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And Now, a Democrat Who Isn’t a Completely Terrible Person

Posted by V the K at 10:53 am - November 8, 2014.
Filed under: Decent Democrats

In 2011, the corrupt, Democrat run state of Maryland gerrymandered the sixth congressional, splitting it in half and flooding the largely rural and conservative district with Democrat voters from the Suburbs of Leviathan. It is currently represented by John Delaney, a Democrat who narrowly defeated Republican Dan Bongino.

Having said all that, John Delaney appears to be a relatively decent person, according to Dan Bongino.

In a conversation with his Democratic opponent a few months ago, Bongino revealed that his wife had been experiencing health issues, which had forced him to limit campaign appearances. Delaney responded with a handwritten letter “expressing his heartfelt concerns for my wife and my family, given the circumstances we were dealing with,” according to Bongino.

“I never forgot that,” Bongino wrote on Facebook Friday. “It reminded me that although our wonderful country is currently marked by passionate political differences, these differences should never become personal.”

Washington might be a better place if more Democrats were like John Delaney and fewer of them were like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Barack Obama, Debbie Wasserman-Schulz, Valerie Jarrett, Alan Grayson, Shirley Jackson-Lee, Maxine Waters, Jim Clyburn, Rosa deLauro, and the rest of the “War on Women” “Republicans are racists who want to destroy the Earth and bring back child labor” brigade.

I would still rather have had Dan Bongino in Congress, though.

Apostasy

Former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer has nothing positive to say about the party’s philosopher-god-king.

During an interview with MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin, Schweitzer deferred when asked to name one positive accomplishment by the Obama administration.

“My mother, God rest her soul, told me ‘Brian, if you can’t think of something nice to say about something change the subject,’ ” Schweitzer said.

  • On the issue of Obama’s record on civil liberties, Schweitzer said the NSA revelations were “un-effing-believable.”
  • On the Obama administration’s ability to lead: “They just haven’t been very good at running things.”
  • On Obamacare: “It will collapse on its own weight.”

In fact, Sarlin said Schweitzer would only go so far as to praise Obama for being the first African American president.

Yeah, he gets a lot of praise for the melanin content of his epidermis. On every other level, he’s a SCOAMF.

Mr. Schweitzer may be about to receive some unpleasant attention from the Praetorian Guard Media and probably the IRS, too.

 

Democrat acknowledges W’s followthrough on Katrina

Of all the left-leaning pundits on CNN, Donna Brazile comes across as the most level-headed and the least smug, in part because the charismatic and sage Democratic strategist identifies herself as such and doesn’t pretend something she’s not (i.e., a nonpartisan observer).  A few others may claim to be dispassionate, but they wear their liberal ideology on their sleeve.

And Brazile, despite her partisan leanings, does give Republicans credit where it is due as she did earlier today on CNN”s web-page, departing from the media-crafted narrative of the immediate past president’s incompetence in responding to the Katrina catastrophe:

Despite the many differences I had with former President George W. Bush on a range of public policy issues, or as he called them, “decision points,” I found common ground with him in one area, simply because we decided to put aside partisanship and do something good.

Hurricane Katrina’s devastation and the bungled rescue efforts are seared in the national memory. Bush’s “heckuva job” remark turned into a byword for government incompetence and public distrust. The shallowness of it coming at such a terrible and low point left deep wounds that are still healing. That was what it was.

Tapped in 2005 by the then-governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco, “to serve on the state’s commission overseeing the long-term recovery from the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina,” Brazile saw more than just that one inopportune comment:

Bush understood the need for civility. I joined him despite my frustration because the need was too great for finger-pointing and blame-making. (more…)

My Unrecognizable Democratic Party

The title is from Ted Van Dyk’s recent column. He’s a lifelong Democrat. As a former Democrat myself, who left in the early Naughties[1], I was intrigued. Read the whole thing, of course. A few highlights:

Mr. Obama was elected in 2008 on the basis of his persona and his pledge to end political and ideological polarization…On taking office, however, the president adopted a my-way-or-the-highway style of governance. He pursued his stimulus and health-care proposals on a congressional-Democrats-only basis. He rejected proposals of his own bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission, which would have provided long-term deficit reduction…He opted instead to demonize Republicans…

No serious attempt—for instance, by offering tort reform or allowing the sale of health-insurance products across state lines—was made to enlist GOP congressional support for the health bill…

Faced with a…GOP House takeover [in 1995], President Bill Clinton shifted to bipartisan governance. Mr. Obama [in 2011] did not...

…I couldn’t have imagined any one of the Democratic presidents or presidential candidates I served from 1960-92 using such down-on-all-fours tactics [as Obama did in 2012]. The unifier of 2008 became the calculated divider of 2012. Yes, it worked, but only narrowly, as the president’s vote total fell off sharply from 2008…

In 1965, Lyndon Johnson had Democratic congressional majorities sufficient to pass any legislation he wanted. But he sought and received GOP congressional support for Medicare, Medicaid, civil rights, education and other Great Society legislation. He knew that in order to last, these initiatives needed consensus support…

…former Democratic presidents would…know today that no Democratic or liberal agenda can go forward…if presidential and Democratic Party rhetoric consistently portrays loyal-opposition leaders as having devious or extremist motives….

Nice to see a Democrat who can admit it; a Democrat who remembers the party we used to know.

[1]As the party went insane over Gore-Bush, Iraq and more.

UPDATE: Even David Brooks, the New York Times’ notion of “conservative” who was so impressed by the crease in Obama’s pants in 2008, is starting to get it.

The progressive [Democrat] budget in the House seems to have been written by people hermetically sealed in the house of government. They work in government. They represent public-sector workers. They seem to have had little contact with private-sector job creators… while Republicans may embarrass on a daily basis, many progressives have lost touch with what actually produces growth and prosperity.

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…)

No, Barack Obama is not a pragmatist, particularly on gay issues

I know very little about Gordon D. Fox, the Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Representatives.  And that little I have read of the man indicates that in the debate over gay marriage, he is one of the few, to borrow (and build upon) an expression, adult politicians in the room.

Although the Democrat, who happens to be gay, supports state recognition of same-sex marriage, he had a back-up plan when he could not get enough votes (on gay marriage legislation) in a chamber where, according to ballotpedia, his party controls 65 of the 75 seats:

Rhode Island’s House speaker has given up on passing legislation extending marriage rights to gay couples this year, because he says there is no realistic chance for passage of the bill in the Senate.

Gordon Fox says he will recommend that the House doesn’t move forward with a vote on the marriage equality bill during this legislative session, and instead will support a civil unions’ bill that gives legal rights to same-sex couples in the Ocean State.

In short, when he couldn’t get the votes on gay marriage, he adopted a different tack — and today the Ocean State recognizes same-sex civil unions.  For some, this may not be the ideal, but for gay couples, it’s a lot better than it was before Fox’s sensible compromise.

Which brings me to Barack Obama.  Last night, when returning him from an Outfest event, I caught this from a lesbian Facebook friend, who had recently attended what appears to be the Democrat’s 150th fundraiser* where she was one of many gay and lesbian Angelenos giving the president an “enthusiastic welcome” in Beverly Hills:  “He is eloquent and charming, but also a very pragmatic realist.”

A “very pragmatic realist”?  Oh, really?   (more…)

The good person concealed beneath our political persona

As I consider measures to promote civility on this blog, let me relate some thoughts about a friend of mine, a left-wing lesbian who often offers tart political commentary on Facebook, including links lambasting Republicans in general and the party’s leading figures in particular.  (Some are based on outdated ideas and inaccurate reports.)

Had I just seen her political Facebook posts  – without knowing her personally — I wouldn’t consider her worthy of my time.  Fortunately, I’ve known her almost as long as I’ve been in LA.  She has a great story to tell and is a good person to know.  She is more than her politics.  And she’s a good friend.

To our conservative readers, bear that in mind when you read a liberal critique of one of my posts — that there is more to these readers than their liberal commentary.  And to our liberal readers, bear that in mind when you read my posts — and those of our defenders.  There is more to us than our politics — and we tend our views with the same conviction you do, not out of any animus for our adversaries, but because of our confidence in their efficacity.

We are all of us, well, most of us at least, more than our politics.  There is many a good person, bigger than his politics, concealed beneath a political persona.

Has messiness of GOP presidential nomination process helped Obama?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:43 pm - January 5, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Decent Democrats

Two of my favorite pundits, Glenn Reynolds and Michael Barone, frequently excerpt and link Walter Russell Mead’s commentary at the American Interest.  Mead, a Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008, but who supported the Iraq War in 2003, offers trenchant analysis of politics and social trends and frequent criticism of his party and its ideological associates (i.e., liberals).

Given his insight, Mead ranks (along with such conservative “wise men” as Barone, Victor Davis Hanson and Charles Krauthammer) as one of the few pundits regularly offering sage commentary on the news of day, often spotting trends before others notice them.  In his post which Glenn linked today, Mead contends that the “driving force in the country remains a deep unhappiness with the status quo and with both parties, but ten months out from the election, this mood looks as if it will hurt Democrats more than Republicans.

The entire piece is well worth your time (as are most of Mead’s posts), but one passage struck out to me, perhaps because his views reflect my own on Obama’s recent uptick in the opinion polls:

The serial rise and fall of ultimately unsatisfactory GOP candidates makes the incumbent look better by contrast even as the candidates field-tested attack ad themes the Democrats can turn to next fall.  President Obama’s numbers are up a bit even as short-lived GOP favorites crash and burn.  Throw in the House payroll tax kerfluffle, and the GOP sometimes looks as if it is trying to drive voters away.

One wonders how the polls will shift when the focus turns back to the incumbent. It sometimes seems Obama’s poll numbers tend to drift upward when he does not dominate the news cycle.

How will he fare when the various Republican candidates stop savaging each other and concentrate their fire on his policy failures and the anemic state of the economic recovery?

UPDATE:  Seems Hanson shares my view that the president’s poll numbers drift upwards when he is not in front of the cameras, hectoring us:

President Obama went into a deep slumber in December. When he woke up this January, he found himself back even in the polls, with neither a press conference nor another overhyped presidential televised address to be heard. Sleep, quiet, and solitude — all that appears wiser than campaigning, visibility, and speaking, both for Obama and Americans. In short, the president has really hit on something: an Obama going into a Rip Van Winkle somnolent state might just mean waking up again as president.

. . . .

The more he kept out of the news and kept quiet, the more his negative and positive ratings went back in sync, until they are today about even, a radical shift in just about a month — and as a result of doing absolutely nothing. Do Americans sort of like Barack Obama the more that they do not see or hear much of him — at least while they hear too much of the Republicans ripping each other apart?

Via Instapundit.  Read the whole thing.

No need for gays to keep covering for Barney Frank

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:57 pm - November 9, 2011.
Filed under: Decent Democrats,Virginia Politics

Patrick Forrest may have come up short in his race for Virginia Senate, but in an Alexandria-based district far more favorable to his political party, Democrat Adam Ebbin won by a comfortable margin.  I knew — and liked — Adam back in my Northern Virginia days.  He is very liberal and extremely partisan, but is a generally nice guy.  He was always civil when we locked horns (as we did on numerous occasions).

And when the then-chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Tom Davis spoke to the Log Cabin Republican Club of Northern Virginia (while I served as the club’s president), that Democratic partisan showed up.  He braved a crowd of Republicans and listened politely when the Republican Congressman spoke, even asking a question, as I recall, and doing so in a civil tone and manner.

With Adam’s election as well as the election in successive congressional cycles of two openly gay Democrats, Colorado’s Jared Polis and Rhode Island’s David Cicilline, to the U.S. House, there’s no need for gays to keep covering for Barney Frank, the arrogant and mean-spirited Democrats from Massachusetts, unwilling to answer for his conflict of interest with a government-sponsored enterprise which he regularly defended and which now sucks cash from the federal treasury.

Polis, while very liberal, like Ebbin, appears to be a very stand-up guy.

In short, Barney is no longer the only gay man in elective office.  Unlike Ebbin, he is not the kind of man to whom others can look up; Barney is just not a good role model.  More than that, he’s an outright embarrassment. (more…)

Andrew Cuomo: Trying to be the next Bill Clinton?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 12:57 pm - November 6, 2011.
Filed under: Decent Democrats,We The People

Well, the current Governor of New York once did serve in the cabinet of the immediate past Democratic President of the United States. But, unlike the Democratic incumbent, he does seem to understand the legacy of the former, the most legacy-obsessed chief executive. He appears to recognize that the shibboleths of his party’s left-wing won’t help win the hearts of the American people.

He’s not buying into the class warfare rhetoric of Barack Obama or the president’s intellectual allies in #Occupy Wall Street. “You are kidding yourself,” the New York Democrat said, “if you think you can be one of the highest-taxed states in the nation, have a reputation for being anti-business — and have a rosy economic future.

Via Instapundit.  Seems this Democrat learned well from his former boss.  His party’s path to victory cannot be on terms which worked in the early parts of the last century.  You can’t treat business as the enemy; the corollary to that notion being that free enterprise is the engine which drives our economy.

Seems this man may succeed where his father failed.

Ed Driscoll, however, thinks Andrew Cuomo Is Kidding Himself (h/t to Insta for this as well).

Perry may lack presidential qualities, but he’s not a racist

The likelihood that I would back Rick Perry for the Republican presidential nomination has been waning since he accused the Chairman of the Federal Reserve of “treasonous” behavior for “printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history”.  Even after his commentary caused a media firestorm, he stood by those comments.

Now, I agree with the Texas governor that it is “treacherous” for the Federal Reserve to print more money at the present time as that would fuel inflation and thus further retard any real economic recovery.  Yet, Bernanke’s action is hardly treason; he’s not trying to betray his country, he’s trying to help it. The policy may be wrong-headed, but the policy-maker does not intend to harm the country.  And isn’t intent necessary to commit treason?

A man who aspires to national leadership does not so fault the motives of public servants — or his ideological adversaries.

That said, I believe the mainstream media have blown the story of the stone with the offensive word (that Perry and his family painted over) way out of proportion.  On Monday, John King devoted a segment of his eponymous CNN program to the “invented scandal”.  Fortunately, he included Donna Brazile in the discussion (let’s hope we see more of her*).  This sharp lady also seems to offer a smart and sensible commentary.

This Democratic strategist who happens to be African-American brought some sense to the discussion:

I’ve known Rick Perry when he was a Democrat. So I believe I can say this with credibility that he’s not a racist. So I don’t think that’s the issue.

The issue is the insensitivity of having that word written on a rock, and not doing something about it, and according to him they did something about it.

Now let’s go beyond that and stop dealing with what I call race in a very superficial way. It’s more of a distraction. It’s more annoying when you discuss it, especially when you discuss it in political company. So I think we need to move on.

Governor Perry will have to say that for himself. I can tell you that he is, at least from my knowledge of him back in the 1980s, he’s a decent person.

While some in the Democratic Party — and their allies in the mainstream media — have been grandstanding the issue, at least one Democratic partisan dismisses this story.  Why must they dwell on stories like this?

Oh, yeah, because their favored candidate has polling numbers like these.

* (more…)

So, it seems waterboarding helped us track down bin Laden

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:43 am - May 4, 2011.
Filed under: Credit to Democrats,Decent Democrats,War On Terror

Leon Panetta has always conducted himself with dignity on the public stage. And in this exchange with Brian Williams, he comes off as a pretty stand-up guy, not milking the dispatch of Bin Laden to partisan ends and giving credit to the immediate past president and his team for their efforts in tracking down the Saudi-born terrorist.

In this video, he indicates that our intelligence officials gained some information that would later help us track down the hide-out of the Al-Qaeda leader through, um, well, “enhanced interrogation techniques“.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

VIdeo via Gateway Pundit.

When asked, Doug Powers reports, “whether or not advanced interrogation techniques helped get Bin Laden,” Attorney General Eric Holder “said he didn’t know.”  You’d think an official of an administration which has been most critical* of such polices would have given an unequivocal response (in the negative) if they hadn’t helped.

Of all the Democrats the president could have tapped to take over from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Panetta seems the best choice. He acknowledges truths at odds with his party’s anti-Republican talking points and acknowledges the accomplishments of Republicans as well as the merits of their policies.

RELATED:  Ed Driscoll alerts us to this observation in Investor’s Business Daily, “If President Bush had not invaded Iraq, President Obama likely would not have found Osama bin Laden. The al-Qaida operative who fingered bin Laden’s courier was caught in Iraq helping terrorists in 2004″.  Ed’s initial roundup on the death of Mr. Bin Laden also has a plethora of pithy points and interesting links.

ALSO RELATED AND WELL WORTH YOUR TIME:  Michael Barone contends that to get bin Laden, Obama relied on policies he decried.

*UPDATE:  Peter Wehner reports: “After all, Barack Obama was a fierce critic of EITs [Enhanced Interrogation Techniques] during and after the 2008 campaign.

BIN LADEN IS DEAD

I’m on the west coast on business and last night at about 8pm Pacific time, I was getting frantic texts from home: “Obama will be giving a major national security speech from the solemnness of The White House at 10:30pm. Very weird, especially for this President who prefers cheering audiences as much as his TelePrompTer.

And then came the words I had longed to hear for nearly 10 years: Osama bin Laden is dead.

I began to cry as I thought of the thousands incinerated, slaughtered, and fell to their deaths on Sept. 11, 2001.

My heart goes to the family of our close friend — Joe Ferguson — who died when Flight 77 slammed into the side of the Pentagon that bright blue September morning. I hope they will have some sense of closure. The War isn’t over, but the AQ Commander In Chief has been defeated in battle.

My hearty thanks goes to our intelligence and defense communities. A big thanks to President Obama, CIA Director Panetta and SecDef Robert Gates for what appears to be a rare coordinated intel/military ops that worked flawlessly.

Finally, nothing can express my grief and sadness toward the families of 9/11 victims and to those families who gave our nation their sons and daughters in the first round of the Global War on Islamic Terror.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!

Is Cuomo a Reaganite?

In 1984, the then-incumbent governor of New York’s father catapulted into the liberal limelight with his passionate speech denouncing Reaganism at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in New York.  Now, his son, the current incumbent delivers an address embracing the ideas the Gipper once promulgated on the national stage:

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo called for “a fundamental realignment” of state government on Wednesday, saying New York needs to rethink the services it provides and face up to its overspending problem before it is too late.

“We need radical reform, we need a new approach, we need a new perspective,” said Mr. Cuomo, who was giving his first State of the State address. “And we need it now.” . . . .

The new governor mentioned the word “tax” or “taxes” 21 times, mostly to denounce them and promise to lower them. “What made New York the Empire State was not a large government complex,” he said. “It was a vibrant private sector that was creating great jobs in the state of New York.”

The proposals laid out by Mr. Cuomo — including reducing the number of agencies, authorities and departments by 20 percent and capping the annual growth of state government to the rate of inflation — set up a clash with the more liberal Democrats who control the State Assembly.

Kudos to the younger Cuomo for standing up to his party’s establishment and embracing the ideas which helped make his state great — and which animated the GOP (at least in its ideal form) for the past three decades.

Let’s hope he succeeds in his endeavors to reduce the size of his state’s government and increase the freedom of its entrepreneurs.

UPDATE:  This Cuomo guy is sounding a lot like his colleague across the Hudson:

In the past, notes E. J. McMahon, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute’s Empire Center for New York State Policy, governors who tried to cut the state’s health-care system were attacked with hard-hitting ads like one that portrayed a woman running down the street with a sick kid in her arms, only to find the emergency room locked. “‘Tell Governor Pataki not to kill Grandma,’” McMahon intones dryly. “And the ads work! Pataki caved after passing a few tough budgets.” Cuomo himself has described the process thusly: “The governor announces the budget; unions come together, put $10 million in a bank account, run television ads against the governor. The governor’s popularity drops; the governor’s knees weaken; the governor falls to one knee, collapses, makes a deal.”

Via Instapundit.  Doe hope Cuomo’s Democratic colleague in another big, blue state understand the game the unions play.

Stupak on FoxNews: “They’re not even close”

Just a second ago on Megyn’s show, that’s what the Michigan Democrat just said.

No, unfortunately, he wasn’t literally talking about the vote on the Stalinization of Health Care Bill of 2010 itself.

What he was talking about was all the vote-counting of his “Stupak Dozen”, those pro-Life Democrats who voted for the House version of the bill last November, but have threatened to flip to a “no” if their demands that taxpayer-funded abortion provisions be stripped from the legislation are not met.

Megyn had asked him about reports that some had been peeled away (something I’d not heard anyway) already, and he replied that, basically (I’m paraphrasing) all the reports of who the Dozen actually are are incorrect. He said, “I keep my list with me”, and that the reports he’s hearing about who they are and who is wavering are “not even close.”

You suppose that lady with all the Botox is posturing? Bluffing? Here’s hoping Rep. Stupak and whomever is on his list hang tough and hang together.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from TML)

Lieberman to spearhead DADT repeal

As yet another example that while Democrats in today’s Washington may be out of the loop on any number of issues, at least they do get it in when it comes to repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT).

Our pal James Kirchick reports that Joe Lieberman will become the “chief sponsor” of legislation to repeal DADT:

Next week, the Connecticut senator will announce that he’s taking the lead on repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the 1993 law that prohibits gay people from serving openly in the armed forces. Since implementation of the statute nearly 20 years ago, the military has discharged some 14,000 qualified men and women, many of them serving in critical jobs like Arabic and Persian translation.

Nice to have a man well-regarded by the military at the forefront of this effort.

DiFi Gets It, but does Ma’am?

In the Senate, the Golden State is represented by two Jewish women, both Democrats, each originally serving jurisdictions in the Bay Area, but with entirely different temperaments.   Our senior Senator, Dianne Feinstein, shows respect for her more conservative colleagues and has worked with them to see 26 of the bills she has introduced (since first her first election in November 1992) enacted into law.  You can imagine her taking criticism, civilly offered from a constituent, without questioning his motives.

Our junior Senator, on the other hand, Barbara Boxer berates her ideological adversaries and has seen a total of three of the bills she introduced become law.  And she took office only two months after her colleague (Feinstein was elected to fill the remainder of the Senate seat Pete Wilson abandoned when he was elected Governor in 1990 and was sworn in soon after she ousted appointed incumbent John Seymour).

Mrs. Feinstein joins her Indiana and Virginia colleagues in reading the tea leaves in the wake of the Massachusetts special Senate election; she understands “the situation has changed dramatically“:

You see anger. People are worried. And when they’re worried they don’t want to take on a broad new responsibility, [like health reform] . . . .

I think we do go slower on health care. People do not understand it. it is so big it is beyond their comprehension. . . . (more…)

Time to Cut Pay of CA State Employees (& Pensioners)

An AP article today serves as a reminder of anecdotes many of us have heard (and others experienced) of friends, family members and acquaintances taking pay cuts in order to keep their jobs:

It’s one of the bleak realities of the economic recovery: Even as more employers are starting to hire, the new jobs typically pay less than the ones that were lost.

So, it’s not just our already employed friends working for less money, it’s also the newly employed.

But, while private sector employers are slashing pay checks, it remains boom time for government employees, even in cash-strapped states like California.  On the last state of the year just concluded, a state judge in the Golden State

. . . ruled that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had abused his discretion in ordering furloughs of state workers, dealing a blow to the administration’s efforts to cope with the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis.

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch said the administration must halt the furloughs for workers represented by three unions, including Service Employees International Union Local 1000, which represents 95,000 state employees.

The Governor had ordered “most state employees to take three days off a month without pay as the state faced a massive budget deficit.”  Even a former Democratic Speaker of the California Assembly finds that “80 percent” of the state’s budget deficits is “due to employee costs.”  And, as George Will notes today, it’s not just the cost of current employees:

It took years for servile liberalism to turn the state into what [William] Voegeli calls a “unionocracy,” run by and for unionized public employees, such as public safety employees who can retire at 50 and receive 90 percent of the final year’s pay for life.

A first step toward righting the budget woes of the Golden State would be for the legislature to do for state employees what private sector employees have done for theirs:  slash salaries.  And while our legislators are at it, they should slash pensions for public sector retirees as well and prevent able-bodied retirees from receiving their pensions until they’re 65 (or 70).

Gay Groups Should Make Repealing DADT the Priority

Last night, when I tracked down the Gallup poll showing increasing number of conservatives favoring repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military, I saw in the margin a link to poll finding a Majority of Americans Continue[s] to Oppose Gay Marriage. This in line with Pew’s recent findings.

Indeed, while the number supporting state recognition of same-sex civil unions has steadily increased over the past six years, the number opposing gay marriage has remained relatively constant, hovering between 55 and 59 percent (it’s nowat 57).

So, while the President expressed a commitment to repeal both the military’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell (DADT) policy as well as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in his speech Saturday night to the Human Rights Campaign, the smarter move politically might be to put the latter on the back burner and concentrate on repealing the former.

That’s why I commended the Administration for reaching out to Senator Lieberman.  He can help frame this as a national security issue, making it more difficult for the military from reacting as they did when, in 1993, Clinton first introduced the idea of lifting the ban.  The Democrat announced the move with Barney Frank, a longtime foe of a robust military, standing by his side.  And many in the military saw this as a move to enlist them in a social experiment crafted by legislators they did not trust.

That President Obama’s team has been working with the Connecticut Senator suggests the incumbent is aware of his predecessor’s mistakes and wishes to avoid them.  With ever larger majorities supporting repeal, the time is ripe for action.  But, he shouldn’t dither and should come forward with a time framer move forward on the issue or his promises will be for naught.

So, gay groups should focus on moving repeal, indeed, making this issue their priority, given that the chances of success are high.  And to increase those chances, they need end their suspicion of conservatives and build partnerships with those on the right side of the political aisle who have shifted their views on the ban in recent years. (more…)

Lieberman Likely to Lead Effort to Repeal DADT?

Well, maybe the White House is finally taking the first steps toward repealing Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.  According to the Advocate,

Shortly after President Barack Obama pledged Saturday to end “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the Administration’s highest-ranking LGBT official said the White House is speaking with certain senators about strategies for repealing the policy — specifically Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, who sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

“On ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ this administration is talking directly to the Hill — we are in direct discussions with Senator Lieberman,” John Berry, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, told The Advocate.

A spokesman for Senator Lieberman confirmed that the senator had been speaking to the White House about the bill.  “Senator Lieberman has had discussions with representatives of the Administration and others on the best way to reverse this policy, which he has opposed since it was first proposed in 1993,” said Marshall Wittmann, Lieberman’s press secretary.

Smart move to work with Lieberman.  Given the Connecticut Senator’s long-time support for a robust military, it’s makes a lot of sense to have him lead the effort to repeal this counterproductive measure.  More perhaps than any other member of the Democratic caucus, Lieberman enjoys the respect of the military and Republicans.  He can better frame repeal not as a gay rights’ issue but as a military issue, that the ban reduces the pool of recruits from which our armed services can draw.

That the Administration is in talk with Lieberman suggests a real commitment to repealing the ban.  It would be better if they had a timetable, to prompt more expeditious action.  With a solid majority even of conservatives favoring repeal, the time to act is now. (more…)