Can it really be that we’re going to kill off the ethanol subsidy? In one fell swoop, could Congress both make my food cheaper and make my car’s engine last longer? Short of cutting me a check, it’s hard to think of a single act that Congress could take that would have better effects on me personally.
P.S. I’m sorry for the ghastly picture of DiFi the Post has at the link. Block that out of your mind. Think, instead, of the gorgeous new M5, and all the pleasant sounds it will make while burning corn-free gasoline.
Democrats are high-fiving, certain that Medicare is now the killer issue for 2012 (and indifferent to the presence of a third-party candidate). I rather doubt it, and not because the New York state Republican party is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. As the Cook Report’s David Wasserman put it recently, “The three-way dynamic in NY-26 is simply more proof that special elections are mutant species. No two of the recent competitive special elections in NY-26, HI-01, PA-12, NY-23, or NY-20 have been exactly alike; their only commonality is that they held very little larger predictive value.”
Try as Democrats might to deny it, 2012 will be a referendum on the president; allelections with an incumbent president are. It will boil down to President Obama’s performance jobs, economic growth and the debt. Having failed to perform on all three so far, Obama will have his hands full.
She might be wrong, for reasons that Henry Olsen explains:
Tonight’s decisive victory by Democrat Kathy Hochul in the NY-26 special election will be tomorrow’s No. 1 topic of political conversation. Why did Hochul win a seat so Republican that John McCain won it handily, one of only four New York House seats to resist Obama? While the parties will argue over whether ads attacking Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan were to blame, a look at the underlying demographics confirms a year-long trend against the GOP among blue-collar whites. . . .
It’s bad enough that Hochul is running even with Obama’s totals from the best Democratic year in the past three decades. But the comparison to 2010 is truly frightening. Republicans were competitive in two statewide races last year, those for comptroller and attorney general. Fueled by the GOP wave, the Republican candidates in those races received 66 and 60 percent in NY-26 — well above McCain’s 52 percent in 2008 and George W. Bush’s 55 percent in 2004. Hochul is running 15 points ahead of the lowest performing 2010 Democrat, and, because of Davis, Republican Jane Corwin is running about 18 percent below the lowest performing Republican.
The verdict is clear. For whatever reason, the blue-collar independents and Democrats who voted Republican in droves last year did not vote GOP tonight. And many blue-collar Republicansvoted for Davis rather than Corwin.
If Olsen is right, then David Frum’s historical metaphor might be wrong:
Paul Ryan is the Barry Goldwater of 2012. . . .
The political dangers in the Ryan budget could have been predicted in advance. In fact, they were predicted in advance – and widely. Yet the GOP proceeded anyway, all but four members of the House putting themselves on record in favor. Any acknowledgment of these dangers was instantly proclaimed taboo, as Newt Gingrich has painfully learned. Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer have enthusiastically promoted Paul Ryan as a presidential candidate. And this morning, as the reckoning arrives, the denial continues. Here’s Jonah Goldberg in a column arguing that “perhaps the only guy who can explain the GOP budget should run.”
In reality, Ryan is very unlikely to accept this draft. He declined the opportunity to run for US Senate in Wisconsin, likely because he sensed he could not win a state-wide election in which his budget would be the main issue.
Now we’re likely headed to the worst of all possible worlds. The GOP will run on a platform crafted to be maximally obnoxious to downscale voters. Some may hope that Tim Pawlenty’s biography may cushion the pain. Perhaps that’s right, at least as compared to Mitt Romney, who in the 2008 primaries did worst among Republicans earning less than $100,000 a year. And yes, Pawlenty is keeping his distance from the Ryan plan. But biography only takes you so far. The big issues of 2012 will be jobs and incomes in a nation still unrecovered from the catastrophe of 2008-2009. What does the GOP have to say to hard-pressed voters? Thus far the answer is: we offer Medicare cuts, Medicaid cuts, and tighter money aimed at raising the external value of the dollar.
No candidate, not even if he or she is born in a log cabin, would be able to sell thatmessage to America’s working class.
In Frum’s scenario, Paul Ryan wouldn’t be Goldwater in 1964 but rather Gingrich in 1996. Bill Clinton didn’t run against Bob Dole so much as he ran against Dole-Gingrich. Paul Ryan today, like Gingrich in 1996, is the face of Republican party. And just as Dole had many significant differences from Gingrich but wasn’t able to separate himself from toxic Newt, so might the 2012 Republican nominee suffer from association with Paul Ryan.
If Paul Ryan got in the race, he would be my first choice for president. But, as I suggest in my column today, I don’t think that’s the only reason he should get in the game. The NY-26 race will be wildly over-interpreted by the press and the Democrats as a death-blow to Ryan and the GOP budget. But that interpretation may well have a self-fulfilling aspect to it. You can be sure that the Democrats will only intensify their MediScare tactics.
If you think that’s a huge problem, Ryan getting in the race might be the best possible option. Because by getting in, Ryan would allow the rest of the field to differentiate themselves from Ryan and the House budget. Most of the contenders would have to differentiate themselves from Ryan while also coming up with more serious entitlement-reform plans of their own than they might otherwise.
Let’s assume Ryan gets in and loses and, say, Tim Pawlenty wins the nomination. After “pushing off” from Ryan in the primaries, Pawlenty would be far better situated to tell Obama in the general, “Look, you’re running against Paul Ryan. He’s not on this stage. I am. I beat Paul Ryan. Deal with me and my ideas.”
So Paul Ryan should run. If he wins the nomination, then Republicans will get the best possible spokesman for the Ryan budget, which right now seems likely to be the biggest domestic issue in the race. If Ryan doesn’t win, then the Republican nominee will be able to distance himself from a plan that not even the base liked. But if Ryan stays out of the race, then his plan will be an issue that the eventual nominee will have to defend—and worse, that Obama will demagogue relentlessly. History, Mark Twain once noted, doesn’t repeat itself but it rhymes. Will Gingrich ’96 rhyme with Ryan ’12?
Any talk that this is an end to the national spending binge, as the Speaker has said, is overblown; this isn’t even 1/10th of the deficit. But this story provides hope that the Tea Party really has produced something new under the sun: Congressmen who are more interested in fulfilling their promises than in kowtowing to the party leadership.
Apollo posted this at 10:39 AM CDT on Friday, February 11th, 2011 as Tea Time
Despite my presumption that journalists are clueless, uncurious nitwits, I continue to be floored by their ignorance of the Tea Party. The movement has been around for nearly two years, held massive protests nationwide, spent a summer shouting down Congresscritters, and, oh, by the way, powered the Republicans to the biggest swing in House seats in sixty years. To an ignorant layman like myself, it seems to have some importance, and is the sort of thing a journalist who took pride in his work would be educated about before writing on the subject.
But that’s why I’m not a professional journalist: too much damned curiousity! So here we are, in January 2011, with a largely Tea Party-approved House having been sworn in just two days ago, and we have a reporter for the most prestigious newspaper in the country, in a story about fiscal restraint, able to write the following:
I recently sat down with [Mitch Daniels] in his office to talk about what small government might actually look like. To be clear, it would be very different from the Tea Party dream, in which taxes could be cut; Medicare, Social Security and the military could be left untouched; and the deficit would somehow vanish.
OMG! Why on earth is that called “the Tea Party dream”? Isn’t that the exact same formula that John McCain ran on in 2008? And GWB in 2004? Those guys weren’t Tea Partiers, that’s for damned sure. Both Kerry in 2004 and Obama in 2008 ran on not cutting Medicare, Social Security, or the military; both said they’d raise taxes, but now that he’s in office, Obama campaigned hard to keep the tax rates where they are. So isn’t it the Obama dream?
It’s not a “Tea Party dream” – it’s the dream of every politician! Nobody facing reelection wants to cut programs or raise taxes. What seperates the Tea Party is, so far, a genuine willingness to consider altering the status quo. Perhaps not everyone in the Tea Party – or even a majority – favors cutting Social Security, Medicare, or the military, but if there is someone who favors cutting Social Security or Medicare, I can almost guarantee he supports the Tea Party. The same can be said for those who support major revisions to the tax code.
That is: the Tea Party is vastly more serious about deficit reduction* than the Democrats or pre-Tea Party Republicans. To our modern journalists, this means that they should be mocked as hypocritical everytime you can find a program that one of them doesn’t want to cut. Don’t praise them for being the most serious about our most serious problem, mock them for not being an over-the-top parody of themselves. That’s just how modern journalists roll.
But if there was a “Tea Party dream,” it would involve a balanced budget (or, actually, a budget that ran a surplus and used it to pay off the debt). For Tea Partiers, that’s the end result that matters, and the means to get there are negotiable. To say that Tea Partiers dream of maintaining the status quo is nothing more than the sort of ignorant, potshot asshattery we’ve become accustomed to from our journalists.
*How sad is it that we only talk of “deficit reduction,” as though the budget deficit were some inate and tragic element of the human condition that can only be reduced but never eliminated?
Back when establishment Republicans were trying to convince everyone that Charlie Crist was a conservative, the tea partiers didn’t buy it, and supported Marco Rubio. Were the tea partiers just being ideological purists driving moderates out of the Republican party, as the storyline went at the time? Or was Crist a snake in the grass who could not be trusted?
If you only read one funny article all day, make it this article on the Tea Party. John Miller and Jonah point out some of the ways this article is funny. After the “the rule of law” bit, I think this is the next funniest:
[The 5000 Year Leap] spins the Constitution in a way most legal scholars would not recognize — even those who embrace an “originalist” interpretation.
It argues that the Founding Fathers were guided by 28 “principles of liberty,” above all, a belief that government should be based on “Natural Law,” or “a code of right reason from the Creator himself.” The founders, Skousen wrote, believed in the equal protection of rights, but not the equal distribution of things — an argument that many Tea Party activists now make against the health care overhaul passed in March.
Natural Law! A code from the Creator himself! Founders weren’t Communists? What a bunch of wingnuts!
The Tea Party is the most interesting and widespread (and therefore important) political movement in America since the Civil Rights movement. And the way our journalists have treated it is instructive: first, they dismissed it; then, they mocked it (teabagger – anyone heard that term lately?); then, they called them racist; then, they called them radicals; now, they’re using the Tea Party as a tool to prove their own ignorance.
If the mainstream press’s attempts to destroy the Tea Party weren’t enough of an argument to stop taking journalists seriously, the fact that millions of protesting Americans marching in the streets know more about our nation’s history than the writers and editors of the The New York Times should be enough to show that the ideal of journalism is dead at America’s major newspapers. I mean, if you get your information from the Times, you’re getting it from people who literally do not know what they’re talking about. That’s the opposite of journalism.