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Harry Reid has a list

Back in 1950, then-U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy of Wisconsin inveighed that he had a list of members of the Communist Party working at the State Department.  Well, today, one of his successors in the United States Senate, but of the opposing party, has been talking about a list he has, “number of people” who told him that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee didn’t pay his taxes.

And like Mr. McCarthy, Mr. Reid isn’t planning on making his list public:

Asked to elaborate on his sources, Reid declined. “No, that’s the best you’re going to get from me.”

“I don’t think the burden should be on me,” Reid said. “The burden should be on him. He’s the one I’ve alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn’t he release his tax returns?”

So, just because a partisan adversary alleges somehow then the accused has the burden of proof?  If, deadpans Ed Morrissey, “a Democratic Party leader accuses you of a crime with no evidence whatsoever, you are expected to be considered guilty unless you prove yourself innocent.

Based on that standard, Mr. Reid is a racist, corrupt pederast.

Jim Geraghty is calling for the journalists to fact check the Senate Democratic Leader.  Don’t you think they could at least ask the Democrat to identify the sources to them (without making their names public) so they can verify the story’s accuracy?  After all, the Washington Post tweeted Mr. Reid’s claim.  Shouldn’t those folks now investigate it?

Although Mr. Reid can’t substantiate his claims, this story still led memeorandum on Tuesday.

On CNN Money, however, Dan Primack called BS on Reid’s claim. Accountable journalists would regularly be calling on Mr. Reid to name his sources. And knock him for his failure to do so.

UPDATE: Liberal comedian Jon Stewart mocks Harry Reid: (more…)

Feinstein believes White House responsible for intelligence leaks

Just as in 2010, this year, a left-of-center Democratic woman is running for reelection to the U.S. Senate from California.  And while two years ago, I devoted much space on this blog (and donated several hundred dollars from my pocket) to defeating the liberal up for reelection, this year I have all but ignored the Senate contest.

Now, to be sure, I will not be voting to reelection Senator Dianne Feinstein, indeed, have not voted for her in 2000 or 2006, years she was up for reelection when I resided in the (once-)Golden State.  Unlike her junior colleague, Mrs. Feinstein has both shown respect for her ideological adversaries and actually accomplished some things during her Senate tenure.  (Said accomplishments likely related to that respect).

Not only has Senator Feinstein, on occasion, showed respect for her ideological and partisan adversaries, but she has also dared, from time to time, to take issue with her party.  As chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, she does tend to put concern for national security ahead of partisan politics and has done so again this week, diplomatically adddressing intelligence leaks from the White House:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday that someone at the White House was responsible for the recent leaks of classified information.

“I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks,” Feinstein said in an address at the World Affairs Council, The Associated Press first reported.

Feinstein said she was certain that President Obama had not disclosed any of the classified intelligence, but believed others in the administration were responsible.

This puts the California Democrat at odds with senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod who “has denied that the leaks came from sources in the White House.”  Feinstein’s contention that the president himself did not leak the classified information led Ed Morrissey to quip, “That’s why a President hires staff and appoints political players — to do that kind of work for him.

“Leaks”, that 2010 CPAC blogger of the year adds (more…)

On the bipartisan House vote to hold Eric Holder in contempt

By an overwhelming majority, the House of Representatives voted

. . . to place Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for not complying with a congressional subpoena.

Seventeen Democrats bucked party lines and voted with Republicans to pass a criminal contempt resolution in a 255-67 vote. House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) pushed that resolution as part of his 16-month investigation into the botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking operation.

Now, Democrats are trying to demagogue the decision, but as Michelle Malkin pointed out in taking on the arguments one such demagogue, their talking points don’t stand up to scrutiny:

While he regurgitated DOJ talking points about Holder’s “unprecedented” level of cooperation, [MSNBC host Al] Sharpton neglected to mention that the agency has delivered less than 8 percent of the 80,000 documents sought by congressional investigators. He forgot to acknowledge that of the 70 DOJ officials involved in Fast and Furious, 48 have been blocked by DOJ from testifying. He failed to detail the withdrawn Feb. 4, 2011, letter to Congress falsely denying the existence of Fast and Furious, Holder’s flip-flops over what he knew and when, and Holder’s blame-shifting assertion, withdrawn last week, that falsely accused former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey of being briefed on a separate gunwalking operation.

If Mr. Holder has done nothing wrong and has nothing to hide, why is he hiding so much?

UPDATE from Bruce:  Fun fact! The Holder contempt vote was MORE bi-partisan than any of the final Obamacare votes.

Had Obama been more humble and magnanimous in 2009 . . .

Just shy of three-and-one-half years ago, Barack Obama entered the Oval Office with more good will perhaps than any newly-elected president since Jimmy Carter. He had vowed to change the tone in our nation’s capital, a vow welcome after sixteen years (with a brief hiatus just after 9/11) of polarized politics.

And yet a year after Obama’s inauguration, Gallup reported that the Democrat’s approval was the most polarized for any “First-Year President.

I recalled that abrupt shift yesterday when following the link Jay Cost’s insightful piece on “Obama’s dilemma” (more on that in my next post) to Sean Trende’s article from the previous day “about what Obama could have done differently in 2009“.  That article also merits your time — and attention.

Trende approaches the topic from a slightly different perspective than I did when considering the swift drop in Obama’s approval.  Trende considers the different policy approaches the president should have taken.  Instead of a constant re-pivot to the economy, the Democrat, Trende contends, could have kept his focus on the economy.  I wondered about the incumbent’s tone, whining about the problems he inherited, blaming Republicans for obstruction (or being beholden to the politics of the past).

On one major point, however, Trende’s thinking (approximately) parallels my own:

the president would have been much better off breaking the stimulus up into five or six pieces, spread out over his first 100 days. His presidency would have had a very different narrative attached to it if the first major piece of legislation passed by his administration had been $275 billion in tax cuts — or even better, two or three pieces of tax-cut legislation, grouped by subject — followed a week later by the unemployment compensation, followed a week later by the infrastructure spending, followed a week later by health care and education assistance, finished off with a miscellaneous bill.

For one thing, the headlines would have been dominated by the tax cuts, aid to the unemployed and to education, and so forth. Instead, there was a massive, amorphous “stimulus” with a $787 billion price tag for people to digest.

Quite frankly, Republicans would have supported at least some of the measures — in fact, the “mini-stimuli” approved throughout late 2009 and 2010 almost all passed with substantial Republican support. So it would have been with a “pure” tax-cut bill that kicked off the president’s term.

If he had insisted on breaking up the stimulus, the president would instead of needing to rally his own party for one big vote, would have constantly been reaching out to Congress, likely forging different coalitions for each bill — working with Republicans on several.

We would see him working energetically — over a period of weeks — on measures to stimulate the economy.  And that energetic image would likely have become impressed in Americans’ minds.  They may not supported his every policy, but at least appreciated his constant effort. (more…)

Has CNN devoted more time to Donald Trump . . .

. . . and his endorsement of Mitt Romney than the “news” network has to the failure of the Senate Democrats to pass a budget in over three years?

UPDATE:  Seems I’m not the only one noting the network’s obsession with Mr. Trump.   From Jennifer Rubin:

Peter Wehner blasts CNN. “There are dozens of significant and complicated topics that CNN could explore with care. But it has decided to hyper-focus on Donald Trump and the birther issue. That’s bad enough. But what makes it worse is when some in the media then saddle up on their high horses and lament that lack of seriousness in American politics. They pretend what they most want is a sophisticated and elevated conversation about the weightiest issues facing our nation and the world. They deride politicians for focusing on trivialities, even as they are the ones putting the spotlight on the trivialities and demanding politicians address them.”

Ignoring failure of Senate Democrats to pass a budget,
liberal political scientists blame GOP for Washington gridlock

Yesterday, thanks to a left-of-center Facebook friend, caught a Washington Post piece where two left-of-center political scientists blamed Republicans for Washington gridlock.

Unfortunately, they didn’t mention the failure of the Democratic Senate to pass a budget for the past three years.  Nor did they consider that Republicans in the current Congress thought that they owed it to those who elected them to hold the line on government spending as they face off against a Democratic president who believes more government spending (and greater regulation) is the only way to face pressing social and economic problems.

Messrs. Mann and Ornstein (said political scientists) lament, for example, that Republicans are committed to the small government principles of Ronald Reagan:

Republicans often dismiss nonpartisan analyses of the nature of problems and the impact of policies when those assessments don’t fit their ideology.[*] In the face of the deepest economic downturn since the Great Depression, the party’s leaders and their outside acolytes insisted on obeisance to a supply-side view of economic growth — thus fulfilling Norquist’s pledge — while ignoring contrary considerations.

Um, guys, could it just be that they just don’t believe that increasing federal spending will lift us out of an economic downturn?  The authors do reference the Great Depression, but fail to point out that neither the big spending policies of then-President Herbert Hoover nor his successor, a Mr. Franklin D. Roosevelt served to end said downturn.  They didn’t call the depression great because it ended in the early 1930s; they called it great because it lasted through the entire decade.

Does seem that Mann and Ornstein have ignored some contrary considerations about the success of Mr. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

The political scientists reveal their bias from the get-go, beginning their article by noting that “Republican congressional leaders or other major party figures, including the remaining presidential candidates” failed to condemn Congressman Allen West for alleging that roughly 80 of his Democratic colleagues were Communists.  They fail, writes Karl at HotAir to provide “links to all the op-eds they did about the extreme statements about Republicans being Un-American, comparing them to fascists, Nazis, racists and so on made by” leading Democrats. (more…)

Why do Democrats dishonestly demagogue Republican policies?

In the past year, we’ve heard Democrats, including the president himself, fault Republicans in the 112th Congress for, attempting with their budgets to starve the poor and deprive others of needed social services, as if they insist the less fortunate alone and isolated in a cruel world and oppose all notions of charity and compassion in general and government assistance in particular.

But, as conservative bloggers and pundits (including yours truly) have noted, even the Ryan budget maintains federal domestic spending at or above (mostly above) levels experienced in the Clinton era.

John Hinderaker reminds us of the dishonest Democratic demagoguery in other arena, that of environmental protection, where some Democrats contend Republicans have become far more radical, departing from the traditions of past Republican presidents.  John reminds us that it’s not Republicans who have changed, but the Democrats who have become more radical than they once were:

But is it Republicans who have changed on the environment, or Democrats? What Republicans are advocating repeal of the Clean Air Act or the Clean Water Act? None. What Republicans do object to is the extremism embodied in Barack Obama’s EPA, a senior official of which says that the agency’s “general philosophy” is to “crucify” oil and gas companies.

It’s important to bear in mind that even as Republican candidates and elected officials today talk about scaling back federal regulations and cutting government spending, they’re only talking about repealing legislation passed in the Obama and George W. Bush eras and keeping in place (often to the chagrin of the libertarian-minded among us) legislation enacted before the end of the last century or reducing spending to levels seen under Clinton, Nixon or Reagan.

Obama’s Cowardice in Failing to Confront Crisis of Entitlements

On Sunday, I reported that a Democrat who currently serves in Congress — and seeks to represent my district in the next Congress — spoke to a town hall at my synagogue, yet acknowledged he had no plan to address the coming crisis of entitlements. Even though he failed to stand behind any plan to fix the problem, he did find the time to attack the Republican solution.

And this even as the “nation’s Social Security and Medicare programs are sliding closer to insolvency, the federal government warned in a new report underscoring the fiscal challenges facing the two mammoth retirement programs as baby boomers begin to retire.”  These reports, writes Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner, “underscore the dire need to reform the programs if the nation wants to avert a fiscal crisis.”

Democrats like Mr. Schiff and President Obama, however, seem either oblivious to the challenge sor lack the political will to face up to them.  Where Obama has failed, Mitt Romney has at least recognized the imperative to act, having already, as Jennifer Rubin notes,

. . . set out Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security reform. There is no guarantee that he will have the nerve or skill to push those through, but he’s already done more than Obama has in over three years in the White House.

A bit harsher on Republicans than Jennifer Rubin has been, the editors of the Washington Examiner also stress the importance of action:

Conservatives are well within bounds to apply appropriate blame to Obama for his cowardice in confronting the great challenge of the day — an unsustainable entitlement state created by previous generations’ overpromising. But they must not go easy on Republican politicians; if anything, they should push back even harder against Republican attempts to avoid the tough business of reform or to expand unsustainable entitlements for their own political benefit. If Mitt Romney becomes president and has a Republican Senate and House, conservatives will be the last line of defense against a repeat of the Bush disaster.

We need real reform. And the candidate of hope and change has chosen instead to attack Republicans rather than address the nation’s fiscal problems — which have only become worse under his watch.

RELATED: Path to the White House: Ready for entitlement reform?

Senate Democratic Budget Committee Chairman:
Date When Law Requires Vote on Budget is “Wrong Time to Vote”

There’s a reason they call it the do-nothing Democratic Senate.  On April 29, it will have been three years “since Senate Democrats” have “passed a budget., a “dereliction of duty”, writes Deroy Murdock which “flagrantly violates the 1974 Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.

Murdock quotes the Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, outgoing North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad, who explains his party’s inaction:   “This is the wrong time to vote on the floor. . . .  I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.”

Wrong time to vote? Not voting until before the election?  Kind of gives away the Democratic game now, doesn’t it?

Guess Conrad and his fellow partisans don’t want to let the American people know where they stand on the issues, particularly his colleagues in “purple” and “red” states.  And the Democratic contends he is “focused on getting a positive result for the American people.”  (Via Nick Gillespie via Glenn Reynolds.)

So, by that Democrat’s logic, you get a positive result by doing nothing.

“Floor votes”, Murdock offers, “would require Senate Democrats to borrow and spend, which annoys taxpayers, or cut outlays, which aggravates liberal lobbyists and porcine government-employee unions.”  Read the whole thing to learn some impressive projects “focused, energetic humans have completed in less time than Senate Democrats have consumed to accomplish nothing on the budget.”

But, well, it’s jus the wrong time for Senate Democrats to vote on the budget.  Wish I could have sent a note to the IRS earlier this month telling them it was the wrong time to do my taxes — that I needed to wait until after I bought a home to do them.

(So, any time we want to shirk our responsibilities and not meet a deadline, we can use the North Dakota Democrat’s excuse and say it’s the “wrong time” to get things done.)

The Defining Exchange of the Democrats’ 2012 Strategy:
Fault the Republican Plan, Fail to Offer a Democratic Alternative

The more I think about how Congressman Adam Schiff responded to my question earlier today, the more aware I become not just of this Democrat’s incompetence (a competent Congressman would offer a government’s pressing fiscal problem), but also his demagoguery. In the course of his talk, he attacked Republicans for holding the nation “hostage” on the debt negotiations (without acknowledging his party’s responsibility for accumulating so much debt*
).  And, as I reported previously, he criticized the Republicans’ proposed Medicare reforms without offering any alternative of his own.

His comments reminded me of something Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said in response to a question Paul Ryan asked him about the president’s budget:

Here’s a link to a video putting that comment in context. This may prove to be the defining exchange of the Democrats’ 2012 strategy — governing as well as political. Fault the Republican plan without offering a solution of their own.

*Under his party’s leadership, we saw a vast increase in federal spending which, to borrow an expression, “we didn’t pay for“.

FROM THE COMMENTS:  V the K asks: “why aren’t the Republicans demanding of Democrats, in every interview and every press conference ‘What’s your plan?'” Good question. Why aren’t they?

Congressman Adam Schiff:
Democrat without solution to coming insolvency of entitlements

Welcome Instapundit Readers!  I see Glenn compared Mr. Schiff to the Treasury Secretary.  I address Mr. Geithner’s acknowledgement in my this post.

Just returned from a townhall with my soon-to-be new Congressman (provided he isn’t defeated in November) Adam Schiff.  When the 113th Congress convenes next January, thanks to redistricting, Henry Waxman will no longer represent me in the U.S. House.*

Despite his more civil demeanor, Mr. Schiff acknowledged that he had no plan to address the coming insolvency of federal entitlements.

Citing the warning of Medicare’s trustees about the program’s coming insolvency and this report about Social Security failing even faster than anticipated, I asked the Democrat what specific reforms had he proposed or supported to address the problem.  After he stumbled around for a while acknowledging the complexity of the problem and offering some broad goals for reform, I interrupted him, repeating my question, this time emphasizing the adjective, “specific”.

He then said, “I don’t have a specific plan for Social Security.”  (When, after the townhall, I showed him that sentence on my notepad, he started to blather on about his goals, but acknowledged that I had quoted him correctly, that he had no specific plan.)

Later, when I asked point blank, “So you don’t have a plan?”, he replied that he did not.  And yet, when I inquired about the bipartisan plan the Democratic senior Senator for Oregon Ron Wyden backed, he faulted that proposal while taking potshots at the types of reforms Republicans had proposed and were considering.  Perhaps, I should have reminded him what Jon Huntsman said in expressing admiration for “Congressman Paul Ryan’s honest attempt to save Medicare“:

Those who disagree with his approach incur a moral responsibility to propose reforms that would ensure Medicare’s ability to meet its responsibilities to retirees without imposing an unaffordable tax burden on future generations of Americans.

Mr. Schiff attacked Mr. Ryan’s plan, yet has not met the “moral responsibility” of proposing those such reforms.

My new congressional district will be ill-served who, although acknowledging our the crisis of federal entitlements, has failed to offer a solution.  By failing to put forward (or sign on to) legislation offering real reform, Adam Schiff, simply put, is not doing his job.  And should be replaced come November.

If all goes well, then, he will, technically at least, never become my Congressman.

* (more…)

If Obama, as some of his supporters contend, were truly a pragmatist. . .

. . .  he would not have issued that blistering, dishonest attack on the Republican budget which the House passed March 29 with a very strong majority (as he defines such majorities*).  Instead, he would have called on the Democratic Senate to pass a similar fiscal blueprint and then bring representatives of both legislative chambers together and show his leadership qualities by bridging the differences.

But, instead when reporters question administration officials about the failure of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to hold a vote on his budget, the White House, Allapundit quips, “gets awfully fidgety“.  Note the failure of White Hose Press Secretary Jay Carney to even answer Bret Baier’s question about Reid’s failure:

All the president’s spokesman can offer is attacks and bromides.  To get to a balanced approach in a bicameral legislature, each chamber needs first to spell out its position.  The Republican House has done just that.  The Democratic Senate has not.

The Democrats,” John Hinderaker reminds us, “love to castigate the House Republican budget; fine. But why won’t they propose, and pass, their own?”

Instead of encouraging that the legislature chamber controlled by his party vote on the budget he proposes, he derides the Republican budget as “Social Darwinism.”  By contrast, a pragmatist, that is, “a person who takes a practical approach to problems and is concerned primarily with the success or failure of her actions“, being practical would, facing a divided legislature, attempt to work with each branch to reach a consensus, deriding neither one nor the other, requesting that each act in a timely manner.

As one woman who voted for him because she believed was “independent, moderate, and pragmatic“, lamented, offering advice to the president: (more…)

Which is the stronger majority?

On Monday, the president said this about the Supreme Court review of Obamacare, “Ultimately, I’m confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress.”  Emphasis added.

On March 21, 2010, the U.S. House  passed the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” by a vote of 219-212, with 34 Democrats joining 178 Republicans in opposition.  No Republicans vote for the bill.  (That’s a 7-vote margin.)

Fewer than ten months later, on January 19, 2011, the chamber, under new leadership, in large part because of opposition to said Act, acted to repeal the legislation by vote of 245-189, with three Democrats joined the sizable Republican majority.  (That’s a 56-vote margin.)

Would you agree with me that a 56-vote margin is a stronger majority than a 7-vote margin in a legislative body which hadn’t grown any larger between the two votes?

FROM THE COMMENTS: JP offers, “Also for great true ‘Strong Majorities’ see 0bama’s budgets. He got total agreement with no votes at all from BOTH parties. That’s a strong majority.”

UPDATE:  Seems I wasn’t the only one to make this observation.

“Bipartisan” budget secures only 38 votes in 435-member House

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:46 am - March 29, 2012.
Filed under: Congress (112th),Congress (general),Media Bias

You do gotta wonder the lengths to which the headline writers at Yahoo! go in order to make House Republicans seem extreme.   Last night, caught this headline on the company’s homepage: GOP-run House easily rejects bipartisan budget:

The House voted decisively late Wednesday to reject a bipartisan budget mixing tax increases with spending cuts to wring $4 trillion from federal deficits over the coming decade.

The 382-38 roll call paved the way for Republicans to muscle through their own, more stringent budget on Thursday, a measure that would blend deeper spending reductions in safety-net programs for the poor with a plan to dramatically overhaul Medicare.

38 votes in a 435-member House?  Let’s say the plan’s Republican author Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio (who crafted the plan with Tennessee Democrat Jim Cooper) voted for the bill and for argument’s sake assume that everyone else who joined him was a Democrat.  Thus, no more than 37 Democrats voted for the bill.  There are currently 190 Democrats in the House, meaning that at least 153 members of that caucus either voted against the bill or didn’t vote.

Since 12 members didn’t vote, that means at least 141 Democrats voted no.  By a margin of greater than 3-to-1, House Democrats rejected the bipartisan measure.

Now, to be sure, Yahoo!’s headline is accurate, but skewed to reflect poorly on Republicans.  Why not say that Democrats overwhelmingly rejected a bipartisan budget?  That’s also accurate, but reflects poorly on the Democrats.

Note also the language of AP writer Andrew Taylor (who wrote the article quoted above); he tries to make it appear House Republicans are forcing through a draconian budget.  (Wonder if he or his colleagues used similarly language to describe how the White House and Democratic leaders muscled Obamacare through Congress, a plan which would dramatically overhaul our nation’s health care system.)

Here’s a story that Yahoo! apparently didn’t see fit to include in its headlines:  “SMART LEGISLATION: Obama budget defeated 414-0.

That’s right, the president couldn’t secure one vote, not one single vote — even from a member of his own caucus — for his own budget.  Seems to paint a picture of a president out of touch.

UPDATE:  Over at the Corner, Yuval Levin provides “the House vote counts for the different budget proposals taken up yesterday and today“: (more…)

Promoting civility in Congress

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:01 am - March 8, 2012.
Filed under: Congress (112th),Congress (general)

House: Barney Frank banned from speaking for day:

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., received a day-long ban from speaking on the House floor today, and the comments he had made were removed from the record, after he violated House rules with a personal attack on Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

Why Does this Headline Not Surprise Me?

White House Using Taxpayer Cash to Pay for Spin: (more…)

Post-partisan President Excludes House Republican Leader

Today, reports the Washington Examiner’s Joel Gehrke

Obama held his first meeting with Republican leadership since the debt-ceiling fight last year — but Cantor was not invited. “The group was limited to only the top congressional leaders: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,” Politico reported today. “That left out House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.”

Emphasis added.  First meeting with Republican congressional leaders in nearly six months?  And here, we hear about how regularly Republicans refuse to work with the president.  How can you work with a guy who won’t sit down and listen to your concerns?

ADDENDUM:  Bear in mind, this is the guy who didn’t bother to call Paul Ryan when that thoughtful Republican put forward some reform proposals.  As Michael Barone reports:

At one point [The New Yorker’s Ryan] Lizza does quote Obama writing on a memo, “Have we looked at any of the other GOP recommendations (e.g., Paul Ryan’s) to see if they make any sense?” Another president might have looked at Ryan’s proposals himself, or might even have called him on the phone.

So, when your Democratic friends rush to accuse the Republicans of refusing to work with Obama, ask them, why the Democrat has met so infrequently with Republican leadership.

UPDATE:  In December, Andrew Malcolm reported that “Obama, who cares so much about working constructively with opponents that he didn’t chat with the Senate GOP leader for nearly two years because he didn’t need to and that would take leadership.

When it comes to the business of governing, Obama is absent

The president, as I noted last month in my brief review of his State of the Union address, indicated that he was “prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long term costs of Medicare and Medicaid”. Only problem was that he failed to put forward any of his own.

At another point in the speech, he praised innovation and indicated a willingness to reduce regulation.  Only problem was that he asked others to do the work for him:

After all, innovation is what America has always been about. Most new jobs are created in start-ups and small businesses. So let’s pass an agenda that helps them succeed. Tear down regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from getting the financing to grow. Expand tax relief to small businesses that are raising wages and creating good jobs. Both parties agree on these ideas. So put them in a bill, and get it on my desk this year.

You’d think the White House Office of Legislative Affairs might have the capacity to put the president’s ideas into a bill and find an ally in Congress willing to introduce it.

Over at RedState, Soren Dayton yesterday caught another example of the White House punting on legislative action, “Jake Tapper asked Jay Carney about this. Should Senate pass a budget? Does the President have an opinion on this? Turns out that the answer is no”:

TAPPER: The White House has no opinion about whether or not the Senate should pass a budget? The president’s going to introduce one. The Fed chair says not having one is bad for growth. But the White House has no opinion about whether –

CARNEY: I have no opinion — the White House has no opinion on Chairman Bernanke’s assessment of how the Senate ought to do its business.

With this response, Dayton observes,

not only is the Senate failing the American people, but President Obama is helping the Senate in dodging this responsibility. The fact is that he has no opinion on running the country like an adult. He has “no opinion” about giving business certainty.

Read the whole thing.

Guess this means Democrats don’t want to cut spending

Sometimes one headline just says it all: Dems see GOP budget reforms as ‘sneaky’ way to cut spending:

House Democrats on Thursday were resisting two Republican bills that would reform the budget process, and charged that the bills were a backdoor attempt by the GOP to reduce federal spending without having to pass more specific bills that cut the budget.

Republicans on Thursday afternoon called up the rule for H.R. 3578, the Baseline Reform Act, and H.R. 3582, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act. The first bill would eliminate the assumption that spending on discretionary items will increase with the rate of inflation each year, an assumption that Republicans said fosters budget expansion.

The second bill would require the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the macroeconomic effect of budget bills as part of its regular duties.

Sneaky? Sneaky? Haven’t Republicans said they want to cut spending?  Haven’t Democrats been wringing their hands over the size of the deficit?  And didn’t their 2008 presidential nominee say that “throughout” his campaign, he been proposing “a net spending cut.”

Seems the Democrats’ reaction to this reform proposal reveals their real thinking on spending.

Why don’t the Democrats just up and admit it:  they want to keep spending at the heightened levels of the past three years.  Their candidate’s professed support in 2008 for a “net spending cut” was, to borrow an expression, “just words.”

Hey, Mitt, just saying the GOP will be united won’t make it so

Mitt Romney, Fred Barnes writes, citing the candidate’s victory speech last night . . .

. . .  insisted the brutal primary campaign, with Romney and Gingrich trading attacks on each other’s character and motives, won’t leave Republicans divided. “A competitive primary does not divide us,” he said. “It prepares us. When Republicans gather in August at their convention, “ours will be a united party with a winning ticket for America.” He didn’t say so, but it’s up to Romney to do the uniting.

And to do that, he needs to show he appreciates the appeal of his rivals and act to quell doubts about his conservatism.  Just saying the party will  be united won’t make it so.

Yesterday, Robert Costa reported one step the once-and-future frontrunner could take toward unifying the party, make a bold statement on tax reform:

As Romney mulls [“’phase two”’of his tax-reform plan“], Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, has some advice: endorse the House GOP’s tax-reform plan instead of proposing a separate legislative outline.

“The smart move is to say, ‘I’m with Paul Ryan,’” Norquist says. “Then it’s not ‘his plan,’ and [Romney] can simply say, ‘I’ve endorsed the House Republican plan’ when prompted about tax reform.”

A bold plan will show a commitment to conservative reform.  Instead of attacking his rivals, Romney should now focus on the issues.

Should he put forward — or sign onto — plans to reduce the deficit, reform the tax code, repeal statist legislation (e.g., Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxely), he will go a long way to rallying the base.  And he should put in a kind word or two (or three) about his rivals.

And with reverence, recall Ronald Reagan.