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Has It Finally Gone Where the Goblins Go?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:12 pm - January 26, 2010.
Filed under: Obama Health Care (ACA, Obamacare)

Glenn Reynolds links a hopeful headline from the New York TimesDemocrats Slam Brakes on Health Care Overhaul. “The gear shifting by Democrats underscored how the health care effort had been derailed by the Republican victory in the Massachusetts special election last week.”

UPDATE:  Rick Richman elaborates:

It is an irony worthy of a Greek drama that the moment ObamaCare appeared to overcome one of the final hurdles to passage may have been the one that sealed its rejection a few days later in Massachusetts. That moment occurred on the Thursday before the Massachusetts vote, as union leaders emerged from two days of secret discussions in the White House to announce that they had gotten a five-year $60 billion exemption from the “Cadillac tax” on their health-care plans. That may have been the tipping point.

Read the whole thing.

Obama’s Latest Concession to the Gipper’s Ideology

In his 2008, candidate Barack Obama borrowed a campaign from Ronald Reagan’s 1976 and 1980 playbooks, running against Washington and promising to change the way thing are done in the nation’s capital.  Pointing out that we were “living beyond our means,” he promised a “net spending cut.”  He repeated this notion in his infomercial where he said that he “offered spending cuts above and beyond” of his energy plan, his economic plan, as well as other proposals that he made.

This week, he’s at it again.  By promising a spending freeze, he acknowledges that something needs to be done about out-of-control government spending, all but conceding Ronald Reagan’s point that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”:

And just like the Gipper did in his time, Obama may well be doing in our time, breaking, in Jim Gergahty’s words, “the spirit” of liberalism:

If Obama can be forced into becoming a rhetorical deficit hawk, and if the fundamental message of his second year in office is “less spending good, more spending bad,” we may see the spirit of modern liberalism broken.

In the post linked above Geraghty quotes some liberal bloggers irate about the spending-freeze proposal, with one acknowledging that this move “fully embraces the conservative narrative“.

Yeah, it pretty much does.

Looks like CNN will have to change its motto

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 8:00 pm - January 26, 2010.
Filed under: Media Bias

Well, that’s what their marquee says, but that’s not what the people say and since it’s the people who do the trusting, well, then, it’s time for a change.

Fox Is The Most Trusted Name In News According To New Poll:

In fact, according to Public Policy Polling, FNC is the only national television news organization that more people trust than distrust.

Didn’t I read somewhere that Public Policy Polling was somehow affiliated with the Democratic Party?

To make the case for gay marriage, you have to first understand the institution of marriage

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:00 pm - January 26, 2010.
Filed under: Gay Marriage

Last night, with Andrew Sullivan’s solipsistic 2008 essay and other “rights”/personal validation arguments on gay marriage in my head, I recalled a scene, 3 seconds actually, from the movie Fiddler on the Roof* which defined marriage better than any of the “feel-good” arguments put forward by the gay marriage movement. At 2:51 in the clip below, Motel (Leonard Frey) promises Tevye (Topol) that should he wed his daughter, Tzeitel (Rosalind Harris), she “will not starve.”

To be sure, there’s more to this scene that those telling three seconds.  A few moments earlier, the meek tailor had earned the admiration of his beloved when he stood up for himself.  How much is said with Tzeitel’s astonished expression as she witnesses the gentle boy she loved becoming a man.  Motel has moved from talking about his feelings for Tevye’s daughter to talking about what he’s going to do to take care of her.

Only when he promises to make sure Tevye’s daughter has enough to eat (at a time when starvation was a daily concern) does the father realize that his eldest’s intended is “beginning to talk like a man.”

Now, I don’t mean to suggest by this post that gay marriage advocates ignore this aspect of marriage, of one spouse taking care of another.  But, in the current debate, this point takes a back seat to personal validation, equality and “rights” arguments, yet is more central to the notion of marriage than most arguments put forward in defense of extending the institution’s government benefits to same-sex couples.

That said, I would dare say that the better part of gay couples who seek to have their unions recognized as marriage get that aspect of the institution, at least the ones I know do.  There is a dichotomy between gay marriage as promoted and same-sex unions as practiced.

The issue is making that argument to gay marriage skeptics and opponents.  And maybe some of the couples are making that case in that San Francisco courtroom, but that’s not the place they should be making it.  Had they instead made that case to the people of California in 2008, they wouldn’t be pleading their cause to a sympathetic judge today.

* (more…)

Cost of “Stimulus” Increases; Democrats Blame Canada Bush

Maybe I was wrong about Democrats, at least Democrats in this day and age.

Maybe they don’t immediately seek to increase spending in response to every social problem.  It seems the 12/12 Democrats have a different kind of reaction every time, they or the nation hits a speed bump (or something worse).  They just blame Canada.

Oh, I’m sorry, in my zeal to find a musical expression of the Democrats’ problem, I got the action right (blaming), but the object wrong.  With a new CBO report showing that the stimulus cost even more than the meager $787 billion Democrats thought necessary to keep unemployment under 8%, Democrats are trotting out their all-purpose bogeyman, George W. Bush, even though that good man retired to Texas over a year ago:

House Democratic leaders said a report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) showing a $1.35 trillion deficit in 2010 was the result of policies put in place by President George W. Bush and Republicans in Congress, who controlled the House and Senate until the 2006 elections.

“Today’s CBO report is a clear reminder of the Bush and Republican Congress-era policies that have resulted in the loss of millions of jobs, led to the worst recession since the Great Depression, and turned record surpluses under the Clinton Administration into record deficits,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

Um, Nancy, haven’t you been Speaker now for, like, three years?  And, um, well, doesn’t the Constitution give the power of the purse to Congress?  When are you going to take responsibility for your actions.

Oh, and, one more thing, that blame Bush thing worked wonders for Senator Martha Coakley.

Obama to address DADT Repeal in SOTU?

ABC News Z. Byron Wolf reports that Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Armed Services Committee

. . . told reporters today that he has delayed plans to hold Senate hearings to examine the current “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy at the request of administration officials. Why would they want him to hold off? The officials Levin talked to said they expect the President will address the issue of homosexuals serving in the military during the State  of the Union Address.

Let’s hope he’s right. By using the bully pulpit, Obama could set things in motion for speedy repeal.  But, if he is to address tis tomorrow night, then, let’s also hope that he has already laid the groundwork for repeal by avoiding the mistakes Bill Clinton made 17 years ago, having first consulted with the military brass before making his move.

Such a move would not only be good for our national security as it would increase the pool of available recruits.  (Nor would our armed forces have to divert resources to rooting out homosexuals.)  This would also help Obama protect his left flank.  Indeed, Allahpundit wonders “if the big reason Obama has held back on this until now (and, maybe, on gay marriage) is precisely because he’s thinking strategically and wants to be able to toss it out there when he most needs a boost from his base. This ought to do it.

Not just that, most polls shows that Americans favor repealing DADT, with even a substantial majority of conservatives favoring allowing openly gay men and lesbian to serve in the armed forces.

Obama’s Phony Freeze

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:00 am - January 26, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Obama Watch

So, the president plans on using the same hatchet he once faulted John McCain for wanting to use to control federal spending.  In the State of the Union address, he’ll be calling “for a three-year freeze in spending on many domestic programs, and for increases no greater than inflation after that, an initiative intended to signal his seriousness about cutting the budget deficit“.

On the surface, this sounds like a good thing, finally holding the line on federal spending.  But, alas, it’s not the same “hatchet” that John McCain vowed to use should he win election to the White House.  For the president  to do that, he’d have to cut spending, freezing it at the levels of George W. Bush’s last budget (which was passed by a Democratic Congress).  Karl Rove unpacks this “election year ploy:

Mr. Obama rigged the game by giving himself plenty of room to look tough on spending. He did that by increasing discretionary domestic spending for the last half of fiscal year 2009 by 8% and then increasing it another 12% for fiscal year 2010.

So discretionary domestic spending now stands at $536 billion, up nearly 24% from President George W. Bush’s last full year budget in fiscal 2008 of $433.6 billion. That’s a huge spending surge, even for a profligate liberal like Mr. Obama. The $102 billion spending increase doesn’t even count the $787 billion stimulus package, of which $534 billion remains unspent.

If he were serious about cutting the deficit, he might think about canceling the appropriation of that unspent $534 billion, preventing it from becoming a further drain on the Treasury.

Without such cuts, the president’s freeze is like going on a diet by continuing to eat the same amount of food.

Say a guy who, realized that he was putting on weight, so just over a year ago, resolves to go on a diet.  But, first, he adopted a change in his routine, visiting the donut shop every morning (except the first and third Monday and the fourth Tuesday) whereas previously he had gone only on Tuesdays, every other Wednesday, every third Thursday and on weekends.

But, this time, he really means business.   He’s going to “freeze” his visits to the donut shop at the current level.  He won’t be adding any new visits, but he’ll still be visiting the donut shop more than he did when he first complained about his weight problem.

Has the President Read His Job Description?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:36 am - January 26, 2010.
Filed under: Constitutional Issues,Obama Watch

I mean, he used to be a professor of constitutional law so he should know how the Constitution defines his job.  In an interview with Diane Sawyer, however, he offered a job description which, well, I couldn’t find in that august document:

You know, there is a tendency in Washington to believe our job description, of elected officials, is to get reelected. That’s not our job description. . . .  Our job description is to solve problems and to help people.

It is?

Couldn’t find that in Article II, §2 of the Constitution:

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. (more…)