Well, scratch Mike Huckabee from the 2016 contenders list

April 13, 2014
Foot, meet mouth

Foot, meet mouth

Not that the former Arkansas governor and current FOX host was on my list, anyway (1), but making statements as facile, lazy, and, yes, ignorant as this should give anyone pause:

Fox News personality and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee stunned a New Hampshire crowd on Saturday by likening the federal government’s treatment of airport passengers to the totalitarian regime of Kim Jong-un.

‘My gosh, I’m beginning to think that there’s more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States,’ he told a partisan crowd at the inaugural New Hampshire Freedom Summit.

‘When I go to the airport, I have to get into the surrender position, people put hands all over me, and I have to provide photo ID in a couple of different forms to prove that I’m not going to terrorize the airplane,’ he deadpanned.

In a speech filled with jokes, Huckabee seemed deadly serious.

Really, Mike?

Look, the TSA can be infuriating, it’s definitely ineffective, and it should be disbanded, but as if we were in North Korea? Please, spare me the hyperbole.

North Korea is a nightmare realm ruled by an alcoholic man-child whose subjects fear him as a god. It is a bizarre mix of Confucianism and Stalinism in which all bend to the will of the Dear Leader, lest they die by flamethrower. It is a land of starvation and cannibalism, where multiple generations of whole families are consigned to a vast gulag of prison camps. In fact, all of North Korea is a prison masquerading as a nation.

And to compare the United States to that, even if just to get your point across through the shock value?

That’s just stupid, Mike, and I don’t vote for stupid.

via ST’s Hot Headlines

Footnote:
(1) He rubs me the wrong way, giving me the impression he’s a right-wing statist who would keep feeding Leviathan, not much better than the left-wing statists running the show right now. Others, of course, may well see him differently. Big tent, and all that.


Ted Cruz explains #Obamacare’s success in one graphic

April 13, 2014
"Your MEA shop steward"

“Obamacare salesman on the job”

With the recent announcement of more than seven million sign-ups for Obamacare, the administration and its supporters have been running around shouting “Success! SUCCESS!!”, as if an enrollment figure means that the implementation of the law itself, with its myriad problems (for example) (1), will be just a matter of working “the bugs” out.

Nevertheless, seven million was the administration’s goal, and they met it. So, how does one explain this victory? How did they do it?

Senator Ted Cruz is ready with the answer:

obamacare broken window bastiat ted cruz

Apparently the good Senator is a student of Frederic Bastiat’s “Parable of the broken window.” Would that the rest of Congress were.

Footnote:
(1) For lots more, check out my Obamacare archives.

via Dan Mitchell

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#HSR: Jerry Brown’s high-speed choo-choo not so high-speed

March 28, 2014
Boondoggle

Boondoggle

Via The American Interest, the LA Times reports that California’s high-speed rail project may not be able to meet its promised travel times — shocker!

Regularly scheduled service on California’s bullet train system will not meet anticipated trip times of two hours and 40 minutes between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and are likely to take nearly a half-hour longer, a state Senate committee was told Thursday.

The faster trips were held out to voters in 2008 when they approved $9 billion in borrowing to help pay for the project. Since then, a series of political compromises and planning changes designed to keep the $68-billion line moving ahead have created slower track zones in urban areas.

But Louis Thompson, chairman of the High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group, a state-sanctioned panel of outside experts, testified that “real world engineering issues” will cause schedules for regular service to exceed the target of two hours and 40 minutes. The state might be able to demonstrate a train that could make the trip that fast, but not on scheduled service, he told lawmakers. If public demand for the service supports additional investments, travel times could be improved after the currently planned system is built, he said.

Critics of the project have long disputed whether travel times between the Bay Area and Los Angeles will meet the mark of two hours and 40 minutes. Projected trip times for the bullet train are a point of contention in a court fight that could block the state’s access to the voter-approved bond funds.

So we have huge cost overruns, property seized to make way for the train, and now the revelation that it won’t even be all that “high-speed.” Genius. Future generations of dictionaries will include the California high-speed rail authority’s logo in their definition of “boondoggle.”

The puzzling thing is, neither the bullet train fiasco, the ongoing corruption saga, nor the fact that the state is bleeding jobs and businesses is making a dent in Governor Brown and the Democratic Party’s control over the state. But then it becomes not so puzzling when you think about it. As the author at TAI writes:

While Democrats face some internal wrangling over the project, it’s the state’s total absence of an organized political opposition that helps keep ideas like the high speed train alive. As a BuzzFeed article points out, Brown is not suffering in the polls whatsoever from his beloved project—a boondoggle that a majority of Californians now oppose. Similarly, the Golden State’s status as nation-wide leader in job losses isn’t expected to affect the Democrats’ legislative supermajority. In the last three months, three Democratic state senators have been convicted (1) on federal corruption charges including voter fraud, perjury, bribes in exchange for legislation, and weapons and drug trafficking to pay off campaign debts. That’s a list that would make Boss Tweed blush, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting the Democrats’ dominance in Sacramento.

It’s the job of the opposition to oppose, yet the California Republican Party is limp. As I wrote to friends the other day after the Leland Yee scandal broke:

“Which isn’t to excuse the CRP for being flaccid. Last night, several of us on Twitter were ripping them for being milquetoast in the wake of the Leland Yee scandal (and Wright and Calderon). The Republican Party in California is already a rump; why not make some noise, go on offense, and demand to know why the Democratic Party tolerates corruption in its ranks? Call press conferences, get ads out, get all candidates on the same message. Run on a populist clean government and prosperity platform.  We really have nothing to lose and we might peel off enough voters to make a difference.”

Otherwise, we’re just leaving the state to the people running it into the ground.

Footnote:
(1) Actually, one convicted and two indicted. The error has been pointed out at TAI in the comments section.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Did Obama threaten state governors?

March 10, 2014
Not likely to be bullied.

Not likely to be bullied.

Via Moe Lane, that’s sure what it sounds like in the video below. Rick Perry of Texas was speaking as part of a panel at the Republican Governors Association late last February; the group had had a meeting (1) with President Obama, and what he told them left Governor Perry disturbed. Here’s the video, followed by a transcript.

“When you have governors, and we all compete against each other — we are the laboratories of innovation — and for the President of the United States to look Democrat and Republican governors in the eye and say, ‘I do not trust you to make decisions in your state about issues of education, about transportation infrastructure,’ — and that is really troubling,” he said.


Perry expressed his own fears regarding Environmental Protection Agency restrictions choking off America’s energy production and a possible reduction in his state’s national guard.

“As a matter of fact, he [Obama] said at that meeting, he said, ‘If I hear any of you pushing back, making statements about Washington spends too much money, you’ll hear from me,” he said, adding, “I’m highly offended by that.”

Obama takes everything personally, doesn’t he? Criticize him or oppose his policies as part of the normal give and take of politics, and to him it’s a personal affront. And, if you offend him, perhaps by speaking out on behalf of the people of your state, by God you’re going to hear from Obama, himself!

That is the mark of a thin-skinned, petty personality. A punk. And weren’t the Democrats supposed to be against “bullying?”

It’s also telling about how he sees the governors: not as fellow heads of state and government, with their own experiences and perspectives to draw on (2), but as errand boys. It’s how someone who grew up in the Chicago thugocracy works. “Federalism? Just shut up and do what you’re told – or else.”

Perry’s remarks about the threat to the state national guards are well-taken, too; not only do the guard units provide invaluable reserves of skills, knowledge, and talent to fill out the military in wartime, but governors rely on their guard units to deal with all sorts of emergencies, from riots to disaster relief.

Seems to me Governor Perry and his colleagues were right to be perturbed.

Footnotes:
(1) I think this was the same meeting after which Louisiana Governor Jindal and Connecticut Governor Malloy went after each other a bit.
(2) Many of whom had far more executive experience prior to taking office and far better records of accomplishment in office than a certain president I can think of.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Rick Perry serves a heaping helping of red meat at CPAC

March 7, 2014

Texas Governor Perry spoke this morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference, and, well, got the crowd more wound up than any amount of coffee ever could. Enjoy:

smiley cheering

After his poor performance in the 2012 primary debates, there was some speculation that pain meds he had been taking to get him through back surgery had affected him. Whatever the reason, he looks to be well over it, now.  This was a great speech and he hit all the notes near and dear to a limited-government conservative’s heart. The Washington Examiner quotes the conclusion:

“My fellow conservatives, the future of this country is upon you, it belongs to you,” Perry roared. “You have the power to change America, you have the power to speak to our newest hopes in addition to our age-old dreams, you are the path to the future, a light on a distant shore and you represent the renewed hope that America can be great again!”

PS: I didn’t see a teleprompter, did you?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Senator Rubio makes a fool out Senator Harkin over Cuba

February 25, 2014

This is truly a popcorn-worthy use of your time, my friends.

Background: Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of the leading progressives in the Senate, took a trip to Cuba recently. Perfectly legal, members of Congress can go on such fact-finding missions when they wish. The senator must have visited an alternate-Earth Cuba, however, because, when he came back, he had nothing but praise for the Communist dictatorship:

It makes sense that as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, Tom Harkin would want to check out how other countries are doing when it comes to public health. So he spent last week in Cuba, where he saw all sorts of things that made quite the impression on him.

Cuba is a “poor country, but they have a lower child mortality rate than ours,” the Iowa Democrat said to reporters Wednesday. “Their life expectancy is now greater than ours. It’s interesting—their public health system is quite remarkable.”

This was all a bit much for Marco Rubio (R-FL), himself the son of Cuban refugees who had to flee the island to escape that wonderful health system, and so much else. (1) So, in a speech before the Senate, he proceeded to mop the floor with Harkin’s useful idiocy. From the Miami Herald:

This wasn’t some Cold War-era fulmination about Castro’s regime.

Rubio’s speech was about current events: the protests in Venezuela, the Maduro government and the ties it has with the Castros, who repress their own people and helped inspire the suppression in Caracas.

Venezuela is becoming the new Cuba.

For 14 minutes and 16 seconds, Rubio gave the best oration of his political career, speaking largely off the top of his head and with only the barest of notes. Rubio sometimes dripped with sarcasm or simmered with indignation as he made the case to Congress that the United States needs to continue Cuba sanctions and punish Venezuela.

Enjoy:

My only question is at what point did Harkin sneak out in embarrassment?

I know Rubio has lost his luster with conservatives because of his support for the Senate immigration bill last year. Indeed, he’s fallen well-off my own short list, as I came to question his judgment. But, in this speech on Cuba and Venezuela, on the fecklessness of the Obama administration’s policy in the region, and the fatuousness of Castro apologists such as Tom Harkin, all I can say is “Viva, Marco!”

RELATED: More at Hot Air.

Footnote:
(1) If you want to read one of the best books about what life under the Castro brothers has really been like, I recommend Armando Valladares’ memoir, “Against All Hope.” I’m tempted to send Tom Harkin a copy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Washington Post declares @ScottWalker a leading 2016 contender

February 20, 2014
Target

Target

And how do we know that? Because they’ve launched the official smear campaign. From Jim Geraghty:

The story [...] points out that of the two criminal investigations mentioned in the lead, one “is closed and found no wrongdoing by the governor” but has “the potential to embarrass him.”

One revelation is that “e-mails show he knew county officials were working closely with campaign officials.” Of course, the problem isn’t county officials and campaign officials “working closely” — the public official’s schedule and other matters require communication between the two offices. The problem is when taxpayer dollars are used for campaign purposes, or if public employees work on campaigns on the taxpayer’s dime. One complaint is that the county officials used private e-mail accounts for political communications with the governor, allegedly to “shield political business from public scrutiny.” But if the county officials had used their official work accounts, wouldn’t they be doing campaign work on a taxpayer-funded and supplied e-mail account? The effort to avoid the scandal is being cited as a scandal.

The other investigation is examining “possible illegal political coordination during the 2012 recall election.” Both investigations were begun by Milwaukee district attorney John Chisolm, a Democrat, and it will not shock you to learn there is no investigation of union activity during the recall.

Read the rest as Jim recites a litany of questionable private political use of public funds and property by the Obama camp, about which the WaPo wrote nary a word. Why, it’s as if they were covering for the Democrats….

Nah. Couldn’t be.

This is the opening salvo in a campaign similar to what was launched recently against Governor Christie in “Bridge-gate” and years ago against Sarah Palin: the Democrat-MSM establishment (but I repeat myself) will reveal whom they fear by whom they attack and they will attempt to destroy that person. After 2008, Governor Palin was savagely attacked in the press to the point that she was ruined as a broadly popular potential candidate. In the New Jersey bridge brouhaha, the press devoted so much coverage to Governor Christie that one would think he had committed mass-murder in downtown Trenton. Coincidentally, he’s also been touted as a leading contender for 2016. What was at worst a regional controversy was treated as a  national scandal, while Benghazi, the IRS, the FCC… Outside of Fox, not so much.

Congratulations, Governor Walker. They fear you!

PS: On the question of 2016, while it’s still way early, I’m generally in the “governors before senators” camp, and I’d be very happy with any from among Perry, Walker, or Jindal, in no real order. And, who knows, a dark horse Republican governor might become a real contender.  We have an excellent bullpen. This isn’t to diss our 2010 or 2012 classes of senators, many of whom have great promise, themselves, but I’d prefer they serve a term or two in the Senate and then as a governor, before running for president, to get some executive experience. I’m a bit wary of electing freshmen senators to such a a tough job, for some reason…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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.


Caption this: the Cruz-McCain death glare

December 12, 2013

Via Twitchy. The only question I have is “Is Cruz about to launch into some crazy kung fu moves, or activate his heat-beam death ray eyes on McCain?”

Click on the photo for a larger version. Feel free to add your own caption in the comments.

"Awkward..."

“Awkward…”

Ever get the feeling these two don’t like each other? smiley chicken


Democrat city council of Annapolis plots coup d’etat against Republican mayor. Updated

November 11, 2013

"Cancel elections? Wonderful idea"

“The people have voted! So what?”

Democrats love democracy, except when the people vote for a Republican:

Days after a Republican was elected mayor of Annapolis, City Council members say they will revisit legislation that would strip the mayor’s office of much of its power.

Democratic Alderman Ross Arnett of Ward 8 tells The Capital he will introduce a charter amendment to move Annapolis to a council-manager style of government. The city manager would report directly to the City Council, not the mayor.

A Republican hadn’t been elected mayor since 1997; apparently, the prospect of Mike Pantelides (R) finally winning against the incumbent (D) was just too much for the poor dears on the council, so they’re going to save the people from themselves.

Now, I don’t know Annapolis politics, so maybe –just maybe– the council has a good reason for making this extraordinary move against the popular will. Perhaps Pantelides is corrupt? Maybe he’s another Bob Filner? What could be so horrible that the good Democrats on the council must take such stern measures?

Doing a little research, I went to Pantelides’ campaign site to see what I could learn. And the truth, my friends, was terrifying. From his “issues” page, the monster Pantelides advocates:

The Pantelides Plan:

No new taxes
Immediate Freeze on hiring
Meet with Department Heads and require them to justify each line, item by item in their budget
Streamline city government through consolidation of departments
Explore merging services such as transportation and waste removal with Anne Arundel County
Removing wasteful spending from budget that is not specifically spent to better our city and people

The horror. Hide your children’s eyes!

I can see what likely truly upset the Democrats: Pantelides would cut into their patronage jobs and crony contracts, all the name of saving the taxpayers of Annapolis some money and giving them a more efficient city administration.

How dare he??

But, don’t worry. The Democratic city council is there to save the day, ready to strip the mayor of his powers and render his office meaningless.

Just like the people’s votes.

PS: It just occurred to me that Annapolis is home to our Naval Academy, where future officers sworn to defend freedom of the seas and our liberty are educated. The irony is palpable.

PPS: Of course, the council is showing restraint. They, at least, are going to hold a vote, unlike the Democrats of Wilmington, NC, who launched the only violent coup in US history in 1898 against a Republican-Populist city administration that dared include Black officials. Stealing power seems rather to be a tradition with them, it seems.

via reader Lance

UPDATE: Frontline State, a conservative blog and news site in Maryland, cautions that this may not be as naked a political move as it seems at first glance. The question, as editor Jim Jamitis points out, will be to see who jumps on the bandwagon.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Response

October 19, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

This is a great post by AGconservative on why the “defund” strategy against Obamacare was misguided and why some on the Right attacking others on the Right for not supporting it are… not helping. Must reading.

Originally posted on agconservative:

Andrew C. McCarthy wrote a response to a Jonah Goldberg post about the shutdown deal today. Let me preface this post by saying that I am generally a fan of McCarthy, and believe he writes a lot of insightful things, especially in the foreign policy arena. With that in mind, his latest post is full of several inaccurate claims and straw man arguments.  Instead of trying to write a response in column form, I would like to address several specific claims made by McCarthy:

1)   “Because, as a matter of law, Obamacare could not proceed unless both congressional chambers agreed to fund it, and because Republicans control the House, House Republicans could deny it funding.”

This claim is made in the post on several occasions and is essentially the premise of the main argument. The problem is that it is completely false. Most of Obamacare was funded in the original…

View original 792 more words


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)


In which Ted Cruz grinds Dick Durbin under his heel

September 27, 2013

I’ve been critical of the Cruz-Lee strategy to defeat Obamacare, but there’s no denying that Senator Cruz’s 21-hour speech in opposition was, quite simply, marvelous. A tour de force of constitutionalism, wit, grace, and stamina. Like Rand Paul, Cruz is someone I can disagree with, while still greatly admiring him.

But somehow I missed what would have been my favorite part, in which Ted Cruz made the loathsome Dick Durbin look like the fool he is:

In the last hour, even as he said he grew “weary” as his time arguing against ObamaCare was coming to a close, he found himself in a debate with the able and smart Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin on the Congress’s generous health-care plan.

Durbin complained that Cruz wanted to deny health care to the uninsured; did he not, Durbin asked, enjoy the benefits of the generous congressional health-care package himself?

Cruz said he wouldn’t answer Durbin until Durbin first replied to three questions Cruz had posed. Durbin, with an “a-ha” gesture, responded by saying it was clear Cruz was simply refusing to answer his embarrassing question.

He’d walked into Cruz’s trap. For then Cruz said, no, Senator, I’m eligible for the congressional plan — but I’m not enrolled in it.

Durbin thought he had Cruz cornered by bringing up his reliance on the absurdly generous health package for Congress. But since Cruz doesn’t rely on it, Durbin humiliated himself in what was supposed to be his gotcha moment.

Despite his marathon of speaking and standing and arguing, after nearly a day on his feet, Cruz — there is no other term for it — squashed Durbin like a bug.

In the last hour of this marathon, Ted Cruz was still sharp enough to set a trap for Durbin and snap it shut.

Well played, Senator. Well played. smiley cheering

via The Morning Jolt

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) You really ought to go home

September 27, 2013

An interesting edition of Afterburner. Bill Whittle talks about a recent incident in which an American F-22 suggested that the pilot of an Iranian fighter “ought to go home” and then ties it to two well-known politicians who, themselves, should to do the same:

That Obama canceled the F-22 should surprise no one; cutting military spending regardless of strategic needs is par for the course for someone of his political stripe, someone who believes that American power causes problems in the world. It’s who he is.

But John McCain? It’s sad to say about someone whose service to his country was genuinely admirable, but, as also demonstrated by his uncritical enthusiasm for intervening in Libya and Syria, his reasons for ending the F-22 program show that whatever judgment he may have possessed is gone, and he himself has descended into a vain, old fool.

You really ought to go home, Senator.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Tweet of the Day, It hurts @BarackObama because it’s true edition

September 25, 2013

From my friend Biased Girl, on Senator Ted Cruz’s marathon speech (1) before the Senate and how a certain other politician’s performance compares:

That, my friends, is how to leave a mark that will last for days.

A wholly deserved one, at that.

Footnote: 21 hours? Dude…


Senator Newt Gingrich (R-VA)? Update: Newt says no.

September 19, 2013

Saw this item in this morning’s Washington Free Beacon. It made me smile:

A new political action committee is hoping to convince former Speaker of the House and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich to run for the U.S. Senate in Virginia next year.

Draft Newt PAC insists Gingrich, now a host of CNN’s Crossfire, is Republicans’ best hope for retaking the Senate seat currently held by Sen. Mark Warner (D., Va.), who is vying for his second term.

“We want a credible challenger to Mark Warner, and no one could do what Newt could do to fight—and win,” said Andrew Hemingway, a former staffer on Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign who is leading the Draft Newt group, in a press release announcing the effort.

“U.S. Senator Newt Gingrich would be an immediate game changer, giving conservatives another voice that would take the fight to the Obama administration,” added Hemingway, who ran fundraising for the 2012 presidential bid.

Gingrich represented Georgia’s sixth congressional district in the U.S. House, but has lived in McLean, Va., since 2009. Efforts to reach him or a member of his staff were unsuccessful.

And you know what a “Senator Gingrich” would mean, my friends? Moon bases! (1)

Seriously. there’s not much chance of unseating Mark Warner, who’s doing well in the polls, but, if you’re going to run someone, why not a guy who even some foes describe as brilliant, who’s a first class debater, who’s a walking idea factory, and who eviscerates people who ask stupid questions?

Sure, he’s got his personal baggage (see the above clip, inter alia), and yes he’s arrogant and undisciplined, but, if you’re going to put some sacrificial lamb up against a popular incumbent, why not a lion in lamb’s clothing? Why not a guy who will at least make the race interesting and entertaining? And, if he should win, the number of progressive heads exploding around America would be epic.

I know it would mean giving up your cushy pundit job for a while, but, come on, Newt. Give in to the Dark Side — run! Run for Virginia. Run for America. Run… for the children! Run so Newt Judges You will have more material.

Run, Newt. Run.

Footnote:
(1) You think I’m joking, but I love the idea. I’ve been a space program geek since childhood.

UPDATE: I weep.

via FatDaddyBulldog


Before we trust John McCain’s judgment on #Syria…

September 6, 2013

Senator McCain said in Arizona this weekend that he was “unalterably opposed” to using American ground forces –”boots on the ground”– in Syria. Andy McCarthy thought that sounded familiar, and recalled that John McCain also said he was “unalterably opposed” to Muslim Brotherhood participation in Egypt’s post-Mubarak government.

Right before he became in favor of it.

I hate to say it about a genuine war hero, but John McCain has become a old fool, lead more by his own vanity than by good sense and sagacity. His is not a voice the public should heed when making up its mind about Syria.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


In which The Maltese Falcon explains why defunding Obamacare won’t work

August 26, 2013

satire film Bogart Greenstreet Maltese Falcon

On an emotional level, I sympathize one hundred percent with the move fronted by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to fight Obamacare by passing a continuing budget resolution that funds all the operations of government except for Obamacare. The idea would be to put the onus for a government shutdown on Obama and the Democrats, thus forcing him to sign the bill to keep the government (and his constituency of federal employees) running.

The strategy, however, is dangerously flawed. And there’s a scene in The Maltese Falcon (1) that I think illustrates why defunding won’t work. Bear with me a bit, and imagine Obama as Sam Spade and Ted Cruz as Kasper Gutman:

Spade: “If you kill me, how are you going to get the bird? If I know you can’t afford to kill me, how are you going to scare me into giving it to you?”

Gutman: “Well, sir, there are other means of persuasion besides killing and threatening to kill.”

Spade: “Sure, but they aren’t much good unless the threat of death is behind them. See what I mean? If you start anything I’ll make it a matter of your having to kill me or call it off.”

Gutman: “That’s an attitude, sir, that calls for the most delicate judgment on both sides — because, as you know, sir, in the heat of action men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and let their emotions carry them away.”

Trouble is, I don’t think Cruz, Lee, Paul, and others in the “defund it” caucus have exercised that delicate political judgment and conservatives itching for a fight are letting their “emotions carry them away.”

In today’s Conservative Intelligence Briefing, David Freddoso explaining why this is a bad plan, and it’s for the same reasons Gutman couldn’t afford to kill Spade. Here’s an excerpt:

1) Even if you like this tactic, it’s important to understand first that it is indeed a threat to shut down the government, despite its advocates’ protestations to the contrary. This tactic cannot work, even under the most optimistic scenario, unless its advocates shut down the government for a very long time and eventually force President Obama to cry “uncle.”

You can’t make Obama sign a bill defunding Obamacare over the mere threat of a government shutdown. Not only is the actual shutdown necessary, but it will have to last several weeks, months, or even straight through until the next election before he’ll sign such a bill.

Obama sacrificed control of Congress to get his health care law. He isn’t going to sign a bill defunding it now because he’s spooked by the prospect of a couple of days of embassy, Library of Congress, passport office and National Park closures. He’d much sooner let the shutdown happen and take political advantage of the consequences — stories of government workers going months without a paycheck and Americans forced to cancel international travel because they can’t get passports renewed. And even if it gets to the point that Obama really, really wants to cry uncle, he probably won’t ever get the chance to do it, because the Democratic Senate will not pass any appropriations bill that defunds Obamacare.

Two points, in my opinion, are key: first that the Democratic-controlled Senate will never pass a defunding resolution that comes out of the House. Budget bills are immune to filibuster under Senate rules, so all Reid has to do is pass his own resolution that funds Obamacare (he’ll only need 51 votes) and send it to conference committee to work out a “compromise” with the House. And then, if the House holds firm, it will be endless cries of “extremist, heartless Republicans,” which I guarantee you the MSM will support wholly. It would be a PR battle I very much doubt our side could win and which could cost us heavily in the coming elections.

Second, if a resolution does pass the Senate, he can veto it safe in the knowledge that it won’t be overridden. Heck, Reid could let a few vulnerable Red-state Democrats vote for it, giving them cover in the 2014 elections, and then sustain the veto. (He’d only need 33 or 34 out of his caucus.) As Freddoso points out, Obama has already shown himself willing to sacrifice his own caucus to win passage of Obamacare; what makes anyone think he, not facing reelection, will cave now knowing that he can probably win the messaging war?

No, the better plan is to fight this anti-constitutional monstrosity where it’s weakest and where we have strong public support: its failure to lower the costs of health care, its burdensome taxes and regulations, its disruption of existing health care arrangements, and the unfairness of its blatant cronyism, for example delaying the employer mandate (illegally) while leaving the individual mandate in place. Attacking on those fronts is not only realistic, but it would keep the Democrats on the defensive.

Do that, pick our battles wisely, and we can still beat this thing.

Footnote:
(1) On my list of top-ten movies, ever.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Scott Brown 2016? Been there, done that. Updated.

August 19, 2013

According to the Washington Examiner, he’s thinking about it:

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown said he is considering a run for president in 2016, saying his party would benefit from his moderate Republican views.

“I want to get an indication of whether there’s even an interest, in Massachusetts and throughout the country, if there’s room for a bipartisan problem solver,” Brown told the Boston Herald by phone Sunday while attending the Iowa State Fair.

The former senator, who lost his re-election bid last year to Elizabeth Warren by more than 7 percentage points, said he isn’t close to making a decision.

Oh, come on. Who would ever be dumb enough to vote for an upstart state senator who served just a few short years in the federal Senate before running for president?

Wait a second….

UPDATE: Moe Lane thinks Brown may be doing this to generate some buzz for himself for a Massachusetts gubernatorial run. At least, he hopes so…


Dear Donald Trump: Shut up and go away

August 10, 2013

Really, you’re not helping with ignorant crap like this:

The original intent of the natural-born clause was to stop some European leftover prince from coming here, getting himself elected, and turning this into a monarchy. Really, that was a large fear back then, as Europe had (and still has) a surfeit of useless royals. In Senator Cruz’s case, he was born to an American mother in a foreign country, and that’s good enough. He’s more of a “natural American” than most of the people I know, and I suspect he’d make a damn fine president.

I’m sick of birtherism, whichever direction it comes from, and I’m sick of useless showboating attention whores — such as Donald Trump.

Go away, Donald.

GMTA: Moe Lane also has no patience for this nonsense.

UPDATE: From a couple of years ago, a column by Tom Rogan on the constitutional illiteracy of the birthers.


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