I was at my internship with Laura Ingraham earlier today, and as part of the job I had to look up information regarding the falling house of cards that is the Democratic Party and its domestic initiatives. Below is what I found:
1. President Obama’s Transportation Security Administration nominee has resigned after Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and other Republicans held up his nomination due to his lying to Congress.
2. Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) is calling for health care voting to halt until newly-elected Senator Brown (R-MA) is seated.
3. White House officials and House Democrats see things differently on health care and the ramifications of the Brown election.
5. White House advisor David Axelrod and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs don’t get it.
Below is what I have found since:
6. Suddenly, deadlines aren’t so important to President Obama.
8. Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) is kinda-sorta-not-really calling for health care reform to start over.
10. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is being hammered by the liberal members of her caucus.
None of this is to take away from the fact that Republicans still have work to do in creating a big tent- though Ed Morrissey continues to do great work regarding that goal- and that the Tea Partiers and many other Americans are as angry at the Republican Party as they are at the Democratic Party. While I think the Republicans will win several Senate seats, and 20-30 House seats, I also think the divisions between conservative Republicans and moderate Republicans, and between social conservatives and fiscal/economic conservatives, will hand several House races and at least one or two Senate seats to the Democrats in 2010. Of course, if President Obama keeps using his waning political capital to help Democrats in tough elections, perhaps Republicans will be fortunate enough to have another two years to get their own house in order before the 2012 elections.
From the inimitable Austin Russell:
Ignoring the most basic instincts of competitive politics, modern opposition to any particular political issue usually raises a lack of partisan cooperation as an almost natural first line of defense. While such an approach does credit to American parenting, in that it demonstrates a firm belief in fairness, it does little to defend-and much less to advance- any alternative political philosophy.
The latest and greatest example comes from the alleged opposition to federal healthcare reform or, as it should be more appropriately regarded, federal healthcare takeover. The insistence by both House and Senate leaders that forthcoming deliberations be held behind closed doors has led many in opposition to complain of the unfairness of it all. While the adoption of such a secretive process would assuredly preclude transparency, it has, unfortunately, shifted the focus of many to how deliberations should be conducted, rather then whether such deliberations should be conducted at all.
While defenses should be raised through every conceivable and ethical political tact, basic arguments must not be neglected. Those who oppose a federal takeover of healthcare must not abandon the ship of fundamental principles. Transparent or not?fair or not?the federal government has no business meddling with healthcare in the first place. Let us never forget that.
Over the last few weeks, there has been talk of not having the traditional “conference” to meld the Senate and House health care reform bills. I laughed off such thoughts, as transparency is something this administration and congressional leaders have been hammered for over the last several months. However, it appears I was wrong. Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) and House Majority Leader Pelosi (D-CA) are setting things up so they will not have to have the conference, and instead get the “conference” bill without a conference.
This is bothersome. However, a number of media sources are doing their job and calling for the Obama administration to open the melding process to the public. (H/T to The Heritage Foundation’s “The Foundry.”) Let’s make our voices heard in support of C-Span’s efforts and make certain Democrats know they should have full transparency in this debate or face the wrath of the voters come November.
The Heritage Foundation cites two professors at?the University of Michigan who showed that Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds were allocated in amounts related, at least in part, to lobbying efforts and political contributions. However, the strongest?evidence regarding political?favors was?that the study found?”banks with headquarters located in the district of a member of the House Financial Services Committee were 26 percent more likely to receive TARP funds than those not so geographically favored.”
As taxpayers, we should be outraged by this. Yes, lobbying and political contributions are designed to gain favors, and of course Members of Congress are always concerned about re-election, particularly in the House. Furthermore, this is all legal. However, one would have hoped- obviously in vain- that in order to pull the economy back from the so-called precipice that we were at last year our elected officials would act in the public interest instead of their own.
To clarify: I don’t think we should have negative feelings toward the constituent banks; after all, they probably figured the money was going out and they deserve it as much as the next bank. However, this should be yet another sign that more transparency is needed in government programs.
The first is a Salvation Army Major who was accosted and shot in front of his three very young children on Christmas Eve. See the linked article for where to send donations.
Secondly, a father who was sent to Iraq- he was only a few days from his actual deployment, training at a base stateside- was unable to be with his family over Christmas despite his house burning down last week. I heard about it on a local radio station based in Littleton, New Hampshire, where the man’s family lives. The father was able to come home for one day and then had to go back to his unit. The family lost everything, though none of the three young children- all five years old or younger- were injured, nor was the childrens’ mother.? Donations may be made by calling the Littleton Police Department at (603) 444-2422 and asking to speak to the dispatcher.
Iranian officials are still cracking down on those brave enough to protest. Contact your Members of Congress- Senate and House- and the White House to urge our leaders to support the protesters before it’s too late.
A bridge has collapsed in India, and dozens are feared dead. I don’t know how to offer support here, other than prayer.
Of course, there are always the military service members overseas, their families, those the soldiers are fighting and their families- prayers and support for all sides so there may be peace and justice I’m sure would help.
I know these kinds of incidents and occurrences are not happy things to think about during the Christmas season- especially when we all have our own troubles in this recession. However, as those fortunate enough to be able to celebrate Christmas in relative peace and happiness, I hope we can remember to go out of our way to help those we run into and those we don’t while the spirit of the season is still upon us, and we get too caught up in the necessities of our normal daily lives once Christmas and New Year’s vacations are over.
It passed on a party-line vote, too. However, do not despair yet:
1. The White House is outright lying about President Obama’s campaigning on the public option. Desperation?
2. According to Politico, the White House is admitting negotiations over the bill may go past the State of the Union address in late January or very early February. Given that there have been multiple passed deadlines already, and primary season hits full stride in May, will vulnerable Democrats like Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) be willing to pass this monstrosity in the final vote? Their constituents will be (and are) paying attention, and 2010 is going to be a Republican year anyway, so conservative Democrats are going to continue to be very careful.
3. Democrats in the House have felt ignored and trampled for much of the health care debate, and The Heritage Foundation has compiled a number of issues the House and Senate will have to overcome to get a final bill passed. Question: will the House be willing to cave? That verdict is uncertain.
4. Politically influential conservatives, liberals and moderates are against the Senate bill. Polls show Americans are increasingly against the so-called “ObamaCare” version of health care reform. Again, will vulnerable Democrats risk voting for the bill?
5. The designed-to-be-a-pain federal legislation process is in America’s favor.
It’s Christmas- let’s enjoy the day, thank God for sending us His son and enjoy our time with family and friends. Let’s also pray for the guidance and ability to prevent this bill from gravely harming Americans by not letting it pass.
Officially, the Senate has not passed health care reform. Unofficially, the fight is over for this round. Senate Democrats overcame a filibuster by a party-line vote of 60-40, including the two independent senators who caucus with the Democrats.
As I said, it’s not officially over; the above vote merely provided official “cloture.” However, it is merely window dressing to get the bill passed by Christmas Eve, which seems very likely now.
The Heritage Foundation outlines what this bill will do to America’s budget, the unborn and taxes. In short, it’s a bad bill, which we already knew. However, there is still hope. The Senate and House bills must be compromised in conference- where the two chambers make two bills into one- and then voted on again in each chamber separately. The two biggest issues, as far as I see, that could shut down this reform effort are abortion and the public option. The House bill includes the latter, the Senate one does not. The Senate bill, however, allows public funds to be used for abortion and the House one does not. I hope Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) holds strong on his abortion language and kills the bill. A pro-life amendment would help the health care bill that finally passes (if one does) not fund the murder of the unborn.
Fox News has a very revealing analysis about where various monies went to various senators in order to bribe them votes for the cloture vote. As Fox notes in the article, uncertain votes were brought in line as a direct result of how the Senate leadership decided to use our money.
The Washington Examiner’s Mark Hemingway takes it away with this one:
“A new analysis of the $157 billion distributed by the American Reinvestment and Recovery act, popularly known as the stimulus bill, shows that the funds were distributed without regard for what states were most in need of jobs.”
Later: “The Mercatus Center analysis also found that Democratic congressional districts received on average almost double the funding of Republican congressional districts. Republican congressional districts received on average $232 million in stimulus funds while Democratic districts received $439 million on average.”
Lastly: “Finally, the Mercatus analysis shows that a majority of the funds allocated went to public rather than private entities — nearly $88 billion to $69 billion.”
What a surprise- you mean to tell me the stimulus is failing again? I’m shocked. Really. (Okay, not really.)
This is really bad, for four reasons: first, since a majority of public employees are members of unions, the money is going to sources of voting power for Democrats as opposed to helping all Americans (assuming, of course, it did help, which is doubtful). Secondly, the money was not distributed for efficienty of employment- even though that was its selling point. Thirdly, the money was spread by two departments not Congress, which means either those departments are biased (unlikely) or they are following a formula, as the study Hemingway quotes concludes, and that means the formula is skewed. Fourth, this is almost exactly 20% of the $770 billion approved by Congress, and it’s been ten months or so since it was approved.
George Will called it- “Which suggests that Stimulus II is…primarily designed to save a few dozen jobs — those of Democratic members of the House and Senate.”