A pile of letters as tall as an 11-story building has been prepared for delivery to GOP House members when they convene in January, urging them to remove Speaker John Boehner from leadership, just as a retiring congresswoman is calling on her former colleagues to “draw the line” with President Obama.
Only three days after the launch of the “Don’t be Yellow: Dump Boehner Now Campaign,” more than 350,000 letters have been ordered.
At about two inches per 500-page ream, that’s a pile almost 117 feet tall – all to get the attention of GOP members who have it within their power to pick new leadership for the House and Senate for the next two years.
“While the news cycle has forgotten about Boehner’s betrayal of Republican voters in November, the grass-roots electorate has not,” said WND CEO Joseph Farah, who started the campaign.
“Even while Americans are busy Christmas shopping and getting ready for the holiday season, they are angry enough at the Republican establishment to put their money where their mouth is – investing in this unusual lobbying effort to wake up House members as to the state of their leadership crisis.
“Will Republican House members respond in January? At the very least, they won’t be able to ignore the deluge of mail that awaits them,” he said.
The warning that the GOP needs to stand up now comes from outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who recently was profiled at the conclusion of her service in the House.
She aid the GOP majority needs to fulfill its promise to voters.
“Ask yourself, would the GOP have voted to fund Obama’s illegal amnesty the week before the pivotal 2014 elections?” she said. “Not in this universe.”
Bachmann said “every elected official should ask themselves: Would I vote for this bill the week before an election?”
“Republican congressional leadership need to open their eyes and ears and listen to the voters who gave them historic access to power some six short weeks ago.”
The campaign to remove Boehner from House leadership was announced earlier this week when Farah asserted that the most effective method of reaching out to Congress is individual letters to members.
“And when you send one, you send it to every Republican member of the House – including John Boehner!” he wrote.
“You can order your letters sent today, and they will be ready for delivery when the new Congress reconvenes in January. It would be great to see thousands or, better yet, tens of thousands flooding in that first week. That will make an impression that cannot be ignored by Republican members of the House,” he said.
“I’m excited. Now it’s up to you. I’ve already ordered my letters. I’ve even secured the domain names DumpBoehnerCampaign.com and DumpBoehnerNow.com for social media dissemination. Tell your friends,” he wrote.
The letter explains to members of the U.S. House that two issues have “prompted Americans to turn in droves to the Republican Party in November 2014 – Barack Obama’s blatantly unconstitutional executive action to provide amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, and the deliberately deceptive restructuring of America’s health-care system through Obamacare, which threatens to unravel the greatest health delivery system in the world.”
Pointing out that Republicans before the election “solemnly vowed to STOP this lame-duck president,” the letter states: “Now you have the power, right and duty to stop him.
“But it won’t happen with John Boehner leading you. You know this to be true. The trillion-dollar budget deal is just the latest proof that Boehner is not capable of leading the House to victory during this critical period.”
It calls on members to replace him.
At the American Thinker blog, editorialist Layne Hansen wrote, “It is time to stop thinking of John Boehner and the rest of the Republican congressional leadership as being cowardly and recognize them for what they are: part of The Ruling Class that believes it has the right to tell the rest of us how to live.
“The current GOP leadership has got to go; this has ceased to be an arguable point. We cannot count on these people to do what is right. Conservatives did not give them majorities in both chambers for them to keep playing the same game,” he wrote.
“To retain his position as speaker of the House, John Boehner must receive 218 votes, which is a simple majority. There will be 246 Republicans in the House in the 114th Congress. This means that 29 Republicans must state that under no circumstances will they vote for John Boehner for the speakership. Yes, there are stories of bribery and intimidation by the leadership, but this point in history has to be the conservative caucus’s Alamo. They must stand here.”
At RedState.com, Editor Erick Erickson also delivered a “no-other-options” message.
“House conservatives must summon the courage to oppose Boehner’s nomination on the floor in January. It is a moral imperative. You cannot consistently complain about leadership’s many failures – and the treachery involved with a speaker fresh off a successful wave election conspiring with President Obama to fund amnesty and enjoy a celebratory phone call in the aftermath – and then vote for him to continue in this role. To paraphrase Albert Einstein, that is the definition of insanity, and it is enabled by a vote for Rep. John Boehner,” he wrote.
“One of the main obstacles to unseating Boehner is that House conservatives sort of like him. You hear them say, ‘He really is a good guy. He just has the worst job in the world.’ What they do not realize is that at all times, Boehner and the entire leadership team are looking to screw and distract conservatives. Leadership has a phrase for this – it’s called ‘member management.’ It is code to themselves for outright deception towards those they lead. Most of the time they don’t get caught, but occasionally the corruption is exposed,” he continued.
“Boehner’s team lied to Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., to get his vote on the all-important procedural ‘rule’ setting up the debate on the cromnibus. He promised to pull the cromnibus if Stutzman voted for the rule. Stutzman gave his vote, and Boehner went back on his word,” he wrote. “House conservatives need to understand that they are not conspiring against a family member or team member. They are conspiring against an adversary intent on thwarting the change they came to Washington to bring. It is that simple.”
Farah noted that the launch of the program rivals the historic “Pink Slip Campaign” in 2010 that generated some 9.5 million letters to Congress.
“Americans are angry about Boehner’s betrayal of the voters who gave him a bigger majority in the House and Republicans control of the Senate. This could prove to be Boehner’s undoing,” he said.
Farah said, “From previous campaigns we know this approach prompts members to talk about the boxes of letters that are coming into their offices each day. And that’s exactly what we want to do with the DUMP BOEHNER CAMPAIGN – a grass-roots lobbying effort that can channel your outrage into effective and meaningful action.”
He said what can be guaranteed is that members “will see, hear and feel your participation in it.”
“We saw the same thing in 2010,” recalled Farah. “People were angry then. They may be angrier now. It is as if elections have no consequences when Republicans vote.”
A sampling of just how upset people are has been posted online, with abundant promises of “I’m in,” and “Do it.”
The campaign says the political state in America is worse than any time since the Civil War, with a broken economy, piled up national debt, abuse of executive power, the judiciary out of control and the moral framework under attack.
However, the campaign explains, “the American people have demonstrated twice in four years that they realize something has gone awry – overwhelmingly voting for the Republican Party in two midterm elections because it clearly campaigned on returning to first principles.”
Only to be betrayed by Republican leaders.
The campaign, it explains, is the way to get hard-copy letters to every Republican in the House of Representatives.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) fiercely criticized President Barack Obama on Wednesday for moving to ease US-Cuba relations.
“It’s absurd and it’s part of a long record of coddling dictators and tyrants that this administration has established,” Rubio said in a Fox News interview.
Rubio, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, was reacting to the White House’s decision to beginning normalizing relations with the Cuban government following a prisoner swap between the two countries. Like Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), who also slammed Obama Wednesday, Rubio warned that the deal will encourage other countries to kidnap Americans.
“It puts a price on every American abroad. Governments now know that if they can take an American hostage, they can get very significant concessions from the United States,” he said.
In a separate interview with the Associated Press, Rubio further said the deal will help the Castro regime in Cuba become “permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.” The US has placed an economic embargo against Cuba since Fidel Castro overthrew the previous government. His brother, Raúl Castro, now leads the country.
“This is going to do absolutely nothing to further human rights and democracy in Cuba,” Rubio said. “But it potentially goes a long way in providing the economic lift that the Castro regime needs to become permanent fixtures in Cuba for generations to come.”
Rubio also released a lengthy statement vowing “to make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt by the President to burnish his legacy at the Cuban people’s expense. “
View his full statement below:
“Today’s announcement initiating a dramatic change in U.S. policy toward Cuba is just the latest in a long line of failed attempts by President Obama to appease rogue regimes at all cost.
“Like all Americans, I rejoice at the fact that Alan Gross will be able to return to his family after five years in captivity. Although he is supposedly being released on humanitarian grounds, his inclusion in a swap involving intelligence agents furthers the Cuban narrative about his work in Cuba. In contrast, the Cuban Five were spies operating against our nation on American soil. They were indicted and prosecuted in a court of law for the crimes of espionage and were linked to the murder of the humanitarian pilots of Brothers to the Rescue. There should be no equivalence between the two, and Gross should have been released unconditionally.
“The President’s decision to reward the Castro regime and begin the path toward the normalization of relations with Cuba is inexplicable. Cuba’s record is clear. Just as when President Eisenhower severed diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Castro family still controls the country, the economy and all levers of power. This administration’s attempts to loosen restrictions on travel in recent years have only served to benefit the regime. While business interests seeking to line their pockets, aided by the editorial page of The New York Times, have begun a significant campaign to paper over the facts about the regime in Havana, the reality is clear. Cuba, like Syria, Iran, and Sudan, remains a state sponsor of terrorism. It continues to actively work with regimes like North Korea to illegally traffic weapons in our hemisphere in violation of several United Nations Security Council Resolutions. It colludes with America’s enemies, near and far, to threaten us and everything we hold dear. But most importantly, the regime’s brutal treatment of the Cuban people has continued unabated. Dissidents are harassed, imprisoned and even killed. Access to information is restricted and controlled by the regime. That is why even more than just putting U.S. national security at risk, President Obama is letting down the Cuban people, who still yearn to be free.
“I intend to use my role as incoming Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee to make every effort to block this dangerous and desperate attempt by the President to burnish his legacy at the Cuban people’s expense. Appeasing the Castro brothers will only cause other tyrants from Caracas to Tehran to Pyongyang to see that they can take advantage of President Obama’s naiveté during his final two years in office. As a result, America will be less safe as a result of the President’s change in policy. When America is unwilling to advocate for individual liberty and freedom of political expression 90 miles from our shores, it represents a terrible setback for the hopes of all oppressed people around the globe.”
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), whose parents immigrated from Cuba and who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued a blistering critique Tuesday of the Obama administration’s decision to release Cuban spies as the Castro regime freed American Alan Gross from imprisonment.
“President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government,” Menendez said in a news release. “There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation.”
Menendez added, “Trading Mr. Gross for three convicted criminals sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips.”
Gross was an American contractor who was serving a 15-year prison sentence in Cuba. He was trying to bring internet service to the country.
dministration officials have said the simultaneous releases were not part of a “swap” but part of a larger agreement. Menendez was not convinced.
“Let’s be clear, this was not a “humanitarian” act by the Castro regime. It was a swap of convicted spies for an innocent American,” Menendez said in his statement.
Menendez, a hard-liner on Cuba policy, will give up the gavel on the foreign relations committee in January. He has butted heads with Obama over several foreign policy flare-ups.
He did call Gross’ return “a moment of profound relief for Alan Gross and his family.”
“He should have been released immediately and unconditionally five years ago,” Menendez said. “He committed no crime and was simply working to provide internet access to Cuba’s small Jewish community. His imprisonment was cruel and arbitrary, but consistent with the behavior of the Cuban regime.”
The political ground shook in South Florida on Wednesday when President Barack Obama announced plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba.
Miami, the heart of the Cuban exile community, reacted with a collective shock. Hardline opponents of the Castro regime lambasted the president for what they called a betrayal.
Miami-Dade County Commissioner Esteban “Steve” Bovo, a Republican whose father was a pilot in the 1996 Brothers to the Rescue mission, called the Democratic president a sellout.
“The Cuban exile community that has made a foundation out of standing firm against the Castro government has been, in essence, sold out,” he told the Miami Herald. “Those that have lost themselves to the straits of Florida, that have drowned, I feel that their memory has been sold out. The Brothers to the Rescue pilots – those American citizens – that were blown up, their memory and their families’ misery has been sold out.”
Maggie Khuly, the sister of Armando Alejandre Jr, one of the four Brothers to the Rescue members shot down, said the families of the failed mission’s victims were outraged.
“I was expecting this, but I can’t believe it,” Khuly told the Herald. “No one [in the federal government] had the decency of telling us anything.”
People across the city tuned in to watch Obama address the nation at noon. In Cuba, Raúl Castro spoke at the same time.
Several people gathered around a television set showing CNN at a waiting room at Doctor’s Hospital in Coral Gables to watch reporting from Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana, where a small group of hardliners were protesting. Early on, though, there were more reporters than demonstrators.
Then, Obama spoke.
“Wow. Wow. Wow,” an unidentified woman said when the president finished.
“Maduro is screwed,” said another, referring to Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, a Castro ally. The crowd remained as U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, appeared on the screen and criticized Obama from Capitol Hill.
The day began with the news that Cuba had freed American political prisoner Alan Gross on humanitarian grounds – and that the U.S. would swap three imprisoned Cuban spies in exchange for a U.S. intelligence officer detained on the island.
“We’re giving them a lot of stuff in payment for the exchange of a hostage,” Khuly told the Miami Herald. “What about human rights? It’s just incredible. I’m extremely disappointed in the president.”
Commissioner Bovo also called the move bad precedent.
“I don’t know what that does for other Americans traveling in Venezuela, in Nicarague – name your country – where now, literally, if want to extract something from the U.S., take a prisoner, trump some charges, and send them to jail,” he said.
County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a Wednesday morning interview with the Herald that he was on his way to a phone briefing by the White House on the upcoming announcement. He said he didn’t know enough to critique the White House plan, but was critical of normalizing relations.
“The Cuban government hasn’t done anything to deserve this,” said Gimenez, who was born in Cuba. “If it’s going to happen, I hope there will be positive results.”
Miami police said it was monitoring local reaction in case Obama’s announcement drew crowds or protests. Police Chief Manuel Orosa said resources would be deployed as needed “to keep everything under control and let people demonstrate peacefully.”
The department placed all personnel on alert but did not activate any special plans. Orosa said police would pay particular attention to Spanish-language talk radio in case calls go out for rallies, either for or against the policy changes.
Despite criticism of the policy overhaul, there was widespread relief over Gross’s release after five years.
The Greater Miami Jewish Federation and Jewish Community Relations Council issued a statement welcoming Gross, a Washington resident, back to the country. Gross was arrested in December 2009 while working as a subcontractor with the United States Agency for International Development to help a small Jewish community in Cuba.
The statement thanked advocates who signed petitions and wrote letters to elected officials to keep them from forgetting about Gross’s imprisonment.
“We wish Alan Gross a full recovery from the ill health that resulted from his unjust and inhumane incarceration and we send our warmest wishes to his family who has suffered such great distress during this terrible ordeal,” the statement said.
“Last night, Jews around the world kindled the first light of Chanukah, celebrating a historical victory. Tonight, as we kindle the second Chanukah candle, we know it will burn that much brighter for us in gratitude for the release of Alan Gross and for all those who championed his cause for so long.”
Local public figures also applauded Gross’s release.
“On the first day of Hanukkah, #AlanGross is released from a Cuban prison. What a great gift for his family,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, a Cuban-American Democrat, posted to her Twitter account, @KathyFndzRundle.
Annette Taddeo, the former chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, linked to an ABC News story about the release. “Happy #Hannukkah indeed!” wrote Taddeo, who is Jewish, on her account, @Annette_Taddeo.
Miami Herald staff writers Douglas Hanks and Charles Rabin contributed to this report.
Last week we reported that the tip of the Republican spear aimed at President Obama’s Executive-Order-turned-proclamation on immigration was the coalition of states that have joined the suit filed and led by TX Attorney General Greg Abbott.
At the time of reporting, the coalition of states in the suit stood at a healthy 17, but that number has now swelled to 24. With the potential for more states to sign on in the coming weeks, more than half of the states in the union could be taking on the federal government for its overreach.
Abbott remarked in a statement Wednesday on the coalition’s suit, “The president’s proposed executive decree violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law, circumvents the will of the American people and is an affront to the families and individuals who follow our laws to legally immigrate to the United States.”
The suit now includes the following states, reports CNN: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.