29 September 2010

Van Jones endorses Tea Party candidates!

Van Jones recently popped up to offer dire warnings about the Tea Parties:

I don’t think you want the Tea Party running your community, running your family, running your government.

Well, the good news for Van is this: the Tea Parties don't want to run your families and communities. They're the ones that want the government to leave us all alone. It's the crowd in power now who think they know best about your schools, your doctors, the food you eat, how much money you "should" make, how much you weigh and an endless list of other concerns that are rightly no concern of the government's.

So if you really, really, just don't want the Tea Party "running your family," the best thing you can do is vote for Tea Party approved candidates.

So, thanks for the endorsement, Van!

This is what "rescue" looks like? Really?

I keep hearing that TARP was necessary to "save the financial system."

Really? Two years of decline, stagnant growth and 10% unemployment? This is what rescue looks like?

I feel like I'm on Season 3 of LOST - "we have to go back!"

22 September 2010

Why is this recovery so weak? "This time you've got me."

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the "Great Recession" ended in June of 2009. Why does that bit of policy arcana matter?

In June, 2009, not one penny of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, aka, "Stimulus," had been spent. Our government spent 862 billion dollars to stimulate and economy that was already out of recession.

What did we get for our money? Persistent unemployment hovering just below 10% and a stagnant growth rate.

Historically, recovery period growth has been explosive. This time, it hasn't.

What's the difference? Well, to quote President Obama in a different context, "The big difference here (is) you've got me."

Obama to Tea Party: "What would you cut?" Short answer: "Everything"

At his "town hall" forum the other day, President Obama responded to a question about the Tea Party movement saying, in part, this:

And so the challenge, I think, for the Tea Party movement is to identify specifically what would you do. It's not enough just to say, get control of spending. I think it's important for you to say, I'm willing to cut veterans' benefits, or I'm willing to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits, or I'm willing to see these taxes go up.
 As I've explained previously, this is a standard to which liberals and the media (but I repeat myself) do not hold any other demonstrators. Did Obama demand of anti-Iraq War protesters in 2006 that they present a plan indicating which brigades should draw down first, or outline a transition plan to hand off to Iraqi forces? Of course not.

But, just for the sake of argument, I'll appoint myself as a Tea Party spokesman. Why not? It's not a top-down organization. So, the question was, what would I cut?

Short answer: EVERYTHING.


Only in Washington, DC is that notion considered beyond the pale, but the simple fact is that this year's estimated(!) deficit of $1.4 trillion is larger than the entire Federal budget was as recently as 1995. That's only fifteen years ago. Some of us are still driving the same cars as we were then, but Congress has very nearly tripled its spending (of our money) and they can't figure out where to cut? Honestly, anybody who has to ask "where should we cut?" is fundamentally unserious. There is no reason that the first cut cannot be across the board, applied to every single line of the budget.

We often discuss regulations and spending as if they were unrelated, but for every regulation, there is an enforcer. As you may already know, in the early 1990s, Congress mandated "low flow" toilets. It is unlikely that law will ever be repealed, but we can defund it. Sure, it's only one example, but it symbolizes so many things. How about somebody bring a sing to the next Tea Party rally?

Get rid of the toilet cops!

15 September 2010

Was O'Donnell the strategic choice? That depends on your strategy.

Picking a candidate in a primary solely because you think he has a better chance to win the general election is not voting. It is, strictly speaking, gambling. But that’s what some GOP gurus call "strategic thinking."

The simple fact is that making bets on how to get that 51st vote in the Senate this year isn’t strategic at all – it’s tactical, and it's short-sighted. It ignores the next four years of Castle’s potential term in office, not to mention the 2014 election, in which, presumably, he’d be favored. It simply isn't enough to vote for 51 "R's" if the R doesn't stand for anything.

Delaware primary voters made a strategic choice; a choice for 2020, and 2016, and 2012 – and maybe this year, too. That remains to be seen. But this is what change looks like. It doesn’t happen all at once, but it has to start someplace. First you take the hill, then you take the bridge, then you win the war. Always be advancing.

We’ll know in November whether the day has come when Delaware is ready to elect a Conservative the Senate, but we already know that day would never come if Republican primary voters weren’t ready to nominate a Conservative first.

Karl Rove continues to attack the character and integrity of Christine O’Donnell, as if Mike Castle or Chris Coons have no baggage. It's not as if Coons has ever won a statewide race. Is he not a self-descibed former "bearded Marxist?" And now he's a shoo-in? Really?

The Delaware Republican primary voters who have already weighed the issues Rove raises found them not to be disqualifying. For that matter, the Delaware Republican Party presumably weighed those issues when it made O’Donnell its nominee for this very same Senate seat just two years ago.

So when those same experts tell us now that O'Donnell has no chance, or she is unqualified, they are proving only their own cynicism and bad faith.

Morning in America? The NRSC got a wake-up call, and (for once) didn't hit the snooze button

After initial reports that it would not support O'Donnell, the NRSC now says it has sent her the maximum donation allowable.

After backing Specter, Crist, Bennett, Murkowski, etc., maybe the NRSC is finally figuring out that they shouldn't be trying to figure out how the Tea Party fits into the Republican coalition, but how the Republican Party fits into the Tea Party coalition.

Okay, Rove, Castle and NRSC, we know what you think of us. Now you know what we think of you, too.

Just a few days ago, your betters were lecturing you about how important it is to win elections, and that therefore Mike Castle ought to be the Republican nominee for Senate from Delaware. It did not matter to them that he votes with the Democrats half the time. All that mattered, they argued, is that he can win. We all had to pull together on this one.

But before all the votes had even been counted in Christine O'Donnell's win over Castle, there was Karl Rove, attacking the freshly-minted nominee; there was the NRSC, pledging to spend not one dime in support of her candidacy; there was Mike Castle himself, refusing to support her.

Why? Because not one of them really thinks victory is important. Not one of them thinks we need to pull together - they want you to get out and push.

They have clearly already surrendered.

When Karl Rove launches into his diatribe of accusations against O'Donnell, he's not calling her unqualified, he's calling Delaware primary voters stupid. When Mike Castle refuses to endorse O'Donnell, he is telling those same voters that he still knows better than they do. When the NRSC says that if the Tea Partiers want O'Donnell, they can pay for her campaign themselves, they are saying that Tea Partiers are useful only if they shut up and do what they're told.

And all of that just proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that Delaware Republicans made exactly the right choice.

14 September 2010

The time to support liberal Republicans is against Democrats, not in the Republican primary

A lot of high profile conservatives have been debating the O'Donnell/Castle primary for the Senate in Delaware, and their debate raises some important issues.

I have not followed the race closely enough to comment on the issues that have been raised about O'Donnell's character and honesty, which i think are an entirely separate matter. I only want to comment on the whole notion of choosing a nominee based on general election "electability."

I can understand the argument that even a liberal Republican is better than any Democrat. the first vote either one casts will be for the leadership from his own party. Here's where I jump off, though:

This race is for a Senate seat. In the House, the agenda in majority driven, and each member, proportionately, has less power due to both procedural rules and sheer numbers. In the Senate, every member is a minority of one, with the ability to torpedo major legislation, sometimes entirely singlehandedly.

If Mike Castle gets six years in the Senate, it is a virtual certainty he will be the one man to stop some major Republican initiative, probably before the 2012 election. That's what liberal Republicans do. And when they do, it is enormously destructive politically. It not only defeats that specific piece of legislation, but validates Democrat attacks on Republican "extremism." After all, it is so extreme, the party's own members are sticking out there necks to stop it.

The time for conservatives to support a Mike Castle is after he nominated, not before. It is only after he is nominated that he is the lesser of two evils. To argue that the general electorate is not conservative enough to support the more conservative candidate from the Republican primary ignores the fact that the first step towards changing that general electorate is for the Republicans themselves to move to the right. If they are a little bit nervous, prominent Conservatives don't need to be enablers for the moderates and squishes.

06 September 2010

Eugene Robinson needs his diaper changed

Over at the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson is plugging his ears, closing his eyes, and singing really loudly.

Wait, did I just call him childish? Because that would be a really immature thing to do. It would be uncivil, really. It would be worse than name-calling. I would be implying that there is no legitimate reason to disagree with me, so he must be mentally impaired in some way; arrested development; bad motives.

That would be a really poor example for me to set. So I take it back. He's not childish.

But he thinks you are.

01 September 2010

Obama wasn't damning Bush with faint praise - it was just another "bitter clinger" moment

During his Oval Office Address on Iraq last night, President Obama said that "no one can doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security."

Many have criticized the president for his lack of graciousness; accusing him of, in effect, damning former President Bush with faint praise.

In fairness, from Obama's perspective, perhaps support for the troops and love of country is a pretty high bar to clear. After all, can you imagine anybody (with a straight face) offering the same assessment of our current president?

Still, it came across to me as another "bitter clinger" moment. In other words, Obama was not praising George W. Bush at all. Rather, he was analyzing the petty, backwards, and childish motivations that must have led him to try to win a war in which the nation was already engaged.

It's perfectly understandable, you see? Bush was bitterly clinging to an antiquated notion of patriotism and tribal loyalty. Not like President Obama, Citizen of the World.