The Patriot Post® · Monday Digest
“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” –Benjamin Franklin (1776)
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Silver Linings and the Way Forward
By Mark Alexander
There are positive outcomes of the shutdown debacle, opportunities which have the potential to grow the ranks of conservative Republicans in the House and Senate in 2014 and beyond – if, as I wrote, moderate and conservative Republicans will lock arms and take the fight to our Leftist adversaries rather than each other.
First, this is the BIG one.
Obama, the consummate narcissist, having even embraced the name “ObamaCare,” along with every member of the House and Senate whose name is followed by a “D”, suffer a significant reversal of political fortune after ObamaCare is implemented. And this will continue as long as ObamaCare exists.
Because from October 1 forward, with increasing frequency, Americans of every political stripe who have any issue with health care, whether a hangnail or heart transplant, a delay in a doctor’s office or in critical care for a loved one, will tie blame for their discontent like a noose around the necks of Obama and his Democrats, who were solely responsible for forcing this abomination upon the American people.
Second, the consequences of the “Republican Sequester,” as Obama dishonestly frames it, and the current partial government shutdown, have had far less impact than trumped up by the Democrats, despite their “make ‘em suffer” strategy of shutting down high-profile operations such as national parks. The consequence is that many Americans have now learned firsthand that the nation doesn’t fall apart when more than 1/6th of “non-essential” government clerks and bureaucrats are not on the job. (Who would’ve guessed!)
Third, there is the opportunity to gain some discernment about political process and to understand that building up toward common goals, rather than tearing down over disagreements, is the only way to continue adding conservatives at every level of government. Democrats have held the House for the better part of the last seven decades, and the Senate for many of those years. It will take more than a few election cycles for the modern Tea Party movement to restore the integrity of our Constitution.
The returns on these silver linings will be significantly diminished unless there is a cease-fire in the foolish and fatalistic “Tea v. GOP infighting.”
Read the rest of Alexander’s analysis here.
Income Redistribution: Persistent Unemployment
Last Friday, we noted a new study showing how food stamps fail to alleviate poverty and hunger. That isn’t surprising, and neither is another study on the effects of another Beltway sacred cow – unemployment benefits. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, “[M]ost of the persistent increase in unemployment during the Great Recession can be accounted for by the unprecedented extensions of unemployment benefit eligibility.”
As bad as the recession was, the “recovery” has been hardly better. And during this time, most states increased unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 99 weeks – i.e., six months to nearly two years. A frequent criticism is that, rather than finding work, recipients opt to continue getting checks for nothing. This is, of course, a broad generalization as many unemployment recipients are hard workers who have simply fallen on hard times not of their own making.
The bigger problem, according to researchers, is that long-term unemployment benefits deter job creation. As The Wall Street Journal put it, “What brings unemployment down is not mainly the effort made by people to find jobs; instead, it’s the incentive employers have to create jobs. Long-term unemployment benefits deter that job creation.” Unemployment benefits force wages higher – working for a paycheck must be more attractive than free checks – and so make jobs more expensive for employers to create. So even if we concede that leftists have good intentions (a big “if”), their efforts only exacerbate the problem.
Judicial Benchmarks: Ending Discrimination
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides “No state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Nothing has been more of a muddle in the courtrooms than weak-kneed jurists’ attempts to reconcile this clear language with the fundamentally discriminatory nature of “affirmative action.” The most recent groundbreaking cases have had to do with public universities.
In the 1978 case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Supreme Court held that racial quotas are unconstitutional but that educational institutions could legally use race as one of many factors to consider in their admissions process. However, the Supremes muddied the water in the companion cases of Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger. In Grutter and Gratz, the Court upheld both Bakke as a precedent and the admissions policy of the University of Michigan Law School. Nevertheless, in Grutter, it allowed schools to consider race as a factor in admissions for the purpose of diversity. But in Gratz, the Court invalidated Michigan’s undergraduate admissions policy on the grounds that the undergraduate policy used a point system that was excessively mechanistic. Got that?
Fed up with convoluted rationalizing, 58% of Michigan voters supported a definitive policy by supporting Proposition 2, amending the state constitution to prohibit discrimination by race in education, government contracts or hiring. That amendment has been challenged in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action now before the Supreme Court. At issue is a question both bizarre and laughable: Does it violate the U.S. Constitution’s ban on racial discrimination for a state to ban racial discrimination?
The plaintiff, the Coalition for Affirmative Action, believes it does, arguing that Prop 2 disproportionately burdens minorities in education. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, in an 8-7 en banc decision, that Proposition 2 “placed special burdens on the ability of minority groups to achieve beneficial legislation.” Dissenting Judge Julia Smith Gibbons wrote that this logic contradicts “elementary principles of constitutional law” and that under the ruling “for the first time, the presumptively invalid policy of racial and gender preference has been judicially entrenched as beyond the political process.” Well said.
Another Deal in Syria
Amid the chaos in Washington these days, the most urgent crisis of late summer has been completely forgotten. The continuing civil war in Syria (over 100,000 dead) and the crossing of Barack Obama’s “red line” on the use of chemical weapons were at the news cycle forefront not long ago, but as Fox News’ Bret Baier observed, “Now, crickets are chirping when it comes to talking about Syria, other than to praise its government for doing all it can with chemical weapons sites.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin took the lead in working out a “deal” for Syria to relinquish its chemical weapons, and the international committee tasked with managing it just won the Nobel Peace Prize – before they’ve done anything. Sunday, the Arab League announced that an international conference seeking to end Syria’s civil war is scheduled for late November in Geneva. According to The Wall Street Journal, “The proposed conference on Nov. 23 and 24 will attempt to get Syria’s rival sides to agree on a transitional government in that country based on a plan adopted in Geneva in June 2012.” Good luck getting opposition forces to agree on anything involving Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The reverse is also true. Assad’s regime says it refuses to negotiate with “terrorists.”
Regardless of the outcome, the Obama administration has been remarkably silent of late and evidently has no intention of leading – from the front, back or otherwise.
Re: The Left
Meteorologist Joe Bastardi: “It’s laughable to think, as a private sector meteorologist whose livelihood depends on being right, that one can separate climate from weather. … Suppose someone gives you a grant to study global warming. Can you come back and say, ‘My research says there’s no global warming’? You have been given a grant to produce a result; how can you possibly justify that result if it’s the result that would cost nothing to come up with in the first place? … [Climatologists] believe the idea is the product. Destroy the idea, you destroy the product; destroy the product, you destroy the person. … The answer is the fruit of my labor, not the object of it. Because of that, you’ll look for anything to come up with the correct answer, not just a predetermined one where your self-esteem depends on it. So these giants of science have a fundamental problem, and it runs contrary to their nature. In the end, the very talent and brilliance of a lot of these people may be what blinds them to what it takes to truly pursue the truth.”
Columnist David Harsanyi: “When was the last time a politician won an election with a plan that spent less and cut more? When was the last time a majority of Americans supported reforms that would deal with deficits in any meaningful way? Broadly speaking, voters want to tackle the debt problem. But they don’t like any of the specifics. Finally, supposedly 6 in 10 Americans believe that the federal government has too much power – 1 percentage point from the highest level in September 2010. According to Gallup, at least half of Americans since 2005 have said the government has too much power. Where is the proof that a majority of Americans want less government? Americans have elected two presidents who have vastly expanded the scope of government, and both of them won re-election rather comfortably. It’s likelier that voters view government as having too much power when government is being run by someone else. And that’s our biggest problem.”
“The Constitution establishes the Congress, the Executive, and the Judiciary, and through a deliberate allocation of authority, it defines the limits of each upon the others. It particularizes the liberties which, as free men and women, we insist upon, and it constrains both Federal and State powers to ensure that those precious liberties are faithfully protected. It is our blueprint for freedom, our commitment to ourselves and to each other. It is by choice, not by imposition, that the Constitution is the supreme law of our Land. … [E]ach of us has a personal obligation to acquaint ourselves with it and with its central role in guiding our Nation. While a constitution may set forth rights and liberties, only the citizens can maintain and guarantee those freedoms. Active and informed citizenship is not just a right; it is a duty.”
For more, visit The Right Opinion.
American political consultant and author Lyn Nofziger (1924-2006): “The reason this country continues its drift toward socialism and big nanny government is because too many people vote in the expectation of getting something for nothing, not because they have a concern for what is good for the country. A better educated electorate might change the reason many persons vote. If children were forced to learn about the Constitution, about how government works, about how this nation came into being, about taxes and about how government forever threatens the cause of liberty perhaps we wouldn’t see so many foolish ideas coming out of the mouths of silly old men.”
Barack Obama: “I want to thank the leadership for coming together and getting this done. Hopefully next time it won’t be in the 11th hour. One of the things I’ve said in this process is we’ve got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis.”
Barack Obama: “Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claimed their actions were needed to get America back on track. But probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility to the world. … It’s encouraged our enemies. It’s emboldened our competitors. And it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.”
From the ‘Non Compos Mentis’ File
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “I never saw anything like what Harry Reid did [to get this debt deal done]. To watch him, was to watch a master at work. He was superb, intellectually, politically astute, and just the sheer stamina of it all. And it was a sign of the respect that his members have for him.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “Why does a group of people that always loses elections, or tends to do lately, why do they call themselves the American people? Do they still count blacks as three-fifths of a vote? Is that the way they count it? Because, seriously, why do you say, ‘We, the American people,’ when the president keeps getting re-elected?”
The BIG Lie
Rep. Charlie Rangel: “I have been on the Ways and Means Committee for 30 years, and there’s no such thing … as a death tax. So, people may try to politically describe parts of the tax code, but you can look high and low and there’s nothing in there about – that at death, your body is being taxed.”
Actor Chris Noth: “I think racism can be an unconscious, knee jerk reaction without people even knowing it. There is something about Obama that makes these people, ah, just intolerable, and I consider [Tea Party Republicans] to be un-American. I do. Because they don’t care about the country. They care about their small constituents.”
Columnist Jeff Jacoby: “The real threat to America’s national interest isn’t a debt ceiling that won’t go up. It’s a national debt that won’t stop going up.”
Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus et Fidelis!
Nate Jackson for The Patriot Post Editorial Team
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