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The House Republicans’ “Pledge to America” is out. A thrill will run up the leg of a few Chris Matthews’ types on the right. As Dan noted on Twitter, the Contract with America was 869 words and this is 21 pages. The Contract told you everything you needed to know about how a Republican Congress would be different from a Democrat Congress after 40 years of Democrat control.These 21 pages tell you lots of things, some contradictory things, but mostly this: it is a serious of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama.I have one message for John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and the House GOP Leadership: If they do not want to use the GOP to lead, I would like to borrow it for a time.Yes, yes, it is full of mom tested, kid approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high.It is dreck — dreck with some stuff I like, but like Brussels sprouts in butter. I like the butter, not the Brussels sprouts. Overall, this grand illusion of an agenda that will never happen is best spoken of today and then never again as if it did not happen. It is best forgotten.Please click here for the rest of the post.
“[T]he combined budgets of the 95 major programs that the Contract with America promised to eliminate . . . increased by 13% [from 1994 to 2000].”We know from history that the Republican class of 1994 became everything they campaigned against.We know from history that if the GOP cannot now, during the campaign season, promise to get rid of earmarks, the GOP will never do so once back in power.We know the GOP is better than the Democrats. We know the GOP will fight to defund Obamacare. But we also know that the Democrats were willing to lose everything to nationalize healthcare and the GOP is so scared of ever doing anything to lose power they’d rather trade permanent policy victories for politics as usual with them in charge.It is all an illusion.The tea party movement exists because a great deal of the nation sees government as too much in our lives. It doesn’t do well what it should do and does too much more than it should. I highly doubt the Republicans will be willing to take a stand against government in general — just Barack Obama’s government.That is not enough. It is not in tune with the American people’s concerns. I guarantee you we will all like solid bits of this great Illusion, called the Pledge. We can expect little of it to pass the Senate. The one thing the House GOP could do on it own would be a rule prohibiting earmarks. That will be a bridge too far for them.Please click here for the rest of the post.
The Senate Republicans are so upset with Lisa Murkowski for losing her primary then running as a write-in candidate that they have kept her on as ranking member of the Energy Committee.Yes, you read that right. Murkowski will now cause the GOP to spend resources in Alaska they otherwise would not have to and the Senate GOP is repaying her by leaving her as the ranking Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee — a position she uses to tout her superiority to the Republican Senate nominee in Alaska.These people do not get it.Please click here for the rest of the post.
There are certain defining moments in some politicians’ careers that take them from the status of politician to a real leader. In Arizona, the fight over SB1070 is Governor Jan Brewer’s defining moment.In the fight over SB1070, Jan Brewer has stood up to Barack Obama, his Washington (and Chicago) entourage, as well as the “hand inside Barack Obama’s puppet,” the Service Employees International Union.Please click here for the rest of the post.
Well… actually, if you can you’re one up on the Illinois Republican party, which is in the novel position of running a fundraiser for a candidate whom nobody can find.The background of this: Mike Madigan is one of the powers of the Illinois Democratic party, if not the power; and one of the few politicians that the current President of the United States takes seriously (he should; Madigan helped create Barack Obama). And Madigan has the good fortune of having “Republicans” that nobody’s ever heard of run against him in his district. And I mean nobody: the Illinois GOP sent somebody to Ryan’s listed house address, and got no answer. But it’s a new day in Illinois, and since the GOP has a candidate and everything, it seemed only appropriate to Illinois GOP chair Pat Brady that Ryan be supported by the party. So, they’re doing a fundraiser.Please click here for the rest of the post.
After Donald Berwick’s controversial recess appointment to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), his allies claimed that he was preparing a “point-by-point” rebuttal to his critics. Berwick does have a lot of explaining to do, after all.He’s publically romanticized Britain’s government-run healthcare and is on the record arguing that most cities should ration the “number of centers engaging” in “cardiac surgery,” “neonatal intensive care” and “cancer care.”It’s been three months now since his recess appointment, and still no word from the new CMS director. In fact, Berwick hasn’t granted any interviews, refuses to testify before Congress, and doesn’t take any questions at public events.Please click here for the rest of the post.