Two weeks ago in “Winning the Future,” I announced an 11-point plan for victory in the November elections. I called it “The American Eleven,” and the reception it has received has been gratifying and encouraging.
The key to the American Eleven is this: Republican victory in 2006 depends on a return to the American values — not Republican values but American values — that twice elected Ronald Reagan and returned the House to a Republican majority in 1994 with the Contract with America.
This week, I’m happy to announce that the House has listened to the American people and acted on two of the most important action items in the American Eleven and action on a third item is pending this week.
House Passes Border Security — Now Call Your Senator
The second action item in the American Eleven is as simple as it is urgent: Control the borders. It is impossible to pass “comprehensive” immigration reform before the election, but controlling our border is possible. Last week, the House took a giant leap toward doing just that with passage of the Secure Fence Act.
The bill provides for more than 700 miles of two-layered reinforced fencing along the Southwest border. In other areas, it would create a “virtual fence” through the use of cameras, ground sensors and other surveillance technology.
The passage of the Secure Fence Act was just what the language of the American Eleven called for two weeks ago: “A narrowly focused bill to ensure that the United States can control the border.” Now that the House has shown itself on the side of the American people whose first priority on immigration and national security is to control the borders, House members should challenge the Senate — every day — to do the same.
Action Item Eight: Control Spending and Balance the Budget
The eighth action item in the American Eleven challenged House Republicans to show Americans which party is really committed to smaller government with lower taxes and which is committed to bigger government with higher taxes.
One of the major sources of out-of-control spending in Congress has been the practice of “earmarking,” or carving out chunks of taxpayer dollars for pet projects and special interests. Often, these earmarks are done anonymously, leaving their congressional sponsors unaccountable to the taxpayers who are footing the bill.
The House voted this week to require all members on all bills to own up to this kind of spending. House Majority Leader John Boehner put it best: “Members should be ready and willing to put their name on the projects they request, and if they aren’t willing to do that, they shouldn’t expect the American people to pay for it.”
Action Item Four: Voter ID Card
Last Friday the House Administration Committee passed a bill (H.R. 4844) that will require that every individual who wishes to vote in the 2008 federal elections must present a photo ID to be allowed to cast a ballot. The full House is scheduled to vote on the measure this week. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on what happens.
Watch here for future progress reports on the American Eleven.
Minnesota Democrats Nominate Radical Leftist Defender of Cop-Killers for Congress
I am writing you this week from Minneapolis, where the Democrats have nominated a radical left defender of cop killers to be their nominee for Congress.
Keith Ellison, a former member of the radical group the Nation of Islam, is Minnesota Democrats’ choice to replace retiring Rep. Martin Sabo (D).
The issue is not Ellison’s religion but his support for radical leftwing people and causes. Blogs such as Minnesota Democrats Exposed and Powerlineblog.com have uncovered that Ellison was a longtime local leader and spokesman for the Nation of Islam and its anti-Semitic leader, Louis Farrakhan. He has been a vocal defender of gang members and convicted murderers of police officers, including cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal and a cop-killer named on the FBI’s most wanted domestic terrorist list currently being given sanctuary in Castro’s Cuba.
The nomination of Keith Ellison by Minnesota Democrats is another step in the Dean-Pelosi-Lamont radicalization of the Democratic Party. A Democratic Party that would nominate a person this far to the left and committed to these radical values may become a big issue in the Minnesota Senate race and may be a further step toward defining the Democrats as a party that is unacceptably radical at home and weak abroad.
Keep Your Eye on Turtle Bay
As President Bush prepares to address the UN General Assembly on America’s vision for the Middle East, keep your eye on the goings on at the United Nations. Note especially the Venezuelan effort to get a seat on the UN Security Council. A Venezuelan seat would be a significant setback to America and our democratic allies and would be an enormous victory for the Iranian-Venezuelan alliance (reaffirmed with last week’s trip by Iranian dictator Ahmadinejad to Cuba and to Venezuela). Venezuela is a growing danger.
As Gas Prices Go, So Go Republicans?
The declining price of gasoline is a big underlying advantage for Republicans. If gasoline keeps dropping in price, Republicans’ chances of keeping the House will get better and better.
The Latest Democratic Party Idea: Taxpayer-Funded Tuition for Illegal Immigrants
When I was campaigning in Wisconsin for Mark Green for governor this weekend, I learned that Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle had proposed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants.
That means Wisconsin would subsidize and reward illegality in the amount of nearly $40,000 over four years of college, courtesy of the Wisconsin taxpayers, and would simply attract even more illegal aliens to move to Wisconsin.
Not a Bad Week for Winning the Future
Two weeks ago in “Winning the Future,” I offered my view that House Republicans faced a choice.
They could either continue to ignore the lessons of Ronald Reagan and the Contract with America and forget the fact that real change must begin with the American people, or House Republicans could learn from history. They could listen to the American people and return to the center-right, populist majority that Reagan and the Contract gave them.
Despite the troubling news from places like Minneapolis and the United Nations, the actions of the House this week are promising signs that they’ve chosen to learn from history. We win when we do what’s right. We win when we listen to the American people.
So here’s the count on the American Eleven in the House: Two down, nine to go. Not a bad week for winning the future.
P.S. — I spoke last week at the Rinnai Corporation meeting in Dallas, Tex. They have a tankless hot water system which provides all the hot water you want through flash heating. In this system, there is no tank to keep warm all day and no wasted water as you wait for the tap to run hot. The result is a savings of 1,000 gallons of water per home per year and 20% less energy used (the energy savings are even bigger compared to electric hot water tanks). This is a good example of how better science and technology can improve our quality of life while providing conservation for both water and energy. It’s the kind of thinking we need in the energy and environmental fields.
Each week, this newsletter features questions from its readers. Have a question? Send an email to Newt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is it not time the UN be reformed? Or is the body too corrupt and outdated to be effective?
Thank you for the question, Kayden. You are correct that, by any reasonable measure, the gap between the ideals of the United Nations Charter and the institution today is unacceptable. As you may know, I co-chaired a congressional task force on UN reform because I believe that a dramatically reformed UN can be an effective instrument in pursuit of a safer America and a freer world. The commission included members from across America’s political spectrum but was still able to produce a consensus on a reasonable set of structural and management reforms. [Click here to read the report]
I was optimistic that the start of real reform of the United Nations was possible with the adoption of the task-force recommendations. However, I have grown discouraged with the failure of the United Nations to adopt even these modest improvements. On the 60th anniversary of the UN, I authored an op-ed for the Boston Globe to outline a vision for a fundamentally limited, but honest and effective United Nations. [Click here to read my op-ed]
I reinforced this vision in a testimony to the Congress where I laid out a step-by-step evaluation for reform and the urgency to get it done. I also made suggestions for what the United States should do if the UN failed to reform itself. [Click here to read my congressional testimony, including a reform “checklist”]
Here is a summary:
First, because the United Nations is not democratically accountable, it should be fundamentally limited. Moreover, it must prove itself to be honest with transparency and effective with metrics to measure results.
It should abandon any attempt to create new systems of law and behavior under the guise of “global governance,” which are a direct threat to the sovereignty of democratic nations.
To regain credibility, the UN General Assembly must reach agreement on a comprehensive definition of terrorism.
Furthermore, it must deny nations that routinely abuse human rights a seat on the Human Rights Council.
UN dues should be made voluntary. The annual dues for the U.S. should be submitted to Congress annually and subject to the same appropriations and oversight process as all other taxpayer-appropriated monies.
In tandem with this step, the United States should lead a UN reform caucus of like-minded countries that will use a phased withholding of voluntary UN dues until the institution adopts meaningful reform that meets with the satisfaction of Congress and the other members of the coalition.
The United States should also begin to aggressively encourage alternative forums for international activity so as to contrast democratic, transparent and accountable mechanisms with the dysfunction of the United Nations.
In this effort to return the United Nations to an institution that matches its founding ideals, it is important to remember that it is not the burden of the United States to beg the UN to reform itself. The burden should be on the UN member-states to create a United Nations worth supporting.