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That’s Not What Senator Obama Wanted on Federal Judges

How times change.

Senator Barack Obama supported filibustering President Bush’s judicial nominees, but President Obama wants an up-or-down vote on health care.  Tell you, what, Mr. President, we’ll consider that offer, once you make sure that every single one of W’s nominees to the federal bench (who would have been confirmed had the Senate voted on his nomination at the time of the appointment) is confirmed.

Oh, and, you’ll, um, need a health care bill that can garner a majority in both houses of Congress.

What Global Warming Means for Al Gore

It’s for the children regulation.

“Fisking” the warmist alarmist’s op-ed in the New York Times, blogress diva Ann Althouse figures out what Gore is all about:

He wants the policies that are sold under the name “global warming” whether the prediction of global warming is right or wrong.

Read the whole thing.  (H/t:  Instapundit.)

Pelosi tells Wavering Dems to Sacrifice Jobs for Obamacare Because She Knows What’s Best for America

Yeah, she’s one to talk.  Representing a district where Obama beat McCain by 73 points (just up from John Kerry’s 71-point margin over W), Nancy Pelosi is now telling Democrats from districts where the margin was in the single digits–or favored the Republican–that they should “back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers

Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program “This Week.”

“We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress,” she said. “We’re here to do the job for the American people.”

It took courage for Congress to pass Social Security and Medicare, which eventually became highly popular, she said, “and many of the same forces that were at work decades ago are at work again against this bill.”

Nancy knows her history about as well as she knows economics.  It hardly took courage to pass those bills which were popular even before they passed.  And today, there are concerns about the fiscal solvency of both programs.

Is Mrs. Pelosi thus suggesting that the Democrats’ proposed health care overhaul will soon also face financial problems?

Her arrogance–and that of the Democrats who continue to push this–is simply amazing.  They claim they know better than the American people what’s good for them.  They keep pressing forward on this–as if one more push will break the pattern of public opinion consistently moving against them since the debate began.  And the tide will finally turn.  Well, now she seems to have given up hope of catching a wave and is now saying that, well, public opinion doesn’t matter because we know what’s best.

Even if their knowledge comes from policies which have never worked in the real world and are similar to those which have not brought the desired results in jurisdictions which have tried them.

Not if there’s a (D) After Their Name

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:35 pm - February 28, 2010.
Filed under: Media Bias

Edwards epilogue: Does the press really vet presidential candidates?

As Dems press forward with Obamacare, they strengthen resolve of conservative to reduce size and scope of government

Of all the analysis and criticism conservative pundits and bloggers have made about the president’s decision to press ahead with his statist healthcare overhaul, perhaps the most instructive exchange has been between Andrew McCarthy and Ed Morrissey.

McCarthy believes the Democrats will press forward at all costs, including the loss of Congress, in order to fulfill their their age-hold dream of government health care, increasing federal control over one-sixth of our economy. He thinks Republicans lack the will to repeal the monstrosity should Democrats pass it. Morrissey, by contrast, doesn’t think Democrats will get away with it because not all their fellow partisans share the vision of their far-left leaders from deep “blue” enclaves of our richly diverse country.

Being an optimist, I side with Morrissey, but aware of the liberal impulse for control, I get where McCarthy’s coming from and understand why the Democrats press on even as opposition has solidified against the overhaul, with strong opposition increasing and intensifying as the president’s poll numbers take a tumble every time health care tops the news.

First, given that right now, “there is no health care bill currently under consideration“, it’s not certain Democrats can come up with something which can pass both congressional chambers and pass muster under the Senate rules of reconciliation.  Second, even if Democrats do find a way to pass it, Republicans might finally find the stomach to repeal it, given that they’ll owe their majorities to popular opposition to the legislation and outrage at the way it has been (and likely will be) rammed through Congress.

In making a point similar to my second point (and so helping me frame my argument), Moe Lane offers this telling observation:

People like to talk about how government programs and agencies never die, once instituted, with the Great Society and the New Deal being the most used examples.  What’s not mentioned is that both of those programs were popular.  People wanted a Social Security program.  They wantedMedicare.  They do not notably want this monstrosity of a health care bill*.

And that’s why it may not only be the straw which breaks the statist camel’s back, but which finally turns the tides on big government, giving small government conservatives the will not just to repeal this boondoggle, but to start taking a crack at other outdated pieces of the federal leviathan.

Greece: The America of the Future?

Mark Steyn has an excellent piece over at NRO today about the degredation of Greece, and it as a model of how socialist policies there (and in Europe as a whole) have driven it to the verge of disaster. Are we headed there? Directionally, Steyn says, yes. But there’s still time to recover. It starts off:

While Barack Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand-new, even-more-unsustainable entitlement at the health-care “summit,” thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split-screen — because they’re part of the same story. It’s just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They’re at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is farther upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided instead that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter Twenty (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter Seventeen or Eighteen.

And it ends:

Think of Greece as California: Every year an irresponsible and corrupt bureaucracy awards itself higher pay and better benefits paid for by an ever-shrinking wealth-generating class. And think of Germany as one of the less profligate, still-just-about-functioning corners of America such as my own state of New Hampshire: Responsibility doesn’t pay. You’ll wind up bailing out anyway. The problem is there are never enough of “the rich” to fund the entitlement state, because in the end it disincentivizes everything from wealth creation to self-reliance to the basic survival instinct, as represented by the fertility rate. In Greece, they’ve run out Greeks, so they’ll stick it to the Germans, like French farmers do. In Germany, the Germans have only been able to afford to subsidize French farming because they stick their defense tab to the Americans. And in America, Obama, Pelosi, and Reid are saying we need to paddle faster to catch up with the Greeks and Germans. What could go wrong?

I highly recommend reading the whole thing.

- Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

Why Won’t Pelosi Ask Corrupt Committee Chairman to Step Down?

After Democrats won a majority in Congress in 2006, the leader of their caucus in the House, Nancy Pelosi said, “The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington, D.C., and the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical Congress in history“.  Well, she’s now Speaker and gets a chance to put her money where her mouth is was.

With a committee chairman admonished by a House ethics panel, she should ask him to relinquish his chairmanship forthwith since he refuses to do so on his own:

Rep. Charles Rangel said Friday he won’t step down as chairman of the powerful House tax-writing committee after being admonished by an ethics panel for accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean. The public rebuke of one of the Democrats’ most outspoken leaders posed more woes for a party that had vowed to end a “culture of corruption.”

(H/t:  Instapundit.)  Instead of acting, Pelosi is refusing to act.  She may talk the good talk on ethics, but in the three years that she’s been Speaker–and seen federal deficits soar and private sector jobs disappear–we’ve seen only lip service paid to ethics reform.  “As of early January,” one blogger reports “’the most ethical Congress ever’ hadn’t punished a single congressman for ethics violations.”

Republicans should not take this lying down and should use whatever parliamentary maneuvers at their disposal to slow down the business of the House until Rangel relinquishes his chairmanship.  If this were a Republican Congress, he’d be long gone–while the media would still be in overdrive, wondering why the GOP could not police its own caucus and featuring stories on the corruption in the majority party.

But, today, we get nary a peep from the MSM.

Says, Who? Mr President, not the American people

There he goes again, bound and determined to force the American people to buy something we clearly don’t want.  The President took the airwaves to tell us that that a health care “overhaul must go forward.”  Gosh, these guys don’t give up.

Who says it must go forward?

Not the American people.  Support for the Democrats’ proposed health care overhaul polls worse that did John McCain in October 2008 and no better than Bob Dole did twelve years earlier, and behind Michael Dukakis in 1988, but about even with Walter Mondale in 1984.

More than just being unenthusiastic about the Democrats’ statist approach to health care, we’d also rather they turn their focus to other issues: “Americans overwhelmingly say that their main concern is jobs, and that they are satisfied with their current health care arrangements.”  Yet, the Democrats have devoted more legislative hours and the President has devoted more of his time to pushing health care.

Maybe that’s not entirely a bad thing.  Democrats think that they only way to create jobs is to spend more government money–and not to remove regulations which would spark private sector activity.

It’s too bad the president learned nothing from the health care summit on Thursday.  Had he paid any attention, he would have put forward a compromise approach and abandoned the statist overhaul crafted in Congress, starting afresh by building on the ideas expressed on both sides of the debate.

Howard Dean’s Odd Politics of Hate

What is it with Howard Dean and “hate.”  When Republicans are in power, it’s right and good to hate them.  When Democrats are in power, the party that we were once supposed to hate becomes the party of hate.

He claims he was taken out of context when he said he hated Republicans and everything they stood for and called the partisan differences in America “a struggle between good and evil and we’re the good.” Only when he didn’t say jsut how his remarks had been taken out of context nor did he apologize.  He did say, “I don’t hate Republicans as individuals“, then added:

But I hate what the Republicans are doing to this country.  I really do.  I hate deficits, as you know.  When I was governor, I really was very tough on fiscal responsibility.  Deficits in the long run aren’t good for the country, and they do lower our standard of living.  Every American family knows that you have to pay your bills.  I hate the dishonesty, you know, the idea that you’d put a program through Congress without telling people what it costs, I think that’s wrong.  

Guess he must really hate this Administration, but then, he can’t because, well, he’s a Democrat and right now, only Republicans do the hating.  Yet, given what Howard Dean said back in ’05, you’d kind of understand it, you know by his standards, if Republicans did start pushing the hate button, I mean, with those big deficits we’re getting from team Obama.  

He is, however, not praising them when he alleges they have the same attitudes toward a spendthrift Administration that he once did:

He also said that the Republican Party holds “untenable positions based on emotion and anger,” and that the GOP won’t be effective until they “stop pushing the hate button.”

To show just how out of touch is this former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, he spouts some nonsense about the Tea Party’s views on social issues.  Guess he has a one-size-fits-all approach to conservatives.  If they oppose a Democratic Administration, then they must be like the imaginary conservative inside his head, harboring hateful views of homosexuals.

Hate to break it to you, Howard, but those Tea Party folks are pretty concerned about the things that got you hating the Republicans lo these five years ago.  Guess you just hate anyone who doesn’t have a (D) after his name and support your wayward left-wing ways.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.  This is the crusty old pot which once boasted about its thick coat of soot calling black the kettle just back on the stove after a long scrubbing with multiple Brillo Pads.

Joining Obama in Wishing Cheney a Speedy Recovery

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:36 pm - February 26, 2010.
Filed under: Credit to Democrats,Noble Republicans

Most people know about former Vice President Cheney’s recent hospitalization, but few know that President Obama called him “to wish him a speedy recovery“.  More should.

It was a classy act.

So, let me join other conservative bloggers in tipping my hat to the president for calling one of his staunchest critics to wish him well after his recent heart attack:

. . .this classy deserves some recognition. Good for Obama for swallowing his pride and doing the presidential thing. Why, even Jim Treacher was moved to tip his cap to Barry O — and he just got run over by one of Obama’s guys. Talk about goodwill.

Rush Admits Error in Telling GOP to Skip Health Care Summit

Sonicfrog thinks the talk show host erred in “telling the Republicans not to go to the Obama Health Care Summit”:

They went anyway…. and scored some points. You can tell because there is no news of “Obama’s Spectacular Triumph” to be found in today’s papers or in the news.

And when Republicans mess up, the voice of the Beltway establishment doesn’t tell them they’ve had their best day in years.

Rush must have read Sonic’s post; he admitted that he was wrong.

Winning an election renders campaign promises null & void?

A lot of liberals, including at least one of our critics, are making much of the clip embedded below where President Obama supposedly slaps down the man he defeated in the 2008 presidential election for reminding him of a promise he made on his road to victory:

So, is the president then saying that since the campaign is over, his promises then were only intended to win votes–and not to define how he would govern once elected?

(Clip via Legal Insurrection.)

Are Democrats really deaf to popular consensus on health care?

At the Washington Examiner, Susan Ferrechio sums up yesterday’s health care summit:

Nothing at the summit convinced Republicans to put aside their demand that Democrats scrap the current $1 trillion bill and start over. And Democrats appeared unmoved by a GOP plea to scale back the bill and incorporate ideas like tort reform favored by Republicans.

Democrats remain poised to move ahead on the Senate health care reform bill, which would mandate insurance coverage, expand Medicaid significantly, and use tax increases and Medicare cuts to pay for it.

On the same web-site, Ferrechio’s colleague David Freddoso links a Gallup poll showing significantly more people oppose the Democrats’ proposed health care overhaul than support it, with a solid majority oppose Democrats using reconciliation to advance their bill.  Indeed, said Gallup poll registers higher public support for the plan (42%) than do most surveys which show it polling in the 30s, with most registering opposition at or above 50%.

And Democrats press forward with the same ol’ plan when as I noted earlier this week, “more than two-thirds of Americans believe Congress should either start all over on health care reform or do nothing.”

It’s all about appeasing the party’s base.  And showing that the president can get something done, even if it’s not what the American people want.

So, boring summit was just political theater after all

Since the president didn’t get Republicans to toe the line exactly as he wants them to toe it, well, he’s going to push forward on his party’s bill to overhaul our health care system come hell or high water. According to Greg Sargent, his criticism of Republicans for not supporting exchanges (after the public option was dropped)

. . . combined with his assertion that Repubicans need to do some “soul-searching” on whether they wanted to join Dems in tackling reform as they have defined it, amount to an unmistakable vow to move foward without them.

Upon “reading news reports saying that Democrats are set on using reconciliation to ram the Senate bill through Congress,” one of Obama’s closest GOP friends in the Senate Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn wondered if yesterday’s summit was pointless”: “It’s fairly disappointing. . . . If the Dems are just going to run the bill anyway, why’d we just do it?”

The Democrats can fret and fume at how supposedly intransigent the Republicans are, but they’re the ones who haven’t budged since yesterday’s summit. It appears they’re moving forward with reconciliation as they had been plotting before the summit took place–and without incorporating any of the ideas Republicans presented at yesterday’s open forum.

It seems its entire purpose was not to consider all ideas, but intead to advance the Democrats’.

Nancy says health care overhaul is about jobs?!?!?

My nephew found footage of former President Bill Clinton reacting to Nancy Pelosi’s contention that the Democrats’ propoed health care overhaul is about jobs:

Will Paul Ryan’s statement (that government doesn’t have the answers) come to define the boring health care summit?

Perhaps it was when I turned on FoxNews to watch the health care summit that I turned away from it so quickly.  One of the few Democrats all but certain to keep his seat in the Senate this fall–and one our federal legislature can most do without–Charles Schumer was droning on about the common ground shared between Republicans and Democrats.  He didn’t seem defensive or as aggressively partisan as he normally does.  

Instead, he seemed pathetic almost, eager to be liked, desperate to the be one whom everyone holds up as a master of decorum.  In short, not the hyperpartisan politician he normally plays on the Senate floor and in the presence of TV cameras.

Then, his Arizona colleague Jon Kyl chimed in.  While he did do something his colleague from the Empire State did not do (bring in some facts), he was even less interesting than Mr. Schumer.  And Mr Schumer was only interesting because he was not playing to type.

And maybe since I have not really had time to gather my thoughts until tonight (about 11 PM PST as I start to write), having read a number of pieces about the president’s professorial manner, I remember the brief snippets I saw of him as being professional, like an erudite instructor leading a classroom discussion, only an instructor more akin to an Amherst professor than one at Williams (at least the good ones).  He was a “moderator” with a point of view.  And he did not hesitate to interject it into the conversation.

I was bored.  I turned it off.  Now, it may be that I had better things to do, so maybe this observation doesn’t hold much weight, but it should hold at least some, given that most Americans did indeed have something to do yesterday.  They had jobs to go to, or to look for, or children to raise, papers to write or people to assist.  But, if a guy like me who follows politics was bored by this exercise, what does that say about the average American concerned about his health care, yet not interested in politics?

No wonder news channels quickly lost interest in the summit.  The American people likely tuned out before they did.  Wonks, pundits and other pontificators who watched the whole thing can call this or that person the winner and this or that politician the loser, but what really matters is whether or not it’s going to change what the American people think about the Democrats’ proposed health care overhaul–and whether it shifts popular momentum in favor of passage.

And I doubt it’s going to do that.  From all the coverage I’ve read, nothing really stands out save one line from Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI):  “We don’t think all the answers lie in Washington.”*   (more…)

While America Slept Through Health-Care Summit, Democrats Made Us Less Safe

Andy McCarthy, over at The Corner on NRO sheds light on disturbing language snuck into an intellgence bill last night. Please read the whole thing, it will chill you. Here are a few snippits from his post:

The proposal says the conduct reached by the statute “includes but is not limited to” the itemized conduct. (My italics.) That means any interrogation tactic that a prosecutor subjectively believes is “degrading” (e.g., subjecting a Muslim detainee to interrogation by a female CIA officer) could be the basis for indicting a CIA interrogator.

Waterboarding is not all. The Democrats’ bill would prohibit — with a penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment — the following tactics, among others:

- “Exploiting the phobias of the individual”
- Stress positions and the threatened use of force to maintain stress positions
- “Depriving the individual of necessary food, water, sleep, or medical care”
- Forced nudity
- Using military working dogs (i.e., any use of them — not having them attack or menace the individual; just the mere presence of the dog if it might unnerve the detainee and, of course, “exploit his phobias”)
- Coercing the individual to blaspheme or violate his religious beliefs (I wonder if Democrats understand the breadth of seemingly innocuous matters that jihadists take to be violations of their religious beliefs)
- Exposure to “excessive” cold, heat or “cramped confinement” (excessive and cramped are not defined)
- “Prolonged isolation”
- “Placing hoods or sacks over the head of the individual”

Naturally, all of these tactics are interspersed with such acts as forcing the performance of sexual acts, beatings, electric shock, burns, inducing hypothermia or heat injury — as if all these acts were functionally equivalent.

Andy sums up with something we have known pretty much all along:

Here is the fact: Democrats are saying they would prefer to see tens of thousands of Americans die than to see a KSM subjected to sleep-deprivation or to have his “phobias exploited.” I doubt that this reflects the values of most Americans.

As I said, please read the whole thing. Then call your Congressman.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

UPDATE: Good news… The bill has been pulled.

Join Bruce & Dan for Dinner with a Famous Lesbian and another Lesbian’s Famous Father

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:54 am - February 25, 2010.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,LA Stories

For the first time in over five years, Bruce and I will be together in the same location since we spent an afternoon together at the sacred shrine to freedom in California’s Simi Valley.  And you can join us for our next get-together, once again in sunny Southern California.

We’re putting together a table at the Claremont Institute’s 30th anniversary dinner on March 27, 2010 in Los Angeles, featuring our favorite famous father of a lesbian, former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Should we raise $5,000 (we’re halfway there), we’ll all get to attend the VIP reception, featuring a photo opportunity with Mary’s Dad.  And we’ve only filled four (of ten) seats, one of them to be occupied by the hottest gun-toting lesbian in Southern California, one-time Endora winning blogress, Tammy Bruce.

So, if you’d like to join, Bruce, Tammy and me, please drop me an e-mail and let me know how much you can contribute.

GayPatriot’s America LIVE tonight on BlogTalkRadio

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 9:40 pm - February 24, 2010.
Filed under: GayPatriot's America BTR show

Listen in at 10pm as I interview Alexander McCobin.  Alexander is the young man from Students For Liberty who stood up at CPAC last Friday and PRAISED the American Conservative Union for including GOProud as a sponsor. Alexander spoke BEFORE Ryan Sorba’s anti-gay tirade from the same podium a few minutes later.

We’ll address the CPAC controversy but also talk about Alexander’s organization and the goals that they are working to achieve in the name of liberty & freedom.

The URL Link to GayPatriot’s America is here.  The call-in number is (646) 716-8574.

Does Too Much Politics Make You Bitter?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:42 pm - February 24, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Random Thoughts

Although I’ve been more busy in recent days than I was at the end of last year, I find myself more resilient, more ready to smile and to laugh–and to brush off critical comments (and mean-spirited e-mails).  I have been waking earlier to tend to blog business and staying up late to work on my dissertation.  And I’ve still managed to find time to work out regularly and watch a DVD most evenings.

So, I’ve been wondering if this greater ebullience and resilience is related to my devoting a smaller proportion of my day to politics.  I’ve been reading and writing more about mythology.  And while some of the scholarly articles grate, with their turgid prose and p.c. arguments unrelated to the material considered, at least they do provide some insight (albeit limited) into myth.

As I relate this resilience, I recall giving a ride to another runner (well, I was a runner when I lived in DC) to the Virginia state Young Republican (YR) convention back in 1991.  As we spoke about running and our experiences in college athletics and our times in local races, he wondered that so few of our YR colleagues pursed any athletic endeavors or exhibited any passions beyond politics.

A few years later, when delivering information about the Arlington Country Republican Committee to a neighbor who had expressed interest in joining, I met another man similar to those YR colleagues.  He had all wall of books, every volume about politics.  During our entire communication, the guy never smiled, but groused that not all local Republicans were committed conservatives (or some such).  (He never joined the committee.)

So all this got me wondering, if maybe so many angry leftists are so angry because their entire life revolves around politics.

Just a thought.

Now to get back to Athena.