Walker, Paul Punt on Indiana

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

As promised, I will be detailing which GOP candidates had the courage to speak out amidst the intense media freakout over Indiana’s religious freedom law. Many did so strongly, including Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Carson, Jindal, and Santorum.

Two big exceptions? Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Rand Paul.

Walker was curiously “non-committal” according to Wisconsin media.

“That’s an issue they’ll have to debate in Indiana,” Walker said. “It’s really not something we’re going to be involved with here.”

Sen Rand Paul appeared not to talk at all, from what I can find. CNN, in its roundup, only drudged up this ambivalent quote from last year about Arizona’s RFRA:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul said in 2014, as Arizona was considering a similar law — with major backlash then, too, which led Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to veto the measure — that the marketplace ultimately works to prevent discrimination.

“I think that the right to associate and the right to be free in your business decisions is out there,” he said then.

But Paul added: “I’m not real excited about laws that sort of say you can deny people service.”

If you have a statement from either candidate directly on Indiana, can you let me know in the comments?

We will report on those who had the courage to speak in a separate post.

Maggie Gallagher is editor of ThePulse2016.com. Continue Reading

Did Scott Walker Just Defend Indiana?

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

A friend passed along a statement from Walker’s official organization, Our American Revival:

Like you we’ve been following the fight for religious liberty in Indiana closely. Here’s a statement from Gov. Walker’s spokesperson on the issue: 

AshLee Strong, press secretary for Walker’s Our American Revival:  ‘As a matter of principle, Governor Walker believes in broad religious freedom and the right for Americans to exercise their religion and act on their conscience.’

This is the sort of response that really begs the question. I think, after issuing a statement like this, the candidate himself has certain obligations to clarify: Is this his personal response to the attacks on Indiana and Mike Pence? Or is he just issuing another vague general principle?

I hope this represents courage in defense of freedom on Gov. Walker’s part. But especially after releasing this kind of ambiguous, mealy statement, he has an obligation to clarify: Does he stand with Indianans or with Hillary Clinton on Indiana?

Maggie Gallagher is the editor of ThePulse2016.com. Continue Reading

Hillary Clinton Quickly Denounces Indiana Religious Liberty Law

Hillary Clinton went all in early against religious liberty with her tweet opposing Indiana’s law. So much for Bill Clinton’s legacy of moderating Democrats’ opposition to religion.

This, of course, is in stark contrast to the Republican candidates thundering early silence.

Rod Dreher recognizes the media freakout, including bringing in big liberal corporate donors to crush the will of the people by threatening economic harm, is designed make sure Republicans will drop the defense of religious liberty.

Will a leader emerge, and will we support them? We will find out shortly whether we have a GOP that can fight or will be cowed.

As I said, this tactic will not be confined to gay-related issues. They are already breaking it out against life issues. I can’t wait to see when they begin to figure out how to employ the Big Lie and the media freakout tactic on an economic issue.

Maggie Gallagher is editor of ThePulse2016.com. Continue Reading

Will Any GOP Candidates Step Up to the Plate for Religious Liberty?

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Something very important is happening right now in Indiana. Pay attention: The Democrats are attempting to use their power in the mainstream media to get Republicans to retreat and mute the GOP on religious liberty or face being labelled anti-gay.

Last year, the Left succeeded so well with this tactic on a similar RFRA bill in Arizona, they even got Mitt Romney and John McCain to denounce the bill.

How much of the fabric of classic American civilization will GOP politicians be willing to let go without a fight?  This tactic will not only be used on what the Left decides is a gay rights issue. Emboldened by their success in getting Republicans to retreat, the Democrats are now applying the same tactic to the Hyde Amendment language (see the human trafficking bill as the first of a series of attempts to get Republicans to retreat on opposition to taxpayer-financed abortion) and to scuttle the 20-week ban on abortion, which was supposed to have been voted on and passed by the Jan. 22 March for Life. Mere fear of being called “pro-rape,” an absurd charge, led Renee Ellmers and 7 other GOP women to demand a vote be postponed, apparently indefinitely.

Right now, Gov. Mike Pence is the only Republican politician defending this bill.  He is looking for a new law to clarify the bill’s intent, as Indiana faces a wave of hostility from powerful corporations that is sick to see, based as it is on a lie. Continue Reading

Pence Makes Indiana the 20th State to Have a Religious Freedom Restoration Act

Indiana State House (photo via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0)

On Thursday, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Tom Davies of the Associated Press writes:

Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which easily passed both legislative chambers, would prohibit state and local laws that “substantially burden” the ability of people, businesses and associations to follow their religious beliefs.

A similar law was passed by Congress in 1993. Similar proposals have been introduced in about a dozen states in the wake of businesses and individuals being taken to court for not wanting to provide insurance for abortion-inducing products or servicing same-sex wedding activities out of religious beliefs.

Mr. Pence said this week he believed the measure “is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact.”

The law was immediately denounced by the Human Rights Campaign who labeled it as “dangerous” and “anti-LGBT.” However, even the Associated Press can see through that claim:

Supporters say discrimination concerns are overblown because the bill is modeled after the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act and 19 states have similar laws on the books.

However, the current political climate is far different than it was when most of those were approved because the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule this year on whether gay marriage bans violate the Constitution.

Conservative groups say the Indiana measure merely seeks to prevent the government from compelling people to provide such things as catering or photography for same-sex weddings or other activities they find objectionable on religious grounds.

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Frank Luntz on Rubio’s Unique Appeal

Frank, regarding your discussion of who the top-tier candidates really are (and its not Jeb Bush), check out this clip from Frank Luntz on March 19 discussing Rubio’s unique ability to appeal not only to other Republicans, but to Democrats in focus group testing of his speeches:

“We are still blessed with brave young Americans willing to sacrifice their safety for the sake of ours.” (93 of 100 rating by GOP focus groupers, 77 rating by Democrats)

“But what remains to be see is whether we are willing to do what those before us did: whatever it takes to keep America exceptional.” (86 of 100 rating GOP, 68 rating Democrats)

Not only does Rubio have a 30 point net favorability among Republican voters, indicating he has a lot of voters he could potentially pick up, but he has crossover appeal to Democrats as well.

Maggie Gallagher is editor of ThePulse2016.com. Continue Reading

Jeanne Shaheen Votes Against Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) (photo credit: Roger H. Goun via Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

The New Hampshire Union Leader published a scathing editorial condemning Sen. Jeanne Shaheen for suddenly dropping her support for a bill to protect victims of human trafficking when the pro-abortion establishment of the Democratic party decided to use this bill to make a stand against Hyde Amendment language barring taxpayer financing of abortions:

On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen shamed herself with a vote that no one in New Hampshire should ever forget. That day, to her eternal discredit, she voted against a bill to help sex trafficking victims – on the order of her biggest campaign donor.

. . . Among its bipartisan list of cosponsors are Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. The bill would create a sex trafficking victim assistance fund, financed by revenue from criminal fines.

Just before the bill was to come up for a vote, the abortion lobby noticed that it contained a long-standing provision, “routinely included in spending bills,” as Politico reported, called the Hyde amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding of elective abortions. The call went out: block the bill. . .

Shaheen is refusing to help these abuse victims until Republicans agree to make taxpayers finance abortions. What a loathsome, cowardly, cynical thing to do.

Readers of ThePulse2016.com may note something important: this new aggressive Democrat push to kill language banning taxpayer-financed abortions is a direct result of what we have dubbed “The Truce Strategy”:  Democrats use their power in the mainstream media to “embarrass” Republicans into backing down and muting their position on social issues. Continue Reading

Scott Walker’s Common Core Problem Just Got Bigger

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (photo credit: Gage Skidmore via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Everyone knows that Jeb Bush has a Common Core problem.  But I didn’t know about Scott Walker’s until Breitbart News took an in-depth look:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has a history of shifting his stated positions on the controversial Common Core standards and inviting the federal government into his state’s education policy plans. Experts say his current position, of allowing school districts to “opt-out” of Common Core, would not rid his state of the nationalized initiative, an outcome that may ultimately tie into Walker’s commitment to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “workforce development” program.

So writes Dr. Susan Berry in a March 22 story. While it was Walker’s predecessor who brought Common Core to Wisconsin in June 2010, throughout his first term Walker supported the Common Core and endorsed budgets that funded their implementation.

Walker’s case was probably not helped when a fellow Wisconsonite named Kirsten Lombard wrote a timeline critical of his involvement that began in September of 2013, when Walker voiced support generally for local standards:

Wisconsin Reporter had indicated that, following its question to Walker about his views on Common Core, the governor responded: “[I]n the larger context I’d like us to be in the position where we can identify our own unique standards that I think in many ways will be higher and more aggressive than the ones they’re talking about.”

However in 2013, Walker did nothing to interrupt the adoption of Common Core, not even pushing through a bill protecting the privacy of student data. Continue Reading

Bush Punts on Georgia Religious Freedom Bill

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

While in Georgia, Gov. Jeb Bush was asked about S.B. 129 the religious freedom bill that Erick Ericksson of RedState just said he’d help push. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called Bush’s answer a “tacit endorsement”—though maybe a tepid and indirect sort of kind of endorsement?

 “I don’t know about this law, but religious freedom is a serious issue and is increasingly so,” said Bush. “People that act on their conscience shouldn’t be discriminated against, for sure. There should be protections.”

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, he said, would “automatically shift the focus to people of conscience” who may not want to provide services for a gay marriage.

“People have a right to do that, just as we need to be respectful for people who are in long-term committed relationships,” said Bush. “Sorting that out is important.”

Hat tip: AJC. Continue Reading

We Need a National Organization for Religious Liberty

Erick Erickson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

We need a national organization that spends money on federal elections to pass new workplace protections for traditional believers.

If you want to know why religious believers need new political organizations, look no further than the good news that Erick Erickson, editor of RedState.com, is wading into the fray to try to pass a religious freedom bill S.B. 129 in Georgia, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

I’ll be recording phone calls targeting Republican members of the legislature pointing out they voted for a tax increase, but haven’t voted to protect the religious liberty of their constituents. I’ve already recorded two versions targeting Blue Ridge and Ellijay referencing the calls and emails I’m getting that Speaker Ralston’s office is hanging up on Christians. But there’ll be others as well.

I’ve also done one for Beth Beskin’s district, both Bubber Epps and Allen Peake here in Middle Georgia, and Wendell Willard in Sandy Springs. I’ll be spending a good bit of today recording others, particularly focused in the Middle Georgia and Atlanta metro area, where I have a regular media presence. I know Peake and Epps both support S.B. 129, but I was asked to do one for every Republican in the State House who voted for the transportation tax increase. So I am. I don’t think they’ll send them all out, but they’ve got me recording one for all of them.

But meanwhile, big business is carrying water for the LGBT interests who want the bill squelched, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also reports:

We’ve been pointed to this comment from Mark Rinder, executive vice president and CFO of Safeguard Self Storage, posted on the Facebook page of attorney Jeff Cleghorn:

I was at dinner last night in Buckhead with some colleagues of mine at Safeguard and ran into Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta and Glen Hauenstein (SVP of Revenue Management at Delta).

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