Chuck of Head Muscle has kindly hustled me back to the ol’ blog, so you can thank him for the pearls of wisdom herein imparted:
- When last I wrote, Republicans had 40 votes in the Senate, health care reform was still inevitable, and the President was planning to preempt Lost with his State of the Union address. That was less than a month ago. Since then, Scott Brown has preempted health care reform, Republicans have 41 votes in the Senate and more seem inevitable, and the President looked lost in his State of the Union address. Ain’t democracy grand?
- Let’s all remember, come the next government shutdown crisis, that when the federal government shut down for at least three days in mid-February 2009, we all did just fine, thanks.
- Jim Geraghty spotlights one of those critically-underappreciated data points and the way it can creep under the skin of the American electorate. It’s easy to forget that, aside from the enduring unemployment tragedy, there is also a lot of frustration among the employed. Each year, millions of Americans leave their jobs not because they are forced out, but because they find greener pastures. Right now, those pastures are looking pretty brown and chewed over by the millions of people looking for jobs full-time. Add to that a national craving for economic security, which shows up in statistics ranging from the savings rate to the fury at government interventionism, and leaving the acceptable, stable (if unfulfilling) job for the potential dream job isn’t sounding so great right now. So if you’re a smart, capable, hard-working American feeling stuck in yesterday’s job, making yesterday’s wages, how do you feel when you find out that the federal government bureaucrat living in Arlington makes more — a lot more — than you do, and more than he did before the recession began? And this is the schlub that’s supposed to need more of your money to turn the economy around? Even some of those government workers who are benefiting from such largesse are outraged. Watch this. It’s exactly the kind of apolitical, gut-level backlash that Washington cannot see coming until it hits the ballot box.
- Speaking of Washington, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the low-key approach taken by Washington Republicans in the wake of Scott Brown’s victory. Sure, they’ve felt emboldened to state the obvious – that President Obama ignores the people at his peril – but there’s been little petty triumphalism of the sort that often overtakes a party in need of good news. That said, national Republicans must maintain that discipline throughout the next ten months if they’re to lead the independents that are currently inclined to follow them. President Obama is doing his level best to draw Republicans into small-ball fights that will make them, rather than him, look intransigent and haughty. Kudos to McConnell, Boehner, Paul, Cantor, et. al. for being cautious, speaking equally with force and respect, and for refusing to compromise core principles for the appearance of “bipartisanship.”
- The importance of the defeat of President Obama’s NLRB nominee, SEIU lawyer Craig Becker, cannot be understated. One year ago, it was considered a fait accomplit that unions would soon be able to bypass the secret ballot and impose favorable contract terms through arbitration on recalcitrant employers. Unions were so convinced of their impending empowerment that they began training their employees on how to operate in this new regime. There was word that an army of union organizers was being prepared to be unleashed on hundreds of previously union-free workplaces, radically transforming the American workforce. But Becker — who famously believed that employers should “shut up” during the union campaign process — is the latest symbol that another element of the inevitable liberal revolution will not come to pass, at least not anytime soon. Sure, Obama may still make a recess appointment and elevate him to the post, but Harry Reid’s inability to obtain cloture on the nomination sent an unmistakable signal to the Administration — now is not the time to “remake” America’s employers.