“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, December 19, 2008

President Bush On Detroit Bailout: Thank God for Small Favors

We can thank God for small favors.

In two interviews this week, President Bush has enumerated several concerns about whether or not to release TARP funds as loans to GM or Chrysler.

Far from rushing to release the funds, the President said he doesn't want to 'throw good money after bad,' and prefers an 'orderly bankruptcy' to a total, immediate liquidation.

Maybe we're not seeing him cave in to the UAW's Gettelfinger just yet, as Paul Ingrassia wrote on Monday in the Wall Street Journal.

Bush went further, stating that he is trying to minimize the size of problems left to his successor, and is putting himself in that position, to consider what would be best to do from that perspective.

He also went on record as requiring the UAW to give on some contract aspects in order to make any loan worthwhile, rather than useless in the long term.

Maybe there's still hope that GM will be pushed into a normal Chapter 11 filing after all.

We may know later this morning.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New York's Newest Carpet-Bagger: Caroline Kennedy

This is just unbelievable, isn't it?

It's not enough that her uncle was New York's first carpetbagger Senator. Or that the state is just getting rid of its next one.

Now, a person with nothing to recommend her but her last name is desiring not to run, but simply be appointed as the US Senator from New York for the seat being vacated by Hillary Clinton.

With a biography devoid of any significant accomplishments, aside from those accorded her because of her maiden name, it's a sad commentary on the US political landscape, and the Democratic party, in particular, that Kennedy is even seriously being considered for this seat.

As a commentator on Fox News noted, it sends a signal to the rest of the world that US politics is a plutocracy, more than a meritocracy.

Of course, in a country where 'Bo' Biden is expected to inherit his hapless father's Delaware Senate seat, after having been given prior political offices along the way, it's hard to argue that the perception is true.

At least among Democrats.

I suppose the only silver lining in the Caroline Kennedy Senate seat quest is that it clearly demonstrates, once again, how hopelessly corrupt and bereft of new ideas the Democratic party is, that it must bow to the unaccomplished daughter of a dead President, rather than consider candidates for the seat on merit.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Spreading Blagojevich Mess: Rahm Emanuel

As the Senate seat-selling mess surrounding Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich continues to make news, the New Messiah is being swept up in it to an increasing degree.

For example, he initially denied that either he, or his campaign staff had 'any contact' with Blago. Next, the Illinois Rookie somewhat backtracked, saying he would have to await a thorough analysis of his campaign staff's activities, in order to publicize any communications between Blago and the Rookie's staff.

Then we learned that Rahm Emanuel, the incoming President's chief of staff, had, in fact, been contacted Blago 21 times- all caught on the wiretap tapes. But, we are assured, these were all legitimate.

Rather than discussing the sale of the New Messiah's seat, we are told these were, in all probability, perfectly reasonable discussions, wherein Emanuel was dictating to the Governor which candidate his boss wants to replace him in the Senate seat.

Of course, liberals like Fox News' Alan Colmes keep parroting the 'fact' that, at present, there is no evidence of the Rookie being involved in his Senate seat's sale by the Governor of Illinois. Then they claim that conservatives are simply smearing the First Rookie, with no evidence.

In the worst example of egregious logic, of course, presented by Colmes, they claim that his distance from this mess merely confirms the incredible ethical superiority with which the New Messiah will preside in his new job, come January 20.

What's more likely, as conservative commentators note, is that the growing public disgust with, and notable stench of this entire affair will hang over the Rookie's transition and inauguration like a black cloud.

That he did not know of Blago's intent, given the small, inter-connected world of Illinois state Democratic party bigwigs, is, of course, unbelievable.

If the First Rookie didn't know of this, he's incredibly naive and incompetent. If he did, he turned a blind eye, once more, to Cook County corruption within his own party.

Yes, it's true, either way, he's committed a terrible blunder. Liberal Democrats chafe at this obvious fact, and claim it's unfair.

But what hasn't occurred is that which would have exonerated their New Messiah. That is, as various conservative pundits have suggested, a stirring, passionate speech by the incoming President on the evils of such unethical behavior, the need to root it out in its entirety, and his own explanation as to either why he did nothing about it, or how he was shielded from knowledge thereof.

Oh, by the way, notice how ineffectual our incoming President's words have been with the Governor of his own state. Blago won't step down, and the Illinois Democrats in the legislature, having had five days to clip his wings, have failed to either: pass legislation removing the Governor's power to appoint the temporary Senator, or remove him via impeachment.

Is this the change we needed? One would think not.

Monday, December 15, 2008

McConnell's Brilliant Maneuvering on the Senate Auto Maker Bailout Bill

A little over a week ago, I wrote this post regarding the politics of the then-evolving Congressional bailout of the US-owned auto industry.

In it, I predicted,

"Look for Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan to brace House Minority Leader John Boehner, forcing him to withhold support for any Democratic bailout of the Detroit auto makers which does not first require their filing Chapter 11. Look for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to do the same, while President Bush cites Republican Congressional preference for a bill that includes that requirement.

Bush, Boehner and McConnell, standing in front of the White House, will make an effective team as the President gives his full support to the Republican leaders' version of a bill to help auto workers, via a DIP loan to those auto makers which file for bankruptcy, while steadfastly refusing to engage in corporate welfare and government picking winners and losers in the free market."

I wasn't exactly on target. Bush, sadly, has begun to listen to the wrong people, fail to shame Wagoner for waiting too long to file for bankruptcy, and worry too much about his economic legacy.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, however, performed brilliantly. As this weekend's Wall Street Journal noted,

"In the Senate's Thursday night automobile showdown, the United Auto Workers said "No thanks" to a bailout with strings attached. Most Senate Republicans took them at their word and voted to block the bill. But within hours, President Bush blinked and Treasury is now scrambling to use money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Who'd have thought Mr. Bush would want to join the long line of Detroit executives in caving to the UAW?

Senate Republicans had more gumption. Led by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, they asked the auto workers to show they were serious about making Detroit competitive again. In exchange for a lifeline from Washington, Mr. Corker wanted the union to set a "date certain" in 2009 for lowering the Detroit Three's hourly labor costs to the average of foreign-owned auto makers in the U.S. He also wanted creditors to bring down Detroit's total debt by two-thirds through an equity swap, making sure debtholders share the cost of restructuring.

The union's counteroffer was that it would bring down labor costs in 2011, when its current contracts run out. Maybe we missed something, but we thought GM and Chrysler were facing bankruptcy now, not in three years. As Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor, that sounds like "taxpayer money today for reforms that may or may not come tomorrow."

Thursday's showdown marked an important political moment for the Republican Party. By refusing to write a blank check to Detroit, Senate Republicans have started to reclaim some credibility on fiscal policy and the role of government in the economy. They did so standing up to a Republican President who doesn't want any more bad headlines, as well as to Democrats who will blame the GOP if the auto makers collapse."

By tapping Corker to lead a spirited, well-intentioned effort to save American taxpayers from a hopeless attempt to 'rescue' already-failed companies, McConnell has positioned his party in the Senate to reclaim the mantle of fiscal rectitude, and regain serious numbers of seats, come 2010.

Americans, by a wide margin, have been polling in opposition to this bailout, because they understand that they are being asked to pay for the excessive pension benefits of union retirees, as well as the excessive current wages of union employees of GM, Ford and Chrysler.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Democrats Set To Fund A New Socialism With Huge Deficits

Something odd seems to be in the air.

Last week, on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes program, former Clinton aid Dick Morris predicted that the Illinois Rookie will be using the current economic recession to boost Federal spending- and debt- to unheard of levels.

In the meantime, he'll enact the liberals' cherished social programs which have been too expensive to have passed Congressional muster in the past.

Even Peggy Noonan, the now-irrelevant, largely brain-dead former Reagan speechwriter, was crowing about the benefits of FDR-like spending programs to make Americans 'feel better,' in this weekend's edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Like some doped-up zombie, she celebrated WPA-style programs as sure to make Americans see, feel and touch something 'real,' as opposed to cyber-based economic progress, like, oh, say, the internet!

According to Noonan, an entire decade or two was wasted in increasing American productivity using electronics, networking and e-based commerce and communication.

In Peggy's new world, roadwork and other tangible social-spending goodies trump real, market-tested goods and services.

We're in for a bad time, as market-based notions of value, job-creation, and spending are tossed out, to be replaced by B-team civil servants ladling out cash by the tens of billions to their friends and other supplicants.

Why anyone believes a lawyer with no governmental experience worth a dime can 'create jobs' where private capital saw no opportunity is anybody's guess.

But you don't have to guess who will pay for the borrowed money being pumped into all these idiotic programs, do you?