In praise of Boehner and McConnell?

February 16, 2014
Not RINOs?

Not RINOs?

It’s been common among my colleagues on the Right to deride House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as “RINOs,”  or “Republicans In Name Only.’ Weak, cowardly leaders who are practically supine before the Democrats, even after taking back the House in the Tea party wave of 2010. And the complaints are understandable: conservatives won a big election then and, since the House represents the people directly, arguably represent a majority of the nation. So why is the debt still going up, why is spending still increasing, and why (among other things) are we still stuck with the albatross of Obamacare? When are we ever going to fight? Throwing up our hands in the air in exasperation, we decide it’s the Washington Republican Establishment that doesn’t want really want reform and we focus our ire on Boehner and McConnell, even hitting the latter with a primary challenger.

“Not so hasty!”, as Tolkien’s Treebeard might say.

At National Review, Charles Cooke (no squish, himself) argues that tactics matter, that passing the continuing resolution last fall and the recent debt-ceiling increase were both wise, and that Boehner and McConnell are playing  a smart long game:

“I’d be willing to risk losing the Senate if we could keep America,” Mitch McConnell’s primary challenger, Matt Bevin, told Glenn Beck this morning. What an astonishingly incoherent and misguided sentence that is. “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” asks the King James Bible. A fair question, yes, but politics is a different game altogether, and, in this case, the alternative isn’t an otherworldly victory or spiritual advancement but simply more loss. The question for Bevin must be “for what shall it profit a man if he shall lose another debt-ceiling fight and lose his party’s shot at the Senate as well?” And the answer is “not at all.” If this is what we are to expect from the revolution — a host of nihilistic, suicidal, performance artists who would rather be outside of the control room screaming than inside and in charge — then give me the cynical calculations of a Mitch McConnell any day of the week.

“Any time, you and I question the schemes of the do-gooders,” Ronald Reagan complained in 1964, “we’re denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. It seems impossible to legitimately debate their solutions with the assumption that all of us share the desire to help the less fortunate. They tell us we’re always ‘against,’ never ‘for’ anything.” Could this sentiment not be applied currently to some slices of the Right? After all, pretty much every single Republican agrees on the question of Obamacare. Pretty much every single Republican agrees on taxes and spending and the size of government. Pretty much every single Republican agrees on the debt. They disagree, however, on tactics. And tactics matter. Make no mistake: For all the bluster, the Democratic party and the wider progressive movement is absolutely terrified of Obamacare, which has been a liability for almost five years now, and which is not going away. As I noted yesterday, the majority of the elections this year are going to yield fights between a candidate who wants to repeal the law completely and a candidate who is critical of it in at least one way. There is nothing that the president would like more at this moment than to play last October over again — to paint the GOP as an extreme, risk-taking, rump party holding the country hostage. McConnell and Boehner were right to recognize that handing him that opportunity this year would have been a disaster.

I largely agree, though I believe the “Establishment” could have been more aggressive in the recent debt-ceiling argument by, for example, demanding that insurance companies not get a guaranteed bailout in the event they lose money over Obamacare. That would at least have forced the Democrats to go on record as being in favor of giving public money to one of the most hated industries in the nation.

But, overall, I think Cooke is right. It’s not a cop-out to say we only control one-half of one branch of the government; it’s simply an acknowledgement of reality and that, therefore, our options are limited. While it’s satisfying to give in to the urge to fight-fight-fight at every instance, it profits neither conservatism, the Republican Party, or the nation –to which our ultimate responsibility lies– to fight battles we’re sure to lose, such as the “defund Obamacare” effort of last fall. The will to fight is important, but knowing when to strike is equally so, if the goal is to win.

Politics is an art that requires patience, a willingness to move in increments, rather than having it all now. It’s an art the Left practiced to take over the Democratic Party after the 1960s, and it’s served them well. Populist, Tea Party conservatives have done less well at it, perhaps because of a powerful “Jacksonian” strain in our political DNA — we’re “hasty,” in other words, and we mustn’t in our impatience let the Democrats off the hook they’ve caught themselves on before November’s elections.

If so, then perhaps Cooke is right, and we should praise McConnell and Boehner, rather than throw rotten tomatoes at them.

You may call me RINO, now.

Addendum: To answer the almost-inevitable “Well, Fahrquar, when are we gonna fight? It’ll be more of the same shite after we take over the Senate!”, well, that’s nihilism and I’m not a nihilist. Yes, it’s possible the Beltway Establishment would rather accommodate itself to the expanded progressive “new normal,” but, for now, I’m willing to give them some leash and work like the dickens to give the Republicans the Senate — while electing the most conservative candidates possible, at the same time. Then we test them. With both chambers, they’ll have no excuse for not passing reform budgets, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and fixing entitlements. Place the onus on Obama, let him threaten vetoes: momentum will be on our side and, in the required compromises, we’ll have a much better chance of winning the incremental game.

And if the leadership balks, then we break out the pitchforks and torches.


Ding-dong, Waxman’s gone!

January 30, 2014
Henry Waxman, D-Statist

Henry Waxman, D-Statist

Oh, this is a moment I’ve long looked forward to. Henry Waxman (D-CA), one of the most obnoxious progressives in the House and co-author of the economy-killing, state-growing Waxman-Markey climate bill, has decided to retire:

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, whose legislative record has made him one of the country’s most influential liberal lawmakers for four decades, announced Thursday that he will retire from his Westside seat, the latest in a wave of departures that is remaking the state’s long-stable congressional delegation.

Waxman-Markey failed, thank God, but the LAT article reminds us of another of Henry’s gifts to America:

Among his legislative victories was the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which he helped write and push through the House. Passage of the law fulfilled “one of my lifelong dreams” by guaranteeing access to healthcare coverage for Americans, he said.

Translated: “I’ve done all the damage I can do, so, since there is no chance Democrats will retake the House and we’ll likely lose the Senate, I might as well retire to enjoy my pension and become a lobbyist.”

Henry Waxman was Leviathan personified, a statist who tried his hardest to insert the federal government into every aspect of our lives. He is also a vile partisan who, I’m sure, regrets he couldn’t institute one-party rule.

His district here in Los Angeles is solidly Democratic, so there is no hope of a Republican pick up, but almost anyone the Democrats run will at least be no worse.

Goodbye and good riddance, Henry Waxman.

UPDATE: Charles Cooke reminds us that Waxman co-authored the Clean Air Act, which set the stage for the EPA’s aggressive rule-making, and signed off as often as he could on surrendering legislative authority to executive agencies. Bah.

UPDATE 2: Hmm. Per Allahpundit, maybe Henry’s seat isn’t so safe after all.


Is it time for Speaker Boehner and team to resign?

October 17, 2013
"We needed a better plan"

“Strategy and tactics”

I’ve never been a basher of Speaker John Boehner; figuring that it’s always easier to be the “Monday-morning quarterback” than the man on the field calling the signals, I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt his years of experience warranted, even if I haven’t always agreed with his actions.

And, as some will recall, I was very skeptical of the defund/shutdown strategy against Obamacare. Still am, in fact, but that’s neither here nor there; once the battle had been joined, it was up to our leaders in the House, where the main action would be fought, to conduct the operations competently and come out of them with a win. The House majority, representing as it does a majority of the people, was well within its constitutional prerogatives to refuse funding for government operations until the Senate and the White House agreed to acceptable changes.  And if the leadership couldn’t get everything –that is, defunding or delaying Obamacare for a year, which was never going to happen– then at least get some significant concessions that would make the struggle worthwhile. That would require effective negotiation and compromise by both sides, and it is in the conduct and results of those negotiations that we should judge Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Majority Whip McCarthy.

Writing at The Federalist, Sean Davis examines Boehner & co.’s performance, as well as the lack of trust between them and the caucus, and concludes that it is time for them to resign. First, the trust issue:

So why the bloody fight over [tactics]? The battle erupted because conservatives did not trust Boehner and Cantor to actually fight on the debt limit. To many conservatives, the constant Boehner/Cantor strategy, regardless of the issue at hand, boils down to “the real battle is the next battle.” Surrender this fight, and we’ll promise to fight for real next time. Their proposed debt limit/delay strategy perfectly resembled that caricature. They won’t fight on the less risky battle (shutdown), so why should we trust them to fight on the really risky battle (default)?

That distrust, regardless of which side of the defund or delay argument you come down on, is the primary reason for the mess in which Republicans currently find themselves. Democrats stayed united because they trusted the strategy laid out for them by Reid and Obama. The GOP fracture was caused entirely by a lack of trust in its leadership.

Then there’s Speaker Boehner’s utter incompetence as a negotiator:

The next negotiating factor that eliminated any Boehner credibility in the eyes of Obama and Reid is Boehner’s terrible habit of offering unilateral concessions without getting anything in return from Reid or Obama. In order to explain why those actions were so problematic, we first need to define what was at stake. The object of the negotiation — the thing that nearly everybody wanted — was for the government to re-open and for default to be avoided. Democrats wanted a clean spending bill and a clean debt limit extension with nothing else attached. That was their dream deal. Republicans wanted any spending bill and debt limit to be coupled with some sort of full delay or defunding of Obamacare. That was their dream deal. Any deviation from either side’s dream deal is defined as a concession — it’s something they gave up in order to get to the object of the negotiation.

The trouble is, per Davis, Obama and Reid bet that, if they stayed firm and offered no concessions, Boehner would start “negotiating with himself,” which is exactly what happened, as Boehner offered unilateral concession after unilateral concession. All the Democrats had to do was sit back, say no, and wait. It was as if he had a cartoon sucker hanging over his head:

"Suckers."

“Your House negotiating team”

But what of his deputies, Majority Leader Cantor and Majority Whip McCarthy? Davis does not spare them, either:

First, [Boehner] never took the time to determine what negotiators call the “walkaway value” of his conference. What is the final deal that they would accept? Granted, that is a very difficult value to agree on, especially when you have more than 200 individuals who think their solution is best and everyone else is an idiot. But that’s the Speaker’s job. When you are negotiating on behalf of other people, you cannot walk into a negotiation without knowing their walkaway value. And where were Cantor and McCarthy during all this? If Boehner thought he would be advantaged by staying above the fray, then Cantor and McCarthy — the whip whose sole job it is to count votes — should’ve been listening and whipping and cajoling on Boehner’s behalf. Their job is to support the Speaker, and every indication is that they completely failed to do so.

In other words, their job was to “take the temperature ” of their caucus, find out what their minimal agreed conditions were, get everyone signed off on the same page, and convey that to Boehner, so that he could then field a unified caucus in the negotiations, knowing that he could deliver the votes in a deal. Instead, Cantor and McCarthy failed to do this, Boehner failed to make them do this, and instead the Speaker offered deal after deal that he could not carry out.

The result, then, was not only a defeat for Republicans and conservatives in this round (and it was a defeat, no matter how much some spin it), but also a weakening of our position in any future conflicts, because of both the caucus’ continued lack of trust in the leadership (now deepened) and Reid and Obama’s defensible belief that, in another showdown, they could use the same intransigent strategy again and expect to win. With the current leadership, I’d say they were justified in that belief.

Under the parliamentary, “Westminster system” of government, Cabinet ministers are considered accountable for the functioning of their department and can be expected to resign if something bad goes wrong. It’s called the principle of “ministerial responsibility.”

While the American Executive Branch doesn’t usually operate under the same principle (1), I do believe it applies more closely in party caucuses in the House. Boehner and his leadership team have failed repeatedly in their negotiations with the Senate and the White House. They can’t run the government, obviously, but they are not even achieving what could be reasonably expected when controlling a majority of the chamber that most closely represents the People. And that comes down to individual failures by John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy.

It’s time for the Speaker and his deputies to accept responsibility, resign, and make way for new leadership that has the confidence of the caucus.

Footnote:
(1) Especially not this administration; under any decent government, HHS Secretary Sebelius would have resigned over the Obamacare roll-out fiasco. And don’t get me started about Eric Holder.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Questions for @RepSpeier (D-CA 14) about Bob “Filthy” Filner #WarOnWomen

August 9, 2013

Dear Representative Jackie Speier,

In an article excerpted today in the California Political Review, you are quoted as saying Bob Filner should resign as Mayor of San Diego:

“In [Filner's] case, I think he was abusing his power, and I find it disgusting that he would hit on sexual assault victims in the military or veterans, I should say,” Speier said.

You’ve served as part of the California delegation to the House and as a member of the Democratic caucus there since since 2008. Filner was in the House from 1993-2012, also as a member of the Democratic caucus. So you overlapped for four years. It’s been widely reported that Bob Filner was harassing women during his time in the House. Indeed, that’s where he got the nickname “Filthy,” as well as a few others. The former head of the California Democratic Party flew to Washington to speak to Bob about his “issue.” There’s no way this stayed secret from the caucus leadership and, given the number of women complaining about Filner’s behavior in the House, it’s difficult to believe you didn’t know.

And so some questions come to mind:

When did you first hear of Bob Filner’s disgusting behavior in the House? Why did you not complain about it then? Why did you not demand his resignation or expulsion? Since you had to have known about it then, why are you only denouncing it now? Are you concerned your caucus leadership was apparently engaged in a cover up of a sexual predator who preyed on veterans? Were you part of that cover up? Will you denounce Nancy Pelosi’s involvement in a cover up and her effective enabling of Bob Filner’s abuse of women?

And, if you truly didn’t know what was going on, if you didn’t notice what so many women were complaining about and you weren’t “read in” by your caucus leadership, are you concerned about what that says about your job performance and place in the caucus and the California delegation?

Will you resign for your failure as a feminist to protect the women of the House?

Kind Regards,

–A California Voter

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Democrats decide on electoral strategy in 2014: suicide

June 4, 2013

Because taking pride of ownership in Obamacare worked so well for them in 2010:

Scarred by years of Republican attacks over Obamacare, with more in store next year, Democrats have settled on an unlikely strategy for the 2014 midterms: Bring it on.

Party strategists believe that embracing the polarizing law — especially its more popular elements — is smarter politics than fleeing from it in the House elections. The new tack is a marked shift from 2010, when Republicans pointed to Obamacare as Exhibit A of Big Government run amok on their way to seizing the House from Democrats.

But the Democratic bear hug, reflecting a calculation it’s probably impossible to shed their association with the law even if they wanted to, is still a high-wire public relations act. The White House has consistently struggled with messaging on Obamacare, hoping the public would gain an appreciation for the health care makeover as its benefits became apparent. That never really happened, but Democrats seem to be banking that it finally will.

Yeah, because the problem from their point of view is always the messaging: “if only we explained ourselves better, then the rubes public would support our glorious ideas. Their lives are better, it’s just that they don’t know it. So we just have to fine tune our message and we’re back in business!” It’s never that their ideas stink like a fish left out in the sun, or that the public resents to the point of rage the way Obamacare was passed, as Moe Lane explains:

…the Democrats apparently have never really understood that the way that Obamacare was passed features prominently in the reason why it’s so unpopular among the rest of us.  Politico’s vaguely revisionist history aside, the Democrats certainly attempted to tout Obamacare as being a net positive in the 2010 elections; what they failed to realize then – and, apparently, now – is that when you shove something down my throat, I don’t particularly care whether you think that it tastes great or not.  What I care about is your callous indifference and unwarranted arrogance; and so it was with Obamacare.  The Democrats ignored the opposition, ignored the populace, and even ignored the established rules to pass their walking monstrosity of a health care rationing system; and it is a measure of precisely how tone-deaf they were about the procedure that one of their leaders actually thought that it was smart to tell people that we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it.

And he’s right. Aside from the abomination of Obamacare itself, the way it was passed, not just unconstitutional but anti-constitutional (No time to read the bill, drafting sessions from which the opposition was excluded, insulting the public, deem and pass, reconciliation…), is offensive, infuriating, enraging, and a good part of the reason for the electoral bug-squashing the Democrats suffered in 2010. I can just see the Republicans dusting off the Pelosi videos now.

In spite of that, the Democrats think the strategy of defending Obamacare, tuning their message, and promising to fix the broken parts while keeping the parts people like will work. Politico, again:

“In 2010, the benefits of ACA were theoretical and Democratic candidates ran away from it. If you were in a tough race and asked about health care,” a senior Democratic official told POLITICO, “you changed the topic. In 2014, Democrats can talk about the positives, position themselves as consumer advocates to make it work and go on offense against Republicans for wanting to take the benefits away.”

A problem with this is that those portions people like, including things I find distasteful such as keeping “children” on the parents’ insurance until they’re 26, can be fixed to be more market-oriented and part of a repeal-and-replace bill that still guts the core of the PPACA, which progressives adore and the majority loathes:  the hated mandate, the requirements to buy coverage you don’t need or want, and the new taxes.

Ah, yes. The new taxes and the increased premiums. Jim Geraghty tells us why that light the Democrats see at the end of the tunnel may instead be an oncoming train:

So . . . in 2014, just as premiums begin to reflect the changes of Obamacare, and in the year where the uninsured must start paying the government $95 or 1 percent of their income (whichever is higher) . . . Democrats have decided they’ll embrace Obamacare and make it a centerpiece of their reelection message.

(…)

The point is, starting in 2014, a lot of people who don’t have insurance and find the process of getting insurance immensely confusing and frustrating will suddenly be told they must pay the government for their failure to get insurance. And at that precise moment, Democrats will ask for their vote as an expression of gratitude.

That penalty will be enforced, collected by, and paid to the IRS, which has just been exposed as being quite willing to harass and punish law-abiding Americans for their political beliefs. And yet the Democrats want to remind voters of Obamacare and help the Republicans connect the two?

Genius. Brer Rabbit couldn’t have found a more attractive briar patch.

PS: For those under the impression that Pelosi and company might still have hit on a winning strategy, let’s take a walk down memory lane to see what happened the last time they told us how wonderful Obamacare would be. Have a look at the results for the House races, the Senate contests, and the state-level elections in 2010. To quote the Politico article again, “Bring it on.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Michele Bachmann retires – updated

May 29, 2013

Well, this is interesting:

Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann, a conservative Republican who ran for president last year, made a surprise announcement Wednesday and said she will not seek re-election to a fifth term in Congress.

The Minnesota congresswoman was facing inquiries into her presidential campaign and a potential rematch with Democrat Jim Graves, a wealthy hotel executive who came within about 4,300 votes of defeating her in November.

“My decision was not influenced by any concerns about my being re-elected,” Bachmann said.

Bachmann added, “This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign.” In January, a former Bachmann aide filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming Bachmann made improper payments to an Iowa state senator who was the state chairman of her 2012 presidential run. The aide, Peter Waldron, also accused Bachmann of other FEC violations.

Color me a bit skeptical regarding those denials: a Tea Party conservative running in purple Minnesota was always going to have a hard time, and maybe she saw that the allegations against her would give her opponent, who ran a strong race last time, enough of a club (1) to beat her next time. Not running will almost surely hand the seat to the Democrats, however.

Steve Greene wonders if she’s clearing the decks for a Senate run. I have my doubts (statewide would be even harder for her than winning her district), but, if she does, there’s no doubt she’ll make it interesting.

UPDATE: I largely agree with this analysis by National Journal’s Reid Wilson (h/t Jim Geraghty):

Bachmann’s political career trumped her legislative career. While she became a heroine to many Tea Party activists, raising more money than almost any other member of the House of Representatives during her last election cycle, she held little sway in Washington beyond a tiny cohort of friends and allies and she passed no significant legislation during her time in Washington. Most Tea Party conservatives are closer to Jordan, or the leadership structure of the Republican Study Committee.

And while Bachmann remained the poster child for the Tea Party label, especially to liberal media outlets in search of a boogeyman, other more conservative members have risen to greater prominence, in both the House and Senate.

Her political troubles made her one of the few members of Congress who would be more difficult for her party to defend than an open seat would be. That is, Republicans would rather run a fresh candidate without Bachmann’s baggage than try to defend her suburban Twin Cities district. In 2012, Mitt Romney took 56.5 percent of the vote in Bachmann’s district; Bachmann eked out a win over Democrat Jim Graves by just 1.2 percentage points, or about 4,300 votes.

Bachmann may have been the loudest member of the class of 2006, the one who inspired the most heated arguments. But she will hardly be the most consequential; her enduring legacy may be the lessons she taught in how to lose friends and become completely uninfluential.

With her exit, Democrats lose a potent fundraising tool. Republicans lose a headache they would just as soon do without.

Power Line is more charitable toward her.

Footnote:
(1) Not to mention her bizarre assertions about Gardasil. That caused me to seriously reconsider her candidacy in 2012, and not in a good way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The horror of sequester: congressional aides might have to pay more for subsidized lunches

March 22, 2013
"House cafeteria, post-sequester"

“House cafeteria, post-sequester”

Have those heartless House Republicans no mercy, no soul? How could they do this to poor, starving congressional staffers?

Speaking at a hearing of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, [Debbie] Wasserman Schultz worried that prices of meals in House restaurants are getting so high that aides are being “priced out” of a good meal.

At the carry-out cafe in the Cannon Office Building, where Wasserman Schultz has her office, you can get an 8oz bowl of Ham and Bean soup for $2. You can buy gourmet sandwiches and wraps for around $5. Both of these are cheaper than I can get at delis down the street from my house.

Her aides could walk across the street to the Longworth Building, which has a large sit-down cafeteria. Today, it is featuring a roasted stuffed Chicken, with asparagus and mashed potatoes, for around $7. Or, one could opt for a heaping 12oz bowl of Chicken Chili for $3.

There is also the tried and true method enjoyed by millions of workers around the country: a brown-bag lunch.

Curse you, Tea Partiers! Have you no sympathy for long-suffering, hard-toiling aides who make more than the median salary in the US?

You can imagine that I, who lives the life of luxury –bringing my breakfast four out of five days to work, my lunch every day, going out to a cheap dinner with friends just once per month– Well, dear readers, you can picture just how my heart breaks for people who might have to pay $8 for roasted stuffed chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus, instead of seven.

I weep.

Actually, I don’t. In fact, Wasserman-Schultz and her overpaid entourage of whiny self-entitled oligarchs can go do something anatomically impossible to themselves. It was her party’s leader who thought of the sequester, it was her party’s leader who fought tooth and nail any effort ease what little real pain it would cause, and it was her party’s leader and his minions (including Debbie) who tried desperately to scare the American people with a “sequester terror” that turned out to be a giant nothing. If she and her staff now have to live a tiny bit more like us great unwashed, don’t expect sympathy from me.

Honestly, this is a glaring example of just how (to use a cliche) out of touch and removed from the everyday life of Americans those who live within the Beltway must be, especially the progressives. If the Republicans don’t use this monumental example of elite cluelessness as a populist  club to beat the Democrats over the head with from now until November, 2014, they don’t belong in politics.

UPDATE: Mockery via Twitchy — #SaveTheStaffers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Nancy Pelosi, a racist hypocrite?? Say it ain’t so!

March 21, 2013

I’m sure there’s a perfectly innocent explanation why a White Democratic congressman under investigation gets unstinting support from the House Democratic leadership, while Black Democratic congressmen also facing investigation are asked to step aside.

Back story: Representative Robert Andrews (D-NJ) has been credibly accused of using campaign funds to fund personal trips. He has received strong backing from Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Nancy Pelosi has promoted him into the caucus leadership. Representative Andrews is also White.

Don’t think the Black Caucus hasn’t noticed the difference in treatment its members receive:

“It bears notice that Pelosi appointed Mr. Andrews to a leadership position in the midst of this investigation,” the [chief of staff of a Congressional Black Caucus member] said. “That is in direct contrast to the approach taken with similarly situated members of the Black Caucus, who routinely faced pressure to step away from leadership posts during investigations.

“Her commitment to fairness will be tested in how she responds to this announcement.”

Dude, considering the Black vote always goes 90% for the Democrats and your caucus never seriously threatens to bolt, why should she “respond?” You’ll give the hypocrite what she wants, no matter how hard she backhands you. And until you start acting on the real interests of your constituents, instead of mindlessly parroting the Democrat-Left agenda, nothing is going to change.

Besides, Nancy is a San Francisco limousine liberal. Therefore, any charge or even hint of bigotry on her part is ridiculous on its face. In fact, the Democratic Party as a whole has been pure as the driven snow on race.

Just ask them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“Democrats” — Where the “D” stands for “Denial”

February 27, 2013

President Obama and the congressional Democrats bear the lion’s share of the responsibility for our metastasizing national debt, but don’t you dare remind them of that:

During a House Financial Services Committee hearing Tuesday on the budget, two Democrats complained after House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling instructed that two monitors in the hearing room display a real-time running national debt clock.

California Rep. Maxine Waters and Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison both issued complaints about the displays, according to video of the hearing.

“Clearly it is a political prop designed to message ideologically,” Ellison said.

Waters asked that the debt clock not be on display whenever Democrats spoke, Hensarling said during the hearing.

“At the request of the ranking member, the national debt clock will not be put on the screens during Democratic time,” said Hensarling, a Texas Republican.

Follow the link for video of this sterling moment in political courage.

Congresswoman Waters, of course, is a California Democrat who recently skated on corruption charges. She also famously supported nationalization of the oil industry in 2008, but you’re a racist if you call her a Socialist.

Congressman Ellison (D – MN), on the other hand, is the well-known representative for the Muslim Brotherhood, and had a long association with Nation of Islam leader (and antisemitic fruitcake) Louis Farrakhan.

But reminding them of their party’s role in the United States’ looming debt disaster is somehow offensive to these two fine, upstanding people.

I guess the old saying is right: Truth hurts.

RELATED: My blog-buddy ST has declared a “whine alert.” And here’s an article on Ellison’s meltdown on last night’s “Hannity.”


Forget Denmark, something’s rotten in St. Lucie county, Florida

November 19, 2012

Gee! I get to vote twice? Cool!

I mean, with such a well-managed election operation as this, I can’t see why anyone thinks there’s a problem:

Then there is Gertrude Walker, the 32-year-veteran election supervisor of St. Lucie County, who has spent much of the last two weeks explaining why her office completely botched the count. She admitted that her office had acted in “haste” in issuing election results, and that “mistakes were made.” Among her mistakes was failing to count 40 of the 94 precincts under her jurisdiction on Election Night — and then counting the other 54 twice. Indeed. On Friday, her office announced it had “discovered” 304 additional early votes left in a box. None had been counted

But Walker wasn’t available for comment. She has been hospitalized for unknown reasons.

The news was one reason that Florida’s secretary of state has dispatched a team of experts to audit St. Lucie’s procedures. The St. Lucie Election Canvassing Board voted to approve a complete recount of all the early ballots. It began the recount on Saturday but stopped it at 8 p.m. because the county building’s security system was set to be switched on later that night. Some people complained that the alarms have been switched off in the past to allow county business to continue after hours, but their complaints were ignored. The recount resumed on Sunday morning, but it missed the noon deadline to submit the county’s final returns to Florida’s secretary of state.

So, on Sunday, the previous results—the ones showing Democrat Murphy ahead—were sent to Florida’s secretary of state for certification.

How convenient that this “glitch” means St. Lucie’s returns also cost Rep. Allen West his seat.

Read the rest of John Fund’s article for more on Ms. Walker’s troubling history. Florida has a serious problem with its elections, and owes it to the voters to clean this up.

Addendum: Disappointing news from Legal Insurrection. Thanks to the slow-walking of the recount by Walker’s office, Congressman West may have few legal avenues left and may be preparing to concede defeat. Democrats should remember the warning words of Obi Wan Kenobi.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Your “something’s fishy” moment of the day

November 18, 2012

From Florida, where Rep. Allen West is waging a battle to get a recount in St. Lucie county:

Just as background, one precinct has 7 voters registered and yet recorded about 900 votes. That’s a 13,000 percent turnout.

Call me crazy, but I think Congressman West has reason to be suspicious.

Information on how to help Congressman West here.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) on fire on the House floor

July 27, 2012

Congressman Kelly went to the House floor yesterday to denounce the crushing burden federal regulation imposes on American business and, by the time he was done, he had earned a rare standing ovation from his colleagues and chants of “USA! USA!”

Enjoy, my friends, enjoy.

Preach it, Brother Mike! 

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(video) Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) on voting to hold Eric Holder in contempt of Congress

June 29, 2012

Summary: This scandal got people killed, Holder and Obama won’t let the truth come out, and Gowdy is outraged.

Outrage is good.

You know what? I like this guy.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“Fast and Furious” scandal goes “full Watergate,” White House asserts Executive Privilege — UPDATED

June 20, 2012

“I am not a crook!”

Shades of Richard Nixon. Faced with a contempt of Congress citation for failure to produce subpoenaed documents, Attorney General Eric Holder apparently went to his boss, President Obama, and asked for a little cover.

He got it:

President Obama has granted an 11th-hour request by Attorney General Eric Holder to exert executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents, a last-minute maneuver that appears unlikely to head off a contempt vote against Holder by Republicans in the House.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is expected to forge ahead with its meeting on the contempt resolution anyway. 

This is a slap in the face to the committee and practically guarantees a contempt vote. I’m willing to bet it will backfire on the Obama administration, too; anyone who remembers the Nixon years, when executive privilege was abused to hide administration culpability in the Watergate scandal, will now be asking a simple question: “What have they got to hide?”  Or, as Gabe Malor put it on Twitter this morning:

Yesterday, I didn’t believe there was anything in the F&F docs worth hiding. Today, I’m absolutely convinced there is.

Chairman Issa, meanwhile, has said the committee plans to move forward with the contempt vote.

That’s well and good, and it may be a necessary preliminary step, but impeachment of the Attorney General must now be a serious consideration. I haven’t really thought this worthwhile up to now, since we’re so close to the election, and the chances of conviction in the Senate were minimal, but the House must defend its legitimate authority to investigate and hold accountable the government it funds with the money of the people it represents. This assertion of privilege is wholly unjustified and an abuse of a doctrine meant to preserve the ability of the president and his cabinet officers to receive unguarded advice or preserve classified information.

Two US federal officers and over 300 Mexicans have been killed with weapons provided under Fast and Furious, and their survivors and the American and Mexican public deserve answers.

If a contempt citation doesn’t work, then it’s time to impeach Eric Holder.

RELATED: Other posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

via ST

PS: And let’s not forget that supplying arms to armed groups fighting the Mexican government is by most reasonable understandings an act of war. Are we at war with Mexico, Mr. President?

LINKS: Lots of people covering this — Pirate’s Cove, Michelle Malkin, The PJ Tatler, Ace of Spades, Jammie Wearing Fool, Erika Johnsen, Ed Morrissey, Legal Insurrection, Breitbart, and Obi’s Sister.

UPDATE: Wanted to pull this directly from the linked Tatler post; it has important implications:

In the landmark case that spells out presidential executive privilege, United States vs Nixon (1974), the Supreme Court found that executive privilege pertains to communications directly with the president, and otherwise limited the scope of executive privilege. Today’s move by the White House implies either that Fast and Furious reaches directly into the Oval Office, or that the White House is challenging the Nixon ruling. Either way, today’s assertion is a major escalation of the scandal.

So, Mr. President. Are you admitting you knew all about Operation Fast and Furious all along?

UPDATE II: A couple of great informational posts from Gabriel Malor relevant to today’s news, one on contempt of Congress and the other on executive privilege.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Fast and Furious: Elijah Cummings throws the dead under the bus to protect Obama and Holder

April 30, 2012

Last week I reported that the Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R – CA) House Oversight Committee was preparing contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General Eric Holder for non-cooperation and defying subpoenas in the committee’s investigation into Operation Fast and Furious. Also known as “Gunwalker,” the administration’s supposed plan was to funnel guns and grenades to the cartels and then, somehow (1), trace them to their leaders. This plan went horribly awry, resulting in the deaths of more than 300 Mexican civilians, police, federal agents, and military, as well and one, perhaps two United States federal officers. It is this failed, fatal, operation that Chairman Issa’s committee has been digging into in order to find out how something this boneheaded could take place, all with little help from the Justice Department of the “most transparent administration, ever.”

Ranking committee Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings, however, will have none of that nonsense:

Rep. Elijah Cummings warned Rep. Darrell Issa against turning a potential contempt resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious scandal into “an election-year witch hunt,” he wrote in a letter late last week.

“Holding someone in contempt of Congress is one of the most serious and formal actions our Committee can take, and it should not be used as a political tool to generate press as part of an election-year witch hunt against the Obama Administration,” the Maryland Democrat wrote Friday to Issa, the California Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Congressman Cummings was incensed that the draft citation was leaked to the press:

“Leaking a draft contempt citation that Members of our Committee have never seen suggests that you are more interested in perpetuating your partisan political feud in the press than in obtaining any specific substantive information relating to the Committee’s investigation,” he wrote. “These actions undermine the credibility of the Committee, as well as the integrity and validity of any contempt actions the Committee ultimately may choose to adopt in the future.”

Cry me a river. A congressman complaining about leaks to the press is about as credible as Captain Renault being shocked to find gambling in Rick’s cafe.

No, what’s really going on here is a hack congressman trying to spin a message about unfair Republicans (2), in order to protect a cabinet officer and his president. The truth of what may have happened in Operation fast and Furious, including possible massive violations of federal and state laws, matters less than Obama’s electoral chances.

We’ve seen this show before: it was called “Watergate.” Only no one died that time.

Meanwhile, 300 (and counting) Mexicans and federal agents Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata still have no justice.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

Footnotes:
(1) I say “somehow,” since, without any tracking devices or, indeed, any effort at all to trace the guns once they were in Mexico, it remains a mystery as to just how the DoJ, ATF, and other involved agencies ever expected to link these weapons to their buyers. The only way to ever see them again was to recover them at crime scenes, which usually meant people had been killed, too.
(2) I’m sure we won’t have to wait long before accusations of “racism” are made, too.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Oh, my. House drafting contempt citation against Attorney General Holder

April 27, 2012

It’s on:

Republican House leaders are finally holding Attorney General Eric Holder accountable for some of his actions. Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, drafted a 48-page contempt of Congress citation against him. The charge? Repeatedly obstructing and slowing the investigation of Operation Fast and Furious.

This means the top House leaders are on board. The top committee officials met for most of the day in Speaker John Boehner’s office and he gave them permission to move ahead. Finally!

If adopted, the resolution will be sent to the US attorney’s office in DC or to an independent counsel. This will force the DOJ to hand over the tens of thousands pages they still owe the Oversight Committee. Mr. Holder and other officials claim they are cooperating, but they’ve only turned over 6400 documents, most of them heavily redacted. In February Rep Gosar told me a lot of them are repeats.

All I can say is 300 dead Mexicans and two murdered US federal agents demand justice. Good job, Chairman Issa and Speaker Boehner! Now file it, vote on it, and pass it.

Don’t. Let. Up.

RELATED: Earlier posts on Operation Fast and Furious.

UPDATE: In a later report, CBS’ Sharyl Attkisson (aka “The only MSM reporter to seriously cover this scandal”) corrects an earlier article to say that Boehner’s office hasn’t approved the Contempt of Congress vote — yet:

CBS News has confirmed that House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, was provided a 48-page long draft by Issa, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

“While there are very legitimate arguments to be made in favor of such an action, no decision has been made to move forward with one by the Speaker or by House Republican leaders,” a Republican leadership aide told CBS News.

Congressional staffers involved in the discussions say leadership approval is not needed for the Oversight panel to proceed. However, Boehner would have to okay any vote taken by the full House of Representatives.

via Tabitha Hale

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.”

January 10, 2012

Mia Love, the mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, is running for the House from Utah’s newly created 4th congressional district. Here’s her introductory video:

An African-American woman who’s a conservative Republican and a Mormon? I hope she’s ready for the trash that’s going to be thrown at her by race-baiting liberal Democrats and their support groups (such as the NAACP) should she succeed. Nothing is more threatening to their stranglehold over the Black vote than a minority man or woman who rejects the culture of entitlement and dependence on government. Just ask Allen West.

From Mia’s bio:

In November 2011, Mia Love filed to run for Utah’s newly formed 4th Congressional District based on her demonstrated leadership on conservative principles. She credits her parents with providing the foundation for her ideals. After many years of living in the unstable, regime-torn socialist island country of Haiti, her parents immigrated legally to the United States with $10 in their pockets in hopes of achieving the American Dream.

Mia was born in Brooklyn, New York and eventually moved to Connecticut. Mia recalls both parents working hard to earn a living, her father at times taking on second jobs cleaning toilets to pay for school for their three children. On the day of Mia’s college orientation, her father said something to her that would become the ethos for her life:

“Mia, your mother and I never took a handout. You will not be a burden to society. You will give back.”

I don’t know who else is running in the district, nor has Ms. Love posted on issues, yet, so this isn’t an endorsement. But, if this is an illustration of her character and beliefs, then I will say that she is the kind of person we need many more of in Congress.

Her site.

via The Jawa Report

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Barney Frank to retire

November 28, 2011

via The Hill:

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) will announce Monday that he is not seeking re-election, ending a 32-year career in the House.

Frank, 71, is the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and the architect, with former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), of the sweeping Wall Street regulatory reform law enacted in 2010.

He is scheduled to hold a press conference at 1 p.m. in his district, according to a spokesman, who said the congressman would announce at that time the reason for his decision. His retirement will deprive the House of one of its most colorful characters, a man known for his quick and often caustic wit.

And also known for being one of the most vociferous defenders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, claiming there was no problem while those two agencies were at the core of the building sub-prime mortgage disaster. He’s also been a loud advocate of raising taxes and gutting the defense budget. Saying he has a “caustic wit” is a euphemism; he truly is one of the biggest jackasses in our national life. Congress can only be improved by his absence.

Enjoy your retirement, Barney. And good riddance.

RELATED: Earlier posts about Barney Frank. Smitty at The Other McCain has a blog roundup.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Meet Jim Moran (D-VA), anti-democratic Democrat

October 24, 2011

Let’s be blunt — Democratic pols are having a breakdown as they are forced to face three things: their treasured statist, social democratic policies are an abject failure (1); only a fifth of the nation identifies with the Democrats’ statist philosophy and policies (2); and their leader is a schmuck who is leading them to a massacre in 2012 that will make the Great Shellacking of 2010 look like a walk in the park.

So, having to face the fact that the general voting public doesn’t like them and their policies much and is working within the democratic system to stymie their plans and (eventually, we hope) undo the damage they’ve done, we shouldn’t be surprised when their inner progressive comes out and they decide to say “to heck with the democratic system and the Constitution itself (3), we’ll just rule by decree!

Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran told The Daily Caller on Thursday evening that President Obama should “refinance every home mortgage” without congressional approval in order to “reset the economy.”

“Absolutely, I think [Obama] should do that but there are not a lot of places where he can act unilaterally,” Moran told TheDC during Conservation International’s Oct. 20 dinner in Washington, D.C.

“If he chooses to act unilaterally,” Moran said, “the likelihood is that there will be language in the appropriations bills that will prohibit him from spending money for that purpose. That’s just the political reality. But notwithstanding that, I think he should do everything he can do on his own to stimulate jobs.”

Obama has already asked his Council on Jobs to identify areas of the American Jobs Act that can be implemented without congressional authorization.

Moran told TheDC that he would “like to see” the Obama administration “refinance every home mortgage at three-and-a-half to four percent” interest, which he said can be accomplished without approval from Congress.

“The banks aren’t doing it, but the federal government can borrow money at three-and-a-half percent today. They should use that money to refinance every home mortgage, and that would put $750 billion into homeowners pockets,” he said. “It would reset the economy, and I think it’s the one thing that would most quickly get this economy back on its feet.”

*sigh* 

Not only does Representative Moran want Obama to spend money without authorization, but he wants Obama to borrow nearly another trillion dollars. Let me remind Congressman Moran of Article I, section 8, clause 2 of the United States Constitution, which defines the powers of Congress:

To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

Only Congress can borrow money on the credit of the United States; that power is granted to no one else.

And yet James Moran, a Democratic member of the House of Representatives from Virginia’s 8th district, wants the President of the United States to usurp powers granted only to Congress, because the meanie Republicans are doing what their constituents elected them to do and blocking any more idiotic ideas — such as Jim Moran’s.

May I suggest to Congressman Moran, since he finds the Constitution he swore to uphold and defend such a pain in the rear, that he do the honorable thing and resign?

First it was Governor Perdue (D-NC) advocating suspending congressional elections in 2012. Then it was Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., urging Obama to declare Congress in rebellion. And now Jim Moran wants Obama to borrow and spend money without any concern for the people’s elected representatives.

Professional Democrats have a real problem with democracy, don’t they?

via Ed Morrissey, who exposes the economic stupidity of Moran’s “plan.”

Footnotes:
(1) Cash for Clunkers. The Stimulus act. The CLASS program. The Durbin Amendment to Dodd-Frank. The earlier mortgage bailout.  Their loan programs to the “green companies” of tomorrow (See: Solyndra. Tesla and Fisker). And I’m sure I’m forgetting a bunch more.
(2) It’s hard to claim to be the “party of the people” when only one-in-five will even admit to aligning with you.
(3) Well, who can blame them? The document is over 100 years old and it probably confuses the poor dears.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Gunwalker: subpoenas on the way?

October 11, 2011

And probably including one for Eric Holder. Looks like Chairman Issa (R-CA) has decided “no more Mr. Nice Guy:”

CBS News has learned a congressional subpoena directed to Attorney General Eric Holder could go out as early as Tuesday, ordering him to turn over documents to lawmakers about when he was aware of a controversial gun smuggling operation known as Fast and Furious.

CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports the the subpoena will come from the House Oversight Committee, led by Republican Darrell Issa. It will ask for communications among senior Justice Department officials related to Fast and Furious and “gunwalking.”

(…)

The subpoena will list those officials, says Attkisson – more than a dozen of them – by name.

(…)

A source familiar with the Oversight Committee’s plans tells CBS News the subpoena request was prompted by the Justice Department dragging its feet in voluntarily turning over information to investigators, and new documents obtained by CBS News last week which seem to contradict Holder’s account of when he learned of the operation.

The subpoenas will come in the wake of a stunning letter from Attorney General Holder castigating the majority members of Issa’s House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Rep. Issa’s equally firm shove-back.

This move represents a crossing of the Rubicon as far as the investigation into Operation Fast and Furious goes; congressional subpoenas are not to be dismissed lightly. Will the administration fight them? As Ed at Hot Air figures it, Obama would be smart to warm up that bus and throw Holder under it, pronto; the last thing he needs is a major scandal in the limelight during his reelection bid. But, Obama has rarely show smarts in anything to do with public image or relations with Congress since becoming president. Quite the contrary, as administration officials have literally screamed at reporters who dared to cover Gunwalker honestly.

Frankly, I expect Obama and Holder to fight this well past the point of diminishing returns.

Time to stock up on popcorn.

RELATED: Earlier Gunwalker posts.

UPDATE: Oh, my. Now the DEA is implicated, too. Per Chairman Issa:

It was a joint operation in which DEA knew more than ATF.

As they say, there’s never just one roach under the carpet.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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