Wednesday, January 26, 2011

SOTU In Summary

Two words really come to mind: flat and mindnumbing. I know by now the conventional wisdom is solidifying and fossilizing before the morning news tomorrow. He has made some fantastic speeches in the past, this was not one of them my friends. It drifted quite a bit even if it did stay with the recurring "win the future" theme. Which coincidentally was the title of a Newt Gingrich book, well it's called Winning The Future....close enough.

In many ways this speech came off as the first of the 2012 campaign, and before the last person left Statuary Hall predictably the boys over at OFA had their fundraising gears cranked up. He spoke a lot of investment, basically alluding that much is accomplished ONLY with the help of government. The whole Sputnik moment thing that he brought up. He should know that the entire Apollo program cost only 1/7th of his ginormous craptastic stimulus bill that accomplished zero. Costs aside, effective limited government is what the people want, they ran to the mountaintops and screamed that down to everyone in November's elections. Spending willy-nilly until we reach a circumstance like all of western Europe and their painful austerity measures, is something that we agree cannot happen. The time to grab onto the third rail of politics (entitlements) is here. The problem is that you have a President and a party deathly afraid of addressing such things. A party that identifies success in terms of how big can we make this program, how much can we spend on it. No regards for how efficient or how many people will it help, the primary interest is the level of increase in size and scope of government.

So with that constant underlying theme of wanting more government "investment", how can that be reconciled with the results of the November elections? The elections told you to stop the profligate spending Mr. President. The elections asked you to take a step back and think of the ramifications of such government largesse. And what have you returned with? You have basically ignored the deficit commissions recommendations on entitlement reform. At the end of the day entitlement reform will only happen if the President proposes it first. If he is serious about deficit reduction, which is questionable, he will do something about it now. Republicans controlling one chamber of Congress can only get so much done on this front and it is something they have learned from the Gingrich years. It is near impossible to accomplish anything unless the President is a willing participant, and that was with both chambers under Republican control. Freezing spending is all well and good, but freezing it at the current levels that you have brought it up to (25% increase since 2009) will not accomplish much at reducing a damn thing. It's basic math.

I think Paul Ryan's response was pointed and hit on ALL of the themes that American voters took with them to the ballot box in November. When you get the unenviable task of responding to the SOTU regardless of party it is not always to get noticed. You don't have the applause lines or the great setting of a joint session so it's a tough gig. I have included the link here to check out the full ten minutes of the speech.

All that being said I was glad President Obama didn't resort to the cheap shots, like he did last year regarding the SCOTUS' Citizens United decision, or any rank partisan hackery that has been his calling card the last two years. I guess this is part of the new Obama with Daley running the message. Then again he does have an election to win in 22 months, now is the time to go back into the Hope and Change® well. I sure "hope" America doesn't fall for that shtick again.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Case For Repeal

As I continue the internal struggle of whether to keep writing this blog or not, an issue comes up that requires my attention. A lot of issues have come up in the last month that piqued my interest (or raised the level of bile in my gut), most notably the shrieks coming from the Left regarding the Giffords shooting. That has been dissected and talked about by a lot of people. At the end of the day we all knew the Left was going to react in such a way. They are incapable of restraining themselves when creating a fallacious meme attacking the Right or others who don't think like they do. The Daily Kos, Media Matters, and MSNBC types are a fairly disgusting bunch so I won't give them much more column space than that. Hypocrisy is a term that gets thrown around in politics often (ironically it is the Left and their Holden Caulfield worshipping asses that sees hypocrisy as some sort of crime against humanity), but the paranoid hysterics emanating from the aforementioned media outlets shows if the shoe fits they need to wear it.

What I really wanted to discuss was yesterday's vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act or whatever nonsense the Democrats named the monstrous health care law. The debate itself is actually showing the Republican party as one of cohesiveness and purposed principled messaging. While the Democrats are once again throwing out everything and anything hoping it sticks with the American public. Whining things such as 'repeal will increase the deficit' (um when did they ever give a crap about that? Not to mention the argument is specious on its face), the oldie but goodie 'Republicans want to steal your Medicare grandma' and then there is nugget from Sheila Jackson Lee....noted constitutional scholar:

Seriously this is her argument? This is the Democratic Party line? They can't seem to get the fact that the American people, most notably seniors, understand that ObamaCare® would actually strip Medicare benefits (as it has already done so as some provisions of the law go into effect this year). And as Cavuto notes in the video, the woman in the video would get care regardless.

Charles Krauthammer was on O'Reilly the other night illustrating the fact that Democrats have already lost the argument over ObamaCare®, it was called the November elections. I agree with the point that Republicans after failing to repeal the whole thing, need to go after the individual mandate. Now once again it is something that has no chance of passing the President's desk without a veto stamp BUT it would be a politically difficult corner to back out of for the President come 2012. The only way to get this thing fixed for good is to have a Republican president in 2013, new majority in the Senate (not far fetched, the Democrats must defend 23 seats and many are in red states) and take the whole thing down. What can happen for now is to repeal certain pieces of it with new legislation. Having the individual mandate fail without the rest of it coming down could cause more problems than outright 100% repeal if other portions are not fixed (pre-existing conditions, the companies that are exempt from complying, etc.) that skew the risk pool. The whole scheme relies on everyone paying into that same risk pool. I have pointed out before that the individual mandate's questionable validity should be the linchpin of the PR strategy to unravel this disaster. It is still highly unpopular as it is unprecedented to have the federal government force you to purchase any private product. We have 28 states that filed a lawsuit contesting the federal government's overreach into health care. A cost that is usually a state budget's biggest nut. This tinkering with individual states' economies is destructive, couple it with that constitutionally questionable mandate and it should make for a compelling case in the courts, and with public opinion over the next year.

Oh I can hear some of my friends on the left saying, "Well then what exactly do you want, the Republicans don't say what they would change it to" yeah they have said it and so have most of the conservative punditry, check some of the proposals outlined in these two sources here and here. "Why didn't you guys do something back in the 90's when you had majorities, man?"....ugh really? There was no mandate for either party to massively and comprehensively overhaul the system. Did you all forget Hillary's foray into comprehensive health care reform? Crash and burn...with Democrats controlling the House, Senate and White House. How soon we forget, huh? If not for the Hillarycare debacle and some other missteps in 1993 and 1994 we wouldn't have had the Republican majorities starting '94.

Civility, My Ass

In the spirit of the new civil tone President Obama called for in his excellent speech last week (no seriously it hit all the right marks and was very eloquently delivered....albeit in a gymnasium with a bunch of screaming Obamabots, not in good taste but I don't blame him entirely for that), I report to you the latest on how Democrats and those on the left are embracing the civility:

By the way, nice job by Anderson Cooper grilling this idiot. And then you have Chris Matthews calling Michele Bachmann a "nut case" again here. Yes I know I should not expect much from the lefties on MSNBC and if we have learned anything at all in the last 10 days it would be this: Civility as defined by the progressive left is quite simply you must agree with me or you are an idiot and have no right to add to discourse. I will deem you uncivil for daring to question me.