Archive for August, 2010

Quote of the Week (2010 Midterms edition)

August 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Charlie Cook is pretty optimistic about the coming GOP victory this November:

This doesn’t look or feel like a normal midterm election. “There are two kinds of elections,” [Charlie Cook] said. “There’s sort of the Tip O’Neill all-politics-is-local, and then there are wave elections. We’re seeing just every sign in the world that this is going to be a wave, and a pretty good-sized wave.”

Apparently that wave doesn’t touch the other chamber of Congress:

Republicans would have to take over 10 seats now controlled by Democrats to pull off that feat, and even this wave doesn’t appear sufficient to accomplish that. In numerical terms, Mr. Cook sees 18 Senate seats up for election this year that could, plausibly, change party hands one way or the other, and Republicans would have to win 16 of the 18 to take over.

That task is “a couple of orders of magnitude higher” than the challenge Republicans face taking back the House, he said.

As always, take the prognosticators with a big, grain of salt.  I understand the political and ideological differences between the House and Senate–the former being more extreme ideologically (more conservatives and more liberals), while the latter tends to have more of a moderate blend among its members.

That being said, although it feels as if the GOP is in for a big November, anything can happen to make it less so.  I hope I’m wrong.  But it seems that if an enormous wave of the caliber that Cook is expecting can inflict serious damage to the Democratic majorities, shouldn’t some of that fall onto the Senate as well?

No thrills up my leg

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Via Ben Smith, Iowa Republicans were polled on the outlook for the 2012 field, and it isn’t exactly a barn-burner:

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.

China knocking on the door

August 16, 2010 Leave a comment

China is now the second largest economy in the world, passing Japan:

…[U]nseating Japan — and in recent years passing Germany, France and Great Britain — underscores China’s growing clout and bolsters forecasts that China will pass the United States as the world’s biggest economy as early as 2030. America’s gross domestic product was about $14 trillion in 2009.

“This has enormous significance,” said Nicholas R. Lardy, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “It reconfirms what’s been happening for the better part of a decade: China has been eclipsing Japan economically. For everyone in China’s region, they’re now the biggest trading partner rather than the U.S. or Japan.”

China leading the way in all aspects of clean energy development

August 14, 2010 Leave a comment

It’s a topic I’ve touched on before, and it’s not getting any better for the United States:

U.S. venture capital investors in new energy technologies are beginning to groom their portfolio companies for increased business in China, given favorable government policies and more availability of capital.

Many U.S. clean technology companies already rely on Chinese manufacturers for their component parts. Now, investors said, U.S. companies are turning to China for capital as well.

“The funding crunch in the U.S. is really severe,” said Jiang Xiaodong, a managing director with New Enterprise Associates and head of the firm’s operations in China. “And a lot of the Chinese companies that are listed on the SME [board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange] exchange and on ChiNext raised a lot of money and now they want to spend it in a way that gives them access to technology and future growth opportunities.”


Earlier this year, Tucker, Ga.-based Coaltek Inc. partnered with Guangdong Yi Jian Investment Co. to build a 10 million-metric-ton per year coal-treatment facility, which uses the company’s technology to turn low-grade coal into a higher burning, more powerful and less-polluting fuel. They’re building a plant together in Inner Mongolia that will ultimately cost $250 million.

Coaltek’s investors see similar opportunities with other companies in their portfolio. “We’re looking at things that have been developed [in the U.S.], but are not really ramping because of the availability of capital,” said Michel J. Maloof III, a principal with Braemar Energy Ventures, which has been an investor in Coaltek since the company’s first round.

This is all food for thought when we consider that our government is considerably anti-capital and anti-business.  Sure, the president will tap dance for a photo-op at a plant that makes batteries for electric cars.  But his people will make sure that said plant will operate only with the benefit of union workers.  Anything less is not a viable option.  Costs increase, regulatory requirements become more and more onerous and, as I noted previously, the US prices itself out of the market for innovation and capital that are necessary to develop a significant market presence.

The left loves to decry capitalists, capitalism and profits for shareholders.  At the same time, they also genuflect before the altar of progressive utopianism when it comes to alternative energy. 

They want their wind turbines, but crap on those who want to make it a profitable enterprise.  Flushing money down a toilet is not a way towards energy independence, and government will not provide solutions brought down from the clouds on a magical unicorn.  You can’t have it both ways.

Those classy Democrats

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Stay classy, Democrats:

It was a dramatic but fitting start to an evening that brimmed with political defiance. About 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, as guests began strolling into the Plaza Hotel to celebrate Representative Charles B. Rangel’s 80th birthday, former Mayor David N. Dinkins turned to confront a heckler.

“You know you are attending a party for a crook,” the man yelled.

At that, Mr. Dinkins, a paragon of statesmanship and dignity, raised his middle finger at the man, displaying it for all to see, according to witnesses, whose accounts were confirmed by the former mayor.

The former mayor of New York city, attending the birthday party of one of the country’s most corrupt politicians, confronted by a bystander pointing out that fact, tells said bystander to go screw himself.

These Democrats really have their priorities straight don’t they?

“Recovery Summer” crawls along

August 12, 2010 Leave a comment

This morning’s job report was ugly:

The economy is looking bleaker as new applications for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level in almost six months.

It’s a sign that hiring remains weak and employers may be going back to cutting their staffs. Analysts say the increase suggests companies won’t be adding enough workers in August to lower 9.5 percent unemployement rate.

First-time claims for jobless benefits edged up by 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 484,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the highest total since February. Analysts had expected claims to fall.

Initial claims have now risen in three of the last four weeks and are close to their high point for the year of 490,000, reached in late January. The four-week average, which smooths volatility, soared by 14,250 to 473,500, also the highest since late February.


Claims fell steadily last year from their peak of 651,000, reached in March 2009. But they have mostly leveled out this year at or above 450,000. In a healthy economy with rapid hiring, claims usually drop below 400,000.

Seeing the endless stream of bad economic news over the past several months, and especially the weak jobs situation, I can’t help but think about the early days of the Obama administration, and their push for the trillion dollar $800+ stimulus package.

Remember the boasts made by both the administration and congressional Democrats, about the number of shovel-ready jobs that were lined up, waiting for federal funding?  And how those jobs would set in motion this miraculous economic recovery rooted in Keynesian economics?  And how not one Republican representative voted for that monstrosity in the House?

Me too.

The ball’s in the American people’s court this November–hold the politicians accountable for the lies.

White House to left-wingers: Drop dead…

August 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Gotta love this story:

The White House is simmering with anger at criticism from liberals who say President Obama is more concerned with deal-making than ideological purity.

During an interview with The Hill in his West Wing office, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs blasted liberal naysayers, whom he said would never regard anything the president did as good enough.

“I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs said. “I mean, it’s crazy.”

The press secretary dismissed the “professional left” in terms very similar to those used by their opponents on the ideological right, saying, “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality.”

Of those who complain that Obama caved to centrists on issues such as healthcare reform, Gibbs said: “They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.”

The White House, constantly under fire from expected enemies on the right, has been frustrated by nightly attacks on cable news shows catering to the left, where Obama and top lieutenants like Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel have been excoriated for abandoning the public option in healthcare reform; for not moving faster to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay; and for failing, so far, to end the ban on gays serving openly in the military.

Liberals have criticized Obama and his staff for moving to the middle and bargaining on healthcare reform, as well as the financial regulatory overhaul and even the $787 billion economic stimulus package, which some liberals said should have been larger.

Nothing spells the dog days of summer like some political fratricide, eh?

To be fair, if this were, say, the Bush administration, and Ari Fleischer made these remarks on the eve of midterm elections in which the party in power is at serious risk of losing their majorities, I’d be more than a little annoyed.  And it looks like the “professional left” is a bit perturbed this evening.

But the best thing about this story is that the administration is sticking its finger in the eye of the constituents who were the most mindless and sycophantic supporters of Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign.  I’m sure I’ll be seeing a lot more on this story in the next few days.

Pass the popcorn.