Scene above: Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York
WE'RE ON TWITTER, GO HEREWE'RE ON FACEBOOK, GO HERE
Please note that you can leave a comment on any of our posts at our Facebook page. Subscribers can also comment at length at our Angel's Corner Forum.
I appeared on Silvio Canto Jr.'s fine talk show from Dallas yesterday morning. The recording is here.
JANUARY 4, 2011
THE SILENT ISSUE – AT 9:36 P.M. ET: We've been warning regularly at Urgent Agenda that the price of oil is the hidden, silent issue that may explode for the 2012 presidential campaign. The situation is getting worse, and the administration responds only with more restrictions on offshore drilling. From the Financial Times:
High oil prices threaten to derail the fragile economic recovery among developed nations this year, the leading energy watchdog has warned, putting pressure on the Opec oil cartel to increase production.
Over the past year the oil import costs for the 34 mostly rich countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development have soared by $200bn to $790bn at the end of 2010, according to an analysis by the International Energy Agency.
The increase, due to high crude prices, is equal to a loss of income of about 0.5 per cent of OECD gross domestic product, according to the IEA.
“Oil prices are entering a dangerous zone for the global economy,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist. “The oil import bills are becoming a threat to the economic recovery. This is a wake-up call to the oil consuming countries and to the oil producers.”
Oil prices have edged closer to $100 a barrel in recent weeks and Brent crude hit $95 a barrel for the first time in 27 months on Monday as the economic recovery has gathered pace.
COMMENT: There are now responsible predictions that the price of gas at the pump will soon reach four dollars a gallon, and could even reach five dollars a gallon during the 2012 campaign. The fact is that some of the people in Obama's political base have no problem with this. They like high gas prices, as they believe it will drive Americans to other fuels. That's nice. While we're being driven to fuels that don't exist and cars that haven't been developed, what happens to us and our economy?
Don't ask radical environmentalists. They're busy on the slopes of Aspen.
INTERNATIONAL SECURITY NEWS – AT 8:36 P.M. ET: There is an exciting success to report to you in international security. We are constantly, endlessly, being told that Saudi Arabia is our great ally in the war against terror. In fact, the Saudi royal family spends tens of millions on Washington lobbyists to tell us just that.
Well, we're happy to report that the Saudis have now shown their skill, their daring, their verve, their ability to compete with the best when civilization is on the line. From London's Daily Mail:
A vulture tagged by scientists at Tel Aviv University has strayed into Saudi Arabian territory, where it was promptly arrested on suspicion of being a Mossad spy, Israeli and Saudi media reported Tuesday.
The bird was found in a rural area of the country wearing a transmitter and a leg bracelet bearing the words 'Tel Aviv University', according to the reports, which surfaced first in the Israeli daily Ma'ariv.
Although these tags indicate that the bird was part of a long-term research project into migration patters, residents and local reporters told Saudi Arabia's Al-Weeam newspaper that the matter seemed to be a 'Zionist plot.'
Nailed! Absolutely nailed! Those Saudis are on the ball. Who needs women's rights when you've got gutsy residents and local reporters who know what's really important?
The accusations went viral, with hundreds of posts on Arabic-language websites and forums claiming that the 'Zionists' had trained these birds for espionage.
The Sinai regional governor last month suggested that a shark that killed and maimed tourists on its Red Sea port may have been intentionally released by Israeli agents in order to sabotage the country's tourist industry.
COMMENT: I don't know about you, but I for one will sleep better tonight knowing the Saudi security services are out there, joined by their Sinai, Egypt, brothers. When will Hollywood wake up and do the movie?
NOT EXACTLY MR. HUMAN RIGHTS – AT 10:08 A.M. ET: One of the great myths about Barack Obama is that he's a "human rights activist," that pile of boilerplate mush handed out freely by liberal journalists. He is not, and neither is his sidekick in hypocrisy, Jimmah ("Ahm the best ex-president evah") Carter, a man whose interest in human rights never seems to extend to such beacons of freedom as Saudi Arabia.
Now, in a piece that is getting a great deal of play around the internet, Jackson Diehl, of the improving Washington Post, really slams Obama for his abysmal human-rights record. This is strong language from a friendly newspaper:
In a speech to the UN General Assembly last September, US President Barack Obama suggested that his administration’s notoriously weak defense of human rights around the world would be invigorated...
...Just over two months later, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Bahrain, an important Persian Gulf ally that hosts the US Fifth Fleet. The emirate was in the midst of a major crackdown on its opposition. Two dozen dissidents, including intellectuals, clerics and a prominent blogger, had been rounded up, charged under anti-terrorism laws and allegedly tortured...
...Clinton’s response? Extravagant and virtually unqualified praise for Bahrain’s ruling al-Khalifa family. “I am very impressed by the progress that Bahrain is making on all fronts – economically, politically, socially,” she declared as she opened a town hall meeting. Her paeans to Bahrain’s “commitment to democracy” continued until a member of parliament managed to gain access to the microphone and asked for a response to the fact that “many people are arrested, lawyers and human rights activists.” Clinton’s condescending reply was a pure apology for the regime. “It’s easy to be focused internally and see the glass as half empty. I see the glass as half full,” she said.
Great, huh? And the reaction from the left wing "anti-war" faction of the Democratic Party? Silence. As usual.
SO MUCH for a fresh start on human rights. Clinton’s Bahrain visit reflected what seems to be an intractable piece of the Obama administration’s character: a deeply ingrained resistance to the notion that the United States should publicly shame authoritarian regimes or stand up for the dissidents they persecute.
After Egypt’s terrible elections in November, in which ballot boxes were blatantly stuffed and the opposition brutally suppressed, the administration’s commentary was limited to bland statements issued by “the office of the press secretary” of State and the spokesman of the National Security Council. Three weeks earlier, at a widely watched joint press conference in Washington with Egypt’s foreign minister, Clinton made no mention of the elections, the crackdown or anything else related to human rights.
In Latin America, friends of the United States marvel at its passivity as Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega systematically crush civil society organizations and independent media. “I don’t see a clear policy,” Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez – a good example of the sort of dissident Obama promised to defend – told me.
COMMENT: This is a stinging indictment, and well worth reading. One of the tragedies of American liberalism is its abandonment of human rights as a prime issue. It began to happen in the late 1960s, when the illiberal leftists began to take over the Democratic Party, partly in response to Vietnam. They wept loudly for the "Vietnamese people," but remained silent when South Vietnam was conquered by the North and turned into a dictatorship. They were silent again during the Cambodian genocide, and the pattern was clear.
George McGovern's mantra during his disastrous 1972 run for the presidency wasn't "freedom" or "democracy," but "Come home, America."
And many ultra-liberals today show a disturbing indulgence toward Chavez and Hamas.
Will Obama change? Only if he is forced to by political circumstance, and I don't see that happening.
From The Politico: With Republican leaders anxious to set an austere tone for their ascendance into the House majority this week, the lavish fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday night at a trendy Washington hotel to benefit a dozen GOP freshmen is not exactly the populist image leaders are anxious to project...“If incoming GOP freshmen were hoping to bring fiscal responsibility and ‘family values’ to Washington, they may have gotten off to an interesting start,” conservative blogger Matt Lewis noted, citing the event’s steep ticket prices, as well as Rimes’s confessed extra-marital affair and her recent appearance in a “Sexy Santa” outfit at a gay men’s chorus Christmas performance.
Smart. Real smart. Nothing like giving the Democrats a clipload of ammo right from the first day. You'd think someone would have intervened to stop this embarrassment. We'll hold our side to a high standard here. It's a public service.
QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 8:20 A.M. ET: A Christian church was blown up in Egypt over the weekend. Of course, we just not be judgmental, not even suspect anyone. Well, Ed Koch, outspoken former mayor of New York, and powerful mouth, tells it like it is. It's about time someone did.From NewsBusters:
Appearing as a guest on Thursday’s Your World with Neil Cavuto on FNC, former New York City Mayor Ed Koch – known for being a relatively centrist Democrat – chided President Obama for being reluctant to use terms like "war on terrorism" or "Islamic extremists," and, when host Cavuto pointed out that Obama had managed to improve attitudes toward America in the Muslim world, Koch sarcastically shot back: "Isn`t that nice? Did they stop trying to kill us?"
Even while declaring himself to be a supporter of the Obama administration, the former New York mayor still voiced his frustrations about the "attitude" of the White House – citing an article by right-leaning columnist Charles Krauthammer – and came out in support of profiling Muslims at airports:
What bothers me is that the attitude of the administration ... is not that of a war. Charles Krauthammer had a magnificent article, tough as nails, when he attacks the administration as thinking of it as a police action. This is not a police action. We`re going to be at war for the next 30 years. We are afraid to call them "Muslim Islamist terrorists." We’ll call them anything but because we don`t want to alienate Muslim countries. That`s ridiculous...
...And there are no other people who are out there trying to kill us, other than Muslim fanatics. There`s nothing illegal, immoral to say that is the case. And you can also say the vast majority of Muslims are decent, law-abiding people. But that doesn`t mean we shouldn`t pat down specially if there are Muslims in line and we know that to be the case, boarding a plane. I don`t see anything wrong with profiling. What, are we crazy?
COMMENT: Yes, Ed, we're crazy. We're crazy to have a president who refuses to acknowledge, by name, those who attack us. We're crazy to have "journalists" who go right along with that madness. And we're crazy to send our kids to colleges and universities where "scholars" teach them that we must "respect" cultural attitudes, no matter what those attitudes are.
IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS – AT 8:04 A.M. ...of philosopher Yogi Berra, "it's déjà vu all over again." Our sophisticated, worldly president – vastly more intellectual and traveled than his Texas predecessor – explores far and wide for new talent, and does it all for us. From Andrew Malcolm in the L.A. Times's Top of the Ticket blog:
In an obvious effort to broaden the representation of Chicagoans and former Clinton aides in his administration, President Obama has reportedly begun talks to bring William Daley into the White House as a top assistant, possibly even as chief of staff.
Obama's first chief of staff was Rahm Emanuel, a former House member from Chicago's North Side who has returned to Chicago to become mayor.
He can do this because Richard M. Daley, the brother of William Daley, has decided to retire this winter from his City Hall political throne where he's run the Windy City's vaunted Democratic machine for a generation, or about as long as Richard J. Daley, the father of Richard M. and William.
Neither of the Richard Daleys nor William Daley should be confused with Valerie Jarrett, who was City Hall chief of staff for Richard M. and once hired Michelle Robinson as an aide. She....
...went on to become Michelle Obama and then first lady of the United States and hired her Chicago friend and fundraiser Desiree Rogers as social secretary before leading Chicago's delegation to Copenhagen to not capture the 2016 Olympics.
Rogers, however, comes from a different faction of the Chicago party than Jarrett, so she eventually had to go. But everyone should know that it wasn't Rogers' screw-up over letting into the Obamas' first state dinner that annoying Salahi couple, who are luckily not from Chicago or they might have trouble with garbage collection, among other city services.
Another top Obama aide, David Axelrod, is also from Chicago.
COMMENT: Oh come on, we all know that all the talent in the world is in Chicago, don't we? And they're all named Daley.
It is remarkable that, two years into office, Mr. Obama doesn't understand the word "appearances." To bring in the brother of the king of Chicago's political machine does not inspire confidence, no matter how competent the guy may be.
All presidents bring in some local friends and allies at the start of their administration. Most get over it.
THIS IS WHY PEOPLE HATE POLITICIANS – AT 7:36 P.M. ET: Arnold has left the governorship of California, turning the office over to Jerry Brown. But one of his last acts is creating an uproar. From The Los Angeles Times:
On his final night in office, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger reduced the prison sentence of the son of former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, Esteban Nuñez, who had pleaded guilty to participating in the killing of a college student.
The governor also granted several other commutations and pardons and gave plum government appointments to political allies and the spouse of his chief of staff. Schwarzenegger announced the moves in a batch of eleventh-hour press releases e-mailed to reporters.
Esteban Nuñez, now 21, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for his role in the stabbing death of Luis Santos. Schwarzenegger cut the prison term to seven years, noting in a statement that Nuñez, although involved in the fight that ended in Santos' death, did not inflict the fatal knife wound. Schwarzenegger cited a finding by the court that it was Esteban Nuñez's friend Ryan Jett who stabbed Santos, "severing his heart."
COMMENT: I guess Schwarzenegger recalls that President Bill Clinton gave last-minute pardons to political allies, and got away with it.
But murder is something else. And the blatancy of Arnold's favoritism toward a political ally is being blasted all over the state...especially by the victim's family.
This will make it harder for Arnold to get another public office, should he seek it. It has been reported that he'd like an environmental job in the Obama administration. It won't have any effect if Arnold wants to return to making movies. In Hollywood, murder is an act of righteous sociological protest.
A judge is required to recuse himself from cases where he or she has a personal interest. You'd think that, by now, some mechanism could be found wherein presidents and governors could have politically sensitive issues of law decided by an outside panel. But there'd be no guarantee of payoffs that way, would there?
THE LATEST FROM THE IVY LEAGUE – AT 8:53 P.M. ET: One of my favorite teachers in high school was a Brown University graduate who regularly sang the praises of his alma mater. Today, he must be turning over in his grave. From Commentary:
Concerned that North Korea is getting a bad rap, some Brown University alumni have actually started a travel program to give students an eyewitness experience inside the totalitarian state. The project apparently started as a short trip for students, but it has now been expanded into a semester-long study abroad program. As reported by the BBC:
The Pyongyang Project was the brainchild of Matthew Reichel and Nick Young, who were inspired to counteract what they describe as the “one-sided” coverage of North Korea in the international media.
“The US and North Korea don’t have established relations, and talks are indirect at best. And what we believe is that there is a need for a grassroots level of engagement that we haven’t seen yet between citizens,” says Mr Reichel, a 23-year-old Brown University graduate. “We feel that education is the best ice-breaker.”
The naivete of these students — enrolled at one of the top American universities — is simply astounding. One participant was amazed that he was allowed to wonder freely around a beach and interact with North Koreans — apparently unaware that the visit was probably about as orchestrated as a Hollywood movie set.
I’m not sure if the founders of the Pyongyang Project planned to make this a pure propaganda campaign for the North Korean government, or if they’re simply clueless. But there’s no doubt that Pyongyang officials are probably thrilled by the results, judging from the comically fawning “participant reflections” posted on the project’s website.
“The DMZ was my favorite. Mass Games, local restaurants were wonderful, Mt Myohyang was beautiful, USS Pueblo, Korean War Museum, Metro. All of it was fantastic. I commend the two of you for putting together such an action-packed, well-rounded program,” wrote Amy C., a 2009 Fulbright scholar.
Well, I suppose we can at least we can be thankful that the unpleasant sight of emaciated North Koreans didn’t get in the way of their thrilling vacation.
COMMENT: This is what passes for "educated people" among some of the elites in our society. And some of these "educated people" will wind up teaching our children, giving us the news, or working in government.
WELCOME TO HEALTH-CARE REFORM – AT 8:22 P.M. ET: From The Weekly Standard:
Under the headline, "Construction Stops at Physician Hospitals," Politico reports today that "Physician Hospitals of America says that construction had to stop at 45 hospitals nationwide or they would not be able to bill Medicare for treatments." Stopping construction at doctor-owned hospitals might not seem like the best way to boost the economy or to promote greater access and choice in health care, but that exactly what Obamacare is doing.
Kenneth Artz of the Heartland Institute explains, "Section 6001 of the health care law effectively bans new physician-owned hospitals (POHs) from starting up, and it keeps existing ones from expanding." Politico adds, "Friday [New Year's Eve] marked the last day physician-owned hospitals could get Medicare certification covering their new or expanded hospitals, one of the latest provisions of the reform law to go into effect."
This little-noticed but particularly egregious aspect of Obamacare is, by all accounts, a concession to the powerful American Hospital Association (AHA), a supporter of Obamacare, which prefers to have its member hospitals operate without competition from hospitals owned by doctors. Dr. Michael Russell, president of Physician Hospitals of America, which has filed suit to try to stop this selective building-ban from going into effect, says, "There are so many regulations [in Obamacare] and they are so onerous and intrusive that we believe that the section [Section 6001] was deliberately designed so no physician owned hospital could successfully comply."
COMMENT: Feel that reform, feel that improvement in the health-care system. By the time the bureaucrats get finished with this, it will be a miracle if we get to see any physician. On the other hand, who will want to go into medicine?
THIS DOESN'T MAKE GOOD TV – AT 9:40 A.M. ET: Hillary Clinton attended the inauguration of Brazil's new president, former Marxist guerrilla Dilma Rousseff. And who does Clinton run into? Why, Hugo Chavez, thug-in-chief from Venezuela, a man who recently took dictatorial powers on himself.
There's a picture going around the internet showing Clinton and Chavez, with Clinton shaking Chavez's hand and smiling broadly:
Despite a simmering diplomatic row, President Hugo Chavez and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were seen having a brief, friendly chat Saturday at the inauguration of Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff.
"They talked and smiled, at least for five minutes. It looked like a social conversation, both were smiling," a Brazilian official who witnessed the encounter told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The encounter came only three days after the United States revoked the visa of Venezuela's ambassador in Washington, in reprisal for Chavez's rejection of the US president's appointed ambassador to Caracas.
But Chavez and Clinton were all smiles as they mingled with the presidents of Chile and Colombia and the prime minister of Portugal while waiting to meet Rousseff.
At one point, Chavez extended his hand to Clinton, who shook it, smiling. They chatted for a few minutes before moving on to formally greeting Rousseff.
There were no reports on what was said between them.
Chavez on Tuesday reaffirmed his decision to reject diplomat Larry Palmer as President Barack Obama's ambassador-designate to Caracas, and challenged Washington to break off diplomatic relations if it didn't like it.
The State Department responded the following day by revoking the visa of Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez, who was in Venezuela on vacation.
Yes, yes, I know, it's diplomacy. But the Obama administration has a history of insulting American allies and appeasing our enemies. You'd think Clinton, no fool, would understand the appearances of that picture. There was no need to smile, or even be gracious. A simple "hello" would have been fine.
Once again, the image of weakness is reinforced. Contrast please with the rude treatment that Obama gave British Prime Minister Brown and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
POLITICAL DANGER FOR OBAMA – AT 8:44 A.M. ET: It gives us no pleasure to report ethnic political divides among Americans, but they must be reported because they exist, and they affect elections.
Scott Rasmussen has a startling report on ethnic and ideological division, even within the Democratic Party. These are danger signs for Mr. Obama:
While President Obama continues to earn sky-high job approval ratings among Democrats, there are significant enthusiasm gaps among various segments of the president's party.
Overall, data from the Rasmussen Reports Presidential Tracking Poll during the final week of 2010 showed that 51% of all Democrats Strongly Approve of the president’s performance. When you include those who Somewhat Approve, the president received positive reviews from 82% of those in his party.
Yet while 75% of Black Democrats Strongly Approve of the job he's doing as president, only 40% of White Democrats share that level of enthusiasm. That gap is much bigger than it was when Obama first took office in January 2009. During his first week as president, he earned Strong Approval from 88% of Black Democrats and 72% of White Democrats.
Among White Democratic men, the president now earns Strong Approval from just 33%. That figure is down from 70% during the president’s first week in office.
From an ideological perspective, 60% of Liberal Democrats Strongly Approve of Obama’s performance. Only 14% of Conservative Democrats agree (down from 49% during Obama’s first week as president).
Overall, including those who Somewhat Approve, the president’s job approval rating is now at 87% among Liberal Democrats and 42% among Conservative Democrats.
Among all White voters, including those who are not Democrats, the president’s overall approval rating is at 38%. Among all Black voters, 94% offer their approval.
COMMENT: I hate to see a racial divide. The fact that Mr. Obama had the strong approval of 72% of white Democrats during his first week in office would seem to demonstrate that his drop among whites isn't do to racial prejudice, but the disappointment independents and Republicans feel.
The 94% of approval for Mr. Obama among black voters reflects racial pride and solidarity. While we can criticize it, at least it's understandable.
The president's popularity, right now, is being propped up by strong minority support. Far from being a unifying president, he's been divisive. I'm sorry to say it, but the ethnic divide can provide some ugliness during the 2012 campaign, something we didn't see in 2008.
THE PRESIDENT'S ILLUSION – AT 8:11 A.M. ET: Mr. Obama took, as he said, a "shellacking" in the November election. And, while that says nothing about his own prospects for 2012, he clearly is worried that the shellac could spread over that year as well, sticky and gooey. So, what does Obama do? He channels the Gipper himself, as The Australian notes:
STUNG by criticism he is aloof and out of touch, Barack Obama has turned to the great communicator for inspiration.
He has used his Christmas holiday in Hawaii to read a biography of Ronald Reagan.
The icon of the Republicans and the Tea Party may seem an unusual choice of subject matter for the Democratic President, who spent the first day of 2011 with wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha at Pyramid Rock, a secluded beach at Marine Corps Base Hawaii...
...Like Mr Obama, Reagan suffered a huge drop in popularity and heavy losses in mid-term elections, yet managed to bounce back to win a second term.
Reagan, like Mr Obama, endured what was until then the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s and saw unemployment rise to more than 10 per cent.
Voter disenchantment led to a large swing to the Democrats in the 1982 mid-term elections.
As the economy recovered, however, he went on to trounce Walter Mondale, his Democratic challenger, in the 1984 presidential election, winning almost every state.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs revealed the President's holiday reading included Lou Cannon's account of Reagan's administration, "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime."
"Like Obama, Reagan greatly valued his privacy and was not naturally gregarious," noted Bradley Bloch on The Huffington Post, adding Reagan was a master of "the personal relationship".
"Reagan knew that at the end of the day politics -- even (and perhaps especially) at the global level -- is ultimately about people," Bloch wrote. "As Obama looks to get his groove back, Reagan may be his most accessible role model."
COMMENT: Earth to Obama: Learn it right. With President Reagan, it was far more than an engaging personality. He personified, to many, the spirit of America. His greatest gift was not a tax program, or a renewed economy, but a renewal of American morale, shattered by the dreary Jimmah Carter.
Like Carter, Obama is an international appeaser and an arrogant, self-absorbed man. He thinks little of his countrymen, a fact made evident by his off-the-record comment during the 2008 campaign about Americans who "cling to their guns and their religion." That alone should have gotten him defeated.
Reagan loved America, thought it special, and it showed.
My wife and I sat three rows behind Ronald and Nancy Reagan at a performance of the Gershwin musical, "Crazy for You," in the early nineties. During intermission, the former president was surrounded by well-wishers in the audience, and he greeted each one. To watch him interact with ordinary people was a remarkable experience. But behind that charm lay a man whose values meshed with those of his nation. He was an American, not a "citizen of the world."
OUR WORKING YEAR BEGINS TODAY – AT 7:37 A.M. ET: We know that because the next tax estimate deadline is only 12 days away. Get those payments in. The Obama administration is going to need bucks to take over even more of the economy. Help out, would you?
The new Congress is arriving today and will be sworn, and sworn at, on Wednesday. Republicans plan to get right down to work, as The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON — Soon after the 112th Congress convenes Wednesday, Republicans in the House plan to make good on a campaign promise that helped vault many new members to victory: voting to repeal President Obama’s health care overhaul.
The vote, which Republican leaders pledged would occur before the president’s State of the Union address later this month, is intended both to appeal to the Tea Party-influenced factions of the House Republican base and to emphasize the muscle of the new party in power. But it could also produce an unintended consequence: a chance for Democrats once again to try their case in support of the health care overhaul before the American public.
Democrats, who in many cases looked on the law as a rabid beast best avoided in the fall elections, are reversing course, gearing up for a coordinated all-out effort to preserve and defend it. Under the law, they say, consumers are already receiving tangible benefits that Republicans would snatch away.
The repeal vote will be symbolic. The Dem-controlled Senate can stop any repeal effort. Even if repeal passed the Senate, with the help of moderate Democrats, the president would veto it. Repeal is a shock tactic designed by Republicans to announce, "We're here."
Charles Krauthammer has, correctly, urged caution on the GOP. Some aspects of Obamacare are attractive, and those are the ones the Dems will advertise during a repeal battle. (Examples: allowing "kids" to stay on parents' health plans until they're 26, or prohibiting insurance companies from rejecting applicants with pre-existing conditions.) And, the Dems have gamed the system by introducing desirable reforms now, but putting off new expenditures until 2014, creating a financial deception, something at which they're superb.
The real GOP strategy, as reported by The Politico, is to attack the Obamacare obamination piece by piece after a repeal vote. Incoming House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) described the battle plan on Sunday:
“If we pass this bill with a sizeable vote, and I think that we will, it will put enormous pressure on the Senate to do perhaps the same thing,” he said. “But then, after that, we're going to go after this bill piece by piece.”
Upton specifically called out the requirement for businesses to complete 1099 tax forms, the individual mandate and the amendment on abortion introduced by Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak. "We will look at these individual pieces to see if we can't have the thing crumble," he said.
“The more the people learn about Obamacare, the less they like it,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) on CBS's "Face the Nation." She added, “It's very costly; it's unwieldy. So we will put forth a clean repeal bill of Obamacare. And you'll continue to see us make that fight because that's what the American people want us to do.”
COMMENT: Note to Republicans: Be careful, as Krauthammer advises. Because Obamacare is a mess doesn't mean there's no health-care problem. The system needs reform. Republicans must be ready with alternative ideas that capture the public's imagination. Just saying no to aspects of Obamacare, without solving problems, will make the GOP House as unpopular as the Democratic House just buried.
Republicans have a chance now to show the creativity they've lacked in recent years.
"What you see is news. What you know is background. What you feel is opinion."
- Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
of The New York Times.
"Councils of war breed timidity and defeatism."
- Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, to his
THE ANGEL'S CORNER
Part I of The Angel's Corner will be sent late Wednesday night.
Part II will be sent late Friday night.
Subscriptions to URGENT AGENDA are voluntary. Why subscribe to something you're getting free? To help guarantee that you'll continue to get it at all, and to get The Angel's Corner, which we now offer to subscribers and donators.
Subscriptions sustain us. Payments are through PayPal and are secure, but you do not have to sign up for a PayPal account. Credit cards are fine.
FOR A ONE-YEAR ($48) SUBSCRIPTION, CLICK:
FOR A SIX-MONTH ($26)
GREAT DEAL: ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION WITH ANOTHER SUBSCRIPTION SENT TO SOMEONE ELSE ($69) - PERFECT FOR A SON OR DAUGHTER AT SCHOOL. (TELL US AT firstname.lastname@example.org WHERE YOU WANT THE SECOND SUBSCRIPTION SENT.) CLICK:
IF YOU DON'T WISH A SET SUBSCRIPTION, BUT PREFER TO DONATE ANY OTHER AMOUNT TO SUSTAIN URGENT AGENDA, CLICK:
SEARCH URGENT AGENDA
It's a privilege for me to post periodic pieces at Power Line. To go to Power Line, click here. To link to my Power Line pieces, go here.
CONTACT: YOU CAN E-MAIL US, AS FOLLOWS:
If you have wonderful things to say about this site, if it makes you a better person, please click: email@example.com
If you have a general comment on anything you see here, or on anything else that's topical, please click: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you must say something obnoxious, something that will embarrass you and disgrace your loving family, click: email@example.com
"The left needs two things to survive. It needs mediocrity, and it needs dependence. It nurtures mediocrity in the public schools and the universities. It nurtures dependence through its empire of government programs. A nation that embraces mediocrity and dependence betrays itself, and can only fade away, wondering all the time what might have been."
- Urgent Agenda
If you are a legal copyright holder or a designated agent for such and you believe a post on this website falls outside the boundaries of "Fair Use" and legitimately infringes on yours or your client's copyright, we may be contacted concerning copyright matters at:
4 Martine Avenue
White Plains, NY 10606