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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Clinton’
August 28th, 2013 at 4:54 pm
The ObamaCare Delay that Could be Fatal

No, I don’t mean news of yet another delay in the controversial health law’s implementation – this time a Reuters report that the Health and Human Services department is pushing back by two weeks its timetable for finalizing deals with health insurance companies.

I mean today’s announcement that former President Bill Clinton is being tasked with explaining what’s so great about ObamaCare to the country. Clinton’s speech next week is being billed as the first of several high-profile speeches designed to sell the law to the 54 percent of Americans who don’t like it.

To be sure, if anybody in politics can make this train wreck look good, it’s Bill Clinton. But why would President Obama wait till now, after three-and-a-half years of public relations futility, to bring in his party’s best spokesman?

Simple: With just over a month to go before ObamaCare’s enrollment begins the president and his administration are in full-blown panic mode. Nothing is on schedule. Their multi-million dollar ad campaign may not attract enough people to enroll. And, oh yeah, we’re about to intervene in Syria’s civil war.

If Clinton gets any traction with his speeches it will be of limited value because so much of the public’s mind has been made up in the years since the law was passed. Prior to that, who knows? As a matter of Politics 101, failing to use such a successful political spokesman strikes me as a huge wasted opportunity. Of all the delays with ObamaCare, putting off Clinton’s rhetorical talents may be the most fatal to the law because – perhaps – they could have done so much to keep it alive.

March 28th, 2013 at 12:55 pm
The Liberal Origins of Paul Ryan’s Pro-Market Medicare Reforms

Peter Ferrara, a budget expert at The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, reminds us where many of Paul Ryan’s ideas on Medicare reform originally came from:

This Medicare reform plan was actually developed by President Clinton’s Medicare Commission, so it had bipartisan support at a time when the Democrat Party had grown ups in influential positions, rather than just adolescent, Marxist, revolutionaries posing in grown up drag.  The legislation providing for these reforms was actually introduced in the Senate by liberal Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.  It has been endorsed by long time liberal academic Alice Rivlin, the Godmother of the CBO, serving as its first director.

Indeed, the plan was developed from an initial proposal in 1995 by two lifelong liberal scholars, Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution, and former CBO Director Robert Reischauer.  They were the first to propose a premium support system for Medicare in a 1995 article in the journal Health Affairs.  The Reischauer/Aaron concept was later embodied in Medicare Parts C and D in the 2003 Medicare reforms, where they have already worked very effectively.

That’s right – Proposed by liberals, passed by conservatives.

With this in mind, who’s out of the mainstream now?

October 15th, 2012 at 4:27 pm
Clinton Lawyers Up After White House Lays Blame for Libya

John Fund says that the White House blame-shifting for the Libya fiasco is causing a rift inside the Administration:

Obama officials may have made a key mistake when, in their panic, they attempted to lay blame for the Libyan fiasco solely on others. White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that responsibility for Libya lay with the State Department, not the White House. Ed Klein, a former New York Times editor who has authored recent biographies of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, says his sources tell him that Bill Clinton is already pulling together an informal legal team to create a defense in case Obama officials continue to point the finger in Hillary’s direction.

“If she is left with this stain on her reputation, it could seriously damage her chances for election” as president in 2016, Klein told the Daily Caller.

So, after four years as a loyal Secretary of State, THIS is how Hillary Clinton gets rewarded by the man who beat her in the 2008 Democratic primaries?

Bill must be fuming.  Barack should beware a Bubba-eruption.

September 29th, 2012 at 6:11 pm
Obama’s Clinton Conundrum

Politico on why the Obama campaign is using former President Bill Clinton so often:

As the campaign acknowledges, Clinton brings credibility to the connection between an Obama presidency and a strong economy, reinforcing the idea that there’s a straight line between Obama’s proposals and Clinton’s legacy of budget surpluses and middle class prosperity.

It’s only a credible connection if you don’t consider the wildly differing contexts.

As Tim pointed out earlier this month, “the so-called “Clinton surpluses” didn’t arrive until 1998, four years after Newt Gingrich and the Republicans captured Congress for the first time in four decades, and six years after Clinton was elected.  Given the fact that Congress controls the budget under our Constitution, it is therefore disingenuous for Clinton and his apologists to claim sole credit.”

Thus, if in 2012 the Obama camp really wants to make the case that a national economic recovery is just around the corner, it should have prayed for a complete conservative takeover of Congress in 2010.  Had he been faced with an entire branch of government – not just the House – passing real budgets, chances are the Obama White House would have had a Clintonesque opportunity to make a deal.

Instead, Obama has had no incentive to move to the middle for the sake of compromise because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has been willing to abdicate his chamber’s constitutional responsibility to pass a new budget for the last three years of Obama’s term of office.  And so the President dithers while the economy sputters.

Call it the Clinton Conundrum.  Both Clinton and Obama are doctrinaire liberals whose policy impulses created pushes to nationalize health care.  Both prefer to raise taxes and spend money.  But Clinton, unlike Obama, was saved from oblivion when Republicans took over both houses of Congress in 1994 and (implicitly and unintentionally) made him an offer he didn’t refuse: either adopt our reform agenda or face defeat in reelection.  Clinton accepted and has benefited ever since.  Obama’s choice was between Senate Democrat dithering and House Republican reform.  He sided with his party and hasn’t governed since.

If Barack Obama wants Bill Clinton’s success, he’ll have to adopt Bill Clinton’s policies.  In large part, that means adopting conservative budget reforms so that he can claim credit for a rebounding economy.

September 6th, 2012 at 8:09 pm
Simplifying the Contrast with Obama

Jonah Goldberg on the difference between conservatives and liberals as stewards of the economy:

At least Reagan argued that the economy would prosper if he were allowed to liberate it from the scheming of self-styled experts. Clinton ran out in front of a parade of free-market successes and, like Ferris Bueller, acted as if he was leading the parade.

In his manifest hubris, Obama believed it was just that easy. He, too, could simply will a vibrant economy into being through sheer intellectual force. But, unlike Bill Clinton, he wouldn’t sully himself by playing “small ball.” Obama would be “transformative.”

This reminded me of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech last week when he said, “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. My promise… is to help you and your family.”

Free markets and strong families.  Sounds like a good combination to me.

August 28th, 2012 at 8:17 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Who’s On First
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

June 7th, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Bill Clinton’s Id Endorses Romney
Posted by Troy Senik Print

For a man who successfully campaigned for the presidency twice, you have to marvel at Bill Clinton’s lack of message discipline (or any discipline, for that matter). During the 2008 presidential campaign, Bill was a consistent thorn in Hillary’s side, what with his pronouncement that Barack Obama was “playing the race card” against him and his characterization of the presentation of Obama’s record as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”

Back then, the pop psychoanalysis of Clinton was that he couldn’t handle the idea of Hillary in the White House, occupying the spotlight that was rightly his, and was thus subconsciously serving up self-destructive rhetoric to dampen her prospects for beating Obama. This theory wasn’t particularly plausible given the Clintons’ joint lust for power and the fact that it violated Occam’s Razor — which would have instructed us that Clinton is simply impulsive and egotistical.

In 2012, the analysis seems to have become inverted. Last week, Clinton praised Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital on CNN, calling his record “sterling.” Then, earlier this week, he told CNBC that there is nothing much wrong with private equity, that the country is in “recession,” and that the Bush tax cuts should be extended, even for high earners (he’s walked back that latter part since). Putting Clinton back on the couch (never a safe place to be with the former president), the armchair shrinks are now speculating that Clinton’s eruptions owe to a desire to undermine Obama and set the stage for another Hillary presidential run in 2016.

Allow me to offer another, less convoluted thesis. Clinton knows that his presidency was historically inconsequential. Apart from his impeachment scandal, the only notable occurrence of his time in office was the expansion of the economy — not small ball to be sure, but also largely the product of co-opting Republican ideas on spending and deficit reduction, balanced budgets, welfare reform, tax cuts, and free trade. Still, it’s what Clinton hangs his hat on and it gives him an opportunity to sneer at Obama’s economic shortcomings, a pastime he no doubt has enjoyed ever since candidate Obama gave the Clinton Administration’s legacy short shrift during the 2008 campaign. So, if you’re Bill, why not take your affection for the business world out for a spin every once in a while just to rub it in Barack’s face?

Clinton’s habit of repeatedly undermining Obama is not evidence of a Freudian ego orchestrating a brilliant Machiavellian plot to install his wife back in the White House; It’s simply the product of an id that has broken its leash, relentlessly and uncontrollably attempting to establish Clinton as the alpha dog of the modern presidency. As we should all know by now, the former president is motivated more by desire than by reason.

This is not the work of a grand strategist. This is a sort of cry for help from a man so insecure that he needs constant validation even after eight years in the White House. He is to be pitied.

October 21st, 2011 at 5:12 pm
Former Clinton Advisor Comes Out Firmly for Charter Schools
Posted by Troy Senik Print

If you’re a regular Fox News viewer, you’re probably familiar with Lanny Davis, the longtime Democratic political hand and former Special Counsel to President Clinton. On television, Davis can usually be seen defending Democratic orthodoxy with vigor.  He’s taken a recent turn in print, however, that shows he’s unafraid to gore one of his party’s most sacred cows: opposition to charter schools. From the piece:

The deal is this: The contract, or “charter,” allows the outside entity to operate the school free of the uniform rules applying to curriculum, teaching salaries, hiring and firing and other operating details that are applicable to all public schools; but in return, the charter school must deliver on pre-agreed goals, such as performance measured by standardized tests or graduation rates.

What does this achieve? A lot. First and foremost, it busts monopoly power, where one organization, such as the school district, has a captive group of customers, i.e., public school students, who have no choice but to be subject to the monopoly. And it provides the benefit of competition — students have choices, and if the charter school doesn’t work, they (i.e., their parents) can vote with their feet. And perhaps more importantly, the public school system is no longer a monopoly — they must do better or they will lose more students to charter schools within the public school system.

Imagine that: an institution that has to face consequences for failing its consumers. At at time when the folks over at Occupy Wall Street are casting their lot with the teachers unions that trap children in failing schools, it’s nice to see at least one liberal who realizes that “sticking up for the little guy” means defending the students, not indulging big labor.

August 4th, 2011 at 12:20 pm
Clinton Advisor Backs Mack Penny Plan

Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Bill Clinton, writes in TheHill that the “Penny Plan” by Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL) is a “simple and creative” way to balance the budget.

…since the “balanced” solution of both increased revenues and spending cuts is supported in virtually every poll by substantial majorities of all voters, including large numbers of Republicans, Democrats need to find a spending cut formula that they can live with. The Mack Penny Plan seems a good place to start — it is simple, it makes common sense, and with some adjustments protecting the poor and the unemployed, it could be seen as fair even to many of the most liberal Democrats.

Ignoring Davis’ call to undermine the elegance of Mack’s Penny Plan by creating vague exceptions for the poor and unemployed – as I wrote recently, the attraction of Mack’s plan is its uniform treatment of all budget items – it’s welcome news that a high-ranking Clintonista can sense good policy when he sees it.

Earlier in his column Davis warned his fellow liberals that it would be “a moral stain on our generation if we leave this red-ink legacy for generations to come to deal with.”

Davis is right.  Let’s hope he urges his fellow Democrats to back Mack’s Penny Plan so we can get on the road to fiscal solvency as soon as possible.

July 6th, 2011 at 9:41 pm
Searching for Standards? You Won’t Find Them with Bill Clinton
Posted by Troy Senik Print

In a recent Freedom Minute video, we chronicled the decline in basic standards of decency and civility amongst America’s political class. And one of the examples we cited was Florida Congresswoman (and newly-installed DNC Chairwoman) Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Here’s one of Wasserman Schultz’s greatest hits, prompted when a television interviewer recently asked her about the Republican push to require photo identification at the polls in order to combat voter fraud:

[I]f you go back to the year 2000, when we had an obvious disaster and – and saw that our voting process needed refinement, and we did that in the America Votes Act and made sure that we could iron out those kinks, now you have the Republicans, who want to literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws and literally – and very transparently – block access to the polls to voters who are more likely to vote Democratic candidates than Republican candidates. And it’s nothing short of that blatant.

Even the verbally incontinent chairwoman had to walk this one back, later explaining that “Jim Crow was the wrong analogy to use.” But while such thoughtless mistakes can be expected from the congenitally inept Wasserman Schultz, former President Bill Clinton doesn’t have that excuse. Here’s what Clinton told a group of young liberal activists gathered in the nation’s capital today, according to Politico:

“I can’t help thinking since we just celebrated the Fourth of July and we’re supposed to be a country dedicated to liberty that one of the most pervasive political movements going on outside Washington today is the disciplined, passionate, determined effort of Republican governors and legislators to keep most of you from voting next time,” Clinton said at Campus Progress’s annual conference in Washington.

“There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit the franchise that we see today,” Clinton added.

If Clinton wants to bask in the adulation of being an elder statesman, he ought to begin acting like one. He knows that saying Republicans across the nation want to suppress the vote is a baseless attack on the character of decent men and women. Republicans want to suppress voter fraud, a goal that Democrats profess to share (in practice, however, they’ve done little to effectuate it).

Debating the means by which we attain that end is an utterly justifiable pursuit. But tarring the opposition to score cheap applause from the Daily Kos’s farm team? That’s just not presidential. Of course, why start now?

February 25th, 2011 at 1:54 pm
Dems Are Wrong to Think Govt. Shutdown is a Win for Them

Not so fast, says Fox News columnist Chris Stirewalt.  An important difference between the 1995 shutdown that empowered President Bill Clinton was the lack of public anxiety over the $4.97 trillion debt.  Now, it’s $14 trillion plus, “a sum equal to the size of our entire economy.”

If Democrats in Washington make the same miscalculation as Democrats in Wisconsin, they will suffer brutally at the next election.  Shutting down the government in favor of public employee unions or unsustainable federal spending is a fool’s strategy.  With President Barack Obama and party leaders like Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) daring House Republicans to stand firm on budget cuts, expect to see thousands of pro-shutdown protestors flood Washington if government buildings go dark.

If dormant long enough, perhaps some of those buildings – and the agencies that house them – will never be revived.  The debt and spending issues are more important now than in 1995.  If Democrats fail to realize that, they may help hasten a reduction in government overall.

December 10th, 2010 at 6:00 pm
It Must Be Friday

Who knew that a week beginning with liberal howling about President Barack Obama’s “tax deal” with congressional Republicans would end with bitter disagreements between conservative stalwarts about whether the deal is actually good?  Charles Krauthammer thinks it’s the biggest Keynesian stimulus in American history.  Jonah Goldberg disagrees.  So does Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), arguing that pro-growth tax policy is the key first step towards jumpstarting the economy (spending cuts are next).

For his part, President Obama prefers to outsource his public communications duties to predecessor Bill Clinton.  After Clinton started taking questions at a joint press conference, Obama excused himself to attend the White House Christmas party; as if the sight of him leaving Clinton to speak on behalf of the administration didn’t matter.  Either Obama doesn’t care that he looked like the impatient junior partner to Clinton’s elder, me-first statesman, or he failed to appreciate the optics of his televised abdication.

Hopefully, we can chalk up all this confusion to it being a Friday at the end of a long congressional session.  Otherwise…

December 3rd, 2010 at 8:21 pm
World Cup Score: Russia 1; U.S. 0

Not even former President Bill Clinton could sway the hearts and wallets of the voters who shunned the United States in favor of Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.  Apparently, the ad-lib prone ex-president deviated from the script, plugging his eponymous global initiative instead of making America’s case for hosting the world’s most popular sporting event.

Instead, that honor will be enjoyed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the desert Muslim emirate of Qatar.  Coming on the heels of the Olympic Committee’s rejection of the Obama Administration’s push to bring the Summer Games to Chicago that means the two most recent Democratic presidents (by definition, acceptable citizens in the international community) have failed to turn their supposed popularity into victories for their countries.
Oh well; wait ‘til next, next decade…

November 24th, 2010 at 4:55 pm
Giving Thanks for Clarity

So maybe the era of big government really wasn’t over when former President Bill Clinton declared it so.  Jim MacDougald of the Free Enterprise Nation explains that the balanced budget Clinton delivered was the product of a shell game with the Social Security Trust Fund, not a profile in political courage.  From a blog entry discussing the history of Social Security and Medicare:

The federal government recognized that beginning in about 2011 the transfer payment system wouldn’t work. There would be too many recipients of benefits and not enough workers to take money from to pay for it. To avoid the financial catastrophe that loomed ahead, in 1983 the government substantially increased employer and employee contribution requirements to (at least partially) pre-fund for 2011 and thereafter.

Planning ahead for an event that would occur 28 years in the future was a commendable and far-sighted act by our elected officials. “Baby-boomers,” who made up the majority of our workforce, were subsequently “taxed twice,” with matching contributions from employers. One portion of their tax was to pay for those on Social Security who had already retired, the second portion was to pre-fund a part of their own retirement benefits.

Congress took this excess tax revenue and put it in a “trust fund” to pay future benefits. But the trust fund they established was an enormous shell game because the money was treated as general revenues…a huge windfall to the federal government. It enabled President Clinton to announce at a State of the Union address, that the deficit was “exactly zero.” Even today, people are still congratulating Presidents Clinton and H.W. Bush for having balanced budgets and reducing national debt. But Congress had accomplished that feat by taking and spending all of the “excess revenue” that was coming in from payroll taxes for Social Security, and there was a lot of it to spend! From 1983 to 2008, the federal government took $2.5 trillion more than required to pay current Medicare and Social Security recipients, and they “bought Treasuries” with it. In other words, they spent it all.

Now, it makes a lot more sense how the federal government could “balance” the budget so quickly with nary a squeal heard from entrenched interests.  As MacDougald makes clear in the rest of his article, starting next year there are no more games to play.  The 2011 budget for Social Security and Medicare is $1.22 TRILLION – more than all of the federal income taxes paid by all of the workers in America last year.  In order to pay for the payments owed to Baby Boomers (who, as a cohort, begin reaching 65 in 2011), every American worker will have to pay at least $10,000 in new federal taxes every year.

Add this to the cost of ObamaCare and….pass the tryptophan and bring on the food coma.

November 11th, 2010 at 9:33 pm
Re: House GOP Leadership Team Taking Shape
Posted by Troy Senik Print

Ashton makes a good point about the geographic diversity of the GOP House leadership in comparison to its Democratic predecessor. Another interesting addition may be Kristi Noem, the incoming freshman who will serve as the At-Large Representative for South Dakota and who looks to be in line to fill a new position being created to give some leadership representation to the burgeoning ranks of Tea Party-affiliated conservatives. Noem is attractive, articulate, and has a compelling biography. She looks to be a definite rising star in the party.

I think the mix of the two parties may be reflective of what caused the Democrats to go astray in the past few years. Looking at the new Republican leadership, only Texan Jeb Hensarling comes from a state where Republicans are reliably strong in both federal and state elections. Democrats, on the other hand, populated their leadership ranks with figures from the deepest of the deep blue states. They governed that way too. And in so doing, they forgot all the lessons that gave them control of the Congress.

In the 2006 and 2008 election cycles, Rahm Emanuel in the House and Chuck Schumer in the Senate gave considerable flexibility to their recruited candidates, allowing them to run with conservative positions on a host of issues that allowed them to escape being tarred as liberals in the Midwest, the South, and the Mountain West. While they succeeded in getting a large percentage of those candidates elected, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda then lurched so heavily to the left that the new members had to run for reelection in the shadow of a record that undermined all their pretensions of moderation.

The facile interpretation of this trend is that a party always has to govern from the center to keep its majority. That’s also the rationale for liberals like  E.J. Dionne, who hope that the new conservative majority’s stand on principle will alienate them from the electorate. In his most recent column, Dionne writes:

Give Republicans credit for this: They don’t chase the center, they try to move it. Democrats can play a loser’s game of scrambling after a center being pushed ever rightward. Or they can stand their ground and show how far their opponents are from moderate, problem-solving governance. Why should Democrats take Republican advice that Republicans themselves would never be foolish enough to follow?

This is what happens when a static mind attempts to comprehend a dynamic landscape. The problem with Dionne’s analysis is that he assumes the left and the right are equidistant from the center. This is false. When Gallup polled the question in June, 42 percent of Americans identified as conservative, 35 percent said they were moderate, and 20 percent said they were liberal. That means the self-identified center-right represents an astonishing 77 percent of the country. By contrast, the center-left at its theoretical apex is only a slight majority of Americans. When you then factor in that 56 percent of independents broke for Republicans this year — and that that represented a 36 point swing from 2006 — you see how steep the hill is for Democrats.

Dionne and his counterparts in Congress need to learn the lesson: in a center-right country, it’s more important for Democrats to moderate than Republicans. If you doubt that, ask Bill Clinton — he might remind you that he’s the only Democratic president to be elected twice since FDR.

October 29th, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Clintons Currying Favor Amid Dejected Democrats

Power abhors a vacuum.  So too do the people seeking it.  From Rhode Island comes another example of the chit-building Bill Clinton is possibly doing while President Barack Obama dithers.

You may recall the now-infamous “shove-it” line to President Obama came from the Democratic nominee for Rhode Island’s governorship.  It was presaged by the president’s refusal to endorse Democrat Frank Caprio in deference to Obama’s friendship with former Republican, current independent candidate Lincoln Chafee.  In his rebuke of the president, Caprio did more than reject Obama’s aura; he embraced Bill Clinton’s.

Courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:

Despite the furor his crude suggestion caused, Mr. Caprio not only is sticking by his “shove it” comment. His campaign has just announced a weekend event with Mr. Clinton, whom it says is much more popular in the state than Mr. Obama. The campaign told Politico.com that Mr. Caprio “aims to be a governor in the mold of President Clinton.” Zing, zing. It also noted a Gallup survey showing that voters of every affiliation would be more likely to vote for a candidate backed by Mr. Clinton than one backed by Mr. Obama.

A new poll by the local NBC affiliate suggests that “shove it” may have unsettled the race, with Mr. Chafee now running at 35% and Mr. Caprio, with 25%, running third behind Republican John Robitaille, who has 28%. How much confidence to put in such polling amid a fluid three-man contest is debatable. In any case, Democrats will be watching closely. An eleventh-hour victory by Mr. Caprio would be fodder for those dreaming of a Clinton-Obama rematch in 2012.

If Caprio wins, don’t expect a make-up session between him and the president.  If he loses, don’t be surprised if he emerges 18 months from now as a top hand in Hillary’s bid to challenge for the 2012 nomination.

October 28th, 2010 at 2:37 pm
Obama Not Shining in His Spectacle of Me

Which of these sounds like the person currently serving as the leader of his party and nation’s chief executive?  On one side is a man crisscrossing the nation in a mad-dash to raise his members’ hopes, and squeeze out a few more votes and volunteers by Election Day.  He is upbeat, full of self-effacing humor, and mindful of long-term perspective.

The other man is in a television studio in Washington, D.C. defending the results of a campaign that ended almost two years ago.  To a comedian.  And failing.

The first man is former president Bill Clinton.  The latter is his current successor Barack Obama.  While Clinton is preaching a “we’re-all-in-this-together” sermon in battleground states, Obama seems lost in self-absorption, unable to feel anyone’s pain – including the crushing news that one’s political career is over because of votes the president asked you to take.

Sure, politics is a big-boy business with harsh outcomes.  But it is jolting to watch President #44 missing so many lessons from #42 about the importance of running through the finish line instead of stopping several yards out.  Just like winning, sometimes people need to feel like they’re losing for something; in this case the president’s uber-liberal agenda.

The failure to lead and inspire in the face of certain defeat will not be forgotten by those Democrats who survive to fight in 2012.  Chance are, the memories of Clinton helping and Obama not will do much to make Hillary Clinton’s dark horse candidacy all the more appealing.

August 25th, 2010 at 9:19 am
Ramirez Cartoon: It’s the Economy Stupid…
Posted by CFIF Staff Print

Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 4th, 2010 at 12:47 pm
It’s the Geography, Stupid

As usual, Jay Cost has an eyebrow raising piece of analysis – today discussing in Technicolor detail how President Barack Obama’s narrow geographic popularity foretold of a need to govern from the center of the country; not the center of his party.

What he should have done instead was disarm his opponents. If he had built initial policy proposals from the middle, he could have wooed the moderate flank of the Republican party, marginalized the conservatives, and alleviated the concerns of those gettable voters in the South and the Midwest. This is precisely what Bill Clinton did between 1995 and 2000, and it is what the President’s promises of “post-partisanship” suggested.

Our system of government can only produce policy when geographically broad coalitions favor it. The Senate, more than any other institution, forces such breadth. Obama created breadth the wrong way. He watered down initially liberal legislation to prompt just enough moderate Democrats to sign on. Instead, he should have built policy from the center, then worked to pick up enough votes on either side. The left would have been disappointed, but the right would have been marginalized and, most importantly, Independent voters – who have abandoned the President in droves – might still be on board.

One of the great ironies of liberal politicians is that they so often discount the yen of conservative intellectuals to participate in policy making.  People like Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) are driven by ideas, and enjoy the process of fashioning policies that get as many of them enacted as possible.

But they are not necessarily “my-way-or-the-highway” types.  Ryan’s Roadmap for America’s Future is a multi-decade plan for balancing the budget.  Implicit in its longevity is Ryan’s willingness to work out compromises that preserve Social Security and Medicare while making them fiscally sound.  For his part, Gingrich has always been the kind of politician willing to hammer out solutions with the other side, as he attempted to do with Bill Clinton.

People wonder why we don’t have bipartisan breakthroughs anymore.  In part, it’s because politicians like Barack Obama don’t have the political sense to “spread the success around” turning their adversaries into cooperators.

July 19th, 2010 at 2:21 pm
More Wisdom from Across the Pond
Posted by Troy Senik Print

As CFIF’s own Ashton Ellis chronicled last week, we’re living in an era where developments in British politics hold many salient lessons for those of us slogging it out in the new world.

But whereas Brother Ellis found inspiration for the Tea Party Movement in the Cameron-Clegg coalition, the UK Telegraph’s Janet Daley sees a more insidious trend heading stateside: the unity of liberalism with class snobbery. In a few brilliant passages:

What is [startling] is the growth in America of precisely the sort of political alignment which we have known for many years in Britain: an electoral alliance of the educated, self-consciously (or self-deceivingly, depending on your point of view) “enlightened” class with the poor and deprived.

America, in other words, has discovered bourgeois guilt. A country without a hereditary nobility has embraced noblesse oblige. Now, there is nothing inherently strange or perverse about people who lead successful, secure lives feeling a sense of responsibility toward those who are disadvantaged. What is peculiar in American terms is that this sentiment is taking on precisely the pseudo-aristocratic tone of disdain for the aspiring, struggling middle class that is such a familiar part of the British scene.

Liberal politics is now – over there as much as here – a form of social snobbery. To express concern about mass immigration, or reservations about the Obama healthcare plan, is unacceptable in bien-pensant circles because this is simply not the way educated people are supposed to think. It follows that those who do think (and talk) this way are small-minded bigots, rednecks, oiks, or whatever your local code word is for “not the right sort”.

Ms. Daley’s analysis is as accurate as it is insightful. Among the many lessons Barack Obama has failed to take from Bill Clinton, this may be among the most politically relevant: alienate the middle class, scoff at its sensibilities, and kiss your mandate goodbye. And that’s what will happen if the Democrats don’t manage to break free of the grip of the Berkeley-Cambridge wing of their party.