Dem. operative: ‘They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers’

Dem. operative: ‘They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers’

Thomas Lifson

Politico quotes an anonymous source it identifies as a  “veteran Democratic operative”:
“They need to deftly pin this on the tea partiers,” said the Democrat. “Just like the Clinton White House deftly pinned the Oklahoma City bombing on the militia and anti-government people.”
The game being played is obvious to anyone with eyes. Democrats are nakedly exploiting tragedy to harm the tea parties. For shame.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/01/dem_operative_they_need_to_def.html at January 10, 2011 – 09:30:14 AM CST

“I’m 63 and I’m Tired” — Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts State Senate.

“I’m 63 and I’m Tired”
By Robert A. Hall
 
 

I’m 63.  Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired.  

 

I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy to earn it.  

 

I’m tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to “keep people in their homes.”  Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I’m willing to help But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the left-wing Congress-critters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them with their own money.  

 

I’m tired of being told how bad  America is by left-wing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood Entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities  America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the economy of  Zimbabwe , the freedom of the press of  China , the crime and violence of  Mexico , the tolerance for Christian people of  Iran , and the freedom of speech of  Venezuela .

 

I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor”; of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers”; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery”; of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.  

 

I’m tired of being told that “race doesn’t matter” in the post-racial world of Obama, when it’s all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of US. Senators from  Illinois .  

 

I think it’s very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln  wrote the Emancipation Proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less arrogantly of an all-knowing government.  

 

I’m tired of a news media that thinks Bush’s fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama’s, at triple the cost, were wonderful; that thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress; that picked over every line of Bush’s military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his; that slammed Palin, with two years as governor, for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News?  Get a clue. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.  

 

I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and mandrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America , while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in  Saudi Arabia  to teach love and tolerance.  

 

I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a  three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore’s, and if you’re greener than Gore, you’re green enough.  

 

I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don’t think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I’m tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.  

 

I’m tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working, but are living on welfare or crime. What’s next?  Calling drug dealers, “Undocumented Pharmacists”?  And, no, I’m not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic, and it’s been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion.  I’m willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person, who can speak English, doesn’t have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military…. Those are the citizens we need.  

 

I’m tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people than themselves. Do bad things happen in war?  You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave?  Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years and still are?  Not even close.  So here’s the deal. I’ll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims, who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we’ll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.  

 

I’m tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers; bums are bipartisan. And I’m tired of people telling me we need bipartisanship. I live in  Illinois , where the “Illinois Combine” of Democrats has worked to loot the public for years. Not to mention the tax cheats in Obama’s cabinet.  

 

I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.  

 

Speaking of poor, I’m tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn’t have that in 1970, but we didn’t know we were “poor.” The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.  

 

I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination or big-whatever for their problems.  

 

Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to have to see the world these people are making.  I’m just sorry for my granddaughters.  

 

Robert  A. Hall is a Marine  Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the  Massachusetts   State  Senate. 

 

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us sends it on!  This is your chance to make a difference.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/imtired.asp

Morning Bell: This Congress Has No Shame

Morning Bell: This Congress Has No Shame

Posted By Conn Carroll On May 27, 2010 @ 9:38 am In Ongoing Priorities | No Comments

On February 4, 2010, pushing for passage of her pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) legislation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said [1] on the House floor: “When I became Speaker of the House, the very first day we passed legislation that made PAYGO the rule of the House. Today we will make it the law of the land. … So the time is long overdue for this to be taken for granted. The federal government will pay as it goes.” That was the promise. But here is the reality [2]: in the three years that Speaker Pelosi has enforced her PAYGO rule, the House has violated it by nearly $1 trillion [3].

And now with the U.S. Debt Clock [4] officially passing the $13 trillion milestone Wednesday, the House is set to violate their own PAYGO law yet again, this time to the tune of around $150 billion [5]. The legislation clocks-in at almost one-fifth the size of President Barack Obama’s original $862 billion failed economic stimulus, and the leftist majority in Congress has titled it “The American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act.” And it is a tax-hiking, spending-exploding, job-killing, deficit-hiking wonder.

The Tax Hikes: The entire purpose of this bill was originally to extend some popular and well-established tax cuts that have been around for years but have to be reapproved every year. But being the big government lovers that they are, the left has crafted a bill that actually increases tax revenues by $57 billion over ten years [6]. The biggest items are a job-killing tax on American corporations that compete overseas [7], a job-killing tax on innovation-creating venture capital partnerships [6], and a four-fold increase in the tax on oil production [6] that ostensibly is supposed to go to the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, but is instead being siphoned off to help pay for completely unrelated new domestic spending [8].

The Spending: The bill originally clocked-in at almost $200 billion [9], and Democrats have since cut the spending to just under $150 billion, $95 billion of which will go straight onto our children’s credit card bill [9] in flagrant violation of Congress’ own PAYGO rules. Goodies include $26 billion for infrastructure, more than $40 billion for yet another unemployment insurance extension, another $24 billion bailout of state Medicaid programs, $8 billion in needlessly expensive health insurance subsidies [8], and $2.5 billion for states to increase their welfare rolls [10].  Even some Democrats are beginning to question the endless UI extensions, with Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D-PA) telling The Washington Post [11] that businesses back home complain that they want to start hiring but are getting few applicants because Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment benefits. [11]

And then there is what was originally the largest-ticket item in the bill: $65 billion over three and a half years for increasing physician Medicare reimbursements, aka the “doc fix.” This one item alone proves that all of President Barack Obama’s claims that his health care law reduces the deficit are 100% false. The CBO report this month estimated that $276 billion would be required to shore up the “doc fix” over the next decade. Adding that spending to Obamacare’s already $940 billion total would easily push it into the red. That is why Congress did not address the problem in Obamacare. Brandeis University professor Stuart Altman calls the “doc fix” charade “one of the worst pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen.” [12] The House has cut this version of the “doc fix” down to $21.8 billion just through December 2011.

Across the country, millions of American families are struggling to make family budgets and keep to them. Not Congress. For the first time in the history of the budget process, the House of Representatives has failed to plan how they will spend your tax dollars [13]. Instead they will recklessly continue to flagrantly violate their own PAYGO rules as they add billions and billions worth of debt onto your children. This Congress has no shame.

Quick Hits:

  • The front page of USA TODAY [14] asks “Is oil spill becoming Obama’s Katrina?” and cites a new Gallup poll finding that 53% of adults say President Obama is doing a “poor” or “very poor” job of handling the spill.
  • Democrats Majority Whip Dick Durbin (IL) and Gov. Ed Rendell (PA) called on Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) to detail his claim [15] that the White House offered him a job in exchange for dropping out of the PA Senate primary, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said if Sestak’s allegations are true, it is an impeachable [16] offense.
  • Judicial Watch filed suit against the Obama Justice Department yesterday seeking documents relating to the Obama administration’s decision to abandon a default judgment against the New Black Panther Party [17] for voter intimidation.
  • The Obama Justice Department has drafted a legal challenge [18] asserting that Arizona’s immigration enforcement law is unconstitutional because it impinges on the federal government’s authority to police the nation’s borders.
  • The facts on Elena Kagan, Harvard, and the military. [19]
  •  

JUDICIAL WATCH ANNOUNCES LIST OF WASHINGTON ‘S “TEN MOST CORRUPT POLITICIANS” FOR 2009.

JUDICIAL WATCH ANNOUNCES LIST OF WASHINGTON ‘S “TEN MOST CORRUPT POLITICIANS” FOR 2009.

GUESS WHO MADE THE LIST?

THE WHITE HOUSE IS NOT PLEASED.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/news/2009/dec/judicial-watch-announces-list-washington-s-ten-most-wanted-corrupt-politicians-2009

Republicans Threatening Congressional Seats Long Held by Democrats

Republicans Threatening Congressional Seats Long Held by Democrats

Winds of change seen not only in places where posts often change hands.

By JEFF ZELENY & ADAM NAGOURNEY
THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published: Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 5:06 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 5:06 p.m.

( page of 3 )

ASHLAND, Wis. | Rep. David Obey has won 21 straight races, easily prevailing through wars and economic crises that have spanned presidencies from Nixon to Obama. Yet the discontent with Washington surging through politics is now threatening not only his seat but Democratic control of Congress.

 

Obey is one of nearly a dozen well-established House Democrats who are bracing for something they rarely face: serious competition. Their predicament is the latest sign of distress for their party and underlines why Republicans are confident of big gains in November, and perhaps even winning back the House.

The fight for the midterm elections is not confined to traditional battlegrounds, where Republicans and Democrats often swap seats every few cycles. In the Senate, Democrats are struggling to hold on to, among others, seats once held by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Democrats are preparing to lose as many as 30 House seats – including a wave of first-term members – and Republicans have expanded their sights to places where political challenges seldom develop.

“It’s not a lifetime appointment,” said Sean Duffy, a Republican district attorney here in the north woods of Wisconsin, where he has established himself as one of the most aggressive challengers to Obey since the Democrat went to Washington in 1969. “There are changes in this country going on and people aren’t happy.”

Obey, who leads the powerful Appropriations Committee, is one of three House Democratic chairmen who have drawn serious opposition. Reps. John Spratt of South Carolina, who oversees the Budget Committee, and Ike Skelton of Missouri, who runs the Armed Services Committee, have been warned by party leaders to step up the intensity of their campaigns to help preserve the Democratic majority.

These established House Democrats find themselves in the same endangered straits as some of their newer colleagues, particularly those who were swept into office in 2008 by Obama as he scored victories in traditionally Republican states like Indiana and Virginia.

Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said he would consider anything short of taking back the House a failure. Republicans say they have not recruited strong candidates in all districts, but both parties agree that Republicans are within reach of capturing the 40 additional seats needed to win control. Republicans also are likely to eat into the Democratic majority in the Senate, though their prospects of taking control remain slim.

Democratic congressional officials – well aware that a president’s party typically loses seats in midterm elections – have long been preparing for a tough year. But that Obey here in Wisconsin, and other veteran lawmakers like Rep. Earl Pomeroy of North Dakota, suddenly find themselves in a fight reflects an increasingly sour mood toward the Democratic Party and incumbents.

“He’s supporting the party line of the Democrats, which is not consistent with North Dakota,” said Rick Berg, a Republican state representative from North Dakota who is challenging Pomeroy. “In the past, we’ve been more conservative at home than the people we send to Washington.” Asked if this was a good time to be a Republican candidate, Berg laughed and said: “I sure think so.”

Pomeroy, who has served for 18 years as the state’s only congressman, won two years ago with 62 percent of the vote. Now, he is among the top targets of House Republicans, and is fighting without the help of one of the state’s incumbent Democratic senators on the ballot, since Byron Dorgan chose to retire.

“Some cycles are more challenging as a candidate than others,” Pomeroy said. “This should be in the range of challenging cycles.”

Democrats worry that some lawmakers who have avoided tough races in the past could be at added risk of defeat because they are out of practice, slow on their feet and often reluctant to acknowledge the threat they are facing. The chairman of the House re-election effort, Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, has called mandatory face-to-face meetings with vulnerable members to monitor their campaigns.

complete article below

John Mccain RHINO Many lobbyists say they are watching Obama’s former presidential rival — perhaps the most unusual of the unusual suspects — because he’s engaged in a heated Arizona Republican primary with former Rep. J. D. Hayworth. Financial observers have concluded that McCain’s vote will depend entirely on his analysis of how it plays among Arizona primary voters.

John McCain

Many lobbyists say they are watching Obama’s former presidential rival — perhaps the most unusual of the unusual suspects — because he’s engaged in a heated Arizona Republican primary with former Rep. J. D. Hayworth. Financial observers have concluded that McCain’s vote will depend entirely on his analysis of how it plays among Arizona primary voters.

“If McCain decides that doing this will help him beat J.D. Hayworth, he’ll do it,” says one.

McCain formed an unlikely alliance with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to propose reinstating the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial banking from investment banking. That law was repealed in the late 1990s, and many critics say it allowed for the growth of mammoth and risky investment banks. Fully reinstating the law would be further than the Obama administration has proposed.

But for now, Wall Street can breathe easy. Asked if he or other Republicans might vote for the bill, McCain offered a terse “no” and stepped quickly into an elevator.

Eight Republicans Who May Betray Country, Party, Constituency

Eight Republicans Who May Betray Country, Party, Constituency

April 15th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

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Politico:

The Republican rhetoric sounded tough on financial regulatory reform early this week.

“Shame on the president,” said Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who complained that President Barack Obama was derailing bipartisan negotiations on Wall Street reform for short-term political gain.

But behind such tough talk is a realization within Republican ranks that several of their own may find themselves voting with Obama when the final Wall Street reform deal comes together. “Some feel like you need to vote for it, just because it’s a popular measure,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

What’s striking about the potential GOP “yes” votes is how they differ from the usual suspects who were the focus of such heated speculation during the health care debate.

In addition to such perennial GOP maybes as Graham and Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, lobbyists are also talking about Republican senators closer to the core of the party who might side with Obama, including Bob Bennett of Utah and perhaps even John McCain of Arizona.

Call them the unusual suspects.

Democrats need at least one GOP vote, and the speculation is intensifying as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he wants to bring the bill to the Senate floor as early as next week. But one Republican financial lobbyist predicts a domino effect if Republicans get on board: “If one goes, 20 will go. It will be ‘open the floodgates.’”

Here are the eight senators Wall Street is watching most closely:

Saxby Chambliss

The Georgian is the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, where he has taken a lead role in negotiating the derivatives piece of the bill with Democratic chairwoman Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas. Derivatives are enormously important to large agribusinesses that use them to hedge commodity price risks, but Chambliss has his nose out of joint because Lincoln introduced a liberal-friendly version of the bill without his input earlier this week.

Still, if the bill can somehow be dragged back toward him, Chambliss may want to be part of the deal. “We would like to get a bipartisan bill,” he said. “We would all like to eliminate this too-big-to-fail issue. That’s not an issue that’s going to have any disagreement between Democrats and Republicans. How we get there is where the disagreements will be.”

Can you say “Dodd-Chambliss?”

He was mad at the president at the beginning of the week. But some on Wall Street are convinced that by the end of the debate he’ll be with Obama for the final vote. That’s because he’s a Massachusetts Republican, after all, despite his tea party cred and high-profile campaign against Obama’s health care bill. Republicans are a rare enough breed in New England, and they generally don’t survive long if they don’t hew close to the political center.

“The bottom line is, where there are problems [on Wall Street], we should fix them,” Brown said. And he added that he will take a hard look at the proposals, on which he is just getting up to speed. “I’m not going to vote on anything or make any statements until I read the bills,” he said.

Bob Corker

The first-term senator from Tennessee shocked his GOP colleagues by stepping up to take over the role of lead Republican negotiator on regulatory reform when negotiations between Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd and ranking Republican Richard Shelby broke down. That’s a no-no in the seniority-obsessed Senate, but Corker made himself into an integral deal maker on the bill.

Now that Shelby’s back at the table, Corker may relish a chance to be the closer. Lobbyists wonder whether he wants the bill to be named “Dodd-Corker,” to secure a place in financial history.

“I think we all want to see financial regulation take place; I really do,” said Corker. And of the areas in dispute, he said, “These things are very solvable. It just takes a little grind-it-out work.”

Corker also has made it clear that he thinks the Republicans would be making a political mistake to stand against the bill. “I will be stunned if we do not reach a bipartisan agreement. … Unfortunately, the winds are blowing — there’s lots of things happening here that don’t aid that effort, but at the end of the day, I think we’re going to have a solid bipartisan effort,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday.

John McCain

Many lobbyists say they are watching Obama’s former presidential rival — perhaps the most unusual of the unusual suspects — because he’s engaged in a heated Arizona Republican primary with former Rep. J. D. Hayworth. Financial observers have concluded that McCain’s vote will depend entirely on his analysis of how it plays among Arizona primary voters.

“If McCain decides that doing this will help him beat J.D. Hayworth, he’ll do it,” says one.

McCain formed an unlikely alliance with Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) to propose reinstating the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial banking from investment banking. That law was repealed in the late 1990s, and many critics say it allowed for the growth of mammoth and risky investment banks. Fully reinstating the law would be further than the Obama administration has proposed.

But for now, Wall Street can breathe easy. Asked if he or other Republicans might vote for the bill, McCain offered a terse “no” and stepped quickly into an elevator.

Bob Bennett

The Utah Republican is another old-line senator facing a tough primary fight back home, which means many put him in the same category as McCain — a possible yes, but only if it plays well on the ground in Utah.

Bennett seemed more open to the idea than McCain, telling POLITICO simply, “I think it’s far too early to engage in that sort of speculation.”

Kit Bond

He’s retiring this year, which gives the Missouri senator a lot of freedom — and puts him squarely in the cross hairs of the administration, which is targeting GOP retirees for special wooing. But asked if he would support the bill, Bond said he’d vote for it “when there’s a decent bill.” But, he said, “there’s so many problems with this bill now.” He would not elaborate.

Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins

Both Maine senators are moderates and squarely in the usual-suspects camp, because each was earlier seen as a potential defector on health care.

“I’m looking at everything,” Snowe said. “I have not made any decisions.”

For her part, Collins said, “We need to prevent large financial firms from holding taxpayers hostage. I’m still looking at issues.”

Collins said she’s got a host of concerns, including the bill approach on too big to fail, the authority of a proposed council of financial regulators, gaps in regulatory authority and derivatives.

Congress sees no budget rush

Congress sees no budget rush
By: Jonathan Allen
April 12, 2010 04:16 AM EDT
Congress is poised to miss its April 15 deadline for finishing next year’s budget without even considering a draft in either chamber.

Unlike citizens’ tax-filing deadline, Congress’s mid-April benchmark is nonbinding. And members seem to be in no rush to get the process going.

Indeed, some Democratic insiders suspect that leaders will skip the budget process altogether this year — a way to avoid the political unpleasantness of voting on spending, deficits and taxes in an election year — or simply go through a few of the motions, without any real effort to complete the work.

Regan LaChapelle, a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), would go only so far as saying that the budget “is on a list of things that are possible for this work period” — a reference to the window that opens when members roll back into town Monday and closes when they leave around Memorial Day.

Congress has failed to adopt a final budget four times in the past 35 years — for fiscal years 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007 — according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. If the House does not pass a first version of the budget resolution, it will be the first time since the implementation of the 1974 Budget Act, which governs the modern congressional budgeting process.

The practical consequences of failing to produce a federal budget for next year are about the same as they are for a family that doesn’t set a plan for income and spending: Congress doesn’t need a budget to tax or spend, but enforcing discipline is harder without one. And, like a family that misses out on efficiencies because it hasn’t taken a hard look at its finances, Congress can’t use reconciliation rules to cut the deficit if the House and the Senate don’t adopt the same budget.

But there are political consequences to the budget conundrum, too — and for Democrats, they’re of the “damned if you, damned if you don’t” variety.

Republicans are certain to castigate the majority Democrats if they fail to put a fiscal blueprint in place amid a public backlash against spending and a torrent of dire warnings from economic experts about the consequences of imbalanced federal books.

But they’ll also call Democrats on the carpet if they approve a new budget that includes more spending, higher deficits or increased taxes.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week that the government’s books must be put in order through tax increases or slashing spending for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

“These choices are difficult, and it always seems easier to put them off — until the day they cannot be put off anymore,” Bernanke said.

 

Similar warnings have been issued in the past week by Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf and former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who is an adviser to President Barack Obama.

But there’s little appetite for taking on these issues in an election year and plenty of ways for the minority party to inflict pain upon anyone who tries.

In the Senate, expedited procedures allow for relatively quick consideration of a budget resolution — no filibusters need apply — but senators may offer an unlimited string of politically charged amendments culminating in a vote-a-rama certain to provide Republican challengers with fresh campaign ammunition.

Just last month, when the Senate considered a fiscal 2010 budget reconciliation bill dealing with health care, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) tried to jam Democrats by forcing them to vote against an amendment that would have prohibited sex offenders from getting drugs for erectile dysfunction through the new health care exchanges.

And in the House, rank-and-file lawmakers are showing signs of political fatigue from a series of difficult votes, including enactment of the stimulus and health care laws and passage of a controversial climate change bill last year.

All of that raises this question: Why would Democratic leaders expose themselves and their rank and file to so much political risk, particularly when there’s no guarantee that the House and Senate could come to agreement on a final version?

After all, the budget itself is nonbinding, and the process to finish it is daunting: committee action in the House and Senate, painful floor votes in both chambers, negotiations to resolve differences if there are any and a second set of tough votes on a compromise version if needed.

Still, there’s an institutional interest for the budget committees in delivering a work product every year to demonstrate their importance. Even as most of the Capitol’s budget writers were tied up calculating costs and savings in the new health care law in the first quarter of the year, preparations for the fiscal 2011 budget were under way in both the House and the Senate budget committees.

Moreover, many Democrats believe they have a responsibility to at least try to put a budget in place.

Congressional aides said that Democratic leaders will have to make a decision soon after they reconvene this week about whether they can finish a budget before Memorial Day.

What’s lost in the absence of a budget, first and foremost, is the ability to write filibuster-proof reconciliation bills, which are the best vehicles for cutting spending or raising taxes in a highly partisan Senate.

In addition to reconciliation instructions, a budget also provides spending-control mechanisms, such as the 302(a) allocation that caps appropriations for the year, and can include “reserve” funds that grant lawmakers certain flexibility in budgeting for new laws.

But even if a budget isn’t in place, appropriators have tools at their disposal to implement an overall spending cap and individual suballocations for each of the committees’ 12 annual bills.

BORDER-LINE DELUSIONAL: JOHN MCCAIN IN HIS OWN WORDS

BORDER-LINE DELUSIONAL: JOHN MCCAIN IN HIS OWN WORDS 
Phoenix, AZ (April 10) – He’s far from alone in his feelings, but even Senator John McCain feels like he has failed Arizona and the American people when it comes to securing our border with Mexico.
 
Senator McCain admitted to the Arizona Daily Star editorial board on April 1st that in losing the presidential election, he lost the battle for protecting Arizonans and the American people starting at the U.S.-Mexican border.
 
In an interview published today, the Star questioned John McCain on his plan to secure the border. McCain’s response was, “If I were President, I would have come forward with a proposal. And people keep coming to me and saying ‘what’s your proposal?’ And I say, ‘look, I lost the election.'”
 
McCain has criticized Congress for failing to secure the border which prompted the Star to ask the senator, “What have you done to secure the border?”
 
McCain’s response? “Not enough.”
 
JD Hayworth, who is mounting a conservative challenge to McCain in the August 24th Republican Primary, feels the same as McCain. John McCain hasn’t done enough.
 
“As a Senator he holds the power to introduce bills, to bring solutions to problems, and to rally support,” said Hayworth. “With 28 years in Washington – and most of that time as the darling of mainstream media – I don’t think he’s powerless to get anything done, I think he’s unwilling. He doesn’t want to lose that darling status.”
 
“That’s the primary difference between John McCain and me,” Hayworth continued. “Not only am I ready, willing and able to fight for securing the border, my “Enforcement First Act” that I introduced when I was in the House is out there for everyone to read. Unfortunately, less conservative members of Congress – like Senator McCain – weren’t willing to do what it takes to finally stop the flow of people, drugs and crime across our border.”

Actually, Palin’s endorsement of McCain really does stink

Actually, Palin’s endorsement of McCain really does stink

One of my fellow Green Room contributors, CK MacLeod, stirred the pot with his recent post on the topic. Now, personally, I think comments should be responded to with more comments, and not with the bullhorn of the Green Room posting privilege. However, Allahpundit, with his beta wisdom, suggested a response in kind.

My first qualm was with the designation of critics of McCain, and of this move in particular, as “McCain haters”. Apart from being a tactic usually adopted by the left to demonize their critics, it also sounds eerily familiar to the RINO-in-question’s daughter, Meghan, who created the “NO H8″ campaign. It’s a cheap shot, meant to portray one’s opponent as operating on bigotry. Disliking the guy for his statements, penned legislation, policy positions, and campaign decisions does not amount to hate. Unless, of course, you’re talking about Barack Obama(haters!).

Then we get to the meat of the issue: why did Palin endorse McCain? We’ve all got various ideas, but CK’s precis is that she simply supports him.

Gov Palin agrees with Senator McCain close to 100% on foreign policy. She respects and likes him personally. She doesn’t blame him for the actions of some of his operatives during and after Campaign ‘08, and never believed it was his responsibility to play the roll of political Dad and discipline the other kids for her. She was and is quite capable of defending herself and charting her own course, and would have found it condescending and presumptuous for him to play protector.

So he’s a hawk. Good. So is Joe Lieberman, one of his best pals. Will Palin endorse him on that basis alone? Lieberman is a liberal in almost all other ways. Additionally, foreign policy is but one of many factors to consider. I’d argue that it’s far more important to focus on that aspect of a candidate’s philosophy when they’re running for president, not for Congress. If she likes him personally, there’s really nothing to argue. Whether she blames him for the muzzling she was put under in October of ‘08, the post-campaign treatment, or not, is her business.

The key here is that Sarah Palin has been swelling her political influence at an accelerated rate in the last year, almost exclusively by weighing in on domestic issues. CK eventually gets to her compatibility with McCain’s positions:

She has no problem with the main thrust of his domestic views or his overall approach to politics. If she cares much about immigration politics – I’ve seen little evidence of it, though it’s clearly still a big deal to many grassroots conservatives – she’s happy with McCain’s post-”Shamnesty” positioning. I suspect that she cares enough about the Republican Party’s long-term prospects to want to see the issue handled soberly and positively.

Though post-’08 she’s been driven into a conservative cul-de-sac – in part by political circumstances in the US of A ca. 2010, in part by a learning experience that has included attacks on her from the left and from Brooks-Frum moderate/elitist conservatives – her political profile and her actual political conduct when in office, was moderate, bi- and non-partisan, and altogether maverick-y.

The importance of her positions is rather considerable, as people throughout the blogosphere have been casting Palin as the new face of conservatism; a latter day Reagan. If this is the case, let’s do a little comparison.

First up, the one that comes to everyone’s mind: amnesty. McCain authored the bill himself, with none other than Ted Kennedy. What’s Palin’s view on illegal aliens? Well, she’s stated she’s not for “total amnesty“. That’s sufficiently vague. Would it matter more to a Senator from a border state? Yes, but as 2007 proved, it matters to the majority of the conservative movement as well. Boiling it down to “I support his position on immigration” is not comforting, either. Tough call on that one. Perhaps they do agree.

How about global warming? Well, she was one of the first out of the gates after ClimateGate struck. In the same vein, she’s been one of the most outspoken proponents for domestic drilling, including in the ANWR area. McCain, on the other hand? He not only is against drilling in ANWR, but has long partook of the AGW kool-aid. Cap and Trade is another area where McCain and Obama get along swimmingly. Palin begs to disagree.

What about a Hot Air favorite: gay marriage? Well, we’re well aware of the McCain camp’s position, considering Meggie Mac’s approach. Sarah, once again, parts ways on the topic. Evolution? Again, they disagree. Some may say it’s a minor issue, but it’s seemed important to Sarah Palin.

Now, I’m not well known as a friend of birtherism. Hence, JD Hayworth’s membership in that group certainly gives me pause. However, at the same time, he’s anti-amnesty. He’s pro-drilling in ANWR. He doesn’t buy global warming, nor does he like the idea of cap and trade. Gay marriage? Uhhh…yeah. This is by no means an attempt to express support for Hayworth, but on the issues, he does have a more conservative scorecard than McCain.

Overall, my point is this: is Sarah Palin a strong conservative? If she is, why is she endorsing McCain? They disagree on a number of relevant domestic issues. She and Hayworth share more common views. If it’s personal, so be it. If Sarah Palin is a moderate, then very well. Let’s get that out into the open, and stop presenting her as a conservative icon, because there are few left who would consider McCain as such. Some have suggested that she is just being loyal to the man who chose her as his running mate for the presidency. Ultimately, the argument that Sarah Palin supports McCain because of his politics is frail. They’re at odds all over the place. It’s not “hatred” to point this out. Deal with it.