A letter from House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) demands an explanation from the Treasury…
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Treasury Dept. Approves $3 Billion Transfer to Insurance Companies that Congress Denied

A letter from House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) demands an explanation from the Treasury Department on why it allowed $3 billion in payments to ObamaCare insurance companies that Congress never approved.

In a well-documented piece, Philip Klein gives a disturbing summary of the Obama administration deliberately refusing to follow the law.

“At issue are payments to insurers known as cost-sharing subsidies,” writes Klein. “These payments come about because President Obama’s healthcare law forces insurers to limit out-of-pocket costs for certain low income individuals by capping consumer expenses, such as deductibles and co-payments, in insurance plans. In exchange for capping these charges, insurers are supposed to receive compensation.”

Here’s the rub.


February 26, 2015 • 08:23 pm

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Is Mitt Romney the Second Coming of John Kerry? Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, January 12 2012
The similarities are ominous for Republicans who think the abject failure of the Obama Administration makes retaking the White House a fait accompli.

A weak incumbent president — hated by the opposition and experiencing resistance from within his own party — heads into his reelection campaign struggling to keep his political prospects alive. The opposition party fields a colorful cast of potential challengers – a hot-headed candidate prone to grand rhetorical flourishes aimed at stirring up his party’s base; a smooth-talking southerner; a late entrant who looks prone to steal the nomination away before stumbling on the campaign trail. Yet each proves too flawed to obtain the nomination and the party settles on a consensus candidate who generates no enthusiasm from the rank and file. The nominee is a wealthy Massachusetts patrician whose resume seems uniquely attuned to the dominant issue of the day, but he fails to connect with voters and his core beliefs seem to be whatever his pollsters pulled off the fax machine that day. Here’s the challenge: Are we talking about 2012 or 2004?
As Mitt Romney beats what looks to be an inevitable path to the Republican presidential nomination — having narrowly won Iowa, triumphed in commanding fashion in New Hampshire and set himself up for a potential triple crown with a win in South Carolina — the parallels between this year’s contest and the battle for the White House eight years ago are worth considering.  The similarities are ominous for Republicans who think the abject failure of the Obama Administration makes retaking the White House a fait accompli.
When Romney pursued the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, he ran to John McCain’s right, attempting to convince the conservative base that he was one of them despite years of public statements and policy initiatives that put him firmly in the center-left of the GOP. In 2012, the calculation has changed. This time, Romney would rather have Republicans’ respect than their love. Thus, his argument for the party’s nomination has frequently come down to little more than a claim that he is the Republican candidate most likely to defeat Obama in November. To buttress this claim, he points to his decades spent as a business executive and declares them an unambiguous asset in an election likely to turn on economic issues.
Sound familiar? The Democratic rationale for John Kerry in 2004 was that, in a time of war, the decorated Vietnam veteran would have heightened credibility to attack the Bush Administration’s foreign policy. Instead, Kerry ended up facing accusations that he had exaggerated his record of heroism and slandered his brothers in arms upon returning stateside. Rather than looking like someone with the grit to serve as commander-in-chief, he eventually seemed like someone who might be unqualified to lead a Boy Scout troop.
Expect the same for Romney. In recent days, his Republican opponents – led primarily by Newt Gingrich – have attacked Romney’s record as the head of Bain Capital, particularly the practice of leveraged buyouts (wherein Bain would take on debt against an acquired company’s assets and attempt to use the capital to turn the company around, often costing jobs in the process) to portray the former CEO as a rapacious Dickensian figure, stripping companies for parts while looking away in cold indifference at the human suffering left in his wake.
This portrayal, of course, is a gross caricature. Romney did indeed create jobs and wealth, just as he claims, during his time in the private sector. But that’s immaterial if he can’t rebut the allegations persuasively, particularly since whatever attacks come from his fellow-travelers in the GOP race are likely to pale in comparison to what the Obama Administration – already priming the pumps of class warfare – throws at him in a general election. 
Therein lies the greatest liability in Romney’s similarities to Kerry. Neither are masterful communicators, prone as they are to qualification, temperance and equivocation. Just like Kerry, whatever abstract notion of “electability” is sufficient to drive Romney through the primaries will fail him if he proves incapable of rebutting Obama in the fall. And just like Kerry, Romney has glided through a primary process that has left him relatively untouched, failing to develop the instinct for when and how to deliver a fatal counterpunch.
Like it or not, the primary role of a modern presidential candidate – and one of the dominant roles of an actual Commander-in-Chief – is communication. Romney’s weaknesses there have heretofore gone largely unacknowledged partially because they’re subtler than those of recent national Republicans.  He does not possess the mangled diction of George W. Bush, the garbled syntax of Sarah Palin, or the painfully long pauses of Rick Perry. What he also doesn’t seem to possess, however, is the capacity to persuade convincingly. If that shortcoming isn’t remedied soon, the ramifications for 2012 could be disastrous.

Barack Obama’s swift boat is headed in Mitt Romney’s direction.

Question of the Week   
FDR issued 635 vetoes over the course of his three terms in office, more than any other President in U.S. history. Which one of the following issued the second greatest number of presidential vetoes?
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Quote of the Day   
"The IRS's inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner's emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency's chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed. Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an…[more]
—Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times
— Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times
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