Archive for November 8th, 2008

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Newt for President?

November 8, 2008

The man of big ideas himself. Robert Novak writes in the Washington Post

-AP

Gingrich is far from a unanimous or even a consensus choice to run for president in 2012, but there is a strong feeling in Republican ranks that he is the only leader of their party who has shown the skill and energy to attempt a comeback quickly.

Even one of his strongest supporters for president in 2012 admits it is a “very risky choice.” But Republicans are in a desperate mood after the fiasco of John McCain’s seemingly safe candidacy.

Republicans seem chastened by the failure of seeking moderate, independent and even Democratic votes. They are ready to try going back to the “old-time religion.”

One Republican critic of Gingrich concedes that he has an “unlimited” energy flow and a constant stream of ideas, an important commodity in a party that appears to have run short of ideas during the Bush years. But there is widespread concern about what is described in the party as deep “character flaws” of Gingrich’s that would be difficult to overcome in a presidential campaign.

Nobody in Republican ranks, however, matches Gingrich’s dynamism.

The consternation among Republicans is concentrated on McCain’s failure to capitalize on Democratic flaws.

It would be a rocky road for Gingrich to the nomination, much less the presidency, but there are no other serious candidates inside the party at the moment.

It is clear that Republicans are unanimous in trying to avoid a repeat of what happened this year, and there is a surprising consensus that McCain was going in the wrong direction and was the wrong candidate.

What one GOP critic calls Gingrich’s “unlimited energy supply” must be overcome by anyone opposing him. Several old Republican hands feel that Gingrich in 2012 is no more outrageous than Ronald Reagan was in 1980.

Many real conservatives clamored for Gingrich to throw his hat into the 2008 race, but we were disheartened to learn that he would have had to relinquish his post with American Solutions, something he was unwilling to do. Newt spearheaded the “Drill here, drill now” movement and was a spectre leader of the House revolt this year. Democrats and “Republicans” have criticized us for looking backwards for leadership focusing on 1980 and 1994 as benchmarks. There is no shame in this and it is hypocritical for anyone to criticize such an admiration for past leadership. The past informs our future policy as we look to successes that the American people got behind. And seriously, if “Camelot 2” and the “New New Deal” aren’t backward looking, I don’t know what is.  An RNC chair position would be nice as well.

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Getting to Know the Future White House Chief of Staff

November 8, 2008

If you listened to the news media, you would know that Rahm Emanuel has “sharp elbows” and no middle finger (his mother should have told him that if he used something too much, he’d break it). Actually Emanuel has an amazing family. His brother is Ari Emanuel, the Hollywood agent who Jeremy Piven’s character on Entourage is based. The third Emanuel brother is Zeke Emanuel, a doctor who is pretty high up in the NIH.

What the news media has failed to mention is that Rahm Emanuel was on the board of Freddie from 2000 to 2002, when the company misreported its profits in the billions:

President-elect Barack Obama’s newly appointed chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, served on the board of directors of the federal mortgage firm Freddie Mac at a time when scandal was brewing at the troubled agency and the board failed to spot “red flags,” according to government reports reviewed by ABCNews.com.

According to a complaint later filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Freddie Mac, known formally as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, misreported profits by billions of dollars in order to deceive investors between the years 2000 and 2002.

Emanuel was not named in the SEC complaint (click here to read) but the entire board was later accused by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) (click here to read) of having “failed in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention.” 

Emanuel’s silence during this period helped to facilitate fraud by artificially maintaining freddie’s price to investors. This was prior to Sarbanes-Oxley so Emanuel did not need to sign off on the fraud. Guilty as sin, free as a bird as Billy Ayers would say. A strange turn of events for an administration whose red carpet on the road to the White House was littered with the ashes of those misled into believing that fannie and freddie were stable. 

In addition, the Business and Media Institute reports: 

“Clinton’s going-away gift to Emanuel was a seat on the quasi-governmental Freddie Mac board, which paid him $231,655 in director’s fees in 2001 and $31,060 in 2000,” Lynn Sweet wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 3, 2002.

During the time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandal involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities. Freddie Mac and its sister organization Fannie Mae were taken over by the federal government in September 2008 after years of mismanagement and scandal. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson put the two beleaguered GSEs into a conservatorship, stripping common stock shareholders of their rights to govern the companies. …

“Freddie Mac was accused of illegally using corporate resources between 2000 and 2003 for 85 fundraisers that collected about $1.7 million for federal candidates,” an Associated Press story from April 18, 2006 said. “Much of the fundraising benefited members of the House Financial Services Committee, a panel whose decisions can affect Freddie Mac.”

And, since his successful run for the House of Representatives in 2002, Emanuel has been the beneficiary of campaign cash from Freddie Mac and its sister organization Fannie Mae – $51,750 according to the Center for Responsive Politics Web site OpenSecrets.org.

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Lowry on the Palin Smears

November 8, 2008

Rich at NRO spoke with Steve Biegun, former bush NSC aid who has now debunked the Sarah Palin myths: 

He says there’s no way she didn’t know Africa was a continent, and whoever is saying she didn’t must be distorting “a fumble of words.” He talked to her about all manner of issues relating to Africa, from failed states to the Sudan. She was aware from the beginning of the conflict in Darfur, which is followed closely in evangelical churches, and was aware of Clinton’s AIDS initiative. That basically makes it impossible that she thought all of Africa was a country.

On not knowing what countries are in NAFTA, Biegun was part of the conversation that led to  that accusation and it convinces him “somebody is acting with a high degree of maliciousness.” He was briefing Palin before a Univision interview, and talking to her about trade issues. He rolled through NAFTA, CAFTA, and the Colombia FTA. As he talked, people were coming in and out of the room, handing Palin things, etc. She was distracted from what Biegun was saying, and said, roughly, “Ok, who’s in NAFTA, what’s the deal with CAFTA, what’s up the FTA?”—her way, Biegun says, of saying “rack them and stack them,” begin again from the start. “Somebody is taking a conversation and twisting it maliciously,” he says.

In general, according to Beigun, Palin had a steep learning curve on foreign issues, about what you would expect from a governor. But she has “great instincts and great core values,” and is “an instinctive internationalist.” The stories against her are being “fed by an unnamed source who is allowed by the press to make ad hominem attacks on background.” Biegun, who spent dozens and dozens of hours briefing Palin on these issues, is happy to defend her, on the record, under his own name.

We knew that this was just blather being spit out, but she wasn’t ready for the national scene yet. While ridiculously eloquent on energy issues and a speaker approaching a Reaganesque level, she just did not have enough media interaction beforehand. She has four years of being the party’s biggest fundraiser and could announce her run as early as two years from now and can start touring the states.  Remember, Palin has a 91% favorability rating among Republicans. The anti-Palin contingent of the party will not sideline her next campaign.

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Change – We Can Believe In?

November 8, 2008

When Obama ran, part of his platform included mandatory community service for middle school and high school students. His change.gov website had the following: 

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by developing a plan to require 50 hours of community service in middle school and high school and 100 hours of community service in college every year.

As of today, it appears that the hard and fast 50 hours has been rescinded and washed from his website just as the One’s Columbia years have been scrubbed from the his bio:

Obama will call on citizens of all ages to serve America, by setting a goal that all middle school and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year and by developing a plan so that all college students who conduct 100 hours of community service receive a universal and fully refundable tax credit ensuring that the first $4,000 of their college education is completely free.

Seriously, I am pretty sure that the people who put him office seeking their mortgage payments and gas did not expect to work for it. In 2008, it appears that about 62,000,000 Americans want everything handed to them on a silver platter. 

Wiz of id

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How to Win Back the West

November 8, 2008

Ryan Sager writes in the NYPost about how to win back the west. 

FORTY-FOUR years after another maverick Arizona senator lost in a landslide, giving birth to the modern conservative movement, the Reagan coalition appears to be withering and dying. California was lost in the 1990s, and now the rest of the West is slipping – or has perhaps already slipped – away. The deep South remains – but is only enough to leave the Republicans as a permanent minority party.

Cast your eyes to the interior West, once a solid Republican region. Barack Obama turned a large swath of it blue. New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada all went big for him, after President Bush won them in 2004.

New Mexico (Bush by 1 point) went Obama by 15 points. Colorado (Bush by 5 points) went Obama by 7 points. Nevada (Bush by 3 points) went Obama by 12 points. (Obama also came within a remarkable 3 points in Montana, where Bush won by 20 points in 2004.)

[…]

So where does the Republican Party go from here? Three options present themselves at this early date:

* The Palin Plan: While Sarah Palin proved toxic among independent voters, a segment of the right seems ready to retrench and make her their standard bearer. While there’s an argument to be made for her small-government credentials, her blatant appeal to cultural division and the GOP base’s basest instincts – not to mention her profound ignorance on, currently, all matters – makes her the least base-broadening party leader imaginable.

* The Huckabee Diet: Mike Huckabee’s late surge in the GOP primary left no one in doubt – this guy will be back. Under a Huckabee-style GOP, the Republican Party would shed its last vestiges of concern over the size of government (some would argue it already did this under Bush), marrying Christian conservatism to economic populism.

Electorally, this would essentially mean trading any last chances out in the growing, libertarian West for a shot at a revival in the dying industrial Midwest.

* The Bloomberg Scenario: Sure, he’s not even a Republican anymore – and, like Batman, he’s needed urgently by Gotham. But he – or someone like him, with profound credibility on the economy and as a reformer – could plot a plausible path back for the GOP.

Someone in this mold could articulate the GOP commitment to low taxes and a dynamic economy, move the party’s energy policy beyond “drill, baby, drill” and reach out to the more cosmopolitan voters (Hispanics, the less religious; suburban and urban Americans) without whom the Republican Party will quite literally grow old and die.

Such a leader wouldn’t be as popular down South as a Palin or a Huckabee, but could revive the party in the West and perhaps even bring it back from the dead in the Northeast and on the Pacific Coast.

This may not sound much like the conservative movement or the Republican Party as we’ve known it since Barry Goldwater’s 1964 run. That’s because it’s not.

That conservatism had a nice 44-year run. It’s time to build a new one.

I’d also like to add that if John McCain retires in two years, Rep. Flake should run for that spot. In light of his recent article, I’d like to see some new conservatism rise in the west

– Yossarian

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The (Non-Conservative) Opposition PE-BHO Faces

November 8, 2008

The Wall Street Journal had a wonderful piece regarding the troubles that PE-BHO will face when he becomes PO. 

 

Meet the President-elect’s real opposition:

David Obey. The Appropriations Chairman wants to slash defense spending as a money grab for more social programs and entitlements. Fellow spender Barney Frank recently added that a military budget cut of 25% was about right. A military crash diet wouldn’t leave the funds for the surge in Afghanistan that Mr. Obama advocates, and it’s a sure way to hand the national security issue back to the GOP.

Chuck Schumer. The Senate Democrat and his friends are already threatening banks if they don’t lend more money instantly under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Other political masters want to use Tarp to nationalize large swaths of U.S. industry such as the Detroit auto makers or to bail out states like New York that are in debt. If Mr. Obama doesn’t want to have to pass a Tarp II, he’ll have to say no.

George Miller. Some Democrats are starting to target the tax subsidies for 401(k)s and other private retirement options. Mr. Miller, who heads the House Education and Labor Committee, calls them “a big failure” and recently held a hearing to ponder alternatives, including nationalizing pensions and replacing them with special bonds administered by Social Security. The proposal has also caught the eye of Jim McDermott, who chairs the relevant Ways and Means subcommittee. Mr. Obama won big with his promise of tax cuts for the middle class, which doesn’t square with attacks on middle-class nest eggs.

John Conyers. The man running House Judiciary is cheerleading the Europeans who want to indict Bush officials for war crimes. Other Democrats are thinking about hearings and other show trials. This is far from the postpartisan reconciliation that Mr. Obama preaches.

Henry Waxman. With President Bush soon to be out of office, the Californian’s team of Inspector Clouseaus at House Oversight won’t have any “scandals” left to pursue. The word in Washington is that Mr. Waxman is looking to unseat John Dingell as Chairman of Energy and Commerce, in order to shove aside a global warming moderate. That could pave the way for huge new energy taxes. Voters will punish Mr. Obama if they get hammered every time they fill up the gas tank or buy groceries.

Pete Stark. The Chairman of a crucial House subcommittee dealing with health care doesn’t think Mr. Obama’s proposal to significantly federalize the insurance market goes far enough. He wants a single-payer system like Canada’s. Mr. Obama may want to strike a deal with Senate Republicans on health care, but Mr. Stark will be pulling him left at every turn.

All of these feudal lords — and many others — also come with their own private armies: the interest groups that compose the money and manpower of today’s Democratic Party. The American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and others on the anti-antiterror left want Mr. Obama to limit the surveillance and other tools that have prevented another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. The Natural Resources Defense Council and Environmental Defense will insist on onerous caps — that is, taxes — on coal and other carbon energy. Those won’t help Mr. Obama carry Ohio and Indiana again in four years.

With these people keeping a check on Obama as well as the netroots, it is going to be hard for him to govern effectively. I had a conversation with a friend yesterday regarding whose administration the PO’s will be modeled after. While conventional wisdom has indicated that PO will try to mold himself after Clinton or FDR or even Kennedy, my friend made an argument that the PE-BHO wants to be the Democrat Reagan. He wants to be re-elected with overwhelming numbers and loved by an overwhelming majority. It makes complete sense, when the Discovery Channel had its “Greatest American” special a few years back, Ronald Reagan was ranked number one  and obviously the four contributors of this site owe our beliefs and philosophy to the man. 

Obama will want to create a coalition of 49 states like Reagan did in 1984:

 

1984 Electoral Map

1984 Electoral Map

To do so, he obviously has a lot of people to win over and would need to move to the center or center-right. With those people mentioned above, he will have a hard time doing so – especially in light of his press conference yesterday and his starting position.

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Osama Set to Roll Out Greeting to Obama

November 8, 2008

The Sun reports that Osama has a video ready for Obama. It looks like Osama wants a say in picking the Obama cabinet. PE-BHO needs to pick a good Sec. of State. While I would prefer a hawkish conservative. PE-BHO needs to do what is in the best best interests of the country and not select Kerry and choose Gov. Richardson who would be much better than Kerry

OSAMA Bin Laden is set to release a video threat to Barack Obama, fanatics have warned.

The al-Qaeda chief’s first message in months could come when Mr Obama names his first Cabinet.

Hate preacher Omar Bakri led the talk in extremist Arabic chatrooms. He said: “It will be fresh, addressing the Cabinet he chooses.”

In a direct threat, Bakri went on: “We will fight him if he fights against Islam.”