Monday, 21 June 2010

Rants

Who are you, and what have you done with the real Mike Pence?

Portrait of a man who’s been TOLD what to say  Dept
Garrison Show, Friday, June 18:
Tom Rose [guest host]:  We’ve been talking today about what happened inside the conservative leadership yesterday that has a lot of “wing nuts” like myself wondering out loud as to how trustworthy– in terms of conservative credentials– you guys are going to be.  Can we be fully confident that, if we are lucky enough to win back the House, you guys are going to have the courage and principle to make the really tough decisions that have got to be made? Of course this is in reference to what happened to Congressman Barton yesterday, when he issued an apology to BP on behalf of the government for extorting money from it, and then was– apparently, according to press reports– uh threatened with having his chairmanship stripped for pointing out that there is no precedent for private deals between the executive branch of our government and private companies.

Congressman Mike Pence:  Well, Tom, let me, let me say that - um - that, uh, I think if you check the-uh the video of-uh Congressman Barton’s statement he, he said he was not speaking for the government; he was speaking for himself...

Rose:  Right.

Pence:  But look.  Uhm-a he’s entitled to his opinion, uh - but I just think Joe Barton was wrong um to apologize to BP. Uh-I really believe that...

Rose:  Fair enough.

Pence:  ...BP has uh- full responsibility uh for uh the breach of this uh-tes, uh well, they have full responsibility for uh the impact on the families, the communities, the environment, and the Gulf, and fortunately uh BP has voluntarily offered to waive protection that they would have under the law– uh this $75 million dollar cap– uh to uh establish a fund that will offset what will be– what will be, Tom, really some extraordinary costs uh to the region on an ongoing [pause] basis.  Um, and so, you know, I, I think uh his statement was regrettable yesterday; I was pleased that Congressman Barton uh withdrew his apology uh to BP and um, um you know I really am-uh, I am uh pleased that we’re establishing a fund, much as we did after September the 11th, that will be independently administered, that will provide resources for the communities, for the families, for the businesses in the region affected by this really unprecedented industrial disaster.

Rose:  Todd Meyer [program producer] now needs to be physically restrained.  Why were the comments “regrettable”?  I mean: Isn’t the only way our system has to handle matters like this– isn’t that the court system?  Isn’t that what the whole purpose of our system is, to prevent uh expansions of power and authority by an executive branch?  Uh, I mean that, isn’t that why we have a court system?

Pence:  Well, you have a court system, Tom, when there’s disagreement between the parties.  Fortunately, uh, for the families and the communities in the Gulf region, BP has never uh said anything other than they “accept full responsibility” for the financial impacts of this spill.  You, you don’t need to go to court when everybody’s willing to agree who’s liable and who’s on the hook.  And, fortunately, BP has never disputed that.  Umm, the recommendation that an escrow fund be established, the recommendation that that fund be administered uh in the same way that we administered the 9/11 victims’ fund I think was prudent, but uh uh, but again, you know, what I was, you know, what I was troubled by yesterday was the, you know, to see a member of the, of congress, especially a Republican member of congress, uh, y’know, apologizing [pause] to BP.  I just, I didn’t think that-uh was in order, given the [pause], given the-uh magnitude of their responsibility here, and-uh given the fact that this is a voluntary [pause] agreement uh-between BP uh-and the United States government, and the-uh and all of the families and states in the region.

Rose:  Do you trust, do you have confidence that President Obama can manage and disburse uh-uh 20 billion dollars impartially and fairly?

Pence:  Well, T-, you know Tom, I just keep going back: The structure here is, is being built...

Rose:  It’s Ken Feinberg!

Pence:  ...along the lines of the 9/11 uh families fund, which has, in the wake of that horrific tragedy, a tragedy that uh, uh-occurred, uh, when I was in my first term in congress, umm, uh it, it, it strikes me that, that, uh, that fund has been um, um, if you can use the word “success” in the aftermath of 9/11, I think that fund uh was a successful effort, uh too, uh mediate the impact of the loss of more than three thousand American lives, and I believe that same individual, Mr. Feinberg, who administered that fund is being-uh uh approached about administering this fund.

Uh, I-I understand the suspicion of families and businesses in the Gulf region about, um um um, about having to go to BP and, and, and-uh with their hat in hand and ask for a disbursement.  I think it makes an awful lot of sense, the way that we took the airlines uh as responsible parties, uh, and government out of the payout role, and we created an independent trust fund.  It makes a lot of sense to have the families in the Gulf, as the families of 9/11, uh be able to go to an independent arbiter who can evaluate the, uh, what their losses are and, to the extent possible, uh, be able to make them whole.  Uh, but-uh, it’s uh, again, this is a voluntary [pause] arrangement.

I, I do think it was a, uh, inappropriate for uh the Attorney General of the United States to be in on the meeting this week, given the fact that the Justice Department was-uh, is involved in a criminal investigation of BP, uh, but, uh, you know, when-uh, the establishment of this fund I think it’s proper.  It is proper that BP has consented uh to make this-uh these funds available, uh, and, uh, uh, y’know, at the end of the day, uh, you know what we ought to be focusing on, Tom, is working the problem.

The financial part of this thing, BP has never really disputed, umm, but, but-uh, you know, this is a mechanism for distributing those dollars.  What, what, what we ought to be doing is workin’ the problem in the Gulf, uh, and I, I still continue to believe [pause] that this administration has failed, and continues to fail, to provide the kind of energetic uh hands-on leadership, um, in working the problem and containing the spill that the American people expect and the law demands.
A couple of points here. Mike Pence is a former radio guy. He doesn’t stumble, stammer, “and-uh,” or “you know.” Usually. Yet he here he is, stumbling and stammering,[1] interspersed with standard political boilerplate phrases...
“...the families, the communities, the environment, and the Gulf...”
“...the communities, for the families, for the businesses in the region”
“...much as we did after September the 11th
“...agreement between BP and the United States government, and all of the families and states in the region.”
“this is a voluntary agreement”
“What we ought to be focusing on... is working the problem”
“...energetic hands-on leadership”
...rattled off as if read from cue cards, all the while being careful not to stray from his talking points.  Altogether a disconcerting performance; not what I was expecting from Indiana’s leading light of conservatism.

It appears that Congressman Joe Barton’s spade-a-spade characterization of the administration’s “voluntary” (as in, “I’ll shoot you, unless you voluntarily give me all your money”) agreement with BP as a “shakedown,” gave the Beltway RINOs such a case of the vapours (probably anticipating  the DSM’s customary balance and objectivity) that they threatened to take his chairmanship away.

And Pence, instead of keeping his mouth shut, agreed to trot out to justify the whole thing.  Unfortunately, his integrity got in the way of doing it convincingly.

The whole episode, of course, does nothing to build my confidence that the Republicans have either the integrity or the guts to do anything to reverse the progressives’ mess, even if they should be restored to power.

Amazingly, their spineless backpedalling may wind up puting the RINOs on the.wrong side.of this issueNot very smart.

But as Glenn said this morning, “Any sentence about the Republican leadership that begins with “if they’re smart” is probably self-finishing . . . .”


-----
[1]  I included Pence’s stumbles in the transcript (which I wouldn’t have done in the case of a non-professional speaker) to show how uncertain he sounded.  You really need to listen to the segment to get the full effect.

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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Rants

Throwing Obama under the bus

The Next Stage  Dept
It’s started.

Those occasional grumbles of discontent suddenly became an avalanche of criticism, to the bemusement of many on the right.

The ground may be shifting.  But in which direction?

Today’s Wall Street Journal carried an oped entitled “The United States of Throw the Bums Out.”  In it, former Clinton pollster Douglas Schoen and former Carter pollster Patrick Caddell wrote:
...the Obama administration has launched an estimated $125 million publicity campaign.  Their goal is to communicate that individual components of the [health care] bill are indeed popular...

If the Obama administration is unable to sell the health-care law... the president’s hopes of winning re-election... will deteriorate.
Note carefully what these two likely-liberals are saying:  Everything has now come down to how well the administration does its “sales job.”  (The possibility that the law might be made more attractive-- just a bit-- by fixing one or two bad ideas is not even considered.) It’s all about execution.

The progressives/leftists face electoral disaster.  Every day there’s more bad news.  The realities are catching up with the dream.  The natives are restless, and there’s danger of being swept out of control.  So what’s a good progressive to do?

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and in this case the desperate measure is called sacrifice.

There’s mounting evidence that the current mess is a direct consequence of your lousy ideas.  The opposition will try to say this.  They must be countered.  To defend the agenda, create a distraction:  Start a noisy fuss about “leadership,” and hope they’ll be sucked in.  Throw your leader under the bus.

Because while making the argument “all about Obama,” will not be pleasant, it does have a number of attractions.

It’s about personality.  The Agenda has been executed, with unfortunate results?  Well, that’s all because of bad management, or inexperience, or naïvité... right?  It’s possible the man’s not up to the job.  But he sure didn’t get any help!  (And make certain that the usual suspects continue screaming “racism,” too.)

It draws attention to a lousy president, away from a lousier Congress.  Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Arlen Specter, Barbara Boxer, Barney Frank?  2000 page bills that nobody reads?  Bailouts for buddies?  Congressmen that punch citizens?  Hey, they’re hard-working, innocent victims!  Why, if there had only been some direction from the White House, all would have been ethics, rainbows, unicorns, and 5% unemployment.  So don’t blame Congress, re-elect them!

It will help the DSM suppress any substantive discussion of the progressive agenda.  They don’t have to report on dull stuff like rising taxes, rising unemployment, danger at home and abroad, or a lousy economy when they can fill the space with the daily he-said-she-said and “I’m offended!”  Besides, superficiality is a good thing: The poor, unenlightened proles might learn something they don’t like.  And there’s nothing wrong with the progressive agenda that doing it again-- twice as hard-- wouldn’t fix.  (After all, nobody’s ever implemented Communism correctly, either -- oh, snap!)

So make a bunch of noise, and hope those stupid teabaggers (and stupider Republicans) follow your lead.  Let ’em have Obama.  He’s just one guy.  It’s far better that the public believe the present mess is his fault, rather than begin to realize that it’s the predictable outcome of the leftist/progressive agenda. Discrediting Obama can be endured.  Discrediting the Program would be fatal.

(Besides, the president has another two years. Maybe his “sales job” will have “taken” by then.)

But should Obama have to be brought down, always remember that the bedrock of the progressive agenda is the sacrifice of the individual for the good of the collective.  You’ve done it before; don‘t shrink from doing it now!

After all, that’s the progressive way.


UPDATES:
It appears the Kos-ites failed to get the memo.  (100618, via eddiebear)
Peggy Noonan goes with “unlucky,” pushes Hillary  (100619)
(And BTW, Peggy, what is this “reputation for competence” of which you write? Competence is more than attractive rhetoric.)

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 23:09:12 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Rants

The National Rifle Association and freedom of speech


Lots.of.discussion about the deal the National Rifle Association made to get itself exempted from what the Wall Street Journal calls “the latest Congressional attempt to repeal the First Amendment.

Folks are saying it was the right thing to do (or, at least, made the best of a bad situation), because the NRA gets its strength by being a “single issue” powerhouse, and that First Amendment issues shouldn’t fall within its purview (and besides, they could’t do anything about it, anyway).

Well, here’s my Og-styled view of that attitude:

If you stop opposing a plan to spread shit all over your neighborhood...

just because the shit-spreaders agreed to stay out of your yard...

Guess what...

When all is done,
everything is still gonna smell like shit.


(And should the bill pass, expect that NRA “exemption” to disappear soon after, in the name of “fairness,” don’t-cha-know.)

Oh, by the way, since when did supporting the First Amendment and advocating freedom of speech become a Republicans-only position?


Elsewhere:
Later (100620):

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 17:23:33 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Monday, 14 June 2010

Rants

Peggy’s rose-colored history

How quickly they forget   Dept

Peggy Noonan:
On 9/11 we were rocked but held together.

No.

For example:
Associated Press:
Beyond the immediate needs to improve security and dismantle “organizations of destruction,” Obama wrote, lay the more difficult job of “understanding the sources of such madness.”  He wrote of “a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers,” of “embittered children” around the world, of the seeds of discontent sown in poverty, ignorance and despair.
The towers had yet to fall when the “progressives” began bleating “Why do they hate us?” and calling for “understanding” of “root causes.”  Most were soon shouted down, but their minds remained unchanged:  Soon they’d be trotting out the same arguments to oppose any concrete action by the “eeeevil Boosh.”

The progressives *never* “held together” with the rest of America  after 9/11 (although they often loudly proclaim that they did).  Just because Noonan the Nitwit has forgotten her liberal buddies’ behaviour doesn’t mean the rest of us have.


HT to “Editor” for the AP link.

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