Why More Lawmakers Should Have Fought the Debt Ceiling Suspension

My Foundry piece this week explains the clean debt ceiling suspension is just the beginning of a sustained effort to abdicate fiscal responsibility.  Some Republicans are discussing the possibility of reinstating the “Gephardt Rule,” a mechanism that allowed for approval of legislation increasing the nation’s statutory debt limit without an actual vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.  Reinstating this rule would supposedly allow lawmakers to avoid periodic debt ceiling dramas, to the detriment of the American people:

America established a statutory debt ceiling in 1917 as part of the Second Liberty Bond Act. According to the non-partisan Congressional Research Services, the debt ceiling “imposes a form of fiscal accountability that compels Congress and the President to take visible action to allow further federal borrowing when the federal government spends more than it collects in revenues.”

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Opportunity or Cronyism?

Remember last year when progressives were declaring victory?  My Foundry piece this week explains how conservatives pushed back, and won:

Last year, many in the consulting class warned America had turned a corner, and they urged conservatives to moderate their principles in pursuit of electoral victory.

After a year of policy defeats on guns, amnesty and cap-and-trade, President Obama’s former press secretary Robert Gibbs declared 2013 the “lost year for the president.”  While our President may be lost and rudderless, the country is not without visionary leaders.

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) did not bother responding to the President’s liberal laundry list; rather he put forth an unapologetically conservative and positive agenda that spoke to “those Americans who may feel they have been forgotten by both political parties.”

Read the rest.

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Conservative Reformers Need To Make DC Listen

My Federalist column today explains that “reform conservatism” has been alive and well for years, and it is about time pundits start taking notice:

Ross Douthat’s recent New York Times column argues the most consequential recent development for the GOP has been “the fact that reform conservatism suddenly has national politicians in its corner.” Indeed, Douthat writes: Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have presented reform ideas that “are already more interesting and promising than almost anything Republicans campaigned on in 2012.”

Welcome, Ross, to what many of us have been saying for the last several years. Republicans ran a campaign in 2012 premised on keeping their heads down and not “making ourselves the issue.” Senators Lee and Rubio have more in common, however, than just having recently introduced bold policy ideas. They also bucked this advice and ran insurgent campaigns against Establishment-backed candidates and won because they inspired people with bold ideas.

Today’s Republican Party is too often not the party of Lincoln and Reagan but instead of consultants, lobbyists and rent-seekers.

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Washington’s Weapon Against Conservatives

My Foundry column this week discusses one of the tricks the Washington Establishment uses against conservatives:

Over the past several decades, big-government lawmakers and lobbyists have developed a wide array of techniques they have used to successfully advance their own interests, usually to the detriment of our nation.  If conservatives are to be successful in changing Washington and saving the country, we must first understand the tools of their self-indulging trade.

One of the easiest tricks to spot is the “Christmas Tree.”

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The Federalist: This Shutdown Is Just Democracy At Work

Conventional wisdom in Washington is that our nation’s government was shut down by a group of uncompromising tea party extremists. While this is demonstrably untrue – the House of Representatives has now compromised on its position twice while Senate Democrats have refused to budge an inch – it masks a more important debate. That debate is over what type of democracy we want to live in: A real one or one on auto-pilot.

Official Washington regularly casts scorn on the “brinksmanship” that has characterized our nation’s fiscal debates for the last three years. There has been brinksmanship in recent years, but it’s only offensive if you wish to place our nation on perpetual cruise control.

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