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- Guantanamo Bay: Obama’s First Mistake? – Commentary by Gregory Hilton
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Category Archives: Utah
Yesterday’s release of the Census Bureau data allows the 2012 Congressional reapportionment process to begin. Drawing the new maps will be the subject of considerable speculation for the next six months. The GOP will gain at least six seats, and they are practically assured of pickups in Texas, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah. Also, several vulnerable Republicans will see favorable territory added to their districts.
The liberal Huffingtom Post does not agree with this assessment. Their current headline article is “Reapportionment Not Necessarily Good News for Republicans” by Robert Creamer. He is the same author who wrote their analysis explaining why Democrats would keep control of the House. Continue reading
Tuesday’s night victory of social conservative Christine O’Donnell over moderate Rep. Mike Castle in the Delaware Republican Senate primary is being portrayed as a great setback for the Republican establishment. The enthusiasm behind the O’Donnell crusade can not be denied, but her electability remains questionable. On Wednesday morning, O’Donnell was trailing liberal Democrat Chris Coons in cash on hand by $20,000 to $940,000. That was the beginning of an explosion of Internet support, and O’Donnell now has almost $2 million and is ahead of Coons in cash on hand. Continue reading
Utah Senate Race: Who is the “True Conservative”? Senator Bob Bennett Endorses Tim Bridgewater by Gregory Hilton
PHOTO: The Republican primary for the U.S. Senate is on June 22nd. Mike Lee, left, is shown after a May 20th debate with his opponent Tim Bridgewater. Dr. Laura Bridgewater, a professor of Molecular Biology at BYU, is in the center. She defended her Ph.D. dissertation just 4 days before their youngest children – twins – were born.
Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) will endorse Tim Bridgewater as his successor next Monday. Bennett came in third at the May 8th Utah Republican State Convention, and a primary between Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee will be held on June 22nd.
At the convention, Bridgewater defeated Lee by a 57% to 43% margin, but he needed 60% of the vote to avoid a primary. Bridgewater is Chairman of Interlink Capital Strategies and has participated in over $120 million of private equity investments. He has so far loaned his campaign $391,745.
Senator Bennett would have been renominated for another term if he could have entered a primary. His problem was that the nomination was decided at the state convention. A Mason Dixon Poll conducted for the Salt Lake Tribune prior to the convention indicated Bennett was by far the most popular GOP candidate in the race.
Thirty-nine percent said they would vote for Bennett, compared to 20 percent for Lee, and 14 percent for Bridgewater. Cherilyn Eagar, a social conservative, received 16% of the vote on the first ballot at the convention and finished fourth. She has also endorsed Bridgewater.
Today Glenn Beck said it was “Romney’s turn” for the 2012 GOP nomination. I believe in the First Amendment and the separation of church and state, but many listeners said they could not support Romney because he was a “Mormon and not a Christian.” Beck is also a Mormon and Romney’s religion is certain to have a prominent role in the 2012 campaign. The Constitution does not stipulate that a President must accept a certain version of Christianity, or any religion.
This is not the first time this has happened in American politics. In 1908 the GOP presidential candidate was William Howard Taft, a Unitarian. His religious beliefs were criticized because his church did not believe in the Trinity. Taft was easily elected by defeating William Jennings Bryan who was making his third attempt for the presidency.
The dictionary defines a Christian as “one who professes belief in Jesus as Christ.” Mormons are Christians and the official name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormons describe themselves as Christians and they believe Jesus is the son of God who atoned for the sins of mankind. The Book of Mormon says “Jesus Christ Himself is the chief corner stone” of our faith.
Most Mormons I know are better Christians than the rest of us, and they certainly have good morals. They do not agree with some of my beliefs, but neither do the Democrats! The bottom line is that Mormons are Christians and the Scripture says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and ye shall be saved.”
LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley addressed this topic: “Are we Christians? Of course we are! No one can honestly deny that. We may be somewhat different from the traditional pattern of Christianity. But no one believes more literally in the redemption wrought by the Lord Jesus Christ. No one believes more fundamentally that He was the Son of God, that He died for the sins of mankind, that He rose from the grave, and that He is the living resurrected Son of the living Father.”
The Mormon church uses two sources as its primary authorities: the Book of Mormon and the Bible. The Christian church uses the Holy Bible alone as its authority from God. Joseph Smith is not recognized as a prophet.
Regarding life after death, the Mormon church maintains that although there is temporary punishment for those that are most wicked, Jesus Christ will establish a new kingdom that will consist of three levels: the celestial kingdom, the terrestrial kingdom, and the telestial kingdom. The Christian church holds that there are only two possible fates after death, heaven or hell. These locations are final, both physically and spiritually.
As an active Republican I often visit the most prominent GOP website, Red State, http://www.redstate.com. I am an enthusiastic reader of GOP success stories, but I am often disappointed in the outlook of its hyper-partisan editor, Erick Erickson. Erickson appeared on five national television programs in the past two weeks.
His main message is to condemn the Republican leadership in the House and Senate, as well as any GOP lawmaker who will compromise in an effort to pass legislation. He wants campaign issues, not public policy.
A legislator who compromises is instantly labeled a RINO – a Republican in Name Only. There are times when party unity is essential, and the recent health care debate was one of them. All Republicans were united in their opposition. Also, this often happens on national security issues where Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is usually the only GOP lawmaker to vote with the Democrats. I do not want to see Republicans cave in to Democratic demands, but I do not want to ignore our nations problems.
There was no spirit of cooperation in the health care debate and now our nation will be stuck with a very bad bill. Democrats made a mistake because the GOP alternative was constructive and would have been effective. My concern is that the Red State strategy will stop lawmakers from negotiating in the future.
John F. Kennedy was referring to the Soviet Union, but his words were wise, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” I want the GOP to win by attracting independent voters and adhering to Ronald Reagan’s inclusive “Big Tent” philosophy. I am not in favor of any Republican purity test. The party needs to be focusing on addition to our ranks while Red State is often about subtraction from the GOP base.
The lead article in today’s Red State is “Bob Bennett: An Old Dog With an Old Schtick” by Erickson. The author claims Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) is “the 8th most liberal Republican in the Senate from the most conservative state in the nation. He can and must be beaten. . . if the GOP is ever going to reclaim any credibility with the public they must stand for something other than creeping socialism. Bob Bennett must be defeated.”
Bennett has been in the Senate since 1992 and is best known as an advocate of the flat tax, free trade, and the Patriot Act. He has always been a strong opponent of public health care and has blamed government policies for the high cost of insurance. His cumulative lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is 84%. His senior colleague, Orrin Hatch, has an 89% lifetime rating.
Erickson, 34, is annoyed because Senator Bennett does not agree with him that “The first duty of the opposition is to oppose.” Bennett believes “We have to be constructive,” and my recent article on the Marshall Plan emphasizes the benefits of working together in a bipartisan manner.
Unfortunately, many lawmakers in both parties no longer share that outlook. The current House and Senate is the most polarized since the Civil War, and far too many lawmakers define success by the failure of the other side. The goal is often obtaining a headline which will be embarrassing to the other side, rather than passing useful legislation.
I sincerely hope the Republican Party will make significant gains this November, but it is more important for our nation to succeed. I am opposed to practically all aspects of President Obama’s domestic agenda, but he is our Commander-in-Chief and he should be treated with respect. I am glad House Republicans are rejecting the Red State formula, and 95% of them are supporting the President’s 35,000 troop surge in Afghanistan.
Once again, I am opposed to Obamacare, but there are many essential health care reforms which have broad bipartisan support. They are being ignored in the current political climate. The cap-and-trade bill is awful, but our energy security needs should not be ignored. There will be no progress this year but I hope next year both parties will work together to advance nuclear power and off shore drilling.
There has been strong partisanship on Capitol Hill since the time of our founding fathers. This is evident in the writings of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The certainly hated each other in the early 1800s, but they had come together to form the union and were later able to resolve their differences. That rarely happens today.
Former Senator David Pryor (D-AR) held statewide office for 22 years before his 1996 retirement. In a recent interview he discussed the changes he witnessed on Capitol Hill, “It is the lack of civility that worries me. Thirty years ago we never would have thought of going into a state and campaigning against one of our colleagues. We would not do that because we worked in a bipartisan manner. It would be difficult to join someone in the Senate Dining Room after you had just campaigned against them. We were not so partisan back then.”
Pryor also noted the disappearance of “plain old good manners.” Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is typical of the atmosphere today. He recently refused to allow Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT) “a moment” to conclude his remarks. I often see this on C-SPAN where lawmakers will not allow their colleagues to finish sentences. Part of the problem is the news media which encourages lawmakers to cram high voltage criticism into a 30 second sound byte. MSNBC has made attack dogs such as freshman Rep. Allan Grayson (D-FL) into national heroes for their partisan audience.
Every committee on Capitol Hill is divided along party lines. It is now rare for state Congressional Delegations to meet. Few lawmakers sit, plan, and work together for the benefit of their state or the nation. They instead work with their political friends.
The big procedural question for the GOP in January of 2011 will be selecting a proper legislative course. They will have to decide if they want to promote legislation which advances partisan goals or solves problems. My hope is that our lawmakers will focus on solving problems.
The population report released by the Census Bureau on Wednesday afternoon was excellent news for the Republican Party. This is the last report the Census Bureau will make prior to next years count. The data shows Americans are continuing to relocate in low tax and business friendly sun belt states where new jobs are being created.
The high taxes and burdensome business regulations of the Northeast and the Midwest are once again resulting in significant population losses. The next official population count will be released a year from now, and the changes will be reflected in the 2012 election.
At a minimum the population shift will most likely mean 12 seats will shift from the north to the south and west. My prediction is that the 2012 election will result in a 10 seat House gain for the GOP. I am basing this on the new census figures, as well as the analysis provided by Polidata and Election Data Services.
A census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790, and it is a Constitutional requirement.
In the past year alone, Texas grew by 478,000 which is almost the size of a Congressional District. The Lone Star state is expected to receive four new districts as a result of the upcoming census. That could change and the alternative would mean three new seats for Texas and two for Arizona.
To win control of Congress in 2010, Republicans would need to gain 11 Senate seats and 40 House seats. A 25 to 30 seat House gain in 2010 could well lead to control of the House of Representatives in 2012. Washington is the only Blue State to gain a Congressional District, and it is far from certain Democrats will win the expected new seat in the suburban Seattle area.
Who ever is in charge of the states in 2011 will be drawing the new Congressional District maps, and once again the outlook is favorable for Republicans. In Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and Texas — Republicans control both chambers of the state legislature and the governor’s mansion. In Nevada, Democrats control both chambers, while a Republican is governor.
Based on the data in new report the probable gainers and losers in the next election are as follows:
North Carolina (1)
South Carolina (1)
New York (1)
New Jersey (1)