Commentary Magazine


Topic: Gilbert Baker

Flotsam and Jetsam

The number of terrorists convicted in the criminal-justice system is 300. Or 195. Or 39, if you believe the ACLU.  Andy McCarthy writes: “It is disingenuous to low-ball the figure, as the ACLU does, in order to minimize the problem. It is equally disingenuous to exaggerate the figure, as DOJ is now doing, to create a myth of law-enforcement effectiveness (in order to discredit wartime military processes). Both of these plays are in the Left’s playbook. But guys, but when your objective is to hoodwink the public, you’re not supposed to run both plays at the same time! Can’t anybody here play this game?”

Obama is not turning out to be everything (anything?) the Left had hoped he’d be. Eli Lake reports: “President Obama is coming under pressure from Democrats and civil liberties groups for failing to fill positions on an oversight panel formed in 2004 to make sure the government does not spy improperly on U.S. citizens. … Since taking office, Mr. Obama has allowed the board to languish. He has not even spent the panel’s allocation from the fiscal 2010 budget.” Well, he hasn’t set up the High Value Interrogation group either, so the Left shouldn’t take it personally. He’s just not very good on following through.

But the key test for Democrats is not what they say in a hearing, but how they vote: “The Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said he is a skeptic of President Barack Obama’s long-term budget plan. Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.) told White House officials Tuesday that the nation can’t accept the budget’s projected deficits at the end of this decade, which approach $1 trillion. ‘We are on an unsustainable course by any measure,’ Conrad said during his committee’s first hearing on the administration’s 2011 budget request. ‘I believe the president is taking us in the right direction over the next several years,’ he added. ‘But I must say I am very concerned about the long term.’”

More horrid polling for Blanche Lincoln: “Her GOP rivals, including Congressman John Boozman who is expected to enter the race on Saturday, all earn roughly 50% of the vote against the two-term Democrat. … Boozman, the newest entrant in the race, runs strongest among likely voters in Arkansas for now, beating Lincoln by 19 points, 54% to 35%. State Senator Gilbert Baker also leads Lincoln by 19, 52% to 33%. State Senate Minority Leader Kim Hendren posts a 51% to 35% lead over the incumbent.”

The Obami’s vendetta against Fox was a stunning success — for Fox. “Fox News had its best January in the history of the network, and was the only cable news network to grow year-to-year. FNC also had the top 13 programs on cable news in total viewers for the fifth month in a row, and the top 13 programs in the A25-54 demographic for the first time in more than five years.”

Sen. John Kerry: “We need a constitutional amendment to make it clear once and for all that corporations do not have the same free speech rights as individuals.” It may be a daft idea to amend the Constitution so as to restrict speech, but at least he’s more honest than the president. You can’t overrule a First Amendment decision by statute.

Sen. Judd Gregg will be missed when he retires. “Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag faced the wrath of Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Tuesday during the Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Obama administration’s budget proposal for 2011. Gregg was irked about President Obama’s plan to unveil a new proposal to use $30 billion from Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to help community banks lend to small businesses at an event Tuesday afternoon in Nashua, NH — Gregg’s home state. ‘This proposal violates the law,’ Gregg said. ‘The whole concept of the TARP was as we recouped the money, we would use it to pay down the debt. Now that’s not going to happen. It’s become a piggy bank. A piggy bank which adds to our deficit.’”

Yes, Richard Reid was Mirandized. So what? John McCormack: “But the fact remains that it was a mistake to mirandize Abdulmutallab — just as it was a mistake to mirandize Reid. At what point will Democrats realize that the Bush administration’s mistakes are not an excuse for the Obama administration’s failures?” The answer is never. They ran against Bush, they won being against Bush, they crafted not-Bush national-security policies, and now they are convinced they can govern being not Bush (except when they repeat an error of the Bush administration). This is what comes from Bush Derangement Syndrome, I suppose.

The number of terrorists convicted in the criminal-justice system is 300. Or 195. Or 39, if you believe the ACLU.  Andy McCarthy writes: “It is disingenuous to low-ball the figure, as the ACLU does, in order to minimize the problem. It is equally disingenuous to exaggerate the figure, as DOJ is now doing, to create a myth of law-enforcement effectiveness (in order to discredit wartime military processes). Both of these plays are in the Left’s playbook. But guys, but when your objective is to hoodwink the public, you’re not supposed to run both plays at the same time! Can’t anybody here play this game?”

Obama is not turning out to be everything (anything?) the Left had hoped he’d be. Eli Lake reports: “President Obama is coming under pressure from Democrats and civil liberties groups for failing to fill positions on an oversight panel formed in 2004 to make sure the government does not spy improperly on U.S. citizens. … Since taking office, Mr. Obama has allowed the board to languish. He has not even spent the panel’s allocation from the fiscal 2010 budget.” Well, he hasn’t set up the High Value Interrogation group either, so the Left shouldn’t take it personally. He’s just not very good on following through.

But the key test for Democrats is not what they say in a hearing, but how they vote: “The Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said he is a skeptic of President Barack Obama’s long-term budget plan. Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.) told White House officials Tuesday that the nation can’t accept the budget’s projected deficits at the end of this decade, which approach $1 trillion. ‘We are on an unsustainable course by any measure,’ Conrad said during his committee’s first hearing on the administration’s 2011 budget request. ‘I believe the president is taking us in the right direction over the next several years,’ he added. ‘But I must say I am very concerned about the long term.’”

More horrid polling for Blanche Lincoln: “Her GOP rivals, including Congressman John Boozman who is expected to enter the race on Saturday, all earn roughly 50% of the vote against the two-term Democrat. … Boozman, the newest entrant in the race, runs strongest among likely voters in Arkansas for now, beating Lincoln by 19 points, 54% to 35%. State Senator Gilbert Baker also leads Lincoln by 19, 52% to 33%. State Senate Minority Leader Kim Hendren posts a 51% to 35% lead over the incumbent.”

The Obami’s vendetta against Fox was a stunning success — for Fox. “Fox News had its best January in the history of the network, and was the only cable news network to grow year-to-year. FNC also had the top 13 programs on cable news in total viewers for the fifth month in a row, and the top 13 programs in the A25-54 demographic for the first time in more than five years.”

Sen. John Kerry: “We need a constitutional amendment to make it clear once and for all that corporations do not have the same free speech rights as individuals.” It may be a daft idea to amend the Constitution so as to restrict speech, but at least he’s more honest than the president. You can’t overrule a First Amendment decision by statute.

Sen. Judd Gregg will be missed when he retires. “Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag faced the wrath of Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., Tuesday during the Senate Budget Committee hearing on the Obama administration’s budget proposal for 2011. Gregg was irked about President Obama’s plan to unveil a new proposal to use $30 billion from Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to help community banks lend to small businesses at an event Tuesday afternoon in Nashua, NH — Gregg’s home state. ‘This proposal violates the law,’ Gregg said. ‘The whole concept of the TARP was as we recouped the money, we would use it to pay down the debt. Now that’s not going to happen. It’s become a piggy bank. A piggy bank which adds to our deficit.’”

Yes, Richard Reid was Mirandized. So what? John McCormack: “But the fact remains that it was a mistake to mirandize Abdulmutallab — just as it was a mistake to mirandize Reid. At what point will Democrats realize that the Bush administration’s mistakes are not an excuse for the Obama administration’s failures?” The answer is never. They ran against Bush, they won being against Bush, they crafted not-Bush national-security policies, and now they are convinced they can govern being not Bush (except when they repeat an error of the Bush administration). This is what comes from Bush Derangement Syndrome, I suppose.

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Lincoln’s “Retirement” May Be Involuntary

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is in trouble, still:

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in Arkansas shows Lincoln’s support for reelection at 38% or 39% no matter which of four potential Republican challengers she is matched against. . . State Senator Gilbert Baker leads Lincoln by 12, and State Senate Minority Leader Kim Hendren holds an eight-point edge over the incumbent. Curtis Coleman, a private businessman, and Tom Cox, head of the Arkansas T.E.A. Party, both lead her by 10 points. In reality, however, the numbers reflect very little about the challengers and are best viewed as a referendum on the incumbent. The two-term senator, who was reelected with 54% of the vote in 2004, appears more vulnerable because of her visible and pivotal role in the Senate debate over health care.

The White House and the Democratic leadership have been telling their colleagues that health care is their political salvation, the only way of heading off the coming tidal wave election. But the voters don’t seem to agree. And those lawmakers like Lincoln, Ben Nelson (who won’t face the voters until 2012), and, yes, even Harry Reid (whose poll numbers aren’t that different from Lincoln’s) convinced themselves they could vote with the ultraliberal leadership while escaping the wrath of their own constituents. But politics doesn’t work that way.

In the day-to-day scuffle inside the Capitol domes, Reid, Pelosi, and Rahm Emanuel may seem very important to the lives of lawmakers, but the ones who really matter are back home. For them, ObamaCare is not only objectionable on its own terms; it is also symbol of what they don’t like in Washington — corruption, backroom deals, and disregard for average Americans’ views and values (e.g., the right not to be forced to buy insurance you don’t want or can’t afford).

Perhaps the stampede to the congressional retirement home or the polls will finally register with some incumbent Democrats. If not, that’s why there are elections.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is in trouble, still:

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in Arkansas shows Lincoln’s support for reelection at 38% or 39% no matter which of four potential Republican challengers she is matched against. . . State Senator Gilbert Baker leads Lincoln by 12, and State Senate Minority Leader Kim Hendren holds an eight-point edge over the incumbent. Curtis Coleman, a private businessman, and Tom Cox, head of the Arkansas T.E.A. Party, both lead her by 10 points. In reality, however, the numbers reflect very little about the challengers and are best viewed as a referendum on the incumbent. The two-term senator, who was reelected with 54% of the vote in 2004, appears more vulnerable because of her visible and pivotal role in the Senate debate over health care.

The White House and the Democratic leadership have been telling their colleagues that health care is their political salvation, the only way of heading off the coming tidal wave election. But the voters don’t seem to agree. And those lawmakers like Lincoln, Ben Nelson (who won’t face the voters until 2012), and, yes, even Harry Reid (whose poll numbers aren’t that different from Lincoln’s) convinced themselves they could vote with the ultraliberal leadership while escaping the wrath of their own constituents. But politics doesn’t work that way.

In the day-to-day scuffle inside the Capitol domes, Reid, Pelosi, and Rahm Emanuel may seem very important to the lives of lawmakers, but the ones who really matter are back home. For them, ObamaCare is not only objectionable on its own terms; it is also symbol of what they don’t like in Washington — corruption, backroom deals, and disregard for average Americans’ views and values (e.g., the right not to be forced to buy insurance you don’t want or can’t afford).

Perhaps the stampede to the congressional retirement home or the polls will finally register with some incumbent Democrats. If not, that’s why there are elections.

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Senators in Peril

Sen. Harry Reid is in trouble at home. He is trailing potential GOP challengers and, even worse, he has an approval rating of 38 percent. This is the majority leader of the Senate, staking his career and those of his colleagues on passing ObamaCare.

But he’s in great shape compared to one of his colleagues:

It may be time to start putting Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) at the top of the list of most vulnerable senators up for re-election next year. Rasmussen’s latest survey. . . shows Lincoln trailing all of her little-known Republican opponents, with her trailing frontrunning Republican state senator Gilbert Baker by six points, 47 to 41 percent.

And by making herself the 60th vote to open the Senate health-care debate, she’s effectively painted a target on her back. “A whopping 56 percent of Arkansas voters said they ’strongly opposed’ the Congressional health care plan, with only 18 percent strongly favoring it.” Moreover, she doesn’t make matters any easier for herself by expressing doubts about ObamaCare and the Democrats’ handiwork that has preceded it:

I have the fear that it will create a long-term risk for taxpayers. And I think that comes on the heels of this orgy we’ve had of government spending — whether it’s bailouts for multiple people, multiple groups. I think it’s critical for us to look at how fiscally responsible we can be on behalf of taxpayers.

That “orgy” would include the stimulus and budget bills, which she voted for.

All of this should be sobering news to other Senate Democrats. Are they going to vote for an increasingly toxic health-care bill, which comes on the heels of that “orgy” of spending, and thus put their careers on the line? We will find out, but sometimes it is best just to deliberate and deliberate and deliberate some more.

Sen. Harry Reid is in trouble at home. He is trailing potential GOP challengers and, even worse, he has an approval rating of 38 percent. This is the majority leader of the Senate, staking his career and those of his colleagues on passing ObamaCare.

But he’s in great shape compared to one of his colleagues:

It may be time to start putting Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) at the top of the list of most vulnerable senators up for re-election next year. Rasmussen’s latest survey. . . shows Lincoln trailing all of her little-known Republican opponents, with her trailing frontrunning Republican state senator Gilbert Baker by six points, 47 to 41 percent.

And by making herself the 60th vote to open the Senate health-care debate, she’s effectively painted a target on her back. “A whopping 56 percent of Arkansas voters said they ’strongly opposed’ the Congressional health care plan, with only 18 percent strongly favoring it.” Moreover, she doesn’t make matters any easier for herself by expressing doubts about ObamaCare and the Democrats’ handiwork that has preceded it:

I have the fear that it will create a long-term risk for taxpayers. And I think that comes on the heels of this orgy we’ve had of government spending — whether it’s bailouts for multiple people, multiple groups. I think it’s critical for us to look at how fiscally responsible we can be on behalf of taxpayers.

That “orgy” would include the stimulus and budget bills, which she voted for.

All of this should be sobering news to other Senate Democrats. Are they going to vote for an increasingly toxic health-care bill, which comes on the heels of that “orgy” of spending, and thus put their careers on the line? We will find out, but sometimes it is best just to deliberate and deliberate and deliberate some more.

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Blanche Snowe

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is furiously trying to explain how difficult her decisive 60th vote was and what she really doesn’t like so very much about the health-care bill. Uh huh. Lincoln has good reason to be out spinning — she’s up for a tough re-election fight in less than a year, and Arkansas voters hate ObamaCare. All this spells bad news for Lincoln:

In a telephone survey of 501 likely voters in Arkansas, conducted on November 16-17, 2009, voters reported opposing the healthcare changes with only 29% saying they backed it while 64% said they were opposed. Fifty percent of likely voters indicated strong opposition to the plan while only 17% indicated strong support.

In an initial match-up of Lincoln and possible Republican candidate State Senator Gilbert Baker, the incumbent, Lincoln, holds a narrow 41-39 lead. Against another possible GOP contender, State Senator Kim Hendren, Lincoln holds a more substantial 45-29 lead.

And that was before she cast that 60th vote, which raises the issue as to why she drew the short straw as the “deciding vote.” Really, every Democrat’s vote was the deciding one, but apparently they figured out the political ramifications of being tagged as the 60th before she did.

So now Lincoln will have to imitate Olympia Snowe, who is besieged with media attention lauding her willingness to vote to move ObamaCare forward. Lincoln will tell us how hard a decision it was, how committed to “improving the bill” she is, and how she won’t vote for a “bad bill” in the end. Well, maybe that’ll fly in Arkansas — but she could have killed ObamaCare and didn’t. Good luck explaining that to the 64 percent of her constituents who don’t want government-run health care.

Sen. Blanche Lincoln is furiously trying to explain how difficult her decisive 60th vote was and what she really doesn’t like so very much about the health-care bill. Uh huh. Lincoln has good reason to be out spinning — she’s up for a tough re-election fight in less than a year, and Arkansas voters hate ObamaCare. All this spells bad news for Lincoln:

In a telephone survey of 501 likely voters in Arkansas, conducted on November 16-17, 2009, voters reported opposing the healthcare changes with only 29% saying they backed it while 64% said they were opposed. Fifty percent of likely voters indicated strong opposition to the plan while only 17% indicated strong support.

In an initial match-up of Lincoln and possible Republican candidate State Senator Gilbert Baker, the incumbent, Lincoln, holds a narrow 41-39 lead. Against another possible GOP contender, State Senator Kim Hendren, Lincoln holds a more substantial 45-29 lead.

And that was before she cast that 60th vote, which raises the issue as to why she drew the short straw as the “deciding vote.” Really, every Democrat’s vote was the deciding one, but apparently they figured out the political ramifications of being tagged as the 60th before she did.

So now Lincoln will have to imitate Olympia Snowe, who is besieged with media attention lauding her willingness to vote to move ObamaCare forward. Lincoln will tell us how hard a decision it was, how committed to “improving the bill” she is, and how she won’t vote for a “bad bill” in the end. Well, maybe that’ll fly in Arkansas — but she could have killed ObamaCare and didn’t. Good luck explaining that to the 64 percent of her constituents who don’t want government-run health care.

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