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Archive for September, 2010|Monthly archive page

DNC: ‘It’s the Political Equivalent of a Temper Tantrum.’

In Congress, Democrat, Elections on September 22, 2010 at 1:12 pm

On a tip from NooneOfAnyImport, I signed up at democrats.org to receive one of a limited supply of their fancy new bumper stickers featuring their groundbreaking new logo. I also put myself on their mailing list because I find the idea of mail addressed to annoytheleft from democrats@democrat.org amusing.

This morning my inbox was graced with a fund-raising email from DNC Chairman Tim Kane [emphasis original]:

All around the country this fall, Republicans are trying to convince voters to hire them for a job. But they keep saying that one of the first items on their agenda would be to go on strike.

A government shutdown would cut off the programs, benefits, and services relied upon by millions of seniors, veterans, and families around the country. Veterans’ hospitals would be closed; Social Security checks would not go out.

This is the political equivalent of a temper tantrum — and it hurts those who need help the most.

I’m sure that Kane’s intended audience would just eat that up. For the rest of us who comprise the wave of discontent that brought about the primary wins of Joe Miller in Alaska, Sharon Angle in Nevada and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, the notion of shutting down the Federal Government is not as distasteful as it might have seemed in prior years. And, despite to the scare-tactic employed in the letter, essential services continue during a shut down.

Kane’s letter mentions Newt Gingrich as the “mastermind” behind the government shut down in 1996. The fact is, however, that legislation funding the Federal Government was passed by Republicans in 1995 but Clinton vetoed it.

The most recent shutdowns occurred in FY1996. There were two during the early part of the fiscal year. The first, November 14-19, 1995, resulted in the furlough of an estimated 800,000 federal employees. It was caused by the expiration of a continuing funding resolution (P.L. 104-31) agreed to on September 30, 1995, and by President Clinton’s veto of a second continuing resolution and a debt limit extension bill.

The truthful message from Kane should be if we lose majority and the Republicans don’t bend to our will anyway, our Democrat president is going to veto Grandma’s Social Security check. That is a temper tantrum.

Paul Krugman, Societal Barometer

In Economy, Taxes on September 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm

Paul Krugman. (photo Fred R. Conrad/ The New York Times)

Anger is sweeping America. True, this white-hot rage is a minority phenomenon, not something that characterizes most of our fellow citizens. But the angry minority is angry indeed, consisting of people who feel that things to which they are entitled are being taken away. And they’re out for revenge.

No, I’m not talking about the Tea Partiers. I’m talking about the rich.

…if you want to find real political rage — the kind of rage that makes people compare President Obama to Hitler, or accuse him of treason — you won’t find it among these suffering Americans. You’ll find it instead among the very privileged…

So opens Paul Krugman’s New York Times editorial. Because the Keynesian hawk of class warfare has his finger on the pulse of the nation, no doubt.

The fact is, however, that there is no line of distinction between the “rich” and the Tea Party. The Tea Parties are not focused on how much a person has but on what the government takes. That this is inconceivable to Krugman comes as no surprise, steeped as he is in Marxist notion of the proletariat vs. the aristocracy. Typical of the class warrior, Krugman is himself a member of the aristocracy as he defines it. But he is somehow the noble exception to the soullessness that he perceives among his peers. In the former Soviet Union these noble exceptions were party bosses and they were the embodiment of socialist tyranny.

Krugman then waxes sarcastic:

…it has become common to hear vehement denials that people making $400,000 or $500,000 a year are rich. I mean, look at the expenses of people in that income class — the property taxes they have to pay on their expensive houses, the cost of sending their kids to elite private schools, and so on. Why, they can barely make ends meet.

Here our Keynesian friend shows, once again, that his grasp of the Tea Party philosophy is skewed by his distorted worldview. Krugman is flat wrong for two reasons.

First, if someone earns $400,000 or $500,000 per year, it’s their own money to spend on their homes or their children’s education as they see fit. The notion that high earners somehow owe society a proportionally greater debt is simply false. The politics of envy that the left has been comfortably riding on for decades is directly challenged by the idea of personal liberty that is the core of the Tea Party movement. Ironically, Krugman calls that “a belligerent sense of entitlement.”

Second, the assertion that earners in the $400,000 to $500,000 range are rich can only be purposefully deceptive coming from someone with a degree in economics (as well as a Nobel, for what that’s worth) as Krugman has. Many in that income range are owners of either a LLC or an “S” corporation. This means that all profit and loss for their business passes through their personal income tax return, the money shown as “personal income” provides their respective businesses with capital for expansion (and therefore job creation) or collateral for credit. These earners are the engine of the U.S. economy. Krugman would have you imagining them idly collecting half-million dollar paychecks while performing a job of questionable value or importance (sort of like a NY Times columnist).

An economist of Krugman’s purported calibre should know, especially in light of the recent financial crisis, the important role business credit plays in the economy. More accurate would be to replace Krugman’s use of the word “rich” with “employers.”

With unemployment hovering around 10%, couldn’t we use more employers?

Desperately Clinging to Power, Murkowski Declares Write-In Candidacy

In Uncategorized on September 19, 2010 at 11:47 am

Lisa Murkowski just can’t let it go. Appointed to the U.S. Senate in 2006 by her father during his last term as Alaska Governor, Lisa narrowly lost her GOP primary bid to Palin-endorsed Tea Party favorite Joe Miller in August.

Murkowski then courted the Alaska Libertarian Party, toying with the idea to replace the LP candidate on the November ballot. The Libertarians ultimately rejected the idea proving that, unlike Murkowski, they have an interest in upholding their party’s principles.


Lisa Murkowski wants to turn Joe Miller into a llama.

Finally, Murkowski has announced that she will run in November as a write-in candidate, proving once and for all to Alaska voters that she has no interest in listening to them. As a result, Lisa has since been stripped of her leadership positions within the Republican Party, according to Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, a move that Murkowski had been warned of before she made her decision.

In a fund-raising email for GOP nominee Joe Miller, Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) blasted Murkowski, saying that “big tent” Republicans want conservatives to support them but, when beaten by a conservative, the “moderates” inevitably jump ship or refuse to support the winning candidate. Case in point: Mike Castle in Delaware and Charlie Crist in Florida.

The establishment loves to lecture conservatives about how we need to support liberal candidates to ‘expand the tent’ and win seats for Republicans,” DeMint wrote. “But when these candidates lose their primaries, many leave the party and join the opposition. When conservatives lose their primaries, however, they accept defeat and support the nominee*. Murkowski’s betrayal provides more proof that big-tent hypocrites don’t really care about winning a majority for Republicans.

Murkowski says DeMint’s statement makes people “uncomfortable.” And by “people” she means “Lisa Murkowski.” Captain Obvious (Oblivious, maybe?) goes on to say that the Tea Party “absolutely influenced the outcome of the election.” Further underscoring her self-interested duplicity, Murkowski said of DeMint, “I don’t think that’s it’s particularly helpful to undercut fellow Republicans” and of Republican Nominee Miller, “[he] is suggesting to us… some pretty radical things.”

To cement her status as a seeker of power and influence rather than a principled representative of her constituency, Murkowski has reached out to… lobbyists.

Karen Knutson, Murkowski’s chief of staff, emailed scores of top lobbyists in town and employees at some of the largest oil companies – including Chevron, Conoco Phillips and Marathon Oil – to ask them to join the senator on a conference call Saturday, according to a copy of the e-mail and a recipient list obtained by POLITICO.

“To my friends in D.C. – if you are so inclined, please join us for a conference call with Lisa Murkowski tomorrow at 2:30 D.C. time and 10:30 Alaska time,” wrote Knutson. “She would love to have the chance to talk with you and answer any questions you may have. Please let me know if you intend to call in.”

There are sure to be some Murkowski loyalists in Alaska but success of such a campaign is historically rare. What Lisa will undoubtedly do is siphon off some voters who would otherwise have voted for Joe Miller. Elections, especially in this cycle, can be surprising so there’s no saying whether such a thing will hurt Miller’s chances against his Democrat opponent. What it is more certain to do is lessen the effect of the statement Republicans can make during this mid-term by not just defeating Democrats but piling-on.

*Clint Didier being the exception that proves the rule.

Democrats Unveil New Logo

In Democrat, Humor on September 16, 2010 at 8:28 am

Baldilocks says:

A ‘D’ with an ‘O’ around it? Looks like the Democrats are acknowledging who owns them.  That’s what brands are for, no?

Update:

The Looking Spoon has better ones more of them:

Unable to Call the Plays, Clint Didier Sits on the Sideline and Pouts.

In Elections, Republican on September 15, 2010 at 7:44 am

Clint Didier

Clint Didier, the Republican third place finisher in Washington State’s “top two” primary offers “an open letter to all Republicans” in which he attempts to justify his petulant refusal to endorse #2 finisher, Republican Dino Rossi.

In a blue-state race that promises, under the best of circumstances, to be close, Didier has announced that his endorsement is conditional upon Rossi’s agreement to never, ever vote to raise taxes, never vote for a program that will increase Federal spending and to introduce Rep. Ron Paul’s “Sanctity of Life” bill in the Senate.

Didier is concerned that, if elected, Rossi will compromise and make deals for political favor. In order for Rossi to prove that he’s not the kind of politician who will do that, Didier wants him to, you know… make a deal for a political favor.

I’m all for electing to office citizens who are not career politicians or beltway insiders, but I do insist that they possess some intelligence. Didier is not one of those. Didier is a special kind of stupid.

Didier’s “open letter”

I want Patty Murray to lose in November as much as any Republican. That is exactly why I have chosen the course I have in making a conditional endorsement.

“I want Patty Murray to lose so I’m going to insist that the candidate running against her in a liberal state take a hard anti-abortion stance.” Okay, not following that logic.

Those more heavily involved in Republican Party politics know there are two camps within the GOP.  One camp is more concerned with fiscal issues, while the other believes in both social and fiscal causes.

Clint, those only cursorily involved in Republican Party politics know that there are two camps within the party and that there are even subsets of those. You’re not breaking new ground here.

We know that the ideal of limited government is rooted in our founders’ belief in individual liberty – which was the very reason for the birth of the GOP in the first place.  Yet, every time Republicans have been in control in recent decades, they’ve abandoned these ideals and left us with bigger government than Democrats.

Wait… Remind me which party you’re a part of again? Even if this were true (it’s not), it’s nothing compared to the size of government that we’ll end up with if Patty Murray and Obama get to continue unabated. We’re already looking at legions of new IRS agents to enforce health care provisions and a 1099 form for every flat screen TV sold at Wal-Mart.

I placed a phone call to Dino Rossi the night before my press conference offering him my endorsement upon his agreement to make a public commitment to honor [my wishes]. He refused.

Look, Clint… You got 12% of the primary vote. It’s a hell of a lot better than “Good Space Guy” managed but it’s not exactly “clout,” you know?

Under the Bush presidency and a Republican controlled congress, we saw the largest growth of spending in federal government and the biggest loss of personal freedom in our history.

No, when you say “largest growth of spending and biggest loss of personal freedom in our history” you’re thinking of Patty Murray, Obama and the Democrats. You know, the bailouts? Nationalization of private industry? The health care takeover? Try to keep up, buddy.

To all those who are saying I owe Mr. Rossi an open endorsement I say:  it’s time to ask Dino Rossi to either honor these simple platform planks or get out of the way for those who will.

The time for making those kinds of statements was leading up to the primary. We’re past that. Move on, buddy. Screw this up and we get Patty Murray who, and I can guarantee this, won’t honor any of your planks.

Ronald Reagan’s message to Clint Didier

The bottom line here, Clint, is that if you had studied your Reagan, you’d know how far off base you are with this stunt. Reagan addressed this very issue way back in 1977. Learn at the feet of the master:

You know, as I do, that most commentators make a distinction between [what] they call “social” conservatism and “economic” conservatism. The so-called social issues — law and order, abortion, busing, quota systems — are usually associated with blue-collar, ethnic and religious groups themselves traditionally associated with the Democratic Party. The economic issues — inflation, deficit spending and big government — are usually associated with Republican Party members and independents who concentrate their attention on economic matters.

Now I am willing to accept this view of two major kinds of conservatism — or, better still, two different conservative constituencies. But at the same time let me say that the old lines that once clearly divided these two kinds of conservatism are disappearing.

In fact, the time has come to see if it is possible to present a program of action based on political principle that can attract those interested in the so-called “social” issues and those interested in “economic” issues. In short, isn’t it possible to combine the two major segments of contemporary American conservatism into one politically effective whole?

…[Ideological purity] always conjures up in my mind a picture of a rigid, irrational clinging to abstract theory in the face of reality. We have to recognize that in this country “ideology” is a scare word. And for good reason. Marxist-Leninism is, to give but one example, an ideology. All the facts of the real world have to be fitted to the Procrustean bed of Marx and Lenin. If the facts don’t happen to fit the ideology, the facts are chopped off and discarded.I consider this to be the complete opposite to principled conservatism. If there is any political viewpoint in this world which is free from slavish adherence to abstraction, it is American conservatism.

This is not about you, Clint. It’s really not even about the Republican Party. It’s about what you and I owe to our grandchildren. We owe them our very best effort at reversing the course that Patty Murray has helped to set us on. You cannot do that by playing games with your supporter’s loyalties.

Ronald Reagan Weighs In on Delaware, Washington State.

In Elections on September 14, 2010 at 9:46 am

In the weeks leading up to today’s primary election in Delaware, great gigabytes of bloggity attention has been devoted to weighing the merits of Republican Christine O’Donnell vs. Republican Mike Castle.

Jim DeMint, Sarah Palin and Tea Party groups in general favor O’Donnell’s espoused positions as more conservative. The thinking is “principle trumps popularity,” at least as far as the general voting public of Delaware goes.

Others, both within conservative circles and among “establishment” Republicans, view it as an issue of electability. The logic here is that, while Castle’s votes as Delaware’s sole House Representative were largely in line with Democrats’, he’s more likely to be elected in that blue state. The advantage, they say, is that at least there will be an “R” in that seat that will sometimes vote with the party. Further, dare we hope, Castle might be the butt in the seat that gives Republicans a Senate Majority.

Washington State is in the midst of its own Republican vs. Republican drama. Tea Party favorite Clint Didier took third in Washington’s “top two” primary in August, sending Republican Senate hopeful Dino Rossi up against Democrat incumbent Patty Murray.

In a blue state like Washington, Didier’s 12% is respectable, especially in light of his Republican opponent’s name recognition (Rossi twice ran for Governor of Washington state). But as time ticks away to the November election, Didier is holding his supporters hostage, refusing to endorse Rossi unless the Republican candidate agrees to sign a pledge to introduce anti-abortion legislation.

Hopes that Didier’s supporters will see past their candidate’s childishness and do the right thing fade as one reads through comments on Rossi’s Facebook page where “I will not vote for the lesser evil” is the calling card of the Didieite.

Ronald Reagan’s thoughts on conservative principle vs. ideological purity, given in a speech to the 1977 CPAC Convention, are relevant to both races. Quoth Ronaldus Magnus:

I have always been puzzled by the inability of some political and media types to understand exactly what is meant by adherence to political principle. All too often in the press and the television evening news it is treated as a call for “ideological purity.” Whatever ideology may mean — and it seems to mean a variety of things, depending upon who is using it — it always conjures up in my mind a picture of a rigid, irrational clinging to abstract theory in the face of reality. We have to recognize that in this country “ideology” is a scare word. And for good reason. Marxist-Leninism is, to give but one example, an ideology. All the facts of the real world have to be fitted to the Procrustean bed of Marx and Lenin. If the facts don’t happen to fit the ideology, the facts are chopped off and discarded.

I consider this to be the complete opposite to principled conservatism. If there is any political viewpoint in this world which is free from slavish adherence to abstraction, it is American conservatism.

Let us lay to rest, once and for all, the myth of a small group of ideological purists trying to capture a majority. Replace it with the reality of a majority trying to assert its rights against the tyranny of powerful academics, fashionable left-revolutionaries, some economic illiterates who happen to hold elective office and the social engineers who dominate the dialogue and set the format in political and social affairs. If there is any ideological fanaticism in American political life, it is to be found among the enemies of freedom on the left or right — those who would sacrifice principle to theory, those who worship only the god of political, social and economic abstractions, ignoring the realities of everyday life. They are not conservatives.

via Reagan 2020 – Ronald Reagan – The New Republican Party.

I Know You Are But What Am I?

In Obama on September 13, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Do not drink and email peevish world leaders.

I don’t even know where to start with this one, it’s just so monumentally stupid.

A British Teenager got drunk while watching a television program about 9/11 this past weekend. Something about that program (and his state of intoxication) inspired him to dash off an email to President Obama. At some point in that email, the boy called Obama an unkind name. As a result, the kid has been banned from entering the United States.

For life.

The name he called the president? Michelle Malkin writes it as “p***k.” I’m guessing that’s “prick.” I have no problem printing that.

Check Michelle’s post to find out who the administration doesn’t have a problem allowing into the U.S.

HHS Secretary Dictates Private Business Practice

In health care on September 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Kathleen Sebelius makes an offer insurance companies can't refuse.

Imagine that you own a small business; a local diner, for instance. You sell a plate of bacon and eggs, toast and coffee for five bucks. Business is pretty good. Now imagine that your mayor and your city council have determined that breakfast must include hash-browns and orange juice as well. Obviously your cost is going to go up so you have new menu’s printed to reflect the new breakfast price of $5.75. Then this letter arrives from your city health department:

There will be zero tolerance for this type of misinformation regarding the increased cost of breakfast and unjustified price increases.* City businesses found raising prices will have vehicle access restricted when the City Works Department re-routes the streets.

In this case, the “diner” is health insurance companies, “hash-browns and orange juice” are the Obama-care rules eliminating co-pays for preventative care and allowing children to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. The “City Health Department” is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the “re-routing of streets” refers to Sebelius’ threat to exclude companies that don’t fall in line from access to government Health Insurance Exchanges.

In other words, insurance companies who do not eat the cost of increased services will be run out of business. Your government has “zero tolerance” for dissent.

*Other than referencing “cost of breakfast” and using “price” instead of “rate”, this is word-for-word from the HHS letter.

Damn Right We’re Exceptional

In Culture on September 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm

No other nation on earth has been founded as The United States of America has. No other nation in the world is built, from its inception, around the core principles of liberty and self-determination. Some nations have moved in that direction and have made great strides toward the freedom of its citizens; but that’s because America has set the standard.

There is nothing about being born in America that makes a person exceptional. Many great Americans were born elsewhere. The greatness comes from freeing the potential for greatness that all human beings possess and then rewarding the actualization of that potential. Even now, nobody does that the way America does.

No country in the world is as benevolent as The United States. Of the top ten nations in foreign aid contributions, America is number one. In fact, the difference in foreign aid given between the U.S. and the number two spot is greater than the total contributions of the last five countries on the list.

In spite of all this, or perhaps because of it, there are people who hate the America for what we are. There are even some within our own country who would apologize to the world for our greatness, as if it is the product of some immodesty to be considered gauche in polite society. God forbid that we make another nation feel inferior in any way. Rather than set the bar high for the rest of the world to strive to reach, these people would have us stoop to a comfortable level of mediocrity in the name of a false sense of humility.

By no means should we allow ourselves to be swayed by the petulant mewling of nations dependent upon our largess. Their authority to pass judgment on our sovereign nation is only that which we give them. To allow world opinion to define us is to relive junior high school on a geopolitical scale.

Oh Noes! Right Wing Zealots!

In Culture, Terrorist on September 10, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Tea Party media coverageA North Carolina man was arrested after posting bomb-making instructions on his Facebook page. Justin Carl Moose describes himself as an “extremist” a “radical” and “the Christian Osama Bin Laden.” Sweet, ain’t he? Moose allegedly planned to blow up a Planned Parenthood clinic and threatened to destroy the Ground Zero Mosque “Oklahoma City style.”

Think Progress, of course, immediately dragged out the 2009 DHS warning against “Right Wing Extremists” and linked Moose to the Tea Party movement because a Gadsden Flag hung over his doorway. Maybe he is, maybe he’s not… so what? Mohammed Atta was linked to Islam and, as I recall, we’re not supposed to judge a group by its fringe elements. Isn’t that what we’re told?

Apparently there’s a double standard in the characterization of any group of people. In President Obama’s press conference this morning, he invoked the First Amendment right of the Imam Feisal and the Cordoba Initiative to build a (victory) mosque at Ground Zero. In the context of that same press conference, the president described Terry Jones’ plan to burn the Koran on 9/11 as “dangerous.” The conclusion we’re left to draw is that if you want to destroy America because of its freedoms, then you have the unimpeded freedom to do so. But, if you want to exercise that freedom, you are dangerous. Got it.

via memeorandum