It’s not easy keeping up the pretense that Occupy Wall Street is a serious political movement. “A sticky-fingered comrade with access to their $20,000 credit-union account robbed them of $5,500 the other day. (To each according to his needs). (Wait. They have a $20,000 credit union account? Just how much are antibiotics going for these days?)”
It is easy to see who won the payroll tax cut extension fight. “A two-month package would cost $40 billion. Senators would pay for it with items identified by both sides during this year’s deficit-reduction talks, including higher fees on lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.Under the agreement, Congress would approve language requiring that a construction permit be issued for the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline within 60 days unless the president determined the pipeline was not in the national interest.” No tax hikes and the pipeline? The GOP cleaned up.
An easy question. “What’s been most telling about the introduction of the Wyden-Ryan concept has been the reaction of the White House and its Democratic allies. For months, we have heard the argument made that Republicans are hypocritical for opposing what is said to be the ‘premium support’ of Obamacare while pushing for it in the Medicare context. But, if that’s true, what could possibly explain the president’s instantaneous and adamant opposition to Wyden-Ryan, given that he supposedly pushed the same concept for the rest of the population in Obamacare?”
It’s not so easy to run for president. But don’t blame Texas. Gov. Rick Perry “has vastly underperformed the expectations of even his most ardent critics. . . . In the end, if Perry is done in, it will be by his Perryness, not his Texanness — by his flaws, not ours. And yet the offending matter will stick to our boots. In some ways it already has. Thanks to his various “oops” moments, we’re being saddled once again with the misbegotten stereotype — dumb, unsophisticated, cocksure — that the national media loves to propagate.”
It’s not easy to be a Ahmadinejad sympathizer and get the GOP presidential nomination. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) lays into Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.): “It was unbelievable . . . It’s a total disqualifier as far as I’m concerned . . . This is so off-base and this isn’t just one thing. This is all foreign policy. I could not disagree with Ron Paul more.”
It’s hard these days being a former “historian” for Freddie Mac. “The Securities and Exchange Commission has brought civil fraud charges against six former top executives at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying they misled the government and taxpayers about risky subprime mortgages the mortgage giants held during the housing bust.”
Medicare reform is hard to explain, but Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) does as good a job as anyone in simplifying it for voters. “ ‘Are we moving Medicare from a command and control government run system to a market based patient centered system? The answer’s clearly yes. We’re taking Medicare from a public-only option to a real-private option and a market-based option in a market-based system.’ The Wyden-Ryan plan would transform Medicare from a single-payer system into a system in which those entering Medicare after 2022 receive a capped subsidy, or premium support, to purchase health insurance on an exchange. ‘It runs the money through the person rather than through the government. The marketplace, the patients and the doctors, can make a decision,’ he said.” But there are those on the right and left who won’t like any plan that’s achievable.
William Galston says it will be hard for Obama to win playing the class warfare card. He writes that “a campaign emphasizing growth and opportunity is more likely to yield a Democratic victory than is a campaign focused on inequality. While the latter will thrill the party’s base, only the former can forge a majority.”
It’s hard to overestimate Newt Gingrich’s arrogance. “With the final presidential debates of the year behind him, Newt Gingrich did not make his case to Iowa voters on Friday but returned home to spend the weekend off the campaign trail. ‘I’m pacing,’ Mr. Gingrich said, smiling when asked to explain his schedule, with less than three weeks before the Iowa caucuses open the Republican nominating contest.” Perhaps a cruise next?
It’s hard not to conclude that President Obama’s team is willfully ignorant. Elliott Abrams looks at a recent, outrageous Hamas statement: “[T]his was a call for the violent destruction of the Jewish State. Those who, like Secretary of Defense Panetta, continue to say ‘just get to the damn table’ are blinding themselves to the most obvious problems of the ‘peace process.’ Putting aside the fact that it is the Palestinians, not Israel, who are refusing to go to the table, is it worthwhile negotiating with half of the Palestinian polity when the other half is announcing such goals, and any agreement that might be reached cannot be implemented?”