Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cruising the Web

More evidence that gerrymandering wasn't responsible for the Republicans keeping the House.

Philip Klein examines areas where conservatives can find common ground.

This is cute - one professor has put together a map of what the United States would look like if every secession movement of groups who want to break away from their state had come to fruition. There would be 124 states.

Ron Fournier is not impressed with Barack Obama's vainglorious claim that he has a pen and a phone and is ready to accomplish his goals that way. This approach is based on an analysis by White House aide Dan Pfeiffer.
More than that, Obama's plan to exert executive branch authority, starting with his State of the Union address, further illustrates his unfamiliarity with the levers of political power, the limits of his leadership style, and the vast amount of time and potential squandered by the president so far....

Didn't know enough? After five years in office? This official, like so many others in the West Wing, apparently is not sufficiently self-aware to realize he confirmed an Obama critique—that the president is too removed and disinterested from the political process to affect it, that he doesn't value congressional relations enough to give them anything more than lip service, and that, for his enormous intellectual gifts, Obama is handicapped by a lack of political curiosity. He chose not to know enough about the Republicans.

The story raises several other questions. First, why did it take this long for the White House to discover the power of executive orders and rule-making? (Republicans are warning of "tyrannical executive orders," ignoring the fact that GOP presidents issue them, too.) For instance, Obama has refused to use the power of clemency in a broad way to correct injustice in crack-cocaine sentencing. He punted to Congress the most important questions about NSA overreach rather than taking executive action. And now we're supposed to be impressed by his pen and phone?

At the same time, executive orders are far less durable than laws passed by Congress in bipartisan fashion. The next president can reverse actions Obama takes with a stroke of a pen. It's a legacy written in invisible ink. Is that good enough for Obama?

Third, there is an obvious contradiction in the goals laid out in the Wilson story. How does a president simultaneously "distance himself from a recalcitrant Congress" and strike deals on immigration, the farm bill, a minimum-wage hike, and transportation. It's possible, not likely.

Mark Thiessen is right. Once the President has been exposed for telling the public a lie over and over again, a lie that will eventually affect every American family, it's hard to trust him on any other question.

This was predictable: a leftist writer just makes stuff up in order to go after Wendy Davis's ex-husband.

Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were certainly sleazy in the amount of gifts and loans they accepted from a supporter. But it appears that this was just standard operating procedure for Virginia governors. It's a case of the scandal being what is done legally.
A $200 leather jacket, an $18,000 Caribbean vacation rental, $350 in hunting gear — just a few of the valuable things given to the governor of Virginia in recent years.
But the items weren’t accepted by Bob McDonnell, whose indictment on federal public corruption charges has renewed attention to the comparatively lax laws over Virginia’s culture of gift-giving. They were made to his predecessors, Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine.

David Harsanyi has some smart comments to make about misconceptions about inequality.
r. And it seems that movement is more compartmentalized today than it used to be – as success breed success and vice versa. The report states that America is probably better described “as a collection of societies, some of which are ‘lands of opportunity’ with high rates of mobility across generations, and others in which few children escape poverty.” So treating “the poor” as one entity rather than making distinctions between working class families that have fallen on hard times, those stuck in the cultural continuum of poverty, and those who need society to bail them out of bad choices, might be good populist politics, but it’s lousy for policy.

Yet, in the political class’ arms race on empathetic political rhetoric (the State of the Union is sure to ratchet it up), it’s starting to sound like we don’t believe anyone in any of those groups can help themselves anymore. This is a perverted view of the American experience. It’s also false.

Jonah Goldberg explains the Fremdscham he has over the Wendy Davis story.

Bret Stephens gives Barack Obama's State of the Union the Harrison Bergeron treatment.

This is so cute - crony capitalist action figures - the Kronies. Check out the videos and then each character gets his own video. I don't know who is behind the whole concept, but it's very nicely done.