You Don't Waste a Crisis -- Unless You're Wasting Money

You Don't Waste a Crisis -- Unless You're Wasting Money

May 15, 2020

In 2009, when America was in a deep financial crisis, our new president, Barack Obama, appointed Rahm Emanuel to be his chief-of-staff. Emanuel was known for two things: bare-knuckle politics and radical liberalism. And he knew that while America's attention was focused on recharging our economy it would be a great time to sneak in parts of the liberal agenda that otherwise might never get done. As he put it, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste."

Some things never change. That's why the left is using the coronavirus relief bill as a way to fund its political agenda.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said yesterday that Washington Democrats are "kicking the coronavirus to the curb" and instead inserting funds for all kinds of pet projects. For example, Majority Leader McConnell noted that liberals want "taxpayer funded studies to measure diversity and inclusion among the people who profit off of marijuana. The word cannabis appears in the bill 68 times -- more times than the word job and four times as many as the word hire."

Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), said yesterday on my "Washington Watch" program that the Democrats' relief bill is little more than "a run on the bank, three trillion dollars, more in one bill than we spent in all the other packages combined." Rep. Perry said that their measure also makes sure that people here illegally will get stimulus checks without fear of deportation.

The bill also provides bailouts for mismanaged union pensions and provides massive funds for states that have mismanaged their monies. In a letter sent this week by some of Congress's top conservatives to House and Senate leaders, it was noted that the corona relief bill "reward(s) states that have mismanaged their budgets, incentivize future bailouts and reliance on federal funding." In a word, the bill "feed(s) the Left's ultimate goal of consolidating power in the federal government rather than empowering states."

And as reported in the Washington Times, the bill seeks to play fast-and-loose with something that goes to the heart of the Constitution: free and fair elections. The bill creates "a loophole in states' voter ID requirements, allowing people to cast ballots without having to prove who they are." And as Rep. Perry said yesterday, the so-called relief bill "requires 15 days of early voting for federal elections." To put it bluntly, he said, much of the coronavirus relief bill is "about stealing elections."

And just when you thought you'd heard everything, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi piped-up and said that the corona relief bill is a "momentous opportunity" for Congress to save the lives and livelihoods of the American people and even save "our democracy." If she hadn't said this, I don't think anyone could have thought it up: How can our system of representative self-government (it's called a republic, Madame Speaker) be saved by a gigantic federal spending bill that makes the states little more than clients of Uncle Sam?

Majority Leader McConnell has rightly called the House Democrats' coronavirus relief package a "a catalog of left-wing oddities." The House is debating this bill as I write, and they are expected to pass it along party lines. But thankfully, Majority Leader McConnell will usher it to the legislative graveyard in the Senate.

Even though the measure will not become law it will do two things. First, it reveals the priorities of the new and more radicalized Democratic Party: Spend money we don't have, squeeze the private sector, rig elections, and use every opportunity to advance an agenda that socializes the economy and expands Washington's power. Secondly, it will be used as a negotiating gambit by Speaker Pelosi as House Democrats try to hijack any reasonable bill advanced by the Senate.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.

A Jiu-Jitsu Move in California

May 15, 2020

It's been called a "miracle," an "awakening," and "unthinkable." Voters in California's 25th Congressional District elected Mike Garcia in a landslide --- making it the first time in 22 years that the GOP has retaken a Democrat-held seat. The media are scratching their heads, asking what happened. Isn't the blue wave in the last election supposed to be expanding, especially in liberal states like California?

To understand what happened, you have to take a look at the shenanigans of the 2018 election. You had to hand it to California Democrats when it came to their mid-term election strategy. They had no need to commit voter fraud -- because they made it legal!

As former California Republican Party Chairman Shawn Steel shared with me on Washington Watch yesterday, "the Democrats did something in 2018 like the which we've never seen. They invented ballot harvesting... where they go door to door to Democrat, low-propensity voters to say, "I'm from the Democrat Party, I'm here to pick up your ballot.""

With the help of a liberal legislature and governor, Democrats systematically rewrote the rules to allow for ballot harvesting -- a practice that's illegal almost everywhere else in the country. Once the rules were changed, Democrats sprung into action -- and began delivering ballots to election offices by the truckload -- no questions asked.

Unbelievably, some counties made it even easier for the door-to-door harvesters by mailing absentee ballots to every adult -- whether they requested it or not! As if that weren't outrageous enough, California began accepting ballots up to a week after Election Day.

On election night in 2018, GOP congressional candidates like Young Kim had strong leads in the ballot counting -- but those leads vanished within days. The Associated Press was even confident enough to declare incumbent Republican Congressman Dave Valadao the winner because he had what was thought an insurmountable 4,000 vote lead. But the AP wasn't counting on the "late, late, late, late" ballots, and Valadao eventually lost. When the last House race in California was finally tallied and called 22 days after Election Day, half of the Republican congressional seats were lost to Democrats. After the crushing defeat, Republicans began to realize that liberals were playing by a new set of rules. Republicans had to learn to play by the new rules if they wanted to win.

And learn they did. "We've learned that churches can collect ballots. That is a huge message," Steel explained. "We have great Christians all over America...a significant number of evangelical Christians love America [but] they don't vote. They just have to be cajoled and pushed and prodded and reminded because that's not their number. They're not political animals." Evangelicals may not love politics, but they love their freedoms, and in California they are showing it. In fact, I've spoken to dozens of California pastors, and they are encouraging their members to bring their ballots to the church.

Democrats may complain Republicans are using their tactics to win -- but these are the rules they created for the election process. I consider this to be a political Jiu-Jitsu move because Republicans have taken what Democrats threw and turned it around and used it on them. We've been encouraging California churches to collect ballots. If the election rules are changed, then we need to operate by the rules they create. At least then it's a fair playing field.

Beyond changing election tactics, I'm encouraged to hear that there is something far deeper happening in California. Christians are engaging as never before. This should give us hope that if California can turn around, there is hope for the rest of the nation.

Tony Perkins's Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.

Let us not let our Freedom Atrophy

May 15, 2020

The debate is raging throughout the country over whether the freedoms we enjoy as Americans are eroding as the lockdowns continue. On Wednesday's "Washington Watch," I share a warning about what will happen if we fail to exercise our freedoms. Let us not let our freedom atrophy.