Witch’s Will For A Sunday In March
Thought For A Sunday Morning:
Face difficulties positively
This parable is told of a farmer who owned an old mule. The mule fell into the farmer’s well. The farmer heard the mule praying or whatever mules do when they fall into wells. After carefully assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the mule, but decided that neither the mule nor the well was worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he called his neighbors together, told them what had happened, and enlisted them to help haul dirt to bury the old mule in the well and put him out of his misery.
Initially the old mule was hysterical! But as the farmer and his neighbors continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It suddenly dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back, HE WOULD SHAKE IT OFF AND STEP UP!
This he did, blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up…shake it off and step up!” He repeated to encourage himself. No matter how painful the blows, or how distressing the situation seemed, the old mule fought panic and just kept right on SHAKING IT OFF AND STEPPING UP!
It wasn’t long before the old mule, battered and exhausted, stepped triumphantly over the wall of that well! What seemed like it would bury him actually helped him . . . all because of the manner in which he handled his adversity.
THAT’S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity.
For Best Article This Morning:
Bring back shame!
by Michael Goodwin
It really is an Age of Wonder, as in: I wonder what the hell those people are thinking.
They would be the people arguing against personal responsibility and for unending handouts.
Take the Planned Parenthood Association, which blasted Mayor Bloomberg for an ad campaign that aims to get teens to graduate, get married and get a job before making a baby.
The campaign “creates stigma, hostility and negative public opinions about teen pregnancy and parenthood rather than offering alternative aspirations,” said Haydee Morales, a vice president of the city chapter.
Or take US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who also trotted out a scarlet-letter image to criticize City Hall for requiring poor children to walk to school cafeterias to get free breakfasts instead of eating in their classrooms.
“There’s a good rationale for having breakfast in the classroom, to reduce the stigma,” Vilsack declared on a recent visit to New York.
Those are just two of the latest foolish assaults on common sense and proven virtues. Others involve demands from “homeless advocates” (now there’s a job!) to build more and bigger shelters, despite the city spending nearly $1 billion this year. More is never enough.
And City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is leading the charge to stop the city from fingerprinting food-stamp recipients to weed out fraud. She insists it treats them as criminals, even though nearly all government workers are fingerprinted and somehow survive the stigma. Quinn & Co. also don’t mention that 1.8 million city residents now get food stamps, an increase of 1 million in the last decade, so obviously fingerprinting isn’t much of a barrier.
Always, the argument against any hurdle is a version of the Planned Parenthood rant — that the city is unfairly branding those getting “free” services. Never is there a consideration for the taxpayers footing the bill or, equally important, for the old-fashioned concept that a little shame never hurt anybody.
In fact, in the right circumstances, it’s downright healthy. The rise of the “come-and-get-it” entitlement culture is a direct result of sustained efforts to remove any hesitation over getting something at someone else’s expense. With self-restraint a quaint notion and governments at every level going broke, it’s time to bring back a dose of shame.
The dictionary defines it as a feeling of “guilt, embarrassment, disgrace, dishonor.” Those feelings, like a fear of failure, can be a spur to success.
Facts are facts. Families too poor to feed their own children or find a place to live are failing at the basic jobs of a parent. Pretending otherwise risks making the failure permanent and eroding any ambition to do better.
Loved this at the very end of the column:
The head of an Austrian political party says there are enough think tanks. What his native country needs, Frank Stronach declares, is a “do tank.”
America could use one, too.
Amen Brother Goodwin, amen!
Celtic Woman sings Amazing Grace:
Other Interesting Articles
End the Madness at the EEOC
By Clarice Feldman
With no authority to do so and with flawed factual support, the EEOC has issued an enforcement guideline that would compel employers to discriminate in favor of minority ex-cons. It’s past time for Congress to rein in the EEOC and make them withdraw this directive by other name.
(a) The EEOC Enforcement Guidance Procedure
Over 89 million Americans are presently out of the labor force. The New York Times seems to offer a muddled explanation for the fact that employers have money to hire but aren’t doing so even when they need extra help.
The Federal Reserve’s vision is less cloudy. In its latest beige book the Fed indicates that uncertainty about the impact and requirements of Obamacare is playing a significant role in the national job freeze cutting into sales and hiring.
Of course, it’s a major factor, but it is just one large example of the many regulations and actions by federal agencies — entities with a great deal of power which bear no responsibility for their bad decisions — that hamper the market and impoverish the nation.
Nothing so illustrates the foolish nature of these restrictions than the EEOC ‘s effort to compel employers to forego criminal background checks because ex-cons are more likely to be minorities — a matter ably documented by a very critical Professor Richard A. Epstein.
To understand the genesis of this overreaching, a brief review is in order. As life became more complex, Congress passed laws allowing some details in legislation to be set by administrative agencies. In 1946, believing the agencies were exceeding their authority, Republicans in Congress passed the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) of 1946 which set some limits on the delegation of authority, particularly it set in place a notice and comment procedure which would allow interested parties to weigh in on issues before regulations were written.
Even so, not every agency was even granted regulatory power. Congress denied the EEOC the power to issue regulations at all. So, the agency adopted this rule requiring the hiring of minority ex-cons (with limitations discussed below) with no public impact, using a dodge called “enforcement guidelines”.
While such “enforcement guidances” lack the force of law, employers ignore them at the risk of protracted and expensive litigation. Indeed, employers’ counsel warns them of this:
While the Enforcement Guidance does not have the force of law, it is nonetheless a clear indication of how the EEOC will view employer requests for arrest and conviction information in assessing charges of discrimination. Taking time to review your policies with this guidance in mind may allow you to avoid future confrontations with the EEOC.
Congress can reassert its authority and make regulations more sensible by forbidding the use of enforcement guidelines as an end run around the APA and if anything indicates why this is essential, this case does.
Truth-squadding sequester hysteria
Officials sabotage themselves when they manipulate, exaggerate and flout common sense
President Barack Obama and bureaucrats on down the federal ladder have the clout to make a 2.4 percent cut from this year’s spending as inconsequential or as painful as they wish. Even if barely half of the sequestered $85 billion was to be spent this year, the administration plainly intends to make Americans feel some hurt. Still, we’d bet the White House bungler who stuck it to sixth-graders from St. Paul’s Lutheran School gets a spanking for the fiasco he or she has caused.
The children, from Waverly in northeast Iowa, were scheduled to visit the White House on March 16. But on Tuesday the visitors office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. canceled tours as of March 9, citing “staffing reductions resulting from sequestration.
The students retorted with a nine-second Facebook video in which they implore:
“The White House is Our house, Please Let Us Visit!”
The p.r. fallout for the Obama administration is just as brutal as you’d expect. That didn’t improve Thursday when Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated that the kids from St. Paul’s Lutheran are sequester victims — although Carney blamed Secret Service costs, not “staffing reductions.” Hmm.
This is how officials sabotage themselves when they manipulate, exaggerate and flout common sense in foolish efforts to prove fallacious points. Months before the sequester took effect March 1, the administration was squandering its own credibility with over-the-top claims of the misery that a small budget cut would necessitate.
Not Emperor, Just Plays “The One” on TV
Donald6189 wrote: Sort of, but not quite on topic, just wondering if anyone has come up with a tshirt with the caption “The government went on Sequestration and all I got was this lousy economy!”? Sort of fits with the topic just not completely.
Dear Comrade Don,
Actually it doesn’t fit with the topic, nor is it correct. It’s not even funny.
The economy was lousy before sequestration. Sequestration is aimed at improving the economy even though the politicians would have you believe otherwise.
The only problem I have with sequestration is that it didn’t start a long time ago and it isn’t big enough.
As Mark Twain once observed of his misshapen theatrical production Ah Sin:
When this play was originally completed it was so long, and so wide and so deep–in places–and so comprehensive that it would have taken two weeks to play it…. [B]ut the manager said no, that wouldn’t do; to play two weeks was sure to get us into trouble with the Government, because the Constitution of the United States says you sha’n’t inflict cruel and unusual punishments. So he set to work to cut it down….I never saw a play improve as this one did. The more he cut out of it the better it got right along. He cut out, and cut out, and cut out; and I do believe this would be one of the best plays in the world to-day if his strength had held out, and he could have gone on and cut out the rest of it.
If Congress just had just half of the strength of that theater manager, I’d feel less cruel and unusual toward the government.
Half of sequester is aimed at money that is an increase in spending over what we are spending today rather than true cuts.
As Larry Kudlow explains:
For example, the $85 billion so-called spending cut is actually budget authority, not budget outlays. According to the CBO, budget outlays will come down by $44 billion, or one quarter of 1 percent of GDP (GDP is $15.8 trillion). What’s more, that $44 billion outlay reduction is only 1.25 percent of the $3.6 trillion government budget.
Hypocrite! Gabby Giffords husband Mark Kelly buys AR-15 (which he called ‘assault weapon’)
It’s amazing what hypocrites so called anti second amendment gun activists are. Gabby Giffords herself was photographed shooting an ‘assault weapon’ before the 2010 election to try and gain ‘street cred’ in her district for that election which is pro second amendment. Since being shot in the head by a nut job, she’s become very anti-gun, which I can obviously understand, going through what she had to.
But her husband, Mark Kelly is a different bag all together. Kelly is also riding the anti-second amendment train, probably profiting off it from left wing anti-second amendment groups. Recently, Mark Kelly called an AR-15 an ‘assault weapon.’ Yet Breitbart has revealed that Kelly recently purchased an AR-15 AND a 1911-style semi-automatic pistol at Diamondback Police Supply in Tucson, Arizona.
Great Employment News Much Worse Than Great: Economy Shed 276,000 Full-Time Jobs.
This article originally appeared on MarketWatch under the title Jobs numbers are far worse than they look.
I selected my title from a humorous comment on MarketWatch by reader “Homer Price” who writes “Mike, What are you doing ? Trying to spoil the GREAT EMPLOYMENT news. Just wait until next year when the Unaffordable Care Act kicks in. THE BEST IS YET TO COME ……………………….. “
There are other interesting comments as well. Inquiring minds may wish to take a look. Now for my article …
Economists were surprised by the massive “beat” in today’s reported job numbers. The unemployment rate dropped .2 to 7.7% and the economy allegedly added 236,000 jobs.
Is that what really happened? No not really.
According to the household survey (on which the unemployment rate is based) the economy added a healthy 170,000 jobs. However, a whopping 446,000 of those jobs were part-time jobs. Simply put, the economy shed 276,000 full-time jobs.
The BLS labeled those 446,000 part-time jobs as “voluntary”. I am not so sure.
A Gallup Survey yesterday on Jobs show the percentage of workers working part time but wanting full-time work was 10.1% in February, an increase from 9.6% in January, and the highest rate measured since January 2012.
Gallup notes “Although fewer people are unemployed now than a year ago, they are not migrating to full-time jobs for an employer. In fact, fewer Americans are working full-time for an employer than were doing so a year ago, and more Americans are working part time. Although part-time work is clearly better than no work at all, these are not the types of good jobs that millions of Americans are still searching for.”
So as happens all too often, things are not what they seem. And the administration, and their lap dog media, are once again attempting to dupe the public. Wonder how well that is working with people holding down 1 or 2 part time jobs and trying to keep their head above water. For the parasites it makes no differance.
Conservatives, Republicans and Self-Inflicted Wounds
by Derek Hunter
Circular firing squads are about as helpful as they sound, yet they are something at which some Republicans excel. I do my best to avoid engaging in them. To paraphrase President Reagan, my 80 percent friend is not my 20 percent enemy. But sometimes my 80 percent friends do something 100 percent stupid, and pretending they didn’t could cause more damage than calling them out on it.
Consider Sen. John McCain. Few have honed their circular firing squad skills to the level of the senior Senator from Arizona. McCain fancies himself a lot of things – a conservative, a leader, a “maverick.” But mostly he’s an insecure egomaniac more interested in Sunday show bookings and favorable media coverage than adhering to principles.
On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., engaged in an epic 12-plus-hour filibuster to demand an answer on domestic drone use against American citizens while a dozen Republicans, including McCain, dined and played footsie with President Obama. When the filibuster ended, Sen. Paul got from the administration something few Republicans or even journalists have been able to – an answer.
Through his actions, Paul not only got the Obama administration to commit something to paper they were reluctant – if not unwilling – to admit, he also reinvigorated the grassroots and engaged people in a way the party hasn’t been able to do with hundreds of millions of dollars spent on campaigns. He got disinterested young people to pay attention, to question a president that largely hasn’t, if even for half a day.
For this, Sen. Paul was rightly praised by people across the political spectrum.
But this wasn’t good enough for Sen. McCain, who is not known to enjoy sharing the spotlight.
The next day, with the political world still abuzz from Paul’s actions, McCain couldn’t help but criticize him.
McCain, a man who could be counted on to routinely attack the Bush administration as guilty of torture for pouring water up the nose of three, count them – THREE, of the world’s most despicable terrorists, thought Paul “ill-informed” to think any president ever would use armed drones against Americans on U.S. soil. To think the worst of a president in one case and assume the best of another, and all future others, in another case is intellectually inconsistent, to put it mildly.
But McCain was not alone in his hypocrisy, as he rarely is. His “mini-me,” presidential dining partner and devout clone in all things critical of his own party, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was right there with him. The next two days saw Sens. Mutt and Jeff avail themselves of every possible opportunity to try to devalue what Sen. Paul accomplished.
Look to Detroit & You’ll See Where Obama’s Policies Will Take Us
Look to Detroit & You’ll See Where Obama’s Policies Will Take Us
By Jack Kelly
If you’d like to get a glimpse of what America would look like if President Barack Obama got his way on everything, take a good look at Detroit.
In 1950, Detroit was America’s fifth-largest city, with a population of 1.84 million. Median household income was higher than in any other city. So was the percentage of people who owned their own homes. Detroit was then arguably the best big city in which to live.
The population of Detroit has fallen by more than half, to 706,585. It’s now the size it was in 1910. Median household income is barely half the U.S. average ($27,862 vs. $51,413). The average price of a house in Detroit is just $16,800, by far the lowest in the country.
There are a couple of smaller cities which, arguably, are in even worse shape. But no city has fallen so far, so fast.
Some decline was inevitable because the world of 1950 was uniquely beneficial to Detroit. The most important industry at that time was the automobile industry, and because Europe and Japan were still rebuilding from the devastation of World War II, Detroit had a virtual monopoly. Detroit had been the heart of the “arsenal of democracy” and had a more skilled labor force than any other city on the planet.
The U.S. auto industry tumbled from its lofty perch in the 1970s, in part because by then Europe and Japan could offer serious competition. The Arab oil embargo after the 1973 Yom Kippur War sparked for the first time the interest of Americans in smaller cars, which the Germans and Japanese were building, but Detroit was not.
But most wounds were self-inflicted. Cars built by GM, Ford, Chrysler and American Motors cost more and were less reliable than cars built in Germany and Japan. Chiefly responsible were the contracts won by the United Auto Workers, then America’s most powerful union. It wasn’t so much the lavish pay and benefits as the featherbedding work rules which guaranteed cars built in Michigan would cost more and break down more often than cars built elsewhere.
The auto industry has bounced back some. Several Ford and GM sedans are now rated as more reliable than the imports with which they compete. But Detroit’s decline has accelerated. That’s because for half a century, Detroit has been governed by the policies President Obama advocates. (Detroit’s last Republican mayor was Louis Miriani, who left office in 1962.)
The problem is that liberals judge policies on the basis of what is promised, not on what is delivered. That’s because liberalism in practice means:
• A large and expensive public work force but deteriorating public services. Detroit in 2011 had 12,900 city employees, one for every 55 residents. Of the cities closest to Detroit in population, Columbus, Ohio, had one city employee for every 95 residents; Charlotte, N.C., had one for every 109; Fort Worth had one for every 118 residents.
Schools stink, buses are late and infrastructure deteriorates because Democratic politicians depend on public employee unions for votes and campaign contributions. So they hire as many public employees as they can, overpay them and don’t require them to do much.
• High taxes. Despite an average home price barely more than a tenth that of the next lowest city, Detroit has the highest property taxes in the country, according to a 2011 study. When all city levies are included, Detroit had the ninth-highest taxes. Because median income is so low, the tax burden on Detroiters is heavier than these data indicate.
High property taxes have spurred tax evasion on a mammoth scale — half of Detroiters don’t pay their property tax bills — and flight to the suburbs.
• Massive debt. Detroit’s long- term debt is $14 billion, equivalent to nearly a third of what the city collects in taxes. Detroit’s finances are in such bad shape that last week Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder appointed an emergency manager to restructure them.
Democrats emphasize redistribution of wealth. Before wealth can be redistributed, it must be created. Liberal policies destroy wealth. Those who suffer most are precisely those Democrats say they’re helping. In the Detroit of 1950 — when no city in the world was creating more wealth — the poor and the middle class were far better off.
It’s Obama’s Economy—at Last
We only seem to be back.
It’s a far less equal economy–and big dangers loom for the president’s legacy.For most of his first term, President Obama successfully sold a line to the public that economists will tell you is, at least in part, intellectual snake oil. He managed to blame our historically slow economy almost entirely on President George W. Bush. Polls taken right after the 2012 election showed that one of Mitt Romney’s biggest failures—and the GOP presidential candidate had staked almost everything on this point—was persuading U.S. voters otherwise.
But this week’s dramatic economic news, timed with the start of Obama’s second term, suggests that the political debate, if not the actual economy, is at an important milestone. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average reached new levels, shooting well above 14,000 and exceeding the closing records set in October 2007 just before the Big Crash. On Friday, a new jobs report finally gave Obama what he’s wanted for four years: an unemployment rate that’s below where he started as president, 7.7 percent. The Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls vastly outpaced expectations by increasing 236,000 in February, dropping the unemployment rate to the lowest level since December 2008, from 7.9 percent in January. Also this week, the Federal Reserve Board reported that Americans have recovered the staggering $16 trillion lost in wealth since the recession.
So, let’s call it, folks: As of March 8, 2013, this has become Obama’s economy.
It’s been a good week, and his acolytes are crowing: ‘Damn is that a good jobs report,’ former chief economist Austan Goolsbee tweeted. ‘Woot woot!’ House Speaker John Boehner, struggling to put some bad spin on a bust-out week of economic news, reminded everyone, “Unemployment in America is still way above the levels the Obama White House projected when the trillion-dollar stimulus spending bill was enacted.” Shades of the Romney campaign! Pretty lame.
But the harshest truths about the Obama economy are not ones Republicans would be eager to highlight. First, things are not really as good as the numbers suggest, and they are all but certain to get worse. If the $85 billion in cuts in the federal budget sequester go through as planned, gross domestic product will slow 0.5 percent, and about 750,000 jobs could be lost by the end of the year, the Congressional Budget Office says. The big numbers on Wall Street are also deceiving, says Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff, who along with coauthor Carmen Reinhart tracked 800 years’ worth of economic recoveries in a landmark 2009 book, This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. “One of the paradoxes we point out in our book is that very often the equity markets reach and surpass previous levels within a few years, despite the fact that the economy takes decades to recover,” Rogoff said in an interview.
Report: Obama still secretive despite transparency vow
“While the Obama administration deserves praise for the important work it has done to build a platform for open government in its first term, the job is unfinished,” according to the report.
The center, formerly called OMB Watch, issued the report at the start of Sunshine Week, an effort by civics groups, governments and newspapers to promote transparency in government across the nation. A copy was sent to the White House, but officials there did not respond to a request for comment.
The 50-page study says the area most in need of improvement is national security. The White House has withheld decisions and documents that have the force of law, labeled documents as classified even if they do not need to be and aggressively prosecuted whistleblowers, bringing six cases against employees for leaks compared to only three known previous cases since 1917.
And the administration, like the George W. Bush administration before it, has sought the dismissal of cases against the U.S. government claiming entire topics are privileged, not just specific records. For example, it invoked the privilege to dismiss a case challenging the targeting of U.S. citizen and alleged terrorist Anwar al Awlaki, killed by a drone in Yemen in 2011.
Bush was criticized for authorizing a secret domestic spying program and military tribunals without court involvement after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Obama has been questioned for authorizing the military’s use of drones to kill suspected terrorists overseas, including Americans. After pressure, the White House recently released to lawmakers justifications for the killings.
Obama acknowledged that the administration had work to do in providing information about the killings last month during a White House “fireside hangout” hosted online by Google. “I am not somebody who believes that the president has the authority to do whatever he wants, or whatever she wants whenever they want just under the guise of counterterrorism,” he said.
On his first day in office, Obama offered a sweeping promise of transparency, issuing a number of executive actions to provide more openness at every level of federal government and greater disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act
“My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government,” Obama wrote at the time. “Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.”
The center praised the administration for its use of technology to make information more available and more user-friendly through social media and websites that provided, among other things, more information about federal spending and White House visitors.
But while some agencies have embraced open government, others have failed to provide basic information or write concrete goals. Some have erected new hurdles such as more fees for those seeking records, the report said.
If you think this report is way too mild, and I do, just remember that this is a “liberal” group. That it is negative at all is a shock to my system.
Also a surprise that this is being reported by McClatchy. While not as slobbering in it’s Obama bias McClatchy has leaned as far as possible to support him and attack the right.
Note that they had no problem attacking Bush even when it hadn’t yet become popular in the MSM and most were still happily beating the war drums.
Keeping His Enemies Closer
By Ross Kaminsky
Even when dining with Obama, Republicans know the prix-fixe is always in.
What could be more out of character for President Barack “I’m not a dictator” Obama than sitting down for a nice meal with a dozen Senate Republicans?
But that’s just what happened on Wednesday night at Washington, D.C.’s Jefferson Hotel where, over foie gras and lobster, the power elite spoke about what Washington will do next to the rest of us.
RINOs-in-chief John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) were there (hours before they took to the Senate floor to disgracefullyattack Rand Paul), along with more stalwart sorts such as Pat Toomey (PA) and Senator Ron Johnson, a Tea Party businessman from Wisconsin who is the best senator nobody’s ever heard of.
Senators described the evening with terms like constructive, congenial, and cordial.
And on Thursday, President Obama had a “constructive” lunch with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), with the committee’s ranking Democrat, Chris Van Hollen (MD) also there to enjoy the lentil soup and sea bass. (No lobster for Congressmen!)
According to the Washington Post, “Topics included tackling the deficit and the president’s proposal to replace the sequester with a deficit reduction package that includes tax increases.” I wonder if Ryan was able to enjoy his lunch hearing Obama’s typical economic idiocy, which could make even the finest occasion seem simultaneously bland and sour.
But why is this happening?
Barack Obama and his fellow Democratic petty tyrants are (in)famous for going it alone, thinking that narrow election victories mean they have total control and free rein to trample the minority.
Obama is pretending to play nice because he, for one of the few times during his presidency, feels weakness.
Anything involving junior Texas Senator Ted Cruz is likely to invoke some level of toxic response from Senator John McCain of Arizona and his secondary outlet of public communication, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
That Senator McCain harbors a grudge against “the Bushies” for the South Carolina primary defeat that ended his presidential run in 2000 is the worst kept secret in Washington. Having “his” candidate lose in his home state was also a blow to Graham. Known for his long memory, some Senate staffers joke the “R” behind McCain’s name is for “revenge.” Others quip Lindsey Graham is “the senator from McCain.”
You’d think they’d be over it, but never has their ax grinding against former George W. Bush allies been more obvious and counter-productive than over the last few months.
Ted Cruz was a key Bush campaign staffer in 2000. Primarily a legal advisor, he also provided domestic policy advice and served as a contact for movement conservatives. A brilliant legal mind, Cruz was a critical asset to Bush’s Florida recount team. Ted was well-liked and respected among campaign staff, and like Karl Rove, known to perform congressional district voter math in his head.
Including, no doubt, for the 2000 South Carolina presidential primary.
The phrase “if you want a friend in Washington, buy a dog” attributed to President Harry S. Truman remains true, but the Senate has spawned genuine friendships. Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar and Vermont’s liberal Democrat Patrick Leahy enjoy a long friendship despite ideological differences. The late Senators Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Ted Stevens (R-AK) were vastly different in temperament and voting but each considered the other a brother.
The friendship between John McCain and Lindsey Graham started during the1999 Clinton impeachment hearings when Graham served on the House Judiciary Committee and was liaison to the Senate. They hit it off immediately, and developed a deep, personal friendship.
That they support each other through re-election campaigns, Senate policy battles, and any private challenges is laudable. That McCain seems to use Graham as a battering ram against people he does not like is not.
In 2001, former presidential candidate McCain’s refusal to fully support President Bush’s tax reform package led to only temporary tax cuts, which in turn contributed to the fiscal cliff. This put McCain at loggerheads with American taxpayers’ most powerful advocate, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, author of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. Norquist also supported Bush in 2000, and worked closely with the Bush White House to support its tax cut agenda.
When fears arose during recent fiscal cliff negotiations that Senate Republicans might raise taxes, Senate insiders muttered McCain was privately giddy over the possibility of GOP pledge-breakers, but it was Graham thrown in front to lead Republicans over the pledge-violation cliff.
In January, Senator McCain aggressively grilled retired Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) during Hagel’s Defense secretary confirmation hearings. Formerly close, the friendship ended when Hagel refused to endorse McCain for president in 2008. McCain asked excellent questions — hard-hitting and appropriate. When Hagel could not answer, McCain was openly hostile.
That weekend, McCain and Graham hit the Sunday talk show circuit expressing justifiable concern about Hagel’s qualifications for the job. But when Senator Cruz later asked Hagel equally hard-hitting questions in an Armed Services Committee meeting, McCain and Graham publicly raked him over the coals for being too tough on Hagel.
This left Beltway insiders and regular folk scratching their heads. Unless, of course, they remembered Cruz’s Bush association.
An energetic, principled Republican triumvirate has emerged quickly in the newest Senate as Rand Paul (R-KY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Cruz consolidate conservative energy without the intrigue, backstabbing, and looting of the Imperial treasury that so hampered Caesar, Crassus, and Pompey.
Iron Sharpening Iron
by Peter Wehner
I wanted to associate myself with Jonathan’s insightful post on the response by Senators McCain and Graham to Rand Paul’s filibuster.
Although my views on national security are much closer to those of McCain and Graham, their sneering, bitter attacks on Senator Paul were not only misguided; they have done a great deal to help the Paul-ian cause.
Senators McCain and Graham could have–should have–offered a careful, measured response to Rand Paul’s argument. Instead, McCain in particular has gone on a petty, mocking rant, including referring to Paul and some who supported him as “wacko birds.” Perhaps this is what happens when a maverick is out-mavericked.
Rand Paul, in a single stroke, has catapulted himself to near folk-hero status among large segments of the conservative movement and, in the process, two of his main substantive critics have sustained damaging, self-inflicted wounds.
That is, from my vantage point, something of a problem, since Rand Paul’s view of the world is substantially different than mine. But he showed what a skilled, alert, and creative politician could do to rearrange the political landscape.
The libertarian wing of the Republican Party has found its leader. It will be quite interesting to see who among the internationalist wing emerges as a counterweight. And rather than fear these kinds of debates, Republicans and conservatives should welcome them. A party that is off balance and out of power doesn’t need conformity; it needs the benefits of “iron sharpening iron.” Whether we like it or not, a serious intra-Republican and intra-conservative foreign policy debate is about to begin.
Although I suspect that my politics are closer to Rand Paul’s than Peter Wehner’s I respect that he respected Rand Paul’s POV and welcomes a debate/discussion. McCain, Graham, Bill Crystal and a host of others who attacked Rand Paul do themselves and their party no favor. Just as their marginalization of the Tea Party, while using them, hasn’t been of benefit , angering Libertarians isn’t very smart either. It appears that if they can’t have their way, and their power, they would prefer to destroy their party.
What Hath Rand Paul Wrought?
by Ross Douthat
THE Republican Party built an advantage on foreign policy across generations, and then began demolishing it 10 years ago this month. What the cold war made, the invasion of Iraq largely unmade: beginning in 2003, a party that had long promised — and mostly delivered — peace through strength became identified with an intelligence fiasco, a botched occupation and the squandering of American resources, credibility and lives.
Two Republicans running for president in 2012, Jon Huntsman and Ron Paul, seemed to have some grasp of what Iraq had done to their party’s reputation. But they were both niche candidates who spoke to small constituencies (libertarians in Paul’s case, journalists in Huntsman’s). Paul’s isolationism was hectoring and eccentric, with a “we had it coming” view of terrorism that the Republican electorate was never likely to embrace. Huntsman’s attempt to rehabilitate foreign policy realism was as passionless and flat-footed as his entire campaign. Neither had much influence on Mitt Romney, whose foreign policy rhetoric left the impression that his party had learned nothing from the Bush era.
But where Huntsman and Paul the elder mostly failed, Rand Paul has been enjoying remarkable success. The Kentucky senator’s recent ascent to prominence, which achieved escape velocity with last week’s 13-hour filibuster delaying the confirmation of President Obama’s nominee to lead the C.I.A., hasn’t just made the younger Paul one of the most talked-about politicians in Washington today. It has offered the first real sign that the Republican Party might someday escape the shadow of the Iraq war and enter the post-post-9/11 era.
Officially, Paul’s filibuster was devoted to a specific question of executive power — whether there are any limits on the president’s authority to declare American citizens enemy combatants and deal out death to them. But anyone who listened (and listened, and listened) to his remarks, and put them in the context of his recent speeches and votes and bridge-building, recognized that he was after something bigger: a reorientation of conservative foreign policy thinking away from hair-trigger hawkishness and absolute deference to executive power.
Exactly where such a reorientation would take the party is unclear. Depending on the context, Paul can sometimes sound like a libertarian purist, sometimes like a realist in the Brent Scowcroft mode and sometimes like — well, like a man who was an ophthalmologist in Bowling Green, Ky., just a few short years ago.
Media Bullies ‘Suppress Freedom of Speech,’ ‘Beat On Anyone Who Doesn’t Toe the Line’
Dr. Benjamin Carson made some more controversial statements Saturday.
Appearing on Fox News’s America’s News Headquarters, Carson said, “The bullies are the people, especially the media who like to just beat on anybody who doesn’t toe the line…they suppress freedom of speech”.
Michigan Democrats confront a post-Levin identity crisis
Republicans are in the throes of an identity crisis whose resolution will determine whether their party continues to contend for national leadership.
But theirs isn’t the only party struggling to find itself in the aftermath of Election 2012. Democrats, too, are facing a generational crisis — especially in Michigan, where the retirement of Sen. Carl Levin has thrown the party’s always fractious membership into a state somewhere between confusion and panic.
Worth a Read:
Bill Crystal’s sour grapes:
Sound and Fury
Krauthammer: Obama on Charm Offensive Because ‘Media Could No Longer Cover for Him’
This Week’s PBS Quiz: Does David Brooks Read the News?
Quote For A Sunday Morning:
The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. ~ H. L. Mencken