Commentary Magazine


Posts For: April 3, 2009

Flotsam and Jetsam

Not a single Republican votes for Obama’s budget and 20 Democrats vote “no.” Two Democratic senators did the same. I guess all that Organizing America didn’t do a lick of good.

Those Democrats who voted “no” may be on firm political ground. The poll numbers on Obama’s economic policies, as opposed to those querying about him personally, show Americans don’t like all that spending.

Aside from the personal hardship why does Thursday’s all-time high in jobless benefits claims matter? “The job losses are likely to weigh on consumer spending and threaten prospects for improvement in the overall economy.” Especially since consumer loan defaults are higher than they have been since the mid-1970s.

Obama’s nominees for HHS and ambassador to Iraq are being held up for now. It seems Republicans are not interesting in going along to get along.

A fair summation of the G-20: “On balance, the G-20 meeting ended as a reality check. The leaders arrived in London with the media billing it as virtually the Committee to Save the World. Led by the Obama Presidency, we are living through a period of inflated roles for government in the lives of nations. What emerged from London suggests these leaders recognize that even they are mere mortals and the real work of economic recovery will have to resume when their planes touch down back home.”

Not that they take themselves too seriously: “‘Saving the New York Times,” [Editor Bill]Keller said, ‘now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause.” He’s kidding, right? But it is a noteworthy acknowledgment that as a business the Times is a failure.

Mitt Romney talks like a candidate with an eye toward finding a policy solution, and an electoral majority, on an explosive issue: “Romney believes that one way to attract more minorities to the GOP is to pass immigration reform before the next election, saying the issue becomes demagogued by both parties on the campaign trail. ‘We have a natural affinity with Hispanic-American voters, Asian-American voters,’ he said. . .  Romney argued that all 2008 GOP candidates — including Tancredo — strongly favor legal immigration.”

If the election were held today Sen. Chris Dodd would lose — by a lot. At this rate, you have to wonder about a primary challenger, or whether Dodd will retire.

But Bob Menendez says:”Are you serious? Chris Dodd is going to be re-elected. He’s a great senator.” Republicans are keeping their fingers crossed that the Democrats stick with Dodd.

A smart take on why Geithner’s toxic asset clean-up plan may be less likely to work now. But without mark-to-market accounting rules perhaps there is less need to get these assets off the books anyway.

Jim Tedisco now leads in the NY-20, but those absentee ballots will decide it.

Obama nominated a “sampling” expert for Census Director. Still, “Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whose agency runs the Census Bureau, said during his Senate confirmation hearing that the ‘Supreme Court has made it very clear that statistical sampling is not permissible for apportionment purposes.'” So why pick the sampling guru?

A dumb idea comes to an end: “The U.S. Senate rejected a proposal by President Barack Obama to finance an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system by limiting the ability of the well-to-do to take tax deductions for charitable contributions. . . Obama proposed using the estimated $318 billion such a change would generate to help finance a health-care overhaul, which he says will cost at least $630 billion. Lawmakers said they feared the effect of such a tax change on charities.” So what’s going to pay for the healthcare fund now?

Not a single Republican votes for Obama’s budget and 20 Democrats vote “no.” Two Democratic senators did the same. I guess all that Organizing America didn’t do a lick of good.

Those Democrats who voted “no” may be on firm political ground. The poll numbers on Obama’s economic policies, as opposed to those querying about him personally, show Americans don’t like all that spending.

Aside from the personal hardship why does Thursday’s all-time high in jobless benefits claims matter? “The job losses are likely to weigh on consumer spending and threaten prospects for improvement in the overall economy.” Especially since consumer loan defaults are higher than they have been since the mid-1970s.

Obama’s nominees for HHS and ambassador to Iraq are being held up for now. It seems Republicans are not interesting in going along to get along.

A fair summation of the G-20: “On balance, the G-20 meeting ended as a reality check. The leaders arrived in London with the media billing it as virtually the Committee to Save the World. Led by the Obama Presidency, we are living through a period of inflated roles for government in the lives of nations. What emerged from London suggests these leaders recognize that even they are mere mortals and the real work of economic recovery will have to resume when their planes touch down back home.”

Not that they take themselves too seriously: “‘Saving the New York Times,” [Editor Bill]Keller said, ‘now ranks with saving Darfur as a high-minded cause.” He’s kidding, right? But it is a noteworthy acknowledgment that as a business the Times is a failure.

Mitt Romney talks like a candidate with an eye toward finding a policy solution, and an electoral majority, on an explosive issue: “Romney believes that one way to attract more minorities to the GOP is to pass immigration reform before the next election, saying the issue becomes demagogued by both parties on the campaign trail. ‘We have a natural affinity with Hispanic-American voters, Asian-American voters,’ he said. . .  Romney argued that all 2008 GOP candidates — including Tancredo — strongly favor legal immigration.”

If the election were held today Sen. Chris Dodd would lose — by a lot. At this rate, you have to wonder about a primary challenger, or whether Dodd will retire.

But Bob Menendez says:”Are you serious? Chris Dodd is going to be re-elected. He’s a great senator.” Republicans are keeping their fingers crossed that the Democrats stick with Dodd.

A smart take on why Geithner’s toxic asset clean-up plan may be less likely to work now. But without mark-to-market accounting rules perhaps there is less need to get these assets off the books anyway.

Jim Tedisco now leads in the NY-20, but those absentee ballots will decide it.

Obama nominated a “sampling” expert for Census Director. Still, “Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, whose agency runs the Census Bureau, said during his Senate confirmation hearing that the ‘Supreme Court has made it very clear that statistical sampling is not permissible for apportionment purposes.'” So why pick the sampling guru?

A dumb idea comes to an end: “The U.S. Senate rejected a proposal by President Barack Obama to finance an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system by limiting the ability of the well-to-do to take tax deductions for charitable contributions. . . Obama proposed using the estimated $318 billion such a change would generate to help finance a health-care overhaul, which he says will cost at least $630 billion. Lawmakers said they feared the effect of such a tax change on charities.” So what’s going to pay for the healthcare fund now?

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