National Women’s History Museum: Behind the Spin

Spin: The legislation (H.R. 863) to develop a National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) in DC is written to bar the museum from ever receiving federal funding.

  • Reality: This is not true. H.R. 863 requires the commission to merely develop a plan to fund the museum with private donations as an option. However, there is no language prohibiting federal funding of a future museum (nor could any such language bind a future Congress). In fact, the bill requires the commission to submit its recommendations to the Congressional appropriations committees. Why would Congress need to consider appropriating funds for a plan that does not use any?

Spin:  H.R. 863 calls for a bipartisan commission, appointed by both the Majority and Minority leadership, to conduct the feasibility study. This will prevent against the pedaling of a one-side ideology.

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House Gears Up for Lois Lerner Contempt Vote

House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) wrote a memo to his colleagues today indicating the House would vote to hold Lois Lerner  in contempt of Congress next month if she refuses to testify before an oversight committee.

Lerner has been at the center of the IRS controversy of targeting conservative groups for their political beliefs.  Cantor’s memo states:

On April 10th, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee reported to the House a resolution holding former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations, Lois G. Lerner, in Contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions regarding the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS after initially testifying under subpoena.  Thorough investigations by the Oversight and Government Reform Committee as well as the Ways and Means Committee have revealed findings that indicate that Ms. Lerner played a central role in the illegal targeting of conservative groups by the IRS.  On April 9th, the Ways and Means Committee referred evidence of criminal violations by Ms. Lerner to the Attorney General.  The House will consider the Contempt of Congress resolution in May unless she agrees to testify before the Oversight Committee. 

Read more about Lois Lerner here.

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Fact: Compromise Has Expanded Government

In my Foundry column this week, I argue progressives have seen too many successes over the last century for us to offer a timid response.  Conservatives have to start winning the argument with the American people, and that won’t be accomplished by continually compromising our principles:

“[C]onservatives make two simple claims: Most policies under debate are liberal, and Republican leaders sacrifice conservative principles when they compromise. History shows they are right on both counts.”

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What Conservatives Want

Over at National Review I argue that while winning elections is critical for conservatives, we also have to be concerned with winning policy victories after election day is over that distinguish us from the other major party and from Republican party strategists in Washington:

[W]inning elections isn’t sufficient. As the founder of the Heritage Foundation, Edwin J. Feulner, explained in a speech shortly after Ronald Reagan won the presidency, conservatives also must win in the realm of policy. Put another way, political power should not be viewed as an end in and of itself, but rather the means to achieve the policy outcomes that will save the country.

Williamson invokes the common refrain that “the differences among us are minor compared with the differences between us and them, which are fundamental.”

Unfortunately, there are some fundamental differences between grassroots conservatives and the party strategists in Washington. Those differences get to the heart of whether conservatives will win in the realm of policy.

Read the whole column here

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Tea Party Defines “New Republican”

A new project, led by longtime GOP strategist Alex Castellanos, is aimed at rebranding the Republican Party.  Announced today in Politico’s Playbook, will focus “on outlining a positive GOP agenda for the future.”  In an ad slated to run on Sunday shows, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA) says “If you don’t think the Republican Party should be the party of big government, big business or big anything, you’re thinking like a New Republican.”

If that message sounds familiar that’s because Heritage Action has been pounding it for years.  In October 2011, CEO Mike Needham and COO Tim Chapman wrote an op-ed for Real Clear Politics entitled “The Washington Establishment’s Big Problem.”  They explained:

The Bigs – Big Wall Street, Big Government, Big Labor, and Big Business – are all protected classes in the American political system. The tax code, regulatory regime, and campaign finance laws are all written by those powerful enough to hire an army of lobbyists to descend on Washington. Labor unions pushed their way ahead of bond holders when the Establishment bailed out Chrysler. Solyndra got venture funding from the middle class taxpayer after spending $1.9 million lobbying the Establishment. 

This corrupt nexus is at the heart of the dissatisfaction across the country towards Washington.

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