Archives for February 2012

AFL-CIO plans “Occupy CPAC”

Those of you heading to Washington, DC this weekend for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) may be in for a treat as the local chapter of the AFL-CIO is planning a protest of the event, dubbed “Occupy CPAC”:

With workshops like “Return of Big Labor: What Can We Learn from Wisconsin & Ohio,” and “Taking back Wall Street: The Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street,” the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) descends on the nation’s capital February 9-11 and local labor activists are planning a DC lesson to ensure that the voice of the 99% are heard at this elite conservative gathering. Actions are currently being planned for noontime and after work on Friday, February 10. Featured speakers at CPAC include Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum.

The AFL-CIO will have “tents, an inflatable fat cat, puppets, “candidate Walmart,” and more to LET THE VOICES OF THE 99% BE HEARD!”

Oh, this should be hilarious. The last time that an Occupy group tried to protest a conservative conference, it ended up being an embarassment for the protesters as attendees, including myself, had cameras and iPhones aimed at them when they tried to force their way into the private event.

Newt Gingrich is imploding

After finishing a distant second to Mitt Romney in Nevada on Saturday, Newt Gingrich became unhinged during an evening press conference, promising a prolonged battle for the Republican nomination:

Newt Gingrich vowed again to stay in the Republican presidential contest until the convention in August and said he will spend the next several months engaged in a bitter battle with Mitt Romney.

Speaking to the press after the Nevada caucuses Saturday, Mr. Gingrich repeatedly hammered Mr. Romney as a pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-taxes candidate who has the backing of the Republican establishment.

“I am a candidate for president of the United States,” he said. “I will be a candidate for president of the United States. I will go to Tampa.”

Mr. Romney ignored Mr. Gingrich in his victory speech tonight. But Mr. Gingrich seemed insistent on making sure that his rival cannot simply look the other way.

He accused Mr. Romney of purposely leaking false information about Mr. Gingrich’s plans to drop out of the presidential race, calling that Mr. Romney’s “greatest fantasy” in the race.

And Mr. Gingrich said that recent meetings he held with donors were meant to map out a plan to continue getting his message out despite Mr. Romney’s superior fund-raising.

“The entire establishment will be against us,” he predicted. But he said that by appearing on national television and doing interviews in newspapers, he will spread his agenda.

“The American people want somebody who is genuinely conservative, who is prepared to change Washington,” Mr. Gingrich said.

Obama goes Christianist on tax policy

Welcome Instapundit readers!

During a speech on National Prayer Breakfast at the National Cathedral, President Barack Obama went partisan (shocker!) in what is usually a bipartisan event by invoking Jesus Christ to justify his push for higher taxes:

President Obama offered a new line of reasoning for hiking taxes on the rich on Thursday, saying at the National Prayer Breakfast that his policy proposals are shaped by his religious beliefs.

Obama said that as a person who has been “extraordinarily blessed,” he is willing to give up some of the tax breaks he enjoys because doing so makes economic, and religious sense.

“For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,” Obama said, quoting the Gospel of Luke.

I’ll admit upfront that I believe raising taxes is a terrible idea. It’s even worse of an idea in economy that just now seems recovering from an severe downturn, a point that the Congressional Budget Office recently echoed. But President Obama’s invocation of Jesus and religion to push tax hikes is sickening and it makes him no different from someone like Rick Santorum, who frequently uses his faith to justify authoritarian social policies.

States moving to nullify NDAA?

Regardless of where you stand politically, you probably have some very strong feelings on the NDAA and it’s provision that will allow the government to indefinitely detain someone because they’re a “terrorist”.   The NDAA managed to make it through both chambers of Congress (remember that one is controlled by Democrats, the other by Republicans) and was signed into law on December 31, 2011, effectively killing due process.

However, some politicians aren’t exactly done fighting this one.  In Virginia, we have House Bill No. 1160.  That bill reads:

§ 1. Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, no agency of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, political subdivision of the Commonwealth as defined in § 8.01-385 of the Code of Virginia, employee of either acting in his official capacity, or any member of the Virginia National Guard or Virginia Defense Force, when such a member is serving in the Virginia National Guard or the Virginia Defense Force on official state duty, may engage in any activity that aids an agency of or the armed forces of the United States in the execution of 50 U.S.C. 1541 as provided by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (P.L. 112-18, § 1021) in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of any citizen of the United States in violation of Article I, Section 8 or 11 of the Constitution of Virginia.

Romney leads by 20 points in Nevada

With a win in Florida under his belt, Mitt Romney is looking west to the caucus in Nevada tomorrow where the latest poll shows him leading his rivals for the Republican nomination by a large margin.

The poll, sponsored by the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ) and the local CBS affiliate, shows Romney taking 45% of the vote among likely caucus-goers, with a substantial amount of support coming from Mormons. Romney also performs well with “strong supporters” of the Tea Party movement, taking 27% of the important faction in the Republican base. Gingrich takes 37% of Tea Party voters.

Here is how the rest of the poll shakes out:

  • Mitt Romney: 45%
  • Newt Gingrich: 25%
  • Rick Santorum: 11%
  • Ron Paul: 9%

Gingrich’s numbers have fallen off since the last LVRJ poll, which was conducted just before Christmas. At that time Gingrich was down four points to Romney — inside the margin of error, so they were essentially tied — in a state where many observers didn’t expect much of contest. Fast-forward to today, Romney is enjoying his highest level of support in Nevada.

The poll is disappointing (and surprising) for Ron Paul, who largely skipped out on the primary in Florida to focus on caucus states. As you can see, Paul is set to finish last, despite being “deeply organized” in the state, according to the LVRJ. He finished second there in 2008, though the process was controversial.

Government cheese: The reality most people miss

I found myself over at Instapundit today after our own Nate Nelson’s post got a link (Congrats Nate!), and I came across a video where Glenn Reynolds is talking with the author of a book.  The book is A Nation of Moochers: America’s Addiction to Getting Something for Nothing, and the author is Charles Sykes.

In his interview, Glenn says something that, frankly, I liked the way he said it.  “Politicians have managed to convince people that everybody has some kind of special deal when, of course, really the house is always taking their percentage.”

He’s right.  For example, take a government program designed to help with adult literacy and compare it with a non-profit set up with the same goal.  Few will argue that adult literacy is somehow a bad thing.

Now, let’s say that both entities received $1 million dollars to operate in different medium sized cities.  So, what is the difference between the two?  Oh, that’s easy.

You see, the non-profit will generally try to operate as efficiently as possible.  They know that $1 million may or may not be back, so they try to use it as judiciously as possible.  They also know that results matter, so they make sure they can help as many adults read for that money as possible, primarily in hopes that the results will spur further donations.  Any non-profit that fails to do that usually doesn’t get repeat donors and eventually has to close its doors.  Sounds kind of free market-like, doesn’t it?

The economy remains Obama’s biggest obstacle

Many observers feel that Barack Obama has a very good shot at re-election this fall as Mitt Romney — who often performs the best out of the GOP field in head-to-head matchups against the president — has given Democrats plent of firepower in recent days. But even with today’s good jobs report, the economy should be a concern for Obama’s campaign, reports Ian Swanson at The Hill:

Recent economic reports could have the Obama White House worried.

All of the reports suggest the pace of economic growth is still slow, and that unemployment could rise, and not fall, by the end of the year.
2012 has been a good year for markets so far, despite unease over Europe. Every major index reported strong gains in January, and the rally on Wednesday continued a good year. Improving 401(k) plans might put voters in more of a mood to give Obama four more years in November.

Still, there are plenty of reasons to think the markets and jobless rate will go in a different direction later this year.

Here’s why the White House should be nervous:

• The Federal Reserve has announced it will keep interest rates low through 2014, a sign of its pessimism about the pace of the economic recovery.

• The Commerce Department found the nation’s economy grew at a 2.8 percent rate in the fourth quarter of 2011, a faster pace than the rest of the year but worse than expected. If the economic growth slows in the next quarter, it will be tough to keep unemployment down.

Prolonging the GOP race could come at heavy price

For the last several months, conservatives have rebelled against idea of Mitt Romney winning the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. The reasoning various, but the substantive concerns are that he has no core convictions given the frequency in which he changes positions and also that his core legislative achievement, RomneyCare, served as the blueprint for ObamaCare.

During the course of the campaign, several candidates have been driven by conservative and Tea Party support, but have all fallen back to Earth for various reasons, including lack of experience, understanding of policy basics or uninspiring campaigns. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, and Rick Perry have all been a vehicle for the anti-Romney vote. However, we’re now in February, four states have gone to the polls, and that trio is longer in the race.

Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have been vying for conservative support, but neither have been able to win over enough support long enough to do any significant damage. And while Romney doesn’t have the nomination locked up, there is little doubt that he is the frontrunner. That’s not to say his nomination is inevitable, but it certainly seems likely.

For their part, anti-Romney conservatives, a significant chunk of the Republican base, continues to fight back against this in hopes of dragging out the primary process until the summer. However, conservatives are running into a couple of problems that may be a recipe for disaster come November.

Donald Trump endorses Mitt Romney

After some early morning confusion, Donald Trump, who had flirted with the idea of running for the GOP nomination last year, has endorsed Mitt Romney:

Celebrity business magnate Donald Trump endorsed Mitt Romney for president Thursday, telling reporters he will not mount an independent campaign if Romney is the Republican nominee.

Trump, who has repeatedly flirted with the possibility of his own White House bid, revealed his decision in Las Vegas two days before Nevada’s Saturday caucuses.

Media outlets had said that Trump would endorse Newt Gingrich, which made sense given that the former Speaker pandered heavily heavily to the reality TV show host. However, these have obviously turned out to be false.

The endorsement is interesting for a couple of different reasons. Trump’s endorsement is actually a negative in the minds of voters. Let’s face it, it became clear that his consideration of a presidential bid and Birtherism were nothing more Trump being a publicity whore, and voters saw right through it.

The other reason is because Romney snubbed Trump at the end of last year by declining an invitation to a Newsmax-sponsored debate that he was slated to moderate. Gingrich and Rick Santorum had opted to attend.

On Romney’s problematic comments about the “very poor”

In case you haven’t already, Mitt Romney, the day after a very strong showing in Florida, stuck his foot in his mouth during an interview on CNN by saying that he is “not concerned about the very poor”:

After winning the Florida primary, GOP presidential nominee hopeful Mitt Romney explains to CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien that he is focused on a particular portion of the American population in his campaign. Romney says, “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair , I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich…. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

O’Brien asked him to clarify his remarks saying, “There are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, ‘That sounds odd.’” Romney continues, “We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor…. You can focus on the very poor, that’s not my focus…. The middle income Americans, they’re the folks that are really struggling right now and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them.”

Both anti-Romney conservatives and Democrats reacted to the comments, using them as another example of Romney being out of touch. Other, more reasonable conservatives, are just concerned that it feeds perceptions about Romney. For example, the Washington Examiner’s Conn Carroll writes:

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