Category: Election 2012

Bob Gibbs & the Obamacare repeal letter

The effort to choke off funding for Obamacare continues in the U.S. House of Representatives. Yesterday morning I e-mailed the following question to Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) via his 7th District campaign’s Facebook page

Why didn’t you sign this letter pledging to defund Obamacare?

His reply:

Alo,

Obviously I’m totally against Obamacare, I have voted 33 times to repeal, defund and different parts etc. The reason I didn’t sign on to the letter to leadership because the letter stated to include defunding Obamacare in every piece of legislation going forward. This week we are doing defense appropriations and I can’t support holding funding up for our troops and national security, essentially holding our troops hostage. Also I’m completely fed up with the spectacle of the dog and pony show here in DC, I’m working for real results not being part of a circus.

Bob

Seems reasonable. My only quibble is the implication that Rep. Jim Jordan is running a circus. The Republican Study Committee is nothing of the kind.

Attention, casual voters

If you still aren’t paying serious attention to politics this late in the game, do everyone a favor this November 6th.

Don’t vote.

You’re not competent enough to make an informed decision either way, whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat, or an independent. You can no more make an informed decision on who should run the country than you could make wise financial decisions with a ouija board. You will vote with emotion instead of reason, swayed by bumper stickers, three-word slogans, lying ads, and screaming TV pundits. You deserve a voice on national policy like I deserve a voice in any NFL team’s play-calling, or like your drunk Uncle Hugo deserves to sit at the controls of a passenger airliner.

Sit this one out. Do whatever it is that occupies your time, but don’t get involved in how your government impacts your neighbors’ lives. You don’t know enough about what’s at stake to choose intelligently between the options presented.

Want to vote? Then you have obligations to meet first. Shut up. Listen. Learn. Turn off the latest episode of The Jersey Shore, put down your copy of People Magazine, and stop wasting time on TMZ.com. Learn how to spot bullshit by understanding logical fallacies, the most common propaganda/advertising techniques, and the standard statistical trickery pushed by politicians and the media. Memorize who your representatives are (find your Zip+4 and use it to search for your politicians here). Read the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and their competitors. Get a basic grasp of world & US history. Get comfortable with all of that, and then keep up with political news for at least a year.

casual voterPull your head out of your ass before you presume to push the government in one direction or another, because this isn’t some game. You’re not choosing the next American Idol. Your choices profoundly affect the liberty and livelihood of everyone around you, including those who’ve done the right thing by taking the time to get informed. This election will determine whether America survives as a representative republic or slides into the soft tyranny experienced by most of the rest of the world. There isn’t enough time before Election Day for you to get up to speed anymore, if you aren’t there already. So swallow your precious pride, quietly admit to yourself that you’ve neglected to do your civic duty, and skip this election.

If you do cast a vote anyway, even though you can’t be bothered to “follow all of that boring political stuff,” then don’t tell me about it.

Because I’m going to punch you in the mouth the next time you come within arm’s reach, you arrogant and recklessly destructive twit.

Did the Supreme Court limit the Commerce Clause?

As you read this post, keep these words in the front of your mind: “the opinion of the Court.”

In Part III-A of his published opinion on the Obamacare case, Chief Justice Roberts explained that he would forbid Congress from relying on the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution to pass legislation to force you to buy something. Plenty of conservatives — and even a few leftists — seem to think that his opinion on the Commerce Clause is also the formal opinion of the Supreme Court. Not so.

Here’s the very first paragraph of the published ruling, taken from page 7 of the PDF file.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS announced the judgment of the Court and delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts I, II, and III–C, an opinion with respect to Part IV, in which JUSTICE BREYER and JUSTICE KAGAN join, and an opinion with respect to Parts III–A, III–B, and III–D.

See that highlighted text? Part III-A is where Roberts fleshes out his theories about the limits of the Commerce Clause, but that doesn’t change a damn thing. Part III-A is obiter dictum (often shortened to dictum or dicta), a fancy Latin term that means “this is a part of the written opinion where the judge yammers on about something or other, but it isn’t part of the court’s formal ruling, so it isn’t controlling precedent and you can ignore it.”

Go read the opinion, and look at the beginning of Part III-A and compare it to the beginning of Part III-C.

Roberts opinion, Part III-A Roberts opinion, Part III-C

You have to pay attention to details when you read a Supreme Court opinion. The Obamacare case did not rein in Congress’ use of the Commerce Clause. Chief Justice Roberts wrote his opinion about it, but not enough justices joined him to make it the official, binding opinion of the Court. They did join him in Part III-C, where he upheld the individual mandate by magically rewriting the law as a tax. Part III-C is indeed the opinion of the Court.

Want an even simpler explanation of what Chief Justice Roberts tried to achieve?

Commerce Clause or Taxing Power?

Always look for the opinion of the Court. Let Mark Levin explain it for you.

Pack the Supreme Court

Want to reign in the activist tendencies of the statists* on the U.S. Supreme Court? Take a look at current federal law to see the answer:

The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum.

Elect conservative Republicans — and tractable RINOs — to the House and Senate, evict Barack Obama from the White House, and change this law. Increase the size of the Court to 11 or 13 justices, then fill the vacancies with constitutionalists (those who interpret a law by looking to the commonly-understood meaning of a law’s text).

Problem solved.


* the four leftists plus the squishes, Kennedy and Roberts

Why won’t Sherrod Brown take credit for passing Obamacare?

Today should be a happy day for Ohio’s senior U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, the Democrat whose vote pushed Obamacare over the finish line in March of 2010. After all, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it today. There was a time way back in October 2010 ancient history when Sherrod Brown urged his fellow Democrats to run for election with the passage of Obamacare as their main campaign theme.

But a funny thing has happened in the 20 months since: Sherrod Brown doesn’t talk about Obamacare anymore. Notice anything missing from these two screen shots (taken an hour ago) of his Twitter activity?

Sherrod Brown on Obamacare

Sherrod Brown on Obamacare

If you peruse the press releases on his campaign web site, you’ll find no mentions of Obamacare. On his Senate site, you’ll see a prime example of spreading the blame:

“Supreme Court Justices appointed by presidents of both parties today made an independent legal judgment to uphold the health law. I hope today’s ruling will put an end to the partisan bickering so that we can continue our focus on jobs and improving the economy” Brown said.

Translation: “Don’t blame me and my party for this abomination. Let’s talk about something else. Please.” If you manage to confront him in person and ask him about his instrumental support for Obamacare — without which it would not have passed — his response will be the following:

Look! Shiny object!

C’mon, Senator, man up for once. Own it. Obamacare is your baby.

Obamacare prediction

Here’s my prediction for tomorrow’s ruling on Obamacare by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Based on reports of über-leftist Justice Ginsburg penning the dissent, and based on the way the conservative wing of the Court (plus perennial swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy) grilled Obama’s Solicitor General during oral argument over the severability issue earlier this year, I’m guardedly optimistic.

The individual mandate will be tossed as unconstitutional. Then, because there’s no severability clause in the bill, the Court will toss the rest of the bill along with the mandate. That will kick the whole issue back to Congress for a do-over, on what’s as close to a procedural technicality as possible. This Court doesn’t want to sift through thousands of pages of legislative sausage to craft a politically palatable compromise. That’s not possible to achieve, and they’re loathe to get blatantly involved in partisan politics to begin with. The ruling will be a long-winded version of “you guys did this wrong so you have to start over from scratch.”

At any rate, that’s what I’m praying for.

6/27/2012 Update: Whoa.

Barack Nixon Obama tries to hide the cover-up

Barack Nixon ObamaWhy has President Obama invoked executive privilege to avoid turning over documents to Congress involving Operation Fast & Furious, which shipped thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels, who then used them to murder hundreds of Mexicans and USBP Agent Brian Terry? Obama asserts that the documents he’s hiding don’t reveal that he or his advisors authorized the scheme, or that they tried to cover it up. He claims that all he’s hiding is confidential advice offered by his staff on how best to run the Executive Branch.

Imagine that the Bush Administration actually authorized Operation Fast & Furious, as the Obama Administration would like us to believe. Do you honestly think that they’d pass up the opportunity to blame Bush for all of that blood?

C’mon now. This is a cover-up, pure and simple. The Obama Administration’s corrupt lust for power and blind devotion to extremist progressive ideology got a lot of people killed, they know it’ll damage them on Election Day, and they value re-election over justice for murder victims and the preservation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Sayonara Zone

How bad must things get for a first term president (or the nominee of a two-term president’s party) before he’s in serious danger of losing his next election? How can we quantify “bad?”

I decided to scatterplot the presidential approval ratings tracked by Gallup against the infamous “Misery Index” — U-6 Unemployment plus the current annual inflation rate — culled from statistics collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data points I plotted were from the last dates surveyed before each Election Day. Here’s what I found.

The Sayonara Zone

Uh-oh. I’d say President Obama is solidly inside The Sayonara Zone on the chart.

Personnel is policy, even with Mitt Romney

Would Democrats have quietly rolled over if Bill Clinton had appointed Ken Starr as his campaign’s legal advisor? What if Al Gore chose well-known manmade global warming skeptic Richard Lindzen to be one of his key staffers? Would Democrats tolerate Barack Obama hiring Glenn Beck for … well … any reason whatsoever?

Ben Domenech on Mike LeavittNow imagine Mitt Romney choosing a fan of Obamacare to be the man in charge of the transition to a Romney Administration after a victory in November. This Obamacare fan would likely end up as the White House Chief of Staff in January. Would you doubt Romney’s honesty about wanting to repeal Obamacare? Would you be upset?

Well, there’s no need to imagine it because Romney’s already done it. Say hello to former HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt.

Over at Ace of Spades, Drew’s complaint treads rather lightly on the problem:

So Leavitt’s concern about ObamaCare was that Kathleen Sebilius might not be aggressive enough in using the power given to her by ObamaCare? Was that your first reaction or the reaction of any conservative/Republican you know?

Romney’s camp says don’t worry, only Mitt makes decisions and he’s on board with repeal.

Romney says the right things about ObamaCare (usually) but his actions on healthcare reform, including picking a transition director who is thought to be a leading candidate to be his Chief of Staff often are at odds with his words.

That’s awfully understated, Drew. Ben Domenech elaborates on what Leavitt’s been up to:

Over the past year, Leavitt and his staff have repeatedly tangled with conservative and libertarian think-tanks and advocates who oppose him on [state-level health care “exchanges”], understanding that there is no such thing as a state run exchange under Obamacare, and that this represents the primary front for states in the battle against Obamacare’s implementation. This hasn’t stopped him from lobbying all over the country for it.

The reaction from the Romney team — so far — is that Leavitt’s not in charge. Romney’s the boss and will pursue the repeal of Obamacare, say his staffers.

I don’t buy it. Governor Romney’s instincts are not conservative. He’s the father of Romneycare after all, upon which the Democrats built Obamacare. One of his key health care advisors from his time in the Governor’s office in Massachusetts actually helped write the monstrosity that is Obamacare.

To understand an executive’s priorities, look past the policy pronouncements and look at who they hire. Personnel is policy. It’s not enough to defeat Barack Obama and turn the U.S. Senate conservative. To repeal Obamacare, to tear it out by the roots, Mitt Romney must constantly be reminded that words aren’t enough. He must know in his bones that the people who can put him in the Oval Office will never accept anything less than his personal, aggressive leadership in the repeal effort. Effective leadership demands wise personnel choices, and delegating essential duties to an Obamacare shill like Mike Leavitt stands in stark opposition to Mitt Romney’s stated goals. Either Romney is not 100% committed to repealing Obamacare and reducing the size and scope of the federal government, or he’s deluding himself about the danger of giving Leavitt enough power to undermine Romney’s work from the inside. Neither possibility is acceptable.

RINO Threat LevelRomney is the only credible alternative to four more disastrous years of Barack Obama. While evicting the Oval Office’s current occupier ranks first on the priority list for those who love the U.S. Constitution and the American Dream, that doesn’t mean Mitt Romney should have carte blanche to indulge his progressive instincts.

The Republican establishment will shriek in angry panic if constitutional conservatives forcefully oppose Mike Leavitt’s role on Romney’s campaign team, and they will warn that all opposition to Romney helps Obama (we’re at RINO Threat Level Blue, in other words).

Not true. If constitutional conservatives keep Romney on a short leash, his election chances will actually go up. This is not an optional fight.

Contact the Romney campaign and demand that Mile Leavitt be excluded from any and all positions that have any influence on the effort to repeal Obamacare.

3:50 PM update: More detail from Ben Domenech here.

Do we have a revenue problem?

Take a look at the average American’s share of federal revenue and spending from 1920 to now, adjusted for inflation to the value of a dollar in the year 2005. Click the chart to see it at full size.

We do not have a revenue problem

Since around 1995, the amount of revenue Uncle Sam has been able to squeeze out of the average American has leveled off between $6000 and $8000 per year, suggesting that we’ve hit the practical limit. Historically, the most revenue the federal government can expect to raise is an average of 18% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product; the entire annual American economy). In brief boom times or during existential threats like World War II, the federal government can squeeze more than 18% out of the economy, but it never lasts long. No matter how hard Uncle Sam tries, the biggest average chunk he can grab is locked in at 18% of the economy, because people respond to taxes.

In the seventeen years since 1995, Uncle Sam’s borrowing and spending has not leveled off. The average American’s share is past $10,000 per year and climbing. Our debt is piling up faster than we can repay it. The “recovery” from the late 2008 economic crash has been flat for years, but Uncle Sam keeps pushing the gas pedal down as we drive toward the edge of the cliff.

There is no more revenue to be had.

Squeezing blood from a stoneIf the federal government raises taxes it can only collect more than 18% of the economy for a short period, and then revenue will drop again, as always. If the government keeps borrowing — or tries to print boatloads of money — to feed its spending addiction, the inflation rate will skyrocket. That will destroy the value of the dollar, which will destroy the economy and your life’s savings.

As long as “money out” is a bigger number than “money in,” the national debt will grow and you’ll be on the hook for it. It will sink the economy as surely as that iceberg sank the Titanic. “Money in” is not going to get bigger, but “money out” absolutely will keep getting bigger as long as we keep sending the same progressives to Washington. They won’t stop themselves. Only we can stop them by replacing them with sane people who will reduce “money out” until it’s a lot lower than “money in,” and keep it there for generations. We can either take our medicine now and have an unpleasant experience, or we can keep deceiving ourselves and watch America collapse. There is no third option. The insane big-spending politicians in Washington are going to ruin your life and your children’s lives unless you stop them. Listen to the warning and save your country and your family.

We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either misinformed, a fool, or a liar.

RINO Threat Level debut

Sparked by Michelle Malkin’s summary of a newly-released ebook for conservatives planning ahead for the inevitable GOP infighting during a potential Romney Administration, I came up with a variation on a familiar theme.

RINO Threat Level

It neatly summarizes our predictions for how the Republican Establishment will justify its opposition to constitutional conservatives over the next several years, if we manage to put them back in power.

Now hear this. Now hear this. Set RINO Threat Level Blue. Check status of all conservative principles. That is all.

Rutherford B. Hayes weighs in on Obama’s biography

The ongoing conservative #ObamaInHistory hashtag mockery of Barack Obama on Twitter brought to mind a recent humor meme involving a decidedly hip Rutherford B. Hayes, so I tried my hand at it.

Behold the meme collision:

20120516-123502.jpg

5/16 Update: Instalanche? Sort of.

And now the RNC piles on.

“Hey, Reagan increased the debt just like Obama.”

Oh, really?

Debt-to-GDP Ratio under Obama and Reagan

When a country’s debt climbs past 60% of the total size of its economy for an entire year (what economists call its “Gross Domestic Product”), the country’s economic health suffers. When the debt-to-GDP ratio passes 90%, alarm bells go off. The longer it stays that high — or higher — the greater the risk of total economic collapse. We are becoming Greece.

We do not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem.

What’s the definition of “futility?”

Expecting extreme left-wing Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Utopia) to give a coherent answer to a question about why gas prices are so high.

gasoline prices

I’ll bet you a hundred bucks, Duke, that Senator Brown can’t explain why oil speculators smooth out price swings in the oil market.

The do-nothing Senate

The House of Representatives (242 Republicans, 192 Democrats) has passed a budget every year and sent it to the Senate. The Senate (53 Democrats, 47 Republicans) has refused to pass a budget for 1,057 days and counting. Passing a budget in the Senate requires 51 votes.  Remind me again: which one is the do-nothing party?

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) sure is a useful tool.

Obama and Reid

But hey, to hear our own Sherrod Brown (D-OH) tell it, passing a budget isn’t all that meaningful.