“The liberty enjoyed by the people of these states of worshiping Almighty God agreeably to their conscience, is not only among the choicest of their blessings, but also of their rights.” – George Washington

“The first Christmas was a time of family joy for Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus. Although they had made a long journey to reach Bethlehem and were lodged in humble surroundings, they knew that the child Mary bore was a gift not to them alone, but to all mankind. The shepherds who gathered around the manger, and the wise men who traveled from the East to honor the King of Kings, knew that the star above Bethlehem was a guide not only for the pilgrims of that day, but for those in every age seeking the peace which passes understanding. An early American hymn sang of the Christ-child that ‘this richest babe comes poor in being, more pearled within than to the seeing.’ More than any gift or toy, ornament or tree, let us resolve that this Christmas shall be, like that first Christmas, a celebration of interior treasures.” – Ronald Reagan

“[W]hen you consider why true poverty exists, you realize it’s not simply a matter of pouring more money into this or that government program. ‘There are two main reasons that American children are poor,’ [Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation] writes. ‘Their parents don’t work much, and fathers are absent from the home.’ The typical poor family with children is supported by only 16 hours of work per week. If work in this family were raised to 40 hours per week, he says, nearly 75 percent of poor children would be lifted out of official poverty. As for absent fathers: Nearly two out of every three poor children live in single-parent homes. And each year, another 1.5 million children are born out of wedlock. ‘If poor mothers married the fathers of their children, almost three-quarters would immediately be lifted out of poverty,’ Rector writes. But don’t hold your breath waiting for one of the presidential hopefuls to float that solution.” – Rebecca Hagelin

“Government allocation of resources enhances the potential for human conflict, while market allocation reduces it. That also applies to contentious national issues such as Social Security and health care. You take care of your retirement and health care as you please, and I’ll take care of mine as I please. If you prefer socialized retirement and health care, that’s fine if you don’t force others to participate. I’m afraid most Americans view such a liberty-oriented solution with hostility. They believe they have a right to enlist the brute forces of government to impose their preferences on others.” – Walter Williams

“‘Given the lack of time available,’ Sen. Mitch McConnell said last week, ‘the best way to deal with the troop funding issue would be in the context of some kind of settlement on an overall omnibus appropriation bill.’ Instead of following the President’s hard line on spending, the Republican leader of the Senate was opting for a compromise bill that George W. Bush might be forced to sign because it contains money for Iraq. Mitch McConnell has proved an effective minority leader who has kept his 49 senators remarkably unified. What is often overlooked is that McConnell is the first Senate Republican leader in nearly half a century with a seat on the Appropriations Committee. Sen. Lamar Alexander, newly elected chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and a McConnell ally, is also an appropriator. So are Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison, the Conference vice chairman, and the canny Robert Bennett, McConnell’s close adviser who sits at the leadership table as the minority leader’s counsel. These Senate GOP leaders opt for pork as the party reaches a fork in the road. That fork offers choices not only for current government spending but also for the Republican future. One way pressed by conservative reformers would either block an omnibus bill or stop it by sustaining a presidential veto, insisting on a CR that would save taxpayers $30 billion a year. The other course makes a deal with an omnibus bill $8 billion to $11 billion over Bush’s guidelines, virtually forcing him to sign it by inserting troop money, further depressing the demoralized Republican voter base. That was the course McConnell clearly indicated last week.” – Robert Novak

“In a story titled 2007 Elections Offer Little Guidance for Republicans in 2008, FOX News notes, ‘Republicans on Capitol Hill have been engaged in a re-branding exercise since losing their majorities in the House and Senate in 2006. But GOP lawmakers and strategists are divided over whether the party should espouse conservative principles or a more moderate image in light of 2007 election results.’ This is EXACTLY why we are now in the mess we are in. If our party leaders and so-called ‘strategists’ can’t figure out whether a conservative or moderate approach is better, it simply shows they have no guiding principles in the first place. There should be absolutely NO debate on where the party should be on the issues. America embraced the Republican Party because we stood for conservative principles and reform. To succeed, we simply need to return to those core values.” – Bobby Eberle

“Reductions in enemy attacks, fewer U.S., coalition and civilian casualties and improvements in Iraqi military and security forces have driven news from Iraq out of the front pages of our papers and off broadcast news. Publicly, U.S. commanders describe the situation as ‘cautiously optimistic’ and say ‘the momentum is in the right direction.’ Privately, they say, ‘We are putting them (al-Qa’ida and the Shi’ite militias) on the ropes.’ Though disappointed by the lack of ‘good news’ being reported in the U.S. media, the troops’ sense of humor is undiminished. When Secretary Gates was in Baghdad this week, it was announced that lack of congressional funding could result in ‘pink slips for up to 200,000 Defense Department employees.’ Hearing the story, one young soldier heading out on patrol commented, ‘Somebody call me if I get laid off’.” – Oliver North