Common Sense Conservatism: Health Care Reform

“How can health care for everyone be a bad thing?”

Several months ago, one of my friends uttered this quote in an attempt to combat the negative press surrounding President Obama’s health care bill as it was being considered by Congress. The answer to that question, of course, is that health care for everyone is not a bad thing, it is a great thing. Sadly my friend missed the point, and so did many Americans: How do you pay for it when we’re $13 trillion in debt? Health Care Reform gripped the nation as yet another non-partisan issue was politicized for the sole purpose of damaging political opponents. In the end there was no winner; only losers: The American People.

Every issue has an upside and a downside. In 1986, the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act required hospital emergency rooms to treat anyone in need of care, regardless of citizenship, legal status, or ability to pay. The upside was that patients were not turned away from needed health care. The downside is that “about half of all emergency services go uncompensated.” The best intentions of government resulted in a huge unfunded mandate to emergency departments nationwide and a loss of $4.2 billion in revenue in 2001 according to the American Medical Association. Nobody wants to see patients denied much-needed care, but how can the government pass laws that help some people and completely destroy others?

Health care reform divided the nation along lines defined by views of big government versus small, and compassion versus fiscal responsibility. At a time when the economy was the top concern for Americans, not health care, Congress unveiled a $940 billion bill which was passed into law on March 23, 2010. Republicans were once again labeled “obstructionists,” even though they didn’t have enough votes to stop the Democrats from passing the bill. Democrats called Republicans the usual names, accusing them of being racists, hating the poor and defending the rich.

Today, 60% of Americans favor repeal.

It seems as if every issue where Democrats and Republicans disagree ends with more Americans believing that the GOP is racist, anti-poor and pro-rich. Why are Democrats so good at convincing Americans of these stereotypes? I believe it is because Democrats tend to politicize with emotional buzzwords and headlines, while Republicans do it with logic. So, are Republicans heartless to oppose a bill that would extend health care benefits to 32 million Americans? Well, let’s consider some of the objections.

The government is notoriously inefficient. In a previous post I went over the resume of the U.S. Government in detail, including the tremendous successes (read: failures) of Amtrak, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the U.S. Postal Service, the Ryan White CARE Act, and Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac. Even recipients of government funding like Planned Parenthood operate without oversight, as they apparently can’t account for $1.8 billion in taxpayer dollars received over the last decade. This isn’t a partisan problem. The government is inefficient under EVERY administration, which is why a majority of Americans prefer a smaller government. As it is, the bill is already estimated to cost $115 billion more than anticipated, and it hasn’t yet gone into effect.

It is simply a bad law. The health care law is designed to increase access to health care and lower costs so more Americans can afford to purchase health insurance. Correct? Does taxing the manufacturers of medical devices and brand-name prescription drugs help lower the cost of health care? Those increased costs will undoubtedly be passed on to the consumer, who is now forced to carry health insurance because of the mandates in the health care law – no matter what the cost! In fact, nothing in the new law controls the rising costs of health care. It does, however, force businesses to file a 1099 form for every vendor transaction of $600 or more, which creates a pile of paperwork for even the smallest businesses. What purpose does this serve in a health care bill? None! It has nothing to do with health care.

Going forward, individuals will no longer be able to claim medical expenses on their taxes that exceed 7.5% of their income. The new number is 10%, resulting in roughly $800 less in deductions for someone earning $25,000/year. President Obama said those earning under $250k/year wouldn’t see their taxes increase by a “single dime,” but if you can’t claim an additional $800 in medical expenses on your tax return, I think you’re out more than a dime. Medicare payroll taxes are also going up 2.35% for those earning more than $200k, and revenue from the increase in Medicare taxes will not be going to help save or fix Medicare. Medicare, in fact, is being cut by $500,000,000,000.00!

Then there are the mandates. Individuals will now be required to carry health insurance, whether they can afford it or not. Your coverage must also meet minimum government standards to “qualify” as an acceptable health care plan. The penalty for not complying will be as much as $750 per year for an individual, $2,250 for a family, or 2% of your income – whichever is higher. The employer mandates could cause some series damage. Employers who cannot afford to offer health insurance to their employees will pay fines, which could amount to $3,000 per employee, per year. This will unquestionably cause jobs to be cut and businesses to close. That’s a fact that cannot be ignored.

Of course we can’t forget luxury health care plans, called “Cadillac Plans.” These are plans that cost more than $8,500 per year for an individual. They’re great plans, but there will now be a 40% excise tax on them. Yes, that’s right – 40%. It is designed to go after the rich, but it is not indexed for inflation, which means in 10 years when all plans cost $8,500/year or more, everyone will be paying the 40% tax. Many union-negotiated plans are considered “Cadillac Plans,” but if you’re in a union you don’t have to worry about it. President Obama exempted unions from this 40% tax. For the record, only 8% of Americans are in unions.

The new law also allows the Department of Health and Human Services to create “qualified non-profit health insurance issuers” to offer health insurance, with federal grants, and exempt from federal taxes. It requires health care coverage information to be reported to the IRS, and provides funding to hire 16,000 additional IRS agents to ensure compliance with the individual and employer mandates.

What’s not in the bill? Tort reform for starters. We live in a lawsuit-happy society, and doctors must carry expensive insurance policies to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits and mega-million dollar settlements. Those costs get passed on to patients, contributing to the high costs of health care. Republicans wanted tort reform included. Democrats argued it would not result in a significant savings, however it should be noted that trial lawyers donate almost exclusively to the Democratic Party. Another provision not included in the bill was the ability to purchase health care plans across state lines. This would increase competition and help lower costs, as we’ve seen happen in the auto insurance industry. Again, Democrats refused to include it after it was proposed by Republicans.

The House of Representatives requires 218 votes to pass a bill into law, and when the health care law was passed 253 were Democrats. The Senate requires 51 votes to pass a bill into law, and when the health care law was passed 57 were Democrats. Once again, I need someone to tell me how Republicans were being “obstructionists.” In reality, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi didn’t get to pass the law they wanted because conservative Democrats were pressured to oppose the bill. That’s why the far-left liberals today feel as though the law doesn’t go far enough. Republicans, who opposed the bill almost unanimously through the entire process, didn’t even have to show up for the final votes.

In the end, not a single Republican in the House or Senate voted to pass what is now referred to as ObamaCare. After the Senate passed the health care law, the San Francisco Chronicle stated, “The passage of Health Care Reform means the death of the Republican Party. Can you imagine any Republican effectively explaining to an electorate why they voted against help for the uninsured?” Help for the uninsured, at the expense of the remaining 90% of Americans? This issue is not as black and white as the Chronicle would have us believe.

Nine months later, a clear majority of Americans favor repeal and Democrats face the possibility of losing the House of Representatives. When you politicize a non-political issue like health care, emotions get in the way and eventually you have to start looking at the facts. Almost everyone agrees that our health care system is in need of reform, but if Congress is going to spend years and trillions of taxpayer dollars reforming it, shouldn’t we do it right? “It’s better than nothing,” is simply not good enough.

The simple truth is that President Obama and Democrats in Washington thought health care reform would be their golden moment, ensuring victories in 2010 and 2012. They completely underestimated the political cost of going against the majority of Americans, and I’m happy to see our nation waking up and paying attention to important issues again.

Someday we may even see Americans paying attention to the details of those issues. I welcome it.

Common Sense Conservatism: Unemployment

New unemployment numbers are in, and the national rate held firm at 9.5% while the state with the worst rate broke its own record. Nevada, the hardest hit state in the nation when it comes to foreclosures and per capita bankruptcies, has led the nation in unemployment since it overtook Michigan in May. Unemployment in Nevada rose to 14.3% in July, while unemployment in Nevada’s largest city, Las Vegas, rose to 14.8%. July marks the 16th consecutive month Nevada’s unemployment rate has increased. Ignored in all of this is underemployment, which includes those who are working part-time due to a lack of full-time jobs, and is estimated at 18.4% nationally, and 21.5% in Nevada. Unemployment among teens is at 26.1%, while underemployment for African-Americans is estimated at 25% and unemployment for Black teens hit 40.6% in July.

In light of these facts, different people have different views on how to solve the problem. Democrats in Washington, along with President Obama, are committed to a strategy that includes stimulus packages and federal spending to boost the economy. Republicans in Washington disagree, and prefer options that include keeping taxes low and creating incentives for businesses to hire. These differences have turned into an ideological battle where Republicans call Democrats “socialists,” and “Marxists,” while Democrats call Republicans “obstructionists,” and “for the rich.” Name-calling may be an effective way to damage your opponent politically, but it doesn’t do much to educate Americans on the issues, or explain why there is such disagreement.

One of those points of disagreement is the extension of unemployment benefits. Every time Democrats try to pass bills to extend unemployment benefits, Republicans say “No.” And every time Republicans say “No,” they are labeled “insensitive,” “cold-hearted,” etc. So what’s wrong with Republicans? Why do they “hate the unemployed,” as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow claims?

Two things are important to consider here. First, Democrats passed H.R. 2920, the Pay-As-You-Go-Act of 2010 (PAYGO), in February. Under PAYGO, any new spending or tax cuts must be budget-neutral, or offset by cuts elsewhere (Read: New spending must be paid for before it is passed). Democrats in the House passed the unemployment extension without paying for it with an equivalent amount of cuts, ignoring their own statute, and blaming Republicans for wanting to follow it.

Second, many Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits today are doing so based on wages they were earning when the economy was much better. The result is that their unemployment earnings are often higher than jobs are currently paying. As an example, let’s say Mary was laid off in Nevada while making $700/week. She is currently receiving roughly $350 per week in unemployment benefits, just under the $362/week cap. Looking for work today, Mary may not accept a job unless it comes with a paycheck higher than her unemployment check. Currently in Nevada, minimum wage is $8.25/hr. for jobs that do not offer health insurance, and $7.25 for those that do. This means Mary needs to find a job that pays $8.75 in order to make more than unemployment pays her to stay home. That doesn’t factor in the cost to get to work, like gas for the car. Employers simply aren’t able to pay employees today the same wages as they did one or two years ago, and unemployed workers have no real incentive to take a job that doesn’t pay more than unemployment.

Now, when Democrats extend unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 99 weeks, which they have done, it enables people to remain on unemployment for close to two years. There’s no doubt that unemployment is needed, especially at a time when jobs are hard to find. However, I’ve seen many examples of people turning down jobs because they don’t pay as much as their unemployment benefits. To make matters worse, all you need to do to collect unemployment here in Nevada is visit a website weekly to file your claim. You have to answer some questions, but you never have to meet with anyone to prove you’re actually out looking for a job, let alone not turning them down. Nevada is practically bankrupt, and there’s virtually no accountability in the unemployment system.

So do Republicans “hate the unemployed,” as Rachel Maddow suggests? Or rather, do Republicans see the financial strain caused by indefinite unemployment benefits? Perhaps Republicans understand that revenues won’t return to state governments and profits won’t return to businesses until people start returning to work – and a 99-week safety net isn’t exactly motivation. Now unemployment is hardly a vacation. It’s demoralizing, and extremely challenging to make ends meet on such a meager income. However, there are jobs out there, and we need to make sure we are not rewarding people who pass them up to remain on unemployment. That part is not cold-hearted. It’s fiscally responsible.

Republicans are often hit hardest for favoring tax cuts and incentives for businesses. Democrats have convinced people that any benefits for businesses, small or large, only help rich people. However, the opposite is true. Small businesses in America represent 99.7% of all employers, and have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs over the last decade. If these businesses are not hiring today, it is because they are afraid to spend the money, not knowing what the future holds. Every tax we add to the shoulders of job creators in this country will result in more lay-offs, less new jobs, and higher costs passed on to consumers, all at the worst possible time.

Perhaps the most frustrating part of the unemployment issue is how Democrats have politicized it. Let’s be clear: Democrats have a super-majority in the House of Representatives. They can pass ANYTHING they want, as the Republicans do not have the votes to stop them. That means if Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats wanted to pass Polish as the official language of America, they COULD! PERIOD! In fact, the only reasons Democrats CAN’T pass everything they want is that conservative Democrats who won in the 2008 Obama wave now represent traditionally Republican districts, and don’t want to lose in November. So let’s get off this narrative that Republicans are obstructionists. The truth is that Democrats prefer to have Republicans support their unpopular bills like Health Care Reform, Cap and Trade, and others, so they’re not alone in receiving heat from voters come November. If listening to the American people is considered obstructionism, we have a problem.

I talked to a voter today who told me the Republican Party was “The Party of ‘No’,” and that they oppose everything President Obama tries to do because he’s black. Earlier this week, the following statistics were featured in a National Republican Senatorial Committee ad:

* 57% think Democrat Agenda is “extreme.” (Rasmussen Poll, 8/11/10)
* 60% favor repeal of ObamaCare. (Rasmussen Poll, 8/16/10)
* 56% disapprove of Obama’s job performance. (Rasmussen Poll, 8/16/10)
* 61% favor Arizona-like law in their state. (Rasmussen Poll, 7/8/10)
* 68% oppose Ground Zero Mosque. (CNN Poll, 8/11/10)
* 65% angry at Federal Government policies. (Rasmussen Poll, 8/16/10)
* 65% say America is on the wrong track. (Rasmussen Poll, 8/11/10)

With these numbers, why shouldn’t Republicans be “The Party of ‘No’?” This clearly illustrates that President Obama and the Democrats currently controlling Washington are in direct opposition to the American people, regardless of skin color.

But it’s not this voter’s fault she feels that way. It’s what the media has been telling her for two years, every chance they get. It’s the standard attack from the Democrat Party. Whether it’s the Mosque at Ground Zero, unemployment benefit extensions, terrorism, immigration, gay marriage, health care, energy issues, education issues – if a Republican has an opinion on it, he or she is labeled a:

Choose One: [racist, homophobe, xenophobe, elitist, bigot, Islamophobe, fearmonger, hatemonger, warmonger]

…who hates…

Choose One: [Blacks, Hispanics, Gays, Muslims, the poor, children, women, the elderly, the middle-class]

Pay attention next time, and you’ll see it for yourself. The attack is always the same, and it is never based on the actual issue. That needs to change. We have to talk about the issues and work together to do what is best for our country. We need to educate voters on the issues, so Americans can make the right decisions based on accurate information. And we must start using logic, and not emotion, to determine the direction our country takes as we move forward.

As for unemployment, remember: The government has no money. The only money it has comes from taxpayers. When a private company creates a job it is paid for with profits. When the government creates one, it is paid for by YOU.

Common Sense Conservatism: A Series

For a variety of different reasons, many Americans believe that the 2010 mid-term election is one of the most important in our country’s history. Republicans and Democrats are engaged in an ideological war of words, spinning their versions of reality for the entire nation to witness. For those who are not news junkies or political fans, most election cycles can be frustrating experiences as they navigate a sea of information trying to make the right decision in November.

As someone who is involved in politics, I have noticed a disturbing trend develop over the past decade. Politicians have seemingly stopped talking about the actual issues and how they affect us as Americans, and instead choose to solely focus on winning. Candidates now spend millions nationally, tens of thousands locally, on consultants to shape their campaigns. Their goal is to find the right strategy, the perfect messaging, to turn out voters and outsmart their opponents. Winning is important, but it’s difficult to get anyone to follow you if you can’t explain why they should. This is true in both parties, but how does this help the average American understand what is going on?

It doesn’t.

As a conservative Republican, I have seen my party take for granted that people understand what they’re talking about. When we refer to “free market solutions,” or “small government,” we expect the average voter will know exactly what we mean, when many simply do not. Many Republicans act as though conservative values are “common sense,” and that people will “come around” when they realize it. Unfortunately this laissez-faire attitude, combined with poor messaging, has left us playing right into the hands of crafty Democrats.

If we oppose the unfunded extension of unemployment, we are labeled “insensitive.” If we oppose illegal immigration, we are called “racists.” If we believe marriage is a rite instead of a right, we are labeled “bigots.” If we support tax cuts, we’re accused of being “for the rich.” This happens because we continually lose the battle when it comes to messaging, at a time when many Americans don’t read past the headlines.

The rift between the Left and Right in this country is wide, but it pales in comparison to the chasm between the political class and the average voter. Most Independents, Non-Partisans, Libertarians and other third-party or unaffiliated voters have walked away from the major parties because they no longer engage the average American in civil discourse.

For example, calling President Obama a “socialist” may rile up a crowd of conservatives, but that’s preaching to the choir. Meanwhile, many people who aren’t as knowledgeable when it comes to government and politics will be immediately turned off to any message that follows, and take their votes with them. Sadly, there is rarely a message that follows. Instead, we need to detail exactly what we feel is wrong with a policy position, piece of legislation or new law – and present it well.

Americans, despite their growing apathy toward government and politics, tend to have good judgment when acting as a group. They want to do what’s right, even if some of us don’t agree with their decision. But they need the facts, not the rhetoric. Politicians today spend so much time scaring their base in an attempt to mobilize them that they are immobilizing so many others who want nothing to do with those tactics. It’s a losing strategy long-term.

“Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.” – Thomas Jefferson

It is for these reasons that I have decided to write a series of posts on the issues affecting us – as Americans – from a common-sense conservative point of view. I will explain how many on the Left routinely mischaracterize the GOP position to paint us as radicals and racists, instead of simply disagreeing on logic and methodology – and how the Right continues to fail at messaging.

Stay tuned for Part I: The Mosque at Ground Zero!

Gay Hypocrisy and Union Thugs: My Weekend in San Diego

(Cross-posted at www.rightpride.org)

This past weekend I took a drive from my home in Las Vegas to San Diego for GOProud’s “Don’t Tread On Us” Reception, featuring conservative lesbian radio icon Tammy Bruce. The event was held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, a beautiful property with gorgeous ocean views, just a few blocks from the Gaslamp District. The event was a great success, complete with outdoor patio setting, tasty hors d’oeuvres and an exceptional featured speaker.

About 30 minutes before the event was set to begin, several protestors showed up on the sidewalk in front of the hotel. There were no more than a dozen at their zenith, and they were shouting “Boycott the Hyatt!” There had been a lot of buzz on the interwebs about “THE BOYCOTT” by the gay community, resulting from owner Doug Manchester’s $125,000 donation in favor of Prop 8. In addition, the first friend I contacted regarding my weekend in San Diego said, “Don’t you know about ‘THE BOYCOTT’?” Nobody consulted me before starting “THE BOYCOTT,” so I was clearly not bound to honor it.

At first I thought these 12 people, who devoted at least an hour of their time on a gorgeous Southern California day to screaming while nobody listened, were protesting the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) – which was having their convention at the Manchester Grand this same weekend. Didn’t they know about “THE BOYCOTT?”

They weren’t protesting the 1,600 black journalists who held their convention at the hotel, after 70% of the black community in California voted to support Prop. 8. They weren’t protesting the numerous Hispanic hotel guests and employees, after 53% of Hispanics voted against gay marriage in California. They weren’t protesting the 1,000 Red Hat Ladies who descended on the hotel this past weekend. They were protesting the 40 gay conservatives who chose to meet on a patio for a few hours of camaraderie and appetizers, while listening to Tammy Bruce explain why she no longer identifies with liberals.

Now there’s no doubt that Hyatt owner Doug Manchester gave $125,000 in support of Prop 8. However since then, and possibly because of “THE BOYCOTT,” he apologized and offered to donate the same amount to various gay organizations as a way of righting his wrong. GOProud was the first recipient of those funds, which helped defray the cost of this weekend’s reception. Apparently that didn’t sit well with the 12 members of the Gay Left Gestapo, who were outside waving signs like “Gay Republicans are like Vegetarian Butchers,” and “GOProud = GOShame” – very creative.

The hypocrisy is staggering.

The Gay Left demands rights and freedoms, yet punishes Doug Manchester for exerting his. “THE BOYCOTT” is designed to hurt the Hyatt financially. However, it also negatively impacts the hotel’s 1,000 employees – a significant portion of which are gay and had nothing to do with Manchester’s decision to donate to Prop 8. The Gay Left has chosen to continue their assault on Doug Manchester, even after he has seen the error of his ways and made genuine attempts to make amends. Activists should be rewarding people who change their views based on new information, even if that information has to do with declining profits. Doesn’t that mean “THE BOYCOTT” worked? Instead, these protestors make it clear that there is no upside for people to publicly admit they made a mistake, and try to make things right. That’s a self-defeating exercise.

As an aside, the fact that the San Diego chapter of Log Cabin Republicans are honoring “THE BOYCOTT” just goes to prove earlier statements made by this author that LCR has completely abandoned those it claims to represent.

The bottom line is that the Gay Left is nothing more than an activist arm of the Democratic Party. They have aligned with union thugs to boycott the Manchester Grand Hyatt – not because of marriage, but because of its non-union policy. The organizers of the boycott and subsequent protests make it clear when they say, “The solidarity between the labor movement and the LGBT movement is a powerful coalition.” They continue, “Together, we have signed up over 3,000 people at Pride events onto pledges to ‘Sleep With The Right People’–that is, patronize union hotels whenever possible and steer clear of hotels with active boycotts.” Human Rights Campaign also supports “THE BOYCOTT,” proving that they believe in equal rights for everyone – except the rights to oppose gay marriage, not join a union, or earn a living at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.

I never got the memo that stated being gay requires being pro-union. Maybe we need to add another letter to our alphabet soup acronym. LGBTTQQIA… U?

So why is the Gay Left in cahoots with unions in California? Could it be that the largest donor against Prop. 8 was a union? Mr. Manchester may have topped the financial contribution list in favor of Prop 8 with $125,000, but the California Teachers Association contributed ten times that amount against the measure, with a staggering $1.25 million. The CTA’s parent organization is the NEA.

Remember… “The solidarity between the labor movement and the LGBT movement is a powerful coalition.”

Any questions?

Modern-Day Liberalism: Politicizing our Way of Life

New York City – the “Big Apple,” the social, economic and cultural capital of America. It is also one of the most liberal cities in the nation, right up there with San Francisco. Forty-six of the fifty-one city councilors are Democrats. In fact, the state of New York has gone Democratic in every presidential election save 6 since 1928. That’s why it’s no surprise when the rights of terrorists trump the rights of American citizens, in the Empire City. New York City is a microcosm of what is going on nationwide, as liberals continue to ignore the vast majority of Americans, while they pander to minority groups and victims – including illegals and Islamic extremists.

On May 1, 2010, there was a “foiled” terrorist attack in Times Square. It is being called “foiled,” because the bomb didn’t go off after it was detonated. In reality, this came very close to being a successful terrorist attack. The bomb was detonated, even though it didn’t actually explode, and the suspect was caught on a Dubai-bound plane, on the tarmac at JFK International Airport. So, not only did this guy plant a bomb in a car in the middle of Times Square, but he made it through airport security, past the scrutiny of the no-fly list, and onto a plane headed to the Middle East. Had the bomb actually gone off, injuring many New Yorkers, would the additional efforts by law enforcement have resulted in a successful take-off at JFK? We’ll never know. What we do know is that nobody in New York and nobody in the U.S. government stopped that bomb from exploding in Times Square. We can thank U.S. officials for downplaying the threat, claiming the bomb was unsophisticated.

Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-turned-U.S. citizen, admitted that he planned the attack. The vehicle involved belonged to him. He tried to flee the country immediately afterwards. Yet even with this evidence, Stephen M. Walt, a Harvard professor, claims “his guilt or innocence is ultimately for a jury to decide.” Like any good liberal, he goes on to question why Shahzad wanted to attack us. Walt’s solution to the problem of Islamic extremism is to “lower our footprint as soon as we possibly can.” Thank God there are still Americans willing to stand up for our freedoms, and not roll over as Europe has, in the face of the radical Islamic threat. Even Bob Beckel, former campaign manager for Walter Mondale’s 1984 presidential campaign, speculated that the Times Square bomber might be a right-wing militiaman.

Today, the New York Post published an article about an “illegal immigrant with a long rap sheet.” He is being deported, but not before taking $145,000 in taxpayer funds. Apparently, “federal rules only allow local law enforcement to detain suspected illegal immigrants for 48 hours after their criminal cases are resolved.” Since the federal government is failing at every turn to enforce our immigration laws (see: AZ SB1070), it should come as no surprise that Cecil Harvey – an illegal from Barbados (no, not Mexico) – spent 30 days in jail before ICE showed up to collect him. Because of this violation, Harvey will now receive a six-figure parting gift from New York’s taxpayers. I could sit here and blame New York, or the federal judge who ordered the damages, but it’s not their fault. The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of our inept federal government, and their lax attitude toward illegal immigration. Because ICE is unable to transfer illegal detainees within 48 hours, jails are now putting illegals back on the street after the deadline. Does that make you feel safe?

One would think that our federal government is taking enough of our tax dollars that they could easily afford to have dedicated ICE agents do daily pick-ups at all local jails in the country. I mean, Brinks and Loomis Fargo have been doing daily pick-ups for years, with many more stops than we have local jails. The problem here is not financial resources, or personnel resources. The problem is a lack of priority on the part of our president. The problem is that politicians rely on money and public support to be elected, and nobody wants to offend the Hispanic community by enforcing immigration laws. Even worse, is that the Democratic Party survives on promising these special interest groups incredible things, and now they cannot risk losing their support in the future. The “right thing,” America’s best interests, has nothing to do with it.

We cannot afford to politicize issues that affect ALL Americans.

Health care should not be a political issue. It should be about improving our health care system so that more Americans can afford coverage, and insurance companies operate ethically. We should not be creating individual and employer mandates to buy-off insurance companies with increased revenue, while offering free health care to “the poor,” on the backs of the working-class.

Illegal immigration should not be a political issue. We have laws, and it is the sworn duty of all government officials and law enforcement to uphold them. Do we need to reform our immigration system to allow more people to come here legally? Yes. Should people have to wait a decade to bring their spouse or children to America? Of course not. There’s no doubt our system needs to be improved, but we cannot abandon our laws in the meantime.

The War on Terror should not be a political issue. There are Islamic extremists hell-bent on destroying Western culture, and killing “infidels.” We must not only protect ourselves here at home, but destroy this radical extremism wherever it exists. The fact that some in our country have no problem with Iranian president Ahmadinejad calling for the extermination of Israel, or believe that enemy combatants deserve constitutional protections after trying to kill the men and women in our military, is ABSURD!

There are many things to fear in our world. It can be a dangerous place. However, the biggest threat to our freedoms as Americans is not Islamic extremism; it is not high taxes or big government; it is not the health care, cap and trade, financial regulation reform or immigration reform bills; it is not our porous borders; it is not socialists, bad presidents or missing birth certificates.

The biggest threat to our freedoms as Americans is modern-day liberalism. For that is what will allow the rest of our fears to become realities.

The Cabin is On Fire

Founded in 1977, the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) got their start battling against California’s Proposition 6 (nicknamed the “Briggs Initiative”) which sought to ban gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools. The measure failed, in large part because then-Governor of California Ronald Reagan publicly opposed the initiative. Since then, Log Cabin has become synonymous with “Gay Republican” throughout the country.

In 2000, Log Cabin spent a half-million dollars on Get Out The Vote efforts after endorsing George W. Bush. After Bush’s victory, Rich Tafel, then-executive director of Log Cabin, said, “We believe the American people elected the better man to lead our nation.” No Republican on the planet would disagree with Tafel on this point. Bush was light-years better than Al Gore. But being the “better man” wasn’t good enough for the Log Cabin Republicans in 2004, when they refused to endorse Bush for re-election against John Kerry.

In 2004, the Executive Director of LCR was the liberal RINO Patrick Guerriero, a former mayor and state legislator from Massachusetts. Guerriero now serves as Executive Director for Gill Action, an organization founded by Tim Gill (a rich, gay, liberal philanthropist), who aside from being one of Log Cabin’s biggest donors, gives money almost exclusively to Democrats. Sounds like a cozy partnership. Back in 2004, Guerriero made this statement regarding LCR’s refusal to endorse Bush: “Log Cabin is more committed than ever to its core mission to build a stronger and more inclusive Republican Party. There is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party, and that fight is bigger than one platform, one convention, or even one President.”

Apparently Guerriero’s definition of building a “stronger and more inclusive Republican Party” includes voting for John Kerry – who supported a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Massachusetts just 9 months before the 2004 election. Apparently his assessment that the “fight is bigger than one platform, one convention, or even one President,” means supporting Democrats. Terry Hamilton, current Chairman of LCR, maintains that withholding the endorsement of George Bush over his support for a federal marriage amendment is not equal to supporting John Kerry. That must be why Log Cabin spent a million dollars on ads bashing Bush during the 2004 election, indirectly helping the equally un-gay-friendly Kerry.

The fact is, when you claim to be a Republican organization, you should be supporting Republicans – especially when you are the only Republican organization representing gays. Even when Republican gays and Republican candidates don’t see eye to eye on LGBT issues, it is far better to work for change from within the party, than by attacking the party. We’re not talking about a state legislative race here. We’re talking about the presidency of the United States, and you don’t have a voice if you’re not at the table.

Patrick Guerriero is single-handedly responsible for igniting the fire currently burning down the log cabin. In 2003, when asked about gay marriage, he said this:

“We need to change the language around the so-called marriage issue. We should be talking about fairness via a civil contract, which is what marriage really is. When people use the word marriage it brings up connotations of intervening in religious ceremonies and institutions. That is not at all what gays and lesbians are asking for. We’re asking for the right to have a piece of paper that recognizes our tax-paying, loving relationships, that offers us tax fairness in America. I believe that the more we focus on the notion of basic fairness and the civil nature of the so-called marriage contract the better off we will be.”

Change the language around the “so-called marriage” issue? What is this “civil contract” he speaks of? Guerriero even goes so far as to say that gays and lesbians are not asking for “marriage,” but a piece of paper recognizing their relationship. Fast forward to 2008, when Patrick Guerriero was brought on as the director of the “No on 8” campaign in California, and tried to get “every single LGBT adult” on board:

“If every single LGBT adult would, over the next couple of days, make a donation to this campaign, we will win,” Guerriero said. “And if they don’t, we will lose.”

But I thought gays and lesbians weren’t asking for marriage. I thought a piece of paper was enough. California already had a robust civil union policy in place, so why the change of heart? Why the full-on support for “so-called marriage,” as he calls it? The answer is that Guerriero is a liberal. Plain and simple. He has no desire to see Republicans succeed, because he places his homosexuality above the economic, financial and military soundness of his country. He claims to be a “conservative Republican,” but nothing could be farther from the truth. Just like most liberals, he throws his principles out the window whenever it suits his overall agenda. Guerriero was just in Las Vegas last month on behalf of Gill Action, for a fundraiser at the home of Bob Forbuss – a very well-connected gay Democrat.

Guerriero may have left Log Cabin in 2006, but not much has changed over at the self-proclaimed “nation’s only organization of Republicans who support fairness, freedom and equality for gay and lesbian Americans.” Their webmaster must have forgotten to change that language after the launch of GOProud. Although, maybe they don’t have a webmaster; after all, they haven’t had an Executive Director for 15 months!

And now, as if the ineffective and left-leaning Gay Inc-apologist Log Cabin Republicans haven’t tumbled far enough, spokesman Charles Moran praised the activist tactics of GetEqual in an article today. According to EDGE contributor Joseph Erbentraut, “[Moran] sees common ground between GetEqual and the Log Cabin’s call for stronger leadership on LGBT-specific legislation in Washington.” While we’d all like to see stronger leadership from the White House on every issue facing Americans, what does that have to do with chaining yourself to the White House fence? These are exactly the tactics that have damaged the image of the gay community among mainstream Americans, and the spokesman for Log Cabin is calling them “committed activists,” and expressing an interest to “work in concert with each other.”

What has happened to this organization? When did the Log Cabin Republicans become a left-leaning, superficially-Republican, Dede Scozzafava-supporting, Tom Campbell-supporting group, that makes a sport out of being just as feckless as Gay Inc. is on the left?

It’s a sad day for the Gay Right. Just as millions of Americans are realizing that Barack Obama is all flash and no fire, Gay Conservatives and Republicans everywhere are realizing that Log Cabin no longer has our interests at heart.

But fear not. GOProud has picked up the mantle, and they are running with it. Just as the refusal to endorse George W. Bush in 2004 was the most damaging moment for the gay conservative movement, GOProud’s co-sponsoring of CPAC in February was the Gay Right’s most shining moment in a decade. Someday Charles Moran, and the folks still clinging to fond memories of Log Cabin’s glory days, will realize that engaging and working with Republicans and Conservatives on issues affecting all Americans is the only way to be a productive part of our party and our society. Walking away from Republicans at the drop of a hat and joining up with the folks at GetEqual is like Obama promising to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act, and then doing nothing.

How does it feel?