Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review continue revealing their prestigious year-end political awards. In this installment, they honor the best political ideas of the year, the worst political ideas and the boldest tactics.
Archives for December 2013
Three Martini Lunch 12/27/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review issue more end-of year-awards. Today they focus on the worst scandal of 2013, the best political theater and the worst political theater.
Three Martini Lunch 12/26/13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review list the figures they were most sorry to see pass away in 2013 and reveal their choices for rising political stars and political figures fading into oblivion.
Three Martini Lunch 12/24//13
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review begin their end -of-year awards. Today they name their most over-rated, most under-rated and most honest politicians of 2013.
Remembrances 2013, Part 2
In the second half of this special report, we remember the famous individuals from film, television, music, books and more who passed away in 2013.
Remembrances 2013, Part 1
As 2013 draws to a close, we remember the famous names and faces who died this year. In the first of our two-part series, we examine the major figures from politics, media and sports who left us over the past 12 months.
‘A Morally Bankrupt Presidency’
Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver says 2013 will go down as an historic year in the fight to save the unborn, he believes America is in even greater peril as a result of the homosexual agenda and he says traditional Americans are fighting against a “morally bankrupt presidency”.
The biggest debate in the cultural battles this year centered on the advance of gay marriage, which was legalized in several states through legislative and judicial means. The biggest showdown came at the Supreme Court, where justices upheld gay marriage in California despite a 2008 constitutional amendment defining marriage between a man and a woman. The court also struck down part of the Defense of Marriage act, contending that the federal government had to issue benefits to same-sex spouses in states where gay marriage is legal.
“What the Supreme Court did was strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act and essentially call everyone who believes in marriage as one man and one woman a bigot and a hater of humanity,” said Staver, who sees the ruling having a far-reaching impact.
“That particular decision is being used around the country to attack state constitutional marriage laws or state laws that affirm marriage as one man and one woman. I think it’ll have a very destructive impact,” said Staver, who believes the court decisions deserve a spot alongside some of the most infamous in U.S. history.
“That decision delegitimizes the United States Supreme Court just as much as the Dred Scott decision delegitimized the Supreme Court where they said that people of color were not citizens, therefore they were not entitled to the protections of the Constitution,” he said. “This decision is just a bigoted opinion of five individuals. but in the meantime, I think it’ll ultimately have a very negative effect around the country.”
While Staver admits the legal momentum is not in his favor, he believes the homosexual lobby is overplaying their hand and the American public will reject them.
“The American people are seeing the underside of the same-sex agenda that we’ve warned about and that’s the intolerance of it, that is the absolute dominance of it against any worldview, particularly a Christian worldview,” said Staver, who cites the recent controversy over “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson as the latest evidence. “More and more people are starting to say, ‘This is just going too far’ and I think this whole agenda may well overplay its hand.”
When it comes to the abortion fight, Staver is very bullish after watching many states propose and pass legislation banning most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy following the conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell on infanticide charges.
“The 2013 year is going to be a very historic year. More pro-life legislation was passed or put on the ballot for statewide initiatives than any other year. That momentum will continue to grow. Even the Obamacare, with regards to the forced funding of abortion has taken a number of hits with court after court after court issuing injunctions blocking the Obamacare from forcing religious or even for-profit companies from having to fund abortion,” said Staver.
“2013 has been a good year. We need to continue that momentum, but at the end of the day we need to ultimately return America to a culture of life. One child is too many children that are sacrificed for convenience,” said Staver.
Just days after the 2012 elections, Staver considered Obama’s re-election so troubling he suggested it could mean the beginning of the death of America. After another year of the culture wars, does Staver stand behind that quote?
“Yes I do. I think that President Obama has been a devastatingly negative impact and effect on America, and not just on America but around the world,” said Staver, who says a recent visit to a family conference in Peru showed him just how far the Obama administration is trying to push its homosexual and abortion agendas.
“One thing that was very clear is the concern that they have over the Obama administration actively working to undermine their Judeo-Christian values, particularly in the area. of life and marriage. It’s not just in Latin America. It’s all over the world. So not only are we seeing that here in America, but we’re seeing the devastating negative impact of a morally bankrupt presidency that is having a very negative and bad effect globally,” he said.
Down the Road Again
As a new year dawns, Congress seems to have avoided a government shutdown for the foreseeable future but another debt ceiling fight may be right around the corner. As we prepare, the Capitol Steps focus on that favorite Washington sport of delaying any real change with their song “Down the Road Again”. Our guest is Steps impressionist Mark Eaton.
‘An Inattentive, Weak Administration’
2013 was a year of foreign policy blunders and miscalculations that left our standing in the world diminished, the Russians on the rise and the Middle East in greater turmoil, according to former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton.
One of the biggest events in the Middle East was the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt. After days and weeks of gigantic protests throughout the country, the military gave Morsi and ultimatum to leave. He refused and the military took power. Bolton praises the move and notes the U.S. condemnation of the military’s actions once puts this administration on the wrong side of the debate.
“As we come to the end of the year, we have the Egyptian military back in power, which is essentially where we were at the beginning of the Arab Spring. Yet, because of the administration’s inept handling of events in Egypt, we have now succeeded in alienating every major element of Egyptian society.” said Bolton.
“The military don’t trust the Obama administration. They think they’re pro-Muslim Brotherhood. The Brotherhood doesn’t trust the administration. The pro-western, pro-democracy protesters just pull their hair out when they think about how the administration has handled this. The consequence is we’re now at our lowest influence in Egypt in decades. The Russians are now back in trying to sell weapons, which they haven’t been in 40 years. So, it’s hard to imagine a worse outcome for the United States than where we are now,” said Bolton.
Another major foreign policy showdown came in September over Syria. After the international community concluded that President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, President Obama attempted to convince allies and Congress that military action was necessary. Neither was interested. The political and diplomatic showdown was averted when Secretary of State John Kerry suggested Syria could avoid military strikes by giving up all chemical weapons. Kerry immediate said that would never happen, but Russia immediately seized on the comment and eventually worked out a deal for Assad to stay in power in exchange for turning over his chemical stockpiles.
“This is another situation where the United States has absolutely failed to achieve its objectives. The president said his objective was removing the Assad regime from power. That obviously hasn’t happened. If anything, momentum is now in the direction of the regime. The president said that if he saw the use of chemical weapons that would be a red line that would prompt American intervention. Chemical weapons were used. There was no American intervention,” said Bolton.
“Whether you agree with the administration’s policies or not, what they have done has let the United States again in a much weaker position,” he said.
Late in the year, the U.S. touted a temporary, six-month deal to ease economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran taking steps to prove it has no intention of developing nuclear weapons. The short-term agreement is designed to set the stage for a permanent deal early next year.
“Since the beginning of the Obama administration, the president has believed he could find a way to deal diplomatically with Iran’s nuclear weapons program, contrary to the reality that Iran’s been after deliverable nuclear weapons for over 20 years. It’s one of their highest national security goals. Notwithstanding that reality, President Obama thought he could cut a deal with them,” said Bolton.
“Iran got what it wanted. It protected its nuclear program. At the same time it got some relief – exact quantity unknown – but it got some relief from the economic sanctions. The United States came away with essentially nothing,” he said.
In each of these diplomatic matters, Russia played a key role and Bolton says they are just some of the signs that Russian aggression is on the rise. Not only does he see Russia more influential now than at any time in the past four decades, but he warns of Vladimir Putin’s attempts to reconstitute the old Soviet Union.
In 2014, Bolton expects all of these issues to create more headaches for the United States in addition to the threat posed by renewed aggression by China in its sphere of influence.
“This is the consequence of an inattentive, weak administration. American interests are going by the boards. Other countries see this weakness and lack of attention and they recalibrate their policies accordingly to take advantage of it. So I’m afraid we’re in for pretty heavy sailing here over the next three years,” said Bolton.
Long, Long Lame Duck Period
President Obama’s credibility will be difficult to regain after the failure of his core Obamacare promise and the disastrous roll-out of the health care law rescued the Republicans from a public relations nightmare following the government shutdown, according to one of the nation’s leading political scientists.
Larry Sabato is a professor of political science at the University of Virginia and directs the school’s Center for Politics. He says President Obama lost a lot of ground with the American people by promising them if they liked their health plans and doctors that they could keep them.
“One thing that I think all historians and political scientists look for is the moment, if it occurs, when the credibility gap opens and it’s happened for Obama. It’s not because of the rocky roll-out of Obamacare and not because a website doesn’t work, although it should have,” said Sabato. “It’s because of that oft-repeated statement, which many people bought because the president said it and people said, ‘Well, if he’s got all these advisers, surely they checked.'”
“The fact that a president would say that over and over again creates a credibility problem,” said Sabato, noting similar drops for Lyndon Johnson over Vietnam, Richard Nixon over Watergate, Ronald Reagan over Iran-Contra, George H.W. Bush over taxes and Bill Clinton over denials of in intimate relationship with an intern.
“There are these moments in a presidency when people can focus on whether a president is telling the truth or not. And once you’ve found out that somebody can lie to you over and over again and do it pretty convincingly, you’re a little less inclined to be gullible,” said Sabato, who says the credibility gap is obvious in Obama’s latest polling.
“Right now, depending on the poll, it’s between the upper thirties and the low forties. Obviously that’s not a very good position to be in when you’re the incumbent president and you have more than three years to run in your term. This is going to be a long, long lame duck period,” he said.
In addition to severely damaging the president’s credibility, Sabato says the timing of the fiasco saved congressional Republicans, who were getting the lion’s share of the public’s wrath over the government shutdown. But Sabato says Republicans also need to dodge the bullet again in 2014.
“Obamacare saved the Republicans from a long-term hit. Remember, we’ve got the debt limit coming up again. The question is did Republicans really learn a lesson from that 17-day shutdown because it cost them big. They’re not going to get a second roll-out of Obamacare to rescue them in all likelihood. If they learned their lesson, they’re going to leave that alone during the election year and they’re going to go ahead and raise the debt limit and not shut down the government. People may not like it, but, politically, in an election year, that’s the thing to do if you want to win,” said Sabato.
In assessing the legislative battles from 2013, Sabato says he never thought President Obama’s gun control push would ever gain much traction.
“On the day of Sandy Hook, as sad as we all were and as tragic as that situation was, I tweeted that there wasn’t going to be any gun control legislation because of the alignment in Congress. You always go back to the last election. What did it create?” said Sabato, noting that some deeply Democratic states advanced new gun restrictions but a GOP-led House would never go along with Obama’s agenda.
“I don’t know if Obama thought he was going to get it. I rather suspect he was because presidents are surrounded in this bubble by aides who basically like to give him good news,” said Sabato.
Another issue that got bogged down in 2013 was immigration reform, which passed in the Senate but is being addressed piece by piece in the House. Sabato says those waiting for the lower chamber to approve what the Senate did shouldn’t hold their breath.
“You can forget about comprehensive immigration reform. Piece by piece reform? I mean it’s possible. Both parties agree on certain pieces. The question is will they agree to pass those pieces? Democrats don’t want to let the popular pieces of immigration pass without having a comprehensive reform for all the illegals living in the United States,” said Sabato.
The growing rivalry between the establishment Republicans and the conservative tea party side of the GOP flared up several times this year. Without a specific prescription for resolving the differences, Sabato says they better reconcile before November 2014 and especially before the 2016 campaign.
“The real challenge for Republicans is going to be in 2016, because that’s when the new leader of the Republican Party nominated for president has got to bring the factions together to have a chance of winning,” said Sabato.
So what does Sabato, the chief prognosticator for the Center for Politics Crystal Ball, see happening in 2014? Overall, he says history suggests this will be another rough midterm for Obama.
“These sixth year elections tend to be very unpleasant ones for the incumbent White House administration,” said Sabato.
He expects the House to stay in GOP hands and for Republicans to gain about six seats by his early calculations. Sabato also sees Republicans gaining at least three Senate seats and he believes getting the magic number of six is doable.
“There’s a very real shot. You can see the path to a majority in the Senate for Republicans if they don’t divide and if they don’t nominate candidates who can’t win the general election. These are a lot of ifs and we have to see it play out in the new year,” he said.