The Party of special-interests

August 25, 2008 at 6:36 am

The Wall Street Journal on the motivations of the Democratic Party:

Instead, the Democrats of the past several years have shown themselves to be less a party of ideas than a vessel for special interests. Exhibit A: the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.

Privately, Congressional Democrats know this deal is in the nation’s interests. Colombia is a primary ally in a rough neighborhood, and the agreement is a win for both sides. Colombia’s goods can already enter the U.S. duty free because of the Andean trade preferences act. The AFL-CIO, however, has commanded that no vote can occur on Colombia, and so Democrats have obeyed and the trade deal languishes, frustrating and perhaps embittering a foreign friend of the U.S.

The fight over offshore drilling is playing to the same script. Despite solid public majorities showing a sharp turn in favor of exploiting the nation’s oil reserves, a Democratic Congress chained to carbon-phobic environmental groups has refused to allow even a vote on drilling. This fiasco has given House Democrats a black eye. No matter. The party’s special interests have the last word. The first word from these interests — Big Labor, the teachers unions, environmentalists or the trial lawyers — is: Do our bidding or we will make you pay at the polls.

This is the crowd that will be dancing in Denver. The Congressional Democrats have moved left on taxes and left on trade; they propose a significant federalization of health insurance and propose to resurrect the regulatory state that Jimmy Carter helped bury. On foreign policy, they are to the left of where Bill Clinton was on Kosovo and Bosnia.

The difficulty with interest-group politics, as we saw with the “dinosaurs” of Mexico’s PRI party until they were finally run out of power, is that it can become incapable of thinking about national interests. The lockdown on the Colombia deal shows that.

Do the Democrats really believe that the American pubic is ready for this kind of narrow governance? So it appears. Nancy Pelosi has outlined a path to Democratic dominance for a generation. The party builds its majority this year, she argues, wins more seats through redistricting after the 2010 census, and then achieves long-term dominance in 2012.

“At what point does a baby get human rights?”

August 16, 2008 at 9:11 pm

So went the question posed by Rick Warren to Barack Obama tonight at the Saddleback faith forum. Obama stumbled and bumbled in his response saying only two things definitively: 1 — the answer to that question is “above my pay grade”, and 2 — He “strongly supports” Roe vs. Wade.

Weak. And yes, entirely characteristic and predictable.

Lieberman gets it

December 29, 2006 at 9:43 am

At least one Democrat clearly understands the stakes in Iraq. Joe Lieberman in a Washington Post OpEd today:

I’ve just spent 10 days traveling in the Middle East and speaking to leaders there, all of which has made one thing clearer to me than ever: While we are naturally focused on Iraq, a larger war is emerging. On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran, on the other moderates and democrats supported by the United States. Iraq is the most deadly battlefield on which that conflict is being fought. How we end the struggle there will affect not only the region but the worldwide war against the extremists who attacked us on Sept. 11, 2001.

Troop surge option divides Dems

December 18, 2006 at 10:11 am

President Bush is reportedly leaning toward injecting as many as 50,000 new troops into the Iraq conflict in an effort to establish security. Fred Barnes writes about the plan:

It envisions a temporary addition of 50,000 troops on the ground in Iraq. The initial mission would be to secure and hold the mixed Baghdad neighborhoods of Shia and Sunni residents where most of the violence occurs. Earlier efforts had cleared many of those sections of the city without holding them. After which, the mass killings resumed. Once neighborhoods are cleared, American and Iraqi troops in this plan would remain behind, living day-to-day among the population. Local government leaders would receive protection and rewards if they stepped in to provide basic services. Safe from retaliation by terrorists, residents would begin to cooperate with the Iraqi government. The securing of Baghdad would be followed by a full-scale drive to pacify the Sunni-majority Anbar province.

Soon to be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid likes the idea:

The Senate’s incoming majority leader said he would support a temporary increase of U.S. military forces in Iraq, so long as any such act was tied to a withdrawal by 2008.

“If it’s for a surge — that is, for two or three months — and it’s part of a program to get us out of there as indicated by this time next year, then, sure, I’ll go along with it,” Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, said on ABC’s “This Week.”

But how will more liberal elements of the Democratic Party react? In their eyes, wouldn’t this be seen as making a bad mistake worse?  Ted Kennedy speaks for the extreme left when he says he disagrees with Reid:

“Well, I respect Harry Reid on it, but that’s not where I am,” Mr. Kennedy told “Fox News Sunday.” “The generals who have testified before the Armed Services Committee think that we would add to being a crutch for the Iraqi civilian government in not making the right judgments and decisions. I think that is a persuasive case and is one that I support.”

And speaking of the Kos crowd, here is there reaction:

I try to tell myself not to second guess Senator Reid too often…

The political problem, of course, is the same one we’ve been dealing with all along. Fear of the “Dems are soft on the war/terror” meme. Or its evil twin, “We coulda won if it hadn’t been for those meddling Democrats.”

But the time has come to cut Bush off. He’s out of political capital, and is casting his eyes about to see if anyone will nod assent to putting his counterfeit Rolex on the table to get back in the game.

Nobody profits from playing cards with a degenerate gambler who can’t cover his bets. Least of all one who has nothing to lose from taking a beating rather than paying up.

It seems that the Kos contingency will not be happy with anything other than withdrawal. The “surge” option puts Democrats in an awkward position. If they oppose it, they run the risk of appearing disinterested in victory in Iraq. If they support it they own a new Iraq policy and therefore own the Iraq problem.

More fun with Charlie Rangel

December 14, 2006 at 3:38 pm

Charlie Rangel is the gift that keeps giving for Republicans.

Why mommmy is a Democrat

December 13, 2006 at 11:25 am

Now this is hillarious…

Where will the money come from? II

December 12, 2006 at 3:09 pm

Democrats keep promising new programs: cutting rates on college loans is one of the latest.

Congressional Democrats say when they take the gavel from Republicans next month, they will put money in the pockets of college students and closely examine a law reforming elementary and secondary schools. How they will pay for their plans isn’t clear.
Democrats, who won the House and Senate in last month’s elections, say they will quickly move to slash interest rates on need-based college loans in half - from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent.

“That will be done almost immediately, certainly within the first couple of weeks of the new session,” California Democratic Rep. George Miller, the incoming chairman of the House education committee, said in an interview.

But, as this article points out, where the money will come from is anyone’s guess:

Democrats haven’t spelled out how they’ll pay for their promises, which may run head-on into another pledge: to require any new spending to be offset with cuts elsewhere or new taxes to avoid increasing the deficit.

The “other pledge” mentioned above is a policy called PAYGO, or pay as you go. Democrats envision a PAYGO program in which future tax cuts must be offset by some other item in the federal budget while entitlement spending is alowed to remain on autopilot without any offsets. This version of PAYGO is a complete sham designed to rip off the taxpayer and prop up big government liberalism.

When Democrats try to enact PAYGO next year, conservatives will do their best to amend the new rule so that it applies equally to tax policy and social programs.

What to do with Jefferson…

December 12, 2006 at 8:37 am

Louisiana Democrat William Jefferson’s reelection is just the most recent headache for Nancy Pelosi. Again she finds herself in the position of having to deal with a member of her own party over ethics issues only weeks after winning the midterms by promising a more ethical Congress. Reportedly, Pelosi is considering either not placing Jefferson on any committee at all, or at least placing him on a low profile committee where he cannot be seen.

But if/when she does this, she will have for the second time in a month, given the cold shoulder to a member of the Congressional Black Caucus who are sure to raise a ruckus eventually.

Earmark reform in Dem hands

December 11, 2006 at 10:40 am

Congressional conservatives fought hard at the end of the 109th Congress to ensure that Congress did not leave town with thousands of pork projects in their back pockets. But now, as the nation waits for the gavelling in of the 110th Democrat-led Congress, the reality is that this issue is now up to the Dems.

Robert Novak reports:

The issue of spending reform is now in Democratic hands. Emanuel, the newly elected House Democratic Caucus chairman, on Nov. 17 e-mailed colleagues with a call for reform. The takeover of the House that he led as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman, Emanuel said, sent a message that “it’s time for a change, and change starts by cleaning up Washington.” But in reiterating the Democratic campaign’s promises to “reform lobbying and ethics rules,” Emanuel did not mention the corrupting influence of earmarks.

Where will the money come from?

December 11, 2006 at 10:19 am

Witness the Democrats’ Christmas wish-list:

WASHINGTON — After being out of power for 12 years, Democrats will take control of Congress next month with a wish list of new programs, including more money for college student aid, the No Child Left Behind schools initiative and Medicare prescription drug benefits — plus tax relief for middle-income Americans.

But there’s a hitch: The Democrats also have promised to restore fiscal responsibility and not increase the federal deficit.

So how will liberals in Congress make this happen? I think you know the answer.

Add it to the list

December 11, 2006 at 9:25 am

Scandalized Congressman William Jefferson’s reelection this weekend is yet another headache for Nancy Pelosi who has promised to lead the most open and ethical Congress ever.