Poetic Justice

The deafening silence by the mainstream media on an interesting aspect of ObamaCare borders on conspiratorial. An article last week by Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg News brought it to my attention for the first time, although it turns out there have been mentions of it going back a few months in other new media venues.

The debate over President Barack Obama’s health-care law has taken another twist. Now conservatives and libertarians are defending it, while the administration tries to toss part of the legislation out.

The reason for this role reversal is that the drafters of the law outsmarted themselves and handed their opponents a weapon. Now they would like to pretend the law doesn’t say what it does.

Obama’s plan makes tax credits available to people who get health insurance from exchanges set up by state governments. If states don’t establish those exchanges, the federal government will do so for them. The federal exchanges, however, don’t come with tax credits: The law authorizes credits only for people who get insurance from state-established exchanges. And that creates some problems the administration didn’t foresee, and now hopes to wish away.

Legislative debate over the law didn’t go into great detail about these provisions. We can surmise what happened, though. Supporters of the legislation wanted to encourage states to set up the exchanges. So they offered the states a deal: If they did so, they would get to write their own rules, and their citizens would be able to get the tax credit. The states would also gain extra flexibility on Medicaid spending. The law’s supporters also expected the health-care law to become more popular over time.

That hasn’t happened. Many states are determined in their opposition, and few of them have set up exchanges. If they don’t do so, the tax credits don’t go into effect and the federally established exchanges won’t work: People won’t be able to afford the insurance available on them without the subsidy.

States have another incentive to refrain from setting up exchanges under the health-care law: It protects companies and individuals in the state from tax increases. The law introduces penalties of as much as $3,000 per employee for firms that don’t provide insurance — but only if an employee is getting coverage with the help of a tax credit. No state exchanges means no tax credits and thus no employer penalties. The law also notoriously penalizes many people for not buying insurance. In some cases, being eligible for a tax credit and still not buying insurance subjects you to the penalty. So, again, no state exchange means no tax credit and thus fewer people hit by the penalty.

Of course, just as with so many things they find inconvenient or contrary to their agenda, the administration will simply ignore or attempt to bypass the parts of the law that don’t fit their template, but the more they do that the more potential there is for numerous lawsuits.

Ponnuru ends with this zinger:

The health-care plan the Obama administration got enacted isn’t going to work. That doesn’t mean they get to rewrite the law unilaterally as they go. It means they should have passed a different law.

I hope this comes to light before a national audience during one of the next 3 debates, and perhaps this whole ill-advised, fraudulently conceived, rotten piece of legislation will just unravel on its own.  That would be poetic justice.

Party Trumps Person

I have asked Retired Spook to post this as a thread because as we near Election Day I think we need to consider the fact that we will not be voting for a person, but for a political system. Amazona

I have taken a lot of abuse here on this blog for making this statement, criticism which I think reflects a basic lack of knowledge of how our political system works. The other day I was listening to a Denver radio talk show host, Mike Rosen, who has often discussed his theory that Party Trumps Person, and he spoke to a caller who explained that he has always voted for the person he thought would be best for the job and wondered why Mike disagreed with this approach.

Mike gave a very concise and detailed explanation, and then referred listeners to the column he had written in the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News during the last Presidential campaign, a written version that is essentially what he had just told the caller. He said all we have to do is substitute “Romney” for “McCain.

In part, he says: “I say party trumps person because regardless of the individual occupying the White House, his party’s coalition will be served. A Democratic president, for example, whether liberal or moderate (conservative Democrats, if any still exist, can’t survive the nominating process), can only operate within the political boundaries of his party’s coalition. The party that wins the presidency will fill Cabinet and sub-Cabinet discretionary positions in the executive branch with members of its coalition. Likewise, the coalition will be the dominant source of nominees to the federal courts, ambassadorships, appointments to boards and commissions, and a host of plum jobs handed out to those with political IOUs to cash in.

It works the same way in the legislative branch. After the individual members of a new Congress have been seated, a nose count is taken and the party with the most noses wins control of all committee and subcommittee chairmanships, the locus of legislative power.”

This is important for us to remember. While it may feel more principled to vote for someone from the opposing party because you feel he or she is a better person than the one from your own, I suggest that the wiser course is to consider the result of having the other PARTY filling all these discretionary positions, committee chairmanships, etc. and vote for the party, and then work to make sure that the next party candidate for this position is a better one.

Your candidate is only one component of a political machine, and while he or she may represent a view you like, he or she will probably not be a deciding factor in a vote but will add to the total of party representation in the House or the Senate.

I take Mike’s statement a bit farther, as I think it is important to understand that when you vote for a party you are really voting for an ideology, because voting strictly by party, without this being based on ideological conviction, is really nothing more than Identity Politics.

For the first time in a long time, the Republican Party is taking a stand on ideology, openly stating its focus not just on issues but on broader ideological concepts such as adherence to the Constitution, reducing the size and scope and power of the federal government, fiscal responsibility, and redistribution of power to acknowledge state sovereignty. The Democrat Party is not running on its ideological agenda, which is for all intents and purposes the opposite of the Republican ideology, but we can see it in its actions and the issues it promotes.

And at this time, in this place, understanding of ideology and long-term agendas is more important than ever before, as well as an understanding of how the process works.

Teetering on the Precipice

I suspect more than a few within the Obama campaign and inner circle are in the midst of an Oh, crap moment. I’d have to think they were hoping to get to November 6th without any significant Arab Spring fallout or monetary crisis events. Turns out they have both, only 53 days out from the election.

With the Middle East on fire and both the Fed and the European Central Bank setting in motion virtually unlimited monetizing of the massive debt that Progressive policies have created, Obama’s chances of getting re-elected are growing slimmer by the day.

The premise of the lead article at MarketWatch this morning is that if Spain can just be bailed out, the world is home free.  Happy days are just around the corner.

I don’t know if the first commenter to the MarketWatch article realizes how prescient his comment is:

Fred is taking a tractor-trailer driving test. They come to the crest of a big hill and as they head down the instructer askes Fred “now what would you do if your brakes gave out right here?” “Why I’d call my friend Willie.” “And why would you call your friend Willie?”  “Caws he ain’t never seen a wreck like this one’s gonna be!”

Mark Hulbert’s column pretty much nails it:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (MarketWatch) — It’s somehow fitting that the stock market would celebrate the fourth anniversary of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy by staging a huge rally in the wake of the Fed announcing more quantitative easing.

That’s because both the events of mid-September 2008, as well as those on Thursday, underline just how inscrutable — and, therefore, ultimately unpredictable — the markets can be.

Just take the rationale given for the market’s huge rally on Thursday. In essence, we’re told, the market rallied because the Federal Reserve concluded that the economy is in such horrible shape that it must be put on even more remedial life support.

Got that?

Far from seeing any irony in any of this, however, many investors have evidently decided that happy days are here again.

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA +0.20%  now a couple of thousand points higher than where it stood when Lehman Brothers went belly-up, many investors are commemorating the fourth anniversary of that bankruptcy by telling themselves that any Lehman-like danger has passed.

If only.

Go read the whole thing.  The comments he posts from supposedly astute market analysts in September, 2008 are interesting.

UPDATE, by Mark Noonan:

Instapundit has an excellent run-down on reaction to the “questioning on a probation matter” of the maker of the film the Administration absurdly blames for the riots.  Here’s what gets me:

Reader Jack Moss writes: “Probation is not a law enforcement function, it’s under the court. If his probation officer wanted to question him about the use of a computer, that broke his probation fine. But that wouldn’t include questions about making an anti-Islamic movie. It’s irrelevant. That means that the FBI showed up outside their jurisdiction for a reason given by their superiors. The question then is who ordered them there.”

Suppose this guy was in violation of his probation – ok, fine:  how often do probation violators get an after-midnight knock at the door?  Especially violations of a probation on a non-violent crime?  With a huge string of MSMers there to film every second of it?  The whole thing stinks – partially of intimidation but mostly of appeasement…Obama and Co are convinced (or at least are trying to convince us) that the film caused the riots.  In defense of his twaddle they have now swung the law enforcement power of the United States against the man who made the offending film and it appears that they are doing it to show the Muslim world that they’ll crack down on “blasphemy”.  All this will do is convince the radicals that we can, indeed, ban “blasphemy”…and that if they murder Americans, we’ll go ahead an do it.  So, guess what?  We’ll shortly get more murdered Americans…

Liberty and Prosperity

“A government big enough to give you everything you need, is a government big enough to take away everything that you have….”

This quote is often mistakenly attributed to Thomas Jefferson. In fact it was uttered on the floor of Congress by Gerald Ford in an address to a joint session of Congress on August 12, 1974, 3 days after he had assumed the Presidency following Richard Nixon’s resignation.

In the previous thread, Jeremiah posted this marvelous quote from Ronald Reagan:

I hope we have once again reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited.  There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: as government expands, liberty contracts.

The same bit of research that revealed the Gerald Ford quote also revealed that Reagan’s words did, indeed, paraphrase a famous quote from Thomas Jefferson:

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.” – Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, Paris, 27 May 1788

Contrary to the portrait his critics attempt to paint, Reagan was a wise and intelligent man, the closest thing America has seen to a visionary in the mold of the Founders in my lifetime, and anyone who doubts that should read his personal journals. I would add to what he said that prosperity and liberty go hand in hand. Since America is made up of immigrants from numerous other countries, none of which is as prosperous as we are, it can only be that our system of government allows a level of individual freedom that promotes a prosperous economy more than any other country. Now, right before our eyes, we’re seeing one man and a small oligarchy of radical Leftist cronies attempt to “fundamentally transform” that successful model into just another country. As long as we have the freedom to vote, such men will never stay in power long.

There’s a good chance that none of us on this blog has ever suffered under the tyranny of a dictatorship or totalitarian government.  If any have, I’d love for them to come forward and describe what it was like.  In his GOP convention speech, Marco Rubio noted, in reference to the policies of the current administration, “these are tired and old big government ideas. Ideas that people come to America to get away from.  Ideas that threaten to make America more like the rest of the world, instead of helping the world become more like America.”

The freedom that we have and for which we’ve expended great quantities of blood and treasure for others to have around the world is, historically speaking, not the norm.  It’s why the founding of this country has often been described as The Great American Experiment. Not since Rome had a country attempted to embark on a course that would allow ordinary citizens to govern themselves.

Now some are going so far as to suggest that the current occupant of the White House is the one who wants to continue that experiment, to expand liberty to new horizons:

America’s story is one of constantly tackling the big—the biggest—problems, ahead of everyone else, with very little to guide us but those founding principles that nag at our conscience. And each time we’ve made progress, extending civil rights to more and more people, it’s been because that old spirit of taking a gamble, of performing the ultimate experiment, took over and led us to the right decision.

As we think today about what divides Americans, I think it boils down to the fact that some Americans no longer want to experiment. They want to close the lab down. We’ve gone far enough into the unknown, making it known, they say; now let’s stop—let’s even go backward. We were wrong to conduct some of our experiments in liberty, and that’s the source of all our problems. Gay people shouldn’t be treated equally. Black people shouldn’t run the country. Women shouldn’t hold high office. Muslims shouldn’t be granted habeas corpus.

Whenever one of those Americans talks about the problem with our country today, they talk about how we should be like we once were, back when white people who defined marriage as one man-one woman and were Protestant veterans built this nation. They feel they are losing their birthright, their legacy.

But those Americans are wrong. What their ancestors really were was scientists. Experimenters. Radicals who always considered the impossible possible. To define those ancestral Americans as merely white or straight or Christian strips them of their most stunning feature, their near-supernatural qualities of optimism and defiance and willingness to go into the unknown and make it their home, to make the amazing the norm. They defied the status quo. That’s how they built America.

Americans who want to end the experiment are few, but boisterous. They clamor at the national microphone. But Americans who know that there is no America without the experiment will keep at it, and they will persevere. Barack Obama is such an American, and his election is proof that the lab is still open, and that America in general will always be at the drawing board, expanding its concept of liberty and justice and equality until we finally fulfill the founding principles that created this nation so long ago.

I have to confess, when I read this essay, my first reaction was, clearly I and the vast majority of Conservatives have missed something if this is true.  Perhaps we’re wrong, and this writer is correct.  Perhaps one or more of our resident Progressives can make a case for Obama being the great experimenter in expanding liberty.

Global Warming Catastrophe

It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a Global Warming update, and it appears that we failed to act soon enough, and now we’re all going to drown.

There are no comparisons to be made. This is not like war or plague or a stockmarket crash. We are ill-equipped, historically and psychologically, to understand it, which is one of the reasons why so many refuse to accept that it is happening.

What we are seeing, here and now, is the transformation of the atmospheric physics of this planet. Three weeks before the likely minimum, the melting of Arctic sea ice has already broken the record set in 2007. The daily rate of loss is now 50% higher than it was that year. The daily sense of loss – of the world we loved and knew – cannot be quantified so easily.

The Arctic has been warming roughly twice as quickly as the rest of the northern hemisphere. This is partly because climate breakdown there is self-perpetuating. As the ice melts, for example, exposing the darker sea beneath, heat that would previously have been reflected back into space is absorbed.

This great dissolution, of ice and certainties, is happening so much faster than most climate scientists predicted that one of them reports: “It feels as if everything I’ve learned has become obsolete.” In its last assessment, published in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change noted that “in some projections, Arctic late-summer sea ice disappears almost entirely by the latter part of the 21st century”. These were the most extreme forecasts in the panel’s range. Some scientists now forecast that the disappearance of Arctic sea-ice in late summer could occur in this decade or the next.

As I’ve warned repeatedly, but to little effect, the IPCC’s assessments tend to be conservative. This is unsurprising when you see how many people have to approve them before they are published. There have been a few occasions – such as its estimate of the speed at which glaciers would be lost in the Himalayas – on which the panel has overstated the case. But it looks as if these will be greatly outnumbered by the occasions on which the panel has understated it.

The melting disperses another belief: that the temperate parts of the world – where most of the rich nations are located – will be hit last and least, while the poorer nations will be hit first and worst. New knowledge of the way in which the destruction of the Arctic sea ice affects northern Europe and North America suggests that this is no longer true. A paper published earlier this year in Geophysical Research Letters shows that Arctic warming is likely to be responsible for the extremes now hammering the once-temperate nations.

I’m really sorry we didn’t listen to our obviously wiser Liberals while we still had time to do something.  And even though it’s probably too late, I’d be interested in hearing from our resident Progressives, after the well-deserved I-told ya-so’s, just exactly what we should or could have done to avoid the impending climate Armageddon.  A big mea culpa is all I have to offer at this point.  I don’t even think we need to bother with the election in November.  I mean, what does it matter in the overall scheme of things?

Calling all military, former military ,retired military and their families and friends

I never plagiarize another person’s words or ideas without attribution, but there was no source on this email that I received this morning from another retired military friend. This is short and to the point and dead on in it’s importance and relevance to this most vital election in our lifetimes.

From: Subject: Please forward to everyone you can

Date: August 24, 2012 4:43:47 PM EDT

More than 1,000 America soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan in the last 27 months. This is more than the combined total of the nine years before. Thirty have died in August. The commander in chief is AWOL. Not a peep, although he ordered the White House flag flown at half mast for the Sikhs that were killed. There is a deep disgust, a fury, growing in the ranks of the military against the indifferent incompetence of this president. It has taken on a dangerous tone. No one knows what to do about him, but the anger runs deep as the deaths continue with no strategic end in sight to the idiocy of this war. Obama has had 4 years to end this futile insanity, during which time he has vacationed, golfed, campaigned, and generally ignored the plight of our men and women in uniform. But, there is now a movement afoot in the armed services to launch a massive get out the vote drive against this president. Not just current active duty types, but the National Guard, Reserves, the retired, and all other prior service members. This is no small special interest group, but many millions of veterans who can have an enormous impact on the outcome of the November election if they all respond. The million military retirees in Florida alone could mean an overwhelming victory in that state if they all show up at the polls. It might not keep another one hundred U.S. troops from dying between now and November, but a turn out to vote by the military against this heart breaking lack of leadership can make a powerful statement that hastens a change to the indifference of this shallow little man who just lets our soldiers die.

In many countries around the world a problem such as ours would be solved by the military simply forcibly removing such a threat to national security, sovereignty and economic liberty.  The principles of honor and duty and the rule of law prevent that from happening in this country.  Still, Obama needs to be disposed of in a way consistent with our Constitution.  November 6th is only 72 days away.

Hit the Road, Barack

Bill O’Reilly was a guest on Glenn Beck’s radio show this morning, and in response to Beck’s question of who he thought was going to win the election, O’Reilly said, according to confidential sources of his, internal polls in BOTH campaigns indicate that, if the election were tomorrow, Romney would win.  One of the main reasons for that could well be Niall Ferguson’s article in Newsweek, which is raising a lot of eyebrows this week.  As Ronald Kessler noted at NewsMax yesterday, Ferguson’s devastating article could be the turning point in the campaign.

The financial crisis a few weeks before the last presidential election was enough to push Barack Obama over the top. This week’s Newsweek cover slamming President Obama could have almost as much impact.

“Hit the Road, Barack — Why We Need a New President” the cover says. “Obama’s Gotta Go” the article inside says.

Journalists are not idiots. They recognize that Obama, as the Newsweek cover story documents, has been a failure. But they are also lemmings who will not depart from their traditional support of Democrats unless given permission by their peers. The cover story in Newsweek, one of the most liberal-leaning publications in the country, does just that.

Because of support by the press, Obama became president in the first place and has held his own against Mitt Romney in polls.

Three months before the story of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr.’s connection to Obama finally broke in the mainstream media, I began writing stories as chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com about Obama’s close association with his America-bashing minister.

The media, which had known generally about Wright since Obama announced his candidacy in February 2007, ignored the stories. If the media had picked them up then, Obama likely would not be president today.

According to pollsters, largely as a result of the stories the press finally ran about Wright, Obama’s double-digit lead over Hillary Clinton vanished. At the same time, John McCain shot up in the polls, and Hillary began winning the primaries. But by then, Obama was ahead, and it was too late for her to overcome his previous lead.

Indeed, David Remnick’s “The Ridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama” quotes an unidentified Clinton aide as saying, “If Jeremiah Wright had dropped in January [2008], it [Obama’s candidacy] would have been over.”

Today, the media largely ignore Obama’s daily distortions and record of failure, all documented in the Newsweek article. In contrast, after President Bush gave his 2003 State of the Union address, the press attacked him mercilessly for weeks over his 16-word statement that the British government had learned that Saddam Hussein sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

In fact, the statement was true. After the British House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee reviewed the MI6 intelligence about the claim involving Niger, it concluded in September 2003 that the British intelligence service was justified in continuing to say that Hussein had tried to obtain uranium from that country. The press then ignored the report showing that Bush’s statement was indeed accurate.

But when Obama says the private sector of the economy is doing fine, belittles success, claims the Supreme Court cannot overrule a law passed by Congress, says he is not divisive even as he attacks Republicans, gratuitously injects race into his comments, or claims Romney and Paul Ryan would end Medicare as we know it, the press gives the president a pass.

None of this is lost on the public.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 59 percent of likely U.S. voters believe Obama has received the best treatment from the media so far. Just 18 percent think Mitt Romney has been treated better.

Having been a reporter for the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal, I know how susceptible journalists are to the herd instinct. The Newsweek cover story in effect tells journalists it’s OK to begin telling the truth about Obama and expose his presidency as the failure Newsweek says it is. For that reason, it could be a turning point in the election.

One of the biggest problems the Obama campaign has (actually two related problems) is the inability to dig up some really harmful dirt on either Romney or Ryan coupled with the inability to portray either of them as the bad guys.  And the more the Dems try, the nastier they come off.  Say what you will about the American people, they just really don’t like “nasty”.

The Dying Process

Amid all the acrimony over the political process, not only on this blog, but across the new and old media, I’d like to offer a different kind of post for a change; something that everyone, regardless of philosophy can probably relate to on some level.

As several of you know, my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about 18 months ago. According to the doctors she was supposed to be dead LAST June.  She passed away recently with family by her bedside.  We were led to believe that the end of her life would likely be ugly, painful and gut wrenching. It was not, and I’d like to share with the readers the magnificent way my mom dealt with the process of dying.

At the funeral her pastor gave one of the most personalized eulogies I’ve ever heard; my brother and sister spoke about how she lived and the people she touched, and I spoke about the graceful, dignified and often humorous way she dealt with the process of dying; all of which contributed to her extra year every bit as much as her medical treatment according to her oncologist.  I recounted the day I took her home after the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer was confirmed.  She sat down on her sofa and let out a big sigh and said, “well, I guess that’s it — I’m going to die.”  That defeatist attitude was so uncharacteristic of one of the strongest, most positive women I’ve ever known that I was somewhat taken by surprise.  Knowing her strong faith, I told her that only one person in history had escaped death, and she wasn’t going to be the second, nor was she going to die that day.  She looked at me and smiled and said, “no, and probably not tomorrow either, but if I fall asleep tonight and don’t wake up, that will be fine, and if I wake up tomorrow, that will be OK too.”

She woke up to over 500 more tomorrows after that day, most of them good ones.  When we celebrated her birthday last fall, one of her grandchildren commented that, even though it wasn’t a surprise party, it was a pleasant surprise that she was still there.  Mom replied, “yeah, I guess the doctors just didn’t realize what a tough old broad I am.”

Her treatment, (a combination of a short regimen of radiation followed by weekly chemo) which I’m sure some will characterize as excessive for a woman nearing the century mark, especially given that her disease was incurable, was designed to make what time she had left more comfortable and shorten the pain and agony at the end.  It accomplished those goals in spades with minimal negative side effects, and none of us ever regretted allowing her oncologist to convince us to take that course of action.  The only hospital stay during her last year and a half was toward the end for a few days to deal with a kidney stone.  The end came quickly and peacefully with only 11 days in hospice care during which she was still able to sit up and talk with family and friends right up until the last two and a half days.

My mom always had a great sense of humor, which was never more evident than when she came down the home stretch.  About a week before she died, my sister and I were sitting next to her bed talking quietly so as not to wake her.  At one point she opened her eyes, look over at us and asked, “so, how long does this dying process take anyway?”  That sense of humor lingered in the room even after she was no longer conscious.  A day or two before she died, my brother, his wife and oldest daughter and I were sitting around the bed talking.  A nurse walked in, and hearing us talking in normal voices, said, “you realize she can still hear your, don’t you?”  To which my niece replied, “no she can’t; she doesn’t have her hearing aids in.”  We all had a good laugh, even the nurse.

And in the end, she did just fall asleep and not wake up; it’s just that she fell asleep on Monday night and didn’t wake up on Thursday morning, but no one is quibbling over the extra two days in there.  She even got one of her last wishes – perhaps her LAST wish.  She asked me a week or so before she died what it was like outside, having not been out for a couple weeks.  I told her it was in the 90’s with a 25 mph wind that made it feel like you were standing in front of a giant hair dryer, a weather pattern that has been our norm over the last 6 weeks or so.  She said she hoped it would be cooler for her funeral.  It was — 81 and sunny.  Yesterday in Fort Wayne it was 106.

Whatever Happened to Compromise?

In the previous thread Robin Naismith Green ended a comment with the following question:

Enough blame how about some action and cooperation between the parties?

To which I responded:

Robin, the Tea Party is forcing the GOP to trend to the right at the same time that the Democrat Party has lurched violently to the left. I’m not sure how you get cooperation between such polar opposites. For example, which of the principles that guide your thinking would you be willing to compromise on? Which of our principles do you think we should compromise on. What is the ultimate goal if we both give up a little? Specifically, can you picture a country where we all get along, and how would you accomplish that when we clearly don’t want the same things. Would the ultimate compromise be to make each of us equally miserable?

And then Amazona added:

Good question. But you need to ask the right questions first. For example, the first step toward working together is agreeing on a goal. Cooperation happens when both sides agree on a goal and then only have to find ways to achieve that goal, which usually involves some give-and-take. What we are seeing, and have seen for quite some time, is goals being thrown under the bus in favor of gross and blatant demagoguery.

Example: Let’s say the Left says its goal is to feed poor children. The Right agrees, this is a worthy goal. Therefore, the next step ought to be rational discussion about how best to do this. But what happens is, the Left says there is one way to do this and only one way, their way, which happens to totally contradict the Right’s objective political philosophy, so letting the Left have its way would not be compromise, it would be capitulation.

So poor children do not get fed. BUT….the true goal of the Left is met, which was never the feeding of poor children but the demonizing of the Right, because once the Right has walked away from an entirely dogmatic and unacceptable position the Left can then trumpet its claim that the Right doesn’t care if children go hungry. And this was the intent from the get-go.

So if you truly want cooperation and true compromise, drop the either/or paradigm, and agree that the goals are shared and the only thing left is to figure out how to meet them.

We often talk about compromise.  Compromise used to be the glue that held our government together and made it work.  It was an historic compromise back in 1983 that extended the solvency of Social Security by 2 decades.  But when George Bush attempted to reform and save Social Security again early in his first term, saying publicly that EVERYTHING was on the table, compromise was nowhere to be found.  It appeared to anyone who was paying attention that for Democrats, the campaign value of being able to say that Republicans wanted to destroy Social Security was greater than actually fixing the program for future generations.

So when exactly did compromise die?  And, unless you’re living under a rock, you’d have to admit that, if it’s not dead, it’s at least in a coma.  Many on the Left cite Newt Gingrich as the single individual who banished compromise from the D.C. lexicon, and in some respects, they would be right.  But David Axelrod’s reference to Gingrich as the Godfather of Gridlock notwithstanding, Gingrich’s compromises with Bill Clinton probably accomplished more in terms of historical, meaningful legislation than any Speaker in my lifetime:

So what did Clinton and Gingrich accomplish during this era of (relatively) good feelings? Here are a few notable bills, each of which passed with broad, bipartisan majorities.

Telecommunications Act, 1996 described by the Federal Communications Commission as “the first major overhaul of telecommunications law in almost 62 years.” The House passed the final version of the bill by a 414-16 margin, with 236 Republicans and 178 Democrats supporting it.

Welfare reform, 1996 — a landmark bill to end cash payments and instead encourage recipients to find work. The House passed the final version of the bill by a 328-101 margin, with 230 Republicans and 98 Democrats.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, 1996 — a law that allowed people to change jobs without fearing the loss of their health insurance due to pre-existing conditions, as well as provisions dealing with health information privacy. The House passed the final version of the bill by a 421-2 margin, with 227 Republicans and 193 Democrats.

Taxpayer Relief Act, 1997 — which established a child tax credit, tuition tax credits, and penalty-free withdrawals from IRAs for education expenses and first-home purchases, as well as a decrease in the capital gains tax and limitations on the estate tax. The House passed the final version of the bill by a 389-43 margin, with 225 Republicans and 164 Democrats.

Balanced Budget Act, 1997 — a bill that cut spending in order to balance the budget by fiscal year 2002. The House passed the final version of the bill by a 346-85 margin, with 193 Republicans and 153 Democrats.

My feeling is that today’s lack of compromise is the result of two dynamics: distrust between the parties and the wide chasm that separates their respective agendas.  I’m not sure exactly when the distrust factor entered the picture (at least in terms of modern-day politics), but a good guess would be the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA).

The ratio in the final deal — the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982 (TEFRA) — was $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. It sounded persuasive at the time. Believing it to be the only way to get spending under control, most of the president’s colleagues signed on. He disliked the tax hikes, of course, but he agreed to it as well.

You don’t have to be a Washington veteran to predict what happened next. The tax increases were promptly enacted — Congress had no problem accepting that part of the deal — but the promised budget cuts never materialized. After the tax bill passed, some legislators of both parties even claimed that there had been no real commitment to the 3-to-1 ratio.

So the question remains: how do we get compromise back?  Or maybe a better question: do we want it back?

Monday Morning Open Thread

Lots going on this week:

The Wisconsin recall election is tomorrow.  How will the outcome affect the general election in November?

George Soros says “90 days to save Euro”.

Washed up and disgraced golfer, Tiger Woods, wins his second tournament of the year and moves up to 3rd in the FedEx Cup point standings.

Romney continues to gain in the polls, especially among women.

Global economy at risk as US, Europe and Asia slow.

Do Economists EVER get predictions right?

Your tax dollars hard at work protecting the nation from terrorists.


Feel free to discuss these topics or anything else of interest.

UPDATE, by Mark Noonan:  Lost in Friday’s dismal employment report is this:

Last Friday’s unemployment news crashed the stock market and upended the presidential race. Lost in the excitement, however, was the news that African-American unemployment, already significantly above general levels, rose by much more.

Nationally, unemployment in May rose from 8.1 percent to 8.2. This is bad, especially considering how much time has passed since our economic troubles began, but it is less than catastrophic. As the Root reports, for African-Americans, however, the news was much, much worse. Unemployment among Blacks rose from 13.0 percent to 13.6 percent…

Seriously, black Americans, is Obama really doing a darned thing for you?  Is this the man you’ll really give 90% of your votes to on November 6th?