New Jersey rejects atheist license plate, conservatives chortle

For the second time in as many years, a New Jersey resident has been denied a customized license plate with an atheist message. In August 2013, a man was denied the licence plate “ATHE1ST” because a Motor Vehicle Commission clerk found it “offensive.”

And last week a woman was denied her requested for an “8THEIST” plate on the commission’s website. The former request was eventually granted, and the current one almost certainly will as well, especially since the woman has filed a federal lawsuit.

While the 2013 denial was an explicit in-person objection, Shannon Morgan’s request of “8THEIST” was only denied by the automated online system. Morgan said she “attempted to contact the state Motor Vehicle Commission in November and March, according to the lawsuit, but received no response or explanation”, while the commission says it reviews “every request personally.”

It is unclear whether the initial request of “8THEIST” was reviewed “personally” since it appeared to be immediately rejected by the online system, or whether the personal reviews are only of appealed requests. Also unclear is whether Morgan’s request has actually been appealed through the proper channels and/or reviewed by the commission. Regardless, after several months of no response from state officials, she has decided to file suit instead.

Today in Liberty: Conservatives want Obamacare replacement vote, Bloomberg to spend $50 million on anti-gun group

“The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” — Thomas Jefferson

— House conservatives press for Obamacare replacement vote: Republican leaders suggested earlier this year that they would bring to the floor an Obamacare replacement bill, only to back away not long after. House conservatives are now pressing leadership to live up to the rhetoric and hold a vote on an alternative before the August recess. “At the end of the day, we feel it’s really important to bring a bill to the floor that is a true replacement to the president’s healthcare law,” Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, told The Hill. “Look, leadership’s come a long way in the last six months on that, and we’re continuing to talk to them to try to get to a point where we actually have a vote on the House floor by the August recess.”

House conservatives looking to oust Boehner

Rumors of a conservative rebellion in the House of Representatives are beginning to get more attention. The Atlantic reports that 40 to 50 Republican members are ready to oust Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and replace him with someone willing to work with conservatives in the ranks:

The conservatives’ exasperation with leadership is well known. And now, in discreet dinners at the Capitol Hill Club and in winding, hypothetical-laced email chains, they’re trying to figure out what to do about it. Some say it’s enough to coalesce behind—and start whipping votes for—a single conservative leadership candidate. Others want to cut a deal with Majority Leader Eric Cantor: We’ll back you for speaker if you promise to bring aboard a conservative lieutenant.

But there’s a more audacious option on the table, according to conservatives involved in the deliberations. They say between 40 and 50 members have already committed verbally to electing a new speaker. If those numbers hold, organizers say, they could force Boehner to step aside as speaker in late November, when the incoming GOP conference meets for the first time, by showing him that he won’t have the votes to be reelected in January.

Libertarianism: Is It Happening?

There’s an idea in mainstream American politics that the two-party system, the elephants and donkeys, the red and the blue, the GOP and the Dems, are — and will always be — the most voters in this country will ever have to choose from. Third parties tend to pop up and then die a quick death in the history of American political preferences.

But something — as young libertarians are fond of saying — is happening to the older conservatism of the GOP. It’s getting a streak of, well, libertarian purple in its gray hair. And this new conservatism may better resemble the original founders ideas about government and leadership better than the conservatism of the last 30 years. And it’s making both young and old excited. So much so that cynical, inside-the-beltway publications as self-assured as Politico are, if they want to stay relevant, forced to address and explain just what is happening on the right — and increasingly the left — side of the aisle.

In a piece entitled, “The Libertarian Surge,” David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, writes a primer on just what it is libertarians think and believe — presumably because the demand to know exists:

Libertarianism — the political philosophy that says limited government is the best kind of government — is having its moment. Unfortunately, that’s mostly because government has been expanding in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and the financial crisis. Somehow government failures lead to even more government.

Video: Ted Cruz seeks to fire up conservative base for 2014

 Stand for Principle!

As part of an end of the quarter fundraising drive, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has released a new video featuring pieces of his speech at this month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

The video — which, as some have noted, looks and sounds much like a presidential campaign video — is full of red meat for conservatives. “Defend the Constitution — all of it. Defend the First Amendment, the right to free speech, the right to a free press,” Cruz says in the video with dramatic music in the background. “The right to freedom of religion and that means, among other things, not having the IRS asking citizens: ‘tell me the content of your prayers.’”

“We need to stand for the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms,” he says. “We need to stand for the Fourth and Fifth Amendment’s right to privacy for every American.”

Cruz goes onto touch on school choice and the need to audit the Federal Reserve. He talks about abolishing the IRS and the national debt and standing on principle, a segue into last year’s fight to defund Obamacare. He then borrows a line from President Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Rumors of a Republican revolt against Boehner surface once again

This is a familiar tune, one that played loudly in conservative circles before the beginning of the 113th Congress. Unnamed sources claimed that enough House conservatives were going to abstain from backing Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to force him out.

Though several conservatives did abstain from the vote by writing in other names, Boehner was reelected, getting just enough support to avoid a second round. He would go onto tell those in his caucus who voted against him that they wouldn’t be penalized.

Though House Republicans are several months from selecting their candidate for Speaker, which would take place shortly after the mid-term election, Jonathan Strong reports that there is support already building in the caucus to replace Boehner:

Top Republicans are hoping for a happy beginning to the next, 114th Congress, with the GOP taking control of the Senate and forcing President Obama on his heels for the last two years of his term.

But in the House, the clouds are already gathering over the first day of the next session, when the chamber votes to elect a Speaker.

“My sense at the present time that the Speaker doesn’t have the support of the conference,” says South Carolina Republican Rep. Jeff Duncan about John Boehner. Another member of the House privately estimates that 40 Republican lawmakers would vote against Boehner on the floor and says “I’ve seen a running total.”

NE Senate: Anti-Obamacare Republican briefly aided pro-Obamacare firm

Ben Sasse has built his entire U.S. Senate campaign around the anti-Obamacare sentiment that runs deep in Nebraska. In a recent profile of the Nebraska Republican, the National Review, a conservative magazine, called him “Obamacare’s Cornhusker nemesis.”

“The Obamacare worldview is that only government can solve big problems, budget honesty doesn’t matter, and dependency is our future,” Sasse told the magazine, later adding that Republicans can repeal the law if they achieve electoral success in the next couple of cycles.

Sasse’s anti-Obamacare rhetoric, background and credentials has netted him support from several high-profile conservative personalities and groups, including Sarah Palin, Erick Erickson, the Club for Growth, and Senate Conservatives Fund. Last month, Breitbart ran a story claiming that health industry lobbyists “are making a concerted effort to sink the campaign of the Nebraska Republican.”

But the narrative that Sasse, who worked at HHS and the Justice Department, has tried to build around himself may take a hit. Politico reported this morning that the anti-Obamacare candidate once consulted with a firm that helped implement the law.

Sarah Palin rolls out first round of 2014 endorsements

Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, has rolled out her first endorsements of the 2014 mid-term election cycle, hailing each of her picks as the “conservative” choice in their respective races.

In a post on her Facebook page on Wednesday, Palin, who has substantial sway in the conservative movement, told her 4-plus million fans that her endorsements would be announced in “in coming days.”

“I’m excited to announce that big U.S. Senate and House of Representatives endorsements are on the way!” Palin wrote. “Lots of vetting and research goes into these endorsements because this is for YOU. It’s to allow you to take a closer look at good men and women with servants’ hearts who are willing to get in the rough and tumble arena to help save America.”

Palin weighed in on three U.S. Senate races, all of which are expected to remain in Republican hands this fall. She began the string of endorsements, done in coordination with her political action committee, with T.W. Shannon, who is seeking the Republican nomination in Oklahoma, on Wednesday and announced two more on Thursday. She posted graphics with each endorsement, which have been included below.

“Tom Coburn leaves large conservative shoes to fill as he retires from the U.S. Senate. At 6’5 feet tall, T.W. Shannon is just the leader to fill them,” Palin wrote. “T.W. is the underdog in his race, but that’s not a position he’s unfamiliar with. He’s had to beat the odds all of his life.”

Book Review: Does Mr. Righteous Exist?

Disclaimer: The subject of dating and finding a guy and the trials and tribulations of single people searching for love has never appealed much to me. It’s a curious quality I have that I’d rather read (and write) about the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC than hear about your last date. But a friend of mine wrote a book, Finding Mr. Righteous, and I was tasked with reviewing it. And so, given my proclivities, I’m going to attempt to do that in some way deserving of the effort she took in writing it. Forgive me my sins, Lisa.

The truth is this: Working in politics is hard. Trying to find love in the middle of politics is damn near impossible. Trying to find the love of a good, God-fearing man in the middle of politics is one of those fairytale stories parents tell their kids — complete with unicorns and perfect happy endings — to get them to stop crying about the scary boogeyman in the closet and finally go to sleep. Primarily because many people, at some point, lose their soul to politics, and the desire for the “God-fearing” gradually falls away under an ocean of work-related happy hours and ambitious hook-ups designed to help both people ascend another rung on the career ladder.

Finding Mr. RighteousBut Lisa De Pasquale, Southern and Italian, who loves to cook, runs in some big-name political circles, and is constantly battling her “inner fat girl”, actively decided to search for her soul to make sure she wouldn’t lose it. And her first book, Finding Mr. Righteous, is her not-so-Quixotic quest to use the men she dates in her home and career-stomping ground of Washington, DC to discover more about the nagging lack of the Big Man in her life.

NC Senate: Mike Lee endorses Greg Brannon in Republican primary

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has endorsed Dr. Greg Brannon in the North Carolina Republican Senate primary and plans to campaign for the conservative candidate in the Tar Heel state later this month.

In a statement released this morning by Brannon’s campaign, Lee called 2014 a “critical year for conservatives,” noting that North Carolina will play an important role in this year’s mid-term election. He stressed the importance of electing candidates that will “work to restor[e] the proper role of government” and “forward positive, specific policy proposals to get America back on track.”

“Greg Brannon is dedicated to enacting a conservative reform agenda in Congress.  He is willing to challenge the status quo and entrenched special interests,” said Lee in the statement. “And he has pledged to work alongside myself, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and others in the Senate to change the way Washington works.”

Lee, a Tea Party favorite, has put forward a number of reform proposals in recent months, including pro-family tax reform and policies that would strengthen the middle class as well as create opportunity for the poor.

“Greg Brannon will be a strong voice for the people in the Senate and I am proud to endorse him,” Lee added.

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