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Do GOP Leaders Get that Fiscal Conservatism is a Winning Issue?

If you want to understand why the Republican Party has been having difficulty in recent years convincing the American people that it stands for something, take a look at how Empire State Republicans have picked their candidates for two successive special elections.

Earlier this year, Republican leaders* in the state’s 20th congressional district tapped Assembly Republican Minority Leader Joe Tedisco to fill the seat of Kristen Gillibrand when Governor David Paterson picked her to replace Hillary Clinton in the United States Senate.  That political insider waited until about two weeks before the March 31 election to come out against the spendthrift “stimulus.”  His refusal to say how he would have voted on the biggest legislative initiative of that time period cost him the support of many Republicans (as well as fiscally conservative independents) and dampened the enthusiasm of others.

After initially leading in the polls, he lost by a whisker to Democrat Scott Murphy.

Party leaders in the adjacent 23rd District don’t seem to have learned much from this spring’s results when they picked a candidate to fill the seat of Rep. John McHugh, recently sworn in as President Obama’s Secretary of the Army.  Instead of tapping a fiscal conservative, they tapped another squishy Republican insider, state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava “easily,” according to the Wall Street Journal‘s John Fund, “the most liberal member of the GOP caucus in the state legislature, scoring a 15% rating on the Conservative Party’s scorecard.”  Apparently, party leaders thought support for “abortion-rights” could help her “appeal to independents.”  Well the latest poll has her “running third among independents.”

And the one who leads among voters unaffiliated with either party is Doug Hoffman running the Conservative Party ticket after party leaders tapped the more liberal Scozzafava (instead of him) as the party’s nominee. (more…)

President’s Classy Defense of Bobby Jindal

Posted by ColoradoPatriot at 3:28 pm - October 16, 2009.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Credit to Democrats

Every now again, politicians get a gimme, an opportunity to show just how noble and broad-minded they are, how they can stand up to bigotry and narrow-mindedness without fear of hurting themselves politically.  Bill Clinton had that in 1992 when he condemned the race-baiting lyrics of Sister Souljah.

President Obama had just such an opportunity yesterday when Louisiana’s Republican Governor joined him at a town hall in New Orleans yesterday.   As this video from Politico shows, some people in the audience booed that good man and the President took them to task.  Well done, Mr. President, classy.

Perhaps, the President learned from his failure on Inauguration Day to quiet the boos against his predecessor, the then-outgoing President of the United States.  That was also a gimme.  He might on his first day in office have really inaugurated a new era of civility had he taken to task those who would so rudely register their disagreement with a hard-working civil servant.

Had he given that good man credit, he would have taken a huge step to fostering a new spirit of comity in our nation’s capital.

All that said, he did act with grace yesterday and defended the efforts of a member of the opposing party.  And such classy acts, even if easily performed, should not go unnoticed.  Kudos, Mr. President.

Death Penalty for “Aggravated Homosexuality” in Uganda

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:46 pm - October 16, 2009.
Filed under: Freedom,Gays in Other Lands

Already “subject to persecution and arbitrary arrest in Uganda,” gays could see their freedoms even further curtailed if a new bill becomes law.  Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, “includes a section that would introduce the death penalty for the offence of ‘aggravated homosexuality’“:

The bill proposes stricter penalties for homosexual acts, already illegal in the East African nation, and the death penalty for anyone who engages in same-sex relations with children under 18 and disabled people or who is HIV-positive while having gay sex.

Not just that, the bill would impose a seven-year jail sentence for the “promotion of homosexuality.”

Almost throughout human history, we’ve seen such laws.  And as gay advocates abroad work for their repeal, let this also serve as a reminder of how singular have been the cultural changes in Western societies these past few decades, allowing us to express ourselves without fear of prosecution and to live freely and openly without censure or stigma.

Hey, Ma’am, Where are the Jobs?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:12 pm - October 16, 2009.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,California politics,Economy

With California’s unemployment rate the highest it’s been since the year our junior Senator, Barbara Boxer, was born, I was wondering (yet again) what, in her 17 years representing the state in the United States Senate, that Democrat has done to create jobs in the Golden State.  Last month the LA Times reported, “There is no obvious engine of job growth to put California’s more than 2.2 million unemployed residents back to work quickly.

2.2 million people out of work?  Well, the “so-called stimulus” which Mrs. Boxer supported did create 36,083 jobs, cutting that number by about 1.6%.  Oh, wait, that figure refers to the jobs created nationwide.  How many were created out here in the Golden State?  Well, let’s see Jim Geraghty was able to find out how many jobs were created in New Jersey and Virginia by going to Recovery.gov. so, let’s go there.  So, we find 2,260 jobs created (or saved) in the Golden State.

2,260 jobs created or saved, why that’s a whole one-tenth of one percent of the total unemployment in California.  Wonder if that will make up for the jobs lost by the climate control legislation she’s sponsored with John Kerry.

So, for voting to busy the federal deficit and racking up the debt to be passed on to her grandchildren–and their peers–Mrs. Boxer has helped create (or save) a paltry 2,260 jobs in a state with over 30 million people.  That’s about one-fifth the number of “net 12,300 jobs” California employers slashed in August alone.

And we don’t know how many jobs the Golden State will lose if her latest big government scheme is enacted.

Let’s hope we never find out.

Another Sign of Forward Motion on DADT Repeal?

Maybe gay rights advocates aren’t among the ten least powerful people in Washington.  Though I don’t think we should remove them from that list until we see a timeline for the introduction of, debate on and congressional vote for repealing the Clinton-era Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy.

Still, there is another sign (following its efforts to recruit Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman spearhead repeal efforts in the Senate) that the Administration may be working toward fulfilling the president’s campaign promise.  Over at Politico, Ben Smith reports that the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) has hailed the “appointment of retired Marine General Clifford Stanley as Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

Smith reports that SLDN spokesman Kevin Nix welcomes the move:

There were indications of seriousness of purpose on DADT repeal today by this White House with its intent to nominate an Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. Dr. Stanley is likely to be the President’s key Pentagon player in the DADT debate and will be critical for the President in getting military uniform buy-in. Historically, the position of Under Secretary of Defense provides oversight of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

According to Smith, it would be Stanley’s job to implement — or repeal — DADT.  This definitely seems like a step in the right direction, so let’s hope the President makes a public statement indicating he has made repeal a priority.

If Jennings Were Aware of Harry Hay’s Support of Pederasty,
did he have a duty to denounce this man who inspired him?

I have now both skimmed (online) and read (a hard copy of) Zomblog’s post (which John linked yesterday) considering whether Kevin Jennings,Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools (AKA ”safe schools czar”) knew about the involvement of Harry Hay, a pioneering gay activist who inspired him, with the North American May Boy Love Association (NAMBLA), a group which promotes sexual relationships between adults and teenagers.

There are two issues which come to mind.

First, did Jennings ever countenance Hay’s involvement in NAMBLA?   And from everything I’ve read (and I’ve read quite a bit & not just this article), there is no evidence that he did, none whatsoever.

Second, when Jennings offered effusive praise for the aging Communist, was he aware of his involvement in NAMBLA?  And if so, should he have made clear to denounce that involvement when he praised the man?

Here, the answer is not so easy.  There is plenty of circumstantial evidence to suggest he was aware.  Jennings included a chapter from Stuart Timmons’ 1990 book, The Trouble with Harry Hay, in an anthology, Becoming Visible, which he compiled and edited.  Timmons’ book includes a section on Hay’s support of NAMBLA.  Zomblog suggests he must have read the entire book, but I wondered if it were possible someone had alerted him to the chapter and he read it without reading the entire book (as I often do when I find a section in a scholarly book relevant to my dissertation).

A second piece of evidence is that Jennings lived in New York in 1994 when an issue du jour in the gay community was Hay’s “very public spat with major mainstream gay organizations over their planned decision to ban NAMBLA from marching in the ‘Stonewall 25′ pride march in New York on June 26, 1994.”   (more…)

Does Pelosi Understand How Insurance Companies Make Money?

As part of the new spirit of comity which has defined American politics since the election of Barack Obama last November ushered in a “new kind of poiltics,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (of Obama’s political party) once again lashed out at health insurance companies:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., mounted a strong defense of a public plan at a news conference, contending that recent attacks from the health insurance industry should dispel any doubts about the need for it.

“Our House bill will have a public option,” Pelosi declared.

She referred to an industry-funded study that said insurance premiums would rise under the Senate Finance bill, and also referenced an insurance industry ad campaign targeted at seniors.

The speaker has been on the attack against health insurers for months, but the latest developments clearly strengthened her resolve to make them pay. She also said the House was considering adding to its health care bill a $6.7 billion annual fee on insurance companies that is part of the Senate Finance package.

Well, Nancy, if you’re going to “make them [the insurance companies] pay,” they’re going to have to get the money to foot your bill somewhere.  And how do such companies make money?  Got a clue, Madame Speaker?  Let me help you out here.  They get it from the premiums they charge.  So, if you make ‘em pay, they’re going to make us pay.  And that means, insurance premiums will rise,

Sounds like one of those self-fulfilling prophecies of which we’ve heard tell.

Oh, and notice something else in the article quoted above (and the reason we include this article in our “Media Bias” category). Yep, that’s right, the AP described the study as “industry-funded.”  When, however, you see a study which reaches a conclusion favored by the Democrats and authored by a left-wing think tank, they tend not to identify it as such.  Only studies they want to discredit are so labeled. (more…)

Paglia’s Continued Confidence in Obama Confirms his Appeal

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:05 am - October 16, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Divas,Obamania,Strong Women

Few writers have defended first candidate, then President, Barack Obama as has scholar Camille Paglia.  But, she’s smart enough to realize his many errors.  And these she blames on a clumsy, smirky amateurish staff.  When one of her readers took issue with this defense, asking, “Has it occurred to you that maybe that is just who he is and the people he surrounds himself with are just a reflection of himself?“, she indicated she is beginning to lose patience with the Democrat:

You are correct to argue that the cluster of appointees around a person in power reflects his or her belief system and modus operandi. However, it is a mark of leadership to recognize the need for professional evolution beyond an old comfort zone. Obama is approaching a turning point which will define his political future, if he has one. He is surrounded by some mighty small potatoes who need shoveling into the dumpster. The petty provincials need to go, and far more sophisticated and world-savvy analysts must urgently be brought on board.

Emphasis added.  Wondering if the President has a turning point.  And she’ not sure that he does, meaning she’s not certain he may be able to fulfill his potential.

In the balance of her reply to the reader quoted above, she defends Obama the man while remaining “very critical” of many of his “actions or evasions.”  Wonder if her fellow Obama supporters will be calling her anti-American for cheering “when splendiferous Rio de Janeiro rightfully got” the Olympics and for faulting the president’s staff for sending him on a “fool’s errand” to beg for them.

And sounding like a lot of conservatives (and a number of liberals too), she questions his receipt of recent honor, contending that Obama

he has accomplished nothing thus far and did not remotely deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, a gift carrying a terrible curse. The Nobel should have been the crown of Obama’s career and not the butt of jokes.

Camille has much more, much much more and (as always) her posts merit your attention.  She is clearly losing patience with the man.

Her posts do show is that this Democrat has incredible appeal, even to thoughtful intellectuals like Paglia.   (more…)