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Flotsam and Jetsam

The New York Times runs a remarkably tough piece on Sotomayor’s temperament. Her defenders call her tough. “But to detractors, Judge Sotomayor’s sharp-tongued and occasionally combative manner — some lawyers have described her as ‘difficult’ and ‘nasty’ — raises questions about her judicial temperament and willingness to listen.” Read the whole thing — including the lawyers’ reviews. Be prepared to hear the “it’s just sexism” defense.

Obama says he doesn’t want to run car companies. Hmm: “While President Obama has said he has no interest in running GM or Chrysler, into which the government has poured more than $20 billion combined, he has said officials have an interest in protecting the taxpayers’ investment. Nevertheless, federal officials are preparing to be deeply involved in the companies well after they emerge from their respective bankruptcies.”

And the results are far reaching: By rescuing a “favored class” (i.e. the UAW) over bondholders Obama has potentially undermined other industries. Some analysts and bondholders now fear “unionized companies will have trouble attracting cash in the bond market if the bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler give creditors substantially smaller payouts than they traditionally received.”

Meanwhile, some companies have gotten wise: the toxic asset purchase plan and the FDIC Legacy Loan program are fizzling. It seems financial institutions are wary about doing business with the government, fearing “the program’s rules will change in a political atmosphere hostile to Wall Street.” Can’t say they haven’t learned something in the last four months.

USA Today reports: “States hit hardest by the recession received only a few of the government’s first stimulus contracts, even though the glut of new federal spending was meant to target places where the economic pain has been particularly severe.” You don’t think money was awarded for political reasons, do you?

In the New Jersey gubernatorial primary race the rock-ribbed “conservative” Steve Lonegan sounds like a Beltway Democrat: “Lonegan conceded yesterday during a meeting with The Star-Ledger’s editorial board that as many as half of New Jersey residents would pay more under a flat tax plan. But he said lower-income residents can afford to pay a few hundred dollars more to foster an economic climate that would improve their chances of landing a high-paying job.”

Rasmussen has Chris Christie with a double-digit lead over Lonegan going into Tuesday’s New Jersey gubernatorial primary election.

In Florida’s GOP senate primary race Marco Rubio scores some conservative endorsements and Charlie Crist raises some taxes.

Meg Whitman picks up endorsements from John McCain and Eric Cantor in California’s gubernatorial primary.

The Virginia gubernatorial primary gets dicey: “In a governor’s race that’s all about jobs, Terry McAuliffe is facing questions about huge profits he made from a company that collapsed two years later, leaving 10,000 people unemployed.The multimillionaire businessman and former Democratic National Committee chairman, a close friend of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, is pledging to use his business savvy to land more jobs for his state than any of his fellow governors. But since he entered the race in January, he’s been dogged by questions about his investments in telecom giant Global Crossing.”

Via Jake Tapper: “William Cohen, a Republican senator from Maine who served as President Bill Clinton’s defense secretary from 1997 through 2001, says that President Obama’s decision to reduce the funding commitment to the US missile-defense system by $1.4 billion ‘sends the signal that we do not take the threats of rogue regimes seriously, and are willing to take the risk that current technologies are sufficient to prevent devastating accidents or miscalculations.’ Given North Korean actions, Cohen says, this is a big mistake.”  If Obama is looking to reverse a bad call (i.e. cutting missile defense) wouldn’t now be a good time to send a muscular signal to rogue states?



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