Joe Biden

Loss of Scalia Spares Unions Another Damaging Blow

scalia

It is difficult to quantify the impact on the nation of the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Adored by conservatives/originalists, and reviled by progressives and the “living Constitution” crowd, Scalia was not only arguably the greatest legal mind of his generation, but one of the most brilliant and articulate legal scholars in all of America history. Combining rapier wit with a towering intellect, he shaped the legal thinking of conservatives and liberals alike in the judiciary.

In recent years many of the most controversial rulings handed down by the Supreme Court have come in the form of 5-4 rulings, typically with Justice Anthony Kennedy being the swing vote. The loss of Scalia leaves the Court with eight justices, increasing the likelihood of 4-4 decisions that, rather than establish constitutional law precedent, leave issues unsettled and keep in place lower court rulings.

Facts of Navy Yard shooting undermine gun control arguments

Media Guide to the AR-15

In the initial flurry of hasty, largely incorrect reports about the horrific Navy Yard shooting this week, the infamous AR-15 again reared its evil, black, “military-grade” head. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it was not in the deadly bogeyman fashion the media expected and reported. An AR-15 rifle was later said to be found at the scene, but no one has seen one since.

CNN and many other outlets seized upon the initial report of the AR-15 and ran with it, even calling the weapon an “AR-15 shotgun”, which does not exist. In fact, the shooter did attempt to purchase an AR-15 rifle last week in Virginia, but he was prevented from doing so by state law, since he was from out of state. Instead, he bought a shotgun, which is legal to purchase for out-of-state residents, and went about his murderous ways. This stunning sequence of events undermines nearly every gun control talking point being used right now.

Biden: Proposed Gun Control Regulations Only the Beginning

During a conference call organized by the anti-gun group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Vice President Joe Biden said that the proposed gun laws in the United States Senate, which includes universal background checks, are just the beginning of the White House’s push for tighter gun control measures:

Vice President Joe Biden said Wednesday the expected upcoming Senate votes on gun control are only the beginning of the White House’s fight.

The fate of gun control legislation is unclear. A vote on a Senate bill, including expanded background checks and harsher penalties for gun trafficking, is expected next month.

The White House also has been pushing for limits on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but those provisions won’t be part of the Senate bill. Instead they are to be offered as amendments, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says they don’t have enough support to pass.

“That doesn’t mean this is the end of the process. This is the beginning of the process,” Biden said during a conference call organized by Mayors Against Illegal Guns pushing for the gun control measures.

Obama’s gun control agenda becomes more clear

The meeting yesterday between Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control task force and the National Rifle Association didn’t go that well. Biden is expected to hand his recommendations to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, who will, in turn, push for legislation from Congress to enact them.

In addition to reintroducing the assault weapons ban and trying to eliminate the so-called “gun show loophole,” Biden laid down some of the policies that will be pursued by the White House in Congress in the coming days:

Biden gave the most detailed description so far of what his panel will propose, telling sporting groups at the start of their session that there is broad consensus among those he has surveyed to require background checks on all gun purchases and to restrict the amount of ammunition that can be included in a gun magazine.

After the meeting the NRA issued a statement explaining, “While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.”

Some may be questioning why the NRA even entertained the White House when the outcome was so obvious. From a standpoint of public perception, it’s not like they had much of a choice. If they didn’t go, it would look like they weren’t even interested in a discussion. But if they did go, they provided the White House with a talking point that they had “met with the NRA.” It was a lose-lose for them.

VP Debate: The Joker vs. The Boy Wonder

Joe Biden

While the vice presidential debate offered something everyone could point to as evidence that their side scored political points, I think the overall result can be encapsulated by a single sentence uttered by my eighteen-year old daughter Naomi about halfway through the debate, when she said “Daddy, Joe Biden really creeps me out.” It seems she wasn’t the only one. Afterwards, one of the main topics of discussion from the punditry was Biden’s creepy grins and inappropriate laughter. It was like watching The Joker from the Batman movie (the one played by Jack Nicholson), only without The Joker’s likeability or charm. That was on top of the constant interruptions, the bold face lies, and the general obnoxiousness of Biden, a man just a heartbeat away, as they say, from the presidency. It was really almost pathetic to watch, like watching a respectful young man patiently endure the idiocy and bellicosity of his weird uncle who gets angrier the drunker he gets.

Stylistically, it was fairly evenly matched. Biden was the more assertive candidate, and dominated the debate on the “visuals”, but on those occasions where Ryan was allowed to speak without being interrupted by Biden or having the moderator cut him off and change the subject, Ryan proved himself as the clear victor based on mastery of the facts and policy. Biden was far outclassed in this area, limited to recycling discredited talking points, regurgitating class warfare arguments, and gazing into the camera at the American people and offering up his version of that old Groucho Marx line “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” Creepy, indeed.

Electoral Vote: Romney making gains in swing states thanks to debate

Romney

It’s been a while since we’ve looked at the Electoral College, which is what really matters in the race between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Many Republicans keep pointing to national polls showing Romney either gaining on or leading Obama. This may be an important sign, but it’s very important to remember that the popular vote means nothing when looking at the presidential race.

Romney’s strong debate performance on Wednesday has given a boost to his mistake-ridden campaign, but as of now, the presidential race really boils down to four states — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia — representing 69 electoral votes.

According to Real Clear Politics averages, Romney is tied with Obama in Colorado and Florida and less that 1-point down in Virginia. However, Romney still trails by 3 points in Ohio. Say what you want about other swing states, but Romney has to run the table in the four states to win next month.

Mitt Romney introduces Paul Ryan in Norfolk

Paul Ryan

With the USS Wisconsin serving as the backdrop, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney formally introduced Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate this morning in Norfolk, Virginia, a very crucial battleground state.

Ryan will no doubt be a controversial pick. His budget proposals have been endlessly demagogued by President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. However, those same budgets have helped put the House GOP’s focus back on fiscal issues more than wedge social issues.

Over the last four years, President Obama has been unable to piece together a budget that could attract enough support to pass Congress. In fact, when Obama’s budget was brought up for a vote in the House, it was shot down unanimously. The Senate followed in May, rejecting Obama’s budget without a single vote in support.

While Obama’s campaign will no doubt be gunning for Romney’s running mate over his budget proposals — the “Roadmap for America’s Future” and the “Path to Prosperity,” don’t expect Ryan to back down. Ryan has taken on Obama before over fiscal policy, making the President’s rhetoric look cheap in the process.

Paul Ryan should stay in the House

Paul Ryan

Speculation over Mitt Romney’s possible running mate has been rampant over the last few days. While other names are being floated, including David Petraeus and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, most observers seem to agree that it’s likely down to three candidates — Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.

Out of the three, Rep. Ryan is garnering the most attention. Many conservatives seem to want him included on the ticket, and they’re laying out a strong case. David Harsanyi, for example, explains that Rep. Ryan “would add a measure of number-crunching earnestness to a campaign (and then, more importantly, should it happen, to an administration) that lives on broad strokes.” However, some want him to remain in remain in the House, where, as chairman of the Budget Committee, he has laid the blueprint to fiscal reform. My colleagues Jeremy Kolassa and George Scoville have already touched on the need for Rep. Ryan to remain in the House for exactly this reason. Over at Outside the Beltway, Doug Mataconis noted that, as Vice President, Ryan would be largely marginalized.

Mitt Romney’s Lame, Uninspiring Campaign

Mitt Romney must be trying to bore the American people into electing him this November. There is no real bold, inspiring vision behind his campaign other than “Obama sucks”. Nor should we really expect anything bold from a man who has been on both sides of most political issues. Romney’s campaign also shows an unwillingness to buck the conventional Beltway wisdom and propose any bold solutions to our nation’s problems. Mitt Romney is running a “safe” campaign, but I fear he maybe running too safe of a campaign to defeat Barack Obama in November.

More evidence of how safe (ie. dull) of a campaign that Mitt Romney is running is who has already been excluded from speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa next month:

Texas congressman Ron Paul isn’t the only prominent Republican to be denied a speaking role at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa. Here’s another high-profile snub from the Mitt Romney camp… Nope, the woman who was the HIT of the 2008 Republican National Convention — not to mention the party’s VP nominee — Sarah Palin, has not yet received an invitation to speak at the 2012 shindig. Must be stuck in, ahem, e-mail. But, as Palin told The Daily Beast, she wasn’t surprised. And not because she hasn’t endorsed her party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, other than to tout him someone who isn’t President Obama and has a pulse.

Of Hobbits and Acid-Tongued Democrats

On January 8th of this year, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was one of nineteen people shot, six fatally, by crazed gunman Jared Loughner. For nearly a week the national press and Democrats excoriated the TEA Party in general, and Sarah Palin in particular, for creating the environment that nurtured this horrifying act of political terrorism. President Obama, apparently in another example of leading from behind, eventually called for “more civility in our public discourse”, and admonished us to refrain from “lay[ing] the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happened to think differently than we do”.

Democrats finally heeded their leader’s advice, although it is uncertain whether that resulted from an epiphany that such inflammatory rhetoric was producing more of the division they claimed to deplore, or because they’d lost the moral high ground when it was discovered that the shooter, supposedly driven to his murderous rampage by seeing target symbols on a map of political districts, was actually a liberal, anti-Christian pot-smoker who hated George Bush.

The civility truce was short-lived however, and soon liberal Democrats went right back to ascribing the worst possible motives to their political enemies, simply for holding opposing policy positions. This last week or so, though, has seen liberal vitriol march back into full attack mode. The TEA Party and conservative Republicans have been repeatedly called “terrorists” by the mainstream press and prominent Democrats.


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