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.
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Posted in health care, law, Obama, On The Marque, politics, tagged Eric Holder, health insurance mandate, Korea, law, Obama, On The Marque, politics, terrorism on November 19, 2009|
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Because it’s been too long since the last one.
- As regular readers will know, I’m incredibly passionate about the Orwellian freakishness that is the health insurance mandate in Obamacare. Unfortunately, it’s so wrong on so many levels, it’s sometimes hard to explain why without being, well, verbose (ahem). Luckily, there are writers whose clean language, pure logic, and persuasive arguments demand fewer words and more attention. Read Shikha Dalmia. (And while you’re at it, read The Black Commenter).
- Michael Gerson is not a raving right-wing ideologue. He is, however, very scared of where Attorney General Eric Holder is taking us as a country. You should be, too.
- I mean, the dude said “it depends” when asked if Osama bin Laden would be read his Miranda rights. Seriously? You don’t know this? There isn’t already a 20-page memo on “what you will do if you capture Bin Laden? We’ll decide when it happens? Incredible.
- Michael Franc gives us the scorecard on exactly how “moderate” these Democrats are, particularly on fiscal matters. GOP candidates, start your engines.
- And finally, our good friend Head Muscle shares his worthy insights on the two Koreas. It’s a moving read, and it subtly explains why we conservatives fight the statist, totalitarian impulse with such vigor. The world gives us — history gives us — these irrefutable case studies, yet the theories (and the oppression) persist.
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Posted in Obama, Olympics, On The Marque, politics, tagged education, Obama, On The Marque, politics, race, taxes on October 20, 2009|
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Today’s theme is quality time:
- A high school teacher in Alexandria writes a moving, yet troubling, article in Sunday’s Washington Post, exploring why his students are about to graduate without an education (hint: it’s missing fathers and busy mothers). The immutable, bracing tragedy of it all comes flying at you from the first sentence. How is THIS not a national crisis worthy of a national debate? One reason — the side on which the truth lies is out of bounds for polite discussion.
- One provocative opinion on why we spend less time with our kids these days comes from And Now You Know: it’s taxes. I’m still thinking about how much I agree with the post — could we instead be working for lifestyle more than taxes? are our kids merely entertaining themselves in more solitary ways? — but the fact that I’ve thought about it for a good day or two means it’s worth a look.
- Harkening back to yesterday’s post (a record day at the Letters, by the way – thanks to all who stopped by), Power Line tells us that President Obama has turned down Germany’s invitation to join its celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall. I’m surprised – I thought the guy was all about striking Reaganesque and Kennedyesque poses. This Administration is willing to make a trip across the Atlantic for four and half hours of wooing Olympic officials but unwilling to party with a key ally as it remembers the epic moment of its national reunion. Apparently all Obama wanted out of Berlin was its votes?
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The word of the day is “decline”:
- If you read nothing else for the rest of the year about the Obama presidency and the direction it is taking the country, read Krauthammer in this week’s Weekly Standard. No, really – go read it. I’ll wait.
- Riffing on Krauthammer’s theme, Mark Steyn dishes up lugubrious drollery as only he can.
- Introducing America to the term “downward mobility,” Robert Samuelson reminds us that Obama is, to turn a phrase, taking his eye off the ball when he tries to reform health care. He finishes with this killer: “Some call this “reform”; no one should call it progress.”
- And despite all the talk of regression, there is still a bull market for the President’s self-regard.
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Posted in health care, Obama, On The Marque, politics, tagged bailouts, media, Obama, On The Marque, politics, writing on September 21, 2009|
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- Victor Davis Hanson packs so much bright wisdom into these three pages of interweb text, it almost makes you want to look away.
- Obama may be ready to bail out his friends in the media, possibly by turning them into demi-churches — tax-exempt organizations with unique constitutional protection. Of course, that won’t make the press any more sycophantic…. One wonders if he’ll be as even-handed in his offer of federal tax largesse as he is in sharing his time on Sunday mornings.
- My local failing paper tells us that cursive is slowly making its exit. As one who has scribbled into my share of bluebooks, a move to typed tests and essays doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. But it raises this question: why is a society that is so focused radically reducing carbon footprint simultaneously creating a living environment that requires more and more energy to operate? And why aren’t we teaching our kids that sometimes writing out your shopping list instead of saving it on your iPhone is a good idea for all kinds of reasons (including environmental ones)?
- Michael Barone — who is, for me, one of the three must-read writers working today — eviscerates liberals who are attempting to shout down their opponents. Eviscerates them with polite precision, of course. He touches on a very salient point. Liberals are more prone to consider dissent out of bounds, because the places they develop their ideas (universities, unions, think tanks, activist groups, the mainstream media) are echo chambers with carefully-crafted methods of squelching dissent. Upon encountering strength on the right, a liberal is far less likely to know what to do with it, and more likely to assume that some rule has been broken or moral breached. Conservatives, on the other hand, cut their ideological teeth in very different environments. Some pass through those same liberal institutions, but form their arguments in opposition to, or despite, the predetermined liberal view, thus making them well acquainted with tilted playing fields and harsh debates. Others come to conservatism through exposure to the marketplace, the free-wheeling amphitheatre of ideas that has no tolerance for failure and obliterates arbitrary obstacles to truth. Finally, some arrive at their conservatism through faith, which teaches many of us to respect others and their views while believing that their side is right. But because religious conservatives (and I am one of them) have a much stronger tendency toward insularity and greater confidence in their rectitude, they are also less skilled at countering the opposition and more prone to rule it out of bounds.
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I’ve been both slammed at work and incredibly negligent about this blog, so in an effort to get myself back in the swing of posting, I’m starting a new feature here at Marque’s Letters — On The Marque. In it, I’ll highlight the two or three articles or posts that I found most insightful on the day, along with some brief comments thereon. Hope you find the selections as interesting as I do. And for the first installment:
- One of the more underreported nominations of the Obama Administration has been Charles “Chas” Freeman’s appointment to head the National Intelligence Council. Since the position doesn’t get approved by the Senate, you’re not likely to hear much more about it, either — and as such, it’s a politics-free window on Obama’s foreign policy soul. This guy will be picking and choosing what he wants the President to know. Sadly, Freeman’s discretion seems a bit off. He thinks China didn’t crack down on the Tiananmen Square protesters quickly and violently enough. He thinks the country needs to be more introspective about its own role in the 9/11 attacks. And he thinks the Israel is the cause of most Islamic terror. Angry yet? I’ll let National Review’s editorial board finish the job in its precise and powerful way.
- When I saw articles in histrionic tones today at the AJC, the Washington Post, and several liberal blogs, all about a misunderstanding between Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh that was dead and over two days ago, I knew there must be a liberal echo-chamber campaign afoot. The Politico confirmed it (and Drudge amplified it), saying that the effort to attack Limbaugh and tie him to Republican officeholders comes straight out of the White House. I expressed my thoughts on the matter in a comment to one of my favorite college football blogs earlier today, but then I read Jonah Goldberg’s piece on the topic and realized he said it much better than I. If the Bush Administration had tried to circulate a preferred attack on its liberal opponents, is this how the media would have responded? To Time’s credit (I can’t believe I’m writing this), Michael Scherer tells us they have no patience for it.
- I don’t know about you, but our country (and our world’s) present predicament has sent me to my deep thinking place more than once. How can we have gotten here? What fundamental failing(s) are at work that could cause society to be in such dire straits? Matt Continetti must have gone to the same place, and he comes back with a lot more answers than I did — some of which are pretty scary, all of which are brutally honest.
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