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Republicans Fight Back Against Medicare Misrepresentations

It seems that all too often when Democrats criticize Republican policies, a good number of my fellow partisans run for cover. But, in the wake of attacks on the Ryan reform, Republicans are fighting back against a mendacious opposition whose leaders are misrepresenting their plans to reform Medicare in light of its looming bankruptcy.

Last week, we saw Republicans rising to defend the Ryan budget in the wake of the Republican loss in NY-26. Senator Marco Rubio cut a powerful video. “Ryan,” Glenn Thrush and Abby Phillip reported in Politico, “directly confronted President Barack Obama over Democratic ridicule of Ryan’s controversial Medicare overhaul plan – while other GOP leaders accused the president for “demagoguery” during a chilly bipartisan White House meeting.

“The ability of the Republicans,” Jennifer Rubin writes, “to push back, and to begin to get the facts out is impressive“:

Michael Steel, spokesman for Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) told me this morning: “We’re making progress, and we know the truth is on our side — but everyone is going to have to keep working hard to make sure the American people know that we have a plan to preserve and protect Medicare, while Democrats’ insistence on the status quo will mean bankruptcy and steep benefit cuts.”

We’re not acting like Republicans of the past and sitting on our hands, hoping the merits of our ideas will sell themselves. We know we need to aggressively defend them in the fact of determined opposition.

This bright blogress suggests “Lincoln-Douglas style” debates with Ryan as “the standard-bearer for the Republicans.” At the same time, Rubin wonders “which Democrat would be willing to take him on”, hinting that there would be few takers “since their talking points have shriveled after only a few days of intense scrutiny.”

NB: Sometimes our critics do have a a point. And in response to PeeJ’s criticism below (comments 4 & 6), I changed the introduction to this post as the original was incidental to the post (and actually distracted from my meaning).

How’s that “stimulus” working out for you?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:28 pm - June 2, 2011.
Filed under: Economy

Two Yahoo! headlines

More job seekers give up, reducing unemployment

Job growth could be weakening as economy sputters

This news seems, well, unexpected.

Why do some film snobs regularly deride movie audiences’ taste?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:18 pm - June 2, 2011.
Filed under: Arrogance of the Liberal Elites,Movies/Film & TV

Perhaps the most annoying thing about certain movie critics, particularly those on the cultural left, is their manner of lecturing us on what types of movies we should enjoy and not enjoy. I’ll try to track down the review I read in the early 2000s where the critic acknowledged that he had enjoyed watching the film, which held his attention through the entirety of the screening, but gave it a lousy write-up because it didn’t meet his pre-set criteria for what a good “film” should be.

Look, sometimes we enjoy movies which are objectively “bad” where the flaws in the script as so patent that a clever actor can’t even disguise how out-of-character a line is for her part. Or where the story, when you start to think about it, just doesn’t make sense, yet when you were watching the movie you were, well, riveted.  Some movies are just meant to entertain.  If you enjoy a flick, you shouldn’t try to rationalize that pleasure away, just acknowledge that you enjoyed even if it seemed silly.  Heck, it’s a movie.  Not all movies need to be On the Waterfront.  Or Fanny and Alexander.  Or The Godfather.

Heck, two of my favorite romantic comedies are incredibly cheesy and seriously flawed, but that doesn’t stop me from recommending Maid in Manhattan or Two Weeks Notice to friends.  Or, for that matter, going out of my way to see Ruthless People on the big screen.

This rant came to mind this morning when, in my in-box, I read one of the most self-righteous, arrogant headlines to a movie review I’d read in years:  “Audiences and Critics Are Wrong,” David Thomson writes in the New Republic, “Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’ Isn’t Good. It’s Dismal.”  Look, in terms of taste, audiences can’t be wrong.  If people enjoyed the flick, they enjoyed the flick.  This may not please those who believe we should prefer Jules & Jim to Star Wars, but, well, so what?

It is interesting to ponder why certain film snobs need to dismiss popular preference for a certain movie as “wrong.”

“Palin Chasers” or “Idiot!”

Posted by Sarjex at 3:07 pm - June 2, 2011.
Filed under: cartoons

Questions, comments requests can be sent to sarjex (at) gmail dot com

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So, failure of “stimulus” means big government doesn’t foster economic recovery?

Commenting on his exchange with Ali Velshi on CNN’s American Morning where that latter dismissed as a talking point his observation that “barring a sudden drop in the unemployment rate between now and November 2012, the unemployment rate for every month of Obama’s presidency will be higher than it was for every month of Bush’s two terms”, Jim Geraghty makes a great point which I may find echoed in the Gipper’s new book:

I suppose either you find the comparison of the economic performance under Bush and under Obama relevant, or you don’t. It seems that the pro-Obama argument relies on the notion that the Great Recession just happened, and there just wasn’t much Obama could do about it over a four-year period. (Of course, if there was nothing that could be done to really mitigate it, that more or less undermines the central argument of liberalism that sufficient government spending can create economic growth.)

Emphasis added.  Interesting how he put the meat in the parenthetical.

Is Charlie Sheen Giving PR tips to Anthony Weiner?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:04 pm - June 2, 2011.
Filed under: Annoying Celebrities,Random Thoughts

Thought came to mind when I caught this on Instapundit:  “JIM TREACHER: Weiner Tip #1: If you want to prevent a topic from becoming a distraction, call the person asking you about it a jackass.”  I mean, just like Sheen, he’s melting down and is all over the media.  Seems the Democrat has a similar saturation strategy.

Oh, and props to Anderson Cooper who does seem to be trying to be fair, tweeting this morning: “For those saying we shouldn’t cover the Weiner story, would u feel same way if this had happened to a conservative republican? Just asking?”  (H/t Washington Examiner.)

UPDATE:  Seems I’m not the first to come up with this notion.  In Politico, Ben Smith writes:

“Watching Anthony Weiner’s twitter and press blitz is like watching a Charlie Sheen meltdown. It’s amusing, uncomfortable, and not necessary,” a Democratic leadership aide (not from Pelosi’s office) told me just now. “If Weiner really wants to get beyond this, he’ll shut up and let Democrats get back to their Medicare message.”

(Via Jim Geraghty in Morning Jolt).

Liberty, the Gipper explains, has never come from government

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:36 am - June 2, 2011.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Freedom,Ronald Reagan

Thomas Jefferson once described what he hoped to express in the Declaration of Independence with this famous expression:

This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion.

Those terms came to mind last night when browsing in Barnes and Noble, I chanced upon this passage from the pen of the Gipper in the latest collection of his writings, The Notes: Ronald Reagan’s Private Collection of Stories and Wisdom:

Liberty has never come from govt.  The hist. of liberty is the hist. of limitation of govt. power not the increase of it.

Italics in original.  Another expression of the American mind.  And a reminder of the ideal hat defined our modern conservative movement.

In CNN Survey, President Underwater on All Domestic Issues

Two new polls out, one which liberals believe slants Republican, another which tilts Democratic suggest that the president’s party may not be going into the 2012 election in as solid a position as a recent Huffington Post love letter to the Obama campaign suggests.  It seems the White House is trying to create the impression that the incumbent is unbeatable in next fall’s election.  And some media outlets eagerly repeat this talking point as if it were actual fact and not political spin.

Yet, the polls tell a different story.

Rasmussen finds that more Americans consider themselves than consider themselves Democrats:

Now, 35.6% of American Adults consider themselves to be Republicans, up from 34.8% in April. . . . The number calling themselves Democrats increased slightly from 33.5% in April to 34.0% last month.

A day earlier, the pollster found “that in a hypothetical 2012 presidential matchup, a generic Republican candidate earns support from 45% of Likely U.S. Voters” against 43% for President Obama.  Given the tendency of undecided voters to break agains the incumbent, that’s a really bad number for the president.

In the latest CNN poll a survey which notoriously skews left, the pollster found that while the president enjoys a 54% approval rating, he’s underwater on his handling of all but three issues, including the economy where 58% disapprove, the federal budget deficit where 64% disapprove and Medicare where 53% disapprove.  Given his party’s demagoguing the Ryan reforms, it’s interesting that in a poll which favors the Democrats, only 44% approve of the way he’s handling the popular government program. (more…)

Hollywood’s Ideological “Nepotism”

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 9:36 am - June 2, 2011.
Filed under: LA Stories,Liberals,Movies/Film & TV

“Some of TV’s top executives from the past four decades may have gotten more than they bargained for,” Paul Bond writes in the Hollywood Reporter, “when they agreed to be interviewed for a politically charged book that was released Tuesday, because video of their controversial remarks will soon be hitting the Internet”:

The book makes the case that TV industry executives, writers and producers use their clout to advance a liberal political agenda. The author bases his thesis on, among other things, 39 taped interviews that he’ll roll out piecemeal during the next three weeks.

The Hollywood Reporter obtained several of the not-yet-released clips, embedded below. Each contains a snippet of an interview, usually some historical footage of the TV shows the interviewee was responsible for and, naturally, a plea to purchase the book, “Primetime Propaganda” by Ben Shapiro and published by Broad Side, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Shapiro, according to Bond, provides “anecdotes of bias against conservatives” including one involving Dwight Schultz, “best known for his roles as Murdock in The A-Team and Barclay in Star Trek: The Next Generation”:

The late Bruce Paltrow knew that Schultz was a fan of President Ronald Reagan. When Schultz showed up to audition for St. Elsewhere, a show Paltrow produced, to read for the part of Fiscus, Paltrow told him: “There’s not going to be a Reagan asshole on this show!” The part went to Howie Mandel.

“Most nepotism in Hollywood isn’t familial, it’s ideological,” Shapiro writes in the book. “Friends hire friends. And those friends just happen to share their politics.”

Interesting.  I have heard anecdotes about people going to Democratic fundraisers, not so much to support the various candidates, but to make connections with some of the town’s movers and shakers.  The clips which Bond has embedded confirm what many conservatives have long suspected, in this town, sometimes your politics are more important than your talent.

Sarah does it again

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 1:57 am - June 2, 2011.
Filed under: PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome),Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin reminds me of one of my teenage nieces who knows just how to smile and just what to say in order to manipulate her father.  For an example of such behavior, see the first scene of the Odyssey on Olympus.  Athene knows how to get Zeus to do her bidding. My niece is not nearly as successful as was the owl-eyed Olympian, but she is aware (at some level) of her charm and her power over men.  And Sarah Palin sure knows, on a much deeper level, just when and where to bat her eyelash to whip the media into a frenzy.

Or to get them to follow her motorcade when she doesn’t share her itinerary with them.  Today, I occasionally looked up from the new cardio machine to catch a glimpse of CNN commentators caught in Mrs. Palin’s web.  They were talking about her recent pizza summit in New York with the man who bills himself as the Donald (the real Donald has his own bill) and bemoaning that Mr. Trump and Mrs. Palin were upstaging the more serious candidates and preventing a serious discussion of the issues.

Methinks they were doing the bidding of the Obama campaign, trying to make Republicans look like we’re obsessed with the Trump/Palin circus.

But, the only reason Palin and Trump might be upstaging the other candidates is because, well, folks like those on CNN are dispatching their production crews to follow her every move as they shine their lights and focus their cameras on their stage.  Message to CNN:  if you don’t want Sarah Palin to upstage those whom you bill as the more serious candidates, then don’t cover her.

For more than two years,” Michelle Malkin observes, “Palin-bashing journalists (on the establishment left and the right) have mocked the conservative supernova while milking her for headlines, circulation, viewership and Web traffic.”

These guys just can’t leave her alone.  They give her a prominent role on their broadcasts while complaining that she gets too much publicity.  They should learn from wise fathers of teenagers.  It is possible to say, “No,” to a charming and attractive young woman.

UPDATE:  In a great post on the media’s Palin obsession, John Nolte wonders “how many of these so-called journalists who are now making complete fools of themselves choking on bus fumes left unfinished ‘Palin is irrelevant’ pieces on their desk to dash off and make fools of themselves.”  Read the whole thing.