Monthly Archives: December 2011

BREAKING: Jen Rubin Calls Mitt Romney “Decidedly Not Conservative”

Nah, just kidding she said that about Newt Gingrich…

Decidedly not conservative. “Looking for votes in Iowa, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich touted his support for ethanol on Thursday and said it would be part of his all-American energy plan.”

Only one small problem, Willard Mitt Romney agrees with Newt.

“I support the subsidy of ethanol,” said Romney, working his way through the Des Moines crowd, where he shook hands and doled out autographs. “I believe it’s an important part of our energy solution in this country.”

In fairness to Rubin, that Mitt quote on Ethanol is from way back in May of this year so his position may have changed once or twice since then. But if a Romney staffer like Rubin can’t keep track of Mitt’s positions, how can the rest of us be expected to?

I think they are both wrong but at least I’m honest enough to admit my guy is wrong. As always though, it’s offset by his actual record of conservative accomplishments. Mitt? Still not so much.

Does Rick Perry Think We Won The War Of 1812?

Next year is the bi-centennial of our scrap with the Brits so it’s a good time to revisit the outcome.

“Every barrel of oil that comes out of those sands in Canada is a barrel of oil that we don’t have to buy from a foreign source,” Mr. Perry said in Clarinda, earning a loud round of enthusiastic applause.

See Rick, Canada is another country so it’s sort of by definition “a foreign source” so when you say…never mind.

On the other hand, perhaps this is just Perry’s coded promise to implement War Plan Red.

(FTR- I don’t think this is a big deal. I’m just having a little fun with Rick while he’s still around to have fun with. He’ll be missed when he’s gone from the race.)

 

H/T: A RINO who wishes to remain anonymous

Mitt Romney Thinks You Are Too Stupid To Know What “Conservative” Means

He’s at it again. Mitt Romney just can’t quit the individual mandate.

What Mitt is doing here is conflating conservative values with conservative policies. It’s intentional and done to make the unreasonable and indefensible into something it isn’t. Sure, self-reliance is a value conservatives cherish but turning that personal value into public policy creates a conflict. People have the right to be irresponsible, you can’t and shouldn’t try and legislate that kind of personal responsibility. As opponents of the mandate have argued, once the government can tell you to buy a product on the open market there is simply no imaginable limit on what government may force you to do.

Society as a whole has decided we will supply medical care to people regardless of their ability to pay. That’s a choice we have made as a nation, but in making that choice we have not handed over our liberty to the government simply to make the system run more efficiently and cost effectively.

And in reality how much personal responsibility is being foisted on people by Mitt’s mandate? According to the Wall Street Journal, not many.

The only good news we can find is that the uninsured rate has dropped to 2% today from 6% in 2006. Yet four out of five of the newly insured receive low- or no-cost coverage from the government. The subsidies will cost at least $830 million in 2011 and are growing, conservatively measured, at 5.1% a year.

I fail to see how getting people on government subsidized health insurance plans is an example of increasing personal responsibility.

Well at least it controls costs, right?

Total state health-care spending as a share of the budget has grown from about 16% in the 1980s to 30% in 2006 to 40% today. The national state average is about 25%.

Mitt Romney says “I like mandates. The mandates work”.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, those who would trade a little a freedom to get health care savings will get neither.

The politics of this are awful. Romney still supports the idea that individual mandates are a reasonable way to go (there not) but should only be implemented at the state not federal level.  If that’s the ground you want to fight on, then Mitt is your man. Add to that the fact that Mitt will be dogged by questions about which parts of ObamaCare he likes and would keep,

If you think the health care fights should be about Obama and ObamaCare, Mitt Romney simply won’t, and could not if he wanted to, make a convincing or effective stand against them.

 

The Best And Worst Of The American Health Care System

A week ago yesterday I had a routine appointment (or so I thought) with my primary care provider. She’s thorough and concerned for her patients and I’m lucky to have her caring for me.

About 3 months ago she started me on medication to deal with my high blood pressure. Since then she had me in for follow ups, every two weeks at first than once a month to check up on things, make sure there are no side effects and to ensure that my blood pressure is under control. She doesn’t even charge for all the follow ups, she just wants to make sure things are ok.

At my last appointment with her she found my BP was ok but was very concerned about something she heard when listening to my heart beat and was really worried about how low my heart rate was.

She initially said, “if you feel any symptoms in your chest, call 911″ then she said she would give me a referral to a cardiologist and that I should call soon to set up an appointment. Then she decided she’s have her assistant call and get me in that day.

Needless to say this was…alarming. It escalated quickly as Ron Burgandy would say.

This was at 10:30 in the morning and by 12:30 I was at the area’s leading cardiologist have an echo-cardiogram, an EKG, a stress test and eventually blood work. All of this was done by 4:30 in the afternoon.

After looking at the results of the tests, the cardiologist told me he had no concerns about sending me home as everything seemed clear. He sent me back to my primary care provider to get a monitor on for 24 hours and we set up a follow up appointment for today to go over the results of the monitor and the blood work. It would have been sooner but the holiday pushed it back until today.

So today I got a complete bill of good cardiac health. There was something in the blood work but based on a recent and routine set of labs from 2 months ago, he thinks it’s nothing but will check again in a month.

The bottom line is based on my doctor’s hunch and concern I was able to get into see a great specialist within a matter of hours to get checked out and totally cleared in 8 days. That is by far the upside of the American medical system.

The downside is, was there something that could have been done that wasn’t as extensive to put her initial concerns to rest? I’m not a doctor so I don’t know. As a patient, I’m glad this marvelous system sprung into action to care for me but this stuff isn’t cheap. Health care costs go up because we have amazing technology and a veritable army of trained and concerned health care providers. When something seems amiss, you want it to get to work, cost be damned. But as a society we are finding the costs are damning us to debt.

There is no simple answer, in fact there may not be any answer. We simply have two competing imperatives that are in conflict. It’s one thing to know that in theory, it’s been quite another to see up close and personal this week.

Guy Who Though Obama Was Pretty Great Is Not A Fan Of Newt Gingrich’s

Mickey Edwards is a former Congressman from Oklahoma and a founding trustee at the Heritage Foundation. He knows Newt Gingrich, he worked with Newt Gingrich and he’s not a fan of Newt Gingrich.

Yet this does not explain why so many — myself included — are so disturbed at the possibility of a Gingrich presidency. So first let us consider the attributes that are desirable in a president of the United States, whose job description includes representing America on the world stage and directing the administrative activities of the government in accordance with federal law. To describe Gingrich as “volatile” is like describing Picasso as somebody who liked to draw. Political chatterers point to this volatility as something to be concerned about in terms of a possible Gingrich eruption in the debates; I worry about it in terms of America’s relationships with other nations. Gingrich sees the world as a battleground — more than any other man alive, he is responsible for creating the nonstop partisan warfare that has made American government so dysfunctional. Even before his election as Republican whip in 1989, he had begun to demand a no-compromise war for political power; it is his sole belief system. It is distinctly at odds with the Founders’ conception of peoples’ representatives gathering in a Congress to reason together to shape the nation’s laws. It is why they argued against creating strong political parties like the ones they had left behind in Europe. But to Gingrich, parties — confrontational parties — are essential tools to be used to gain, and hold, power. It is power, not wise governance, that exerts the magnetic pull.

Gingrich is more responsible for “nonstop partisan warfare” than anyone alive? Gingrich is responsible for “no-compromise” political warfare?

Did Edwards miss all of American history before 1994? When exactly did this golden age of political sweetness and light exist? Perhaps it was during the administration of George Washington. No, it wasn’t then. It certainly wasn’t during the founding era when John Adams and Thomas Jefferson got along so famously well. Maybe it was during the lead up to the…Civil War? Perhaps during Reconstruction? Surely it must have been the early part of 20th Century during either the time of Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson or FDR. No, it was any of those either. Clearly there must have been political peace and love during the 60′s! Um, no. Democrats must have respected and cooperated with Nixon. Well, for awhile, yeah.

Does Edwards really think that Democrats were more respectful of Ronald Reagan and didn’t try and thwart him at every turn? Surely not since as Edwards himself points out, he worked with Reagan (more than Newt did he’ll remind you).

And when Bill Clinton ran for President claiming a mild recession was “the worst economy since the Great Depression” and rammed a tax hike through the House by one vote (despite having run on a promise to cut taxes), that was just dandy.

Then along came the man who ruined America…Newt Gingrich. He had the temerity to steal from the Democrats their birth right to control the House of Representatives. Or maybe Edwards thinks if Newt had just asked nicely the Democrats would have handed over the House because when they were kids their mothers taught them to share.

You know the one defining trait of Edwards’ imagined period of political Eden that existed before Newt ate the apple? The expansion of the federal government. Now Newt talks a better game of shrinking government than he plays but at least he put it on the agenda in the 90s.

Let me stipulate a few things Edwards charges Gingrich with..being a showoff, full of himself and confrontational. According to the number I just pulled out of thin air, this is also describes about 95% of successful people to some degree and 99% of all successful politicians. If Republicans didn’t want to move to the right they could have nominated George H.W. Bush over Reagan in 1980. In the 90s House Republicans could have kept electing Gerald Ford and Bob Michel types to be their leaders. They made lovely minority leaders and I’m sure their successors would have too.

Oh and one last thought, consider this bit of Edwards’ record when you decide how much stock to put in Edwards’ judgement of politicians and their personal qualities.

GROSS: You’re a lifelong Republican, former Republican Congressman. What are your thoughts today on the election of Barack Obama?

Mr. EDWARDS: Well, you know, I feel very good about it. I feel good for a couple of reasons, the fact that Barack Obama ran a pretty positive, upbeat kind of campaign. I mean, he criticized John McCain’s positions on a number of issues. He criticized, as he should have, George W. Bush for a lot of his policies and the way his administration performed, but he also talked an awful lot about the fact that we’re not red states and blue states. We’re the United States.

And, you know, it says something about America that you would take somebody who is part of a minority of just over 12 percent of the population and elect that person to be president. There aren’t very many countries on the planet that would do that, and so I think it’s hard to not be really positive about the outcome of that election.

GROSS: Would it be too personal for me to ask if you voted for him?

Mr. EDWARDS: I did support Obama, yes. And it was not easy, you know. I’ve been, as you pointed out, I’ve been a Republican for my entire adult life. I served in Congress as a member of the Republican leadership. I was a policy director for the Reagan campaign in 1980. So, I mean, it wasn’t easy, you know, to support a Democrat for president, but I did.

GROSS: How much of your support for Obama was enthusiasm for Obama, and how much of it was disillusionment with the direction the Republican Party is headed in?

Mr. EDWARDS: That’s a really good question, Terry, because what I like about Obama primarily was not his policies, you know, I’m a Republican, but the fact that his temperament was the kind of temperament I think we need in the White House – calm, mature, thoughtful, deliberate. So, that had a lot to do with why I like Obama, but the fact is, the last eight years under this president, and, you know, I was a foreign policy adviser to George W. Bush’s campaign in 2000 when he ran.

Yeah.

Does Mitt Romney Have Any Conservative Accomplishments? A Romney Supporter Makes His Case

Ace was kind enough to link my last post and that led to a “conversation” in the comments about whether or not Romney actually has done anything to advance conservatism.

As I said in my last post, I couldn’t think of one. A couple of Romney supporting commenters suggested that Romney balanced the state’s budget. Personally I don’t find that persuasive.

First, it’s a constitutional requirement, so I don’t see following the law as a conservative accomplishment. Andrew Cuomo balanced NY’s budget, I wouldn’t call him a conservative.

Second, Romney claims he didn’t raise taxes to balance the budget. Well, that’s open to debate but he sure as heck raised “fees” and “closed loopholes”. That’s a pretty thin dodge.

So beyond that what has Romney done that so conservative? Commenter “Alabaster Jones” offered up the following on Romney’s behalf.

Vetoed in state tuition for Illegals. Veto upheld. Presented article to legislature to reinstate the Death Penalty. Opted out of the regional cap and trade initiative. Vetoed after morning pill. Authorized State Troopers to inquire about resident status.

Well, let’s take a look at that list one item at a time.

Vetoed in state tuition for Illegals. Veto upheld.
Ok, fair enough.

Presented article to legislature to reinstate the Death Penalty.
And it didn’t pass. That’s like Michele Bachmann’s “leading” losing fights.

Opted out of the regional cap and trade initiative.
Not exactly. He was instrumental in setting it up and then on his last day in office he said he wouldn’t join what he started. Of course, he did set up emission caps on some MA power plants.

Vetoed after morning pill.
Ok but the veto was overridden and it was also a massive flip by Romney but fine.

Authorized State Troopers to inquire about resident status.
That federal program was created long before Romney became Governor. So he signed that agreement on Day 1 of his administration, right? Not so exactly. He signed the memo authorizing his state’s participation about 6 weeks before his term was up. Incoming Governor Deval Patrick had already said he’d rescind it. The MA program never went into effect.

So yeah, Romney vetoed two bills, one of which was overridden.

Quite the conservative record.

Vetoed in state tuition for Illegals. Veto upheld. Presented article to legislature to reinstate the Death Penalty. Opted out of the regional cap and trade initiative. Vetoed after morning pill. Authorized State Troopers to inquire about resident status.

Why Do Some Give Mitt Romney The Benefit Of So Many Doubts?

The recent National Review editorial savaging Newt Gingrich and urging that all candidates other than Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum be removed from consideration set off a firestorm in the conservative movement. I tend not to be an “establishment vs. the base”person   (for want of better terms) but this primary season has ratcheted up the tension between the groups however you define them.

What bothers me about National Review’s stance and others like Jennifer Rubin, George Will and Ann Coulter is the degree to which just about every charge they lay against Gingrich, save a stable family life, could just as easily be made about their chosen candidate, Mitt Romney.

Newt’s a flip-flopper? Mitt? He’s had a few of his own.

Newt has advanced the occasional idea that doesn’t square with traditional conservatism. Romney designed the prototype for ObamaCare.

Newt partnered with Nancy Pelosi. Mitt sends out John Sununu (the man who vouched for David Souter’s conservatism) to attack Newt for opposing the George H.W. Bush’s tax increase (which broke his “Read my lips” pledge).

Newt was unpopular with conservatives when he was forced to resign as Speaker of the House. Mitt was rejected by Republicans four years ago in favor of…John McCain and hasn’t been able to crack 25% or so in polls this year.

Newt “is responsible for the most egregious Republican-on-Republican attack of this cycle.” Mitt lied and said that Rick Perry wanted to abolish Social Security.

I could play this game all day. My point is that if we’re simply listing negatives I can match any Romney supporters hit on Newt with one as bad, if not worse on Mitt.

So instead, let’s look at each candidate’s achievements on behalf of conservatism and the GOP.

I’ll start with Newt Gingrich.

-Led the GOP Revolution of 1994 that brought Republicans control of the House for the first time in 40 years.

Legislative highlights include:

-Welfare reform

-Tax cuts

-The Defense of Marriage Act.

-Balanced federal budgets

-The House passed but Senate didn’t/Clinton didn’t sign a repeal of the assault weapons ban and a bill to ban partial birth abortions (scroll down a bit)

-A 90% lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union.

-A 98.6% rating from the National Right To Life Committee 4

Mitt Romney’s conservative achievements:

I honestly can’t think of one.

I can think of plenty of conservative things Mitt has said recently but actually done? I have nothing. Rick Perry, Rick Santorum and even Jon Huntsman have far more conservative records of actually doing things to advance conservative principles. Romney has no concrete example to point to.

I’m not denying Newt is flawed. Heck, I was savaging him myself not too long ago. And no, he isn’t as conservative as people seem to think  he is or as he now portrays himself. But to claim he’s not a conservative or not as conservative as Mitt Romney is simply laughable. Yet Romney continually gets the benefit of the doubt from people who should know better. They may point to his supposed electability (I’ll deal with that in another post shortly) but that’s not a license to cut him unlimited slack while beating up on Gingrich for the same or lesser deviations. If Mitt is so much better than Newt why does he need so many breaks and benefits of the doubt?

ADDED: This is another great example of conservatives twisting themselves into knots to see Romney as more conservative than Gingrich.

A few weeks ago, when I weighed Gingrich against Romney, I tipped the balance in Gingrich’s favor with this sentiment: “Romney’s signature achievement was Romneycare, while Gingrich’s signature achievement was welfare reform.” But, last night, I had a thought that tipped the balance in Romney’s favor. Both Romney and Gingrich have betrayed conservatism. But Romney’s betrayals came in a liberal state surrounded by liberals. As he put it at the debate last night, it’s hard to sneak Republican judicial nominees past a board of Democrats. In contrast, at least a few of Gingrich’s betrayals came in a conservative Congress surrounded by conservatives. It’s possible to make the case that Romney is actually conservative at his core but was circumstantially forced into supporting liberal legislation, while Gingrich is actually more pro-big-government at his core but was circumstantially forced into supporting conservative legislation.

That’s Tina Korbe writing at Hot Air.

Let me see if I have this right…Newt Gingrich managed to do what no other GOP leader had been able to accomplish in 40 years, secure a GOP House majority. He did this by displacing the atrophied liberal Democrats so that he could then pass his own version of big government liberalism but was foiled by the valiant conservatives that (and here’s where it gets tricky) he helped to elect in the first place?

And yet Mitt gets some sort of pass for not actually doing anything but we’ll just assume he’s the more conservative choice.

Your Daily Bit Of Media Bias

It turns out Yahoo! News and ABC News are co-hosting a GOP debate. Why not? Everyone else is.

As has become the norm, viewers will be able to submit questions that might be used.

So far, so good. Well here’s how Yahoo! promoted it on their home page look down to the next to last headline).

Click on the image and you’ll see the next to last headline is “Ask the GOP candidates about income inequality”.

When I clicked on that link (It’s not there now.  I’m not sure if they took it down or it just changed as part of their regular rotation of headlines), it sent me to this page where you can leave suggested questions.

So Yahoo! News is holding a debate for the GOP candidates and they are urging their readers to do what they can to make sure President Obama’s newest talking point is brought up.

I think the Trump debate is an awful idea but at least Trump is just shilling for Trump. Yahoo! News and ABC are shilling for the Democrats.

Why exactly does the GOP let these kinds of people control such an important part of the nomination process? Next time there’s a GOP presidential primary, skip the MSM debates (and Trump) and stick with thinks like the DeMint and Huckabee forums. The questions asked should reflect the topics of interest to Republican voters, not set up attack ads for the Democrats.

Jen Rubin Is An Even Bigger Hack Than You Think (No Really)

You’d think Newt’s acceptance of the Trump debate invitation would be the kind of thing that Rubin would jump on, right?

Well, she’s had exactly one mention of it since Friday.

In his eager acceptance of Donald Trump’s debate invitation, he also seems on the verge of looking more like a “celebrity” (his self-description when telling us he gets $60,000 per speech) than someone voters can imagine in the Oval Office.

Mind you, that’s the last sentence of the 13th paragraph in a post blasting Newt.

Why is she so silent on something so clearly in her wheel-house? Oh right, Mitt hasn’t decided if he’s going to do it or not. Mustn’t get caught on the wrong side of Mittens. So she weakly attacks Gingrich for accepting to quickly, where as if Mitt accepts it will be in the fullness of time after deep soul searching.

Of course, if Mitt doesn’t accept, I bet we see a lot of talk about clown shows.

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