Commentary

Thornbury: Conservative Ideas Are Better

Greg Thornbury

Mayor Bill DeBlasio thinks of himself as a progressive, very left leaning modern liberal. He’s demonstrated those commitments time after time from his approach to crime (and law enforcement), to economics, to trying to squelch the success of Uber.

So it struck some observers as strange when he came out very strongly against topless panhandlers in parading in Times Square.

These women, covered only in body paint and little else—alongside other costumed cretins dressed as Elmo and Spider Man—both offend and pester tourists for money.

DeBlasio doesn’t like this unsavory element, and for good reason. He’s even threatening to shut down the pedestrian plaza in Times Square.

But the broader point remains: the DeBlasio administration just makes people yearn for the good old days when Rudy Giuliani was mayor, the man who cleaned up Times Square to begin with, and drove crime down.

Mr. DeBlasio, you can take this to the bank: Conservative ideas are better for the common good.

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Davenport: Big Government Solutions Don’t Deliver

California has provided for us yet another case study in the never-ending saga that big government solutions rarely work.

A billionaire bankrolled a California proposition in 2012 called the “California Clean Energy Jobs Act.”  Oh, it was going be great—promising job creation, improving public schools and combating climate change.

Three years later, an AP report says it has created barely 10 percent of the jobs it promised and more than half the money spent by public schools has gone to energy consultants and auditors.  The state agency that oversees it had no data about it, but somehow is sure it is on track.  And the citizens oversight board to track it has never met.

Sounds just like the cash for clunkers report awhile back showing that not only did we not create car sales, but the government program actually inhibited sales with misguided regulations.

When will we learn the truth of Ronald Reagan’s 9 most dangerous words in the English language?  “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

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Medved: Winning with a “Young Underdog”

If Republicans hope to win the White House in 2016 they should consider the success enjoyed by Democrats in winning four of the last six presidential elections. In each of those winning races, the Democrats nominated candidates – Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – who might be described as “young underdogs.” The 46-year-old Clinton and the 47-year-old Obama both came from dysfunctional family backgrounds that presented dramatic obstacles to their advancement.

In contrast, their Republican opponents were each in their sixties, and, except for Bob Dole in 1996, came from prominent, elite backgrounds: as sons of a Senator, a top Navy Admiral, and a wealthy Governor. This year, the GOP could turn the tables – nominating their own young underdog from among the many potential candidates to take on Hillary Clinton, the ultimate multimillionaire Washington insider who would be 69 on taking office.

That’s a precious and rare opportunity Republican primary voters should consider before making their decisions.

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Mohler: Ashley Madison Revelations Point to an Underlying Reality

Back in 2011, when Bloomberg Businessweek published a story about Ashley Madison (the premier ‘dating’ website for aspiring adulterers), it was clear that many people saw the business as a joke.

No one is laughing now. Everything changed with the hacking of the Ashley Madison website and the release of over 37 million names, along with account information.

The mainstream media seems to know that the Ashley Madison hacking story is big news, but the main concern seems to be more about embarrassment than shamefulness.

Then again, even as the larger culture tries to convince itself that it has proudly outgrown monogamy, the furor and grief over the Ashley Madison revelations point to the underlying reality that even those supposedly liberated from conventional sexual morality really do know that adultery is wrong.

Nevertheless, severed from any substantial moral grounding, they are not exactly sure why adultery is wrong, or how wrong they should understand adultery to be.

Sadly: Once this scandal subsides, the moral concern about adultery is likely to dissipate as well.

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Medved: Putting Gun Deaths in Context

Liberal voices in politics and media react to well-publicized murders by blaming firearms and arguing that gun control could reduce rates of violence. But they never put gun deaths in context, or acknowledge that murder rates have been going down, not up—cut in half over 30 years.

Moreover, much of this improvement occurred together with rising gun ownership: Gallup says 34 percent of households owned firearms in 1999 and 42 percent in 2014. Second, liberals conceal the fact that most gun deaths in America are actually suicides, not murders or accidents. And the US has a relatively low rate of overall suicide—we rank 50th in the world, with nations like Japan, Russia, South Korea and Belgium showing much higher suicide rates despite much tougher gun laws.

In other words, there’s no reason at all to assume that increasing fire-arms regulation would do anything to reduce tragic instances of Americans taking their own lives.

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Thornbury: The X-Factor in the 2016 Contest

Greg Thornbury

As we look towards the 2016 Presidential election, a recent Quinnipiac poll released yielded some surprising results:

If Vice President Biden was the Democratic candidate, he would beat Donald Trump by eight points, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush by six points and Senator Marco Rubio by three points. In head-to-head matchups, the current vice president does much better than Hillary. For months, all of the analysis has been on Clinton. She is, after all, the presumptive nominee of pundits. But what matters is the opinion of the American people.

And why’s Biden popular? This poll suggests something that has nothing to do with politics. “He’s likable,” or so they say.

Conservatives do a great job of discussing their ideas and convictions. But as crucial as those virtues are, there’s an X-factor that we sometimes miss. People subconsciously ask: “Do I want to see this person on my television for the next four years?” Or, stated differently, “Do I like this person?”

The Republican hopefuls should be listening.

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Medved: Political Malpractice

The GOP is currently divided—with a narrow faction arguing that we should abolish birthright citizenship, even though real-world chances of achieving this proposed change register at close to zero.

Some legal scholars may challenge the common understanding that the 14th Amendment grants citizenship to anyone born in the U.S., but the Supreme Court has affirmed that principle in a string of cases going back 117 years. Considering the court’s makeup now or in the foreseeable future, no majority of justices will magically materialize to overturn this long-standing policy.

This means a Constitutional amendment would be required, winning approval of both legislative houses in three-quarters of the states. Disapproval by just 13 states would block any amendment, but Democrats control at least one house of the legislature in 18 states. With no Democratic support at all for changing birthright citizenship, an amendment is impossible. Agitating public sentiment over a proposal that can’t win enactment is a demagogic, irresponsible example of political malpractice.

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