Clinton Treasury Secretary and Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers sees a dim future on our present course…
On the current policy path, it would be surprising if growth were rapid enough to reduce unemployment even to 8.5 percent by the end of 2012. A substantial withdrawal of fiscal stimulus will occur when the payroll tax cuts expire at the end of the year. With growth at less than 1 percent in the first half of this year, the economy is effectively at a stall and facing the prospects of shocks from a European financial crisis that is decidedly not under control, spikes in oil prices and declines in business and household confidence. The indicators suggest that the economy has at least a 1-in-3 chance of falling back into recession if nothing new is done to raise demand and spur growth.
I guess balancing the budget is now truly a bipartisan issue:
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) announced Tuesday that he will co-sponsor a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.
He is the first Democrat to sponsor such a measure in many years.
Udall is introducing his balanced budget amendment bill with Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.). The bill would require that spending not exceed revenue in any given year.
The Udall bill would also limit federal spending to the historical average of 20 percent of gross domestic product in a given year. It currently stands at 24.7 percent.
The Udall bill would allow Congress, through three-fifths votes in both houses, to waive the balanced budget requirement. In this way it differs from a rival GOP balanced budget bill, proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) with 23 co-sponsors, which would require a two-thirds vote of both Houses to exceed the 20 percent cap or to spend more than is collected in revenues.
A balanced budget amendment would require support from two-thirds of both Houses and three-fourths of the states in order to become part of the Constitution. In 1997, a balanced budget amendment with bipartisan support and fell just shy of the votes needed for passage.
Now, what’s interesting, as HotAir’s Allahpundit points out, is that Udall is not up for reelection till 2014. So, I think it’s likely that he truly is a Blue Dog Democrat who really thinks spending is out of control, because otherwise he probably wouldn’t tackle this till it’s closer to his re-election attempt.
Of course, in Harry Reid’s Senate, they’re not likely to get 67 votes for this… but once again, this is a good chance to differentiate between those elected officials that got the message of 2010 and those that didn’t, and that’s a good thing… though it really throws a huge monkey wrench into those folks who like to try to claim that there’s no difference between the two parties.
Kudos to Sen. Udall… a Democrat I can agree with… on this issue, at least.
Behind closed doors, California Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez has proposed removing Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords from the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) until she recovers from injuries sustained after being shot in the head on Jan. 8 in Tucson, The Daily Caller has learned.
The proposal sparked an outrage, according to those in the room — including from those in Sanchez’s own party.
“It’s not appropriate,” Texas Democratic Rep. Silvestre Reyes told The Daily Caller, adding that there was outrage among some members in the room when Sanchez made the suggestion. “It’s bad for morale during her recovery period.”
Reyes and Rep. Adam Smith of Washington put up most of the fight against Sanchez, and helped squash the idea.
“From a woman who memorialized her cat, you’d think she’d show a little more compassion for a woman shot in the face,” said one GOP aide, referring to Sanchez’s 2010 Christmas card that paid tribute to her late cat, Gretzky.
Kudos to the other Democrats who helped stop this ludicrous idea. As for Rep. Sanchez, maybe in 2012 her district will decide that she’s been an embarrassment to them long enough.
President Obama has “learned from experience” that some of the Bush administration’s decisions on terrorism issues were necessary, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
“I think he’s learned that what we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate. So I think he’s learned from experience. And part of that experience was the Democrats having a terrible showing last election.”
Cheney also asserted that Obama has learned that the prison at Guantanamo Bay simply cannot be closed, despite the promises he made while campaigning for the White House.
“I think he’s learned that he’s not going to be able to close Guantanamo,” Cheney said. “That it’s — if you didn’t have it, you’d have to create one like that. You’ve got to have some place to put terrorists who are combatants who are bound and determined to try to kill Americans.”
The former vice president cited the Obama administration’s expanded use of drones in Pakistan as more evidence of continuity from the policies of the Bush White House.
“As I say, I think he’s found it necessary to be more sympathetic to the kinds of things we did,” Cheney said. “They’ve gotten active, for example, with the drone program, using Predator and the Reaper to launch strikes against identified terrorist targets in the various places in the world.”
As in so many things in the past, Mr. Cheney is absolutely right. President Obama has indeed followed many of the Bush policies that Senator Obama and Candidate Obama denounced.
Things look a lot different once you start getting the presidential briefings, don’t they, Mr. Obama?
Giving credit where credit is due, Obama is perfectly correct to continue these Bush-era policies, because while they may not be perfect, they’re the best we’re going to get in the imperfect world we live in. Two cheers to Obama for realizing this and not messing things up.
Of course, the conservative in me also relishes the fact that following these Bush-era policies might just drive a wedge between Obama and the lefties, especially if Obama continues to move to the right in an attempt to follow the Clinton-Morris “triangulation” strategy. That wedge, if it happens–and there have been some hints, tho nothing really solid yet–would make it much easier for the GOP to unseat Obama in 2012.
Believe it or not, this really is The New Republic:
The rhetorical attempts to connect Jared Loughner to mainstream politics take two forms, neither convincing. One is to condemn the use of combat metaphors in politics, such as Sarah Palin’s web page superimposing gunsights upon Democratic districts targeted by the GOP. Glenn Reynolds persuasively notes that this is a well-established, bipartisan practice:
Palin critic Markos Moulitsas, on his Daily Kos blog, had even included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s district on a list of congressional districts “bullseyed” for primary challenges. When Democrats use language like this—or even harsher language like Mr. Obama’s famous remark, in Philadelphia during the 2008 campaign, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun”—it’s just evidence of high spirits, apparently.
I don’t believe that analogizing politics to combat encourages anybody, even the mentally ill, to take up violence. People use metaphors like this in all aspects of daily life—sports, business, dating, and on and on.
The second form is to lump together all sorts of extremism under the broad rubric of “anger” or “hate.” The New York Times news story posits “a wrenching process of soul-searching about the tone of political discourse and wondered aloud if a lack of civility had somehow contributed to the bloodshed in Tucson.” NBC’s Mark Murray writes, “If one word summed up the past two years in American politics, it was this: anger.”
This category is far too broad. Strong feelings are a part of political discourse. This is serious business. Important things are at stake, including, at times, life and death. People have a right to get angry.
Of course, being TNR, they do try to claim that “The mania of Giffords’s would-be assassin may be slightly more right-wing than left-wing,” but actually there’s more evidence that the shooter was anti-Iraq-war, anti-Afghanistan-war, and thus anti-Bush than anti-Obama. As I posted yesterday, someone said his views circa 2007 were “radical”, “quite liberal”, and “left-wing”.
But, give TNR two cheers for the attempt.
The WaPo says that Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) is “distancing himself from the biggest legislative achievement of the first black president.”
Rep. Davis (candidate for Governor of Alabama) shoots back:
“I vigorously reject the insinuation that there is a uniquely ‘black’ way of understanding an issue, and I strongly suspect that most Alabamians will as well,” Davis said late last year when he was first criticized for his health-care stance.
I’m not sure where Mr. Davis stands on other issues… on this particular one, tho, I must say I wholeheartedly agree.
Oh, Mr. Davis is black.
And the internal fighting amongst Democrats continues. From George Stephanopolous’ blog:
Senator Dianne Feinstein told me this morning that President Obama must approve General McChrystal’s recommendations for an additional 40,000 troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
“I don’t know how you put somebody in, who is as ‘cracker jack’ as General McChrystal who gives the president very solid recommendations and not take those recommendations if you are not going to pull out,” Feinstein told me on ’This Week.’ “If you do not want to take the recommendations then you put your people in such jeopardy.”
So, now not only do we have the Democrats at odds with each other about what to put in the healthcare bill, now they’re starting to fracture on whether or not to follow McChrystal’s recommendation. For what it’s worth, I agree with Senator Feinstein (Lord, I never thought I’d type those five words).
One more thought… if this were Republicans in Congress disagreeing with a Republican president, how would the media play it? And how is the media playing this story of a Democrat disagreeing with a Democratic president?
Makes one think, doesn’t it?