WES PRUDEN: GOOD TIMES ROLL AGAIN ON THE BAYOU…LANDRIEU ABANDONED BY THE DEMS

The good times are about to roll again down on the Louisiana bayou. The good old boys gathered Monday to present a solid front against Mary L. Landrieu and her fading “clout.” Gallantry be damned. The only “big hand for the little lady” is the hand showing her to the door.

The stars of Louisiana politics rallied in Baton Rouge, burying hatchets and old jealousies and grievances, pretending to love one another. But pretense is enough. Rob Maness, a retired Air Force colonel who ran a respectable third as the Tea Party candidate, showed up to endorse Rep. Bill Cassidy, the Republican challenger. So did Gov. Bobby Jindal; the state’s other senator, David Vitter; and a clutch of down-ballot candidates and former officeholders.

The colonel’s 14 percent of the vote would be enough to push Mr. Cassidy over the top with votes to spare, and he seemed to make a point in his election-night concession speech of withholding an endorsement of Mr. Cassidy. He never spoke his name.

But the two men took their wives as wingmen on what the newspapers called “their double date” three days after Election Day, and by all accounts, both men were on their best behavior, and afterward said everything was all patched up. “Bill even helped me put a new bumper sticker on our truck,” the colonel said afterward. They appeared to know enough about machinery, and got the sticker on straight.

Then it was on to the real business at hand. Neither of the seats for Louisiana or Alaska are crucial to the arithmetic of the Republican takeover — sending Harry Reid to a cold shower is a done deal — but by defeating Mzz Landrieu and Mark Begich, the Republicans would get pickups No. 8 and No. 9. Dan Sullivan, the Republican challenger, is leading in Alaska, his victory delayed by counting the votes in the backwoods, which in Alaska are well and truly deep in the back.

Mzz Landrieu led the field in what everyone calls “the jungle primary,” where everyone with the yen and a filing fee (in U.S. dollars) can scratch their itch, with the two top candidates facing off on Dec. 6. But she’s the underdog despite clout, family cred and old-enough money, and she’s treated that way.

“It’s now clear that Sen. Mary Landrieu’s relentless talk about her clout took a big hit in Tuesday’s election,” political correspondent Robert Mann wrote in The New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Not only has much of her power vanished along with the Democrats’ Senate majority; her message about what she had done for Louisiana did not resonate with voters.” Louisiana voters, no doubt ungrateful, ask not only “what have you done for me lately,” but Mzz Landrieu must find a way to answer the question of what can she do for Louisiana now that she would be sitting in the back of the room, bereft of power, relevance and consequence.

ICE Lawyer’s Lawsuit Exposes How Feds Release Illegals: Stephen Dinan

The Obama administration told federal immigration lawyers to release illegal immigrants with “old” drunken-driving convictions and those found guilty of stealing other people’s identities, according to a lawsuit filed by one of the lawyers at the center of the operation.

Patricia M. Vroom, a top attorney for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona, filed a 67-page discrimination complaint that details repeated battles with agency higher-ups who told her to close cases and not deport people whom President Obama deemed low-priority.

Federal officials were particularly dismissive of identity theft convictions from Arizona, arguing that the state’s laws were too strict and stealing an ID to get a job wasn’t a serious enough offense to get kicked out of the country.

“This was a very significant development, as generally, criminal aliens, particularly convicted felons, are, under the [prosecutorial discretion] memos, ‘priority’ cases that should be aggressively pursued,” Ms. Vroom said in her complaint.

But she said her superiors deemed the identity theft felons low-level offenders “since the typical alien defendant convicted under these provisions of Arizona criminal law had simply been using a fake I.D. to get and keep employment.”

Homeland Security officials said the department, of which ICE is a part, was looking over the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona.

“We are reviewing the allegations in the complaint, which largely refer to events from 2012 and 2013 concerning workplace environment and various personnel decisions taken by key officials, some of whom have since left the department,” spokeswoman Marsha Catron said.

“The leadership of both [the Department of Homeland Security] and ICE take these allegations seriously and, when founded, will always take the appropriate disciplinary action,” she said.

Ms. Vroom, who filed the complaint Nov. 6, declined to comment through her attorney.

The Temple Mount: In Whose Hands? The Reason Jews Can’t Pray at Judaism’s Holiest Site: Rabbi Meir Soloveichik

“What our ancestors refused to tolerate from their ancient oppressors,” Begin wrote, “even at the cost of their lives and freedom, is tolerated by the generation of Jews that describes itself as the last of oppression and the first of redemption.” He went on: A people that does not defend its holy places—that does not even try to defend them—is not free, however much it may babble about freedom. People that permit the most holy spot in their country and their most sacred feelings to be trampled underfoot are slaves in spirit.”

The irony went largely unnoticed. On October 29, an Israeli rabbi and tour guide was gravely wounded in an assassination attempt several steps away from the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. On the entrance walls to that building, boldly emblazoned, are these stirring words by the man whose legacy the Center honors:

Not by the right of might have we returned to the land of our forefathers but by the might of right. . . . And therein, all of its inhabitants, the citizen as well as the resident, will live in freedom and justice, in solidarity and peace.

The victim of the attack has long advocated that both Jews and Muslims be allowed to pray, in freedom and peace, on the Temple Mount, a site sacred to both faiths and the locus of Jewish aspiration for millennia. In doing so, he has championed not might but right: in a Jewish state that serves as an island of liberty in the Middle East, why should Jews be the only citizens deprived of the right to pray at what is their faith’s holiest site?

Those who speak out on this matter have been labeled by some in the Israeli and Western media as “extremists” and inciters of violence. Meanwhile, the would-be assassin has been celebrated as a hero not only by Hamas, with which his family is connected, but also by the leader of the Palestinian Authority. Two days after the October 29 incident, Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, reaffirmed his support for what is known as the “status quo”—the arrangement according to which Jews are allowed to visit but forbidden to pray on the Temple Mount.

As the days pass and the situation in Jerusalem and elsewhere in Israel has become more volatile—and more violent—other government figures, including Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, have reiterated that in today’s tense circumstances, Jews should refrain from visiting the Temple Mount. Yaalon’s concerns are understandably prudential. Still, as this latest chapter in a dispiriting story continues, it may be worth setting the issue of prayer on the Temple Mount in context.

CALIFORNIA DISTRICT 16- WHAT JONNY TACHERRA (R) STOOD FOR

http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/detail/california-part-ii-of-iii-2014-candidates-for-congress-where-they-stand

District 16

Jim Costa (D) Incumbent

http://www.jimcosta.com/ http://costa.house.gov/

http://www.ontheissues.org/CA/Jim_Costa.htm **

HEALTHCARE http://costa.house.gov/index.php/issues15/strengthening-healthcare Support and Strengthen The Affordable Care Act- Provisions Listed

ENERGY

http://costa.house.gov/index.php/issues15/energy-independence

Our Valley is an energy rich region, supplying the state with power from oil, gas, and renewable sources like hydropower, biomass, wind, and solar. This vital sector of our economy is a job creator in our communities and a key player in reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of energy.

For these reasons, I took the lead on this issue with a bipartisan group of legislators in the 112th Congress in introducing the Infrastructure Jobs and Energy Independence Act. Unlike the “cap and trade” bill which I opposed and voted against, this bill outlines a practical, responsible energy plan for America that would further develop domestic energy production of traditional oil and gas, provide a funding stream to clean up the environment and fully develop clean energy technologies. Supports KeystoneXL without limiting amendments.
Johnny Tacherra (R) Challenger

http://tacherraforcongress.com/ Farmer, businessman, second attempt – candidate ran for this office in 2012

http://tacherraforcongress.com/issues/

HEALTHCARE Jim Costa must be held responsible for the failure of ObamaCare as the Congressman who cast the deciding vote against the wishes of the Central Valley’s residents. Poor planning and implementation of ObamaCare is costing millions of Americans their health insurance, raising rates and costing jobs.

IMMIGRATION I fully support policies that will keep families together and secure our border but amnesty for millions is not a solution and will cost trillions of dollars. There must be incremental reform that recognizes we are a beacon of freedom for people savaged by repression (Cambodia and Cuba come to mind), not just difficult economic circumstances. Blanket amnesty is a solution that will only create more problems on health care and social service costs, and punish those who have played by the rules and obeyed the law.

FARM BILL Congressman Jim Costa failed on ObamaCare and now you can add the farm bill to that. By playing Pelosi-partisan politics, Costa didn’t get the job done yet again. I support reducing the SNAP program expenditures and reducing what has become a huge bureaucracy at the USDA to get it back to what its mission should be: ensuring the future of our food supply and expanding our farm economy throughout the world by opening doors to new markets around the globe.

Jonny Tacherra (R-CA DISTRICT 16) The Unlikeliest Winner :By Andrew Johnson

No one expected unknown, cash-poor Johnny Tacherra to be competitive in CA-16. But he may have won.

He received no national-party funding, ran what he calls an “old-school” campaign without data-driven analytics, and had only one paid staffer, at $500 per month, but this third-generation dairy farmer from California may just pull out the biggest upset of the 2014 cycle.

As of publication time, Republican Johnny Tacherra is leading longtime Democratic lawmaker Jim Costa in the yet-to-be-decided race for the Golden State’s 16th congressional district. With provisional ballots still to be counted, and with a 700-plus-vote cushion, Tacherra is confident that he will survive. He and his wife are heading to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to take part in freshmen-member orientation on Capitol Hill.

Thanks to his vigorous grass-roots campaign and the perception that Costa is increasingly disconnected from the drought-stricken district, Tacherra has surprised political observers from both parties, offering another sign of hope for Republicans in an already strong election cycle. He credits his tight focus on local issues, persistent outreach to traditionally Democratic constituencies, and tireless campaigning for his victory.

Tacherra’s decision to jump into the race came after a discouraging meeting with Congressman Costa in his D.C. office. When Costa rebuffed his and other farmers’ concerns about water shortages in the rural agricultural district, Tacherra says he knew that Costa had lost touch back home.

“I left and said to myself that I’m going to run for Congress against this guy because he does not represent us, he’s not going to help us,” Tacherra tells National Review Online. Costa’s detachment only worsened, Tachera says, when he welcomed President Obama to the district for a speech on climate change earlier this year, signaling that he valued environmentalists’ priorities more than those of local farmers.

Lame Ducks, and Lamer Ducking by Mark Steyn

“~Laura Rosen Cohen spent the eleventh hour with the General Wingate Branch 256 of the Royal Canadian Legion. If you don’t know who Orde Wingate was, you should: he was a brilliant (if personally eccentric) military commander during the Second World War, and a great friend to the Jews. (His website is not terribly user-friendly, but do persevere.) The ceremony in Toronto was as you’d expect – “O Canada”, “God Save The Queen”, “The Last Post” – but this part of Laura’s report saddened me and would have dismayed Wingate:

The children at the Jewish day school had just finished their own school ceremony.Unfortunately, but understandably there were security concerns that prevented them from participating in the outdoor ceremony. Parents were apprehensive. So this makes me angry and sad as well. Jewish schoolchildren in Canada cannot participate in a public, outdoor ceremony to honour veterans because-well, don’t we all know because why?

Every single child and every single staff member in that building had a poppy on. Every. Single. One.

“Don’t we all know why?” asks Laura. Some do, some don’t, and far too many, like Avi Benlolo, the head of Toronto’s Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Centre, can’t even bring themselves to say the word.

So much of Jewish life in Britain and Europe has now been forced indoors, out of sight, behind security fences. How depressing to see the same phenomenon taking root in Toronto. So Canadian schoolchildren who would have loved to participate in the Remembrance Day observances are unable to, while, elsewhere in Ontario, schoolchildren who are free to participate in the ceremonies have no interest in doing so.”

It is a mystery to me why certain things catch metaphorical fire while others don’t. Making the promotional rounds for my new book The [Un]documented Mark Steyn, I swung by The Steve Malzberg Show today for two quick segments. In the first, I talked about Obama’s ultimatum to Congress to pass “comprehensive immigration reform” in the lame-duck session before all the newly elected chaps arrive in January. And I said that I thought it was constitutionally unseemly for the President to demand major transformative legislation from a bunch of representatives and senators who no longer enjoy the confidence of the people and are on their way out the door.

I would have thought that might have made for an interesting soundbite hither and yon. But in the second segment with Steve I made some entirely unexceptional remarks responding to Erin Burnett’s drearily predictable reaction to Ben Stein’s equally unexceptional remarks on race, and that’s what seems to have tickled everybody’s controversy meter. Here’s what I said:

The reaction of CNN to what Ben Stein said to you is fascinating, because that is the characteristically stupid parameters in which we are allowed to talk about race. Eric Holder and everyone is always pawing for national conversations on race, by which they mean people like [CNN host] Erin Burnett get to beat up on anyone who actually says anything honest or truthful or refreshing or anything that does not prostrate itself before the pack of the usual grievance-mongers like the disgusting Al Sharpton and the disgusting Jesse Jackson.

Spinning for Hillary By Jonah Goldberg

The New York Times wants you to believe Team Clinton considers the midterms a win for her.

In the old Soviet Union, Kremlinologists would read the state party newspaper Pravda not so much for the news it contained, but to glean what the commissars wanted readers to believe the commissars were thinking. The closest we have to that in America is the New York Times. Obviously, it’s not a state organ, and there are many fine journalists there, but it does play a similar role for the Democratic party, often reporting less on what Democrats actually think and more on what Democrats want readers to believe is the current state of Democratic thinking.

Two days after the midterm Democratic Götterdämmerung, Team Clinton let it be known that it thinks the election was good news for it. “Midterms, for Clinton Team, Aren’t All Gloom,” proclaimed the understated headline in the Times.

“A number of advisers saw only upside for Mrs. Clinton in the party’s midterm defeats,” reports Amy Chozick. There’s no mention of any advisers seeing a downside. Indeed, a few sentences later, Chozick tells us there is a “consensus . . . among those close to Mrs. Clinton that it is time to accelerate her schedule.”

“In many ways,” Chozick continues, “Tuesday’s election results clear a path for Mrs. Clinton. The lopsided outcome and conservative tilt makes it less likely she would face an insurgent challenger from the left.”

Maybe it’s true that that there is a silver lining for Hillary Clinton in the shellacking her party took last week. Maybe her ineffective stumping for Democrats means nothing. Maybe a 17-percentage-point loss for putative Clinton Democrat Mark Pryor in Clinton’s home base of Arkansas is a blessing in deep, deep, deep disguise. Maybe the staggering indifference of the Democratic coalition of young people and minorities on display last week is proof that they are really just husbanding their voting energies for 2016. And maybe the fact that the “war on women” shtick proved as stale as a 1980s sitcom catchphrase is irrelevant for a candidate so invested in her gender.

But the notion that this monumental rebuke of Clinton’s party, and the administration she served in, amounts to an unambiguous Clinton win invites many to ask, “What you talkin’ ’bout, Hillary?”

OBAMA’S SPITEFUL LEGACY: KATHLEEN PARKER

Post-election analysis falls somewhere between amusing and clueless.

In the amusing camp are Democratic strategists who intone that more Democrats would have won if only more people had voted. The gods surely blush with envy.
And of course, there’s the conventional wisdom that Democrats always suffer in midterms because they lack “intensity,” meaning they don’t care, and that presidents are always unpopular in their sixth year in office.

So much for insight.

Next we visit the clueless camp where professional pundits gather. The consensus here is that the election wasn’t a mandate for Republicans to overhaul government. I confess that I was one of these, but (mark your calendars) I was wrong. There is a difference between warning victors against the end-zone prance, as many of us wrote , and denying that Republicans were hired to do a job.
There’s also no denying that the midterms were a referendum on President Obama. The president prefers to say they were a referendum on his policies, which is perhaps an easier pill to swallow. But Obama is his policies, which happen to rub many Republicans (and at least a few Democrats) the wrong way.

Moreover, people don’t like being insulted and misled, as many feel they have been by this administration. This is not just a feeling but a demonstrable fact, especially vis-a-vis the Affordable Care Act. And it’s not just the far-right fringe who object to the strategic misrepresentations along the way.

These obfuscations include telling the American people that they could keep the insurance they had if they liked it and also writing the law in such a way that the ACA’s mandate to purchase government-approved insurance was not a “tax,” despite the Internal Revenue Service’s role in policing its compliance.

The keep-your-insurance ruse is history now, but the memory still lingers in the minds of voters, who, contrary to what the Obama White House thinks, are not stupid. There’s no dishonor — and it certainly isn’t stupid — to not understand the ACA. The then-Democratic-controlled Congress that passed the thing didn’t even understand it. I’d wager that most still don’t.

Marc A. Thiessen: What Senate Republicans Can Learn From GOP Led States

Washington, as usual, is marveling at itself — focused on the impact of the GOP wave that has given Republicans control of the U.S. Senate and an expanded majority in the House.

But the real story is the GOP tsunami in the states that has given Republicans greater control of state governments than at any time in almost a century.

While President Obama has downplayed Tuesday’s Senate results, arguing that Democrats were fighting on GOP ground, Republicans also picked up governorships from Democrats in liberal strongholds like Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois, as well as in Arkansas. Result? The number of GOP governors has risen from 21 to 31 since Obama took office (32 if Gov. Sean Parnell holds on in Alaska) — just short of the all-time high of 34 Republican governors in the 1920s.

Voters have also given those governors Republican legislatures to enact their agendas. When Obama first took office, Republicans held just 3,220 state legislative seats. After Tuesday’s vote, the number stands at 4,111 — a net gain of nearly 900 seats on Obama’s watch. Thanks to the 291 state legislative seats Republicans added in 61 chambers across the country last week, there are now more Republican state legislators than at any time since 1920.

Put another way: In 2008, the GOP controlled just 36 state legislative chambers. It soon will control 69 — and voters have given the GOP total control of state government in nearly half the country. In 2008, Republicans held both the legislature and governors’ mansion in just eight states. Today, the number is 24. By contrast, Democrats now control both the legislature and governor’s office in just seven states, down from 15 before the 2014 election. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, that is the lowest number of states Democrats have controlled since 1860.

The GOP gained control of the Senate Tuesday night, taking hold of the legislative agenda in that chamber. Here are three of the policies Republicans are likely to tackle as they take the reins in January 2015. (Julie Percha/The Washington Post)

This is more than an anti-Obama swing of the political pendulum. A conservative revolution has been taking place in the American heartland. And that revolution will have lasting consequences in a number of areas.

The Gridlock Clause :You Will Note its Absence From the Constitution. By Josh Blackman

Since 2010, when the Democrats lost their majority in the House and their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, President Obama’s ability to pursue legislative changes has ground to a halt. With the Republicans taking control of the Senate in January, we can expect to see many more headlines blaring that the “do-nothing Congress” has passed the fewest laws in decades. But that gridlock hasn’t halted the president’s plans to implement his policies. In fact, he claims it has strengthened his power to act alone — if Congress won’t act, he can, and will.

President Obama routinely cites Congress’s obstinacy regarding his agenda as justification for a series of executive actions that suspend, waive, and even rewrite statutes. His frustration is understandable, but his response is not justifiable. Brazenly maneuvering around the lawmaking function of Congress is an affront to the constitutional order.

There is nothing new about congressional gridlock. It is perhaps worse than ever today, but partisan impasses are not novel. There is also nothing new about presidents’ creatively reinterpreting the law in order to justify executive policies. What is new is the relationship between these two factors — invoking gridlock as a justification for redefining executive authority. This disruptive constitutional philosophy poses a threat to our separation of powers. It establishes a precedent for this and future presidents to permanently blur the lines between the executive and legislative prerogatives.

Generally, when a president suffers a congressional setback, he has two choices: advance a more moderate compromise proposal that can get past the political roadblock, or table the issue. Yet, since 2010, the president has chosen a third path: act as if Congress supported him, and proceed with his agenda unilaterally. He has done this with his unconstitutional recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, his unilateral modifications to the Affordable Care Act, his unprecedented expansion of immigration authority via Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and many other actions.