Patterico's Pontifications

3/2/2010

Texas GOP Governor’s Race: Hutchison Concedes

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 7:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Polls showed incumbent Governor Rick Perry was virtually certain to win the GOP primary in the Texas Governor’s race but there was a question mark regarding whether he could take 50% of the vote and avoid a run-off. With almost 42% of the vote recorded, that question mark may have been erased as the Austin American-Statesman and the Houston Chronicle are running banner headlines that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has conceded.

Former Houston Mayor Bill White was an easy winner for the Democrats.

– DRJ

Rangel Steps Down?

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 6:56 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Rich Lowry says NBC is reporting Charles Rangel will step down as Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee. But The Hill reports otherwise:

“Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Tuesday night told The Hill that Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) is still chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

After huddling with Rangel for 45 minutes, Pelosi initially said, “No comment” when asked if Rangel remains panel chairman.

She later added, “I guess he is still chair of Ways and Means…”

Pelosi spoke to The Hill after Rangel denied reports he would leave his perch at the top of one of the House’s most powerful committees.

As he emerged from the meeting, Rangel was asked whether he is still chairman. His response: “You bet your sweet life!”

He then said Pelosi told him not to say “a damn thing” about the meeting.

When asked whether he would be chairman tomorrow or the next day, Rangel demurred.

“I’m 79 years old,” he said. “At that age, you can’t be sure about anything.”

And in what could be the final word, Hot Air says Rangel may be taking a leave of absence.

– DRJ

Taxpayers Host Pay-Go Reception

Filed under: Government,Obama,Politics — DRJ @ 6:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

From Mark Knoller’s Twitter feed:

“# @jrcopper It’s a presidential event. Comes out of taxpayer funds.

# The WH argued that the unemployment benefits bill was emergency legislation and so was exempt from Pay As You Go requirements.

# It comes a day after the WH demonized Sen. Bunning for trying to apply Pay As You Go to the unemployment benefits extension bill.

# In the evening, Pres. Obama hosts a reception for members of Congress who voted to restore the Pay-As-You-Go law for federal spending.”

So President Obama “lets” the American taxpayers host a reception for members of Congress who supported Pay-Go legislation — the same people who opposed Senator Bunnings’ objection to extending unemployment benefits without paying for them.

How sweet it is to be a Washington politician.

H/T Maybee, with my thanks.

– DRJ

Letterman Has “Fun With Palin”

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 4:47 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The Chicago Tribune, sister paper of the L.A. Times, runs a political column called The Swamp. One of today’s columns involves Sarah Palin and includes this David Letterman clip the Swampettes describe as: See Letterman’s fun with Palin last night here.

Fast forward to 1:55 if you want to skip Letterman having “fun” with NBC’s Olympics:

Making Sarah Palin look stupid never gets old for Dave, does it?

– DRJ

Bunning Fights for Pay-Go

Filed under: Government,Politics — DRJ @ 3:55 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Senator Bunning took President Obama at his word after Obama signed pay-go into law just 16 days ago, and look where it got him:

Kentucky Republican Sen. Jim Bunning has been demonized in the media a lot lately.

CNN has been running a crawl that reads, “Thousands hurt by one senator.” Ticket has described him as a goat. He has been blamed for the furlough of 2,000 workers at the Transportation Department. From the podium of the Obama White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs denounced him. Even Bunning’s Republican colleagues have pleaded with him to stop objecting to a stop-gap measure that protects the unemployment benefits for millions of out-of-work Americans afloat.”

Here’s another example:

“The bill to extend unemployment benefits and COBRA coverage was blocked by Republican Senator Jim Bunning, an arch-reactionary from Kentucky who took advantage of a Senate rule requiring unanimous consent to bring the legislation to a vote before the weekend.

Bunning, who is not running for reelection, was contemptuous of the suffering that he was helping inflict on more than one million workers, including an estimated 60,000 from his home state. He demanded that Senate Democrats agree to pay for the extended benefits without creating new debt, and declared that his actions were intended “to send a message to the American people.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Whip Richard Durbin repeatedly called the bill up for a vote. Each time it was blocked by Bunning’s voiced objection. But the Democratic Senate leaders declined to declare his action a filibuster and invoke cloture, although the required 60-vote majority would have been easily attainable.

Under Senate rules, cloture would have led to 30 hours of debate on the bill, followed by a vote. This process would have avoided the cutoff of benefits, but would have caused senators to miss their flights home for the weekend.”

Who’s really being selfish — the lone Senator who wants Congress to pay for the benefits it hands out or the Democratic Senators who don’t want to miss their flights home?

– DRJ

ObamaCare: Burning down the House

Filed under: General — Karl @ 11:50 am

[Posted by Karl]

Pres. Obama plans to announce the Democrats’ “way forward” on ObamaCare tomorrow — though it is already pretty clear to everyone that the Dems are going to try to ram it through Congress with a reconciliation strategy. Inside Health Policy’s Julian Pecquet and Amy Lotven obtained a Democratic memo with a proposed timeline: The House passes the Senate bill by March 19th, and a reconciliation bill “fixing” it within a week, sending the latter to the Senate for reconcilation starting March 26. The Dem hope is that the Easter recess will deter the GOP from filing numerous amendments that would force Democrats to take difficult votes (even if its only a vote to waive forced by VP Joe Biden). Obviously, the Dem leadership does not want its members going home and facing angry voters again until the deed is done.

Thus, the immediate problem for Dems is a shortage of House votes for the Senate bill (and no news that the Senate will assure the House of going along with any particular fixes yet). FDL’s David Dayen notes that the Obama administration is using the media to start pressuring House members who voted “no” last time:

Ten House Democrats indicated in an Associated Press survey Monday they have not ruled out switching their “no” votes to “yes” on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, brightening the party’s hopes in the face of unyielding Republican opposition.

***

In interviews with the AP, at least 10 of the 39 Democrats — or their spokesmen — either declined to state their positions or said they were undecided about the revised legislation, making them likely targets for intense wooing by Pelosi and Obama. Three of them — Brian Baird of Washington, Bart Gordon of Tennessee and John Tanner of Tennessee — are not seeking re-election this fall.

The others are Rick Boucher of Virginia, Suzanne Kosmas of Florida, Frank Kratovil of Maryland, Michael McMahon of New York, Walt Minnick of Idaho, Scott Murphy of New York and Glenn Nye of Virginia. Several lawmakers’ offices did not reply to the AP queries.

The tipoff — as RCP’s Jay Cost noted on Twitter — is the timing of the AP story. These members have been non-committal or unresponsive to press inquiries for months. And quite frankly, a number of them are not as undecided as the AP would have readers believe.

First, the AP itself reported that Minnick will not change his vote, according to his spokesman — which is no surprise, given his record and the heavy GOP tilt of his district. Jay notes that Boucher now has a top-tier opponent in his re-election race. Kratovil told the New York Times that he prefers a smaller bill. (Both Kratovil and Boucher represent districts that went 58-59% for McCain in 2008.) The NYT also reports that Tanner has told colleagues he has no intention of switching his vote. And the AP did not bother to check with Rep. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania:

With so many Democrats feeling nervous about their past votes in favor of the health bill, Mr. Altmire said, he can imagine vote-switching in only one direction: from yes to no.

“I don’t know of any no votes at this point that would switch unless the bill is substantially changed, including me,” he said. “And I know of a handful of yes votes who regret it and would relish the opportunity to put a no vote on the board so they could go back home and talk about that.”

Indeed, Bloomberg reports that Baron Hill of Indiana might not back a measure if it goes through reconciliation — and his colleague Brad Ellsworth sounds queasy, too (both have considered running for the Senate seat being vacated by Evan Bayh).

FDL’s Dayen issued a cautionary note to his left-leaning readers:

I do want to say one thing to those who claim that Nancy Pelosi has special powers, and that she doesn’t lose a vote in the House ever, which has been floated by commentators and members of Congress alike. Let’s be clear about this – Pelosi DID lose the vote in November. She won final passage of the health care bill, but if she had her way, the Stupak amendment would never have gotten a vote. She ignored and ignored Stupak for several months, hopeful that she could round up enough votes for the bill without him. And ultimately, she was unsuccessful, forced to roll back women’s rights as a consequence of passing health care reform.

Now, she doesn’t have that out. The Nelson amendment governs the abortion language in the Senate bill, and as changing that through reconciliation is unlikely to pass the Byrd rule, basically that cannot be changed.

Thus, the supposed two-bill strategy (Senate bill + reconciliation) might have to become a three-bill strategy to pick up Stupak’s bloc of pro-life Dems. But Stupak himself is already moving the goalposts, making objections beyond that issue. At the moment, it is sounding like Dems who voted “no” (and some who voted “yes”) will let Nancy Pelosi break their arms as preferable to suffering political death in November. The Easter deadline — like all of the other Obamacare deadlines — may already be slipping.

Update: Slate’s Timothy Noah confirms in even greater detail just how difficult it will be for Pelosi to flip Democrats from “no” to “yes.”

–Karl

Boehlert Lies Again

Filed under: ACORN/O'Keefe,Constitutional Law,General — Patterico @ 7:22 am

Eric Boehlert is at it again.

The dressed-as-a-pimp storyline was one Breitbart, O’Keefe, and others eagerly pushed last fall. And it was one the press quickly embraced. (In truth, O’Keefe was often dressed rather conservatively — slacks and dress shirt — when he talked to ACORN staffers, and he often presented himself as a law school student and an aspiring politician trying to rescue his prostitute girlfriend from her abusive pimp.)

The italicized “from” is Boehlert’s way of implying that O’Keefe never pretended to be a pimp at ACORN. In fact, he knows full well that O’Keefe pretended to be a pimp at ACORN. The fact that he portrayed himself as the good pimp doesn’t mean he wasn’t playing a pimp.

As I document in this thorough post below, O’Keefe repeatedly told ACORN employees that he was setting up a house where Giles and underage girls would turn tricks, and give the proceeds to O’Keefe, who planned to use them for a future Congressional campaign. The tapes have numerous exchanges like this:

O’Keefe: But, one of the things I was one of the things we also wanna do um one of my goals you asked you asked do you know how you wanna do this, I think one of the goals is not only can Eden protect some of these 13, 14, 15 year-old girls

Theresa (ACORN) Yeah.

O’Keefe: coming over from El Salvador. In addition to protecting them and getting their feet on the ground so that they can you know perform the tricks and you know learn the how LA prostitution scene is I was also wanting to um use some of the this is very lucrative and potentially we can use a lot of the money we’re getting from the underaged girls from El Salvador and use some of the money for campaign one day

. . . .

O’Keefe: We’re bringing these girls from overseas.

Hannah (Eden) Well, they’re here.

O’Keefe: But, we are gonna take a part of the profit and I intend to use the profit

Theresa (ACORN): Right.

O’Keefe: From the tricks the girls perform

Theresa (ACORN): Right.

O’Keefe: To fund my political campaign.

Theresa (ACORN): Right.

Boehlert knows O’Keefe posed as a pimp. But he won’t say so. I have offered to give Boehlert $100 (commenters have bumped the offer to $200) simply to state clearly whether O’Keefe pretended to be a pimp at ACORN. He knows that O’Keefe did, but if he says so, he can’t insinuate that he didn’t, by harping on the clothing non-issue.

Boehlert won’t tell you that O’Keefe pretended to be a pimp, but he is willing to further claims by others who deceptively claim O’Keefe did not. Today Boehlert posts a misleading, deceptive, and highly doctored video by Mike Stark which makes that claim:

Stark Lie

As I showed in this post, Boehlert labeled Giles and O’Keefe hoaxsters because they did not correct statements or implications by others that O’Keefe wore the pimp getup in ACORN offices. Yet he is content to post a video on his site that makes a false claim that O’Keefe never played a pimp. By Boehlert’s own standards, that makes him a hoaxster himself.

P.S. ACORN supporters are also claiming vindication because the Brooklyn D.A. yesterday issued a statement refusing to prosecute ACORN. They are especially excited because an anonymous source claimed that the videotapes were edited deceptively. Well, if we can’t trust an anonymous source nowadays, who can we trust?

The fact is that the full audio and transcript of the Brooklyn ACORN video is available and shows that the tape was not deceptively edited. If someone has a case to make otherwise, let them come forward and make it. My guess: the anonymous source (whoever it was) was a Democrat hack who didn’t release their name because they knew their partisanship would be discovered.


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