In 2006 Congressional Democrats campaigned on the conceit that Republicans were corrupt up to their coke-filled noses and incapable of governing so much as a taco stand, and that the country was yearning for a breath of fresh air from the party that brought us Gary Condit, William Jefferson, Cynthia McKinney, Jim McGreevey, John Murtha, Eliot Spitzer, and Eric Massa.
After her historic transition to the position of House Speaker-elect, Nancy Pelosi promised, “This leadership team will create the most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.”
Pelosi pledged to “drain the swamp” of slimy Republicans who tapped their feet in bathroom stalls, sent flirty texts to post-pubescent pages, and… what else was it Congressional Republicans were supposedly up to in 2006?
Ignoring all the scandals associated with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards in their race for the presidency and focusing only on Congressional misdeeds, and starting only with Obama’s November 2008 election, the past 21 months have brought a flurry of Democratic indiscretions:
• Illinois Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. is under investigation by the Justice Department regarding a taped conversation in which impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich told a staffer that a fundraiser for Jackson would donate $1.5 million to Blagojevich’s reelection campaign if President-elect Obama’s Senate seat went to Jackson
• Senator Roland Burris was reprimanded by the Senate Ethics Committee for providing misleading and incomplete information to the Senate in advance of his confirmation to Obama’s Senate seat read more »
Conservatives have been pounding their fists and screaming for decades that tax cuts stimulate the economy. With lower taxes, investors and business owners can provide more capital for new ventures and engage in more hiring, because they know less of their profits will be confiscated to pay for things like solar panels at the White House.
Tax cuts don’t revive the economy the second they’re passed—no one, not even Rick Santelli, ever said they did. They don’t do so a few weeks later; they don’t always do so in time for the next election. But eventually they do.
Tax cuts trim government revenue temporarily, but soon increased growth from lower tax rates results in net revenue increases.
In contrast, tax increases—which is what the impending reversal of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts would amount to—shrink the economy by decreasing hiring and investment. Regarding the Bush tax cuts, that’d be a combined tax increase to the tune of half a trillion dollars over the next decade. (Pop quiz: If Rhode Island and Massachusetts’ tax structures were switched, would John Kerry still take the trouble to dock his yacht in another state, even though it would cost him half a million dollars a year in taxes?)
It’s really not that complicated.
Imagine that you run a lemonade stand and make $100 profit a day, and the Obama administration taxes you at 50%, for a government revenue total of $50.
Now imagine that the incoming Christie administration slashes that rate to 20%. Instead of worrying about paying your bills and staying afloat, and resenting the government’s punishing your entrepreneurship, you hire more workers and eventually expand to five franchises. At $20 in taxes per stand, you are now sending twice as much revenue to the government as before. read more »
Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP, declared at last week’s annual convention that the impetus for the Tea Party is hatred of nonwhite people and resentment of a black president. Of the rise of the movement, Jealous announced, “Here comes the genetic descendent of the White Citizens Council, burst from its coffin.”
I don’t know if Tea Partiers are genetically descendent from the White Citizens Council or not. (Hey—isn’t an obsession with “genetic descendents” usually associated with racism?)
I do know that they’re not politically descendent.
The overwhelming majority of voters and congressmen who identify with the Tea Party are Republicans.
In contrast, the early leaders of the White Citizens Council were Louisiana politicians William Rainach and Joseph Waggonner, Jr., justice Leander Perez, and publisher Ned Touchstone, all Democrats. The group was formed in reaction to political activities carried out by the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, led by black Republican T. R. M. Howard.
As part of its recent campaign against the Tea Party, the NAACP posted on its website a slideshow of Tea Party rally signs bearing such patently, explicitly anti-black sentiments as “Now Look! Nice People Forced To Protest! This Must Be Serious,” “Obama & His Gang of Thieves = America’s Toxic Assets,” “Freeloading Illegals Are Raping U.S. Taxpayers,” “Obama Was Not Bowing. He Was Sucking Saudi Jewels!” “It’s 1939 Germany All Over Again,” “The American Taxpayers Are the Jews for Obama’s Ovens,” and “Hang ‘Em High! Traitors in Congress—Pelosi, Reid, Waters, Schumer, Frank, Dodd, Conyers, Kerry, Clinton, Kennedy.” read more »
What kind of benevolent dictator would declare his love for Britain’s stingy, depressing, complicated, cold and arbitrary National Health Service by describing it as “generous, hopeful, confident, joyous and just”?
That would be Harvard-based pediatrician Donald Berwick, who recently received a recess appointment as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by the benevolent dictator who describes his pessimistic and stale vision for America as “hope and change.”
Recess appointments are an executive procedure used, for better or for worse, when the Senate gives a presidential appointee a difficult time during confirmation hearings—for example, when they filibuster a nominee. Obama’s appointment of Berwick bears the distinction of having been given without a confirmation hearing having even been scheduled.
It’s as though Obama decided that the very requirement that his nominee appear before a Democratic-controlled Senate constituted an unreasonably difficult hurdle. This isn’t a recess appointment—it’s a vacation to Bermuda appointment.
As the Wall Street Journal noted, “Circumventing Senate confirmation to appoint the new Medicare chief is part of the same political willfulness that inflicted ObamaCare on the country despite the objections of most voters.” CBS News observed, “The debate over Berwick’s recess appointment makes clear what the White House knew all too well—Berwick may not have survived the Senate confirmation process, which would have turned into a proxy debate over health care reform.” read more »
It’s no coincidence that the Tea Party movement is springing up now, 235 years after the original Boston Tea Party. Barack Obama is the closest thing this country has had to royalty since King George III. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
Yesterday Queen Elizabeth II visited New York City for the third time in her life and the first time in 34 years. New Yorkers were all aflutter over the prospect of royalty tramping around on gritty Manhattan soil. QE2 addressed the United Nations and then, to cleanse herself of that demoralizing experience, did something pro-American and visited Ground Zero, where she dedicated a new park to 67 Britons who had died on September 11.
Americans get keyed up over this kind of thing because it’s so alien to our way of life. To us, a visit from the Queen is a novelty act, like Lindsay Lohan showing contrition for her actions.
While New Yorkers dutifully read up on how they should behave if they met the Queen—don’t bow or curtsy, we are not her subjects; use the title Your Majesty, then switch to Ma’am—too many Americans still haven’t learned how to stop treating Obama like royalty.
His supporters don’t exactly bow in his presence; they get a little rowdier than that. They whoop and holler and sing hosannas, when they’re not crying, fainting, and melting into a pile of mush.
Royalty is the perfect metaphor for the Obama administration: symbolic figureheads who shake hands, soak taxpayers who fund their lavish lifestyles, and don’t do much but look elegant (except when Barack is swatting flies off his face or Michelle is wearing a Mark Rothko painting). Whereas Brits are reassured that their royal family is just for show, and that there’s an actual political administration getting the work done, unfortunately in the U.S. we have no such consolation in the Age of The One. Even when Obama is touring a natural disaster area like the Gulf oil spill zone he behaves like royalty, prancing through the dunes in his silk shirt, daintily noshing lobster salad, and privately contemplating his forehand. When Obama stepped off the plane in Huntsville, Ontario for the G8 summit, the first thing he asked his hosts was whether there were a lot of golf courses in the area. read more »
President Obama called arguments against Supreme Court Justice nominee Elena Kagan’s confirmation “pretty thin gruel.”
That’s funny—I call no judicial experience and scant, conflicting legal theorizing in print “a short stack of hotcakes.”
We know little of Kagan’s judicial philosophy—and may know even less after her hearings this week if she has any say in the matter—but what little we know isn’t to like. In fact, it’s enough to hold our noses at.
Kagan wrote in her master’s thesis at Oxford that “[J]udges will often try to mold and steer the law in order to promote certain ethical values and achieve certain social ends. Such activity is not necessarily wrong or invalid.” Years later, when challenged on these remarks, she brushed them aside, claiming she was just a “dumb” 23-year-old at the time. (Question: Was Obama just a dumb 45-year-old when he was still attending Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s racist sermons at Trinity United Church of Christ?)
Kagan once paraphrased her boss Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s view that interpretation of the Constitution “demanded that the courts show a special solicitude for the despised and disadvantaged.” Great! Does that mean she’s on the side of corporations (the despised) and inner-city residents who want to protect themselves with handguns from break-ins (the disadvantaged)?
That’s probably a no on corporations, since as Obama’s solicitor general Kagan argued the losing position in the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (2010) case. Kagan argued that corporate-sponsored pamphlets and posters could be banned before elections, because they violate campaign finance regulations. She also claimed with a straight face that it was OK to ban books containing endorsements of candidates for public office before elections, because the FEC won’t actually enforce the ban. read more »
Since the clever acronym for Democrats’ new election fund accountability scheme is DISCLOSE, perhaps they could disclose for the American people the true intention of the bill and the consequences it will have on free speech and political advocacy during election cycles.
The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act was proposed in response to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in January, which slapped down the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act’s prohibition of corporate sponsorship of electioneering communications 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary.
The Democracy, etc. Act—alternately referred to by insiders as DISCLOSE, H.R. 5175, McCain-Feingold Part II, ABRIDGE, SQUELCH, and SUFFOCATE—would ban certain parties, such as federal contractors with more than a specified dollar amount in contracts, from producing any political communications right before elections, and would impose burdensome “transparency” requirements on others. For-profit and nonprofit corporations would be regulated under the law, but unions would be exempted from it—a fact that absolutely coincidentally happens to disadvantage Republicans and benefit Democrats.
The act would also require the top five corporate sponsors of any ad to declare themselves at the end of the ad—which means that in addition to hearing politicians recite, “My name is Joe Windbag, and I approve this message,” we’d have to hear, “My name is Joe Moneybags, and I’m CEO of Megalopolis Corporation, and I approve this message,” “My name is…” etc. Given that most political ads are only 30 seconds long, commercials under DISCLOSE will inevitably start to resemble that Eminem song where he raps over and over, “My name is… My name is…”. read more »
The list of countries that have provided tacit support to Israel for its imminent launch of preemptive missile attacks on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities now includes: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, and… not-the-United-States.
The Saudi government recently conducted drills to ensure that their missile defense system do not shoot down Israeli jets that might fly over their airspace in the near future. This is crucial for any bombing raids Israel may conduct on Iranian nuclear facilities, because the only feasible route to Iran’s nuclear plants currently available is over a wide swath of Saudi Arabia. Israel might also need to fly over Jordan and Kuwait, which have not objected to this arrangement.
Actually, a much quicker, as-the-crow-flies route to Iran’s cluster of nuclear facilities at Natanz, Qom, Isfahan, and Arak would be directly over Iraq. However, use of this flight plan has one sticking point: the U.S. commander-in-chief’s stubborn refusal to allow Israel to fly jets through Iraq’s airspace.
In arriving at this position, President Obama may have been following the advice of Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, who infamously offered the charming advice last year that if Israel tried to use Iraqi airspace to attack Iran, the U.S. should shoot Israeli jets down. read more »
Perhaps the heartrending lament that the Turkish aid flotilla Mavi Marmara—headed for Gaza and stopped by the Israeli Navy last week—contained a bevy of innocent Nobel Peace laureates would be more compelling if recent Nobel Peace laureates didn’t include the father of modern terrorism, Yasser Arafat.
Perhaps the fact that nine passengers were accidentally killed in the struggle would carry more emotional punch if the excursion hadn’t been funded by an Islamist, anti-Israeli, Hamas-allied, Turkish front group whose dream is to unaccidentally kill six million Jews.
Perhaps the claim that helpless crew members were unarmed and sought no confrontation with Israeli soldiers would ring truer if the Mavi Marmara hadn’t been stocked with butcher knives and heavy baton-shaped pipes and sticks.
Notwithstanding Pat Buchanan’s idiotic comparison of the ship’s passengers to civil rights protestors, and Israel’s stopping the flotilla to a garden-variety carjacking, Israel is not indiscriminately lobbing cannonballs into Gaza-bound aid ships and sinking them, or raiding them for loot and hostages, Somali pirate-style.
Firing on these “aid” ships that pro-Palestinian groups keep using to try to break Israel’s blockade would actually be justifiable, given that such groups are forever trying to sneak steel, concrete, and other weapons supplies to Gaza for the purpose of constructing more rockets to fire into neighboring Israeli cities. read more »
Deepwater Horizon is not Obama’s Katrina, because Katrina was not Bush’s.
The Katrina hurricane should have been addressed by state and local governments and residents who didn’t evacuate despite warnings of the impending storm.
Similarly, the Gulf spill should be dealt with by the company that caused it and has the best understanding of how to end it, British Petroleum. The federal government’s role should be to adjudicate claims against BP.
Of course Obama and every liberal on the planet have been hollering for years that Bush was personally responsible for the Katrina-induced death of every man, woman, and crawfish in New Orleans.
Conservatives’ longstanding wish that liberals please stop trying to put the government in charge of everything recently prompted Frank Rich to sneer, “The only good news from the oil spill is that when catastrophe strikes, even some hard-line conservatives, like Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, start begging for the federal government to act, and act big.”
Rich’s solution is nonetheless preferable to two other New York Times columnists’ strategy for Obama, which is: to cry.
Maureen Dowd counsels Obama to offer President Clinton a job: “Bill would certainly know how to gush at a gusher gone haywire. Let him resume a cameo role as Feeler in Chief.” Tom Friedman, in his column “Malia for President,” advises that “the most important thing Mr. Obama can do is react to this spill as a child would.” read more »