Political Hay

Political Hay

A Bad Deal Compared to What?

By 12.12.13

I’m in a tough spot. Paul Ryan is one of the brightest stars in the Republican Party. He is a true fiscal (and social) conservative, and I cheered when Mitt Romney selected him as his running mate (although I wished Ryan rather than Romney were the presidential candidate, and I still hope he will be in the future). Ryan towers, literally and figuratively, over his Democratic opposition-turned-collaborators.

But the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 announced Tuesday, negotiated almost entirely between Mr. Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-WA), is so disappointing — so far from what I’m sure Ryan himself would really want — that it’s difficult to support.

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Political Hay

No Extremists Here

By 12.11.13

Democrats make a lot of silly statements. The trick isn’t finding a pronouncement by a liberal politician which — in a way nearly unique to politics — simultaneously brings a grimace, a giggle, and a groan, but figuring out whether the speaker is an outright liar or just living in a liberal echo chamber reminiscent of Pauline Kael (or at least the political mythology surrounding her).

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is a reliable representative of the outright liar camp: No echo is loud enough to make her actually believe that Democratic candidates will run (and win) on the issue of Obamacare, but she says it repeatedly, hoping that the Big Lie strategy will work just one more time.

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Political Hay

Court Packing Redux

By 12.9.13

On Monday afternoon, we’ll start to see the results of the Senate Democrats’ decision to abolish the filibuster for non-Supreme Court judicial nominees when Majority Leader Harry Reid calls for a vote on the nomination of Patricia Millett (above, right) for a seat on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. In so doing, the Senate Democrats and the Obama Administration will demonstrate their own hypocrisy while packing the DC Circuit to further the Administration’s regulatory agenda and bestowing an unnecessary lifetime job on at least three nominees, of whom Millett is only the first.

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Political Hay

The Legacy Chase

By 12.4.13

Legacies as a concept are deeply embedded in our legal system. A person with assets writes a will designating which ones will go to which relative, friend, charity, or others. 

Not long ago some imaginative news media person decided to call the in-office record of elected officials “legacies.” In monkey-see-monkey-do fashion, the notion was being repeated by reporter after reporter.

The distinction between a legacy of assets and an ephemeral one such as a politician’s record has been lost among the media. A legacy is a gift; thus, the politician is bestowing his policy or legislative gift on his grateful recipients. Or, shall we say, his loyal subjects?

Nowadays, politicians thirst after “legacies” to leave behind. Two examples: Barack Obama and California Governor Jerry Brown.

Mr. Obama was determined to remake the entire system of health care that would ultimately force all Americans into federal single-payer plans. He labored mightily to get the Affordable Care Act passed and did, with only Democrat votes. There was no meaningful consultation with Republicans, since Obama considered them unworthy to discuss the issue.

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Political Hay

Grandma Obamacare

By 12.3.13

You can call her Grandma.

Grandma Obamacare.

Hillary Clinton is the matriarch of the disaster that Americans now scorn as Obamacare. And helpfully for opponents, she was kind enough to detail her role in this unending rolling disaster. As it were, in chapter if not verse.

In fact, Mrs. Clinton’s 2003 memoir Living History, an autobiography that takes her from childhood to the U.S. Senate, can be viewed as something unique in the annals of candidate biographies.

Hillary Clinton’s book is a literary landmine. A self-detailed look at just where all those false promises — about keeping your doctor and your health insurance if you like it — originated. Coming on top of Clinton’s role in the Benghazi disaster and the laughable “reset” of relations with the Russians (the latter still laughing at American demands to return NSA leaker Edward Snowden to the U.S.), this ten-year old book serves as nothing if not a precise accounting of the liberal mind at work as it lays the intellectual foundation for one of the greatest disasters in recent American history.

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Political Hay

Rush Limbaugh Saves the Pilgrims

By 11.26.13

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the time-traveling horse and Rush Revere

No, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow didn’t really write the above first two lines.

But Henry Wadsworth Longfellow doubtless would have loved Rush Limbaugh’s idea.

Longfellow was the fabled 19th century American poet who inspired generations of children by telling a famous story from American history in the lyric poem "Paul Revere’s Ride." The poem’s memorable lines — which my fifth grade class in Massachusetts was required to memorize — began:

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere

As with Longfellow’s ability to transform American history into popular rhyme, writing Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims wasn’t just a good idea.

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