Reflections on the Debt Bomb by Gregory Hilton

Writing in the Examiner newspaper, Mark Tapscott says: “Treasury Secretary Geithner is reassuring Americans the huge deficit and spiralling national debt ‘will never’ damage the country’s sterling credit rating because investors will continue to view the U.S. as a good investment. And in other news, Roman Emperor Romulus Augustus reassured citizens they should not worry about those hordes of barbarians gathering outside the city.
“‘Rome is too big to fail, so they will never invade Rome,’ the Emperor said. ‘Besides, if they were to sack Rome, where would they go for our fine entertainments, including the orgies, drama productions with real executions, and, let’ s not forget, our incomparable gladitorial contests in the Coliseum.’ German barbarian leader Odoacer was asked for comment, but would only say through a spokesman that he would soon confer in person with the Emperor about his future status.”
We actually do not have to go back to ancient Rome to see the consequences of our actions. Just look at today’s Greece where the German’s are forcing the Athens government to its knees to completely reform their pension system and raise their retirement age from 61 to 63. That one action stabilized the euro and averted a currency disaster. The debt bomb we are riding is for real.
UPDATE, June 5, 2010
As of Friday, our total national debt – the sum of all outstanding IOUs issued by the U.S. Treasury – stood at a bit more than $13 trillion, or 88% of our projected gross domestic product for 2010. It was at 70% in 2008. The financial markets have been kind to the U.S. because they believe we will eventually get our spending under control.

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Constitution Party Regrets The U.S. Role in World Wars I and II

Prominent members of the Constitution Party believe it was wrong for the United States to enter both World War I and World War II. They justify their opposition to WW II by noting the Iron Curtain which descended on eastern Europe after the war. What they do not recognize is that the problems which emerged after Yalta were caused by the USSR’s Joseph Stalin, not by President Franklin Roosevelt. FDR was too trusting of the USSR, but it was the Kremlin that broke all of the promises, not the United States.
There was considerable isolationist sentiment in America prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. One week before his 1940 re-election, FDR promised to stay out of “foreign military wars.” When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor it was no longer a foreign war.
The arguments against America’s entry into WW II are similar to the 9/11 conspiracy claims against George W. Bush. Constitution Party members try to blame America for the attack on the Twin Towers because of U.S. support for Israel.
In a similar manner, many isolationists claim Japan was provoked into the attacking Pearl Harbor because America was sending aid to the United Kingdom, and we had placed sanctions on Japan in response to its invasion of China and French Indo-China. The isolationists say these sanctions forced Japan into its membership in the Rome-Berlin-Tokyo Axis. The aggressor was Japan, not America.
Germany was not obligated to fight any country which was at war with Japan. Nor was Japan obligated to declare war on countries Germany was fighting. The so-called Pact of Steel was a mutual assistance agreement.
The Tripartite Pact would have gone into effect if America attacked Japan, not the other way around. Numerous German generals were baffled by Hitler’s declaration of war on the U.S. Hitler had abandoned many pacts before, and this was perhaps the only time the Fuehrer felt an obligation to assist a treaty partner.
The Cold War began when WW II was over, but America made the right decision in liberating Europe and overthrowing the totalitarian regimes in Germany, Japan and Italy. The Constitution Party nevertheless has reservations about our victory.
In WW I, the U.S. and Japan were on the same side. The Constitution Party believes the conflict would have resulted in a stalemate if America had remained neutral. They are wrong. If America had not intervened the Germans would have won. France was bankrupt by February of 1918. They had no gold and a massive debt to America. All of their military reserves had been depleted. Russia has already been knocked out of the war, and the Germans were planning a massive offensive on the Western Front. All of the German troops on the Eastern Front (Russia) were being shifted to the Western Front.
There were definitely mistakes in the post-war Versailles Treaty, but it was not a mistake for America to enter the war.

One Year Later: The Collapse of the Youth Vote

The 2008 Obama victory would have been a monumental landslide if voting had been restricted to those under the age of 30.


In another ominous sign for the Democratic Party, the much heralded youth vote of 2008 is collapsing. The Presidential election turned out 52% of young voters, and in the 18-25 age group they preferred Barack Obama over John McCain by a 66 to 32% margin.
Survey research data now demonstrates that the enthusiasm of young voters has tanked, and this is already being reflected at the polls. The percentage of young people voting in the recent elections in Massachusetts, Virginia and New Jersey declined markedly.
In the Bay State only 15% of those between the ages of 18-29 turned out to vote on Tuesday, which is a sharp reduction from the 47.8% turnout out in 2008. Obama won 78% of under-30 voters in Massachusetts. Turnout on Tuesday for those over 30 was 57%.
The youth turnout in the 2009 Virginia and New Jersey Gubernatorial races was 17 and 19%, respectively. There are several reasons for the decline but perhaps they realize their generation will be paying off today’s spending spree by the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress. Not only will they have debts well into the future, but they can not find a job. Youth unemployment is a staggering 53%, a rate which has not been seen since the Great Depression.
Furthermore, if the Obama health care bill is enacted, according to WellPoint, their premiums will increase 154%. Young voters will be headed for a rude awakening because their premiums will be used to pay for everyone else’s pre-existing conditions. The insurance plan I had in my early twenties was inexpensive, but that option will not be available for today’s young people.
Half of young Americans are now going without health insurance.
They are typically just starting careers and have limited disposable income. The huge boost in twenty something premiums means even more of them will be uninsured, but that would have to change in 2013 when the Obama penalties arrive and young people are forced to buy insurance.
A year ago the young thought only the rich would be paying more for new government programs. His rhetoric appealed to young people especially when he called for “A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.”
The President’s approval ratings have fallen significantly in all age groups, but the drop among young voters has been the sharpest for any age demographic. Furthermore, many economists are not predicting a return to full employment in the near future. They are emphasizing that with new technology, businesses have learned to become more efficient and are now able complete their work with fewer employees. By the time America emerges from the recession many of these companies will be able to operate adequately at a downsized level. That is not a good sign for young people who are seeking jobs.
On a related note, every survey indicates young votes give a very low priority to social issues. A survey sponsored by the Young Republican National Federation showed only 6 percent of young party activists thought the GOP should focus on social issues. Economic issues are clearly dominate with the young, with national security concerns coming in second.
Don Peck writing in The Atlantic says people between 18 and 30 were overindulged as children and harbor a sense of entitlement. They are ill-prepared for a “harsh economic environment,” and lack the persistence and imagination to cope well. Their unemployment rate is 37%, and only 41% have a full time job. Over a third are receiving financial help from their families. According to a Pew Foundation study of 50,000 people in the this age group, just 2% of them served in the military, 2/5’s have tattoo’s, and 75% have a Facebook profile. Robert Samuelson in the Washington Post notes, “More bad news may lie ahead. As baby boomers retire, higher federal spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid may boost millennials’ taxes and squeeze other government programs. It will be harder to start and raise families.
“They could become the chump generation. They could suffer for their elders’ economic sins, particularly the failure to confront the predictable costs of baby boomers’ retirement. This poses a question. In 2008, they voted 2-1 for Barack Obama; in surveys, they say they’re more disposed than older Americans to big and activist government. Their ardor for Obama is already cooling. Will higher taxes dim their enthusiasm for government?”

Answering The Conspiracy Theories: Republicans Should Not Tolerate Extremists

 

The first episode of “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” focused on the 9/11 attack. Ventura is a former professional wrestler who served as Governor of Minnesota.

The U.S. political outlook has shifted significantly in the past year, and many prominent experts are now predicting large GOP gains in the November elections. The enthusiasm of the GOP base has never been higher, and independent voters are breaking decisively in favor of the Republican Party. GOP candidates have plenty of key issues to demonstrate sharp differences with the majority Democrats.
Republicans have a vibrant agenda for the 2010 campaign, and people who are manufacturing false issues are doing the GOP a disservice. We will not win over independent voters unless all of our proposals and observations are completely accurate.
The shock of the special election victory in Massachusetts on Tuesday is still reverberating. Only 11% of Bay State voters are Republicans, but the GOP was still able to claim an open U.S. Senate seat because of strong support from independents. Republicans must continue to reach out to independents, and one way to accomplish this is by providing reliable sources of information and demonstrating that we are a responsible party which does not tolerate extremism.
We should immediately shoot down conspiracy theories when they are advocated by people who claim to speak for the Republican Party. Aside from Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), I do not know of any elected Republican who promotes conspiracy theories. Many of these topics are found on the isolationist WorldNetDaily website, some right-wing blogs and on talk radio programs such as the Alex Jones show.
They are promoted by radical libertarians and members of the Constitution Party who also claim to be Republicans. I have answered many of these people numerous times, and I will now repeat my earlier observations.
* The federal government is not building concentration camps for U.S. political dissidents.
* President Obama did not attend a radical madrassa school in Indonesia.
* The President is a liberal Democrat but he is not a Communist or a Marxist. The President does not advocate the abolition of private property or the erosion of property rights.
* The Fort Hood shooter, Nidal Hasan, did not advise the Obama transition team.
* There is no such thing as an Amero currency to replace the U.S. dollar, and the North American Union does not exist.
* President Obama was born in the United States. Any claim that he was born at a hospital in Mombasa, Kenya is fraudulent. The well respected FactCheck.org website states that it has “seen, touched, examined and photographed his original birth certificate. We conclude that it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship.”
* The numerous claims of the John Birch Society regarding secret plans to establish a one world government are false. The Council on Foreign Relations and the Bilderberg Group are not doing anything to steal America’s sovereignty. These organizations do not take a position on any issue and they do not engage in lobbying.
* The investigation of the 9/11 terrorist attack was well done and bipartisan. It represented our government at its best. I trust the 9/11 Commission, and I reject the conspiracy theories advocated by Charlie Sheen, Willie Nelson and talk radio host Alex Jones. It continues to amaze me that Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is the most frequent guest on the Jones program.
If the Congressman was a responsible person he would be denouncing Jones. The radio host believes the 9/11 attack was caused by the U.S. government launching missiles at its own buildings (including the Pentagon), and it is responsible for killing over 2000 of our citizens. Jones is the leader of the so-called “9/11 Truth” movement and has produced several 9-11 conspiracy movies.
Jones’ other favorite conspiracy theories involve the JFK assassination and water fluoridation. Jones runs a website called RonPaulWarRoom.com, and has been a major supporter of the radical libertarian movement. He is on the air for four hours every day and his other guests have included Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), Noam Chomsky, Andrew Napolitano and Lou Dobbs. Jones says the 9/11 atrocity was “perpetrated by the global elites in their drive to enslave the world’s population.”
* The TV program “Conspiracy Theory” is hosted by former Gov. Jesse Ventura (MN), who was a professional wrestler. He was elected as an Independent and believes Building 7 at the World Trade Center was destroyed on purpose and the government may have had a role.The 9/11 Commission addressed this topic: “The building stood after the collapse but there was considerable damage. A fifth-floor fire burned for up to 7 hours. There was no firefighting in WTC 7.
“Investigators believe the fire was fed by tanks of diesel fuel that many tenants used to run emergency generators. Most tanks throughout the building were fairly small, but a generator on the fifth floor was connected to a large tank in the basement via a pressurized line. This pressurized line was supplying fuel to the fire for a long period of time.
“WTC 7 might have withstood the physical damage it received, or the fire that burned for hours, but those combined factors — along with the building’s unusual construction — were enough to set off the chain-reaction collapse.”
Additional information is available at “Debunking the 9/11 Myths:”http://www.origin.popularmechanics.com/blogs/911myths/
Finally, this has nothing to do with conspiracy theories, but there are well respected Republicans on both sides of the gay marriage debate. Many advocate civil unions as an alternative. This is a legitimate public policy question, but it is wrong to discriminate against gay people. We recently denounced the American Conservative Union (ACU) for allowing the John Birch Society to co-sponsor the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference.

The Battle for the U.S. Senate: Will Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) Be The Man in the Arena?

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), the Chairman of the House Republican Conference, now has to make the most difficult decision of his political career. Should he give up his safe Congressional seat and the number three position in the GOP leadership to challenge Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN)? Pence appears to have an bright future in the House of Representatives, but it is always difficult to turn down the glamour of the United States Senate. For example, Trent Lott (R-MS) was in line to be Speaker of the House, but left his number two position as the GOP Whip to successfully run for the Senate in 1988.
Bayh is a former two term Governor who is now completing his second term in the Senate. His father Birch Bayh (D-IN) served in the Senate from 1962 until he was defeated by Dan Quayle in 1980. Evan Bayh has won five statewide elections while Pence has never been tested at the state level.
Pence, 50, is understandably reluctant to give up a secure GOP Congressional seat. He was defeated by an incumbent in both 1988 and 1990 before finally winning an open seat in 2000. The Congressman would instantly achieve national fame if he knocked off Bayh, but a loss would mean this rising star would go back to obscurity of Columbus, Indiana. If he does run his campaign theme would almost certainly be “No More Bailouts,” which is a position he adopted during the Bush Administration.
Yesterday Pence attended a meeting at the National Republican Senatorial Committee where he was presented with the most recent polling data. The Congressman trails Senators Bayh by only a few percentage points, but all of the popular issues are on the side of the Republican. Bayh has always portrayed himself as a moderate, and is a former Chairman of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). He still points with pride to the $1.6 billion tax cut he implemented as Governor.
The problem is that he has been on Capitol Hill for 12 years and now it is difficult to run away from his voting record. His recent votes on the health-care legislation and the stimulus are particularly unpopular, and Bayh has been urging his party to move to the center.
A new book reveals that Barack Obama almost named Bayh as his 2008 running mate. Bayh still has a 50% approval rating, but between May and January his ratings dropped by nearly 25 points. The Senator’s biggest advantage is that he has $12.7 million in cash-on-hand, while Pence has just $463,000. President Obama won Indiana by 1%, and the state has voted Republican in 10 of the last 11 presidential elections.
Pence has to soon make a decision because the filing deadline is February 18th. He has already emerged as a champion for conservatives on a national scale. The Congressman previously served as Chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee. In 2003, when the House debated the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, Pence led a gang of House conservatives who valiantly opposed it. He said Republicans had lost their way by promoting big spending initiatives.
One of his best assets is that he is a former radio broadcaster and an excellent communicator. He is able to make persuasive and effective arguments. If Pence runs this will instantly become one of the top Senate races of the 2010 election cycle, and Pence would receive considerable fame if he emerges as the Democratic dragon slayer in Indiana.

There He Goes Again: Republican Leaders Need to Denounce Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX)

Reps. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Ron Paul (R-TX) are well to the left of the Obama administration on foreign policy and national security issues.


Leaders of the Republican Party should no longer remain silent. They should actively denounce the many reprehensible comments of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).
He is the only Republican who refused to vote for the resolution condemning Iran’s President after he said “Israel should be wiped off the map.” Congressman Paul has also repeatedly justified the actions of terrorists who have attacked the United States. He now accuses the CIA of being in the drug business and says they need to be “taken out.”
In his speech to the Campaign for Liberty the Congressman said: “There’s been a coup, have you heard? It’s the CIA coup. The CIA runs everything, they run the military. They’re the ones who are over there lobbing missiles and bombs on countries. … They’re in businesses, in drug businesses, they take out dictators … We need to take out the CIA.”
A suicide bombing late last year against Forward Operating Base Chapman in Afghanistan took the lives of seven CIA agents. They are heroes who were on the front lines protecting us. We should be praising them, not making false allegations.
The CIA did not invent crack cocaine and they have never been in the drug business. It is Muslim extremists who intentionally target civilians, not the CIA or the US military.
The introduction to Ron Paul’s book on foreign policy says the Cold War and the War on Terror are both a “farce”, and they were designed to justify a larger role for government. He compares the United States role in Afghanistan to “a schoolyard bully.”
Many Ron Paul supporters describe themselves as “very conservative,” but they support an agenda which has much in common with the radical left. Ron Paul advocates abolishing the Department of Homeland Security, the Patriot Act and FISA. He wants the U.S. leave NATO, the World Trade Organization and the UN, and to end all aid to Israel.
His libertarian supporters continue to gain strength in the Republican Party. Paul ran for President as a Libertarian in 1988 and in 2008 he sought the GOP nomination. His last presidential campaign raised $35 million, and he has won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
The Texas Congressman is a firm isolationist and promotes many conspiracy theories. He frequently talks of the dangers of the North American Union, which does not exist. Paul is considered a champion of the “9/11 Truth” movement. They believe the NYC Twin Towers were packed with explosives. If the Congressman doesn’t agree with the Truthers amongst his followers then he should disavow them. By not doing so and continuing to call for further investigations he gives credence to their crazy theories. Many liberal activists are understandably enthusiastic about Rep. Paul. One Moveon.org group assisted in the funding and production of one of his TV ads, and the organizations website continues to promote meetings of Paul supporters.
Israel and the Middle East
Reps. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) are the only two lawmakers who voted against a resolution condemning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his statements calling for the destruction of Israel and genocide of the Jews. The resolution outlined the reasons why the Iranian leader was in violation of the UN Genocide Convention. In October 2009, Ron Paul and Kucinich were the only two Members of Congress to vote against H.Res. 175 condemning the government of Iran for “state-sponsored persecution of its Bahá’í minority and its continued violation of the International Covenants on Human Rights.”
On January 9, 2009, Paul and Kucinich were once again in the minority on a 390-5 vote recognizing Israel’s “right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks” and reaffirming the U.S.’s support for Israel. He also voted against recognizing Israel’s 61st anniversary and the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. Paul has missed no opportunity to vote against the U.S.-Israel relationship, and claims Palestinians are confined to a “concentration camp.”
Racism
Ron Paul is the only Republican in the House and Senate who opposes the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and he voted it against it on its 40th anniversary. For 15 years the Ron Paul Report newsletter was filled with racism. The newsletter staff included his wife and daughter, but now Paul wants us to believe that he did not know what was in a newsletter which carried his name. According to the New Republic:

In the early 1990s, newsletters attacked the ‘X-Rated Martin Luther King’ as a ‘world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours,’ ‘seduced underage girls and boys,’ and ‘made a pass at’ fellow civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy. One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that ‘Welfaria,’ ‘Zooville,’ ‘Rapetown,’ ‘Dirtburg,’ and ‘Lazyopolis’ were better alternatives. The same year, King was described as ‘a comsymp, if not an actual party member, and the man who replaced the evil of forced segregation with the evil of forced integration.’ While bashing King, the newsletters had kind words for the former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke.

This article contains many additional damning quotes: http://www.tnr.com/print/article/politics/angry-white-man
Ron Paul is the only Republican in the House or Senate who refused to support John McCain in 2008. I sure wish a national Republican leader would step forward to condemn the many radical and dangerous statements of Ron Paul and his supporters.

Will Liberal Democrats Listen to the Message From Massachusetts?

Republicans throughout the nation are thrilled with the victory of United States Senator-elect Scott Brown. Only 11% of Bay State voters are Republicans, and this seat has been in Democratic hands for 57 years. Brown will fill Ted Kennedy’s vacancy and be the first Republican in the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation.
No one is claiming the Bay State is turning Republican but voters did send a profound message. Democratic elected officials are asking themselves if they can not win in a state which they carried by 26 points in 2008, where in the world is it safe for a liberal to be a running for federal office in 2010?
Brown raised over $12 million online which a a new record for a Senate candidate. He raised about $1 million/day during the final week. In claiming victory at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel last night, Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) said:
“I thought it was going to be me against the machine. I was wrong. It’s all of us against the machine. You have shown everyone now that you are the machine.” Predicting a cascade of election surprises throughout the nation, Brown said, “Let them take a look at what happened in Massachusetts. What happened here can happen all over the country. When there’s trouble in Massachusetts, there’s trouble everywhere, and they know it.”
If Democrats now moderate some of their views it would be a boost to their outlook in the 2010 election. There is a battle underway between liberal and moderate Democrats, and health care is now the focal point. The reactions of some prominent Democrats and journalists to Brown’s victory appear below:
Terry McAuliffe, former Chairman, Democratic National Committee, “This is a giant wake-up call. We have to do a much better job on the message. People are confused on what this health care bill is going to do.”
Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA): “It would only be fair and prudent that we now suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.”
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI): “It’s probably back to the drawing board on health care, which is unfortunate.”
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN): “Many of our people are in denial, but if you lose Massachusetts and that’s not a wake-up call, there’s no hope they will wake up. We can not have the furthest left elements of the Democratic Party attempting to impose their will on the rest of the country. . . Moderates and independents even in a state as Democratic as Massachusetts just aren’t buying our message. They just don’t believe the answers we are currently proposing are solving their problems. That’s something that has to be corrected.”
Mayor Thomas M. Menino (D-Boston): “I never thought I’d see the day when a Republican replaces Ted Kennedy. I think Scott Brown caught the wave of anger that’s out there, and the wave of anti-Obama.”
Former Mayor Raymond Flynn (D-Boston): revealed after the vote that he had supported Scott Brown. He said, “People feel like their vote is being taken granted with this powerful, one party state, and with one-party government in Washington. People want a little coalition, and a little respect… I don’t know how you regroup from something like this. There are going to be a lot of problems in the Democratic party from here on out.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D-KY): who is running for an open U.S. Senate seat, “The President is especially unpopular in eastern Kentucky. An Obama visit would not help Democrats.”
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA): “It is really time now for Democrats to shift their attention to issues that will enjoy broad public support.”
Rep. Allen Boyd (D-FL): “When it happens in Massachusetts, it really throws us a curve. It’s a big deal for a lot of members here.”
Politico: “Think back a year ago and imagine someone saying Obama would throw his support behind Democrats in New Jersey, Virginia and Ted Kennedy’s Massachusetts — and lose all of them. Think back a year ago and imagine someone saying he would celebrate his first anniversary without having gotten health care, financial regulation or energy legislation signed into law. And that less than 50 percent of the public would hold a favorable view of his presidency.”
The New York Post editorial entitled “Heck of a Job, Brownie!”: “This is the fifth time in three months that Obama has focused his star power to effect political and policy outcomes — losing each time. It didn’t work in Virginia and New Jersey, where he roller-skated in for Democratic gubernatorial candidates Creigh Deeds and JonCorzine last November. Or in Copenhagen, when he popped in to tout Chicago as host for the 2016 Olympics.
“Or in Copenhagen again, last month, at the global climate-change conference. And now this. . . Brown won. Coakley lost. But, obviously, so did Obama. Here’s hoping the president understands why.”
The New York Times: “What happened in Massachusetts on Tuesday was no ordinary special election. Scott Brown shocked and arguably humiliated the White House and the Democratic Party establishment. . . States do not come more Democratic than Massachusetts, the only one that voted for George McGovern over Richard Nixon in 1972. . . Most ominously, independent voters seemed to have fled to Mr. Brown in Massachusetts, as they did to Republicans in races for governor in Virginia and New Jersey last November. It is hard not to view that as a repudiation of the way Mr. Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders have run things.”
The Los Angeles Times: “The Democratic Party’s defeat in Massachusetts on Tuesday — the loss of a single, crucial Senate seat — will force President Obama and his congressional allies to downscale their legislative ambitions and rethink their political strategy.”
Dr. Stuart Rothenberg, GOP political analyst, “This is the biggest political upset of my adult life.”
I am also wonder if some prominent Democrats will now retract some of their comments about the moderate Brown. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called Brown a “far-right tea-bagger,” Chris Dodd (D-CT) said he was a”right-wing radical,” and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) claimed he had “right-wing views” and “radical record.”