I never really bought into the notion that there’s a friendly peace between the Obamas and the Clintons. Sure, Bill Clinton is campaigning for Obama, Hillary is the Secretary of State, and all appears to be tranquil in Democrat land. But I still don’t buy it.
I’m old enough to remember the political cage-match that was the 2008 Democratic primary, with its ugly charges of racism, the ‘pimping’ of Chelsea, the whole bit. Despite her bitter loss, Hillary still wants to be president, and I have no doubt that she will make another go of it. (I’ll leave the speculation as to whether she replaces Biden on the ticket this year or makes a solid run in 2016, for another time).
All that being said, there’s a literal endorsement battle between the two for Democrat candidates down ticket, one specifically in a congressional race here in New Jersey:
A top Obama campaign adviser is taking sides in a member-versus-member primary in New Jersey, with senior adviser David Axelrod set to campaign for Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.), according to a national Democratic aide.
Rothman faces Rep. Bill Pascrell in a North Jersey district that was merged by redistricting.
Bill Clinton endorsed Pascrell this month, making this race the seventh in which he has supported a Hillary-endorsing candidate against an Obama backer.
The Pascrell campaign thinks so highly of Clinton, he made it to their latest campaign ad:
For what it’s worth, Pascrell’s district is a predominantly middle class, blue collar constituency, whereas Rothman’s former district included a sizable portion of the more affluent Bergen County which is closer to Manhattan, consisting of upper-middle class NYC commuters, and a growing immigrant population. Demographically, there’s a noticeable difference between the two, but both districts are solid blue Democrat.
And then there’s this–a source I know with knowledge of the Pascrell campaign implied that there was a financial strain on both camps because of the redistricting fight, but acknowledged the Pascrell got “a boost from the Clinton endorsement,” adding “…[Clinton's] favorables are much better than Obama, even in the cities.“
The primary’s on June 5th, and I’m thinking Pascrell wins the district, based on the demographics I mentioned and it could very well be that the Clinton endorsement puts him over the top. I’d be interested to see how the other Obama vs Clinton endorsements in other CDs go, and I’m sure the Obama campaign will be keeping an eye on that as well.
This is either scraping the bottom of the ideas barrel or the president is light years ahead of the rest of us, and knows something we don’t:
Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.
Mr. Obama will not specify a rate or other details, and it is unclear how much revenue his plan would raise. But his idea of a millionaires’ minimum tax will be prominent in the broad plan for long-term deficit reduction that he will outline at the White House on Monday.
So for the second time in a month, President Transparency proposes a literal blank slate of legislation, and is encouragin its passage. Kings have had harder times in mandating edicts.
What is this nonsense if it isn’t class warfare, and a desperate attempt to start discord among Republicans? After a disastrous few weeks for Obama and the Democrats, this is most definitely be his desired goal. The president knows that the proposed tax is dead on arrival in the House. He knows this. And anyone with a brain knows that this does nothing to create jobs, and is a drop in the bucket with regards to deficit reduction.
But Republicans will have to defend not endorsing it, and the administration, along with Democratic congressional leaders, will go on the offensive. But as the weeks drag on, and the government continues to pump out report after dismal report on the state of the economy (the September NFP report is out in a little over two weeks), it might not make a difference for the administration.
Because President Obama is half-black of course and perhaps, they know they are losing the argument:
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) used the race card this afternoon to assess blame in the debt ceiling fight. Jackson Lee, a black Congresswoman, believes the disagreement over raising the debt ceiling is because of President Obama’s race.
“I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president, only this president, only this one has received the kind attacks and disagreements and inability to work. Only this one,” Jackson Lee said on the House floor this afternoon.
“Read between the lines.”
Raising taxes and race-baiting. Apparently there’s nothing else Democrats are good for and nothing else they can bring to the table in this debt ceiling debate. Is anyone really surprised?
UPDATE. In rushing to get this post up yesterday, I didn’t include the key portion of Jackson-Lee’s floor speech. Here is the key bit from a Fox News piece:
“What is different about this president that should put him in a position that he should not receive the same kind of respectful treatment of when it is necessary to raise the debt limit in order to pay our bills?” she added. . . .
“In the minority community that is the question that is being raised. Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully?”
[Hat Tip: Stacy McCain]
File this under “Imagine how the media would react if this was George W. Bush”
Finally, we have a President who understands the average American:
When President Barack Obama moved into the White House earlier this year, he took several of his fellow Chicago millionaires with him.
Newly released disclosure reports show virtually all of the top Chicagoans serving in the West Wing had assets valued at a million dollars or more at the end of 2008.
In several cases, the reports provide the first detailed look at the finances of some of the president’s top aides and friends from Chicago who have risen with him. They also show the salary haircut many have taken to be in the White House, at least until they return to the private sector.
Have the President and his cronies made “enough money”? Probably not. Sky’s the limit for them.
But for us rubes, we shouldn’t be so fracking greedy. Hypocrites.
And here’s an interesting bit from the same article:
Obama’s personal wealth soared in the past decade. His annual household income fluctuated in the range of about $250,000 during the first half of this decade, before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and millions in book royalties and advances that started rolling in during 2005.
Apparently the Bush years weren’t so bad after all. But that doesn’t fit into the President’s “I’m here to rescue you from the economic devastation of the last eight years” narrative.
The Obama legacy is in the process of being fulfilled. After expanding the size and scope of the state, the next step is feeding the beast:
Higher taxes must be considered to rein in the country’s mounting debt, a member of President Barack Obama’s fiscal reform commission told The Hill on Monday.
Alice Rivlin, who headed the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget, said that the highest priority is to reduce healthcare spending but that reforms to entitlement programs and higher taxes should also be considered.
“We have to ‘bend the curve,’ as they say in medical cost increases,” she said. “And Social Security is a rather minor part of the problem, but fixing that would have a lot of confidence-building effects, I think, and we have to take action on the revenue side as well.”
Rivlin is one of 18 members on the debt commission, which is to provide recommendations to Obama and Congress by December on getting the U.S. fiscal house in order.
A former Republican senator who works with Rivlin on budget issues went further.
Former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M) said higher taxes, along with entitlement program reforms and spending cuts that include the Defense budget, will almost certainly have to be a part of a fiscal reform package to rein in the country’s $12.8 trillion debt.
“You’ve got to have taxes and hope taxes won’t destroy the economic growth,” Domenici, a former Senate Budget Committee chairman, told The Hill in an interview.
Doesn’t that inspire confidence? Let’s raise taxes on everyone and cross our collective fingers hoping that those higher taxes do what tax increases of years past were never able to do–spur economic growth. Lovely.
And what about that “nobody making over $200,000 will see an increase in any sort of tax” pledge by candidate President Obama?
In his budget proposal, Obama has proposed higher taxes for some taxpayers.
Obama’s budget would lead to higher taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 and families with incomes above $250,000 by allowing the George W. Bush-era tax cuts for those people to expire.
But that wouldn’t be enough to rein in the deficits, which would still average nearly $1 trillion for the next decade, according to the CBO.
Yeah. Expect to hear a lot of that as we get closer to the 2012 election. The White House will allow these tax increase trial balloons to be floated about, and then he will make the pronouncement that his hand was forced by the policies of “my predecessor”. Finally he will talk about how we all have to make sacrifices to atone for the mistakes of White Houses past.
In other words, the President lied.
The Gallup poll is here. The report shows an across the board decline among Democrats, Indies and Republicans
Allahpundit notes that the leg down began early last summer, around the time that the great healthcare debate began:
One of the great what-ifs for future historians will be what might have happened if The One had held off on O-Care and focused instead on jobs and, say, deficit reduction. Would that have cemented the sweeping gains made by Democrats in 2006 and 2008? Would it have increased his political capital to the point where he’d now be in position to ram through an even more liberal health-care bill?
Maybe a bit presumptuous, as the healthcare bill was passed less than a month ago. But the implication is clear–ramming through an unpopular entitlement on a strictly partisan line should will be an albatross for the Democrat party. Definitely in November. But after November? The jury’s still out. Yes, clearly the alleged move to the left that was supposed to have happened in 2006-2008 never occurred and if it did, it’s all but crumbled.
Two caveats. First, never underestimate the GOP’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (and the Gallup report is not exactly kind to Republicans either). And second, never underestimate the American people’s growing affection for a new entitlement.
The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax, White House adviser Paul Volcker said on Tuesday.
Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax “was not as toxic an idea” as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary.
Though he acknowledged that both were still unpopular ideas, he said getting entitlement costs and the U.S. budget deficit under control may require such moves. “If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes,” he said.
I don’t think I’m being presumptive when I say that the President’s “nobody making under $250,000 will see a tax increase” pledge was made just to get elected. Just a thought.
Obama opens up to offshore drilling:
The Obama administration is proposing to open vast expanses of water along the Atlantic coastline, the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the north coast of Alaska to oil and natural gas drilling, much of it for the first time, officials said Tuesday.
Under the plan, the coastline from New Jersey northward would remain closed to all oil and gas activity. So would the Pacific Coast, from Mexico to the Canadian border.
The proposal — a compromise that will please oil companies and domestic drilling advocates but anger some residents of affected states and many environmental organizations — would end a longstanding moratorium on oil exploration along the East Coast from the northern tip of Delaware to the central coast of Florida, covering 167 million acres of ocean.
Yet another flip-flop by the President, but at this point nobody in the media or the Obama sycophants in the blogosphere appear too concerned about that. Obama is a “D” after all.
But I’m a bit more cynical than that.
This is, effectively, home state pork for Conservadem Senators who are viewed as winnable votes on the energy bill. Five of the original fifteen Conservadems are listed above (Webb and Graham are not Conservadems). Of course, since the new offshore drilling policy will operate through the executive branch, there is no guarantee at all that the Obama administration will actually get an energy bill out of this deal. Nonetheless, and leaving aside the political efficacy of this ploy, it is clearly a political move designed to make a bill more viable.
This makes sense. I think the White House has cap-and-trade next on the agenda. Winning the healthcare fight was huge, but I don’t think Obama wants another long and drawn out battle like that again–especially as we get closer to the midterms. Today’s announcement seems to be made to win over the moderates in the party for the energy bill in the Senate.
Like healthcare reform not being about healthcare, this proposal is not about energy but about getting votes.
And one more thing—it seems Sarah Palin was right.
For all the President’s blabbing about keeping costs down as a key component of healthcare reform, it didn’t take long for politics to win out over policy:
When Obama launched his health care project, the case for reform rested on two pillars. One was helping people who had no insurance or were otherwise struggling with the current system. The other was taking dramatic steps to halt the growth in costs. As the debate lurches toward a close, the emphasis in Obama’s plan now rests overwhelmingly on the first pillar — with only the most modest and preliminary measures being embraced for cost control.
“[...] And now, at least until after 2017, it doesn’t look like they will bend the cost curve,” said Ken Thorpe, an Emory University professor and Democratic health policy adviser.
Despite all of the rhetoric of the last year or so about cost-containment, there was never any serious attempt by the White House or the congressional Democrats to actually propose any serious cost bending provisions. The problem of course, is that any real cost measures would involve rationing or abolishing the fee for service model—none of which was ever discussed.
I don’t expect liberals to be swayed on this but is there really anyone out there who still believes that healthcare reform is a truly genuine effort by Barack Obama to actually reform the system? That it was never about politics? Or that it was about putting a bureaucratic structure in place that would benefit his political donors for decades?