Those in the know are saying that tonight will be bye-bye to someone big in Congress. This could be interesting.
Apparently the passions that burned in voters’ breasts in 2010 have yet to burn themselves out in 2011. In a very Jewish district (Jews! The Democrat stalwarts!) Republican Bob Turner took over Anthony Weiner’s seat (although I hope he disinfects it well before he sits down on it).
This election bodes well for 2012, to which I say Thank God! Strong though she is, I don’t think that America can handle too much more Progressive governance.
Your opinions, reactions, comments, jokes, whatever, on this election and the big one in 2012 are welcome here.
Weiner was tap-dancing so fast for the last few days he made Fred Astaire look like a piker. We all knew he was lying. Today finally saw the denouement: more photos (some x-rated), more texts, more women, and a full confession. The only thing missing was the one thing the American people deserved: a resignation.
The House of Representatives is a symbol for America. It should have a certain dignity. We know that it is staffed by imperfect human beings, but they have an obligation to their office and to the American people to hold themselves up to a certain standard. When they so obviously fail to do so, they shouldn’t continue sully America’s representative body. But of course, being a Democrat means never having to say “I resign.” (I would assume, of course, that Weiner had a quick confab with Frank to find out the protocol for riding out an embarrassing sexual scandal.)
Aside from the appearance of propriety that should characterize service in this august public office. Andrew Breitbart has made the valid point that these kind of shenanigans expose government officials to the risk of blackmail. With that kind of salacious garbage floating around, it would be only too easy for venal people, or even treasonous ones, to take advantage of Weiner’s desire to keep his peccadilloes out of the public eye.
The whole thing is tawdry, disgusting, demeaning, and it reflects badly on the Democrats that they are not doing what Republicans would have done, and demanding that Weiner leave office immediately.
I haven’t been blogging about far Left judicial activist Goodwin Liu, but if you’ve been following the story on your own, you’ll be happy to know that the Senate Republicans successfully filibustered his nomination — a reminder, as if we need one, that the filibuster is an important tool for allowing the minority in Congress to put the brakes on the majority. (And, if conservatives become a majority again, I hope that I have the good sense and lack of hypocrisy to remember that principle should it arise in a reversed context.)
At it’s most basic level, the War Powers Act of 1973 gives a president sixty days of latitude to start a war. At that point, he has thirty days to obtain Congressional permission to continue the war. For purposes of this post, I’m going to assume (correctly, I think) that the United States’ involvement in Libya, even though it’s part of a NATO action, triggers the War Powers Act.
Obama did not go into Libya with Congressional permission. The 60 days are up in a few days. In theory, Obama then has to petition Congress for the continued right to engage in military action in Libya. Interestingly, during the past 60 days, Obama has not made any moves to persuade Congress that the war in Libya is a good and necessary thing for America’s interests. He’s also not giving any sign that he intends to do so in the future.
Here’s my thinking: Obama knows that the Democrats will vote yes on this one, because Obama is the one asking. Obama also knows that the Republicans will vote yes, not necessarily because they support the Libyan action but because the Republican ethos since Vietnam has been that you don’t simply walk away from a war, you first try to win the war. Since Gaddafi is still gadding about, we haven’t won.
Under the above circumstances, you’d think that Obama would submit a vote to Congress to stay the course (whatever the Hell that course might be) in Libya. As I noted, though, that’s not the road Obama appears to be taking. Is it possible, do you think, that Obama is going to ignore the War Powers Act entirely, aggregating to himself the unilateral power to take America to war? It would be the ultimate war-mongering cowboy thing to do, but I’m willing to bet good money that, should he take that tack, the media will allow his unconstitutional, illegal behavior to pass by, unremarked.
What do you think?
I mentioned last week that House Republicans, in an effort to use social networking better, are running a competition that sees members compete to optimize various social networking media. My long-time blogfriend Lorie Byrd worked to help Renee Ellmers, a true Tea Partier, get elected, is now working to help her in this contest.
I recognize that this contest has nothing to do with the substantive issues plaguing America and Congress, but there is virtue to having Republicans better able to reach out to voters through new media. Direct contact with the American voters is just one more way Republican politicians and candidates can by-pass the hostile, old drive-by media.
If you have a Twitter account and would like to help Ellmers, all you need to do is “follow” her here. She’s currently competing against someone who has almost 5 times as many followers as she does before the contest has even begun, so it would be a fun underdog moment if she could win.
The GOP has recognized that, as much as anything, the next election starts on the new media. In order to get House GOP members on board with new media, they’ve instituted a contest by which GOP representatives compete for the most YouTube links, twitter friends, etc. In other words, to win the contest, GOP reps have to get their assistants, employees, friends and followers focused on new media.
My friend Lorie Byrd has worked with Renee Ellmers since the very beginning, so I’m going to ask to check out Renee’s YouTube page. But really, check out any Rep you want. The whole point is to facilitate an exciting new media that might get the Grand Old Party back into power.
Years ago, NPR did a story about the disgraceful way in which President Bush used executive orders to circumvent Congress. Shame on him! Sadly, I can’t find that story (although, maybe, if I had the time and patience to weed through 8 years of NPR archives I could.) I just remember the anger about those executive orders.
New president, new rules. The Left, in order to reverse the effect of Obama’s “shellacking” (a description that became hackneyed within seconds of its first use), is touting the President’s ability to use executive orders to pursue his agenda. Of course, since this is a super president, they’re touting a super-use of those same executive powers, in a way never before conceived in American politics.
Ed Lasky spells out specific ways that the new Congress — and, more specifically, the new House — can use its own bureaucratic powers to stop the onrushing regulatory nightmare.
Are the wheels coming off the bus, or are we witnessing the most brilliant, and dangerous, political theater in our life times?
Here’s what it looked like a few days ago: the President caved on maintaining the current tax rate, leaving Republicans triumphant. In exchange, it seemed as if the Republicans were extending unemployment benefits, which is fiscally offensive (and socially dangerous), but survivable. The President foll0wed that cave-in by holding a bizarre press conference, in which he likened Republicans to terrorists and hostage takers, and scolded his own base for living in a bubble. Those of us who expected the usual peaceful platitudes of compromise were, to say the least, surprised.
The strangeness escalated when Democrats refused to go along with the President’s compromise on the tax plan. There was talk from the Left of a primary challenge. Primary challenges never bode well for the incumbent.
After this talk, Reid suddenly seemed to cave, and started drafting a bill that, rather than narrowly focusing on taxes and unemployment, threw bones to every liberal constituency out there, plus a dollop for the on-line gamblers (not that I have a problem with that last one, as you’ll see from my sidebar).
Next, Lawrence O’Donnell, of all people, pointed out that the whole focus on the “rich” when it came to letting the Bush tax cuts expire was a bunch of malarky. The marginal rates for the top income earners will go up by less than 5% come January, which is a fairly small percentage of their overall taxes. By contrast, unless the Dems act soon, the people in the lowest bracket, the 10% bracket, will see their taxes raised to 15%, which is a 50% increase in their overall tax bill. Yikes! It’s class warfare, but on an entirely different class than we thought. Talk about misdirection.
Charles Krauthammer, who had smelled a rat early on, then announced in a widely quoted post that Obama had royally flim-flammed everyone, and mortally wounded the Republicans by wringing from the latter a concession on the biggest stimulus ever:
Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 — and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years — which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?
While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, tea-party, this-time-we’re-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility.
And he gets all this in return for what? For a mere two-year postponement of a mere 4.6-point increase in marginal tax rates for upper incomes. And an estate-tax rate of 35 percent — it jumps insanely from zero to 55 percent on Jan. 1 — that is somewhat lower than what the Democrats wanted.
No, cries the Left: Obama violated a sacred principle. A 39.6 percent tax rate versus 35 percent is a principle? “This is the public-option debate all over again,” said Obama at his Tuesday news conference. He is right. The Left never understood that to nationalize health care there is no need for a public option because Obamacare turns the private insurers into public utilities. The Left is similarly clueless on the tax-cut deal: In exchange for temporarily forgoing a small rise in upper-income rates, Obama pulled out of a hat a massive new stimulus — what the Left has been begging for since the failure of Stimulus I, but was heretofore politically unattainable.
My friend and fellow blogger, Don Quixote (who, back in 2004, accurately predicted to me that Obama would be president one day), agrees with Krauthammer, although not for quite the same reason. He says that Obama, by pitching a fit at the press conference, instead of offering the usual compromise platitudes, managed to plant himself in the middle between Republicans soaking the poor and Democrats soaking the rich. Suddenly, he became the champion of the middle class. He was reluctantly going along with maintaining the status quo, even though, to his chagrin, it would throw a bone to the evil rich. To DQ, that was perfect class warfare theater, with Obama abandoning the poor to champion the middle class (at least for now).
It doesn’t end there, though, with Republicans suddenly wondering whether they’re as dumb as Krauthammer and Don Quixote make them look. As I write this, Bernie Sanders, who was a recent liberal Facebook sensation with a speech castigating any attempt to reinstate the Bush tax rates, is actively filibustering any attempt to reinstate those rates. Nor is Bernie doing one of those modern, pro forma, painless filibusters. Instead, he’s doing it the old-fashioned, Jimmy Stewart way. As the Anchoress says, this is a big deal:
I may not agree with him, but I applaud the man getting up and actually going through with a filibuster. After watching numerous drama-free, procedural “declared filibusters” through the latter part of Bush’s presidency–actions that really meant, “we’re just obstructing and going home”–Sanders is putting his money where his mouth is (or, rather, putting his mouth where the money is) and taking a stand.
I say good on him!
Those who are snarking about it, or bemusedly looking on, should beware: This is an extremely powerful optic. People who have no idea what Sanders is talking about will start cheering him for the sheer novelty of a filibuster. Those who have romantic memories of Jimmy Stewart reading the Constitution and Paul’s Epistle to the Corinthians on the Senate floor will confer that same romance upon Sanders’ efforts. The press, always ripe for “something new” and on board with Sanders’ politics, will talk up his courage to make such a “heroic” stand.
I’ll add that, if Krauthammer was right, and the Republicans were scammed, go Bernie! He’s the only thing right now standing between us and Obama’s successful machinations.
And finally, to add to the surreal quality of it all, Obama seems to have turned the presidency back over to Bill Clinton, at least temporarily. Drew, blogging at Ace, thinks that this is a sign that Obama is not up to the job, but I’m beginning to wonder. There’s much more going on here than meets the eye, and it’s worth remembering, as both Krauthammer and Don Quixote did, that Obama made his way up through the street theater of Leftism.
We may be counting our chickens far in advance of their hatching if we blithely assume that Obama is giving up. He’s a dirty fighter, but he’s definitely a fighter.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News
UPDATE: Here’s the video. It’s peculiar, to say the least, to see Obama play the henpecked husband, while Clinton cheerfully, and enthusiastically, waves him off to face his harridan of a wife:
UPDATE II: The Christian Science Monitor agrees with DQ.
Although Congress is in lame duck mode, it’s still a Democrat-led Congress in both houses, so much so that Dems can, technically, pass anything they want without Republican votes. That’s why I found these two headlines so funny, one of which places all blame on Republican shoulders, and one of which pretends that the Dems had nothing to do with the outcome:
Here’s the blame the minority Republicans headline: “Republicans Block U.S. Health Aid for 9/11 Workers”
And here’s the passive-voice, I’m sure the Dems had nothing to do with it headline: “Senate Fails to Force Action on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’”
Those poor, helpless, hopeless majority Dems. The headlines in 2011, with a Republican controlled House and a Democrat controlled Senate, should be fascinating.
I am something of a sybarite. Not in a big way, but in a little way. I like two creature comforts: a very comfortable bed (a liking that grows more important as I get older and suffer from fairly chronic insomnia) and I like to have my own bathroom, complete with all the amenities. Give me those and a computer, and I’ll be a pretty happy person.
I read in the WSJ today, however, that a lot of the incoming Representatives (i.e., Republicans) are planning on saving money and showing their commitment to their home towns by camping out in their offices. My first thought was, “that’s laudable.” My second was, “I”d never do that.” I did get a little insight into the kind of people who can make this (to me) sacrifice, though, when I read this (emphasis mine):
Earlier this month, freshman lawmakers drew lots and chose the three-room suites they and their aides will inhabit in one of three House office buildings.
For many of them, a key selling point was not proximity to the House chamber, where they’ll vote, but to the House gym, where they’ll shower.
Rep.-elect Tim Griffin, an Army reservist, stood near the gym in the Rayburn House Office Building and used some compass software on his phone to navigate the paths to potential offices.
There’s your answer, right? After the rigors of the military, an office near a shower is tolerable. For me, after the luxuries of suburban life, anything less than mine, mine, mine is hard to contemplate.
I think Nancy’s new motto should be “La, la, la! I caaan’t hear you!”
Some ads are so bad they’re good. And some ads are so bad . . . they’re just really, really bad. Lisa Murkowski’s first stab at her write-in campaign seems to have fallen into the latter category.
It’s karma that her ad is so, so awful. This is a woman who inherited a seat, and who thinks she’s therefore entitled to hold it forever. She has nothing to offer that the Republican candidate for Alaska’s Senate seat, Joe Miller, West Point Grad (oh, and Yale too), and Bronze Star winner, can’t do better and, clearly, with more grace. (Frankly, a gorilla could demonstrate more grace than this clumsy, careless effort.)
[For those who cannot see this video -- and I bet they withdrew it because of a typo in the campaign website address -- it shows "students" being taught how to do a write-in. It is stupid, boring and, worst of all, condescending.]
My mother has announced her voting position this November, and it can be summarized as “a plague on both their houses.” A Democrat since she came to this country, she is disgusted by the Obamites, and cannot in good conscience vote the Democratic ticket. However, she told me that she believes that Republicans are virtually indistinguishable from Democrats, so why bother to vote for them either? She is therefore thinking of sitting this election out. I suspect she represents the new Independents, who have become so independent that they can’t be bothered with voting at all.
My take on things is that my mother, bless her heart, is dead wrong. Sure, the game of politics, as played by both politicians and wannabes, is the same as always, complete with jockeying for both power and money. Given the superficial sameness that afflicts all politicians (same talking points, same power suits, same cant phrases, and canned speeches), it’s really no wonder that my mother looks at Congress as it is, and looks at the new candidates who want to join that club, and thinks that her so-called “choices” merely mean that she can have any colored car, so long as it’s black.
This superficial similarity, however, hides profound ideological differences that are usually hidden when the money is rolling in and security is strong. When money is scarce, however, and national security is a grave concern, those ideological differences come to the fore, and it matters greatly which party in our two-party system, has the majority:
1. Republicans do not believe that government is the solution to every problem. This is true despite the fact that Republicans in Congress regularly take your and my tax dollars to pay for government programs in their home states, all with the hope that they will be reelected. The fact is that, even though these Republicans believe in greed and power for their own benefit, this does not mean that they buy into the whole Big Government theory. When the chips are really down, as they were with ObamaCare, Republicans (with the exception of a small, but horribly damaging, handful of RINOs) are able to pull back from the Big Government abyss. Thus, when it wasn’t just a matter of a freeway or an airport or a museum that would carry their name, they were able to distinguish between garden-variety greed for power and money, on the one hand, and an unconstitutional government takeover of individual freedom, on the other hand. The fact that they were the minority party, however, made their principled stand ineffectual and irrelevant.
2. Republicans believe in American exceptionalism. Whether they are rich or poor, or in between, they think America is a great place. They believe in the Pledge of Allegiance; they believe in the virtues of America’s capitalist system; they believe in the Constitution; they believe that America is a force for good in the world; and they believe that the American people are good folk. Because they have been the minority party in Congress since 2006, however, the bills and policy statements emanating from Congress reflect, not the Republican belief in American greatness, but the Democratic belief that America is a spoiled, bullying nation, peopled by racist ignoramuses.
3. Republicans understand that radical Islam, whether in the form of weapons-carrying jihad or word-carrying Islamist propaganda, is a threat to America and to all of Western civilization. Even though the average wishy-washy Congressional Republican will usually yield to the liberal media when the “R” word comes out (that would be “racist”), that same Republican still understands that, if you love America, and believe in the Constitution, you ultimately must take a stand against a group of people who hate America and who are quite vocal about their goal of replacing the Constitution with the Koran. This is why Republicans are a reliable vote for keeping our military well-funded and supporting its missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. They know that, unless we want this existential war fought on American soil, we’re going to have to fight it abroad — because, one way or another, we’re going to have to fight it. Unfortunately, what with being the minority party in Congress since 2006, and with having a president who is deeply hostile to American exceptionalism and American values since 2008, Republicans in Congress are increasingly hamstrung and ineffectual when it comes to holding the line against radical Islam.
4. Israel. Despite the Jews’ blinkered affiliation with the Democratic party, that party is increasingly hostile to Israel. The Republican party is consistently supportive of Israel. While the president may get to be in the driver’s seat for foreign policy, having a Congressional majority that is strongly supportive of Israel matters when it comes to money and morale. The last two years have amply demonstrated how fragile is Israel’s security when Washington, D.C., is controlled entirely by Democrats.
Bottom line: Republicans en masse are better than Democrats, because Republican beliefs and values are profoundly different from Democrat beliefs and values. This is completely separate from the fact that any mass of Republicans is going to have some weak sisters who can be bullied by a majority of Democrats, or by the fact that any mass of Republicans can have some members who have unpleasant behaviors or personal belief systems.
I freely concede every bad thing about O’Donnell — I think she’s a fruit loop, but she’s our conservative fruit loop. Her election will make the difference between a Republican majority or a continued Democratic majority in Congress.
This is no longer about an individual candidate; this is about a numbers game: If the good Republicans in Congress are to make a difference, they must have a majority. Without that, they are useless, and we are in for another two years of unbridled far Left Progressivism emanating from Washington, D.C. Sadly, it’s not entirely clear to me that the U.S. can handle that strain. At this point, O’Donnell’s individual merits, which are admittedly few, are infinitely less important than the fact that she, just by being a warm Republican body, may be the pebble that, finally, diverts the Democratic stream.
UPDATE: I got an email from an astute friend who understands, better than just about anyone, the way votes play out. He does not think O’Donnell can win — and he’s certainly right on the merits. Moderate conservatives will run a mile from her, tossing Delaware to the Democrats. But I’m trying to say that moderate Republicans must get over their revulsion. Now that the primaries are over, and moderates voted their conscience by trying for a Castle win, I see only three ways for Delaware voters to go:
1. Vote for O’Donnell, which is a vote to get turn Congress over to the Republicans (which, presumably, is what conservatives, and worried Independents want).
2. Vote for the Democrat what’s-his-name, which is a vote to keep Congress in the hands of the Democrat party.
3. Abstain, which is also a vote to keep Congress in the hands of the Democrat party.
In other words, now that the primary is over, this is not about O’Donnell; instead, this about which party controls Congress. There were a lot of people who, in 2008, refused to hold their noses and vote for McCain, and look at how well that turned out. Sometimes pragmatism has to override principle.
[I didn't take notes at the meeting I'm about to describe. If you were there and did take notes or have a better memory than mine, and if you find any mistakes in what I wrote, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I'LL CORRECT MY POST AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.]
I just returned from a Carly Fiorina townhall in Mill Valley, California. Just to orient you, Mill Valley is located in Marin County which, in 2008, saw 78% of its population vote Democratic.
When I arrived at the venue, I couldn’t find parking. This wasn’t just because more than 300 conservatives showed up to hear Carly speak. It was also because several dozen Boxer “community organizers” (and didn’t we used to call them “rabble rousers”?) showed up as well. Their little signs said that they were infuriated that Carly supports Proposition 23, which will suspend California’s Proposition 32 (aka California’s Global Warming laws). They also had signs lambasting Fiorina for firing HP workers during her tenure there.
Most amusingly, the protesters also had signs stating that Fiorina was “too extreme” for California. I had a hard time squaring this complaint with reality, considering that Boxer is one of the most partisan Senators in U.S. Senate History. During her 28 years — 28 years! — in Congress, Boxer has shown herself to be a tried-and-true liberal, who has never seen a tax she hasn’t supported, or a tax break she hasn’t attacked, whose support for abortion rights takes her to extremes even pro-Choice people don’t like to explore, who consistently fails to support our military (which is entirely separate from opposing the war as a matter of principle), who supported the stimulus wholeheartedly, who voted for ObamaCare, and who agrees with and votes for every cause near and dear to the liberal heart.
That’s the scene: outside, noisy, scraggly rabble rousers; inside, very happy, relaxed conservatives, delighted at long last to have a credible candidate running in a year in which she just might win. The room in which we sat had floor-to-ceiling windows on both sides and, until they got bored, the protesters kept plastering their little signs up on the glass, as if by waving these one liners, they could convince these committed Carly supporters suddenly to yell out “I surrender,” and then run screaming from the room.
The charming, ebullient Melanie Morgan invited all of us to give the protesters a big wave, and we cheerfully did so. I think it took them aback, because they disappeared soon after that. I think they found it disconcerting that we were unfazed by their presence. There’s nothing like staring bullies down, especially if you can do so with a smile on your face. (Islamist apologists and grovelers, please take note.)
Fiorina, who showed up right on time, which is always a nice sign of respect to ones audience, is shorter than I had thought she would be. She’s such a trim, upright, tidy figure that I somehow had the impression that she’s a very tall woman. She’s not; she just has a tall presence.
Carly is a wonderful speaker: she has clear, warm voice, and speaks without any annoying verbal ticks. No “ums” and “uhs” from this lady. I guess you could call her the un-Obama. (She didn’t need a teleprompter either.) She also has a nice energy. Even though it was obvious that this was her usual speech, it didn’t have a canned feel. Instead, it had a fresh vitality that made those of us sitting there feel as if she was conversing with us, rather than going through the usual political “blah blah.”
Unsurprisingly, Carly attacked Boxer vigorously, castigating Boxer for being totally invested in big government and big spending (except, of course, when it comes to our military). She also pointed out, as she has before, that Boxer, while a reliable vote for any liberal cause, has been an ineffectual Senator. In Boxer’s twenty-eight years in Congress, she has succeeded in getting her name on only four bills, three of which were non-substantive bills (naming rivers and buildings). Indeed, said Fiorina, Boxer is so ineffectual Democrats had to take Cap-and-Trade away from her, even though it was supposed to be her baby — apparently, no one likes to work with her.
Fiorina steered away from giving specifics of what she’ll do when (if) she gets to D.C. This was a wise move because, as a junior Senator, she will have somewhat limited power, given the Senate’s byzantine hierarchy — although Fiorina did joke that, as a medieval history major, she may be just the person to deal with that labyrinth. In any event, it remains to be seen what the Senate’s composition will be, something that will affect Fiorina’s ability to put her beliefs and ideas into effect, at least in the short term.
Instead of nailing herself to impossible specifics, Carly focused on her philosophy of government and governing: small government; states’ rights; accountability and daylight for all government agency spending; support for the military; support for small businesses and all businesses; world economic leadership, in all new fields (biotech, infotech, energy tech, etc.); the overturn of the congressionally-created Dust Bowl in California’s Central Valley, once the farming capital of America; and wise environmental stewardship that recognizes the need to develop clean new energies, including nuclear, even while taking advantage, in a environmentally-friendly way, of traditional energy (i.e., oil).
During question time, the two questions I found most interesting were these: How will Carly counter the strongest attacks made against her, namely her support for Prop. 23 and her decision to fire HP workers; and how will she shrink government, since government has a natural tendency to make itself grow. Carly answered the question about Prop. 23 by saying that the United States needs a reasonable, coherent, straightforward national energy policy, that nevertheless respects states’ rights. The U.S. must also be an energy leader, if it is to maintain its position in the world, one that allows it to export its unique respect for freedom and social mobility. Being an energy leader involves, as I mentioned above, environmentally sound development and use of all available energy sources.
As for having fired the HP workers, Carly said that sometimes, as a leader, you have to make tough choices. There was a high tech recession then, and she had the choice of cutting some positions, or letting HP go entirely. When she got HP back on track, she doubled its size and hired large numbers of workers. Those are the choices government management has to make too. (And let me add here my own opinion that one of the most outrageous things about the Democrats’ insistence that they must raise taxes on the employers and wealth-creators of America is so that Democrats can continue to fund our currently bloated government. It doesn’t seem to occur to the yahoos in D.C. that they should trim government radically.) Carly lucidly ran through the numbers about the way in which government has grown even as the private sector has deflated during the recession, not to mention the fact that struggling Americans are providing the government workers with a much higher standard of living than average Americans enjoy.
Speaking of trimming government radically, Fiorina says the solution is simple: Search for and destroy waste, fraud and corruption. She pointed out that most government agencies increase their spending dramatically right before the fiscal year ends, so that they can justify a demand for yet more money the next time they testify before the Appropriations Committee. She explained that the Committee always opens with a single basic question: “How much do you need?”
Carly wants to see a change in culture that has the Committee say “Tell us if you actually served your purpose and how you can fulfill that role using significantly less money.” She would make each agency justify itself as is, rather than justify its demand for more. Also, she would like to see a rule that has all Senate bills priced out to the last dollar, and then posted for two weeks before a vote. (And wasn’t that one of Obama’s broken promises?)
If you’re interested in Carly Fiorina, here is her campaign website; here are the positions she’s taken on California propositions (although she is careful to point out that she is running for federal, not state, office); and here is the site where you can sign up to volunteer for her campaign.
UPDATE: The local reporter managed to take all of the above, and make it about Tea Partiers (whom Fiorina, a Republican, never mentioned) and the environment. Apparently he missed the rest. He also refused to take Sally Zelikovsky’s challenge to report on the fact that the protesters damaged her car — a bit of news that is relevant when one considers that Tea Partiers are constantly charged with violence.
My friend Lorie Byrd is working for the Renee Ellmers campaign in North Carolina against Democratic incumbent Bob Etheridge. The fact that Lorie works for Ellmers, on its own, is an excellent recommendation. Renee’s stand on the issues, her affect (style matters), and the nature of her opponent also elevate her to the status of “recommended Congressional candidate.”
The last is the easiest. Etheridge, of course, shot to national prominence, at least amongst conservatives, when he became extremely hostile after being filmed on a cell phone camera. I have to admit that I would hate to be chased by a cell phone camera, but I’m not a public figure, the questions posed weren’t hostile, and Etheridge’s response was abnormal. His politics are also too liberal in areas about which I care deeply. He’s pro-Obama Care (voted for it); pro-stimulus (straight YES votes); pro-gun control; anti-school vouchers; etc. (By the way, as you can tell from the link, I didn’t get this information from Etheridge’s campaign website, who is wrapped in meaningless waffle language, with almost no specifics as to where he actually stands based upon his own votes.)
Renee’s positions, on the other hand, are pretty straight forward. Here’s the summary from her website, with more details available should you be interested:
Obamacare – I’m a nurse and my husband is a doctor. There are right ways and wrong ways to improve health care. Obamacare is the wrong way.
Jobs – The President’s spent money like water on ‘Stimulus Plans’ and ‘Bailouts’ and run the deficit up to over a trillion dollars. It hasn’t worked. What does work is tax cuts.
Jobs – Small businesses are trying to survive the recession, plus they’re facing President Obama’s new health care and ‘Cap and Trade’ taxes and they don’t know how those taxes will affect their business. So they have no choice but to be cautious. To create jobs we have to remove the uncertainty facing small businesses – specifically, that means stopping President Obama’s tax increases.
Economy – Cut taxes. Cut government spending. Get government out of the way and let the free enterprise system work.
Taxes – Lower tax rates across the board. And I support tax reform.
Energy – I support off-shore drilling – it could be a boon for North Carolina’s economy. I oppose President Obama’s ‘Cap and Trade’ bill which raises taxes on energy, then uses the tax money to send $300 billion in foreign aid to Third World nations so they can build so-called ‘Green Industries.’
Marriage – I believe marriage is between one man and one woman.
Life – I believe in the sanctity of human life and believe that life begins at conception. I am Pro-Life.
Immigration – Immigration laws should be enforced. And I oppose Amnesty for illegal immigrants. I believe we should strengthen our border enforcement and implement a strong employment verification system so companies can be sure they are hiring legal workers and those that do not face stiff penalties.2nd Amendment – I am a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights, having a concealed carry permit myself. The right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, one of the cornerstones of our freedom, and I will fight for that right for others as well as for myself.
Terrorism – My opponent Bob Etheridge voted to close Gitmo. I believe that was a mistake. I also support trying terrorists in military courts – instead of putting them on trial in New York City.
For the most part, I agree with her stands, especially on what are for me the overarching issues of this election: health care, national security, the economy, and immigration.
Anyway, if you’re interested, Renee is in fund-raising mode right now (it’s “money bomb” time) and all help would be much appreciated.
Every two years, like clockwork, Marinites return the execrable Lynn Woolsey to Congress. She’s so bad — by which I mean such a loopy Leftist — that I didn’t vote for her even when I was a Democrat. I was a moderate; she was, and is, a nut case. But still she wins, regularly sweeping in about 70% of the vote.
Voters here don’t care what Woolsey is, what she believes or what she offers; they just like that “D” after her name. I have no doubt but that she’ll win again this year, for precisely the same reason.
If you’re in Florida’s 22nd District, however, you have the opportunity to vote for someone special. I don’t know what the Republican/Democratic balance is in the 22nd District but, if it’s close, maybe he can win, and maybe there’ll be a true counterweight in Congress to Woolsey and her ilk. If anyone has the cojones, as a freshman Congressman, to make waves, it’s West.
Yesterday, weary and depressed, I linked to Charles Krauthammer’s most recent post, one that has him posit a Machiavellian Obama who has succeeded in laying the groundwork, not only for the transformation and, inevitably destruction of America, but also for his own reelection, so that he can cement his gains irrevocably. A youthful reader, Zurvan, was appalled by the pessimism we old folks showed, both in my post and in the comments to my post:
…. I would like to say no, all is not lost. Unless you let it go.
The attitude I see among conservatives is frankly astounding; never have I encountered a group more eager to surrender. Forget fighting the good fight. Forget the American Dream. Just lie down and rot. THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE TELLING YOURSELVES AND ANYONE LISTENING.
I’m not even twenty years old yet, my country is in the worst shape it’s been in since the Depression, and all you can say is “sorry kids, we didn’t feel like standing up to the bullies”? That’s it!?
I never fully understood the saying “civilizations don’t die, they commit suicide” until now. Some conservatives almost sound like they’re looking forward to oblivion!
Do you know why the progressives have taken over the country? It’s because they fight. They fight, and they never give up. They can wait decades and still have the passion to fight till the end of time, because they BELIEVE IN THEIR CAUSE.
Conservatives, on the other hand, just glower and moan and play Cassandra while never lifting a finger to defend themselves. Newsflash, guys: You can’t win an ideological battle if the extent of your philosophy is a death-knell!
So, it looks like the younger generation can expect no help from our elders. You want to abandon us, fine. We want your support, and all you can do is tell us how horrible our lives will be. While the rest of you hobble off to the crypts, we’ll be on the battlefield. I had hoped you’d have the decency to aid us, but who needs you? You work for the enemy! You fall over yourselves to let them win!
So go on, curse the darkness. I WILL LIGHT CANDLES.
I love Zurvan’s enthusiasm, and I should add here that not all are as gloomy as Krauthammer. Jonah Goldberg, for example, who is one of my most favorite writers and thinkers, believes that we’re witnessing a pivotal moment, and one that is good for conservative ideology, as opposed to continued progressive domination.
As it is, I agree with Goldberg that, at the grassroots level, the tide has changed. My concern is that I agree with Krauthammer that, at the political level, Obama may have irrevocably changed the playing field.
If I may make a complete hash of metaphors, by changing the playing field, Obama has made it so that the grass roots can’t take root, if you know what I mean. For example, nothing that happens in November will give conservatives a veto proof majority. More than that, we already know that too many of the so-called “conservative” politicians in D.C. are either true RINOs or just so desperate to be loved by the liberal establishment that dominates the media and D.C. that they’ll abandon principles in an instant.
Sure, even a slight majority of conservatives in Congress can stop some funding for some things for the next two years, but that’s not going to be the same as repealing ObamaCare or the recent financial “reform” bill. If Obama manages to hold office in 2012, nothing can stem the tide of these economy destroying initiatives. (And yes, there’s that pessimism creeping in again, Zurvan. I’m sorry. It’s cause I’m old.)
The brilliant (and yes, I mean brilliant) Wolf Howling thinks that a Newt Gringrich candidacy might make a difference, but I wonder if he can overcome almost 20 years of demonization by a Leftist media.
So, I’ve laid out the problems; Zurvan has laid out the challenge: Can Obama be defeated? And by that, I’m not just asking if we limit him to a one term presidency. Instead, I’d like to hear from you whether you believe that that there are specific things that can happen that will significantly reverse the harm Obama and the Democratic Congress have done to our economy, foreign policy, energy ability and independence, national security, military strength, immigration positions, support of our allies abroad (especially Israel), etc.? In other words, even if we take over Washington, can we actually win?
In a time of economic uncertainty, which is not helped by runaway government spending, you might be surprised (happily or otherwise) to learn where your Senator or House member stands when it comes to pro-growth policies. I was not at all surprised to learn that my representatives — Woolsey, Boxer and Feinstein — are busy spending us into bankruptcy, with rankings of 0%, 3% and 3%, respectively.
The important takeaway is that the campaign speeches at home don’t often match the votes in Congress. For example, Renee Elmers, who is running for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional district, points out that her opponent, who talks the talk at home, walks the fiscally irresponsible walk once he’s in D.C. (coming in at 6%, behind Pelosi, who is a 7%).
I met Mickey Kaus a few years ago at a blogger’s gathering. He is precisely as Jonah Goldberg describes him: middle aged, a little disheveled (albeit quite attractive), and hostile to BS. I don’t agree with his political views, but he is smart, honest with himself and others, and he’s not an axe-grinder. Democrats, Californians and Americans could do a whole lot worse than Mickey Kaus — and, with Barbara Boxer, they are.
A brief history: Obama promised that the health care debate was so important, it would be carried on C-SPAN. That did not happen. Obama promised that any proposed bill on health care would be placed on a website for public comment far in advance of the vote. That did not happen. Obama promised that he would wait at least 72 hours (is that right?) before signing any health care bill into law. That did not happen.
What did happen was that Nancy Pelosi promised that the only way to learn about what was in the bill was to pass it, a reasonable promise given the number of congressmen who conceded that they personally had no idea what was in the 2000+ page monstrosity for which they voted. In sum, our Democratic government took over 1/6 of the American economy without public input, without debate, and without even any idea of what it was doing.
Congress is now trying to take over Wall Street. If Congress was merely trying to impose a “few rules but unbreakable” (a quote from one of my favorite books) in order to keep Wall Street honest, I’d be there. But this is a Democratic initiative, so that’s not what’s going on.
What’s going on, instead, is political grandstanding along with some power grabs and market control. You and I won’t be benefiting any time soon, but it could prove very costly and damaging to the vitality of the American marketplace.
The Republicans, having figured out that Obama legislation invariably means wasted money and increased government control (i.e. less individual freedom), is refusing to be pushed into a rushed decision on something so important. Obama is irate. And this is what an irate Obama says:
“The American people deserve an honest debate on this bill,” Obama told the crowd. “You should not have to have to wait one more day.”
Obama said Senate Republicans “unanimously blocked efforts to even being debating reform.”
“They won’t let it [the bill] get on the floor to be debated,” Obama said. “It’s one thing to oppose reform, but to oppose just even talking about reform in front of the American people and having a legitimate debate? That’s not right.”
From someone else, this might have been a reasonable question. Coming from Obama, however, it amounts to an insulting slap in the face of the American people. He has no interest in an open politic process. This is just more of Obama’s governance by insult. Really, what a dreadful little man he is.
Yes, you’ve already seen this video of Rep. Hank Johnson from Georgia (Cynthia McKinney’s old district), but I’m going to show it again, if for no other reason than to appreciate the Admiral’s incredible polite restraint. An officer and a gentleman, that’s for sure:
Many have noted that Rep. Johnson is ill, which may account, not just for this bizarre delusion, but for the myriad delusions that populate his brain:
I contacted Rep. Hank (D-Goin’ down for the third time) Johnson’s office and asked them if the good Representative had any other fears he wished to share. I was told that Rep. Johnson also fears:
-Future missions to the moon will cause Earth’s satellite to “go all crazy and spin out of orbit”
-Drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge will mean “heavy drilling equipment will cause the poles to shift and Kansas City will end up as the new North Pole”
-Excessive use of the office microwave will cause “the oxygen in the oven to interact with the atmosphere, making it overheat and burn away.”
You can laugh at his delusions or mourn the ravages of disease, but what you cannot avoid is that this guy is getting paid on the public dime and that he turned is mental energies, such as they are, to a yes vote on Obama Care.
In the private sector, Rep. Johnson would long since have been politely placed on early retirement, and someone competent would have replaced him. In the wonderful world of politics, though, Johnson gets to waste people’s time (poor Admiral) and, worse, have an effect on America’s policy.
Remember, please, what a squeaker the health care vote was. Had Johnson been in his right mind, perhaps (and yes, this is an extreme hypothetical given the district from which he comes) he might have put the brakes on the whole thing. As it was, Pelosi probably took gross advantage of someone who is mentally dysfunctional.
Your government at work, people.
UPDATE: Lissa suggests that the Ace of Spades content is satire. She’s probably right (although the post went up on March 31, not on April 1). The sad thing is I can’t quite tell. Johnson’s original statement is so utterly insane, that anything else insane that is attributed to him has the gloss of reality. Satire only works when there’s some bright line, no matter how slender, between reality and spoof.
UPDATE II: Neo-neocon says that what we’re actually seeing is a long-running gag between two old friends. If that is the case, I would suggest that in Congress, before television, in front of an audience that doesn’t get the joke, is a bad way to have fun. My kids often try to defend an insult by saying “it was a joke.” I’ve repeatedly told them it’s only a joke if the audience gets it. On the other hand, considering that Neo’s own post came out on April 1 — well, where’s the reality in all of this?
Hall of mirrors, here I come!
UPDATE: Neo sent me an email confirming that she was making the joke, not Johnson. I suspected that, but Johnson’s behavior was so over-the-top, and Willard’s response so exquisitely composed, I could almost be convinced that it was theater. Also, Neo has a delicate touch and did a lovely job with her satire.
UPDATE III: Assuming any truth in this report, Johnson himself makes no mention of a long-standing friendship and practical jokes. Instead, he claims that he was building an elaborate metaphor.
Elaborate metaphor? Elaborate hoax? I don’t know but, again, it’s dangerous to make a joke if you’re in power and your audience isn’t in on the joke.