Friday, February 26, 2010

Obama Listens...With His Mouth

President Obama held his Summit yesterday. It was billed as a bipartisan meeting to hash out health care issues. Many wondered if this would just be political theater for Obama to get the American people behind him and his health care plan.

Obama was going to moderate and listen to see if he could get some good ideas from the Republicans and in front of the camera's, and hopefully some bipartisan support for his health care plan. That's how it was billed.

The Republicans came prepared. They took the President at his word and they prepared to make their case in front of Obama, in front of the Democrats and in front of the nation. The news organizations were thrilled. They were going to get to see Obama perform his magic on camera for 6 hours and lead a bipartisan campaign to get health care revived from the dead and back front and center before the nation. President Obama wanted to show he was willing to work with the Republicans. Oh happy day!!

But then the President wouldn't shut up. The more he said, the worse it got for him. The Republicans had facts. They had figures. They had examples, both good for what they were proposing and examples of bad situations to support their position of no takeover of health care by the government. They were calm, succinct and straightforward.

The all stars for the Republicans were Senator Lamar Alexander who asked the President to scrap the current bills and start over. Senator Tom Coburn who pointed out the 33% waste in current government health plans that could save billions of dollars. Representative Paul Ryan who not only pointed out that the current plan was a ponzi scheme but that the current bills actually count dollars twice to make it look deficit neutral when in fact it isn't. He said that these bills the Democrats voted on and passed, were so shaky they'd make Bernie Madoff proud. Eric Cantor and John Kyl also made salient points.

The Republicans took the offer of the summit seriously. they brought in their facts, figures and examples. The Democrats brought in stories from constituents and childish barbs. Obama responded to many including Alexander, Ryan and Kyl. He tried to berate Cantor for having a copy of the 2,400 page Senate bill in front of him saying that props don't help move a conversation forward. Meanwhile, Cantor had the bill open and read from it when giving his answer to the Democrat plan.

The low point had to be Senator McCain calling Obama out on his pledge of transparency and on the backroom deals to which Obama tried to put McCain down by saying that the election was over and nothing would come from replaying the election.

When they broke for lunch, the news organizations were no longer interested. Fox News went to their normal programming. CNN went to Wolf Blitzer and his interviews of other members of Congress. Even MSNBC moved away from the summit and they moved away from it before any of the others.

For a man that wanted to listen to both sides and come out with a bill that could be bipartisan, Obama proved that his ears don't do the listening. His mouth does. The Democrats, not including Obama spoke for 114 minutes. The Republicans spoke for 110 minutes and Obama spoke for 119 minutes! One man spoke more than either of the two parties. There were 17 Republicans, 21 Democrats and Obama outspoke them all. Not one Democrat came prepared for this summit with any facts or figures. Nothing to back up their position.

When the news quit carrying the summit, the only way to catch it was through the computer. Nobody, not one person, said that it was a slam dunk for Obama. The consensus was that the Republicans revitalized themselves with the American people in that summit.

When the summit was over, the talk was that the Democrats were now going to go to the nuclear option. Reconciliation. They now know that they won't get any Republicans on board. So the only way that they can get this through is to use the Reconciliation and with the hoops they need to jump through to get that far, it's even less likely than it was a week ago when people declared it dead, that it would ever get through.

If people were going to use yesterdays summit as a way to choose their next elected official, not many Democrats would be re-elected. If the Democrats somehow manage to get the nuclear option through, this fall will be a mass slaughter of Democrats in the voting. If the Democrats try and fail to get the nuclear option through, Republicans are still in a good position to retake both the House and Senate.

Yesterday was a day for Obama's teleprompter to tell him "better to be silent and thought the fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

You're welcome to comment.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Health Care Summit: Two purposes

I wasted three hours watching the health care summit this morning. What I learned is that there are two purposes.


The Republicans showed up with their first team including three doctors. Before even getting to the doctors Senator Lamar Alexander led off for the Republicans and made it clear that the Republicans want to scrap the current Senate and House plans and begin anew from scratch.

Senator Colburn, a doctor, laid out the cost problems. The fact that 33% of all health care dollars were wasted dollars and don't go towards caring for health.

Senator Kyl pointed out the waste in the bill.


President Obama led off with a long speech about finding the common agreements between the two parties, then began to outline where he considers that Republicans agree with the Democrats. He, Senator Max Baucus and a myriad of others all spoke with smiles on their faces saying that the differences were very minute and could be overcome, then went on to say that their plan was the answer.


Most of the speakers on both sides spent a tremendous amount of time explaining why the "summit" was taking place but said little else.

Senator Kyl had the 2,400 page Senate bill in front of him. Representative Cantor had the 2,400 Senate bill in front of him.

Senator Kyl and Representative Cantor both pointed to parts of the bill that Republicans just cannot agree with and suggested starting from scratch.


Two notable barbs came from the two former candidates. Senator McCain started off quoting Candidate Obama and made a point of saying it was their campaign. Then he pointed out the backroom deals such as the Louisiana Purchase and the Cornhusker Kickback. He could have done that more effectively without talking about the campaign. He came off as bitter about the election which took away from his otherwise honest and relevent argument about the backroom deals.

The other notable barb came from President Obama. He called on Representative Cantor to speak and then immediately interrupted him and picked at him abit for having the bill in front of him as if it was there just for effect. To be above what he called "political talking points" he could have kept his mouth shut about that. He also had another where Senator Kyl said that the difference between the proposed Senate plan and the Republicans plan was do you want Washington to make decisions or people to make their own decisions. Obama said that that was a political talking point or code word.

At the lunch break, wrote that Democrat Strategists said that this summit was to show the American people that Republicans agreed with Democrats and that would allow them to push the plan through using the reconciliation process which didn't need any Republican support.

So the Republicans went in with good faith and gave substantive arguments while the Democrats, almost to a man said (Hoyer, Schumer, Obama, and others) we seem to agree very closely with the Republicans or in Obama's case, "that's in our bill" each time the Republicans made a point.

Good that came from the morning session:

The Democrats admitted almost immediately that the Republicans had several plans out there and that the Democrats had reviewed it. Which is odd because they've been claiming for over a year that the Republicans don't have a plan and have never submitted a plan. Since they've now admitted that this isn't true, I wonder if that makes them liars.

Apparently, Senator Judd Gregg said it correctly to Greta Van Susteren the other night when he said he declined an invitation to attend the summit because it would be a kabuki dance.

Your comments are welcome.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Obama Sets Roadmap for Tax Increases

President Obama set in motion his plan to increase taxes. If you'll remember during the campaign he said on more than one occasion (actually just about every speech he made) that anyone making less than $250,000 per year would not see their taxes increase, not even one dime.

After failing to get the Debt Commission approved in the Senate a few weeks ago, he said he was going to sign an Executive Order to create this commission and yesterday he did just that. We all know that when a commission is set up for any purpose, that commission makes the recommendation that the sitting President wants recommended. In other words, this is for show.

Obama and the congress is letting the Bush tax cuts expire. Those tax cuts expire on December 31, 2010. So beginning on January 1 tax rates will increase. Democrats like to say that they aren't increasing but rather they are being returned to rates that President Reagan put in place. Since President Bush had tax rates reduced in 2001 and again in 2003, the expiration of those tax cuts means that we're getting a tax hike. You can put earrings on a pig, but you still have a pig.

Bush's tax cuts created record amounts of revenue coming into the government. Due to those tax cuts, the economy took off to heights not seen in 25 years. Unemployment was at or below 5%, which is considered full employment.

Unfortunately, that excess revenue was then spent by the Congress. It wasn't all applied to the debt, and while it reduced the deficit in 2006, the spending increases caused the deficit to increase again.

Obama is a tax and spend Democrat. He's tripled the debt in his one year in office and quadrupled the deficit from the record highs set by the Bush Administration. This commission that he created is being headed by Erskine Bowles (former advisor to President Clinton) and (former) Senator Alan Simpson. Obama appointed four people of his choice. The Republicans will appoint six and the Democrats will appoint six.

Obama says he's forcing this to be bi-partisan by saying that they must have 14 of the commissioners in agreement on a solution to reduce the debt. To reach the 14, he will have to have some Republicans agree on the plan that they come out with.

This will do a couple of things. First, it will allow Obama to say "it's not my fault, the commission is recommending this and Republicans 0n the commission were in agreement. Second, it will allow Congress to say that this isn't their idea, but rather that of the commission so it shouldn't be held against Congress.

Finally, they are required to have their report out by December 1, of this year. That's AFTER the election. So even if the people aren't fooled by the so-called bi-partisanship, they have no recourse for two more years.

So while the Bush tax cuts expire, we can expect an increase in taxes over and above the increase from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Obama believes that we can tax our way out of the recession and into prosperity despite the long list of failures by everyone that's tried it in various states and in the Federal government. It's never worked and it will never work.

He's provided cover for himself to get away from his promise of no new taxes nor tax increases on anyone earning less than $250,000 per year.

I believe that the people will not be fooled and that this underscores the need for Conservatives to be voted in come November. That can stop these tax increases. It won't stop the expiration of the Bush tax cuts (unless a miracle happens and the Republicans get a veto proof majority), but those elections should be able to stop additional taxes being put on the American people.

This will be a job killer and decrease revenue to the government causing them to want more taxes to cover their bills.

Following the election in November, it will then be up to us to keep our elected officials feet to the fire so that Republicans that will be elected in droves this fall don't go along with the tax increases but push hard to bring spending down. This means eliminating some expenses as well as reducing the spending in other areas.

As this is going on, and Obama is bragging about freezing spending (beginning next year) for three years, he's out in Nevada handing out another $1.5 Billion.

We can't trust what Obama says. We can only watch what he does. What he is doing is talking out of one side of his mouth and doing something else from the other side. This just shows the desperate need we have to elect Conservatives.

If Obama really wants to do something constructive, he might want to take a course on managing a checkbook.

You're welcome to comment.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Coming Juggernaut

More and more Democrats are dropping out of both Houses of Congress. The two most recent were Patrick Kennedy from the House and Evan Bayh from the Senate. Bayh was in danger of losing the seat in November despite his saying that he doesn't like the way that Washington is being run. He was only up by 3 points in the polls and those didn't include his most serious challenger, Dan Coates.

The Democrats are in trouble in the midterm elections. Yes, the party in power usually loses seats in the midterms, but this year could very well turn out to be more of a massacre than it was in 1994 when Newt Gingrich nationalized the elections and the Republicans took over the House with the Contract with America.

Several months ago, Dick Morris, former aide to President Clinton, predicted that the House and the Senate would go to Republican majorities and was laughed at even by conservatives. He is now looking like a prophet. There are 12 and possibly 13 Senate seats now held by Democrats that could be won by Republicans.

Coast to coast Democrats are in trouble. Barbara Boxer in California is being seriously challenged, as is Patty Murray in Washington. Harry Reid is way behind in Nevada and even his son is saying that it might be good for him to not run again. If Tommy Thompson, former Governor of Wisconsin, decides to run for the Senate, Russ Feingold will likely lose.

We've already seen a Republican win the seat held by Ted Kennedy until his death last year. Vice President Joe Bidens son dropped out of his race for the seat formerly held by his father. There are four Republicans beating Blanche Lincoln in the polls in Arkansas.

But it's not just Democrats that are in trouble. It's anyone that is not Conservative. Charlie Crist in Florida, a Republican, is down to Marco Rubio a Conservative Republican and now John McCain is being seriously challenged by Conservative JD Hayworth in Arizona.

All of this is happening before the Republicans have put out their unified plan that is expected. Similar to the Contract with America in 1994. Should this continue, and I believe it will, what will the pundits say the people are voting for? Likely they will say that the people of this country are choosing gridlock over governing. It's already being hinted at by Obama and the Democrats. They are claiming that the Republicans blocked the "important" legislation of the past year. There is just one problem with that argument. It's been mathematically impossible for the Republicans to obstruct anything over the past 12 months.

The Democrats have the majority in the House where a simple majority passes legislation. They have had 60 votes in the Senate where they need a minimum of 60 votes to pass anything. Yet, the Democrats shot themselves in the foot by holding backroom meetings on Health Care Reform. They couldn't get Cap and Trade passed. Republicans had nothing to do with the Democrats failure because they couldn't stop anything.

This election coming up is now in the Republicans control. They can be satisfied with the gains they've made just from the Democrats failures or they can try to put the Democrats away with a powerful message feeding on the dissatisifaction of the American people and put together a plan similar to the Contract with America and take even more seats than what they seem to be headed for now.

I believe that they should follow the latter plan. If the election were to be held today, they would likely take over the majority of both Houses. They should build on that and shoot not just for the majority, but fight for a veto proof majority. It's a lofty goal and maybe not achievable, but they certainly can't achieve it if they don't try for it. This is an opportunity that they shouldn't pass up.

The Republicans have the ability to pick up as many as 13 seats in the Senate. There are 36 seats up for election in November. All of the House seats are open in November as the House has just two year terms. As it is now, they could gain anywhere from 50 to 65 seats. Again, if they aim for a higher figure, you just never know how many more they could gain.

I hope the Republicans come out with a plan that they can all sign on to and hopefully increase those seats. A veto proof majority should be the goal whether they can reach it or not. You can't reach the impossible if you don't try for the impossible. After all, it was just a year ago that I doubt anyone would have expected to see a billboard of former President Bush asking if he was missed.

You're welcome to comment.