Ed Morrissey

Catching up on Wisconsin

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.

Owning a home shouldn’t be part of the “American Dream”

housing bubble

Ed Morrissey of HotAir has a post today highlighting a column written by the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell, in which she talks about homeownership not being all its cracked up to be. Morrissey, however, ledes with this:

Most people include home ownership as one of the basic elements of the American Dream. It stands not just for independence, but also in most minds an investment in tangible and significant property. It’s not a universally-held goal — some people prefer to rent even with the means to own — but home ownership is usually seen as one of the building blocks to middle-class wealth.

Guys, before we go any further, I have a confession to make: I don’t believe in the “American Dream,” at least not the one that has been so heavily emphasized over the years.

Don’t get me wrong, the negative liberty, Lockeian views of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” outlined in the Declaration of Independence are principles in which I strongly believe. That is, in my view, the real “American Dream.” It’s basic and simplistic, sure, but that’s what makes it unique.

Administration exaggerates Obamacare enrollment numbers

The Obama administration is claiming that momentum is on its side going into the final two months of the Obamacare open enrollment period. That, after the release of the latest round of numbers.

Nearly 3.3 million people selected health plans on the state and federal exchanges through the first four months of the open enrollment period, according to a Department of Health and Human Services report released on Wednesday. Administration officials boasted at the fact that January was the first month in which it actually exceeded its goals, evening expressing glee at the marginal increase in young people who selected plans on the exchanges.

Most media outlets are still reporting the HHS numbers as enrollments, which is misleading. The numbers being reported are “selected plans,” but in order for someone to counted as an enrollee, they, you know, actually have to make a premium payment.

While the administration has been silent on the actual number of paid enrollments, The New York Times notes that around 20% of those who completed the check out process on the exchanges haven’t actually paid a premium:

One in five people who signed up for health insurance under the new health care law failed to pay their premiums on time and therefore did not receive coverage in January, insurance companies and industry experts say.

Is White House bracing for a bad jobs report?

With the monthly jobs report for October — the last before the presidential election — due on Friday, there are signs that President Barack Obama’s team is lowering expectations. Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey notes an exchange between George Stephanopoulos and Austan Goolsbee, a former chief economic adviser to President Obama, that took place on Sunday (emphasis mine):

NRO’s Eliana Johnson picked up on an interesting moment during yesterday’s This Week on ABC.  George Stephanopoulos asked former Obama administration economist Austan Goolsbee about the political impact of the jobs report coming up this Friday, just four days before most voters cast their ballots.  Goolsbee notes that only “unbelievable outliers … crack through the shell” of the electorate’s consciousness for a single-month’s report.  Goolsbee then admits that last month’s jobs report was “artificially too optimistic” — an “unbelievable outlier,” in other words.

So why admit that now?  Well, that “unbelievable outlier” is likely to get corrected in this month’s household survey, and that will drive the jobless rate up.  Goolsbee argues, in other words, that a jump in the jobless rate won’t impact voter psyche because voters already know the economy is improving regardless of these “unbelievable outliers”

Rick Santorum: Romney no better than Obama

At a time when many conservatives are realizing that Mitt Romney is on a near-certain path to become the Republican nominee, Rick Santorum seems to be doing his best to help out President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election.

Like Newt Gingrich did back in May of last year when he slammed Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget and re-emphasized that he supports the concept of an individual mandate (of course, Romney has his own problems there), Santorum said yesterday during a campaign stop in Texas that Obama might as well be re-elected if the GOP nominates Romney:

“You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there,” Santorum told supporters in San Antonio. “If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future.”

Santorum was referring to Romney, whose campaign strategist said recently that they would be able to “reset” the campaign when they transition to the general election “like an Etch A Sketch.”

The Santorum camp later clarified the candidate’s remark, saying he didn’t mean to insinuate that voters would be better off re-electing Obama than choosing Romney.

The truth about Herman Cain and Audit the Fed

As I was perusing the web this morning reading recaps of last night’s Republican debate, I noticed a reoccuring theme. Apparently, Ron Paul directed his question to Herman Cain (each candidate was allowed to ask a question of another) about his issues with an audit of the Federal Reserve. Ed Morrissey briefly recounts the exchange:

Paul scored big on Cain’s Greenspan comments, and also had some good points about overregulation and how both parties have contributed to it.  No real crazy moments, but he did get a hard rebuke from Cain after misquoting him and ended up looking contrite.

For reference, here is the exchange between Ron Paul and Herman Cain from last night’s economic debate at Dartmouth College:

REP. PAUL: Since the Federal Reserve is the engine of inflation, creates the business cycle, produces our recessions and our depressions, the Federal Reserve obviously is a very important issue. And fortunately tonight, we have a former director of the Federal Reserve at Kansas City, so I have a question for Mr. Cain.

Mr. Cain, in the past, you’ve been rather critical of any of us who would want to audit the Fed.

Attack Watch? Seriously?

President Barack Obama’s campaign has unveiled a new website, Attack Watch, that allows supporters to report news and viewpoints that they feel are misleading. It’s not the first of its kind. As you may remember, Obama’s campaign used Fight the Smears in similar fashion. But the launch didn’t go as planned, notes The Hill, as hilarity enused on Twitter with the #AttackWatch hashtag:

A new Twitter hashtag designed to help fight misinformation against President Obama appears to have backfired in early use on Wednesday.

President Obama’s Twitter feed, which is run by his campaign staff, on Tuesday evening started promoting the new website AttackWatch.com and hashtag #AttackWatch, designed to fight misinformation against the president.

The hashtag was already in heavy rotation by Twitter users by Wednesday morning, but many users are conservatives such as columnist Michelle Malkin, who offered up her own daily column as an example of an Obama “attack.”

Ed Morrissey calls the site “snitch central.” Meh, it’s harmless politics, as Doug Mataconis notes. It’s not all that different from a campaign war room. At least it’s not being run inside the White House, which would be somewhat troubling. But it does make for some good humor:

We have a spoiled child for a president

As you know, the White House announced that President Barack Obama would give his much-anticipated jobs plan to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, September 7th. Well, there was just one problem with that given that eight Republicans are set to square off in a long-planned debate at the Reagan Library in California that same evening.

As you can imagine - and justifiably so, Republicans were bothered by Obama’s blatant (and yes, it was blatant) move to upstage the GOP debate. House Speaker John Boehner fired off a letter to the White House asking Obama to move the speech back an evening to Thursday (September 8th), which also happens to be the start of the NFL season (I’m pulling for the Saints against the Packers).

Of course, the White House and Democrats have taken shots at Republicans for making an issue out this. They’ve even claimed that Boehner’s office didn’t object to the original date. Ed Morrissey notes that this has happened before, where Obama was planning an address on Libya and decided to move it due to another event:

President Obama had a message for the American people Monday night, an explanation of the government’s intentions in Libya, one that he believed was important enough to request air time from the broadcast networks as well as the cable news networks.

A One Term President

His opposition all hopes that President Obama follows in the footsteps of George H.W. Bush and becomes a one term President.  However, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air wrote a piece pondering the possibility that Obama will simply not seek re-election rather than lose the election outright.  He cites parallels with post FDR presidents who did just that, with the closest parallel being with Lyndon Johnson.

Obama’s popularity has plummeted recently, as Morissey cites that it’s also dropped in places where the President should be strong:

But the decision may end up being out of his hands if the political environment doesn’t improve.  Obama’s numbers are plummeting in places Democrats can hardly afford to lose.  In Pennsylvania, where Obama will top a ticket that also includes Bob Casey’s bid for a second Senate term, he’s either at 43% approval (Quinnipiac) or at 35% (Muhlenberg).  Wisconsin turned Republican last year and a series of elections this year confirmed it, and Herb Kohl’s seat in the Senate is up for grabs.  Obama can be expected to drag down the ticket in Virginia (James Webb’s seat is open), Florida (Bill Nelson), Ohio (Sherrod Brown), Maryland (Ben Cardin), and Michigan (Debbie Stabenow).  Obama is underwater in New York and New Jersey already, two normally staunch Democratic states, both with Senate races on the line as well.  If Obama runs at the top of those tickets, he might eke out victories in the two states, but his presence on the ticket will depress Democratic turnout and might endanger Kirsten Gillibrand and Robert Menendez; Democrats would almost certainly have to spend a ton of money to bolster them that they’d normally spend elsewhere.

No leader in GOP race

Blogs all over the conservative blogosphere are all chattering about the unprecedented fact that there is no GOP leader for the party’s presidential nomination.  Apparently, there is usually a front runner at this point and that front runner ultimately wins out, at least according to Gallup.

Of course, Ed Morrissey offers this tidbit:

Interestingly, the sequence has two anomalies.  John McCain trailed Rudy Giuliani by 17 points in Gallup polling at this point in 2007, but ended up outlasting everyone to get the nomination.  In 1979, Reagan only had a five-point lead over Gerald Ford, which recalls the discomfort of the GOP establishment with Reagan even after Ford’s futile attempts to hold office in 1976.

Otherwise, the history of the GOP in open cycles is to give the nomination to the candidate perceived to be next it line.  But in this year, that could describe all three of the candidates leading the polling so far.  Huckabee and Romney finished second and third in 2008′s primaries in delegates, and Palin ran on the ticket.  However, more and more people wonder whether Huckabee or Palin will actually run — and whether Romney will suffer as a result[.]

The truth of the matter is that the GOP of today has been shaped (some would say warped) by the Tea Party, possibly to such an extent that historical trends may well be meaningless.

Morrissey is dead on about the indecision of Palin and Huckabee impacting the polling numbers.  Some will back them if they announce but won’t commit without that announcement.  That will throw things in almost any direction though.

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