January 26, 2011

There are more than a quarter million people working at the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce. Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security combined nearly pass the half-million mark. And at a moment of grave fiscal peril, we continue to spend half the planet’s money on defense, with Obama et al expecting thunderous applause for snipping out “tens of billions” from future defense spending growth. We continue to arrest 800,000-plus people a year for smoking or trading a plant that makes you want to eat Pop Tarts. –Matt Welch, Reason

My reaction to President Obama’s statement in the State of the Union Address that “we do big things,” is that doing big things like bailing out GM and Chrysler, “stimulating” the economy to the tune of $900 billion, massively increasing the federal bureaucracy, passing a bloated health-care law, and spending uselessly on “green” energy, increased our national debt to $14 trillion and is threatening to turn the U.S. into a third-world country in the near future.

Obama seems oblivious to the danger. His puny suggestion to freeze $400 million of discretionary spending over the next five years while spending trillions for big things like building high-speed rail, repairing the infrastructure, and funding green energy research and development would be amusing if it were not so irresponsible.

Get it through your heads, Obama and Congress: We cannot spend our way to a sound economy! We must keep taxes at a level that allows our businesses to compete so they will create jobs. We must spend not one penny more than we raise in taxes. We must dismantle large parts of the bloated federal government. We must reign in spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other entitlement programs and wean Americans off big socialist government. To the folks who will scream and whine about these “musts:” Our government cannot sustain this spending, and when it comes crashing down as in Greece, the measures that will be taken then will be worse than if we stop this insanity now.

Get this socialist moron Obama and his running dogs in Congress–and that doesn’t mean just Democrats–out of office ASAP!



January 24, 2011

The media reports today that the conservative Supreme Court Justices—Roberts, Alito, Scalia, Thomas, and swing-voter Kennedy—may not show up at the State of the Union Address tomorrow night. One cable news organization speculates that none of the justices may attend. Only Justice Alito has stated that he will not attend, although Justices Scalia and Thomas usually do not appear.

The reasons are that they think that they should give the appearance of impartiality by refraining from standing and applauding during the speech as others in the chamber do, but, of course, that makes it seem as if they are showing partiality; that, in the event, they see the address as having degenerated into a pep rally for the president and his party (no matter what party the president represents); and because they do not want to hear the president insult the court as Obama did last year in referring to the court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission:

With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests –- including foreign corporations –- to spend without limit in our elections.  (Applause.)  I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.  (Applause.)  They should be decided by the American people.  And I’d urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.

Well, get the hell over it. Those in all branches of the government should be accountable, and if they have to face a little embarrassment, so be it. The fact is, we in the U.S. would do better to in some way emulate the Brits, whose prime minister, as a Minister of the Crown, must face the House of Commons for a half-hour each week in Questions to the Prime Minister (PMQs), and lie to the MPs as best he or she can (the PM is an MP).

Just as cabinet members must testify before Congress when called, it would not violate the separation of powers to require the president to face the House of Representatives for a half hour each week and answer questions; it would be informative to the people as well as the House members. After all, from time to time presidents call the leaders of the House and the Senate to the White House for “discussions.” Why let the president get away with only one visit to Congress every year?

As for the Supremes visiting the House chamber for the State of the Union Address, it should be protocol for them to sit on their hands and not cheer and applaud during the speech. As long as everyone is aware of the protocol, it gives the justices the appearance of impartiality. But in any event they should be present, even if their faces are reddened occasionally.

UPDATE: Justices Scalia and Thomas, who did not attend last year, will not attend tonight; and Justice Alito is away from Washington.


January 21, 2011

To begin with, despite all the speculation in the media whether Barack Obama will win a second term, it’s just too early to tell now.

As of this week, Obama’s approval rating is above 50%, but that fluctuates from week to week, event to event. In a 2003 USA today story by Richard Benedetto, “History of Approval Ratings on Bush’s side for reelection,” Frank Newport, editor of the Gallup Poll, reportedly said that the approval rating in March or April of election year is a more reliable predictor.

He points out that every incumbent president since Roosevelt who was at 50% approval or higher in April of his election year went on to win…The last two presidents who lost their bids for re-election, Carter and the elder Bush, were both at 39% approval in April of the election year.

Even though, as Benedetto reported, a good approval rating at the end of a president’s third year in office is a fairly good predictor, it’s not without exception.

With the exception of Jimmy Carter, every president since Franklin Roosevelt who ended his third year in office with job approval above 50% won the re-election he sought. Presidential job-approval polling began with Roosevelt.

Richard Nixon, who was at 50% at the end of his third year, also won. Carter was at 54% when the year ended.

We mustn’t forget that the opposition must be taken into account, too. What the Republicans do in the next two years, and how the voters react will play a large part.

However, the most important aspect of the opposition to Obama’s reelection will be who runs against him. As of right now, the likely Republican nomination contenders appear weak. Sarah Palin will find it difficult for voters to take her seriously after all the gaffes she had made. Mitt Romney does not have the personal appeal to beat Obama. Newt Gingrich has too much baggage. Mike Huckabee doesn’t have the drive or the base to win. Ron Paul, who really is a libertarian, has the best ideas, but Americans either consider him too extreme or too risky. There are several other potential candidates for the Republican nomination who are not well known among voters, including Paul Ryan who appears solid and is being hyped up in the media, and Bobby Jindal, who has great ideas.

But Obama has an ace in the hole that previous candidates and presidents haven’t possessed: A solid block of black voters (supported by a majority of Hispanic voters) who will vote for Obama regardless of his approval rating, unless they just don’t vote at all.

Even if one of the Republican candidates emerges as a strong nominee (and that’s quite doubtful), it will be very difficult to beat Obama unless he loses the support of a great majority of independent voters.

To end with, despite all the speculation in the media whether Barack Obama will win a second term, it’s just too early to tell now.