Eric Cantor

My well is dry today, as you’ve probably noticed, but I can highly recommend this article about Rep. Eric Cantor.

Hat tip:  Soccer Dad, who isn’t blogging right now, but who is still paying attention.  (Once a political junkie, always a political junkie.)

It takes a bureaucracy to kill a bureaucracy

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.

Something very, very weird is going on in Washington *UPDATED*

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?

[snip]

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.

Amusing New York Times headlines

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.

Democrat priorities

We’re looking at a potential financial meltdown, and the lame duck Congress manages to find the time to send Obama a bill to mute the volume on TV commercials.  Is it any surprise that Americans are absolutely and completely disgusted with Washington?

Another good reason to elect ex-military people to political office

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.

Your Democrat government at work

I think Nancy’s new motto should be “La, la, la!  I caaan’t hear you!”

Worst campaign ad ever?

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.]

In November, it’s all about the conservative Congressional body count *UPDATED*

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.

Carly Fiorina — with luck, California’s next U.S. Senator *UPDATED*

[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.

Help Renee Ellmers win

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.

Lt. Col. Allen West — a real choice in Florida

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.

We see the problem with Obama’s presidency. Can we come up with a solution? *UPDATED*

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?

UPDATEOthers have used Krauthammer’s article as the jumping off point for a conversation.

“There is a difference between tolerance and surrender”

Oh, how I wish I could vote in Alabama.  First Dale Peterson, and now Rick Barber, whose campaign video you must watch.  And then watch again.  And then send to your friends:

It will not surprise you, I think, to learn that Barber is a Marine Corps veteran.

Hat tip:  American Thinker

Where does your representative rank?

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%).

Mickey Kaus would certainly be a fun Democratic candidate

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.

Does Obama even bother to listen to himself?

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.

Hank Johnson’s geography and the cost of private sector employment *UPDATED*

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.

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.”

The topsy-turvey world of modern politics

As part of a longer rumination about the stability that the Cold War provided for our political system, James Taranto makes the following observations about yesterday’s House vote:

Why did it happen? Last November voters sent what seemed to us a pretty clear message by rejecting Democratic candidates for governor in New Jersey and Virginia, both states Obama carried a year earlier. It didn’t seem so clear to the Democrats in Washington, who were able to argue that in the one contested race for Congress, in upstate New York, a Democrat (assisted by a GOP circular firing squad) picked up a previously Republican seat. The House’s initial ObamaCare vote took place the following weekend.

But if November’s results left room for ambiguity, January’s did not. Scott Brown campaigned for a Senate seat in Massachusetts–Massachusetts!–by promising to be the 41st vote against ObamaCare. He won in a state that had not elected a Republican to the Senate since 1972. The voters sent a clear message: that the Democrats were going too far, jeopardizing their power.

Obama and Pelsoi, it now seems clear, took the opposite message: Our power is in jeopardy, so we’d better use it before it’s too late. A dispatch from the Associated Press’s Liz Sidoti illustrates the topsy-turvy results:

The initial blush of President Barack Obama’s health care triumph immediately gives way to a sober political reality–he must sell the landmark legislation to an angry and unpredictable electorate, still reeling from the recession.

Voters may not buy it.

Gee, ya think, Liz? Normally, politicians sell their programs to the public before enacting them into law. Representative democracy is premised on the consent of the governed, not the idea that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Smart liberals are worried about what just took place

The Atlantic is no hotbed of conservatism, but at least one Atlantic writer is smart enough to understand what yesterday’s vote meant:

One cannot help but admire Nancy Pelosi’s skill as a legislator.  But it’s also pretty worrying.  Are we now in a world where there is absolutely no recourse to the tyranny of the majority?  Republicans and other opponents of the bill did their job on this; they persuaded the country that they didn’t want this bill.  And that mattered basically not at all.  If you don’t find that terrifying, let me suggest that you are a Democrat who has not yet contemplated what Republicans might do under similar circumstances.  Farewell, Social Security!  Au revoir, Medicare!  The reason entitlements are hard to repeal is that the Republicans care about getting re-elected.  If they didn’t–if they were willing to undertake this sort of suicide mission–then the legislative lock-in you’re counting on wouldn’t exist.

Oh, wait–suddenly it doesn’t seem quite fair that Republicans could just ignore the will of their constituents that way, does it?  Yet I guarantee you that there are a lot of GOP members out there tonight who think that they should get at least one free “Screw You” vote to balance out what the Democrats just did.

If the GOP takes the legislative innovations of the Democrats and decides to use them, please don’t complain that it’s not fair.  Someone could get seriously hurt, laughing that hard.

But I hope they don’t.  What I hope is that the Democrats take a beating at the ballot boxand rethink their contempt for those mouth-breathing illiterates in the electorate.  I hope Obama gets his wish to be a one-term president who passed health care.  Not because I think I will like his opponent–I very much doubt that I will support much of anything Obama’s opponent says.  But because politicians shouldn’t feel that the best route to electoral success is to lie to the voters, and then ignore them.

Read the whole thing here.

Judging by the celebratory tone of facebook messages written by my liberal friends, most of them aren’t as smart as Megan McArdle — or, more likely, they don’t give a flying whatzit about constitutional liberties or the true meaning of representative democracy.

Hat tip:  Lulu

Building government on the bodies of American workers

You’ve all heard by now about the 2300 “reconciliation” bill that the House won’t vote on but will simply deem passed, thereby, in a completely unconstitutional way, making the bill a law.  (Ahem.)

But did you know that Pelosi has been busy sticking in more than just student loan relief so that we can have fully government funded education?  The bill also adds in something called the PUBLIC HEALTH WORKFORCE CORPS.”

All I could think of after reading that announcement, given the talk of Death Panels and Obama’s known problems with the English language was :  “New Public Health Workforce Corpse.

I suspect that, if this non-bill becomes law, my interpretation will prove to be strikingly apt.

(Hat tip:  The Anchoress)

Wondering about the Blue Dogs’ pride *UPDATED*

Pride can make us do very stupid things.  Once we’ve committed to something (a job, a marriage, a principle, whatever), and once we’ve touted that commitment to the world as the most wonderful thing evah, it is extremely difficult to stand up to that same world and admit “I made a mistake.”

I’ve been thinking about this very human aversion to admitting major errors in judgment whenever I think of the Blue Dog Democrats.  I find it almost impossible to believe that the Blue Dog Dems aren’t perturbed by Obama’s radicalism and Pelosi’s insanity.  I believe that these men and women understand that the Obama/Reid/Pelosi triumvirate is advancing a political agenda that, while it may play beautifully on liberal White Papers, will destroy America’s economy.  While these Blue Dogs like liberalism, I don’t believe any really want to see America simultaneously remade and destroyed.

The question, then, is whether any of the Blue Dogs will have the courage to stand up and say “This isn’t right.  Back in November 2008, I thought it was, but the reality is playing out differently from what I imagined.  I’m going to accept that I erred, and place love of country ahead of ego-driven party loyalty.”  The alternative is to do what they’re doing now, which is to cower behind Democratic party loyalty, as if that’s some sort of moral pass for helping to be an engineer of America’s destruction.

Of course, if these people lack the courage to stand up and admit that things are not going as planned, but they still don’t want to buy into the insanity, they can always take Carol Perrachio’s advice (advice I also give my own children) and use the Senate Republicans as their shield:

When my daughter was a teenager, her friends would occasionally phone with an invitation  to a party or outing which she was reluctant to attend. I’d hear her say, “Let me ask my mom.” She’d cover the phone receiver and tell me about the invitation. I’d take one look at her face and ask, “Do you want to go?” She’d shake her head no. So I would give her some mom-cover. “Tell them I said no.”

My daughter would then tell her friend, “Sorry, my mom says I can’t go…yeah, you know how parents are.”

By the way, I don’t think Peracchio knew when she wrote the above that the Senate Republicans, all 41 of them (thank you Scott Brown and Massachusetts voters), had signed a letter assuring the House that Republicans will prevent the Senate from using Reconciliation to “fix” those clauses in the Senate bill that the House finds problematic.  The Blue Dogs can, with absolute certainty, state that they cannot vote for the Senate’s Obama Care Blue because the mean Republicans won’t let them fix it.  It’s not a noble way out, but it’s a way out.

UPDATE: Even as I was writing the above post, jj was writing an answer as a comment to another post, with both of us unloading our opinions simultaneously. Here’s jj weighing in on my post about things we can do to stop Obama Care:

You can’t do anything about Obamacrae, because they aren’t going to actually vote on it at all. The charming Louise Slaughter has come up with a way (it’s solid BS, of course, but there you go: democrats) “deeming” it passed, so there it’ll be – and no one will have to be held to account for a vote because there won’t be one.

But here’s an opportunity for everybody else to wake up. What would be called a “teachable moment.” The lesson to be learned is: There is no such thing as a “blue dog” democrat. There are no “sleeping dog” democrats, no “hound dog” democrats, “no “lap dog” democrats, and no “Siberian Malemute” democrats: there are only democrats. Under any (every) and all circumstances, they are democrats first, and they will vote democrat every single time, despite whatever line of crap they put out. When it comes down to it, they will fall into lockstep and vote democrat. Period!

It would be very nice if the republicans would learn that, and stop thinking they can work with these people, and stop allowing so much as a second’s complacency to creep in when dealing with these alleged people. Get over it: when democrats are in the room there are no rules (as this Slaughter deal ought to amply demonstrate); and they are democrats first, last, and always.

Steve Schippert unloads on the “Slaughter Option” & Jamie Glazov speaks of courage under tyranny

As everyone should know by now, House Democrats are contemplating doing away entirely with a vote on the Senate bill, and simply announcing that they’ve passed it.  After all, why shouldn’t the Constitution bow down before their overweening statism?  Steve Schippert, a veteran, has unloaded both cannons against this attack on core American values and governance:

Lose sight of what you are defending and defense isn’t all that important, is it?

This simple reminder compels us to shift focus for the moment from our combative enemies and onto that which we defend. We do not engage in such rigorous defense – in its many forms – simply to preserve soil or borders or lives. We engage in rigorous defense of ideas. Ideas embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America. We do not defend simply the shores and borders and people of America. We defend – rigorously – so much more than that. We defend what it means to be American. We defend what it is that inspires so many countless others to risk life, limb and treasure to get to America even still.

And, to put it plainly, there is tyranny afoot and it must be confronted and defeated with confidence, determination and passion. The confrontation is not about health care or any other piece of legislation. It is not about politicians, politics or parties.

The confrontation is about process. The confrontation is about fidelity to the Constitution.

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter says she is “prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill.” She continued, explaining how House passage of a separate bill containing “changes” to the Senate version would lead House leadership to “deem” the actual Senate HealthCare Bill passed – without a direct vote.

This is not simply tyrannical in nature, it is absolute political cowardice.

Read the rest here.

Also, I suggest that, after reading Steve’s impassioned defense of Constitutional liberty against tyrannical demagoguery, you read Jamie Glazov’s remembrance of his parents, both of whom stood up bravely against the horrors of the Soviet Union.  Being Jewish, I’ve had the pleasure over many years to know so many refusniks and dissidents who stood up to the Soviet Union and made their way to freedom.  I always admired these men and women.  Now, however, I am reminded that their courage must be universal, or we may find ourselves living through the end of the noble American experiment.

What you can do about Obama Care

Nancy is boasting that she’s got the votes.  We thought last fall that this was an empty boast, but it wasn’t.  We should, therefore, be very concerned that she makes this boast.  The Tea Party Patriots have put together an action email, telling you what you can do to help.  Here is the email in its entirety (h/t Radio Patriot):

Code Red, Red Alert, OPERATION URGENT CARE

Dear Fellow Tea Party Patriots,

National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin just got off the phone with 2 reliable sources in Washington DC who have told us that the Blue Dog Democrats are caving on health care and will be voting for it.  Many Blue Dogs are saying that Speaker Pelosi will have the votes before or by next Thursday and they are saying this very confidently.  The important thing to note is that as soon as Speaker Pelosi thinks she has the votes, she will immediately call for the vote on the House Floor.  That means it the vote could come as early as tomorrow, or it could be later.

It is up to each and every one of us to stop this health care bill. Over 60% of Americans do NOT want this bill yet that does not matter to the Democrats in Congress.  Sen. Coburn said on Tea Party Patriots’

Hot Tea Radio program today, that current polling shows 48% of Americans want the entire health care bill scrapped and to start over.  Only 25% of Americans even want this bill, and polling shows jobs is the top priority for Americans and health care reform ranks well down the list at number six.  Yet Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat leadership in the House and the Senate are prepared to shove this bill down our throats, regardless of what the American people want.

We cannot let our liberty go without fighting for it with everything we have. In the battle to prevent the government from taking over our health care, Tea Party Patriots across the country have left no stone unturned.  Right now we must keep the pressure up!!! The Blue Dog Democrats must feel as much pressure from the “Tea Party folks” as they are feeling from Speaker Pelosi and the Democrat House Leadership.

The absolute most effective thing that you can do is to go to the office of the Congressmen who are on the fence and still undecided on this government takeover of health care bill.  Let the Undecided Congressmen see the live faces of the people who do not want this health care bill shoved down our throats.  Make them look in your eyes.

In addition to the action items emailed late last night, we need you right now to plan an event and have car loads of people visiting the local district offices in a constant stream this week.

Here is how to do it:

Dems may not have votes, but they’ve got constitutional disregard down to an art

Perhaps it really is true that Pelosi doesn’t have the votes for Obama Care.  After all, if she did, why would the Democrats be considering the “Slaughter Option” something that involves bypassing votes altogether:

The Slaughter Solution is a plan by Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Democratic chair of the powerful House Rules Committee and a key ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), to get the health care legislation through the House without an actual vote on the Senate-passed health care bill.  You see, Democratic leaders currently lack the votes needed to pass the Senate health care bill through the House.  Under Slaughter’s scheme, Democratic leaders will overcome this problem by simply “deeming” the Senate bill passed in the House – without an actual vote by members of the House.

An article in this morning’s edition of National Journal’s CongressDaily breaks the story, starting with the headline: “SLAUGHTER PREPS RULE TO AVOID DIRECT VOTE ON SENATE BILL.”  Excerpts:

House Rules Chairwoman Louise Slaughter is prepping to help usher the healthcare overhaul through the House and potentially avoid a direct vote on the Senate overhaul bill, the chairwoman said Tuesday.

Slaughter is weighing preparing a rule that would consider the Senate bill passed once the House approves a corrections bill that would make changes to the Senate version.

I mean, really, the whole concept of democracy is so out-dated. Tyranny is faster, easier and so much more efficient.

Friends, I feel tired.  Really.  Fatigue is my dominant emotion at this moment.

In the face of this overwhelming barrage of lies, doublespeak (“A bill can be bipartisan without bipartisan votes”), inanities (““But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it….”), and corruption (think Cornhusker kickbacks, union deals, etc.), it’s hard to keep ones energy burning bright.  This whole thing has felt like death by a thousand, not cuts, ’cause this is bigger than cuts, but death by a thousands assaults each of which, alone, isn’t quite fatal.

This doesn’t mean I’m giving up.  I’m just whining a bit.  Pardon me — or feel free to chime in.

Hat tip: Kim Priestap

Health care may well pass, and what will happen if it does

The American Thinker spells it out:

Richard Baehr, ace political watcher, thinks the odds are that Nancy Pelosi, through brute force, will get Obama Care through.  Once that happens, of course, it’s the law, and “reconciliation,” which is ostensibly meant to smooth away any lingering roughness, will die a’bornin’

Christopher Chantrill explains what government will look like once it passes — and that’s regardless of any efforts, successful or not, not repeal it:

There are a number of reasons why the outcome of Obamacare would be a lot less enjoyable than this rosy scenario.

First of all, in the period between passage and repeal, many damaging events will have taken place. Taxes will have gone up. Many employers will have terminated their health plans and accepted a tax that costs them less than their employee health plan. Seniors will have lost their Medicare Advantage. Doctors will have retired rather than deal with the hassle of Obamacare. Already the curtain will have rung up on a meaner, nastier America.

And we know today what that looks like. It looks like Greece, where the government is teetering on the edge of default and workers from a bloated public sector are rioting in the streets over the possibility of any reduction in their pay and benefits. It looks like Iceland, where the voters just voted by 93 percent to 1.5 percent against the government’s proposal to pay back losses suffered by British and Dutch depositors after its bank meltdown in 2008. And let’s not forget Argentina, which has lumbered from inflation to default and back again numerous times since it opted for the empty promises of Juan Perón and the lovely Evita back in 1946.

The squalor of this kind of government is dreadful. It is government that lurches from crisis to crisis, resorting to loans, IMF bailouts, and defaults on debt, followed by “restructurings” that deliver a 60- to 70-percent loss to bondholders. In the Argentine crisis of 1999-2002, the government blithely seized dollar deposits in personal checking accounts and replaced them with pesos worth about 25 percent as much.

Under government like that, you can’t be an independent soul. You have to work for the government, join a union, pay your dues to the local party boss. Otherwise, you will get run over. The glory of America is that most of the time, it has avoided this misery.

This is one of those cases where Obama and the Democrats break it, but we, the citizens, end up owning it.

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.)

Risks and strategies re health care *UPDATED*

Here’s what I see going on and, please, correct me if I’m wrong:

Reconciliation is a red herring.  Right now, the House is being promised that, if it votes on the Senate bill, the Senate will fix differences between the two bills through reconciliation.  So everyone is focusing on whether the Senate will indeed have the votes for reconciliation.  That is irrelevant.  Once the House, with that carrot dangling before it, votes on the Senate bill that bill will become law.  Reconciliation will vanish!  Poof.  Gone.  The thing we need to do is stop worrying about reconciliation in the Senate and start focusing on the House itself.

If you live in a District with a liberal House member, as I do, my suggestion for derailing that Representative’s vote is to taunt that person for selling out to the insurance companies.  After all, while government is taking over providing health care, each and every one of us will still be forced to pay big bucks to an “evil insurance company” to pay for that health care.  This is a twofer, in other words:  a government takeover and an unprecedented corporate boondoggle.  Your liberal representative is excited about the government takeover, but the base can still be inflamed over that corporate giveaway.

In any event, that’s the tactic I tried with my Representative, telling her that a “yes” vote on the Senate bill would mean that she’s now owned by the insurance companies.  My thinking was that you have to argue with people in terms they understand.

UPDATE:  Rush corrects the flaw in my thinking and explains precisely why Lynn Woolsey and others of her stripe are all for this bill, one that ostensibly forces people to buy insurance.  Two things:  First, the penalty for failing to buy insurance is hugely cheaper than the cost of buying insurance.  Second, insurance companies are no longer going to be allowed to play the odds of calculating whether some will get costly illnesses and others won’t.  Instead, under the Senate bill, they must sell insurance to people after they get sick.  Meaning, as Rush said, it’s not insurance at all.  Under this scheme, the only ones who will get insurance are people who are already sick, which will quickly bankrupt the insurance system.  Once that happens . . . voila! Public option.

My prediction, if the House Democrats swallow the reconciliation bait

I believe more and more strongly that reconciliation is a red herring, meant to induce the House to pass the Senate bill.  Once that’s done, this so called “reconciliation,” an alleged second bill that will smooth away the differences between the two chambers (especially the House’s demand that abortion, which is part of the Senate bill, be excluded from taxpayer funding), will vanish.  Instead, Obama will proclaim that Obama care is a done deal, with the outrageous, huge, convoluted, corruption-riddled Senate bill as the law, and let his Democratic House die in November.  End of story.

Re-elect Obama!? — by guest blogger Danny Lemieux

Hear me out. Sure, the public is indignant about our current state of affairs, especially the mushrooming deficits that have pretty much sealed our national bankruptcy (in my humble opinion). What worries me, though, is what needs to be done to fix the problem. I personally don’t see any solution except to administer massive haircuts to the very entitlement programs that have become sacrosanct in the minds of our citizenry. Sure, everybody talks the talk about wanting to reduce deficits, as long as you don’t touch their own pet programs: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Pharmaid, Farm Programs, School Aid, Home Mortgage aid etc. ad nauseum. However painful, retrenchment is coming, either through political reform, through inflation, or through simple bankruptcy and a government failure to pay-up. This is made even worse by the fact that more and more beneficiaries of these programs don’t pay for them, so they have no longer have skin in the game.

Now, one of the rules in our politics is that while budgets and policies are often driven by Congress, it is the President that gets the blame or credit for what happens under his/her watch. Recall, that the economy took off when Bill Clinton was forced to answer to a Republican congress. Clinton got the accolades. The economic damage under Bush didn’t begin until the Democrats took over Congress. Bush got blamed! With a Republican in the driver’s seat, the Republicans will take all the blame for the harsh medicine that must be administered and be promptly voted out of office. With a Republican Congress working against a weak Democrat President, I say let the weak Democrat President be the pinata.

So, what do you think? Are we better off with a Republican President and Republican Congress, or a weak Democrat President and strong Republican Congress?

Democrats become visibly anti-democratic

As part of a longer post about the Democrats’ anti-democratic tendencies, Peter Wehner has this to say:

If you wanted a sound bite that embodied much of what is wrong with contemporary liberalism, you could do worse than listen to the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on health care:

We’ll go through the gate. If the gate’s closed, we’ll go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we’ll pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll parachute in but we’re going to get health-care reform passed for the America people.

Set aside the fact that Ms. Pelosi sounds like Tareq and Michaele Salahi trying to crash a White House State dinner. She seems to view herself as part of the guardian class, as one of our philosopher kings who knows better than the great, unwashed masses what is good for them. It is of a piece with the collectivist mindset, one that believes that it is with the ruling class that wisdom resides. They know best – and they will give you not what you may want but what they believe you need.

This view is exceedingly arrogant and, if it is indulged in often enough, it becomes, in some sense, anti-democratic.

There is a long history in America to dictate the proper role of its legislators. Some argue they ought to mirror public opinion all the time; others argue that we elect people to political posts based on our confidence in their judgment. They therefore have a relatively free hand to pursue the agenda they deem appropriate. But even those who subscribe to the views of the second group understand that in the end, ours is a representative form of government. The will of the people matters. We are, after all, a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

I concur heartily and urge you to read Wehner’s entire post.

Both Progressives and Conservatives should vote for Scott Brown

First, here is Scott Brown’s latest ad:

Second, not only should conservatives and independents in Massachusetts vote for him, but so should progressives.  After all, the latter hate the proposed health care bill as much as the former do.  Conservatives and independents hate the bill because it vests power in the government; progressives hate it because it channels money to insurance companies and pharmacies.  It’s a bad bill no matter your political viewpoint, but the Senate Democrats are bound and determined to pass it.  At this point, a Scott Brown victory might be the only thing that stops a universally despised piece of legislation from going forward.

If you would like to donate to Scott Brown’s campaign, you can do so here.

Democrats: doing what it takes to create a one party system

I’ve got a matched set of posts for you today.  The first is an American Thinker article by John Gaski, in which he advances the argument that the Democrats are tuning out the American voters, not because they are blinded by ideology, but because they have a well-advanced system in place for permanent one party rule:

Apart from the troubling question of intent, or whether Obama-Pelosi-Reid just have a novel view of the public interest, the national Democrats are unnaturally and mysteriously sanguine despite growing backlash by the American people. Why? One reason:  The Dems don’t believe they will ever have to face a real election again.

[snip]

Dictatorship in a one-party state indeed seems to loom for us. As one prominent commentator has pointed out, the normal order of the human condition is tyranny, subjugation, and dictatorship, with only a couple of respite periods throughout history, including our time in the West over the past two centuries or so. It just took that long for the totalitarian types to gain near-total power in our country, which they are now consolidating over the coming year. What are the betting odds that they will ever let it go voluntarily?

I was inclined to give Gaski’s article a pass on the ground that it was just a bit too paranoid to be true.  I mean, it’s well written, and he advances a lot of facts (ACORN, SEIU, registering illegal aliens to vote, universal registration, corrupt Democratic Secretary’s of State, etc.), but I still didn’t seem them coming together in one coherent conspiracy whole.  My skepticism, however, took a big hit when I read that, even if Scott Brown somehow manages to pull a victory out of the special Senate vote in Massachusetts (which is unlikely given ACORN’s and SEIU’s contributions to the process before and during the vote), the Democrats will still act to block the will of the people:

It looks like the fix is in on national health-care reform – and it all may unfold on Beacon Hill.

At a business forum in Boston Friday, interim Sen. Paul Kirk predicted that Congress would pass a health-care reform bill this month.

“We want to get this resolved before President Obama’s State of the Union address in early to mid-February,” Kirk told reporters at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast.

The longtime aide and confidant of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, who was handpicked by Gov. Deval Patrick after a controversial legal change to hold Kennedy’s seat, vowed to vote for the bill even if Republican state Sen. Scott Brown, who opposes the health-care reform legislation, prevails in a Jan. 19 special election.

“Absolutely,” Kirk said, when asked if he’d vote for the bill, even if Brown captures the seat. “It would be my responsibility as United States senator, representing the people and understanding Senator Kennedy’s agenda. . . . I think you’re asking me a hypothetical question but I’d be pleased to vote for the bill.”

[snip]

Friday, a spokesman for Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, who is overseeing the election but did not respond to a call seeking comment, said certification of the Jan. 19 election by the Governor’s Council would take a while.

“Because it’s a federal election,” spokesman Brian McNiff said. “We’d have to wait 10 days for absentee and military ballots to come in.”

Another source told the Herald that Galvin’s office has said the election won’t be certified until Feb. 20 – well after the president’s address.

Since the U.S. Senate doesn’t meet again in formal session until Jan. 20, Bay State voters will have made their decision before a vote on health-care reform could be held. But Kirk and Galvin’s office said Friday a victorious Brown would be left in limbo.

In contrast, Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Lowell) was sworn in at the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 18, 2007, just two days after winning a special election to replace Martin Meehan. In that case, Tsongas made it to Capitol Hill in time to override a presidential veto of the expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Gaski may well be right — the fix is in, and we’re all well on our way to being broken.