Good for her. “Kirsten Powers Slams ‘Feminists’ Who ‘Carry Water’ For Dems By Ignoring Lack Of Female Cabinet Members.”
Bad quality for a defense secretary. “[Chuck] Hagel’s past outspokenness is already a liability in his new position, as regional powers now frantically consume every word he has ever uttered or written in an attempt to gauge what the likely new chief executive of the most powerful military in the Middle East thinks – and will be telling the president – about the region. . . . If the nomination fight itself did not drive the lesson home, surely the awesome responsibilities of the Defense Department will do so: Silence is not always a sign of cowardice. Sometimes, it is the height of wisdom.” You’d think the president would want someone more disciplined and less enamored with stealing the spotlight.
Good summation. Larry Kudlow on Jack Lew’s nomination to Treasury secretary. “He has no financial experience. He has no international experience. He has no currency experience. He ripped off Citibank for a couple of million dollars. He was there for one year. I mean, there’s about a million people — give me a phone book, and I’ll find somebody more qualified for Treasury Secretary than former OMB director Jack Lew. This is all of a piece. It is completely irresponsible.”
Bad idea not to be forthright with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) He explains he isn’t supporting Lew because he falsely testified that the budget he drafted would not add to the debt of the United States. “To ‘look the American people in the eye’ and make such a statement remains the most direct and important false assertion during my entire time in Washington.”
Good to have some private-sector experience. But oops. “For his work at Citigroup, work that included betting on the housing collapse, Lew received a salary of $1.1 million. After Citigroup received its $45 billion taxpayer bailout, Lew – two weeks before joining the Obama administration – received another $900,000 from Citigroup as a bonus. This was revealed only in 2010; in 2009, when Lew first joined the administration as a State Department official, both he and the administration refused to say if he had received a post-bailout bonus from Citigroup (at the time, there was a huge political scandal over Wall Street executives receiving large bonuses despite needing taxpayer bailouts).”
Bad move to sell to an authoritarian regime built on oil money. “Al Gore, Internet pioneer, paladin of the fight against global warming, and archenemy of carbon fuels, is about to have his bank account inflated by an estimated one hundred million petro-dollars, and he will ‘proudly’ serve on the advisory board of a media outlet owned by a dictatorship that advocates government censorship of the Internet.” Read the whole thing.
Good idea. “This is not to say that Congress should not look to the Department of Defense (and other national security functions) for any savings. It is to say that no meat cleaver should be applied to defense – which, unlike domestic discretionary spending, already has been going down rather than up in recent years. . . . The House’s public argument to Obama would be: ‘Look, we disagree on domestic spending, but your administration agrees with us against defense sequestration, so let’s get that problem off the table.’ What could be more reasonable than that, to avoid part of the brinksmanship that the public so despises?” Unfortunately the House already tried that. But they should nevertheless keep at it.
Bad facts make for good politics for President Obama. “Congress can reduce a wide range of payments to various beneficiaries at any time by amending the statutes that authorize them or simply by failing to appropriate sufficient funds to pay for them. Nor does Congress have any legal or constitutional obligation to borrow money to pay for entitlements. . . . Once these false arguments are cleared away, the real issue in the debt-ceiling debate becomes clear: the proper level of federal spending. Should Congress fail to increase the debt ceiling as much as the president wants, the effective result would be major government spending cuts, with payments on public debt excluded.”