Diary

MI Morning Update 11-25-2008

707 DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY

November 25, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”
– Lincoln in his second annual message to Congress, in December 1862

MORNING UPDATE:

HOW WE WIN…Forget the red state – blue state comparison.  We are a state and a country that responds to a commonsense conservative message and unfortunately today, our party has little credibility on that message.

Until our national leaders in Congress actually stand up for our center right principles, we won’t win. We need to put forth an agenda that effects real people with real problems – from Wall Street to main street.

We can’t just be the Grand “Old” Party but we need to also be the Grand “Opportunity” Party that leads us into the 21st century with innovative solutions based on our conservative principles.

RNC CHAIR UPDATE…a third candidate officially entered the field today, South Carolina Chairman Katon Dawson. Katon is a good friend and a very effective Chairman from a “red state”. He joins GOPAC Chairman Michael Steele and myself in our effort to rebuild the Republican Party.

A letter went out on my behalf to the RNC members with 5 State Chairs, encouraging our colleagues to support my candidacy. This kind of public and early support is important as we build our effort towards the January election.

TWITTER…here is a good blog post that discusses why conservatives should be using twitter…with some helpful links and suggestions. http://tinyurl.com/6nj9x2

STATE COMMITTEE MEETING…REMINDER…our next State Committee meeting will be held in Lansing Radisson on December 5th & 6th.

THANKSGIVING BREAK…I will be taking a break from my daily Articles of Interest over the Thanksgiving holidays. There will be NO daily updates, emails or clips provided from Thursday, November 27th through the end of the week. We’ll be back Monday, December 1st. Enjoyed a great weekend with your family and friends…Happy Thanksgiving!

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THE REST OF THE STORY:

No further commentary today.

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.


U.S. Pledges Top $7.7 Trillion to Ease Frozen Credit

By Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry

Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government is prepared to provide more than $7.76 trillion on behalf of American taxpayers after guaranteeing $306 billion of Citigroup Inc. debt yesterday. The pledges, amounting to half the value of everything produced in the nation last year, are intended to rescue the financial system after the credit markets seized up 15 months ago.

The unprecedented pledge of funds includes $3.18 trillion already tapped by financial institutions in the biggest response to an economic emergency since the New Deal of the 1930s, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The commitment dwarfs the plan approved by lawmakers, the Treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Federal Reserve lending last week was 1,900 times the weekly average for the three years before the crisis.

When Congress approved the TARP on Oct. 3, Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson acknowledged the need for transparency and oversight. Now, as regulators commit far more money while refusing to disclose loan recipients or reveal the collateral they are taking in return, some Congress members are calling for the Fed to be reined in.

Bank rescue criticized as double standard

BY JUSTIN HYDE

WASHINGTON — While Detroit’s automakers prepare a detailed plea for $25 billion in federal loans, the Bush administration moved to pump $20 billion into investment bank Citigroup and absorb some of its losses with far fewer restrictions than automakers may face, a deal Michigan lawmakers and some experts called a blatant double standard Monday.

The Citigroup deal announced Sunday crystallized many of the complaints auto industry supporters have made about other bailouts crafted by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, such as the $150 billion infused into insurer AIG. Under the Citigroup pact, the government agreed to insure losses on $306 billion of its shaky assets, mostly real-estate related investments, while taking $27 billion in preferred shares.

"What we saw last night was this administration acting directly to bail out Citigroup while continuing to ignore the needs of our manufacturing economy, our domestic automakers and middle-class families across our state that are hurting," Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said Monday.


GOP lawmaker: Cuts top agenda for lame ducks

The Legislature’s top Republican said Monday that negotiating state budget cuts is a main priority for the lame-duck session in December.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop hopes to work with Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm to reduce spending by an unspecified amount because tax revenues are at least $426 million below expectations in the slumping economy.

Granholm’s soon-to-be-released executive order will need approval from legislative appropriations committees, and it’s possible K-12 public schools will be affected in the middle of the academic year.

UAW has to be even more flexible now

By DANIEL LIBIT

For decades, the Detroit 3 and the United Auto Workers have partnered to bring Michigan a quality of life unheard of in other parts of the country..

Understand, a factory job does not typically lead to a nice house, multiple vehicles, a boat and a lake retreat – which has been the cultural landscape in this state.

As the Detroit 3 and Michigan lawmakers plead with the federal government for aid, the companies and unions must prep for a greater, faster transformation than what’s been seen in recent years.

Obama’s tax hike for the rich may be delayed

By JIM KUHNHENN
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — An economic crisis, rising joblessness and a credit squeeze can make a president-elect refine his words. Today’s word is “repeal.”

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to repeal President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy ahead of their scheduled expiration in 2011. It was part of how Obama would pay for an overall net tax cut aimed at low- and middle-income taxpayers, and an effort to bring what he called “fairness” to the tax system.

No one is talking tax hikes now.

Over the weekend, Obama said he has charged his new economic team with devising a plan that would create or preserve 2.5 million jobs over two years. He said the plan would include broad spending plans as well as the middle- and low-income tax cuts he described during the campaign.


Study: Many Obama Small Donors Really Weren’t

By Michael Luo

A new analysis of President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign fund-raising punctures one of the most enduring pieces of conventional wisdom from his presidential run — that small donors powered his record-breaking money machine.

The study, released today by the Campaign Finance Institute, a non-partisan group, goes deeper than previous analyses of Mr. Obama’s fund-raising in examining donors who made discrete contributions of $200 or less, and found many of them donated repeatedly to exceed that amount.

The institute found that while nearly 50 percent of Mr. Obama’s donations came in individual contributions of $200 or less, in reality, only 26 percent of the money he collected through Aug. 31 during the primary and 24 percent of his money through Oct. 15 came from contributors whose total donations added up to $200 or less. The data is the most recent available.

Four lessons from transitions past

Having been through several transitions of government, I can report it’s pretty much like everything else that goes on in Washington: Like sausage, it’s probably best not to see it made.

Perhaps the best mental picture for a transition is that scene in "The Wizard of Oz" where Dorothy and her crew are urged to "pay no attention" to the man making all the smoke and noise.

Here are the key parts of it to know about and watch:

(1) Usually "no one’s home" for the outgoing administration: This means exactly what it suggests – most of the knowledgeable political appointees from the Bush administration at the working policy levels (e.g., assistant and deputy assistant secretaries, undersecretaries, etc.) are long gone and are already fitting themselves into their next political gig (e.g., Hill, lobby or law firm job) – that is if they have stayed around town at all.


In rough times …

A serious, stern President-elect Barack Obama told the nation this week that he will pursue an "aggressive economic recovery plan" upon taking office. It was an attempt to inject confidence into the markets and with middle Americans.

The news has been grim as of late. We’re on the verge of a recession, consumer spending is down, and unemployment is up and expected to increase. There are more bailouts as banks have gone bust, forecasts of a dark and dim holiday season, and analysts predict it will get worse before it gets better. With much of this unfolding during Thanksgiving week, one might question, what could we possibly be thankful for?

In the midst of all the doom and gloom, perhaps there is no better time to reassess what really matters. Catastrophic events tend to bring about epiphany.

‘Fresh’ ideas for the Middle East

Zalman Shoval

With President-elect Barack Obama fast approaching the day he will become his nation’s chief executive, there apparently is no dearth of advice given to him – not least with regards to foreign policy. So we had the recent article by Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski, both highly respected foreign policy experts, in the Washington Post – the thrust of which was that the new president’s priority attention should be given to the Arab-Israeli peace process.

The two authors seem to believe that "resolution of the Palestinian issue" would somehow miraculously create a turnaround in the attitude of the peoples of the Middle East towards the U.S. and restore its dominant position in the region. Implied, though not spelled out, is that "resolving" the problem should be more or less reflecting the views of the Palestinians and their Arab backers. Mr. Brzezinski in particular has held this view for a long time, since his role in the Carter Administration.

In fact, though often used as a convenient excuse, the Israel-Palestinian issue has little if anything to do with the lack of stability and peace in the broader Middle East – or with America’s deteriorating standing there.

Senate runoff seen favoring Chambliss

S.A. Miller

ATLANTA – Democrat Jim Martin is campaigning feverishly, aided by Barack Obama’s grass-roots organization from the presidential race and a flood of support from the national party, but he remains an underdog against incumbent Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss in a Georgia runoff election considered pivotal for the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Martin is behind in polls, has half the cash of his opponent and early-voting turnout among black voters is stagnating – a crucial block for any Democrat in this mostly conservative state where Republicans also hold the other U.S. Senate seat, the governor’s office and majorities in both houses of the state General Assembly.

That doesn’t bode well for Mr. Martin and Senate Democrats eyeing an unexpected victory Tuesday to put them one vote away from a filibuster-breaking 60-vote majority and the power to ram the party’s agenda through the chamber.