Obama dismisses GOP ‘Pledge’ as echo of disaster

Obama dismisses GOP ‘Pledge’ as echo of disaster

President Barack Obama says Republicans’ plan to slash taxes and cut spending if the GOP retakes the House in November is no more than “an echo of a disastrous decade we can’t afford to relive.”

Obama used his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday to skewer House Republicans over the “Pledge to America” they unveiled this week. It also promised to cut down on government regulation, repeal Obama’s health care law and end his stimulus program.

“The Republicans who want to take over Congress offered their own ideas the other day. Many were the very same policies that led to the economic crisis in the first place, which isn’t surprising, since many of their leaders were among the architects of that failed policy,” Obama said.

“It is grounded in same worn-out philosophy: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; cut the rules for Wall Street and the special interests; and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself. That’s not a prescription for a better future.”

Republicans used their own radio address to defend the plan.

“The new agenda embodies Americans’ rejection of the notion that we can simply tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity,” said one of its authors, California Rep. Kevin McCarthy. “It offers a new way forward that hasn’t been tried in Washington _ an approach focused on cutting spending _ which is sadly a new idea for a Congress accustomed to always accelerating it.”

The GOP plan was short on specifics but showed a stark contrast between the philosophies of the two parties weeks ahead of midterm elections where Republicans are forecast to make big gains and potentially win back the House.

Perhaps the biggest difference was on taxes, where Republicans want to extend all of George W. Bush’s income tax cuts permanently _ at a cost of some $4 trillion over 10 years.

Democrats are proposing to keep the rates where they are for individuals making up to $200,000 and for families earning up to $250,000 _ but to hit wealthier individuals and some small businesses with tax hikes in January. Their plan would cost $3 trillion.

Now, though, it’s not clear there will be a final vote in Congress on either approach before November’s elections.

___

Online:

Obama address: http://www.whitehouse.gov

GOP address: http://www.youtube.com/RepublicanConference

GOP Will Win House and Senate

GOP Will Win House and Senate

Posted By Dick Morris On April 7, 2010 @ 10:17 am In Congress, News, Obama, Politics | 300 Comments

Stanley Greenberg and James Carville claim that the Republican Party has peaked too soon. Incredibly, Greenberg says that “when we look back on this, we’re going to say Massachusetts is when 1994 happened.” Stan’s only claim to expertise in the 1994 elections, of course, is that he’s the guy who blew it for the Democrats. Right after that, President Clinton fired both of the flawed consultants and never brought them back again.

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Their latest pitch is that the highpoint of the GOP advance was the Scott Brown election and that, from here on, things will “improve slightly” for the Democrats.

Once again, Carville and Greenberg are totally misreading the public mood. Each time the Republican activists battle, they become stronger. Their cyber and grass roots grow deeper. The negatives that attach to so-called “moderate” Democratic incumbents increase. And each time Obama, Reid and Pelosi defy public opinion and use their majorities to ram through unpopular legislation, frustration and anger rise.

Were Obama’s ambitions to slacken, perhaps a cooling-off might eventuate. But soon the socialist financial takeover bill will come on the agenda, followed by amnesty for illegal immigrants, cap-and-trade and card-check unionization. Each bill will trigger its own mobilization of public opposition and add to the swelling coalition of opposition to Obama and his radical agenda.

And, all the while, the deficit will increase, interest rates will rise and unemployment will remain high.

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Gallup: GOP moves ahead of Democrats on generic Congressional ballot

Gallup: GOP moves ahead of Democrats on generic Congressional ballot

posted at 9:30 am on April 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
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Steny Hoyer keeps talking about how ObamaCare will create a wave of voter support for Democrats in the mid-term elections, but the evidence makes him more Baghdad Bob than Michael Barone.  Gallup becomes the latest pollster to find that the Republicans have moved ahead of Democrats on the generic Congressional ballot — and this time among registered rather than likely voters (via Andrew Malcolm):

Registered voters now say they prefer the Republican to the Democratic candidate in their district by 47% to 44% in the midterm congressional elections, the first time the GOP has led in 2010 election preferences since Gallup began weekly tracking of these in March.

The March 22-28 results were obtained after the U.S. House’s passage of landmark healthcare reform legislation on March 21. The shift toward Republicans raises the possibility that the healthcare bill had a slightly negative impact on the Democrats’ political fortunes in the short run. …

A Republican advantage among all registered voters in midterm elections has been rare in Gallup’s 60-year history of tracking congressional voting preferences, happening only a few times each in the 1950, 1994, and 2002 election cycles — all years in which Republicans had strong Election Day showings.

As Gallup notes in its write-up, the registered voter sample type does not have the best predictive model for upcoming elections.  Republicans tend to turn out in greater percentages, which is why pollsters like Rasmussen tend to stick with likely-voter samples and why their polls tend to do better at predictions.  Even in years where the GOP trailed Democrats on these polls, they made gains in Congress.  The metric before this year was to pull within the margin of error, three or four points down, in order to get the signal for a good year.  With the GOP moving ahead, it looks like a coming landslide.

Gallup also notes that this trend started after the passage of ObamaCare.  Why did voters turn away from Democrats after their big legislative win of the session?  A poll yesterday by Gallup provides the explanation:

Proponents, as well as opponents, of the new healthcare reform law think the legislation is less than perfect. Both groups agree that the bill didn’t do enough to deal with rising healthcare costs. Apart from this, however, they perceive very different types of flaws.

Forty-seven percent of Americans polled by USA Today/Gallup March 26-28 say it is a good thing the plan passed, while 50% call it a bad thing.

Three-quarters of the “good thing” group believe the law should include a government-run insurance plan, or public option. Also, 6 in 10 (59%) say it doesn’t go far enough in regulating the healthcare industry.

These findings — in particular the large majority still desiring a public option — could explain why more advocates of the reform bill do not feel “enthusiastic” about it. According to Gallup polling conducted immediately after passage, most supporters of the bill said they were “pleased” rather than “enthusiastic” (66% vs. 29%). By contrast, nearly as many opponents of the bill were “angry” as “disappointed” (46% vs. 52%).

Opponents of the plan — those calling passage a “bad thing” — are in near-total agreement that the bill goes too far in expanding the government’s role in the healthcare system and that it will cost the government too much.

Unfortunately for Democrats, the “bad thing” group still outstrips the “good thing” group, and that will continue to be the case while surprises like the menu mandate and throwing retirees into Medicare Plan D continue to arise.  The Democrats didn’t even get a bump for finally winning a vote in a Congress they have controlled entirely since 2007.  Instead, voters are unhappy with them for passing a bill they didn’t like.  If Steny Hoyer thinks that means a big win at the midterms, then perhaps his Maryland district should send him into retirement rather than leaving him to his delusions.

GOP gets big bump of donors in August

GOP gets big bump of donors in August
By Fredreka Schouten and Matt Kelley, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Despite being in the minority in Congress, Republican campaign committees outraised Democrats by $1.7 million in August as they have aggressively collected political cash amid the rancorous debate over health care.Republicans also held an edge over Democrats in the amount of money available, when counting debts, as both parties set the stage for the 2010 elections, in which more than three dozen competitive House and Senate seats are at stake.

 

 POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES: How much money do they have?The GOP spike is a departure. In each of the past four years, the party in power — whether Democrat or Republican — raised more than the minority’s fundraising committees in August, a USA TODAY review of campaign records shows.

 

“Republicans have been able to tap into some of the anger against Democrats in power and translate that into fundraising,” said Nathan Gonzales of The Rothenberg Political Report. “There are a lot of Republicans who wish the election were this November, not November 2010, because they feel like the momentum is on their side now.”

 

In the Senate, where Republicans are far outnumbered, their fundraising committee collected $3.1 million last month, compared to $2.2 million by the Democratic committee. It was the second month in a row that the Senate GOP committee outperformed Democrats — bringing its fundraising total for the year to $26.5 million, just $1 million less than the Democrats.

 

Brian Walsh, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said the committee has attracted more than 70,000 first-time donors this year as voters grew alarmed by President Obama‘s policies. “There are a lot of independents who may have voted for Obama who are now saying, ‘This type of big government spending is not what we signed up for,’ ” he said.

 

The Republican National Committee (RNC) also had a fundraising bump in August, bringing in $1 million more than the Democratic National Committee. Only the House Democratic committee outraised the Republicans in August — by $200,000.

 

For the year, the three GOP committees have $28.3 million in available funds after expenses and debts — about $8 million more than the Democrats.

 

RNC spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said the health-care debate that played out in town-hall meetings in August boosted fundraising. In the first three weeks in August, for example, the party averaged 2,000 donations a day from new donors, she said.

 

Democrats say they are on track for a strong showing in 2010. “We continue to raise the resources we need to accomplish our goals,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan said. Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the Senate Democratic committee, said his group “will have more than enough funds to be competitive.”

 

Jennifer Duffy, who follows Senate races for The Cook Political Report, said the Republican surge is not a surprise. GOP “apathy turned pretty quickly into activism” after the White House and congressional Democrats moved swiftly this year to pass an economic rescue plan and work on health care and climate change legislation, she said.

 

“If the administration and Democrats in Congress were doing nothing, it might be harder to raise money,” Duffy said. “They have certainly given Republicans something to work with.”

 

She said GOP activists are focused on winning enough Senate seats to deprive Democrats of the 60 votes needed to avoid GOP filibusters of controversial measures.

 

Political cash

 

How much the three political action committees for each party have raised and how much they have left as of Aug. 31 (in millions):

 

Category Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Democratic National Committee Total Democrats
August receipts $2.2 million $3.3 million $6.9 million $12.4 million
2009 receipts $27.5 million $37.4 million $53.6 million $118.5 million
Cash on hand, minus debt $4 million $6 million $10 million $20 million
Category National Republican Senatorial Committee National Republican Congressional Committee Republican National Committee Total Republicans
August receipts $3.1 million $3.1 million $7.9 million $14.1 million
2009 receipts $26.5 million $23.8 million $59.9 million $110.2 million
Cash on hand, minus debt $5.1 million $2.2 million 21 million $28.3 million

Source: Federal Election Commission

Cheney to GOP: “It would be a mistake for us to moderate”

Cheney to GOP: ‘It would be a mistake for us to moderate’

 

Dick Cheney did an interview today with Scott Hennen, a North Dakota radio host, whose staff sent over a transcript (after the jump), defending the Bush administration and advising the Republican Party to stay with its roots.

“I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate,” Cheney said. “This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas … what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and constitutional principles. You know, when you add all those things up, the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy. I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most of us aren’t. Most Republicans have a pretty good idea of values, and aren’t eager to have someone come along and say, ‘Well, the only way you can win is if you start to act more like a Democrat.'”

Cheney did, however, say it was probably time for his fellow Republicans to shove him off the stage.

“I think periodically we have to go through one these sessions. It helps clear away some of the underbrush … some of the older folks who’ve been around a long time — like yours truly — need to move on and make room for that young talent that’s coming along,” he said.

Cheney also defended the Bush administration’s national security policies, and advised President Obama to fight any effort to prosecute Bush officials.

He responded to a question about interrogation by saying harsh means were a last resort.

“That assumes that we didn’t try other ways, and in fact we did. We resorted, for example, to waterboarding, which is the source of much of the controversy … with only three individuals,” Cheney said. “In those cases, it was only after we’d gone through all the other steps of the process. The way the whole program was set up was very careful to use other methods and only to resort to the enhanced techniques in those special circumstances.”

Full transcript after the jump.

 

 

Hennen: Let’s talk a little bit about the state of the Republican Party these days. Arlen Specter obviously has created a big fuss with his defection over the last week. Does that surprise you?

Cheney: Not really. You know, we’d gone through the exercise here right after we got elected in 2000, and controlled the Senate just by virtue of my ability to cast a tie vote. It was 50-50, and then my vote gave us control of the Senate. They worked hard to switch Jeffords then — and they did — they promised him a committee chairmanship and so he went over to the other side and changed control of the Congress. I always had the feeling though that people looked at that and didn’t really like it. One of the things I thought it did was to build support for the Republican side in the next election in ’02, and we had an extraordinary outcome there where the Administration actually gained seats in the Senate in an off-year election (which almost never happens). So there are often times lasting consequences from these kinds of switches…and they’re not always positive from the side that receives the individual doing the switching.

Hennen: Some people are wringing their hands saying, “This is an example of why the party needs to change, to hear the message of Specter,” that, as Colin Powell said, the Republican Party needs to moderate. Do you think the Republican Party needs to moderate? Is that the message of the Specter defection, or the state of the party these days?

Cheney: No I don’t. I think it would be a mistake for us to moderate. This is about fundamental beliefs and values and ideas … what the role of government should be in our society, and our commitment to the Constitution and Constitutional principles. You know, when you add all those things up the idea that we ought to moderate basically means we ought to fundamentally change our philosophy. I for one am not prepared to do that, and I think most us aren’t. Most Republicans have a pretty good idea of values, and aren’t eager to have someone come along and say, “Well, the only way you can win is if you start to act more like a Democrat.” I really think we go through these cycles periodically Scott, and I’ve been through them before. I remember campaigning across the country with Gerald Ford in 1974 when I was his Chief of Staff. This was the Watergate Election, the first one since Nixon had to resign. It was a train wreck; I mean, we got blown away in every part of the country. In 1976 we lost the presidency. By 1980 Ronald Reagan was president, we’d had a major resurgence in the party and we’d captured control of the Senate, and obviously embarked upon the Reagan Era in American politics. So I think periodically we have to go through one these sessions. It helps clear away some of the underbrush…some of the older folks who’ve been around a long time (like yours truly) need to move on, and make room for that young talent that’s coming along. But I think it’s basically healthy. I don’t spend a lot of time or lose a lot of sleep over it. I just think now is the time for people who are committed to get out there and find candidates they like and go to work for them.

Hennen: Is the Obama administration helping the resurgence or the “renaissance” of the conservative cause by overreaching very early on?

Cheney: I think it will. I watch what he is doing, especially in the National Security area which is sort of my first interest. This whole question of detainees and interrogation of detainees and the Terrorist Surveillance Program and so forth, closing Guantanamo…I don’t think the vast majority of Americans support what he wants to do. I think in fact most Americans are pleased — when they think about it — that we were able to go nearly eight years without another major attack on the United States. They think we handled that pretty well. We were not a perfect administration (none ever is), but I think what we did in the counter-terrorist area was extremely effective. I think Obama needs to be careful because he appears to want to cancel out some of those most important policies. Then you get into this whole thing of closing Guantanamo and of course the bottom line there is “What are you going to do with all these terrorists that are in Guantanamo?”

Hennen: Do you believe the President, the Vice President, this current administration — really believes those things did not work and have not worked, or this is all political? Is this basically pandering to the far left?

Cheney: Well, I think what’s motivated them from the outset has been — as you say — trying to appeal to the far-left in their party. I think that was an issue for them in the primaries on the Democratic side during the last election. I think the situation is that if anybody (who obviously has to have clearances) takes a look at the record, they’ll find that we had significant success as a result of these policies. One way to nail that down is that there are two documents in particular that I personally have read and know about that are still classified in that National Archives. I’d ask that they be de-classified, I made that request over a month ago on March 31st. What those documents show is the success, especially of the interrogation program in terms of what it produced by way of intelligence that let us track down members of Al-Qaeda and disrupt their plans and plots to strike the United States. It’s all there in black and white. It is work that was done by the Central Intelligence Agency after several years of experience with these programs. It demonstrates conclusively the worth of those programs. As I say, I’ve asked the Administration to de-classify them and so far they have not.

Hennen: Yeah, they have selectively have released these memos (which is very interesting, given their past criticisms as well about politicizing intelligence) because clearly, that is what they are doing here. Now they have said, “the President was asked about this during the 100 Day Press Conference the other day, and he said that basically he had read the memos, and basically that he believes we could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values and ways that were consistent with who we are.” What is your response to that?

Cheney: Well, I don’t believe that’s true. That assumes that we didn’t try other ways, and in fact we did. We resorted, for example, to waterboarding, which is the source of much of the controversy … with only three individuals. In those cases, it was only after we’d gone through all the other steps of the process. The way the whole program was set up was very careful, to use other methods and only to resort to the enhanced techniques in those special circumstances.

Hennen: Three individuals, right?

Cheney: In the waterboarding in particular — which has been the most controversial — was a total of three individuals. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed being the number one. Of course he was the guy who planned and carried out the attacks on 9/11, which killed 3,000 Americans.

Hennen: I’m sure this is driving the media crazy today, but a CNN story today suggests half the public in a new poll approves of the Bush administration decision to use those techniques during the questioning of suspected terrorists. It also indicates that most Americans don’t want to see an investigation of Bush Administration officials who authorized the interrogation techniques on these suspected terrorists. That can’t be doing the Obama folks any good, because they seem to kind of want to perpetuate this.

Cheney: Well, and they are especially sensitive to polls, I think. Just think about it for a minute: the idea that one administration is going to come in and take power — and then they’re going to turn around and prosecute, (or if not prosecute sanction, lawyers who gave advice that they disagreed with) — to their predecessors. I’ve never heard of such a thing. And talk about putting a wet blanket on anybody in government’s willingness to be bold in their recommendations and so forth. Just forget that. Anybody who sees that kind of thing happen is going to pull their head in and they’ll be reluctant to take responsibility for anything. They’ll be reluctant to recommend the kind of actions that were necessary to defend the country over the last eight years. I hear this talk that there is going to be some kind of foreign prosecution of our guys, and I think they ought to do everything they can to fight that.

Hennen: Our guest, former Vice President Dick Cheney on the Scott Hennen Show and The Common Sense Club today. By the way, there is an incredible double standard here in the media coverage. Is that frustrating to you at all? I look at the recent flap over the photo opportunity for Air Force One above New York City, and I imagine had that happened — not that it ever would — in the Bush administration, how the media would have hyperventilated over that forever! And it’s been forgotten. We’re led to believe somehow the President was mad about it. Is it possible for the White House Military Office now under a political appointee, different from your administration when it was a military officer that held that post, that the White House or some high-level staff didn’t know about that?

Cheney: I would assume that some senior staffer signed off on that. Especially a mission with, with in effect what is the backup for Air Force One, there are two of those planes, big 747’s. Either one can function as Air Force One anytime the President is on it. I used them a couple of times during our administration for special trips. You know, they don’t turn a wheel without a lot of people knowing about it and signing off and approving it. A pilot can’t just go out there and get on board and take it for a spin.

Hennen: These are the kind of things that I think worry people, that essentially you have an ”amateur hour” going on at the White House. There is a lot of angst amongst our audience, amongst our listeners about all of these things … about the apology tour that’s happening all across the world … what’s happening politicizing intelligence … all the way down to Air Force One. Are you worried?

Cheney: Well I think people need to be engaged and making their points as you know them, and talking to their members of Congress. For a while there was this talk out there that we ought to cut these guys some slack and that they shouldn’t be criticized in the early days of their administration. I haven’t spent a lot of time operating according to that proposition. The fact is that I think these are very important issues and it’s vital they be debated and I think they need to be held to account just like any other administration.

Hennen: One example, we got this reach out effort to Iran and these rogue dictators — Ahmadinejad and these individuals like that. We’ve got Roxana Saberi — happens to be a Fargo North grad, a Concordia College graduate — so she’s a hometown gal who’s been a journalist over there, imprisoned right now. The Administration, after all their touchy-feely reach out effort has said, “no success” on getting her released. It doesn’t work to talk nice to these guys does it?

Cheney: It doesn’t seem to.

Hennen: I also wanted to ask you about the economic situation a little bit. Do you look back at all and regret the waning days of the administration and following Hank Paulson’s lead on some of the bailouts that, (now as we look at them) do not seem to be performing in the way we’d hoped?

Cheney: Well I think the jury is still out on where the economy is going to go over the next year or two, but clearly those were some tough decisions. As somebody who’s got a conservative record as I do, and for example worked in the wage price control program back in the ’70s, and not exactly a fan of expanding the size and role of government in our society. What we ended up with that last year of the Bush Administration was a situation in which the experts were telling us that the financial system is near collapse, and that was very worrisome, because the ultimate responsibility for our financial institutions resides with the federal government. It’s been the role of the Federal Reserve Board, the Treasury, the FDIC, all of those regulatory bodies. If the financial system is broken, the government’s got to fix it. There isn’t anybody else that can do that. So that’s why I think a lot of us with a more conservative bent were willing to support or go along with the proposition that set up the programs that were used during the last few months we were in office — in effect to try and shore up the financial system — to get the credit markets working again and so forth. The thing I worry about is when that rationale is used in other parts of the economy that aren’t central to the functioning of our economy. If you’re in agriculture, you need access to financial institutions that work. If you’ve got a car dealership or you’re a babysitter or a homeowner — whatever it is — all of us rely on that financial system for whatever we’re doing. When we get over, for example, into the industrial side and automobiles, and the debate about the future of General Motors and Chrysler in particular, then I think government’s role there is different, and that you don’t automatically think that somehow the government needs to step in or should step in. Maybe Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is exactly the right response to restructure the company and make the changes that are needed so it becomes a viable enterprise … but government doesn’t need to be on that stand set to bail them out.

 

 

By Ben Smith 05:17 PM

Getting the GOP Back in the Game

Getting the GOP Back in the Game

Posted By Jennifer Rubin On December 3, 2008 @ 12:00 am In . Feature 01, . Positioning, Elections 2008, Money, Politics, US News | 12 Comments

Republicans took a beating on Election Day.

[1] They lost the White House and more than twenty House seats. They came within a whisker of seeing the Democrats achieve a filibuster-proof majority of sixty seats in the Senate – rescued only yesterday by the victory of Sen. Saxby Chambliss in the Georgia run-off election.

They have some work ahead of them which will set their course for the next couple of years and determine whether they can emerge from the political wilderness.

First, they must choose a party chairman from a [2] flock of candidates. None of the candidates has a sterling record and each presents considerable liabilities. But some are more problematic than others. Katon Dawson has been a successful state party chairman in South Carolina but his twelve-year membership in [3] an all-white country club would be a public relations nightmare for a party already struggling with minorities. Some are already sending up warning flares. A national committeewoman who is supportive of Dawson [4] concedes, “I think there are some members of the committee who would find it intolerable.” And to boot, the club has also excluded Jews, although it did extend an “honorary membership” in the 1980s to the commander at [5] Fort Jackson, Maj. Gen. Robert Solomon. Just what the party needs: a chairman who belonged to a club with a “whites only” deed which snubbed Jews and blacks.

Alternatively, the RNC may look to Michael Steele, a charismatic and effective spokesman but light on a record of organizational success. Then there are John Yob and Saul Anuzis, who hail from Michigan, where the Republican Party has fallen off the map, despite the opportunity to make headway against tax-and-spend liberal Democrats in the midst of a recession. And Chip Saltzman, former chair of the Arkansas state party, may be too inexperienced on the national stage and too closely identified with a potential 2012 contender, Mike Huckabee. The latter liability hobbles Jim Greer, who leads the Florida party and is allied with Charlie Crist, although Greer alone seems to have a track record of outreach and electoral success — skills the party badly needs.

In short, the RNC must choose wisely. The watchword here may be: choose the candidate least likely to embarrass Republicans.

The real action for Republicans will be in Washington, where four immediate challenges confront Republicans. Greatly reduced in numbers, they nevertheless have the opportunity to revive the base and improve their image with voters.

The most immediate issue is the auto bailout. Democrats will be pressing for billions more in taxpayer money for an industry that has failed to make needed reforms — or cars people want to buy — and has to date not demonstrated the capacity to align its cost structure with non-union domestic auto producers. Republicans would do well to hold firm and stand up for taxpayers, whose salaries and benefit packages pale in comparison to those of the auto workers. One [6] economics professor put it in context:

A recent study by Mark J. Perry, professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan-Flint, shows that the hourly compensation cost, including benefits, for the Big Three automakers in Detroit for 2007-2008 is $73.20 per hour, compared with $48 at Toyota.

In goods-producing industries in the United States, reports Perry, the average hourly compensation cost, including benefits, is $31.59. For management and professional employees in the U.S., the average hourly cost, with benefits, is $47.57. For all workers, the average hourly wage/benefit cost is $28.48 per hour.

Asks Perry: “Should U.S. taxpayers really be providing billions of dollars to bailout companies (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) that compensate their workers 52.5 percent more than the market (Toyota wages and benefits), 54 percent more than management and professional workers, 132 percent more than the average manufacturing wage, and 157 percent more than the average compensation of all American workers?”

Republicans can begin to regain their reputation as guardians of the taxpayers and smart stewards of the economy by following Nancy Reagan’s advice: just say no.

Next up for the Republicans is the sure-to-be-massive Democratic stimulus plan. Based on the faulty memory that the New Deal lifted us out of the Great Depression, the Democratic spending plan will hike the deficit up over a trillion dollars. There are a couple of glaring problems.

First, it’s a game plan that [7] hasn’t worked in the past. As [8] Larry Kudlow put it, “government cannot spend our way into prosperity.”

Second, China’s economy may be grinding to a halt and no longer be the financier for American debt. That means the [6] gravy train may come to an end:

The total national debt, the accumulation of all the annual federal deficits over the nation’s entire history, stood at $5.7 trillion on the day that George W. Bush took office. We’re almost double that now, adding nearly as much red ink in eight years as the nation accumulated in the previous two centuries. And that’s not counting the snowballing trillions in corporate bailouts, already at more than $7 trillion. That’s $23,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. Also uncounted in the aforementioned debt numbers are the trillions the government has collected and owes in the Social Security and Medicare “trust funds.” The government doesn’t have a dime of that money. It’s all been spent for things like that needless $500 million tunnel under the Allegheny. Unfortunately, the whole thing collapses if China doesn’t keep lending us the money.

So once again it is up to the Republicans to be the fiscal grown-ups. They would do well to focus the public on these unpleasant realities and to offer an alternative of pro-growth policies beginning with a program of domestic energy development and significant tax cuts to promote investment and job expansion. [9] Republican Minority Leader John Boehner has begun to suggest just such an approach.

Likewise, Governors Rick Perry and Mark Sanford sounded the alarm in an [10] op-ed — warning about the rising mountain of debt and cautioning against a “bailout mentality”:

To an unprecedented degree, government is currently picking winners and losers in the private marketplace, and throwing good money after bad. A prudent investor takes money from low-yield investments and puts them in those that yield better returns. Recent government intervention is doing the opposite — taking capital generated from productive activities and throwing it at enterprises that in many cases need to reorganize their business model.

Their solution: “improving ’soil conditions’ for businesses by cutting taxes, reforming our legal system, and our workers’ compensation system. We’d humbly suggest that Congress take a page from those playbooks by focusing on targeted tax relief paid for by cutting spending, not by borrowing.”

Next up on the agenda for Republicans are two political fights, ones they should welcome.

Senator Norm Coleman appears to have eked out a narrow win in Minnesota, leading with over 300 votes and more than 90% of the ballots recounted. Nevertheless, his opponent Al Franken is [11] threatening to go to the Senate, where the Democrats could vote to seat him, despite his electoral loss, on the notion that absentee ballots rejected by the state canvassing board should have be tallied. Republicans should pull out all the stops and shut down the Senate if needed to preserve the right of Minnesota voters to decide, however narrowly, their senator. This is a fight which Republicans should welcome and which would expose the other side as anti-democratic thugs.

The other political fight deserving of their energies is the nomination of Eric Holder. [12] We, along with [13] others, have recounted his [14] problematic role in not only the pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich but of the FALN terrorists — not to mention the Elian Gonzales affair. Republicans need look no further than liberal columnist [15] Richard Cohen for their rationale for opposing Holder:

As noted, any person is entitled to make a mistake. But no one is entitled to be attorney general. That’s a post that ought to be reserved for a lawyer who appreciates that while he reports to the president, he serves the people. This dual obligation was beyond the ken of George W. Bush’s attorney general once removed, Alberto Gonzales, whose idea of telling truth to power came down to saying “Yes, sir. Yes, sir.” On Guantanamo, domestic spying, and Bush’s “l’État c’est moi” view of the presidency, Gonzales was a cipher, and the damage of his tenure still needs to be repaired.

Holder was involved, passively or not, in just the sort of inside-the-Beltway influence peddling that Barack Obama was elected to end. He is not one of Obama’s loathed lobbyists; he was merely their instrument — a good man, certainly, who just as certainly did a bad thing. Maybe he deserves an administration job, just not the one he’s getting.

Even if they are not successful, it does Republicans good to stand up for the rule of law — rather than rule by cronies — and force the Democrats to defend one of the worst players from the Clinton era.

All of this should be plenty to occupy Republicans’ time. It is not easy, but it is essential to find competent leaders, defend sound economic principles, and engage in some hand-to-hand political combat. These are the first and altogether necessary steps back from political oblivion. If they demur from these fights their political troubles will only worsen.

Election ’08 Backgrounder

  

Financial Crisis | Iraq | Defense | Background & Character | Judges & Courts | Energy

 

FINANCIAL CRISIS

Quick Facts:

  • Democrats created the mortgage crisis by forcing banks to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them.
  • In 2006, McCain sponsored a bill to fix the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Barney Frank and other Democrats successfully opposed it.
  • Obama was one of the highest recipients of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac donations in Congress.

Related Editorials

 

IRAQ


Quick Facts:

  • When the U.S. was on the verge of losing in Iraq, McCain chose to stand and fight.  Obama chose retreat.
  • Even after the surge succeeded, Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran he would still oppose it if he had the chance to do it all over again.

Related Editorials

 

DEFENSE

Quick Facts:

  • Obama has promised to significantly cut defense spending, including saying “I will slow our development of future combat systems.”
  • John McCain has vowed: “We must continue to deploy a safe and reliable nuclear deterrent, robust missile defenses and superior conventional forces that are capable of defending the United States and our allies.”

Related Editorials

Obama Video: Watch Now

 

 

BACKGROUND & CHARACTER

Quick Facts:

  • Obama voted “present” 135 times as a state senator, and according to David Ignatius of the Washington Post, “gained a reputation for skipping tough votes.”
  • McCain has taken stances unpopular with his own party and/or the public on controversial issues, including immigration, campaign finance reform, judicial nominations, the Iraq War and more.

Related Editorials

 

 

JUDGES & COURTS


Quick Facts:

  • In a 2001 interview, Obama said he regretted that the Supreme Court “didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution.”
  • In the same interview, Obama criticized the Supreme Court because it “never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.”
  • Obama has focused on empathy, rather than legal reasoning and restraint, as his basis for appointing judges, saying, “We need somebody who’s got the heart, the empathy…to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
  • McCain opposes judicial activism, saying, “my nominees will understand that there are clear limits to the scope of judicial power.”

Related Editorials

Obama 2001 Interview: Listen Now

 

ENERGY


Quick Facts:

  • McCain has proposed building 45 new nuclear plants by 2030 and is in favor of drilling in sectors of the Outer Continental Shelf.
  • Obama has refused to take a stand, saying only “we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix” and he will “look at” drilling offshore.

Related Editorials

»
McCain: The Energy Candidate

» McCain On Nukes: Yes We Can
» Breaking The Back Of High Oil

 

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