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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…)

State of the Union–Quick Take

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:30 pm - January 27, 2010.
Filed under: National Politics,Obama Watch

Didn’t watch the whole thing, saw the beginning and the last 20 years minutes.  He seemed defiant, sounded like he was still a candidate running for office and against the party in power and not the leader of the power that has been in power for well over a year.

Not just that, when he talked about bickering and partisanship, he was taking issue with the very kind of rhetoric that has, by and large, defined his attitude toward his predecessor and ideological adversaries.

UPDATE:  Reading through the transcript, and found he made the commitment,but wonder if he follow through:

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

Kudos to the president for saying this.  Would have been nice if he could have gone a little more in depth.  Let’s hope he has a plan to make this line a reality.  And if he gets it repealed, it won’t matter that he only devoted one line to the topic in tonight’s address.

The Mary Cheney Factor

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:36 pm - January 27, 2010.
Filed under: Gay America,Strong Women

Ever since I saw the Gallup poll showing a 12-point shift in the number of conservatives favoring allowing openly gay men and lesbians to serve in the military, I wondered what it was that caused such a significant change.

That shift in attitude took place in what was supposed to be a dark age for gay Americans.  The older poll was taken showing 46% of conservatives opposing restrictions on gay people’s service the same month George W. Bush was winning reelection.  The next poll was taken just four months after he left office.

Was it just the increasing tolerance of gay people in American society which accounted for this 26% jump in the number of American conservatives developing a more favorable attitude toward gay service members?  Or were there other factors?  Were there any prominent stories about the topic?

There was, to be sure, a lot of heat generated around the publication of Mary Cheney’s book.  Hugh Hewitt had this charming and well-spoken lesbian on his show for a full hour.   Maybe her exposure to Hugh’s conservative audience caused some of his listeners to reconsider their attitudes toward gay pepole.  We will never really know whether Mary’s brief turn on the national stage accounts for the entire shift.  Still, it must have played a role.  When American conservatives learn that one of their heroes has embraced his openly lesbian daughter, that’s sure to register.

Mary Cheney may well be the most consequential Vice Presidential Progeny in American history.

And she’d rather be rock-climbing.

“Trying to stifle debate on an important issue”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:00 pm - January 27, 2010.
Filed under: Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage,Liberal Intolerance

It was not the arguments of pro-choice advocates which caused me to shift my view on abortion, no longer favoring laws banning the practice out right.  I found it all too easy to tune out the case they made as all too many dismissed the arguments of their pro-life adversaries as “anti-woman” or “rooted in the past.”  Or some such.  Ironic that they’d label a movement overwhelmingly female as “anti-woman.”  Guess those pro-life women are really, to borrow an expression from Gloria Steinem, just plain ol’ “female impersonators“.

It was in talking to women who had abortions that I began to understand the complexity of the issue.

And so it was with gay marriage, at least as it relates to my vote on popular initiatives in the Golden State.  As I have expressed frequently on this blog, I’m pretty ambivalent on the issue, content with domestic partnerships, not beholden to having the state call our unions “marriage.”

Ever since the proposition which would come to be numbered as 8 qualified for the California ballot, I expected I would vote against it.  While opposed to the state Supreme Court’s decision mandating state recognition of same-sex unions, I also did not think it appropriate for a state constitution to define marriage.  In large part because of my ambivalence on the issue and the mean-spirited attacks of gay marriage advocates on the Proposition’s proponents, I did waver in the last few weeks before the election.

My resolve to defeat the proposition strengthened when I saw two friends of mine together, lesbians who gotten married in the window between the court’s decision and Election Day.  I knew from following their example (and that of another lesbian couple) that they understood what marriage meant.  I voted, “No.”

In many ways, the attacks of the gay marriage advocates on their adversaries resemble those of the pro-choice zealots.  Each side bristles at any expression of opposition to their cause  Via Mark Tapscott, we learn of another example of pro-choice zealotry.  The National Organization for Women (NOW) is “mounting a campaign to force . . . off the air” a TV spot slated for the Super Bowl telecast where University of Florida football star Tim Tebow and his mother talk “about the fact he might have been aborted had she listened to a doctor who encouraged her to have an abortion due to complications in her pregnancy.

They are, says Tapscott, paraphrasing CBS News legal reporter Jan Crawford, “trying to stifle debate on an important issue“. (more…)

Good News for the Golden State

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:50 pm - January 27, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Economy

Oregon voters pass tax increasing measures by big margin:

Oregon voters bucked decades of anti-tax and anti-Salem sentiment Tuesday, raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy to prevent further erosion of public schools and other state services.

The tax measures passed easily, with late returns showing a 54 percent to 46 percent ratio. Measure 66 raises taxes on households with taxable income above $250,000, and Measure 67 sets higher minimum taxes on corporations and increases the tax rate on upper-level profits.

With this action, the Beaver State becomes less of an option for wealthy Californians and over-regulated Golden State corporations seeking to move north for a more tax-friendly environment. Some may elect to stay put.

But, what’s marginally good for California businesses ain’t so good for the Oregon economy.  Michelle expects “affected business owners to start Going Galt en masse.

Standing Up For James O’Keefe

So by now, you have probably heard that the young conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe was arrested this week on charges that he was attempting to wiretap (or something) the offices of US Sen. Mary Landrieu. O’Keefe came to public attention last year when he exposed the corruption in many ACORN offices around the USA in a hidden camera expose.

My first reaction to O’Keefe’s arrest was “oh how stupid of him.” Upon further reflection, I have changed my mind. I think O’Keefe is a patriot and was probably onto something that We, The People should know about involving Sen. Landrieu.

Since the media no longer investigates corruption among the liberal elite, the burden falls to brave souls like O’Keefe.

The American Left praises and honors such real criminals and murderers as Castro, Che, Mao and Mumia Abu Jamal. Surely I’m not going to throw O’Keefe under the bus until I know all of the facts. And if he was in the pursuit of truth, then I think his actions were justified.

James O’Keefe is no less a patriot than Ted Kennedy is a murderer. After all, the Democrats in Washington continually ignore our nations’ laws and the US Constitution. Perhaps it is time for We, The People to join the fight on their terms.

These are indeed times that try men’s souls and our time sometimes requires extraordinary measures to expose lies and stand up for Liberty.

UPDATE (from Dan): Bruce, this appears to be an area where we disagree, though appreciate this defense from a commenter at Althouse. Right now, I’m with Malkin, “Know your limits. Know the law. Don’t get carried away. And don’t become what you are targeting.” That said, I’ll wait until the facts are in before rendering a final judgment.

Benchmark for Republican Success

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:09 pm - January 27, 2010.
Filed under: Random Thoughts

If Republicans win back control of the federal government, we’ll be able to tell they’re doing their jobs when property values plummet in the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area.

Score one for gay leftie bloggers if . . .

. . . Obama proposes repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell tonight in the State of the Union address.  While the heads of most of the gay organizations were playing patsy with the White House, gay leftie bloggers would have none of the president’s inclination to put gay issues on the back burner.

They criticized him for not keeping the promises he made to our community, with a push to boycott the Democratic National Committee which began among bloggers making the cover of the latest Advocate.  As Jamie Kirchick put it in his cover story:

In the wake of the Maine defeat, a coterie of liberal bloggers and activists called for a temporary moratorium on DNC donations. The fledgling movement, which has adopted the motto “Don’t Ask, Don’t Give” and has attracted the likes of legendary gay rights activist David Mixner, hopes to discourage donations to the party until the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the repeal of both “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act.

With scuttlebutt suggesting Obama plans to push the passage of DADT tonight, their threatened boycott may well have served as the spur which pricks the sides of Obama’s intent.  They will have accomplished more blogging in their pajamas on second-hand laptops than have the well-heeled lobbyists of HRC in their swank offices in downtown D.C.

So, kudos to bloggers at Pam’s House Blend, Queerty and AmericaBlogGay (and other websites with which I’m not familiar).

DSCC Proposes Taking Coakley Strategy nationwide

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:16 am - January 27, 2010.
Filed under: 2010 Elections

Perhaps, because I was dining with my fellow Ephs (graduates of Williams College) last night that I defended our fellow alum Martha Coakley as I had on this blog just after her defeat last week.  She was waging the right kind of campaign for a special election in a jurisdiction which overwhelmingly favored her party.

When, however, she began to realize she had a race on her hands, her campaign had about ten days to shift strategies before voters trooped to the polls.  Now, in the wake of her defeat in that overwhelmingly Democratic jurisdiction, national Democrats are already hitting the panic button even though there are more than nine months until Election Day.  While Democrats don’t have the full length of a human gestation cycle to come up with a new strategy, they have time.

Instead, they’re trying to come up with a strategy on the fly, much as Coakley did, and pulling from their old bag of tricks and their own prejudices about Republicans.  Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Chairman Robert Menendez’s tack, as Jennifer Rubin puts it, “is to force their opponents to answer wacky questions and then make them out to be extremist nuts“:

Do you believe that Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen? Do you think the 10th Amendment bars Congress from issuing regulations like minimum health care coverage standards? Do you think programs like Social Security and Medicare represent socialism and should never have been created in the first place? Do you think President Obama is a socialist? Do you think America should return to a gold standard?

Democrats want to win not by defending their record but by splitting the GOP.   They’re assuming, of course, that if the Republican answers, “Yes,” to the first question and “No” to the others, he’ll instantly lose the support of the party’s enthusiastic “right-wing” base.  But, seems Scott Brown did not answer the way those wing-nuts would have wanted him to answer and guess, well, as soon as Harry Reid’ll have him, he gets to be a U.S. Senator.

For some reason, I just don’t think this strategy will work when people are so angry at Washington.   (more…)

Krauthammer Channels Monty Python in Criticizing Obama’s Freeze?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:39 am - January 27, 2010.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,Random Thoughts

He calls his spending freeze a “Q-tip.”  Using a Q-tip to cut the deficit. Sure sounds like something I saw in some Monty Python sketch.

(H/t Instapundit.)

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 Tax/Regulation

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?