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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Candidates Face The "Murder Board"

The House Leadership Candidates--Roy Blunt, John Shadegg, and John Boehner--faced tough questions from a murder board consisting of some of the best in the blogosphere. These weren't irrelevant questions. They were upfront, and to the point. Many relevant to current events, and a seemingly lost vision amongst the GOP, the questions spcifically focused on serious gripes that has concerned the base for some time.

1. Will you introduce and support a proposal to require all 'earmarks' to be identified by the name of the requesting Member of Congress? - Mark Tapscott

2. Will you introduce and support a proposal to require all legislation to be posted on the Internet at least 72 hours prior to a vote? - Mark Tapscott

3. Would you work to repeal or otherwise emasculate McCain-Feingold? What restrictions, do you believe should be placed on campaign finance? Do you believe that political contributions are a form of protected speech? - William Love

4. Would you support a relevancy bill that would require all ammendments and earmarks added to a bill would have to be relevant to the proposed legislation as stated explicitly in the introduction to the legislation itself? - Travis Clark

5. What, exactly, are your ties to Jack Abramoff's various operations? - Hugh Hewitt

6. Would you support a rules change that requires all members sign a statement that they have READ the legislation before they vote on it? - john mcginnis

7. Would you support a law requiring that every act of Congress, including appropriations, contain statements identifying the authority in the Constitution that grants the Congress the authority to pass the legislation or spend the funds? - Diffus

8. Do you support "the fair tax"? - Jack

9. Will you renew the effort to introduce private accounts to the Social Security system or do you have a better alternative toward which you will work? -

10. Will you introduce and support a proposal to apply the Freedom of Information Act to Congress? - Mark Tapscott

11. would you support term-limits legislation that would limit a House member to say four terms and a Senator to two? - Paliberty

12. Will you work to pass "loser pays" or "English rules" tort reform legislation? - Matt

13. Do you support school choice? - Matt

14. Will you lead us 'Back To The Future' by publicly committing yourself to fight for an updated 'Contract With America'? - Donovan Conrad

15. Did you have signature privileges at Signatures restaurant? -
Hugh Hewitt

Solid questions, each and every one of them. Over the next week, or so, NZ Bear will put up the answers to these questions so that everyone can see what they had to say. I've heard the interviews that Hugh Hewitt conducted with each one. They all sounded good, but we're still firmly behind John Shadegg. His interview was, far and away, the best. He answered each question quickly, and unwaveringly. He also offered the most concise, to-the-point vision for what the GOP needs to revitalize itself.

For too long, they have acted like little Democrats. The chickens are coming home to roost now, and it isn't going to be pretty. At least not for the Democrats when the new leader is chosen. The party is going back to it's roots because it has no choice. We have enough criticism from our own party towards the president than we do support. A unified House may help force change in the Senate. We know that after this coming January, we'll have another leadership race to contend with as Sen. Frist is leaving. A replacement will also be needed there, and one that definitely has more of a spine than Sen. Frist has right now. That's not to say he's been terrible, but all too often I see compromise and consensus rather than following the platform you were sent to Washington to represent.

But for the leadership in the House, we're sticking with Shadegg. We feel he has what it takes to be the leader, and keep the party on track in the House.

Publius II

ADDENDUM: The following comes from Q and O, and trust me when I tell you it's quite informative. READ IT ALL.

Jon and I took part in the conference calls today with the three candidates for House Majority Leader, John Shadegg, John Boehner, and Roy Blunt. These conference calls were organized through the efforts of NZ Bear, and each lasted about half an hour.

Prior to the conference calls, I had told both Jon and McQ that I wasn't inclined to endorse a candidate for Majority Leader, I felt that way for a couple of reasons. First, I didn't know enough about any of these guys to make a choice, and, second, it's really not my business to choose the leadership of the House of Representatives. I mean, even if there was a guy who stood out politically as being libertarian—or, at least, libertarianish—that I liked, that doesn't mean they had the necessary qualities to ride herd on the Republican conference in getting legislation passed.

After listening to all three of these guys today, however, I certainly have made up my mind on an anti-endorsement, however...but let's hold off on that for now.

John Shadegg, who went first, was an impressive guy. Politically, he's probably closest to me in terms of compatibility with my wishes for smaller, less intrusive government—although, I doubt he'd want a government as small as I would like. He's a firmly in the pro-Drug War camp, however, which I think is a pointless waste of time and resources. Otherwise, however, he seemed like a stand-up guy. He was, at times, candid to the point of bluntness about how he thought the Republican leadership had gone astray from the limited government ideals they espoused in the 1994 election. He also came out strongly for increased border security, against bilingual education, and against unfunded federal mandates on the states.

Next up was Rep. Boehner, who was an engaging guy, too. For the most part, he said all the right things. But, yet, there was something...not sneaky...not troubling...just...too glib. When Jon asked him about what policies he would endorse to fix the problems in the house GOP conference, his reply was that he'd unify the conference. Don't get me wrong, I think unity is a wonderful idea, and I am keen for the day when we can all sit down together in front of a big campfire and sing Kum-By-Yah together, but that's not a policy. It is, at best, a way to find consensus that enables one to craft a policy. Nice guy, but he had just a little too much of a politicians smoothness in his answers to suit me. Now, see, I've kind of made Rep. Boehner sound bad, which I don't mean to do. Because he seemed like a genuinely nice guy, who I'm sure would make a fine Majority Leader. Of the two, I think Shadegg comes closest to me politically, but I wouldn't have any heartburn with Majority Leader Boehner running the show.And then there was Roy Blunt.

After spending a half hour listening to him, I think...let's see...how do I put this...I would rather lick fire ants off a stick than see Roy Blunt as Majority Leader. I'm not at the point of making a firm endorsement of either Reps. Shaddeg or Boehner, but the sun will set in a blazing red sky to the east of Casablanca before I'd want Roy Blunt as Majority leader.

The first troubling thing about the Blunt conference call was the way it was handled. In the other two calls, the conversation was unmoderated, and we all had chances to get our licks in. We asked candid questions and, for the most part, got equally candid answers. All of the bloggers who were there were part of the group organized by NZ Bear, and the Congressmen had no idea who was gonna be there when he got on the line.

The Blunt people put a stop to that. They required us to email David All, one of Rep. Blunt's staffers, for permission to attend the conference call. Then, Mr. All asked us to submit our questions in writing, and informed us that the call would be moderated. Also, once we were on the line, we had to hit "*1" to be recognized before we could ask a question; otherwise, we were muted. That, though is a technical thing, which is no big deal.

When we got on the line, Rep. Blunt made a statement, part of which I found confusing, because he said that he knew most of us had already endorsed Shadegg, which was news to me. Indeed, one of the email conversations that we've had between the blogger group was whether or not we should provide an endorsement of anybody at all, and the consensus seemed to be that, while some of us might individually do so, as a group we should not. My impression was that most individuals wouldn't be providing an endorsement, either. So, this statement caught me by surprise.

Then, when Rep. Blunt opened the floor for questions, the next surprise was that the first question came from someone from GOP Bloggers. He wasn't a part of our group, i.e., the one organized by NZ Bear. How did he get on the call? This guy then proceeded to throw a softball at Rep Blunt, essentially asking him if those naughty Democrats were just dirty liars for denying that they had anything to do with Jack Abramoff, and was the Congressman going to fight back properly? Then, the next questioner was from Townhall.com. WTF? I mean, while Townhall has what is technically a blog, Townhall is nothing more than an organ of the Heritage Institute. And they weren't part of our group either. He tossed another softball at Rep. Blunt, asking why Blunt hadn't gotten support from Conservative icons. Icons like...well...Townhall. And NRO.

So at this point it was obvious that, rather than just talking to our group, which was already organized, Rep. Blunt had pulled in ringers, and, having asked for questions in advance—which I declined to provide, by the way—had screened them prior to the conference call. So, at this point, I'm feeling like we're being played. Unlike the calls with the other candidates, which were unscripted, Blunt had turned this into the least spontaneous event possible.

Then, Rep. Blunt just outright pissed me off. He said words to the effect that, while he understood that many of us supported someone else, and he knew we'd be writing up the call later, he hoped we wouldn't write or do something that would jeopardize our ability to work together later, and since he was gonna win—already had the votes locked up, in fact—we would be dealing with him.

OK. I admit I have a slight problem with authority. So, maybe I'm taking this wrong, but I took that as veiled threat to mean that, if we expected any access in the future, maybe we'd better think about what we wrote about him. I really don't respond well to threats. Even pleasantly veiled ones.

Huh. OK. I'll make a deal with Rep. Blunt. How's this sound? I'll go ahead and write whatever the hell I want to write. In return, if Rep. Blunt doesn't like it, then he can cry me a river. I think that sounds fair. Somehow, I managed to get along fine for the first 41 years of my life without talking to Roy Blunt, and things turned out OK. I'm not a Washington journalist. My livelihood doesn't depend on having access to powerful DC insiders. So, I think I'll be fine if I never talk to him again.

Indeed, I would prefer it.But this little statement brings up an interesting point. One of the later questioners (I think it was Mike Krempasky from Red State, but I'm not sure), asked, why Rep. Blunt wouldn't step down from his Republican conference leadership position, since some members might fear some retaliation from him if they publicly came out for Shadegg or Boehner. Rep. Blunt responded that he was shocked—shocked!—that anyone would think of him in that way, and besides, he had to stay in the job, keeping the wheels of the conference turning, and whatnot.

Frankly, after the thinly veiled threat he had just dropped on us, I was thinking that, if I was a Congressman, I'd be pretty careful about offending the vindictive SOB myself.

As far as I'm concerned, the Blunt call was a disaster for Rep Blunt. My dominant impression was that he was trying to stack the deck with ringers who'd throw him softball questions, so our group's ability to question him closely would be limited by squandering time on people who were not part of our group, and whose questions he saw in advance. In short, he was trying to spin us. As far as I can tell, Rep. Blunt broke just about every rule for how to deal effectively with bloggers.

I don't think he could've alienated me more effectively had he intentionally set out to do so.I mean, has the guy ever even seen a blog? Have any of his staff?

After the call had ended, on of the attendees sent out an email, asking why he hadn't been invited to any of the earlier conference calls. Well, Sparky, the answer is that you weren't part of our blogger group, and the other candidates didn't try, like Rep. Blunt, to invite questioners that perceived as being friendlier, in order to reduce their exposure to tough questioning. Once Blunt agreed to the conference call, he pretty much took it over, organizing the attendees as well as the technical portion, and screening questions in advance.

Also, several members of our group had hit "*1" but were never recognized to allow them to ask questions. They were still hanging when Rep. Blunt said, essentially, "Woo, look at the time! Thanks for coming by folks. Now get out!

'So, if you're a Republican Congressman, I'm not going to endorse anyone, or tell you who to vote for. But if I was one of you, I could think of about 220 Republican members that I'd vote for before I voted for Roy Blunt as Majority Leader.

By the way, how's our deal working out so far for you, Rep. Blunt?

Funny thing about this, but in the three interviews that Hugh conducted, I got the feeling of a shady Washington insider about Blunt. He went off on a tangent with a couple of questions, and he just didn't seem right to us. I get the feeling if Rep. Blunt is elected, we're facing more problems than we really could grasp. And I have to agree with the guys at Q and O; I dislike threats, veiled or otherwise. It puts me in a surly mood. Plenty of people lately have been catching Hell from me. Today was no different, and Rep. Blunt forgets one little thing.

Leader or not, we can keep an eye on you. We keep an eye on you the same way we watch Graham, McCain, Chafee, Snowe, Collins, DeWine, and Specter in the Senate. And if you're a leader like Specter, the target's even bigger.

Publius II


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The House isn't all that safe and we could lose it this election. I want someone with very strong proven leadership to counter the lies, half truths and spins put out by the democrats. I trust your research, analysis and opinions. Rawriter

1:49 AM  

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