The protests in Wisconsin against Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal that would require public-sector workers to pay more for benefits and pensions, though they’ll still be better off than private-sector workers, and reforms that would limit collective bargaining by public-sector unions are still receiving an incredible amount of attention.
In case you haven’t seen it, here is video a speech Gov. Walker gave last night explaining the reasons for the proposal. You can read the transcript here:
Walker, who has been falsely accused of favoring certain public-sector unions, has warned that unless the measures are passed to help ensure that the $3 billion budget deficit over the next two years can be cut, 6,000 public workers could lose their jobs.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010 will be recorded in the history books as one of the most historic and tumultuous in the annals of American politics. Just two short years after a relative political neophyte named Barack Obama swept across the political landscape, winning the presidency, increasing Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, and driving out record numbers of youth and minorities to the polls with his steady mantra of “Hope and Change”, it seems some of the luster has faded.
Indeed, it is precisely because America saw little hope in their smooth-talking but results-deficient president that they turned on him and his party resoundingly. Even up to Election Day he was rallying the Democrat troops, and Speaker Pelosi was proclaiming that Democrats would retain control of the House, yet the rest of America had seen the writing on the wall for months. As it turned out, the American people had placed their hope in changing the balance of power.
With a smattering of races across the country still too close to call and undergoing recounts, here is what we know. The Republican Party has picked up at least 61 seats in the House, giving them their largest majority there since 1946, and five in the Senate, rendering Democrats impotent in any attempts to ram through any more controversial legislation. Republicans have picked up nearly a dozen governorships, including Michigan and Pennsylvania. The state legislatures in North Carolina and Alabama have turned Republican for the first time since the end of the War Between the States. This was part of the 11-state pick-up for Republicans of state legislatures.
This historic Republican wave ended the tenure of some of the longest serving Democrats, including Ike Skelton (elected in 1976), John Spratt (1983), Paul Kanjorski (1982), Rick Boucher (1982) and Russ Feingold (1992).
“What we have here…is a failure to communicate.”
In the movie classic Cool Hand Luke, these are the words spoken by the warden to Luke, a young prisoner who makes a brief but daring escape from a chain gang. The warden, a cruel, iron-fisted man who ruled the prison like it was his own dictatorship, was determined to break the spirit of Luke, a happy-go-lucky young man thrown into prison for cutting off the tops of parking meters one night while drunk. His failure to break Luke infuriated the warden, and the escape attempt offered the warden an opportunity to kick Luke violently to satisfy his own rage, as well as make an example to the other prisoners of what happens to those that do not conform to the dictates of power.
The Obama administration has become the modern-day version of that warden. As American citizens become less and less trusting of the agenda of Obama, Pelosi and Reid, having seen the failed promises and resulting damage to our economy, Democrats have moved into damage control.
At first they attempted to woo us by eloquence and persuasion. We were told that 95% of Americans would get a tax cut, that the stimulus bill would keep unemployment under 8%, and that we could add 30 million people to the insurance rolls, increase benefits and still bring the cost down. Anyone who’d ever run a business or balanced a checkbook saw this for the utter nonsense that it was. Yet the Democrats used outright lies, bribery and threats to pass their agenda. Seeing their popularity wane as the “hope and change” of the campaign season turned into the reality of “rope and chains “ of massive debt, they have become more and more desperate to regain control of the narrative.
A couple of weeks ago, I told you that a prominent liberal advocacy group was telling supporters of ObamaCare to avoid talking about claims made by Democrats during the debate over the legislation in Congress earlier this year, such as the mythical claims of deficit reduction.
Now, another group, Health Care for America Now, is encouraging supporters of ObamaCare to avoid discussing ObamaCare entirely with voters:
The progressive coalition Health Care for America Now fought hard to pass health care reform. Now it’s fighting hard to help reelect lawmakers who voted for the bill — even if it means not talking about it.
While polls show that health reform has become slightly more popular since passage, it’s still a polarizing issue, particularly in districts where Republicans and conservative groups have bombarded voters with negative ads.
Now, HCAN’s field crews are finding that the best way to support reform-friendly lawmakers is to talk about something else: jobs, the economy or other issues likely to resonate more with voters.
“We want to be flexible in talking about what is most relevant to constituents, whatever issues are most motivational,” said HCAN’s national field director, Margarida Jorge, who organizes a daily call with their partner organizations. “We can have a high level of focus on health care but also understand at times the focus is going to shift.”
HCAN activists say they are not dodging their key issue; rather, they want to keep pace with voter concerns, which have markedly shifted over the past year.
Hoping your opponents continue to screw up is no way to run a political campaign, but Republicans across the Country have to wonder what they did to deserve a field of Democratic opposition that is so uniformly hapless, and led by a President so tone-deaf to public sentiment. While it is still too early to begin measuring drapes for new offices on Capitol Hill, every single piece of available data, every trend, and all of history indicate that November 2 will be a “wave” election that washes Democratic incumbents out to sea and out of power.
First, history: The party that’s not in the White House almost always gains seats in Congress –that’s nearly axiomatic. A 39 seat net gain for Republicans in the House of Representatives is as certain as anything can be 64 days before an election, though a similar, takeover-sized gain in the Senate is not as certain. Second, the data: Nearly every poll conducted in August shows a clear majority of the country feels the nation is on the wrong track, while a mere third (or less) believe that we’re headed in the right direction. President Obama’s job approval rating is abysmal: 54.5% disapproval to 38.7% approval –and that’s just among independents! Mr. Obama can take comfort in the fact that while his numbers are bad, America hates Congress even more. Current polls show more than 71% of the people disapprove of Congress, while less than 20% approve.
We’ve been covering the discovery of a provision in ObamaCare that would place a burden on small businesses by requiring that they file 1099 forms for expenditures over $600. Even Democrats realized that this requirement was bad for business, especially as President Barack Obama tries to convice voters otherwise.
Instead of voting on an outright repeal of the provision, Democrats tucked it away with other provisions that hiked taxes and it ultimately failed when it came up on the floor:
The House rejected a bill Friday that would have repealed the provision. The two parties disagreed on how to make up the lost revenue.
“This foolish policy hammers our business community when we should be supporting their job growth,” Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska said in the Republicans’ weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. “It’s only one example of how the administration’s promise to support small businesses really rings hollow.”
Democrats blamed Republicans for Friday’s failure.
“Despite all of their rhetoric about the need to eliminate this reporting requirement, Republicans walked away from small businesses when it mattered most,” said Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
Businesses already must file Form 1099s with the IRS when they purchase more than $600 in services from a vendor in a year. The new provision would extend the requirement to the purchase of goods, starting in 2012.
Over the last few days, many Americans, including myself, have lost sight of what really matters overall. We have liberal bloggers pounding away at keyboards trying to show the Tea Party as evil. We have conservative bloggers pounding away at keyboards trying to show the NAACP as racist. We have libertarian bloggers pounding away at keyboards arguing against bloggers from either of the two primary affiliations.
It gets a little much and like I said, I’ve been as guilty (if not more so) than anyone. However, there are still real problems in this country that need to be addressed that shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle of who said what when.
We still have an oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico to clean up, and there is need for a valid debate on whether more regulation would prevent another disaster like that one, or whether there were already plenty of regulations on the books that just weren’t enforced. There’s still room for a valid debate on how hard BP should get hit financially on this.
We still have sky high unemployment, and there is still a need for valid debate on how best to combat that. Folks like me see the best way is for government to get out of the way and let the private sector do it’s thing. There are others who think that government is the solution. Let’s have that debate in the blogs and the newspaper columns.
We have new financial regulations coming down the pipe. Let’s debate the merits and flaws of those, rather than what someone said in a speech. Let’s talk about whether the government had a hand in creating this mess or not. Let’s discuss the idea of “to big to fail” for a little while.
Podcast: $13 Trillion Debt, BP Oil Spill, Alvin Greene, 2011 Budget, and Economic Failing Guests: Mike Hassinger, Doug Mataconis
This week, Jason and Brett speak with former Cato’s Former Director of Budget Studies and author of Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, Stephen Slivinski.
The discussion centers around the Republican Revolution of 1994, how the GOP traded principles for power, the big spending, and how the fever of fiscal conservatism from 1994 compares to the tea party movement today.
Interesting results from a Pew Research survey:
More than four-in-ten independents (44%) react positively to the word “libertarian,” while 32% have a negative reaction. Democrats are nearly evenly divided (39% positive, 37% negative). However, Republicans on balance have a negative impression of this term (44% negative, 31% positive).
In many ways we’re actually competition for Republicans and try to hold them to their principles and slam them when they don’t live up to them. But Republicans don’t like us on the social side of things
Commentators, from the left, of course, draw other conclusions:
The notion that Republicans are libertarian is ludicrous. They stick their noses into our bedrooms, into our doctors’ offices, into churches. They demand the roundup of people who don’t look like them. They whine about Miranda rights and due process. They are more concerned about the rights of big energy conglomerates, than they are about the rights of people to enjoy long walks on pristine beaches. They whine about true independent and free media that doesn’t validate their ideology. They freak out about anyone who doesn’t believe in their god, or worse, in any god at all.
For the American Taliban, “liberty” means their ability to impose their beliefs and lifestyle on the rest of society.