The Conversation

Politics: Policy issues, legislation and political topics of all sorts.

We should be playing the long game

Jan 30, 2013 10:04 AM PT

The Hill ran a piece this morning entitled: Unions, Hollywood open to bankrolling Obama's advocacy arm

In it, we learn that Obama's traditional deep pocket financial supporters will be working with Organizing for Action, to advocate for Obama's agenda.  Organizing for America is the new operation formally known as the Obama for America campaign. In addition, OfA is a 501c4 corporation which means that there is no donor disclosure. Lack of donor disclosure is sometimes a "bad thing" and when I say sometimes I mean if you are a center-right c4. 

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The GDP Rorschach test

Jan 30, 2013 9:11 AM PT

Today's grim Commerce Department report of GDP contraction (actually, it will probably end up being very tiny growth, once all the revisions are in) is a Rorschach inkblot test for students of the Obama economy.  The optimists say the decline in government spending brought down the numbers.  The pessimists wonder how anyone could think that's good news.  "Sure, the economy looks awful now, but that's only because the unsustainable government spending that's been propping it up for the past year petered out!"

And if we're going to look at GDP without government spending included, we ought to be consistent about it.  As it stands, this is one of those magical statistics - like unemployment - that can be media-massaged into good or bad news, depending on what they choose to include in the mixture of any given report.  

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Rubio can fix immigration law, but not the government that enforces it

Jan 30, 2013 8:49 AM PT
Senator Marco Rubio has been game for discussing immigration reform with high-profile, skeptical conservative interviewers, including Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin.  The question he has the most trouble answering is the one he really can't answer, because it's not his fault: How are we supposed to trust the government that couldn't handle immigration law over the past 40 years to manage an even more complex - and, ostensibly, tougher - set of immigration laws today?  We're talking about provisional amnesty for 12 million illegals today because it's supposedly impossible for the government to enforce the existing legal regime.  We are told there's just no way to find all these people, check their backgrounds, and deport them.  But we will be able to compute their back taxes, and keep them out of titanic fraud-riddled programs like food stamps and ObamaCare?

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Greta Van Susteren's Lackluster Interview of Sec. of State Clinton

Jan 29, 2013 9:55 PM PT

 I didn't have high hopes for Greta Van Susteren's interview of outgoing Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, but I didn't expect a total whiff on the one question she asked about Benghazi:

 Van Susteren asked, “In light of what’s happened can Americans now feel safe or satisfied that we are moving to secure all our consulates and embassies?”

Clinton said that the Accountability Review Board made a set of recommendations and the State Department is “implementing all of them and making sure that we apply them.”

While Clinton stated that “It’s not all a question of money,” she added, “Ever since the Bush administration, our requests for security money from Congress have not been met. So we’ve had to make priority decisions and it’s been difficult.”

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Obama's Progressive Ideology No Longer a Fringe Idea

Jan 29, 2013 6:51 PM PT

Cass Sunstein wrote a piece over the weekend in which he claimed Obama is fulfilling FDR's vision of a 2nd bill of rights. Joel covered this yesterday. According to Sunstein, Obama's project is to push beyond the statement of negative liberties found in the actual U.S. Constitution. This fits with a lament about the Constitution which Obama himself once expressed. As I was looking over all of this I came across a segment of Rush Limbaugh's show which aired about a week before the 2008 election. It seems prophetic now:

This is just an incredible thing, ladies and gentlemen, as you hear FDR basically spell out what the Obama agenda is today: Second Bill of Rights: the right to earn of enough, the right of every family to a decent home, the right to adequate medical care, opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.

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California's not "balanced," Gov. Brown

Jan 29, 2013 8:47 AM PT

Gov. Jerry Brown has been winning all kinds of praise for balancing California's budget--on paper. But the governor's boast depends on static budgeting that assumes higher tax rates mean higher revenues, and that pretends businesses won't close and people won't move out of the state, taking jobs and businesses with them.

Yesterday we learned of 900 more jobs lost in Silicon Valley. For some reason, many of the tech leaders who tend to support Brown, Obama and the Democrats (if the generalization is unfair, I apologize) seem oblivious to the real-world consequences of California's policies--even when the effects are happening all around them. 

Relief? Obama rejects immigration deal--again

Jan 29, 2013 8:23 AM PT

Obama is apparently set to deliver a ringing endorsement of immigration reform today--but read the fine print: he rejects the terms of the Senate compromise, which trades a Democrat "path to citizenship" for Republican border security. Obama may think he is strong enough after re-election not to have to compromise, or perhaps he wants to scuttle a deal (as he has done at least twice before). 

Either way, this would seem to be yet another piece of evidence that Obama prefers gridlock to progress, as long as he can hope to destroy public support for his opponents and win something bigger in the long run.

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EPA: Job Killer

Jan 28, 2013 7:41 PM PT

Last year I wrote about how we have evidence of government agents actively working against Americans and their livelihood. It’s an entire government agency, in fact.  Conversation-readers, meet the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Today at the Chamber of Commerce's Free Enterprise blog Sean Hackbarth writes on the EPA closing a power plant in Texas:

You might remember my ongoing "It’s Great to Have a Job…" series of posts about how EPA regulations are causing power plants to shut down and workers to lose their jobs all over the country. This news from Corpus Christi, Texas is along the same lines but has a few wrinkles. First, the Las Brisas Energy Center would have been powered by petroleum coke—a byproduct of refining crude oil—not coal. Second, this power plant was only on the drawing board. It was having difficulty getting air and water permits before starting construction. Except for those working at the project’s financing company that’s shutting down, nobody lost their job.

This doesn’t make this news any less outrageous. The project, backed by both the business community and labor unions, was supposed to create up to 3,900 jobs over its five-year construction, then directly and indirectly support as many as 275 jobs as the plant operated. The chance to create all those jobs is gone, and EPA is much to blame.

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