Barron’s editorial page editor questions Boehner’s critics

Thomas Donlan devotes his latest Barron’s editorial commentary to the downfall of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner.

Some Republican House members complain that Boehner and his lieutenants failed to deliver on the party’s promises to replace Obamacare and the other bêtes noires of right-thinking Republicans. They believe that the Republicans’ clear majority in the House should have been able to pass bills on their hot-button issues and deposit them on the President’s desk for enactment.

A commentator sympathetic to such rebels said this about Boehner and his era: “Where he failed was in never implementing an agenda and a strategy to win as many battles as they could. One can be forgiven for trying and failing, but not trying is the unforgivable sin.”

There are four important things wrong with this idea. In reverse order of importance: The Republicans do not have the votes to override a veto; President Barack Obama would veto anything that Republicans would really like; nothing would reach the President’s desk, because bills that important would be filibustered in the Senate, where it takes 60 votes to get anything done and the Republicans have but 54.

The fourth and most important reason: As Boehner realized, politicians are rewarded only for their victories, if at all. The American people despise losers, even while commending their principles. Losing honorably by holding fast to one’s principles is the path to more losing.

Boehner tried to help his friends avoid catastrophic losses, but they thought he had gone over to the enemy.

The speaker may also have realized that core Republican Party principles are not shared by a majority of Americans any more than the people share the principles of the Democratic party base. Most American voters are greedy pragmatists. They want to know what’s in it for them.

New Carolina Journal Online features

Dan Way reports for Carolina Journal Online on a conservative push for N.C. criminal justice reform.

John Hood’s Daily Journal highlights misuse of North Carolina’s jobs numbers for partisan political purposes.

‘Drunk Town’ campaign latest instance of central planning confusion

If you live near the Triangle and watch commercial television (or subscribe to the News & Observer), you’ve probably noticed the rather comical “drunk town” commercials and print ads orchestrated by Democratic political pollster Dean Debnam (co-founder of Public Policy Polling) attacking candidates for City Council who want downtown Raleigh to be a vibrant, energetic, entrepreneurial kind of place.

The latest development: Debnam’s planning cohort is trying to silence supporters of downtown vibrancy by complaining to the State Board of Elections about the tactics of the political backers of pro-growth candidates. In other words, one group of politically savvy campaign operatives is trying to use the force of law to shut up their political opponents.

Here’s one of the ads that incenses Debnam’s crew.

The Fun Stoppers (including big-time Democratic lawyer Michael Wiesel), were turning cartwheels when Raleigh officials were cutting deals with developers to land corporate presences like Citrix and Red Hat, and approve lots of hip, modern housing for the young tech workers who would be employed by those growing firms.

But these companies are here, and the youthful workers live downtown, and they act like, well, young adults. They like to dine and party and drink and behave like 20-somethings, and WE CAN’T HAVE THAT (see: curfews on outdoor dining, reported by CJ’s Kari Travis).

Hence, the rather sophomoric, heavy-handed campaign to elect city council members who will shut down the sort of environment the central planners were encouraging a few years ago.

So here’s what Debnam, et al., apparently want: A dynamic, bustling, commercially successful city that rolls up the sidewalks at 9 p.m. Good luck with that.

C-SPAN2 airs ‘Conservative Heroes’ discussion at JLF early Sunday morning

Viewers of C-SPAN2’s “Book TV” will have another chance to watch Garland Tucker’s discussion of his book Conservative Heroes at 12:15 a.m. Sunday.

Tucker addressed a John Locke Foundation audience June 29. Learn more about the book here.

Purity of the cause for sensible outdoor dining rules in Raleigh has been ruined

Reductio ad Kocham strikes again, and I can only imagine the conundrum it must be causing Raleigh leftists who want to see sensible outdoor dining rules in downtown.

IndyWeek, which had previously looked into the downtown dining complaints, investigates a flyer mailed to Raleigh voters that says “Like Eating Outside? The Raleigh City Council doesn’t. The current Raleigh City Council passed rules that made it more difficult for all of us to enjoy a meal or a drink on a patio in Raleigh. We can change that. Go vote October 6th.”

Who’s behind such an ad, whose sentiment seems so unobjectionable? Well:

Generation Opportunity …

     a grassroots organization that receives support from

Freedom Partners …

     a non-profit based in Arlington, Va. that is partially funded by

Charles and David Koch

The conclusion readers are to draw is inescapable. Mercy, the brothers Koch have somehow added to their inferred agenda of global control something as relatively insignificant as the patio dining rules in a mid-sized metro like Raleigh. Frightening, their insidious reach!

For journalism on the ongoing patio dining issue in downtown Raleigh, read Kari Travis’s reports in Carolina Journal.

A closer look at the WalletHub data

Ah, WalletHub, the obscure website that North Carolina liberals visit once a year to “prove” that Republicans hate public school teachers.

Lady Liberty obtained and shared WalletHub source data for their “2015’s Best and Worst States for Teachers” ranking.  As you may have heard from public school advocacy groups and the media, WalletHub youngster Richie Bernardo ranked North Carolina 50th in the nation for teachers.

The first six data points are used to determine the “Job Opportunity & Competition” portion.  The next seven are used for the “Academic & Work Environment” portion.  North Carolina ranked 50th on the former and 34th on the latter, which combined magically to produced an overall rank of 50 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.  (The decision to compare states to a city is a curious one.)

But it is pretty apparent that North Carolina fares reasonably well on most indicators, considering that a number of recent efforts to raise teacher pay are not represented in the data used (because data collection understandably lags).  The most interesting aspect of the ranking is that North Carolina earned a rank of 50 out of 51 despite that fact that only two of the 13 indicators come anywhere close to the bottom.

Simply put, Mr. Bernardo’s methodology, which is not explained in detail on the WalletHub website, produces rankings that are counterintuitive.  Any cursory examination of the data itself would suggest that North Carolina ranks higher than 50th.

In other words, it “does not pass the smell test.”

Data Point

NC Results

NC Rank



Average Starting Salary for Teachers (adjusted for cost of living) $31,894 40 2012-2013 & 2014 National Education Association
Median Annual Salary for Teachers (adjusted for cost of living) $49,516 39 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center
Teachers’ Income Growth Potential 1.38 31 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Projected Number of Teachers per 1,000 Students by Year 2022 N/A N/A 2013 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics & CENSUS
Unemployment Rate 6.1% 26 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
10-Year Change in Teacher Salaries 10.1% 49 2014-2015 National Education Association
WalletHub “School Systems” Ranking  N/A 21 2015 WalletHub
Pupil-to-Teacher Ratio 15.40 33 2012-2013 National Education Association
Safest Schools 13.4% 43 2011-2012 National Education Association
WalletHub “Underprivileged Children” Ranking  N/A 35 2015 WalletHub
Public School Spending per Student $8,620 46 2014-15 National Education Association
Average Commute Time 23.7 24 2013 CENSUS
WalletHub “Working Moms” Ranking  N/A 43 2015 WalletHub
Overall Rank  N/A 50 N/A N/A


A critique of the Obama Justice Department

The latest issue of Hillsdale College’s Imprimis features former Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey‘s take on his successors in the current federal government.

I’m regretful to have to add that in a country where honesty, fairness, and safety are so strongly influenced by one department of government, over the past six years—largely because of that department’s work—our country has grown less honest, less fair, and less safe than it ought to be. Let me give you some examples.

Recently we hear a great deal about the prosecution of “evildoing” corporations, but not so much about the prosecution of individuals who are the alleged evildoers. Why is that? To be specific, a lot of what we hear with respect to corporations is not about prosecutions at all—it’s about “deferred-prosecution agreements” or “non-prosecution agreements,” agreements that extract enormous financial penalties. Indeed, the current Justice Department takes pride in setting record after record in terms of collecting these penalties.

Other attorneys general, myself included, made such agreements. But the penalties that have been extracted over the past six years are unprecedented. They involve numbers in the billions, and are of a scale that makes it appear that the Justice Department is acting as a profit center for the government. …

… The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is the one we think of as having the main responsibility for protecting fairness. Yet its recent record has indicated other priorities. Recently its Voting Section went out of its way to review a decision to change the system of municipal elections in Kinston, North Carolina, from partisan to non-partisan. That change had been approved by the voters of Kinston, which is a majority black town. Indeed, it had been approved by an overwhelming two-to-one vote.

Under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the Justice Department may intervene when voting rules are changed in any state where there’s historically been discrimination. But because black citizens were in the majority in Kinston, there should have been no occasion to intervene. The DOJ justified its intervention by saying that blacks were not always a majority of voters, even though they were a majority of the citizens; it argued further that the removing of party labels might deprive black voters of an identifying label necessary for them to vote for black candidates—i.e., the label “Democrat.” In other words, the Justice Department was arguing that the black voters of Kinston needed the paternalism of the Justice Department to protect them from themselves.

Stossel decries the ‘cult’ of victims

John Stossel‘s latest column at Human Events takes aim at the disturbing growth within membership of the victim class.

People benefit by playing the victim.

Activists look for people they can declare victims, to bring attention to their causes.

The New York Times once called the Super Bowl the “Abuse Bowl,” claiming that during the game many more women are abused than usual because their men get crazed watching violence. CBS called Super Bowl Sunday a “day of dread.” The Boston Globe claimed a study showed calls to anti-violence emergency lines go up 40 percent during the game.

Then Ken Ringle of the Washington Post tried to trace those claims.

The Globe reporter admitted she never saw the study in question but got the numbers from the left-wing group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. FAIR said they got them from a psychiatrist on “Good Morning America.” That psychiatrist referred callers to another psychiatrist, who said, “I haven’t been any more successful than you in tracking down any of this.”

The “Super Bowl victim” claim was bunk.

Sometimes I feel like a victim. I stutter. Had today’s disability laws existed when I began work, would I have fought to overcome my stuttering? Maybe not. I might have sued my employer, demanding they “accommodate my disability” by giving me a non-speaking job. Maybe I would have just stopped working and collected a disability check. …

… Some people are just inclined to complain, and the modern welfare state encourages that. Lawyers made it worse by encouraging people to sue, rather than strive. That changed America.

When you reward something, you get more of it.

We change people’s character by teaching them that “victimhood” is a way to get attention and moral status.