Archive for July, 2011
This morning, I had the displeasure of watching Rep. Keith Ellison trot out the entire Democratic Party arsenal of scare tactics during his interview with Esme Murphy. The good news is that I had the great pleasure of watching St. Thomas economist/professor David Vang demolish Rep. Ellison’s scare tactic antics. Let’s start with Rep. Ellison’s response to Esme Murphy’s question on whether he could vote for the rumored compromise:
REP. ELLISON: Well, I don’t know, Esme. I voted for the Reid bill yesterday even though I didn’t want to. It certainly has custs that I think will hurt alot of people and I think we’re going in entirely the wrong direction. We should be trying to create jobs.
This exposes Rep. Ellison as an economic illiterate. If government spending created jobs, Minnesota’s economy should be booming after passing one billion dollar bonding bill after another. If spending money created jobs, the U.S. unemployment rate should 2% after Democrats, including Rep. Ellison, enthusiastically spent a trillion dollars on the failed stimulus bill.
As illuminating as that response is, this is the part that exposed Rep. Ellison as employing scare tactics:
REP. ELLISON: I have some red lines. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, I’m not going to vote to harm those programs. I simply will not do it.
MURPHY: So you wouldn’t vote for it if you felt there was any measure in the bill that would harm those programs?
REP. ELLISON: Correct. I will not vote to harm those programs. I made a pledge and a promise. I believe in those programs. I think they’re important. I think that the people that benefit from those programs have not created this crisis and they should not be the ones who suffer the harm.
I also stand for a private sector and a public sector that work together, not a cut down, scaled back, ineffective public sector.
MURPHY: You talked about during the break about what happens if this deal doesn’t get done, the ramifications to ordinary people in terms of mortgage payments, in terms of people getting their Social Security checks, soldiers on the front lines asking their generals if they would get paid, credit card interest rates…
REP. ELLISON: Not to mention damage done to the city of Minneapolis. The city of Minneapolis needs a capital budget to take care of the capital needs. If they are relying on bonds to do that, they could be in a much more difficult position if we have a default.
MURPHY: Because the interests will go up?
REP. ELLISON: Right. And the state of Minnesota, the deal that Gov. Dayton just cut with the Republicans called for about $500,000,000 in bond issue. The price of debt would go up.
Later in the interview, Rep. Ellison got a little more wound up than I suspect he wanted to. Check this out:
REP. ELLISON: But you know what? Elections have consequences. Last November did and 2012 will, too, and I think the American people are seeing what they signed up for and there’s gonna be some repercussions politically. But that’s not where we are now. Right now, it’s Sunday and we’ve got to do something by Tuesday and I’m hoping President Obama will look at his executive and constitutional authority to raise the debt ceiling if we can’t get a deal done.
MURPHY: You’re talking about the Fourteenth Amendment?
REP. ELLISON: Well, the Fourteenth Amendment is only one element of this. Remember, we’ve got soldiers in the field as you mentioned before. We cannnot afford to default while we have soldiers wondering if they’ll get paid or not. I think this is a function of his executive authority and his authority as commander-in-chief. I think the Fourteenth Amendment gives him authority and I think he should explore this possibility as a last resort.
Rep. Ellison’s shameless scare tactics should be repudiated by his Democratic colleagues. Unfortunately, they won’t be repudiated because they’re reading from the script that Nancy Pelosi wrote.
Thankfully, St. Thomas Economics Professor David Vang set the record straight during his interview with Esme Murphy:
MURPHY: First of all, are you amongst those that agree that if there is not a deal reached by Tuesday, that the consequences would be devastating for average people?
PROF. VANG: Not really. There’s alot of silver linings in this whole thing. One thing, believe it or not, is that the IRS is still working so they’re still collecting tax revenues so there’s still revenues coming into the government as we speak. So then, the issue is prioritizing, which bills get paid first, just like your own household.
Another thing is, if worse comes to worse, the United States government still has the copying machine to make more money. So they could always make the money to pay its bills.
In other words, talk about defaulting is the Democrats’ go to scare tactic. It isn’t something that’ll happen anytime soon, if ever. Prof. Vang just utterly demolished Rep. Ellison’s interview, which amounted to a six-minute long scare tactic rant.
Thankfully, Rep. Ellison was given enough time to hang himself with his mindless recitation of Ms. Pelosi’s incoherent talking points. Now it’s time to get this deal done so the serious cuts are made to restore fiscal sanity to this nation.
I recall hearing Mort Kondracke calling Martin Frost a moderate during a roundtable discussion on Special Report shortly after Frost lost to Pete Sessions in 2004.
After reading this Fox Nation op-ed, it’s impossible to picture Frost as a moderate. In fact, it’s op-eds like this that make me think he’s part of the far left fringe that’s dragging the Democratic Party down. Listen to his visceral attitude towards the TEA Party:
We now have a group of U.S. politicians seeking political purity, who seem to have much in common with the Taliban. They are tea party members; and because of blind adherence to smaller government, they seem intent on risking destroying what American political leaders have constructed in more than two centuries of hard, often painful work. Like the Taliban, they see compromise as an unacceptable alternative.
As part of the House Republican majority, these uncompromising tea party members present an enormous challenge to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) as he seeks to reach a compromise which can avert an unprecedented U.S. default on Aug. 2.
First, the BS about default is a discredited scare tactic frequently deployed by Democrats. Preventing default is child’s play at this point. Paying the bondholders first (approximately $29,000,000,000 this month) requires less than 15% of the revenue the U.S. Treasury expects to collect in August.
The time for Democratic Party partisan hackery and scare tactics must stop ASAP.
Next, it’s time to expose the fallacy that compromise is automatically virtuous. It isn’t. It isn’t automatically a dirty word, either, which is why it’s important to know what the compromise includes.
It’s important to expose Sen. Reid’s bill as an utter failure. It includes artificial savings of $1,400,000,000,000, $1,000,000,000,000 from shutting down the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and $400,000,000,000 in interest savings from not spending money on something that we weren’t planning spending money on 3 years from now anyway.
That’s before talking about the fact that they’re basing these savings on the wrong baseline figures.
Third, none of the bills, Sen. Reid’s included, deals even momentarily with the GAO report that highlights a first year saving of $300,000,000,000 just from eliminating the duplication that’s listed in the GAO’s report.
The GAO report should be the starting point for any debt ceiling/spending reduction bill. Still, it should only be a starting point. Sen. Coborn’s legislation achieves $9,000,000,000,000 in savings in the next decade. Why isn’t that a featured part of these discussions?
When Rep. Frost says that TEA Party activists are demanding political purity, he’s intentionally mischaracterizing what’s happening. What TEA Party activists are really insisting on is that DC politicians listen to what America is saying. Cutting spending isn’t something that only TEA Party activists support. It isn’t something that only Republicans support. It’s something that the overwhelming majority of Americans support.
In Rep. Frost’s paranoid, ill-informed mindset, what he’s really saying is that DC, in the good old days, didn’t have to pay attention to We The People. It’s apparent that politicians don’t like the thought that they can’t ignore We The People like they did in ‘the good old days.’
The most aggravating sentence in that paragraph is when Rep. Frost says that “they seem intent on risking destroying what American political leaders have constructed in more than two centuries of hard, often painful work.”
That’s pure BS. What’s happened during the previous 4 years of Democratic Party control can hardly be considered worthy of a great nation. The notion that running up the 3 biggest deficits in U.S. history in the past 3 years is worthy of a great nation isn’t absurd. It’s utter lunacy.
The notion that ramming a health care plan down the America people’s throats despite the American people’s loud, persistent dissent is worthy of a great nation isn’t foolish. It’s the stuff that historians will laugh at and wonder why the American people voted for such foolish politicians.
It isn’t that these politicians didn’t work hard. They certainly did. Their hard work wasn’t proof of these politicians’ competence. In fact, a $14,500,000,000,000 debt, a third of it created in the last 36 months, is proof of the Democrats’ incompetence.
This past November, the American people said a collective “NO MORE!!!” They didn’t just run 63 House Democrats into involuntary retirement, though that was the headline the morning of Nov. 3, 2010. It isn’t that their votes led to a 6-seat gain in the U.S. Senate.
The American people’s frustration with the status quo that they voted out 680 Democrats in state legislatures nationwide. They voted to flip 19 state legislative bodies nationwide.
In short, the American people said that they weren’t sitting idly by while the Democrats, led by President Obama, Sen. Reid and their special interest allies, spent us into economic oblivion.
If Rep. Frost has a problem with Republicans voting against more reckless spending, there’s an easy solution. He should have the fortitude to tell the American people that the politicians they elected in multitudes will hold Americans hostage while taking America down the wrong path.
It’s time for America to reject Rep. Frost’s status quo, inside-the-Beltway politics as usual. It’s time We The People stepped forward and told DC politicians that we’re silent no more and we won’t be ignored by cheap political hacks like Rep. Frost anymore.
Friday wasn’t a good day for this administration. According to Gallup’s polling, President Obama’s approval rating hitting a new low this week:
Obama’s 40% overall approval rating nearly matches the recent 41% approval Americans gave him for handling the debt ceiling negotiations. Though Americans rate Obama poorly for his handling of the situation, they are less approving of how House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are handling it. Gallup does not include ratings of Congress or congressional leaders in its Daily tracking, and thus, there is no overall job approval rating of Boehner, Reid, or Congress directly comparable to Obama’s current 40% overall job approval rating.
If that isn’t bad enough, this paragraph won’t bring the administration any comfort either:
Obama’s job approval rating among Democrats is 72%, compared with 34% among independents and 13% among Republicans. In the prior three weeks, his average approval rating was 79% among Democrats, 41% among independents, and 12% among Republicans.
Dropping 7 points each with Democrats and independents is bad news, though dropping 7 points with independents is substantially more troubling.
Articles like this won’t improve President Obama’s ratings:
More evidence, as if we needed it, that the U.S. economy is in sad shape. America’s gross domestic product grew just 1.3 percent in the second quarter, according to the Commerce Department. And first-quarter growth was revised down to just 0.4 percent. This is now the weakest two-year recovery since World War II.
More importantly, it means we’re in the danger zone for another recession. Research from the Federal Reserve finds that that since 1947, when two-quarter annualized real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 48 percent of the time. (And when year-over-year real GDP growth falls below 2 percent, recession follows within a year 70 percent of the time.
People understand that President Obama’s economic policies have failed. It isn’t often that we’ve seen the GDP this miniscule and unemployment this high at the same time.
That pretty much insures continued poor ratings for President Obama for the rest of this summer and possibly longer.
When President Reagan’s economic policies took hold, growth rates were 5-6%. There wasn’t a question which direction the economy would be heading for the forseeable future. Economic growth was robust under President Reagan’s leadership.
The best description for economic growth under President Obama’s leadership is fits and starts. There’s no clear direction to the Obama economy. That lack of clear direction, coupled with President Obama’s leading from behind on the debt ceiling, will drop President Obama’s approval rating even further.
In the end, the approval ratings won’t derail President Obama’s re-elections. It’s President Obama’s policies that will derail President Obama’s re-elections.
It’s evident that Republicans are reverting to their Stupid Party habits. It isn’t enough that the TEA Party’s darlings have changed the debate on the debt ceiling. It isn’t enough, in their minds, that the debt ceiling increases that’ve passed during Speaker Boehner’s watch are the first debt ceiling increases that’ve had spending cuts tied to them.
Apparently, some TEA Party organizations are slamming people like Col. Alan West for being RINOs. That’s led to Col. West defending himself on Laura Ingraham’s show this morning. Bully for him and bully for Ms. Laura for her steadfast support for Col. West. Here’s the tape of their conversation:
This leads to a more important point that needs to happen sooner rather than later. First, some of the TEA Party organizations’ leaders are letting their egos get the better of them. They’re thinking that congressmen like Rep. West report to them and them alone. They don’t.
Another thing that’s getting exceptionally annoying is hearing TEA Party activists calling people like Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and Alan West RINOs because they’re voting for Speaker Boehner’s bill. That’s positively stupid. It’s downright stupid because it isn’t rooted in verifiable, objective facts.
I enjoyed hearing Ms. Laura defend Alan West. First, here’s the lead-in for Ms. Laura’s defense:
REP. WEST: …They really do fear this Boehner plan because, let’s face it, the President doesn’t have a plan, Sen. Reid’s plan is a joke. It’s full of phantom savings and cuts. It raises the cuts to our military by $400,000,000,000 to $450,000,000,000 and I can tell you, that’s not something I’m gonna let happen to my friends still wearing the uniform…
INGRAHAM: Hey, let me tell you this. This is my pledge to you, Col. West: I will campaign for you. I will help you. I will do whatever I can for you down in Florida because you’ve been hit by the left like Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. You’ve been hit by all these women who supposedly are so strong, then play damsels in distress the next minute. And now, you’re being hit by the very people who should be at your side and who, frankly, have a victory here and have done an enormous amount of good.
Let’s applaud Col. West. He’s been a principled public servant, something that career politicians can’t understand. He’s tried solving the federal government’s spending addiction. Now he’s being excoriated for supposedly being a RINO by TEA Party organizations?
FreedomWorks is one of the organizations that is putting pressure on West:
West’s position has made him the target of a late lobbying effort by FreedomWorks, the conservative group that has provided key support to the tea party movement.
“What can we do to pull Allen West off this terrible Boehner debt plan?” said an email to Florida tea party activists tonight from Brendan Steinhauser of FreedomWorks.
The good news is that Rep. West knows a little about going on the offensive:
West replied that the Boehner plan should be viewed as a first step toward the tea party’s goals.
“In seven months, I think the expectation for Allen West and the rest of us to correct something that has been a disease going on for 30 years Let’s be realistic in our expectations. It takes 5 miles to turn an aircraft carrier around. I can tell you this: We have started that motion,” West said.
The reality is that West and other TEA Party favorites have changed things dramatically. Does anyone think that West, Ryan, Hensarling, Cantor and others won’t follow this fight with another fight to cut spending even more?
It’s time to file this principled fight in the ‘Elections matter’ category. Whether the legislators and activists oppose the Boehner bill or whether they support it, the important thing to remember is that these legislators and these activists are committed to cutting Washington spending down to size.
The next step is defeating President Obama with a principled conservative and winning a conservative majority in the Senate. Those goals are within reach.
It’ll just require the GOP to be smart about this for a change.
This morning, President Obama’s opponents got more ammunition to use against him in their bid to unseat him while consumers and jobseekers got more bad news. The official GDP for Q2 of 2011 was a paltry 1.3%. As bad as that news is, it isn’t the worst news in the GDP report. This is:
Gross domestic product climbed at a 1.3 percent annual rate following a 0.4 percent gain in the prior quarter that was less than earlier estimated, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington.
The GDP figure first released for Q1, 2011 was 1.9%. That’s now been revised down to .4%, a huge loss.
Forecasts of 85 economists in the survey ranged from 0.9 percent to 2.9 percent. At $13.27 trillion in the second quarter, GDP has yet to surpass the pre-recession peak.
Prior to the recession, GDP was north of $14 trillion, meaning the US economy has lost almost $1,000,000,000,000 since the Great Recession started.
I agree with Ed’s observation:
Frankly, I’m surprised that the Q2 number came in as high as it did; I was guessing a positive number below 1%. I’d bet on the next two planned restatements in August and September being downward rather than upward revisions.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see that 1.3% GDP growth figure revised to south of 1%.
The bottom line is this: if the economy keeps struggling like this, it won’t take much for the ‘R Word’ to start creeping into the conversation. The last thing President Obama can afford in his re-election campaign is to have his administration tied to 2 recessions, with a short, paltry recovery sandwiched in between.
It’s already cooked into the books that the stimulus is a failure, that Obamacare has acted like a wet blanket in smothering the economy. Those failures will weigh like millstones around President Obama’s neck as he runs for re-election next year.
There’s no reason to think that growth will suddenly pick up in Q3 and continue growing at solid rates through the election. In fact, there’s a distinct possibility that we’ll experience a recession between today and Election Day.
Earlier this week, Tarryl Clark hosted a transportation lobbyists convention at the St. Cloud Library. One of the things mentioned in the article about the event was that Tarryl is a member of an organization named the BlueGreen Alliance.
This Alliance press release is a perfect illustration of the left’s idea of a jobs program:
Dear President Obama,
America’s working families continue to struggle with high gas prices and the fragile economic recovery. With your leadership we have an opportunity to help save consumers money at the gas pump, create new American jobs, and strengthen the economy by setting strong fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards.
The BlueGreen Alliance, a national partnership between labor unions and environmental organizations dedicated to expanding the number and quality of jobs in the clean energy economy, strongly supports your efforts to create new fuel efficiency and GHG standards for light-duty vehicles sold in model years 2017-2025. We encourage you to propose standards that maximize oil savings and reductions of GHG pollution, strengthen the U.S. auto industry, increase the deployment of advanced technology, protect U.S automotive jobs, and create more opportunity for American workers.
Apparently, Tarryl’s idea of a jobs program is to throttle the fossil fuel industry to create preferred (by whom?) green jobs. It’s typical DFL economic strategy. They’ve tried picking winners and losers for a generation. As a result, Minnesota’s economy hasn’t been as strong as it should’ve been.
As for AGW fanaticism, this post by John Hinderaker pretty much puts that fanaticism to rest:
This could be the last nail in the coffin of the global warming alarmists: NASA data show that the amount of heat that the Earth has been losing into space, from 2000 to the present, is far greater than the alarmist models predicted.
This conclusion is critical because all scientists, alarmists and realists alike, agree that the direct increase in Earth’s temperature caused by additional CO2 in the atmosphere is too small to worry about. The alarmists’ claims are based entirely on hypothetical indirect consequences of additional CO2. But these alleged feedback effects are not based on empirical observation, they are merely hypothesized by the alarmists and incorporated into their computer models.
For a long time, we have known that the models’ predictions are contradicted by empirical observation. In the world of science, this is called refutation of a theory, but global warming exists in the realms of politics and religion, not science.
The DFL’s and President Obama’s hyping of green jobs has more to do with crony capitalism than it has to do with saving the planet. Isn’t it interesting that Tarryl’s ‘jobs program’ is based on lies, not free market principles?
Tarryl is a collection of special interests. One look at her old campaign website tells you that she’s the special interests’, not the people’s, best friend.
If there’s ever been a woman who’s whined more about her political opponents than Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, I wouldn’t know who it’d be. Wasserman-Schultz is currently whining that Republicans are acting like dictators on the debt ceiling debate:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), chair of the Democratic National Committee, said Wednesday that House Republicans are trying to impose “dictatorship” through their tactics in the debt-ceiling negotiations. She said the GOP rhetoric could “spark panic and chaos,” which she called “potentially devastating” to the economy.
The chair telephoned POLITICO to express “significant disappointment in where…Republicans have allowed this debate to degenerate.”
“Aren’t we at the point where the closer we get to chaos, the more concern that there should be about coming to the table and compromising with Democrats?” Wasserman Schultz asked. “This is not leadership. This is almost like dictatorship. I know they want to force the outcome that…their extremists would like to impose. But they are getting ready to spark panic and chaos, and they seem to be OK with that. And it’s just really disappointing, and potentially devastating.”
Rep. Wasserman-Schultz’s behavior is both disappointing and predictable. She’s a reprehensible human being who is long on criticizing others and short on offering anything constructive.
As for compromising, I’d love knowing how you merge a detailed plan with something that doesn’t exist. The Democrats’ alleged plan doesn’t exist, at least in terms of people saying that President Obama’s plan cuts discretionary spending by a specific amount, defense spending (by agency) is cut by a specific amount, etc.
This next quote is straight from no-mind-land:
The DNC chair said: “They start the day with trying to incite their caucus with, essentially, violent movie clips, pushing their people to inflict pain and hurt people.”
It’s come to this: the chair of the DNC doesn’t have the intelligence to put together rational responses to serious matters. Does she seriously think that House GOP leadership is pushing “their people to inflict pain and hurt people”? If she’s peddling that crap, then she’s more incompetent than Tim Kaine. By alot.
Wasserman Schultz continued: “What should be happening is what we’ve been ready to do for months. Ideally, what should be happening is a big deal, a big solution for a big problem, as the president has pushed for. At this point, it’s probable that we’re too close to the breaking point on Tuesday for that to happen.
In a perfect world, Democrats would’ve presented a serious budget in the Senate. Preferably, that budget would’ve cut spending and it would’ve gone through the committee process. In a less-than-perfect world, Senate Democrats would’ve at least passed a budget.
Unfortunately for the American people, Senate Democrats haven’t gotten beyond the ‘talking about frameworks’ stage. Even then, their proposals do nothing to fix the real problem, which is cutting spending to sane levels.
The deal would’ve gotten done had Republicans had a serious negotiating and legislating partner. Unfortunately, they don’t have that, either in the White House or in the Senate.
As such, DWS is the perfect embodiment of what the Democratic Party is. God help us.
When it comes to getting in front of the cameras, Sen. Klobuchar is a pro’s pro. Military funeral? Sen. Klobuchar is all over it. At the grand opening of a pork-barrel project in Minnesota? Set your watch by Sen. Klobuchar being there ahead of time. Gas prices rising because Democrats refuse to adopt a serious energy policy that includes a robust fossil fuel drilling plan? Sen. Klobuchar will be at a busy gas station with the cameras rolling:
At a busy gas station, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that she is asking the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission to respond to high gas prices by acting immediately to limit excessive price speculation in the oil markets.
Sen. Klobuchar didn’t have a solution to the problem. Here’s what I said then:
Thanks to President Obama’s policies, policies that Sen. Klobuchar has enthusiastically supported, gas prices have risen from a national average of $1.83 a gallon when he was inaugurated to the relatively current national average of $3.50 a gallon.
In her time in office, Sen. Klobuchar hasn’t proposed legislation that would actually increase domestic oil and natural gas production. Instead, she’s sided with her militant environmentalist allies in proposing what Democrats always propose.
On energy issues, Sen. Klobuchar has offered fewer positive solutions than a potted plant. Though the issue du jour isn’t oil, things haven’t changed much.
Now the issue is the debt ceiling and, to nobody’s surprise, Sen. Klobuchar has disappeared again, except to vote against sensible legislation that would start solving the problem.
Sen. Klobuchar voted against even debating the Republicans’ CCB legislation that would cut spending from its current levels, that would cap spending at those cut levels for a decade and would require the House and Senate to vote on a balanced budget amendment.
Sen. Reid told her that voting for this eminently sensible legislation wasn’t an option, which meant she dutifully voted against solving the debt ceiling crisis. She didn’t display the fortitude to stand up to Harry Reid when he was wrong like Rand Paul and Jim Demint did when Mitch McConnell was wrong.
The dirty little secret about Sen. Klobuchar is that she’s faithful to her party first and foremost. Putting the good of the nation first is a concept that simply doesn’t register with Sen. Klobuchar.
If Senate rules permitted potted plants to vote, it could replace Sen. Klobuchar for voting. Whether it’s tabling debt ceiling solutions, pissing away a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus bill or casting her vote for a one-size-fits-all health care system that stifles innovation, Sen. Klobuchar can be counted on to vote the way Harry Reid instructed her to.
That’s the bad news for Minnesota and the nation. The good news is that she’d have alot more time for meaningless photo ops.
More than a few times during the 2010 election cycle, TEA Party activists talked about the need to change the path that the United States was on and the fact that the really big changes wouldn’t happen until we defeated President Obama in 2012.
I remember this distinctly because people were saying that President Obama wouldn’t just sign off on the GOP repealing Obamacare, that he wouldn’t just relinquish his spending authority on unspent stimulus money. We certainly knew that he wouldn’t willingly agree to reduce the size of government.
In short, President Obama is who we knew he was: the most hard left liberal to occupy the White House in our nation’s history. By alot.
Ed’s post on the subject provides us with a great opportunity to figure out a winning end game for the debt ceiling debate.
First, it’s important that people push for the biggest front-loaded budget cuts package possible. Frontloading the cuts as much as possible isn’t just important. It’s imperative. The cuts made this year are the only cuts that are guaranteed.
Another important part of winning the debt ceiling debate is to not cannibalize ourselves. Push for the biggest bunch of front-loaded cuts possible but realize that not getting everything we want doesn’t mean that Speaker Boehner is a traitor to the cause.
Third, ignore the majority of the so-called TEA Party organizations when they say that Speaker Boehner must go and that representatives that vote for the Boehner plan must be primaried. These organizations aren’t evil but some of the nationally-known ‘TEA Party organizations’ aren’t like the original organic TEA Party groups.
Fourth, accept victory. When the 112th Congress was sworn in, President Obama sent Timothy Geithner to tell Speaker Boehner and House Republicans that they should pass a clean debt ceiling bill. Clean debt ceiling bill is code for don’t touch the massive spending increases we ran up the first half of my administration.
House Republicans, led initially by Paul Ryan, then followed by legislators like Jason Chaffetz, Jeb Hensarling, Chip Cravaack and dozens of other TEA Party freshmen, changed that debate. DRAMATICALLY. Now it’s just a matter of which package will offer the biggest front-loading of spending cuts.
Of course, the true heavy lifting won’t happen until President Obama is defeated in November, 2012. That’s when we’ll need the maximum amount of political capital. Let’s spend that capital wisely.
Technorati: President Obama, Tim Geithner, Debt Ceiling, Debt, Clean Bill, Stimulus, Obamacare, Bailouts, Spending, Democrats, John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Jeb Hensarling, Jason Chaffetz, Chip Cravaack, TEA Party, Republicans, Election 2012
It’d be a mistake if people took Jon Collins’ hit piece in the Minnesota Independent seriously. Just because the author used a number of provocative terms in this non-story doesn’t mean it’s something that there’s anything meaningful here. Here’s what I’m referring to:
ALEC documents were released by the Center for Media and Democracy last week, after they were leaked by a whistle-blower. The leak includes more than 800 ALEC draft bills on corporate-friendly issues. Although most bills appear in slightly different form at each legislature, they often originate in ALEC. This year, the Minnesota legislature had anti-labors bills like prevailing wage-restrictions that were similar to ones posted on the leak site.
Paulsen, whose communications staff did not respond to the Minnesota Independent’s request for comment, is a member of the federal affairs arm of the group, which includes 71 U.S. House members and six U.S. Senators. The group’s purpose is to build collaboration between federal and state members, and provide “members with information and testimonial support from the states on pressing policy matters,” according to a leaked membership document.
Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) told the Minnesota Independent that there’s been a regular stream of ALEC legislation coming to Minnesota through some Republican lawmakers. The Center for Media and Democracy listed 16 Minnesota lawmakers who had ties to the organization.
“The concern I have is that you have a well-organized group of corporate conservative organizations that spread their influence quietly and nationwide and begin to change basic underpinnings of a fair society that we’ve put together for years and years,” Winkler said. “My concern is that they’re effective, not that I’m afraid to address their bills on their merits.”
Let’s count the number of meaningless provocative words Collins uses. The first sentence contains terms like leaked and whistle-blower. The term whistle-blower seems more than a bit extravagant considering Dictionary.com’s definition of whistle-blower:
a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing.
Where’s the corruption, the lawbreaking, the wrongdoing?
Here’s another sinister-sounding, provocative sentence:
The Center for Media and Democracy listed 16 Minnesota lawmakers who had ties to the organization.
One of those “16 Minnesota lawmakers” is state representative King Banaian. Here’s what Rep. Banaian said about ALEC:
I love this “ties to the organization.” I am a member because I want to be able to use their resources. I PAY for that. That does not mean we take orders from them; if we did, wouldn’t they pay me?
ALEC isn’t any more sinister than the Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation has a sterling reputation for research amongst both conservatives and liberals.
What Rep. Winkler is distressed about is the fact that conservatives have better resources than the DFL does. The DFL has to rely on MN2020 whereas conservatives can rely on research from the Heritage Foundation, ALEC and the Center for the American Experiment.
This paragraph is simply too much:
The leak led to a series of articles in the Nation magazine, detailing an environment that allowed corporate lobbying without disclosure, as well as undue corporate influence in legislation-drafting.
Last year, Rep. Mark Buesgens issued this statement:
ST. PAUL The head of a committee table in the Minnesota Legislature is no place for a registered lobbyist, according to State Representative Mark Buesgens, R-Jordan. Buesgens, who formerly chaired the House Education Policy and Reform Committee, criticized Democrat legislators for allowing Education Minnesota President and registered lobbyist Tom Dooher to sit at the table with legislators during Tuesday’s hearing on Minnesota’s ‘Race to the Top’ application.
“Special interests have absolutely no place at the committee table, no matter who they represent,” Buesgens said. “This one in particular has consistently stood in the way of education reform and spent millions upon millions of dollars over the years to elect reform-averse legislators. Putting him at the head of the table for all to see sent a clear message, like having Vito Corleone watching over his foot soldiers.”
According to Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board records, Dooher is registered lobbyist number 2005, having first registered on June 18, 2007. Board documents also show that the EdMinn PAC gave $155,700 to the Minnesota DFL House Caucus in 2008, the most recent election year.
“Special interests do not run the Legislature, or at least that’s what we are told. But apparently if you are willing to fork over enough cash, Democrats can find room for you at the head of the table. It’s a disgrace,” Buesgens said.
Rep. Winkler didn’t complain about Tom Dooher sitting between the House and Senate K-12 Committee chairs. Is that because Education Minnesota is Rep. Winkler’s kind of special interest group? If Rep. Winkler is complaining about special interests, he’d better complain about all special interests.
Frankly, this sounds more like Rep. Winkler’s attempt to scuff up Congressman Paulsen than anything else. Is it possible that Rep. Winkler likes the thought of one day becoming Congressman Winkler of Minnesota’s Third District? Considering how much smoke there is in Collins’ story and how fire wasn’t found, it isn’t a stretch to think that Rep. Winkler got Mr. Collins to gussy up a non-story in an attempt to create a story where one doesn’t exist.