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« February 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

October 31, 2007

Hillary Gets a Taste of Things to Come, and Doesn't Like It

It appears that Hillary Clinton will soon be longing for the heady days of the earlier Democratic Presidential Primary debates, when she could cruise to victory unattacked. But now that it's getting close to "put up or shut up" time for the other candidates, the honeymoon is over. Hillary had her first really contentious debate last night, and according to a scathing review in The Politico this morning by Roger Simon (Obama, Edwards attack; Clinton bombs debate), she didn't do so well.

In a debate against six Democratic opponents at Drexel University here Tuesday, Clinton gave the worst performance of her entire campaign.

It was not just that her answer about whether illegal immigrants should be issued drivers’ licenses was at best incomprehensible and at worst misleading.

It was that for two hours she dodged and weaved, parsed and stonewalled.

And when it was over, both the Barack Obama and John Edwards campaigns signaled that in the weeks ahead they intend to hammer home a simple message: Hillary Clinton does not say what she means or mean what she says.

And she gave them plenty of ammunition Tuesday night.

Hillary Clinton, in addition to being a far-left liberal hiding behind her husband's feigned moderation, just doesn't have the same political sense that Bill Clinton has. While it's true that Bill governed by political polling, changing his governing style and substance as the public opinion changed, he could do it almost transparently and in a mostly collegial way. In short, you'd almost never know that an answer or statement of his was lacking in substance or evasive until a few days later - he was that likable when out in public or in a debate.

Hillary has none of her husband's political charm, so she can't get away with as much. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that she is a woman - it has to do with the substance of what she says (and said) and the way she says (and said) it. She's going to have a tough time of it from here on in. Look for her to get defensive, arrogant, and testy - highlighting her unfavorables to the electorate. Pretty soon she'll roll out the age-old trope - it's sexism! 

Despite the Media, Economy Chugging Along Nicely at 3.9%

The federal government's Bureau of Economics (BEA) released the initial numbers for the Gross Domestic Product for the third quarter of 2007: 3.9%. That's a pretty good rate, and flies in the face of much of the public believing the bad news put out by the Democrat-leaning media that the economy is either in, or soon to be in, a recession. They also released revised figures for the second quarter of 2007 showing an increase in GDP of 3.8%. And, if you look at the actual market value of the United State's economic output without various adjustments, the picture looks even better:

Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the nation's output of goods and services -- increased 4.7 percent, or $157.9 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $13,926.7 billion.  In the second quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 6.6 percent, or $216.9 billion.

That's a pretty strong economy, even with the sub-prime adjustment that we're going through. I wonder if President Bush will get credit?

Democrats' 'Star Chamber' Back in Session

The Politico reports that the super-rich donors of the Democratic Party are meeting in Washington this week after the two-day Democracy Alliance gathering to map out their spending strategy for the 2008 elections. Who said money corrupts, anyway?

Sources involved in the nascent effort said representatives of Democratic powerhouses like MoveOn.org and the Service Employees International Union, along with super-wealthy individuals like the fund manager George Soros, are hashing out the details of a planned independent effort that could finance tens of millions of dollars of television advertisements.

But when they meet after the two-day conference of the Democracy Alliance in Washington, D.C., this week, the donors will aim not to repeat what they see as the mistakes of the last presidential campaign.

Unlike in 2004, the donors will probably put the field organizing in the hands of existing liberal groups, including environmental and labor organizations.

In addition to spending $135 million on a losing effort in 2004, mega donors such as George Soros got alot of criticism from a public who once thought it was the Republican Party who bought elections. If the article is correct, it looks like these large Dem donors are now going to be using established "grassroots" liberal organizations as fronts for their financing. It will be interesting to see how this is going to be reported on in the mainstream media. Rich Democrats 'purchasing' existing non-profit advocacy groups to do their bidding. Nice.

October 30, 2007

Kucinich Questioning Bush's Mental Health?

Falling into the "Physician, Heal Thyself" category, we have an Associated Press article entitled Kucinich Questions Bush's Mental Health. The Congressman from Ohio thinks that Bush's recent comments about Iran show that the President's mental health isn't all that good. It's a common theme from the Netroots, but when you look at the comment Kucinich was questioning, you have to wonder what the heck he is thinking. From the AP article:

He [President Bush - ed] said: "I've told people that if you're interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

Seeing as Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has vowed to destroy Israel using any means necessary, and that a direct attack on Israel by Iran would trigger overwhelming responses from the West, I understand precisely what President Bush was talking about. And Iran's intentions are not some right-wing fabrication, as people like Kucinich would like you to believe. Here's the lede from a CNN article on the subject:

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iran's new president has repeated a remark from a former ayatollah that Israel should be "wiped out from the map," insisting that a new series of attacks will destroy the Jewish state, and lashing out at Muslim countries and leaders that acknowledge Israel.

So who's the crazy one again, Dennis?

Nancy Pelosi Stabs Charlie Rangel in the Back

Rhetorically speaking, of course. After House Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY) introduced the Democrats' plan to hike taxes by a trillion dollars last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) came out during a presser on Thursday to say that she supported Rangel's plan. That is, until her office released the transcript of the statement, where they inserted a few extra words to change the meaning of her support for the Representative's specific proposal to her support for tax reform in general! From The Hill:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  (D-Calif.) is finessing her support of Rep. Charles Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) controversial new tax bill, highlighting Democrats’ concern about how Republicans plan to use it in the 2008 elections.

Following the unveiling of arguably the most politically explosive domestic policy bill of the 110th Congress last Thursday, Pelosi seemed to wholeheartedly support the tax overhaul authored by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rangel.

I certainly support his plan,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said to the assembled reporters.
But when the transcript of the briefing came out, words were inserted — highlighted by brackets — clarifying that she supported his goal, if not his specific proposals.

The final transcript read: “I certainly support his plan [to begin tax reform.]

I'm sure that this is going over well with Charlie Rangel. If his plan wasn't DOA last week, it certainly is now. He can thank Nancy Pelosi for that. More importantly, one has to ask of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives that if the leader of your party - the Speaker of the House - will play games like this and won't stand by her members publicly, then what good is she?

Alot - to the Republicans. I wonder when Steny Hoyer is taking over?

Jack Murtha and Questionable Earmarks

Democrat Rep. Jack Murtha of Johnstown, Pa has long been one of the earmark kings of Congress. He's funneled billions of federal taxpayers dollars to his hometown and district - more federal money than any other single member of Congress has been able to funnel into their own. As a 'war' against the corrupting influence of earmarks was one of the Democratic Party's promises to the electorate last year, one would think that Murtha would, at the very least, slow down his private appropriation of funds. He has, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal, but not by much. From that WSJ article, here's a chart showing this budget year's top earmarkers in the House:

P1aj442a_murth_20071029203650_3 The problem with many of Murtha's earmarks is that often the federal departments involved don't even request the funds (they're for projects they don't want), and in one instance (the funding for the National Drug Intelligence Center) the feds have actually said that it's a huge waste of taxpayer money. Opposed by the GAO from the start, they call the NDIC a duplicate of other centers - one in Washington DC and one operating nearer to the drug trafficking highway, the Mexican border.

Its long been known that in order to get earmarks from Murtha, it's best to set up your lobbying or government contracting offices in Murtha's district. Which is precisely what many lobbyists and contractors have done. That's a situation ripe for abuse and corruption. The Wall Street Journal's article tells us about one firm that received earmark funding, Pro Logic, that is the target of an ongoing FBI investigation.

Many of these companies getting taxpayer funded earmarks have, on their payrolls, either ex-staffers or friends of Murtha. It seems that the closer the relationship, the more money comes their way and the more successful they become. Read the whole article. While it's true that Murtha's earmarks have brought much of Murtha's district back from the proverbial grave (unemployment falling from 24% to less than 5%), one wonders if inherent in a earmark system so ripe for abuse is rampant corruption - and if the ends justify the means.

October 29, 2007

Congressional Dems Cutting Back Workweek

Last December, before even taking majority control of the House, the Democrats announced that under their leadership the House would start working five days a week, just like the majority of Americans. Last Friday those same Democrats announced that next year they're going to cut their work week back.

Here's a Washington Post article from December 6th, 2006: Culture Shock on Capitol Hill: House to Work 5 Days a Week.

Forget the minimum wage. Or outsourcing jobs overseas. The labor issue most on the minds of members of Congress yesterday was their own: They will have to work five days a week starting in January.

Compare this to the New York Times article from last Saturday, October 27th, 2007: Democrats Plan a Shorter Workweek.

Explaining that decision to reporters, Mr. Hoyer said, “I do intend to have more time for members to work in their districts and to be close to their families.”

Oh, and why did the Democrats want a longer work week in the first place? Here's a quote from that Washington Post article last December:

Hoyer and other Democratic leaders say they are trying to repair the image of Congress, which was so anemic this year it could not meet a basic duty: to approve spending bills that fund government.

Congress has yet to pass any real spending bills to fund government for the current fiscal year 2008 that began October 1st, 2007. In fact, as it stands now, the Dems are going to intentionally delay voting on spending bills for the Defense Department and the war until next year. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid make the "do nothing" Congress of 2006, headed by the Republicans, look accomplished.

Dems Complaining About Their Communications Strategy?

The Democrats and their allies control every aspect of today's media with the exception of Fox News and conservative talk radio. The media, in essence, is the Democrats mouthpiece. Then why is there a memo circulating on Capitol Hill complaining about the problems that Democrats are having in getting their message out effectively?

The Hill's Mike Soraghan reports that Dave Helfert, a former House Appropriations Committee spokesman, is claiming that the Republicans are cleaning the Democrats collective clocks because the GOP is connecting to the public on an emotional level, as opposed to the Democrats who are failing because they rely on facts and figures to convince the public. While I don't agree with many of the points that Helfert makes, primarily because he is focused solely on the methods the Democrats use, not the inferior substance of many of the policies that they're working with, I do agree with this statement:

“Almost every Republican message contains a simple and direct moral imperative, a stark contrast between good and evil, right and wrong, common sense and fuzzy liberal thinking,” Helfert wrote. “Meanwhile, we’re trying to ignite passions with analyses of optimum pupil-teacher ratios.”

Helfert strikes me as the perfect Democratic communications consultant, living his life (with his political messages) in a perpetual gray area - in a world that increasingly calls for black and white solutions. The point that he misses is that sometimes situations demand tough decisions, and actions and stands that must be taken in spite of, rather than because of, public opinion polling results.

Interesting Morning Reads: 10/29/07

Real Crossfire by Mark Steyn

Bolton Book To Bare Rift on Policies by Benny Avni

'Fairness' Is Foul - Liberals vs. the First Amendment by John Fund

A Campaign Afflicted With Debate Fatigue by Dan Balz

And, of course:

Sox scale peak again by Jeff Horrigan

October 28, 2007

Isn't "Big Money" in Politics Corrupting?

This morning we have an editorial in the Charleston Daily Mail by Don Surber that questions the influence of the always nefarious "big money" on political campaigns. Or, rather, he ponders why no one in the media or on the Left is questioning it now that it is Hillary and the Democrats raising the money, not the Republicans.

This year, the left is stone cold silent on the "negatives" of big money "buying" elections. I guess when billionaires such as George Soros are signing big checks to groups like MoveOn, you kick campaign finance "reform" to the curb.

Surber points out that so far Hillary has raised $80 million - more than the 10 Republicans Presidential Primary candidates collectively, and over $10 million more than the annual municipal budget of the namesake of the paper in which the editorial ran, Charleston, West Virginia. Barrack Obama has raised about the same amount of money. Pretty astounding, when you think about it.

The Democrats and their media accomplices have spent decades relentlessly pounding into the public's head the mantra that "big money = influence = corruption". I'd say that it is one of the only messages of theirs that has really become conventional wisdom. We're watching as all of that previous conditioning of the public is being thrown away. One of two things will happen. Either the media will act fairly and start attacking Hillary, Obama, and the Dems with the same vigor as they have the Republicans for decades, or they will give the Democrats a pass that will be glaringly apparent to everyone. I'm betting on the second outcome, in which case the "big money" issue will be one that the Democrats will not be able to use with the same effectiveness ever again.

Thanks, as always, to Instapundit.com for the original link.

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