us to distant friends and family in the passage of a moment are subject to obstacles and glitches beyond our control. Maybe that’s why the popular culture is suddenly awash with ordinary heroes who must summon personal courage from the inside out, retrieving the old-fashioned virtues of fortitude, competency and capability. Even in the movies, where so many of the impressionable imagine they find reality, superheroes are out. Two of the big box-office hits in the Halloween season depict uncomplicated characters in the human fight for survival: “Captain Phillips” and “Gravity.” Tom Hanks is Capt. Richard Phillips, a very ordinary hero from the real-life story of Somali pirates who boarded the captain’s container ship and took him captive, and how he was rescued by the U.S. Navy. We know from the newspapers how the story ended, but we can watch how he was tested once he was seized and put adrift with his captors in a tiny lifeboat. “Gravity” is the fanciful story of a woman alone in space, an astronaut cast into the cosmic dark with nothing to console her but a puckish sense of humor, but a woman as grave as the gravity that eventually pulls her back to earth. Sandra Bullock portrays a woman who finds herself in a difficult situation while completely isolated. She must use all of her wits and wisdom to navigate herself home safely. These two stories project the diminished myth of the American experience, both told in a dark and deadly vastness, one at sea and one in space, and both are stories of a man and a women forced into smaller confines to test their mettle, their skill and their courage. “The disappearing frontier is the most powerful and persistent myth in American history,” Garry Wills writes in “John Wayne’s America.” His point is that John Wayne, the ultimate American myth, was the invincible hero whose authority grew out of his masculine self-reliance, whether summoning battlefield courage on the sands of Iwo Jima or true grit in struggling against outlaws and rattlesnakes. We knew we could depend on the man in the myth to protect us as we extended the frontier. The mythmaker’s manhood epitomized America’s strength, his confidence and how his competence with the gun defeated all enemies. The beliefs of the man in the myth were the politics of large meaning, not of little policies. They were the virtues of toughness, patriotism, self-reliance and responsibility, virtues that are disappearing from the American landscape. The new frontier is global, and there is no longer a man in the myth, not even an actor pretending for a couple of hours in a darkened theater to animate the myth. Tom Hanks tries, as Captain Phillips setting out from his rural Vermont home to take command of his ship in Oman, bound for Mombassa. He frets that the America he grew up in won’t offer his son the opportunities he had. When he tells the pirates that his cargo includes food for Africans, it reinforces the irony of the pirates’ misbegotten adventure, but it brings no cheers from anyone. Sandra Bullock, as the inventor dispatched to install new imaging software in space, is no red, white and blue Wonder Woman. Once she loses the reassuring voice of Houston Control and the silence closes in, she must call on everything within her, psychic as well as physical strength, to find her way home alone. Broken technology, failing instruments and the loss of communication are villainous reminders that we are all at the mercy of human intelligence, the most fallible intelligence of all, bereft of the familiar and the reassuring. What could be scarier than George Clooney’s — as another astronaut — sardonic observation that “half of North America just lost Facebook”? Happy Halloween, indeed. Write to Suzanne Fields at: suzannefields2000@gmail.com. To find out more about Suzanne Fields and read her past columns, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

GOP Capitulation Turns Into Philosophical Retreat

In the wake of last week’s spectacular GOP cave on defunding Obamacare, party “moderates” are feeling their oats and attempting a wholesale expulsion of conservatism from the party. Central to this effort is a continued and orchestrated effort to discredit Texas Senator Ted Cruz. As the point man of Tea Party activity in Washington, Cruz embodies the sentiments of Americans in the Heartland who are thoroughly fed up with the rampant irresponsibility and arrogance that predominates inside the Beltway. Consequently, his ongoing popularity spotlights a public demand for accountability that is abhorrent to the “Ruling Class.” Predictably, those same Republican “moderates” who have attacked and undermined Cruz and his supporters are now calling for “party unity” and “an end to the infighting.” Believing that they are once again in control of the party and can chart its course, they piously insist that conservatives must dutifully shut up and carry their water. Clearly, the backlash from Democrats and their media echo chamber pales in comparison to the damage inflicted from within the Republican party by its cadre of self-serving career politicians. While remaining fixated on the ebb and flow of their own political fortunes they are comparatively unconcerned with the harm that will now befall the nation. With “moderates” still pursuing the approval of D.C. Democrats and their liberal media lapdogs, the only manner in which further infighting can be prevented would be for conservatives to follow blindly as the party is dragged decidedly to the left. Amazingly, those all-knowing “moderates” are unable to grasp that historical impact of such actions on Republican political prospects have been entirely negative. America already has one liberal party to dismantle its legacy and sabotage its future. A second, watered-down version that is perpetually hamstrung by fear of disapproval from the liberal Democrat/media machine can hardly be expected to inspire or rally the electorate. None of this sorry situation has been lost on the obsessively opportunistic Barack Obama, who is already laying the groundwork for a renewed push on amnesty for the twenty to thirty million illegal aliens currently living in America. Obama clearly believes he can once again muster intense public pressure by which to divide and conquer any opposition within the Republican Party. And once again, the party will have a chance to highlight the stark contrast between the interests and concerns of traditional America, and those on the left who hold such things in total contempt and hope to erase them entirely from modern society. Were conservatives to remain steadfast and prevail on this issue or any other, Obama and his entire agenda would quickly be on the ropes. The initial reports of Obamacare and its implementation are a disaster, and the bureaucratic monster created for it is becoming a grim joke. The economy has yet to recover from more than four years of collectivist and redistributionist tampering, and is now being driven further downward by the onerous effects of Obamacare mandates on business. In such circumstances, a true opposition party that diligently sought to avert catastrophe could offer its vastly superior economic vision for the nation as an attractive and viable alternative. Unfortunately, by their insipid reaction to the Obamacare fiasco and their previous unwillingness to strenuously oppose the collectivist efforts of the Administration, Republicans have largely missed the opportunity to set themselves and their agenda apart from that of the Democrats. Instead, they lamely speculate that perhaps Americans will be so incensed at the ongoing Obamacare debacle that they will reflexively turn to the GOP for help. And sadly, among Beltway Republicans, this is what passes for leadership. At this critical juncture, the absolute last thing conservatives should do, whether they are inside Washington or operating at the grassroots, is back down. Indeed Ted Cruz is being maligned and blamed for all of the ostensible hardship suffered by Americans as a result of the shutdown. And his unwavering conservatism is being characterized, both by GOP insiders and many among the so-called conservative punditry, as a detriment to the Party. But this was the exact nature of the accusations made against such notable conservatives as Ronald Reagan, and ultimately it was those same maligned characteristics which propelled him to unprecedented victory and indisputable dominance over the political left. Conversely, conservatives are being assured by self-professed political experts of the worthiness and virtue of the directionless posturing of seasoned Republicans who can function inside the Beltway without becoming targets of the liberal attack machine. Examples abound, such as Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney, who were not deemed “extreme” within the party and thus gained acceptance from insiders. This ultimately proved to connect them with everyone except the voters. Does it make anyone among the Republican elite even a little uncomfortable to witness supposedly conservative pundits and political “experts” perfectly echoing liberal Democrat assertions on how to expunge conservative influence from the party in an ostensible strategy to revitalize it? Can the real repercussions of such a plan, with plenty of previous failed attempts standing as proof, really be lost on these whom the party deems its best and brightest? Fortunately, Ted Cruz has his own version of “unity” by which the Republican Party, and all of America can be revitalized. Upon his October 21 return to Texas, he was greeted by cheering throngs who held up signs which read “Make DC Listen,” a theme that ran through his recent twenty-one hour marathon filibuster. Speaking to those gathered, he voiced his hope for Republicans on Capitol Hill to “stand together against this train wreck that is Obamacare, and with the American people.” While such brazen unwillingness to toe the party line might seem blindly obstinate, it should be considered against the facts. It was Obama who refused to sign a bill keeping the government running unless he got everything he wanted, Obama who refused any negotiations, Obama who held the nation hostage, and Obama who inflicted as much pain as possible on the American people. Yet Republicans are blamed for the shutdown on the basis that they did not immediately respond by surrendering. And those who are supposed to be leading the GOP respond by now agreeing with this premise? If this pivotal moment in American history is not the right time for conservatives to stand against the malignant onslaught of socialism and collectivism with every ounce of strength they can muster, then no occasion will ever warrant such a response. If “moderates,” as epitomized by John McCain, Mitch McConnell and Ted Cruz’s other critics are truly the mainstream of the GOP, then the battle is already lost and America is indeed finished. But far from the thoroughly corrupted and compromised halls of Congress, a great many Americans are unwilling to accept that fate. Christopher G. Adamo is a resident of southeastern Wyoming and has been involved in state and local politics for many years. He writes for several prominent conservative websites, and has written for regional and national magazines. He is currently the Chief Editorial Writer for The Proud Americans, a membership advocacy group for America’s seniors, and for all Americans. His contact information and article archives can be found at www.chrisadamo.com, and he can be followed on Twitter @CGAdamo.

Don’t Forget Obamacare’s Electronic Medical Records Wreck

Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, a Philadelphia orthopedic surgeon, has a timely reminder for everyone encountering the federal health care exchange meltdown: “If you think signing up for Obamacare is a nightmare, ask your doctor how the EMR mandate is going.” Bingo. The White House finally acknowledged the spectacular public disaster of Obamacare’s Internet exchange infrastructure during Monday’s Rose Garden infomercial. But President Shamwow and his sales team are AWOL on the bureaucratic ravages of the federal electronic medical records mandate. Modernized data collection is a worthy goal, of course. But distracted doctors are seeing “more pixels than patients,” Dr. DiNubile observes, and the EMR edict is foisting “dangerous user-unfriendly technology” on physicians and patients. Instead of concentrating on care, doctors face exhausting regulatory battles over the definition of “meaningful use” of technology, skyrocketing costs and unwarranted Big Brother intrusions on the practice of medicine. As I reported last year, Obamacare’s top-down, tax-subsidized, job-killing, privacy-undermining electronic record-sharing scheme has been a big fat bust. More than $4 billion in “incentives” has been doled out to force doctors and hospitals to convert and upgrade by 2015. But favored EMR vendors, including Obama bundler Judy Faulkner’s Epic Systems, have undermined rather than enhanced interoperability. Oversight remains lax. And after hyping the alleged benefits for nearly a decade, the RAND Corporation finally ‘fessed up that its cost-savings predictions of $81 billion a year — used repeatedly to support the Obama EMR mandate — were (like every other Obamacare promise) vastly overstated. In June, the Annals of Emergency Medicine published a study warning that the “rush to capitalize on the huge federal investment of $30 billion for the adoption of electronic medical records led to some unfortunate and unintended consequences” tied to “communication failure, poor data display, wrong order/wrong patient errors and alert fatigue.” Also this summer, Massachusetts reported that 60 percent of doctors could not meet the EMR mandate and face potential loss of their licenses in 2015. And a few weeks ago, the American College of Physicians pleaded with the feds to delay the mandate’s data collection, certification and reporting requirements. Dr. Hayward K. Zwerling, an internal medicine physician in Massachusetts who is also president of ComChart Medical Software, blasted the Obamacare EMR mandate in a recent open letter: “As the developer of an EMR, I sincerely believe that a well-designed EMR is a useful tool for many practices. However, the federal and state government’s misguided obsession to stipulate which features must be in the EMRs, and how the physician should use the EMRs in the exam room places the politicians in the middle of the exam room between the patient and the physician, and seriously disrupts the physician-patient relationship.” Zwerling’s call to arms appealed to fellow doctors to pressure the feds to repeal the mandate. “It is past time that physicians reclaim control of their offices, if not the practice of medicine.” As I’ve mentioned previously, my own primary care physician in Colorado Springs quit her regular practice and converted to “concierge care” because of the EMR imposition. Dr. Henry Smith, a Pennsylvania pulmonary doctor, also walked away. “Faced with the implementation costs and skyrocketing overhead in general,” he told me, “I finally threw in the towel and closed my practice.” He said, “As EMRs proliferate, and increased Medicare scrutiny looms, medical documentation is evolving from its original goal of recording what actually was going on with a patient, and what the provider was actually thinking, to sterile boilerplate documents designed to justify the highest billing codes.” Dr. Michael Laidlaw of Rocklin, Calif., told EHR Practice Consultants that he abandoned the Obamacare EMR “incentive” program “when I realized that I spent the first two to five minutes of each visit endlessly clicking a bunch of garbage to make all the green lights show up on the (meaningful use) meter. I said to myself: ‘I’m not wasting precious seconds of my life and my patients’ time to ensure some database gets filled with data. I didn’t go into medicine for this. It is not benefiting my patients or me. I hate it.’ I actually refused to take the $10K-plus this year. I have even accepted that I would rather be penalized in the future. What is worth the most to me is AUTONOMY.” Let me underscore that again: Doctors face steep penalties if they can’t meet the radical technology goals imposed by the very same glitch-plagued Obamacare bureaucrats who now need an emergency “tech surge” to fix their own failed info-tech Titanic. The Obamacare wrecking ball has only just begun. Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM

Unions Turn on Obamacare, but Don’t Call Them Hypocrites

It’s not just Republicans who are unhappy with Obamacare. Labor union leaders have been complaining too. In July, the presidents of the Teamsters, United Food Commercial Workers union and UNITE-HERE (combined membership: 2.9 million) wrote a letter to congressional Democrats saying that Obamacare will “destroy the very health and well-being of our members along with millions of other working Americans.” “We have a problem,” they concluded. “You need to fix it.” Forget for a moment that organized labor supported Obamacare. The union leaders have arguably legitimate complaints. Obamacare does indeed create incentives for employers to reduce the workweek below 30 hours. It also discourages the high-benefit “Cadillac plans” that unions have negotiated — and that are one thing they can promise workers in organization drives. Obamacare taxes premiums on non-profit, multi-employer union plans that cover, for example, workers in multiple small restaurants. And the people in these plans won’t be eligible for subsidies available to policyholders in for-profit insurers. The union leaders were understandably ticked at the “huge accommodation for the employer community — extending the statutorily mandated ‘December 31, 2013′ deadline for the employer mandate and penalties.” Like many other Americans, they are angry that President Obama refused to fulfill his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law. On a late Friday afternoon in September — the same timing as the employer mandate delay in July — the Obama administration denied the unions’ request that workers with multi-employer health plans receive subsidies on the exchanges. To which Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers International Union, said he wanted the law “fixed, fixed, fixed” and, if not, “then I believe it needs to be repealed.” Consistent opponents of Obamacare might take satisfaction from these complaints. And they might observe that the unions backed legislation that tends to encourage union members to drop union plans and to prevent unions from attracting new members by promising Cadillac plans. They got what they deserved. I take a somewhat different view. Over many decades, union leaders have supported legislation that extends to non-members benefits unions have secured for members. They have consistently supported higher minimum wages — arguably because they bump up (already higher) union wages — ignoring the strong evidence that higher minimums reduce low-skill employment. They supported the creation of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act regulating pensions, even though such legislation, by extending benefits to non-union workers, made them less likely to feel a need for union representation. You don’t need a shop steward if you have an OSHA inspector. And in fact, union representation in the private sector has plummeted in the last three decades. Unions’ support of such legislation, and of Obamacare, may have been self-destructive. But it could also be characterized as altruistic. Many union leaders saw extending to non-members what they believed they extended to members. People like to do well, but they also want to do good. Let me cite two professions that worked to put themselves out of much business, out of altruism. Firefighters are the first example. Firefighter unions and other organizations have actively promoted safer building codes, restrictions on use of flammable materials and unsafe building materials. These firefighters have lifted the charred bodies of dead children out of burnt-out buildings. They have seen families destroyed by needless fires. They have worked to prevent such tragedies. And worked successfully: There are much fewer fires than there used to be. Firefighters have done themselves out of business. They spend most of their time now on routine services, which less expensive EMS personnel could handle, and their unions struggle to prevent layoffs. Another altruistic profession is dentistry. For many decades, dental groups have promoted fluoridation of water. They have vigorously encouraged people to brush — and floss — thrice daily. In their practices, they have seen the pain people suffer from because of defective teeth and painful abscesses. They want to reduce such suffering. As a result, Americans have far fewer cavities and dentists have far less routine work than they did some years ago. In response, they have developed new specialties — peridontry, enamelizing, orthodonture. Sure, all these professions are out to get, in the words of the classic union leader Samuel Gompers, “more.” But labor leaders, firefighters and dentists have also acted, at risk of losing business, out of altruism, to help others. Let’s give union leaders some credit for that, even as they decry a law they supported. Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

Keep Your Chins Up, Conservatives

Call me Pollyannaish or insincere, but I am not depressed about the so-called “caving” of the GOP — for a host of reasons. To put this in perspective, let me confess that I did feel totally dejected after Obama’s re-election in 2012. How could he possibly have won, I wondered, given the obvious failure of his policies and the wholesale repudiation of his agenda in the 2010 congressional elections? I was also very disheartened when the Supreme Court, via alleged constitutionalist Chief Justice John Roberts, judicially rewrote Obamacare in order to uphold the unconstitutional monstrosity. Obamacare represented not only one of many policy setbacks under Obama but also the ever-acquisitive government’s consumption of another one-sixth of the formerly capitalist and robust American economy. Demographic trends and an ever-expanding and increasingly entrenched dependency class are ominous signs for Republicans. Add to these the growing reluctance of Republicans to stand for and articulate their winning principles (as opposed to liberal lite) and there’s plenty of fodder for the default pessimists among us — and more than enough to give the rest of us pause, as well. But something has happened since the Supreme Court donated its imprimatur to the Absolutely Unaffordable Inferior Care Act. Grass-roots conservatives have not folded their tents, and a number of conservative officeholders have emerged to communicate conservative principles in bold colors and not pale pastels. They have assumed a leadership position in the Republican Party to fill the current void and articulated the conservative policy alternative with striking clarity and with no apologies. And they have not backed down in the face of harsh personal criticism from certain establishment officeholders and pundits. I was always confident that like-minded patriots had not yet thrown in the towel and hopeful that even those in office would fight back. But I was gratified to witness this phenomenon so soon after Obama won re-election. Though it may be easy to slam Congress from the right, I think we overlook the fact that our side has held Obama’s feet to the fire and had remarkable success in preventing the further legislative advancement of his agenda. Granted, Obama continues to march forward through abuse of his executive and administrative powers, but Congress has slowed him down measurably on the legislative side. But what really re-stoked my sense of optimism was when Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor and conducted a quasi-filibuster against aspects of Obama’s lawless foreign policy and domestic agenda. Cynics panned Paul’s move as populist grandstanding, but it was anything but. He rose to put the statists on notice that conservatives are not about to roll over while they continue to fundamentally transform this nation into something we can’t recognize and something incompatible with the nation’s founding. Though not prevailing legislatively in that exercise, Paul showed Americans that there are conservative politicians still willing to fight for them and for America. This was inspiring and invigorating. Then Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee ratcheted it up a notch, going to the Senate to call Obama out on his destructive agenda and promising to do everything they can to defund and derail Obamacare. Cruz’s 20-plus-hour floor speech was a seminar in the eloquent communication of conservative principles. I do not believe they made irresponsible promises; they didn’t guarantee they are going to stop Obamacare in the short term. They promised, though, that they will fight it tooth and nail and that if the party would get behind them in this effort, they might be able to help galvanize national opposition to the implementation of the law and make headway toward stopping it. I can’t be too disappointed that they didn’t ultimately prevail, because I didn’t have unrealistic expectations that we would stop the monster in this first round. I was hoping a miracle could occur, but I never expected it to in the short term. But I did believe that by making a strong conservative case — finally — Cruz et al. were helping to alert the nation to the potentially striking differences in the parties and their agendas and that there were officeholders in positions of leadership who would fight to the figurative death for us. Just as my brother, Rush, gave millions of conservatives hope through his radio show by validating the legitimacy of their beliefs, Cruz, Paul and Lee let us know that we have people in office fighting for us, as well. I reject the conventional wisdom that Cruz and his warriors hurt our cause by increasing the likelihood of our defeat in 2014. To the contrary, they enhanced our cause by energizing the base and fighting. And they laid serious gloves on Obama; his approval rating has never been lower. They also gave him an opportunity, which he fully embraced, to demonstrate his mean-spiritedness, his pettiness and his dishonesty for all to see. The shutdown was not the disaster he promised any more than sequestration has been; he was hyper-partisan and gratuitously punitive during the ordeal; and his egregious misrepresentations about Obamacare were manifesting themselves throughout. Now, having laid this important foundation, the GOP must quit the infighting and come together with mutual respect among the factions and turn its rhetorical weapons on Obama in unison, highlighting the ongoing disaster that is Obamacare and singling out Obama for his fiscal recklessness, pointing out that though these temporary government shutdowns are no picnic, we are headed inexorably toward a full-blown fiscal catastrophe if the Obama big-government juggernaut is not derailed. Now that’s a winning message. So let’s fight on. David Limbaugh is a writer, author and attorney. His latest book, “The Great Destroyer,” reached No. 2 on the New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction. Follow him on Twitter @davidlimbaugh and his website at www.davidlimbaugh.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2013 CREATORS.COM