Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
You should thank your lucky stars for the Big Guy: he's trying real hard.
Now, Florida, that's why Joe and I asked for the chance to serve as your President and Vice President. (Applause.) Look, we didn't seek this office to push our problems off or take the easy road through the next election. We ran to solve problems -- problems that had been nagging at America for decades. We want to solve them for the next generation.That's not the big O's style: he's breathed new life into his #1 priority with his stirring speech and bold leadership. Hey, it ain't easy, but he's just the guy to do it.
We ran to get the tough stuff done. (Applause.) So as I mentioned last night, I make no apology for trying to fix stuff that's hard, because -- (applause) -- I'll be honest with you -- I'll be honest with you, Joe and I are both pretty smart politicians, we've been at this a while. (Laughter.) The easiest way to keep your poll numbers high is to say nothing and to do nothing that offends anybody. (Applause.) That's true. No, no, no, you just wave, smile and -- (laughter.) That's how you do it.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I got a kick out of President Obama's big announcement that he was going to freeze the federal budget to save money over the next decade.
Well, except for Medicare and Social Security. And interest on the national debt. And military spending. And certain social programs. In fact, just a tiny sliver of stuff.
Wait...where have I heard this before?
Navin: For one dollar I'll guess you weight, your height, or your sex.Chiclets for everyone!
The most exciting thing on the midway. Imagine the thrill of getting your weight guessed by a professional. You can blow up your cheeks, you can stick out your chest, but you're not going to fool the guesser. How about you sir? Step right up!
Carnival Rube: Hey honey, let's see how good this guy is. What'd I win?
Navin: Uh, anything in this general area right in here. Anything below the stereo and on this side of the bicentennial glasses. Anything between the ashtrays and the thimble. Anything in this three inches right in here in this area. That includes the Chiclets, but not the erasers.
Extra - Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight calls the spending freeze "a mistake on par with John McCain's 'suspending my campaign' gaffe."
More - Open Left (!) writes "It's official: Obama is an idiot."
And there's this - As Obama plans to save $25 billion a year: "CBO projects 2010 budget deficit at $1.35 trillion."
Monday, January 25, 2010
President Barack Obama said that he "would rather be a really good one-term president" than have two mediocre terms. In an interview to air Monday, the president stated his preference as negotiations have stalled over the health care reform package he championed.This "sacrifice for the greater good" act is wearing thin, especially since the man's arrogance is well-known. His unbounded obsession with getting health care reform passed has spawned a 2,000 page piece of legislation that must be propped up every month with a new special interest outrage: the Louisiana Purchase, the Cornhusker Kickback, the union exemption on "Cadillac" plans, etc. But even though the public is against both the process and the product, he's going to keep plowing ahead, even if it means he must give up all he's gained.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
For those of us with a more conservative political viewpoint, the presence of a liberal media, aka the "mainstream media," is axiomatic. How else to explain this bit of denial in the New York Times today?
There are many theories about the import of Scott Brown’s upset victory in the race for Edward Kennedy’s former Senate seat. To our minds, it is not remotely a verdict on Mr. Obama's presidency, nor does it amount to a national referendum on health care reform - even though it has upended the effort to pass a reform bill, which Mr. Obama made the centerpiece of his first year.Wow, somebody's living in a bubble. Not "remotely!" But as much as the Right may gripe about the political preference of the media, this is a dual-edged sword for the Left. Because when you hear nothing but enthusiastic cheerleading from the press, you tend to believe that the people are behind you.
That's why the national Democratic Party discovered - too late - that Martha Coakley was going to lose. It's Massachusetts! In a race for Ted Kennedy's seat! Defeat is unthinkable! The next day, the papers will full of adjectives like "stunning" and "unexpected." This is how the entire mainstream media got scooped by a couple of college kids on the ACORN scandal and the National Enquirer is putting itself up for a Pulitzer for (correctly) breaking the story on John Edwards' mistress. The MSM put the blinders on, willingly and repeatedly, to their own shame.
Even now, as Americans turn away from health care reform, the Ahabs are coming out to insist that we can still get that White Whale. The public be damned! They're just going to love it once it's crammed down their throats through legislative legerdemain. I think most of the national media still thinks there's a chance to pass health care reform, and therefore they hope it. But it's done at least for 2010, and no amount of wishing is going to change that fact. The media would serve themselves, and their liberal comrades, if they reported it.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Are you enjoying the delicious irony of a Republican elected in Massachusetts to replace Ted Kennedy's seat and cast the deciding vote to kill health care reform?
Well it didn't have to be this way but back in 2004 the Democrats on Beacon Hill changed the law stipulating that the governor would name a replacement for a vacancy in the Senate. At the time, Democrats were worried that John Kerry would win the Presidential race, allowing then-governor Mitt Romney to name a replacement. But if the Dems had just let the law stand, current governor Deval Patrick would have named the replacement for Ted Kennedy and we could have avoided this whole special election.
That's just delicious, that is.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The health care issue is front and center as the reason Brown has gained traction. While the plan enjoys more support in Massachusetts than it does nationwide, those with strong opinions on the subject are more likely to oppose the bill than support it. Perhaps the single most shocking thing about the Massachusetts race is the fact that a Republican is running against the president’s health care effort and winning in the Kennedys' home state.This has been the singlemost tone-deaf campaign I've ever seen both on a personal and political level, but it didn't have to be this way if the Democratic candidate had listened to the voters instead of measuring the drapes.
Brown’s position on health care has been supplemented by his positions on national security issues, including the Christmas Day terrorist bomber. Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly want the man who tried to blow up a U.S. airliner tried in a military setting as a terrorist.
FiveThirtyEight: "538 Model posits Brown as 3:1 favorite"
Coakley's odds are substantially worse than they appeared to be 24 hours ago, when there were fewer credible polls to evaluate and there appeared to be some chance that her numbers were bottoming out and perhaps reversing.What happened 24 hours ago?
Sunday, January 17, 2010
This morning, Senate candidate Scott Brown came to Holyoke to fire up the troops in the Brown campaign's Western Massachusetts headquarters. I grabbed my new Flip camera and headed off to get a handshake and some pictures.
Scott arrived in his green truck and made his way to meet the people:
Here he is working the crowd which extends down to the far American flag. I would estimate the crowd at around a hundred people, up at 8:45am in the morning.
Here's one homemade sign. Other good once were "I'm not being paid to hold this sign," "Red Sox Fans for Brown," and a Celtics jersey with "Brown 41" on the back.
And here's a brief video of Brown leaving campaign headquarters after addressing the volunteers. At the end you can hear someone yell "Vote on Tuesday!"
I headed into headquarters afterwards and asked if I could get a bumper sticker. A pleasant lady responded "we're out of everything." Back out on the street, a gentleman was casually chatting with some Brown supporters and I overheard him talking about the health reform bill working through Congress. He was clearly upset with the employer mandates and flatly said he would have to lay off some workers if it passed, presumably to get under the threshold for a small-business exemption. (Totally true).
There were a number of news crews present so I'll have to see if I'm on TV tonight. If you're reading this Western Massachusetts, I’m the tall, geeky guy wearing a green flannel shirt and a red jacket.
Scott Brown will be at a People's Rally this afternoon at 3:30pm in Worcester, MA. Get out and vote on Tuesday!
One final note: I saw exactly one Martha Coakley sign on my drive to-and-from Holyoke, including a detour through Northampton. By contrast, I saw at least 15 Brown signs, probably closer to 20. I even saw two Alan Khazei signs.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Here's one report, via Red Mass Group (in the comments):
Alright, I just got back from making calls for Scott Brown. I made hundreds of calls and had only one, ONE, person tell me they would not vote for Brown.Scott Brown is coming around Western Mass tomorrow and I'm thinking about skipping church to make an eyewitness report. But that's not good...it's a dilemma.
To be fair, I did get voicemails and etc... but I talked to a lot of people tonight and most were excited to hear from me. Can you imagine that? EXCITED to hear from a tele-marketer!? Many said not only are they voting for SB but so is most of their family and just about everyone they know.
I was expecting to take my lumps on the phone but it was actually a really energizing experience.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Eventually you come to the point in a political campaign where the effectiveness of management, communication of a coherent message, and execution to meet goals become a proxy for the candidate him/herself. In other words, if a candidate runs a terrible campaign (e.g. Creigh Deeds) the voters question the competency of the candidate to be senator/governor/president. Legal Insurrection lists the many missteps of Martha Coakley:
Martha Coakley's slap-shots fired at Fenway Park fans and devout Catholics, her vacation in the middle of a special election, her refusal to debate one-on-one, her D.C. lobbyist fundraiser, and her denial that she witnessed the subsequent assault on a reporter, all have people bewildered as to how Coakley could be so "tone deaf."Today, the heels of the "Massachusettes" incident, the Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight has released a Scott Brown attack ad with the World Trade Center in the background.
Meanwhile a DSCC spokesman is saying the image shouldn't have appeared in the ad and that it is being pulled.And you want to be my
Extra - Boston Globe: "Campaigns are an opportunity for candidates to hear from the public they want to represent, but Coakley doesn’t seem to believe this is necessary." Voters are icky.
More - Jules Crittenden: "Bromentum?"
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Mass Live: "New Martha Coakley ad attacking Scott Brown misspells 'Massachusetts'"
Here's my favorite comment.
She should have run for Senator of Ohio, it's an easier State to spell.Ann Althouse gets runner-up:
…as the female candidate goes on the attack in her effort to become the next… Senatorette!Moving foward!
From Opinion Journal: "$222 billion, ho hum"
Among the astonishing things about the ObamaCare debate-or lack thereof-is that Washington is inundated with warnings about the destructiveness of this plan, and it doesn't matter. The agency that runs Medicare rung the latest alarm bell on Friday, and good luck finding any media mention.My theory is that America is tired of hearing about this legislation and has already internalized the bad news coming:
Richard Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reports that under his analysis national health spending will rise under the bills by $222 billion over the next 10 years. In other words, ObamaCare really does "bend the cost curve"---up.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that just 17% believe passage of the legislation will achieve the stated goal of reducing health care costs. Fifty-seven percent (57%) think it will lead to higher costs.It's a national Stockholm syndrome. Please let it end.
Fifty-two percent (52%) also believe passage of the legislation will lead to a decline in the quality of care.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Sounds like the union leaders had a "frank" discussion with Obama about the health care bill: "Irate labor leaders press Obama on proposed health care 'Cadillac' tax."
Labor leaders irate over a proposed tax on high-value health insurance plans met with President Barack Obama on Monday to express their frustration over his support for the levy. Some labor officials have warned Democrats of political fallout for backing the tax.I never thought I'd be on the same side of an issue with the AFL-CIO, the side agreeing that this is a tax on middle-class workers. The White House is only saying there was an "exchange of views." Hmmm.
The president of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, said there was a frank discussion at the nearly two-hour White House meeting with about a dozen heads of the country's biggest labor unions. Earlier in the day Trumka delivered a broadside to Obama and Senate Democrats who are planning to pay for overhauling the nation's health care system with a tax on insurance plans that union leaders fear could hit their workers.
Trumka warned that Democrats risk catastrophic election defeats similar to 1994 if they fail to come up with a health bill labor likes.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Friday, January 08, 2010
Thursday, January 07, 2010
I think this post title from AoSHQ says it all: "Remember When Obama Said He Wouldn't Raise Taxes On Those Making Less Than $250K? Let Me Be Perfectly Clear, He Lied"
The topic at hand is Obama's support for a 40% tax on "Cadillac" health care plans, a large majority of which are held by union members, who will most assuredly see the cost passed on to them. And, via Politico, here's "Ex-Obama supporter slams president for flip-flop on Cadillac tax." Golly, if only a group of Representatives who need to face the voters every two years would listen to their constituents. What a world that would be!
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Everything you wanted to know about President Obama's current viewpoint on health care reform can be found in this Politico roundup. He doesn't care if it covers Americans, or is deficit-neutral, or wrecks the economy, or marches the sick over a cliff. He just wants it done before the State of the Union address so he can laud this "historic" and "landmark" legislation that we mere mortals are not allowed to see crafted, lest our eyes scar over!
President Obama met with House Speaker Pelosi, House Majority Leader Hoyer, Senate Majority Leader Reid and Sen. Durbin last night and told them that he wants a final bill that includes a tax on Cadillac insurance plans and an independent Medicare commission.Unless it will delay the negotiations, then under the bus it goes.
And he forcefully communicated his desire to pass reform in time for his State of the Union address, according to a Democratic insider familiar with the conversation.Quel surprise.
Obama also responded to Pelosi’s strong, repeated pitches for the public option by making it clear that, while he supports the proposal, he doesn’t think it is doable.Can't waste a moment.
Reid, who along with Durbin participated by phone, time and again steered the rather substantive policy discussions back to one central question – will it get 60 votes?Because otherwise, we might have to push off the mad dash to screw up one-sixth of the U.S. economy.
It's now blindingly obvious that Obama will sign anything with the words "health care" on it. It's called "leadership" in case you didn't know. Suck on that, FDR!
Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Monday, January 04, 2010
Sunday, January 03, 2010
Jeff Jacoby lays out the argument against the estate tax in "Let's keep the death tax dead":
To class warriors, of course, abolition of the estate tax is a disgrace. The American Prospect's Tim Fernholz wonders why foes of the estate tax are so keen on "lining the pockets of the already-wealthy," and bristles at the thought of not taxing "folks who inherit huge fortunes" when their parents die. "It makes little sense," declaims USA Today in a recent editorial, "to shower tax breaks on a tiny sliver of the nation's wealthiest citizens."Here's my argument against the death tax: the money that everybody earns is taxed once as income tax. If we put it into the bank to save, the interest earned is taxed. If we invest that money, it's taxed with a capital gains tax. And if we spend it, there's a sales tax. (If we stuff it under the mattress, the value is eaten away by inflation, too.) From the moment the money is earned, it is taxed in a hundred different ways: can't we leave it alone in death?
Besides, the "rich" aren't going to pay that tax, unless they've hired particularly inept financial planners:
But the nation's wealthiest citizens aren't the ones the estate tax hurts. The Rockefeller, Buffett, and Kennedy fortunes are secure, shielded from the IRS by flocks of tax lawyers and accountants. As Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings Institution and Boston College economist Alicia Munnell have sardonically observed, estate taxes "are penalties on those who neglect to plan ahead or who retain unskilled estate planners." Populist rhetoric notwithstanding, they add, American estate taxes "have failed to achieve their intended purposes. They raise little revenue. They impose large excess burdens. They are unfair."Then there's the immorality of punishing hard work, thriftiness, and savings:
The estate tax is pernicious because it punishes precisely the kind of behavior society should want to reward - work, prudence, savings - and it rewards behavior that should be discouraged - profligacy, overconsumption, and leisure. The easiest way to avoid all death taxes, after all, is to spend your money before you go. Work hard, reinvest your earnings, and leave your life's savings to your loved ones, on the other hand, and the IRS becomes one of your heirs. As economist Arthur Laffer memorably put it in an essay last year, "Spend It in Vegas, or Die Paying Taxes." That is hardly the message we should want our tax laws to convey.For every spoiled debutante like Paris Hilton waiting to collect on her inheritance, there are a hundred doctors or businessmen who worked or risked all they had to earn their fortunes. Bill Gates, for example, dropped out of Harvard to start a little company called Microsoft. His company then provided livelihoods to thousands of employees and he retired to run a foundation that hands out $1.5 billion a year to causes ranging from HIV research to education reform. But when Bill Gates dies, the federal government will take just a little bit more. Spreading the wealth around, you know.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Friday, January 01, 2010
The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Obama as a national model for efficient health care, will stop accepting Medicare patients as of tomorrow at one of its primary-care clinics in Arizona, saying the U.S. government pays too little.Keep in mind that this action was taken before the 21% drop in Medicare reimbursement rates that are required in the current health care reform legislation to make it deficit neutral.