George W- Bush

Despite Atheists' Efforts, National Day Of Prayer Celebrations Go On Stronger Than Ever

Thursday, May 5, is the 60th annual National Day of Prayer observance. This year's theme comes from from Psalm 91: "A Mighty Fortress is our God." Earlier this month, in a case in which The Family Foundation filed an amicus brief, the Seventh U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the right of Americans (see Sarah Pulliam Bailey at Christianity Today) to continue this observation of God's involvement in "the affairs of men," as Benjamin Franklin so aptly put it at the Constitutional Convention more than 220 years ago. A nefarious group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation filed the suit.

In 1952, President Harry Truman signed into law a declaration that every president must proclaim a National Day of Prayer on the day of his choosing. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan took President Truman's declaration one step further and set the first Thursday of May as the official National Day of Prayer. Since then, Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have marked the day with a White House observance and all presidents have issued commemorative proclamations. Many years, a special prayer service is held in the East Room.

At noon on May 5, many localities around Virginia and the nation will hold observances with state and local officials, pastors and ministry leaders. Click here to find an observance in your area at the National Day of Prayer's web site. Please be careful to note the specific details and locations of each event. Also, many churches are open for prayer services at noon and throughout the day. You may also click here to learn more about the 7 x 7 Campaign to pray for the seven centers of power in our country seven days a week.

If you cannot attend an observance, please consider taking some time out of your day to specifically pray for our nation, President Obama, Governor McDonnell, Lieutenant Governor Bolling, Attorney General Cuccinelli, U.S. Senators Warner and Webb, your congressman, your state senator and delegate, as well your local elected leaders. Each of these people has a powerful effect on the lives of Virginians.

President Obama "Amused" Over Spending During His Visit To Richmond

As a native Richmonder, I think it's great when a sitting president visits, no matter which party he represents or, frankly, how bad a job he's doing. After all, sometimes the bigger the trouble he's in, the greater the media attention — and this city can use all the publicity it can stand. So, it was great to see the anointed one here last week, although it was puzzling since we have no hotly contested campaign. On the other hand, maybe that's why he was here, given how toxic he's become to Democrat candidates, who lack no excuse to outrun Air Force One when they see it descending into their states. But it was especially pleasing to see Mr. Obama's motorcade route lined with "Cut Spending" yard signs, courtesy of Americans For Prosperity (I have relatives who live in one of the houses that agreed to plant the signs). Mr. Obama didn't see it the same way, although he said he was "amused" by the signs. But he was really out of touch. He alluded to Virginia 7th District Congressman Eric Cantor, in whose district he was, and the GOP call to cut spending and tax rates, when he said, "the numbers don't add up."  

While the leader of the regime may or may not have been "amused" he certainly was hypocritical: the numbers don't add up? As if his numbers — trillions and trillions of dollars of debt that resemble a banana republic — add up? Actually, "adding" is the wrong word. His policies are subtracting — subtracting the prosperity of countless Americans — and he's lecturing us on keeping our more of our wages? The fact is, every major tax cut in American history (including those under Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and George W. Bush) has created millions of jobs and increased federal revenue through a thriving economy. The simple message of the yard signs is correct. When revenue goes up and deficits linger, it's a spending problem, not a tax problem. 

What's really amusing is that the president thinks extending the 2001 and 2003 tax rate reductions will "cost $700 billion over 10 years," as if keeping your hard earned money is an expense to the government, while he spent nearly $800 billion in one day in February 2009 when he signed the "stimulus" bill. Lots of money for no jobs. Sorry. That is nowhere near amusing. It's downright sad and an abysmal waste. Hypocrite, indeed.

He may have been amused, but his record is nothing but sad.

Not Playing Nice IS Good Politics!

On the heels of my post last week when I extolled the leadership of New Jersey's conservative Republican Governor Chris Christie, comes a poll that shows his job approval has skyrocketed the more he confronts and takes on the opposition to reform. A new Rasmussen survey shows the governor at a whopping 57 percent approval rating (NBC40.net)! This astonishing number comes as he is cutting state employees, their benefits and their pensions, among many other sacred cows. In August, he was at 51 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll (see The State Column blog). Either way, in a climate where establishment politicians are getting their heads handed to them, the numbers are more than impressive. It's more than a fascination or amusement with Mr. Christie's sharp tongue and undiplomatic public sarcasm (though he does score style points for that, I admit).

The lesson is that trying to be Mr. or Ms. Popularity by appealing to all sides, by playing the bland policy game, by not taking on bold initiatives, offering lukewarm reforms, and not doing what you are going to do (reduce government and tax rates, for example) pleases no one. Liberals always will think conservatives are mean and hateful, and the conservatives who elected Mr. or Ms. Popularity will abandon him or her (hello George W. Bush) for living up to his or her word.

So, it pays to have a definitive point of view, a bold agenda and a take no prisoners approach to getting it done. Better to have a dedicated following willing to give their all, than to attempt to appease all sides, water down your plan, and still have the sides aiming at each other because while they'll accept the bone thrown to them, they don't like the bone thrown to the other side. It's ironic, but you can't get popular by pleasing everyone. To paraphrase the general in one of the many great scenes in Patton:

We're fighting a war, darn it. We have to offend someone!

This is why Governor Christie is reaping a following, not only in New Jersey, but around the country. He's willing to take his policies forward not caring who complains or takes offense. He  obliterates the idea that conservative values and philosophy can win and work only in certain states or regions, or that candidates must be tailored to certain electorates. What it really shows is that conservatism, when its time-tested core of life, liberty and property are clearly articulated and fearlessly fight for, strikes the very core of the yearning most people innately have for freedom from a nanny state and their antipathy for a leviathan that thinks it can and must do everything (while driving us into insolvency) — and that they will justly reward those who do so.

Motivation

Although people realize Planned Parenthood is pro-abortion, many might not know what its motivation is and why it is so vehemently against abstinence education. For example, in 2007, despite abstinence-education funding from governors of both parties, then-Governor Tim Kaine, at Planned Parenthood's urging, abruptly ended Virginia's matching grant to the federal program for abstinence-centered education, thus disqualifying the commonwealth from federal funds. Why? Simple. Although Planned Parenthood obstensibly asserts that abstinence education isn't effective, its motivation likely lies closer to the fact that abstinence education costs it government grants because it teaches "comprehensive sex education" in many states. This form of "education" encourages sexual activity by blurring the lines of responsible behavior and the lack of consequences of irresponsible behavior (because, you know, you can always use "protection").

But the big motivation is that abstinence education works, and a decrease in crisis and teen pregnancies, which "comprehensive education" helps foster, means less abortion business for Planned Parenthood. Recent studies have shown that abstinence-centered education, particularly programs in Virginia, have been successful in preventing teen pregnancy and delaying sexual activity. Additionally, polling indicates that parents want their children to be taught abstinence.

So the deck is stacked against Planned Parenthood. That's why it ferociously fights to protect and advance abortion, uses tactics subtle and loud, and why it is particularly disturbed by Governor Bob McDonnell's decision this week to apply for federal abstinence education funding and to provide a state matching grant as well to school districts who decide to teach it.

Of course, the irony that Planned Parenthood won't acknowledge is that the federal funds come from President Barack Obama's budget and, most shocking, unlike former President George W. Bush's administration, does not require a state matching grant to qualify for the federal funds. This, undoubtedly, has added to Planned Parenthood'$ frustration and vitriol this week. However, it ha$n't added to it$ motivation. That'$ alway$ been there and will continue to be.

It's Not Only About Congress

The November mid-term elections this November is about more than who controls Congress. Although it looks increasingly like a wave of near unprecedented proportions will wipe out the Leftists in charge of the House, and possibly the Senate, (see Michael Barone's analysis in the Washington Examiner), it could be going pear shaped for the libs in more way than one. There are more than 20 state legislative chambers that may flip from Democrat to Republican control this year, reports Joseph Weber at the Washington Times. A flip of this magnitude by either party always is huge news as states are the great policy labs as well as providing a bench for future statewide and federal office. But this year, still more is at stake: redistricting. The party in charge of a state's legislature will draw the new Congressional districts based on the census figures as well as their own districts. A large legislative sweep could ensure GOP control of Congress and state houses for at least 10 years. Not only that, the GOP is poised to regain a majority of governorships according to polling data.

Here's the devastating news to left-wing hearts:

A survey by the Washington-based Governing magazine last week found that more chambers could change party hands in 2010 than in any other election cycle since at least 2002. Although more than 20 Democrat-controlled state chambers are in play, Republicans are in jeopardy of losing just four.

Other surveys show Republican gubernatorial candidates looking strong in many states, increasing the chance of a major shift in the balance of power in state-level politics heading into the 2012 presidential election.

The party in the White House usually loses seats at the state level in midterm elections.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the White House party has been a net loser of state legislative seats in every election in the past 110 years except 1934 and 2002, the first midterm elections of Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and George W. Bush, respectively.

That dynamic, combined with voter concerns about the economy, federal spending and Democratic control of 55 percent of state seats means 2010 is "shaping up to be the worst election for Democrats since 1994," said the NCSL's Tim Storey. 

Deja Vu All Over Again Twice In One Day

Four years ago, only a few weeks after taking office and proposing (against his campaign promise) the largest tax increase in Virginia history, Congressional Democrats chose then-Governor Tim Kaine to deliver their party's response to then-President George W. Bush's State of the Union Address. Yesterday, it was reported (see Washington Post), that Congressional Republicans have chosen newly sworn-in Governor Bob McDonnell to give the GOP response to President Barack Obama's January 27 State of the Union. How about that for asymmetrical karma? But there's more.

Yesterday, House Republicans brought to the floor Delegate Bob Brink's (D-48, Arlington) HB 1155, legislation that would enact former Governor Tim Kaine's proposed income tax increase (see Richmond Times-Dispatch). The bill was referred to the House Rules Committee, which alone has the authority to report bills to the floor without recommendation. Thus it did with HB 1155 in order to put Democrats on the spot — vote against their friend and national party chairman or be on record for higher taxes in a recession. Delegate Brink requested that the bill be pulled, normally a pro forma request that's granted at the will of the patron. Not yesterday!

Instead, it was put to a vote while Democrats vehemently protested. As if they couldn't have anticipated it. Remember, last year Republicans did the same thing on a bill that would have repealed Virginia's Right To Work Law (see post here and video here). They forced a vote by bringing that equally controversial bill through a no recommendation vote on the Rules Committee. The Democrats reacted by abstaining, but through a parliamentary procedure that says if a member is in his seat but not voting, and another member points that out, the vote must be recorded in the negative. Thus, Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-8, Salem) forcibly recorded no votes against the bill which put Democrats at odds with their Big Labor allies.

With this as background, certainly they knew something was coming with a monstrous tax increase bill, and they knew they couldn't abstain. On the first day of session, when the rules package is adopted, Minority Leader Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville) said as much when he objected to the Rules Committee exception. As it turned out, it was a unanimous blowout, with the House voting 97-0 (with Delegate Brink abstaining) to reject one last Tim Kaine tax increase, sending it down with all his others, this one posthumously, in the political sense.

So, the question is, why file the tax increase bill to begin with? Only Delegate Brink knows for sure, but we suspect some members of the General Assembly like to give a peek of their colors to satisfy certain constituencies, but seek to conceal them altogether from the greater electorate. Increasingly, however, these lawmakers get found out.

Deeds Not Hoping For Hope And Change

In the 1980s, when Virginia was an electoral lock for Republican presidential candidates, and when the GOP won the presidency three successive terms, Virginia Republicans weren't nearly as successful. In fact, they lost three gubernatorial elections on the trot. One rhetorical tactic the GOP tried during those campaigns was to tie the Democrat to the rampant liberalism personified by big spenders, culture relativists, moral equivalency types and foreign policy weaklings such as Tip O'Neil, Patsy Schroder, Teddy Kennedy, Jim Wright, Tom Harkin and the whole motley crew.

The Dems here inevitably replied that "Virginia Democrats are different" and Chuck Robb, Gerry Baliles and Doug Wilder certainly lent that persona, if not actual substance, and the public seemed happy enough with them. All of which has come full reverse cycle in this year's campaign. That is to say, Democrat gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds won't say where he stands on what the "D.C. Democrats" are doing. Those are national issues he says, although a governor must be prepared to defend against federal the encroachment that inhibits his state's right of self government and to be a laboratory of innovation.

But Senator Deeds won't even say whether he supports or opposes "cap and trade" which would close the largest employer in his senate district! He won't comment, either, on socialized medicine, card check,  government control of the Internet and radio, or mandated abortion on demand, all of which are, or have been, put forth by the Obama administration and its uber-liberal allies in Congress.

But waaaaaaaaaaaaaaait just one minute!

 

He will comment on former President George W. Bush. That's right, Senator Deeds has new radio and television ads attacking the former president. So, who's he running against? Oh, and by the way, where's the mention of Governor Tim Kaine in those ads? Until a few months ago — when the governor's popularity began to plunge — Senator Deeds was fond of saying that he would continue the Kaine model. (Being Democrat National Committee chairman kinda debunks the whole "bi-partisan" thing.)

So, apparently, not even state issues are on the Deeds itinerary. Let's see: Senator Deeds won't talk about the last four years in Virginia and he won't talk about the last eight months in Washington. Guess that "Hope and Change" ain't working to well for him, either.

Virginia News Stand: August 4, 2009

Annotations & Elucidations Grades Are Good When Grading Yourself

In the queue today is the governor. According to the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, he's grading himself on handling the disastrous budget problems, kind of like how some candidates this past spring, during the nominating contests, issued news releases quoting themselves as winning debates. Brilliant.  But isn't Governor Kaine grading himself on the budget something akin to a guy causing a car wreck taking credit for saving his victim's life? Just asking.

Also re: the governor: The Washington Post's look at his unique position during the campaign — "not on the ballot, but on the spot." Clever word play, but no matter how you phrase it, at least as of now, the campaign is a referendum on Virginia and national Democrats who, again according to the Post, still are running against former President George W. Bush. I thought the Dems were the party of the future. Speaking of blame, the policy party also is trying to make something said by Virginia GOP Chairman Pat Mullins into something it's not. Where have we heard something similar? Oh, yeah, yesterday.

In our Commentary section, liberal Richard Cohen decries the "hate crimes bill," with very good sense. The always brilliant Thomas Sowell takes apart socialism and the equally brilliant Walter Williams explains liberty. For his part, David Limbaugh demonstrates that as much as Barack Obama is spending and printing money at our expense (and borrowed Chinese money, too), one thing he can't afford is the truth on "health care reform" —and most Americans wouldn't buy (if we had the money) what he's selling anyway.    

News:

Kaine's Not on the Ballot, Just on the Spot (Washington Post)

Gov. Kaine touts his handling of Virginia's budget cuts (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot

Democrats in Va. Still Running Against Bush (Washington Post)

McDonnell Awaits Rest Stop Reply (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

State GOP leader's remarks decried (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Bell Is The Early Favorite In 20th (Harrisonburg Daily News-Record)

National News:

Dems vow health bill with or without Republicans (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Public passions are rising on health care overhaul (AP/GOPUSA.com)

Commentary:

The Folly of Hate-Crime Laws (Richard Cohen/Washington Post)

Utopia Versus Freedom(Thomas Sowell/GOPUSA.com)

Who may Harm Whom? (Walter Williams/GOPUSA.com)

Obama Can't Afford To Tell The Truth On Health Care (David Limbaugh/GOPUSA.com)

Poll: What's The Most Embarrassing Loss?

It's official. We now have, thanks to Minnesota courts — which, similar to Iran's government, refused to investigate that there were more votes than voters in certain precincts — a "comedian" U.S. Senator in the person of know-nothing, erratic, hyper-liberal, Al Franken. Losing to a clown like Franken must be pretty embarrassing to former incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. After all, he was a successful mayor of St. Paul and a distinguished senator. It got me thinking, for the fun of it, this question:

These three jump out at us. Add your own answer and comment on any other U.S. Senate election result, or any campaign result you think is particularly embarrassing because of how, why or to whom the candidate lost.

George W. Bush's Solicitor General, Ted Olson, Files Federal Lawsuit To Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

That's right. Ted Olson, who led George W. Bush's legal team in the aftermath of the 2000 election, when Democrat Al Gore tried to steal Florida's vote from the then-Texas governor, and who was successful in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, has filed a lawsuit in federal court, citing the 14th Amendment, that would strike down each state and federal law and state constitutional amendment banning homosexual marriage. President Bush then named him U.S. Solicitor General, the top litigator at the Justice Department. Olson's legal teammate now is David Boies, Gore's lawyer during the attempted electoral heist. Mr. Olson certainly is entitled to his opinions, but he is more than slightly arrogant and presumtious when he says this, according to the New York Daily News:

"It's not about liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. We're here in part to symbolize that. This case is about the equal rights guaranteed to every American under the United States constitution," said Olson, a prominent Republican.

Olson said he asked Boies, a Democrat, to join his team to present 'a united front' . ..."

Let's make one thing clear: Mr. Olson doesn't speak for all Republicans. He and Mr. Boies, don't speak for all Democrats. In 2006, Virginia voters ratified the Marriage Amendment with 57 percent of the vote. Neither U.S. Senate candidate that year got more than 50 percent. A significant amount of Democrats, including a large percentage of black and Hispanic voters, who voted in most cases for the Democrat senate candidate, cast their ballots for the Marriage Amendment. California's Marriage Amendment last year carried that state with 52 percent of the vote, but large blocs of black and Hispanic voters put the amendment over the top while simultaneously voting for Barack Obama (who, by the way, supports traditional, one-man one-woman marriage).

Just because two elite lawyers get together and create a great photo op based on their previous history, doesn't mean they are unifying two factions. In fact, they are doing quite the opposite. He is correct in one regard, though: this has "nothing to do with liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat." But it has nothing to do with "equal rights," either, and everything to do with special rights. Says the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins:

"The members of Congress who wrote that Amendment in 1866, and the state legislators who ratified it, could not possibly have envisioned or intended such an application, nor can anything in the Amendment be construed to imply such a 'right.'"

But what's really incomprehensible is Mr. Olson's sudden disregard for  states' rights and federalism, something Mr. Olson apparently stood for when he was solicitor general. Since this issue is not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, it is not a federal issue. Why he thinks that concept, for which he has fought his entire career, doesn't now apply is puzzling to say the least.

However, there is one paradoxical angle here that should give us reason for optimism: Many homosexual activists don't agree with the lawsuit because a loss in federal court could be a swift, solitary blow to any legal action for years. While that thought may sound reassuring, however, we are sure if Mr. Olson and Mr. Boies fail, others certainly will find another angle. This is only one battle in what certainly now will be a long, protracted cultural war,  where the weapon of choice will be lawyers.

National Day Of Prayer Reminds Us Religious Liberty Still Must Be Protected

Today is the 58th annual National Day of Prayer. The theme for this year's observance is "Prayer: America's Hope" and the Scripture verse is:

"May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You." (Psalm 33:22)

We ask you to join with our nation and with The Family Foundation as we pray for God's grace and His healing of our land.

The National Day of Prayer has a storied history. In 1952, President Harry Truman signed into law a declaration that every president must proclaim a National Day of Prayer on the day of his choosing. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan codified the first Thursday of May as the official National Day of Prayer. Since then, Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have marked this day with a White House observance. All presidents have issued commemorative proclamations. For many years, a special prayer service has been held in the East Room.

Of course, now we are in a era of "change," the "Age of Obama." As this day approached, many pondered what, if anything, new or otherwise, the president might do. After all, he did state that America is "no longer a Christian nation" and his recent address at Georgetown University came with the insistence that it cover Jesus' name.   

It turns out that President Obama, in lockstep with his previous hostile decisions, decided not to schedule a public ceremony in the White House, and may not send a representative to the National Day of Prayer Task Force event on Capitol Hill. Instead, he opted for a private proclamation signing. All are actions that indicate a desire to squelch the public expression of faith.

An Archbishop of Canterbury once said, "Lex orandi, lex credendi," which translates to, "the manner in which we pray shapes the manner in which we believe." President Obama's actions appear to show that he, unlike pro-family Virginians, does not respect the importance of prayer and belief. Given what we see from the White House, now more than ever, it's important that we protect our religious liberty.

However, we at The Family Foundation, continue to lead the battle in Virginia. In the past decade, we have championed several efforts on behalf of preserving religious liberty in the Commonwealth:

» A bill requiring that every school division conduct a moment of silence so each student can pray, meditate, or reflect (passed into law in 2000)

» A bill authorizing the posting of the national motto, "In God We Trust," in public buildings (passed into law in 2002)

» A bill requiring a higher legal standard for government to intrude on an individual's religious liberty (passed into law in 2007)

» A bill further protecting the rights of students in Virginia public schools to express their faith within classroom work (passed into law in 2008)

» A bill to restore the rights of state police chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus (passed the House in 2009, but failed in  Senate Courts of Justice Committee)

At first sight, it seems the last bill is an anomaly. Not necessarily so. It can take one, two or several sessions to get a bill passed and signed into law. Religious liberty is fragile and in danger from intrusion, or neglect, by the state. So, we will continue to fight to protect our religious heritage, even during an era where, to some, not prayer, but the cult of personality is paramount.

(We can always use help in carrying out our mission: To do so, visit our Action Center, sign up for our e-mail alerts here, sign up to volunteer here, or make a donation here.)