Archive for May, 2011
May 23rd, 2011 at 5:27 pm
Tennessee Leads the Way on Education Reform
Posted by Print

Three cheers today for my (intermittent) home state of Tennessee, which has just passed a package of education reforms that should be held up as national models:

Cheer # 1 — The Volunteer State is doing away with tenure-based layoffs, in which teachers who’ve been on the job the longest are insulated from dismissal regardless of job performance.

Cheer # 2 — Tennessee is abolishing the cap on public charter schools, institutions that are controlled by the government but given much greater administrative flexibility than traditional public schools. This will allow for much broader educational competition — a move that will create more opportunities for children trapped in failing institutions.

Cheer # 3 — The state is also creating universal access to charters. Previous iterations of the policy had restricted which students were eligible to attend the schools.

With these reforms, the state of Tennessee has shown that it understands the most important principle of public education: the needs of the students come before those of bureaucrats and public employees. We salute their courage and look forward to the results.

May 20th, 2011 at 8:40 pm
In Liu of a Straight-Up Defeat

My friend Jack Park, lawyer extraordinaire who has worked for the Alabama Attorney General’s office, for a federal IG’s office, and at the Heritage Foundation, among other places, explored what would likely happen if, down the line, horrible judicial nominee Goodwin Liu — blocked this week via filibuster (i.e. a “no” vote on cloture) — were to receive a straight up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. The nomination is so problematic — i.e., Liu is so radical, that Park thinks he might go down anyway. Here’s what Park writes:

With all of the focus on Democrats’ inability to cut off debate on the nomination of Goodwin Liu for a seat on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, one wonders whether this very controversial nomination might have gone down to defeat on the merits if it had come to that.  It would certainly have been close.

The vote on cloture was 52-43, with those opposed including Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE), a very likely “No” vote on final passage as well.  Next, three Republicans (Hutchison, Moran, and Vitter) did not vote; count them for 46.  While Senator Hatch may have voted “Present” consistently with his views on the propriety of judicial filibusters, he would certainly have voted “No,” so, count him for 47.  Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) voted to cut off debate, but the Wall Street Journal reported that he would vote “No” on the merits; he makes 48.  Senator Murkowski (R-AK) was the only Republican who voted not to cut off debate; one would hope that she would not vote to give Liu any say over Alaska; count her as 49.

Senator Reid would have had to keep all of the remaining sheep in line but one in line.  If the vote came down 50-50, Vice President Biden could have broken the tie, but he would have had to have been somewhere other than an important beer summit or at a foreign leader’s funeral.

Still, Senator Reid would have to hold folks like Senators Baucus and Tester, both Democrats from Montana, which lies in the Circuit, in line.  It is one thing to inflict a nominee like Liu on another Circuit, but, as with Murkowski, it is another to give him a lifetime appointment in yours, where you have to answer to the voters.  Baucus did not vote on cloture, and Tester is up in 2012.  Plus, Senators McCaskill (D-MO) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) are both up in 2012.  Either of them or Tester might well have wandered off.

Finally, even if Senator Landrieu (D-LA) is not up for reelection until 2014, she would have to be careful about her voting record.

In short, it would have been very close.

May 20th, 2011 at 3:25 pm
The Netanyahu Rejection
Posted by Print

Yesterday, we noted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was headed to his Washington meeting with President Obama ready for confrontation after the the president unilaterally changed the proposed terms for Middle East peace.

Unlike Obama (he of the “limited engagement” in Libya), a promise from Netanyahu means something. And he made that apparent within the White House walls earlier today. Reuters reports: 


Netanyahu’s remarks after the White House talks underscored how a new U.S. push for Middle East peace had opened one of the deepest divides in years in relations between the United States and close ally Israel.

“Peace based on illusions will crash eventually on the rocks of Middle East reality,” an unsmiling Netanyahu told Obama in the Oval Office.

Netanyahu told Obama that Israel was willing to make compromises for peace but flatly rejected the idea of going back to 1967 borders, which he described as “indefensible.”

The hubris by which Obama thought he could dictate terms for Middle East peace is breathtaking. The fact that these terms were disproportionately unfavorable to one of our closest allies even more so. But the insult added to this injury was that the Israelis apparently received no advanced notification of the policy shift and that it was announced on the eve of their prime minister’s visit to Washington. The best possible reading of the Obama Administration’s behavior is halting incompetence. The worst (and more likely) is that it was a calculated insult. Given that fact, Netanyahu was totally within his rights to return the favor.

May 20th, 2011 at 1:58 pm
John Lithgow Performs Newt Gingrich

Actor John Lithgow, courtesy of The Colbert Report, performs Newt Gingrich’s now-(in)famous press release defending his campaign after the former speaker knocked Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal.

Gingrich’s press release has been called “epic” and “florid.”  Lithgow’s reading is priceless.

May 20th, 2011 at 1:12 pm
Why a European “Must” Run the IMF

In an email regarding yesterday’s post, reader Eric Coykendall sent this helpful article from Foreign Policy explaining why a European traditionally heads the International Monetary Fund (IMF): a so-called “gentlemen’s agreement” brokered by economist John Maynard Keynes.

The origins of the gentlemen’s agreement date back to shortly after the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, which established both the IMF and World Bank. According to Miles Kahler’s history, Leadership Selection in the Major Multilaterals, Bretton Woods architect John Maynard Keynes had assumed that his main collaborator at the conference, Treasury Department official Harry Dexter White, would run the IMF. U.S. President Harry Truman also supported White’s choice. However, Treasury Secretary Frederick Vinson, with strong backing from Wall Street, argued that an American should run the World Bank — Washington Post publisher Eugene Meyer got that job in 1946 — and that it wouldn’t be proper for the United States to run both of the world’s major financial institutions. White’s possible communist sympathies — he’s widely suspected today of having been a Soviet agent — may also have played a role in the decision. In the end, Belgium’s Camille Gutt was eventually appointed to run the IMF.

In the wake of scandal engulfing the recently resigned Dominique Strauss-Kahn from France, developing nations like Brazil and South Africa are pushing for a non-European to manage the world’s leading investment/bailout bank.  In the article sent by Coykendall,  FP makes this keen observation about the European double-standard likely to decide the outcome.

The question of nationality is sure to come up again if Strauss-Kahn steps down, but Europeans will not be eager to part with the position. Some, such as German government spokesman Christoph Steegmans, argue that owing to the IMF’s critical role in stemming Europe’s current financial crisis, the managing director should be someone who is familiar with “Europe’s particularities, the currency questions and also the political circumstances here.” Strangely, when the IMF was primarily giving loans to countries in Africa and Latin America, local knowledge didn’t seem to be quite as much of a factor.

May 20th, 2011 at 12:45 pm
CFIF’s Weekly Liberty Update
Posted by Print

Center For Individual Freedom - Liberty Update

This week’s edition of the Liberty Update, CFIF’s weekly e-newsletter, is out. Below is a summary of its contents:

Lee:  Gas Prices Reach Historic Highs, Yet Liberals Insist on Raising Taxes on Domestic Oil and Gas Producers
Hillyer:  Romney, Gingrich Flunk Poli-Philosophy
Senik:  GOP Presidential Field Underscores Need for New Generation of Republican Leaders
Ellis:  ObamaCare Debate Waives Goodbye to Rule of Law
Ellis:  Invest in America, Get a Green Card?

Freedom Minute Video:  The Obama Commencement Address Preview
Podcast:  What’s Next in the War on Terror?
Jester’s Courtroom:  Not Everyone “Loves a Parade”

Editorial Cartoons:  Latest Cartoons of Michael Ramirez
Quiz:  Question of the Week
Notable Quotes:  Quotes of the Week

If you are not already signed up to receive CFIF’s Liberty Update by e-mail, sign up here.

May 20th, 2011 at 12:06 pm
No Extra FBI Time for Mueller

The more I think about it, the more it rankles me that President Obama wants to extend FBI Director Robert Mueller’s term by two years, and that the opposition to this proposal has been so muted. On principle, the extension is an awful idea (even apart from the bitterness of longtime agents, as reported in today’s WashPost), and principle should not take a back seat to admiration for the person of Mueller.

Here’s the deal: By almost all accounts, Mueller has done a superb job as FBI Director. Because of that record, Congress seems to be assessing Obama’s extension request in terms of whether Mueller should be kept on.  But that’s the wrong standard. The question should be not about Mueller, but about whether Mueller should be kept on. Or, better, whether an FBI Director — any FBI director — should be kept on beyond the statutory ten-year limit. So far, only Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, has spoken up from the Hill to raise this point. Ever so hesitantly, Grassley said the re-appointment might set a “risky precedent.”

Might? Try “would.” There are excellent reasons why, by law, the FBI chief is limited to a single, ten-year term. Those reasons are laid out in this statement by the ACLU (yeah, I know, an oft-suspect organization). Take out the tendentious second paragraph (except the first sentence of it, which is fine) of the official statement, and I agree with every word of what remains. This is the key point:

It was for good reason that Congress chose to limit the tenure of future FBI directors. By setting a 10-year term, Congress sought to protect both the FBI director from undue political influence and our democratic institutions from allowing an unelected official to hold the power to examine the lives of Americans, including political leaders, for longer than is appropriate.

The rampant abuses under J. Edgar Hoover showed the dangers of letting one, unelected man gain such a major foothold in a position with great power, and with so much public acclaim, that elected officials are loathe to dismiss him. Yes, of course there is oversight authority to which the FBI Director answers in theory, but congressional oversight can be notoriously weak and executive oversight can be obviated by the very fact that the director serves the executive and can therefore use his own accumulated power to the executive’s political (or other) benefit.

It made perfect sense to create a term of up to ten years for the director, so he would be semi-immune to the politics that comes with Cabinet-level appointments by every incoming president.  It made even more sense to limit that term, by law, so that the separation from democratic accountability would not be impregnable.

The CNN story linked above ends with the statement that Mueller is “on the cusp of being officially irreplaceable.” That statement should give every Madisonian cringe. One of the understandings that underlie a republic is that no man is irreplaceable. It is not merely a cliché to say that we are a nation of laws and not of men. Any time any man, even a Mueller or a Petraeus or a MacArthur,  becomes seen as irreplaceable, the dam against over-accumulation of executive power is broken. (I myself don’t worry much about accumulation of legislative power, because by its very nature it is dispersed and because frequency of elections allows the public to weigh in.)

Conservatives who do not object to Obama’s request for a new law giving him this “one-time” term extension for Mueller are failing to remember their basic principles.

Finally, on a practical level, allowing a potentially re-elected Obama to appoint the new FBI director right after his re-election could shift a huge power to a president newly unmoored from electoral pressures Do we really want to give Obama such carte blanche? Forcing Obama to appoint a new director this year, as scheduled, would ensure that he appoint somebody moderate and competent because he and Congress both would know that the public that will vote on their own campaigns just over a year later would punish anybody who had okayed the appointment of a political hack.

Mueller has been a wonderful director. Surely, though, he’s not the only person, among 300 million Americans, who can do the job.

May 20th, 2011 at 11:31 am
Obama Nine Weeks Ago: Libyan Involvement a Matter of “Days, Not Weeks”
Posted by Print

Fully nine weeks ago, President Obama assured members of Congress and the American public that U.S. involvement in Libyan “kinetic military action” would be a matter of “days, not weeks.” Notably, Obama also opined in 2007 that, “The president does not have the power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”  Well, according to the 1973 War Powers Resolution, the President must secure Congressional assent for military action or withdraw U.S. forces within 60 days.  Today marks that 60-day milestone.  Well played once again, Mr. President.

May 20th, 2011 at 10:11 am
Video: The Obama Commencement Address Preview
Posted by Print

With commencement season upon us, CFIF’s Renee Giachino speculates on the messages President Obama will deliver to this year’s college graduates.  Watch this week’s Freedom Minute below.

May 20th, 2011 at 8:47 am
Podcast: What’s Next in the War on Terror?
Posted by Print

In an interview with CFIF, Jed Babbin, foreign policy expert and former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense, discusses what’s next in the global war on terrorism following the death of Osama bin Laden.

Listen to the interview here.

May 19th, 2011 at 9:27 pm
How Not to Welcome a Guest
Posted by Print

President Obama welcomes (if that’s the word) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on Friday. Oh, to be a fly on that wall.

The president chose to spend the day before his meeting with the head of the Jewish state’s government calling on Israel to return to its 1967 borders, meaning that it would give up all claims to the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, and the Golan Heights — all of which are essential to Israeli security as long as the nation is surrounded by enemies.

Don’t expect Netanyahu to roll over. As the New York Times reports:

Mr. Netanyahu said in a pointed statement just before boarding a plane to Washington that while he appreciated Mr. Obama’s commitment to peace, he “expects to hear a reaffirmation from President Obama of American commitments made to Israel in 2004 which were overwhelmingly supported by both Houses of Congress.”

Those commitments came in a letter from President George W. Bush which stated, among other things that “it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949,” another way of describing the 1967 boundaries.

The next time Obama chooses to be so imperious with his prescriptions for Middle East peace, he’d do well to remember one of the salient differences between himself and the Israeli Prime Minister: only the latter’s consent is essential for a deal.

May 19th, 2011 at 2:59 pm
Obama Previews RomneyCare Attacks

Byron York relays why nominating Mitt Romney for president is so distasteful for Republican voters.

“With a little assist from the former governor of Massachusetts, we said that health care should no longer be a privilege in this country,” Obama said.  “It should be affordable and available for every American.”

A short time later, at a smaller fundraiser in a private home in Brookline, Obama said, “Our work isn’t done.  Yes, we passed health care, with an assist from a former Massachusetts governor.”  The crowd, which had paid $35,800 per couple to attend, broke into laughter and applause.  “Great idea,” Obama added.  “But we still have to implement it.”

May 19th, 2011 at 2:53 pm
Maybe an American Should Run the IMF

For some reason, the French are trying to maintain a death grip on leading the International Monetary Fund, newly headless after Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned over an alleged sexual assault scandal.  Though Deputy Director John Lipsky, an American, is now serving as the interim head of the IMF, a move is already underway to install France’s Finance Minister Christine Lagarde as quickly as possible.

But not so fast, say a panel of French judges.  They are weighing whether to investigate Lagarde for allegedly intervening in a lawsuit against the government on behalf of a political donor to her party.  The announcement is clouding her candidacy.

First, the French had to endure the hypocrisy of the Socialist Strauss-Kahn staying in a $3,000 a night hotel suite.  (So far, the alleged attack is a lesser blemish in French circles with a majority believing Strauss-Kahn was set up.)  Now, his potential replacement is under fire for crony capitalism.

Is French disdain for America so great that the most obvious replacement is deemed unacceptable for the long-term because he happens to be from the United States?

May 19th, 2011 at 11:39 am
Liu Might Lose

To follow up on yesterday’s post, it now appears there is at least a reasonable chance that Republicans actually will muster the strength to block horrendous judicial nominee Goodwin Liu. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been leading the charge, and he expressed optimism this morning. Here’s what Leader McConnell said to Jed Babbin a few mins ago on Laura Ingraham’s show: “This is a very bad nominee… I’m optimistic that we will be able to defeat the nomination.” In this morning’s Washington Post, “[ranking Judiciary Committe Republican Chuck] Grassley predicted that he had the votes lined up to block Liu from being confirmed.” Obviously it’s a bad idea to count chickens before they’ve hatched, but as McConnell said, there are reasons for optimism.

Meanwhile, even South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been annoyingly over-solicitous of Democrats for many years of judicial battles, sent a “Dear Republican Colleague” letter to all his fellow Senate Republicans. I’ll quote extensively from it:

“Only in the most extraordinary of circumstances, such as when a judicial nominee is ethically compromised or displays a fundamental disregard for the constitutional role of a judge, should the Senate prohibit them from office. Unfortunately, Goodwin Liu falls short of the minimum threshold for confirmation to the federal bench. I write today to urge a ‘no’ vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals…. The reasons for voting against cloture on Professor Liu’s nomination are undoubtedly ‘special and strong.’ Through his writings, Professor Liu has expressed preference for an extreme judicial philosophy that relies on a judge’s personal and subjective beliefs, not precedent and case law…. Unlike other nominees who have compiled lengthy records in the judiciary or government service, Professor Liu has spent the vast majority of his career in academia. That’s not disqualifying, of course, but his lack of broader experience fails to demonstrate an ability to uphold and respect the law in the face of personal disagreement.”

Graham then went on to provide a sample of Liu’s outrageous comments, and also blasted Liu for engaging in a “vicious personal attack on Justice Alito at the Judiciary Committee hearing considering his nomination to the Supreme Court.” Finally, Graham concluded: “Professor Liu has advocated for a staggeringly subjective and malleable judicial philosophy. Rather than deciding cases on the basis of law established by the political branches and past precedent, Professor Liu’s philosophy substitutes the role of the Judiciary for that of the Legislative and Executive branches of government. To Professor Liu, a federal judge may be less an impartial arbiter of justice than an advocate engaging in policymaking from the bench.”

Wow. That’s strong stuff. Coming from Graham, it may well convince wavering Republicans to stand strong against the nomination.

May 19th, 2011 at 9:37 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Gingrich’s Foot In Mouth
Posted by 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.

May 18th, 2011 at 8:25 pm
Bob Gates to Washington: Shut Up
Posted by Print

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has had an uneven tenure at the Pentagon. In his time serving both the Bush and Obama Administrations, Gates has often been a voice of prudence. At other times, however, he has sounded like a facile opinion columnist, as when he paraphrased Douglas MacArthur to a group of West Point cadets earlier this year, saying, “Any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.” Defense secretaries craft policy in reaction to specific conditions throughout the world. As such, it’s unwise for one of them to opine in such absolute terms — particularly when their words could be used to unjustly assail one of their successors.

Gates is right, however, about the aftermath of the assasination of Osama Bin Laden. As Politico reports today:

The amount of information released about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound has raised concerns about jeopardizing future missions, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Wednesday.

“My concern is that there were too many people in too many places talking too much about this operation. And we [had] reached agreement that we would not talk about the operational details,” he told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. “I am very concerned about this, because we want to retain the capability to carry out these kinds of operations in the future.”

The code of silence shouldn’t be limited to operational details, however. In the aftermath of Bin Laden’s death, it would have been best for the military and intelligence community to act as if there was little real intelligence to be gleaned from Obama’s Abbottabad hideout, thus keeping from the enemy the fact that our knowledge of terrorist identities and operations was growing exponentially.

Since that cat’s already out of the bag, it’s essential that no information of a more specific variety gets out. The intelligence we collected represents a great asset. But keeping members of a worldwide terrorist network on the run because they’re unsure about what we know is an even bigger one.

May 18th, 2011 at 6:14 pm
Texas’ Perry Moving Closer to a White House Run?

Yesterday, RealClearPolitics broke a story about Texas Governor Rick Perry being a sleeper candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.  Today, RCP says that Perry’s Tuesday speech to Republican National Committee members in Dallas is raising his profile significantly.

Republican strategists in Washington told RealClearPolitics that GOP operatives who attended Perry’s speech Tuesday afternoon called them with reactions ranging from “This guy should be our nominee” to “He wowed the crowd.” They said he ditched his notes and spoke extemporaneously, firing away.

The Washington Times went so far as to report that the reaction to Perry was so unusually good from a wide array of attendees at the meeting that there is already discussion of a draft movement under way.

Having worked in Texas state politics while Perry was governor in 2003 and 2005, I can say that his approach to governing is decidedly hands-off.  That works in culturally conservative, constitutionally limited Texas.  It’s easy to talk about the 10th Amendment when you’re a governor, and it’s not that hard to keep the status quo of low taxes and rugged individualism in a state that pioneered the ethos.  With all this, Perry looks and sounds Texan.

But it’s a different ballgame going to Washington, D.C. as the elected head of Leviathan armed with a Tea Party mandate to repeal ObamaCare.  Moreover, any Republican elected president next year will have to be able to put the federal government on a different fiscal and cultural trajectory; one that moves away from government dependency, and toward economic growth and personal opportunity within a traditional American framework.

I’m not saying Perry can’t be the conservative savior many in the GOP are waiting for.  It’s just that so far, his record indicates little more than a politician who knows how to get elected and leave things as they are.  After Obama, that won’t be enough.

May 18th, 2011 at 5:28 pm
Huntsman Still Denying the Obvious

The Jon Huntsman presidential campaign-in-waiting is starting to strain itself into high comedy.  Today, the Orlando Sentinel reports that a spokesman for Huntsman’s political action committee announced both a location and a director to lead Huntsman’s presidential campaign – if the former governor and ambassador decides to run.

Former Jeb Bush aide Nikki Lowery – and potential Orlando, Florida director – said, “I will be honored to be a part of [Huntsman’s] team if he decides to run.”  Supposedly, the same holds true for Lowery’s last potential presidential campaign employer: Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

The most laughable quote from the Sentinel’s update comes from Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye who promises:

“Should my husband decide to run I’m so happy that we’ll get to spend time where I have deep roots,” her statement said. “Orlando has always had a special place in my heart and I’m very excited about the prospect of our campaign headquarters being located there.”

Ever since Huntsman’s name appeared in a Newsweek profile revealing speculation about a presidential run, Huntsman and his associates have tried valiantly to spread the tale that a team of campaign veterans just so happened to spontaneously assemble at the exact time Huntsman announced his surprise resignation as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China.  Hardly.

I understand that campaign finance laws and the meager benefits of formally announcing a presidential bid auger against stepping out of the charade and onto the campaign trail, but Huntsman is already making swings through early primary states New Hampshire and South Carolina.

The man is running for president.  It’s time he admits it.

May 18th, 2011 at 10:43 am
A Hugely Important Judicial Nomination Fight

Curt Levey at the Committee for Justice has the story. Judicial nominee Goodwin Liu, radical and dishonest,  is due for a Senate vote tomorrow. Levey suggests that a filibuster might be in order.

I write here neither to advocate for, nor argue against, a permanent filibuster to kill this nomination. Others can decide whether Liu’s profound drawbacks amount to an “extraordinary circumstance” that allows a permanent filibuster under the terms of that sop to squishes, the Gang of Fourteen. Instead, I write merely to remind people that there is another option that isn’t all-or-nothing. I wrote about it back when Elena Kagan was being considered for the Supreme Court. The other possibility is that of a temporary, time-limited filibuster (or series of cloture votes — perhaps two or three) designed to draw public attention to the matter and actually encourage lengthy debate in that light.

What I wrote in terms of a Supreme Court nomination was this:

After demanding a full, fair hearing, they should in turn allow a full, fair vote. But the latter should depend upon the former, the public hearing and response before the full and oh-so-final vote…. Republicans showed in 2002 and 2004 that when judges become campaign issues, Republicans win. Despite GOP hand-wringing, evidence to the contrary is utterly nonexistent. Polls show that the public supports originalist approaches to judging rather than the “evolving Constitution” model. Polls show that the public, by outright majorities or solid pluralities, also approves of the usual policy results that happen to emerge from originalist procedures: against partial birth abortion, against government seizure of private property for other private use, against judicially imposed homosexual marriage, against handgun bans, against outright bans on all religious references in the public square, against race-based admissions and job promotions, against an ever-expansive federal government at the expense of the states, against bureaucratic overreach, and especially against coddling of criminals because of purely innocent procedural errors by police. These are issues Americans care about, and they are issues conservatives will always win on.

Judicial nominations are important.  One way or another, they merit significant public attention.

May 17th, 2011 at 4:56 pm
Obamacare Waiver Corruption Continues
Posted by Print

Ever since its inception, it’s been clear that the waiver program being run by the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services represents that age-old liberal trend: suffering for thee, but not for me. The waivers allow certain institutions to bypass the onerous requirements put in place by Obamacare. But since they are dispensed according to the whims of the Obama HHS, the recipients tend to be interests favored by the White House — a process that makes a mockery of the rule of law.

A piece in today’s Daily Caller reports yet another suspicious trend:

Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.

Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers.

Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.

All hail the Democrats, party of the working man — assuming he works in a San Francisco bistro.