Archives for November 2011
Dan Drezner, a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine, has a great blog post up explaining why he calls himself a “RINO,” or “Republican-In-Name-Only,” that epithet usually utilized by such sagacious and distinguished intellects as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Ann Coulter. While it does lean towards foreign policy (naturally), the whole thing is a good read. Here’s the snippet I want to focus on, though, his three reasons for being a RINO:
In my case, at this point in time, I believe that last appellation to be entirely fair and accurate. I’m not a Democrat, and I don’t think I’ve become more liberal over time. That said, three things have affected my political loyalties over the past few years. First, I’ve become more uncertain about various dimensions of GOP ideology over time. It’s simply impossible for me to look at the aftermath of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the 2008 financial crisis and not ponder the myriad ways in which my party has made some categorical errors in judgment. So I’m a bigger fan of the politics of doubt during an era when doubt has been banished in political discourse.
Second, the GOP has undeniably shifted further to the right over the past few years, and while I’m sympathetic to some of these shifts, most of it looks like a mutated version of “cargo cult science” directed at either Ludwig Von Mises or the U.S. Constitution (which, of course, is sacred and inviolate, unless conservatives want to amend it). Sorry, I’m not embracing outdated concepts like the gold standard or repealing the 16th Amendment. Not happening.
As you know, Newt Gingrich has emerged as the latest anti-Romney candidate. His campaign is riding high right now, coming off an important endorsement from New Hampshire’s Union Leader. While others that have managed to find this niche in the GOP field, albeit temporarily, Gingrich is more likely to stick around because conservatives know him and generally respect him.
Gingrich is often lauded as the intellectual conservative who took on Bill Clinton, managed to work in bipartisan fashion for welfare reform, and balance the budget. They’re also more willing, it seems, to gloss over the not-so-conservative marks in his long record, among them are his support for TARP and expansion of Medicare. Yesterday, Joe Scarborough, who served as a Republican in the House from 1995 to 2001, laid into Gingrich for often supporting statist positions:
After ripping off taxpayers during his 16 terms in the House, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) announced yesterday that he will not seek re-election next year:
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced Monday that he will not seek reelection in 2012, ending a three-decade career in the House.
Frank, 71, is the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee and the architect, with former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), of the sweeping Wall Street regulatory reform law enacted in 2010.
He announced his decision at an afternoon press conference in his hometown of Newton, Mass., where he said redistricting played a major role in his retirement.
“I was planning to run again, and then congressional redistricting came,” Frank said.
Over at Real Clear Politics, Sean Trende writes that Frank’s district may be more competitive for Republicans in 2012, noting that it “barely went for Democrat Deval Patrick (who won statewide by six points) in 2010 and that gave Republican Brown a 10-point win.” Frank finished with 54% of the vote last year against Sean Bielat, in a seat he had overwhelmingly carried in previous elections. Frank acknowledged that it would be a “tough race.”
Among my favorite speakers at BlogCon 2011, which took place a couple of weeks ago in Denver, was Jim Pethokoukis, an economist and blogger at the American Enterprise Institute.The folks at FreedomWorks were kind enough to recently put video of his talk with us online.
Pethokoukis gives us a good run down of the economic tone deafness of the Obama Administration and the make of the mistake they’ve made and some of the other issues facing us in the future:
If the goal of the Occupy Wall Street movement was to force local governments to spend millions of taxpayer dollars and to disrupt politicians while they’re speaking at events, then they have had some success. Of course, those of us watching the movement have an increasingly less favorable view of the protesters.
We’ve highlighted some of what is driving the Occupiers to continue to squat on public land. They’ve highlighted issues with bank bailouts and frustration with corporations and what they believe is growing income inequality (they’re wrong), which has led them to attack the so-called “1%” (even though the protesters are part of the 1% of world income earners).
While we can have a long drawn out discussion about why these Occupiers are protesting, Adam Carolla explains it in very simple terms; it’s wealthy envy. These folks, mostly “Millennials,” feel like they are entitled to something:
Herman Cain didn’t know that China was a nuclear power. He doesn’t know what is going on in Libya. He didn’t know what the Palestinian right-of-return was. He said it’s not practical to attack Iran because “it’s very mountainous.” And he recently said “I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy,” which is probably a good position to take given that he doesn’t know anything about foreign affairs. More evidence of that comes from his “foreign policy” on Cuba:
Cain, who last week stumbled over questions about what he would do in Libya, seemed to know little about Cuba. His campaign kept reporters at bay, and when asked about the Cuban Adjustment Act and the so-called wet-foot, dry-foot policy, Cain seemed stumped.The policy allows Cuban immigrants who have made it to US soil to stay.
“Wet foot, dry foot policy?” Cain asked. His press handlers interrupted as Cain diverted his course and ducked back into the building. Later, when he emerged, he was asked again by another reporter. Cain wouldn’t answer.
ObamaCare is again shaping up to be a contentious issue for the White House and congressional Democrats. The most recent Gallup poll on the question showed that a plurality of Americans want Congress to take action to dismantle President Barack Obama’s biggest legislative accomplishment. Other polls have found that even Democrats are souring on the law.
So it no suprise that a new poll from Quinnipiac, shows that the public wants the Supreme Court, which will take up the law next year, to strike down ObamaCare:
A new poll shows that most voters want the Supreme Court to overturn President Obama’s health care law, with opposition and support falling largely along party lines.
Overall, voters oppose the law by 48%-40%, according to the Quinnipiac University survey. Democrats support the Obama health care effort by 70%-19%, while Republicans oppose it by 86%-8%.
The Quinnipiac survey found independent voters opposed to the law by 45%-38%.
Though they have the House, Republicans don’t have the numbers in the Senate; not to mention majorities large enough to override a veto. The future of the law, and what limitations the Constitution places on Congress, rests in the hands of the United States Supreme Court in what will be the most decision in our lifetimes.
Even though the Obama Administration, congressional Democrats, and Keynesian economists claimed that spending would get the country moving again, critics of the 2009 stimulus bill argued that the it was wasteful and would result in a negative impact on the economy when it was all said and done. Who was right? Well, a new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that many of the criticisms of Obamanomics were well-founded:
The Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday downgraded its estimate of the benefits of President Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, saying it may have sustained as few as 700,000 jobs at its peak last year and that over the long run it will actually be a net drag on the economy.
CBO said that while the Recovery Act boosted the economy in the short run, the extra debt that the stimulus piled up “crowds out” private investment and “will reduce output slightly in the long run — by between 0 and 0.2 percent after 2016.”
The analysis confirms what CBO predicted before the stimulus passed in February 2009, though the top-end decline of two-tenths of a percent is actually deeper than the agency predicted back then.
CBO has re-evaluated the stimulus every three months, and its estimates for the total cost have varied. Initially the package was pegged at $787 billion, rose as high as $862 billion at one point, and is now projected to be $825 billion once all the money is paid out.
The nonpartisan agency also has changed its model for the spending’s impact on the economy, and the new calculations show the Recovery Act did less than originally projected.
While many in the media have taken used to the failure of the Supercommittee to come up with some sort of an agreement as an opportunity to criticize Republicans, a recent Gallup poll shows that Americans blame both parties for the impasse:
The hang up was over taxes, even though Republicans offered some $400 billion in new revenues through closing loopholes — a move that will be seen as a betrayal of the base, and understandably so. Democrats, however, balked at this and wanted more in terms of tax hikes. With the likelihood of another recesssion, raising taxes is just a bad idea. What Congress should be doing is cutting spending.
And while you point to the automatic cuts that come with the failure of the Supercommittee, Jacob Sullum explains that these are not cuts to real spending, rather cuts in future increases in spending:
Barring any significant breaking news, we’ll be taking the next few days off to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and spending time with our families and loved ones.
We want to thank you for reading United Liberty. We hope to continue bringing you coverage and commentary on the race for the GOP nomination and the 2012 Election.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!