Pajamas Media: "Obama Executive Order Intends to Implement Portions of DISCLOSE Act"

In a column this morning by Hans A. von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission:

An impeccable source has provided me with a copy of a draft Executive Order that the White House is apparently circulating for comments from several government agencies. Titled “Disclosure of Political Spending By Government Contractors,” it appears to be an attempt by the Obama administration to implement — by executive fiat — portions of the DISCLOSE Act.

This was the bill introduced last year by Sen. Chuck Schumer [emphasis mine] and Rep. Chris Van Hollen to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The bill had onerous requirements that were duplicative of existing law and burdensome to political speech. It never passed Congress because of principled opposition to its unfair, one-side requirements that benefited labor unions at the expense of corporations. Democratic commissioners at the Federal Election Commission then tried to implement portions of the bill in new regulations.  Fortunately, those regulations were not adopted because of the united opposition of the Republican commissioners.

As my source says:

It really is amazing — they lost in the Supreme Court, they lost in Congress, they lost at the FEC, so now the president is just going to do it by edict.

[....] this will require companies to delve into the personal political activities of their officers and directors — and require them to report political contributions those employees have made, not out of corporate funds (which is illegal), but out of their personal funds.

And note that these disclosure requirements will only apply to companies that make bids on government contracts. Federal employee unions that negotiate contracts for their members worth many times the value of some government contracts are not affected by this order. Neither are the recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars of federal grants.

[....] This administration completely mischaracterized the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United,especially when President Obama attacked the Court in his State of the Union speech. It misrepresented the intended effects and requirements of the DISCLOSE Act, which former FEC Chairman Brad Smith correctly observed should really have been called the “Democratic Incumbents Seeking to Contain Losses by Outlawing Speech in Elections Now” Act....

There's more—read the whole thing. For related posts at One of Nine, see here, here, and here.

"Fight Like A Girl"

From Professor Jacobson at Legal Insurrection:

In using that term, Sarah Palin issued a political call to action directed at the men who rule the Republican Party:

"We didn’t elect you just to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic," Palin said during a rally in front of the Wisconsin statehouse in Madison. "What we need from you, GOP, is to fight." Pointing to the national champion University of Wisconsin women's hockey team, Palin said the GOP could learn from its resolve and “needs to learn how to fight like a girl."

But the phrase signaled far more.  Palin acknowledged what those of us who have followed the Tea Party movement have known for a long time:  Women have been the driving force and energy behind the Tea Party movement.

We knew that, but thanks for the reminder  wink

But even more than that, Palin took a phrase usually considered an insult and turned it into a compliment.

In one sentence, Palin did more to advance the cause of women in politics than all the Women's Studies Ph.D's in all the universities in this country combined...

Sarah Palin and that guy at Cornell the other night

Sarah Palin spoke yesterday toward the end of a nearly-two-hour tea party rally in Madison pegged to tax day. The video can be seen at The Right Scoop; while it's definitely worth seeing and listening to, that version is a little, shall we say, sanitized.  If you want a sense of what was really going on, see Ann Althouse's video.

So what did other folks have to say about Palin's speech?  Well, since this is the season for baseball analogies (and we might as well have one related to the 1932 Cubs v. Yankees World Series), here you go:

Sarah Palin Steps Into Wisconsin, Points to Left Field, 
and Hits a Grand Slam

If Sarah Palin’s not running for president, what a terrible waste that would be of the single best stump speech I’ve heard since, well, Palin’s ’08 convention speech, which just happened to be the single most electrifying political moment of my adult life. A thrill didn’t just run up my leg that night, it ran up everything in me that’s American, and today in Madison, WI, it happened again. Surrounded by an obnoxiously hostile, astro-turfed, pro-union crowd that tried and failed to drown out her message with obnoxiously hostile astro-turfed noise, the former Alaskan Governor took the fight directly to the growing pile of Obama’s failures in the most effective way we’ve heard yet from a potential GOP challenger....

And from James Pethokoukis at Reuters:

...In the last few months, political professionals and insiders have been writing off the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate, convinced she won’t run for the GOP nomination in 2012 or ever. Then again, even those GOPers who are running can hardly compete with the MSM’s weird, all-consuming fascination with The Donald.

But all it took was one powerful, pugnacious and presidential speech — just 15 minutes long — for Palin to again make herself completely relevant to the current political and policy battles raging across America....

[....] Will she run? Even many of those close to Team Palin have no idea. Palin herself may not have made a decision and may not feel she needs to until the autumn. But as it stands, she arguably represents the purest expression out there of Tea Party passion and free-market populist rejection of Washington’s bipartisan crony capitalism. If she ran, her high-wattage appearance in Madison shows just how dangerous her candidacy would be to a field of solid but stolid opponents....

Now on to that guy who spoke at Cornell the other night—Karl Rove.

By all accounts, it was a perfectly fine talk, but let's just refresh our memories a bit....back to last September, when Christine O'Donnell won the GOP Senate primary in Delaware and, in a massive case of pot-calling-kettle-black, Rove criticized her "character" and "rectitude."

And while not as toxic as his attack on O'Donnell (I think only because Bachmann is an older and wiser adversary who takes guff from no one, not even a self-appointed kingmaker), Rove here essentially dismisses Michele Bachmann.

And now we get to Rove's interview with the Telegraph from last October, a week before the midterm elections. The context was Sarah Palin as a possible presidential candidate in 2012:

There are high standards that the American people have for it [the presidency] and they require a certain level of gravitas, and they want to look at the candidate and say 'that candidate is doing things that gives me confidence that they are up to the most demanding job in the world’.

Rove obviously thinks he's the spokesman for the American people.  Er—not so much.

And then there was the now-infamous article in the March, 2011 New York:

One week before the 2010 midterm elections, Rove took aim at Sarah Palin, questioning the wisdom of her appearance on a reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, if she really wanted to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. Palin lacked the “gravitas” to be president, went a subhead in the U.K.’s DailyTelegraph.

Rove later tried wriggling out of his comments, as well as observations he made in a German magazine that tea-partiers weren’t “sophisticated,” being unfamiliar, as Rove was, with intellectuals like the economist Friedrich August von Hayek. But Rove’s backhands weren’t accidental, nor was he the victim of outrageous tabloid reporting. When I bring up his statements about Palin during our interview, Rove says only that he wished he’d made his comments on Fox News instead—before going into a withering impersonation of Palin, recalling a scene from her TV show in which she’s fishing.

“Did you see that?” he says, adopting a high, sniveling Palin accent: “ ‘Holy crap! That fish hit my thigh! It hurts!’ ”

“How does that make us comfortable seeing her in the Oval Office?” he asks, disgusted. “You know—‘Holy crap, Putin said something ugly!’ ”

Do we detect a pattern forming here?

What an elitist, effete-snob little man. And they wonder why we don't listen to them.

Party favor

Almost in answer to The Vex-Files (or a prayer) came this article by Lee Cary at American Thinker:

...consider the possibility that ... a new, conservative political party emerges to, eventually, replace the Grand Old Party...

[....] conventional wisdom labels the notion that a third party can become a major long-term player as heretical, and does so with the acquiescent nod of the major parties that represent an oligarchy of two.

[....] Meanwhile, some of us have grown skeptical that neither party, not singly nor both working together, can cut the deficit and the federal budget.  Bureaucracies tend to be, with regard to head-count and budgeted monies, inflexible downward.  Self-aggrandizement is, after all, the dominant gene in the bureaucrat's DNA.

[....] GOP leaders explain how the party just can't afford to be perceived as inflexible defenders of the rich going into an election year.  When Republicans control the government, they say, things will really, really change.  Promise.

Conservative Republicans grimace at this outcome.  But what can we do?  Migrate to the New Socialist Democrat Party?  Join the Libertarian hobby party?  No, we're caught betwixt a rock and a hard place, déjà vu of the 2008 presidential election.

In 2012, the GOP runs a weak candidate against Obama; Obama wins.  And that's the tipping point.


... the Republican House and Senate members who trace their roots to the Tea Party Movement...gather at a remote resort where, on their own dime, sequestered in a secure building, they hammer out a platform based on the pledge to immediately balance the budget of a federal government perched on the very cusp of going bankrupt. 

Initially, they're a party within a party.  But as time passes, they morph into a separate political entity, decentralized, less bureaucratic than the RNC and DNC, and lacking the hierarchical structure of both.  A model of the new virtual party, if you will.

"No way," you say.  "Crazy talk!  It would only assure a Democrat victory!"

Yeah, you're probably right.

Because there was no way the United States could go from the world's leading creditor nation, to its biggest debtor.

There was no way much of the Middle East could erupt in riots in such a short period of time.

[....] We live in an era of American history when we should not discount even the highly unlikely as being impossible.

The Vex-Files...

...or why some Republicans find even other Republicans so infuriating...

From the IMF:

“Rising spending on health care is the main risk to fiscal sustainability, with an impact on long-run debt ratios that, absent reforms, will dwarf that of the financial crisis,” it said.

[....] All this increase of costs relative to governments’ financial resources, the IMF said, will amount to “three times the estimated impact of the financial crisis on advanced economy public debt.”

As was revealed yesterday re the sham budget “cuts”, the government class’s response to its fiscal fraud is to obscure it via political fraud, a sleight of hand that demonstrates utter contempt for the citizenry. If this is the best they can do, they’re ensuring that everything is going to get worse. Real worse, real poor, real fast.

The entire Western world is institutionally committed to living beyond its means in perpetuity. The expiry date on “perpetuity” is looming.

  • Richard Hanna (R-NY24) voted in favor of the $100B—no, wait, $61B—no, wait, $38B—no wait, it's probably really only $352M budget cuts, while Michele Bachmann and 58 other Republicans voted against.  So naturally

A top aide to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy on Thursday suggested Republicans who have problems with the continuing resolution hitting the floor Thursday are committing a sin akin to Jane Fonda heading to Vietnam.

In an email to chiefs of staff sent Thursday morning, Pete Meachum, McCarthy's director of member services, forwarded a link to a Weekly Standard post praising the continuing resolution. Those who are using opposition to the resolution to better position themselves are hurting the fight, he implied.

"For the handwringers out there, buck up," Meachum wrote. "For those seeking other office please campaign at home, not on the backs of your colleagues."

Meachum linked the last four words to this website featuring photos of "Jane Fonda A.K.A. Hanoi Jane."...

Full disclosure: Meachum did apologize.  All righty, then.  Read the rest.

  • Then there's Mitt Romney:

This week, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's announcement that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee coincided with the five-year anniversary of his signature legislative accomplishment, the Bay State's health care law.

Much of this week's political analysis has focused on whether Romney could survive the Republican primary given the striking similarities between his health care law and the one President Obama signed last year. But there hasn't been much consideration about how, if he survives the issue, a Romney nomination would affect the rest of the Republican Party.

[....] If Romney wants to struggle to defend his plan in the primaries, that's his problem. But were he the GOP nominee, he'd be traveling around the country and campaigning with Republican candidates at every level...

Read the whole thing.  Or, to put it another way since Sunday is Palm Sunday:


Of learning styles and ducks

I think we're supposed to be happy with the budget deal that was struck Friday evening in DC and appreciate what a canny negotiator John Boehner is. But for those of us who like to get our information by reading:

( - The federal debt increased $54.1 billion in the eight days preceding the deal made by President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D.-Nev.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) to cut $38.5 billion in federal spending for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, which runs through September.

The debt was $14.2101 trillion on March 30, according to the Bureau of the Public Debt, and $14.2642 on April 7.

Since the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2010, the national debt has increase by $653.4 billion.

And for those of us who are visual learners, there's this:

And then for those who are auditory learners, Levin's not buying it:

There's a lot of walking, swimming, and quacking going on, but somehow we're not perceiving the duck.

Raising Cain

On the one hand, there's this from RightWingNews, via Moonbattery:

Denver, CO, April 5, 2011– Raising Red PAC and Raising Red Action Fund launched Tuesday, April 5th at with the mission of raising money to support the Republican nominee and defeat President Obama in the 2012 presidential election.

Launched by the activist team of Charlie Smith, former College Republican National Committee President; Kellen Giuda, New York City Tea Party co-founder and former Tea Party Patriots Board of Directors member; and conservative Blogger John Hawkins, Raising Red PAC and Raising Red Action Fund were born from a need for an innovative and forward-thinking political operation focused on candidates that will solve the problems that have been passed on to the Millennial Generation by decades of irresponsible politicians....

On the other, there are the skeptical comments on this idea at the Moonbattery post, as well as this:

In Kentucky, the Establishment Fights the Tea Party … Again  

This year's only hotly contested governor's race heats up.

Kentucky’s 2010 Republican Senate primary gained national attention when tea party-backed Rand Paul challenged Republican establishment candidate Trey Grayson. That scenario appears to be playing out again with Kentucky’s Republican gubernatorial race, pitting state Senate President David Williams against Louisville businessman, and tea party-favorite, Phil Moffett.

This 2011 election could not be more important considering Kentucky’s dire fiscal situation. Recently named by Forbes magazine the worst-run state in the U.S. (even over California!), Kentucky is basically a welfare state, getting 50% more money back from the federal government than it puts in. Plus, Kentucky faces large Medicaid budget gaps and high amounts of bonded debt, leading Moody’s Investor Services to downgrade Kentucky’s bond ratings just last week.

In lieu of fixing the budget, current Democratic Governor Steve Beshear and Democratic legislators prefer to roll over the debt to the following year, moving “$166.5 million of General Fund dollars from FY2012 to FY2011.” But the tea party wants to see legislators sort out the financial issues now, instead of continuing to pass it down to Kentucky’s children. The fiscal crisis has taken center stage with the tea party, making the governor’s race their main focus for 2011....

[....] But as the only hotly contested gubernatorial election in 2011, tea party groups nationwide are taking notice of the Kentucky race and its Republican primary. The Western Representation PAC and its chairman, Joe Miller, recently pledged to donate $100,000 to Moffett’s campaign — a number that nearly doubles Moffett’s campaign treasury. It’s a far cry from the more than $1 million raised by Williams and his establishment supporters, but, as we’ve seen in other elections, the power of the tea party can stretch further than the dollar. And statements from some tea party supporters that they won’t support Williams even if he wins the primary make for a startling warning to Kentucky’s Republican voters.

Do read the whole thing—it's really interesting.

And then there's Harry Reid:

“The country doesn’t care much about the tea party. There is a new CNN poll out today that says this very directly. Well more than — let’s put it this way: The people who care about the tea party are a very small number who care about them positively.” 

“The Tea Party is not looked at very strongly around the country.The only attention they get is in the House of Representatives."

Um, not so much.

" may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas," part deux

We've said it before. And Michael Barone says it again, at Pajamas Media and (via Ace):

...One of the lowest tax burdens in the nation, one of the most stable housing markets, and home to more Fortune 500 corporations than any other state. That’s Texas, and it’s no accident. The GOP-controlled government here lives by a couple of simple rules: Don’t tax everything that moves, and don’t spend all the money.


Hmmm...from Investors Business Daily, via American Thinker:

Budget: Congressional negotiators have trumpeted a "breakthrough" in budget talks that will yield $33 billion in spending cuts. Sorry, but we're not impressed.

We've done the math on this, and the $33 billion in cuts amounts to just 0.89% of expected spending of $3.7 trillion this year. It is just 2.2% of the deficit.

From the AT post:

That's a "breakthrough"? Are you kidding me? Republicans have to do way better than this if they want to save America from disaster and keep the American people's support.

Republicans need to understand that every slash they successfully take against the welfare state, moves America away from economic collapse and towards prosperity. But it will take slashes, not scratches on the surface in order to reverse this economic hardship.

But unfortunately, scratches are all the Republicans seem to be capable of doing. Republicans, to a large extent, still do not grasp the justness of Individualism. And this is why they have failed to defeat Democrats when it comes to the political debate. They are still debating the Democrats on collectivist premises....

Read the rest (the comments are good, too).


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