CBS White House reporter Mark Knoller really hits the nail on the head in this evaluation of President Obama’s recent call for bipartisanship on health care reform:
Unannounced, President Obama took to the lectern in the White House briefing room today to give a personal readout of his meeting earlier with congressional leaders of both parties.
“Despite the political posturing that often paralyzes this town, there are many issues upon which we can and should agree, he said.
It was more a plaintive plea than a political observation. His top legislative priorities are going nowhere and he’s searching for a way to get them out of lockup.
In this 13th month of his presidency, he’s anxious to pass a jobs bill and be seen addressing an unemployment rate that only last week declined from double digits. And his efforts to enact bills on energy, financial regulatory reform and especially health care are stuck in Congress despite the solid majority his party holds in both chambers.
He’s appealing for a spirit of bipartisanship – urging Democrats and Republicans alike “to put aside matters of party for the good of the country.”
What these presidential appeals for bipartisanship always mean is: do it my way.
Mr. Obama said he “won’t hesitate to embrace a good idea from my friends in the minority party.” But he wants his way. He wants his energy policy enacted along with his jobs bill, his financial regulatory reform and his health care plan.
And if the opposition continues to block his objectives, he said he “won’t hesitate to condemn what I consider to be obstinacy that’s rooted not in substantive disagreement but in political expedience.”
Our own B.J. Lawson has announced plans to seek the Republican nomination in North Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District. Lawson was the GOP nominee in 2008 and was edged out by incumbent Democrat, Rep. David Price.
We hope to be chatting with him on a podcast soon.
Because of all the snow that has hit and is expected to hit Washington, DC, the House of Representatives has cancelled all votes for the week:
“Due to inclement weather affecting travel to Washington, D.C, Members are advised that there will be no recorded votes taken in the House this week,” according to an email from the Majority Leader’s office.
Because next week is the President’s Day recess, the decision means no votes will be taken in House until Tuesday, Feb. 22nd.
“The change this week means that we will add two days to the schedule as we look to take action on a jobs bill and other critical measures,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “Therefore, the House will reconvene on Monday, February 22, one day earlier than previously scheduled. The House will now also be in session on Friday, February 26th.”
I could get used to this.
“All the other candidates— all the other suspects … if you put a piece of cardboard over their caricature and did some voiceover on what it is they were saying, they would all sound alike,” said Johnson.
So how does Johnson, who was recently in New Hampshire and is headed back soon, differ from the mainline Republican candidates who are weighing a presidential run?
He wants all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. He thinks the U.S. should never have gone into Iraq. And he thinks it’s time for the U.S. to begin treating marijuana the same way it does tobacco and alcohol.
One area where Johnson could find common cause with conservatives is on the issue of spending: during his eight years as governor from 1994-2002, Johnson held down spending by vetoing 750 bills — more than all the vetoes of the other 49 governors combined. Conservatives might also like his stance on taxes: similar to Steve Forbes, the Republican he backed for president in 2000, Johnson would like the U.S. to adopt a flat tax.
Citing a Monday story in USA Today which reported that a rash of retirements in 2009 is pushing Social Security to the brink, Johnson, a 57-year old marathon runner who has scaled Mt. Everest, said the retirement age needs to be raised perhaps to 70 or 72.
“This is the reality, we’re broke,” said Johnson. “We’re broke.”
The so-called HIRE Act, the “jobs” bill being pushed by Democrats in Congress, is being loaded up with all kinds of special interest breaks, including delaying scheduled cuts to Medicare payouts to doctors:
Senate Democrats circulated a jobs bill Tuesday that’s light on new initiatives on boosting hiring and heavy with provisions sought by lobbyists for business groups, doctors and the satellite broadcasting industry.
Senate Democrats were working to round up Republican support, but more snow in the nation’s capital made it unlikely the Senate could pass it this week and hand President Barack Obama a quick, badly needed political victory. Republicans are willing partners because much of the bill is made up of tax breaks they support, though many GOP senators said they were still waiting to see the details.
The 362-page measure is still in draft form and has not been officially released. The draft has very few new ideas for creating jobs, other than a $10 billion plan to exempt companies from paying the employer’s share of Social Security payroll taxes for new hires if they are unemployed and hired this year.
Didn’t we learn with the “stimulus” bill that throwing money at a problem doesn’t work? The delaying of cuts to Medicare is an example of why talk of savings in ObamaCare is a lie. Congress will never cut those payouts, they have been delaying them for years.
In case you haven’t heard, so-called Tea Party movement activists are targeting Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who despite some requests for pork is one of the few Republicans constantly promoting sound fiscal policy and free markets. Why are they running against him? His views are “too extreme” (seriously?) and he is anti-war.
Dave Weigel, who followed Dr. Paul’s presidential bid for Reason, discussed this with Rachel Maddow on Monday evening (Maddow drives me nuts, but Dave is a stand up guy). The point you can take from this is that these “activists” are more interested than promoting “team Republican” than liberty.
I found this video of George W. Bush speaking on foreign policy and thought we might look back ten years and see how far U.S. foreign policy has come.
Everyone tells me the Tea Party is an independent movement, not tied to any political party. After what I’ve seen in my own state and at the National Tea Party Convention over the weekend, and now the collusion between the Tea Party groups in South Carolina and the state’s Republican Party, I just don’t buy that line anymore:
The South Carolina Republican Party announced Monday that it’s uniting with tea party groups in the state to share resources, coordinate messaging and push the GOP in a more conservative direction.
The points of contact between the state party establishment and the grass-roots will be the Greenville County Republican Party — one of the most conservative wings of the state party — and the Upstate Coalition of Conservative Organizations, an umbrella structure of state tea party groups.
The agreement, as announced by South Carolina Republicans, is designed to serve four goals: increase precinct involvement, improve communication between the state party and grass-roots groups, create liaisons between the state party and the various tea party organizations and to work “closely to make the Republican Party more conservative.”
The Tea Party movement was not meant to service the Republican Party, promote birtherism, religious morality, anti-immigration, pro-life groups or any other faction of the right. That’s not what I went on national TV to defend at the the first protests in February of last year.
The message of the Tea Party movement was meant to be free markets and limited government. That message has been co-opted.
A new Gallup survey shows declining numbers across the board for President Barack Obama, including a new low on the economy.
Here is a look at the issues surveyed:
The most concerning numbers have to be health care, the budget defict and the economy. These are issues the administration has spent the most political capital on in the last couple weeks. This poll shows he is continuing to lose independents, with on only 29% approving of Obama’s handling of the economy. Even worse, 24% percent of independents approve on his handling of health care and the budget deficit.
Calls for bipartisanship aren’t necessarily too late, but Democrats have absolutely no momentum right now, and both parties in Congress seem so far apart on every issue.
ABC’s Jake Tapper reports that the Obama Administration is striking a very familiar theme:
In an oped in USA Today, John Brennan — Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism — responds to critics of the Obama administration’s counterterrorism policies by saying “Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda.”
Gee, where have I heard that before.