Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The proposal is intended to reduce dependence on oil imports, generate revenue from the sale of offshore leases and help win political support for comprehensive energy and climate legislation.
Actual drilling in much of the newly opened areas, if it takes place, would not begin for years. (New York Times, 3/31/10)
At first blush we were pleasantly surprised by the announcement that President Obama was promoting increased domestic drilling. If we want to reduce dependence on Middle East oil, this – along with new nuclear power plants – is vital. But as with all things Obama, it is never that simple. Reading further, it appears that he is dangling his proposal to win support for his wacky environmental plans, and maybe the drilling never really happens. The President must know that – after health care – he has a real trust problem with the other side and these overtures are going to be scrutinized very closely.
It Slices, It Dices....
And this legislation will create 4 million jobs over the life of the bill, hundreds of thousands almost immediately. (Nancy Pelosi, AOLNews.com, 3/30/10)
So now the health care bill is a jobs bill as well. We thought the stimulus bill was all about jobs. We’ll keep a close eye as the “hundreds of thousands” of jobs are created. Apparently it won't be long.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
It is now roughly seven months until the November mid-term elections which will have enormous consequences for the Obama presidency. If the Dems suffer the losses that some are predicting, it is quite possible that Obama becomes a lame duck President. What went wrong?
Obama’s go-for-broke strategy on health care, coming on top of his budget busting stimulus package ignited a populist uprising. Both programs are viewed by many as radical and irresponsible. The notion that people will learn to love the health care bill, as noted above, just strikes RedStateVT as wishful thinking. The discontent is such that we suspect no Democrat will want to take on any other of Obama’s initiatives between now and election time. They will have their hands full defending what they have already passed, let alone engage in another brawl about, say, cap and trade. On top of high unemployment, incumbent Dems will have their work cut out.
Republicans will run on fiscal restraint (although they are certainly not entirely pure on the issue) and on repealing the more radical elements of the health care bill. You have to buy health insurance or you go to jail?
Had Obama taken a more centrist approach – a more targeted stimulus package, smaller health care reforms – the Democrat majorities and his presidency would have had greater likelihood of surviving. Obama claims that he will be satisfied with a single term – presumably if he is able to enact more of his agenda. But if we are correct that Dems will not take a chance on pushing hard for the next Obama initiatives, and if they suffer losses in November, then his agenda is thwarted and it is hard to see a second Obama term. He will be left with a struggling economy and a health care plan vulnerable to endless legal challenges.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Maybe Nancy Pelosi was right when she said that we have to pass the health care bill to find out what is in it. Well now we are starting to find out...
Saturday, March 27, 2010
President Obama continues his assault on friends of America. He stiffs our Eastern European allies on missile defense, takes the Dalai Llama out the back door of the White House and now leaves Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in the lurch. Reports say he went to have dinner with Michelle, but RedStateVT is investigating claims that he really went to watch Wheel of Fortune. Gotta pay for that health care bill somehow.
Retired Colonel Ralph Peters appearing on Fox News had an interesting take on why Obama would engage in such an egregious breach of diplomatic protocol. Namely that he was brought up surrounded by leftists, from his mother to Bill Ayers, all of whom vilify Israel. So add American supporters of Israel to the list of constituencies including insurance company employees, seniors and independents that Obama has now offended. The only wonder is why his approval rating is as high as the forties. Give it time.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Susan Eckerly, senior vice president of the National Federation of Independent Business, which bills itself as the “Voice of Small Business,” issued a statement following passage of the bill late Sunday. It read in part: “Those who chose to vote ‘yes’ for this bill have chosen to ignore the protests of their job-creating constituents. We couldn’t have been clearer how damaging this bill will be to America’s small businesses and the economic recovery of this country. America’s small businesses are outraged that so many members of Congress didn’t have the courage to stand up for them and vote against this job-killing healthcare bill.” (FoxNews, 3/25/10)
Even before President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday, Caterpillar said it would cost the company at least $100 million more in the first year alone. Medical device maker Medtronic warned that new taxes on its products could force it to lay off a thousand workers. Now Verizon joins the roll of businesses staring at adverse consequences. (Wall Street Journal, 3/25/10)
President Obama – who claims the health care bill is pro-business – and various business leaders – who claim it isn’t – cannot both be right. Obama has never worked in the private sector and has spent his term vilifying insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks and financial institutions. So who has more credibility?
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Quote of the Week
Promoting dependency is the Democratic Party's vocation. (George Will, Washington Post, 3/23/10)
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
By David Leonhardt, New York Times
Published: March 23, 2010
For all the political and economic uncertainties about health reform, at least one thing seems clear: The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago.
Over most of that period, government policy and market forces have been moving in the same direction, both increasing inequality.
During the presidential campaign there was a great unscripted moment when Joe the Plumber confronted Candidate Obama about taxes increases. Obama instinctively answered that spreading the wealth around was a good thing for America. And now we see this idea come full circle.
Obama, the Democrat Party and The New York Times must believe that there is something unfair about the way in which wealth is acquired in America. The solution then is to take as much as possible from those who have amassed wealth and give it to others. They never view wealth as the direct result of hard work, risk taking and personal sacrifice. As a successful Vermont businessman once told RedStateVT: if you’re rich, they think you must have screwed somebody and taken their money.
The problem with the loony left is that they apparently waste their college years taking courses on Gender Studies and History of Rap instead of basic economics.
To quote Margaret Thatcher: The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
As RedStateVT often notes, politicians say the darndest things. Sometimes they are inadvertently ironic and sometimes they are inadvertently honest. So President Obama now ties the health care bill back to his campaign slogan of hope and change. If this is the signature example, we suspect that many Americans aren’t happy with what they saw. Obama has tried to divorce the outcome of the bill passing from the process by which it passed. RedStateVT is surprised that more haven’t commented on this, but Obama walks dangerously close to an “end justifies the means” rationale here. People are – we suspect – at least as disgusted with the process as with the content.
What we witnessed was bitter partisan battles, backroom political deals, fraudulent accounting and questionable procedural tactics. Is that change?
Monday, March 22, 2010
Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, said it was “one of the most offensive pieces of social engineering legislation in the history of the United States.” (New York Times, 3/22/10)
But there is no doubt that in the course of this debate, Mr. Obama has lost something — and lost it for good. Gone is the promise on which he rode to victory less than a year and a half ago — the promise of a “postpartisan” Washington in which rationality and calm discourse replaced partisan bickering. (New York Times, 3/22/10)
The next chapter in the health care fight will play out not only in the midterm elections, but also in the courts. Attorneys general in three states — Virginia, Florida and South Carolina — have indicated they will file legal challenges to the measure, on the grounds that it violates the Constitution by requiring individuals to purchase insurance. (New York Times, 3/22/10)
To pay for the changes, the legislation includes more than $400 billion in higher taxes over a decade and cuts more than $500 billion from planned payments to hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and other providers that treat Medicare patients. (Fox News, 3/22/10)
When Pelosi said "We're doing this for the American people," a protester yelled "you're doing this TO the American people!" (Politico.com, 3/22/10)
Saturday, March 20, 2010
RedStateVT is currently reading Michelle Malkin’s best seller: Culture of Corruption which exposes the underside of Obama and the Chicago political machine. It is not a pretty picture.
Friday, March 19, 2010
The liberal media (just about everything except Fox and a couple of blogs) will not let the public forget a 20 year old Dan Quayle slip, but here we have a veritable gaffe machine and, alas, no coverage.
The Moonbat Channel
Nestled in the nether lands on your local cable line-up is a “news” program called Democracy Now! The title of course is entirely ironic and we suspect Socialism Now! was already taken.
RedStateVT will occasionally stop clicking the remote control long enough to hear about what new outrages Host Amy Goodman has uncovered about America. Last night was a screamer as Goodman and Moonbat Eminence Ralph Nader teamed up to grill Dennis Kucinich on his vote switch from no to yes on the health care bill. One of the ironies of the debate has been the opposition to the bill by far-out lefties over the lack of a single payer, government run option. In other words, the bill isn’t progressive enough. Nader and Goodman and company demand ideological purity and it was clear that they felt betrayed by Kucinich who struggled to answer why he will now vote for a bill he clearly hated.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
One of fascinating things about watching the health care debate unfold is learning the cost of a legislator’s vote. For Mary Landrieu and Ben Nelson, that price was millions of dollars. For Dennis Kucinich, the price is simply a ride in a big fancy airplane. RedStateVT is investigating reports that Kucinich also got to go up to the cockpit, meet the pilot and get a pair of wings.
Damn the Torpedoes!
In ramming through an unpopular 2,700-page health care bill using brute force tactics, Democrats are in danger of passing what amounts to the longest suicide note in history. Their own pollsters are telling them the public has rebelled against their tactics. So their response is to press their foot down even harder on the gas pedal. We'll see how that works out for them. (John Fund, WSJ, 3/17/10)
Better Questions Than Answers
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Instead, Pelosi (D-Calif.) would rely on a procedural sleight of hand: The House would vote on a more popular package of fixes to the Senate bill; under the House rule for that vote, passage would signify that lawmakers "deem" the health-care bill to be passed. (Washington Post, 3/16/10)
Speaker Pelosi latest trick will be to employ the “Because I Say So” approach to passing the health care bill.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
So certain Democrats are allowed by Pope Obama to vote against the health care because the bill is “not popular” in their state?
Democratic leaders are trying to convince enough moderate members of their party to get the legislation thru. (WCAX.com, 3/15/10)
So Dem leaders have to convince the “moderates” of the benefits of this legislation? What does that tell you?
Monday, March 15, 2010
Prediction? Open this can of worms and Vermont will end up like California which, as RedStateVT has noted, is dealing with a medical marijuana mess. Every stoner will seek out and find a friendly doctor to write prescriptions to help them deal with their “pain.” Using words like “debilitating” and calling the storefront dealers “compassion centers” is just trickery.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Something about this piece in the Washington Post critical of Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes just did not sit right with RedStateVT. We thought and thought and thought and then it hit us! Howell Raines was the executive editor at the New York Times who promoted the career of plagiarist Jayson Blair! So, of course, Raines has enormous credibility when it comes to matters of journalistic integrity…….not.
But he (Obama) is still the most realistic and reasonable major player in Washington. (David Brooks, New York Times, 3/12/10)
Are there two Barack Obamas? One who wants to “fundamentally transform” America and appoints radical “9/11 truthers” to key government posts and another who liberal journalists see as "moderate, centrist and realistic?”
Saturday, March 13, 2010
A) Conservative Commentator Ann Coulter
B) Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
C) Former Democrat Pollster Patrick Caddell
E) All of the above
The correct answer is C). However, RedStateVT will also accept E). Note: While we do not agree on many points, we find Patrick Caddell to be a smart and thoughtful guy, one of our favorite Democrats.
*(Patrick H. Caddell and Douglas E. Schoen, Washington Post, 3/12/2010)
Friday, March 12, 2010
Gallup's poll is evidence, first, that the public is closely divided on health-care reform, and second, that many of those in opposition do not know that much about the bill. (Ezra Klein, Washington Post, 3/9/2010)
This is the successor line of reasoning used by liberals to describe why the public is opposed to the health care bill. The previous approach – the people are stupid – was insulting and, of course, did not work. So now we have this kinder, gentler insult: that the people just don’t really know what is in the bill. Yesterday’s RedStateVT post quoted Speaker Pelosi bemoaning the obfuscating fog surrounding the bill. Well, we guess that’s one of the downsides of writing a 2400 page bill. Not even the politicians know what is in it.
Here are a couple of things that the average American does either know or believe about the bill:
--Multi-hundred million dollar “incentives” were offered to several Democrats to get them to vote in favor of the bill. Most people don’t think that is fair.
--Under this bill, everyone in the country will be forced to buy health insurance or will face monetary fines or jail. Most people don’t think that is fair.
--The bill will target eliminating “waste and fraud” in the health care system. Most people wonder why – if that is so easy – it hasn’t been done previously. Therefore, most people are skeptical that these savings are real.
--Most people know that wealthy foreigners often come to the U.S. to get treatment, but that no American ever goes outside the country – ever – to get health care. This makes people skeptical about claims by supporters of the health care bill.
These are just a few of the things that people “know” about the bill and this explains why they are against it.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Whatever the legislative fate of health reform -- now in the hands of a few besieged House Democrats -- the reformers have failed in their argument. Their proposal has divided Democrats while uniting Republicans, returned American politics to well-worn ideological ruts, employed legislative tactics that smack of corruption, squandered the president's public standing, lowered public regard for Congress to French revolutionary levels, sucked the oxygen from other agenda items, reengaged the abortion battle, produced freaks and prodigies of nature such as a Republican senator from Massachusetts, raised questions about the continued governability of America and caused the White House chief of staff to distance himself from the president's ambitions. It is quite an accomplishment. (Michael Gerson, Washington Post, 3/10/10)
But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy. (Nancy Pelosi, 3/10/10)
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
So just to be clear, Mr. Cohen, the fact that the majority of the American people are against Obama’s health care plan is “almost entirely beside the point.” This is what passes for liberal analysis. There are some people that you just can’t have a discussion with.
What they should have done
And there is a step-by-step approach that would make sense. Going one round at a time in health care reform, hand in hand with economic recovery, would be a strategic win for the administration. After Massachusetts, it would have made sense to pick out and pass those measures that help control costs and strengthen coverage while building up to the major expansion of coverage as the fiscal situation improved. There are lots of changes that have garnered support through this process. The polls show Americans would embrace a bill banning discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, overwhelmingly support a move to standardized electronic medical records and 66% favor some kind of caps on malpractice awards. Reduce costs, improve the system, and then expand coverage -- that is the way to run this out strategically and bring along full public support. (Mark Penn, Realclearpolitics.com, 3/8/2010)
Penn is – among other things – the former chief strategist for Hillary Clinton! So there are some reasonable voices on the left after all! Well put, Mr. Penn.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
RedStateVT saw the above passage today and just started thinking……if President Obama’s health care plan is so darn good, why does he need to ‘twist the arms’ of members of his own party?
We also began thinking again about the whole concept of “bi-partisanship” as it relates to health care. When Obama says bi-partisan, why is it only defined as some Repubs cross party lines to support the bill? In fact, the House of Representatives has already demonstrated bi-partisanship with its November vote. Recall that 1 Republican voted for the House bill and 39 Democrats voted against it! RedStateVT urges a more expansive demonstration of “bi-partisanship” and challenges Democrats to bump up those “no” votes……..in the true spirit of, you guessed it, bi-partisanship.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Those old enough to remember will recall the Carter Presidency. Actually, those old enough to remember have probably blocked it out. The Carter years are best forgotten now, even as Jimmy Carter continues to poke his nose into a variety of global issues, generally screwing them up in a similar manner to the way he screwed up his term in office. Carter is a leading candidate for the daily presidential double: worst President and worst ex-President. Mercifully he was voted out after one term.
And now we have President Obama treading a familiar path. On the foreign stage, Obama’s olive branch to America’s enemies has proven to be both ineffective and naïve. In an attempt to demonstrate humility he has instead conveyed weakness. We don’t see Venezuela and Iran (to take two examples) moderating their belligerence. Sensing weakness, they will press their perceived advantage. RedStateVT has given Obama credit for (finally) surging troops in Afghanistan, but even that correct foreign policy decision was undermined by his endless dithering over what to do.
On the domestic front, the Obama Presidency is eerily mirroring that of Carter with an economy in disarray. Obama does not yet have the high inflation of the Carter years, but he does have the high unemployment. And yet, Obama’s overriding domestic policy concern is his health care overhaul. His solution on unemployment is “green” jobs.
Our friends on the left will say that Obama inherited Bush’s wars and economy. Even if we were to concede these points, the question quickly turns to: “If Bush was wrong, what did Obama do to fix it?
We wonder whether in their most private, reflective moments the Administration thinks about the Carter years and worries that history will judge them Worse Than Carter. For the rest of us, there is hope. Carter was followed, of course, by Ronald Reagan who restored American pride and strength.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Here we go again. What is it with Obama? Can’t he ever make a decision? Remember the endless procrastination over sending more troops to Afghanistan?
Quote of the Week
"The Senate has given us a lot of reason not to trust them," Rep. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., who voted against the House bill last year and is currently undecided, told "Fox News Sunday." (FoxNews.com, 3/7/10)
Saturday, March 6, 2010
President Barack Obama's obsessive, opportunistic demonization of insurance companies in his quest to pass his not-yet-written health care proposal is growing tiresome. Aren't you getting sick of a president attacking American citizens and businesses as if they -- not Obama's beloved government -- were the enemy? (David Limbaugh, Townhall.com, 3/5/10)
RedStateVT applauds the insurance company executives who recently met with the President. After months of demagoguery by President Obama, they could have easily said: the heck with you, Mr. President. Instead, they demonstrated dignity and class, took the meeting and acted entirely professional. The last time we looked, insurance was still a legal business. And as we have said before, if the President or Dems think that a health insurer is acting illegally, then by all means, indict them. That never happens, however, as it is much easier (and more cowardly) to lob insults at them. Let’s hope the execs reminded the president that he could go a long way towards fixing health care by reining in the trial lawyers and allowing inter-state competition.
The ethical woes facing Democrats are piling up, with barely a day passing in recent weeks without headlines from Washington to New York and beyond filled with word of scandal or allegations of wrongdoing. The troubles of Gov. David A. Patterson of New York, followed by those of two of the state’s congressmen, Charles B. Rangel and Eric J. Massa, have added to the ranks of episodes involving prominent Democrats like Eliot Spitzer, Rod R. Blagojevich and John Edwards.
Taken together, the cases have opened the party to the same lines of criticism that Democrats, led by Representatives Nancy Pelosi, now the House speaker, and Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, used effectively against Republicans in winning control of the House and Senate four years ago. (NYT, 3/5/10)
You know things are bad when the New York Times writes about corrupt Dems!
Friday, March 5, 2010
Mr. President, many believe that frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits (see Edwards, John) contribute to skyrocketing medical costs. Yet you have only recently – and seemingly begrudgingly – included minor provisions in your bill to address this issue. Many would say that this is because the trial lawyers are major contributors to the Democrat Party. How do you respond?
Mr. President, as a senator you decried the use of reconciliation. Now you endorse it. This appears duplicitous. How do you respond?
Mr. President, yesterday you nominated the brother of a House Democrat whose vote you seek on health care to a prestigious judicial appointment. This gives the appearance that you are seeking to buy a vote. How do you respond?
Mr. President, polls show that a majority of Americans oppose your health care plan. How do you respond?
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Reconciliation is therefore the wrong place for policy changes…In short, the reconciliation process appears to have lost its proper meaning. A vehicle designed for deficit reduction and fiscal responsibility has been hijacked to facilitate reckless deficits and unsustainable debt.” (Sen. Obama, Congressional Record, S .14150, 12/20/05)
The president will call for an up or down vote on health care reform, as has happened in the past, and though he won't use the word "reconciliation," he'll make it clear that if they're not given an up or down vote, Democrats will use the reconciliation rules as Republicans have done in the past. (abcnews.com, 3/2/2010)
Meanwhile Re Priority #1
“When it comes to domestic policy, I have no more important job as president than seeing to it that every American who wants to work, and is able to work, can find a job, and a job that pays a living wage,” Mr. Obama said. “That was my focus last year, and that is my focus this year.” (NYT, 3/2/2010)
Mr. President: Please define “focus.”
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Sure Obama would prefer to have Republican support as a hedge against the bad things that will result from this bill (e.g. higher deficits, new taxes, cuts in Medicare). This is why he previously lauded the one Republican Senate vote in favor as “bipartisan.” And it is further why he will today seemingly signal openness to several Republican ideas. But this 11th hour willingness to consider the opposition party’s ideas is politically transparent. Now? Now you will discuss ideas that have been out there for months?
As to the big question of whether Dems will use reconciliation and any other parliamentary maneuvers to pass a bill, the answer is yes. Yes, because as Obama said, they won. The only remaining question then is whether Dem leadership can again get their House colleagues to drink the kool-aid and commit political suicide.
Harbinger of things to come
There's no Obama bump for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. A poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal showed President Obama's visit to Nevada two weeks ago had a negligible effect on Reid's poll numbers. Though the president spent time praising Reid effusively for his leadership, 75 percent of those surveyed said the visit would not affect how they vote. Of those who might be swayed, more respondents said they'd be more inclined to vote against Reid than for him. Seventeen percent said the visit made them less likely to vote for Reid, while just 7 percent said the visit made them more likely to vote for him. (FoxNews.com, 3/1/2010)
Monday, March 1, 2010
Pelosi told CNN that "in a matter of days" Democrats will have specific legislative language on health care to show to the public and to wavering lawmakers. She predicted voters will warm up to the bill once they understand its details.
"When we have a bill," she said, "you can bake the pie, you can sell the pie. But you have to have a pie to sell." (FoxNews.com, 2/28/10)
Speaker Pelosi channels her inner Marie-Antoinette.
Credit where credit is due
President Barack Obama has signed a one-year extension of several provisions in the nation's main counterterrorism law, the Patriot Act. Provisions in the measure would have expired on Sunday without Obama's signature Saturday. The act, which was adopted in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, expands the government's ability to monitor Americans in the name of national security. Three sections of the Patriot Act that stay in force will:
--Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones.
--Allow court-approved seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.
--Permit surveillance against a so-called lone wolf, a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group. (FoxNews.com, 2/28/10)
President Obama channels his inner Dick Cheney.