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I’ve gotten to know Paul Begala sitting with him in the greenroom at CNN and he has some of the most consistently awesome political anecdotes in modern America. Feel free to disagree with him on politics and policy as I usually do, but in any encounter with Begala you’ll come away knowing more about American politics than you entered the room knowing.One of the anecdotes he shared with me once has stuck with me as perhaps the most insightful commentary on winning elections in America. Anne Richards was quite a popular governor in Texas and George W. Bush still managed to beat her rather handily. After Richards’ defeat, she called President Clinton and told him the lesson she’d learned from her defeat.Governor Richards told President Clinton that it was not enough to run on what you did as a leader, but rather to run on what you were going to do as a leader. This connects in with one of the most consistent themes in American politics — people want to vote for something, not vote against someone.In 2008, people voted against the Republicans, but if you asked most people they didn’t see themselves voting against Bush and the GOP so much as they were voting for something new and shiny — a new way, a new face, a new hope, and some change.This is why Herman Cain won the straw poll.Please click here for the rest of the post.
President Obama is on the prowl for new targets for (1) raising more tax revenue and/or (2) demonizing “the rich” for campaign purposes. Among Obama’s proposals, besides raising taxes on high-income individuals generally, is to more than double the tax rate paid by many private equity and venture capital investors from 15% to 35%, by reclassifying sales of their businesses (or shares in their businesses) as ordinary income rather than capital gains (more detail here and, drawn from prior versions of the proposal here and here). A common trope being retailed in some form or another by Obama and his allies is that taxing the wealthy and private equity and venture capital has no impact on job creation. As is common to liberal arguments, rather than argue that they are proposing a worthwhile tradeoff, liberals deny even the possibility that their policies involve any tradeoffs whatsoever. As well they might: the voters are hardly going to accept anything right now that impedes the growth of private sector businesses and jobs.Now, there are a lot of economic angles to this argument, which have been ventilated in more detail elsewhere. But a concrete example may be useful in illustrating how wealthy individuals, private equity and venture capital contribute to the growth of businesses and jobs: the story of Facebook.Please click here for the rest of the post.
I’m being inundated with angry emails that I have not linked to or championed the Zogby poll that OMG shows Herman Cain winning in a landslide!!!!!! OMG!!!!!It is as if millions of Republicans took the Gardasil shot and suddenly developed rapid onset of the mental retardation Michele Bachmann’s been warning about.The reason I have not cited and you should not cite the Zogby poll is because it is a Zogby Interactive poll which means it was done online.Please click here for the rest of the post.
Would it be a violation of Godwin’s Law to point out that even the Nazis kept having elections even when we were bombing them? Heck, the United States continued having elections in the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. We didn’t put democracy on hold just because we felt like it. There is this thing called the constitution.But the constitution seems beside the point to one of America’s least popular governors, Bev Perdue of North Carolina. Maybe brains and constitutional fidelity go together.Perdue has declared that we should just suspend elections in 2012 for Congress until congressmen solve our economic problems. Given her lack of popularity and the fact that her unpopularity coupled with Obama’s unpopularity will probably swing North Carolina to the GOP in 2012, I’m sure she was privately thinking we might as well suspend all elections next year.After all, elections may matter, but they cost money.Please click here for the rest of the post.
I don’t speak for all conservatives, but most every single conservative I know will gladly settle for Mitt Romney and support him over Barack Obama. Even the conservatives I know who right now are saying they could never support Mitt Romney will . . . when push comes to shove . . . support Mitt Romney.The issue is that most conservatives, myself included, don’t want to settle for Mitt Romney. I don’t have a problem with him personally. He, his wife, and family are super nice people. But I think he is just wrong for this election and his positioning this year as a centrist when he positioned himself four years ago as a conservative is disturbing.But at the top of the race we are confronted with two men who have two problems. Both are 10th Amendment issues and both are states right issues. And I think whether we like it or not, we should, as conservatives who believe the states should be engines of experiment, respect their right to solve problems in their states as they and their legislatures see fit.You and I may not like Romneycare, but it was Mitt Romney and Massachusetts’ decision.You and I may not like Texas giving illegal aliens in-state tuition rates, but it was Rick Perry and Texas’ decision.Digging deeper though, there is a real and serious problem that distinguishes the two issues and gives me greater concern about Romneycare. And I’m afraid with so much pile on over the Texas immigration decision, it has distracted us from a core issue of Romneycare about which we should be more focused.Please click here for the rest of the post.
The big news yesterday on the health care policy front is that the 11th Circuit case against the individual mandate is headed to the Supreme Court before the 2012 election, not after. This means a decision about the constitutionality of the individual mandate is likely to come in mid-2012, after the Republicans have chosen a nominee but well before the election ramp up. This is good political news for nearly everyone in the race on the Republican side, with one obvious exception: Mitt Romney.Let’s back up a moment to explain why. There’s one line that Romney used in Florida during the most recent debate which is still sticking in my craw today, and I’m having a hard time shaking it. Excerpt – in response to a question from Chris Wallace about Perry referring to Romney’s Massachusetts’ reforms as “socialized medicine”.Please click here for the rest of the post.
We’ve seen this show before. Republicans propose grand ideas to cut spending and implement free-market reforms; they speak ebulliently about their new ideas, and …they summarily scuttle them and cave to the Democrats.Earlier this year, Republicans proposed a commendable plan to end the bipartisan pork fest of surface transportation spending. Instead of continuing the inexorable expansion of transportation spending, House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica proposed a six-year highway bill that actually cut spending from $286 billion to $235 billion. The bill was supposed to cap spending to the levels of its funding source; the 18.4-cent gasoline tax and the 24.4-cent tax on diesel fuel. Additionally, this bill would have eliminated 70 duplicative projects and cut spending on mass transit.Two weeks ago, Republicans agreed to pass an eighth stop-gap highway bill, which will lock in the excess levels of spending until next April. They also passed the 22nd stop-gap FAA reauthorization bill, which will continue to fund the wasteful rural pork programs until next February.Now CQ is reporting that Republicans plan to cave on the long-term bill altogether.Please click here for the rest of the post.