Categories

Archive for the ‘Liberals’ Category

Twenty years ago, Paul Begala had a moment in the sun. He’s lived off that moment for the last 2 decades. It’s time to end the charade that he’s part of the mainstream of American politics. He isn’t. Begala’s latest temper tantrum is proof of that. Here’s a perfect example of Begala’s immoderation:

Today’s Republicans are different. They truly have put partisanship ahead of patriotism, as the political scientists Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann document in their book, Even Worse Than it Looks. “The GOP,” they write, “has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

Let’s explode this myth into tiny bits by asking Mr. Begala some pointed questions.

First, is it patriotic to put the vast majority of our oil, natural gas and coal offlimits? That’s what President Obama, his EPA and the militant environmentalists have done. The next question is simple: If putting America’s natural resources offlimits is patriotic, does that mean that higher gas prices, inflated grocery prices and expensive electric bills are patriotic?

Second, is it patriotic to compromise with people whose policies are driven by ideology (think cap and trade) or by the worst parts of crony capitalism (think Solyndra)?

Third, Mssrs. Ornstein and Mann said that the GOP is “unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science.” Would that be like the facts, evidence and science that were fudged by the leading voices of climate change? At minimum, the facts, evidence and science are questionable. At maximum, they’ve been utterly discredited by peer-reviewed scientists.

Fourth, is it patriotic to smear Sarah Palin simply for standing up for time-tested free market principles?

By comparison, Sen. Rockefeller isn’t supporting the use of coal ash in highways. It’s important that we remember that he’s the senior senator from West Virginia, a state that would be in poverty if not for the coal industry.

Is it patriotic or extreme to hate the driver of a state’s economy? I’d argue that a senator who won’t represent his state’s econommy isn’t being patriotic.

Finally, it’s important that we discredit the premise that TEA Party conservatives are extremists. That’s why I tried disproving that premise with my questions. TEA Party patriots only seem extreme if they’re viewed through the lens of someone who views the true mainstream of American politics from a distance.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

According to this WashPo article, President Obama’s base has crumbled:

The Post-ABC poll found that the number of liberal Democrats who strongly support Obama’s record on jobs plunged 22 points from 53 percent last year to 31 percent. The number of African Americans who believe the president’s actions have helped the economy has dropped from 77 percent in October to just over half of those surveyed.

Justin Ruben, executive director of the progressive MoveOn.org, said many people are frustrated by the bitter partisan battle over raising the debt ceiling that has consumed Washington, calling it a “bizarro parallel universe.” Another liberal group, Campaign for America’s Future, said it is planning a national protest Tuesday urging a speedy resolution over the national debt in order to refocus attention on unemployment.

“Many liberal Democrats are hoping that Obama can pivot from defending Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid to putting forward his own plans for creating jobs,” the group’s co-director Roger Hickey said.

I’d bet that I would’ve made a ton of money had I told people that President Obama’s support amongst liberals would plummet 22 points in a year. That it’s plumetted like that is astonishing to conservatives. I can’t imagine what it’s doing to David Axelrod’s stomach lining. (At least Maalox sales are up in the Chicago area, right?)

For months, liberals here in Minnesota have talked about the virtue of compromise. According to this gentleman, that isn’t a high priority:

“What I’ve realized is it doesn’t matter if you’re Republican or Democrat anymore,” said Joey Wakim, 21, a used car salesman from Allentown, Pa. “We just want somebody who’s gonna get things right.”

I’ve contended for quite awhile that people want policymakers who will get it right more than they want policymakers that compromise and don’t get the job done right. Mr. Wakim’s statement indicates that I’ve been right all along.
I’m not reflexively opposed to compromise as long as the other side has good ideas. Since President Obama’s inauguration, though, Democrats haven’t had many good ideas. Their stimulus bill didn’t create jobs. It prevented public employees from getting laid off but that isn’t what it was touted as doing.

Obamacare has been a disaster. Job creation and economic growth have been miniscule to nonexistent. This administration’s policies have been disastrous. Then-Speaker Pelosi’s and Senate Majority Leader Reid’s fingerprints are all over the past 2 years of failed economic policies.

Last November’s elections were a jolt to politicians, saying explicitly that they needed to cut spending first, then saying implicitly that they needed new politicians to get things right the first time so human suffering could be eliminated through private sector job creation.

It’s apparent that President Obama’s 2008 coalition doesn’t exist. Young people have all but totally abandoned him because he’s turned into politics as usual instead of being the transcendant figure he promised during the campaign.

This poll isn’t the only polling that this administration should be worried about. Yesterday, Rasmussen reported that 44% of people Strongly Disagree with the job President Obama is doing:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 23% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Forty-four percent (44%) Strongly Disapprove, giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21. That’s the highest level of Strong Disapproval since last November.

At this rate, the most interesting question I’ve got is when do vulnerable Democratic incumbents start splitting wholesale with His Highness. The only instinct greater to a politician than party loyalty is their fidelity to getting re-elected.

I’ll keep track of the polls the rest of this week to monitor the reaction to President Obama’s campaign speech to the nation last night. I’m betting his Gallup approval rating will drop as a result of last night’s speech.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

MN2020 has alot of ideas that are a fair amount outside the mainstream but their idea of affordable health care is totally warped:

Few pieces of legislation reflect conservative public policy sentiment quite as neatly as State Senator David Hann’s Health and Human Services Bill. It would strip $1.8 billion from affordable healthcare spending and eliminate care for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.

What Mr. Van Hecke describes as affordable, actuaries would call unsustainable. Increasing HHS spending by “$1.8 billion” equates to a 40+ percent spending increase for a single biennium. That might be sustainable for a small budget like veterans or agriculture but it isn’t for the fastest-growing budget item, especially when that item is the second biggest budget item in the state general fund budget.

Then Van Hecke misrepresents Sen. Hann:

Hann, R-Eden Prairie, proposes that low-income Minnesotans receive a modest state subsidy to facilitate enrollment in privately-provided health insurance. This action will require a federal health-care waiver for implementation. Instead of being part of a state-lead purchasing pool, negotiating for a group rate, Minnesota’s lowest income-earners would face the market only as an individual. That’s a little like buying a car by purchasing each individual piece separately.

Actually, Van Hecke is wrong about this part. I sought clarification on this from Rep. Steve Gottwalt because, as chairman of the House HHS Reform Committee and member of the House HHS Finance Committee, he easily qualifies as an expert on the subject. Here’s what Rep. Gottwalt said about Van Hecke’s statement about shoveling “low-income Minnesotans” into a high-priced plan for individuals:

The basic approach that Sen. Hann and I have promoted is to provide a straight subsidy to low income Minnesotans to purchase a private insurance policy. This gets them better overall coverage, and at a rate that the state can afford. Most of us agree very low income Minnesotans (those making less than 75% of the Federal Poverty Guideline FPG) need a different approach because most have serious mental health and chemical dependency issues.

Rep. Gottwalt further explains their approach:

By reducing the increases (not “cutting”) we are also putting us on a sustainable path. Our HHS bill contains numerous real reforms that help us keep promises, achieving better outcomes for people in need with a smaller increase in dollars.

Van Hecke is right that a federal waiver is needed to implement this program. Rep. Gottwalt has already spoken to the HHS about this. Early indications are that they’re willing to give Minnesota some flexibility because of Minnesota’s track record of excellence on this issue.

Where MN2020 and other progressives go wrong is in thinking that we need to stay wedded to the same status quo stupidity that we’ve been locked in from the outset. We don’t need to take that approach. In fact, we shouldn’t take that approach because it’s the path to unsustainability and increasing costs.

Why would we pick the path to unsustainability?

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

According to Gov. Dayton and the DFL, LGA cuts are directly tied to property tax hikes. Mark Haveman disputes that:

Mark Haveman, with the Minnesota Taxpayers Association, said it’s true that property taxes increased over the past eight years when LGA was cut. But he said property taxes also increased in the early 1990s when LGA funding increased.

“Even in the LGA boom days, there has always been historical increases in per capita city property taxes,” Haveman said. “They’ve been lower than in recent periods, but that doesn’t say it won’t happen.”

Haveman said he believes local governments would spend differently if they didn’t receive state aid.

This information supports my contention that it’s tied directly to local spending decisions, not LGA. In the fat times, people expanded local governments beyond their mission.

Having read through St. Paul’s operating budget in 2008, I know whereof I speak. Though I don’t remember the specific things in the budget that I would’ve cut, I remember thinking that I could’ve cut a third of their operating budget and nobody would’ve noticed.

The thing that should frighten people is that reading through St. Paul’s operating budget took me an entire week. A CITY BUDGET!!! I’m betting that I could get through St. Cloud’s operating budget in a day, possibly a little bit longer.

I spoke with a friend last night who lives in northern Minnesota. We spoke about how cities can save money. I told him about the fact that I’m a 4th of July baby, which explains why I’m such a big fireworks addict.

Last year, after another year of cutting St. Cloud’s budget, Mayor Kleis spoke to the community about the city not paying for the event. Several of the major businesses contributed to the fund. Local citizens contributed, too, some giving $5, some giving $50, some giving $250.

By the time they finished collecting money, they’d collected enough money to put on the most spectacular fireworks display in my lifetime. It lasted about twice as long as in previous years. The fireworks were much more dramatic, too. In short, businesses and private citizens provided the solution to what had previously been a government expenditure.

I’m betting that last year’s solution will become tradition.

The point is that local communities can often provide solutions to things that shouldn’t have been government expenditures in the first place.

This likely wouldn’t have happened without the Great Recession. Using the DFL model, however, the first reaction likely would’ve been to raise taxes or to lobby for more LGA rather than looking for this type of solution.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , ,

AFSCME President Gerald McIntee issued this statement on how unfair Steve Kroft’s segment was on public employee pensions:

Chris Christie is more interested in scoring political points than solving state and local budget challenges and getting the economy moving. The fact is, hundreds of thousands of public employees, just like private sector employees, have been laid off and taken pay and benefit cuts, even as Wall Street executives lined their pockets with taxpayer money and took home huge bonuses. And as Steve Kroft’s report noted, much of the pension problem stems from the fact that politicians did not contribute to their pension funds.

Contrary to what Christie would have Americans believe, public employee pensions are not the problem. The average pension for an AFSCME member is just $19,000, and eighty percent of this comes from investment returns and contributions by the employees themselves. The challenge can be met if state and local governments, began contributing just 1.5 percent more of their budgets toward their pension funds in the years ahead.

The long term solution to state and local fiscal challenges is a robust economy, one that is creating jobs and replenishing tax revenue. Christie’s decision to scuttle 6,000 new jobs to build a needed tunnel between New Jersey and New York shows that he’s more interested in scoring political points than he is in solving the problem.

Public employees stand ready to help state and local governments get through the economic storm. But to suggest that they have not sacrificed is a lie, and we will not allow politicians like Chris Christie to blame the economic crisis on working and middle class Americans.

Mr. McIntee’s statement is missing some key statistics, like the fact that public employees, teachers included, can retire at insanely early ages. He isn’t telling people about OPEBs:

Other Post-Employment Benefits

What Does Other Post-Employment Benefits – OPEB Mean?
Post-employment benefits that an employee will begin to receive at the start of retirement. This does not include pension benefits paid to the retired employee. Other post-employment benefits that a retiree can be compensated for are life insurance premiums, healthcare premiums and deferred-compensation arrangements.

According to this, it’s possible for a public employee to retire at an early age, sometimes as young as 52-55, then get a pension PLUS get OPEB benefits that pay for things like health or life insurance premiums, possibly even deferred-compensation packages. (I suspect that the deferred-compensation packages are for higher ranking officials, not the rank-and-file.)

That’s before talking about the retire-and-rehire aspect of retirement for public employees. This article does a nice job laying that out:

Double-dipping isn’t just a faux pas at the appetizer table. It also refers to workers who retire and then promptly are rehired, collecting both pension and salary.

This revolving-door practice among state workers is no secret; some lawmakers have tried periodically to clamp down on it, and a Seattle Times investigation earlier this year revealed that it’s going strong at state institutions of higher learning.

The state’s budget woes, coupled with an underfunded pension system, are giving new impetus to closing the so-called “retire-rehire” loophole for at least some state workers. Gov. Chris Gregoire is proposing changes that would apply to higher-education employees as part of a broader pension-overhaul plan.

Little wonder double-dipping is popular. Who wouldn’t love to “retire,” start collecting a generous pension and then get rehired in the same job, perhaps with a raise? If state rules allow it, a worker would almost be a chump not to take advantage of the policy, right?

Like the article says, this isn’t a secret. I remember President Reagan rail against double-dipping for federal employees. That’s almost 30 years ago.

A major problem with public employee pensions is that most, if not all of them, are defined benfit plans. Most private sector jobs have a defined contribution plan. The downside for employees for a defined contribution plan is that they don’t allow employees to retire at ridiculously young ages.

That’s actually an upside to the taxpayers and to the structural health of the retirement plan.

The things that Mr. McIntee didn’t say matter to the structural health of public employee retirement systems. His statement hid some of the structural problems. This isn’t dissimilar to the interference Barney Frank and others ran for Fannie and Freddie.

Remember Frank’s statement that people were being alarmist about the problems Fannie and Freddie were experiencing. Mr. McIntee’s statement isn’t significantly different. They’re both running interference for programs that are structurally unsound and that can’t be sustained.

We learned in October, 2008 that Barney Frank was wrong. Let’s hope it doesn’t take a full-blown crisis before we find out that Mr. McIntee is telling whoppers.

It isn’t a matter of whether Mr. McIntee is telling whoppers. It’s a matter of whether it’ll take a full-blown crisis to prove that he’s telling whoppers.

Let’s hope it doesn’t.

Either way, our politicians need to hear from us that we’ll have their backs if they straighten out this mess. It’s the only way we’ll avoid that crisis.

Technorati: , , , , , , , , , , ,

According to this article, the TSA is dealing with its ineptitude by intimidating pilots:

An airline pilot is being disciplined by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for posting video on YouTube pointing out what he believes are serious flaws in airport security.

The 50-year-old pilot, who lives outside Sacramento, asked that neither he nor his airline be identified. He has worked for the airline for more than a decade and was deputized by the TSA to carry a gun in the cockpit.

He is also a helicopter test pilot in the Army Reserve and flew missions for the United Nations in Macedonia.

Three days after he posted a series of six video clips recorded with a cell phone camera at San Francisco International Airport, four federal air marshals and two sheriff’s deputies arrived at his house to confiscate his federally-issued firearm. The pilot recorded that event as well and provided all the video to News10.

At the same time as the federal marshals took the pilot’s gun, a deputy sheriff asked him to surrender his state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon.

A follow-up letter from the sheriff’s department said the CCW permit would be reevaluated following the outcome of the federal investigation.

The YouTube videos, posted Nov. 28, show what the pilot calls the irony of flight crews being forced to go through TSA screening while ground crew who service the aircraft are able to access secure areas simply by swiping a card.

“As you can see, airport security is kind of a farce. It’s only smoke and mirrors so you people believe there is actually something going on here,” the pilot narrates.

Rather than correcting their mistakes, the TSA chose to intimidate this pilot. Frankly, the TSA people who confiscated this pilot’s weapon should be terminated, as should the sheriff’s deputies who confiscated the pilot’s CCW permit.

This is totally typical of Janet Napolitano’s thinking. Rather than taking corrective action to make airports safer, she opts for intimidating a pilot.

The good news is that this story will now get tons of media attention, forcing her to actually deal with her flawed approach to airport security. Napolitano won’t get away with her usual song and dance routine. President Obama won’t get away with keeping her in his cabinet. They both should be held accountable, Napolitano for her ineptitude, Obama for not picking a serious person for this important national security job.

We can’t afford having these gaping holes in our airport security system. There’s a real war going on. It’d be nice if this administration started acting like we’re at war. (That’s before talking about James Clapper looking totally clueless in his interview with Diane Sawyer.)

It’d be great to see some seriousness from this administration rather than watching another episode of the Keystone Cops. This is serious business. It’s time that this administration started treating it that way.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

The Hill is reporting that Tarryl is gearing up for another run at Congress. They’re asking whether it’ll be a rematch against Michele Bachmann:

Minnesota Democrat Tarryl Clark is showing signs of preparing for another challenge to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.).

The state senator sent an e-mail to her supporters Thursday urging them to donate to Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.). The team-player move; Ellison won reelection by some 40 points, might be aimed at shoring up her party support ahead of 2012.

“As we regroup and recommit ourselves to organizing for victories in 2012, I would like to take a moment to ask you to join me in thanking my friend, and one of our campaign’s greatest supporters, Congressman Keith Ellison,” she wrote. “Keith has been a progressive voice not just for Minnesota families but for the millions across the country, and the globe, who are without a voice in Washington.”

If Clark does decide to run again, she’ll definitely need all the fundraising help she can get. Bachmann raised $13.2 million in the 2010 cycle and has $1.97 million in the bank, according to Minneapolis Star Tribune, citing her latest Federal Election Commission filing.

Clark raised about $4.5 million for the cycle, according to her pre-election FEC filing.

Bachmann defeated Clark by about 13 points last cycle.

First, it isn’t foolish for Tarryl to maintain her visibility. The reality is, though, that she’s been exposed as a liberal this past election. Though she tried portraying herself as the true conservative in the race, the results speak for themselve.

If the district doesn’t change fairly dramatically, Tarryl will face a stiff, uphill fight against Michele. If the district changes substantially, Tarryl might find herself pitted against Chip Cravaack. Another possibility is that we’re put into the 7th District, where she’d either have to challenge Collin Peterson, which isn’t likely, or she’d be pitted against Lee Byberg.

I wouldn’t rate Tarryl as the favorite against Michele, Chip Cravaack or Lee Byberg. Michele would beat Tarryl like a drum because Tarryl was exposed as a tax-hiking liberal. That isn’t a good position to be in.

Tarryl wouldn’t be the favorite against Chip Cravaack either because the 8th District is largely exurban or rural, with lots of pro-life and 2nd Amendment voters in the district. That isn’t the type of demographic group Tarryl does well with.

Finally, Lee Byberg ran a strong campaign against Collin Peterson. Last year, people didn’t think he stood a chance against Peterson. Now they know different. In 2008, Peterson won by a 72-28 percent margin. It was understandable why people viewed him as unbeatable.

Things changed significantly in 2010, when Peterson defeated Byberg by a 55-38 margin.

Frankly, Tarryl wouldn’t do well in CD-7 because she’s significantly to the left of Collin Peterson. That won’t play well in CD-7.

The bottom line is this: Tarryl fared much better playing in the relatively small pond of the state legislature. I won’t say that her running for Congress is out of Tarryl’s league but it’s definitely a major step up, one she didn’t show well in this time.

Let’s remember that Tarryl got alot of contributions simply because she was opposing Michele. I heard more than a few pieces of scuttlebutt how Pelosi and the DCCC wanted to defeat Michele so badly that they were directing contributions in Tarryl’s direction moreso than she might otherwise have gotten.

Whoever the opponent, Tarryl’s facing an uphill fight.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

Michael Barone’s latest column is a great argument for cutting some public employee unions down to size. This isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s paid attention to California’s, Michigan’s, Illinois’ and New York’s budget crises. It’s time we dealt with these crises. Mr. Barone writes that, whether legislators deal with the crises or not, markets quickly will. Here’s how Mr. Barone thinks these states will ‘get religion’:

The prospect is that the bond market will quit financing California and Illinois long before the federal government. It may already be happening. Earlier this month, California could sell only $6 billion of $10 billion revenue anticipation notes it put on the market.

Individual investors have been selling off state and local municipal bonds this month. Meredith Whitney, the financial expert who first spotted Citigroup’s overexposure to mortgage-backed securities, is now predicting a sell-off in the municipal bond market.

So it’s entirely possible that some state government; California and Illinois, facing $25 billion and $15 billion deficits, are likely suspects; will be coming to Washington some time in the next two years in search of a bailout. The Obama administration may be sympathetic. It’s channeled stimulus money to states and TARP money to General Motors and Chrysler in large part to bail out its labor union allies.

But the Republican House is not likely to share that view, and it’s hard to see how tapped-out state governments can get 60 votes in a 53-47 Democratic Senate.

How to avoid this scenario? University of Pennsylvania law professor David Skeel, writing in The Weekly Standard, suggests that Congress pass a law allowing states to go bankrupt.

Skeel, a bankruptcy expert, notes that a Depression-era statute allows local governments to go into bankruptcy. Some have done so: Orange County, Calif., in 1994, Vallejo, Calif., in 2008. Others, perhaps a dozen small municipalities in Michigan, are headed that way.

Governors like Jerry Brown and Pat Quinn won’t tighten things on unions, even though their states are being ruined by union pensions and out-of-control state spending.

With Brown and Quinn, it’s likely that these corrupt politicians won’t tighten things up because they’re getting substantial political contributions from the public employee unions for their campaigns.

In Nixon’s time, that practice used to be known as setting up a slush fund. Today, it’s just business-as-usual. By either term, it’s a form of corruption.

The reality is that it’s likely that bond markets will prevent states from borrowng money to fuel their spending addiction. The longer the addiction isn’t curtailed, the more painful the remedy will be when it eventually arrives. And it will arrive if we don’t change our spending habits.

The threat of bankruptcy would put a powerful weapon in the hands of governors and legislatures: They can tell their unions that they have to accept cuts now or face a much more dire fate in bankruptcy court.

It’s not clear that governors like California’s Jerry Brown, who first authorized public employee unions in the 1970s, or Illinois’s Pat Quinn will be eager to use such a threat against unions, which have been the Democratic Party’s longtime allies and financiers.

But the bond market could force their hand and seems already to be pushing in that direction. And, as Bowles notes, when the markets come, they will be swift and severe.

The policy arguments for a bailout of California or Illinois public employee union members are incredibly weak. If Congress allows state bankruptcies, it might prevent a crisis that is plainly looming.

With the federal deficits in excess of $1,000,000,000,000, with unemployment almost 10 percent, with a GOP majority in the U.S. House and with bond markets destabilizing, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to picture a scenario under which a federal bailout might pass.

The only conditions under which it might pass is with a tightly-enforced spending cap being included in the legislation. Even then, it’s still an uphill fight at best.

With Speaker Boehner, Budget Committee Chairman Ryan and other fiscal hawks ready to shoot down the Democrats’ extensive wish list, how willing will Democrats be to fight for more union bailouts? I’m not betting they’ll be that excited to fight for another round of unpopular bailouts.

With the American people not being in a spendaholic mood for the foreseeable future, it isn’t likely that Republicans will get hurt by saying yes to sane spending habits. Similarly, it isn’t likely that Democrats will be helped by being spendaholics.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,

Rep. Jim McDermott’s arrogance and stupidity is on full display in his post on the Huffington Post. Here’s what he said that’s utterly foolish:

When it comes to health care, until President Obama and the Democrats enacted the Affordable Care Act, too many Americans faced an uncertain health care future. This law prevents health insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions and ends the horrible practice of rescissions, in which insurers drop policyholders when they get sick. It also allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26. John Boehner has vowed to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act. A day without the Democrats would set this country back to a time when children were denied health insurance because of asthma and other common childhood illnesses, and families were forced to declare bankruptcy to pay their medical bills.

If Rep. McDermott wants to talk about the Obamacare disaster, let’s tell the entire story. One thing Rep. McDermott mentions is that Obamacare “prevents health insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.”

That’s true but there’s something that Rep. McDermott isn’t telling the truth about: What he isn’t mentioning is that insurance premiums are guaranteed to skyrocket because of the way it’s handled in Obamacare. While this provision achieves a specific goal, it also guarantees that all insurance premiums will jump because of the additional expenses to insurers.

There’s another negative consequence to this provision, namely that some insurers are refusing to write children-only policies because of the prohibitive costs. Because of the way Obamacare was written, it’s actually making it less likely for children with PEC’s to get covered.

These were predictable outcomes. Insurance companies need to make a profit. Their profit margin is already tight, with a profit margin of less than 5 percent.

Does anyone in their right mind think that insurers will take on substantially greater risk without raising premiums? I’ll readily admit that lots of Democrats expect that but that just proves that they aren’t in their right mind.

The Republicans in the House and the Senate resisted extension of unemployment benefits in 2010. If the Republicans take over, why would anyone think they will vote to extend benefits in 2011, even if unemployment remains at its current level? Republicans are on record stating their belief that an unemployment check creates a “moral hazard” and results in laziness as recipients sit and wait for a check rather than look for a job. Clearly, Republicans are not thinking about the millions of people currently looking for jobs that just aren’t there. A day without the Democrats isn’t going to create more jobs, but it will take away the last lifeline keeping millions of Americans from homelessness.

Actually, the truth is that Senate Republicans resisted extending unemployment benefits if they weren’t offset with spending cuts. Considering the fact that this congress’s spending habits have bordered on the absurd, finding these spending cuts should be easy.

This is the difficulty of having a meaningful debate with the farthest of the far left progressives. They insist on omitting important parts of the story, especially if their omissions give them a temporary advantage. I don’t think that far left progressives like Rep. McDermott are mentally equipped to engage in honest, intelligent debate.

Rep. McDermott’s analysis isn’t reality-based. It’s paranoia-based.

Technorati: , , , , ,

If this Politico article is accurate, which I think it is, then Jim Oberstar has more difficulties than just Chip Cravaack. Granted, Chip is a formidable difficulty that got more formidable this morning. Here’s another thing that Rep. Oberstar should be worrying about:

Oberstar’s aides say he’s doing everything he needs to do to make sure there’s not a Rep. Cravaack in January 2011.

They count 1,006 volunteers in eight offices, which they contend more accurately reflects Oberstar’s support in his northern Minnesota district. John Schadl, a Oberstar spokesman, said in an email that the congressman has a “great deal of local support.” and it will be “felt on election day when over 500 people hit the streets in a final get out the vote push.”

“They are taking lawn signs, putting up lawn signs, making voter-contact calls, door-knocking, distributing campaign [literature],” Schadl told POLITICO in an e-mail. Moreover, Schadl, says, there are another 527 waiting in the wings to help out in the final run-up to the election.

Schadl shouldn’t know about what a 527 group is doing. That’s called coordination and it’s illegal. I know because I remember having a lengthy conversation after the 2004 election where we talked about the superiority of the Bush-Cheney GOTV operation. The final conclusion was that, since it was all done inside the Bush-Cheney campaign, we didn’t have coordination difficulties. Bush-Cheney 04 controlled the entire process for their campaign.

On more than a few occasions, we talked with people who complained about all the visits from 527′s, unions, the DNC and, last but not least, the KEdwards campaign. Some homes were hit 3-4 times a week, each time by a different group. Had they been allowed to coordinate, they could’ve covered a ton more ground.

That’s the problem. They couldn’t coordinate, at least legally.

I’m not sure legal considerations are a top priority with the Oberstar campaign. I’m not accusing them of willfully breaking the law but I can’t rule it out, either.

The Oberstar campaign has been, at best, dysfunctional. They haven’t had to run a serious campaign in a decade or more. When they noticed that their opponent was someone to be taken seriously, I’m sure that they had to scramble to put an organization together.

What’s probably hampering them the most is that Oberstar’s vote for Cap and Trade has driven many of the steelworkers union guys into the Cravaack camp, where they’re helping Chip’s GOTV operation.

It’s in plain sight that Oberstar is in serious trouble, evidenced by his condescending debate performance. It appears that he’s coordinating his GOTV operation with a 527, which is forbidden.

In short, it doesn’t look like Oberstar is doing much of anything right.

Technorati: , , , , , , , ,