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

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, June 10, 2011

Another Launch Explosion & An In-Flight One, Too

After this post last month, I had to find a new video to portray Newt's campaign's latest fiasco.

And, appropriately, this clip features an in-flight catastrophe to mirror the one Newt suffered yesterday. If shooting himself in the foot with his own mouth wasn't enough upon launching his campaign a few weeks ago, Newt's entire senior campaign staff staged a mass simultaneous exodus yesterday while Gingrich and his wife took time out from his fledgling presidential run to tour the Greek Isles by ship.

You can't make this stuff up, can you?

Between differences of opinion on a technological versus old-fashioned grass-roots campaign, and Newt taking a hike to Greece, the staff felt they weren't on the same page, or maybe, I guess, even in the same book as the former House Speaker.

It's probably tempting for Newt to remember John McCain carrying his own bags through the airport in New Hampshire. But that campaign didn't actually end well.

For those, like me, who have seen evidence that Newt doesn't play well with others, losing his entire first tier staff pretty much says it all.

What's left- Callista becomes his chauffeur, a la Jody Powell for Jimmuh?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Weiner Scandal- Part 2

I left some issues unaddressed in my initial post concerning the Anthony Weiner scandal.

In the days since that post, I've seen various cable programs covering the scandal. One had 'man on the street' interviews with New Yorkers concerning Weiner's indiscretions, subsequent lies, and refusal to resign his Congressional seat.

I was appalled at the number of people who felt what he did was a private matter, and that he should not resign.

How Clintonian, eh?

Glenn Beck devoted much of his Tuesday evening program to the Weiner affair, with a studio audience. There, four themes stood out.

First was one echoed elsewhere- that by lying about his extensive lewd Twittering and emails, Weiner exposed himself to blackmail. His detailed coaching of the Las Vegas woman, complete with offers to have his PR people assist her, is rather chilling. How easily Weiner could have been entrapped and turned, exploited by someone eager to gain access to or influence Congressional matters, while threatening to out Weiner if he failed to comply with the blackmail.

Second was the notion that, having shown himself capable of lying so easily, even to his wife, in order to cover up his indiscretions, Weiner had rendered himself completely lacking in credibility about any governmental business. Who would now believe his apparently-earnest assertions about policy options on health care, spending, or taxes, now that he's shown himself to be capable of lying on a whim?

Third was Weiner's weird juxtaposition of 'taking responsibility' while refusing to resign his House seat. Beck noted that this new tack of assuming responsibility is sort of a modern political lightning rod. It means nothing in the absence of actions like resignation. In Weiner's case, he supplied the appropriate amount of tears and choking at the appropriate moments. Very contrite-looking. But if you watched how his feet moved, so to speak, you'll note that he is attempting to ride out the storm without resigning. Republicans, as several pundits have counseled, would be wise to shut up and let him twist and remain. It's the Democrats who have the problem, made larger and more vexing the longer Weiner remains.

Fourth was Beck's own theme that this circus has distracted the networks, newspapers and magazines from covering some rather disturbing larger national issues of merit. Such as Chinese purchase of European food companies, failure to rollover short-term US Treasuries holdings, the renewed decline in US housing prices and further rise in unemployment.

Charles Krauthammer did a nice job on O'Reilly's program this week contrasting Clinton's survival of the Lewinsky affair, versus Weiner's troubles. Krauthammer predicts that, due to his lower status and more pugnacious image, Weiner will fall where Clinton managed to recover politically.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Sean Hannity Tosses Softballs to Mitt Romney On Healthcare

I caught Mitt Romney's appearance on Sean Hannity's Fox News program last week on the evening of the day he formally announced his presidential candidacy. To say I was disappointed is an understatement.

Hannity behaved shamefully. What he did was toss some softball questions at Romney concerning the former Massachusetts governor's failed health care plan. The plan is eating up increasing percentages of the state's budget. Last I read, it had grown by something like 15 percentage points over prior spending. The state is resorting to a care pricing and rationing board to try to limit cost growth.

Meanwhile, Hannity asked Romney generically about the plan. Romney responded, to paraphrase his key points,

'It wasn't the perfect plan, but it was the best we were going to get. I know what I'd change, if anyone wants to ask me. Obama should have asked me what to do differently before he passed Obamacare.....We included a mandate for coverage because what we had was some people who could afford care coming into emergency rooms to get free treatment and expecting the state to pay for it. We said, 'oh no, you're not going to do that.'......So really the mandate is a conservative tenet to enforce individual responsibility.'

Say what?????

Does anyone really believe that last statement? It's not credible at all. I don't think anyone seriously thinks Massachusetss' health care cost problems were caused by wealthy Boston Brahmins skipping down to the local public hospital to hit the ER for long term care, do you?

But Hannity, having lost Gingrich as his conservative presidential touchstone, is apparently clinging to Mitt now.

Here's what I wish he would have asked Romney:

"Governor, Massachusetts has experienced tremendous cost overruns far beyond your projections when you signed Romneycare. How do you explain that?

The current president is going to use Romneycare against you to blunt any attacks on Obamacare. What can you possibly say to refute his attacks?

Do you really expect conservatives and independents to believe that your signing a health care bill with an individual mandate allows you to stand as a conservative?

Why isn't the true conservative approach to drop a mandate, and simply say, 'no coverage, no care. Period?"

Hannity's shameful allowance of Romney to evade tough questions about his Romneycare doesn't do any good for Romney or the GOP. What better place for Romney to come to grips with the inevitable campaign-killing questions about the failed Massachusetts system than a friendly conservative program on Fox News?

If you ask me, Romney displayed the shallow slickness that cost him the nomination in 2008. Hasn't he learned anything? Hopefully we voters will remember what he learned then and dump Romney this time, too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Regarding Anthony Weiner's Twitter Troubles

I refrained from writing about New York Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner's Twitter-based troubles until now because I felt he would eventually admit to that of which he was accused. Yesterday, he did.

The backstory is probably familiar by now. Andrew Breitbart, the conservative new media publicist and crusader, broke the story of Weiner's Twittering a suggestive picture of himself in briefs, and his leg, to a young woman in Seattle. Breitbart asserted last night on Hannity's Fox New program that several people were addresses of the retwitted message and picture, among them radical left-wing publisher Ariana Huffington.

Breitbart was the one who ran with the story, and instantly became smeared by the left wing new media and blogs as having hacked Weiner's Twitter account.

I've seen Weiner's appearances on CNBC and Fox News quite a few times. He's aggressive, rabidly liberal and kind of geeky. But he's not stupid.

So I took particular notice of Weiner's carefully-phrased excuses, imagined causes for the sent image, and adroit evasion of answering "yes," or "no," to the simple question,

"Is that you in the picture?"

You see, I think Weiner realized that if he lied, saying it was not a picture of himself, and then, as would eventually have to occur, he later admitted it was, he'd be disgraced and out of a job. Maybe he'd even have gone so far as to perjure himself before a House Ethics Committee.

So Weiner grew testy and combative, castigating Fox's Bret Baier and others for continuing to simply ask if the picture was of him, without ever answering it. Then saying he had answered all questions and spent enough time on the topic. Had to get back to work ,don't you know?

That behavior led me to believe that the reality would be far worse, and the picture was, of course, of Weiner, sent by him.

Now we know, after Weiner's tearful admissions yesterday, that the married Representative had sent lewd pictures of himself to as many as six young women via Twitter. Brietbart, again on Hannity last night, promised that he would not publish the worst of the Weiner pictures sent to him by women who'd received them from the Congressman. But when pressed, he basically described one image as Weiner's naked body sporting an erect appendage.

As part of his long, tearful press appearance yesterday, Weiner rapidly glossed over a brief four word apology to Breitbart, who'd been pilloried in the press and left-wing blogosphere, while Weiner sat back and allowed the damage to Breitbart to grow, knowing the smear was unfounded.

Weiner's very Clintonian initial denials and reaching for the 'I've been hacked' excuse, then carefully avoiding handing the matter over to the FBI or a House committee, and, instead, turning to a private attorney and security firm, told you all you really need to know. Weiner knew the FBI would discover the truth quickly, and be uncontrollable.

What drives such bizarre, arrogant behavior by federal elected officials who become media darlings? Carl Albert, Jim Wright, Newt Gingrich, Bob Livingston, Wilbur Mills, John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer. They all seem to lose their bearings when the media spotlight shines, don't they?

It's possible that Weiner's marriage and political career are not over. But his days as a model spokesman in Congress for the far left are definitely over.

A liberal pundit on Hannity last night noted that New York has to eliminate one upstate and one metro-area Congressional district for 2012- why not Weiner's, thus removing him from the scene painlessly? In the meantime, the pundit, Bob Beckel, predicted Weiner will get a call from Bubba Clinton and resign by month's end.

As a coda to the story, Breitbart warned anyone who would attempt to persecute the women who had retweeted Weiner's photos "not to go there." Similar to attempts to attack the credibility of rape victims, Breitbart was worried that the far left bloggers would attempt to smear the women with whom Weiner had been Tweeting and to whom he'd sent pictures.

So perhaps the entire affair isn't really over just yet.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Tom Daschle- Stupid or Naive?

Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, another Washington political hack who has trouble doing his taxes, as we discovered when he was nominated for a czar post in Wonderboy's administration, wrote an editorial in the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal concerning a balanced budget amendment.

It's tough to say whether Daschle is stupid, or merely naive. He wrote,

"The proposed Republican amendment would limit total federal outlays to 18% of our economy- a level of spending last witnessed in 1966. There is no justification for this arbitrary cap. In fact, it would be dangerous given the enormous size and complexity of our economy today, and the demographic realities we face as our population ages."

Who is Daschle kidding? Doesn't he read the very pages in which he chose to publish his disingenuous little piece? Consider these posts, here and here, detailing several important recent tax-related editorials in the Journal, the second by real economists.

That 18% is hardly arbitrary. It's the portion of GDP that, over the long run, the federal government has collected in taxes. No matter what the rates, that's what it gets. Spending more than that over time means growing deficits. Period.

Either Daschle is naive and missed these important economic findings, or is stupid and simply ignores them.

His derisive remark about 1966 shows his true colors, though. It was LBJ's guns and butter spending in the 60's that kicked off a decade of inflation and the basis for the 1970s stagflation while he reinvigorated FDR's welfare state with The Great Society spending programs.

No wonder Daschle recoils in horror with a return to the fiscal rectitude last seen before LBJ opened the deficit spigots.

The former Senator goes on to complain that such a balanced budget amendment strips Congress of its Constitutional duty to make spending decisions, failing to acknowledge that the decisions Congress has made since 1933 is always simply "more."

That's why we need an amendment. And even then it's almost certain to contain at least one war-related loophole, which should make you cringe at how craven some future president will be, in conjunction with Congress, to excuse higher deficits.

Can't you just imagine us declaring war on Lichtenstein in order to run yet another annual budget deficit?

I'm sorry to say, I can. That's how bad the untrustworthiness of the average Congressman and Senator has become.