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This Our View editorial in the St. Cloud Times proves how intellectually dishonest the Times’ editorial page is. Here’s exhibit A:

Even if the bill had passed, President Obama doesn’t support the bill. He prefers to have the State Department work through the approval process for the project.

It isn’t that President Obama prefers having “the State Department work through the approval process.” It’s that he’s using the State Department to delay the project because he’s a true believer in climate change. This isn’t about process. It’s about President Obama’s ideology.

Further, President Obama has consistently and repeatedly sided with environmental activists rather than occasionally siding with construction unions. Thus far, President Obama hasn’t shown an interest in helping farmers or siding with the unions.

That isn’t the only spin in the Times’ editorial. Here’s another part:

Closer to home, Gov. Mark Dayton said he thinks the best way to untangle the glut of oil trains on Minnesota rail lines is to transport more oil by pipeline. The large increase in the number of trains carrying oil from North Dakota to Midwest refineries has caused delays for grain, propane and coal shipments by rail.

Gov. Dayton is as enthusiastic about building pipelines as President Obama. Gov. Dayton’s appointees to the Public Utilities Commission voted to delay the building of the Sandpiper Pipeline by asking “for a review of six alternative routes proposed by opponents of the project.”

The net effect of that is to effectively delay construction of the Sandpiper Pipeline project until after he leaves office. It’s possible the Sandpiper Pipeline will eventually get built but it isn’t likely to happen with Gov. Dayton’s time in office.

Elizabeth Warren, the hardline progressive who took Ted Kennedy’s seat, won’t be the Democrats’ presidential nominee. If she ran, however, she’d be pounded mercilessly for statements like this:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) went straight after Republicans, blasting the GOP on deregulation and trickle down economics during a Center for American Progress event on Wednesday.

“The Republicans have a pretty simple philosophy: they say if those at the top have more, more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else,” Warren said. “Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic.”

That’s rich considering the fact that the economy created more full-time jobs in 6 months under President Reagan than have been created during President Obama’s administration. If high taxes, overregulation and big spending were the right elixir, the Obama economy would be creating 2,000,000 high-paying full-time jobs each year.

The truth is that Obamanomics’ cornerstone policies don’t work. They’ve never worked in creating robust economic growth that helps everyone. In President Obama’s America, the well-connected get special breaks, Wall Street gets monthly bailouts and the middle class, what’s left of it anyway, takes it in the shorts. If Sen. Warren wants to fight for President Obama’s policies, be my guest.

Sen. Warren’s policies are tired:

“We tested the Republican ideas and they failed, they failed spectacularly. There’s no denying that fact,” Warren said. “We know the importance of accountability on Wall Street, the benefits of having a better educated work force. The advantages that come from investments of high speed rail and medical research.”

‘Investing’ in high speed rail is a boondoggle. As for a well-educated workforce, the American people have been getting ripped off by government schools, aka public schools. Unions have hurt public education. Charter schools, while not being the sole elixir to the problem, are definitely a positive step.

This is positively rich:

“People across this country get it. Sure, there’s a lot of work to be done and there’s a long way to go before Democrats can reclaim the right to say that we’re fighting for America’s working people, that we’re fighting to build a future not just for some of our children but for all of our children,” Warren said. “No, we’re not there yet but don’t forget the good news. Our agenda is America’s agenda.”

The masses aren’t clamoring for a green economy. They’re shouting for a robust expansion of fossil fuel exploration. They’re insisting on limiting regulations on sources of energy that heat homes and power factories.

If Democrats want to run on Obama’s policies, which they’ll be forced to do, they’ll get soundly defeated in 2016. Moving further to the left won’t grow their party. It’ll set the Democratic Party back a decade or more.

Sen. Klobuchar’s op-ed in the St. Cloud Times would be easier to take seriously if she wasn’t MIA on other issues surrounding the military.

With grateful hearts, Minnesotans this month gathered on Veterans Day to honor the brave Americans who have served in uniform to protect our freedom. This day should be about more than just saluting our veterans. It also serves as an opportunity to renew our commitment to serve those who have served us.

After all, that is our responsibility, to do right by those who have stood tall on the front lines so that we can live free. This is especially true for soldiers returning from battle permanently injured and suffering life-altering disabilities.

It’s a bit hollow sounding, not because wounded vets don’t deserve the medical treatment, but because Sen. Klobuchar didn’t speak out when the military started sending out pink slips to officers still fighting in Afghanistan:

In a stunning display of callousness, the Defense Department has announced that thousands of soldiers, many serving as commanding officers in Afghanistan, will be notified in the coming weeks that their service to the country is no longer needed. Last week, more than 1,100 Army captains, the men and women who know best how to fight this enemy because they have experienced multiple deployments, were told they’ll be retired from the Army.

The overall news is not unexpected. The Army has ended its major operations in Iraq and is winding down in Afghanistan. Budget cuts are projected to shrink the Army from its current 520,000 troops to 440,000, the smallest size since before World War II. What is astonishing is that the Defense Department thought it would be appropriate to notify deployed soldiers, men and women risking their lives daily in combat zones, that they’ll be laid off after their current deployment.

Why was St. Amy of Hennepin County silent about this? Shouldn’t the Obama administration treat the men and women still risking their lives on the battlefield deserve better treatment than this?

As one Army wife posted on MilitaryFamily.org, “On some level I knew the drawdowns were inevitable, but I guess I never expected to be simultaneously worried about a deployment to Afghanistan and a pink slip because my husband’s service is no longer needed.”

The thing is that these troops are needed more than ever:

The nation should worry about the increased national-security risk of separating such a large pool of combat-experienced leaders. The separated soldiers are those who carry the deepest knowledge base of counterinsurgency operations. A senior Defense Department official warned: “If the force is smaller, there’s less margin for error. Let’s face it — things are pretty uncertain out there.”

Then again, that’s never worried Sen. Klobuchar. Since her first campaign in 2006, Sen. Klobuchar consistently talked about “ending the war responsibly.” Winning wasn’t important to her.

That’s why her op-ed rings hollow. This isn’t just about health care for wounded vets. It’s about giving them the resources they need to accomplish their mission. That mission is to defeat and destroy the terrorists before they attack again.

Tuesday evening, Senate Democrats voted to reject Mary Landrieu’s bill that would’ve forced the federal government into issuing the permits to build the Keystone XL Pipeline. The All Star Panel discussed it on this video:

My favorite part of the segment is the final part of the discussion. Here’s that transcript:

BRET BAIER: George, do you expect a lot of stories on the civil war within the Democratic Party?
(Laughter from George Will and Steve Hayes)
GEORGE WILL: I don’t think so. It is interesting to note that maybe they couldn’t have saved Mary Landrieu but they could’ve at least tried. And they didn’t even try.

The experts knew on Election Night that Mary Landrieu was history. That isn’t surprising to people who’ve followed that race. The Democrats’ circular firing squad hasn’t officially convened in public but it’s certainly started outside the public’s eye. I can’t picture it stopping until there’s political blood on the floor and the Democratic Party is damaged going into 2016.

While this was Sen. Landrieu’s last stand, we’ll have to wait until 2016 for Hillary’s last stand. Behind every ebb and flow in presidential polling is a steady current just beneath the surface. Right now, that current is running against the Democratic Party. They’re no longer the party of hope and change. They’re the party of Washington, DC. They’re the party of obstruction. They’re the party that’s stopped listening to the American people.

Hillary is the poster child for people who stayed too long in DC. Just like Mary Landrieu’s magic has evaporated, so has Hillary’s. Hillary first set foot in DC 24 years ago. She hasn’t left since. While Bill finished his time in office, she established a residence in New York, then immediately ran for Pat Moynihan’s seat. After winning re-election, she launched her first presidential campaign. After getting beaten by Barack Obama, she got picked to be his first Secretary of State.

Just like Sen. Landrieu tried getting her Washington friends to help her win a fourth term, Hillary is counting on her Washington friends to help her win her presidential election. It’s a schtick that Louisiana voters didn’t buy with Sen. Landrieu. It’s a schtick that Americans aren’t likely to buy in 2016.

As for Sen. Landrieu and the Democrats, 2014 was a difficult year, mostly because they ran a bunch of retreads that cast their votes for Obamacare. Isn’t it ironic that the ACA is sinking as fast as Sen. Landrieu’s political career is sinking? Isn’t it ironic that the Democratic Party’s favorability ratings are dropping as fast as the ACA’s favorability ratings are dropping? It couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

Last night on the Kelly File, Megyn Kelly and Charles Krauthammer had a great discussion on President Obama’s imminent executive order that would prevent authorities from deporting Hispanics fitting a certain description. First, here’s the video of the interview:

Here’s the key part of the interview:

“Look, I believe it is an impeachable offense,” Krauthammer told Kelly. “If the circumstances were different, if we were at the beginning of a presidency, if we hadn’t had years when the Congress has been supine and unresponsive at other grabs of their authority by the executive–like Obama unilaterally changing Obamacare after it was passed about 30 times with no response from the Congress–the same as Obama essentially re-writing some of the drug laws.

“This idea of prosecutorial discretion is really a travesty. It is intended for extreme cases. For a case where you want to show mercy for an individual or two where it’s an unusual incident, unusual circumstances and you say, okay, we’re going to give this person a pass. It was never intended to abolish a whole class of people subject to a law and to essentially abolish whole sections of a law. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.”

When statutes are drafted, the legislative language often has descriptions of who’s subject to specific parts of the law. That’s especially true with income tax codes, where the language must include a description of who pays what tax rate. If they didn’t include that description, the legislation wouldn’t apply to anyone or it would apply to everyone.

The only constitutionally-sanctioned remedy for what President Obama wants to do is to work with Congress to change the United States’ immigration statutes. Therein lies the problem. President Obama doesn’t play well with others. He doesn’t even get along with Harry Reid, much less with Mitch McConnell or John Boehner.

At the end of the interview, this interesting exchange took place:

MEGYN KELLY: What would happen, Charles, in this country if we had a Republican president who said, ‘you know what? I’m gonna use my prosecutorial discretion to just not go after those who harass women going into abortion clinics. I realize that there are laws on the books that say we should go after them but I just see them as worthy of my mercy and I tried to push a bill through Congress but those darn Democrats wouldn’t allow it. So with the stroke of my pen, I’m now gonna say we’re just not going to prioritize those prosecutions…’ This may be a precedent that the left might not want to set
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: Well, the example I like to use, let’s say you get a Republican president who says ‘I’ve tried to get the abolition of the capital gains tax because it’s hurting our economy but the congress simply won’t cooperate and I will not wait so I have issued an executive order that the IRS will no longer collect capital gains taxes or pursue anyone who doesn’t pay them.’ Everyone would say that this is obviously a breech of the Constitution and it would be an impeachable offense.

They’re both right. There’s no question whether the left is willing to transfer large parts of the legislative branch’s authority to the executive branch. They did that with the ACA and with Dodd-Frank. There’s no question, either, about whether President Obama sees himself as an autocrat. Finally, there’s no question that these Democrats are willing to ignore their responsibility to defend their branch of government against intrusion by the other branches of government.

The only positive that’ll come from this is that President Obama’s executive order is politically stupid. If he signs that executive order, Democrats will be criticized as being anti-law enforcement and pro-chaos. Then they’ll be tarred and feathered for looking the other way when laws were being broken just because the man who broke the laws was from their political party.

This isn’t a solution to a real problem but it is a political headache for Democrats.

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When Ed Henry questioned WH Press Secretary Josh Earnest about Jonathan Gruber’s statements, Earnest’s reply was stunningly dishonest:

ED HENRY: While you’ve been here, the President has been here, there’s videotape from Jonathan Gruber, who was one of the architects when the law came out. Among the things he said was that the bill was originally written in a “very tortured way,” in his words, to kind of mislead people about the taxes in the law and other parts of the law. He went on to say, “A lack of transparency was a huge political advantage for the President…” in terms of selling it to the American people.

I thought it was just the opposite. Didn’t the President promise unprecedented transparency? Why would one of the architects of the law suggest that you were misleading people?

MR. EARNEST: Well, I’m not sure, frankly, Ed. The fact of the matter is the process associated with writing and passing and implementing the Affordable Care Act has been extraordinarily transparent. We all sat through many town hall meetings and discussions where this piece of legislation was vigorously debated by people on both sides. There was even a meeting that the President convened at Blair House with Republicans to discuss this policy proposal. It was, as you know, broadcast by C-SPAN.

There was a steadfast commitment by this administration to make sure that people had good insight into the benefits of the law. The fact is we spent a lot of time talking about one of those benefits. And that is the fact that individuals could receive tax credits from the federal government to make their health care costs more affordable. The fact is, I think it’s actually Republicans who haven’t been particularly transparent or even honest about the true impact of those.

That’s a breathtakingly dishonest statement, especially in light of John Fund’s article for the WSJ at the time:

For Their Next Trick . . .

By John Fund
Updated Dec. 23, 2009 12:48 p.m. ET

Look for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to try to circumvent the traditional conference committee process by which the different versions of health care reform passed by each house will be reconciled. If so, it will be the latest example of violating principles of transparency and accountability in the single-minded pursuit of legislative victory.

When Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi rewrote the ACA from what it looked like after multiple committee hearings, they did so exclusively in their offices and without a Republican in sight. If that’s Mr. Earnest’s definition of being “extraordinarily transparent”, then he needs a dictionary. Here’s the definition of transparent:

Capable of transmitting light so that objects or images can be seen as if there were no intervening material.

Here’s the definition of extraordinary:

Highly exceptional; remarkable.

One of the 2 chief architects said that a lack of transparency was essential to passing the bill. That directly and emphatically contradicts Josh Earnest’s statements that the process was remarkably visible for all to see. But that isn’t enough. Then there’s this doubling down:

I do think that the question that you raised is about the commitment to transparency that was embodied in the process of writing and passing the Affordable Care Act. And again, I think the President is proud of the transparent process that was undertaken to pass that bill into law.

The Obama administration hasn’t had a press secretary. They’ve had willing liars delivering the daily White House briefings. Words don’t mean things to Mr. Earnest. He knows key buzzwords and he knows he should repeat them as often as possible, especially when they aren’t true.

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After John McCain lost in 2008, I spoke with a friend about senators becoming presidents. I half-kiddingly said that Republicans should pass a motion that senators should never be allowed to be the GOP’s presidential nominee. I know that such a resolution is impossible, which is why I said it in jest. That being said, senators don’t run things. They aren’t the decider. They’re the pontificators. Soon-to-be former Gov. Rick Perry, (R-TX), weighed in on the subject:

Perry, considering a repeat presidential bid in 2016, had just spoken at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library for an event celebrating the 50th anniversary of Reagan’s famous “A Time For Choosing” speech. Among his scalding criticisms of Obama, Perry explained the president’s failings as due to his background as a U.S. senator, something that happens to apply to several of his would-be challengers for the GOP presidential nomination.

“If you’re in the Senate or if you’re in the House, you can give a speech and then go home. Governors can’t. We have to govern,” Perry said, adding, “And the president of the United States, historically, has had to operate that way, too; the ones that were successful. And one of the reasons why this President is not successful is because he’s never had that experience.”

Asked if the next president will be a senator, Perry said, “No.”

It’s worth noting that the top-tier candidates on the Democratic side are both senators, too. But I digress.

Gov. Perry is right, though intentionally a bit oversimplistic. Legislators work hard if they’re doing their jobs right. That being said, their job is mostly debating legislation. Their work is done during scheduled sessions. Presidents and governors work during sessions, too, to get their legislative agendas passed. During sessions, though, they’re also called on to deal with crises, whether it’s a president responding to international hot spots or governors responding to public safety crises within their state or on their state’s borders.

Then, after the sessions are over, presidents and governors are essentially on call 24/7 the rest of the year. They’re never on recess, though President Obama certainly makes it look like he doesn’t take the White House with him.

It isn’t a stretch to think that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz think they see the next president of the United States when they look in the mirror each morning. They don’t. What accomplishments do these men have? They haven’t implemented major reforms like Scott Walker, John Kasich, Perry and Bobby Jindal have. They haven’t revived their states’ economies like Kasich, Perry and Walker have. The best that Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz can say is that they prevented Sen. Reid and President Obama from doing awful things.

They shouldn’t be discredited for that. What they’ve done isn’t insignificant. It just isn’t nearly as significant as what Govs. Walker, Jindal, Perry and Kasich have accomplished.

Lest this be just about Republicans, let’s ask what Hillary or Elizabeth Warren has accomplished. Hillary’s staff noted that she traveled more flight miles than any other Secretary of State in US history. That’s nice. She can redeem those miles so she and Bill can take a nice vacation together.

In terms of actual policies implemented, she got 4 American patriots killed in Benghazi by being asleep at the switch. She ignored multiple pleas from Christopher Stevens for enhanced security for the compound in Benghazi. Then she the nerve to say she hadn’t heard of those urgent requests.

Nobody will buy that BS in 2016. They didn’t buy it in 2012 and they aren’t buying it now.

Her first ‘accomplishment’ was presenting Russia with a reset switch that Russia interpreted as meaning that they could do whatever they wanted in Ukraine and anywhere else in eastern Europe and the middle east. Coddling our enemies (Russia, Iran) and mistreating our allies (Israel, the British and Iraq) isn’t what presidential resumes are built on.

As pathetic as Hillary’s list of accomplishments is, Elizabeth Warren’s list of accomplishments is more pathetic. In fact, it’s nonexistent.

It’s still early but I’d argue that 2016 is shaping up to be GOP year for taking back the White House. Rick Perry has presided over the strongest economy in the nation. Scott Walker passed collective bargaining reform, then staved off the unions’ attempts to kill the reforms. He also passed a $2.2 billion tax cut while creating 110,000 jobs. Bobby Jindal passed school choice laws that are improving educational outcomes in Louisiana. John Kasich’s economic policies have revived Ohio. He cut taxes while eliminating an $8 billion deficit upon entering office.

By comparison, the Democrats have a pair of wannabes as their top tier.

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If Michael Warren’s article is accurate, then Republicans will have something extra to smile about next Tuesday:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan has a 5-point lead over Democrat Anthony Brown in a surprisingly close race in Maryland, according to a poll conducted on behalf of the Hogan campaign and obtained by THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

The survey of more than 500 likely Maryland voters finds Hogan with 44 percent support, while Brown, the lieutenant governor, has 39 percent support. Fourteen percent say they remain undecided. That’s a 17-point swing from the campaign’s internal poll in July, when Brown led Hogan by 12 points, 48 percent to 36 percent.

The poll also found Hogan winning self-identified moderate voters by 6 percentage points and independent voters by 27 percentage points. The Republican also has a higher favorability rating (49 percent) than the Democrat (41 percent).

I’m automatically suspicious of private polling done on a candidate’s behalf. I won’t dismiss this because it fits with other polls’ trends.

This ad is effective:

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Kirsten Powers’ latest column apparently was written while she wore rose-colored glasses. Here’s what I’m talking about:

A year ago, few would have expected the GOP would be on the ropes in Kansas, Kentucky and Georgia. Kansas Republicans haven’t lost a Senate race since 1932. Now, Sen. Pat Roberts is nearly tied with businessman Greg Orman, an independent. GOP minority leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, who hails from a deep red state, has been in a fierce battle with Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Calling the McConnell-Grimes race as a “fierce battle” is wishful thinking. McConnell hasn’t had a big lead but he’s maintained a steady lead since a little before Labor Day:

As for Georgia, that race is tight but it’s misleadingly so. Noah Rothman’s post provides some interesting late-breaking information on that race:

Compared to a WXIA-TV pre-election tracking poll one week ago, Democrat Michelle Nunn is upside down. One week ago, Nunn led Republican David Perdue by 2 points, 46% to 44%. Today, in a dramatic reversal, Perdue is on top, 48% to 45%, a 5-point right turn in one of the nation’s most high-visibility contests. Polling for Atlanta’s WXIA-TV 11Alive was conducted by SurveyUSA.

That’s a significant change but that’s just part of the story. This is eye-popping information:

Worse for Nunn: among voters who tell SurveyUSA they have already returned a ballot, Perdue leads by 10 points.

That’s terrible news for Michelle Nunn because she’ll have to win a significant majority of votes on Election Day to win. While this race is likely heading for a runoff, the runoff isn’t Michelle Nunn’s friend. This is wishful thinking, too:

Republicans should be alarmed they’ve had to marshal so many resources to win in an environment that so overwhelmingly favors them. The number of baked-in advantages for the GOP this election cycle is remarkable.

There’s the landscape: Democrats are defending 21 seats; the GOP 15. Only one of those GOP states, Maine, went for President Obama in 2012. But the Dems are struggling to hold on to seats in seven states: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia, that Obama lost.

Democrats gave up on West Virginia and Montana months ago. They thought they had a chance in South Dakota for a brief moment but that moment disappeared quickly. Alaska was competitive but that’s definitely a seat that will flip from blue to red soon after the polls close. Here’s a picture of the last couple of months worth of polling:

Arkansas isn’t that competitive, either:

It’s important to remember that Tom Cotton is a first term congressman and that Mark Pryor inherited his father’s political machine. I’d be stunned if Rep. Cotton opened up a double-digit lead against Sen. Pryor. In fact, I’d be predicting a major Republican sweep if Cotton led Pryor by 10+ points.

While South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia seem to be lost causes for Democrats, the most recent NBC/Marist poll shows Senate races in Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Arkansas and North Carolina within three points. In Georgia, recent polls favor Democrat Michelle Nunn, who is fighting Rep. David Perdue. Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu leads her Republican opponent by a point, but is likely headed for a runoff. A Friday poll showed the Alaska Senate race in a tie.

That’s top-rate spin. Colorado and Iowa weren’t on any consultant’s list of potential blue-to-red flips at the start of the year. Treating these races like they were expected to be tight races is a bit disingenuous. Cherrypicking one poll out with the Democrat leading while ignoring the other 4-6 polls showing the Republican leading is a nifty trick but it’s misleading.

While I think Georgia is heading for a runoff, I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Purdue won it outright. If that happens, Republicans will be celebrating by midnight West Coast time.

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Predictably, South Dakota is rounding into shape:

Republican attacks on Democrat Rick Weiland and Independent Larry Pressler appear to have worked, making it more likely that the GOP will pick up the seat of retiring Democratic Senator Tim Johnson, as long expected. Republican Mike Rounds, a former two-term GOP governor, found himself in shockingly uncomfortable position earlier this month, but his standing has improved in the eyes of both strong and weak Republican voters, as well as among Independents.

Support for Pressler, a one-time GOP senator who has said that he would be a friend of Obama if elected to the Senate and has acknowledged that he voted for Obama, has melted away over the past few weeks.

Rounds’ improved position in the race, assuming that the trend holds, means GOP strategists will now have to worry primarily about only a couple of their own seats, in Kansas and Georgia, two red states where Republican nominees have handed ammunition to their opponents.

This was predictable, especially after this stunt:

Weiland never was a serious candidate. Pressler was a challenger…until he said that a) he’d vote to keep Harry Reid as majority leader, b) he supports Obamacare and c) he’s a personal friend of President Obama’s. It was downhill after that.

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