Jane Russell has died.
*Click here to understand the title (if you don’t already).
If you want to know why Michael Barone has earned a place in my pantheon of praiseworthy pundits, just check out his piece today taking apart E.J. Dionne’s latest lament on the parlous plight of public employee unions:
The liberal columnist E. J. Dionne is crying in his column today about the plight of the public sector unions. He accuses Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker of seeking “a shift in the long-term balance of political power that undercutting collective bargaining.”
. . . .
[Dionne’s argument] is a variant on the argument that Democrats need the money they receive from public sector unions in order to balance the money Republicans receive from greedy corporations. But of course there are some factual problems with that argument. The Republicans, as my Examiner colleague Timothy Carney points out with a wealth of example, don’t monopolize contributions from business interests and in the past several campaign cycles have in fact received less business money than Democrats.
. . . .
It’s interesting to see Democrats bewail the unfairness—unfairness, unfairness!—of Republicans being able to raise in the 2010 cycle almost as much money as they did.
Read the whole thing!
Via Glenn Reynolds, we learn of a polls which shows that, “More Americans Would Blame Democrats For Government Shutdown.”
Nor can it help the Democrats’ strategy that they don’t have Newt Gingrich to kick around any more.
Something to bear in mind next time you hear some from the left complain about the declining civility in our political discourse and the supposedly increasing number of right-wingers, particularly Tea Partiers, comparing the president to Hitler:
The head of one of the nation’s most powerful labor unions did not condemn the violent rhetoric in placards and signs held by union supporters demonstrating in Wisconsin despite two direct attempts Sunday to get him on the record declaring them inappropriate.
On several occasions over the past two weeks of demonstrations in the Wisconsin capital of Madison news media have zeroed in on signs that liken Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and recently ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Trumka did not answer, instead saying, “We should be sitting down trying to create jobs. … “
If it’s wrong to compare the president of the United States to the late German Führer (and it is), then it’s wrong to compare the governor of Wisconsin to the same bloodthirsty fascist.
About two minutes before sitting down to write this, I decided to watch the Oscars. This is perhaps the first year since I moved to LA that I didn’t consider my plans for the Academy Awards until the evening of.
I might have totally spaced the ceremony had not a friend, blog reader and fellow cinephile posted on Facebook that he “has never cared less about an Oscar telecast.” But, then again, when you drive around LA on Oscar Sunday as I did just now in going to the grocery store, you notice how quiet the streets are, quite a contrast with the frenzy you see when you flip on the TV to see the red carpet. (So, I guess I might have realized something was up.)
And then, you find yourself amused when listen to some of the questions posed to the various celebrities showing off their attire. One woman just asked Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon how long it took her to pick out her dress and why she chose Armani. Give me a break.
Glenn reminds us that “TODAY IS BEING CALLED THE TWO-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE TEA PARTY.” And indeed, when I went back to check our archives, realized that it was two years ago today that I first attended a Tea Party and blogged about it — here and here.
May this anniversary remind us that while we’ve come a long way in two years, we still have a tough rough ahead of us. We may have helped moved popular opinion (or some might see it as helped disgruntled citizens organize and articulate their long-simmering grievances), but we still need to do the hard work of dismantling the unnecessary parts of the federal leviathan, many put into place since the first Tea Party protest.
Still, if our progress in the next two years continues as it has in the past, when, two years hence, we celebrate the fourth anniversary of these grassroots protests for freedom, former President Obama will be wondering at how quickly a Republican Congress working in tandem with his successor worked to dismantle the bureaucracies he created while helping fulfilling his 2008 promise of a “net spending cut“.
Under normal circumstances, I would not blog on the silence of HRC when an angry activist at a protest aligned politically with the Democrats and ideologically with liberals hurls an anti-gay slur. It is not their job to police the rhetoric of everyone on their side of the partisan divide. That said, it would be nice if they did at least acknowledge that social conservatives do not have a monopoly on anti-gay animus; we often hear of narrow attitudes and nasty rhetoric from groups aligned with and individuals supportive of the “progressive” movement.
The only reason I brought up the issue, in an update to one post, a separate post and in two spoofing HRC’s own releases was those very overheated releases when they decided to use the occasion of a teenager’s use of said slur as a means to discredit her mother, a Mrs. Sarah Palin, an accomplished and charismatic conservative who, in her rise to political power and her short time as governor of the Last Frontier, effected real reform in her state while standing up to the entrenched interests in her own party and working across party lines.
You see, that Mrs. Palin has become a prominent celebrity on the right, well loved in certain conservative circles and bitterly hated on the left. She has replaced a Mr. George W. Bush as the person who must be vilified to show one’s adherence to the sacred creed of the progressive zealots of the hopeful movement for transformative change, i.e., the political left in the Obama era. HRC wanted to show its allegiance to this, to borrow and paraphrase an expression, vast left-wing conspiracy.
Now, we have no problem with people joining this “conspiracy.” In a free society, individuals have the right to adhere to lost causes and subscribe to discredited ideas for social progress and economic prosperity. But, our mockery here shows that while HRC may style itself as civil rights’ organization, it is, in reality, little more than the gay and lesbian auxiliary of the Democratic National Committee.
And we just wanted to remind our readers, that group’s posturing notwithstanding, that is really all that is is. I daresay you’ll find some people on the political left who share this assessment of that organization.
Even Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, who made battling earmarks a cornerstone of his Congressional career since his election in 1990, said he would not have predicted that Congress could kick the habit.
“Think of this fight we have had for 20 years,” Mr. Boehner said in a recent interview. “If somebody would have asked me, ‘Will you ever get there?’ I would have had my doubts.”
But through a confluence of events, Mr. Boehner and the rest of the anti-earmark crowd did get there; the impact of the decision by leaders of the House and the Senate to ban earmarks for at least the next two years is already being felt.
When House Republicans were searching for cuts to offer Senate Democrats as part of a temporary spending plan to avert a government shutdown, they were able to reach into accounts set aside for earmarks and find nearly $2.8 billion that would have previously gone to water projects, transit programs and construction programs. No earmarks, no need for that money, and the threat of an imminent shutdown was eased.
Lawmakers said the absence of earmarks also allowed for a more freewheeling debate on the House floor during consideration of the Republican plan to slash $61 billion from this year’s budget since Democrats and Republicans were not caught up in protecting the special provisions they had worked so hard to tuck into the spending bill.
ACTUAL change you can believe in. Boehner’s Congress has already shown to be a better steward of our money than every Congress in a generation before.
One reason Senate Democrats now seem eager to negotiate spending cuts and avoid a government shutdown is that they may realize that it won’t benefit their party as much as just such a shutdown did in 1995.
Over at the Washington Examiner, while saying “Republicans shouldn’t seek a shutdown,” Byron York also believes “they shouldn’t fear one, either”. Among other things, he contrasts the fiscal and media situation then and now. Voters in 1995 were not as concerned with government spending as they are now. And “today’s media environment is substantially different”:
“In ’95 there was no Internet, no bloggers, no Facebook, no Fox News,” says Dick Armey, who was House majority leader during the shutdown. “The discourse of politics today is carried out in a media world that didn’t exist in 1995.” That doesn’t mean there wouldn’t be negative coverage of Republicans if a shutdown occurs, just that the overall media picture would be more balanced.
Finally, he notes that Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. The incumbent seems far more “disengaged and aloof” than his predecessor, with the Arkansan more willing to show himself engaged in the process of the presidency, i.e., by rolling up his sleeves and working with his ideological adversaries.
York leaves one thing out: John Boehner is no Newt Gingrich, less likely to vent his frustration at a Democratic president’s crass political games in front of a microphone. Recall when the Georgian made it appear the “Republican hard line was due, in part, to a ‘snub’ from President Clinton“, as if the government shutdown were the result of a personal pique, not a genuine concern for fiscal discipline.
Gingrich, as Jennifer Rubin put it in a recent post, is “unpredictable and undisciplined“. The Ohioan is quite the opposite. Try and they might, the Obama Democrats will never be able to demonize John Boehner, they way they demonized Gingrich. He just won’t give them enough rope.