Free Markets, Free People
I sometimes wonder what world the editorial board of the New York Times calls home. It certainly isn’t the one the rest of us live in. But I guess it is necessary to live in an alternative world to be able to push narratives like it pushes in an editorial today. The NY Times has decided, to use a poker term, to go “all in” on Obama’s “right-wing extremism” and “dishonesty” meme.
Referencing the Obama speech yesterday, the editorial board says:
Mr. Obama provided a powerful signal on Tuesday that he intends to make this election about the Republican Party’s failure to confront, what he called, “the defining issue of our time”: restoring a sense of economic security while giving everyone a fair shot, rather than enabling only a shrinking number of people to do exceedingly well. His remarks promise a tough-minded campaign that will call extremism and dishonesty by name.
Remember Obama, who’s answer to the “defining issue of our time”, submitted each of the two years (I’m talking about his budgets) has gone a collective 0-511. That’s right, the two budgets he’s submitted to address the “defining issue of our time” hasn’t garnered a single vote in two years.
Why? Primarily because neither of the budgets convinced a single legislator of either party, to include the President’s own, that they addressed that issue at all.
Yet he presumes to lecture the GOP on the failure to confront this issue? And the NYT somehow manages to buy into that nonsense?
The GOP budget at least passed the House. The NYT presumes that no negotiations are possible because, again, it buys into the Obama claim that the GOP won’t compromise. Nonsense. Compromise doesn’t mean wholesale capitulation. In an negotiation or compromise there are lines drawn over which the two parties won’t give in. Each side has them. The NYT and Obama, naturally, want to characterize the lack of movement as GOP intransigence. But the Democrats are equally intransigent. They want more money in taxes. The GOP continues to point out that taxes aren’t the problem. The problem is spending.
Says the NYT:
Mr. Obama has, in recent months, urged Republicans to put aside their destructive agenda. But, in this speech, he finally conceded that the party has demonstrated no interest in the values of compromise and realism. Even Ronald Reagan, who raised taxes in multiple budget deals, “could not get through a Republican primary today,” Mr. Obama said. While Democrats have repeatedly shown a willingness to cut entitlements and have agreed to trillions in domestic spending cuts, he said, Republicans won’t agree to any tax increases and, in fact, want to shower the rich with even more tax cuts.
Ronald Regan agreed to raising taxes in return for what from the Democrats?
Spending cuts. In fact as I recall, his deal was 1 1/2 to 2 times the spending cuts to the tax increases. Guess what never happened?
That’s right – spending cuts.
So call it a lesson learned. What the GOP is pointing out that until the spending cuts are implemented and take effect, there is no reason to discuss revenue increases.
That’s a common sense approach that best safeguards the citizenry’s money and is based on a history that says the Democrats don’t keep their word about spending cuts.
I don’t blame the GOP for refusing to compromise on taxes.
Finally, and I’ve flipped the paragraph order in the editorial, consider the NYT lede:
President Obama’s fruitless three-year search for compromise with the Republicans ended in a thunderclap of a speech on Tuesday, as he denounced the party and its presidential candidates for cruelty and extremism. He accused his opponents of imposing on the country a “radical vision” that “is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity.”
There has been no search for compromise with President “I won”. None. And it is amazing to see smaller and less intrusive government being characterized as a “radical vision” that is “antithetical to our entire history”. It is the basis of our entire history up until the welfare state came into being.
“The land of opportunity” was such because of a lack of government interference, not because of it. Obama and the left continue to attempt to rewrite history in a manner in which they redefine the words and key phrases that characterized our nation differently than they’d like prior to the institution of the welfare state.
The radical vision is that which Obama, the NYT and the Democrats continue to push, not the GOP. They don’t seem to understand that the majority of the American people have come to understand that we just can’t afford their radical vision and that government control of more and more of our lives is not a “good thing”.
If there is anyone out of touch with the American people it is Mr. 0-511. He hasn’t a clue.
And neither does the New York Times editorial board.
UPDATE: A further thought sparked by a comment by The Shark. If compromise is what Obama and the Democrats really want, they’ve had two opportunities to actually force that or at least make the argument they attempted it. For two years the GOP House has passed a budget. The way the Congress works is the Senate then passes its version of the budget and the two houses of Congress get together and hash out the differences (known commonly as “compromise).
Except the Democratically controlled Senate hasn’t passed a budget in over 1000 days. So who isn’t interested in compromise, Mr. President? And why aren’t you exerting a little leadership and confronting the Senate about its dereliction of duty? If “compromise” is so all fired important to you, why are you neglecting the easiest way of forcing it?
Yesterday I mentioned the problems the more conservative among Democrats were having identifying with the Democratic party. Blue Dogs in Congress have all but been ostracized by the Democratic leadership there, Southern Democrats (at a state level) are increasingly changing parties citing the move to the left by the national Democratic party and finally, today, we learn that the Democratic Leadership Council is closing its doors.
That may be the final nail in the claim of Democrats to be “main stream” as a national party.
The Democratic Leadership Council, the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years, is out of money and could close its doors as soon as next week, a person familiar with the plans said Monday.
The DLC, a network of Democratic elected officials and policy intellectuals had long been fading from its mid-’90s political relevance, tarred by the left as a symbol of "triangulation" at a moment when there’s little appetite for intra-party warfare on the center-right.
In talking about big tents and little tents, it appears that the Democrats have chosen to go with the smaller version. It has been captured by the liberal side of the house (at the moment) and anyone who has watched that side of the house do business over the years (that includes politicians, pundits and bloggers) know there is little room for dissent in the ranks. The DLC falls victim not to attacks from the right, but from attacks from the left. The formula which arguably made Bill Clinton the most successful Democratic president since FDR has been chucked out the window for a new and much more radical approach to governance (and no I’m not suggesting Clinton and FDR were alike in their governance).
The DLC’s demise simply puts an exclamation point on the oft cited move to the left by Democrats. What was once seen as “the working man’s party” has since become the party of radicals and unions. All that’s left of the DLC is their think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute. But one has to wonder what relevance it will have among the new Democratic party.
All this to point out that when Democrats, as they like to do, claim that the GOP has been captured by radicals, one only has to rebut that claim by holding up a mirror. Obviously, given the move to the left, Bill Clinton would be much to conservative for today’s national Democrat.
The unfortunate thing is you’d think this would be wonderful news for the GOP. But if you’re watching the lineup for 2012 unfold, in the presidential race, it is so 2008 it is sickening. Certainly Obama faces something he’s never faced before – he actually has to run on his record – but I’m not sure, given the lineup today, that’s a particularly tough hill for him to climb. And while I know there are quite a few “almost ready” types who might be mighty contenders in 2016, the field for 2012 – at least at this point – is not impressive in my opinion.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand – the demise of the DLC is definitely election fodder for the GOP to capitalize on. They have a basis to claim the national Democratic party is too radical for the US. They also have all sorts of examples – bailouts, takeovers, over regulation, the health care bill.
Let’s see if they can build and sell the message to their advantage.
Some reactions from the right to the Sotomayor SCOTUS nomination:
Roger Pilon, the Cato Institute’s Director of Constitutional Studies:
In nominating Second Circuit Judge Sonia Sotomayor to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter, President Obama chose the most radical of all the frequently mentioned candidates before him.
Ilya Somin, George Mason University Law School:
I am also not favorably impressed with her notorious statement that “a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.” Not only is it objectionable in and of itself, it also suggests that Sotomayor is a committed believer in the identity politics school of left-wing thought.
Dave Kopel, Research Director at the Independence Institute:
Judge Sotomayor’s record suggests hostility, rather than empathy, for the tens of millions of Americans who exercise their right to keep and bear arms.
William Redpath, National Committee Chairman of the Libertarian Party:
By nominating Sonia Sotomayor, Barack Obama has made it clear he prefers an activist for his personal causes over a rational interpreter of law.
So the gathering argument from the right seems to be “activist”, “identity-politics”, hostility to the 2nd amendment and “radical”.
I see nothing (unless there is some hidden problem with taxes or nannys we don’t know about) that is going to keep this nomination from going through given the Democrats numbers in the Senate. But it will be interesting to see how long, how hard and how nastily the Republicans choose to fight this. I’m not sure this is the SCOTUS nominee hill to die on.