Archives for July 2011

Press Corps asks about Obama’s plan

The White House Press Secretary had an interesting day yesterday.  He was asked several times about President Obama’s debt-ceiling plan.  Well, there isn’t one, and the folks on the right are chomping at the bit.  I can certainly understand why.  Oh sure, Press Secretary Jay Carney gave hints about the plan, but wouldn’t go into detail.  He said, “We’re showing a lot of leg.”  When pressed for more, he mockingly said, “You need it written down?”

Well, yeah.  It would help.

A couple of years ago, the White House derided the GOP because they didn’t have it written down.  Republicans were supposedly “unserious” because they didn’t have a budget.  So, the Republicans produced a framework.  They “showed a lot of leg”, if you will.  Then Press Secretary Robert Gibbs mocked it because it didn’t have the specifics he felt it should have.  Sort of like how Obama’s plan seems to lack a lot of specifics.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of that “if you don’t have a plan, you shouldn’t be part of the conversation” crap.  I don’t think Obama should just shut up because he doesn’t have a plan all his own.  However, I do believe that the President probably should have a plan of his own to put forth.

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit proposes that the reason there isn’t a specific plan is because Obama knows that he’ll get hammered with it in the General Election.  I can’t say he’s wrong on that one.

Boehner tells House GOP to get in line

On Tuesday it looked like conservatives in the House Republican Conference were prepared to kill Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to end the budget ceiling stalemate. But it looks like he is building enough support to move it through the House, though it has taken some arm twisting that is most assuredly going to set off grassroots conservatives and the tea party movement:

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he ordered GOP lawmakers to “get your ass in line” behind his debt proposal during an interview Wednesday on a conservative radio show.

“My goal is to continue to work with all our members so we get them to the point where they say ‘yes,’ ” Boehner said on Laura Ingraham’s radio show.

A large number of conservative Republicans are opposing Boehner’s proposal, arguing it does not go far enough in reducing government spending.

But Boehner said he couldn’t understand why any Republicans would position themselves with Democrats opposing his plan.

“Barack Obama hates it, [Sen.] Harry Reid hates it, [Rep.] Nancy Pelosi hates it,” he said, naming off the Democratic leadership.
Boehner would have a lot of leverage ahead of the Aug. 2 deadline for lifting the debt ceiling if the House approves his bill.

“We’ll see,” Boehner said in response to the veto threat. “In the absence of any other plan, your plan becomes the plan.”

Boehner outlined his strategy to box the president into having “no choice but to sign it into law.” He said a rival proposal from Reid (D-Nev.), the Senate majority leader, did not have the support to pass Congress.

Gallup: Romney leads GOP pack, but Perry and Giuliani are threats

Gallup is out with fresh numbers today in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. And while the poll shows Mitt Romney in the lead, his lead would be slashed if Rick Perry and Rudy Giuliani enter the race. .

As I’ve said before, national polls don’t matter as far as it goes, but they make for good fodder. Romney has never been able to attractive the necessary support to win the nomination, though many Republican view it as “his turn.” Skepticism over RomneyCare, which became the blueprint for ObamaCare, is no doubt in the back of th monds of many Republican primary voters. The good news for Romney is Giuliani’s history of not committing to campaigns, so you’d have to see at least a chunk of that support going back to him should the former New York City Mayor opt not to run.

Reason TV: The Debt Ceiling Rap

We maynot have a solution to the debt ceiling worked out yet, but the Remy and the folks at Reason TV are lightening the mood a bit with “The Debt Ceiling Rap.”

Dick Lugar trails GOP primary challenger

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN), a target of tea party and conservatives in 2012, is trailing Richard Mourdock, who currently serves as the state’s treasurer, in a poll commissioned by the Club for Growth, an organization that frequently targets statist Republicans in primary matchups:

The incumbent senator, who’s facing one of the toughest challenges of his career, is down by 2 points with one-third of GOP primary voters undecided.

Indiana state treasurer Richard Mourdock has the backing of 34 percent of Republican primary voters while Lugar gets 32 percent and 34 percent are undecided, the poll found.

The Club for Growth, which has made noises about backing Mourdock in the primary, did not release the full poll or give all the details for how it identified Republican primary voters, which casts some doubt on its results. The group has run ads attacking Lugar’s record and warning him against voting for an increase to the debt ceiling, and Lugar’s campaign questioned the poll’s methodology.

“The data released by the Club for Growth does not resemble anything we are seeing,” said Lugar Political Director David Willkie. “Before commenting on a purely publicity driven poll commissioned by an outside group that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars against us, we need to know much more about the methodology.”

President Obama is no longer “hip”

Is the President no longer the hip vote for young voters?  That’s what Elise Jordan at the National Review seems to think anyways.

President Obama’s got problems for 2012. Sure, he just hauled in a record $86 million in cash. But the fundraising success masks a very big issue: Obama has lost the youth vote — he just isn’t trendy any more. Which is good news for Republicans: President Untrendy gives us a better chance to win. As a generation of media-encouraged Obama idealists has turned economic realists, Republicans can appeal to this age bracket to take the prize next year.

Political campaigns have historically discounted the importance of the youth vote — for good reason, generally, as young voters have tended not to show up on Election Day. Obama has changed that dynamic, perhaps permanently. The Millennial generation, meaning 18-to-29-year-olds — whom I wrote about a few weeks back — mattered in the 2008 election because Obama’s campaign recognized and exploited them. His campaign team engaged them through ground-breaking use of social media and grassroots outreach. It worked. Youth voted for Obama by a margin of 2 to 1, and 3 million more new voters visited the polls than in 2004. The Millennials accounted for 18 percent of the vote, and it was the third consecutive presidential election with increased youth turnout.

Conservatives revolt against John Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner is continuing to push a proposal to temporarily raise the debt ceiling and cut around $1 trillion in spending. But despite support from Majority Leader Eric Cantor (who lobbied his caucus hard) and Rep. Paul Ryan, Boehner is getting no help from conservatives in his caucus, grassroots and advocacy organizations or think tanks. Republican Senators have also panned the proposal.

Boehner was able to get support from Jennifer Rubin (WaPo’s conservative blogger) and James Pethokoukis, who often advocates for less taxes and regulation at his Reuters blog.

Human Events has gone mad

I don’t think there’s a soul who has read my writings would classify me as an Obama fan.  There hasn’t been a lot he’s done that I’ve supported.  Going forward, I doubt there’s a lot he will do that I’ll support either.  We are diametrically opposed on many issues.  I generally don’t agree with him on most budgetary issues either.  However, I’m going to defend him a bit, because the conservative website Human Events has gone a little mad:

It’s time to face the unpleasant truth.  President Barack Hussein Obama has gone mad.

He’s mad in both senses of the word.  Later on Friday, after House Speaker John Boehner declared he would no longer waste his time “negotiating” with Obama, the President gave an astonishing press conference that played out like a nervous breakdown.  I don’t know why the press covered it.  They really shouldn’t cover any of his press conferences anymore.  The price of a seat at the negotiating table is a plan, and Obama doesn’t have one.

There is no reason to pay the slightest attention to anything else the President says, until he produces a concrete proposal with real numbers.  Otherwise, as Boehner discovered, no meaningful “negotiation” can occur.

So President Obama must have a plan, huh?  Just FYI, President Obama can have all the plans he want, but they have to come through Congress anyways, so why does he have to have one in the first place.  He, like many people on both sides, have a vague idea of what they want.  I don’t necessarily agree with him on that one, but he’s not that different from most other folks, including more than a few in Congress.

Holding the Line for Fiscal Sanity

Perhaps nothing more acutely demonstrates the divide between the political class and the rest of America that the ongoing debate over raising the debt ceiling. With less than two weeks to go before the August 2nd deadline designated by Treasury Secretary and tax cheat Tim “Turbo Tax” Geithner as the date when America runs out of money, there is still no deal for raising the debt limit. House Republicans, swept into power in November 2010 on the TEA Party/anti-spending tidal wave, have held the line admirably. Even Speaker of the House John Boehner has been more resolute than I would have expected in insisting that there be no new taxes as part of the deal (although this could be less from principle than the realization that to cave in on the tax issue would guarantee a challenge to his Speakership).

At the center of the controversy are the terms of raising the debt ceiling, which currently stands at $14.3 trillion, with President Obama asking for trillions more. Republicans demand a deal which allows the debt limit to be increased in exchange for cuts in spending. Democrats just want the debt ceiling to be raised period, and loathe spending cuts because it would reduce the size and scope of the imperial federal government, and in doing so take away from their ability to dole out taxpayer dollars to favored constituencies in exchange for votes.

It has been an established understanding for decades now that the Democrats can’t be trusted with national defense. It should be clear now to every sane American that Democrats can no longer be trusted with economic matters either.

What does $15 trillion look like?

Have you ever tried to visualize the national debt? It’s difficult put such an unfathomable number, what the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department treat as numbers in a computer program, into stacks or rows of $100 bills. But a new website,, has done it.

Here is what  $15 trillion. just shy of the national debt, would look like:

$15 trillion

And here is our unfunded liabilties (including Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) and other spending programs, which total $115 trillion:

$115 trillion

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