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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…)

Nearly one-third of voters want to know more about Romney

To win them, he should talk more regularly about the jobs he helped created while at Bain and articulate the policies he plans to implement as president to foster similar job creation.*

In one of the best pieces on what Romney needs to do as the campaign heats up, Sean Trende caught something in “the latest Pew poll“* similar to an item I caught in the NBC/WSJ survey:

by a 90 percent to 8 percent margin, registered voters say that they already pretty much know what they need to know about President Obama.

Second, by a 69 percent to 28 percent margin, these voters say that they already pretty much know what they need to know about Romney. In other words, three times as many voters are still evaluating the presumptive GOP nominee as are evaluating the president.

Third, among independents — who are almost certainly the lion’s share of those who have not yet formed a strong opinion of Romney — 42 percent say they want to know more about his record as governor, 37 percent want to know more about his record as CEO of Bain Capital, and 35 percent want to know more about his tax returns.

(Via Powerline picks)  Emphasis added.  He found that 28 percent of voters still want to know more about Mr. Romney.  Earlier today, digging into the NBC/WSJ poll, I observed that “Romney’s favorable/unfavorable underwater at 35/40 means than one-quarter of Americans still haven’t made up their minds about the presumptive Republican nominees.”  He still has a chance to sway these folks.

And no wonder the Obama team is trying to define and destroy the presumptive Republican nominee.  They want to provide a negative image of Mr. Romney’s record to that chunk of the electorate still wanting to know more about him.

Trende thinks (and I agree) that Romney needs go positive, detailing his accomplishments in the private sector and putting forward his plans for political reform and economic recovery. (more…)

Poll: majority believe Obama has changed country for the worse
Numbers show Unemployment Rate Drops in states with GOP gov

“A new poll for The Hill”, reports Sheldon Alberts in that journal, “found 56 percent of likely voters believe Obama’s first term has transformed the nation in a negative way, compared to 35 percent who believe the country has changed for the better under his leadership.

Meanwhile “every single one” of the 17 states elected new Republican governors in November 2010 . . .

. . . has seen its unemployment rate decline since January 2011. Three of them have had unemployment drop by more than 2% (Michigan, Florida, and Nevada). The average drop in the unemployment rate in these states was 1.35%. For a comparison, in January 2011 the U.S. national unemployment rate stood at 9.1%. It is currently 8.2%, meaning that the national unemployment rate has declined by just 0.9% since then. Based on these percentages, it can be said that the job market in states with new Republican governors is improving a full 50% faster than the job market nationally.

By contrast, the “average drop in the unemployment rate in” states which elected a new Democratic governor “0.95%, approximately the same as the drop seen nationally.”  (H/t Weasel Zippers via a formerly left-leaning lesbian reader’s Facebook page.)

Wonder how much many more jobs would have been created had the president, through his big-government policies, not changed the nation for the worse.  Mr. Romney would do well to highlight some of the Republican executives’ successful policies to better contrast them with the president’s failed agenda.

With just such a contrast, the presumptive Republican nominee can help make the elecction “a referendum on the incumbent” — and his policies.  If it is just such a referendum, as Ed Morrissey writes, looking at the Hill poll, “as re-election efforts almost always are — then Obama’s going to need to keep that champagne on ice permanently.

Romney needs make clear his plan for economic growth

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:45 am - July 9, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Economy,Real Reform

On FoxNews Sunday yesterday, Bill Kristol pointed to a poll which showed why Mitt Romney is lagging in the polls despite the sour economy:

“I think the Fox News poll actually has the key to what the problem is for the Mitt Romney campaign. Do you think Barack Obama has a clear plan for improving the economy or not? Yes, 41; no 53. It’s not great for an incumbent president. The economy is slow. And you are only at 41-53,” said Kristol.

“Do you think his challenger, Gov. Romney, has a clear plan for improving the economy or not? Yes, 27; No, 55,” he continued.

“I don’t think you can beat an incumbent president, even if the economy is slow, if 27 percent of the voters think you as the challenger don’t have a clear plan for improving the economy,” Kristol said.

Although Kristol tends to be a Gloomy Gus. He’s on to something here. So, just read the whole thing.

Given how close the polls are — and how high are Mr. Obama’s negatives, Romney could vault into the lead with a good one-two punch, one, fire back against the Democrat’s dishonest TV ads and two, make clear his plan for improving the economy and spell it out repeatedly at campaign stop and in TV spots.

Americans are far more familiar with Mr. Obama than they are with Mr. Romney, making it much harder for the Democrat to move his numbers.  If voters don’t think the president, after three-and-one-half years in office has a plan on the economy, there’s little he can do in the next four months to convince them he does.

Romney, however, remains unfamiliar to most voters, particularly those who have yet to tune in to the campaign.

With just over one-quarter of voters believing Romney has a clear plan for improving the economy, it’s amazing he’s running as well as he is when the economy top voters’ concerns.  Imagine how much better his numbers would be if just 40 percent of Americans thought he had a clear plan. (more…)

Federal debt set to double; only one* candidate seems concerned

Earlier today, a college classmate asked me on Facebook to make the case for Mitt Romney. Among the arguments I made was that spending has skyrocketed under the incumbent president. And that same incumbent has put forward no plans to address the coming insolvency of federal entitlements.

Now comes a reports showing just how grim the picture is for our national debt, largely due to the burgeoning costs of those entitlements:

U.S. debt is on track to be nearly twice the size of the U.S. economy by 2037, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warned Tuesday.

The new CBO report states that increased entitlement spending driven by the retirement of the baby boomers and insufficient revenue is making the long-term outlook for the national debt increasingly dire.

Sifting through the CBO report, James Pethokoukis highlights its “7 scariest facts“:

The aging of the population and the rising cost of healthcare would cause spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to grow from more than 10% of GDP today to almost 16% of GDP 25 years from now, equivalent to about $850 billion today. (By comparison, CBO says, spending on all of the federal government’s programs and activities, excluding net outlays for interest, has averaged about 18.5 percent of GDP over the past 40 years.)

To address this, the National Review’s Yuval Levin contends that

Medicare spending growth must be restrained, and it can be restrained in a way that drives innovation and efficiency and continues to provide guaranteed comprehensive coverage to seniors. Paul Ryan has shown us how, and the CBO today shows us why. (more…)

Thinking outside box not welcome in political realm

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 11:23 am - May 26, 2012.
Filed under: Blogress Divas,Real Reform

Ann Althouse linked this earlier today:

Thinking outside the box may solve problems in the real world. But in the political realm, creative noodling will get you cast into the outer darkness. No matter which way you lean, The Machinery requires cogs, not cognizance.

She was talking about Democrats taking Cory Booker, but it relates well to a post on gay marriage/civil unions that I intend to write in the near future.

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.

Obama’s continues to support Washington’s sclerotic status quo

On Saturday, Michael Barone linked a Weekly Standard piece by Yuval Levin which he described as a “must read”, adding that “the Romney campaign should definitely read the whole thing, and act on it.” Having read the lengthy essay, I agree.

Yuval offers a sound means for Romney to approach the issues facing the country in the current campaign and to advocate for real reform (some might call it to put forward his hopes for change).

And Levin offers a sharp critique of the incumbent’s sustained support for Washington’s sclerotic status quo:

His express objectives are to protect our existing entitlement system from structural reforms, to increase the tax burden on investment and employment, to further empower and liberate regulators, and to bring more of our economy into the public sector. His economic policy is unimaginative in the extreme—combining early-20th-century social democratic theory with mid-20th-century pork barrel politics. His answer to the government’s fiscal woes is to squeeze the military and the taxpayer to buy a few more years of denial. In every respect, he stands for stagnation and stasis, for defensive consolidation rather than aggressive growth. He thinks the best we can do is to manage decline.

Simply put, President Obama has no interest in a new way of thinking about America’s prospects, and therefore essentially nothing to offer to assuage the public’s growing anxiety. All he can do is try to direct that anxiety away from himself. He is at best irrelevant, at worst a great impediment, to the effort to keep America growing in the new economic order we are entering.

Like Barone, I urge you to read the whole thing.

Why do some refuse to acknowledge Sarah Palin’s accomplishments?

May build on this post later.  Was just at a brunch where a very intelligent man refused to accept that Sarah Palin had a record of accomplishment as Governor of Alaska.  Why is it that some Democrats (and a few Republicans) refuse to acknowledge — or even familiarize themselves with this woman’s record?

Is it because she is a woman?

I mean, when John McCain tapped her as his running mate, she enjoyed a 75% approval rating . . . among Alaska Democrats.  When Katie Couric interviewed the then-Republican Vice-Presidential nominee, the CBS News anchor didn’t once ask her interlocutor about her record.  Or what she had done to win support among Democrats as well as Republicans.

Do these folks just assume that a woman can’t stand up to a corrupt political establishment and effect real reforms?

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?

Behind closed doors, Romney reveals real reforms

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 10:30 am - April 16, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Real Reform

A lot of bloggers (mostly on the left) are buzzing about an MSNBC report of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s remarks at a “closed-door fundraiser . . . Sunday evening” where the former Massachusetts governor “offered some of the most specific details to date about the policies he would pursue if elected.”

Unlike remarks the presumptive Democratic nominee made four years ago at a similar closed-door fundraiser, Romney’s comments hardly present the image of an elitist politician looking down on American citizens not drawn to his campaign.  Instead, they reveal a conservative reformer, eager to eliminate excessive bureaucracy and to promote federalism:

“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

Asked about the fate of the Department of Education in a potential Romney administration, the former governor suggested it would also face a dramatic restructuring. (more…)

To make winning argument on health care,
Romney needs focus on replacing Obamacare–as well as on repeal

A number of conservatives, including yours truly, have been wary about backing Mitt Romney because of the health care reforms he signed as Governor of Massachusetts, i.e., Romneycare.  And although he has repeatedly (and explicitly) said that if elected, he would repeal Obamacare, some on the right remain unconvinced.

His campaign has even touted his commitment to repeal as this telling image from the Los Angeles Times indicates:

Note the shadow of the candidate on the sign, hence, the use of the adjective “telling” above to describe the image. Take a look at the sign the campaign produced; it doesn’t just include repeal, it also promise to “replace”.  And focusing on that replacement is key for Romney to turn popular opposition to the president’s health care overhaul to his advantage — even if the Supreme Court overturns the president’s signature initiative.

Topping Jennifer Rubin’s list of the 10 things Romney “needs to do . . .in order to position himself for the final sprint to November” is developing . . .

. . . a health-care plan to replace Obamacare. Whatever the Supreme Court does, Romney should be the one with a constitutional, free-market-based health-care plan. Then he can put the spotlight on President Obama: Is he going to use the post-election “flexibility” to implement a single-payer plan?

Such a plan would help him better appeal to conservatives, showing that he advocates conservative reforms.  And it would help him appeal to independent voters as well who, even before the passage of Obamacare, believed our health care system needed reform, ifnot the overhaul Democrats favored.

Here, Rubin considers some of the ideas conservatives have been considering.  Romney will improve his standing with conservatives as well as with wavering independents if he spells out the kind of reforms he favors to replace Obamacare.

Obama running for reelection on a “stand pat program”

Whatever happened to hope and change?

Writing about the president’s speech on Tuesday, Walter Russell Mead found that the president, in attacking the Ryan budget, is defending the status quo:

The Republican budget may or may not be the way forward, and there is doubtless much to criticize within it. Yet Obama’s response hardly advances the debate, reading as it does like a laundry-list of blue dream ideas that have dominated Democratic thinking for decades. Rather than proposing an alternative model for the future to compete with the GOP’s, the President appears content to run on what is essentially a stand pat program: the only thing wrong with the blue social model is that it is underfunded.

. . . .

And he remains a distinctly darker shade of blue than the “New Democrats” of the 1990s for whom reform was more important than shoring up the old ways of life. Yet it remains interesting to see that even President Obama has (particularly on educational issues) been forced by reality in the direction of reform. Beyond the public sector union movement, where all anybody can think about is how to get more funds to shovel into the machine, even the staunchest defenders of the blue social model must these days pay some attention to the need for results.

Via Instapundit.  No wonder Obama in 2012 is “a brand in search of a slogan” (also via Instapundit).  Guess that means that Republicans are now the party of change?  Running on reform alone, Mead writes further, won’t be enough for Republicans to win in November:

His opponents will have to make the contrary cases: that the need for reform is urgent, and that the reforms they have in mind are well thought out, no harsher or rasher than they need to be, and likely to achieve key goals of blue programs (like helping the poor, educating the young, caring for the old and the sick) but in a more sustainable way. (more…)

In the current crisis, Santorum would be a lousy nominee

In my early morning (GayPatriot blog time) post on civility, I mentioned a conversation I had last night with a fellow alum of America’s finest liberal arts college about my opposition to Barack Obama’s reelection.  I focused my arguments on the incumbent’s big-spending ways and his regulatory policies.  He has neither a plan, I reminded my interlocutor, to deal with the skyrocketing federal debt nor the coming insolvency of federal entitlements.

As this wavering Obama supporter acknowledged my points, he expressed concern about a Republican Party obsessed with social issues, particularly contraception.  I replied that it wasn’t the candidates so much who focused on social issues, but the legacy media which focused on statements one candidate had made.

I then brought up the ABC/Yahoo/WMUR January debate in New Hampshire when former Bill Clinton advisor, now ABC News anchor, George Stephanopolous brought up the topic of contraception; I encouraged my friend to read what the likely Republican presidential nominee had said in that forum.

Discussing that debate, I expressed relief at Rick Santorum’s loss earlier this week in Illinois because that former Pennsylvania Senator, in the words of Erick Erickson (a blogger quite sympathetic to the concerns of social conservatives), like “Dug the dog in Up getting distracted by every random squirrel, Rick Santorum loses all ability to focus when social issues come up.”  With the Senator as the nominee, we would have a more difficult time defending our party as one focused on restoring fiscal sanity.

With Romney as the nominee, however, it will be a lot easier to make the case for change to intelligent urban- and suburbanites aware of the incumbent’s fiscal failures.

As a reminder, below the jump, I provide Romney’s response to Stephanopoulos’s question about contraception.  He doesn’t say anything that would offend social moderates — or sensible social liberals — concerned about our nation’s economic wellbeing: (more…)

On the failure of the legacy media to investigate Palin’s gubernatorial record as it failed to look into Obama’s campaign self-promotion

If, back in 2008, our legacy media had taken the time to look into Sarah Palin’s actual record in Alaska politics, three names of corrupt politicians would forever be associated with her, Frank Murkowski, Greg Renkes and Randy Ruedrich.  And the reason we would associate their names with hers was not because she turned a blind eye to their double-dealing, but because she exposed it.

She stood up against corruption in her own party.  Each of those men is a Republican.  As she put it in her post yesterday on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government:

Barack Obama and I both served in political office in states with a serious corruption problem. Though there is a big difference between serving as the CEO of a city, then a state, and regulating domestic energy resources, and being a liberal Community Organizer, bear with me on the comparison. The difference between my record and Barack Obama’s is that I fought the corrupt political machine my entire career (and I have twenty years of scars to prove it) on the local, state, and national level. But Obama didn’t fight the corruption he encountered. He went along with it to advance his career.

Read the whole thing.

And yet our friends in the legacy media bought into the claim that that career Chicago poll was some new kind of politician.  They neither asked nor looked for any evidence to buttress his claims.

Sarah Palin, by contrast, had a real record of reform.  It’s just that some journalists thought her tanning bed of greater interest.

But, we’ve been through this before.  That said, it serves as an important reminder about necessary battlefield preparation for the coming presidential contest.

NB:  Tweaked the title to make it less clunky

The specious notion of Obama’s bipartisanship

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:09 pm - February 16, 2012.
Filed under: Obamania,Real Reform

Of all the liberal notions about Barack Obama, perhaps the most specious is that of his bipartisanship.  When House Democrats crafted his “stimulus,” they didn’t consult with Republicans.  Indeed, when one Republican objected to some of its provisions, he rebuked him by saying simply, “I won.”

Earlier this week, Noam Scheiber articulated the liberal notion in a post at the New Republic’s blog, quoting Mark Schmitt, once of The American Prospect, who put it thusly:

[P]erhaps we are being too literal in believing that “hope” and bipartisanship are things that Obama naively believes are present and possible, when in fact they are a tactic…

One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith [conservative] opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows.

Is this guy kidding himself?  It’s members of this conservative opposition who are putting forward solutions to our nation’s problem, as per this post today on Hot Air about a proposal to reform Medicare authored by Republicans Sens. Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Richard Burr (N.C.):

Coburn said it best when he explained to The Washington Times why they decided to release the plan in an election year, when it’s unlikely to actually go anywhere: “All of us in Congress are running around fixing everything except our biggest problem. If you don’t start fixing Medicare, you can’t save it.”

If the president were truly interesting in seeking bipartisan solutions, he would call these two men to his office and talk to them about their proposal.  He and Coburn became friends while serving together in the Senate.  And he would have called Paul Ryan last year when he put forward a plan to reform Medicare as part of a budget proposal to scale back federal spending.

But, as Michael Barone reports, though he wondered if his aides had looked at the proposals, he didn’t make any effort to contact the Republican leader himself: (more…)

Does Obama have a plan to deal with bad Social Security news?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 2:05 pm - February 15, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election,Real Reform

Just caught this on AOL’s home page (edited by the left-leaning Huffington Post):

The bad news headline links this article: Social Security Is Failing Even Faster Than We Thought.  Read the whole thing.

I know that at least one of the presidential candidates has expressed concern for the popular program’s fiscal problems and has put forward some ideas for reform.  Has the president?

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!

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.”