Recent Posts From Jason Pye
Over at the Washington Examiner, Scott Payne explains why the tea party movement should be skeptical of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus:
[W]ith the Tea Party Caucus, as Political reporters Jonathan Allen and Jake Sherman note, “Bachmann has brought the tea party inside the Capitol.” And that is precisely where the potential problems lie.
By institutionalizing the “tea party” in the form of a caucus that demands of representatives that they either be “in or out,” Bachmann opens the door to a potential top-down approach to the movement implemented by representatives who feel they have no other option but to join the caucus and look to co-opt he movement from the inside. No other animal is as ferocious and crafty when backed into a corner as a political animal.
Of course, tea party advocates would likely respond that the local chapters wouldn’t let such a co-opting happen. And that is quite probably true. But the end result of such a fight may well spell a functional end to the movement, as members become cynical and disenchanted by the drama that once darlings like Bachmann have foisted upon them.
Already with the tea party movement has been forced to make tough choices as it comes of age in the expulsion of the Tea Party Express over concerns about racism. Can the movement handle both the inevitable prevalence of internal house as it moves forward and the possible full court press of the very representatives it was formed to reform?
Time will tell, I suppose. But my advice to tea partiers is to bear in mind that if an opportunity like getting a foot hold in the corridors of Washington seems too good to be true, it probably is.
While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) tries to sell us on government-run health insurance, Britian’s National Health Service is undergoing dramatic changes:
Some of the most common operations — including hip replacements and cataract surgery — will be rationed as part of attempts to save billions of pounds, despite government promises that front-line services would be protected.
Patients’ groups have described the measures as “astonishingly brutal”.
An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered widespread cuts planned across the NHS, many of which have already been agreed by senior health service officials. They include:
* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.
* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.
* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.
* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.
* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment, and for surgery for obesity.
* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.
* Cost-cutting programmes in paediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.
A couple of weeks ago, I noted that the budget deficit for FY 2010 had topped $1 trillion, this would be the second straight year with a trilion dollars in red ink. On Friday, the White House announced that it expects the budget deficit to reach a record $1.47 trillion before it’s all said and done:
New estimates from the White House on Friday predict the budget deficit will reach a record $1.47 trillion this year. The government is borrowing 41 cents of every dollar it spends.
That’s actually a little better than the administration predicted in February.
The new estimates paint a grim unemployment picture as the economy experiences a relatively jobless recovery. The unemployment rate, presently averaging 9.5 percent, would average 9 percent next year under the new estimates.
The deficit for FY 2011, next year, is expected to be around $1.4 trillion. Obama wasn’t kidding when he said we’d have trillion deficits as far as the eye can see.
But wasn’t ObamaCare supposed to help bring down the budget deficit? That was part of the reasoning, right? Well, thoses “savings” are not all they’re cracked up to be:
A leading critic of “don’t ask, don’t tell” has been honorably discharged from the Army because he is open about his sexual orientation:
Dan Choi, a West Point graduate and Army National Guard first lieutenant, said he learned of the decision on Thursday. “It’s painful, mostly — not that my career is coming to an end, but really that it’s been a very difficult year,” he said in an interview.
Choi announced that he is gay during a March 2009 interview on MSNBC. He has since served as a leading Pentagon critic.
He has been arrested several times, most recently on Tuesday in Las Vegas at a rally calling for the passage of the Employment Non Discrimination Act. In March, he was arrested for handcuffing himself to a White House fence; prosecutors dropped charges against him last week.
The House included a repeal of “don’t ask” in its version of the annual defense spending bill. The Senate is expected to do the same.
Choi says that he would like to serve when DADT is finally repealed. That’s so odd to me considering our interventionist foreign policy. We’re constantly getting involved in the affairs of other nations, the government should want any healthy person they can find. I’m puzzled by that. So is Doug Mataconis, who asks, “So let me get this straight — we’ve got a guy who actually wants to serve and we’re kicking him out ? Explain that to me.”
In addition to promising a government-run health insurance option, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told conferees at NetRoots Nation that filibusters rules in the Senate will change next year:
Reid said that while Democrats were still looking at options as to how they would change the filibuster, Republicans’ use of the rules to force a 60-vote majority on most items before the Senate meant that a change was needed.
“This Republican Senate has started abusing the rules, so we’re going to have to change it,” Reid told liberal bloggers assembled in Las Vegas for the “Netroots Nation” conference.
“We do not have a plan fully developed yet, but we’re looking at ways to change it,” Reid said.
Frustration at the Senate rules and the frequent gridlock Republicans have been able to force peppered Reid’s remarks to the bloggers. The top Senate Democrat defended his party’s work in the Senate the past year and a half, but acknowledged that they might have been able to have been more ambitious in the pace and scope of their legislative agenda if not for Republicans.
“Suddenly, 60 is the new 51,” he said, noting the new standard for legislation.
They don’t like the rules, so they’ll just change them. Good luck with that, considering that you’ll need 67 votes to do it, assuming that you’re even in the majority next year.
Remember when the filibuster was supposed to protect minority rights. That apparently only applies when Democrats aren’t in control.
This past weekend at NetRoots Nation, some liberal and progressive bloggers warned Democrats not to write off the tea party movement:
The panelists, which included well-known authors David Neiwert and John Amato of Crooksandliars.com, warned that regardless of whether people have negative attitudes toward the Tea Party, progressives could lose their footing unless they mobilize their own base and treat the right-wing movement as a force to be reckoned with.
“The thing that has me most concerned about the Tea Party movement is the overarching theme on our side of things that we should dismiss these people because they’re nuts,” said Adele Stan, Washington bureau chief for Alternet.org, a progressive website that covers politics and culture. “We really do that at our peril.”
The panelists agreed that the era of writing off the conservative populist movement must end, adding that serious steps need be taken to combat the growing antagonism to the party in power.
“The answer to the Tea Party is to activate truly the populist wing of the progressive movement,” Neiwert said. “That’s the only way we’re going to have a chance to overcome this very threatening and very powerful movement.”
The latest survey from Rasmussen shows two-term incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) trailing by 25 points to her Republican challenger, Rep. John Boozman.
General Election: Blanche Lincoln v. John Boozman
- Boozeman: 60%
- Lincoln: 35%
- Other: 2%
- Not sure: 3%
There is almost nope hope that Lincoln can over come the margin, as voters have mostly already made their minds up on whether she deserves re-election. According to the survey, only 14% hold a “very favorable” view of the senator, while 37% have a “very unfavorable” view.
Lincoln’s downfall has been her vote support of President Barack Obama’s agenda, voting for the stimulus, ObamaCare and financial “reform.”
Based on current projections, Rasmussen ranks seven seats at toss-ups (Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin). If Republicans win them all, including seats they are already projected to win, they would gain control of the Senate.
The National Journal reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will bring the anti-free speech DISCLOSE Act to the floor tomorrow for a cloture vote, which means 60 votes are require to move it forward:
In an unexpected step, Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid filed cloture late Thursday night on a motion to proceed to a closely watched campaign finance bill.
Reid’s move forces a 2:45pm Tuesday vote on whether to move to the DISCLOSE Act, a bill imposing new campaign finance regulations in response to the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United v. FEC ruling, which threw out limits on spending by corporations and unions to influence elections.
The bill, a version of which has passed the House after Dems excluded the powerful National Rifle Association from new regulations, is a priority for Dems in both chambers. The bill, however, appears to face unified opposition from GOPers in the Senate and potential opposition from a few Dems — largely thanks to the NRA carve-out.
As noted, the NRA is not lobbying against, nor scoring this vote, which effectively means they are sitting on the sidelines since they are taken care of. Not a very principled stand.
On his most recent show, John Stossel tackled the hot topic of immigration, bringing on both the proponents of Arizona’s immigration law (Heather MacDonald and Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce) and supporters of open immigration and reform (Jason Riley, Nick Gillespie and Linda Chavez) and the economic benefits it brings: