Archive for January, 2010

Miss Me Yet?

Have They Had Enough in Boston?

That is the stupidest thing I’ve been asked in a long time. That is insane, the suggestion could only come from a demented right wing source,” erupted Representative Barney Frank (D – MA), when asked by The Washington Times about what he thought of assertions that Massachusetts Democrats would stall the certification process should Mr. Brown win. “There isn’t the slightest possibility of it happening—a way of doing it. That is conspiracy theory at its most contemptible.”

Demented right wing source? Try the AP:

BOSTON (AP) – Massachusetts’s top election official says it could take weeks to certify the results of the upcoming U.S. Senate special election. That delay could let President Barack Obama preserve a key 60th vote for his health care overhaul even if the Republican who has vowed to kill it wins Democrat Edward M. Kennedy’s former seat.

 A Reid’s spokeswomen said that:

“When there is a certified winner in Massachusetts, the Senate has received appropriate papers and the vice president is available, the successor to Kennedy/Kirk will be sworn in,”

Hmmmmmmm, some wiggle room maybe for a delay?

What is interesting about Massachusetts is the sheer magnitude of what Scott Brown is doing. Only 16% of the Massachusetts delegate is registered as Republican, at least double that is registered Dem, but there are only about a dozen Republicans in public office in the state writ large! All of Massechusett’s national political positions are Dem, and the potential of the Senate seat formally occupied by Ted Kennedy going to a Dem probably has ole Teddy spinning in his grave.

Scott Brown has certainly hit a sympathetic nerve by pointing out that the Senate seat belongs to the people, not Ted Kennedy. His Dem opponent (Martha Coakley)- and the party writ large- have certainly been caught off guard by this challenge, thinking that this was essentially a shoe in for the Dems. This apparent miscalculation is born out in Coakley’s resort to rather questionable tactics, to include roughing up inconvenient reporters.

Coakley Watches

Coakley went on to say, about this event, that she wasn’t in a position to see what happened. Hmmmmmm, couldn’t see eh? I wonder if she could see Michael Meehan push, help up, and subsequently block the reporter?

Meehan, who’s Meehan? Well, according to SourceWatch.com, he is:

Michael Meehan is president of BGR Public Relations, and vice president of the firm’s parent company, BGR Holding LLC. BGR Holding is the new name for the lobbying firm formerly known as Barbour Griffith and Rogers. [1]

Meehan previously served as chief of staff to Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and communications adviser to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). [2] In April 2004, then-Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry hired Meehan. He had “worked for Kerry almost two decades ago and is one of a handful of longtime Kerry associates on the campaign staff. He also was Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle‘s (D-S.D.) political director.” [3]

The Associated Press reported earlier this week that Meehan had been dispatched by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to help the Coakley campaign hone its message. So, he’s a hit man, literally.

Again, as a political watcher, this has hours of entertainment. We have every reason and expectation to believe that the Dems will, in the event of a Brown victory, delay the seating in the Senate. Expect- regardless of the margin of victory, but particularly if it is close- that the Dems will challenge the results in court and further delay Brown’s seating.

ABC News’ Rick Klein may have said it best:

Did Republicans already win in Massachusetts?

Not next Tuesday’s Senate election itself, of course — few observers really think that’s winnable even now, no matter how toxic the environment for Democrats these days.

But the fact that this is a race at all — or, at least, the fact that it’s being treated like a race over the final week — is itself a victory that tells important tales for both parties. A narrative for 2010 didn’t have to wait beyond the first month of the year to get written.

The pieces are there: the Kennedy seat, the fate of the health care bill, Tea Party fervor, an anti-establishment Republican, a Democrat clinging to a lead in the bluest of states.

Democrats are being forced to spend very real resources in a place they should not, by any calculation, have to worry about it. They’re being met by resources (perhaps a more renewable variety at this stage) that Republicans never dreamed would be worth spending.

And they’re being forced to combat the very real perception that if it can happen in the Hub, it can happen in Arkansas or Nevada or Virginia, too.

For a lot of Dems, Hell may have finally frozen over…

Obama: A Political Cubic Zirconia…

Some interesting numbers have come out today talking about the people’s approval of Obama’s first year.

CNN Poll: Obama a failure so far, plurality says

By: David Freddoso

01/12/10 2:30 PM EST

On the heels of the earlier CBS poll, a new CNN poll finds that a slight plurality of Americans believe Obama’s presidency has been a failure so far.

Forty-eight percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say Obama’s presidency has been a failure so far, with 47 percent saying Obama has been a success. The poll’s January 12 release comes just 8 days before Obama marks one year in the White House.

Obama’s lowest marks come on the budget deficit (62 percent disapprove), health care (59 percent disapprove) and the economy (54 percent disapprove). Obama gets his best mark on his handling of Iraq War, of which 53 percent of respondents approved, and his foreign policy in general, of which 51 percent approved.

One thing to bear in mind: the numbers are probably kind to the president, because this poll sampled U.S. adults instead of registered or likely voters.
Read more at the Washington Examiner.

So, how did we get here?

A good place to start would be the state of the economy. Unemployment is currently at 10%, even though we were told by Obama that if we passed the stimulus bill, unemployment wouldn’t exceed 8%. And even the 10% figure isn’t accurate.

The official rate of 10%, used by the government, is the total unemployment as a percentage of the civilian labor force, known as U3 by the Bureau of Labor statistics. However, if you use the U6 numbers, which is the total of unemployed workers, part time workers and those who want work but quit looking, as a percent of the civilian labor force, is 17.3%. The only reason the unemployment rate did not increase for December was that a large number of people quit looking for work, essentially decreasing the population in the labor force.

Stimulus versus Unemployment

And what about that stimulus bill?

Obama promised, and claimed, that the Stimulus bill was pork free and the antidote to the flailing and failing economy. Well actually, what he said was that earmarks would not be allowed in the stimulus bill. And there are no earmarks to the bill. No, no, in a much more devious manner, the Dems wrote their pork directly into the discretionary spending itself, thus giving themselves the cover to say ‘no earmarks’ while piling on the ‘pork’.

Elements of the Stimulus Bill

Which brings us to deficit spending.

Fifty-six percent of people questioned in a CNBC survey released Friday morning say President Barack Obama and Congress should worrry more about keeping the budget deficit down even if that means delaying the economic recovery. That’s 23 points higher than the 33 percent who feel boosting the economy should be the top priority, even if that means larger deficits now and in the future.

A look at Obama’s spending, as compared to past administrations is rather dramatic.

Deficits by Administration

So what does this mean as we examine a year of Obama?

In early December, a poll found that just 50% prefer Obama to Bush, with 44% preferring Bush.

As Politico states, considering the horrendous numbers of Bush at the end of his administration, having just a 6% gap does not bode well for Obama, especially since his argument for pretty much everything at this point is to blame Bush.

Well, this spring, Rasmussen, USA Today/Gallup and Battleground all had Dems leading the generic ballot by 5%, 10% and 9% respectively. Rasmussen, USA Today/Gallup and Battleground show generic ballot polling at 9% GOP, 3% Dem and 1% GOP respectively as well as Bloomberg polling the GOP at 4%. Considering the losses of the GOP in 2008 and the complete disheartened state of both the GOP and Conservatives in general, this is a rather dramatic turnaround.

Going beyond generic polling, the specifics are even more interesting.

Case in point is the off season elections for governor in Virginia and New Jersey, where the GOP won big in Virginia (double digits) and won New Jersey- a very blue state- by 4 points.

Especially interesting to political watchers is the upcoming Massachusetts’ special election for Kennedy’s senate seat, which is now in play for the GOP. The GOP, such a minority in Massachusetts that they probably warrant protection status, is on the verge of doing what no one thought possible.  

The Dems are the victims of catastrophic success. Their total control of Washington with no fear of GOP checks, made them complacent to the responsibilities that the American people tied to the 2008 elections.

More to the point, the Dems- specifically Obama, Reid and Pelosi- completely misread the dynamics and context of 2008. The American people were financially terrified, extremely disgruntled with the status quo, and completely caught up in the campaign rhetoric of Obama. From where they sat, Obama could possibly be worse. Well, they’ve changed their minds, and Obama helped them do it.

His complete lack of focus on the economy, specifically through job creation, didn’t help. The stimulus is generally regarded now by the people and most experts to have been a failure. The Congresses irresponsible spending, in the face of American households being forced to cut way back, reeked of a political class completely out of touch and tone deaf to the needs of the nation.

Couple this with the pursuit by both the administration and Congress of healthcare reform and Cap & Trade- both seen as not being priorities right now- further inflamed a populace suffering buyers remorse.

Obama’s broken promises, whether in government transparency or no increase taxes, ring even more hollow.

For the Dems, the toll is coming due, and it’ll be a vicious bill. For the GOP, they must learn from this and not fall victim to the Dems same mistakes. Catastrophic success has no party bias. 

Getting What We Ask For…

Terror Suspect Lawyer Asks for Dismissal

January 11, 2010

A federal judge in Manhattan was asked on Monday to dismiss an indictment against a terror suspect whose lawyer argued that his nearly five-year detention in secret C.I.A. prisons and later at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was “perhaps the most egregious violation in the history of speedy-trial jurisprudence.”

The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan of United States District Court, listened as a lawyer for the suspect, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, indicated that he was not challenging the government’s authority to decide to detain his client or the wisdom of that decision. The government held Mr. Ghailani to try to obtain intelligence about Al Qaeda.

But the government “cannot have it both ways,” said the lawyer, Peter E. Quijano.

Once these decisions are made, he added, “they can’t just simply change their mind, their political mind, 57 months later, and say, ‘You know, that indictment before Judge Kaplan? Let’s try it now.’ ”

As reprehensible as it is, the man has a point, which is why it is ever so important to be clear on this: are we fighting a war, or are we fighting crime?

The implications could not be greater?

Soldiers and Marines on the battlefield already have enough to be occupied with dealing with an extremely complicated R.O.E., or Rules of Engagement, which dictate how and when they apply escalating force.  Now, they’ve got to ponder, ‘do I need to Mirandize this guy?’

Case in point, Umar Faruk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas day underwear bomber. Abdulmutallab was talking immediately after being detained, saying that there were more like him coming, then he put into the U.S. legal system, where he was given a lawyer and immediately shut up. He has now pleaded not guilty and is being referred to as the alleged Christmas day bomber now. Word on who and when these other bombers were is not immediately known. Surprise, surprise…

Ghailani’s motion to dismiss is clearly a test case for the rest of the former GITMO detainees who have now been granted OUR Constitutional rights. Prisoners of War have always been treated differently, for a reason. We don’t even have a consistent application of standards to who inside GITMO gets a federal trial versus a military trial.

And frankly, Quijano has a point. These guys were detained under the premise that they were enemy combatants- not legal defendents- and the applicable for each are very different. His point that you cannot change horses midstream holds water. THe combatent or defendent, or whatever the hell you want to call him, should have an expectation to one or the other. Not both, or neither.

This is but yet another element of truth that shows how naieve the Administration is in making this policy decision.

America Rising

The Conservative Ascendency Continues…

As I mentioned before in a previous post, Conservatives continue to be the dominant political group in the country.

Conservatives Finish 2009 as No. 1 Ideological Group

Uptick owing largely to more independents calling themselves conservative

by Lydia Saad

PRINCETON, NJ — The increased conservatism that Gallup first identified among Americans last June persisted throughout the year, so that the final year-end political ideology figures confirm Gallup’s initial reporting: conservatives (40%) outnumbered both moderates (36%) and liberals (21%) across the nation in 2009.

More broadly, the percentage of Americans calling themselves either conservative or liberal has increased over the last decade, while the percentage of moderates has declined.

What is of particular interest in this poll is the political identification of the Demacrat party, which has become more liberal over the last decade.

Begging now an interesting question, if the Dems are more and more liberal, and if the nation is more and more Conservative, then A) how did we get the current one-party catastrophe we currentlt enjoy, and B) what can we expect at the mid-term elections?

The perfect storm that was 2008- worst run GOP campaign I can remember; catastrophic economic damage towards the end of the campaign; and a political candidate that not only received disproportionate coverage, but literally had the media covering up  contentious issues. Simultaneously, you had an incumbent administration that was weak, beleaguered, and generally not well liked (which is even more interesting in that now the current administration is only barely more popular than the old administration!).

But the more important question is the future, and frankly it is not looking good for the Dems. Great for the country, bad for the Dems, which is an interesting dichotomy that has been relatively true for the last decade or so, what’s good for the Dems tends to be bad for America, and vice versa, but I digress.

Generic ballots are trending towards the GOP, some as high as 9 points. Party identification is also starting to shift towards the GOP. We can thank Obama and the Democrat controlled Congress for this shift.

The agenda of this administration is beginning to take its toll. Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd have anounced retirement because their support for this administration has severely damaged any chance of their reelection. The numbers for other Dems, like Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, are also polling badly. There is talk of the GOP potentially taking both chambers in COngress in the mid-term. While this may be a bit wishful thinking at this point, considering the dire straits the GOP was in just a year ago, well, anything can happen.

Ultimately though, the key for politicans and pundits on both side of the political isle to understand is that this country is a Conservative nation.

A More Deliberate Lie Has Never Been Told…

“Of course, nobody can see the managers’ amendment. It is composed of over 40 amendments. How could anyone vote for a piece of legislation such as that — a managers’ amendment with 42 separate amendments?

Now, these amendments were not put in in a conference committee. People complain about that. But at least in a conference committee, you have people working together, sticking things in. Sometimes Democrats complain and sometimes Republicans complain — whoever is in the minority here. Well, we didn’t get enough consultation; you cut us out of the process. But at least you had a group of Democrats and Republicans in the process. Here, you have one person making a decision as to what is going to be in the managers’ amendment. There is no way to know what is in it. How could anyone say: ‘OK’? You have taken care of me, but I don’t want to see the other 40 amendments — -because with this legislation, similar to all legislation, you put something in one spot, and you have to take something out someplace else.” – Harry Reid (D)- NV, 2006 discussing legislation not going to conference on asbestos.

Hmmmmmmmmm, asbestos. Yet here we have the Dems, under the leadership of Reid doing exactly what he decried in ’06 on legislation that will effect the lives of EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN and will place 1/6th of the US economy under government control.

Then you have House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) defending Congress’ work on healthcare legislation saying the process has displayed historic transparency. “There has never been a more open process for any legislation,” Pelosi said at a press conference.

Never has this country witnessed a more deliberate fraud being executed against the American people than watching this Congress in action. Truly disgusting and insulting…