Patterico's Pontifications


Exclusive: More Hagel Idiocy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:11 pm

If this doesn’t disqualify him, I don’t know what does. Chuck Hagel in 2002, speaking highly about . . . Joe Biden:

Joe Biden is one of the preeminent foreign policy thinkers in our country. You can deal with him. He’s always straight up. He knows what he is talking about. He’s fair, very experienced, and a very good listener. He’s a formidable guy who’s also a pleasure to deal with.

This should be disqualifying — but in a world where a guy just slightly stupider than your Dumb Uncle Rufus can be the Vice President? It is, once again, a bug that Obama sees as a feature.

Thanks to Charles C. Johnson.

Cruz: They Oppose Rubio Because He’s Latino. Patterico: You Bet They Do — And Here’s the Evidence

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:25 pm

Democrats?? Doing race-based attacks on Republicans?!?!

Ab-solutely (via Hot Air):

Sen. Ted Cruz says some of the attacks on fellow Republican Sen. Marco Rubio by Democrats are motivated by race. Cruz said today the fact that Rubio is a Republican Latino poses a threat to political adversaries. “I think Democrats and the media are afraid of Marco Rubio because he is a smart, intelligent, conservative Hispanic. And they are looking for any excuse they can to attack him, because that threatens them,” Cruz told reporters during a tour of a Texas gun manufacturing plant north of Austin. “Look, he took a drink of water in a speech. And it dominated the news for days with one network saying it was a career ender.”

Cruz said the criticism of Rubio’s GOP response following last week’s State of the Union was about more than his being a promising young Republican. “It’s not just a promising Republican. I think the Democrats view Marco Rubio as a particular threat because of his background, his life story. I think it they believe it is in their interest to inflict as much damage as possible and blow things wildly out of proportion.”

Cruz is right. And here’s how I know that.

The first year I blogged, 2003, I noted a Wall Street Journal expose of Democrat strategy memos from the time when Democrats were in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee (as they are again). The link to the WSJ piece is now broken, but you’re in luck, because I quoted the most relevant memo — and the link to my post still works. Here is a quote from a staffer to Dick “Dick” Durbin regarding a scheduled meeting with liberal interest groups. Note well, please, how they refer to Miguel Estrada:

The groups singled out three–Jeffrey Sutton (6th Circuit); Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit); and Caroline [sic] Kuhl (9th Circuit)–as a potential nominee for a contentious hearing early next year, with a [sic] eye to voting him or her down in Committee. They also identified Miguel Estrada (D.C. Circuit) as especially dangerous, because he has a minimal paper trail, he is Latino, and the White House seems to be grooming him for a Supreme Court appointment. They want to hold Estrada off as long as possible.

He’s dangerous, “Dick” Durbin was told, because he is Latino.

You got that?

And, as I am sure you will remember, Miguel Estrada was filibustered when George W. Bush attempted to place him on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, long seen as a launching pad for the Supreme Court. I fought the filibuster of Estrada tooth and nail (keep scrolling), but I am just one blogger, not quite able on my lonesome to stem a national tide of cynical race-based Democrat political maneuvering.

And Estrada withdrew because he could not put his life on hold for years. And Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latino/a on the High Court. And there was much rejoicing.

So, when Democrats denounce Cruz — that awful McCarthyite! — for daring to suggest that Democrats might be targeting Rubio because he’s Latino? When they do that, you look them in the eye, and you say: “Oh yeah? What about Miguel Estrada?!?!”

And when they give you a blank look, like they don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about . . . you read them this post.

UPDATE: Thanks very much to Instapundit for the link.

Boehner on Sequestration: Oh My God It’s So Dangerous and Unthinkable

Filed under: Budget,General — Patterico @ 7:59 am

John Boehner in the Wall Street Journal:

A week from now, a dramatic new federal policy is set to go into effect that threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more. In a bit of irony, President Obama stood Tuesday with first responders who could lose their jobs if the policy goes into effect. Most Americans are just hearing about this Washington creation for the first time: the sequester. What they might not realize from Mr. Obama’s statements is that it is a product of the president’s own failed leadership.

The sequester is a wave of deep spending cuts scheduled to hit on March 1. Unless Congress acts, $85 billion in across-the-board cuts will occur this year, with another $1.1 trillion coming over the next decade. There is nothing wrong with cutting spending that much—we should be cutting even more—but the sequester is an ugly and dangerous way to do it.

Cry me a river. It’s a drop in the bucket. Boehner has a point that entitlement spending is not touched by the sequester. So call for entitlements to be cut too. But stop talking about how a relatively piddling set of budget cuts is so awful and dangerous. When you tighten the belt, you feel the squeeze, son.

Boehner does have one good point:

The president got his higher taxes—$600 billion from higher earners, with no spending cuts—at the end of 2012. He also got higher taxes via ObamaCare. Meanwhile, no one should be talking about raising taxes when the government is still paying people to play videogames, giving folks free cellphones, and buying $47,000 cigarette-smoking machines.

The GOP keeps allowing this charlatan Obama to talk about “balance” when 1) they already gave him the tax part of the “balance” and 2) the problem is spending, not taxes. As I wrote last month:

Can’t we just tax the rich? No, for two reasons.

First, even confiscating all millionaires’ taxable income would not close the gap. It’s difficult to find recent statistics for these numbers, but in posts I wrote in April 2011 I quoted people who had examined IRS statistics and found that in 2008, “Taxable income over $100,000 was $1,582 billion, over $200,000 was $1,185 billion, over $500,000 was $820 billion, over $1 million was $616 billion, over $2 million was $460 billion, over $5 million was $302 billion, and over $10 million was $212 billion.” To get that $1.3 trillion you can’t close the gap by taxing rich people. You could confiscate all the income of people with taxable income over $1 million and it would not close the gap by half.

But there’s another problem: it wouldn’t work that well anyway. As I illustrated yesterday, we have had top marginal rates as high as 91% and as low as 28%, and we still get about 18% of GDP in revenues every year, regardless. Extremely rich people change their behavior when you start to confiscate all their money.

We haven’t even addressed paying off almost $17 trillion in debt.

It’s as if you had a large mountain of sand and a small bucket of dirt to haul away, and when you said we should start getting on moving that sand, some yutz starts insisting on a balanced approach: one teaspoon of dirt to be removed for each teaspoon of sand.

Yet Obama continues to play the game of demanding more taxes, more taxes, more taxes, as if that will fix everything. Sweetness and Light notes that Obama vowed in 2011 to veto any effort to undo the sequester — unless Republicans raised taxes on the rich. Which they did, recently. Which they need to keep reminding the public.

We already agreed to move the dirt. Now let’s get to work on the real problem. And Boehner, stop treating the sequester as if it’s this awful and unthinkable set of cuts. You’re part of the problem.

Presidential Debate Commissioner: Picking Candy Crowley As a Moderator Was a Mistake

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:24 am

Welcome to the Republican echo chamber, commissioner!

Am I the only one who would have liked to hear him elaborate?

Hagel Met With Front Group for Iranian Regime

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:18 am

Another fact that apparently means nothing to Senate Republicans:

Documents obtained by The Daily Caller show that staffers for then-Sen. Chuck Hagel met repeatedly with a controversial pro-Iran lobby group, and some met with the organization’s president.

Hagel is President Barack Obama’s choice to be the next secretary of defense. Arizona Sen. John McCain and other Republicans have conceded that a vote — and likely confirmation — will take place during the week of Feb. 25.

Iranian state-run media have referred to the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC) since at least 2006 as “Iran’s lobby” in the U.S.

For Obama, this isn’t a bug. It’s a feature.

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