Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Cruising the Web

Mickey Kaus and Ace pick apart Obama's claim that there isn't much left to cut in domestic and defense spending. All Kaus had to do was look at the open jobs that are being advertised in the federal government. And Ace notices the dog that didn't bark.
Have you heard any stories of older, more expensive federal employees losing their jobs during this budget crisis -- as corporations typically do when they are hemorrhaging money?

Have you read any stories about departments drastically cutting back and looking for money-saving solutions -- doing more with less, as they say, or "working smarter, not harder"?

Has the media been full of stories by weary bureaucrats complaining, like teachers are apparently instructed by their unions to claim, that they have to buy their own supplies to properly do their jobs?

Has there been any grousing that federal employees are missing expected pay raises and promotions, being forced to work at their old salaries through this crisis?

The answer is no.

While the country is teeters on the verge of a Depression (if it has not tottered over already), the federal bureaucracy remains gold-plated and immune to cutbacks.

They have plenty. They have enough money to hire "Associate Administrators for Administration" (Good God All Might!). There is no change from business as usual. When they want a new bureaucrat, to make sure the workloads of the already-serving bureaucrats are not unduly increased, they hire a new bureaucrat.

There are no consolidations, no reorganizations, no firings of redundant or little-needed middle managers.

There are no firings of long-serving bureaucrats -- this always sucks, and I'm not loving doing this as a general matter, but the fact is that the older workers make higher salaries than younger ones, and stressed corporations often find this to be a sad but necessary area for saving money.

No wave of negotiated/ordered early retirements?

Where is the evidence -- even the anecdotal evidence -- that the federal bureaucracy (and the domestic spending it oversees) is in any manner part of this "balanced approach" in which we "all" are expected to "sacrifice" for the good of the nation?
Even the Huffington Post is laughing at Obama's famed pivot to jobs, jobs, jobs with a four-minute video compilation of the two and a half years claims by Obama and his aides that he's focused like a laser on jobs, jobs, jobs.

Kathleen Parker wonders why the approach that the Obama people want to make in their attacks on Romney is to label him as weird.
One can say many things about Romney. Shiny as a new penny, smooth as a petra stone, homespun as an Appalachian quilt. But weird?

Only if you were born after 1970. For older Americans, Romney is what we used to know as straight as an arrow, clean as a whistle, the picture of dad in Cleavertown. He’s been married to the same woman for decades, raised five sons, has 16 grandchildren, made a lot of money legally, been elected governor in a liberal state and, what else? Oh, yes, he was a missionary during his college years.

By today’s standards, this indeed may make Romney weird. (And, yes, he once did put his dog in a cage on top of the car during a family vacation when there apparently wasn’t room for him. Can we move on?)

Given the above history, one may assume that weird means uncool, which Romney surely is. He was even uncool as a youth, showing up for his first date with wife Ann in a car with chilled grape juice. It is entirely likely that a President Romney would not convene a beer summit.

But what else might weird mean? It sounds smackingly like code for that which must go unspoken -- that Mormon thing.
Of course, far be it for the guy who spent twenty years listening to Jeremiah Wright to intimate that someone else's religious choices are weird.

Chris Cillizza notes
the different approach that Michele Bachmann is taking towards her media critics.

Sister Toldjah endorses the mayor of Philadelphia's rant on the black youth culture in his city who have been creating marauding flash mobs attacking people at random in the street.

Jay Cost explains why the Tea Party is not a party. It's a movement, not a party.
Being a Tea Partier for 95 percent or more of these people suggests not a political or even social group affiliation, but a state of mind, one that evokes the sentiments of the original Boston Tea Party: that the government does not reflect the will of the people, and that it is burdening them to take care of a privileged minority. For the original Boston Tea Partiers, the great government transgression was taxation; for today’s Tea Partiers, it is a mountain of debt that will have to be paid eventually.

The ambiguity of 95 percent of the Tea Party is what makes it an attractive target for the Democratic party and its friends in the mainstream media. There is no leader of the Tea Party. No building where the Tea Party meets. No set of rules and regulations that enumerates the privileges and responsibilities of its members.
If the short hand that they'd adopted had been anything else but a phrase ending in the word "party" would anyone would be talking about them as if they were indeed a party? The result of this ambiguity, as Cost writes, is that "the "Tea Party" can be whatever the Democrats need it to be."
Were they a bunch of terrorists? Sure! Were they intransigent? Absolutely! As long as "they" stay relatively obscure, Democrats can ascribe almost any quality they want to them. On the other hand, if they start naming names, they're only going to prompt a retort from the accused, who will surely respond with talk of "Cut, Cap, and Balance," which polls extremely well. So, how does that advance their interests?
Cost compares this sleight of phrasing to Nixon's evocation of the "silent majority," which could endorse whatever Nixon wanted to pretend that they believed. But the problem Cost rightly identifies is that the Democrats' descriptions of the "tea party" don't match what people are actually seeing.
However, there is a problem for Democrats with turning the Tea Party into the bogeyman. Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is a fantastic movie because you do not see see the shark until you’re already well into the film, but eventually you see it. If you never did, the movie would have been forgotten long ago.

The Democrats are never going to be able to produce this terrible, villainous Tea Party for the world to behold. It will forever remain in the shadows, secretly making sure that nothing goes Obama’s way between now and Election Day. This makes for a very bad foil. There’s really no third act, no moment when Obama and the forces of light finally confront the Tea Party and its minions of darkness. Worse for the president, he does not get to square off against “the Tea Party” on the ballot. Instead, he will probably face Rick Perry or Mitt Romney, both of whom are living, breathing politicians with actual records, and no history of terrorism.

So yes, the Tea Party has become a red herring for the Democratic party and the liberals who dominate it, meant to distract the public from their own terrible record. Yet, as red herrings go, it is a pretty useless one – and a testimony to just how worried they are about next year.