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Wednesday, 10 March 2010
You Go, Dave
Topic: Decline of the West


In a scathing Washington Post commentary on David Axelrod’s recent New York Times profile (I discussed it here), Peter Wehner remarks:


I can understand why Washington isn't for everyone. I'm less tolerant, however, toward those who work themselves into exhaustion in order to find a special place in Washington, and who work themselves into further exhaustion in order to retain that special place, and who then mock the political culture they long to be a part of and to which they contribute.

Truth be told, it is an honor to play a role in shaping American politics, especially through governing, and especially through service in the White House. If out of disgust or disillusionment people want to return to Chicago or wherever else they came from, then they should do so, the sooner the better. What they shouldn't do is to pretend to be repelled by what they have been captivated by.


Too true. There Axelrod sits in his White House office, bitching and moaning about the city he sold his soul to reach. It’s self-pitying, immature, unseemly behavior from a man in a position of such power and influence. That he’s one of the President’s closest confidants and advisers tells you a lot about Barack Obama.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:37 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 March 2010 8:40 AM EST
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Deadline Challenged
Topic: Decline of the West

The Obama Administration has an uneasy relationship with the concept of deadlines. The President and his team keep drawing lines in the sand, only to have them erased by reality. The latest example:

Hoyer rebuffs Gibbs on Mar. 18 deadline

March 18 is the date on which Obama wants health care "reform" to be completed, so he can have a gala signing ceremony before jetting off on a trip to Asia. But the votes aren't there in the House, as Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, knows very well. So Hoyer had to slap down Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, when the latter stated that March 18 was a firm deadline for the passage of ObamaCare.

This whole business of governing is just so hard, isn't it, Mr. President?

Posted by tmg110 at 8:15 AM EST
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What's Good for Barack. . .?
Topic: Decline of the West

This piece by Jay Cost at RealClearPolitics dovetails with my earlier post on the political risks that ObamaCare poses for the Democratic Party. His analysis and mine agree to a point, but Cost argues that the Democratic Party itself will suffer severe damage if ObamaCare passes:

The Democratic Party is broader than its progressive intellectuals and media cheerleaders. It has the majority not just because of San Francisco, California—but also Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Zanesville, Ohio. Those places voted Democratic in the 2008 House elections. Some progressives, especially in the blogosphere, see that as a problem—the "ConservaDems" they elect hold up true progress. But it's historically the greatest strength of the Democratic Party, whose appeal has long been much broader than the GOP's.

House Democrats should bear this in mind as they consider the current reforms. This bill would signal not just a major change in health care, but also in the Democratic Party itself. The end result will be a smaller, more narrowly liberal party that is less trusted by the mass public to respect its collective judgment. The party will keep San Francisco and The New Republic, but sooner or later they'll lose Murfreesboro and Zanesville.

He has a point. Perhaps a distinction that should be made between the Obama Administration and the Democratic Party. What’s good for the former may turn out to be very, very bad for the latter.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:07 AM EST
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A Learning Experience
Topic: Liberal Fascism


You may wonder why California, the largest and richest state in the nation, is essentially bankrupt. Students in the University of California system, who’ve just been hit with a whopping 37% tuition hike, would certainly like to know what’s going on. So would hard-pressed taxpayers and struggling small businesses.


The answer is simple: California is a laboratory of progressivism. For a generation now, the Golden State has been meeting unmet needs, coddling the public sector and drinking the green Kool-Aid of radical environmentalism. The net result of all this advanced social policy has been to wreck California’s public finances. Hence those hefty UC tuition increases.


But (if I may paraphrase a line from Animal Farm) though all Californians may be equal, some are more equal than others. As noted here by the Wall Street Journal, California’s ultra-generous public-sector pension system has grown into a crushing financial burden. California’s public employees’ unions, the precious darlings of Democratic legislators in Sacramento, are simply devouring the state budget.


Last year, for example, $3 billion had to be diverted from other programs—including $800 million from higher education—to meet state pension obligations. And up goes tuition. So students—most of whom, I have no doubt, of advanced progressive political views are taking it to the streets with their protest signs and chants. Sorry, kids, but the very politicians you support are selling you down the river for the benefit of their deep-pocketed union supporters. Maybe someday you’ll learn.

Posted by tmg110 at 8:03 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 10 March 2010 8:06 AM EST
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Tuesday, 9 March 2010
That's the Question
Topic: Decline of the West

There's a feeling among certain member of the punditocracy that ObamaCare will pass because it must. The argument is, roughly, that Democrats need to show that they're able to "govern." It could perhaps be argued that merely passing legislation doesn't exactly demonstrate one's ability to run things, but let's leave that point aside. Does the Democratic Party have a vital political interest in passing health care legislation?

I would say yes—no doubt about it. the Democratic Party, as a corporate entity, needs to pass some kind of health care "reform" bill. Failure to do so would damage if not cripple the Obama Administration, besides making the Democratic congressional leadership look weak and ineffective.

But the Democratic Party is not a monolithic corporate entity. The real question is whether or not this argument resonates with doubtful or embattled Democrats in the Senate and particularly the House. With their own political survival on the line, why should they stick out their necks for Obama, Pelosi and Reid?

I believe that the fate of ObamaCare hinges on the credibility of Obama, Pelosi and Reid in the eyes of their own party in Congress. After a year of frustrating, bruising and politically damaging debate, it come down to this in the minds of many congressional Democrats: "What's in this for me?"

Tough question to answer.

Posted by tmg110 at 7:48 AM EST
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If Glenn Beck Had Said This. . .
Topic: The Media

Dan Rather on Barack Obama (during an appearance with Chris Matthews on MSNBC):

[P]art of the undertow in the coming election is going to be President Obama's leadership. And the Republicans will make a case and a lot of independents will buy this argument. "Listen he just hasn't been, look at the health care bill. It was his number one priority. It took him forever to get it through and he had to compromise it to death." And a version of, "Listen he's a nice person, he's very articulate" this is what's been used against him, "but he couldn't sell watermelons if it, you gave him the state troopers to flag down the traffic."

Watermelons! So will Rather be hounded off the air over this prize example of racial insensitivity? Somehow I doubt it. But a question occurs: After the forgery debacle that ended Rather's career at CBS, why is this doofus still on TV?

Posted by tmg110 at 7:35 AM EST
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Monday, 8 March 2010
Common Sense Must be Unconstitutional
Topic: Liberal Fascism


So President Obama is going reverse the decision of his own Attorney General, Eric Holder, to try the 9/11 conspirators in a New York City civilian court. This is a welcome—if belated—demonstration of common sense from an administration that often seems disconnected from reality on national security issues. And of course, progressives are furious. Check out this full-page New York Times ad from the American Civil Liberties Union.


Photographically morphing St. Barack Obama into the wicked and sinister neofascist war criminal, George W. Bush! If the leaders of the ACLU aren’t careful, they’ll find themselves confined to a cell down in sunny Gitmo.

Posted by tmg110 at 6:36 AM EST
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Sunday, 7 March 2010
Welcome to the Pity Party
Topic: Decline of the West


Ah, the travails of David Axelrod! History isn’t working out as it was supposed to, and President Obama’s head cheerleader is in a snit about it:


In an interview in his office, Mr. Axelrod was often defiant, saying he did not give a “flying” expletive “about what the peanut gallery thinks” and did not live for the approval “of the political community.” He denounced the “rampant lack of responsibility” of people in Washington who refuse to solve problems, and cited the difficulty of trying to communicate through what he calls “the dirty filter” of a city suffused with the “every day is Election Day sort of mentality.”


These intemperate comments found their way into a New York Times story about the troubles of the Obama Administration. In view of the President’s great need to garner support for his faltering health care “reform” package, they might be considered impolitic. When you’re trying to persuade hesitant Democratic members of Congress to cast a politically dangerous vote on your behalf, ranting about “rampant lack of responsibility” seems contraindicated. Well, Alexrod is by all accounts a genius communicator, so perhaps he knows best.


Axelrod is, indeed, convinced that the White House’s current problems derive from a failure to communicate. If only the right note could be struck in daily briefings, interviews and presidential speeches, America would wake up to the virtue and genius of Barack Obama. That the Obama Administration’s policies lie at the root of then problem is a concept that Axelrod simply cannot hold in his head.


Something else that I found interesting in the story was this note on Alexrod’s lifestyle:


Mr. Axelrod’s friends worry about the toll of his job—citing his diet (cold-cut-enriched), his weight (20 pounds heavier than at the start of the presidential campaign), sleep deprivation (five fitful hours a night), separation from family (most back home in Chicago) and the fact that at 55, he is considerably older than many of the wunderkind workaholics of the West Wing. He wakes at 6 in his rented condominium just blocks from the White House and typically returns around 11.


I find this rather alarming. It’s not good Alexrod—a guy who has the ear of a president—is chronically stressed, emotionally fraught and physically unfit. They used to make fun of Ronald Reagan for keeping regular hours and getting plenty of sleep. Who is really wiser though: the man who intelligently manages his energy budget, or the man who squanders it on 15-hour workdays?

Posted by tmg110 at 11:02 AM EST
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Friday, 5 March 2010
A True Word
Topic: Liberal Fascism

Never mind that California is facing a budget crisis of truly epic proportions.The progressive tax eaters of the People's Republic of Berkeley continue to demand their pounds and pounds of taxpayer flesh:

More Than 1,000 March in Berkeley to Protest Budget Cuts

My favorite bit: During the protest, "UC Berkeley student Corey Scher writes the word 'greed' on an American flag at the corner of Ashby and Telegraph avenues." It seems that young Mr. Scher's expensive college education, the costs of which almost certainly were not paid out of his pocket, has failed to equip him with a sense of irony…

Posted by tmg110 at 7:43 AM EST
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ObamaCare DOA in the House?
Topic: Decline of the West

The drive for health-care "reform" has come down to this: a hope that a purely Democratic majority in the House of Representatives can be induced to vote for the bill the Senate passed, with the promise that the many problems with that will will be fixed later via the reconciliation process.

I don't think that's going to happen.

Spooked by the public's negative reaction to ObamaCare, the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts and the President's collapse in the polls, a significant number of House Democrats seem increasingly reluctant to cast a such politically risky vote. I just don't think that they trust Obama and the Senate to bail them out by revising the bill later to remove its most objectionable features. Add in a few progressive House members who think that the bill isn't socialist enough and you've got the making of another Obama debacle.

I understand why the White House and the Democratic congressional leaderships think they have no choice but to ram a bill through by whatever means necessary. But I doubt that they now possess the political capital to get it done.

Posted by tmg110 at 7:30 AM EST
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