For the second day in a row, the Ohio Republican held a news conference to complain about the far right influence that’s being felt in the House from outside conservative groups, reports Roll Call. Just like in Wednesday’s media gathering, he didn’t bother hiding his frustration.
“Frankly, I think they are misleading their followers,” Boehner told reporters. “I think they’re pushing our members in places where they don’t want to be, and frankly I just think they’ve lost all credibility.”
He noted that conservative groups “pushed us into this fight to defund Obamacare,” leading to the two-week government shutdown in October, which the House leader said “wasn’t the strategy I had in mind.”
“The day before the government reopened, one of these groups stood up and said, ‘Well, we never really thought it would work.’
“Are you kidding me?” Boehner exclaimed.
The Ohio Republican insisted his criticism of conservative groups is nothing new, but “there just comes a point where some people step over the line.”
“I don’t really think that I’ve said anything new or anything different than what I’ve felt and what I’ve said in the past,” he continued.
As he did on Wednesday, Boehner criticized some groups for speaking out against the spending deal reached Tuesday by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, even before all the details of their proposal had been released.
“When you have no idea what you’re criticizing, it undermines your credibility,” he said.
The House is scheduled to vote on the Ryan-Murray budget Thursday night. Boehner said that even though many Republican members are protesting the measure, it is his “job and obligation to stand up for conservatives in Congress who want more deficit reductions and stand up for the work that Chairman Ryan did.”
The bipartisan plan, Boehner stressed, balances the national budget within 10 years while not raising taxes. While not having everything Republicans might want, he said it “takes giant steps in the right direction” for the country without compromising core conservative principles.
According to the survey released Wednesday, Obama is underwater by 27 points in Ohio, which has picked the president in every election since 1964 and has been within 2 percent of the national vote since 1996.
He has a negative job-performance rating of 34 percent to 61 percent among registered voters, 10 points worse than the last time Quinnipiac asked the same question in June. Then, his rating was 36 percent to 59 percent.
His previous-worst polling was last week in Colorado, with a negative 36 percent to 59 percent.
“Clearly much of the reason for the president’s decline in Ohio is ‘Obamacare,’ said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s Polling Institute. “Ohio voters oppose the Affordable Care Act 59-35 percent. Perhaps more significantly, voters say 45-16 percent they expect their own healthcare to be worse rather than better a year from now.”
This new low is telling, as Quinnipiac generally does not poll in dyed-in-the-wool red states. Instead it concentrates its surveys in nine blue and swing states — Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
The figures look even worse for Obama when broken down.
Among Republican voters, just 3 percent say they are happy with his job performance, with 96 percent dissatisfied. Independents also give him a massive thumbs down, 30 percent to 64 percent. Democrats approve of Obama 69 percent to 25 percent.
When it comes to the president’s honesty and trustworthiness, 57 percent to 39 percent of Ohioans do not believe or trust Obama.
“President Barack Obama’s popularity is at a record low in Ohio, and the first time his approval rating has fallen below 40 percent in the state,” said Brown. “This is a state considered to be a national bellwether, where he got 51 percent of the vote just 12 months ago.”
And it is clearly Obamacare and its disastrous rollout that is to blame, says Brown. Ohio voters oppose the provisions of the Affordable Care Act by 59 percent to 35 percent.
“Perhaps more significantly, voters say 45-16 percent they expect their own healthcare to be worse rather than better a year from now,” he said.
“If voters still feel that way about their own situation come November 2014, that is likely to create a political playing field beneficial for Republicans,” Brown added.
The Quinnipiac poll also asked Ohio voters how they would vote if a presidential election were held today.
Likely Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton defeats all likely Republicans, although New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is within 1 percentage point at 42 percent for Clinton and 41 percent for Christie.
Among other possible candidates, Clinton beats Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 49 percent to38 percent; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 50 percent to 37 percent; Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, 48 percent to 39 percent; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 50 percent to 40 percent; Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, 49 percent to 41 percent; and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 50 percent to 35 percent.
A federal appeals court struck down Obamacare’s controversial birth control mandate, declaring that requiring contraception coverage in employee health plans is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds.
“The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” wrote Judge Janice Rogers Brown in the court’s decision.
Had the plaintiffs refused to comply with the law, they would have faced a $14 million fine.
Two of the judges on the panel disagreed with parts of the ruling, saying the rights of religious people do not extend to the companies they own.
The Obama administration has long argued that the requirement under the Affordable Care Act for contraceptive coverage — including sterilization — as a free preventative service is necessary to protect women’s reproductive rights, though churches and other houses of worship are already exempt from the provision in the healthcare law.
According to the Thomas Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, some 74 lawsuits with over 200 plaintiffs representing hospitals, universities, businesses, and schools have been filed challenging the mandate on grounds of religious liberty.
Rulings in the circuit courts have so far been mixed, leading legal analysts to predict the issue will reach the Supreme Court.
A prominent Chicago atheist is reaching out to an Ohio pastor who was brutally beaten by a self-proclaimed “militant atheist” after a church service on Oct. 20.
Hemant Mehta, author of the Friendly Atheist blog and two books on atheism, offered to raise money to cover the medical bills or other needs of the Rev. Norman Hayes, who was injured when the boyfriend of a parishioner allegedly attacked him.
The alleged attacker, James Maxie, 28, told local police he came to Bridge Community Church in North Hampton, Ohio, with his girlfriend to try to “regain my faith in God,” according to the Dayton Daily News. Maxie described himself as a “militant atheist” on his Facebook page.
When Hayes asked Maxie’s girlfriend if she felt “safe” with Maxie, he allegedly became enraged and began beating the pastor. Hayes suffered a broken nose, facial lacerations and bruises.
Mehta, a high school math teacher, read about the incident online and took it to his popular blog. “How should we react when a ‘militant atheist’ beats up a pastor?” he asked, and concluded an appropriate response would be to raise money for the victim.
“This guy went through something rough,” Mehta said when reached by phone. “I think it is a nice gesture to say we feel horrible for what you went through. This shouldn’t have happened. We disagree with Christians all the time but that is not how we resolve our debate.”
Mehta said he was also moved to respond when he discovered how deeply Maxie, who has a history of violence and is a convicted sex offender, aligned himself with the atheist community.
“I looked at his Facebook page,” Mehta said. “The things he liked and the things he had on his wall were friends of mine and he is a supporter of groups I like. So he is not just some random dude; he is someone who is a part of this movement in some way, and that is something to think about.”
Hayes’ church was unavailable for comment, and an email address for him on the church’s dormant Facebook page was out of date.
Maxie remains in jail in lieu of a $51,000 bond.
The incident has alarmed others in the atheist community, too. Dusty Smith, a popular atheist comedian, posted a YouTube video decrying the attack that quickly garnered more than 500 comments, many of them condemning Maxie.
So far, Mehta said, his calls to Hayes and his church have gone unanswered. It is not uncommon, he said, for religious people and groups to refuse the charity of atheists.
When a South Carolina church was vandalized with atheist-themed graffiti, Mehta raised about $3,000 from his readers to repair the damage. But the pastor declined the money, so Mehta gave it to a women’s shelter near the church instead.
And just this week, a South Carolina soup kitchen run by a Christian group declined the assistance of a local atheist group.
The massive glitches in the Obamacare website rollout are creating an “issue of confidence” around the country, says Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but a Democratic governor says people should “chill out” and wait for the program to work.
Kasich, appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said Obamacare doesn’t get to the problem of the higher cost of healthcare and does nothing to drive down costs. It is clear, he added, that no one ever talked to businesses when setting up the program.
“When people are uncertain about their future, they sit on their wallets,” he said.
Boehner was favored by just 27 percent of those polled — six points lower than his rating in September. Those who have an unfavorable view of him shot up seven points to 55 percent — the highest it’s been for the Ohio Republican.
Among Republicans, Boehner’s favorability dropped by 9 percentage points, the poll showed.
Boehner’s numbers follow an overall downward trend for the Republican Party a week after leaders came to an agreement to end the 16-day government shutdown and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, The Hill noted.
Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they had an unfavorable view of the GOP, the poll showed.
McConnell’s rating was 27 percent before the shutdown; his favorability sank 11 percentage points among Republicans.
Obamacare defunding advocate Cruz had a seven-point drop in his favorability rating since last month; 42 percent now hold an unfavorable view.
On Monday, another CNN poll found that 54 percent of respondents thought GOP control of the House was a bad thing, and that 63 percent of respondents thought Boehner should be ousted from his leadership position.
Favorability went up to 48 percent for Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a critic of the defunding effort.
After the federal government reopened last week, Rep. Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina, one of the Republicans who went to Washington with tea party support, said he thought Boehner was “100 percent stronger” after the bitter defunding battle.
“No one blames him for this,” Mulvaney told CNN last week about the speaker’s pulling a House bill to reopen the governent and avert default. “We could not get him the votes. That was our failure, it wasn’t the speaker’s fault.”
But in January, when House conservatives pushed Boehner and the GOP leadership to hold the line against increased taxes as part of the deal to avert the “fiscal cliff,” Boehner famously lamented: “I need this job like a hole in my head.”
The deal that ended the threat of government default is merely “the response to a crisis manufactured by the President and a Democrat party content with the nation’s fiscal ruin,” according to Rep. Tom Price, the man many see as a potential successor to House Speaker John Boehner.
“For weeks, House Republicans have given our colleagues opportunity after opportunity to focus on the real challenges before us — a ballooning debt, a weak economy and a health care law that is contributing to both,” said the Georgia Republican in a statement.
“That there’s now an agreement in place to talk about how we solve them is a good first step, but one has to wonder why the Democrat majority in Washington needed two weeks of a government shutdown and a run-up to the debt ceiling in order to agree to talk about doing their job.”
Price’s name is being bandied around Washington as the most likely to succeed Boehner should the Ohio congressman decide he has had enough after nearly seven years as the top Republican in the House.
He said the GOP will continue to fight. ” to break down barriers to economic growth, to unleash more opportunity and greater financial security for American families.”
“We, as always, welcome our Democrat colleagues to the table to have an honest and healthy discussion focused on solutions,” Price wrote. “What remains to be seen is whether or not Senate Democrats and President Obama will in the days and weeks ahead embrace the opportunity they claim they want to negotiate and compromise.”
“I don’t see any way that you’d see Republicans go for that,” Jordan said. “We are not going to increase spending. The sequester’s been one of the good things that has happened, one of the few things we have done where we’ve actually controlled spending somewhat in this town.”
He said his members of his party “get the sense” Democrats don’t want to negotiate after Republicans writing and submitting 11 bills funding all or part of the government.
“We have compromised and given them all kinds of reasonable pieces of legislation that [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid won’t even debate, let alone pass,” Jordan said. “You can’t keep spending money you don’t have. We can’t keep raising the limit on an already-maxed-out credit card.”
He also said House Republicans are united on delaying the Affordable Care Act.
“Obamacare, the way it’s being implemented, is unfair,” he said. “Somehow, we’re the bad guys because we’re standing up for the simple concept of fairness. This is why people elected us. This is a simple argument about fairness, and we’re going to keep making it.”
Drenda Keesee is using the media to help women discover their God-given potential. Her new weekly program Drenda is broadcast on numerous national TV networks like the ABC Family Channel. Her book is She Gets It! The 11 Lies That Hold Women Hostage, and she and husband Gary lead a thriving church outside Columbus, Ohio. Recently, Kathleen Cooke, who’s leading a new women’s initiative based in Hollywood, interviewed Drenda about her church, family and vision for media.
Kathleen Cooke: You and your husband, Gary, pastor a beautiful and growing church just outside Columbus, Ohio. And yet you didn’t start out successful. What turned things around for you?
Drenda Keesee: Gary and I always had a desire to minister like Paul, who was a tentmaker and paid his own way. We wanted to have our own business so we could share God’s Word without being controlled by financial concerns or manipulation from others. But our plans to build a business were more difficult than we thought. For almost 10 years we lived on commission sales in the financial services sector. For Gary, a basically shy and quiet person, every day was a struggle to talk to people and learn a new area of business.
Gary grew up in the pizza business before attending Oral Roberts University, where we met. I was not shy and believed in Gary tremendously, so I scheduled appointments, managed office details and took care of our young, growing family. In spite of our best efforts, one morning we woke up broke, discouraged and not sure where we were going to find money for groceries. I’ll never forget my mother calling from out of town and asking how things were going. In a cheery voice I responded, “Things are great, just great.” She said, “Open the refrigerator door and tell me what you see.”
As I stood in our kitchen, I opened the refrigerator, breaking down in tears, I said, “An empty jar of mayonnaise!” Literally that was all that was in the refrigerator, and our cabinets were no different. It seemed the harder we tried to get out of debt, the further we got into it. At this point, I was starting to get mad with God. How long did we need to keep trusting that He was going to bring us into a place where we were successful and could minister? In the upcoming weeks after this, I began to really seek God in a way I had not in many years.
One night, I decided I was not going to bed unless God told me what was going on and what we needed to do to get out of the financial mess we were in. I stayed up praying and searching the Scriptures for answers. After a while, I began to see in the book of Haggai (I know—who reads that?) where God said, “Consider your ways. … You looked for much, but it came up little … because my house is in ruins while everyone one of you runs his own house.”
It goes on to say that the silver and the gold are His, and in the midst of their lack God is instructing the Israelites that if they will take care of His things, that from this day forward He would bless them. What I realized is that although we had a noble goal to build a business for God, we were neglecting both Him and His Word while we built our own life, promising to honor Him once we got there. We had one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom of God.
That night, I felt God show me that we would start helping others get out of debt and strengthening their marriages too. Others needed to hear what we were learning. It seemed hypocritical to tell others how they were relying on debt instead of God while we were in debt, but as we stepped out and started our own business with an emphasis on getting out of debt, we started to flourish in time. Something was different. Just like Haggai says, “From this day forward (when you put God’s things first), I will bless you.” Even though we still had some mountains to climb, and debt to pay, we had a word from God, and it gave us a renewed confidence that God was still with us and had a plan to not only help us but to use us to help others.
Cooke: You have an incredibly intense devotion to your family. Far too often among national Christian leaders, we see dysfunctional family relationships. Why is it so important to put family first?
Keesee: You can accomplish many things, but if you don’t have a strong family that is devoted to one another, then money or success can be very lonely. It was always a first priority next to our devotion to God—to have a great family. I always told God I would do anything He asked, but I would not sacrifice my family. He actually brought a thought to me that said, “I never asked you or anyone else to do that. That was their choice.”
I have come to recognize throughout the years that God gets the blame for so many choices people make when He wasn’t the one who did it. It seems easier to blame God than accept personal responsibility. With that in mind, we always tried to let our children know the “why” behind the “what.” They caught our devotion to God. We modeled it for them by living a real relationship with God with them, not just in front of them. We prayed together and asked them about their needs and taught them to ask God, seek Him first, and then they actually saw the provisions and miracles He did for them and with them.
This is a living faith and is relational, not religious and informational. We made many sacrifices together as a family to do what we felt God was directing us to pursue. We talked it out and made these decisions as a unit. Our children were on board with us. It has always been, and still is, important to us that they pursue God’s plan for their lives. We have several successful companies, but so far all five of our children love to minister throughout the church. They could be just as effective as a marketplace minister in the business arena, but they really love God’s church and helping His people.
Cooke: You’ve poured all these years of ministry into a new national TV program called Drenda. Some say the era of Christians on television is over. Why do you feel TV is the right platform for your message to women?
Keesee: I think we live in a media-driven culture and with so many women’s programs heralding a message of selfish pursuits in the name of freedom, and I just want to counter that message. The greatest joys I have in life are the ones that involve God, our marriage and family, but I don’t see these being valued in most women’s programs.
I am concerned that people are building their lives on sand and that one day they will wake up, just like we did when we found ourselves in serious debt. They will find themselves in tremendous regret that everything they chose and built means little to nothing. Haggai also says, “I blew on your efforts.” Just like sand, what we build our lives on will blow away if it doesn’t have eternal significance. I want women to recognize that it is a high calling to be moms and wives, and these are very fulfilling roles, with lasting joy that supersedes a moment of pleasure today. Invest in something eternal, and it lasts.
Invest in pleasure and it is fleeting, just like money! [Laughs.] Many women are trading their children in for happy hour and end up drinking a cup of sorrow later as their selfishness brings loneliness. But my so-called sacrifices to take care of my family have brought great joy. I want women to make good choices so they can enjoy real life.
Cooke: The show has been on television for a number of seasons, and I know you’re back at the drawing board revamping the program. You’ve never been afraid to change your methods to keep up with a shifting culture. Why is change so important?
Keesee: Change is important because we lose relevance with people’s lives if they can’t hear our message. The message doesn’t change because its based on eternal truths, but the package has to. We need to be on the forefront of change instead of following the world around like a puppy dog with a paper in its mouth. I want to be the one who helps make the change instead of following the crowd at the end of the pack.
Cooke: What’s your most important message to women today?
Keesee: ”Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” I say this eating locust (croissants) and wearing camel hair (in Paris). Just kidding. But seriously …
I want to help people live more of what matters for their life and family. The price or choices to live a life with God based on His ways is worth it. I can’t completely call it a “price,” since the rewards have been far greater than the price we paid. In the beginning, you don’t see the outcome of your choices—that’s why it takes faith—but it’s later that the results show.
At that point, it may be too late to make some of the right choices with your husband and children that will impact the relationship. Hopefully not, but sometimes it’s too late. We allow women talk-show hosts who aren’t married and have no children to tell us how to live our lives and then expect not to be lonely and unhappy. Sure, we have many choices as women to live our lives, but there is no meaning to life if I live it just for me.
I want to live it with a few people that truly love me and share it with a lot of people who truly need to hear what I have to say. Character is who you are; reputation is who people think you are. I want to have character. Women are forsaking character because they want reputation, but God’s wisdom creates a successful life based on character. What’s popular is not always lasting, and what is lasting is not always popular.
Cooke: You and Gary have built a great church, have written best-selling books and have launched two national TV programs. [Gary has his own program, Fixing the Money Thing.] What’s next for Gary and Drenda Keesee?
Keesee: Gary wants to produce a movie trilogy equivalent to Star Wars …
I don’t know all that God has in store for us, but I know that whatever we do, we will be confronting cultural lies and sharing truth about more of what really matters in life. However we need to do that, we will! But ultimately, I want to leave a legacy in our children and the next generation that they can navigate throughout the changes they will see in their lives and in the culture and do it with a strong awareness of God’s destiny for their lives.
Source: CHARISMA NEWS.
Kathleen Cooke is co-founder of Cooke Pictures in Burbank, Calif., and The Influence Lab, which is focused on empowering the church to engage culture through media. Find out more atkathleencooke.com.
“In Ohio, they are obsessed, and Hillary is going to town on it because she knows Ohio’s the only place they can win,” Power said. “She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything,”
Now Power cringes at those remarks, she told the “Today” show.
“You lose your temper, and you’re in a campaign, and things go back and forth,” she said. “It just completely broke my heart . . . There is a fair amount of negativity heaped upon her that I find massively unfair. And the idea that I could have contributed in some way to that narrative was terrible.”
At the time, Power publicly apologized for her comments and quit the Obama campaign. Since then she has apologized to Clinton directly. “I was so grateful . . . to have the chance just to say in person what I had said to everybody,” Power said.