A write-in challenge could endanger “Blue Dog” Democrat Rep. John Barrow’s prospects of re-election in Georgia’s 12th District, David Weigel reports:
On Monday, former State Senator Regina Thomas will file papers to run as an official write-in candidate against Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), a more conservative Democrat who beat her in the 2008 and 2010 primaries. Official status will allow votes for her to be counted as she runs a regular campaign. Barrow is white, Thomas is black, but Barrow has been successful up to now in winning enough black votes to fend off his challenger.
The history of GA-12, a new district created after the 2000 Census, is that Republicans tend to do well in mid-terms, while Democrats perform strongly in presidential election years. Barrow should be vulnerable this year and having a black liberal independent candidate in a district where 44% of voters are black would heighten that vulnerability.
Republican nominee Ray McKinney, who won 62% of the vote in Tuesday’s GOP primary runoff, speaks well of Thomas.
“I’ve known Ms. Thomas for years,” McKinney said in a phone interview Friday afternoon. “She’s honest. She’s direct. What you see is what you get, and that’s something you have to respect.”
McKinney (whose campaign in GA-12 was profiled here in April) said he thinks Thomas should be included in any debates with Barrow.
Thomas got 14,000 votes in the July 20 Democratic primary against Barrow. Even if she gets only a fraction of that as a write-in candidate Nov. 2, it could be enough to keep the Democrat nominee from getting a majority, and Georgia law would then require a runoff. With control of the House possibly hinging on the outcome, GA-12 might become one of the most closely watched districts in the country this fall.
MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT
Congress Should Slow the Spending, End the Earmarks and Plug the Pork
RE: Clearly, the practice of putting thousands of earmarks in spending bills, many for projects of a purely local nature, did not originate with the Founding Fathers-it is a recent phenomenon. Congress never extensively earmarked until the 1990s; it is neither necessary nor traditional to buy elections with pork.
“…federal money should be limited to great national works only, since if it were unlimited it would liable to abuse and might be productive of evil.”
—President James Monroe, 1822
LOS ANGELES — When a Republican consultant tried to interest a reporter for the Torrance (Calif.) Daily Breeze in GOP challenger Mattie Fein’s response to a story about Rep. Jane Harman, the reporter’s reply was blunt:
“Don’t call or e-mail us - we’ll call you if we’re interested. And if you haven’t got it yet, we’re not interested.”
Amy Miller of Red State says: “If this surprises you, you are not paying attention.”
I don’t often cite Richard Lugar as an authority on the Republican Party’s future, but he asks some of the right questions here.
“The question is, how creative will Republicans be in the face of this? If we get the majority, will there be the sort of negotiations that occurred between Newt Ginrich and Bill Clinton, for example?” he said. “And if so, who is going to be our Newt?”
Lugar was asked whether Republicans such as House Minority Leader John Boehner of Ohio and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky can fill that role.
“Probably not,” Lugar said. “But it’s a very important question.”
And even Gingrich largely fizzled out after 1996. To me, the Republicans’ biggest problem is a lack of leadership ready to take over should they regain the majority. The leaders who took over after 1994 had been planning and had an agenda in place for quite some time. That strikes me as much more worth worrying about than a few Tea Party primary victories.
The conventional wisdom is that the Republicans have shot themselves in the foot by nominating so many Tea Party-backed candidates who are too extreme to win in November. Dave Weigel rightly calls BS, pointing out that the same thing was said about many Democrats in 2006 and 2008. He could have used some of the Republican class of ‘94 as examples as well. Then as now, the political climate will make the unelectable electable.
In fact, the polling date doesn’t really support the idea that Ken Buck or Rand Paul will lose. Sharron Angle remains at least a toss-up. And in every one of those cases, there were serious problems with the establishment-annointed candidates. The Tea Partiers won precisely because the establishment-backed frontrunners imploded. This is hardly a strong recommendation for the general election. That’s not to say all of the candidates will win or that even those who do will be able to survive in a less favorable election cycle. But the concern about who is making it out of the Republican primaries is mostly overblown.
USA Today’s military beat reporter Jim Michaels has a tremendously important op-ed in yesterday’s newspaper. Michaels explains how, at a crucial juncture in the Iraq war, in 2006, the Big Media consistently misinformed policymakers and the American public about what was really happening in Iraq.
Michaels charitably attributes this media misinformation campaign to the “fog of war.” A more candid explanation, however, must acknowledge that the Big Media is mostly anti-war, journalistically lazy and unimaginative, and all too willing to participate in the construction of a defeatist narrative that plays into the hands of America’s enemies.
In short, legacy media outlets should not get a pass for their misleading reporting. Instead, they should be held accountable for their journalistic misdeeds and their work discounted accordingly.
A big part of the problem for reporters is that Iraq and Afghanistan are unconventional conflicts and specifically counterinsurgencies. Consequently, the traditional yardsticks by which we measure military progress — success or failure in traditional set-piece battles — simply do not apply.
Rather, Michaels explains, counterinsurgencies are typically “won and lost in the hearts and minds of civilians,” which are harder to see:
Bombings and casualties should not be ignored, of course. Violence is part of war, but context is crucial. If we applied today’s standards to conventional war, the headline after D-Day would have read: “10,000 Allies Killed or Wounded in Record Violence.”
As the storm clouds gather, Charlie Rangel parties with Al Sharpton, David Dinkins, and Dionne Warwick. Democrats hoping he’ll go away quietly before the election are likely to be disappointed.
Judge Vaughn Walker has put same-sex marriage in California on hold until at least August 18 to give Proposition 8 proponents a chance to appeal.
According to the Washington Post, outgoing CEA chair Christina Romer said “she wishes she could redo” the infamous January 2010 economic report in which she projected that the stimulus would keep the unemployment rate under 8 percent .
I wish she could “redo” the disastrous stimulus.
Here’s an updated version of The Chart that haunted Romer throughout her tenure, from Innocent Bystanders:
In fairness to Romer, it’s the details that count. According to the Post, ”[e]xcept for the unexpectedly severe collapse in economic growth, Romer said, the report has turned out to be “very accurate.””
…And except for the lingering unemployment crisis, the Obama economic team has done a bang-up job.
Deal Hudson at Inside Catholic has a timely and thoughtful warning about a new group, organized by liberal activists, called the Catholic Mobilizig Network to End the Death Penalty. He questions whether the group might overstate Pope John Paul II’s slightly contingent anti-death-penalty writings while undermining the more important, non-contingent pro-life doctrine against abortion. Worth a read. At the link above. Good stuff.
This is mostly about posturing and placating. Democrats still lack the votes needed to pass big labor’s agenda, but unelected lawyers occupying powerful administrative positions can still do great damage.
While addressing the executive council of the AFL-CIO at the Washington Convention Center in D.C. earlier this month, President Obama told labor leaders that he would push congress to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which includes the anti- secret ballot “card check” provision.
In the 2008 election cycle, labor union political action committees (PACs) donated $66 million to congressional candidates with 92 percent of those funds going to Democrats. Obama knows he’ll need this key constituency out in full force to help negate the expected mid-term election losses in the House and Senate.
“We are going to keep on fighting to pass the Employee Free Choice Act,” Obama declared even as he acknowledged that labor faces an uphill fight. Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and other moderate Democrats have expressed opposition. However, the president has appointed left-leaning lawyers to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) who are now positioned to secure major policy changes without congressional approval.
Glenn Spencer, executive director of the Workforce Freedom Initiative at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, issued the following statement in response to Obama’s speech.
“We welcome the President’s call to rebuild our economy, but taking away the private ballot and imposing government-dictated union contracts on employers won’t help. Misguided bills like Card Check, overbearing regulations from the Department of Labor, and a slanted NLRB will only discourage America’s job creators from putting people back to work.”
The longtime Democratic congressman, one of the barons to lose his seat in 1994, is dead at age 82.
The debate over whether public employees are overpaid relative to their private-sector counterparts breaks down, as usual, along partisan lines. Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic does his best to defend public workers’ seemingly inflated wages. AEI’s Andrew Biggs responds briefly, delving into some of the reasons to believe that an apples-to-apples comparison shows that we’re paying too much to public-sector union workers. Biggs, along with Jason Richwine, has a much more comprehensive review of the situation in the upcoming October issue of the Spectator.
While I think Biggs has taken into account all the major considerations in making the call about whether or not public employees are making too much, Steven Landsburg has found a way to cut through the fog in this blog post:
How can we ever be sure we’ve counted everything important? We can’t…. So let’s do something sensible instead. Let’s look at quit rates. Quit rates in the public sector are about one third what they are elsewhere. In other words, government employees sure do seem to like holding on to their jobs. More than just about anyone else, in fact. Doesn’t that tell us everything we need to know about who’s overcompensated?
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid isn’t backing off his assertion that he doesn’t know how anyone of “Hispanic heritage could be a Republican.” This shows at least two things: 1.) Reid views the Hispanic vote as crucial to his reelection bid and 2.) There is a candidate in the Nevada Senate race who is given to saying ridiculous things and it is not necessarily Sharron Angle.
UPDATE: A commenter below makes a very good point: Brian Sandoval, Republican candidate for governor of Nevada, is a Hispanic Republican. His Democratic opponent? Rory Reid, the Senate majority leader’s son.
It’s become an article of faith in certain liberal circles that President Obama has triggered a racially motivated backlash among whites, which has contributed to his low approval ratings. But new Gallup data undermines that theory.
Of the course of its polling, Gallup asked Americans whether they approved or disapproved of Obama’s handling of 13 different issues. As it turns out, race relations was the one issue on which a majority of Americans —53 percent — approved.
Rounding out the bottom was immigration at 29 percent and the federal deficit at 31 percent. Just 40 percent approved of his handling of health care policy.
This poll suggests that Obama’s political problems stem from his unpopular agenda and the objectively bad economy, rather than race.
Now that Paul Ryan has been thoroughly dragged through the mud for trying to propose a solution to the nation’s fiscal problems (and Megan McArdle has written the coda for that episode), it’s time to examine the Democratic alternatives to the Roadmap.
Of course, there are none. The closest thing we have to a left-wing Roadmap (that is, a plan that exists and is scored by the Congressional Budget Office) is House minority leader Steny Hoyer’s June speech on deficit reduction. During his remarks, Hoyer, being less partisan and more intellectually honest than certain New York Times columnists, acknowledged Ryan’s efforts to provide a conservative, spending-only approach to cutting the debt: “…a spending-only plan has been on the table for more than two years. It’s Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s Roadmap, and it was originally introduced in May of 2008. Even though I strongly oppose its severe Medicare cuts for seniors, I’ve praised Congressman Ryan for being the only one in his party to offer a solution equal to the problem.”
Hoyer then sketched out the roughest outlines of a more liberal plan, one that includes, on the revenue side, “a serious discussion” about letting all the Bush tax cuts expire. On the spending side, Hoyer recommended lowering the defense budget, and recognized the need to trim entitlements, proposing “a higher retirement age, or one pegged to lifespan; more progressive Social Security and Medicare benefits; and a stronger safety net for the Americans who need it most.” In other words, cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
Now, admitting that the government needs to cut Medicare mere months after your party has rammed through “comprehensive health care reform” does take some boldness. Give Hoyer credit, even though the times call for something a bit more serious than “a serious discussion” on tax hikes.
Crucially, though, the Democrats have control of the presidency and both houses of Congress. You’re not seeing fully-scored legislation from any Democrats (though please let me know if I’m missing something). They’re going to need to do a little better.
Specifically, President Obama has slightly more of an obligation to address the fiscal problems than does Paul Ryan. And yet Obama’s stated plan is…to let the deficit commission come up with a plan.
In fact, the Obama administration’s last budget planned for a fiscal trajectory that is, by the administration’s own admission, unsustainable. Here’s Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orzsag:
Let’s be clear: even with the substantial-and historic-deficit reduction proposed in this year’s Budget, we will still face unsustainable medium- and long-term deficits. And the Administration knows that more will need to be done to restore the nation to a fiscally sustainable path.
That’s why the President has called for the creation of a bipartisan Fiscal Commission….
Of course Obama would say, as he does constantly, that he inherited the bulk of the deficits from George W. Bush. He would be right, but that has no bearing on what constitutes a responsible strategy. If the Democrats wanted to undo all of Bush’s irresponsible spending, they could use their majorities to get rid of the prescription drug program, pull the troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and let the Bush tax cuts expire. Otherwise, it’s on them to find out another way to balance the long term budget. We have a spending-only plan, courtesy of Paul Ryan. Let’s hear the revenue-only plan, or at least a compromise.
Peter Schiff deserves his ardent national following and, all things considered, had a respectable showing in his race for the Republican senatorial nomination in Connecticut. But I think Ron Paul Republicans erred by making him their number two priority after Rand Paul.
Schiff was always a long shot to win the Republican primary. Once Chris Dodd decided not to seek reelection, the Republican nominee became a long shot to win the general election. By contrast, John Hostettler was in a winnable race in Indiana. What little polling was done of the Republican primary voters suggested he was competitive with frontrunner Dan Coats in a more fluid contest. All the public polling showed Hostettler beating the eventual Democratic nominee, with the early surveys showing him running better than Coats. In any event the winner of the GOP primary had to be considered a strong favorite in November.
Imagine if, say, half the resources that went into Schiff’s campaign had gone into Hostettler’s. Hostettler’s biggest problem was his poor fundraising. Had he raised a credible amount of money, the Beltway right would never have gone all in for Marlin Stutzman. So a split in the conservative vote would have been avoided. If Hostettler could have gotten his hard-hitting ad about Coats on television, it could have blown the race open.
Hostettler isn’t as pure on some issues of libertarian doctrine as Schiff nor was he as big a name in Ron Paul circles. But he had one of the best records as a constitutional conservative and he did get Paul’s endorsement in the primary. With the resources allocated as they were, both Hostettler and Schiff finished third with about 23 percent of the vote. Had the money been spent differently, it is possible that Rand Paul would have some company.
The Colorado primary was another example of conservative activists beating the Republican establishment while liberal activists lose to the Democratic establishment. Tea Party favorite Ken Buck won, liberal darling Andrew Romanoff lost. Michael Bennet’s primary win follows the renomination of Blanche Lincoln and Jane Harman, though Joe Sestak did beat Arlen Specter.
One thing that complicates the Bennet-Romanoff race is that President Obama joined the party establishment in backing the incumbent while Bill Clinton supported the challenger. The Atlantic plays up Obama’s role in Bennet’s victory while this Associated Press report has Bennet hedging on that point. Bennet’s take seems to be, “Thanks for the help Barack, but don’t come back!”
With Karen Handel conceding to Nathan Deal in the race for governor in Georgia, Newt Gingrich’s possible presidential campaign should not hang in the balance. There is no way, none whatsoever, that Deal would have beaten Handel if home-state icon Gingrich had not weighed in so heavily for him. He barely squeaked past Ms. Handel. But Mr. Deal has a pending federal investigation against him. If this investigation finds Deal to have seriously erred, and it costs Georgia Republicans the governorship, it is Gingrich who should get the blame. Gingrich already has insulted conservatives not just by endorsing DeDe Scozzafava over Doug Hoffman in New York last year, but actually criticizing Hoffman supporters in harsh and disparaging terms. Now he carries the ethically-challenged Deal across the finish line. This is his Deal now. One can only hope that the charges against Deal have no merit. But Democrats reportedly are licking their chops. They thought Deal was a weaker candidate in the general election than Handel. IF they prove right, Gingrich should not be allowed to live it down. When are Washington GOPers going to stop their sickening mutual back-scratching and letting the local Republican voters make decisions on their own?
Not content to wait until 2014, when the federal government begins punishing Americans who don’t have health insurance, the top dogs in North Carolina’s university system have decreed that all students buy coverage — or else.
It’s a glimmer of what ObamaCare will eventually become. Last year, the University of North Carolina Board of Governors decided that students who aren’t covered by another plan, such as through a parent or employer, must purchase coverage through the system’s hand-picked provider, beginning in the 2010 fall semester.
The penalty if students don’t: getting booted out.
The premiums are reasonable — about $360 each semester across the system’s 16 campuses. Students who can’t afford the coverage can get it free through student aid.
But similar to the debate in Congress, pro-lifers are crying foul over the plan’s coverage for abortion. K-Lo over at NRO’s “The Corner” has the details. The plan covers abortions up to $500 with a 20 percent deductible for in-network providers.
University officials argue that they aren’t forcing students to purchase abortion coverage, since they’re free to buy coverage elsewhere. But if students don’t buy health insurance, they can’t attend. Period. Besides, how many pro-life students will unknowingly purchase coverage that funnels cash to a procedure they find morally repugnant?
It’s yet another example of how ObamaCare, and policies like it, benefit the abortion industry.
At NRO, Andy McCarthy launches from a Washington Times editorial to make further points about a State Department sponsorship of a foreign trip by the sponsor of the Ground Zero mosque. Andy’s last paragraph hits the ball out of the park:
Someone in Congress needs to get to the bottom of whether this government is also underwriting Islamic religious institutions, and doing so in violation of U.S. law. And wholly apart from questions of legality and utility, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states Rauf is visiting are swimming in petro-dollars — why can’t they fund icons of Islamic supremacism on their own … maybe using the money they’d otherwise spend on the hate literature they produce for American Islamic centers?
It is indisputably a good thing for Americans to welcome and promote moderate Muslims (if they truly are moderate). It is absolutely obnoxious for the U.S. government to use American tax dollars to directly underwrite religious proselyzation — especially by somebody whose hands may not really be clean.
In the Colorado Democratic primary for the US Senate, the media is picking up on the theme that Clinton-endorsed challenger Andrew Romanoff was defeated by Obama-endorsed appointed Senator Michael Bennet.
Not so fast.
In a series of stories that began in this space in February we noted that Pennsylvania Congressman Joe Sestak’s admission of a job offer from the White House in return for his withdrawal from the Democratic Senate primary in Pennsylvania, if true, was in fact an allegation of a federal crime. Research discovered that lo and behold this same sort of offer had turned up in the Colorado Senate primary, with a report that Mr. Romanoff had been offered a job in return for his withdrawal.
The story gained traction. Congressman Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, began asking questions. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs began dodging press questions.
Result? For months Mr. Romanoff was in the news — particularly in the New Media or, as it is called here, the Virtual Newsroom. Denver radio’s Peter Boyles at KHOW picked up the story and I appeared with increasing frequency on the Boyles show to discuss the latest events. Boyles would not let go of the story even as the liberal Denver Post refused to pursue it. Sean Hannity followed every twist and turn in Jobsgate both on his radio and television shows, making Romanoff a household name all over America. Not mention Colorado. This resulted in months of bad press for Romanoff, culminating in a White House admission that yes, indeed, they had offered Romanoff not one job but his choice of three if he would withdraw. White House Deputy Chief of staff Jim Messina was fingered as the culprit, the name originally fingered in the lone Denver Post story on the subject in September of 2009.
Finally, Mr. Romanoff himself changed his strategy. He went public. Now he was everywhere, including the ever-persistent Fox News. To Boyles’ amazement he agreed to appear on Boyles’ morning show. I was invited — although Romanoff did not know. He had ignored my calls. Doubtless he was stunned to find me on the other end of the conversation with Boyles. My first question: Would he cooperate with an Issa investigation or, if Eric Holder ever had the nerve to investigate this White House, the Justice Department? Crisply, stunned to find me there, Romanoff on-air pledged that he would. The conversation with Boyles proceeded. When it was my turn, I went back to his rationale for staying silent — which was identical to Sestak’s. The people of Colorado want to talk about jobs, he kept saying, not this… yada yada. I pointed out to him that trust in public officials was at the very heart of all other issues. If voters felt he… or Sestak… were being so blatantly untruthful on this, how could they trust him on other issues like jobs.
Romanoff, clearly miffed, picked up on my reference to once having worked for a Senator and hence having some familiarity with the basics of being seen as honest when dealing with the public and the press. He said that when elected he’d consider offering me a job as his press secretary. When the commercial break came, he hung up, refusing to participate further.
Oh well. There goes the job.
The overlooked fact, which will surely be in play for Sestak himself, is that the Sestak-Romanoff Jobsgate affair gave Mr. Romanoff a black eye. He was pounded relentlessly by Hannity on national air and Boyles on local air. Yesterday, he lost.
Aside from his decision to stay silent for months, he has one other person to thank for his defeat beside Peter Boyles and Sean Hannity: Joe Sestak.
It was Sestak who launched this entire episode by admitting to a job offer — then refusing to say more.
It is Sestak who must now face Pat Toomey in the Pennsylvania Senate election — not the old and beatable party-switching Arlen Specter. But a young, scandal free and very smart conservative.
The Sestak-Romanoff Jobsgate scandal has just snuffed out the Senate ambitions of half of the headlining scandal-team.
Stay tuned. It’s only August.
May former Ted Stevens and others who died in the Alaskan plane crash rest in peace. Our prayers are with them — and with the survivors, who will have both physical and emotional injuries to overcome.
Let me say how thrilled I am to see that former NASA administrator Sean O’Keefe and his son were survivors. O’Keefe, at age 54, still has a lot to offer his country. He is one of those guys who seems omni-competent. He did a great job in two major positions at the Pentagon, at OMB, at NASA, at LSU, and in private industry. He earned near-universal plaudits for his response as NASA chief to the tragedy of the space shuttle Columbia. He is a pro-Defense, no-nonsense guy in the Cheney mode. He is a patriot. He would have been a great loss had he not survived.
There was brief talk in 2008 of him running for Senate against Mary Landrieu. Frankly, I thought the Rove team was crazy NOT to make recruiting O’Keefe a priority. I think he would have pushed Landrieu to the limit, and may well have beaten her. He would have been a stronger candidate than the philosphically malleable John Kennedy, a basically good guy but hardly a solid conservative or a galvanizing candidate. (This isn’t a knock on John; he is who he is, and he does a great job as state treasurer. But I digress.)
Here’s hoping for a full and fast recovery for O’Keefe and his son, and, after a couple of years, perhaps a return to public service. These United States need good men like him to make our government work the way it should.
As I’ve written before, I try to avoid blogging about MSNBC stuff because the viewership size doesn’t justify the effort, but sometimes it’s worth it to cite examples of how off-the-wall the Left can be — not that we need many reminders. Or like yesterday, when progressives just forfeit a battle by inaccurately reporting historical events. That’s what Ed Schultz did when former Newt Gingrich spokesman (when he was House Speaker) Tony Blankley was a guest on his program, to discuss the 1995 government shutdown in light of a potential lame duck session this November. Newsbusters’ Noel Sheppard captured the exchange:
Clearly underestimating his opponent, Schultz rudely introduced the subject of a Republican proposal to not have the Congress come back for a lame duck session after November’s elections by saying, “No one knows better about shutting down Congress than someone who was right there working for Newt Gingrich when it happened before.”
Not letting this stand, Blankley gave the “Ed Show” host a much-needed history lesson…
SCHULTZ: You bet. Do you think it plays to the sensibilities of Americans to suggest a plan that, gosh, the Congress would only be in session to do something for the American people several weeks out of the next four months?
BLANKLEY: Well, first of all, I’ve got to correct the record as I expected I would. Newt did not close down the government in ‘95. The Republican Congress passed two bills and the President Clinton decided to veto them because he didn’t like what was in the bill, which was funding plus requiring to balance the budget in seven years. And by the way, if you dispute it, I do have in my hot little hands the transcript from Nightline of the night the government closed down with Cokie Roberts and President Clinton agreeing that he vetoed the bill. So, putting that aside, we didn’t want to close down the government. We wanted to balance the budget….
SCHULTZ: Well, let me, so you don’t have history revisionism going on here, Tony, the fact is is that it was Newt Gingrich who made the decision based on the action of President Clinton that okay, that’s it, we’re just going to shut her down. The President was not advocating shutting down the Congress. Is that correct?
BLANKLEY: That is not, that is not true. Newt passed, we passed, we passed the bill with the money and the debt limit raise which is what was required. By the way, I have a Congressional Research Service study that says the same thing. Republicans passed the bill. The President vetoed it.
Not realizing his gaping wounds, as Sheppard notes, Schultz continued to press Blankley based on his ridiculous premise. I love it when the Left makes it so easy.
Former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) was killed in a plane crash. He had survived a 1978 crash that killed his first wife. Stevens was 86.
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Jerry Kammer done a video report on the border towns of Cochise County, Arizona for the Center for Immigration Studies.
Carolyn Lochead of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at the budget cuts proposed in the congressional Republicans’ “Tread Boldly” campaign document and comes away unimpressed:
Among the ideas for reducing the nation’s $13 trillion debt (mislabeled “deficit” in the pamphlet) is a call to “eliminate unnecessary and duplicative federal programs,” a well-worn bullet point that fails to name any such program. Others, such as canceling what’s left of the bank rescue and President Obama’s stimulus in addition to freezing federal hiring, are slightly more specific but yield sums nowhere near what’s necessary to tame the rising debt.
The document calls for extending $3.1 trillion in expiring Bush administration tax cuts, the vast majority of which Obama and Democratic leaders wholeheartedly embrace, except for the tax cuts for high earners. Defense spending, which has more than doubled since 2001, dwarfing every other budget category, goes unmentioned. The most telling omission is Medicare, the jet engine of U.S. deficits.
And the beat goes on. Lochead praises Paul Ryan’s Roadmap but notes that he’s been hung out to dry by party bosses.
On the main site today I expound on the blamethrowing between the Obama Administration and eco-gogue groups over the expected failure of Congress to pass cap-and-trade this year. In the piece I cite Eaarth inhabitant Bill McKibben, chief carbon counter of 350.org, who is one of the most amusing (unintentionally) environoiacs bloviating today (but still taken seriously by his fellow Greens). I quoted a couple of lines from a “no more Mister Nice Guy” piece he wrote last week, but a few more of his complaints and recommended strategies to win politically on the issue were worth a mention here, just for giggles:
And then there are “those damned shriveled ears of corn…”
This morning White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was quoted as saying that movement liberals “ought to be drug tested” for comparing Barack Obama to George W. Bush and that “[t]hey will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon,” and now deputy press secretary Bill Burton has replaced Gibbs at the podium for the daily press briefing.
Of course the usual left-wing suspects were outraged by Gibbs’s comments — and rightfully so. Gibbs has already walked back his comments and it remains to be seen whether his time as press secretary is over, but it’s worth considering whether this represents the beginning of a new phase in liberal disenchantment with the president.
For example, Nate Silver makes the case that Obama is starting to lose control of the narrative of his own successes:
…I suspect that for most liberals, any real sense of progress has now been lost. Yes, the left got a good-but-not-great health care bill, a good-but-not-great stimulus package, a good-but-not-great financial reform plan: these are a formidable bounty, and Obama and the Democratic Congress worked hard for them. But they now read as a basically par-for-the-course result from a time when all the stars were aligned for the Democrats — rather than anything predictive of a new direction, or of a more progressive future. In contrast, as should become emphatically clear on November 2nd, the reversion to the mean has been incredibly swift.
I don’t know whether Gibbs was going “off-message” out of frustration, or whether the White House has become so jaded that they actually think this was a good strategy. Either way, it speaks to the need for some fresh blood and some fresh ideas in the White House. The famously unflappable Obama is losing his cool.
And Ben Smith suggests that liberals might just now be remembering that Obama was never fully a movement member:
But a key thing to understand about Obama’s presidency is the unusual relationship between the former Illinois Senator and the traditional Democratic infrastructure of power. Most candidates build their campaigns by courting one constituency — auto-workers, Asian-Americans, tech executives, etc. — at a time, often for many years. But Obama had no shot at most of these groups. Hillary Clinton had been courting the key components of the institutional party — most of big labor, members of Congress, the civil rights establishment — for decades. John Edwards had tacked far enough left to win the allegiance of anti-war and anti-trade factions.
Obama — making a virtue out of necessity — didn’t bother with much of the deal-making and courtship because he didn’t have a chance anyway.
Ultimately, the organized left got on board, of course. They couldn’t do anything else and many — like MoveOn, which vastly expanded its email list — enhanced their own strength in the process. They worked hard for Obama’s election.
But Gibbs’ dig is a reminder that at the heart of this White House is a belief that Obama is president despite the Democratic Party, not because of it.
It’s enough to make one wonder about the wisdom of maintaining the same press secretary for over a year. Gibbs’s job is to deflect tough questions and to withhold information that people really want. Given enough time in this role, he was bound to develop some animosity with his toughest critics. Now that animosity has surfaced, and it’s Obama who must deal with the fallout.
Are they the same person? “Red Eye“‘s Greg Gutfeld announced this morning that he plans to open a gay bar — that caters to Muslim men — next to the mosque that is planned at the 9/11 Ground Zero site. Mediaite says he’s serious, citing his blog post:
As an American, I believe they have every right to build the mosque - after all, if they buy the land and they follow the law - who can stop them?
Which is, why, in the spirit of outreach, I’ve decided to do the same thing.
I’m announcing tonight, that I am planning to build and open the first gay bar that caters not only to the west, but also Islamic gay men….
The goal, however, is not simply to open a typical gay bar, but one friendly to men of Islamic faith. An entire floor, for example, will feature non-alcoholic drinks, since booze is forbidden by the faith. The bar will be open all day and night, to accommodate men who would rather keep their sexuality under wraps - but still want to dance.
Of course, this doesn’t make any sense since homosexuality is also forbidden by the faith. Not sure about dancing.
Ed Rubenstein reports that Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s (ICE) published data on removals do not support the projections that deportations are up under the Obama administration. Rubenstein says the ICE”s own data shows deportations down 3.1 percent over the first nine months of fiscal 2010 after increasing in the last two years of the Bush administration.
In FY2008-George W. Bush’s last full fiscal year-deportations rose a whopping 26.8% from the prior year. But growth slowed to 5.6% in FY2009, the last eight months of which were on Obama’s watch.
And now the rate of deportations in has actually turned negative. As things stand now, Fiscal 2010, which started on October 1, 2009 and is Obama’s first full year, is on course to be the first since FY2002 in which deportations will have declined.
And it’s very hard to see how Morton’s blithe estimate of “about 400,000” deportations can be reached.
Rubenstein also notes that Secure Communities is making the deportation numbers look better:
To be sure, not all types of deportations have declined. Convicted criminal removals rose 37% in the first nine months of FY2010 compared to the same period of FY2009.
Mr. Morton credits Obama’s “rational” immigration policy for this, adding: “You’ve got to have aggressive enforcement against criminal offenders. You have to have a secure border. You have to have some integrity in the system.”
Reality check: most of the rise in criminal deportations is attributable to the “Secure Communities” program, a Bush initiative inherited by Mr. Obama. While ICE takes full credit for expanding the program, the real impetus comes from state and local governments. They are sick and tired of footing the bill for holding illegal aliens in their lock ups.
If these numbers hold up, then things will be even worse than I reported in my last column on this subject.
I just posted this at the Wash Times Water Cooler, re the Alaskan plane crash. Pathos galore. Very, very sad. Please read it.
Imagine turning on your television set in the morning and there is a Mullah offering prayer in Arabic!
You turn to the next channel and there are Chinese, speaking Chinese. The NASA channel again is in a foreign language!
First thought: we have been taken over. Second thought: but, why in a couple of languages?
Finally, DISH TV admits they have gotten their TV receptions fouled up and are re-transmitting material from other countries! A technician assures me this will all get straightened out in “about an hour.”
To my knowledge, this is a first. First time a network in the United States has allowed itself to be pre-empted by a foreign channel — not one but by at least two — and has been unable to disentangle itself!
Disturbing? Sure. I don’t want the Dow Jones explicated in Arabic or in Mandarin. But what if there was an emergency, in America, and one that needed correction or direction in English?
We could be done in.
How easy was it? Was it a simple mistake, or a little more, a little practice?
Okay, I’m ready to go way way way out on a limb: The NFC Champions, and therefore that conference’s representatives in the Super Bowl this coming winter, will be the Washington Redskins.
No, I’m not smoking peyote (or whatever you do with peyote). And no, I’m not a Skins fan — haven’t rooted for them since they let George Allen and Billy Kilmer go without ceremony or thanks at the end of the 1970s, and have strongly disliked them since they maltreated Richie Petitbon after leaving him am empty cupboard in the early 1990s.
But I really think the Skins are the real deal.
How could that be, you ask. Didn’t they go 4-12 last year?
Yes. But seven of those 12 losses were by less than a touchdown. Most of those were games in which the Skins led until late. In short, they were ohsoclose to being a good team. Their defense, which was superb anyway most of the year, returns at full strength — but this time with Albert Haynesworth in much better shape, and this time also under the stewardship of Jim Haslett, whose history is of doing a great job with his units in his first year anywhere, before he rubs them all the wrong way.
Now, add to that good defense a MUCH improved offense. Jason Campbell was a solid, middle-of-the-pack NFL quarterback. Donovan McNabb, who replaces him, is probably going to end up in the Hall of Fame. Last year the running game went to hell when Clinton Portis went gimpy. This year Portis is joined by Larry Johnson and Willie Parker; if one goes down, one of the others surely will fill in ably. Last year the offensive line was held together by bailing wire and, frankly, was mediocre. This year they have a first-found draft choice, highly rated, to play one tackle, and a former Pro Bowler, Jamaal Brown, to play the other. They got Brown for a song from the Saints, who won the Super Bowl last year while he sat on injured reserve and thus found his salary expendable. But he’s very, very good. Last year several journeymen offensive linemen were seeing their first-ever serious playing time. This year, if called upon (a couple might be backups again rather than starters), they will enter the game with a ton of hard-won experience. Last year TE Chris Cooley got hurt. Fred Davis stepped in and proved to be a superb player. Now BOTH of them are healthy, meaning the Skins can be a serious, serious threat when they use a two tight-end set.
Finally, last year the head coach was the classy, thoughtful, hard-working but overmatched Jim Zorn, undermined by a less-than-skillful GM and undermined by an interfering owner who had different rules for different players. This year the owner finally seems to have taken a back seat, because his GM is Bruce Allen (son of the aforementioned George, brother of the George who was U.S. Senator from Virginia), who has been successful elsewhere, and the coach is no-nonsense, two-time Super Bowl champion, perennial winner, tough-as-nails Mike Shanahan.
All of which means that my New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys, and any other pretenders to the throne will need to keep a close eye on the Washington Redskins.
You read it here first.
Days after the passage of the new health care law, President Obama visited Iowa and offered some brash words for Republicans who planned to campaign against it:
This is the reform that some folks in Washington are still hollering about. And now that it’s passed, they’re already promising to repeal it. They’re actually going to run on a platform of repeal in November.
Well I say go for it… If they want to have that fight, I welcome that fight.
But with the 2010 campaign season now at hand, the White House is singing a different tune, the Los Angeles Times reports:
In an effort coordinated with the White House, congressional leaders are urging Democrats to focus less on bragging about what they have done — a landmark healthcare law, a sweeping overhaul of Wall Street regulation and other far-reaching policy changes — and more on efforts to fix the economy and on the perils of Republican control of Congress.
One year after many town hall meetings were upended by raucous anti-government protesters, congressional Democrats are trying to ensure that this summer’s debate sheds a more flattering light on their party as they navigate a bruising midterm election campaign….
The article goes on to include this quote:
“Our candidates’ job is not to sell the accomplishments of the past but to send a message that strikes a chord,” said a senior Democratic advisor who did not want to be identified while discussing strategy. “I am not one who thinks our candidates should go out and sell healthcare reform. They have to stay focused on jobs, the economy and shaking up Washington.”
AP is reporting that former Sen. Ted Stevens was believed to be aboard an airplane that crashed in Alaska. His condition is unknown, and the Alaska National Guard has said there are possible fatalities.
More on the ongoing shenanigans at the Holder/Obama Department of (in)Justice — shenanigans that go FAR beyond the Black Panther case — at the Washington Times:
Their reports, and reports from other former department lawyers, reveal that black staffers at Justice have been harassed for working on cases against black defendants, that department officials have vowed not to enforce parts of the Voting Rights Act equally or at all, that military voters are receiving less-than-enthusiastic protection while felons received special assistance to vote, and that department officials dropped the New Black Panther case without bothering to read the briefs.
Note: The “their” in that passage refers to former DoJ lawyer J. Christian Adams and current DoJ lawyer Christopher Coates, the latter as reported via Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation. Also, a note on attribution: Early in the editorial it mentions “several reports in the past week.” Originally, those reports were attributed to the writers who broke them, but space considerations required numerous cuts in the original, way-overlong draft of the editorial. So, for the record, the writers of the two new reports referenced in the editorial are Byron York, who wrote in the Examiner that DoJ is poised to start funneling money to liberal interest groups, and Mr. Adams again, who wrote that DoJ is interfering with a humane prisoner-health program in South Carolina.
That’s one proposal on the table, according to a report (video, unable to embed) yesterday by Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business Network. He called it a “face-saving” measure for the progressive bank that is so beloved by the Obamas and Clintons, as well as FDIC chairman Sheila Bair — perhaps the only solution (in the mind of liberals) for the community/eco-minded lender whose assets have become seriously toxic.
I write at the National Legal and Policy Center website that ShoreBank has plenty of friends who are capable (and should be willing) of rescuing it from the fix it is in, and taxpayers and corporate shareholders of institutions like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup need not be forced to bail it out. These likeminded pals — the Ford Foundation, Joyce Foundation, and MacArthur Foundation among them — have billions of dollars in assets and also happen to be shareholders in ShoreBank. So let them pony up, or shut ‘em down!
It turns out that a young man carrying a racially inflammatory sign while masquerading as a Rand Paul supporter is actually a supporter of Democrat Jack Conway. The fun at the Fancy Farm gathering begins when he is caught on video.
Dave Weigel has more.
Dan McCarthy has a valuable post about how the liberalization of marriage and the growth of the state made same-sex marriage more likely.
My home state of New Hampshire apparently now has its own stimulated “Bridge to Nowhere.”
Last week, dozens of energy industry workers and their representatives from the Gulf coast came to Washington, D.C. to tell Congress that the Obama oil drilling moratorium was economically ruinous. Former Congressman John Peterson (R-PA) led a delegation of them to an American Spectator/Americans for Tax Reform luncheon. The visit was organized by the American Energy Alliance.
“My job matters,” Thomas Clement, co-owner of Oilfield CNC Machining in Broussard, Louisiana, said simply. He and other workers argued that the moratorium and proposed tax changes were threatening their livelihoods. Estimates as to how many jobs could be lost range from a low of 12,000 to a high of more than 200,000, with Gulf states bearing the brunt of it. The president of the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association has written that 17,500 jobs could be lost in Louisiana alone.
The smaller energy companies emphasized that they boasted an overwhelmingly safe track record and were being penalized for the sins of BP. One speaker at our luncheon noted that acting against BP specifically would have been a much more conservative approach than a six-month drilling moratorium for everyone. Peterson, who bemoaned the lack of a national energy policy, likened the Obama administration’s response to stopping all heart surgery because of the death of a single patient.
Where’s the job recovery? Private businessman Michael Fleischer, owner of Bogen Communications in New Jersey, explains in the Wall Street Journal why he’s not adding personnel by citing the example of one of his long-time employees, “Sally:”
Because my company has been conscripted by the government and forced to serve as a tax collector, we have lost control of a big chunk of our cost structure. Tax increases, whether cloaked as changes in unemployment or disability insurance, Medicare increases or in any other form can dramatically alter our financial situation. With government spending and deficits growing as fast as they have been, you know that more tax increases are coming—for my company, and even for Sally too.
Companies have also been pressed into serving as providers of health insurance. In a saner world, health insurance would be something that individuals buy for themselves and their families, just as they do with auto insurance. Now, adding to the insanity, there is ObamaCare.
Every year, we negotiate a renewal to our health coverage. This year, our provider demanded a 28 percent increase in premiums—for a lesser plan. This is in part a tax increase that the federal government has co-opted insurance providers to collect. We had never faced an increase anywhere near this large; in each of the last two years, the increase was under 10 percent.
Fleischer doesn’t understand that he needs to wise up, figure out a way to call each new hire a “green job,” and make nice with someone tight with the Obama administration (or in it). Then everything he’s complaining about will be subsidized — maybe for a whole year! Otherwise the unemployed “Sallys” of the world are out of luck.
An effective ad by J.D. Hayworth, making use of John McCain’s admission in Worth Fighting For (conveniently included in the audio book) that he lied to help his chances in the 2000 South Carolina primary. Hayworth argues that McCain is now doing the same thing with amnesty for illegal immigrants.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?