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The Ryan/Obama contrast:
conservative competence contrasted with liberal rhetoric

Yesterday, I wrote a longish post contending that Paul Ryan is very much the “un-Obama.”  Because I fear my basic point was lost as I combined with another, I wish to make that point again here, but more succinctly.

Barack Obama became a hero to Democrats in the second half of the Bush Administration based not on the ideas he champion or the policies he proposed, but on the words he spoke and the image he projected.  His 2004 keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, which introduced him to the American people, was short on substance and long on rhetoric.

Paul Ryan, by contrast, has become a hero to Republicans on more substantive grounds.  Unlike Obama who skyrocketed to political rock star status with that one speech, Ryan has, over the past few years, gradually risen in esteem among the Republican rank and file.  And he earned our respect based on his ability to articulate conservative ideas — and to translate them into workable policy proposals.

FROM THE COMMENTS: In other words, quips  TnnsNE1, “Ryan built that. Obama didn’t”

Paul Ryan, the un-Obama

Liberals“, Mary Katharine Ham observes echoing a point heard round the blogosphere, “are positively gleeful that Romney has picked someone whose positions they can gleefully demagogue. But there’s another sense, even among national political reporters, that Team Obama should be careful what it wishes for.”

They should be careful particularly because Paul Ryan is, in many ways, the exact opposite of Barack Obama.  To be sure, they are both relatively young men who are intelligent and speak well.

Mr. Obama, however, gained acclaim not for the policy proposals he authored nor the reforms he had championed, but instead for the words he spoke and the image he projected.  The Democrat earned the affection of liberals by his successful creation of that image, the reformer who would stand up to entrenched interests and end politics as usual.  He just didn’t specify how he would accomplish all that nor could he point  to actual entrenched interests he had challenged or political systems he had changed.

The Democratic glee comes from the fact that Ryan is quite the opposite of Mr. Obama, having staked out clearly the kinds of policy proposals he favors and the reforms, he believes, America needs in order to forestall the looming fiscal crisis.

It’s much easier to run against particular policies than it is to run against the idealized image of the change agent we have been waiting for.

In doing the hard work of translating his ideas into policies, Ryan has earned the affection of many conservatives and libertarians, including yours truly.  And that is why, to borrow Mary Katharine’s expression, Team Obama should be careful what it wishes for.  Yes, those policies may make him a target for Democrats, but they all show him to be a serious man with a plan.  And this may be the year when Americans want leaders with just such a plan.

Ryan is very much the un-Obama, a man whose success depends not on a vague promise, but on an actual record.  And with a near-stagnant economy and skyrocketing deficits, Americans may prefer Ryan’s stern substance to Obama’s lofty potential, (more…)

When Democrats attack Ryan’s budget and his Medicare reforms, ask them to specify their plans to control the deficit and make Medicare solvent

Conservatives,” write the editors of the National Review announcing their support for the Ryan ticket — and offering the consensus conservative view on the selection

. . .  and not just the Romney campaign and the Republican apparatus, will have to stand ready to fight back against the distortions that are sure to come — indeed, have already begun. Democrats will say that Romney-Ryan is a ticket committed to “dismantling” Medicare (by ensuring its solvency); that it would leave the poor to fend for themselves (by extending the successful principles of welfare reform); that their only interest is to comfort the rich (whose tax breaks they wish to pare back). These are debates worth winning, and they can be won.

Indeed, the attacks and distortions have already begun.  As Democrats demonize Ryan, demagogue his proposed cuts and distort his plan, Republicans need bear in mind what one of Mitt Romney’s one-time rivals for the Republican presidential nomination once said.  In May 2011, Jon Huntsman wrote that critics of Ryan’s “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.

Every time, Democrats and their defenders/apologists in the legacy media attack Paul Ryan, ask them to identify their plan to cut the deficit and reform entitlements.

By selecting Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney has now made this election not just a referendum on Barack Obama, but also a choice between two competing visions of governing.  And the Democrats have not specified how they will pay for theirs.  When they attack, we must respond not just by defending the Ryan plan, but by attacking them for failing to put forward their own.

RELATED:  Calling Romney’s rollout of his vice-presidential selection a “Terrific debut by Paul Ryan“, Hugh Hewitt offers that (more…)

Romney-Ryan?

Four years ago, I was all but certain that John McCain would pick then-Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty as his running mate.  This year, I was all but certain Mitt Romney would pick Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell.

Now, as I head to bed on Friday evening, it appears the presumptive Republican nominee will be tapping the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan.

I wonder if Mr. Romney is announcing this pick nearly three weeks ahead of the party’s convention in order to change the narrative of the past three weeks, when the legacy media has helped hype the Obama narrative and put the former Massachusetts Governor on defense, keeping his own reform agenda — and the incumbent’s fiscal mess — out of the headlines.

If indeed it’s Ryan,” offers Ed Morrissey, “even the media may have to start focusing on the most serious issues — and that’s bad news for Obama.”  As Steven Hayward puts it, “Ryan wants to have an adult conversation with America about the looming insolvency of the welfare state, and he has a serious plan to fix it.” Echoing Morrissey, Hayward adds, “Ryan knows he will face rank demagoguery from Democrats over his plan. He is not afraid of this, and in a face-to-face fight he runs circles around every single one of them.”

And Morrissey acknowledges that “Team Obama will hang Ryan’s budget on Romney,” but adds that “they were going to do that anyway”:

Why not have the man himself as the VP to explain it?  Ryan also gives the ticket solid Washington experience, while giving conservatives more hope that a Romney presidency will aim for serious change. (more…)

The empathetic Mitt Romney

By all accounts, Mitt Romney, like many boys in their teens, indeed like many mythological and movie heroes at that stage of their lives, was, in his high school years, a cocky prankster, eager to curry favor with his male peers, little concerned for the feelings of the victims of his various capers.

Also like many men in myth and movies, Romney changed at a certain point in his life.  When, we are not quite sure.  I have argued that his love for the former Ann Davies forced him to grow up. Perhaps because this beautiful young woman had, after she and Mitt had been dating for a time, broken up with him and started seeing another man at Brigham Young University, the future presidential candidate thought he needed to become a better person to win her back.

And become a better person he did.  As we have read in numerous accounts, not only did the twentysomething Mitt get his act together and stop pulling adolescent pranks, he also started looking out for his fellow man.  In February, Philip Klein offered an anecdote from Michael Kranish and Scott Helman‘s The Real Romney about how during his 1994 Senate campaign against Ted Kennedy, the Republican offered to “cover part” of the “milk costs” of a Boston shelter for homeless veterans, “and he didn’t want any publicity for it.

He didn’t just help out with gifts of cash, he also donated his time, frequently going out of his way for individuals in need.

One cold December day in the early 1980s,” reported Mara Gay, Dan Hirschhorn and M.L. Nestel in May

Mitt Romney loaded up his Gran Torino with firewood and brought it to the home of a single mother whose heat had been shut off just days before Christmas.

Years after a business partner died unexpectedly, Romney helped the man’s surviving daughter go to medical school with loans for tuition — loans he forgave when she graduated.

And in 1997, when a fellow church member’s teenage son fell seriously ill, Romney sprinted to the hospital in the dead of night, where he kept vigil with his terrified parents.

Despite this record of compassion, the latest ABCNews/Washington Post poll shows his opponent in this fall’s presidential election leading “on a range of personal attributes – empathy, standing up for his beliefs and, especially, basic likeability.

I dare say those numbers would change if our friends in the legacy media chose to tell the real story of Mitt Romney’s adult life rather than focus on more distant anecdotes from his adolescence.  And questioned why Mr. Obama chose to misrepresent his own past in his memoir.

Mazel Tov, Mary and Heather!

Well, it does seem to be Big Gay Friday today.

Former Vice President Cheney who didn’t have to wait for the promptings of gay activists threatening to withhold campaign contributions to come out for civil unions and gay marriage has joined his wife Lynne in expressing delight that their daughter Mary married her beloved Heather Poe:

“Our daughter Mary and her long time partner, Heather Poe, were married today in Washington, DC,” the Cheneys said.

Some conservatives tweeted their congratulations, but as Twitchy reports, this “didn’t sit well with the bitter and always angry Left“:

 Instead of being happy for the couple and offering congratulations, the Left instead spouted their usual hate-filled bile.

Why do these people seek to ruin Mary and Heather’s happy day with their bile?  But, Mary’s a strong woman; I’d don’t think their hate will hurt her.

Mary’s a great gal, smart, together and without pretense.  Gay people should celebrate her relationship and look to her as role model for the type of life to which we should all aspire.

Mazel Tov, Mary and Heather.  Wishing you both many more years of shared happiness.

Big Labor pouring money down drain in Wisconsin?

“The Left, labor, Democrats, which planned to embarrass” Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Mike Allen of Politico on MSNBC this morning (as quoted by Jim Geraghty), “instead have made him a national figure with a very bright future,”  adding “It was money poured down the drain by Democrats and the Left in a presidential election year.”

Indeed.

Wonder if we’ll ever see a tally of the total amount of money the various and sundry public employee unions poured into the Badger State, first to lobby the legislature and organize rallies against Walker’s reforms, then to launch petition drives to recall the state Senators targeted for replacement in 2011, to do the same this year to recall Walker, his Lieutenant Governor and another batch of state Senators, then to campaign for their chosen candidate in this month’s primary and now to campaign against the governor himself in the actual recall election upcoming.

Money spent in those endeavors is money they won’t be able to spend to help hold the Wisconsin Senate seat for the Democrats or to help in other political contests this year.

Meanwhile, in attempting to demonize and destroy Mr. Walker, the unions have made that reformer a Republican hero.  As Ann Althouse writes:

The recall has put Walker in the position where he must advertise and promote himself, which might have been awkward before — and it was never his thing. TV viewers are getting barraged with Walker ads — and almost nothing for his cash-strapped opponent, and we’re tolerating it because he was forced into having to defend himself. What a nice opportunity for him!

Via Instapundit.

UPDATE:   “The bigger problem for unions”, writes 2010 CPAC Blogger of the Year, Ed Morrissey, “is the display of impotence“:

They have poured millions of dollars into Wisconsin, pushed people into rallies and protests, and wasted valuable man-hours organizing for recall elections and a special election for the state Supreme Court, only to come up empty thus far.  Until now, people feared the impact of unions in elections, and in special elections such as these even more, as they are more easily mastered by superior organization.  However, Walker supporters cast more ballots in the recall primaries than the combined votes of the top two Democrats, just as they did in the race that pitted Supreme Court Justice David Prosser against Joanne Kloppenburg, and in almost every recall race thus far.

Why isn’t the Washington Post interested in stories of Mitt Romney’s adult acts of compassion?

In the forty-seven years since Mitt Romney pulled his last high school prank, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has grown up quite a bit, donating a large portion of his income to charity and performing myriad acts of kindness, helping neighbors, looking out for people in need.

You would think that a journal supposedly interested in gleaning information about a candidate’s adolescent behavior might also want to investigate his actions as an adult.  In his piece on tales of Romney’s youth, Mark Hemingway notes that one “of the major sources for the Post’s Romney scoop is a former Obama campaign volunteer“.  Why not turn to journalists from the Boston Globe?

In their biography of Romney, Globe correspondents Scott Hellman and Michael Kranish report how Romney and his family pitched “in to help in ways big and small. They took chicken and asparagus soup to sick parishioners. They invited unsettled Mormon transplants in their home for lasagna.

In The Daily, we learn more about Mitt Romney’s good deeds:

One cold December day in the early 1980s, Mitt Romney loaded up his Gran Torino with firewood and brought it to the home of a single mother whose heat had been shut off just days before Christmas.

Years after a business partner died unexpectedly, Romney helped the man’s surviving daughter go to medical school with loans for tuition — loans he forgave when she graduated.

And in 1997, when a fellow church member’s teenage son fell seriously ill, Romney sprinted to the hospital in the dead of night, where he kept vigil with his terrified parents.

Stories like these — tales of long hours spent with grieving families, financial assistance to those in need and timely help given to strangers whether asked for or not — abound in the adult life of the Republican presidential candidate.

(Via HotAir headlines.)  Wonder why the Washington Post was more interested in tales of Mitt Romney’s adolescent antics than the “timely help” he provided to strangers in more recent years.  One would think the stories of what a man makes of himself as an adult help better to define his character than the pranks he pulled as a teen.

Chris Christie & gay marriage

In a post this morning on the bold policy initiatives the governor of New Jersey has been putting forward, Jennifer Rubin looks at how he is handling the contentious issue of state recognition of same-sex marriage:

Take [Chris Christie's] decision to send the issue of gay marriage to the voters. He can read the polls like anyone else. They show in the blue state strong support for gay marriage, so if that’s what the people want, what are state Republicans going to complain about? And, since he is personally opposed to gay marriage (and would lose street cred with elements of the GOP base), he satisfied Republicans by vetoing the legislation, giving conservatives the chance to make their case with the people of New Jersey.

As he said in a CNN interview, “And if the people in New Jersey, as some of the same-sex marriage advocates suggest the polls indicate, are in favor of it, then my position would not be the winning position, but I’m willing to take that risk because I trust the people of the state.” (more…)

Chris Christie’s Confidence

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:18 pm - February 23, 2012.
Filed under: Conservative Ideas,Noble Republicans

In a post yesterday on Commentary Contentions, Alana Goodman succinctly summarized why conservatives love Chris Christie:

So what is it about Christie that makes him so likable, even when he’s taking shots at the opposition? And what exactly does he have that the presidential candidates are lacking?

Obviously there’s his confidence, the sense that he has a real comfort with his own beliefs. He’s grounded enough in his principles to actually listen to the critique from the other side, which is how he ends up cutting through the nonsense that a lot of other politicians overlook or get bogged down in. That solid foundation is missing in both Romney and Gingrich.

Emphasis added.  And you just gotta love how he tells Warren Buffet to put up or shut up:

Maybe conservative bloggers can all agree to send in 1/10 of 1% or our income to the federal treasury and encourage Buffet to do the same.

(Oh, and, found that link on how to make voluntary contributions to the federal treasury with one google search.  Mr. Buffet, please note the time it took:

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On budget, Paul Ryan is the adult Barack Obama claims to be

Well before Memorial Day, the Obama administration will achieve a dubious distinction, having accumulated more debt in those 40 months than George W. Bush accumulated in 96.  With the Treasury Secretary acknowledging yesterday that his team (i.e., the administration) doesn’t have a “definitive solution” to the nation’s growing debt problem, we now know that they’re punting on a crisis that Barack Obama, as candidate, promised to address.

Although the Democrat put himself forward as the adult in the room during last summer’s negotiations on the debt ceiling, this week’s budget shows that he and his advisors have been anything but grownup in dealing with the debt crisis.  Last fall, just after the House Budget Committee Chairman “spoke on ‘The American Idea’ at the Heritage Foundation in Washington”, Peggy Noonan explained why Paul Ryan merited the honorific the president accorded to himself:

Mr. Ryan receives much praise, but I don’t think his role in the current moment has been fully recognized. He is doing something unique in national politics. He thinks. He studies. He reads. Then he comes forward to speak, calmly and at some length, about what he believes to be true. He defines a problem and offers solutions, often providing the intellectual and philosophical rationale behind them. Conservatives naturally like him—they agree with him—but liberals and journalists inclined to disagree with him take him seriously and treat him with respect.

Ryan scored the president for his pettiness and slammed “corporate welfare and crony capitalism”: (more…)

Obama hoping voters reward political cowardice?

In linking a post on the president’s soon-to-be released budget which offers little in the way of meaningful reform, Jennifer Rubin asks the right question:

Smart politics or do the voters penalize political cowardice? “President Barack Obama’s budget proposal Monday will offer several measures to trim the federal deficit in the next 10 years. But it would leave largely unchanged the biggest drivers of future government spending: the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs that are expanding rapidly as the baby boom turns into a senior boom. Calling for major changes in the popular programs would be politically treacherous in an election year because of fierce opposition from seniors, who vote in large numbers. But budget experts of both parties agree the programs’ growth must be curbed at some point or they will swamp the budget.”

Emphasis added.  At a time of trillion-dollar deficits  – and a national debt that has increased by well over $4 trillion since the incumbent was sworn in.  (By contrast, the “national debt increased $4.9 trillion during the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush . . . [and] is rising at a pace to surpass that amount during Mr. Obama’s four-year term.“*)

Given the challenges we face, a smart Republican would instead of following the president’s example of offering half-measures, take heed to Paul Ryan and offer a real plan for reform:

In other words, a bold reform agenda is our moral obligation. We have an obligation to provide the American people with a clear path that gets our country back on track. (more…)

Scott Walker: progressive reformer

Charles Lane penned a great column on the Gipper’s birthday about a reformist in the traditional of Ronald Reagan.  The former editor of the center-left New Republic observed that “The threat to such progressive goals as majority rule, transparent government, a vibrant public sector and equality comes from public-sector unionism“:

Of course, collective bargaining in the public sector is inherently contrary to majority rule. It transfers basic public-policy decisions — namely, the pay and working conditions that taxpayers will offer those who work for them — out of the public square and behind closed doors. Progressive Wisconsin has a robust “open meetings” law covering a wide range of government gatherings except — you guessed it — collective bargaining with municipal or state employees. So much for transparency.

Even worse, to the extent that unions bankroll the campaigns of the officials with whom they will be negotiating — and they often do — they sit on both sides of the table.

Indeed.  And the left-of-center pundit commends Wisconsin’s Republican governor for taking on such unions.  Read the whole thing!

Christie nominates gay Republican to NJ Supreme Court

Kudos, Governor:

Gov. Chris Christie today nominated an openly gay African-American Republican mayor and an assistant state attorney general to the state’s highest court.

Christie nominated Phil Kwon, who worked under Christie when he was U.S. attorney, and Bruce Harris, who was elected mayor of Chatham Borough in November. Kwon, of Bergen County, would be the first Asian-American to sit on the state Supreme Court.

. . . .

Harris graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College, and with honors from Boston University Graduate School of Management. He earned a law degree from Yale. In addition to serving as mayor of Chatham, he most recently worked at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig and previously at Riker, Danzi, Scherer, Hyland and Perretti.

Impressive that Harris overcame the obstacles of an inferior undergraduate education to achieve what he has.

So did I, Laura, so did I

Laura Bush wanted Jeb to run in 2012:

Sarasota H-T: Former first lady Laura Bush wishes there were one more candidate in the Republican presidential primary: Jeb Bush.

Speaking to a sold-out Sarasota audience on Wednesday, Bush said she had hoped that her brother-in-law and former Florida governor would have jumped into the race this year.

H/t:  HotAir

Let’s run with Jeb away from the straight line of the statists!

Yesterday and today, the conservatives blogosphere has been abuzz about an op-ed a successful former governor of a large swing state penned in the Wall Street Journal.  In the Washington Examiner, noting Republican “unhappiness” with presidential field, Byron York wrote that “there is new speculation focusing on [Jeb] Bush after the former Florida governor turned heads [with his] a campaign-like economic manifesto headlined ‘Capitalism and the Right to Rise.’

Rush Limbaugh, York reports, loved the piece, quipping that he could have written it himself.

Although Jeb Bush e-mailed Karl Rove saying that he’s not running, Jim Geraghty writes that “among those who thought it was too late for anybody to jump in, but . . . boy, what made Jeb Bush decide to write an op-ed like that for the Journal? He has to know that lots of people will interpret that as a trial balloon for a presidential bid . . .

Rush is right to praise the editorial.  It’s a nice succinct case for capitalism.  Jeb understands rights.  He understands freedom:

We talk about the right to free speech, the right to bear arms, the right to assembly. The right to rise doesn’t seem like something we should have to protect.

But we do. We have to make it easier for people to do the things that allow them to rise. We have to let them compete. We need to let people fight for business. We need to let people take risks. We need to let people fail. We need to let people suffer the consequences of bad decisions. And we need to let people enjoy the fruits of good decisions, even good luck.

That is what economic freedom looks like. Freedom to succeed as well as to fail, freedom to do something or nothing. People understand this. Freedom of speech, for example, means that we put up with a lot of verbal and visual garbage in order to make sure that individuals have the right to say what needs to be said, even when it is inconvenient or unpopular. We forgive the sacrifices of free speech because we value its blessings.

But when it comes to economic freedom, we are less forgiving of the cycles of growth and loss, of trial and error, and of failure and success that are part of the realities of the marketplace and life itself. (more…)

New Mexicans Love Nation’s First Latina Governor

As she closes out her first year in office, Susana Martinez, the first female governor of the Land of Enchantment enjoys sky-high approval ratings, earning “a 65 percent job approval rating from the people of” her state, up from an initial rating just nine months ago.

This according to a Public Opinion Strategies poll which had Martinez leading Diane Denish 50% to 42% justt before the November 2010 election — within one point of the final result. Independents approve of this free-market loving woman by an over 2-to-1 margin (62/39).

She’s even above water among Democrats 49/44. Oh yea, Governor Martinez is a Republican.

UPDATE:   Forget to mention that the Democratic Whip in the state’s House of Representatives called this proud American woman “the Mexican.

The Republican Governor of New Jersey Explains #OWS

Caught this first on Powerline, then on Gateway Pundit. The man who defeated the man heralded by Joe Biden as an economic advisor to the Obama administration at the ballot box in a state Obama won by 15 points lays it out:

Note how all the #OWS folks just repeat their leader.  (Wonder what that says about them).  Christie just laughs at these folks, mocking their anger.

Kudos, Governor!

$15 trillion in debt — and still no Obama debt reduction plan?

The ABCNews article on the national debt hitting $15 billion focused on Democratic claims of Republican intransigence in debt negotiations, and all but ignored the government’s appetite for spending, an appetite which has grown significantly, first, under the Democratic Congress during the last two years of George W. Bush’s second term and then, at an even greater pace when Democrat Barack Obama became president.

While ABC dwelt on the failure of the supercommittee to reach a consensus on reducing the deficits, Republicans meanwhile have focused on the superspending since Democrats gained power. Quoting from a “handy guide” that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office sent out, Jennifer Rubin notes some debt milestones:

  • $8.67 trillion: Democrats take control of Congress, January 2007
  • $10.62 trillion: President Obama’s Inaugural, January 20, 2009
  • $10.789 trillion: Stimulus bill signed into law, February 17, 2009
  • $12.351 trillion: President’s weekly address on the merits of “pay as you go,” February 13, 2010
  • $14.305 trillion: President’s weekly address where he said “I believe we can live within our means,” April 16, 2011

She also provides a video that the fetching chairman of the House Budget Committee prepared:

RELATED (also from Jennifer Rubin):

Supercommittee member Rep. Jeb Hensarling or member Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.):“I’m still waiting for a new offer to be put on the table.. . . Should that offer come, I am more than happy to negotiate around that offer.”

Will Harry Reid act on bipartisan plan for job growth?

Even though Republicans control only one chamber of our bicameral federal legislature, Democrats have been blaming the “Republican Congress” for all manner of ills, including the failure to slow the rise of the oceans.  Problem is is that while the Republican House passed a budget in its first 102 days, it has been 932 days since the Democratic Senate has passed a similar spending plan.

And although some Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media accuse Republicans alternatively of trying to sabotage the recovery or engaging in economic vandalism, the Republican House has passed several measures to spur job growth that the Democratic Senate has yet to take up–not to mention the numerous bills that Republicans in each chambers have introduced.

The latest Republican to so act has teamed up with a Democrat in hopes of winning support from that latter’s party leadership, you know, the guys who run the Senate, as Ed Morrissey reports:

On its face, the bill crafted by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chris Coons (D-DE) looks modest enough.  The aptly-named AGREE (American Growth, Recovery, Empowerment, and Entrepreneurship) Act takes parts of job-growth proposals from both sides of the aisle with wide bipartisan support and rolls them into one proposal.  The two eliminated those components that create controversy, so that this Congress can act at least incrementally to improve the economic climate for job creators while larger reform efforts collide on Capitol Hill.

“Rubio and Coons,” Morrissey observes, “have basically challenged Harry Reid to get something accomplished — and that runs headlong into Barack Obama’s election strategy.”  In his “column for The Fiscal Times,” the CPAC blogger of 2010 writes “that the entire notion of a do-nothing Congress is Obama’s best re-election argument”: (more…)