Obama: “I want a $10/barrel oil fe…” Congress (interrupting): “No.”

Seriously, why did CNBC even bother reporting this, let alone make it a ‘BREAKING’ story? “President Barack Obama will propose a $10 per barrel charge on oil to fund clean transportation projects as part of his final budget request next week, the White House said Thursday.”  I’m sure that Obama would like a pony, too.  Heck, THAT Congress might give him. Shoot, I’d sign off on giving the President a whole horse show if he’d just play with it until his term is up and left policy to people who understand the basic concept…

The NYT laments the loss of a whole Democratic politicians’ generation.

Oh, my, but this is almost painful to read:

“In terms of governors, legislators and constitutional officers, the bench has been eviscerated during [President Barack Obama’s] tenure,” said [ousted Kentucky State Auditor Adam] Edelen, 40, who says it would be “too difficult” for him to beat [Senator Rand] Paul and plans to go back to the private sector. He called the loss of Democratic talent across the country “regrettable” and said, “It will have very long-term consequences.”

Almost.  What’s particularly entertaining about this particular article is that the Democrats in it all seem really, really enthusiastic about blaming it all on Barack Obama. Excuse me: “blaming us awful Republicans who blame Obama.” Seriously, though; there’s pretty much zero self-reflection there that possibly, just possibly, the reason that people voted for Democrats in 2006 and 2008 but not in 2010 or 2014 is because in 2006 and 2008 Democratic politicians avoided sounding like hyper-progressive partisan lunatics.

Or, more accurately: that in 2010 and 2014 nobody really believed the Democrats when they tried to sound normal.  Heck, even in 2012 the damage was less than you’d expect. In some places, the downticket races didn’t even slightly shift in the Democrats favor…

Nancy Pelosi hangs on because it’s better than falling into the abyss.

John Fund asks “With Harry Reid Gone, Why Is Nancy Pelosi Hanging On?” I assume that that’s because John Fund likes to ask rhetorical questions. Isn’t it obvious?

She may have been a rotating disaster as Speaker of the House, and everything that I’d want in a House Minority Leader, but that’s still an identity, right? – Because the moment Nancy Pelosi retires she becomes just another former politician that nobody has to flatter or defer to. Some people have the strength of character to cleanly retire from politics (for example, George W. Bush). Others do not. And it’s not all that shameful. Power is a heck of a drug, after all.

Some necessary pushback on the reporting of Congress’s invite of Pope Francis I.

Quick background: Speaker of the House John Boehner invited Pope Francis I to be the first pope ever to speak to a joint session of Congress… what’s that? “Did he ask permission of the President?”  Umm… no. You see: Democratic agitprop to the contrary, Barack Obama is not actually a king.  In fact, at the moment Obama’s actually just a bit of a troll: and even if he wasn’t Speaker Boehner – and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; don’t forget him – do not actually need permission to do things.  They’re the ones in charge of the legislative branch; Barack Obama runs the executive branch. There’s a well-defined limit to the things that one branch of the government can actually do to the other: we call this concept ‘separation of powers’ in this country, and it is my devout hope and fond dream that by mid-2016 that particular phrase will serve as a trigger warning to outraged progressives.

Anyway… oh, I’m sure ABC News means well, but it’s trying a little bit too hard, here: “As pope, Francis has taken positions on some issues that clash with the views of Republicans who now control the House and Senate.”  Immigration, blah blah blah, financial, yadda yadda, climate change, yeah whatever… but here’s the thing.  All of those positions? They’re derivatives of various principles and beliefs in Catholic theology.  You know what’s absolutely CENTRAL to Catholic theology? Continue reading Some necessary pushback on the reporting of Congress’s invite of Pope Francis I.

Congress plans to use CRA to make Barack Obama stop pretending to be a centrist.

Live by the regulatory regime, die by it: “GOP lawmakers plan to employ the seldom-used Congressional Review Act (CRA), which gives lawmakers the power to formally disapprove of major agency rules, as they seek to ratchet up their attacks on federal red tape.”  Basically, what happens is that Congress can – through a simple majority, that cannot be filibustered – target any rule within 60 days of implementation.  It’s not even remotely a slam dunk – the President can veto Congress on this as usual, and then Congress would have to override the veto – but the plan is to start on the EPA rulings, which everybody hates.   Continue reading Congress plans to use CRA to make Barack Obama stop pretending to be a centrist.

What this Alternet/Salon oopsie tells us about their essentially patronizing worldviews.

Oh, dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Very short version: National Review Online’s Kevin Williamson caught Alternet (and later, Salon) publishing an article where it was claimed that the five richest Members of Congress each had a net worth greater than countries like Peru, Greece, and Hong Kong*. Once this got caught by horrified pundits across the political spectrum, Alternet and Salon quietly scrubbed this claim (which was based off of a remarkably bad interpretation of a Wikipedia article**) without owning up to it (at least, they haven’t yet, at 1 PM Eastern time). The interesting*** question then becomes How in God’s name did everybody miss that, at either website? Continue reading What this Alternet/Salon oopsie tells us about their essentially patronizing worldviews.

Tweet of the Day, The 114th Congress Must Strive For First edition.

Ever get the feeling that these people don’t live in the same world as the rest of us? This is apparently… bad?

Yeah, that was the idea. The top one was the 112th Congress, by the way; so, hey, two good years running. I figure that in the 114th we can really get into taking away the Democrats’ toys…


…whose response pretty much covers everything else I’d say on the subject.

Dynamic scoring takes another step forward in Congress.

Well, this is a promising first step: “House Republicans are moving to increase the use of dynamic scoring through a rules change that would require long-term estimates of the economic effects of major legislation. The macroeconomic estimates required under the rule would include the projected effects of legislation on economic output, employment and capital stock, resulting in an assessment of how a proposal would cause the economy to expand or contract.” Essentially, this rule would force the Democrats to stop using the CBO to pretend – in at least some cases – that changes to the tax code are a zero-sum game.  Once we can actually project future economic growth from tax reform and simplification, we can maybe get more of a grip on our horrendous spending problem without resorting to the ‘higher taxes’ duckspeaking so beloved of the Democratic leadership.  Which would be nice: and which is why this has been a goal of the GOP leadership for some time.  And now that we have both Houses of Congress, hey, time to do some reform.

And, if you’re wondering whether this is a good idea or not, wonder no more: “Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, slammed the proposed rule.”  Van Hollen has gotten steadily more and more cranky* over the last decade, so it’s always instructive (also, entertaining) to see what will really set him off. He’s practically frothing over this particular idea, which is a Christmas gift right there.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Screaming about ‘trickle down economics.’  Man, I was, like, in my teens when that wheeze from the Democrats was new.  What’s next? Calling it grody to the max?

Don’t Get Cocky about state legislatures.

I am slightly skeptical about this Cook Political Report article by Amy Walter on the importance of state legislatures, the Democrats’ poor showing in them lately, and how it’s going to be a long term disaster for them.  Specifically: I am slightly skeptical about the third part of that sentence.  Obviously, state legislatures are important, as we’ve been discovering lately; and just as obviously, the Democrats have been getting their clocks cleaned in them for the last few cycles. Those points are not really in dispute.

But what causes me to hesitate here is the idea that we can safely assume that the 2020 redistricting process will allow the GOP the same opportunities for redistricting reform that the 2010 one did.  I mean, let’s face it: in 2010 and 2014 the American electorate came to the collective realization that Barack Obama and their local Democratic state senator were somehow entangled with each other, and the American electorate voted accordingly.  It’s not going to work like that in 2018 and 2020.  To begin with, at the moment the safe bet is that in 2018 we’ll be halfway through the first term of a Republican President.  What if he or she – much like Barack Obama – turns out to be an idiot*?  What happens, in fact, if said President is so much of an idiot that we don’t re-elect him or her in 2020? – One-term Presidents have happened three times in my lifetime, so it’s not that unusual a scenario. Continue reading Don’t Get Cocky about state legislatures.