Political Truth and Fact.Com
Neither fair nor balanced, but absolutely factual
There was no Sunday Edition because I was in Birmingham, meeting with and interviewing Congressman Spencer Bachus, Chairman of the Congressional Financial Services Committee. A major subject:
“Since the government took over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers have spent more than $160 million defending the mortgage finance companies and their former top executives in civil lawsuits accusing them of fraud.
“The cost was a closely guarded secret until last week, when the companies and their regulator produced an accounting at the request of Congress.”
Expect details later.
Obama as a shape shifter
Sci-fi fans are familiar with “shape shifters” – beings that can change their beings to fit whatever circumstance they may face. Just such a character was featured in the “Terminator” movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger
Where the President is concerned, conservative writer, Ed Laskey, provides a chilling prediction:“We are about to watch the extreme makeover of Barack Obama in real time”
It has already begun.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen notes: “31% of the nation's voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as president. Thirty-five percent (35%) Strongly Disapprove.” Says Rasmussen: “That’s the president’s best Approval Index rating since February 1, 2010, nearly a full year ago. Strong Disapproval among Republicans is down to 55%. Among all voters, Strong Disapproval of the president has been consistently lower since mid-December.”
A steady decline in the percentage of American voters who strongly disapprove of Obama seems to have begun shortly after the Republican sweep in November – indicating many such voters are concluding the political struggle for America has been won and is over and are going back to sleep.
How this may impact the activism generated by the “tea party” movement remains to be seen and needs early analysis. Certainly the GOP has been moving rapidly to make good on its conservative campaign promises.
The GOP House has voted repeal of Obamacare, and GOP Senators are vowing a full scale effort to force a vote on the controversial issue in the upper chamber. Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi has been forced to fly commercial once more as Republican Speaker John Boehner now wields the gavel of power in the House.
However, the shooting in Tucson altered the political environment. Incredibly, Democrats were successful into exploiting a memorial for the victims into a political rally – even using t-shirts emblazoned with a crass political slogan (“Together we Thrive”) left over from the 2008 Obama campaign.
Many Americans have been eagerly anticipating a defeat of Obama in the 2012 elections, but they fail to realize Obama is a “chameleon who can change the way people perceive him”. He succeeded in doing precisely that through his Tucson speech.
Tomorrow, Obama gets a second shot.
The State of the Union address will provide Obama with an opportunity to proclaim his political visions in terms designed to lay a foundation for selling his plans for the nation’s future.
Obama is expected to proclaim plans for federal investments centered on efforts to spur job creation. Think of such “investments” as being simply more federal spending. Certainly the earlier massive “stimulus” scheme failed to solve the job problem. There is controversy regarding whether it had any impact at all.
Serious controversy beyond jobs faces both sides. Raising the national debt limit looms, and Republicans will be hard pressed to secure guarantees of meaningful spending cuts in exchange for their voting to raise the limit.
Illegal immigration will remain front and center for many voters, and not just in the border states. The issue is emotional and Obama and Democrats are trapped in their refusal to effectively confront the issue.
Last year’s GOP victory resulted in massively changing local governments too. Republicans have taken control of state houses and governor’s mansioins, and that situation predicts controversies closer to home. Entitlements for union members are on the table – states simply can no longer afford to honor many of the more extravagant provisions.
How this shift in the political environment impacts the national scene remains to be seen. Obama may seems to be dashing to the political center, but such a maneuver may not bring him a real solution. For example, Bush made a serious error in fumbling the illegal immigration issue, and, as a result, suffered serious erosion of his most critical base of support. The 2006 election – a fiasco for Republicans – was the result. If Obama shifts too far from the far left positions he took in his first two years, his base may desert him as Bush’s did in 2006.
But count on Obama and his handlers to shift anyway – reasoning very liberal voters have no other choice. Of course many may sit out the campaign. But Obama seems ready to gamble on that. His changes in his White House staff provide a clue to the start of his political pirouette. One observer writes: “A clue to Obama's ability and willingness to adapt can be found in the words of his book Dreams from My Father. There he mentioned only one book, Malcolm X's autobiography, and wrote that Malcolm X's "repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me."A man who can fake a Southern accent, the story of how his father came to America, and the story of his parents' being inspired by the Civil Rights march in Selma to conceive him has no problem morphing for political purposes.”
America gets a look at the 2012 model Obama tomorrow night. Look closely and consider.
For better or for worse, it’s now “game on”.
The Day’s Top Political News:
The ObamaCare debate continues
CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Republicans swept to control of the U.S. House in November with a bold promise that resonated with voters: "We are here because we heard the American people in the last election," says Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. "We said we'd do a straight up-or-down vote to repeal this health care law and that's what we're doing."
Last week, the House voted for repeal of the Democrat Healthcare bill – Obamacare -- with all 242 Republicans and three Democrats in favor. Now the spotlight shifts to the Senate. Or, it should shift to the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, however, says no. He won't allow a vote on the repeal measure. The bill wouldn't pass, Reid scoffs. Other Democrats brand the House vote as "symbolic" as if that were a synonym for "useless." It isn't. Symbols have power.
Reid may fear Democratic defectors, and he can't afford many with a 53-47 voting edge in the Senate and two dozen seats to defend in the 2012 election: Some red-state Dems might vote for repeal.The health care law is in trouble, in the courts and in Congress. Repeal is the first Republican strategy. But Republican lawmakers are also moving to cut its funding and peel away key parts of the law.
GOP: State of the Union provides Obana political outline
LA TIMES: Tuesday's State of the Union address will be the first test of whether President Obama's post-election shift to a more centrist course is more than symbolic, Republicans said Sunday.
"We're going to find out beginning next week … how much of this he really means," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said on "Fox News Sunday." "It is kind of a trust-but-verify moment. Let's see if he's really willing to do it, and if he is, I think he'll find a lot of help among Republicans in Congress."
After his party was dealt an electoral blow in November, Obama embraced a compromise that extended the President George W. Bush-era tax cuts, retooled his West Wing to include more moderate voices — such as his new chief of staff, William Daley — and made new overtures to the business community.
His polls have rebounded on the eve of his second State of the Union address, passing the 50% threshold in a series of major surveys.
Social issues top GOP state agendas as new majorities revisit gun laws, abortion rights
WASHINGTON TIMES: Newly minted Republican lawmakers who stormed state legislatures with vows of fixing the economy and controlling spending also are tackling social issues, such as gun laws and immigration, with minimal Democratic resistance.
"This is the Republican high-water mark in terms of state legislatures since before the New Deal, in both the number of Republicans and the number of chambers they've taken over," said John Fortier, a political specialist with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a conservative-leaning Washington think tank.
"These are issues that are important to these new state majorities. They haven't had an opportunity to weigh in on them." Norm Ornstein, also of AEI, added that social issues are tempting subjects for conservative legislators because they're easier to tackle than economic and budget problems.