Elaina Plott reports: House Freedom Caucus members confirmed that they were not able to reach the 80% threshold required to endorse Paul Ryan for Speaker.
“Paul is a policy entrepreneur who has developed conservative reforms dealing with a wide variety of subjects, and he has promised to be an ideas-focused speaker who will advance limited-government principles and devolve power to the membership.”
— the caucus said in its statement
Representative Raul Labrador called it a “supermajority support” for Ryan. “We were not able to reach a consensus” on an official endorsement, he told reporters, but added that “two thirds of the caucus will be voting” for a Ryan speakership….(read more)
...The Freedom Caucus met with Ryan for an hour in the Capitol earlier in the day. Many of its members had balked at the conditions Ryan attached to his decision to serve as speaker, and the meeting represented their first chance to question him directly on his intentions.
The meeting broke up without resolution, setting up a high-stakes decision for a group that played a key role in easing the current speaker, John A. Boehner, into retirement and blocking Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to succeed him….(read more)
The Wall Street Journal reports:
…Members of the Freedom Caucus said their offer of support—less-resounding than what Mr. Ryan had sought—thrusts the decision back on Mr. Ryan, who has been publicly reluctant to take the job.
“Paul Ryan needs to decide now what he’s going to do,” Mr. Labrador said. “He’s got to decide whether that’s sufficient for him.”
Mr. Labrador also noted that the caucus had not agreed to a series of conditions Mr. Ryan had set, but declined to say which of the Wisconsin Republican’s demands had triggered the most concern.
In a statement released Wednesday night, the group praised Mr. Ryan, who met with them earlier Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »
Michael Anissimov writes: Cannabis has been legalized in Washington state and Colorado, causing apprehension among some on the right. Last August, Newt Gingrich said that general legalization would be a “huge mistake.” Chris Christie has long shown his disdain for medical marijuana, saying of a proposed law in its favor, “Here’s what the advocates want: They want legalization of marijuana in New Jersey. It will not happen on my watch, ever. I am done expanding the medical marijuana program under any circumstances.”
Emily Miller at the Washington Times wrote recently that activists are “totally uneducated’ about the “severe consequences” of smoking cannabis, writing that it is “simply a toxin” which is “more similar to heroin and cocaine than alcohol in how it affects the body.”
On the other side of the issue, a number of Republicans have stepped forward in favor of legalizing marijuana. Rush Limbaugh admits that he used cannabis during his recovery from opiate addiction and says that the legalization of marijuana is “a great issue” for the GOP. Pat Robertson is famously in favor of legalization, saying “this war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”
In California, a majority now supports legalization, and a new law in favor of legalization is being floated. Now that support for legalization is rising nationwide, the right needs to ask itself: are we in support of legalization, or not?
The critics of marijuana legalization have trouble getting their arguments straight, and oppose it based on a visceral cultural revulsion, rather than science or reason. There is no scientific evidence that marijuana is “similar to heroin and cocaine.” If anything, it is more similar to caffeine — the effects rarely last longer than 2-3 hours, and are extremely mild. The majority of users use it only occasionally, and daily addicts — if true addiction is even possible, which seems doubtful due to the way that marijuana works in the brain — will be able to get it on the black market anyway.
Alcohol causes 75,000 deaths per year, cannabis causes zero.
How prohibitionists and nanny staters are trying to keep marijuana illegal—or at least inconvenient.
Nick Gillespie writes: In 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington passed full-on, no-hemming-or-hawing pot legalization by large majorities. Lawmakers in each state have spent the better part of the past year figuring out how to tax and regulate their nascent commercial pot industries, which will open for business in 2014 (until then, recreational pot is only supposed to be cultivated for personal use). The spirit behind the legalization efforts in both states was that marijuana should be treated in a “manner similar to alcohol.”
Unfortunately, it’s starting to look like both states are going to treat pot in a manner similar to alcohol during Prohibition. Not only are pot taxes likely to be sky high, various sorts of restrictions on pot shops may well make it easier to buy, sell, and use black-market marijuana rather than the legal variety. That’s a bummer all around: States and municipalities will collect less revenue than expected, law-abiding residents will effectively be denied access to pot, and the crime, corruption, and violence that inevitably surrounds black markets will continue apace.