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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.

Obama to Have Beer Summit with Supreme Court?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:48 pm - January 28, 2010.
Filed under: Arrogance of the Liberal Elites,Supreme Court

Given the hullabaloo over the president’s rebuke last night of the Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision, especially given the attention paid to Justice Alito’s reaction, rumor has reached sources close to this blog that Mr. Obama is considering a beer summit with the justices.  As soon as we get more information, we’ll let you know if such a gathering is a go.

Are Barney’s Days Numbered?

In what may be the best bit of news for gay Americans since the Supreme Court handed down the Lawrence decision (though the Heller decision making it easier for us to defend ourselves against gay bashers was also pretty significant), John Fund (in today’s Political Diary) suggests that the unhappy Barney Frank may be facing electoral problems in Scott Brown’s Masachusetts.

Having called for the abolition of Fannie Mae and Fredddie Mac (Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) he has repeatedly defended in the past), that mean-spirited Democrat is

. . . suddenly sounding a lot more moderate, possibly because he may be the most vulnerable of the state’s incumbents.

Mr. Frank is the most powerful lawmaker in the Massachusetts House delegation given his chairmanship of the banking committee, but he also managed to win reelection by a smaller percentage than any of his Massachusetts colleagues in the blowout Democratic year of 2008. Yes, his 68% tally that year would still be the envy of most pols, but it was his worst showing since 1992. In many years, he ran unopposed, collecting virtually 100% of the vote. And because Mr. Frank’s decline began even before the recent rebellion over health-care reform and deficit spending, a good bet is that he’s been neglecting basic constituent services. Several potential GOP candidates already have expressed interest in the 4th District. Whoever the Republican is, Mr. Frank could be facing his toughest campaign since the early 1980s thanks to the anti-Washington tide.

Let’s certainly hope so. With his consistent refusal to admit his errors, the role he played in obstructing reforms of Fannie and Freddie , his conflict of interest in serving on the committee overseeing Fannie while his partner worked for the GSE, this most prominent gay lawmaker has long been an embarrassment to the gay community.

Should Barney remove himself from the public eye, it could only help improve the image of gay people in America.

Another Reason Obamacare Failed

Marc Thiesen found the president’s speech last night most unpresidential.  Among the qualities he single out in the address was the president’s false humility:

His one moment of “humility” came when he acknowledged his biggest mistake of the past year: his failure to adequately explain his policies to all of us. This was a State of the Union for the slow learners. His message to all of us was: “Let me speak slowly for you.”

It does seem that Democrats have regularly repeated the theme that if only they had better explained their proposed health care overhaul, popular opposition would not have grown apace.

And this got me thinking.  I mean, here we’ve had a presidential who, if anything, has been overexposed, giving two addresses to Congress in his first year, one devoted to health care, doing an “infomercial” (on health care) on ABC, conducting countless interviews himself, dispatching his flacks to the Sunday talks shows (and other fora) to make his case.

And yet for the better part of this time while they were out there promoting these health care reforms, there wasn’t a bill on the table.  So, would his health care reform, er, health insurance reform, have stood a greater chance at passage had, early in the game, Obama put a bill out there and said this is the legislative framework I’m proposing, here’s why I think it’s the right way to deal with our health care problems, let’s discuss how to make this better.

This might have spared Democrats some of the backroom dealings as they cobbled the final bill together.

Just a thought.

What Would Thomas Jefferson Do?

If The Great American Philosopher were here, watching the State of Our Union I do believe he would reflect upon words he wrote hundreds of years ago:

1775 June 26-July 6. “Our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty.” (Declaration of the Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms, B.1.215)

1787 Nov. 13. “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” (to W. S. Smith, B.12.356)

I recalled the ‘tree of liberty’ quote when I wrote the James O’Keefe piece yesterday.  While luckily no blood was shed, I would submit that O’Keefe did spare some of his individual liberty in the cause of the greater good:  protecting the rest of ours.

If only all of us were as brave to stand up to the tyrannical Federal Government that has taken so much of our freedoms away for the past several decades.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Was James O’Keefe Victimized By Tyrannical Government Police?

It is starting to seem this way.  We know how O’Keefe works — clever, over the top scenarios that prove the hypocrisy and law-breaking of the elitists in power stealing our taxpayer money.

Seems increasingly like that was his M.O. with Project Landreiu.

From Patterico: Looks like law enforcement and James O’Keefe’s supporters agree: he did not intend to wiretap Mary Landrieu:

A law enforcement official says the four men arrested for attempting to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) were not trying to intercept or wiretap the calls.

Even the Washington Post is now walking back their hysterionic reporting. Again from Patterico:

Earlier versions of this story incorrectly reported that James O’Keefe faced charges in an alleged plot to bug the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu. The charges were related to an alleged plot to tamper with a phone system. The headline incorrectly referred to a plot to bug the phone and a caption incorrectly referred to an alleged wiretap scheme.

Patterico continues:  So there was no intent to wiretap. Let’s dispel that idea now. Nobody is claiming he was trying to bug Landrieu. Everyone who compared this to Watergate was wrong, wrong, wrong — and should be embarrassed. Period.  The only question now is what he and 3 other men did intend to do.

<…>

Precisely.  And the other question that I want to know is this:  What does James O’Keefe know about the Senator or her staff that resulted in Mary Landrieu wanting to call in the Federal thugs to stop that information from getting out to the public?

I predict that pretty soon MSNBC will no longer report on this story.  Why?  Because it will become a DEMOCRAT scandal.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Obama Is Bankrupting America

So says the Congressional Budget Office (h/t – Wall St. Journal):

As for the deficit, CBO shows that over the first three years of the Obama Presidency, 2009-2011, the federal government will borrow an estimated $3.7 trillion. That is more than the entire accumulated national debt for the first 225 years of U.S. history.

And how does our President define leadership on this and every other issue?  By blaming Bush of course.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Obama & the Mythological Narcissus

Ed Driscoll linked a post by the Anchoress that I had skimmed earlier in the day (via this Instalink) with none of it registering.  Yet, on a more complete reading, I realize her rambling post (but rambling in a good way and very much worth your attention) is full of nuggets of wisdom on the state of this Administration and the nature of the liberal elite.

Or, maybe I should say, she offers insights into the psyche of this president:

Mockery and cynicism is all part of modern day politics, but I am beginning to worry that Obama is showing evidence of a real problem, and it is a problem of insecurity, identity, aloofness, self-protection and, I am sorry to say it, but delusion.

As to his ubiquitous teleprompter she offers:

Some are talking about Linus and his security blanket. To me Obama more accurately resembles the responsibility-shirking Captain Queeg, with this marbles. What is going on with him? The teleprompter protects him from a slip of the tongue. The Podium creates a barrier between him and his “audience” such as it is, and all of it keeps everything at a distance.

She wonders if the president even knows himself.  In her conclusion, she links Althouse’s commentary on her piece:

And this reminds me of something I was saying the other day about liberals. Liberals — I’m generalizing — are so engulfed in their belief that they are the good people, the smart people, that they forget to step back and look at things from the perspective of people who don’t agree with them.

Exactly.

And this brings me to Narcissus, no, not the mythological character as viewed through the distorted lens of Havelock Ellis and Sigmund Freud, but the Boetian youth known to the ancients.  In describing a psychological condition, Ellis and Freud obscured the fact that this unfortunate youth (for whom they named a certain psychological disorder) was not punished because he had fallen in love with himself.  His punishment was to fall in love with himself. (more…)

State of the Union–A Personal Reflection

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:35 am - January 28, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,LA Stories,Obama Watch

Even though I’m billing this as a personal reflection, I doubt I will use the first person singular pronoun in any of its declensions as often as did the president in his speech last night.  I guess that given my “job” as a blogger, I was expected to watch it so I could blog on it, but, well, I kind of spaced it.

Perhaps, it was my psyche speaking telling me I had had enough politics for the day.  In fact, so much had I spaced that it took a look up at the CNN monitor while I was doing my cardio to realize that the speech was only 35 minutes and 42 seconds away.

So, I prolonged my workout, waited and watched.  As the House chamber filled, some of the Democrats who appeared on screen made my skin crawl.  Biden looked the village idiot, his lips turned up in a perpetual smile as if he were aware of no other facial expression.  Pelosi looked like someone whose time has come, as if her act were over, but she were still lingering on stage.  Watching her, I realized that even if Republicans don’t recapture Congress next fall, she won’t be up there for the next such address.

Rahm Emanuel seemed strangely solitary as if his colleagues were steering clear of me.  The fetching Stephen Green helped express the inchoate ideas in my head, “I couldn’t quite make out what Rahm was saying, or who he was saying it to, but the expression made me think, ‘Fredo, I knew it was you.’

The president himself looked good.  He strode down aisle, confident, seeming in command.  The peevishness that he has displayed in recent interviews was not present.  He seemed like the kind of guy with whom you’d like to have a beer–or play a game of hoops.

Then, he began to speak.  He lost me at with the recycled campaign rhetoric.  I stopped following the speech after reading this line on the close captioning:  “They [the American people] are tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness.”

“You mean,” I said somewhat sotto voce, “they’re tired of the way you blame Bush, treat Republicans and react to criticism and setbacks?” (more…)