Archive for the ‘liberal’ Category

Government-induced Economic Crisis Getting a Government-insured Resolution

November 28, 2008

There is a condign symmetry about this financial crisis. A government-induced crisis is getting a government-insured resolution.

The excesses of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are being mopped up by huge federal spending made all the more massive by all the reckless endeavors of the politicians, the regulators, and the financiers who frivoled with the intemperance of Freddie and Fannie.

Now President-elect Barack Obama has perhaps faced up to the mess. He has not shied away from bringing former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers onto his economic team as head of his National Economic Council.

By R. Emmett Tyrrell
The Washington Times

Mr. Summers was a proper critic of Freddie and Fannie, having noted this past summer that, “The illusions that the companies were doing virtuous work made it impossible to build a political case for serious regulation.” This virtuous work was extending mortgages to those who could not afford those mortgages. The toxic mortgages were then bundled in with healthy mortgages and sold around the world by Wall Street geniuses like some enormous chain letter whose day of reckoning came some months ago.

The endeavor was a fantasy that had to end badly and so it has. Yet at a certain level the constituent elements of the Democratic Party are given to fantasy and excess. Consider the most vocal critics of Mr. Summers. They are not bankers or economists. They are feminists, often feminist scientists, who forced him out of the presidency of Harvard for his recognition that women of genius are not as plentiful as men of genius in the sciences and math.

What he cited was a fact. Mr. Summers drew no invidious conclusions and offered no program that would limit the number of lady scientists. He just noted the data in a forum supposedly open to free discourse. Kaboom – the women of the fevered brow drove him from office. Remind me not to read a book aloud in Harvard Yard.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008
/nov/28/recognizing-crisis/

The Times Are not Right For a Liberal Agenda

November 28, 2008

In the old days — from the Venetian Republic to, oh, the Bear Stearns rescue — if you wanted to get rich, you did it the Warren Buffett way: You learned to read balance sheets. Today you learn to read political tea leaves. If you want to make money on Wall Street (or keep from losing your shirt), you do it not by anticipating Intel’s third-quarter earnings but by guessing instead what side of the bed Henry Paulson will wake up on tomorrow.

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post

Today’s extreme stock market volatility is not just a symptom of fear — fear cannot account for days of wild market swings upward — but a reaction to meta-economic events: political decisions that have vast economic effects.

As economist Irwin Stelzer argues, we have gone from a market-driven economy to a politically driven economy. Consider seven days in November. On Tuesday, Nov. 18, Paulson broadly implies that he’s using only half the $700 billion bailout money. Having already spent most of his $350 billion, he’s going to leave the rest to his successor. The message received on Wall Street — I’m done, I’m gone.

Facing the prospect of two months of political limbo, the market craters. Led by the banks (whose balance sheets did not change between Tuesday and Wednesday), the market sees the largest two-day drop in the S&P since 1933, not a very good year.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/2
7/AR2008112702052.html?hpid=
opinionsbox1

Thankful for interesting times

November 27, 2008

“May you live in interesting times” is supposed to be an ancient Chinese curse, but I can’t find evidence that the saying is Chinese at all, much less that it’s ancient. One of the earliest reliable citations seems to be a 1950 short story by the British science-fiction author Eric Frank Russell, writing under the pen name Duncan H. Munro, who quotes the imprecation and then adds: “It isn’t a curse any more. It’s a blessing.” 

By Eugene Robinson
The Washington Post
Thursday, November 27, 2008; Page A29

That’s the glass-half-full way of seeing this extraordinary moment. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter the holiday season, it feels as if our nation is at a cusp, a brink, a verge. It’s true that if things get much more “interesting,” we might have a collective nervous breakdown. But along with the anxiety, there’s also a sense of rare opportunity — a chance to emerge better than we were economically, politically and socially.

Easy for you to say, many people would respond, and they’d have a point. I’ve been as mesmerized and freaked out as anyone watching the stock market lose nearly half its value, then recover some ground, then oscillate so wildly that a 200-point gain or loss in the Dow is the new definition of a slow day. I’ve lost money (not that I had that much in the first place), but I haven’t been wiped out the way some people have. I don’t have an adjustable-rate mortgage or a house that’s “underwater.” My employer is still in business.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/26
/AR2008112603250.html?hpid=opi
nionsbox1

Obama’s Lieberman support angers bloggers

November 20, 2008

Far left Democrats who named George W. Bush “the chimp” are watching Barack Obama to see if he is tough enough for them…

By Jon Ward
The Washington Times

The liberal blogosphere that helped elect President-elect Barack Obama has erupted in fury over his successful push to let Sen. Joe Lieberman stay as chairman of a key committee despite the Connecticut independent’s active support for Mr. Obama’s opponent during the presidential campaign.

Many in the “netroots” — the Web-based movement of progressive bloggers and activists — had insisted that Senate Democrats strip Mr. Lieberman of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and howled in protest when he was not.

“Apparently, the American people didn’t vote for change,” complained Markos Moulitsas, founder of dailykos.com, in an entry posted on his site that was laced with angry sarcasm.

Sen. Joe Lieberman addressed this year's Republican National Convention. Barbara L. Salisbury / The Washington Times

Above: Sen. Joe Lieberman addressed this year’s Republican National Convention. Barbara L. Salisbury / The Washington Times

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov
/20/obamas-lieberman-support-angers-bloggers/

In Obamaland, Many Barack Supporters Question Hillary in Top Cabinet Assignment

November 18, 2008

Barack Obama‘s serious flirtation with his one-time rival, Hillary Clinton, over the post of secretary of State has been welcomed by everyone from Henry Kissinger to Bill Clinton as an effective, grand gesture by the president-elect.

It’s not playing quite as well, however, in some precincts of Obamaland. From his supporters on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, to campaign aides of the soon-to-be commander-in-chief, there’s a sense of ambivalence about giving a top political plum to a woman they spent 18 months hammering as the compromised standard-bearer of an era that deserves to be forgotten.

By Ben Smith, Politico

President-elect Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton in ...

“These are people who believe in this stuff more than Barack himself does,” said a Democrat close to Obama’s campaign. “These guys didn’t put together a campaign in order to turn the government over to the Clintons.”

An overlooked theme in Obama’s primary victory was his belief that the Clinton legacy was not, as the Clintons imagined, a pure political positive. The Obama campaign had no compunctions about poking holes in that legacy and even sent out mailings stressing the downside of the last “8 years of the Clintons” – enraging the former president in particular.

And the clearest opposition to the Clinton appointment comes from Obama’s backers on the left of his own party, whose initial support for him was motivated in part by a distaste for the Clinton dynasty, and who now view her reemergence with some dismay.

“There’s always a risk of a Cabinet member freelancing and that risk is enhanced by the fact that Hillary has her own public and her own celebrity and that she comes attached to Bill,” said Robert Kuttner, a Clinton critic and former American Prospect editor whose new book, Obama’s Challenge, implores the
president-elect to adopt an expansive liberal agenda.
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“The other question is the old rule – never hire somebody you can’t fire. What happens if her views and his views don’t mesh?”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/politico/20081118/pl_politico/
15703;_ylt=AncXbCfgfmiIJTKNUoTD9zms0NUE

Will Liberals, Democrats Hurt Free Media, Free Speech?

November 16, 2008

Now that the election is over, it is time to evaluate what the American public can expect from the newly elected Congress and the administration of President-elect Barack Obama.  

There are several major issues, some mentioned before in this column, which the liberal leadership may seek to enact into law. Moderate Democrats and Republicans as well as conservatives must resist them for the greater good of the country.

One straightforward issue the new administration will certainly push hard is the so-called Fairness Doctrine. Liberal radio personalities have been unable to make headway on commercial radio, so the only way for them to regain access to the airwaves is to re-impose this outdated and obsolete rule. The doctrine would require equal air time for differing political opinions broadcast over the public’s airwaves.

Paul Weyrich
The Washington Times
Sunday, November 16, 2008

The result of the proposed law, if enacted, would be to silence talk radio, a much hoped for liberal aim…

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/
nov/16/the-democrats-imminent-agenda/

The Electorate’s Left Turn: Sorry, GOP: Nation No Longer Leans Right of Center

November 16, 2008

Here’s the main thought Republicans are consoling themselves with these days: Notwithstanding President-elect Barack Obama, a nearly filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate and the largest Democratic majority in the House of Representatives since 1993, the United States is still a center-right country. Sure, voters may be angry with Republicans now, but eventually, as the Bush years recede and the GOP modernizes its brand, a basically right-tilting electorate will come back home. Or, in the words of the animated rock band the Gorillaz, “I’m useless, but not for long/The future is comin’ on.”  

By Tod Lindberg
The Washington Post
Sunday, November 16, 2008; Page B01

Thus Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, in Outlook last week: The United States “is indeed, as conservatives have been insisting in recent days, a center-right country.” On election night, former Bush guru Karl Rove opined on Fox News, “Barack Obama understands this is a center-right country, and he smartly and wisely ran a campaign that emphasized it.” And it’s not just conservative pundits and operatives singing this song. Take Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who wrote an Oct. 27 cover essay entitled “America the Conservative,” which argued that Obama will have to “govern a center-right nation” that “is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal.”

The only problem: It isn’t true….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/13
/AR2008111303550.html

There Are Republicans That Can Challenge Obama With Kristol Clarity

November 16, 2008

It’s 2012 and President Barack Obama is running for re-election. He has had a moderately successful presidency, no big scandals, no big failures and a few triumphs. The big, global success of the Obama administration? A handsome African-American and his handsome family in the White House. What Republican will run against him with any hope of success?

By Arnold Beichman
The Washington Times
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My candidate to oppose Mr. Obama’s second term bid is William Kristol, 56, editor of the Weekly Standard (circulation 84,000). Add to that distinction a Harvard doctorate, if you will. Plus an equally weighty consideration, a record as a Republican Party champion. In other words, an intellectual of the center-right who could stand up to Mr. Obama, a center-left intellectual. If visibility is wanted, Mr. Kristol is a regular commentator on the Fox News Channel and is a New York Times op-ed columnist. In other words, he’s great with the laptop and great on the tube and knows the issues forward and backward.


Mr. Kristol’s quarter-century career in government service is outstanding. It began as chief of staff for then Education Secretary William Bennett in the Reagan administration, then as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle under the first Bush administration. He then moved into idea projects dealing with the GOP’s future, based on what he called a “Contract with America”:

“The fact that government is no longer going to be so generous with taxpayers’ money may be Scrooge-like, but it strikes me as rather responsible behavior. For too many years, some liberals have felt they were doing good by generously spending taxpayers’ money. Now Americans want to take a much harder look at what really does good and what does harm.”

Mr. Kristol is not joined at the hip with President Bush. When the White House nominated Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court, he spoke up in one of his harshest criticisms of the administration:

“I’m disappointed, depressed and demoralized. … It is very hard to….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/
2008/nov/16/to-be-kristol-clear/

We Could Be In for a Lurch to the Left

November 4, 2008

There’s an old saying that politics in America is played between the 40 yard lines. What this means, for those unfamiliar with football, is that we’re a centrist country, never straying very far to the left or the right in elections or national policies. This has been true for decades. It probably won’t be after today’s election.

For the first time since the 1960s, liberal Democrats are dominant. They are all but certain to have a lopsided majority in the House, and either a filibuster-proof Senate or something close to it. If Barack Obama wins the presidency today, they’ll have an ideological ally in the White House.

A sharp lurch to the left and enactment of a liberal agenda, or major parts of it, are all but inevitable. The centrist limits in earlier eras of Democratic control are gone. In the short run, Democrats may be constrained by the weak economy and a large budget deficit. Tax hikes and massive spending programs, except those billed as job creation, may have to be delayed.

By Fred Barnes
The Wall Street Journal
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But much of their agenda — the “card check” proposal to end secret ballots in union elections, the Fairness Doctrine to stifle conservative talk radio, liberal judicial nominees, trade restrictions, retreat from Iraq, talks with Iran — doesn’t require spending. And after 14 years of Republican control of Congress, the presidency, or both, Democrats are impatient. They want to move quickly.

Democrats had large majorities when Jimmy Carter became president in 1977 (61-38 in the Senate, 292-143 in the House) and when Bill Clinton took office in 1993 (56-44, 258-176). So why are their prospects for legislative success so much better now?

The most significant change is in the ideological makeup of the Democratic majorities. In the Carter and Clinton eras, there were dozens of moderate and conservative Democrats in Congress, a disproportionate number of them committee chairs. Now the Democratic majorities in both houses are composed almost uniformly of liberals. Those few who aren’t, including the tiny but heralded gang of moderates elected to the House in 2006, usually knuckle under on liberal issues. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi bosses them around like hired help.

In the past, senior Democrats intervened to prevent a liberal onslaught. Along with Republicans, they stopped President Carter from implementing his plan to pull American troops out of South Korea.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122576065024095511.html

Washington Times Excluded From Obama Campaign Aircraft: And Responds

November 1, 2008

Editorial
The Washington Times
November 1, 2008
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Reporter Christina Bellantoni of The Washington Times will be kicked off of Barack Obama‘s campaign plane starting Nov. 2, making it much more difficult to cover the candidate during the critical final days of the election. The Obama campaign insists that politics had nothing to do with it. We note that all three newspapers that had reporters booted from the plane — The Times, the New York Post and the Dallas Morning News — endorsed John McCain. An Obama spokesman insists that it is just a coincidence.

Aides to Mr. Obama told us Friday that the decision was made in part in order to accommodate his hometown newspapers, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, which have not traveled with the candidate very frequently in the past. They also claim that the decision to kick The Washington Times off the Obama plane could not have possibly been due to this newspaper’s endorsement, which was published Tuesday. The Obama campaign insists that it notified Miss Bellantoni on Oct. 25 that it might not have room for her on the plane. Miss Bellantoni protested. Later that day she was told that she could stay on the plane until Friday night. Starting Monday, Miss Bellantoni sought an update about her status each day until Thursday. That afternoon, while covering an Obama rally in Florida, she learned that effective Nov. 2, she would no longer be traveling on Mr. Obama’s campaign plane.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. ... 
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. boards his campaign aircraft at the airport in Columbia, Mo., Friday, Oct. 31, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Upon learning of that decision, John Solomon, executive editor of The Washington Times, protested the decision to David Plouffe, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager. The decision “unfairly deprives her and this newspaper of the opportunity to cover the final 72 hours of a campaign that she has reported on with distinction from the beginning,” Mr. Solomon wrote. “Christina has traveled routinely with the Obama campaign from the start, pulled many shifts as the campaign pool reporter and been cited across the country for stories that were fair, balanced and insightful.” He also noted that The Times’ vast online readership places it in the Top 20 news sites in the United States. Moreover, Mr. Obama himself has recognized the importance of this newspaper’s work, citing two prominent examples: In June, Mr. Obama wrote a letter citing an investigative project by The Washington Times that highlighted government mistreatment of veterans. In his August acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Obama prominently mentioned this newspaper’s interview with former Sen. Phil Gramm, in which he referred to a “mental recession” and a “nation of whiners.” More than a dozen other Democratic speakers also cited that interview, “clearly demonstrating the far-reaching relevance and impact of our news coverage,” Mr. Solomon wrote in an e-mail.

Shortly afterward, Mr. Solomon received a reply from from Anita Dunn, senior adviser and chief communications officer with the Obama campaign, telling him that that the demand for seats on the plane far exceeded supply, and “for logistical reasons, we made the decision not to add a second plane.” Added Mrs. Dunn: “We have a huge amount of respect for the reporting of Christina Bellantoni and this decision is by no means a reflection on her.” In an interview Friday with The Times, Jen Psaki, press spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, reiterated these points and claimed the decision could not have been retaliation for The Times endorsement of Mr. McCain because Miss Bellantoni was notified last Saturday that she might not be able to stay on the plane beyond Oct. 31. Sure.

This argument, however, collapses upon closer examination. For one thing, there is no getting around the fact that all three newspapers kicked off the plane just happened to endorse Mr. McCain. Moreover, Mr. Obama’s supporters have been furious with The Times when it publishes stories that are not favorable to their candidate. One was an Oct. 10 report by Barbara Slavin of The Times about Mr. Obama’s efforts to delay signing an agreement with the United States on the status of U.S. forces in Iraq. Another was a piece by reporter Joseph Curl pointing to Mr. McCain’s role in mobilizing support for the Iraq troop surge, which Mr. Obama opposed. Viewed in this context, the Obama campaign’s decision to remove Miss Bellantoni smacks of being the latest effort by Mr. Obama and his supporters to retaliate against reporters that ask tough questions. After Barbara West, a reporter on WFTV-TV in Orlando, had the temerity to ask some tough questions to Joe Biden, the Obama campaign cancelled an interview with Mr. Biden’s wife, Jill. Obama supporters even called for Miss West’s ouster. After a reporter for KYW-TV in Philadelphia pressed Mr. Biden too forcefully on some matters, the Obama campaign said it would grant no more interviews to the station. When WGN Radio in Chicago announced it would interview Stanley Kurtz, author of several unflattering investigative pieces about Mr. Obama, supporters of the candidate flooded the station with telephone calls and e-mails demanding that Mr. Kurtz not be put on the air. It is a disturbing pattern. If this is how Mr. Obama acts as a candidate, how would he treat the press as president?

Miss Bellantoni doesn’t deserve this shabby treatment and neither does The Times. It would be wiser to resist the impulse to punish those who ask hard questions and wiser still to show more respect for the free exercise of the press.