Paul Krugman has made a vital discovery, captured in the title of one of his recent blog posts. Speaking of President Obama, he says:
He Wasn’t The One We’ve Been Waiting For
You’re kidding, right Mr. Krugman? It took a year for this discovery? Heck, some of us have been saying this for 3 years. But enough “I told you so”. Why is Krugman so sure Obama’s not not man? Well not for the reasons you might think. If you’ve been reading Krugman, you know he’s of the opinion that the money Obama and Congress have thrown at the economy wasn’t enough and wasn’t well targeted. So Krugman wants more spending.
Now, with health care, he is finally disappointed enough to toss Obama under the bus. Like much of the extreme left, he demands the will of the people, demonstrated most recently Tuesday night in Massachusetts, be ignored. He illustrates that by quoting Obama and then reacting:
I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements of the package that people agree on. We know that we need insurance reform, that the health insurance companies are taking advantage of people. We know that we have to have some form of cost containment because if we don’t, then our budgets are going to blow up and we know that small businesses are going to need help so that they can provide health insurance to their families. Those are the core, some of the core elements of, to this bill. Now I think there’s some things in there that people don’t like and legitimately don’t like.
In short, “Run away, run away”!
His advice, as it has been all year, is to double down, ignore the growing unrest, and “do it anyway”. Pass health care as it stands. Don’t give in to the will of the people because – and this is the hidden message among all of this – they’re too stupid to know what is good for them. Like Bill Clinton claims – they’ll love it after it’s passed. And, as every elitist knows, the job of elites is to rule, even if the masses don’t like it.
Krugman presents the perfect example of the transition we’ve seen of government from service to servitude. We’re here to do the will of government now, since it knows best, and not the other way around. Krugman and the extreme left embody the notion of government rule and want to expand it. What they’re discovering is that Obama is simply not the tool they thought he was for the accomplishment of that goal. And they’re understandably disappointed.
But I have to say, I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.
This was a laugh out loud moment for me. Per Krugman he had doubts about Obama? Time to reread the gushing propaganda that flowed from the Krugman pen during the campaign season. If there were any doubts about Obama, he kept them under tight control and didn’t share.
Of course, what Krugman and the far left are finally discovering is the difference between a politician and a leader. Barack Obama is not a leader. He’s never been in a position to lead. He has no idea what it takes to lead. And he’s unlikely to figure it out while in the White House. Barack Obama presented himself as a blank slate and let people like Paul Krugman and the rest of those who chose too, write whatever they wanted on that slate. He duped them. He was whatever they wanted him to be, while really being nothing more than a very run of the mill politician who had the political sense to see an opportunity unfold, recognize he was in a unique position to seize it (unpopular president, attractive candidate, historical timing, great orator) and turn it into a win.
That’s been the high point of his presidency. It has been downhill since his inauguration. And a rage driven by his administration’s actions (not those of his predecessor as he loves claim) has built quickly in this country. Because of that anger and the politician’s expected reaction to it, Krugman, et al, see the opportunities they built into this presidency slipping away. Their advice, of course, is to move faster, do whatever is necessary, and, frankly, cheat if they have too – but get this done. But politicians, being what they are, are beginning to waffled and hedge and equivocate.
Of course Krugman doesn’t have to stand for election or answer for the results of his advice and my guess is he would find some way to blame others if it failed, just as he’s now trying to do by disowning Obama. But it is clear he and the extreme left are seeing their vested hopes going by the boards and they’re beginning, finally, to point fingers.
And he’s right – Obama is not the one “we’ve been waiting for”. Politicians rarely are. For those of us who didn’t choose to fit ourselves with blinders and took the time to objectively look at the man’s qualifications, we recognized him for what he is – an empty suit. Certainly a very attractive one, but empty nonetheless. The editor of the Harvard Law Review who never contributed anything to the Review. A failed community organizer. A state and US Senator who never initiated anything of substance and was content to follow the lead of others. Someone who, as we warned, had never “done anything or run anything.”
A reminder is necessary for the of Paul Krugmans of this world: This guy is your creation. You and all those who fell for the oratory and the promise and promoted it without checking out the substance of the man are to blame. So if you’re going to point fingers, find a mirror.
To quote Mr. Obama’s pastor of 20 years, “the chickens are coming home to roost”.
That didn’t take long. After essentially ignoring Senate Republicans for a year (well except when they thought they could pick one or two off to help them make something appear “bi-partisan”), Democrats are now ready to lecture Republicans about their new “responsibility”. In a talking points memo issued to Democratic Senators today, they lay out their argument. The memo is entitled:
MASSACHUSETTS ELECTION MEANS THAT SENATE REPUBLICANS HAVE MORE RESPONSIBILITY TO GOVERN, NOT OBSTRUCT
We can literally spend the entire post on just the title. Contained in that sentence is the premise they hope they can sell to the Republicans and thereby lessen the impact of losing their supermajority.
But let’s be real – the election of Brown imposes no such obligation or responsibility on minority Republicans in the Senate anymore than it did on the Democrats when they were in the minority there. What the election of Brown does is make it hard for the Democrats to “govern” in the manner they’d prefer (unilaterally), so they’d like to lay this “responsibility” premise on the Republicans while they’re a bit euphoric over the win last night and might readily agree to that role.
Instead it is the role and responsibility of the GOP to do whatever they think is necessary to block bad legislation that unnecessarily increases the size, scope and cost of government. That’s what Brown promised to do and that’s why he’s going to the Senate. If the Democrats prefer to characterize that as “obstruction” then so be it. Time to grow a thick skin for once in your lives. And a spine wouldn’t hurt either.
During this last year, the Republicans haven’t had the power to “obstruct” anything and the Democrats know it. Now Republicans do. The fact that the Democrats are left sitting in the legislative ruins of their own making is no skin off the GOP’s nose. They had their chance and they blew it. If the GOP isn’t completely deaf, what they heard last night with the election of Brown was the people don’t want what the Democrats are selling.
So what should happen? The GOP should reject that premise outright and upfront and they should adopt one that is the polar opposite of that which Democrats are trying to push in their talking point memo.
Specifically: The GOP has the responsibility to obstruct/block/say “no” to the Democratic agenda as they have determined that agenda unnecessarily increases the size, scope and cost of government.
So who are you going to listen too, Republicans? The people or the Democrats?
Yup – That’s test question number one and it’s not multiple choice.
Few will disagree that Scott Brown’s solid victory last night was meant to send an important message to Washington. Sure, there will be some whistling past the graveyard, but for the most part the political punditry and policy-makers will understand that something needs to change, and fast. Like dog whistles and Irish brogues, however, not everyone will hear the same thing.
It will not escape those who are truly paying attention that the Senate health care bill currently residing in the House was a huge catalyst behind Brown’s come-from-nowhere win. Brown’s potential cloture-busting vote looms large in a debate where Washington elites have tuned out those whom they mean to rule. It looms so large, and its power to lure slightly more than half the registered voters to the polls on a snowy day for a special election with nothing else on the ballot sends such a strong statement, that even Barney Frank seemed to get the message:
I have two reactions to the election in Massachusetts. One, I am disappointed. Two, I feel strongly that the Democratic majority in Congress must respect the process and make no effort to bypass the electoral results. If Martha Coakley had won, I believe we could have worked out a reasonable compromise between the House and Senate health care bills. But since Scott Brown has won and the Republicans now have 41 votes in the Senate, that approach is no longer appropriate. I am hopeful that some Republican Senators will be willing to discuss a revised version of health care reform because I do not think that the country would be well-served by the health care status quo. But our respect for democratic procedures must rule out any effort to pass a health care bill as if the Massachusetts election had not happened. Going forward, I hope there will be a serious effort to change the Senate rule which means that 59 votes are not enough to pass major legislation, but those are the rules by which the health care bill was considered, and it would be wrong to change them in the middle of the process.
Virginia Senator Jim Webb said much the same thing last night:
In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.
Yet, somehow, even while recognizing that Democrats playing a legislative game of keepaway with the bill before the House (that was drafted behind closed doors, it should be noted) will only serve to undermine public confidence in the law (and Congress), progressives like Jane Hamsher still think that’s what’s called for now:
In the wake of Martha Coakley’s defeat, both Representative Barney Frank and Senator Jim Webb have said that jamming a health care bill through before Scott Brown can be seated is not the right thing to do.
They’re right. Health care legislation would be viewed — with some justification — as illegitimate.
But many on the Hill tonight are saying that the Massachusetts defeat also means that health care reform is dead, fearful that what happened to Martha Coakley will happen to them, too, in 2010.
That’s about as feasible as Wile E. Coyote trying to turn around and run back across the bridge that is crumbling behind him. There’s only one way to go.
The non-budgetary “fixes” like banning the exclusion of those with pre-existing conditions have already passed the Senate. A public option — or an expansion of Medicare — can be added through reconciliation, which takes 51 votes. The Republicans certainly had no fear of using reconciliation when George Bush was in office. And the Democrats are going to need to do so in order to make good on their promise to fix the excise tax to benefit of the middle class, which will cost roughly $60 billion. But their options for doing that are limited by the process itself: they can pay for it by the savings from a government program like a public option or an expansion of Medicare. Or, they can piss everyone off and raise taxes.
That looks to be where Gerald Nadler and Anthony Weiner are headed tonight. They indicate that “the only way they could sign on to the Senate bill is if it was accompanied immediately, or even preceded by, a separate bill, making a number of major preemptive changes to what they regard as an inferior package,” per Brian Beutler.
It’s called sidecar reconciliation. And the 65 members of the House who have pledged to vote against any bill that does not have a public option should be looking into it seriously tonight.
Got that? Passing a bill that circumvents Brown’s vote will be viewed “with some justification” as illegitimate, so let’s go ahead and do just that! Do these people even listen to themselves? Using the reconciliation process (“sidecar” or otherwise) to shove health care legislation down Americans’ throats simply eschews the very legislative process that Barney Frank and Jim Webb cited as the reason to forgo further action on health care until Brown is seated. Yet, Hamsher and her cohorts advocate for legislative legerdemain anyway. Cognitive dissonance in action.
The reason, of course, is that passing health care legislation is such a fundamental issue for progressives that they have thrown all sense (such as was possessed) to the wind. It has nothing to do with what people want, but instead with what progressives want people to want. Apparently it doesn’t even matter that the rosy economic projections upon which these health care bills are based have little to no basis in reality. I guess, since the ultimate goal is a utopian fantasy, employing imaginary thinking is the only way to get there.
If nothing else, the reaction of progressives to the Massachusetts race reveals how dangerous they are when wielding power. Inconvenient facts are dismissed, and constituents are ignored, because what the progressive lacks in having any grasp of reality is more than made up for by resounding confidence and self-righteousness. Fortunately for us, the electorate does not appear to be willing to indulge their fantasies anymore.[ad#Banner]
As Democrats survey the aftermath of a devastating defeat in yesterday’s Senate race in of all places, Democrat friendly Massachusetts, they have to be wondering how safe their own seats are. Even Barbara Boxer, whose polls have shown weakness, has to be a little concerned. If you can’t hold on to a Senate seat in a state where you outnumber the opposition 3.5 to 1, what seat is safe? Couple that with the fact that their super-majority in the Senate is gone and their legislative agenda in jeopardy, and they have a fine mess on their hands.
So that brings us to the broader implication of the Scott Brown victory yesterday. Does it mean Democrats will back off, heed the message and either kill or drastically reduce the health care bill? Or does it mean they plan on doubling down, pushing that monstrosity through as quickly as possible and hope to have the time to repair the damage before the midterms? Because that’s the choice they’re going to have to make and make soon.
If you listened to Nancy Pelosi yesterday, indications are they plan on doubling down. She’s quoted as saying that no matter what happens with Scott Brown, she plans on seeing health care passed. And, of course, Harry Reid – trailing badly in the polls in his home state – is of a similar mind.
The question is, how? There are several means of accomplishing the task. One is to pass the Senate version unchanged. That would only require a majority in the House and the bill can be sent to the President for signature. However, the Progressive caucus along the the Democratic pro-life wing aren’t at all keen on the idea and they carry enough votes to kill it.
That brings us to another method which seems to at least be the preferred method of the Olbermans, Matthews and Maddows of the world – reconciliation. It requires only simple majorities to pass legislation. But because it is aimed at budgetary legislation, it will mean a pared down health care bill that Democrats can ram through and at least have something to show for it. The question is would that be enough and, will it save them in November. The answer to both questions are probably “no”. However they may be left with little choice but to resort to this method.
And that’s because that last method is a compromise bill (what they’ve been working behind closed doors to craft) which will most likely please no one on the Democratic side (Republicans have lined up solidly against it already since they were shut out of the process) and they’re now facing a fight in the Senate they’re likely to lose (word is Joe Lieberman is again iffy on the bill).
Fun times in DC. But at least it’s a game again with the minority should be armed enough to stop the most outrageous of the liberal agenda. I’m not quit sure how the health care fiasco will play out – hopefully if not dead, it is at least a drastically reduced bill that can be repealed in the future prior to going to going into effect – but I’d say cap-and-trade is in serious trouble if not dead, and immigration reform is going to require Democrats to at least approach Republicans to pass anything meaningful.
Or to put it succinctly – the Brown win brought the blessing of divided government again. It’s by a very slim margin, but it is there again. And that is the model we should always strive to have at a federal level.
Republicans stand to pick up significant gains in November of this year. You can only hope that they’ve learned a valuable lesson from this election as well. The people want smaller and less intrusive government. They’ve once again begun turning to the Republicans to see that wish enabled. The question is will the message be heeded or will Republicans again ignore it as they did previously when in power and end up again handing it back to the Democrats?
We shall see, won’t we?
AP has just called the Massachusetts Senate race for Republican Scott Brown (9:25 pm) who looks like he’ll end up with anywhere from a 5 to 7 point win.
Probably the most interesting thing I saw during the coverage was feedback during a Frank Lunz group on Fox (I watched MSNBC most of the night which was, well frankly, highly entertaining). The group were predominantly Democrats who voted for Obama. And a good majority of them claim to have voted for Brown. When asked why they said they were against health care reform, wanted Congress to back off and they were sending a message.
What will be interesting is how all the political “experts” choose to interpret this loss and what adjustments they’ll recommend be made. But I can tell you right now, there are a whole crap load of Democrats in marginal seats thinking “if we can’t hold Teddy Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts, what chance have I unless I do something completely different?”
Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid wake up to a whole new world tomorrow.
I noticed this ad for Coakley, with Obama as the star. Here’s a still from the beginning of the video:
Wow, those Coakley supporters are just radiating enthusiasm, aren’t they?
I did see a smile on one older woman later in the ad. I think she shows up in two places. Otherwise, it’s nothing but glum phizzes all the way through the ad, except for perfunctory smiles by Coakley herself.
Does this mean anything? I don’t know. But the pictures of Brown rallies I’ve seen certainly seem to show more enthusiasm.
** Update 8:20 PM CST **
Guess it did mean something. Fox just called it for Brown, and Coakley has conceded in a phone call to Brown. 70% of vote in, Brown leads by almost 7%.
Or at least the French minister in charge of humanitarian relief, Alain Joyandet is making that claim:
“This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti,” Mr Joyandet said.
Well, yeah, but it’s also about coordinating the flow of traffic in and out of a single runway airport, something which is bound to get a few hackles up. And that’s caused Joyandet’s outburst. He’d apparently been in a scuffle in the control tower of the airfield with the US commander there over a French evacuation flight. It seems he came out on the short end of the confrontation, thus the outburst.
But he’s not the only one complaining:
Geneva-based charity Medecins Sans Frontieres backed his calls saying hundreds of lives were being put at risk as planes carrying vital medical supplies were being turned away by American air traffic controllers.
See previous commentary about the one runway airport. Perhaps a little coordination with those at the airport concerning the arrival of such flights might help integrate them into the landing plan vs. just showing up and demanding a priority for landing?
Just a thought. Of course, my bet is had we relied on the UN, the airport still wouldn’t be functioning. And had the French taken over the aiport, the same criticisms leveled against the US would be leveled against them. In this case, given the situation, they’re just inevitable.
And someone else is having his usual say about the US:
Speaking on his weekly television show, [Hugo] Chavez opined that the U.S. mission in Haiti was a ruse to initiate military occupation.
“I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war,” Chavez said. “They are occupying Haiti undercover.”
President Obama signed an executive order to send 7,000 U.S. troops to the ravaged country as aid organizations attempt to distribute food and water to the survivors.
Chavez, a frequent critic of American intervention, praised the humanitarian effort in Haiti but questioned the need for so many troops.
“Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals – that’s what the United States should send,” Chavez said.
Of course the US has sent doctors, medicine, fuel and field hospitals. But there has to be security as you push these assets out into the community to ensure the lawlessness which has been seen in various areas doesn’t effect the efficiency of the rescue operation. 7,000 troops to provide that sort of security is not a large force (about 1 BCT plus).
Haiti, however, has provided Baby Hugo with another opportunity to break out the anti-Amerianism.
I’ve got to tell you, with the reaction of France and Venezuela to a freakin’ humanitarian rescue mission, it doesn’t seem as if the Obama global, bowing, scraping and apologizing tour produced much goodwill. This doesn’t sound any different than the carping heard when that other guy was around.
Andrew Sullivan (or one of the Andrew Sullivans), supposed “Republican” – or is it “libertarian”, I forget – has a post today in which he highlights a liberal reader’s lament. It’s essence, of course, is this is all Bush’s fault and, for heaven sake, how can you expect the grand and wonderful Obama to have fixed his mess in a year?
Well, here’s a suggestion – how about by focusing on the problem instead of wandering off in other directions. The commenter centers his or her comments on the fact that they’re unemployed and their COBRA benefits are fast running out. And, of course, he or she has a preexisting condition. So the priority is to pass health care?
Really? Is it? Or is it to get that person back on a job?
That, of course, is the argument, isn’t it? And all the whining and crying about Bush, etc. won’t change the fact that the majority of all the problems now facing the country are best addressed by getting the economy moving. Tax cuts for business, policies that provide incentives for businesses to expand and hire – that is where the government’s energy should be focused. Not on ancillary issues that cost trillions and don’t even kick in for 4 or 5 years. Sullivan’s commenter acts as though getting this health care bill through will save them when their COBRA runs out in 5 months. Not even close.
Business is sitting on the sidelines afraid to expand or hire because of the unsettled business environment. They have no idea what this health care bill will cost them in marginal taxes, so until that becomes clear, why would they hire? Shelving or killing this health care monstrosity would actually help the employment situation. Immediately. Same with cap-and-trade.
The argument, which so enrages this commenter, is taking place now in a series of special elections. And what further enrages this commenter is his side is losing that argument. The answer then is to characterize those who oppose the direction this country is taking as “nihilists”. Nihilists?
I have to wonder if either Sullivan or the commenter understand the word? I’m more inclined to believe that it is instead used like “fascist” to really mean “anyone who disagrees with me”. But for your edification, here’s how nihilism is defined:
1. One who advocates the doctrine of nihilism; one who believes or teaches that nothing can be known, or asserted to exist.
2. (Politics) A member of a secret association (esp. in Russia), which is devoted to the destruction of the present political, religious, and social institutions.
Those definitions really don’t support the commenter’s premise. In fact, it is the contention of those with whom the commenter is so upset that this administration and the Democrats are engaged in the second definition of “nihilism” with a vengeance. “Libertarian” or “Republican” or whatever he is today Sullivan ends his post with:
For Gods sake, vote for Coakley. Not for Coakley. For the rest of us.
Which brings me to a second blogger who also discusses the Sullivan post and agrees with the lament (and, I would suppose, the characterization of those opposed to the government takeover of health care as “nihilists”). Nothing particularly compelling in his discussion until you get to this part:
It is at moments like this that I wish we had an authoritarian ruler who could take over for a few years, a clear-headed liberal in the classical sense who could ram things through and get them done without giving a thought to the shrieks and cackles of the deranged fringes of either side. It’s at moments like this when I think, “The USA could use a little China, or at least a little Singapore.” A benevolent despot who can engineer solutions and force them to happen.
Holy liberty loving Hannah.
How about a little USSR? A dab of Cuba? Some of Pol Pot’s Cambodia for leavening?
I’ve come to the conclusion that most of the left are closet authoritarians who, at the drop of a hat, would resort to what this blogger describes if they could get away with it, always with the naive belief that this dictator would be “a benevolent despot”. Of course, as pointed out previously, definitions mean little to the left who apparently don’t realize that “benevolent despot” is an oxymoron of the first degree.
The hidden desire in Sullivan’s last line – a fulfillment of the latter bloggers wish – is a vote to maintain the filibuster proof Senate with the authoritarian power to thwart the minority and ram through what the elite think we should have. Who care what the “nihilists” in flyover country want or don’t want. “The USA could use a little
Cuba China” afterall.
I’d say, given all I’ve read and heard pertaining to the polls, that a win by Brown in today’s special Senatorial election in Massachusetts is a pretty solid prediction. But polls have been wrong before. With that said, I think he will pull it off even if only by a point or two.
So what can we expect if that’s the case. 364 days after Barack Obama took office and in what Democrats figured was their seat forever given it had belonged to the “Liberal Lion” of the Senate in deep blue and solidly dependable Massachusetts a Republican wins the seat?
What will be the reaction and what are the implications?
According to Politico, President Obama’s reaction to such a win will be to “fight hard”. Nice words for a pep rally.But if Brown wins, fighting hard will be about all that’s left to Obama as the filibuster proof majority in the Senate will have gone up in smoke. And that, of course puts his entire ambitious agenda, to include the pending health care bill, in jeopardy.
A potential casualty: the health care bill that was to be the crowning achievement of the president’s first year in office.
The health care backdrop has given the White House a strong incentive to strike a defiant posture, at least rhetorically, in response to what would be an undeniable embarrassment for the president and his party.
Anyone who continues to pretend this isn’t an election with far reaching implications and a referendum on the agenda pushed by the President and Congressional Democrats needs to again review the place in which this Republican is leading. Those who would like to put it all on an unattractive candidate need to remember that candidate blew away her closest rival in a Democratic primary by 19 points. This isn’t just about Martha Coakley.
An upset by Republican Scott Brown would be covered in many quarters as a repudiation of Obama, especially after Obama’s last-ditch campaign appearance with Coakley 36 hours before the polls opened.
This is about an electorate that is increasingly uneasy about the path the federal government under the Democrats is taking. This is a reaction to the action of the last 364 days. And the timing couldn’t be any better:
A Massachusetts embarrassment would strongly increase the pressure Obama was already facing to retreat or slow down the “big bang” agenda he laid out a year ago.
That includes cap-and-trade, which Congressional Democrats are backing away from as quickly as they can, and immigration. What this should force, if Democrats can swallow the lesson and heed the consequences of a Brown win, is a shelving of those issues and a concentration on the economy like a “laser beam”.
The possibility that Democrats could avoid a blood bath in November is iffy at the moment but salvageable if they do that. If, however, they get combative and attempt to ram through the present agenda (as it appears they will) while continuing to giving lip service to the economy and job creation (shall we have another “job summit”?), then they’ll suffer the consequences in mid-terms 10 months from now.
Today’s election is a game changer. Even if Brown loses, the message should be clear – back off the spending and expansion of government, concentrate on the economy and do what is necessary to get this country moving again economically, or the voters will put people in who will, even in deep blue Massachusetts.
The polls opened 12 minutes ago – this should be a very interesting day.
How scared are Senate Democrats that Martha Coakley will lose the special Senate seat election in Massachussetts tomorrow? This scared.
The White House and Democratic Congressional leaders, scrambling for a backup plan to rescue their health care legislation if Republicans win the special election in Massachusetts on Tuesday, have begun laying the groundwork to ask House Democrats to approve the Senate version of the bill and send it directly to President Obama for his signature.
Well, I’m sure if that’s gonna fly.
When the idea was suggested at a Democratic caucus meeting last week, Mr. [Bart] Stupak [D-MI] said, “It went over like a lead balloon.”
But, that was then. This is now.