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Flotsam and Jetsam

Blanche Lincoln stops waffling and says, “not the time or place” for card check. Hmm, how are the Big Labor bloggers going to spin that one? Forget 60 votes in the Senate — they may not have 50. Round 2: What “compromise” can they come up with? I suspect business groups aren’t in much of a mood to deal with no real threat of card check hanging over their heads.

From the not-change-at-all file: “President Obama has promised to change the way the government does business, but in at least one respect, he is taking a page from the Bush playbook, stocking his town hall meeting Thursday with supporters whose questions provided openings to discuss his preferred message of the day.”

And what’s more, not much has changed around the world since the end of the Bush era: “Despite his immense popularity around the world, Mr. Obama will confront resentment over American-style capitalism and resistance to his economic prescriptions when he lands in London on Tuesday for the Group of 20 summit meeting of industrial and emerging market nations plus the European Union.The president will not even try to overcome NATO’s unwillingness to provide more troops in Afghanistan when he goes on later in the week to meet with the military alliance.” I guess the world did not fall down at his feet and that “repairing our reputation” isn’t really in the cards.

There seems to be some tension between the bankers and the president. The banks can’t wait to give the TARP money back and get out from under the government’s thumb; the president doesn’t want the money back yet. As some of us suspected, once the government got their mitts on big financial institutions it wasn’t going to be easy to get them to let go.

The frontrunner New Jersey GOP gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie is having a rather easy time of it in the run up local conventions to the June primary. And his opponent is lagging in fundraising. Christie will need to save every dime he can to compete against Jon Corzine who has tens of millions, but sagging poll numbers.

Matt Continetti wonders: “The Beltway is waking up to the realities of President Obama’s budget plan, which taxes, spends, and borrows as far as the eye can see. The president’s vast new commitments in the areas of health care, energy, and education have already spooked small-government Republicans and the foreign investors who help finance America’s public debt. Now even some Democrats are beginning to realize that the president’s fiscal policies are unsustainable in the long–and maybe medium–run. What took them so long?” Well alot of them like big government, albeit not this big.

The Republicans have latched onto a new catch phrase to describe the president’s budget: “It spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much.” Not very slick but neither was “It’s the economy, stupid.” (By 2010 the real slogan may be “It’s the unemployment, stupid.”)

As Gail Collins points out, David Paterson is not without his achievements: “In a state capital where anybody who is anybody is under indictment, he managed to completely alienate the public just by being terrible at his job.”

If you thought Maureen Dowd was nuts before, read her discourse on eye color.

The Washington Post editors at least ask the right question about Tim Geithner’s demand for seemingly unlimited new regulatory powers for Treasury and the Fed: “If the Federal Reserve gets the job of naming and supervising systemically risky companies, as many expect, won’t that embroil the central bank in endless lobbying and litigation? But if not the Fed, then who? How will the government collect insurance premiums for the necessary bailout fund? Can anyone devise purely objective criteria for systemic risk, or is this a case of “You know it when you see it”? And if that’s true, would the new plan create so much uncertainty that it deters not only dangerous financial growth and innovation but the healthy kind, too? “


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