Senate Democrats have filed a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill that would fund the government through fiscal year 2011, according to Senate GOP sources.
The 1,924-page bill includes funding to implement the sweeping healthcare reform bill Congress passed earlier this year as well as additional funds for Internal Revenue Service agents, according to a senior GOP aide familiar with the legislation.
The package drew a swift rebuke from Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.
“The attempt by Democrat leadership to rush through a nearly 2,000-page spending bill in the final days of the lame-duck session ignores the clear will expressed by the voters this past election,” Thune said in a statement. “This bill is loaded up with pork projects and should not get a vote. Congress should listen to the American people and stop this reckless spending.”
Just a complete and utter disregard for the will of American
Oh, and did I mention they’re Democrats? By that I mean, there are Republicans in the mix too:
Despite strong opposition from Thune and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), several Senate Republicans are considering voting for the bill.
“That’s my intention,” said retiring Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) when asked if he would support the package.
Bennett said earmarks in the bill might give some of his GOP colleagues reason to hesitate but wouldn’t affect his vote.
“It will be tough for some, but not for me,” he said.
GOP Sens. Kit Bond (Mo.), George Voinovich (Ohio) and Susan Collins (Maine) also told The Hill on Tuesday they would consider voting for the omnibus but want to review it before making a final decision.
Hey Senator Bennett, don’t let the cloakroom door kick you in the backside on the way out. Did I mention that these people are all a bunch of lying, sanctimonious douchebags?
Senator McConnell says he’s trying to stop this insanity:
“I think there are many Senate members who have provisions in it for their states who are also actively working to defeat it. This bill should not go forward,” he said. ”And regardless of whether members had some input in the bill much earlier in the year when the bills could have been moved to the floor bill by bill by bill, it is completely and totally inappropriate to wrap all of this up into a 2,000-page bill and try to pass it the week before Christmas.”
“It’s completely inappropriate. I’m vigorously in opposition to it. And most of the members of the [Appropriations] committee are as well,” McConnell added.
For some reason, Mitch McConnell vowing to stop the bill from coming to a vote doesn’t fill me with any sense of confidence whatsoever.
If you’re looking for reasons why the American people are sick of politicians and don’t particularly care about the political process in this country, this whole episode is a prime example of one.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele has been touring the country stumping for GOP candidates in the “Fire Pelosi” tour bus. The latest stop was in Concord, New Hampshire.
A Republican voter had an interesting take on what Republicans are doing in 2010:
Steele closed his remarks with a request that audience members take time to write down a headline they hope to see the morning after the election and put it somewhere they can see it every day.
“Ask yourselves: What have I done today to make that headline come true?” Steele said.
Sue Companion, a 46-year-old from Northwood, attended Steele’s speech with her 3-year-old son Austin. A Republican since she began voting during the Reagan administration, she had been following the bus tour online and saw that it was coming to New Hampshire.
“I want to see something different happen in Washington,” she said. Instead of “more politics and more business as usual,” Companion said she wants “more of what the American people want to see happening.”
Republicans who get elected in the coming tsunami on November 2nd, better take note. This is a call for real change in Washington. People are disgusted by what they’re seeing in Washington. Poll after poll shows that we hold Washington pols in complete and utter contempt. Republicans are no exception to this–they are just as unpopular as Democrats.
We can expect to see a lot of new faces in the Republican caucus in the 112th Congress. Those who were real Tea Partiers, I expect to do what they were elected to do–for the most part. The other Republicans who just rode the coattails of the anti-Democrat party sentiments of the electorate, had better step up to the plate and listen to the message that voters are sending.
It’s very simple. If you want our money, you have to espouse our beliefs. I’m not going to part with my dollars so you can direct them to Dede Scozzafava’s campaign in New York. Instead, I’ll drop $20 to a candidate I know needs the money and shares my values.
The establishment Republicans are in trouble and have to change. Until they get that message and make some adjustments, the money is just not going to be there.
This is spot on. Clearly Lester is following the lead of other intelligent, but not so sophisticated, conservative bloggers out there.
In all seriousness, though. Be sure to read Lester’s entire post.
It serves as a reminder that, in this very important mid-term election year, it would serve conservatives well to note how inept and incompetent the RNC really is. Imagine if they really had their act together? Sure the rot began to set in before Michael Steele became chairman, but he hasn’t exactly been a guiding light for conservatives or the party.
The Republican party should not be about the RNC anymore. It should be about the grassroots. We each have the ability to make it so. Observe the field in your local and state elections. Pick the conservative candidate and support them. Plain and simple.
The poll shows that the 2012 contest is going to begin right where the 2008 Iowa Caucuses left off, with Mike Huckabee leading Mitt Romney. Huckabee comes out on top of the poll garnering 22 percent, Romney finishes second with 18 percent, and Newt Gingrich finishes surprisingly well with 14 percent in third place. Sarah Palin finishes a disappointing fourth with 11 percent. Texas Congressman Ron Paul garnered 5 percent, while Pawlenty, and South Dakota Senator John Thune each received 1 percent.
Yes it’s still very early. But I have no faith in any of these candidates–not Palin, not Romney, certainly not Huckabee–to be able to win a national election against Barack Obama.
Despite Republican momentum in 2010, which was to be expected, 2012 is light-years away politically speaking. The grassroots activism is certainly a plus, but the RNC is still a rotten apple. It’s virtually a headless operation (thank you Chairman Steele).
And as if things weren’t murky enough, this also stuck out from the Iowa Republican piece:
If there is a surprise in the poll, it’s the strength of Newt Gingrich. Gingrich has been a frequent visitor to Iowa over the past decade. He has headlined events for the Republican Party of Iowa, various political candidates, and held activist workshops across the state. His affection for and understanding of Iowa will definitely be an asset should he seek the Republican nomination.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Gingrich is running. But we have been warned. Gingrich winning the nomination would be a disaster for the Republican party and would ensure four more years of an Obama presidency.
Heckuva job Mike, heckuva job:
[...]Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council last week broke with RNC Chairman Michael Steele by publicly urging conservatives to stop supporting the Republican National Committee.
Now, as Steele and Perkins both prepare to address the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Perkins has a new message for the RNC: Shape up, or risk seeing your supporters ship out and support Tea Party candidates instead.
“I think the Republicans have to realize they’re not operating in a vacuum. Now, while Democrats may be in trouble coming into November’s election, the Republicans are not the only game in town,” Perkins told us on ABC’s “Top Line” today.
“As we see the Tea Party movement taking on a life of its own, the Republicans have some competition, which I think is actually good for the conservative vote. And they’re going to have to be responsible with how they spend their money, they’re going to have to be I think very measured in their message, and that they are embracing a conservative message …. ”
“And they have to I think convince voters that they’re back on the right track,” Perkins said. “And I don’t think what we see coming out of the RNC at present is doing that.”
I’ve never been fond of how Perkins and the FRC have led the GOP around by the nose.These third party threats from various factions of the party are nothing new. I recall Perkins threatening to back a third party in the run-up to the 2008 primaries, when Giuliani seemed to be the apparent nominee. These threats are never good for Republicans, never good for any political party. Those who make them are never the half-loaf types.
That being said, can you blame Perkins at this point? It’s getting to the point now where even asking Steele to step down would be an embarrassing side-show unto itself as the GOP needs to gear up for the midterms, something the GOP definitely does not need.
And I repeat my assertion that I’m still not convinced that November will be as easy a cakewalk as everyone seems to think.
Then again, when it comes to Steele’s tenure as RNC Chairman, maybe it’s best to rip the band-aid off now and get it over with. With any luck, it would be a one week (two week tops) story at most.
It’s all to attract the “big” donors, I’m sure:
A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.
RNC trips to other cities produced bills from a long list of chic and costly hotels such as the Venetian and the M Resort in Las Vegas, and the W (for a total of $19,443) in Washington. A midwinter trip to Hawaii cost the RNC $43,828, not including airfare.
My only question is this: at what point does the RNC realize that Michael Steele is more of a negative than a positive for the party? Hell, for that matter what are the positives? Have there ever been any?
Michael Steele runs a tight ship over at the RNC, a real no-nonsense operation:
Rob Bickhart, the Republican National Committee official behind the embarrassing fundraising presentation reported this week byPOLITICO, has been paid at least $370,000 since last June by the RNC in salary and consulting fees.
The size of Bickhart’s compensation has been the talk of Republican fundraising circles for months, and a source of displeasure among some RNC donors who have been generally unhappy with what they see as the RNC’s lavish spending. One complained to POLITICO that Bickhart earns “more than the President of the United States.”
Between Bickhart’s salary – he is on pace to earn a little more than $196,000 annually – and his consulting fees – which tallied $240,000 in the second half of last year alone – it appears Bickhart could receive north of $500,000 per year from the RNC.
Randy Pullen, the RNC’s treasurer and chairman of the Arizona Republican Party said Bickhart’s consulting fees – paid through a firm Bickhart started a week after accepting the RNC job – were unusual, and said he thought the RNC finance director should be paid as a full-time employee and not as a consultant.
That the Steele-led RNC loves to waste money is no surprise. But there’s something else:
One informed Republican said Bickhart was able to command such a salary — equivalent to what he’d made as a private lobbyist and fundraiser — because RNC chairman Michael Steele, embattled from the beginning of his tenure, was finding it difficult to hire experienced fundraising staff.
Isn’t one of the main functions of the RNC and, by extension it’s chairman, to be able to raise money for the party? And in order to do so, the chairman needs to have the network and the contacts to make it happen?
The spendthrift ways of Steele are not a surprise, at least not to anyone paying attention.
But beyond that, this nonsense just confirms that Steele is completely incompetent for this position. He can’t handle money. He can’t find the right people for the basic functions of the party. What purpose does he serve other than as fodder for people who want reasons to point and laugh at the RNC?
Like I’ve been saying—keep your money away from the national party. Donate to the conservative candidates you support individually.
Sure, there’s a lot of momentum on the side of the Republican party these days, but I refuse to give in completely to the optimism. And it’s because of crap like this:
Republican National Chairman Michael Steele is spending twice as much as his recent predecessors on private planes and paying more for limousines, catering and flowers – expenses that are infuriating the party’s major donors who say Republicans need every penny they can get for the fight to win back Congress.
A POLITICO analysis of expenses found that compared with 2005, the last comparable year preceding a midterm election, the committee’s payments for charter flights doubled; the number of sedan contractors tripled, and meal expenses jumped from $306,000 to $599,000.
“Michael Steele is an imperial chairman,” said one longtime Republican fundraiser. “He flies in private aircraft. He drives in private cars. He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers. He fancies himself a presidential candidate and wants all of the trappings and gets them by using other people’s money.”
Cash is the blood of partisanship, and without it you are in for an endless Night of the Living Dead.
In an adult world, where hirelings are accountable for their record, the whole apparatus deserves the boot with Steele—after a scrupulous audit of those 2009 consulting contracts determines where the money really went. An RNC official recently moaned that the empty till is “really troubling,” which sounds the same sort of charming defeatism as Mr. Micawber’s when he realized that “twenty pounds’ income” and “twenty ought and six expenses” must result in misery.
[Michael Steele is] so ineffective at gathering and husbanding cash that the GOP prospects for the 2010 election are now ordinary and could soon be disastrous.
Ignore the rosy scenario of Rasmussen polls and Charlie Cook; ignore the “Happy Days Are Here Again” of the burlesque acts like Limbaugh and the cable channels. The RNC numbers are inarguable and damning, and there is only Steele to blame.
When Steele was elected, the RNC had $22 million and no debt. At the end of November, it had less than $9 million, which is a pittance of what the RNC possessed going into the midterms of 2002 and 2006. This is the result of both dismal fundraising and a spendthrift decision to push large sums on consultants and other baubles in the off-year elections without a White House on your team to replenish the account.
This is why I’ve refused to give my support to the RNC and to an extent, the Republican congressional election committees—so much incompetence, hubris and waste.
Between the libertarians, birthers and third-partiers of the Tea Party, and the total incompetence of the RNC and establishment Republicans, it’s not hard to see why conservatives should be are questioning the party that they should be calling home.
Apparently, as conservatives we can’t count on the RNC to gather enough resources to support the right candidates. In fact, we can’t count on them to even pick the right candidates until the grassroots gets involved (see 2009 Special Election, NY-23)
I’m not fully convinced that Republicans can take back the House or the Senate in the 2010 midterms, although they will be gaining seats. I hope I’m wrong and that they will be able to take back both. But let’s be realistic. Any gains the GOP does make will be in spite of the RNC and not because of it.
In the meantime, if conservatives want to donate money to support real conservatives instead of supporting Wolfgang Puck’s catering business, then donate to the candidate directly. Keep your cash away from the RNC.
The Republican Party steered clear of passing a so-called “purity test” proposed by a handful of conservative members of the Republican National Committee and instead passed a toothless watered-down resolution that “urges” Republican Party leadership to consider a candidate’s record and statements and fidelity to the party platform before providing financial support or an endorsement.
In the wake of the special House race in upstate New York last November where the Republican Party candidate DeDe Scozzafava found her campaign derailed by conservatives, several RNC members proposed the idea of passing a resolution where GOP candidates would have to agree to eight out of 10 stated policy positions before being eligible for support from the RNC.
The proposal, initially drafted by Indiana national committeeman James Bopp, was met with strong resistance by state party chairs concerned about such a one-size-fits-all approach. This week, RNC Chairman Michael Steele made clear that he, too, opposed the proposed resolution.
After the vote, Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bob Tiernan and Bopp got into what became a heated exchange over the resolution.
“I would say read the resolution,” Tiernan said. “It says what it says. It is a suggestion, it’s common sense, we do stick to our principles, but there’s nothing mandatory down there, there’s nothing required. I am a chairman and I’m not going to take that back and make my candidates sign it. That’s ridiculous. We rejected the litmus test today.”
Bopp quoted from the resolution: “This is binding, you are to determine – determine — that the candidate wholeheartedly supports the core principles.”
When Tiernan again asserted that there is nothing binding in what passed today, Bopp told him to “shut up.”
I have no misconceptions about the dearth of leadership and cohesion, and the outright incompetence of the establishment Republican party. It’s been painfully obvious for years now.
When the party proposed the so-called “purity test” after the NY-23 special election debacle, I disagreed with it from the outset. I didn’t think then, and I don’t think now, that the party should paint itself into such a corner with what I felt were uncomfortably restrictive prerequisites for RNC funding and support. This was a reactionary, tactical move by the RNC, not a long-term strategic one.
Yes, I believe that conservatism and adherence to conservative ideals are critical for the Republican party and its candidates’ electoral success. It’s the national party’s job to support REPUBLICANS and to do what they can do get REPUBLICANS elected. (As for NY-23, there was nothing conservative about Dede Scozzofava—the RNC had no business supporting her. Had it stepped in with support for Doug Hoffman earlier, the result would have been different—-heckuva job, RNC)
Having said that, I understand why this was brought to a vote—after a summer of contentious town halls and staving off left-wing vitriol, the Republicans felt like they had a shot in the Northeast, a region of the country where Republicans were effectively disappearing. Needless to say, NY-23 was the only loss of any significance that day with GOP victories in New Jersey, Virginia and later, Massachusetts.
But let’s not kid ourselves here. It’s not like the GOP is making great strides in brand recognition over the past year or so. I really believe that the Republican gains over the past several months is due more to the incompetence of the Democrats than anytthing the Repubclians are doing. I think it was LBJ who said, and I’m paraphrasing: “If your opponent wants to make an ass of himself, get out of his way.” That sums up what’s been going on here. The Republicans have been smart enough to just let the Democrats ride the healthcare debate over a cliff with their 2010 electoral hopes along for the ride. Voters are moving over to ther Republicans because they are realizing the damage that Democratic party rule can have on the country, and they want no part of that.
Republicans need to understand that a small government, low taxes, fiscal conservative message will win out over spendthrift liberal Democrats—-always. The key to that understanding, the key to across the board electoral victory, should come from the top. When the Republican party establishment can’t even agree on that—that they have to water down a lame purity test—shows that they’re not ready for what needs to be done to revitalize the party.
[...]Steele is the Soupy Sales of the right wing, debating with hand-puppet celebrities and taking a shaving-cream pie in the face for laughs on the cables.
That sums it up pretty well. If there’s any sanity left in the Republican party, Steele will be out as RNC chairman soon enough.
Taken from John Batchelor’s latest column. As usual, an insightful and well written piece by an astute political observer, and a sobering piece for the Republican party.