The Spectacle Blog

More Sessions

By on 3.10.06 | 3:13PM

Despite Sessions (through Domenici) calling out the Dems on spending and taxes, he minced no words for his fellow Republicans who keep spending more money. Noting that President Bush had proposed savings of $75 billion (5-years) in the RATE OF GROWTH of entitlements (set to grow at 8% a year even as inflation runs only 3% (our quick table math -- I welcome readers to double-check this, because I haven't -- is that just a 6% avg hike for five years rather than 8%, which is surely not too draconian, would yield the $75 billion savings), Sessions lamented that the Senate Budget COmmittee plan approved yesterday called for not a red cent of entitlement savings. Sessions' comment on this development: "Some people think that if we have a middle-of-the-road, milquetoast budget that avoids controversy, we'll somehow avoid political harm, but I say it's just the opposite. We'll kill the enthusiasm of our supporters; we will likely not only NOT gain, but we'll lose potentially" because of letting down the fiscally conservative GOP base.

"We've got tohonor the voters who got us here," Sessions added.

Sessions, finally

By on 3.10.06 | 2:58PM

I meant to post this earlier today, but better late than never: I had a lengthy meeting yesterday with Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a true conservative gentleman, and he had some very interesting things to say. First, he quoted New Mexico's Sen. Pete Domenici asking this (supposedly a word for word quote that Sessions jotted down): "If the Democratic proposals all were passd, how much would it add to discretionary spending and mandatory spending, and for tax increases?" Domenici's answer, according to Sessions: $16.3 billion in added discretionary spending, $125 billion in additional 'mandatory' (entitlement) spending over five years, and tax increases of $125 billion.

(Quin commenting now:) Wow. Tax and tax, spend and spend. The GOP in Congress has been just awful for many years on spending, but only if you don't consider the alternative. No wonder nobody trusts the Dems in Congress with the public fisc!

More on my next post........

Re: Sources Say

By on 3.10.06 | 12:48PM

Before anyone points out that the AP moved news of Norton's resignation at 12:45, please note that the clock on this blog is about 16 minutes fast. You heard it here first, if only just...

Lou Dobbs as Howard Beale

By on 3.10.06 | 11:58AM

Reading the Wall Street Journal's article on the media's role in fanning the ports fire and ran across this understated paragraph:

Then Mr. Dobbs got on the story. The CNN commentator, who has redefined his career by editorializing against outsourcing, illegal immigration and big business, aired his initial report in which he expressed incredulity that the deal was being allowed to go forward. That report was followed by 15 others in the following 17 of his shows.

I've caught Lou Dobbs' hysterical shtick a few times since he went off the deep end, and I'm usually embarrassed for him.

Maybe he should lose all pretense of seriousness and fully turn into Peter Finch's character, Howard Beale, in the 1976 film Network.

Sources say …

By on 3.10.06 | 11:57AM

An unimpeachable source is informing us that Gale Norton is looking to spend more quality time in the cleaner air and more pristine wilderness she helped enable. If she's the one jumping ship, all the best.

Too bad that Abramoff isn't available to throw his hat in the ring. Clearly Interior was a department he cared deeply about.

Resignation Coming?

By on 3.10.06 | 11:48AM

Various people are hearing that we're going to have a resignation this afternoon in President Bush's Cabinet. We reported over the weekend that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had been considered the prime candidate to step aside. The other name to consider is Treasury Secretary Snow. He's been under a great deal of pressure lately to be more vocal. The Snow exit makes another rumor we've been hearing a bit more plausible, which is that current White House chief of staff Andy Card has been looking for "new challenges" at the same time that the President has been considering a new chief of staff. A Snow out, Card moving in to Treasury, would allow the President to put in place a war time consigliere type at chief of staff, to get a very wobbly White House staff in place.

The Economy Keeps on Rollin’

By on 3.10.06 | 11:29AM

The U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in February, and unemployment dipped to 4.8 percent.

Re: Ports Message-Sending

By on 3.10.06 | 10:51AM

I should add, Dave, that you've got me convinced on the root irrationality question, and the first-order consequences are real. Fortunately we can move on without too many bruises. Big picture? The more fanged heads the mullahs grow, the closer the States and the Emirates grow.

Re: Ports Message-Sending

By on 3.10.06 | 10:33AM

James, I agree that by no means should concerns about "message-sending" govern our decisions. But as with any decision making, it's part of the picture. The message is the secondary consequence. The rest of the Post editorial dealt with the primary decision making, but I found that section about the consequences particularly poignant.

Re: Ports Message-Sending

By on 3.10.06 | 10:23AM

Dave -- I've got to take umbrage with the fear of "sending the wrong message" to the "Arab world." Choosing to do or to not do things based on what presumptive "message" is sent is a reactive, speculative, even irrational policy that I've criticized time and again. Here, I suspect that the UAE will continue to find and take advantage of business opportunities in the United States; that the host of preexisting reasons why the UAE has been a friend in the war on terror will not evaporate; and that the proposal to wipe out our foreign aid to Egypt, for example, if implemented, would be a far greater insult to Arabs than the sinking of the ports deal, which seems merely irritating to a handful of chief dealmakers running a single Arab company.

Pages