Fighting for Religious Freedom
Fighting For Religious Freedom
Last week’s Values Voter Summit was a smashing success. The event, the premier gathering of social conservatives in Washington, D.C., is always a highlight of my year.
There are many serious issues confronting our nation right now. But one of the most critical is the collapse of religious freedom in the world and the increasing persecution of Christians and Jews. That was the focus of my remarks at the Values Voter Summit last week. If you missed my address, you can watch it here.
Values Voters Stand With Cruz
Senator Ted Cruz won the Values Voter straw poll — for the third year in a row. Cruz won 35%, while Dr. Ben Carson finished second with 18%, followed by Gov. Mike Huckabee at 14% and Sen. Marco Rubio at 13%. No other candidates received double-digit support. Current GOP frontrunner Donald Trump finished fifth at 5%.
What about establishment favorite Jeb Bush? He got seven percent. Whoops! No, not seven percent — seven votes! Bush finished in 12th place — just barely ahead of Vermont socialist Bernie Sanders, who got five votes.
Many of you may be wondering who those folks were who backed Bernie Sanders. I don’t think they were values voters. We know leftists come to the event to monitor what is said and to stir up trouble. As long as they are paid registrants, they can vote in the straw poll.
And Sanders was the clear favorite among the left-wing contingent that voted in the poll. Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and Jim Webb got one vote each.
Bush’s poor performance may have had something to do with the fact that he declined to speak at this year’s event. Not only did Jeb not go, his campaign evidently did not think it was worth sending supporters in order to make a good showing in the straw poll.
Boehner Fires Back
Speaker John Boehner’s surprise announcement that he will retire from Congress at the end of October continued to dominate headlines over the weekend. His announcement was greeted with wild applause at the Values Voter Summit.
The frustration between the conservative grassroots and the Washington political establishment boiled over this weekend. On CBS [Sunday], the speaker blasted his conservative critics, comparing them to “false prophets” from the Bible for making “unrealistic promises.”
Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who lost his primary race last year, and other establishment types continued to bash conservatives.
Liberals don’t do that. They never preemptively surrender or talk about what they can’t do. In fact, they say, “Yes we can!”
But Cantor and GOP elites spent all their time over the weekend explaining why they are powerless. When conservatives hear that, they become demoralized. The fact of the matter is that there are things members of Congress can do. For example, they could vote down Obama’s judicial nominees as too left-wing.
The upcoming budget deal will give Obama everything he wants. Nothing will reflect conservative priorities. If that is the case, conservatives could tell President Obama not to bother sending any more nominees to the Senate for confirmation. Don’t even think about trying to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.
If Obama refuses to compromise — if Obama is willing to shut down the government over taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood of all things — members of Congress have to fight back as best they can.
It is rich of Boehner to say that even when Republicans have majorities, Obama still has the veto and they can’t override the veto. Well what about times when the president needs a supermajority — like to ratify his Iran treaty? What did Republicans do? They changed the rules so that they had to come up with a supermajority to block it.
I fully appreciate the power of the presidency. I have seen it firsthand when Ronald Reagan battled Ted Kennedy and Tip O'Neill. But Congress is not a subservient branch of government. It is supposed to be a co-equal branch of government. It should start acting like one.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows a major shift in the GOP presidential race may be taking place. Dr. Ben Carson has doubled his support since the previous NBC/Journal poll and is now just one point behind — essentially tied with — Donald Trump.
Trump earns 21% to Carson’s 20%. Carly Fiorina and Marco Rubio are tied at 11%. No other candidate earns double-digit support.
In the Democrat primary, Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by seven points — 42% to 35%, with Joe Biden picking up 17%. It’s interesting to note that a clear majority of Democrats prefer candidates other than Mrs. Clinton.