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Thirty years ago today . . .

. . . a mentally imbalanced young man made an attempt on the life of the greatest domestic policy president of the last century.  While assassins have attempted to shoot our chief executives at least since Andrew Jackson, Ronald Reagan was the first to survive being hit by an assassin’s bullet.  Had medical technology been better a hundred years before the Gippper took office (or had White House physicians been more competent), the president with the finest undergraduate education in American history, James A. Garfield, would have completed his journey to Williams College for his twenty-fifth reunion and gone on to serve two full terms.

Shot on July 2, 1881, Garfield lingered, in extreme pain, until September 19 of that year, dying not from the bullet wound, but an infection, possibly caused by unsterilized medical equipment.

Ronald Reagan broke the curse of his predecessors elected in “0″ years.  Every president since William Henry Harrison elected in a year ended in “0″ would die in office.  Like Garfield, Lincoln was shot, but the Great Emancipator did not linger for several months.  William McKinley, elected in 1900, also died of a bullet wound.  Warren G. Harding, elected in 1920 and Franklin Delano Roosevelt elected in 1940, suffered a number of health problems which accounted for their untimely demises.  John F. Kennedy was the first Democrat to die from an assassin’s bullet.

Ronald Reagan broke that curse.  And for that, we are forever grateful to the team of competent physicians at George Washington University Hospital.

(Bumped.)

UPDATE:  Over a Powerline, Steven Hayward offers a more comprehensive report on the shooting and its aftermath.

Americans increasingly disapprove of Obama’s leadership and agenda

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:56 pm - March 30, 2011.
Filed under: Big Government Follies,We The People

The “president’s polling numbers,” Jim Geraghty reports quoting Quinnipiac:

American voters disapprove 48 – 42 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing and say 50 – 41 percent he does not deserve to be re-elected in 2012, both all-time lows, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Looking more deeply into these numbers, Ed Morrissey “officially” calls “the post-New Year bump in Barack Obama’s job approval ratings finished:

Quinnipiac’s Peter Brown notes that the post-election bump has entirely dissipated, and puts the blame on Obama’s handling of “the budget deficit, the economy, foreign policy, health care, and energy policy.”  That leaves out the Lily Ledbetter Act, of course, as the White House will surely point out in a press release, but otherwise comprises just about every priority issue voters have. It shows in the crosstabs, where Obama only gets a 39/50 job approval among independents.

At the same time Gallup reports that “Obama’s ratings on being a strong and decisive leader are down a total of 21 percentage points since taking office” while only “36% say he has a clear plan for solving the country’s problems”.  It won’t help him to back the big-government policies beloved by his party as a poll by the Tarrance group shows that Americans oppose the kinds of policies he has put forward to solve those problems:

“The American worker is also seen as receiving a hit from more regulation, with 59% agreeing that ‘additional federal regulation on businesses put the average American worker at risk of job loss.’  Also, a majority (56%) agree that ‘additional environmental regulation has a negative impact on local communities through tax increases and job loss,’” according to a write up from the pollster.

Americans, the pollster found . .

. . .  also believe regulations have an impact on their pocketbook. (more…)

California GOP shows some spine

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:30 pm - March 30, 2011.
Filed under: California politics,Noble Republicans

While I have praised California’s once and current Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, for his attempts to cut the state’s bloated budget, I have faulted him for not seeking solutions to the structural problems which, in large part, account for the constant flow of red ink from Sacramento.  While he has moved to trim myriad extraneous expenditures and gratuitous perks, he has not sought to reform policies which empower a key constituency of his party, public employee unions.

As a result, in order to balance the budget, he has had to resort to raising taxes through referendum.  But, to get that referendum on the ballot, he needs a two-thirds vote in the state legislature which means, he has to rally a few Republicans to his cause.  Well, he got none.  Yesterday, the governor announced that “he halted negotiations with legislative Republicans over a deal to place taxes on the ballot to help resolve California’s remaining $15.4 billion deficit.”

“Yesterday, I stopped the discussions that I had been conducting with various members of the Republican party regarding our state’s massive deficit,” Brown said in a statement this afternoon. “The budget plan that I put forth is balanced between deep cuts and extensions of currently existing taxes and I believe it is in the best interest of California. Under our constitution, however, two Republicans from the Assembly and two from the Senate must agree before this matter can be put to the people.”

“Each and every Republican legislator I’ve spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever changing list of collateral demands,” the Democratic governor added.

Senate Republicans on Friday released a list of major policy changes they wanted as a condition of voting for Brown’s budget proposals. The move was widely seen as disruptive to talks, but the governor had reached out to three Senate Republicans this weekend in hopes of salvaging a deal before deciding to call off talks.

One of the three, Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres, blamed trial lawyers, unions and “other stakeholders” for being unwilling to negotiate on pension cuts, a long-term cap on spending and regulatory changes. (more…)

Well, in recent days, Log Cabin had started sounding like Republicans

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:43 pm - March 30, 2011.
Filed under: Freedom,Gay PC Silliness,Log Cabin Republicans

In the past few months since R. Clarke Cooper took over at Log Cabin Executive Director of Log Cabin, the group actually started sounding like Republicans, standing up for fiscal responsibility and clarity in world affairs.  Cooper did something that two of his predecessors seemed reluctant to do, criticize Democrats.  He didn’t seem as eager as they to curry favor with the gay left.

But, now Log Cabin has joined the unhappy Barney Frank in signing on to a big-government piece of legislation at odds the conservative idea of freedom.  Today, the ostensibly Republican outfit issued a release calling “for the passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)“:

“Americans know that advancing employees by merit is what wins for business. Passing ENDA will take discrimination off the table, and ensure that the best of the best are hired, promoted and retained in their jobs.  . . . Discrimination should have no place in our workforce, and where it exists, it undermines American productivity, innovation, and our ability to compete,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director.”

Now, I agree that private employers should not discriminate against gay people, but it is not the government’s business to tell them as much.  Yes, indeed, Americans know that advancing employees by merit is what “wins” for business.  And that is why most employers don’t discriminate against gay people.  Once again, government shouldn’t be telling entrepreneurs how to run their enterprises.

They don’t need a nanny state to tell them as much. If a company discriminates against quality gay people, it will suffer in the marketplace, with a lower caliber of worker and a reduced efficiency of operation.

Alas that Log Cabin cannot put forward a conservative position on gay issues and still feels instead it just has to join the gay groups in looking for solutions to the perceived problems in our community.  With increasing social acceptance of gay people, with more and more corporations adopting non-discrimination policies and offering domestic partnership benefits, ENDA is a solution in search of a problem.  And conservatives would do well to oppose it.

ASSIGNMENT (to help our critics understand what freedom means): Could California Gay Bar Be Required to Serve Man Wearing “I Hate Fags” T-shirt?