No votes in the House or Senate today. Stephen Colbert will be testifying at a House Judiciary subcommittee on the issue of immigration - this is not a joke. Sources tell Red State that the debate on whether to extend all or part of the '01/'03 tax cuts has been punted into the Lame Duck session by nervous Democrats. They can't keep all Dems in line on the issue, therefore they have kicked the issue into the Lame Duck session expected after the elections.
I am participating in a forum sponsored by the National Press Foundation titled, Midterm Elections: Behind the Numbers at 10:15 today. The central quesition presented is "will the performance of Congress impact on how people vote?" Congress has fallen down on the job. ObamaCare, the Stimulus, so called Wall Street reform -- all of these issues have enraged the American public. The American people think that Congress is doing lasting harm to the American Dream and they will get retribution on politicians on Election Day.
I am going to discuss four themes today:
- Congress Has Passed Unpopular Legislation- The two signature items of this Administration are the $862 Billion Stimulus and ObamaCare are perceived as failures. First, the President Promised that the Stimulus would fix a broken economy -- it didn't. When President Obama was sworn into office the unemployment rate was at 7.6%; now it is at 9.6%. The President's staff promised that unemployment would not breach 8% and it has. Furthermore, some argue that the Stimulus has proven unnecessary. Nolan Finley of the Detroit News argues today that "economists are now saying the Great Recession ended in June of 2009, when the economy began growing again. But President Barack Obama is defending the $787 billion stimulus package, which failed to deliver the promised reduction in unemployment, by claiming it kept the economy from falling into a depression. And yet, according to some economists, the recession was over before the stimulus dollars were spent. We've been had, folks. Nearly $800 billion of our money was spent to end a recession that was already over. The massive spending didn't put Americans back to work. So all we end up with is a hugely expanded government and a gigantic debt that will be repaid with higher taxes on either ourselves or our grandchildren." ObamaCare has been a public relations nightmare for the Obama Administration. Yesterday was the six month anniversary of the plan and as I cited Michael Cannon of CATO who wrote for the Washington Times yesterday that ObamaCare is hurting patients and the idea of affordable health care. Rasmussen reports that "sixty-one percent (61%) of Likely U.S. Voters now at least somewhat favor repeal of the new national health care law, including 50% who Strongly Favor it. That’s up eight points from a week ago and the highest level of opposition measured since late May." The people have not been sold on this plan since day one.
- President Obama Has Over Promised to American People- President Obama has proven to be the Broken Promiser-in-Chief. He rolled out a string of promises and the American people are angry that many of those promises are incomplete or broken. Politifact.com has a list of 22 promises broken by this Administration. Some of them are minor, yet some of these broken promises strike at the heart of Senator Obama's argument on why he needed to come in and replace President Bush. The bold promise of "Hope" and "Change" have proven empty. The President promised to allow 5 days of public comment before signing bills. That is a good government promise that has been broken and not taken seriously. The American people take the idea of transparency seriously, yet this President clearly over promised on this specific good government item. The President Promised "to demonstrate his commitment to fiscal responsibility, Barack Obama promised during his campaign that he would offset the costs of his national service plan with savings from changes in tax law and ending the war in Iraq." That never happened and the billion dollar Edward M. Kennedy National Service Act is run on borrowed money. The President promised that no family making under $250K would experience a tax increase. This is an important promise. Politifact cites the smoking tax, tanning tax and the individual mandate in ObamaCare as a breaking of this promise. Not only that, the President has not expended much political capital to extend any of the '01/'03 tax cuts. From PolitiFacts- "But Obama's campaign rhetoric took him beyond just income taxes. 'Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes,' Obama said. It's that 'not any of your taxes' that is the sticking point." The following important promises have also been broken: Negotiations of health care reform on C-SPAN; Create a Public Option; and, introduce comprehensive immigration bill in first year.
- Congress Has Not Addressed Important Issues - Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) writes for Real Clear Politics today that "stop wasteful spending and slow the growth of government." He hit the nail on the head. Coburn argues that "the current majority had a chance to demonstrate restraint but their pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) mechanism, which was supposed to pay new spending with cuts or tax increases, has been a joke. The Senate has made a mockery of its own rules, waiving PAYGO six times since it was adopted in February in order to add more than $266 billion to the debt." This Administration has yet to seriously address the fact that we have $13.4 trillion in debt as a nation. We are expected to carry between $1.4 and $1.6 trillion in debt this year, yet the ruling party has not mapped out a plan to tackle this problem. The American people want to see the economy change for the better, yet they don't see the federal government taking any action to spur economic growth. How about cutting taxes for all and stop regulating businesses into the Stone Age.
- The Tea Party Movement is Evidence that People are Angry- Self identified Tea Party candidates have won Senate Primaries in Delaware (Christine O'Donnell), Alaska (Joe Miller), Colorado (Ken Buck), Utah (Mike Lee), Nevada (Sharron Angle), Kentucky (Mike Lee) and Wisconsin (Ron Johnson). Tea Partiers are demonstrating in the streets against this Administration. Real Clear Politics has President Obama's Approval rating at 45.6% approve and 49.4% disapprove (-3.8%). RCP has Congressional approval ratings at 22.7% approve and 71.2% disapprove (-48.5%). The passion gap is in the millions where record numbers of Republicans have come out to vote in Republican primaries, yet Democrat primary voter participation is depressed.
I welcome any suggested talking points from Red State America for the panel.