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Scott Brown Won’t Rule out Voting to Repeal DADT

When Barbara Walters asked U.S. Senator-elect* Scott Brown (R-MA) where he stood on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, he said he’d wait to hear from the generals before making up his mind:

I think it’s important, because as you know we’re fighting two wars right now. And the most — the first priority is to — is to — is to finish the job, and win those wars. I’d like to hear from the generals in the field — in the field — the people that actually work with these soldiers to make sure that, you know, the social change is not going to disrupt our ability to finish the job and complete the wars.

His answer shows he trusts the military to set its own policies.  I hope he’ll also consider the numerous studies which show that lifting the ban will not affect unit cohesion or morale.

So, it seems gay activists were wrong to fault this good man for supporting the ban.  His answer shows that he harbors no animus against gay people and that his primary concern is the effectiveness of the military.

———-

*Um, why is he still a Senator-elect and not a Senator and why is interim Senator Paul Kirk still voting?

First, it was Himalayan glaciers, now it’s the Amazon rainforest

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:01 pm - January 31, 2010.
Filed under: Climate Change (Global Warming)

Can the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Chairman Rajendra Pachauri get anything right?

A startling report by the United Nations climate watchdog that global warming might wipe out 40% of the Amazon rainforest was based on an unsubstantiated claim by green campaigners who had little scientific expertise.

(H/t: Instapundit.)

BTW, has anyone seen Al Gore recently?  Figured he might be back home in Tennessee given that his home state bore the brunt of the recent snow storm.  The global warming zealot always does seem to find himself where temperatures are coldest.

Joy Behar: Gays Unable to Fulfill Obligations of Matrimony
Gay Groups Silent

One of the main reasons I find it difficult to embrace the gay marriage, er, marriage equality movement, is that its proponents seem more interested in the abstract notion of “equality” than in the real institution of marriage. Its advocates are less interested in promoting marriage than in winning, to borrow an expression from my friend Dale Carpenter, a “trophy in the cultural wars.

We see this again this week when none of the national gay organizations took issue with those in the media who contend that gay people are incapable of meeting one of the primary obligations of matrimony:  monogamy.  Last Tuesday, January 26, on The View, Joy Behar said that gays, “don’t take monogamy and infidelity the same way that the straight community does.”  Two days later in the New York Times, Scott James reported approvingly on the number of gay couples trying “to rewrite the traditional rules of matrimony.”  Many are omitting monogamy:

New research at San Francisco State University reveals just how common open relationships are among gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area.  The Gay Couples Study has followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.

Now, I don’t know what percentage of those couples consider themselves married.  And to be sure, while it wouldn’t be my choice to be part of an open relationship, I do believe individuals should be free to design their relationships as they see fit.  Open relationships may well be fulfilling to the individuals involved, but they’re not marriages.

Given that marriage is based on sexual exclusivity, to call a nonmonogamous union “marriage” is indeed to subvert the meaning of the institution.

By refusing to criticize those who see gay people as incapable of monogamy, gay organizations lend credence to social conservative arguments that gay marriage advocates seek to subvert the institution they’re ostensibly trying to promote.  I could find nothing denouncing Ms. Behar on the web-sites of the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights or even Freedom (sic) to Marry.  Even my various google searches turned up no commentary from the head of these organizations taking Ms. Behar to task for her prejudice against gay people.  I could find none addressing the New York Times article.

As can be expected, it was only on blogs where gay people defended the ability of their fellows to meet the same conditions of marriage expected of our straight peers. The folks at Queerty responded that conversations about gay monogamy are best left in hands other than The View gals. Over at Good As You, Jeremy Hooper was astounded that Behar “could have such an uninformed opinion about gay relationships as a whole“: (more…)

The Contradiction at the Heart of Obama-ism

In 2008, Barack Obama won, in large part, in the same way that Bill Clinton won in 1992, Ronald Reagan won in 1980 and 1984 and Jimmy Carter won in 1976.  He ran against Washington.  In that way, he was able to tap into a frustration long shared by a substantial segment of the American people, a suspicion of an ever stronger state.

At the same time, however, that this Democrat was running against our nation’s capital, he and his congressional allies were developing policies which would centralize more power in a city which has often become an object of ridicule for those living beyond its narrow confines.  Peggy Noonan contends that he continued to push this contradictory message in his State of the Union address last week:

The central fact of the speech was the contradiction at its heart. It repeatedly asserted that Washington is the answer to everything. At the same time it painted a picture of Washington as a sick and broken place. It was a speech that argued against itself: You need us to heal you. Don’t trust us, we think of no one but ourselves.

The people are good but need guidance—from Washington. The middle class is anxious, and its fears can be soothed—by Washington. Washington can “make sure consumers . . . have the information they need to make financial decisions.” Washington must “make investments,” “create” jobs, increase “production” and “efficiency.” (more…)

Who’s Calling Whom Unpatriotic?

Remember back in the dark days of the Bush Administration when liberals were afraid to sleep at night because jackbooted thugs were readying to break down their doors and arrest them for speaking their mind?  When printing presses were smashed and internet servers disabled merely for carrying criticism of the then-incumbent president?

When it took great courage for a left-winger to walk down the streets or across a university campus lest he face an angry right-wing mob hurling insults and questioning his patriotism?

Well, those days are long gone.  Many liberals survived without serving a jail sentence for expressing their views.  And we’ve now learned that the conservatives challenging their patriotism existed on the fringes of the movement and in the imaginations of the left-wing punditocracy and blogosphere.

Well, today, via Byron York, it seems that we’re about to return to those dark days of the “aughts.”  New York Times columnist Frank Rich is at the vanguard of a movement to mete out the same treatment to conservatives that liberals experienced in his mind when the diabolical genius George W. Bush held the reins of power with evil henchmen Cheney and Rove controlling the secret police.

In his column yesterday, the one-time theater critic questioned a Navy veteran’s patriotism:

If [Harry] Reid can serve as the face of Democratic fecklessness in the Senate, then John McCain epitomizes the unpatriotic opposition.

As a new dark age emerges, let us hope that media are as vigilant in challenging Rich and his followers as they were in attacking those nameless conservative hordes who faulted noble men such as he for lacking patriotism.  York reminds us of Rich’s vigilance: (more…)

Administration lays groundwork for DADT repeal

On Thursday, considering what the president said in the State of the Union Address about repealing the ban on gays in the military, I wrote:

We have yet to see whether his Administration has, in private meetings with the Pentagon brass, laid the groundwork for repeal and whether its legislative liaison has been working with congressional leaders to set a timeline for moving the appropriate legislation forward.

Well, it appears that the Administration has indeed laid the groundwork for repeal:

The Defense Department starts the clock next week on what is expected to be a several-year process in lifting its ban on gays from serving openly in the military.

A special investigation into how the ban can be repealed without hurting the morale or readiness of the troops was expected to be announced Tuesday by Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

While it seems like such a process shouldn’t take so long, I do trust the military for taking charge of such matters.  It is important that this be done in a manner which does not impact in an adverse way the effectiveness of our armed forces.  The AP article quoted above also reports something of which I had previously been unaware: “the 1948 executive order for racial integration took five years to implement.”

The President also will be meeting next week with Gates to discuss repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.  But, while the Administration is working with the military to lay the groundwork for repeal, progress on the legislative front is much slower with “Democrats in Congress . . . unlikely to press the issue until after this fall’smidterm elections.”

Given the initiative the Administration has taken in working with military leaders on this matter, right now it seems those congressional Democrats more greatly merit the scorn of the gay left than does the president.

Was CBS wrong to reject gay dating site’s Super Bowl ad?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:18 am - January 31, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Movies/Film & TV,Sports

As you may have heard by now CBS  has “rejected an ad submitted by a gay dating website to air during next Sunday’s Super Bowl.

And all this hullabaloo has made me aware of mancrunch.com, a site with which I had heretofore been unfamiliar.  Moreover, since I’m not going to be watching the Superbowl, I likely wouldn’t have heard about them had CBS run the ad.  So, if the site owner’s purpose in proposing the ad were to draw attention to their site, they succeeded.

The ad shows two men making out.  And according to the Hollywood Reporter that was too much for CBS:

The network shot down the commercial Friday in a letter to the site — ManCrunch.com — saying the “creative is not within the Network’s Broadcast Standards for Super Bowl Sunday.”

Also the network said its sales department had difficulty verifying the credit of the site to guarantee payment of the estimated $2.5 million cost to air the ad.

The ad seems a pretty low budget affair, so it doesn’t appear the site has a lot of money to promote itself.  CBS should have just left it at the creditworthiness of the company without raising the standards issue

Saying it did raise that issue, the network has given the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) grounds to fault the network. GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said, “This network should come clean to the public about what’s going on because this seems to be a homophobic double standard.”  Barrios is right to question the company.

Though, considering the questions about the company’s ability to guarantee payment of the cost to air the ad, it does seem to be “a publicity stunt.”  A lot of gay people now know about the site.

So, I’m wondering if the same folks who sued eHarmony for not offering a service to match up gay people will sue Mancrunch for not offering to match up straight people or lesbians for that matter.

HEADS-UP:  In the comments section of the Newsbusters piece on the hullabaloo, a very smart young man defends CBS on capitalist grounds.  You should be able to identify him by the quality of his arguments and the name of his family.

Was the Emperor Hadrian “Gay”?

Whenever I read some “accepted” text on homosexuality or see the section on homosexuality throughout history, I’ll be astounded by how many historical figures it labels as “gay.”  Now, to be sure, with many of them, there is some evidence they took a same-sex lover, described the beauty of members of their own sex or had otherwise manifested such attraction.  What was troublesome about the tactic of labeling such individuals as “gay” was the application of an identity established in our era to describe individuals from a period long gone.

The Native American berdache (or two-spirit) lived a far different lifestyle from that of modern gay men and lesbian.  A berdache was an individual who lived in the guise of the opposite sex, marrying a member of his (or her) biological sex, but (usually) assuming the social responsibilities of his assumed sex and always wearing its costume.  In many cases, this was not by choice.

But, could we say that they were “gay”?

Now, from what we know about Walt Whitman and Oscar Wilde, the evidence is pretty strong that each great writer was exclusively attracted to members of his own gender.  And while some gay people want to claim Abraham Lincoln as their own, all available evidence suggests that he was bisexual at best (as it does for Cary Grant).

We today believe that our sexuality is an immutable characteristic, that someone is either born straight or gay, or that it is determined very early in our childhood.  But, was our sexuality always so?  We can peruse the documents that have survived of the world that existed before our forebears began considering the immutability of this characteristic.  While the ancient Greeks allowed men to take a young male lover outside the bonds of matrimony, with strict rules governing their sexual expression.  Aristophanes in the Symposium, posited that some people are drawn to members of their own sex, indeed pointing to the host of the gathering, Agathon, a just such an individual.  That tragic poet lived together with Pausanias and did not marry a woman.

More than five centuries after Agathon’s death, the Roman Emperor Hadrian maintained the pretense of marriage while taking a Greek (male) lover Antinous.  (All evidence suggests that his marriage was a most unhappy one.)  But, was he, by contemporary standards, “gay”?   Was he only attracted to men? (more…)

In his finest hour, Obama manifests his greatest weakness

A lot of lefty bloggers are calling the president’s question-and-answer session yesterday with House Republicans his “finest hour.”  And there’s no doubt, even among his conservative critics, that it was a great performance.  But, was it more than just that, a great performance, a mere bit of political theater?

At this Republican retreat, he got what most Republican presidents get in their press conferences:  tough questions from their critics.  And by most accounts, he conducted himself masterfully.  The National Review’s Jim Geraghty believes “this event did Obama a great deal of good“:

it was the antidote to everything that was insufferable about the State of the Union – the uninterrupted platitudes, the dishonest framing, the aversion to acknowledging alternative views, the endless droning, etc.

Allahpundit thinks “the format ended up benefiting Obama more than” House Republicans:

He was on camera the whole time; he did most of the talking; he got to show that he’s perfectly capable of extemporaneous debate even with multiple prepared challengers lobbing questions.

First, major kudos to Obama for doing this and conducting himself with such grace.  The real test will be whether or not he can show some flexibility in responding to the concerns Republicans raised yesterday.  It’s one thing to conduct a press conference-style exchange on broad issues of policy.  It’s another thing to work with legislators from the opposing party to craft real legislation.

In reading the various encomia of the president’s performance (as well as some more critical coverage), watching segments of the exchange and reviewing the transcript, I agree he was more on “his game” than he has been in recent days.  But, the way he handled his critics suggest that he didn’t see his job in going to the Republican retreat as a means to solicit Republican ideas, but instead as an opportunity to convince them of the merits of his own.  He’s just trying to, to borrow an expression from his State of the Union address, explain himself “more clearly to the American people,” righting what is, in his view, the biggest wrong of his first year in office.

And therein lies his greatest weakness–that he believes people will just support his agenda if he expresses himself more clearly.  The problem, he believes, is not the ideas, but their expression.

“Gay” Pashtuns, or Social Acceptance of Homosexual Behavior

Welcome Instapundit Readers!!!

Maybe I shouldn’t read Instapundit on days when I oversleep.   While I was eating my breakfast, I kept chancing upon posts which inspired me to pen three of my own (including this one).

This morning, Glenn linked an article that addresses an issue that has long fascinated me, particularly as it relates to the ancient Greeks, but also because it deals with the complexity of human sexuality.  The article considers the homosexual practices of ethnic Pushtuns in Afghanistan:

An unclassified study from a military research unit in southern Afghanistan details how homosexual behavior is unusually common among men in the large ethnic group known as Pashtuns — though they seem to be in complete denial about it.

The study, obtained by Fox News, found that Pashtun men commonly have sex with other men, admire other men physically, have sexual relationships with boys and shun women both socially and sexually — yet they completely reject the label of “homosexual.”

Sounds a lot like the ancient Greeks where older men often took a younger man (really a teen) as a lover and sought to educate him while enjoying the pleasures of his body.

But, can we call them “gay”?

It is only recently in human history that we have considered the notion of sexual orientation as an immutable characteristic, with most people physically attracted to members of the opposite sex, a certain percentage (which may well vary across history and culture) are physically and emotionally drawn exclusively to their own sex.  To be sure, in the Symposium, Aristophanes was did articulate a view of human sexuality similar to the current notion.  But, his ideas didn’t gain much currency until recently.  In many cultures, when men had sex with other men, this recreation was just an extracurricular past time.  It did not define their sexual identity.

The Greeks of mythology and history, Achilles and Alexander, respectively, held up as gay exemplars, were anything but.  While each had a male lover*, neither steered clearer of the “fairer sex.”   (more…)

Hawai’i Democrats Kill Same-Sex Civil Unions

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:00 pm - January 30, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Gay Politics

An Instapundit reader wrote Glenn Reynolds to report that Hawai’i “one-party state; the state house of reps is 45-6 Democrat-Republican and the state senate is 23-2. Yes, your family has more members eating together at a breakfast than the Hawaii senate minority.”  So, naturally, given the hosannas the gay auxiliary to the Democratic National Committee Human Rights Campaign (HRC) sing to their the Democratic Party, you’d think the Aloha State legislature would be at the forefront of the fight for gay people.

Well, that reader was commenting on Glenn’s post about Hawai’i killing civil unions: “Hawaii lawmakers declined to vote Friday on a bill that would have allowed same-sex civil unions, effectively doing away with the measure.

And who could have prevented just such a vote?  Hmmm. . . . let me see.  Now, who sets the legislative calendar?  Is it the minority party?  Nope, it’s the majority, so I’m guessing that with 45 Democrats in the Hawai’i House, the Speaker is not a Republican.  And the article confirms it.  Calvin K.Y. Say, a Democrat, holds the job.  My hunch was correct.  Indeed, he pretty much takes responsibility for the failure to vote on the measure:

“You can call me a coward, but we are all not cowards. We’ll make our tough decisions as we go ahead,” Democratic Speaker of the House Calvin Say said he told civil union backers. “But members were concerned, and that was my role as the speaker to make that determination and decision to do what we did today.”

Well, if the members are concerned, perhaps they think their constituents oppose extending civil unions benefits to same-sex couples.  Seems like there’s work to be done in making the case.

HRC did do a press release on the matter, but unlike the AP, did not identify Mr. Say’s partisan affiliation.  In fact the word Democrat is not to be found in their release.  Nor do they mention that the Governor who “has never made a veto threat on the topic of Civil Unions” is a Republican.  Nor do they name her.

Don’t want to ruin that narrative, Joe, now do we?

Leftists Astounded at Conservative Ascent Before FoxNews?

FoxNews Derangement Syndrome has long since joined Palin Derangement Syndrome and Bush Derangement Syndrome as conditions afflicting the angry left.

Glenn Reynolds often asks is there anything bacon can’t do?  Maybe he should also ask is there anything FoxNews (or Sarah Palin or George W. Bush) can’t be blamed for.  On Thursday and today, he linked two posts either correcting or failing to correct Robert Reich’s post* faulting FoxNews for helping gin up that “huge anti-incumbent wave” in 1994, you know, against the then-Democratic congressional majority.

Problem is, as Frank Ross points out, “Prof. Reich overlooked one minor detail: FoxNews Channel’s first broadcast wasn’t until October 7, 1996.”

The Huffington Post which also ran the column, as Alpaca reports, has yet “to issue a correction/retraction to the story.

Guess the editors there still can’t fathom how Republicans won back Congress without FoxNews.  I mean, you know, how else could the American people have been turned against health care reform which everyone supports because it’s the right thing because liberals back it and they always want the very best for everyone (Except Sarah Palin.  And George W. Bush.   And Dick Cheney)?

But, here’s the kicker:  Reich was Secretary of Labor during the entirety of Clinton’s first term.  He’s not some upstart leftie blogger who didn’t to to college until this century and didn’t know when Fox was founded.   Reich was in the public eye in 1994; he had to be aware that there was no FoxNews until the month Clinton was re-elected.  Is this then, some kind of ex post facto memory when you apply your current prejudices to the past?

* (more…)

Obama Fails First Terror Test: Americans At Risk

I couldn’t say it better myself, so I will let US Senator Susan Collins do it:

“The Obama administration appears to have a blind spot when it comes to the War on Terrorism.  And, because of that blindness, this administration cannot see a foreign terrorist even when he stands right in front of them, fresh from an attempt to blow a plane out of the sky on Christmas Day.”

Collins is correct.  President Obama, AG Eric Holder, Gestapo Janet and all those who answer to them are back in a pre-9/11 mindset.  Their treatment of the Christmas Day Bomber blows a whole in the lie from Obama that he “understands” we are in a war.

Obama lies, Americans will die.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Did James O’Keefe Commit a Crime?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:59 pm - January 29, 2010.
Filed under: Legal Issues,New Media

So, asks J.P. Freire, in a must-read piece (for those following the O’Keefe kerfuffle) on the Washington Examiner:

While it certainly invites criticism to enter a federal building supposedly “under false pretenses,” putting on a particular kind of outfit and enter a federal property that is open to the public is not itself a crime (especially if you provide all identification asked of you and don’t lie to security). And is misrepresenting onesself to a Senate staffer really a crime? Picking up a phone (which is federal property) with permission given based on false pretenses might be a problem, but if no harm was done or intended to the equipment, this also seems unlikely to be prosecuted.

Freire cites several statutes which help exculpate the young investigative journalist.  And has some questions for O’Keefe:

Why were four people necessary to pull this stunt off? Did O’Keefe and his colleagues misrepresent themselves to security staff of a federal building? Is it illegal to use federal property, a telephone in this instance, under false pretenses? (If it were a computer and O’Keefe were viewing material, that would be one thing. But merely looking at a phone?)

This case is far from closed.

Statement of James O’Keefe

As you may know, Bruce and I have had different reactions to the James O’Keefe situation.  Bruce has quickly rallied to his defense, while I have been more skeptical, choosing pretty much to steer clear of the fracas in the blogsophere.

All that said, as the facts drip out, O’Keefe is looking less and less guilty and may well be completely exonerated before this even gets to trial.  Newspapers have had to retract “many glaring errors in their gleeful coverage of the O’Keefe story.”  So, in this one case where Bruce and I differ, the more we learn, the more justified Bruce becomes in his initial defense of this investigative journalist for the age of youtube.

So, let’s get some more facts out there.  And at Bruce’s request, I post O’Keefe’s statement in its entirety:

The government has now confirmed what has always been clear:  No one tried to wiretap or bug Senator Landrieu’s office.  Nor did we try to cut or shut down her phone lines.  Reports to this effect over the past 48 hours are inaccurate and false.

As an investigative journalist, my goal is to expose corruption and lack of concern for citizens by government and other institutions, as I did last year when our investigations revealed the massive corruption and fraud perpetrated by ACORN.  For decades, investigative journalists have used a variety of tactics to try to dig out and reveal the truth.

I learned from a number of sources that many of Senator Landrieu’s constituents were having trouble getting through to her office to tell her that they didn’t want her taking millions of federal dollars in exchange for her vote on the healthcare bill.  When asked about this, Senator Landrieu’s explanation was that, “Our lines have been jammed for weeks.”  I decided to investigate why a representative of the people would be out of touch with her constituents for “weeks” because her phones were broken.  In investigating this matter, we decided to visit Senator Landrieu’s district office – the people’s office – to ask the staff if their phones were working. (more…)

Main difference between conservatives and liberals?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:06 am - January 29, 2010.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Liberals

While it may not have been sonicfrog’s purpose to explain the difficulties the Democrats are currently facing, I do think his latest reflection gets at the problems of the majority party:

Conservatives are united behind a few simple ideas, and liberals are a group of divergent people united behind a few simple ideals. The former is much easier to craft into policy than the latter.

There is a huge difference between ideas and ideals.

I know I have more to say on this, but just caught it before bed, so thought I’d put it out there for debate and discussion.

On “Ideological Purity” & the 2010 Elections

Back when I lived in Northern Virginia, a fellow member of the Arlington County Republican Committee launched a quixotic bid to take on County Democrat stalwart Mary Margaret Whipple when she launched her bid for the state Senate.  On every issue sacred to the Democrats, Whipple towed the party line, marching, for example, in lockstep with NARAL on abortion.

Well, while her challenger was not pro-life, on every bill related to abortion introduced in the Virginia General Assembly, he would have  voted with the pro-lifers.  But, that was not enough for some leaders of the pro-life movement in his jurisdiction.  They refused to support him unless he  declared himself to be pro-life.

Similarly, in a special election for the Virginia House of Delegates, a conservative friend balked at helping the Republican because she, who happened to be pro-life, wasn’t pro-gun.  She would have voted with him on every other issue–and considerably better than her Democratic opponent, but wasn’t worth his support because she wasn’t ideologically pure enough.

I see a tone of this in some coverage I’ve been reading about the Illinois Senate race of Republicans (and even some Hillary Democrats) refusing to back Mark Kirk should he prevail in the Groundhog Day contest for the GOP nomination.  Now, I’ll grant you that Kirk is far from perfect.  He voted for Waxman-Markey (cap and trade), but has since relented.  If conservatives don’t like Kirk, then they have until next Tuesday to rally support for  his more conservative primary opponent Patrick Hughes.  Indeed, if I lived in the Land of Lincoln, it’s highly likely I would be voting for Hughes next week.

Note the use of the conditional in the previous sentence; I use that tense because I don’t know enough about the candidate to make a definite choice in the matter.  I do see it as a good sign that he’s gotten a lot of support from the Tea Party people, hence my conditional support.

That said, should Kirk win the GOP nomination–or, say, should Tom Campbell win the party’s nomination here, I’d vote for them, even though each has been less than perfect on fiscal issues.   (more…)

Did gynecological expert just compare Pelosi to Thatcher?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:05 pm - January 28, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging

Sonicfrog has the scoop:

Two names that should NEVER be compared as being anywhere similar in leadership abilities – Thatcher and Pelosi!   Oh sure, the “rhetorical style could easily have come out of Maggie’s mouth” as Andrew says. . . . Thatcher was a competent and dynamic leader. Pelosi has demonstrated herself to be anything but. If this WAS Thatcher, health care reform would have passed a month before the original deadline. Pelosi is definitely no Thatcher!

Read the whole thing.

Could GOP Run Tables on Senate Seats with Vulnerable Dems?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - January 28, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections

If so, that would yield a Senate next January with 53 Republicans, but right now, four of those Democrats are still wanting a serious Republican opponent.  Here in California where we don’t yet whether or not Tom Campbell or Carly Fiorina will be facing Barbara Boxer, we do know that Ma’am remains at or below 50% in all polls (save when matched up with DeVore).  And she’s not viewed all that favorably by her constituents.

And Ma’am’s not the only Democrat looking vulnerable, though she’s in a stronger position than her colleagues from “redder” states.  Michael Barone notes that liberal blogger/polling analyst Nate Silver’s “bottom line” in analyzing the Senate races “is the same as that of Larry Sabato: at the moment, Democrats are likely to lose seven seats and pick up none.

Five seats I pegged as winnable for the GOP are not on the list.  Well, the latest polls show I was right to include Wisconsin as potential Republican pickups.  Ed Morrissey reports that they show Russ Feingold trailing former Governor Tommy Thompson:

Wisconsin could be a big surprise, too.  It has sent reliable liberals like Feingold and Herb Kohl to the Senate for several cycles (21 years for Kohl, 17 years for Feingold), but outside of the big college towns, the state is more conservo-populist, not unlike the Dakotas.  Feingold has built a reputation for straight talk which has kept his constituents’ respect even when Feingold goes more to the left than they do.

Those days are apparently over.  Not only does Feingold trail Thompson by four points, his job approval numbers have gone underwater, 47/48.  The voting public has also turned more substantially away from Feingold on policy.  Fifty-nine percent want to see tax cuts as a cure for a bad economy, against only 15% for more government spending.  Almost two thirds (65%) reject the Democrats’ argument that the economy is improving (41% say worse, 24% says it’s the same), while only 28% believe it’s improving.

The numbers look good for Thompson–or another Republican who tosses his hat into the ring.  Certainly, given the results in the Bay State last week, Republicans in the Badger State are considering this race more seriously.   Let’s hope a smart state legislator or other accomplished official decides to take on the three-term Democrat.  Meanwhile, let’s hope Republicans come up with strong candidates in Indiana, Washington State and New York (Gillibrand) as well.

And should these guys and gals run the tables on the Democrats and Chuck Schumer survives, well, then, I’m sure he’d make a fine Minority Leader.

What is President’s Path Forward on DADT Repeal?

The folks at the Palm Center, a research institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose work of late has focused on gays in the military, felt the President’s endorsement of congressional repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” during his State of the Union address fell “short of the challenges ahead for repeal in 2010.” Christopher Neff, Deputy Executive Director of the Center said

Including repeal in the State of the Union Address makes clear that the President considers this issue important. . . . Yet the path to repeal will require both a command decision by the President and a clear timeline which follows. Leadership from the Pentagon will likely be mixed during upcoming hearings, and votes will be close in the House and Senate. It’s the President who is the game-changer on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ in 2010.

I agree.

We have yet to see whether his Administration has, in private meetings with the Pentagon brass, laid the groundwork for repeal and whether its legislative liaison has been working with congressional leaders to set a timeline for moving the appropriate legislation forward. We do know that they have been reaching out to Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent Democrat well regarded in the military. But, the recent news reports leading up to the line in last night’s speech suggests his decision to address the topic caught Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin unawares.

AndI wish the president had given the issue more than just a line. His statement seemed more perfunctory than passionate, as if he were saying it because he had to.  He may just have been throwing a bone to a part of his pace to show he was paying attention.

That said, if he does have a plan to move repeal forward, then it doesn’t matter how many words he used to address the topic in his State of the Union address.  As long as Congress passes a bill repealing the ban–and he signs it.