Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: January 3, 2011

The major tasks for the incoming GOP House

As the GOP takes control of the House, one of the first things they’ll do is try to pass a bill repealing ObamaCare.   It won’t get anywhere after the House as everyone knows. I.e. it has more symbolism than real chance of passing.   That symbolism is an important  way for Republicans to underline the rest of their agenda.  The GOP will own the “funding” mechanism in the House.  And that will be significant.  Part of that will be obvious in some of the packages they plan to offer, such as a package of recissions.

Republicans in the House say they plan to move on to offer a far more sweeping package of "recissions," or elimination of spending previously approved, that will aim to bring domestic spending back to where it was before Mr. Obama became president. The skirmish over that proposal for spending cuts, coupled with related fights over government regulation and health care, will set the battle lines for the next two years, as Washington returns to divided government.

If, in fact, the Republicans do this correctly and continue to push it through 2012 regardless of what the Senate or President do to the product of their work (refuse to pass it or veto it), they will set themselves up well for that year’s elections.  As the WSJ notes, if there was a mandate in this election it is “cut spending”.


House Republicans have also set their sights on scaling back environmental regulations and tightening border security.

Actually all regulation should be examined, especially the newly passed regulation.  It should be examined in light of whether it helps create jobs or hinders such creation.  That includes those the EPA is poised to implement or has implemented as well as regulations by other agencies such as the FCC, and any departments which have decided to rule by regulatory fiat.  Again if they do that, the GOP will position themselves well for the next election.

A word of caution though.  Investigations, while proper and necessary to perform the oversight function that Congress is charged with must be kept under strict control and not wander into what most would see as “witch hunts” that are based in partisan politics.  Republican Darrell Issa of California is the incoming chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.  He plans extensive hearings on a broad range of subjects, to include Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, Medicare fraud, TARP and other issues.  He also intends to look into the practices of the DoJ.

All well and good and definitely necessary – but he needs to conduct all of them as an adult and avoid even the appearance of partisanship unless he wants what he is trying to do to become the headline issue which masks the other work the GOP is attempting.  Do the job, avoid witch hunts, avoid the appearance of partisanship and avoid fiery rhetoric that he has to walk back or explain away, and it is a procedure that again can benefit the GOP in 2012.

This is the Republican’s one-shot chance to show they’ve listened, heard and will put into practice the will of the people.  If not, they’re  on temporary assignment for two years as it should be clear the voters have committed to 3 successive wave elections and are certainly not averse to a 4th.


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2010–a year of non-solutions, wrong solutions and wrong focus

Dave Barry takes a humorous look at 2010 and finds it was the worst year ever – well except that year during the Cretaceous Period when an asteroid hit the Earth wiping out 75% of the planet’s living things.  But other than that …

Heh.  Barry, in his own way, does point out that for most everything that happened in 2010, the political leadership seemed clueless as to how to handle it.  For instance, the BP oil spill:

Time and again, top political leaders personally flew down to the Gulf of Mexico to look at the situation firsthand and hold press availabilities. And yet somehow, despite these efforts, the oil continued to leak. This forced us to face the disturbing truth that even top policy thinkers with postgraduate degrees from Harvard University — Harvard University! — could not stop it.

Now certainly that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but in fact, our “top policy thinkers” accepted the job of stopping the leak (or at least they claimed it was their job) and then, unsurprisingly, were unable to do anything about it.  Call it a metaphor for the expansion of government in areas it has no business.

But how about those in which it supposedly does have business or has at least been conducting business for quite some time – such as the economy:

But by then our faith in our leaders had been shaken, especially because they also seemed to have no idea of what to do about this pesky recession. Congress tried every remedy it knows, ranging all the way from borrowing money from China and spending it on government programs, to borrowing MORE money from China and spending it on government programs. But in the end, all of this stimulus created few actual jobs, and most of those were in the field of tar-ball collecting.

Clueless again.  I spot a trend.  And it didn’t get any better in foreign affairs:

North Korea continued to show why it is known as "the international equivalent of Charlie Sheen." The entire nation of Greece went into foreclosure and had to move out; it is now living with relatives in Bulgaria. Iran continued to develop nuclear weapons, all the while insisting that they would be used only for peaceful scientific research, such as — to quote President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — "seeing what happens when you drop one on Israel."

Barry’s fisking of the political year is quite pointed and demonstrates, with his own brand of humor,  what we were saying all year.  For instance:

[January] which begins grimly, with the pesky unemployment rate remaining high. Every poll shows that the major concerns of the American people are federal spending, the exploding deficit, and — above all — jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs: This is what the public is worried about. In a word, the big issue is: jobs. So the Obama administration, displaying the keen awareness that has become its trademark, decides to focus like a laser on: health-care reform.

Read the whole thing.  It is a pretty good indictment of how inept, misguided and clueless the current leadership has been.  It is the recurring theme and it has a recurring theme as well:

In U.S. politics, President Obama, responding to the mounting public concern about jobs, invites Democratic and Republican congressional leaders to the White House for a historic day-long summit on: health-care reform.

To include November:

[November] the elections turn out to be a bloodbath for the Democrats, who lose the House of Representatives, a bunch of Senate seats, some governorships, some state legislatures and all of the key student council races. Also, a number of long-term Democratic incumbents are urinated on by their own dogs. Obama immediately departs for a nine-day trip to Asia to see if anybody over there wants to hear about the benefits of health-care reform.

Barry’s humorous retrospective on the year not withstanding, he demonstrates something very important to be remembered as 2012 approaches.  When people go to the polls that year, and assuming President Obama is indeed the Democratic candidate, he’ll be forced to do something he’s never had to do.

Run on a record.  

If Barry’s recounting is any indication, it isn’t a shining one.


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