…or Panic in the Streets!
The Washington Post has a lengthy article today that speaks to two things. One on purpose and one inadvertently.
With respect to the “on purpose” part, the point of the article is just how hard current Democrat House Members are running from the Democratic Leadership and the mess they’ve made of “governing”. The article focuses on Chet Edwards, a Texas Democrat trying to avoid the unemployment line.
MCGREGOR, TEXAS – Little more than two years after she touted him for the vice presidential nomination, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cannot count on the support of Rep. Chet Edwards.
Edwards, a conservative Democrat trying win an 11th term representing this area southwest of Dallas, said he has not made up his mind whether he would support Pelosi (D-Calif.) for another term as speaker, as he comes under fire back home for his close ties to the Democratic leader.
“No, I’ve made no commitments for speaker. Until we see the outcome of this election, I don’t even know who will be running for speaker,” Edwards said in an interview while campaigning Saturday in this small town of 5,000 southwest of Waco.
Now Edwards has joined the fray, launching an ad this weekend that touted how he “stood up to” Pelosi and President Obama by voting against health-care legislation.
The article doesn’t mention whether Rep. Edwards is in favor of a repeal of ObamaCare™, and if I had to guess, I’d guess that they didn’t bother to ask.
The article also points out that Republicans may be spending as much as $20MM in advertising that ties incumbents to Nancy Pelosi. They note that they spent heavily on “Negative Nancy” ads in ’08 and again in a special election to replace John Murtha in PA that was won by the Democrat. What they neglect to mention is that this is no longer ’08 and the President’s F/U ratings continue to go south and ObamaCare™ is almost as popular as discovering you’ve got a pedophile living next door. Oh, and that district in PA that the Dems held? It’s at risk, given that the Justice Department may dig up John Murtha and re-bury him in the yard of the nearest federal prison given the latest roll of legal problems for Democrats related to Murtha’s dealings.
I don’t know why, but I’m a little surprised that the Washington Post hasn’t figured out at least some of this stuff, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that they are still in the tank for Obama and his gang of twits.
So anyway, as far as point one, the intentional one, is concerned, we understand that some Democrats are trying to give the perception that they’re not in the tank with Nancy and Barrack.
Which brings us to point two, the unintentional one.
OK, keep in mind that the whole point – intended – of this article is that Democratic office holders are working hard to separate themselves from the current Democratic Leadership and their agenda. So, what is Representative Edwards bottom line here? Remember, he’s a “Blue Dog”, a conservative Democrat. Does he support the agenda of the far Left Democrats who are running things in Washington DC? Well, lets see what he says about it…
“The mistake has been just going too far and too fast, and it’s been more than Americans can digest,” Edwards said in McGregor. “They’re good people from all persuasions, but I think some of the more liberal Democrats in Washington have a hard time understanding the everyday concerns of citizens in more moderate to conservative districts.”
“…too far and too fast…” Note that his colleagues just “…have a hard time understanding the everyday concerns of citizens…”
Well no, Representative Edwards that’s not it at all. “Too far” was right on. “Too fast” is the important qualifier that tags you as nothing more than an enabler of the would-be Marxists who are running DC today. Lets be really clear Mr. Edwards, your fellow travelers aren’t “…hav[ing] a hard time understanding the everyday concerns of citizens…” they don’t give a tinker’s dam about them. Your fellow Democrats, whose agenda you support lock-stock-and-barrel, and who you vote “NO” on only when Ms. Pelosi gives you permission to, are about one thing only and that would be nationalizing the entire economy because they know better.
Mr. Edwards it’s bad enough that you’re a jackass. It’s insulting that you treat your constituents like they are jackasses. But then again that’s the history of your Party.
And no, I’m not talking about Christine O’Donnell. I’m talking about the potential for a REAL train wreck.
From The Hill yesterday…
The Tea Party is expected to announce that former Rep. JD Hayworth (R-Ariz.) will become a national spokesperson for the movement, a source close to the matter told The Hill.
JD Hayworth? Tea Party spokesman?
Now let me be clear, I don’t happen to know who the “Tea Party” referenced in the story is. The Tea Party is a loose amalgam of small-government groups around the country and there is, to my knowledge, no hierarchical organization that defines the Tea Party as a whole. For all I know, this could be the guys in MI who were part of the Democratic leadership or the idiots in Nevada who’ve just spent too much time in the sun.
Let’s review JD’s resume just in case this happens to be a legitimate Tea Party group. From the article on The Hill,
Despite Hayworth’s unwavering support of tax cuts enacted by President George W. Bush and seeking to permanently end taxes on capital gains and estates, the Tea Party earlier this year did not back his bid to unseat Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Four of the state’s largest tea party groups refused to endorse him because of his voting record in Congress.
“The tea party is a non-partisan, grassroots movement that stands for limited government, free markets and fiscal responsibility,” said Robert Mayer of the Tucson Tea Party, according to new reports from March. “Both McCain and Hayworth’s records during their many years in Washington leave much to be desired on these issues.”
Oh, and let’s not forget that JD was narrowly defeated by John McCain in the AZ Primary by a tad more than 20 points.
Who is JD? Well, there’s the guy who…
- Never met an earmark he didn’t like…
- Served 12 years in the House and was known only for his ability to find a FoxNews camera…
- Lost his House seat to Harry Mitchell because the voters were sick of listening to him whne. Not many sitting Members of Congress can be upside down on their F/U rating…
- Has made a career out of making a fool out of himself in the media. See “marrying my horse”…
- Said he was a proponent of reducing government spending while earmarking like crazy and flacking for “Free Money” when he was unemployed…
- Had a talk radio program on a local Phoenix talk radio station. Ratings were mediocre on a good day and despite a nationally recognized name couldn’t get a syndication deal…
- Spent months on the radio demanding BO’s birth certificate…
- Didn’t get the endorsement of a single sitting AZ House Member against McCain…
- Didn’t get the endorsement of any of the Arizona Tea Party groups. They couldn’t even find it in their hearts to say nice things about him, they just ignored him after their initial “Ahhhhh no thanks…” statement…
- Didn’t get the endorsement of Jim DeMint…
- Didn’t get the endorsement of a single prominent politician other than Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who also endorsed Janet Napolitano in her first run for Governor against Matt Salmon, a strong conservative Republican.
And that’s just for starters. JD has pretty much never missed an opportunity to redefine “buffoon” when he gets a shot at national TV exposure, which guarantees him lots of TV time.
The Tea Parties have done an extraordinary job in this cycle of focusing the electorate on small(er) government and the erosion of our liberty. Sarah Palin, while not an official Tea Party spokesperson, has been a star when it comes to highlighting the lowlights of the current Administration as well as raising money and providing high-profile support to marginally known primary candidates. JD has the proven ability to turn that success around on a dime. The more people hear him, the more they really, personally dislike him, see the internals on the June 24th Magellan poll on the AZ Senate primary.
If you need a visual for what JD can do for the Tea Party movement, here it is…
* Tea party at center of all talk (politico.com)
The Left learned a lesson a long time ago that elected Republicans are simply clueless about. That lesson is “incrementalism”. It isn’t complicated and it’s not hidden. Heck, it doesn’t even take a degree from an ivy covered campus to understand. Our leadership ignores it because they haven’t want to deal with it because, IMO, they’re concerned that attacking it as a problem (and it is a problem) might be a cause for offense from the other side of the aisle and heaven forbid that those staunch icons of bipartisanship like Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi might be offended.
Here are the fundamentals. First are a couple of inconvenient facts – inconvenient for Republicans. First of all, Democrats can paint almost any piece of legislation as “for the public good” or “for the children” and enough Republicans will vote for it so it can be passed. Second, the legislation does not have to be specific and it doesn’t have to be sweeping, it just needs to open the door to or create a regulatory environment. Third, all regulators are Democrats and support the expansion of the power of the federal government. Now, lets talk about the upcoming election and the President and his advisors don’t seem to be panicking over the almost certain loss of the House and the potential loss of the Senate. Jon Ward did a good job of laying out the specifics in his piece today in the Daily Caller.
President Obama came into office with a well defined hard left – socialist, some would say – agenda. In his first two years in office the only real game changing pieces of legislation that he’s been able to pass, even with a solidly leftist Congress – is ObamaCare and the financial regulatory package he just signed. Both Cap&Trade and CardCheck were DoA. With Republicans in control of the House and with at least a filibuster proof minority in the Senate he’s not likely accomplish much that the editors of The Nation or MoveOn.org will be celebrating in the next Congress.
So, what’s going to happen? Thank you for asking. What will be happening is that the “shadow government”, the regulatory agencies, will take over where Harry&Nancy couldn’t get the job done. As Ward notes…
In one sense, Obama and congressional Democrats don’t need to pass any more major pieces of legislation. Having passed a massive overhaul of the health care system and financial regulation, they will have plenty to do – and plenty they will be able to do – simply in writing regulations and rules to implement those laws.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also planning to regulate carbon emissions, in the absence of a bill written by Congress to do so. That figures to be a third major avenue of action for the Obama administration no matter who controls Congress.
And the fourth avenue is labor law, where the Obama administration shares many of the same goals as organized labor, which is also one of its biggest sources of political and financial support.
The US Department of Labor, like the rest of the federal bureaucracy, is filled with regulators who share the Obama world view. The DoL is loaded with appointees whose careers were made working as union organizers. Give the Obama Administration’s willingness to use executive fiat and regulatory sleight of hand to accomplish what they can’t legislate, you can be sure that the DoL will be looking for the same back door to CardCheck that ICE used to stop deportation of illegal aliens last month. Bottom line, they’ll just do it. After all, who’s going to stop them? Republicans? Well, this year, maybe.
Vin Weber, an influential Republican lobbyist, said Republicans on Capitol Hill are gearing up for a major confrontation with the administration over its regulatory approach.
“Most Republicans believe [Democrats will] try to be as aggressive in transforming policy through the regulatory approach as they were through the legislative approach,” Weber said. “So Republicans get all this. But they’re not gonna just sit back and watch and do nothing about it. They’ll fight back.”
This, [Karl] Rove said in an e-mail, is where Republican control of the House would be a big deal.
“Rules can be overturned or blocked by congressional action. They can be tied up or sued in court. Agencies can be defunded or their budgets crimped. Executive branch officials outside the White House can be called before Congress to explain,” he said.
Weber laid out the coming clash in more detail.
“If you really want to fight the regulatory approach, the money bills originate in the House of Representatives. You simply put language in the money bill for whatever agency is doing the regulating, saying, ‘No money in this bill shall be used to implement regulation xyz,’” Weber said. “ The president can decide to sign the bill or not sign the bill, but that’s the kind of confrontation you’ll have if the administration gets too aggressive in its regulatory approach.”
“Also, hauling people up to testify, that’s going to happen anyway,” he said.
So, the real question here is this: will the Republican Leadership that has for years been selling conservative and small government principles down the Potomac for nothing more than an occasional nice mention in the Washington Post decide to stand up and actually fight for principles. I think the answer is maybe. And to a large extent it depends on the new crop of Representatives and Senators and their ability to stand on principle and their willingness to fight the old line leadership. That’s why this election is important, probably more important than any we’ve seen in a generation.
Get involved. Find a candidate who needs money to be competitive and win and donate. Knock on doors. Get involved in a GOTV (Get Out The Vote) effort. Do something. Your country needs you.
We’ve talked about the coming financial tsunami of public employee pension funds. That’s going to be a two to three trillion dollar shortfall in the coming years that nobody is even trying to address. A more immediate problem, that will have to be addressed, is “budgeted” spending by towns, cities, counties and states. I haven’t seen a projection of that number, but I think it’s safe to say it’s in the trillions as well.
Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is achieving “hero” status with those on the right because he’s actually reducing spending in the Garden State to achieve a balanced budget. Tim Pawlenty took a shot at spending reduction in Minnesota as well and it looks like he may push his actions into a Presidential run in 2012.
They are exceptions. Pretty much everybody else is playing “kick the can”.
The latest edition of “Nightmare on Elm St” is happening in Harrisburg, PA. That’s Harrisburg, the state capitol of PA. The long and short of the story looks like this…
In 2003, the city decided to renovate its aging and inefficient trash incinerator — but the project quickly went awry and costs ballooned, leaving the city on the hook for $280 million-plus debt.
So, a unit of government lets a contract for several HUNDRED million dollars and costs went up. That’s probably never happened before. It’s interesting that the article doesn’t note what the original contract was for, but that would be an interesting number to dissect.
Anyway, Harrisburg sold bonds to cover the cost of their incinerator. Municipal bonds are historically viewed by investors as very low risk and are very attractive because they are typically tax exempt so they are able to pay a significantly lower interest rate. Well, as it turns out Harrisburg is looking for more help than just a lower interest rate.
Pennsylvania’s financially troubled capital city is trying to avoid painful budget cuts while city leaders feud over how to deal with a staggering debt that is threatening to drag the city into bankruptcy.
With Harrisburg’s newly elected mayor and city council at odds, the city is taking the rare step of skipping a $3.3 million general obligation bond payment due Sept. 15 as an alternative to laying off city employees, firefighters and police officers.
The city already has skipped millions of dollars in payments on bonds it backed for the costly and poorly managed renovation of a trash incinerator, including a $2.2 million installment due Sept. 1.
Bottom line, the city of Harrisburg is getting ready to treat their bondholders just like Barack Obama treated GM’s secured debt holders. They’re about to get screwed.
The real question is whether a court will allow the city to default and declare bankruptcy because they actually have a way out and it doesn’t even involve laying off overworked and underpaid city employees.
Last year, the [current Mayor] Thompson-led council rejected a proposal by her predecessor to lease the city’s parking lots, spaces and garages for 75 years to a private company in exchange for a $215 million up-front payment.
Oh, and how about a bail out by the state?
Gov. Ed Rendell has declined to bail out Harrisburg, and has endorsed the idea of the sale or lease of major city assets, such as the parking garages and an island in the Susquehanna that is home to a soccer field and a minor league baseball park.
Is the financial community watching this mess?
Fewer than 20 rating-worthy municipal bond issuers out of about 25,000 have defaulted, said Matt Fabian, managing director of Concord, Mass.-based Municipal Market Advisors, a municipal bond research firm.
Still, it wouldn’t take many defaults in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market to possibly drive up the cost of borrowing for all municipalities, Fabian and others say.
The bottom line in all of this is that deficit spending is likely coming to an end, even for capital projects at the municipal and state level. It would be an interesting exercise to audit states – including municipal and county governments – and see if any are technically solvent. I would guess no. And I’m sure that any solution is going to be ugly, painful and long lasting.
And that would be in NV03 where former State Senator Joe Heck is poised to send first term Democrat Dina Titus to the unemployment line.
It [NV03] is on the blue side of purple. Democrats have 173,000 registered voters, Republicans 147,000. Titus has held the seat for two years, but a Republican, Jon Porter, held it the previous six — since its formation after the 2000 census.
Ultimately, the direction of this bellwether district will likely be decided by its 65,000 unaffiliated voters, or 16 percent of its registered voters.
Independent voters pushed President Barack Obama to victory in 2008 and tipped Congress toward the Democrats in 2006. But this year, more independents are leaning Republican, according to a national Pew Research Center poll, likely because of the stagnant economy and Obama’s drooping approval ratings.
Neither Reid nor Titus can bank on nonaffiliated metropolitan voters pushing them to victory, experts said. Taking the district and the election will depend on candidates convincing this melting pot of voters that their philosophy is the right one to put the country back on track.
Putting the country “back on track”. That should be a good talking point for a candidate who is trying to replace an incumbent who is closely aligned with the President who has taken the country off track and is currently at -18 points nationally according to Rasmussen.
Also note in the Sun is this ray of sunshine for Heck…
This year Titus has no one at the top to generate the kind of enthusiasm Barack Obama did among the faithful and independents to carry her over the finish line. She beat Porter by 5 percentage points in the 3rd Congressional District; Obama won the district by 13 points. Without him, she loses.
This year, it’s Reid-Reid at the top and somehow it doesn’t seem the same. I know Harry Reid. I know Rory Reid. Neither is Barack Obama.
The only thing she’s got going for her would be an abundance of money and the support of unions like AFSCME who are running ads that are outright lies. See here for examples of just how low Titus and her acolytes will stoop. Hint: very low.
Let’s take a look at the highlights of the polling data.
The bottom line is that, as of August 23-24, Heck is up by 3 points. That’s inside the 4.90% MoE, but directionally it’s in the right direction. The reasons for optimism in NV03 include the following…
- Right/Wrong Track. There’s a 50% difference here and NV03 voters aren’t happy with the direction we’re headed.
- Jobs and immigration. Neither of these are issues that should help Titus.
- Issues that voters say will effect their vote should be a strong positive for Heck.
- ObamaCare. Once again, this issues is a huge net minus for the incumbent Democrat.
- Name ID should be a net plus for Heck, given that Titus is at a 46/46 split F/U and 44% of NV03 voters either don’t know Heck or have no opinion of him and of those who have formed an opinion the 32/21 F/U.
And the real nail in Titus’ coffin should be the Reid family. The voters seem to be hating Harry and his son looks like a big loser in the Governor’s race.
NV03 should return to the Republican fold this year and please consider helping Joe Heck.
And what’s coming is a Black Hole.
And into that Black Hole will go all sense of financial stability and The American Dream.
For years the so-called “public sector” has been working overtime to sell you a bill of goods to the effect that “public employees” get paid less but have job security. And the central tenet of that “security” is typically fully paid health care benefits and a guaranteed retirement program. The latter is the basis for a complete financial melt down that is going to make 9.6% unemployment look like the really good old days. Really good.
I’m not going to beat a dead horse on this subject, there’s been a whole bunch of stuff written – albeit not in the One-Party-Media – about the current and coming disaster. The stories looked like this: NJ Governor Christie told the NJ education association that they could avoid layoffs if they started paying a small amount toward their health care benefits. The NJEA said “No!” There are gobs of stories like this, and specifically dealing with the fact that “government jobs” pay roughly twice what the same job in the private sector would pay. Google is your friend.
Now, to the real problem. Pensions. In the so-called “public sector” the game that’s been played looks like this:
- Public employee unions like ASFCME spend millions on electing Democrats at every level.
- Make that statement above “hundreds of millions”.
- Those same unions then negotiate with either the elected officials they paid to elect or they negotiate with people appointed by said elected officials.
- The key isn’t necessarily wages and salaries, it’s benefits.
- “Management” gives “labor” a defined benefit retirement plan that “labor” can typically take advantage of after 20-30 years. A typical public employee can retire with full benefits in their fifties and go get another job. It’s called double dipping. And if said employee is working for another governmental unit he can build a second retirement plan.
- Employees typically contribute little or nothing to their retirement.
- The government frequently overstates the projected return and/or simply underfunds the retirement plan. They kick the financial can down the road.
- Here’s what the road looks like now:
There’s a change in the wind. There have been articles written about public pension shortfalls for several years. So far, it’s all been talk by the media – most notably Forbes – but mostly “new media”. Journalists who get paid to talk about this stuff have been silent. If I had to guess, they’ve been silent mostly because they’re Democrats. Well, things have made a sharp turn according to The Hill.
Labor groups will be invited to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to talk about an alarming shortfall in state employee pension plans that some believe could lead to a new government bailout.
Randy Johnson, the Chamber’s senior vice president for Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits, told The Hill the total shortfall for state pension funds could run as high as $3 trillion.
An August report by the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University found government pension programs in as many as 31 states are headed for financial disaster by 2030 and that taxpayers will likely wind up paying for unfunded liabilities.
“Even if states uniformly eliminated generous early retirement deals and raised the retirement age to 74, the unfunded liability for promises already made would still be more than $1 trillion,” Kellogg associate professor Joshua Rauh said in prepared remarks.
“Assuming states don’t start defaulting on their bonds and other debts, it seems that taxpayers will be footing most of the multi-trillion dollar bill for the pension promises that states have already made to workers,” he added.
So here’s the problem. 31 states are totally in the tank. The unions that represent employees who will be collecting guaranteed benefits are going into high dudgeon over the shortfall in those plans. And now the US Chamber of Commerce is signing on. Here comes the tidal wave.
We have good stuff happening in Arizona in the races for the House of Representatives. Very good stuff.
Arizona currently has eight House seats and they are currently split 5D/3R. That’s about to change in 58 days. We have two districts that are pretty effectively Gerrymandered into liberal seats – one held by Ed Pastor and one by Raul Grijalva. Pastor represents CD04 and has been in Congress for 20 years. Raul represents a district in Tucson that is significantly to the left of the district that sends Nancy Pelosi to Congress and he’s routinely noted as the most liberal member of Congress. He was the primary sponsor of ObamaCare and he’s made a name for himself here in Arizona by repeatedly calling for boycotts over SB1070. Those two Critters will be Members of Congress until (and after) the Lord comes back.
There are however, three other seats that should flip this election.
- CD05 – Harry Mitchell.
- CD01 – Ann Kirkpatrick.
- CD08 – Gabrielle Giffords.
American Action Forum polled competitive districts in the West August 23-29 and here’s a snapshot of their results for the three districts in question:
I find the snapshots from this polling to be really encouraging across the board.
For all three races there are some very consistent results.
- Right/Wrong Track consistently favors the Challengers.
- The issue of the Economy favors the Challengers and it’s not likely that the job market is going to improve any time soon in Arizona. As a side issue related to Jobs, Arizona Democrats are calling for boycotts of the State because of SB1070. Boycotts of a State where tourism is a major industry are not helpful.
- Then there’s Illegal Immigration. While it was cited by a relatively small number of voters as “major” issue it was typically the #2 issue raised. Here in Arizona, “Illegal Immigration” is a code phrase to two things: SB1070, which is favored by about 70% of Arizona voters and the lawsuits that have been brought by the Obama Administration. It’s interesting to note that the State is projecting that it will cost about $1MM to defend the DoJ suits. We’ve already raised about $3MM mostly from out-of-state donors. Without asking. Thank you.
- With respect to the question of what is most likely to influence their vote, voters in all three districts highlight the same four things and all of them favor the Challengers.
- Did I mention ObamaCare? Well, the voters did. All three Democratic incumbents FOR ObamaCare. All three Republican Challengers want to repeal it. Voters in all three districts STRONGLY OPPOSE ObamaCare in greater numbers than voters who support it in any manner. By a lot. Did I mention that all three Democrats voted for, and are quite pleased with, their support of ObamaCare?
Now then, with respect to the individual races.
First of all, and the closest, Giffords v Kelly. Jesse Kelly is a former US Marine in his first political outing. He beat John Paton to win the nomination even though Paton is a former State Senator, is a conservative with a good legislative record and had a huge edge (just like Giffords does now) in both name recognition and money. Paton endorsed Kelly immediately after the election. The really amazing thing about Kelly is that he’s effectively tied with Giffords even though 41% of the voters in his district either don’t know anything about him or have never heard of him. Jesse can win this race but he needs some financial help. Hopefully both Governor Brewer and Senator McCain will find the time to campaign for Jesse and will help him financially, Lord knows McCain can afford it and they’ve both got the time given that both will win their races by big double digits. Jesse is on the right side of every issue that is of concern to CD08 voters and Giffords is simply wrong. She does have lots of money though. Did I mention that Jesse could use a few bucks? If you’re like me and you live in a district where there really isn’t a race (I’m in CD03, John Shadegg’s old district and Ben Quayle should win going away), send Jesse some money.
In both the remaining districts, the Republican Challengers have a decent lead, again given that their name recognition isn’t all that great. David Schweikert has a six point lead and half the district don’t know him.
And then there’s Dr. Paul Gosar. If I was Ann Kirkpatrick I’d be on suicide watch. 70% of the voters don’t know about him and he’s got a six point lead with 47% of the vote. There’s really not much to say after that except “Go Gosar!”
Every one of these districts should be represented by not just a “Republican”, but a solidly conservative Republican in the next Congress.