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Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Cruising the Web

Thomas Sowell points to the continuing inarticulateness of the Republicans. This seems to be an ongoing problem year after year for the GOP.

Noah Rothman argues that the messy roll-out of Obamacare may be helping the GOP get their message across. I wouldn't bet on it, though we can always wonder if the problems connected with Obamacare as people start realizing how their annual costs for health insurance are going way up under Obamacare would be getting through more without the distraction of the shutdown.

Andrew Johnson helps out by listing 30 Obamacare snags.

Obama doubles down on his ill-considered metaphor that the Republicans are like workers going on strike who should be fired. Doesn't he understand how stupid this is? As Sean Higgins writes, "maybe somebody should explain the right to strike to Obama."

Philip Klein calls for a different group within the Republican party - a group he calls tea party pragmatists.
It’s the subset of conservatives who agree with the Tea Party that Republicans should be more faithful to the principles of constitutionally limited government, but who also believe that Tea Party groups often employ counterproductive methods.

Surveying the political landscape over the last decade, these are the people who were sickened by the way the Republican-controlled Congress rubber-stamped President George W. Bush's brand of big-government Republicanism, with its runaway spending, Medicare prescription drug plan and federal expansion of education.

They welcomed the Tea Party movement as a counterweight to the earmark-taking, lobbyist-infested culture in Washington that perpetuates Big Government.

But on the other hand, they acknowledge that there are limits to what Republicans can accomplish by controlling merely the House of Representatives.

For instance, these conservatives didn't think the current Republican-controlled House surrendered in the “fiscal cliff” deal when the GOP agreed to make 82 percent of the Bush tax cuts permanent rather than allow taxes to automatically increase on everybody Jan. 1 in hopes it would lead to a better deal.

This subgroup of people still supported conservative challengers against moderate-to-liberal Republicans Richard Lugar in Indiana, Charlie Crist in Florida, and David Dewhurst in Texas, as well as Bob Bennett in Utah.

In all cases, these were states in which a more conservative candidate could win a general election — and, in all but one case, did win.

But on the other hand, this group thought that Delaware's Christine O'Donnell was a joke of a candidate and that in a deep-blue state that President Obama had just won by 25 points, moderate Republican Rep. Mike Castle was the most conservative electable candidate.

To this subset of conservatives, Mitt Romney was a horrible presidential candidate with a moderate-to-liberal record as governor, but former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would have made a terrible candidate, too.

Just like Tea Party groups, these conservatives passionately oppose Obama's health care law. But at the same time, they thought the strategy of trying to defund it through the budget process was doomed to fail, because it hinged on getting the Democratic Senate -- and Obama himself -- to agree to defund Obamacare.

And this group of conservatives was correct. Despite the fact that government has shut down and the Republican leadership has dug in, there are no signs that Democrats are closer to buckling and defunding Obamacare. In fact, it's not even being discussed.

Meanwhile, the shutdown story has given cover to the Obama administration to divert attention from the disastrous rollout of the health care law.

There is a group of limited-government conservatives sandwiched between the current Tea Party movement and the Big Government, K Street wing of the Republican Party. They are the Tea Party pragmatists.
I think this is the group I belong to. I agree with each and every of those propositions.

Jonathan Last explains how the National Park Service has become so politicized.
“To make life as difficult for people as we can”​—​that would be an apt motto for the Obama worldview. And now even the misanthropes at the National Park Service have been yoked to his project. This is the clearest example yet of how the president understands the relationship between his government and the citizenry.
Why would it be illegal for a furloughed worker to check his or her government email? Someday, when this is all behind us, perhaps Congress can work to clarify what happens in a government shutdown and prevent future presidents from maximizing civilian aggravation and federal worker pain. So maybe we could stop idiocy like this:
Over the weekend, Defense Department officials acknowledged that the shutdown had halted the $100,000 payouts given to fallen troops’ families, usually paid within a few days of their deaths.

At least five U.S. servicemembers have died in Afghanistan since the start of the month.

“Despite the recall of most civilians and the resumption of many activities across the Department of Defense, there are critical programs and benefits that remain halted,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
How evil can they get? And will Harry Reid block the measures that the House Republicans pass to make sure that bereaved families don't have to wait for their payouts after their loved one has been killed in the service of his or her country?

It's a shame that Obama the president isn't as competent as Obama the candidate.

As we approach the coming standoff on raising the debt ceiling, Charles C. W. Cooke explains why the President cannot just bypass Congress and use the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling himself.
Unfashionable as it has become to remember in the Age of Obama, there is no doubt that the Constitution allows only the legislative branch to appropriate and to borrow money, arming Congress with what James Madison called in Federalist No. 58 “the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people.” So powerful is this tool that the legislative branch may effectively stop all executive and bureaucratic action simply by refusing to allocate funds.

To argue that a tenuous reading of the 14th Amendment trumps the fundamental structure of the Constitution is akin to arguing that Congress could take over the role of commander-in-chief if the president refused to defend the country, on the grounds that Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 awards the legislature the power “to declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.”

Harvard Law’s Laurence Tribe has correctly and drily pushed back against such silliness, asking rhetorically in what other areas it would be appropriate to “usurp legislative power to prevent a violation of the Constitution.” “In theory,” Tribe notes, “Congress could pay debts not only by borrowing more money, but also by exercising its powers to impose taxes, to coin money or to sell federal property. If the president could usurp the congressional power to borrow, what would stop him from taking over all these other powers, as well?”
The real question is who would have standing to stop the President from doing this.

See how you do on a quiz of choosing who said the following - Che Guevara or Adolf Hitler?


Norman Rogers said...

Dear Betsy,

The proposition that the House cannot "control" government -- is flatly false. Our constitution gives the power of the purse to the People's House. All revenue bills must originate there and the House has historically taken the position that this includes appropriations bills.

So ... the current business of passing "mini" spending bills is exactly what the House should have been doing all along. The recent practice of bundling appropriations bills into "omnibus" monstrosities serves only to make federal spending opaque and cedes control to the Senate.

The proper Tea Party position should be to eschew "pragmatism" and to stand foresquare on their constitutional authority.

It is the President and the Democrat Senate's position that unless the House cedes all authority to them -- they will shutter the government.

If only our elected representatives would articulate this ...

elkh1 said...

"The real question is who would have standing to stop the President from doing this."

Ted Cruz