Patterico's Pontifications


Playing the *__* Card

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 10:06 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Is Carly Fiorina playing the gender card when she says she has a better chance to beat California Senator Barbara Boxer than her GOP primary opponent Chuck DeVore because she’s a woman?

“Asked why she is a better candidate than her Republican primary opponent Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Calif.), Fiorina said that a woman stands a better chance of defeating Boxer.

“With all due respect and deep affection for white men, I am married to one,” Fiorina said at a breakfast at Americans for Tax Reform. “But [Barbara Boxer] knows how to beat them in California, she has done it over and over and over again.”

Of DeVore, the former economic adviser to Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign said “he’s the opponent Barbara Boxer hopes she faces.”

Michelle Malkin says Fiorina is trashing her white male opponent and playing the gender card, but Ace thinks it’s fine to take gender into account when evaluating who is most electable.

Frankly, this Fiorina quote bothers me more than the gender issue:

“Asked if she would support President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees as a senator and if she would have voted for now-Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Fiorina said she was not very familiar with her record because she was being for [sic] breast cancer, but added that she would have supported her nomination.

“Honestly I did not study in great detail Sotomayor’s record because I was battling breast cancer at the time,” she said. “But based upon what I know, I think my conclusion is I would have voted for her. She seemed qualified from everything I could read. As I said, I think elections have consequences. That’s why elections matter.”

What say you?


ACORN Sting: Part 2, the Evidentiary Phase (Updated)

Filed under: Government,Law — DRJ @ 7:48 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

As noted in this post, Patterico appeared on last night’s KFI broadcast guest-hosted by Andrew Breitbart. This was the same broadcast in which Breitbart introduced Derrick Roach, a California private investigator who reportedly discovered thousands of pages of ACORN documents trashed by the San Diego ACORN office after the California Attorney General announced he planned to investigate the ACORN videos.

This BigGovernment post summarizes the story and what Breitbart plans next:

“On October 1, California Attorney General Jerry Brown, who once again aspires to be the state’s governor, announced that he was investigating not just ACORN in California, but also the truth tellers who exposed the alleged corruption and illegality.

Last night, I hosted a three-hour show on KFI 640 AM, the largest radio station in the country, and use the opportunity to announce the existence of 20,000 deeply sensitive and highly political documents discovered in the dumpster behind ACORN in San Diego on October 9, nine days after ACORN was announced to be under state investigation.

Some might call that “obstruction of justice.”

Breitbart said that the Hannah Giles-James O’Keefe videos are Part 1 of the ACORN scandal and that phase is now on hold. Part 2 is what he describes as the “evidentiary phase” which begins with allegations of the ACORN San Diego document dump. As the persons responsible for enforcing state and federal laws, Breitbart asks California Attorney General Jerry Brown and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder what they plan to do about this.

In law, the evidentiary phase of a lawsuit can be long and boring, but it can also be where a case is won or lost. Think of it as the foundation of a building. It takes time to plan, measure, prepare and pour a foundation and it doesn’t look like much after it’s done … but without a good foundation, the structure will not stand.


UPDATE: ACORN responds that they threw out junk documents (“old leaflets, newsletters, etc”) that are unrelated to the AG’s investigation and inadvertently included some documents with personal information.

ObamaCare: Odds, anyone?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 6:57 pm

[Posted by Karl]

Before Saturday’s Senate vote to proceed to debate on HarryCare, the Senate GOP pointed to a Congressional Research Service study showing that 97% of bills subject to a cloture vote to begin debate ultimately pass. In reality, over time, cloture motions have been increasing and spreading to relatively routine bills. The exception in the study dealt with gun rights, and the Democrats’ attempted takeover of the US healthcare system is just as much a hot-button issue. Moreover, George Mitchell managed to get ClintonCare to the Senate floor in 1994, only to be forced into retreat weeks later. By buying nto the hype over Saturday’s procedural vote, the Senate GOP hopes to hang it around the necks of vulnerable Dems in 2010, but they also risked demoralizing the rank-and-file.

Outside Congress, Keith Hennessey updated his odds last week:

I am lowering from 60% to 50% my projection for the success of comprehensive health care reform.

1. Pass a partisan comprehensive bill through the House and through the regular Senate process with 60, leading to a law; (was 40% –> 30%)

2. Pass a partisan comprehensive bill through the House and through the reconciliation process with 51 Senate Democrats, leading to a law; (steady at 20%)

3. Fall back to a much more limited bill that becomes law; (was 20% –> 15%)

4. No bill becomes law this Congress. (was 20% –> 35%)

I think there is zero chance a bill makes it to the President’s desk before 2010. If a bill were to become law, I would anticipate completion in late January or even February.


I have lowered my projection of Leader Reid succeeding for three reasons:

1. Pretty much everything has to go right for him to win on cloture in mid-December. He has no more wiggle room on the schedule, and new intra-Democrat policy fights are popping up.

2. I think his members are going to get beat up about health care and jobs over Thanksgiving recess, then return to Washington to face another bad jobs day Friday the 4th.

3. If moderates demand large substantive concessions for their votes, liberals like Senators Rockefeller and Boxer may refuse. They may tell Reid they will oppose cloture if the bill moves toward the center, and instead advocate abandoning regular order and starting a clean reconciliation process in January. House liberals might join this effort.

I have long thought ObamaCare to be a 50/50 proposition at best, so I am heartened that a former insider like Hennessey has dialed back his odds. I still would quibble with a few of his assessments.

My primary quibble would be with his assessment of reconciliation as an option. Reid has currently taken reconciliation off the table. That in itself would not be a big deal, but we are also starting to hear lefties like Sen. Tom Harkin explain why reconciliation would not be a good thing for liberals. I also think that Hennessey underestimates how bad it would look politically if — after several weeks of normal debate — the Democrats tried to shift to reconciliation. Even the establishment media would be unable to avoid the narrative that Democrats were trying to ram an unpopular bill through the Senate after failing under the normal rules. Public opinion polling consistently shows very bad numbers for a “go it alone” approach. It is hard to think of anything the Democrats could do that would instantly make ObamaCare 10-20% more unpopular than to try passing it via reconciliation.

My secondary quibble would be with the notion that no bill is more likely than a minor bill. If the Democrats fail on a comprehensive bill, they will (imho) fall back to a minor bill of some sort. The reasons for this merit their own post, but we can start with the Democrats’ perception that they will be punished (at least by their base) if they fail to pass something.

As Byron York noted, the extraordinary part of Saturday’s vote was that it was as tough as it was for Reid to get debate started. The path gets no easier from here.


Is Tonight the Night?

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 1:36 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

No, this isn’t a post about Captain Chesley Sullenberger, although the title would fit. Instead, this post involves whether President Obama is finally ready to make a decision on Afghanistan after his 9th war council (*) strategy meeting:

“President Obama may make up his mind about sending more troops to Afghanistan as early as tonight, press secretary Robert Gibbs said today.

Obama will meet with his foreign policy advisers tonight for a Afghanistan strategy meeting. When a reporter asked if Obama might “lock down” his decision tonight, Gibbs said it was possible.

“I don’t know the answer to that. It may be tonight; it may be over the course of the next several days,” he responded.”

The linked article indicates the decision won’t be announced until next week but I’m still betting on a Thanksgiving release. It’s a good time to bury a decision Obama doesn’t want to make.


Walpin Firing Details Emerge

Filed under: Government,Obama — DRJ @ 1:20 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

It appears the Obama Administration has been less than candid about the firing of AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin. Byron York at the Washington Examiner has the details:

“Other than board chairman Alan Solomont, the Democratic mega-donor and Obama supporter who originally told the White House of his dissatisfaction with Walpin, “no member of the CNCS board had any substantive input about whether the removal of Gerald Walpin was appropriate,” according to the report. Only one other board member, vice-chairman Stephen Goldsmith, was even called by the White House, and that was on June 10, a few hours before Walpin was fired. According to the report, Goldsmith told investigators that “the White House had already decided to remove Walpin and wanted to confirm [Goldsmith’s] support for the action.”

The new documents show the White House scrambling, in the days after the controversy erupted, to put together a public explanation for the firing. On June 11, less than 24 hours after Walpin received the call from Eisen, the board held a conference call. The next day, Ranit Schmelzer, who is part of the corporation’s press office, sent an email to board members giving them talking points to use if contacted by reporters seeking information about the matter.

“Indicate that you support the president’s decision to remove IG Walpin,” was Schmelzer’s first instruction to the board. Then: “If asked why he was removed, indicate that the president lost confidence in Mr. Walpin.” And then: “If the reporter continues to press, say that you can’t get into details on a personnel matter, but you understand there were some performance-based issues.” Finally, Schmelzer advised the board to avoid “getting into any specifics about IG Walpin’s performance-based issues. The WH has stayed away from this and has counseled us to do the same.”

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air sums it up:

“The new information shows that Obama fired Walpin for political purposes, not for cause. The White House also broke the law, at least initially, by not giving Congress the proper notification before terminating Walpin (they adhered to the regulation after being called on this violation by postponing Walpin’s termination date). The firing appears to have been motivated to protect an Obama ally (Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson) from having allegations of using federal funds to pay off employees and avoid sexual harassment charges exposed. The White House essentially smeared Walpin with completely unsubstantiated allegations of senility to undermine his credibility, once Walpin went public. One might think that the national media would take an interest in this, but as York also notes, their interest has never been very intense at all.

Inspectors general exist to check abuses of power and corruption, regardless of the party in power. An attack on them, especially one so nakedly political and potentially corrupt as Walpin’s firing, is an attack on accountability and citizen government. This case should be headlining major media outlets — and if the current president was a Republican, it no doubt would be.”

Too bad the media isn’t willing to teach the Obama Administration a valuable lesson about the downside of political patronage and coverups.


Sanford Faces Ethics Charges

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 12:41 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Republican South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has been charged with 37 civil ethics violations for using his office for personal financial gain:

“Among the mistakes the ethics commission says the governor made were his:

• Approval of the purchase of four first- and business-class commercial airline tickets for a June 2008 trip during which he met with his mistress in Argentina.

• Personal use of state-owned aircraft for trips such as the birthday party of a campaign contributor in Aiken, and flying from Myrtle Beach to Columbia for a “personal event,” including a haircut.

• Reimbursing himself nearly $3,000 using campaign contributions, including about $900 for expenses to attend a Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami and a hunting trip in Dublin, Ireland, several days later.”

Each count carries a $2,000 penalty so the charges could result in a total of $74,000 in fines. Sanford’s attorneys claim any violations are minor and have been revealed in updated ethics forms.


Spend Today, Pay Tomorrow

Filed under: Economics,International,Obama — DRJ @ 12:13 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

America has been on a spending binge but the bill is starting to come due:

“With the national debt now topping $12 trillion, the White House estimates that the government’s tab for servicing the debt will exceed $700 billion a year in 2019, up from $202 billion this year, even if annual budget deficits shrink drastically. Other forecasters say the figure could be much higher.

In concrete terms, an additional $500 billion a year in interest expense would total more than the combined federal budgets this year for education, energy, homeland security and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

And the fiscal problems are just beginning:

“The problem, many analysts say, is that record government deficits have arrived just as the long-feared explosion begins in spending on benefits under Medicare and Social Security. The nation’s oldest baby boomers are approaching 65, setting off what experts have warned for years will be a fiscal nightmare for the government.”

Americans are concerned about the deficit. So are foreign creditors like China.

EDIT: Gateway Pundit has the updated deficit chart.

Gulp. Maybe this recent SNL skit will help us laugh despite our concerns:


NCAA Football, Week 12

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 11:31 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

We’ll have to be after-the-fact armchair quarterbacks for Week 12 since I missed a part of the weekend and didn’t get this posted Saturday. But it wasn’t a good week for Notre Dame and the Charlie Weis era seems to be over. (Urban Meyer says he’s not interested.)

The Top 7 in the BCS stayed the same and, barring upsets, the top BCS matchups look like the winner of Florida-Alabama vs Texas for the national championship and the loser of Florida-Alabama vs TCU for second place. If so, this State of Texas football fan will be happy.


Still More Doctors Amazed to Learn Patient in Persistent Vegetative State . . . Wasn’t

Filed under: General,Schiavo — Patterico @ 6:33 am

From the Daily Mail:

A car crash victim has spoken of the horror he endured for 23 years after he was misdiagnosed as being in a coma when he was conscious the whole time.

Rom Houben, trapped in his paralysed body after a car crash, described his real-life nightmare as he screamed to doctors that he could hear them – but could make no sound.

‘I screamed, but there was nothing to hear,’ said Mr Houben, now 46, who doctors thought was in a persistent veg[e]tative state.

If there’s one thing I learned from the Terri Schiavo case, it’s that when doctors say you are in a persistent vegetative state, you are. No arguing, Mr. Houben. You’re supposed to be dead.

Doctors are never wrong. Except when they are . . . and then they’re shocked, stunned, and amazed.

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