Category Archives: congressman paul ryan

Belling: Paul Ryan’s GOP “Opponent” Is An Invention

PAUL RYAN’S GOP OPPONENT IS AN INVENTION
Virginia political operative creates Nehlen campaign

By Mark Belling
July 20, 2016

The Freeman, Waukesha County, Wisconsin

My longtime panelist on my old TV show “Belling and Company” Walter Farrell must have barked every other week: “it’s about the money, Mark. It’s always about the money.” It was hilarious because he was always right. And, Walter’s explanation is the only one that holds water for the weirdest political campaign of the summer – the bizarre challenge in next month’s Republican primary to House Speaker Paul Ryan by an odd duck that nobody has ever heard of and even fewer have ever seen.

The overwhelming evidence is that “candidate” Paul Nehlen’s “campaign” exists almost entirely so a shady operative from Virginia can make money. Let’s follow the money.

Dan Backer, who lists a business address of Arlington, Va., sets up myriad political action committees, or PACs, to support supposedly conservative causes and candidates. By law, these PACs don’t have to disclose where their money is coming from or how they spend most of it. This is different from actual candidate campaigns, which have to spell out everything. Paul Nehlen and his weird campaign against Ryan seem to exist for the sole purpose of allowing Dan Backer to set up a PAC.

PACs can spend money pretty much however they want. Some legitimately pump almost all of their money into supporting specific candidates. But others exist primarily to pay the salaries of the people who set up [the PACs. Dan Backer, by all indications, pays himself a huge pile of money to run all of the PACs he sets up. Fake campaign finance reformer Russ Feingold did the same thing after he was voted out of office six years ago. He set up a PAC and immediately put former staffers on its payroll, essentially paying them to continue to do the political work of Russ Feingold.

The Backer-Nehlen connection gets even slimier. If you look at the sparse federal filings of Paul Nehlen’s campaign, you see a couple of addresses of Alexandria, Va. That’s the same place Dan Backer’s PACs are based. And, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Dan Bice recently reported that Backer is actually the campaign treasurer for Nehlen! So, following the money, Backer sets up a PAC to back Nehlen and then sets himself up as the treasurer of the actual Nehlen campaign. Federal law prohibits coordination between a PAC and a campaign and Backer’s people are quoted in the Journal Sentinel as saying Backer doesn’t know what the PAC he started for Nehlen is doing for Nehlen. OK.

The Journal Sentinel story effectively exposed Virginia’s Dan Backer as the ventriloquist to Paul Nehlen’s dummy. But it doesn’t stop there. Everywhere Dan Backer pops up so do a handful of other figures. Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin has endorsed Nehlen and magically seems to show up in support of other Backer-invented candidates. The Breitbart website, which has veered sharply to the weird since the death of its founder, constantly promotes stories attacking the candidates Backer’s PACs are opposing.

Remember Walter Farrell’s manta. “It’s about the money, Mark. It’s always about the money.” Backer has set up a powerful alliance with prominent voices on the right to promote the agenda he is pushing and the candidates his PACs are backing. A website called opensecrets.org has reported that one of the PACs set up to supposedly back Paul Nehlen has spent virtually all of its money paying the PAC’s staff and expenses.

Where does the money come from? Donors. Of course, we don’t know who the donors are because PACs don’t have to spell them out. No doubt much of the money comes from sincere conservatives who respond to flashy fundraising appeals. These folks probably have no idea that much of the money goes to salaries and expenditures of political operatives and that the actual candidates and causes may exist solely for the purpose of inducing people to give money.

But that might not be all. It’s hard not to notice that virtually every politician Backer attacks is a prominent Republican. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and now Paul Ryan are among Backer’s targets. There’s nothing wrong with going after leaders of the Republican establishment who don’t advance a conservative agenda aggressively enough and I have spent much of my own career doing just that. But the reality is that the people who benefit most from constant demonizing of Republican leaders are liberals. How much of Backer’s money is coming from leftist interests? It’s a legitimate question and one that could win some intrepid reporter a Pulitzer Prize if they actually started digging into who is giving money to self-styled “tea party” and other groups that purport to be conservative but do nothing but attack actual conservatives.

Sincere conservative individuals are donating their money to groups that claim to care about their interests. Some of these groups are above board and do outstanding work. But others, dubbed “scamPACs,” exist to make money for their operators and attack the leaders of the conservative movement. There’s a reason nobody knows anything about Paul Nehlen. He’s essentially a mirage. He’s an invention of a guy who is in it for himself.

(Mark Belling is the host of a daily WISN radio talk show. His column runs Wednesdays in The Freeman.)

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Ryan Lands in VP Spotlight

Republicans and Democrats Alike Put Focus on Author of GOP Budget Plan

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The Republican presidential nominating fight might not wrap up until June, but speculation is already swirling about whom Mitt Romney might pick as his running mate—and both parties are focusing on the same candidate.

Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, floated to the top of some lists with his performance accompanying Mr. Romney on a recent campaign swing through Mr. Ryan’s native Wisconsin. The congressman, who is seen by many as the natural heir to the sunny fiscal conservatism of former vice presidential candidate Jack Kemp, appeared particularly chummy with Mr. Romney.

Democrats are acting as if they also would like to see Mr. Ryan on the GOP ticket. President Barack Obama, in a salvo this week against Republican economic policies, attacked Mr. Romney for supporting a budget blueprint prepared by Mr. Ryan, one that seeks deep cuts in federal spending and a major overhaul of Medicare.

Mr. Romney fed the chatter the next day when he jumped to Mr. Ryan’s defense. The focus on the Ryan budget suggests it could become a defining document in the 2012 election.

Christian Ferry, a senior adviser to the previous Republican nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, called Mr. Ryan “an intriguing possibility” because he “is actually making substantive policy suggestions for urgent problems the country faces rather than worrying about the day-to-day politics.”

With the primaries still grinding along, Mr. Romney and his staff brush aside talk of potential running mates, saying it is too early to begin speculating. On Thursday, Mr. Romney told Fox News Radio he had “no predictions on who No. 2 would be” because “I’m still trying to make sure I’m the No. 1.”

Those demurrals won’t keep a lid on Washington’s favorite parlor game, a quadrennial exercise that is long on conjecture and short on facts. The list of potential candidates often floated by the news media includes such rising stars as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and lesser-known politicians, such as New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. Others are sure to surface.

Should Mr. Romney win the nomination, he could look for a pick who addresses his perceived weakness with women or Hispanics, or go for a conservative favorite with the résumé and personal appeal to convert those Republicans who have been reluctant to support him.

“The most basic requirement is the only important one: The person chosen has to be able to be president of the United States, without question,” said Mike DuHaime, an adviser to Mr. Christie who has worked on multiple presidential campaigns.

While Mr. Ryan says he isn’t angling for the job, he tells reporters he would consider the offer if asked. At age 42, Mr. Ryan would bring a rare combination of youth and experience to the ticket, but he also would bring something less enticing: more than a decade in Congress, which is held in low esteem by many voters.

Democrats have seized on the apparent bond between the two Republicans to criticize Mr. Romney. The Obama campaign has circulated a side-by-side comparison of the two men’s economic policies. Both call for reductions in personal and corporate tax rates, deep cuts in agency spending and an overhaul of Medicare that would give future retirees the chance to purchase private insurance with government subsidies.

Ryan allies say Mr. Romney would be wise to pick the man who wrote his party’s main budget blueprint. “Why wouldn’t Romney put the guy with the most expertise on the ticket with him?” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), who worked with Mr. Ryan on early versions of his budget and prodded him to run for president.

Other prospective picks have put in far more time and effort for Mr. Romney. Mr. Christie, who toyed with his own presidential bid, held a major fundraiser for the candidate in New Jersey and campaigned for him ahead of contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida and Illinois. Mr. Portman unleashed his political operation to drive turnout to help Mr. Romney pull off a crucial win in Ohio. And Mr. McDonnell, who does regular television appearances for Mr. Romney and also campaigned in early primary states, made a speech selling the former Massachusetts governor to an audience of reluctant conservatives.

But Mr. Ryan stole the show during the front-runner’s campaign swing through Wisconsin. The two men struck up an easy banter at events and made frequent cracks about the two decades that separate them in age. Mr. Ryan also helped pull off an April Fool’s prank on Mr. Romney when he introduced the governor to an empty room. And he introduced the candidate during his victory speech in Milwaukee on the night he won.

Compatibility will be a crucial ingredient in Mr. Romney’s selection, according to people close to his campaign. Mr. Romney also trusts the 42-year-old congressman to field policy questions on his behalf—a rarity for the former governor who prides himself on his command of policy details. When Mr. Romney received a question on the convoluted tax code at a Wisconsin town hall, he turned to Mr. Ryan.

“I’m going to have him describe, just for a moment, his plans on the tax code, which are very, very similar to my own,” Mr. Romney said.

Aides acknowledge the two have a friendly relationship. Stuart Stevens, chief strategist for the Romney campaign, called Mr. Ryan “terrific.” But he was quick to caution, “It wasn’t an audition.”

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WSJ: Ryan’s Hat Is in the Ring

If you read only one thing today, this should be it. Highlights are my own. Original article found here:

Ryan’s Hat Is in the Ring
With the House budget, the GOP’s institutions are joined to the party’s presidential candidates.
By DANIEL HENNINGER

Paul Ryan threw his hat into the presidential political ring this week. It’s a big hat—the House Republican budget resolution. A House budget isn’t your father’s idea of a presidential candidacy. Instead, it’s an “ideas candidacy,” and it just might put a Republican back in the White House.

Mr. Ryan chose last year not to undergo the U.S.’s presidential trial by ordeal. Instead, he is using the institutional authority of his office, chairman of the House Budget Committee, to shape the debate between the incumbent president, a New Deal Democrat, and the Republican reform movement that Mr. Ryan and his allies in Congress represent. (That, by the way, includes the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who had to sign off on this document.)

Paul Ryan’s admirers had their reasons for wanting him on the field, and mine comes down to one—the single, stark point Mr. Ryan has made since his side lost the health-care battle with Barack Obama, and which he made this week: “It is rare in American politics to arrive at a moment in which the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract. But that is where we are.”

Republican discontent the past nine months has been about the inability of any presidential candidate to match the moment as Mr. Ryan defines it. But it may be that Republicans have been loading up more hope than any one candidate can bear these days.

A modern presidential candidate is Gulliver, pecked at daily, even hourly, for months by thousands of squawking Internet crows. If Ronald Reagan himself were running like this for a year, we’d start picking at him, too.

Worse, they are connected to nothing other than themselves. Last summer, a member of the GOP leadership visited our offices, and we asked how much contact they had with the six or so candidates competing then in the not-so-great debates. The answer: zero. The party and its presidential candidates have become like celestial bodies, rotating in distant corners of the same galaxy.

With the Ryan budget, this party’s two poles are joined. Especially on taxes.

Taxation is the subject that most clearly defines the competing visions of the two parties. Medicare is about a big fix. Tax policy is about the nature of the nation. It comes down to this: What are taxes for?

With the House budget, the GOP’s institutions are joined to the party’s presidential candidates.

In a blog post under that headline last April, Paul Krugman gave the conventional answer: “So taxes are, first and foremost, about paying for what government buys (duh).”  Krugman is an idiot of the Left — Steve

Larry Summers, when he left the White House, spoke of the impending nightmare of an “inadequately resourced” government. He said, “While recovery is our first priority, it is essential that we establish long-run parity between revenues and expenditures.”

This has been the standard model of taxation’s purpose since the king was collecting taxes in Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest. Ronald Reagan overturned the king’s model in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, with support from pre-Obama Democrats. Reagan, radically, gave the economy’s long-term growth prior claim over government’s revenue needs. Refuting Reagan forever is the raison d’etre of the modern Democratic party and its satellites. Taxes are about government, nothing else. Duh.

For the alternative to this galley-slave view of taxes, with the citizenry rowing endlessly to the horizon for the government, open footnote 76 in the Ryan budget. It is House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp’s tight description of what we should want from our tax system.

Here’s my summary of his summary: Our taxation system ought to serve an America that must live and survive in the world as it is now, and will be into the distant future. That is a tax system that allows economic growth greater than the below-2.5% of the past three years, the new Obama normal. It is a tax system that maximizes the release of capital into the economy for productive purposes. That tax system will allow users of capital to create jobs for people who don’t want to work for the government. That tax system will let U.S. firms compete in the new world dominated by young, emerging economies. It will be a fair tax system if its claims are not so heavy that it sinks into the corruptions of loopholes, credits and preferences bartered in Washington.

The tax system we have now is a 20th-century tax system, whose purpose was to pay for what government bought. And bought and bought. Republicans, anti-status quo insurgents and upwardly mobile independent voters should recognize that with the Ryan-Camp tax plan (two low personal rates, a lower corporate rate) now joined to the high-growth consensus of these presidential challengers, the U.S. has one chance this year and next, when the new code would become law, to rejoin the real world, not some 60-year-old dream world.

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One Minute And Nineteen Seconds You Must Watch

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Obama’s Failures Continue

From The Hill today via email, by Erik Wasson:

President Obama will release his 2013 budget one week late, an administration official said Monday.

Under the law, the budget is to be released on the first Monday in February, but the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will be releasing the 2013 budget on Feb. 13.

The Obama administration also delayed the release of the budget last year, waiting until Feb. 14.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said the delay is symptomatic of a fiscally reckless administration.

“I am deeply disappointed in this President’s abdication of leadership when it comes to prioritizing Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars. The decision to delay the release of his budget again could not come at a more precarious moment for our fiscal and economic future,” Ryan said.


Score another one for Paul Ryan.

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The Starbucks Presidential Primary

This column was originally published by the US Daily Review.

The Republican nomination process so far this season has been pretty intriguing to me, and it’s also been pretty comical in some respects.

This past weekend we witnessed something pretty unique in my opinion. On Saturday afternoon Governor Rick Perry officially declared his candidacy, less than 6 hours later the Iowa Straw Poll results were known, and on Sunday morning Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race. Enter stage right, exit stage left.

Now, this week we’re hearing that Congressman Paul Ryan and Governor Chris Christie are both taking steps, talking to people and focus grouping their candidacies. I am a big Paul Ryan fan. I typically refer to him as Jack Kemp Jr. I was a huge Jack Kemp fan as well. Ryan learned at the feet of the master and it shows in his policies and his approach. Governor Christie has taken it right to the unions of New Jersey. Christie has been outspoken, he’s been a soundbite machine and he’s avoided much controversy. He has also managed to rein in an out of control state during the awful conditions of the Obama Economy.

So with people here and there advocating for Ryan and Christie to get into the race, I’ve started to realize that we’re really witnessing The Starbucks Presidential Primary. So many people want so many things in a candidate, and until they find their perfect blend, I think they’re going to keep throwing names out there. I’m actually amazed that with as many candidates as we have, and had with Pawlenty’s departure, that people still can’t find what they want in a candidate.

I equate this to Starbucks in the following way: We’ve got people accustomed to walking into a Starbucks, looking at the menu for 3 minutes and then saying “I’d like a tall…no a venti, vanilla mochachino, light on the whip, non-fat, with a sprinkle of cinnamon and then two splendas added after it’s mixed, oh, and yes on the caramel syrup on top”. These same people are now choosing our nominee and even the candidates. They don’t realize you can’t order Paul Ryan’s looks, Romney’s wallet, Bachmann’s accent, Cain’s “voice of Othello” (as Jack Kemp called him once), light on the Paul, Newt’s mind and Perry’s bravado, and put together a Starbucks drink that leaves me looking at the menu wondering where that is on there, or if the customer just made it up.

Our party right now is a great example of the free market system working. Candidates enter the market place, they make a profit or they don’t, and they leave gracefully when they are no longer sustainable. And don’t misunderstand me, I’m not being critical of anyone here. Eventually, unlike the typical market place where the customer can walk away without ever making a choice, a choice will have to be made in 2012. Some will walk away without making a choice, but most will stick around and find the candidate they agree with the most, or the candidate that gets closest to their ideals.

I remember as a kid, every now and then I would go spend the weekend at my grandparents. On Sunday morning my grandfather would grab the Sunday paper and he and I would venture to a local diner where he would order coffee. The choices back then were regular or decaf, and decaf was understood to be nasty, burned, and not very desirable. We’ve come a long way in coffee choices now, thanks to Starbucks. Choice has now extended to the Republican presidential field, more so than ever before.

Maybe one day we will have a Twitter Presidential Primary, one where the candidates don’t even make personal appearances, they can either communicate to the nation via 140 characters at a time, or they can’t. Those that can not, they will be gone. Those that can, might just tweet the words:

From @PresidentElect: ”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of theUnited States, and will to the best of my…” 

From @PresidentElect: ”…ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So help me God.”

Until that time, we’re working and living in the here and now. I’m headed to Starbucks…to buy a newspaper.

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Filed under chris christie, congressman paul ryan, Governor Rick Perry, new, newt gingrich, paul ryan, starbucks

Paul Ryan Updates Medicare Plan with More Facts — Left Still Offers Nothing

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