Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cruising the web

Randy Barnett lays out his arguments on the unconstitutionality of the individual health insurance mandate. His co-blogger, Jack Balkin, has a different view.

Iowahawk has some fun with his suggestions
for the best Martha Coakley negative ads.

Ross Douhat notes that Brown's race demonstrates that the GOP has achieved parity with the Democrats in using new technology and the new media. But he also makes the point that neither liberals nor conservatives should be overly optimistic that being successful in organizing online for a campaign will translate into legislative influence.
ou can be Sarah Palin’s pal on Facebook, or have Barack Obama’s running-mate selection text-messaged to your cellphone. But Washington is still Washington, the legislative process is still the legislative process, and the power of an online community matters less than the power of the powerful.

This is the bitter lesson many net-roots types have drawn from Obama’s first year in office. The promises of transparency have given way to the reality of backroom deal-cutting.

Here's another explanation for why there is such a disparity between liberals and conservatives as university professors. Maybe professors just don't perceive being a professor as an attractive job option. Sounds like a chicken and egg problem. I bet that there are plenty of conservatives who would consider a job in academia if they didn't get turned off from the way subjects such as literature were being taught today or if they didn't feel that they were rather unwelcome in today's classrooms.

Nate Silver at 538.com analyzes all the polls, aggregates the results, discounts for turnout models gone bad and still concludes that things look very nice for Scott Brown.

Tom Bevan notices Obama's new trend - discussing unknown knowns. Unlike Rumsfeld's "known unknowns," Obama is demonstrating a new trend - acknowledging that he doesn't know anything about a subject, say what happened between Cambridge police and Henry Louis Gates or anything about Scott Brown's record, and then proceeds to give an authoritative statement about what he just told us he didn't know about.

Mike Allen at the Politico is planning a "combative response" to the undoubted setback that a Brown victory would be. He's planning to combine populist demagoguery with his typical habit of blaming everything on Bush and the Republicans.
White House senior adviser David Axelrod told reporters that Democrats will not allow the midterm elections to become “a referendum on this administration” but, instead, will force Republicans to defend the role they have played in the economic crisis.
I guess Axelrod forgotten that Obama has been president for a year already and has had plenty of time to try his preferred methods for helping the country out of the recession. Mostly, he just outsourced the stimulus over to Pelosi and Reid and endorsed whatever they came up with. The results haven't been what they assured us they would be.

Massachusetts voters might be interested in this article by John Berlau on how Obama's tax on bankers will hurt their state.
Yet Obama’s so-called Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee would hit not just Wall Street, but also some prominent financial firms in Massachusetts, potentially affecting thousands of jobs for “working families” in the Bay State. And some of the Massachusetts financial firms it could hit — including large private employers such as State Street Corp., Fidelity Investments, and the Liberty Mutual and MassMutual insurance groups — either have paid back bailout money to the federal government in full and with interest or never took money in the first place.

“We want our money back,” Obama proclaimed Thursday, referring to the projected $117 billion shortfall in the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). But the irony is that the tax would mostly hit the firms that have already paid the government back, while exempting the firms that still owe the government billions upon billions: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, General Motors, and Chrysler.

Pete Wehner has a great post up about what has gone wrong for Obama. The Obama we saw in the campaign was never really all that real. He was a construct onto which people poured their hopes about what a post-partisan, post-racial politician could be. There was all that airy promise, but then he took office. And he has to govern. In challenging times. He hasn't been up to the task, and why should we expect that he would be? He has never run anything. He had not been in politics that long and only as a back-bencher. He can blame Bush all he wants, but he should have known what the job was going in. And campaigning through four years while blaming his predecessor and the Republicans for all his setbacks and handing over governing to Pelosi and Reid is not going to allow him to maintain the fantasy that was his campaign.

Charles Hurt notes this laugh-out-loud funny line from Obama's speech endorsing Martha Coakley.
Obama told the crowd here yesterday that he needed Coakley in Washington because she is "independent."
Of course, she's not an independent. The reason that Obama and the Democrats have been petrified that Brown will win in Massachusetts is because they know that they can depend on Coakley's vote straight down the line. As Hurt writes,
Really? Does anybody actually think that the reason Obama wants her in the Senate is that she would even dream of casting the deciding vote to kill the Democratic health-care bill?

Absolutely not. The only reason Obama came here is because he needs somebody bought and paid for. By him.

If Obama really is looking for the independent, he most certainly won't find him amid the Boston political glitterati gathered around Coakley.
It is just a lie to call her independent; she's the exact opposite. But up is down in their political rhetoric.