What should Republicans do to ensure that this serious Democrat crisis doesn’t go to waste?

Epic fail
Rahm Emanuel famous said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”  As of today, Avik Roy explains that the Obama administration is facing a serious crisis when it comes to Obamacare:

It’s hard to come up with new ways to describe the Obama administration’s improvisational approach to the Affordable Care Act’s troubled health insurance exchanges. But last night, the White House made its most consequential announcement yet. The administration will grant a “hardship exemption” from the law’s individual mandate, requiring the purchase of health insurance, to anyone who has had their prior coverage canceled and who “believes” that Obamacare’s offerings “are unaffordable.” These exemptions will substantially alter the architecture of the law’s insurance marketplaces. Insurers are at their wits’ end, trying to make sense of what to do next.

That’s just the intro.  In paragraph after paragraph, Roy details the disaster facing the administration as it makes up rules on the fly.  Like the hydra, every time the administration thinks its lopped off a problem, two or three more pop up in its place.

Presumably, when the dust settles and the private insurance market is destroyed, the Democrats will say, “See, we told you that the private market couldn’t be fixed.  It’s time to socialize our healthcare system.”  That will be their version of not letting a crisis go to waste.  It’s scary to think that Americans have been so brainwashed that it’s entirely possible that, rather than recoiling in horror and saying, “We will never let you brainless, tyrannical incompetents touch our healthcare again,” Americans will instead say, “D’Oh!  You’re right.  You’d better take over the whole thing.”

All of which is to say that Republicans and other conservatives ought to figure out ways to capitalize on this crisis too.  My instinct is that it’s best if Republicans in Congress don’t act.  After all, when your opponent is busy digging a deeper and deeper hole, you don’t throw them a rope ladder.  To the extent that Obamacare can never be made workable, Republicans would do well to keep their fingerprints off this disaster.  But that doesn’t mean they should keep silent.

So, what should Republicans say that will best enable them to capitalize on the Obamacare debacle, not just in the area of healthcare, but regarding Big Government itself?

And if that question is too easy for you, here’s a harder one:  Even though the media is disappointed with Obamacare, that doesn’t mean that its members won’t protect Obama and the Democrats to their dying breath.  They are the living embodiment of that hackneyed saying “Nobody gets to pick on my little brother except for me.”  How, then, should Republicans who are saying the right things make sure that the public hears what they have to say?

Even in Marin, people are stocking up on ammo

Big 5 is a sporting chain that spreads across the 12 western states.  It has a couple of stores in Marin County.  I went into one a few days ago and saw this notice posted on the front door:

Sign re ammunition in window at Big 5 Sporting Goods

If you’re reading this on a small screen it says:

Due to unprecedented demand for ammunition, we are limiting sales to five (5) boxes of ammunition per SKU per customer, excluding Game and Target Shot Shells.

This limit will help us accommodate more customers with the limited amounts of ammunition currently available.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your patience and understanding in this matter.

Others have noticed the run on ammunition.  At Power Line, John Hinderaker calls Obama the “Ammo Salesman”.  Jokingly, he refers to Obama’s unlikely claim that he’s been shooting skeet like crazy up at Camp David to explain the ammo shortage.  More seriously, though, Hinderaker adds that “There is something seriously wrong when Americans have to stand in line to buy ammo.”

One of the things that goes with shortages is price increases.  It occurred to me, therefore, that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has suggested that banks refuse to loan money to gun manufacturers, has it (per usual) bass ackwards.  At this rate, those who manufacture guns and ammo are going to find themselves a whole lot richer than the banks — and more power to them.  (Although I hope that their civic spirit prevents them from price gouging and encourages them, instead, to use any excess profits to further support the Second Amendment.)

Re that Veep spot on the Democrat ticket — I have a guess about the dark horse replacement

I’m with American Crossroads, which believes that Joe Biden is just what the Democrat ticket needs:

Gravitas! (Giggle, giggle.)

I’m suspect, though, that the Democrats themselves are becoming disenchanted with Good Old Joe. Apparently they cast around for the Hillary alternative, only to get a resounding “No!” from a woman who neither wanted to be on a winning nor a losing Democrat ticket, because she thought both would be bad for her career.  You can always trust the Clintons to keep their eyes on the main chance.

So who’s next?  I’m voting for a “Draft Elizabeth Warren” movement.

Think about it for a moment:  while the Republican party has more young guns than it can count, who does the Democrat party have?  Jesse Jackson, Jr.?  No.  Poor guy has a bipolar disorder.  I wish him well, but no one wishes him on the ticket.  Rahm Emanuel?  Nope.  You don’t go from Chief of Staff, to Mayor of a corrupt, crime-ridden city, to second on the presidential ticket.  Raddled old Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi?  Big NO there. Debbie What’s-her-name Schlemeil?  I think Baghdad Debbie has had her dishonest day.

Anyone?  Anyone?

I didn’t think so.

The only “young” gun they’ve got is Elizabeth Warren.  She’s struggling to stay above water in Massachusetts, but Democrats might see her as someone who can revive the base if she’s on the presidential ticket.  After all, when it comes to “You didn’t build that,” she and Obama are two minds with but a single thought.  Better an exciting candidate on the presidential ticket than a struggling candidate for a senate seat that’s already filled by a fairly popular, attractive RINO.

My best guess today is that, in a week or so, poor old Joe is going to get very sick and need to retire abruptly.  And stalwart Progressive Elizabeth Warren will valiantly step up to fill Joe’s shoes.

What do you think?

Did PC arise to fill the missing manners gap?

With the publication of Jonathan Alter’s new book on the first year of the Obama administration, a lot of unsavory details are leaking out about No Drama Obama (Mr. Calm and Collected) and his crew.  We already know now that Obama refers to those Americans who oppose him as Tea Baggers, a sexually unsavory term.

Tough guy Rahmbo also has some bizarre sexual obsessions he regularly lets loose at the workplace:

Earlier leaks of the book have included some embarrassing portrayals of White House adviser Rahm Emanuel. New York magazine had some choice bits about Rahm’s anger at Bo, the Obama’s family dog (“I’m going to kill that fucking dog,” and his yelling to a male staffer: “Take your fucking tampon out and tell me what you have to say.”

Many of us should be asking ourselves about the wisdom of vesting such extraordinary power in a man with so much anger and so little self-control.  After all, he has first access to the president’s ear, yet he’s often little more than an Id waiting to explode.  Of course, since the whole Democratic party seems to be operating on the anger principle, perhaps he’s the perfect First Officer for a ship determined to ram (or, should I say, Rahm) itself, and the nation, onto the rocks.

Rahm’s workplace outbursts also raise an interesting question about the level and type of civility necessary for a society to function.  In times past, someone on the receiving end of  Rahm’s execrable behavior might have responded by saying “You, sir, are no gentleman” — and, a long time ago, even someone like Rahm might have been abashed.

If you doubt me, keep in mind that, in Jane Austen’s perennially popular Pride and Prejudice, when Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth Bennett, he was self-righteously angered by the erroneous factual accusations she threw at him, and was more than ready to defend himself.  What stopped him in his tracks, and brought him to his knees, was this statement (emphasis mine):

You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner.’

In a vanished time and place, Elizabeth made Mr. Darcy see, not that he had offended her, but that he had demeaned himself.

The notion of gentleman and ladies is an antiquated one, but I suspect that it’s much more culturally important than people realize.  I’ve long thought that it’s no coincidence that the whole PC insanity arose at the same time traditional manners declined.  Without agreed-upon manners, the average person lost a behavioral template.

In the old days, certain things just weren’t said in mixed company, or in the workplace, or in public.  With those rules lost, people grasped at anything that would smooth over the anger, roughness and chaos that arose in the vacuum crated when old-fashioned dignity and manners departed the stage.  PC was there to fill the gap.  While the Left created the PC rubric because it required carefully defined victim classes that could eventually override the existing American social and economic structure, most Americans were seeking new rules of civility just so they could get through the day.

Sadly, as Rahm’s lizard brain outbursts perfectly demonstrate, the new rules of civility do not focus on the individual who is speaking or acting.  This is an important nuance.  In the old days, a gentleman or a lady simply didn’t do certain things.  You were defined by your own conduct, conduct that you were expected to observe in every situation. That’s why Mr. Darcy could be so shattered by Elizabeth’s charge against him.  He had thought himself a gentlemen, bound by a code of conduct, and he had let his own pride and prejudices blind him to his own failings.

In our Brave New World, however, every rule is carefully calibrated to respond to the audience or recipient’s sensibilities.  We are defined, not be who we are, but by the person at the receiving end of our conversation.  What this means is that, if the person at the other end isn’t a specially protected class, anything goes.  Good-bye Mr. Darcy, who held high expectations for himself, and hello Rahmbo, who sees himself constrained only by the relative power and victim status of the person to him he speaks.

And we, the American public, end up with a gentlemen-free White House, a place in which both dogs and non-PC subordinates are fair game for a lizard brain executive who has the ear of the man whose hand hovers over myriad nuclear buttons, both real and metaphoric.

(h/t The New Editor and Ed Driscoll)

Chicago-style politics hits Washington, D.C. *UPDATED*

As those who have been paying attention (that would be all of you) know, the presidential election was the first election in which Obama actually ended up going head to head with an opponent.  In previous (i.e., state) elections, ugly information mysteriously surfaced about Obama’s opponents, forcing them to withdraw from the fray, and leaving an open field over which Obama proclaimed victory.

Rep. Eric Massa now alleges that Rahm Emanuel engineered his abrupt exit from Congress because he knew that Massa was a probable “no” vote on Obama Care.  Just as I don’t doubt that Massa has skeletons in his closet, I don’t doubt that Emanuel, in his “busting the kneecaps,” Chicago-style school of politics, has absolutely no compunction about threatening people with their own secrets in order to get them out of the way.  I also have no doubt that it was Emanuel who engineered Massa’s humiliating downfall in this instance.  The virtue of exposing Massa is that Emanuel not only got rid of a political hindrance, he served notice to all blue dogs in Congress that (a) he knows their secrets and (b) he won’t hesitate to reveal them.

The single question now remaining is (a) how many blue dogs have secrets and (b) how many are willing to sacrifice themselves for America’s good.  I bet many of them would find it easier to face a hail of real bullets on the battlefield than to have their most embarrassing secrets revealed to the world.

And while I don’t think Emanuel would ever stoop to physical violence, it’s worth remembering Chicago’s historic approach to ridding itself of enemies:

UPDATE:  The Weekly Standard warns that Massa is no choirboy (and you probably wouldn’t want him near any choirboys).  Bob Lonsberry thinks he’s even worse than that.  I totally believe both sources as to Massa’s issues.  My point, however, remains unchanged.  Given the timing of the previously discretely hidden revelations about Massa, this seems to be the first administration I know of that uses personal blackmail and extortion against its own party members in order to coerce their behavior in Congress.  In this regard, it reminds me of stories I’ve heard to the effect that the Castro regime bugs the hotel rooms in which credulous celebrities stay when they visit Cuba.  They then offer sex, get the incident on film, and have a useful handle over that same celebrity who will, forever after, be sure to sing praises about the wonders of Communist Cuba.

UPDATE II:  And yes, the evidence has emerged that Dems have long known about Massa’s dirty little habits.  This suggests that, yes, the Dems did hold the info in reserve as a threat.  (And it doesn’t matter that Massa is a fruitloop who was voting no because the bill was too conservative.  What matters is that Dems use extortion, threats, and other knee-capping to corral the herd.)

About the “R” word

Much is being made lately of the fact that Rahm Emanuel is being exposed as somewhat who berates people in meetings by calling them “retards.”  I don’t expect any better of Rahm Emanuel who is, by all accounts, an extraordinary boor and bully.  He’s also yet another example of the fact that the Left, by using government might to impose speech and thought codes regarding various minority groups, feels that it owns those groups and can insult them with impunity.

My usual tropes about the Left’s crudity, though, is just a lead in to something I really want to talk about here, which is the “R” word:  Retard.  It’s used as an insult, and activist groups want to strip it from people’s vocabularies.  That’s a laudable, but ultimately foolish, effort.  The problem isn’t with the word, it’s with the reality behind the word, which is that there are now, and always will be, people who have mental disabilities.

Good human beings, being of kindness and moral worth, would not insult mentally disabled people to their faces, nor would they use whatever label happens to be applied to those people as an insult to others.  For example, whether someone is described as having “Down syndrome; ” being “mentally disabled” (today’s PC generic term); being a “mongoloid” (that was the old polite term when I was growing up); or being “mentally retarded” (the generic polite term for all mentally handicapped people when I was growing up) I would never use any one of those terms as an insult.

Someone like Rahm, though, whether he’s a 9 year old bully on the playground or a middle aged bully in the White House, will use any one of those terms as an insult because it’s not the term that matters — it’s the thought behind it.  To Rahm, the mentally disabled are stupid and defective, and the people who don’t get with his program are stupid and defective.  It’s all the same to him.

That’s the problem with trying to police language.  Some terms are meant from their inception to be rude and insulting.  (I won’t repeat them here, but you can imagine them.)  Others, however, degrade over time because the words become associated with a condition or race or orientation that is viewed in a negative light, no matter how well-meaning polite people are.  So we keep changing terms.  The classic example, one that I keep getting back to, is the way in which people with genetic roots in Africa keep changing the label by which they wish to be called, because they perceive others using that label in a negative way:  Colored, Negro, Black, African-American, People of Color.  Each time that the term seems to be pejorative, someone gets the bright idea to change it — but the associations with that label don’t change.  (Although I would argue, strongly, that American’s prejudice has changed substantially in the years between “Colored” and “People of Color.”)

It’s absolutely true that vocabulary can affect thought.  Orwell certainly understood that.  It’s also true, though, that there are some prejudices that linger inside people that are resistant to mere language changes.  For Rahm, everyone who doesn’t instantly agree in all ways with him is manifestly a mental failure — and what better shorthand than the current politically correct term, whatever that term happens to be on a given day, for people who have cognitive disabilities?   In other words, the problem here isn’t words at all, it’s debased people in political office.

Just another reminder, as if we needed one, that substance will invariably triumph over Leftist PC manipulation.  The PC manipulation can damage society profoundly, but it can’t ultimately change human nature — especially when the human nature at issue is someone who is mean, condescending, demeaning, and ill-mannered.

The brute force Chicago politics of the Obama White House

Drudge highlighted a story about Rep. Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon.  The point of the story is that he’s not a guy who can be easily intimidated.  That’s good.  We like people with backbone.

What fascinated me about the article is it’s unembarrassed descriptions of the crude, brute force tactics the President and his staff use:

“Rahm does not yell at me,” DeFazio said, “because he knows that I yell back.”

[snip]

Obama himself has taken notice.

“Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother,” Obama told DeFazio during a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic Caucus, according to members afterward.

Yelling?  Keeping score?  It’s more like a bad episode of The Godfather than it is a description of the highest office in the land.

A reminder about how lucrative Democratic politics can be

I’m always amazed that the Democrats can, with a straight face, present themselves as the party of the little people and as opposed to big business.  I guess their deal is that, as long as a corrupt capitalist system exists, they should exploit it to the max, all the while working hard to destroy it so that no other poor sinners in society will be corrupted as the Dems were.  Anyway, it’s slightly old news, but I still thought you’d be fascinated by how much Rahm Emanuel profited during his short stint in the private sector, especially considering how little he did and how much unethical conduct he oversaw (all emphasis mine):

Though just 49, Emanuel is a veteran Democratic strategist and fundraiser who served three terms in the U.S. House after helping elect Mayor Richard Daley and former President Bill Clinton. The Freddie Mac money was a small piece of the $16 million he made in a three-year interlude as an investment banker a decade ago.

[snip]

He was named to the Freddie Mac board in February 2000 by Clinton, whom Emanuel had served as White House political director and vocal defender during the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky scandals.

The board met no more than six times a year. Unlike most fellow directors, Emanuel was not assigned to any of the board’s working committees, according to company proxy statements. Immediately upon joining the board, Emanuel and other new directors qualified for $380,000 in stock and options plus a $20,000 annual fee, records indicate.  [In other words, because he served for only 14 months, Emanuel managed to pull in more than $57,000 per board meeting, assuming 7 meetings during those fourteen months.]

On Emanuel’s watch, the board was told by executives of a plan to use accounting tricks to mislead shareholders about outsize profits the government-chartered firm was then reaping from risky investments. The goal was to push earnings onto the books in future years, ensuring that Freddie Mac would appear profitable on paper for years to come and helping maximize annual bonuses for company brass.  [So Emanuel was a steward for Freddie Mac during one of its most corrupt periods.]

[snip]

During his brief time on the board, the company hatched a plan to enhance its political muscle. That scheme, also reviewed by the board, led to a record $3.8 million fine from the Federal Election Commission for illegally using corporate resources to host fundraisers for politicians. Emanuel was the beneficiary of one of those parties after he left the board and ran in 2002 for a seat in Congress from the North Side of Chicago.

The board was throttled for its acquiescence to the accounting manipulation in a 2003 report by Armando Falcon Jr., head of a federal oversight agency for Freddie Mac. The scandal forced Freddie Mac to restate $5 billion in earnings and pay $585 million in fines and legal settlements. It also foreshadowed even harder times at the firm.

Many of those same risky investment practices tied to the accounting scandal eventually brought the firm to the brink of insolvency and led to its seizure last year by the Bush administration, which pledged to inject up to $100 billion in new capital to keep the firm afloat. The Obama administration has doubled that commitment.

If you were naive, you might think that the drive-by media would be all over this story, which shows a political official profiting mightily, and turning a blind eye to, a hugely corrupt enterprise that helped bring down the American economy.  Those of us with a little more media sophistication, however, are unsurprised to hear nothing but the sound of crickets chirping.