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Archive for March, 2010

Last Thursday, Rep. Larry Haws brought a bill before the House to debate that would create a system that would help MnSCU treat the transfer of credits within the MnSCU system with uniformity. The bad news for Rep. Haws is that Rep. Mark Buesgens questioned him on why the bill didn’t create a system for transferring credits from the MnSCU system to the U of M system.

Here’s a transcript of the exchange between Rep. Haws and Rep. Buesgens:

REP. BUESGENS: Rep. I get what’s happening here. I guess I have a concern about it. I’ll get to that later. My question, Representative, is why not include the University of Minnesota? That is another public institution. What if a student went to the University of Minnesota and spent a year then and found out it was just too big or the cities are just too big? I’d rather just transfer to St. Cloud. Why do we not afford that student the same kind of consideration that we’re looking for within the MnSCU colleges?
REP. HAWS: Within the working group, MnSCU is handling MnSCU. It’s harder to take it from the MnSCU and the University of Minnesota. This was brought to me by MnSCU students and we settled it within that unit. This does it for there. I think it would be a wonderful idea for the U and I think you should carry that bill.
REP. BUESGENS: We have a bill in front of us that is telling our public college and university system…system, mind you…that they need to talk to each other. Unbelievable. You look at what this bill does. It tells our SYSTEM that you have to create a seamless process if a student is going from one school within the system to another school in the same system. We have to tell them how to create a process so the credits can transfer.

Members, we are talking about a $3,000,000,000 biennial system and we have to tell them, in law, how to talk to each other and how to treat the citizens that they get their tax money from. Their $3,000,000,000. We have to write law to tell them how to talk to each other.

This is a problem with bureaucracy. This is the problem I tried to address earlier when we were talking about the Metropolitan Council and the sewer system. This is the systemic problems that we as a legislature need to deal with if we’re going to stop this endless cycle of year after year after year of spending more money than the taxpayers of Minnesota can afford to pay. This is the government reform we need to take care of and yet we dawdle. We’ve dawdled this legislature. We haven’t put first things first. We haven’t solved the budget problems of the state of Minnesota.

In fact, we’ve had a parade of…what are we up to now, 15, 20, 30 different bills in the last 2 days? Thirty different bills rather than deal with THE ISSUE of this session, which is solve the deficit, bring jobs back to the state of Minnesota. Then we have misplaced priorities on top of our reckless spending. $3,000,000,000 system and we have to tell them how to create a process so the credits can transfer. People of the state of Minnesota deserve better from us. They deserve better from their tax dollars. We need to get to the root of the problem. We should shut this place down right now and get to solving the budget deficit, get do to reforming this system. Don’t be tinkering around the edges. Let’s get to the real work of this legislative session.
REP. HAWS: I guess I would disagree. I mean I like your vigor and your passion and your speech but it doesn’t make alot of sense to me. You’re pulling 10 people together here. You’re pulling organizations together to act in an efficient manner. And you say that that isn’t what we’re supposed to be doing? Well, I tell you your priorities are a little mixed up. That is EXACTLY what this House should be doing. When they come to you and they say they want to work in a group to make the system more efficient so our students don’t have to go extra years to school and you say ‘Don’t do that because I want to work on something else’, I’ll say I’ll take teamwork anytime.

This is a target-rich environment. Let’s start with Rep. Haws’s final diatribe. (If you see the video, you’ll see Rep. Haws’s eruption.) Rep. Haws says that the legislature should be doing exactly these types of reforms. I’m wondering why there shouldn’t be uniformity for all of Minnesota’s public colleges and universities. Shouldn’t U of M students benefit from the same transfer policies as MnSCU’s students? After all, they’re both supported by Minnesota’s taxpayers’ dollars.

Rep. Haws said that the state shouldn’t create transfer policies because the state shouldn’t force students to attend an extra year because of their transfer policies. I agree with Rep. Haws. That isn’t right.

It’s a half-baked reform that treats MnSCU transfers right but doesn’t address people transferring from or to the U of M. I can’t imagine that it would take alot of extra work since the language would be almost identical. I’d think that you’d just have to swap out the term MnSCU and plug in the term University of Minnesota.

After that, all it would take is a meeting with U of M officials to tell them that you’re trying to bring uniformity to the process.

This certainly isn’t the type of policy debate that warrants such a diatribe. Rep. Haws, if you disagree, disagree. That’s fine. Going vesuvial like that tells me that you don’t take constructive criticism well.

Another thing that’s worth noting is that Rep. Haws didn’t address Rep. Buesgens’ main contention, which is that government bureaucracies don’t communicate with each other, which leads to inefficiencies and additional costs.

Having watched Rep. Buesgens the past 3 years, I know that he’s primarily interested in reforms that are well thought out and budgets that set the right priorities. Most importantly, he isn’t interested in the DFL’s games.

It’s obvious to anyone beyond middle school age that the DFL is piling up bills and wasting time in the hopes of creating a last minute chaotic end of session. What the DFL hasn’t figured out is that they’re the majority party and that they’ll get crucified for their refusal to put together well thought out reforms that balances Minnesota’s budget.

Rep. Haws contributions to the state legislature have pretty much been confined to VA issues, bonding and putting together reforms that aren’t particularly well thought out. That’s hardly a rousing endorsement for another term.

If you couple those accomplishments with a temperament that’s a mercurial, what you have is a longtime public servant who doesn’t have a vision for the future, whether it’s a vision for education, the economy or the budget.

St. Cloud can’t afford alegislator who doesn’t think things through. A ‘we must do something’ attitude isn’t the type of mindset that I’d want in a legislator. We need legislators that think things through.

UPDATE: Speed Gibson has a great companion piece that explains why Rep. Larry Haws’s legislation isn’t reform. Consider this to be TODAY’S MUST READ!!!

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Last night, readers on Drudge read that President Obama was willing to consider drilling on the OCS:

Reversing a ban on oil drilling off most U.S. shores, President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced an expansive new policy that could put oil and natural gas platforms in waters along the southern Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and part of Alaska.

When I read that, I was highly skeptical, mostly because I knew one of the things that Congress is thinking about debating next is Cap and Trade. This afternoon, FNC’s Jim Angle reported that he’d had conversations on background with Democratic staffers who admitted that this is all about capturing Republican votes for Cap and Trade.

That information is verified later in the AP article:

Obama made no secret of the fact that one factor in his decision was securing Republican support for a sweeping climate change bill that has languished in Congress. But Obama has long stated his support in favor of the “tough decision” to expand offshore drilling.

Let’s remember that then-Candidate Obama told people that energy prices “would necessarily skyrocket” under his Cap and Trade proposal. Let’s remember what he said days before Election Day:

What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there.

I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.

There was no way that I was going to take President Obama at his word on energy exploration, especially after he said that inflating the tires on our cars would save millions of barrels of oil a year:

There are other things that you can do to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated…simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling if everyone was just inflating their tires and getting regular tuneups.

Presidents that talk about letting people build coal-fired power plants just to bankrupt them isn’t a proponent of oil exploration. Someone that proposes legislation that would cause energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket” doesn’t suddenly join forces with Gov. Palin on a campaign them of Drill, Baby, Drill.

It’s important that we remember that President Obama was going to add tort reform to the reconcillation bill. The rhetoric was optimistic, the actions not so much. President Obama’s tort reform was a sham because it was only a study on tort reform.

That’s part of President Obama’s pattern. He’ll sound bipartisan, accepting a popular GOP proposal in word, then gutting the proposal before it makes it into legislation.

President Obama should be given credit for mastering the art of sounding bipartisan and reasonable while remaining bitterly partisan and unreasonable. People with a conscience can’t do that but President Obama does it effortlessly.

In this instance, though, that shouldn’t be taken as a compliment.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

After reading this Strib article, my first reaction was that Tarryl Clark would benefit from these endorsements…in the primary:

Tarryl Clark has garnered a long list of top-shelf Democratic support in her bid to defeat powerhouse Republican U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann. But when talking to Hot Dish about how she would go about unseating the darling of right-wing cable commentators, the DFL state senator from St. Cloud listed some unlikely folks she admires.

Tops were former Govs. Arne Carlson and Al Quie, and former U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, all Republicans. “Governor Carlson put us on a path to outcome- and results-based budgeting,” Clark said. “Under his leadership, we had some of the highest per-capita income and job growth in the country.”

Tarryl getting endorsed by Govs. Quie and Carlson or Rep. Ramstad won’t help Tarryl in the general election. I’d suggest that their endorsements have everything to do with firming up her support for Tarryl’s primary challenge against Maureen Reed.

Let’s remember that Dr. Reed has cast Tarryl as too liberal:

“After fully analyzing the situation, I have decided that if I do not receive the endorsement at the convention this spring, we will proceed to the DFL primary election.

We used thoughtful consideration to reach this conclusion since I have such a great deal of respect for the dedicated individuals in the DFL who generously give their time working to improve our state and nation. However, the Sixth District is unique in that it is more moderate and independently minded in its political leanings than the state as a whole. In fact, we conducted a poll which showed that the profile of the Democratic primary voter is more diverse in political philosophy than those who participate in the conventions.

Recent campaign results in the Sixth District show that a big-tent Democrat who appeals to independent voters has the best chance to defeat Michele Bachmann.”

Dr. Reed saying that the DFL needs a “big-tent Democrat” to defeat Michele this November. I’d modify that statement a bit. Here’s how I’d phrase that sentence:

Recent campaigns show that a Democrat who can’t appeal to independents doesn’t stand a chance in the Sixth District.

Tarryl ran as a centrist in the 2006 election. Since the start of the 2007 session, Tarryl has voted for unsustainable spending and the largest tax increases in Minnesota history. Because of her voting record, Tarryl’s centrist credibility is essentially nonexistent.

It isn’t likely that Dr. Reed will win the primary but she’s picked the right approach for defeating Tarryl. The other thing that will help Dr. Reed is that she’s pretty well-financed. She’s got the resources to give Tarryl a fight.

Tarryl is running a pretty traditional DFL campaign thus far in some respects but getting the endorsements of liberal Republicans like Carlson, Quie and Ramstad is a definite departure from a typical DFL campaign.

When the primary winner is determined, CD-6 voters won’t pay much attention to Carlson’s, Quie’s or Ramstad’s endorsements. They’ll pay more attention to Michele Bachmann’s commitment to stopping Washington’s reckless spending, repealing and replacing the Democrats’ unpopular health care legislation and her commitment to America’s energy independance by drilling in ANWR and on the OCS.

They’ll compare that with Tarryl’s record of voting for the biggest tax increases in state history, not looking for government waste and her support for EFCA, aka Card Check.

When that comparison is over, the likely result will be Tarryl be calling Michele to congratulate Michele on winning her third victory.

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Last Thursday, Rep. Larry Haws brought a bill before the House to debate that would create a system that would help MnSCU treat the transfer of credits within the MnSCU system with uniformity. The bad news for Rep. Haws is that Rep. Mark Buesgens questioned him on why the bill didn’t create a system for transferring credits from the MnSCU system to the U of M system.

Here’s a transcript of the exchange between Rep. Haws and Rep. Buesgens:

REP. BUESGENS: Rep. I get what’s happening here. I guess I have a concern about it. I’ll get to that later. My question, Representative, is why not include the University of Minnesota? That is another public institution. What if a student went to the University of Minnesota and spent a year then and found out it was just too big or the cities are just too big? I’d rather just transfer to St. Cloud. Why do we not afford that student the same kind of consideration that we’re looking for within the MnSCU colleges?
REP. HAWS: Within the working group, MnSCU is handling MnSCU. It’s harder to take it from the MnSCU and the University of Minnesota. This was brought to me by MnSCU students and we settled it within that unit. This does it for there. I think it would be a wonderful idea for the U and I think you should carry that bill.
REP. BUESGENS: We have a bill in front of us that is telling our public college and university system…system, mind you…that they need to talk to each other. Unbelievable. You look at what this bill does. It tells our SYSTEM that you have to create a seamless process if a student is going from one school within the system to another school in the same system. We have to tell them how to create a process so the credits can transfer.

Members, we are talking about a $3,000,000,000 biennial system and we have to tell them, in law, how to talk to each other and how to treat the citizens that they get their tax money from. Their $3,000,000,000. We have to write law to tell them how to talk to each other.

This is a problem with bureaucracy. This is the problem I tried to address earlier when we were talking about the Metropolitan Council and the sewer system. This is the systemic problems that we as a legislature need to deal with if we’re going to stop this endless cycle of year after year after year of spending more money than the taxpayers of Minnesota can afford to pay. This is the government reform we need to take care of and yet we dawdle. We’ve dawdled this legislature. We haven’t put first things first. We haven’t solved the budget problems of the state of Minnesota.

In fact, we’ve had a parade of…what are we up to now, 15, 20, 30 different bills in the last 2 days? Thirty different bills rather than deal with THE ISSUE of this session, which is solve the deficit, bring jobs back to the state of Minnesota. Then we have misplaced priorities on top of our reckless spending. $3,000,000,000 system and we have to tell them how to create a process so the credits can transfer. People of the state of Minnesota deserve better from us. They deserve better from their tax dollars. We need to get to the root of the problem. We should shut this place down right now and get to solving the budget deficit, get do to reforming this system. Don’t be tinkering around the edges. Let’s get to the real work of this legislative session.
REP. HAWS: I guess I would disagree. I mean I like your vigor and your passion and your speech but it doesn’t make alot of sense to me. You’re pulling 10 people together here. You’re pulling organizations together to act in an efficient manner. And you say that that isn’t what we’re supposed to be doing? Well, I tell you your priorities are a little mixed up. That is EXACTLY what this House should be doing. When they come to you and they say they want to work in a group to make the system more efficient so our students don’t have to go extra years to school and you say ‘Don’t do that because I want to work on something else’, I’ll say I’ll take teamwork anytime.

This is a target-rich environment. Let’s start with Rep. Haws’s final diatribe. (If you see the video, you’ll see Rep. Haws’s eruption.) Rep. Haws says that the legislature should be doing exactly these types of reforms. I’m wondering why there shouldn’t be uniformity for all of Minnesota’s public colleges and universities. Shouldn’t U of M students benefit from the same transfer policies as MnSCU’s students? After all, they’re both supported by Minnesota’s taxpayers’ dollars.

Rep. Haws said that the state shouldn’t create transfer policies because the state shouldn’t force students to attend an extra year because of their transfer policies. I agree with Rep. Haws. That isn’t right.

It’s a half-baked reform that treats MnSCU transfers right but doesn’t address people transferring from or to the U of M. I can’t imagine that it would take alot of extra work since the language would be almost identical. I’d think that you’d just have to swap out the term MnSCU and plug in the term University of Minnesota.

After that, all it would take is a meeting with U of M officials to tell them that you’re trying to bring uniformity to the process.

This certainly isn’t the type of policy debate that warrants such a diatribe. Rep. Haws, if you disagree, disagree. That’s fine. Going vesuvial like that tells me that you don’t take constructive criticism well.

Another thing that’s worth noting is that Rep. Haws didn’t address Rep. Buesgens’ main contention, which is that government bureaucracies don’t communicate with each other, which leads to inefficiencies and additional costs.

Having watched Rep. Buesgens the past 3 years, I know that he’s primarily interested in reforms that are well thought out and budgets that set the right priorities. Most importantly, he isn’t interested in the DFL’s games.

It’s obvious to anyone beyond middle school age that the DFL is piling up bills and wasting time in the hopes of creating a last minute chaotic end of session. What the DFL hasn’t figured out is that they’re the majority party and that they’ll get crucified for their refusal to put together well thought out reforms that balances Minnesota’s budget.

Rep. Haws contributions to the state legislature have pretty much been confined to VA issues, bonding and putting together reforms that aren’t particularly well thought out. That’s hardly a rousing endorsement for another term.

If you couple those accomplishments with a temperament that’s a mercurial, what you have is a longtime public servant who doesn’t have a vision for the future, whether it’s a vision for education, the economy or the budget.

St. Cloud can’t afford alegislator who doesn’t think things through. A ‘we must do something’ attitude isn’t the type of mindset that I’d want in a legislator. We need legislators that think things through.

UPDATE: Speed Gibson has a great companion piece that explains why Rep. Larry Haws’s legislation isn’t reform. Consider this to be TODAY’S MUST READ!!!

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Over the past couple of weeks, various people have argued over whether the constitutionality of the Democrats’ health care legislation. Prior to reading this article, I’ve mostly focused on the individual mandate as stretching farther than the Interstate Commerce Clause was meant to stretch. While I still think that, Judge Napolitano’s focus has been on a different provision of the Democrats’ health care legislation:

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV’s Ashley Martella, Napolitano says the president’s healthcare reforms amount to “commandeering” the state legislatures for federal purposes, which the Supreme Court has forbidden as unconstitutional.

“The Constitution does not authorize the Congress to regulate the state governments,” Napolitano says. “Nevertheless, in this piece of legislation, the Congress has told the state governments that they must modify their regulation of certain areas of healthcare, they must surrender their regulation of other areas of healthcare, and they must spend state taxpayer-generated dollars in a way that the Congress wants it done.

“That’s called commandeering the legislature,” he says. “That’s the Congress taking away the discretion of the legislature with respect to regulation, and spending taxpayer dollars. That’s prohibited in a couple of Supreme Court cases. So on that argument, the attorneys general have a pretty strong case and I think they will prevail.”

The Constitution is built on the premise that checks and balances are valued over efficiency. That’s why Founding Fathers codified the mandate of federalism into the Tenth Amendment. Those things not affirmatively assigned as federal responsibilities were, by default, assigned to the states.

In principle, the concept of federalism is similar to the concept of seperation of powers. Just like the executive branch can’t ORDER the legislative branch what it must pass or how much it must spend, federalism dictates that the federal government can’t tell state legislatures how to put together a state budget.

Because the Democrats’ health care legislation mandates a massive Medicaid expansion, which requires the states to pick up a significant part of the expenses, that means that the Democrats’ health care legislation is essentially telling the states how much money they have to spend.

Let’s understand that this huge new expenditure will require additional revenues, aka major tax increases. That means that the Democrats’ health care legislation not only sets part of the states’ spending but it forces changes in the states’ tax policies, too.

The federal government can no more dictate the states’ tax policies than state government can dictate the federal government’s tax policy.

Judge Napolitano’s argument is that the Medicaid expansion essentially gives the federal government the authority to turn governors and state legislatures into automatons rather than letting them be decisionmakers.

There’s also a viable slippery slope argument that can be made. If it’s decided that the federal government can tell states that they must spend money on Medicaid, what’s the next thing that the federal government can force states into spending money on?

The same principle can be applied to the states rights argument. If the federal government can tell private citizens that they must purchase health insurance, why can’t they theoretically mandate that people living in Minnesota’s Red River Valley or in the flood plains along the Mississippi river as it flows through Iowa buy flood insurance?

The federal government needs restraining because, without that restraint, the federal government would keep growing more oppressive by the day. The Founding Fathers’ vision was of a vastly different form of government than the Democrats are trying to implement.

Now’s the time for rejecting the Democrats’ vision of oppressive government and returned to the Founding Fathers’ vision of limited, accountable government. That’s the only type of government that can be sustained.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

The easiest part of Tarryl Clark’s campaign probably came when she got the DFL endorsement on the first ballot:

The Minnesota DFL Party had its say Saturday about who will oppose Rep. Michele Bachmann this fall, endorsing state Sen. Tarryl Clark of St. Cloud on the first ballot. DFL delegates picked Clark over Maureen Reed, a Grant doctor, in the race to represent Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District.

The endorsement doesn’t end the battle for DFL votes in the 6th District. Reed says she will oppose Clark in a primary election Aug. 10.

Tarryl still holds the upper hand in this DFL fight. I still expect her to win the CD-6 DFL primary. She’s got a ton of union endorsements, which means she’s got a substantial GOTV operation. With a mid-August primary, the importance of Tarryl’s GOTV operation can’t be emphasized enough.

While getting the DFL’s endorsement and putting together a solid GOTV operation is important, Dr. Reed is a well-financed candidate who can talk about Tarryl’s lack of centrist credentials. Minnesota GOP Chairman Tony Sutton alluded to Tarryl’s liberal voting record in his official statement regarding Tarryl’s endorsement:

“Tarryl Clark is a reliable pro-tax liberal who has voted to increase gasoline taxes, the metro wide sales tax, license tab fees and income taxes. Clark has also strongly backed Obama’s government run health care scheme and his wasteful and failed ‘stimulus.’ While Clark will now face a lengthy and divisive primary battle, Rep. Michele Bachmann will continue to work on behalf of all of the citizens of the Sixth District for lower taxes, government reform and a strong national defense.”

Since getting elected as the Senate’s Assistant Majority Leader in 2007, Tarryl has voted for every major tax increase that’s made it to the Senate. This isn’t a good time to be touting that type of record. While that won’t hurt Tarryl in the DFL primary, it’ll devastate her in the general election.

The impact of Chairman Sutton’s statement shouldn’t be underestimated. Dr. Reed has repeatedly attacked Tarryl as being too easy to characterize as a tax and spend progressive. I’ve said before that I agree with that opinion.

Another thing working in Dr. Reed’s advantage is the fact that she’s a well-financed candidate in her own right. If she’s serious about winning the primary, her campaign will have the financial ammunition to win the primary. Dr. Reed knows that her only chance to win is by going after Tarryl. Going after Michele Bachmann will get a few rounds of applause but it won’t win her the primary. The risk to Tarryl is that Dr. Reed might say something in a commercial or in her stump speech that Michele can use against Tarryl.

If Tarryl wins the primary, which I’m predicting, that’s just the first step in winning the November election. While Tarryl and Dr. Reed are fighting it out, Michele Bachmann will be attending TEA Party events, marching in parades and attending fundraisers while saving her money for a massive ad blitz starting the day after the DFL primary.

There’s another danger for Tarryl that people aren’t thinking about yet. This is going to be a difficult year for Democrats. The DCCC will have tons of incumbents to defend. In 2006 and 2008, the DCCC was in acquisition mode so it could focus on spending alot of money on challenging incumbents like Michele. As a result of winning alot of seats the last 2 cycles, they now have a ton of seats to defend.

The $64,000 question that hasn’t been answered is whether the DCCC will dump alot of money into Tarryl’s race. If Michele has a solid, outside-the-margin-of-error lead in mid-August, I’m betting they steer Tarryl’s money to another, more competitive district.

Obviously, Republicans are putting a high priority on keeping the governor’s mansion and Michele’s seat. They’ll be campaigning hard throughout the summer and fall in central Minnesota because that will only strengthen the chances of returning Michele to DC and keeping the governor’s mansion in GOP control.

Tarryl knows she’s facing a tough fight this election. Even if everything falls into place for her, she will still likely lose because she still doesn’t fit the district well. Still, I expect her to fight hard through until that first Tueday in November.

Tarryl had a relatively easy time of it Saturday. That figures to be the easiest day her campaign will have.

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After watching the Rubio-Crist debate, there’s only one conclusion that can be drawn: Marco Rubio dominated the debate. Rubio was articulate in answering FNS host Chris Wallace’s questions directly. Meanwhile, Gov. Crist repeatedly came across as an angry attacker. When the reviews are written, I’m betting that this exchange will be the most damaging to Gov. Crist:

“I think it was the right thing to do at the time,” Crist said of the package, noting that the U.S. economy “was literally falling off a cliff” in late 2008 and early 2009. “Things are starting to stabilize now and they’re getting better in Florida.”

But former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, in a debate with Crist on “Fox News Sunday”, argued that the stimulus has increased the national debt without saving 211,000 jobs lost in Florida since the bill became law 13 months ago.

“Well, I don’t know how you define stability. Having the highest unemployment rate in Florida’s history is certainly not stability, especially to the one out of 10 Floridians that can’t find a job,” Rubio said.

With unemployment hitting an all-time high, saying that Florida’s economy had stabilized was a major mistake and Crist knows it. It makes him sound like he’s out of touch with reality, which he appeared to be before that gaffe. This won’t help Crist either:

Defending his support, and the widely disseminated image of him hugging Obama during a trip to Florida to promote the legislation, Crist said that as a “common sense, practical conservative,” he would “work to make sure that I stand with people who will help the people of my state and my country.”

“And you can’t just be off on some limb, you know, rattling the cage and saying you’re going to do great things and stand on principle or politics above the people of your state that you’re supposed to serve,” he said.

Rubio’s reply was crisp and lethal:

Rubio said he would be more than happy to work with people who want to help his state, but Democrats in Washington are trying to “fundamentally redefine the role of government in America and we can’t cooperate with” taking action like spending $787 billion “we don’t have.” “How does that in any way make sense for Florida or our country?” he asked.

Gov. Crist saying that he’s a “practical conservative” was a mistake because it reminds people of President George W. Bush’s compassionate conservative moniker. Rubio’s saying that there are times when seeking consensus can’t be done because the Democrats’ proposals are destructive. Rubio essentially said that you’d need to abandon conservative principles to build consensus with Democrats on the stimulus, health care and cap and trade.

Here’s Jonathan Martin’s take on the debate:

In a 40-minute face-off broadcast nationally on “Fox News Sunday,” Rubio hammered Crist for supporting Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package, a bill deeply unpopular with conservative voters likely to turn out for the August 24 primary.

“The choice for Republicans in Florida is: Do you want a candidate that would have stood up to Barack Obama, voted against the stimulus and supported something that would have cost less money and created more jobs?” said Rubio. “If that’s the candidate you want, that would be me. Or do you want the next Republican senator from Florida to be someone who would have voted with the Democrats for the stimulus package, and that candidate would be Gov. Crist?”

It’s that frame on the race that has enabled the once-underfunded Rubio to stake out a double-digit lead against Crist, the early establishment favorite.

If the primary is decided on who best represents Florida’s priorities, then Crist is history. At this point, Crist’s chances of winning are tiny. He was upstaged on policy. Rubio highlighted Gov. Crist’s decisionmaking by linking him to President Obama’s failed stimulus plan and Florida’s record unemployment rates. Those things will be highlighted the rest of this campaign.

SIDENOTE: Kendrick Meek is history, too, because he voted for health care, cap and trade and the Democrats’ stimulus package.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Based on Scott Rasmussen’s polling, it didn’t take long for President Obama’s bounce in the polls to disappear:

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Sunday shows that 28% 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 -16.

The President enjoyed a modest bounce in the polls following the passage of health care legislation last week. However, his Approval Index rating is now back to where it was last Sunday, just before the House voted in favor of his health care plan. All the bouncing of the past week has come among Democrats. There has been virtually no change in the opinions of Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

I’m betting that the news that the Democrats’ health care legislation would trigger huge increases in health care expenses helped remind people why they didn’t like the Democrats’ health care legislation. The minute they were reminded of that was the minute President Obama’s bounce disappeared.

The part that Democrats should be worried about is that there hasn’t been a “change in the opinions of Republicans and unaffiliated voters.” President Obama hasn’t relied on substantial support of Republicans but he desperately needs support from unaffiliated voters. If seniors and unaffiliated voters stay away like they’re doing now, you’ll see Democrats losing in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, New York, California and Colorado.

Speaker Pelosi suggested that support for the Democrats’ health care legislation would increase once people learned what was in the bill. This polling suggests that that’s an uphill fight for Pelosi’s Democrats:

Just before the House of Representatives passed sweeping health care legislation last Sunday, 41% of voters nationwide favored the legislation while 54% were opposed. Now that President Obama has signed the legislation into law, most voters want to see it repealed.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, conducted on the first two nights after the president signed the bill, shows that 55% favor repealing the legislation. Forty-two percent (42%) oppose repeal. Those figures include 46% who Strongly Favor repeal and 35% who Strongly Oppose it.

This polling says that Republicans will have the wind at their backs if they campaign on Repeal and Replace. The 55 percent figure favoring repeal is a harsh number for Pelosi’s Democrats but I’d suggest that the 46 percent that Strongly Oppose the Democrats’ health care legislation is more troubling. The people that passionately oppose the Democrats’ health care legislation will actively fight to repeal it.

This morning on Fox News Sunday, Mara Liasson said that the biggest benefit to passing health care was that Democrats now have a reason to “come home” before the election. That’s true enough but I’m betting that there are more unaffiliated voters that just distanced themselves from the Democratic Party. As long as the pattern holds of unaffiliated voters supporting Republicans over Democrats by 2:1 or 3:1 margins, the Democrats’ outlook for November will remain bleak.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

In a post I titled “Obamacare Already Hurting Businesses“, I wrote about the dire consequences already being announced. Here’s just a partial list of companies directly negatively affected by Obamacare:

  • John Deere will spend an additional $150,000,000 on health care.
  • Caterpillar will spend an additional $100,000,000 on health care.
  • Medtronic might lay 1,000 workers off.
  • Chelmsford might lay off 650 workers AND move their manufacturing operations overseas.

That’s before talking about Obamacare eliminating a tax break on the Medicare prescription drug benefit:

Mr. Reed specifically cited a change in the tax treatment of retiree health benefits. When Congress created the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2003, it included a modest tax subsidy to encourage employers to keep drug plans for retirees, rather than dumping them on the government. The Employee Benefit Research Institute says this exclusion—equal to 28% of the cost of a drug plan—will run taxpayers $665 per person next year, while the same Medicare coverage would cost $1,209.

As awful as those things are, they’re tiny compared with this:

AT&T, the biggest U.S. phone company, joins Caterpillar Inc., AK Steel Holding Corp. and 3M Co. in recording non-cash expenses against earnings as a result of the law. Health-care costs may shave as much as $14 billion from U.S. corporate profits, according to an estimate by benefits consulting firm Towers Watson. AT&T employed about 281,000 people as of the end of January.

“Companies like AT&T, that have large employee bases, are going to have higher health-care costs and, therefore, lower earnings unless they can negotiate something or offer less to their employees,” said Chris Larsen, an analyst at Piper Jaffray & Co. in New York, who rates AT&T shares “overweight” and doesn’t own any himself.

AT&T previously received a tax-free benefit from the government to subsidize health-care costs for retirees, who would otherwise be on a Medicare Part D plan. Under the new bill, AT&T will no longer be able to deduct that subsidy.

“As a result of this legislation, including the additional tax burden, AT&T will be evaluating prospective changes to the active and retiree health-care benefits offered by the company,” the carrier said in the filing.

You can’t find a capitalist who thinks that shaving “as much as $14 billion from U.S. corporate profits” as a result of Obamacare won’t trigger the next round of layoffs. In addition to increasing health care costs, Obamacare will trigger job cuts at a time when we’ve already got 10 percent unemployment.

Yesterday, here’s what President Obama told a captive audience in Iowa City:

Leaders of the Republican Party, they called the passage of this bill “Armageddon.” Armageddon. “End of freedom as we know it.”

So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there any, asteroids falling or some cracks opening up in the Earth. It turned out it was a nice day. Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall. People still have their doctors.

Mr. President, it isn’t a nice day in the heartland. Birds aren’t chirping in the heartland. People are getting laid off as a direct result of the health care legislation that you signed into law.

Meanwhile, you’re making flippant remarks about how wonderful life is. How out of touch with America are you? It’s disgusting that you, as the theoretical leader of each American, are being this flippant at a time when you’re directly causing real suffering.

How can people be free when the president of the United States, with the entusiastic support of congressional Democrats, is adding these burdens to American companies and American workers? Forgive me if I don’t see how this Democratic president and this Democratic majority in Congress is increasing individual liberties.

Quite the contrary. I see tons of proof that this Democratic president and this Democratic majority in Congress is shrinking individual liberties and making prosperity more difficult to attain.

Contrary to what President Obama claims, Obamacare isn’t creating savings for American entrepreneurs or American families. It’s creating millstones that will drown American entrepreneurs or American families.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

When I read this article, I couldn’t believe the things I was reading. Once I read this editorial, I had the right perspective. First, let’s look at Colbert King’s outrageous comparisons:

The angry faces at Tea Party rallies are eerily familiar. They resemble faces of protesters lining the street at the University of Alabama in 1956 as Autherine Lucy, the school’s first black student, bravely tried to walk to class.

Those same jeering faces could be seen gathered around the Arkansas National Guard troopers who blocked nine black children from entering Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957.

“They moved closer and closer,” recalled Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine. “Somebody started yelling, ‘Lynch her! Lynch her!’ I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the crowd, someone who maybe could help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she spat on me.”

Those were the faces I saw at a David Duke rally in Metairie, La., in 1991: sullen with resentment, wallowing in victimhood, then exploding with yells of excitement as the ex-Klansman and Republican gubernatorial candidate spewed vitriolic white-power rhetoric.

People like that old woman in Little Rock, the Alabama mob that hounded Autherine Lucy, the embracers of Duke’s demagoguery in Louisiana, never go away.

Considering the fact that Andrew Breitbart has offered to publish videotaped proof of any misbehavior and to contribute $10,000 to the United Negro College Fund if proof is produced, I’m skeptical of the Democrats’ accusations. The House Democrats leadership’s comments don’t reduce my skepticism:

House Majority leader Steny H. Hoyer claimed that Democrats faced threats of violence in their home districts. He demanded that Republicans take a stand against it. “Silence gives consent,” added Majority Whip James E. Clyburn, who accused Republicans of “aiding and abetting this kind of terrorism.” Democrats promptly exploited their own fear-mongering by rushing out a fundraising letter.

Rep. Clyburn says that “silence gives consent.” Let’s take him at his word this time. I don’t recall anyone in the Democratic leadership speaking out against the threats that Bart Stupak got when he was opposing the Democrats’ health care bill. The threats that were reported last week were made before Rep. Stupak flipped. In fact, it isn’t a stretch to think that Rep. Stupak was threatened into flipping to supporting a pro-abortion bill.

Based on the Democrats’ silence while progressive health care activists’ threatened Rep. Stupak, I’d argue that James Clyburn, Steny Hoyer and Speaker Pelosi consented to the threats against Rep. Stupak.

Unlike the threats alleged to have been committed by TEA Party activists, there is verifiable proof of threats against Rep. Stupak and Eric Cantor. The bullet recovered from Rep. Cantor’s campaign office is very real.

Tea Party members, as with their forerunners who showed up at the University of Alabama and Central High School, behave as they do because they have been culturally conditioned to believe they are entitled to do whatever they want, and to whomever they want, because they are the “real Americans,” while all who don’t think or look like them are not.

The Democrats ignored the opinions of the American people, who loudly, clearly and consistently told the Democrats that they didn’t want this health care bill but it’s TEA Party activists who “believe they are entitled to do whatever they want, and to whomever they want”? Let’s remember that it wasn’t TEA Party activists that beat Kenneth Gladney in St. Louis. It was SEIU thugs.

It’s interesting that King doesn’t mention the fact that George Wallace was a Democrat when he talked about the commonality between Wallace and TEA Party activists. Then again, progressives don’t like mentioning that tons of Democrats were racists in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative