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Over the last couple of years, Paul Krugman and The New York Times have championed a bigger stimulus, which equals more government deficits and debt. Recently, another New York Times scribe, Nicholas Kristof, claims Romney's economic plan is equal to the austerity plan of many European counties, particularly Germany and England.
Kristof makes no attempt to describe Romney's position on America's debt crisis. Instead, Kristof quotes a number of Republicans – Karl Rove, Joe Wilson, Jeff Sessions and more - who praised the austerity plans of many European nations. Kristof then concludes a Romney-presidency would stagnate America's economic growth to that of England and Germany. All without addressing Romeny's approach on the issue.
Kristof's tact seems to be the following:
Republicans praise austerity. Germany (allegedly) and England are floundering economically. Romney is a Republican. Austerity is deemed to be bad. Hence, don't vote for Romney.
Obviously, these leaps in reasoning support the New York Times mantra; austerity is bad and America needs more stimulus.
However, every sentient American knows Romney selected Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Ryan is the most-knowledgeable elected official in America on budgets, deficits and debt, and the mastermind who developed The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal. Ryan's proposed budget passed in the House of Representatives, but was not considered in the Senate.
Why did Kristof choose not to challenge Ryan's budget? Why did he quote a few Republicans' off-handed remarks about Europe, which has different problems than America? Rather than debating a serious proposal, Kristof and The New York Times would rather demagogue anything that cuts government spending.
In May, I compared the spending cuts in Sweden and Germany to Ryan's proposed budget. Robert Barro of Harvard found the balanced budgets of Sweden and Germany produced the best economic growth in Europe, and Veronique de Rugy of George Mason praised that these countries did not “jack up taxes.” From my previous blog:
Since 2009, Germany and Sweden cut spending and balanced their budgets, which produced good economic growth, substantially better than the economic growth of United States and the remaining European countries. Robert Barro a Harvard economist reports in the Wall Street Journal:
Two interesting European cases are Germany and Sweden, each of which moved toward rough budget balance between 2009 and 2011 while sustaining comparatively strong growth—the average growth rate per year of real GDP for 2010 and 2011 was 3.6% for Germany and 4.9% for Sweden. If austerity is so terrible, how come these two countries have done so well?
Veronique de Rugy of George Mason University succinctly states: The answer is that they constrained spending without jacking up taxes.
Ryan seeks to restructure government programs, which would reduce spending by approximately $4 trillion in 10 years. The Republicans in the House have passed his budget. The Senate has not passed a budget in three years. President Obama has presented a budget that increases spending enormously, and never is balanced. This budget was resoundly defeated by Republicans and Democrats in the Senate. Obviously, the President's plan is to “jackup” taxes, and will not be just on the rich.
America must have a debate on budgets, deficits and debt. Ryan has earnestly addressed these issues. These issues should have been the center of our presidential debates. They were ignored by the politicians and most of the media. It's a shame.
Every year since college, my best friend Dan and I have submitted our best observations on a wide range of topics that reflect on the year that has just expired. We follow the well established template of The McLaughlin Group program.
Here are my reflections on 2013:
BIGGEST WINNER OF THE YEAR: I can't even think of one, as 2013 has seen so many failures that have hurt so many Americans. The only one I can think of is David Ortiz of the Red Sox, who emphatically reclaimed the City of Boston for Bostonians.
BIGGEST LOSER OF THE YEAR: President Barack Obama. He may or may not earn the mid-term wipeout he so desperately deserves in the House and Senate in 2014, but make no mistake, every single thing he touched in 2013 ended up as a massive failure. From Obamacare to the IRS, to the NSA, to the security failure that led to the Boston Marathon Bombings, and back to Obamacare, nothing went right for the President's agenda.
BEST POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR: Tie: Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. Reminding Republicans what it's like to have a backbone and use it, and to win hearts and minds.
WORST POLITICIAN OF THE YEAR: Harry Reid, who tried to shut down Mt. Rushmore in his government shutdown.
MOST DEFINING MOMENT: HealthCare.gov failing live on CNN as Kathleen Sibelius was testifying before Congress.
BEST SPIN OF THE YEAR: Scott Walker's interview with Heritage. When he said that Republicans don't have to lurch to the left to win elections, that all it takes is showing leadership on the issues without compromising your principles, I stood up and cheered. That's the kind of straight talk we need to win elections in 2014 and beyond.
MOST BORING PERSON OR STORY OF THE YEAR: Wendy Davis. Enough has been said about her already, but we'll see if a failed filibuster can launch a successful bid for governor. Good luck with that.
MOST CHARISMATIC PERSON OF THE YEAR: Ted Cruz, who was rewarded for a year of showing actual leadership by being recognized in a survey as the third most influential world leader, behind Pope Francis and Barack Obama.
BUMMEST RAP OF THE YEAR: Mainstream Republicans claiming that "shadowy conservative groups" like Club For Growth, FreedomWorks, Senate Conservatives Fund and Heritage Action are cynically fundraising on failures by the likes of McCain and McConnell to stand up on their conservative principles. Why have a separate party, if all those guys can do is say, "Welp, I guess elections have consequences."
FAIREST RAP OF THE YEAR: That The Selfie Seen Around The World demeans the office of President and diminishes our level of global respect.
BEST COMEBACK OF THE YEAR: Twinkies. After Hostess filed bankruptcy and got out from under the crushing union contracts, they were liquidated in an orderly court filing and the free market took it from there. Now, on to Detroit ...
MOST ORIGINAL THINKER OF THE YEAR: Mike Lee. He is the often overlooked third member of the Tea Party Trio in the Senate (along with Cruz and Paul), but he is proposing real solutions to our nation's problems, and is one to watch in the Senate.
MOST STAGNANT THINKER OF THE YEAR: John McCain. Raking Cruz over the coals for showing leadership and backbone, and standing up against Obamacare? Saying it's the law of the land and elections have consequences? What happened to you, sir?
BEST PHOTO OP OF THE YEAR: The WWII veterans who stormed their open air monument on the National Mall after government thugs tried to blockade it as part of the government "shutdown". Some of the best signs from the protest: "Mr. Obama, Tear Down This Wall"; and, "Normandy Wasn't Open For Business When We Got There, Either."
ENOUGH, ALREADY: MSNBC. From tampon earrings to black Santa Claus, to Alec Baldwin lasting a few weeks, to every single utterance from anyone to the right of Che Guevara being labeled racist, you've given jumping the shark a whole new dimension.
WORST LIE OF THE YEAR: Everything about Obamacare. Seriously, we have every right to tell voters, "We told you so". A close second: The oft-repeated lie, even among some Republicans, that there is no conservative alternative to Obamacare. There are many, many free market reforms that actually make sense and would actually reduce costs.
CAPITALIST OF THE YEAR: The entire energy sector. New mining technologies and new deposit discoveries are leading to the real prospect that, in just a few years, the US could actually be energy independent.
PERSON OF THE YEAR: Rand Paul. His was the first filibuster that started a trend. Using the rules of the Senate to protect the rights of the minority - apparently this was so dangerous that the Democrats had to go and change the rules.
HONORABLE MENTION: Vladimir Putin. Not a positive development by any stretch, but he's seen the international leadership void created by the Obama Administration's appeasement policies and taken the opportunity to fill that void.
DESTINED FOR POLITICAL STARDOM: (A quick aside - last year I predicted Paul Ryan. Whoops.) Scott Walker, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul - collectively they can be refered to as the Liberty Caucus. The future of the Conservative Movement is bright.
DESTINED FOR POLITICAL OBLIVION: Kathleen Sibelius. Amazingly, she has yet to be formally turfed, but the writing is on the wall.
BEST POLITICAL THEATRE OF THE YEAR: The performances by Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, using their position to the best of their ability to stand up for all Americans and make DC pay attention.
WORST POLITICAL THEATRE OF THE YEAR: The Cover Oregon TV ads. Yeesh.
MOST UNDERREPORTED STORY: The scandals surrounding the IRS and the NSA. Using unelected bureacrats to attack political adversaries is the realm of third world dictatorships, not the USA.
MOST OVERREPORTED STORY: GRIDLOCK IN CONGRESS! Pssst ... hey everyone ... that's the way it's supposed to work, so we don't have 2700 page bills rammed down our throats by representatives who didn't read the bill.
BIGGEST GOVERNMENT WASTE: Obamacare is the obvious choice, but that has distracted us from the more fundamental problem - since Obama took office in 2009, our spending has remained out of control across the board, and it doesn't show any signs of slowing down. It's sad that it's reason to celebrate when our budget deficit was ONLY $680 Billion for the year.
BEST GOVERNMENT DOLLAR SPENT: Until we get our spending under control, this award is impossible to contemplate.
BOLDEST POLITICAL TACTIC OF THE YEAR: Every single person who stood up to oppose Obamacare. Those who press the advantage and do everything they can to try to stop this rolling disaster are those who won hearts and minds this year. The rollout of the bill was a disaster, and it has never been more unpopular among the voters. Keep up the opposition, it's working.
BEST IDEA OF 2013: The continued development of fossil fuel extraction technology.
WORST IDEA OF 2013: Trying to drum up support to invade Syria, despite there being no national interest there.
SORRY TO SEE YOU GO: Peter O'Toole, who gave the single greatest performance in film history in Lawrence of Arabia.
THE ANNUAL KIM JONG IL MEMORIAL NOT EVEN A LITTLE BIT SORRY TO SEE YOU GO AWARD: Hugo Chavez
TURNCOAT OF THE YEAR: Sadly, this award is taken out of the mothballs I'd hoped it would stay stored in forever (The John Roberts Award). Paul Ryan, you are no budget hawk.
MOST HONEST PERSON OF THE YEAR: "Losers assemble in little groups that complain about the coaches and the players in other little groups. But winners assemble as a team." - Bill Parcells, apparently not speaking about Republican politics, but rather speaking upon the occasion of his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
MOST OVERRATED PERSON, EVENT, OR STORY OF 2013: Harry Reid and the change to the filibuster rules. The Democrats are going to be sorry they did that when Republicans take over the Senate and can repeal Obamacare with 51 votes instead of 60.
MOST UNDERRATED PERSON, EVENT, OR STORY OF 2013: The continued shredding of our constitutional protections of liberty.
GRADE THE PLANET: A+, if its inhabitants wouldn't continually try to muck things up. If we could get politicians out of the way, we could be energy independent, have a balanced budget, and live in liberty. Is that really too much to ask?
MACROPREDICTION: The final two years of the Obama Administration, after Election Day 2014, will be no day at the beach for big government statist control freaks.
NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION: To stop obsessing about politics, and to obsess a little more about my family.
Every year since college, my best friend Dan and I have submitted our best observations on a wide range of topics that reflect on the year that has just expired. We follow the well established template of The McLaughlin Group program.Here are my reflections on 2013:BIGGEST WINNER OF THE YEAR: I can't even think of one, as 2013 has seen so many failures that have hurt so many Americans. The only one I can think of is David Ortiz of the Red Sox, who emphatically reclaimed the City of Boston for Bostonians.
A Tuesday profile in the New York Times detailing corporate America’s waning influence on the Republican Party pointed out that “big business leaders have seemed relatively powerless” as Republican leaders struggle to control small-government conservatives in Congress. That’s good news for conservatives who support limited government, but it unfortunately seems like “big media” has supplanted big business as establishment Republicans’ main ally in their quest to drive conservatives and libertarians out of elected office.
John Nolte of Breitbart News first pointed out the unholy alliance between the New York Times and big government Republicans in July: “It is hard to tell who is using who, but to see the GOP Establishment become so useful to the New York Times' ongoing jihad against conservatives is more than a little troubling.”
The growing awareness that the Times has been volunteering itself as a mouthpiece for Republicans who want conservatives out of the party hasn’t done much to reduce the Times’ efforts. Just last week, Times columnist Thomas Edsall informed readers that, according to senior Romney strategist Stuart Stevens, Democrats would win the presidency in 2016 if “Republican primary voters go over the edge” by nominating Sens. Ted Cruz or Rand Paul for the position instead of a moderate like Jeb Bush.
Democrats quoting losers on what Republicans should do in order to win makes as much sense as Ann Coulter quoting Michael Dukakis on what Democrats should do to win. Yet the Times would never try to pass the latter off as credible commentary.
In fact, Edsall regularly runs commentary quoting establishment Republicans who complain that conservatives are ruining the party. In July, Edsall quoted a deluge of Republican lobbyists and strategists who said that too many people were becoming focused on ideas and not focused enough on winning. “Too many ideologues have come in,” one former Bush official said. “You don’t win by what they are doing.”
However, the symbiosis between left-wing Republicans and the media extends well beyond the New York Times. The day after Nolte’s piece describing the bias of the Times, The Hill published an analysis of Sen. Paul’s feud with Gov. Chris Christie, which had ended with Paul offering to have a beer with Christie. The piece, titled “Paul cries uncle,” explained that Sen. Paul’s effort at magnanimity constituted a concession to Christie.
Using the words of former McCain strategist Ford O’Connell, the piece explained that in order to win the 2016 presidential nomination, “Rand Paul will certainly have to appeal to establishment voters…. he knows that right now Chris Christie is the darling of establishment Republicans. If he continues to jab Christie so openly, establishment Republicans will work hard to defeat Rand.”
We never see mainstream media outlets warning of electoral consequences for Republican politicians who abandon their limited-government positions (Ahem. Mitt Romney). Yet we see ad nauseam threats that conservative politicians will be defeated if they ignore left-wing or establishment Republicans.
Of course, no one complains about the media more than establishment Republicans who desperately want to look like outsiders. The Republican National Committee (RNC) made news when it voted last month not to cooperate with NBC and CNN in organizing Republican presidential debates in 2016. While that was the right thing to do, it did not necessarily make the process any more helpful to conservative Republicans.
In fact, conservatives had already proposed a rules change in 2012 that would have given the RNC more authority over debates. It would have required that any candidate reaching one percent in national polls be included in debates sanctioned by the RNC. It would have prevented networks from arbitrarily excluding candidates they didn’t deem worthy.
Led by Romney Legal Counsel Ben Ginsberg, establishment Republicans defeated the proposal on grounds that the RNC had no place dictating which candidates were to appear in debates. In other words, television networks were left free to determine which candidates were fit to participate. If candidates like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul are judged too extreme to invite to debates, no problem – the RNC has done nothing to exclude them, the story goes. All of the blame will fall on those darn liberal networks, party leadership will assure us.
The Republican establishment acts like the mainstream media is hostile to their interests. But the reality is, when it comes to undermining those leading the charge for small-government, they are often partners in crime.
A Tuesday profile in the New York Times detailing corporate America’s waning influence on the Republican Party pointed out that “big business leaders have seemed relatively powerless” as Republican leaders struggle to control small-government conservatives in Congress.
The kiddies are going back to school all over this great land but it is still officially summertime on the calendar. If you haven't gotten as much beach reading done as you would have liked to, I've got some works of extraordinary fiction for you to peruse, but only if you're a big fan of the fantasy genre.
As we have uncomfortably witnessed the once great city of Detroit descend into Third World status, most objective observers have noticed a direct connection between the half century long dominance of the Big Labor/Democrat machine in the city's governance and its financial ruin.
Then there is the take of the progressive fringe that dominates modern American media and the Democrat party. And nowhere is this detachment from reality more manifest in all its "Get me a bib and my nurse!" glory than in the pages of the New York Times.
Naturally, the Nobel Laureate who makes Barack Obama look worthy got it all rolling.
After some perfunctory finger-wagging about debt and deficits (something he does in his sleep, and to neighborhood pets who wander by), Professor Paul wandered into a lecture about public pensions, apparently completely unaware that California is still in the US.
What is the conclusion that the former Enron lackey comes to in this drunken Econ 101 class?
So was Detroit just uniquely irresponsible? Again, no. Detroit does seem to have had especially bad governance, but for the most part the city was just an innocent victim of market forces.
Unwittingly, Krugman is closer to the truth than he probably wanted to be. He admits that Detroit was governed badly but this doesn't constitute something unique-true, as this same formula for disaster is being repeated at the state and local levels in Democrat dominated places all over America (again-my home state California or, if you prefer "the seasons", see Illinois).
But ignore all of that bad governance because market forces or something.
Poof-the Democrats are absolved!
Once Krugman gets this kind of ball rolling we can usually expect a reinforcing drumbeat across various media and the Detroit story has been no exception. Most have merely ignored the overwhelming Democrat influence in Detroit but MSNBC's less stable version of Chris Matthews, Ed Schultz, managed to blame "Republican parasites" for the city's travails. There were similar predictable "Pay no attention to that donkey behind the curtain" screeds from almost every lefty blog as well.
As always, however, the heavy lifting is being done by the Times. This past weekend, yet another progressive du jour in the Opinion pages teed up a gem titled The Wrong Lesson From Detroit's Bankruptcy. It's more of the same cotton candy progressive political philosophy: a lot of words that they think are making points but are really just filling space.
So much is packed into the dramatic event of Detroit’s fall — the largest municipal bankruptcy in American history — that it’s worth taking a pause to see what it says about our changing economy and society, and what it portends for our future.
Economy, society, fall fashion...anything but the politics of the people who were in power there for 50+ years. It should also be noted that Detroit's tumble into economic oblivion can only be considered a "dramatic event" if you are a progressive who is drinking the hard stuff.
So what led to all this "drama"?
Failures of national and local policy are by now well known: underinvestment in infrastructure and public services, geographic isolation that has marginalized poor and African-American communities in the Rust Belt, intergenerational poverty that has stymied equality of opportunity and the privileging of moneyed interests (like those of corporate executives and financial services companies) over those of workers.
Here we go into boilerplate far-left territory. Following in the "communism has just never be done right" tradition, progressives will always tell you that government fails only when it doesn't spend enough on this or that (Krugman is especially fond of doing this). Generally, they begin barking "Infrastructure!" or "Education!" like trained seals when the cries for a bigger money train are sent up. As Detroit's teachers were doing rather well for a broke city, it had to be the former. For the moment, anyway.
"Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Give him temporary construction work and you can usually keep him employed just long enough to vote for you in the next election."
There is plenty of complaining about the fact that everything isn't equal for everyone everywhere at once. Yes, in the minds of the far lefties, this is still an achievable thing. And what surely is considered a party foul by the other Times opinion writers, there is some deviation from Krugman.
We didn’t just let the market run its course. We made an active choice to embrace short-term profits and large-scale inefficiency.
So...not market forces? Whatever will we do to get the hive mind buzzing in harmony again?!?!? Return to the mantra, of course, this time in the proper order:
And on the national level, we need policies — investment in education, training and infrastructure
Any discussion of Detroit's problems that doesn't begin with the iron-handed Democrat rule (Coleman Young was mayor for twenty years-that's a machine) and the unhealthy relationship with Big Labor is a pile of disingenuous garbage. Yes, there are regional factors and the changing role of manufacturing in America over the past several decades must be considered but can hardly be given the majority of the blame.
Cities dependent upon a single industry can reinvent themselves in a rather short time if that industry declines. Pittsburgh is less than three hundred miles from Detroit and has done this rather nicely.
Unfortunately, cities that won't admit to what got them in trouble in the first place aren't going to be resurrected any time soon. The people making excuses for them are helping delay any real possibility of a thoughtful, well-planned emergence from the financial ashes.
The kiddies are going back to school all over this great land but it is still officially summertime on the calendar. If you haven't gotten as much beach reading done as you would have liked to, I've got some works of extraordinary fiction for you to peruse, but only if you're a big fan of the fantasy genre.
The best read of the weekend was a New York Times opinion column. No, I’m not kidding.
Not only did token conservative Ross Douthat blow the lid on the self-perpetuating elitism of the Ivy League, he did it in the pages of the elites’ favorite Sunday morning newspaper.
Susan Patton, the Princeton alumna who became famous for her letter urging Ivy League women to use their college years to find a mate, has been denounced as a traitor to feminism, to coeducation, to the university ideal. But really she’s something much more interesting: a traitor to her class.
Her betrayal consists of being gauche enough to acknowledge publicly a truth that everyone who’s come up through Ivy League culture knows intuitively — that elite universities are about connecting more than learning, that the social world matters far more than the classroom to undergraduates, and that rather than an escalator elevating the best and brightest from every walk of life, the meritocracy as we know it mostly works to perpetuate the existing upper class.
Although the column was exceptional, my favorite part was the horrified reaction of Times readers in the comment section. Mockery of the "Well, I never!” responses made for an entertaining Sunday on Twitter. The outrage provided keen insight into the minds of elitist liberals, who Thomas Sowell calls “the anointed.”
Below is a sampling of the reactions, presented just as they appeared on the New York Times site. The paper shutdown the comments section before noon, perhaps to spare their readers any further embarrassment.
- What I would like to ask Mr. Douthat is, can you think of any other reason besides elitist snobbism, that a PhD in philosophy might not marry or be close friends with, an auto mechanic. Could it be that they wouldn't have anything to talk about? Or even a lowly English major trying to share his/her love of literature with an uneducated bank teller. How about a mathematics professor sharing his life with a beautician? I in no way wish to disparage any of the professions I mentioned…
Oh, of course not. Many of the commenters mockingly conflated matriculation to a certain school with “smart.”
- So Ross is advocating at young people graduating for ivies should go find a good for nothing low life who has no interest in raising kids, having a job, or staying Out of jail, so that we can produce dysfunctional kids who are all mediocre in order to to create greater "social equality"?
- Frankly, I don't understand what the author wants. Does he WANT a regression toward the mean? Should a summa cum laude Harvard graduate feel socially obliged to fall in love with, marry, and have children with a high school dropout to raise the dropout's chances of improving his progeny's status?
- [I]sn't it more efficient to impeccably educate a small group of preternaturally intelligent and talented people, inundating them with social consciousness so that they go into the areas of the country where the education gap is truly atrocious and improve the educational systems, infrastructures, and governance therein?
- Douthat's essay is nonsense… Would he prefer a law allowing smart people to only marry dumb people?
- Really? This is news? Smart people like to marry smart people and help their children live comfortable productive lives? …Why aren't they marrying stupid people and encouraging their kids to drop out of high school and get a job at Walmart?
- I find it hard to perceive what Mr. Douthat's suggestion is, if any. Maybe intelligent people should squeeze themselves into a relationship with people of more limited cognitive abilities for the sake of "true" diversity? Maybe wealthy women will choose to raise their kids in the slums, in order for true America to be represented in every zip code?
Some of the responses sounded like conservatives making fun of pretentious academics.
- This is reductive nonsense. Princeton is not Columbia. It is not Cornell. Nor is it Brown, or Penn. It is most decidedly NOT Swarthmore…
- Endogamy is an amazingly complex subject.
- As a character in Shaws's "Bleak House said a century ago, "A soul is an expensive thing to maintain."
- Mfr. Douthat, did it ever occur to you that educated people marry educated people not to perpetuate inequality and go status-grubbing together but rather because they like the same philosophers and poets and composers?
- I'm an ivy league grad and frankly, it's hard for me to find a partner who doesn't look at me quizzically if I make a reference to Henry James. Or if I mention something I heard on Radiolab or read in the Economist… [I]t has been really hard for me to find even one date with someone who I feel has the same intellectual interests as I do. I want a partner I can talk about The New Republic with, and who likes to watch documentaries, and then actively discuss them afterward.
- As a Princeton student AND a queer female of color from a working class family, I'm ashamed I and my fellow non-white, non-straight, non-privileged classmates are getting lumped into Ross' blanket characterization of Ivy League students!
- Since social mobility and rising meritocracy define movement of traditional society towards modernity the old elite resting on hereditary privilege and status gives way to the rise of new meritocratic elite to be distinguished with its acquired ability as against the ascriptive social traits...
Sorry, I nodded off there for a minute.
Some people in the comments thought that Douthat (and I on Twitter) were somehow insulting all Ivy Leaguers. Far from it. I would have loved the opportunity and I appreciate those who excelled there.
The problem arises when certain members of that group assume that their diploma makes them a better person than those without one. This is the academic version of the “we-know-what’s-best-for-you” attitude of the current leadership in Washington, D.C. Despite their lofty credentials, the “best and brightest” have made quite a hash of things.
Instead of demeaning everyday Americans, the anointed could learn a few skills. A self-employed plumber could teach them how to balance a checkbook. A weekend soccer coach will show them how to get kids to work together toward a common goal. An office manager can point out that if she creates a mountain of red tape, productivity will plummet.
It’s time our leaders put a higher value on common sense than they do on “proper breeding.”
Follow me on Twitter at @ExJon.
The best read of the weekend was a New York Times opinion column. No, I’m not kidding.Not only did token conservative Ross Douthat blow the lid on the self-perpetuating elitism of the Ivy League, he did it in the pages of the elites’ favorite Sunday morning newspaper.
This is not a story about policy or legislation. This is a story about journalism, and the all too cozy relationship between 'reporters' and the public officials they're supposed to hold accountable. It's been two weeks since Democrat State Senator Ginny Burdick of Oregon was to have held a town hall to answer questions on the current legislative session. As reported locally, Senator Burdick lied about "scheduling conflicts" causing her to cancel this town hall, which has yet to be rescheduled.
A citizen journalist released a video that showed Burdick returning home at the time that the town hall was to have been conducted and staying in all night, not even answering a knock at the door. The next day, I called Burdick's office to verify her claims of scheduling conflicts, but instead confirmed that she made the whole thing up to avoid her constituents.
Burdick has repeatedly admitted that she fabricated the story to avoid having to face constituents who disagree with her stance on the Second Amendment. Burdick evidently does not fear hard questions from the mainstream media, and is fully comfortable admitting the lie when their cameras show up. It seems obvious that she has no reason to even expect hard questions from her friends in the liberal Portland press.
Meanwhile, a coordinated smear campaign has been waged by blogs, mainstream news outlets and national columnists against the reporter who verified and reported the story. I was famously labeled "the most irrelevant man in Oregon politics" by the progressive blog, Blue Oregon, in a story critical of the original report. Of course, four subsequent stories have been devoted to Mr. Irrelevant by that site - along with a news story in the Oregonian, two columns in the Oregonian (one of which was corrected and then retracted), a hastily assembled editorial board statement in the Oregonian, a report on KATU News that only gave Burdick's side of the story, a report on KOIN Local 6 News that gave both sides, a hit piece in the New York Times by the rabidly anti-gun Joe Nocera, and (after a claim from her chief of staff that she would have no further comment on the matter) an appearance on Al Sharpton's show on MSNBC (the title of which I, along with millions of other nonviewers, am too lazy to look up).
Incidentally, the video of the show appeared on MSNBC.com with a blog post that was a wholesale cut and paste job, under byline of Morgan Whitaker, of the Joe Nocera column in the Times. Well, it was almost a 100% copy job of the original - the only thing they left out were my comments in Joe's original column. I confirmed via email with Mr. Nocera that he "most certainly did not" grant them permission to copy his work.
The coordinated talking points have been that the video was creepy and intimidating, and crossed some sort of unwritten rule. Well, guess who used to be the Director of Opposition Research for the Democratic Party of Oregon, in charge of training political trackers? None other than Jeff Fisher, newly hired as Ginny Burdick's chief of staff. If this is an unwritten rule, it apparently only applies to one party. If Burdick were so offended and creeped out by this practice, why does she employ the guy who trained all the trackers for her own party as her chief of staff? Further, if she were so dedicated to elevated political discourse and respect for the position, why has she herself engaged in a pattern of harassing and intimidating behavior, such as using her public position to try to get a public worker fired for disagreeing with her?
All of this has been clearly coordinated to give Senator Burdick cover in the mainstream media and to deflect from the actual story - she lied to her constituents and made up a story to duck their questions. That's the real story and they're hoping you're not paying attention.
This is not a story about policy or legislation. This is a story about journalism, and the all too cozy relationship between 'reporters' and the public officials they're supposed to hold accountable. It's been two weeks since Democrat State Senator Ginny Burdick of Oregon was to have held a town hall to answer questions on the current legislative session.
On today’s edition of The FreedomCast, Dean Clancy VP of Public Policy at FreedomWorks joins me to discuss the battle between the Republican and Democrat budgets, what to expect in the process going forward and report live from CPAC, and the latest on BlogCon2013.
Have a suggestion for an upcoming FreedomCast episode, or a comment? Send it to me on twitter @KristinaRibali.
Subscribe to The FreedomCast on iTunes here.
Follow today's guest @DeanClancy on twitter.
Our podcast is fabulously produced by @BradWJackson.
On today’s edition of The FreedomCast, Dean Clancy VP of Public Policy at FreedomWorks joins me to discuss the battle between the Republican and Democrat budgets, what to expect in the process going forward and report live from CPAC, and the latest on BlogCon2013. Have a suggestion for an upcoming FreedomCast episode, or a comment?
Wednesday, in the critical battleground state of Ohio, Paul Ryan spoke about his plan for the 46 million Americans who live in poverty saying that "in this war on poverty, poverty is winning.” With one in six Americans living in poverty, Ryan said that he and Mitt Romney would help them join (or rejoin) the middle class. "Many of those living in poverty today were in the middle class just a few years ago. We can help them regain the ground they've lost.” He also stressed the importance of those already in the middle class being secure in their financial futures.
Ryan made the point that increased government spending doesn’t always pay off. "Just last year, total federal and state spending on means-tested programs came in at more than one trillion dollars. How much is that in practical terms? For that amount of money, you could give every poor American a check for $22,000," he said. "Instead, we spend all that money attempting to fight poverty through government programs. And what do we have to show for it? In most of these programs, especially in recent years, we're still trying to measure compassion by how much government spends, not by how many people we help escape from poverty.”
Romney said that the best way to help people escape from poverty was through a better education which, he said, could be achieved through education reform. "Sending your child to a great school should not be a privilege of the well-to-do. Mitt Romney and I believe that choice should be available to every parent in our country, wherever they live."
He also appealed to Democrats and independents in stressing Romney’s business record as a way to grow the economy and fight poverty. He said "Whatever your political party, this nation cannot afford four more years like the last four years. Mitt Romney? This is a man who is uniquely qualified and ready to deliver this recovery. Why? Because he understands how an economy works and what it takes to make it grow."
Wednesday, in the critical battleground state of Ohio, Paul Ryan spoke about his plan for the 46 million Americans who live in poverty saying that "in this war on poverty, poverty is winning.” With one in six Americans living in poverty, Ryan said that he and Mitt Romney would help them join (or rejoin) the middle class. "Many of those living in poverty today were in the middle class just a few years ago.
This evening, the debate we’ve all been waiting for will finally begin. Not traditionally a debate most Americans focus on, the lone Vice Presidential debate has become more of a focus this year due to the President’s poor performance in the only debate thus far. The Vice Presidential candidates have been relatively secluded the last week, both working overtime to study for tonight’s debate.
Vice President Joe Biden has been at the Sheraton Hotel in Wilmington, Delaware battling it out with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, who is standing in for Paul Ryan. Van Hollen, the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, reportedly referred to Ryan as “extreme” and “uncompromising” in a new ad by the Obama campaign. A picture released today by CNN shows the lengths the campaign has gone to recreate the scene that will take place tonight, all the way down to the carpeting.
For his part, Paul Ryan has been working double-duty being on the campaign trail with Romney as well as prepping for the debate. Ted Olson, lawyer and former Solicitor General, has been assisting Ryan playing the role of Biden. While Ryan has admitted that Biden has extensive experience in the area of debate, he stated that Biden’s “Achilles heel” is that he has President Obama’s record.
Debate topics will cover domestic and foreign policy and will be divided into 9 segments of 10 minutes each. While domestic issues have been on the forefront of the American public’s minds, the mishandling by the administration of the recent attack in Libya coupled with a growing anti-American sentiment worldwide may be a topic that will come into prominence this evening. Biden is considered an expert in foreign policy, however, the Libyan issue may not be one he’ll want to discuss. Additionally his favorability rating is only at 39%, meaning Biden isn’t currently in a good position with the public to win them over for Obama.
The debate will air at 9pm ET and will be moderated by senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News, Martha Raddatz.
In the aftermath of the first Presidential debate last week, I wrote that it was an unmitigated success for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. While it was clear that it was a thorough tactical defeat that has vaulted Romney in the polls and placed Obama permanently on defense for the remainder of the campaign, there was a notable lack of focus on debt reduction. In fact, Romney doubled down on his dedication to entitlement programs, and failed to specify how tax cuts alone will fix our long term debt nightmare.
Phil Klein writes about this in today’s Washington Examiner:
The other debate losers: Americans who want to tackle the debt
President Obama wasn't the only loser in last week's presidential debate. The others were Americans who want to get the nation's unsustainable debt under control.
For decades, as the nation's debt has exploded, America's fiscal debate has been fought between Democrats who won't admit that their welfare state vision requires massive, across-the-board tax increases and Republicans who have fought to keep tax rates low but are unwilling to seriously rein in the welfare state.
As president, Obama has consistently promised to break this historical cycle by making "tough choices," but in practice, he has consistently avoided them.
…. During last week's debate, Obama boasted, "I've put forward a specific $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan." But the so-called plan doesn't hold up to much scrutiny.
Klein later writes,
In picking Ryan as his running mate, many conservatives hoped it was a signal that Romney wanted to campaign on a bold reformist agenda. But his politically successful debate performance should disabuse everyone of that notion.
Romney portrayed himself as a guardian of Medicare and Social Security. He was indignant that Obama had cut $716 billion from Medicare for his Obamacare program. Whenever Obama charged that his opponent wanted to cut popular programs, Romney backed off -- saying, for instance, he wouldn't want to cut funding for education and that he would find a way to restore more prescription drug funding for seniors when he repeals Obamacare.
This is the Mitt Romney that makes many Conservatives and Tea Party members nervous. This is the guy who will need to be reined in with a Conservative majority in the House and Senate. In fact, this is exactly the plan that’s been laid out by FreedomWorks as the path towards fiscal sanity and the repeal of Obamacare.
Dean Clancy has published FreedomWorks’ Five Point Plan to repeal Obamacare. On the Federal level, he notes that it is imperative that we take the White House and Senate and build on the Conservative majority in the House. Kristina Ribali, Director of New Media at FreedomWorks, has repeatedly spoken of the need to “wall in” a moderate Republican President with Conservative majorities in both houses of Congress and to keep his feet to the fire with constant grassroots pressure, constantly applied.
I eagerly await tonight's Vice Presidential debate, because I have a feeling that Paul Ryan will be able to flesh out a plan. In fact, as Klein points out, that was the reason he was chosen as Romney's running mate, the choice that gave hope to Conservative grassroots activists that Romney was serious about budget reform. (Click here for Dean Clancy's summary of the Ryan Roadmap.)
Make no mistake: Step One in any effort to end the welfare state and reestablish a more Constitutionally grounded government is to fire Barack Obama. The only real chance that exists to accomplish this first, fundamental goal is to elect Mitt Romney, which seems increasingly likely as the debate performances force the scales to drop from the eyes of the American voters. But once that’s accomplished, Step Two MUST be to ensure that President Romney, along with his Republican controlled House and Senate, don’t lose sight of what’s really important. The deficit isn’t going to cut itself. We need leadership that will take the bold steps necessary to reduce and eventually end the American Welfare State that is an abomination of what our Founders intended with our Constitutional Republic.
In the aftermath of the first Presidential debate last week, I wrote that it was an unmitigated success for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. While it was clear that it was a thorough tactical defeat that has vaulted Romney in the polls and placed Obama permanently on defense for the remainder of the campaign, there was a notable lack of focus on debt reduction.
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