So Eric Cantor went down in flames in the Virginia Republican primary I see. I can’t say I’m the least bit chagrined. Cantor is the quintessential establishment Republican. And like most of that ilk, he was more worried about what the press thought of him than doing what was right by his principles. I notice the media spin doctors are immediately claiming that he really didn’t lose because of his stand on immigration (i.e. a hard lean toward “amnesty” for illegals although he tried to deny it). After all if they admit that immigration reform was a reason for his defeat, then they have to admit that its dead for this year (as, given this lesson, no Republican running for reelection in the House – that would be all of them – is going to touch it with a 10 foot pole). The spin doctors also know that if it is dead for this year, it may be dead, at least in its present form, for good, if Republicans win the Senate. One also assumes that Republicans are aware of the polls out there that place immigration reform as a low priority issue for voters right now (yeah, surprise, they’re much more interested in jobs and economic growth than illegal aliens).
I think another reason for Cantor’s loss is a deep dissatisfaction with Republican House leadership – such that it is. Add his lack of popularity within his own district and an acceptable alternative candidate and you have the prefect electoral storm. Finally, Tea Party candidate Dave Brat’s win signaled, much to the annoyance of the left, that the Tea Party is hardly “dead”. It’ll be interesting to see how the establishment Republicans react to this upset.
On another subject, yesterday we saw where the FDA had unilaterally decided that it might be necessary to ban the centuries old tradition of aging cheese on wooden shelves. Because, you know, there’s been such an epidemic of sickness from such practices here lately and over the ages. What? There hasn’t? There hasn’t been any real problem at all? However:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an executive decree banning the centuries old practice of aging cheese on wooden boards. One bureaucrat within the FDA, without surveying all of the scientific literature, and without public commentary, has rattled hundreds of small businesses across the United States. Consumers who eat any kind of aged cheese should prepare for a potentially catastrophic disruption in the market for artisan, non-processed cheese.
Now that was yesterday. Today, yeah, its cave in time. There has been such an outcry from cheese makers, the public and just about anyone else that could find a forum that the FDA is hastily backing down. Overlawyered brings us up to date:
Following an enormous outcry from cheese makers, commentators, and the general public, the agency beats a hasty retreat. Commentator/ Pepperdine lawprof Greg McNeil has the details at Forbes (and his earlier commentary on the legalities of the agency’s action is also informative). Earlier here.
In a classic bureaucratic move, the agency denied it had actually issued a new policy (technically true, if you accept the premise that a policy letter from its chief person in charge of cheese regulation is not the same as a formally adopted new policy) and left itself the discretion to adopt such a policy in future if it wishes (merely declaring itself open to persuasion that wood shelving might prove compatible with the FSMA).
This is also a lesson for people in other regulated industries. When government officials make pronouncements that don’t seem grounded in law or policy, and threaten your livelihood with an enforcement action, you must organize and fight back. While specialized industries may think that nobody cares, the fight over aged cheese proves that people’s voices can be heard…
Yes, true. But … there’s always a ‘but’, Overlawyered points out something that is true and often overlooked. You have to be willing to fight for it all, not just the popular stuff. You have to be willing the challenge all the nonsense bureaucrats put out there:
There is a less optimistic version, however. It happens that a large number of editors, commentators, and others among the chattering classes are both personally interested in the availability of fine cheese and familiar enough with the process by which it is made to be un-cowed by claims of superior agency expertise. That might also be true of a few other issues here and there — cottage food sold at farmer’s markets, artisanal brewing practices — but it’s inevitably not going to be true of hundreds of other issues that arise under the new Food Safety Modernization Act. In a similar way, the outcry againstCPSIA, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, rose to a politically effective level only on a selected few issues (publishers and libraries got a fix so that older children’s books would not have to be trashed; youthmotorsports eventually obtained an exemption, and so forth) but large numbers of smaller children’s products and specialties whose makers had less of a political voice simply disappeared.
Absolutely true. I think of those who want to drink raw milk for instance. Where does the government get off saying you can’t drink something you choose to drink if you’re willing to take the risk and suffer any consequences? Something that, until pasteurization, everyone drank? But since those who prefer raw milk don’t have a large lobby, they’re subjected to government bullying and laws prohibiting them from making that choice.
Choice is freedom. Limiting of choice is limiting freedom and government is in the freedom limiting business. The premise is you’re not able to make good choices yourself, so government must keep you from doing so. Question? If aging cheese on wood was dangerous to our health and it had been the reason from many deaths over the centuries, how do you suppose the market for such cheeses might have been effected by now? Right. It certainly wouldn’t have come down to some government bureaucrat making a unilateral decision in 2014, that’s for sure.
In Iraq, Mosul has fallen to terrorists. Nightwatch brings us up to date:
ISIL has been trying to take Mosul since earlier in June, but only lately assembled enough forces to rout the security forces and overrun the city.
ISIL now controls two major cities in the Sunni region of Iraq: Fallujah and Mosul. Its fighters tried to overrun several other cities, but failed. Its aim is to create an Islamic emirate that joins Iraq and Syria.
The group had been affiliated with al Qaida for many years, since the time of Abu Musab Zarqawi, according to the National Counter Terrorism Center. In February al Qaida disavowed all links with ISIL because its actions were more extreme than al Qaida and it would not follow orders to stop fighting the al Nusrah Front in Syria, which al-Qaida supports.
On Sunday in Syria, ISIL fighters clashed with the al-Qaida-affiliated al Nusrah Front in eastern Syria, while its Iraq wing fought to capture Mosul in Iraq. This is a formidable group. Only the Syrian Kurds stand in the way of ISIL consolidating large areas in Iraq and Syria under its control.
Mosul’s capture reinforces the judgment that Iraq has re-entered civil war. ISIL is more than an insurgency because it has an effective organization and is conquering territory. By force of arms, it has created a power-sharing arrangement with the government in Baghdad and fragmented the country. A statement by the Muslim scholars association today encouraged ISIL to hold Mosul and to set up an administration. It urged the youth of the city to defend it against the Baghdad government.
ISIL’s control in Syria seems tenuous and contested by other opposition groups. In Iraq, it is the dominant anti-government force and it has broken Iraq, for now.
My position? If Iraqi’s want a free Iraq, they’d better fight for it. They’ve been given the time, the equipment and the training. Now, it’s up to them.
Finally, yesterday I literally had to laugh out loud when I read something Robert Reich, a former Secretary of Labor, had written on his Facebook page. It simply demonstrates how effing silly – and dangerous to your freedoms – these people are:
President Obama announced steps yesterday he said will make student loans more affordable. It’s probably all he can manage with a grid-locked Congress, but it’s still tinkering with a system of college financing that’s spinning out of control. What’s really needed is to make college free of charge and require all graduates to pay 10 percent of their earnings for the first 10 years of full-time work into a fund that pays the costs (additional years of graduate school means added years of payments). That way, nobody graduates with debts; young people from lower-income families can afford to attend; graduates who go into high-wage occupations in effect subsidize those who go into lower-wage work; and we move toward a system of genuinely equal opportunity. What do you think?
Right … free college for all. Graduate with no debt!
Question: How in the world does this dolt think that making all graduates pay “10 percent of their earnings for the first 10 years” to fund “free college” doesn’t equal being in debt? Oh, and who would keep track of all this? Why the IRS of course – another in a long line of ideas to further centralize control of all aspects of your life at the federal level and add to the federal bureaucracy’s reach and power.
Then add the scam value of this. Ride the gravy train for 3 or 4 years of free college and then walk away as a non-graduate. Nothing to pay, right? I mean the stipulation is that “graduates” pay, so why not hang out in a college dorm, eat in the chow hall, do your own thing while also doing barely enough to stay in school. That way you can let these other dopes subsidize those years for you. Then, move, apply to a new school and repeat. Trust me, there are enough “professional students” in this world that I can promise that would be done.
Oh … and read the comments to the Reich post. They’ll make you weep.
David Gergen provides us with a perfect example:
Obama’s second term is a total aberration. Resisted by obstructionists among Republicans and plagued by his own mistakes, the first 12 months after re-election were a bust. Why he and his team didn’t take more care in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act website will remain one of the great mysteries for historians.
But it has now become equally puzzling why he has not become more sure-footed in foreign affairs. He is one of the brightest men ever to occupy the office, and yet his learning curve has been among the flattest. Talking to players on the world stage — most of whom still want him to succeed — one finds them genuinely rattled, worried about a lack of national will and operational competence.
I have to tell you I laughed my rear end off reading the highlighted sentence. Did he not reread what he said there?
Now maybe its just me, but I would suggest that a sign of intelligence – being “bright” – is that you learn. You learn from history. You learn from your own mistakes. You learn from others. I.e. you don’t have a flat learning curve if you’re actually bright. Especially when you’ve had almost 6 years to figure it out. And make no mistake, Obama hasn’t figured it out yet. He’s not even close. And currently he’s on a global whine-a-thon, lamenting his fate, calling himself a “singles hitter”, blah, blah, blah.
Yet despite all of this Gergen and other Obama supporters can’t see past this incredible contradiction (which says a lot about how “bright” they are). They have deluded themselves into thinking that this fellow is just so bright that it must be the fault of others that he can’t seem to learn (those damned “obstructionists” for one). They cannot yet face the fact that Obama is a bust. He’s been a bust from day 1. Yet here we are, almost 6 years later, with supposed “bright” people making statements like Gergens’.
Why can’t they own up to the fact they were wrong – wrong about Obama’s capabilities, wrong about his competence, and, apparently wrong about his level of intelligence. After so many millions of gushing words about the man, that’s embarrassing. And it is a reflection on their intelligence as well. So instead they delude themselves and write sentences like Gergens’.
But even they, at least some of them, are beginning to understand the depth of the mistake they made, whether they’ll ever admit it or not:
America needs a strong, effective president year in, year out, to help propel us forward. Our success as a people has depended on our capacity to solve the problems of today so we can move on to tomorrow. The endless evasions and diversions are tying us in knots and draining our spirits.
The world needs strong, effective American leadership as well; for all our mistakes like Iraq, the U.S. is the one nation that still has the power to keep world order. But in the twinkle of an eye, we have gone from being indispensable to indisposed.
You have to chuckle about the need to include “Iraq” as a mistake. No mention of the legion of foreign policy mistakes and disasters of this administration. But Gergen, other than that, is quite correct. The problem now is the utter depths to which our foreign policy has plunged are so obvious even they must acknowledge it.
And it burns to have to do so, as you can tell. But the delusion that it really isn’t the man or his ideas that are at fault persists. It’s everyone else’s fault. Just ask them.
Apparently tomorrow, President Obama will “showcase” his climate change agenda. According to the Washington Post:
After years of putting other policy priorities first — and dismaying many liberal allies in the process — Obama is now getting into the weeds on climate change and considers it one of the key components of his legacy, according to aides and advisers. He is regularly briefed on scientific reports on the issue, including a national climate assessment that he will help showcase Tuesday. He is using his executive authority to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources, and is moving ahead with stricter fuel-efficiency standards for the heaviest trucks. And while he routinely brings up climate change in closed-door meetings with world leaders, according to his aides, he also discusses it in his private life, talking about global warming’s implications with his teenage daughters.
As usual, he intends to proceed by using executive power, whether or not the people or their representatives agree. And also without any consideration of the cost to the consumer. All in the face of mounting evidence that the supposed crisis of CO2 is a non-crisis. According to the WaPo, this intention to address “climate change” was spurred by Obama viewing satellite pictures of the California mountain snow pack:
Of course, most of us know that’s likely a local weather phenomenon, not a result of “global warming” or we’d be unlikely to be seeing things like this:
Antarctic sea ice continues to set new records, with extent in April at the highest since measurements began in 1979.
Remember, Antarctic and Arctic sea ice melts were to be the harbingers of doom. In fact, the Arctic was supposed to be ice free last year according to the perpetually wrong alarmists. Instead we saw record sea ice there as well. Factor in the fact that there has been no global warming for over 17 years and one has to ask why this, in the face of a badly performing economy and over 92 million Americans being out of work, is suddenly to become a priority for the White House? As one editorialist puts it:
The problem is, it’s just so hard to be an alarmist these days. Temperatures aren’t rising, U.S. CO2 emissions are down, and now it turns out that peak oil won’t peak. What’s a scare-monger to do?
The answer is keep on trying to gin up the alarm to satisfy the true-believers who are an important political constituency of the Democrats. And it is becoming clearer every day that the Democrats are going to need all of their constituencies to even have a ghost of a chance in the November mid-terms. To this point, the left environmental movement hasn’t been to happy with the Obama administration and it certainly wants more drastic action to be taken to curb the use of fossil fuel. So its time to shore up their support:
Environmentalists such as Democratic donor and billionaire Tom Steyer want him to veto the Keystone pipeline and wean the nation from natural gas. Natural Resources Defense Council President Frances Beinecke said of the administration: “We have to increasingly get them to acknowledge that there has to be a major transformation away from fossil fuels.”
That desire the Natural Resources Defense Council voices has resulted in such things as the “war on coal” and the reduction in production of oil on federal lands and off our coasts. It has also meant slow walking the permit process as well as holding the Keystone Pipeline hostage to presidential politics. So why now? Why is this the time to do this? Because he can:
A White House official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the plans are not final, said Obama has made it clear that he considers climate change a priority and is less politically constrained now that he no longer faces reelection.
Meanwhile the public views the issue as a low priority if a priority at all, given jobs and economic problems. Yet Obama persists. Elections are in the offing. And if there is one thing he has at least a semblance of competence in, it’s getting elected (or helping others do so). So all the high flying rhetoric aside, this is about votes, this is about elections and this is about trying to preserve at least one Democratic house in Congress for the last two years of his presidency. It is one of many such moves he’ll be attempting in the coming months. But make no mistake – this isn’t about the environment or his legacy, it’s about politics. ~McQ
And that reality is the American people aren’t buying the propaganda being pushed by the administration. After its celebration of the dubious enrollment of 8 million and unilateral declaration that ObamaCare was a “success”, new poll numbers show no difference among the public’s opinion of the law than before their declaration:
What’s perhaps more telling is that, despite the rare good news of the past few weeks, their perceptions of the law remain basically as-is — that is, pretty dim. To wit:
- Americans say 50-41 that the implementation of the law has been worse than they expected rather than better.
- They say 44-24 that the health-care system is getting worse rather than getting better as a result of Obamacare.
- They say 29-14 that the quality of care is getting worse rather than better.
- They say 47-8 that their health-care costs are increasing due to the law rather than decreasing.
- They say 58-11 that the overall cost of health care in the United States is increasing rather than decreasing.
Almost all of these numbers are basically unchanged from in recent months.
What is it politicians like to tell us about politics? Ah, yes, perception is reality. And as I pointed out when you mess with people’s health care, the reality becomes very personal. It isn’t something that you view from afar and doesn’t effect you. It is something everyone is interested in in some form or fashion.
The numbers above are their perception of that awful law’s impact on their lives. The propaganda simply isn’t going to change that. “8 million enrolled” is something the people really don’t care about. Higher premiums, more red tape and fewer options for health care, not to mention having to give up their doctor and the health insurance they liked is something they care about. That is the result of the law and it is the reason for the numbers.
As we’ve mentioned previously, the numbers you see above are numbers that exist before the most onerous regulations and requirements (now delayed until after the election) are finally put into effect. If you think these numbers are bad, wait till after November.
The bottom line is ObamaCare sucks and the people know it and no administration sponsored dog and pony show is going to change that perception. We see a lot of Democrats now trying to claim that ObamaCare really won’t hurt them in the mid-terms.
I invite them to look at the above numbers, understand that it is they who are going to get “credit” for the law, and rethink their claim prior to their coming unemployment.
That way it won’t come as such a surprise when they’re defeated.
We’ve talked about this at other times in the past but there are some examples in a recent Victor Davis Hanson peice that make the point again. Science is science. It should not be something in service to anything, especially politics. It should stand alone and we should deal with its findings as objectively as possible. Unfortunately, today we have “science” (and yes the quote marks do indicate that what I’m going to note has nothing to do with real science) in the service of politics and for hire to whomever can provide it the most grant money. It’s become a bit like expert witnesses in court. Need one to conclude a certain way? We can find that “expert” for you.
Anyway, there is one particularly egregious example in the VDH piece (at least more egregious than some, at least to me) that I want to note because it has so recently been in the news and used in politics to further an agenda:
The president still talks of “settled science” in the global-warming debate. He recently flew to California to attribute the near-record drought there to human-induced global warming.
There is no scientific basis for the president’s assertion about the drought. Periodic droughts are characteristic of California’s climate, both in the distant past and over a century and a half of modern record-keeping. If the president were empirical rather than political, he would instead have cited the logical reasons for the fact that this drought is far more serious than those of the late 1970s.
California has not built additional major mountain storage reservoirs to capture Sierra Nevada runoff in decades. The population of the state’s water consumers has almost doubled since the last severe drought. Several million acre-feet of stored fresh water have been in recent years diverted to the sea — on the dubious science that the endangered delta smelt suffers mostly from irrigation-related water diversions rather than pollutants, and that year-round river flows for salmon, from the mountains to the sea, existed before the reserve water storage available from the construction of mountain reservoirs.
In other words, government has been lax (no forward planning or construction for the water needs of an expanded population), environmentalists have been extreme (demanding an entire valley be dried up for a mostly useless fish) and the result has been to aggrevate a natural penomenon to disaster levels.
But they will tell you that it has to do with “global warming”, not poor government, not environmental extremism. What Obama is pushing is pseudo-science, fashioned to support a political position. There is no reason that this drought should be as severe as it has been. And again – it isn’t global warming causing the severity.
Remember, this was the guy who promised he’s put science back in the place it belonged. Apparently that place is the same place he claimed it was before he took office. As a political tool to push an ideological agenda. That’s precisely what he was doing in California.
But then, the fact that he lied shouldn’t suprise anyone, given his track record.
Congressional “mid-term” elections have, for years, been seen as a referrendum on the President. When the nation is pleased with a President, his party gains seats in Congress and when not pleased, that party suffers by losing seats in Congress. Well, Democrats, gird thy loins, because here it comes:
President Obama’s job approval rating hits a record low this week, as a majority of Americans say his administration has mostly failed at growing the economy, creating jobs, improving health care and the country’s image.
That’s according to a Fox News poll released Wednesday.
For the first time in a Fox News poll, fewer than four voters in ten — 38 percent — approve of President Obama’s job performance. Fifty-four percent disapprove. Before now Obama’s worst job rating was 40-55 percent in November 2013. Last month 42 percent approved and 53 percent disapproved (February 2014).
Approval of Obama among Democrats stands at 71 percent, near its 69 percent record low (September 2013). For independents, 28 percent approve, which is also near the 25 percent all-time low among this group (July 2013). And approval of Obama among Republicans hits a new low of five percent.
Overall, a 59-percent majority thinks the White House has mostly failed at creating jobs, up from 52 percent who said the same in October 2012. Likewise, 56 percent feel it has failed on growing the economy. That’s also up from 52 percent.
Etc. Etc. Etc. Even the Senate majority now is seen to be at risk and no one believes the Dems have a chance in the House.
And the only consistent thing in Obama poll numbers is the drop. He’s near historic lows in approval among many groups to include Democrats. They’re not likely to get better anytime soon.
The empty suit is finally beginning to wear on the electorate.
But I have to ask, how can a country stay so willingly blind that it took until now to see this inept imposter for what he really is?
The cult of the vicitim is alive and well in the US. It’s been fostered by politicians and lawyers who are open to the idea that one’s problems, whatever they are, are the fault of someone else.
And, given that doing so gives the pols more power (and the lawyers more money), the field is open for exploitation. Remember the tobacco settlement? Well guess who is next and why:
Lawyers are pitching state attorneys general in 16 states with a radical idea: make the food industry pay for soaring obesity-related health care costs.
It’s a move straight from the playbook of the Big Tobacco takedown of the 1990s, which ended in a $246 billion settlement with 46 states, a ban on cigarette marketing to young people and the Food and Drug Administration stepping in to regulate.
Yes, getting fat is the fault of “big food”. Being obese is just not your fault. So lets soak “Big Food” (and raise already high grocery prices through the roof, shall we?):
“I believe that this is the most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden of obesity on states and taxpayers and to negotiate broader public health policy objectives,” said Paul McDonald, a partner at Valorem Law Group in Chicago, who is leading the charge.
McDonald’s firm has sent proposals to AGs from California to Mississippi explaining how suing “big food” could help their states close budget gaps as billions in Medicaid expenditures eat a growing share of tax revenues.
In a letter to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane last year, McDonald noted that the state faced a $3.7 billion budget shortfall in 2012 and had to cut back on certain services. The state’s total Medicaid burden that year was $10 billion — and getting a piece of that back could help close the gap.
Yes friends it is the “most promising strategy to lighten the economic burden on the states and taxapayers” … say what? Taxpayers? Aren’t they the one’s who will foot the bill for the “Big Food” pass-through of cost to litigate this idea and then, if the lawyers are successful, pay the settlement?
Name someone you know who isn’t a “food adicit” and doesn’t buy food from “Big Food”, will you? I’d be interested to meet them.
In the meantime, if this guy is successful in selling this to state AGs (and I’d not be surprised if they bit), the cost of food will go up as the cost of litigating this nonsense rises. After all, Big Government is now in charge of health care costs (something they’ve actually driven up) and are desperate for ways to make it cheaper.
You’re just a victim, slugger. And these guys have your best interests at heart, don’t you know? Let the demonization of Big Food begin.
As an aside, it is a bit ironic that the laywer pushing this full employment for lawyers scheme is named McDonald, no?
One of the most ironic and, if it weren’t so serious, amusing aspects of central planners is how they come to the conclusion that their plan – despite thousands of years of human nature – will manage to overcome human nature. What I mean by that akward sentence is they believe they can retrain us to like what they’ll make us do. Screw human nature. Screw the laws of economics. Screw just about every immutable law of nature. This crap sounded great in the beer haze of the dormitory among their liberal friends.
It’s a correlary of the “the only reason socialism hasn’t worked is we haven’t tried it my way” belief. And I do mean “belief”. An act of faith. More underpants gnomes.
The case in point? Megan McArdle brings it to us:
In December, I predicted that “doc shock” was going to be a major problem for the U.S. health-care overhaul, as people found out that the narrow networks insurers use to keep premiums low often don’t cover the top-notch doctors you’d like to see if you get really sick:
“If narrow networks could give everyone in the country access to health-care outcomes no worse than 90 percent as good as the folks with the best doctors at 75 percent of the price we’d pay for broader networks, the health-care wonks would jump on that deal as an unbelievable bargain. But I think it’s pretty clear that average folks don’t think like health-care wonks.
So what does ObamaCare do? Force people into narrow networks despite it being clear to anyone with the IQ of a turnip and a couple of years observing how humans do things, that narrow networks are going to fail.
“So even if narrow networks actually were better, people would resist them. And they’ll fight with every fiber of their being when you tell them to take their kid with leukemia to a community hospital rather than the top-notch children’s hospital nearby. Expect the fight over doc shock to be bitter and long — and to end when insurers cave and start adding pricey doctors back to their networks.”
That’s right … you’re relegated to whatever backwater network of care the particular insurance company you’ve been forced to buy from (or pay a tax too if you prefer) has contracted with. Want world-class care for your child? Tough beans. See your doc at the community hospital instead.
So what has happened? Well exactly what happened before when something like this was tried:
However much good, sound policy sense narrow networks might make, they are political poison. Regulators and politicians are going to find it very hard to withstand the appeals of constituents who have been restricted to the bargain basement of our nation’s health-care system. I simply don’t think they’ll be able to stand it for very long. This is basically what happened to the managed-care revolution that held down cost growth in the mid-1990s — people in those plans complained bitterly, in their capacity as both voters and employees. A combination of legal and market pressure forced insurers to open up their networks and approve more treatments. And then costs started rising again. As people begin using their Obamacare policies and start running into restrictions, the same sort of pressure will begin to mount.
But did our estwhile leaders learn anything from managed care’s failure?
Because, you know, they weren’t in charge at the time and besides, human nature is just overrated.
So, as with every other aspect of this nonsense, watch Obama do what is necessary to ensure the fewest number of people possible are hurt by this … until after midterms, at least and 2016 if Mr. “I can do whatever I want” can swing it.
And no, that’s not a rhetorical question – it’s a real concern.
Even the left knows they’re in trouble for the 2014 midterms … or should be. John Judis of the New Republic:
What I’d point to instead is a comparison between where Obama and the Democrats stood in January 2010 and where they stand today. In January 2010, they were about to lose the Massachusetts senate race, and in November 2010 would lose 63 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate. If Obama and the Democrats’ numbers are better now than they were then, they may not be in trouble; but if they’re worse, the conventional wisdom is right. And they’re worse.
The most recent standard of comparison is the ABC/Washington Post poll that asked some of the same questions in January 2010. First, there are the questions about Obama. These are relevant because midterm elections are often referenda on the president and his party. In January 2010, Obama’s approval ratings were 53 approval to 44 percent disapproval of his “handling his job as president.” Today, 46 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove—a 13-point swing. In January 2010, 47 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved of his handling of the economy. Today 43 percent approve and 55 percent disapprove—a seven-point swing.
In January 2010, 57 percent of registered voters thought that Obama understood “the problems of people like you.” Forty-two percent did not. Today, it’s 47 to 52 percent—a 20-point swing. And there is a similar 20-point swing in the question of how much confidence voters have in Obama’s ability to “make the right decisions for the country’s future.” In short, the electorate has far less confidence in Obama now than they did in January 2010.
ABC—Washington Post didn’t ask the same questions about Democrats and Republicans in January 2010 that they asked today, but they did ask these questions in October 2010 on the eve of the Republicans’ sweep. In October 2010, voters thought Democrats would do a better job than Republicans handling the economy by 44 to 37 percent. Today, they think Republicans would do a better job by 44 to 37 percent—a 14-point turnaround. In October 2010, voters said (incredibly) that they preferred Democratic House candidates by 49 to 44 percent. Today, they prefer Republicans by 45 to 46 percent. The number for October 2010 may be inaccurate, but in any case, there is nothing in the current numbers to inspire confidence. In midterm elections, the Republicans have a built-in advantage that allows them to maintain their majority without winning a majority of votes.
To be as succinct as possible, the 2014 midterms are the Republican’s to screw up. And this is where Johnathan Last of the Weekly Standard points us toward the problem (one we’ve been hitting up here lately):
What could have accounted for these diminished prospects for Obama and the Democrats? Oh, it’s hard to say. Probably just tactical brilliance on the part of congressional Republicans. Yes, that’s the ticket. I mean, it’s not like there was a signal event that focused all political attention on a single issue. It’s not like there’s a Topic A that has been demoralizing Democrats, rallying Republicans, moving independents, and providing a constant stream of campaign fodder.
No, no, no, it’s not like there’s one subject which totally unites the Republicans and cuts against Democrats and—mirabile dictu!—where the news keeps getting worse for Obama with every passing week. As Homer Simpson would say, “Right, Lisa. Some wonderful, magical issue.”
So with the wind at their backs and the Democrats in disarray, late last week the Republican leadership decided that this was the perfect moment to change the conversation to…immigration reform!
To again be as succinct as possible, they’re on their way to screwing it up.
And they wonder why people call them the “stupid party.”
As this Obamanation known as ObamaCare contiunes to unroll and unravell, we find more and more incompetence evident. At this point, you mostly are so in awe (in a negative way) of how badly this was done, that all you’re left to do is shake your head in wonder. The latest:
Amy Goldstein of The Post reveals that the appeals process guaranteed in the Obamacare law does not actually exist. The story outlines an almost comical process that requires citizens who seek a fair hearing to have an innocent, HealthCare.gov-generated mistake corrected to fill out a seven-page paper form that is then inexplicably shipped to Kentucky, where it is entered into a government database that isn’t actually connected to anything. It’s a digital dead end for those who dare to complain. Typical. As a result, 22,000 Americans who have submitted an appeals request remain without proper coverage and they have no recourse. And, according to The Post, in the latest show of non-transparency from this administration, officials have “not made public the fact that the appeals system for the online marketplace is not working.” There is “no indication that infrastructure . . . necessary for conducting informal reviews and fair hearings had even been created, let alone become operational,” and administration officials are refusing to give any information as to when the appeals process might start moving. This is an administration that wants to hide things rather than fix things.
So, the appeals process is analogus to filling out a long paper form and then just throwing it into a dumpster for all the good it does the person filling out the form. But has the administration made it clear that the process is – well not broken, how about nonexistent? Nope. People are still required to fill our their appeals forms, submit them and wait. Except there is no mechanism in the current system for anyone to see, much less review, the submission. The appeal is entered into a data base and that’s the end of the process. Those waiting are left without recourse.
One more time for the morons in the establishment GOP – here’s your issue.
Or, if you continue to pursue immigration – here’s your sign.