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FRIDAY, MARCH 12, 2010
THIS IS DISGRACEFUL, DESPICABLE, OUTRAGEOUS – AT 7:04 P.M. ET: Is there any end to the foreign-policy blundering of this left-wing administration? It's hard to make this up:
(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday that the State Department is soliciting comments from citizens, advocacy groups and other non-governmental organizations on the human rights record of the United States.
“Human rights are universal, but their experience is local. This is why we are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves,” Clinton told a press briefing at the State Department, where she unveiled the “2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.”
Do we have anyone available who will stand up for the United States?
Clinton said the U.S. is now gathering facts on its own record because – as a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council – it is participating in the UNHRC’s “universal periodic review” process.
The Obama administration’s decision to join the Human Rights Council was controversial. The Geneva-based, 47-member HRC faces numerous criticisms, chief among them the presence of countries with poor rights records. Iran is currently running for a seat on the council.
Controversial? That's an understatement. The "Human Rights Council" is one of the most degenerate divisions of the already degenerate United Nations.
“In the fall, we will present a report (to the UNHRC) based on the input of citizens and NGOs, gathered online and in face-to-face meetings across the country attended by senior government officials,” Clinton said on Thursday.
Sickening and disgusting. The idea that this free nation should report to a group of thugs rips bare the agenda of the Obama administration. Someone called Obama the first "post-American" president, and I'm afraid that's how he sees himself.
Hillary Clinton carries plenty of baggage, moral and otherwise. But I never thought she'd agree to anything like this. Shame.
March 12, 2010 Permalink
CONTEMPT FOR THE PRO-LIFERS – AT 6:30 P.M. ET: As the Democrats engage in obscene deal making to get their health-care monstrosity through, they're making it clear that one group in their party is not wanted:
The pro-life Democrat leading the charge in the House against passage of the Senate health insurance reform bill said Friday that a key committee chairman told him that Democrats want abortions to be paid by a federally-funded nationalized health insurance system.
Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., who's been so far out in front of the debate about abortion coverage that he earned himself a primary challenger over it, said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., told him he wants to change current law that bans federal funding for abortion.
In an interview with Marquette, Mich., radio station WKQS' Mark & Walk morning show, Stupak described what he said was a conversation with Waxman about the Senate's version of the health care overhaul. That bill contains weaker language than the House-passed legislation, which includes a provision crafted by Stupak to ensure insurance companies that participate in a national exchange don't use federal money for abortion services.
"I gave him the language. He came back a little while later and said, 'But we want to pay for abortions.' I said, 'Mr. Chairman, that's -- we disagree. We don't do it now, we're not going to start.'
"'But we think we should,'" Stupak said Waxman told him.
Elsewhere, the pro-lifers are saying that they're being completely ignored.
Depending on which poll you trust, about half the country is pro-life. That half will not be amused.
March 12, 2010 Permalink
THE BANZAI CHARGE IS COMING – AT 6:14 P.M. ET: The Dems, feeling overwhelming guilt over Obama's decision to postpone his Asian trip next week, and his heartbreaking decision to leave the wife and kids behind, have scheduled a vote for next weekend to cheer him up.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Under White House pressure to act swiftly, House and Senate Democratic leaders reached for agreement Friday on President Barack Obama's health care bill, sweetened suddenly by fresh billions for student aid and a sense that breakthroughs are at hand.
"It won't be long," before lawmakers vote, predicted Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She said neither liberals' disappointment over the lack of a government health care option nor a traditional mistrust of the Senate would prevent passage in the House.
Other sources report that Democrats in the House have been alerted to be prepared to vote next weekend, allowing the president to wing off to Asia, probably on Sunday the 21st.
This is the way the future of our medical system is being decided.
At the White House, officials worked to maximize Obama's influence over lawmakers who control the fate of legislation that has spawned a yearlong struggle. They announced he would make a campaign-style appearance in Ohio next week to pitch his health care proposals, as well as delay his departure for an Asian trip later in the month.
With Democrats deciding to incorporate changes in student aid into the bill, Republicans suddenly had a new reason to oppose legislation they have long sought to scuttle.
"Well of course it's a very bad idea," said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. "We now have the government running banks, insurance companies, car companies, and they do want to take over the student loan business."
COMMENT: What, precisely, does the student loan program have to do with health care? But what does this whole process have to do with health care?
It's a huge power grab. Many leftist ideologists believe that seizing the health-care system is the first step to full socialization of an economy.
March 12, 2010 Permalink
BULLETIN: OBAMA TO DELAY INDONESIA TRIP, GIVES UP FREQUENT FLIER MILES FOR HEALTH CARE – AT 10:19 A.M. ET: From The New York Times:
President Obama is delaying his trip to Indonesia, Guam and Australia next week, an administration official said Friday, so the White House can focus on passing health care legislation in the House.
Can you just imagine the chaos in Washington?
The president’s international trip had grown into a source of frustration among many House Democrats, who complained privately to the White House that they were being forced to take a quick vote on health care so Mr. Obama and his family could leave on the overseas trip next week.
Hey, what's important here?
In fact, the president is no longer taking First Lady Michelle Obama and their two daughters on the trip, an administration official said.
Yeah, there was some heat on that. Looked like spring break. In fact:
The trip had coincided with Malia and Sasha Obama’s spring break and was intended to be their first visit to Indonesia, where the president lived for several years as a child. But the White House, mindful of the criticism that the trip was as much a family vacation as an official trip, changed plans in the wake of the pressing health care debate.
COMMENT: Will three days make a difference in health-care "reform"? Who knows? If the president had the votes, he wouldn't be delaying his trip. So we know the measure is in trouble, from this and other indicators.
Big political week ahead. It's more than horses that will be traded.
March 12, 2010 Permalink
A WARNING TO THE DEMS – AT 9:12 A.M. ET: Two Democratic pollsters, Pat Caddell, and Doug Schoen, warn Democrats about their kamikaze flight into health-care reform. From the Washington Post:
In "The March of Folly," Barbara Tuchman asked, "Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests?" Her assessment of self-deception -- "acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts" -- captures the conditions that are gripping President Obama and the Democratic Party leadership as they renew their efforts to enact health-care reform.
Yeah, that's right. (And next time someone tells you that Iran will act rationally and not use the nukes it's getting, remember that paragraph.)
Bluntly put, this is the political reality:
First, the battle for public opinion has been lost. Comprehensive health care has been lost. If it fails, as appears possible, Democrats will face the brunt of the electorate's reaction. If it passes, however, Democrats will face a far greater calamitous reaction at the polls. Wishing, praying or pretending will not change these outcomes.
That is the heart of the argument, and well put.
Nothing has been more disconcerting than to watch Democratic politicians and their media supporters deceive themselves into believing that the public favors the Democrats' current health-care plan. Yes, most Americans believe, as we do, that real health-care reform is needed. And yes, certain proposals in the plan are supported by the public.
However, a solid majority of Americans opposes the massive health-reform plan. Four-fifths of those who oppose the plan strongly oppose it, according to Rasmussen polling this week, while only half of those who support the plan do so strongly.
Health care is no longer a debate about the merits of specific initiatives. Since the spectacle of Christmas dealmaking to ensure passage of the Senate bill, the issue, in voters' minds, has become less about health care than about the government and a political majority that will neither hear nor heed the will of the people.
Voters are hardly enthralled with the GOP, but the Democrats are pursuing policies that are out of step with the way ordinary Americans think and feel about politics and government. Barring some change of approach, they will be punished severely at the polls.
It is not a question of starting over but of taking the best of both parties and presenting that as representative of what we need to do to achieve meaningful reform. Such a proposal could even become a template for the central agenda items for the American people: jobs and economic development.
Unless the Democrats fundamentally change their approach, they will produce not just a march of folly but also run the risk of unmitigated disaster in November.
COMMENT: That is political wisdom. Americans will go center-left or center-right, but they won't walk off the plank. Only ideologists do, and ideologists are in charge of the Democratic Party.
March 12, 2010 Permalink
FACTS HAVE THEIR EFFECT – AT 8:36 A.M. ET: American attitudes toward "global warming" are becoming increasingly skeptical, as The Hill reports:
“Climategate” and reports of errors in a U.N. report on climate change may be having some effect on how the public views global warming.
According to Gallup’s annual update of American attitudes toward the environment, 48 percent of Americans now believe that the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated. That’s up from 41 percent a year ago and 31 percent in 1997, when the polling company first asked the question.
A majority of Americans still believe global warming is real, but the number is falling. According to the poll, Americans are less convinced that humans are causing climate change. In 2003, 61 percent of Americans said temperature increases were due to human activity. Now, a “significantly diminished” 50 percent say humans are to blame, and 46 percent think not.
There is some evidence in the poll that the news stories on errors in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report and the controversy over emails hacked from a prominent climate research institution in the United Kingdom are weakening Americans' belief that there is a consensus about the causes of global warming. "Roughly half of Americans now say that 'most scientists believe that global warming is occurring,' down from 65 percent in recent years," according to Gallup.
COMMENT: There will be some good to come out of this. Americans will finally realize that "science" isn't godlike, that scientists struggle, they disagree, they debate, and they pursue wrong ideas.
But I hope that this mess doesn't undermine confidence in, and funding for, real scientific projects that deserve support and encouragement. In the global-warming controversy we've seen too much intersection between science and politics, with a lump of economic self-interest thrown in. That has got to change.
March 12, 2010 Permalink
WELCOME TO THE RECOVERY, BE SURE TO TAKE YOUR GIFT BAG – AT 8:25 A.M. ET:
The Washington Post uncovers another economic fault line that has the potential to help derail what is already a fragile recovery:
The housing market is facing swelling ranks of homeowners who are seriously delinquent but have yet to lose their homes, and this is threatening a new wave of foreclosures that could hit just as the real estate market has begun to stabilize.
About 5 million to 7 million properties are potentially eligible for foreclosure but have not yet been repossessed and put up for sale. Some economists project it could take nearly three years before all these homes have been put on the market and purchased by new owners. And the number of pending foreclosures could grow much bigger over the coming year as more distressed borrowers become delinquent and then, if they can't obtain mortgage relief, wade through the foreclosure process, which often takes more than a year to complete.
As these foreclosed properties add to the supply of homes for sale, they could undercut housing prices, which have increased modestly through December, according to the most recent figures in the S&P/Case-Shiller home prices index. That rise partly reflected a slowdown in the flow of foreclosed homes onto the market.
The rate at which J.P. Morgan Chase seized properties, for example, peaked in the middle of 2008 and fell steadily last year, according to a February investor report. But the bank expects repossessions to increase this year, nearly doubling to 45,000 by the fourth quarter.
COMMENT: Remember the days when you were told that you could never lose money in real estate? The people who told you that forgot to note the Florida real-estate bubble of the 1920s. Too many Americans started regarding their homes as their fortunes. Sadly, many are now paying the price.
Foreclosures are, to some degree, a function of unemployment. The unemployment and underemployment numbers are stubborn. We keep getting smiling faces at the White House, but they must be about something else.
March 12, 2010 Permalink
PRETTY UNBELIEVABLE – AT 8:01 A.M. ET: How close are we going to come before we start taking this far more seriously? From Fox:
An American charged in Yemen with being a member of Al Qaeda had worked at nuclear power plants in the U.S., a spokesman for a group of plants in New Jersey said Thursday. But a state official said the man did not breach security there.
Sharif Mobley, a 26-year-old natural-born U.S. citizen, was arrested in Yemen earlier this month and is accused of killing a guard in an attempt to break out of a hospital.
The FBI, the State Department and other authorities said they were trying to gather information about Mobley. But the allegations appeared to illustrate a phenomenon U.S. intelligence officials have warned about: American Muslims becoming radicalized and joining terrorist movements overseas.
Mobley was identified by Yemeni officials as a Somali-American. Mobley moved to Yemen about two years ago, supposedly to learn Arabic and study Islam, a former neighbor said.
Before that, Mobley worked for several contractors at three nuclear power plants in New Jersey from 2002 to 2008, PSE&G Nuclear spokesman Joe Delmar said. Mobley carried supplies and did maintenance work at the plants on Artificial Island in Lower Alloways Creek, and worked at other plants in the region as well.
He satisfied federal background checks as recently as 2008, Delmar said, adding that the plant is cooperating with authorities.
COMMENT: I'm not surprised that he satisfied federal "background checks." So did Major Hasan at Fort Hood. I'm sure the "background checks" are shot through with the kind of political correctness that is hobbling the rest of the United States Government, including our military.
March 12, 2010 Permalink
THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2010
GOOD! – ROTC RISING AGAIN – AT 9:18 P.M. ET: An optimistic report from Fox:
After being shunned by scores of colleges across the country for more than 40 years, the U.S. Army's ROTC program is making a comeback.
Roughly 32,000 cadets are currently enrolled in the Reserve Officer Training Corps on the university level -- a modest, yet notable, increase from previous years, says Lt. Col. Michael Indovina, chief public affairs officer with the U.S. Army Cadet Command. He said the program had 30,721 cadets a year ago and 28,489 the year before.
There are even some modest inroads among so-called "elite" schools:
Even Stanford University, which barred the military training program from its campus during the height of the Vietnam War, is considering bringing ROTC back to campus. A faculty committee, spearheaded by historian David Kennedy and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry, is reportedly planning to study the possibility of welcoming the program back to the California campus.
It's still a tough fight at some of these "top" colleges. There are leftists on the faculties, some of them leftovers from the 1960s, who will come up with any excuse to keep the military off campus. The "don't ask, don't tell" policy is the current excuse. If that falls, there'll be others. But progress, nationally, is being made.
A spokesman for the ROTC program agreed that, while many young people enter ROTC to serve their country, others may also consider the economic benefits. "Do we have some cadets who are doing this because of the economy? Sure, but it's not something we track."
Don't knock those who look at the economic benefits. They're part of a long and rather honorable tradition. Early in the 20th century many young men saw the service, and the service academies, as a way up, a means of advancement. The education at West Point attracted a young Dwight D. Eisenhower, who'd actually wanted an appointment to Annapolis. He did pretty well for the United States.
And remember that one of the reasons the Navy had such good petty officers at the time of Pearl Harbor was the Depression. So many men had wanted to enlist in the Navy in the thirties, for economic salvation, that the service could pick the best candidates.
The sixties generation is fading, replaced by the 9-11 generation. It won't be a total change – a great deal of damage needs to be repaired – but there is hope in these new cadets.
March 11, 2010 Permalink
DOES NANCY HAVE THE VOTES? – AT 7:30 P.M. ET: President Obama is going off to Indonesia, where he spent part of his youth, late next week. (Remember when we couldn't discuss this during the campaign because it was "racist"?) Nancy Pelosi would love to give him a going-away present of a health-care bill. But does she have the votes? Michael Barone has his doubts:
Are there enough votes in the House to pass the Senate's health-care bill? As of today, it's clear there aren't...Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indeed shown mastery at amassing majorities. But it's hard to see how she'll do so on this one. The arithmetic as I see it doesn't add up.
The House bill included an amendment prohibiting funding of abortions sponsored by Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak. The Senate bill did not. Mr. Stupak says he and 10 to 12 other members won't vote for the Senate bill for that reason...
...Mrs. Pelosi may have some votes in reserve—members who would have voted yes if she needed them in November and would do so again. But we can be pretty sure she doesn't have more than 10...
Other Democrats who voted yes seem to be wavering. "I don't think reconciliation is a good idea," Indiana's Baron Hill was quoted recently in Bloomberg News. New York's Michael Arcuri says he's a no for now. "There would have to be some dramatic changes in it for me to change my position," he recently told the Utica Observer-Dispatch.
"I think we can do better," California's Dennis Cardoza told the New York Times last week.
There are other, deeper problems with the Democrats' math:
There's a more fundamental problem for the Democratic leadership: Their majority is not as strong as their 253-178 margin suggests.
A Democratic House majority tends to have fewer members with safe seats than a Republican majority.
...more than 40 House Democrats represent districts which John McCain carried. Most voted no in November and would presumably be hurt by switching to yes now. Moreover, Mr. Obama's job approval now hovers around 48%, five points lower than his winning percentage in 2008. His approval on health care is even lower.
Another 32 House Democrats represent districts where Mr. Obama won between 50% and 54% of the vote, and where his approval is likely to be running under 50% now. That leaves just 176 House Democrats from districts where Mr. Obama's approval rating is not, to borrow a real-estate term, under water. That's 40 votes less than the 216 needed.
The Democrats' struggle to get 216 votes is high stakes poker.
COMMENT: This is real political drama. We're talking about one sixth of the nation's economy, and the central issue for President Obama. If Obama can't get this through, he'll be a dramatically weakened president. But if he does get it through, he'll be doing it against the will of the American people, as shown in poll after poll.
Obama may well be in a no-win situation, something he didn't expect on election night, 2008. My how the flighty have fallen.
March 11, 2010 Permalink
AH CHOO – AT 7:08 P.M. ET: We're following the health-care drama as closely as possible. Remember that President Obama, whose deadlines have as much impact as those of the old League of Nations, has given Congress until a week from today to pass health care. Or else. Or else what? Who knows.
Here are some late bulletins: Republican sources say that the Senate parliamentarian will rule that the House must pass the full Senate version of the health-care bill first – the one already passed by the Senate – and that it must be signed by the president before any reconciliation process can take place.
If that's true, it may all be over. Many members of the House hate the Senate version, and won't vote for it. The president goes on a foreign trip late next week, which means he won't be around to lobby members directly. Without his pressure, it's hard to see anything getting done.
The March 18th "deadline" (next Thursday) is slipping away. It's being taken as seriously as Iran takes our nuclear deadlines. If the date slips, members must go home and face their constituents, the people for whom they presumably work. This the White House does not want.
It's being widely reported that the Democratic congressional leadership has lost patience with the House pro-life caucus and will try to ram a bill through without making any changes in the Senate's abortion language, which the pro-life community believes is far too lax. This is a dangerous game. In effect, Nancy Pelosi will dare the pro-lifers to vote against the bill. They just might.
March 11, 2010 Permalink
LATEST SOCIAL TREND – AT 9:57 A.M. ET: As part of our service we like to keep readers informed of the latest social styles:
CHICAGO (AP) -- Tania Unzueta has kept a secret for more than 10 years and is finally ready to come clean: She's an illegal immigrant.
The 26-year-old University of Illinois at Chicago graduate was among dozens of young illegal immigrants who publicly "came out" during protests Wednesday in several cities. They hope their stories will call attention to the plight of an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S. and renew calls for federal reform - even at the risk of deportation.
"It's scary on one hand, but it's also liberating," said Unzueta, of Chicago, one of eight people who disclosed their immigration status at a downtown ceremony. "I feel like I've been hiding for so long."
Several hundred people, many holding American flags and signs that read "Undocumented and Unafraid," observed as each of the eight took the microphone and vowed to continue telling others about their status.
Students took similar approaches Wednesday in Detroit, New York and at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., with more events in the coming weeks in Los Angeles and New York. Some activists dubbed Wednesday a "National Coming Out Day" and quoted gay rights activists, like the late Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials, in their testimonies.
COMMENT: Well, what can one say? On the one hand, we admire people who want to come to the United States. But, on the other, most go through the legal process and observe our laws. The issue here is illegality, not immigration. All Americans, except Native Americans, come from immigrant families.
I suspect that these "coming out" parties will become trendy, and will soon be held in fine homes in Manhattan and Beverly Hills. I can see Hollywood stars and New York media personalities "adopting" an undocumented immigrant. Watch: There'll be a new TV series called "Not-Quite-American-Idol." Big ratings.
March 11, 2010 Permalink
DOES THE MAN GET ANYTHING RIGHT? – AT 9:21 A.M. ET: No Cabinet officer has given President Obama more political grief than Attorney General Eric Holder, author of the brilliant plan to try the mastermind of 9-11 in a crowded neighborhood in New York City.
Now Holder has another problem. Apparently, his view of a confirmation hearing is, "You can ask, but I won't tell." From Fox News:
During his confirmation more than a year ago, Attorney General Eric Holder failed to notify lawmakers he had contributed to a legal brief dealing with the use of federal courts in fighting terrorism, the Justice Department acknowledged on Wednesday.
“The brief should have been disclosed as part of the confirmation process,” Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller said in a statement. “In preparing thousands of pages for submission, it was unfortunately and inadvertently missed.”
How do you miss something like that? It's like missing the Hoover Dam.
Still, the “amicus brief,” filed with the Supreme Court in 2004, resonates years later as Holder finds himself defending the handling of some recent terrorism cases, particularly the interrogation of alleged “Christmas Day bomber” Umar F. Abdulmutallab.
The brief – filed by Holder, then a private attorney, former Attorney General Janet Reno and two other Clinton-era officials – argued that the President lacks authority to hold Jose Padilla, a U.S citizen declared an “enemy combatant,” indefinitely without charge.
In making their case, Holder and the others argued that using federal courts to fight terrorism, which includes providing Miranda rights to terror suspects, would not “impair” the government’s ability to obtain intelligence, which they called “the primary tool for preventing terrorist attacks.”
COMMENT: Had Holder disclosed the brief, he would have been questioned about it, probably in detail. We would have had a much clearer knowledge of how he intended to approach terrorism as attorney general. Instead, we got blindsided.
Holder continues to be a problem, but he is apparently a favorite of the president, so I wouldn't look for a change anytime soon. But we have a right to expect more disclosure, and more wisdom, from the nation's chief law enforcement officer.
March 11, 2010 Permalink
GRIM – AT 8:23 A.M. ET: Fox News has become a major success story in the United States because it has given conservatives a voice. Fox is the most-watched cable news network.
But what of the future? Some signs make us uneasy. Did you know that Fox is seven-percent-owned by Saudi interests? Fox is run by Rupert Murdoch, who has been intensely pro-American. His son, though, is gradually taking over operations, and he apparently does not share his father's views. A new announcement by the elder Murdoch (surprisingly) cannot make us happy:
ABU DHABI (AFP) - – News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch announced on Tuesday that the Gulf emirate of Abu Dhabi is to become the headquarters of his global media empire in the Middle East.
Addressing some 400 delegates at the opening of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, Murdoch said his corporation had started out as a small Australian firm to become a US-based international company that employs 64,000 people.
"I have every confidence that Arab companies can do the same and more. I also believe that Abu Dhabi can lead the way."
Murdoch said News Corp would headquarter its Middle Eastern global online advertising operations in Abu Dhabi, and move a number of satellite television channels to the capital of the United Arab Emirates from Hong Kong.
"We will (also) establish a production office here for one of our documentary film-making companies," he said.
"When we look to the future, News Corporation is betting on the creative potential of the more than 335 million people who make up the Arab world," he added.
Frankly, I hadn't noticed that potential. I wish they'd direct it toward democratizing their societies and improving their treatment of women.
This is a disturbing development. A major news organization, which has been an alternative to the leftist news outlets we already have, will be influenced by its commitment to a part of the world where free journalism is emphatically not the norm. When the son takes over, watch out.
By the way, Halliburton, in better times headed by Dick Cheney, moved its worldwide headquarters from the United States to Abu Dhabi in 2007.
But remember, 25 years ago we were told that Japan would take over the world.
And we were once told by Charles Lindbergh and his crew that fascism was the wave of the future.
Some "intellectuals" said the same thing about Marxism.
We Americans have a way of pulling it out. Let's look for the next Fox News.
March 11, 2010 Permalink
DOES OBAMA HAVE A CALENDAR PHOBIA? – AT 8:12 A.M. ET: Julie Mason, in the Washington Examiner, points out that this is a presidency of missed deadlines. No one at the White House seems to care:
The White House fondness for deadlines is once again playing havoc with President Obama's agenda, this time on health care.
"If you don't set a deadline in this town, nothing happens," Obama said last year, just before Congress missed an earlier deadline to pass health care reform.
The administration is pressuring House members to pass a Senate version of health reform by March 18, when the president departs on an overseas trip.
But the many moving parts of Congress are balking at the administration's timetable -- and have learned from several previous forays that missing them carry virtually no consequences.
"Any talk of deadlines is an absolute waste of time," said Sen. Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
Obama last year admonished Congress to pass health care reform by August, and vowed to sign a reform bill in 2009. The Senate finally passed one in late December.
Lawmakers also missed a 2009 deadline from the White House to pass an energy bill, and a financial regulatory bill.
But ignoring White House deadlines is not restricted to Congress. Tehran is currently ignoring a deadline from the Obama administration and the United Nations to come clean about its nuclear program. They were given until the end of the year -- 2009.
As Obama's clout diminishes, his deadlines become more and more laughable. Mason gives the sad history in a summary:
Missed deadlines pile up for Obama
* Promised to close Guantanamo Bay prison within a year of taking office
* Set an August, 2009 deadline to pass health care reform
* Then, Christmas
* Now, March 18
* Vowed to sign health care bill in 2009
* Called for an energy bill by the end of 2009
* Sought a financial regulation bill by the end of 2009
* Demanded Iran prove by the end of 2009 that its nuke program was peaceful
* Pending: Iraq combat troop withdrawal by Aug. 31; Afghanistan troop withdrawal beginning in July 2011.
We'll mark our calendars. The president apparently won't be marking his.
March 11, 2010 Permalink
STARTLING – AT 7:44 A.M. ET: We have a historic week coming up. The president is demanding that Congress pass his health-care plan by March 18th, a week from today, essentially placing one sixth of the economy under federal control.
Many in Congress, in the president's own party, are resisting, some over the abortion issue, others over cost. And some, zombie-like, oppose the president's plan because it isn't radical enough. Calming pills are on the way.
The bottom line, though, is that many Democrats fear that if they vote for the plan, their congressional careers will be terminated in November. And they don't want to go back to the family business. There is a widespread feeling in Washington that, if the president can't get the plan passed within the next week, it will eventually be lost, as members of Congress will be going home during the winter recess and will face angry constituents.
There is good reason for the Dems to have political worries, as The Politico reports:
The anti-reform business coalition StartOver put out some startling poll numbers today on what reform means to people in the districts of 11 vulnerable House Democrats. The move coincides with an effort by Senate Republicans to scare moderate Dems into voting against the bill, especially now that Senate Majority Leader Reid has the votes to pass a reconciliation bill.
Here are some of the findings. We point out that the survey, taken among likely voters, was conducted by the Republican polling firm, Tarrance Group:
IN-9 Baron Hill
76% worry the health bill will raise their taxes.
87% say it’s very or somewhat likely that his vote will matter in November.
31% favor the health bill while 52% oppose.
PA-4 Jason Altmire
81% worry the health bill will raise their taxes.
93% say it’s very or somewhat likely that his vote will matter in November.
30% favor health bill while 58% oppose.
29% favor use of reconciliation 60% oppose
NJ-3 John Adler
80% worry the health bill will raise their taxes.
90% say it’s very or somewhat likely that his vote will matter in November.
34% favor the health bill while 57% oppose.
NV-3 Dina Titus
73% worry the health bill will raise their taxes.
89% say it’s very or somewhat likely that his vote will matter in November.
40% favor the health bill while 58% oppose.
NY-24 Michael Arcuri
77% worry the health bill will raise their taxes.
88% say it’s very or somewhat likely that his vote will matter in November.
32% favor the health bill while 53% oppose.
Please note that support for the president's bill doesn't go above 40% in any of the districts polled. That pattern also prevails among the remainder reported in the full story.
This will be a spectacularly important week in the modern history of Congress. The Japanese had their kamikaze. The Democrats have their Barack Obama. The difference is that the kamikaze flew themselves and perished. Obama is sending others to do the same job.
March 11, 2010 Permalink