715 Days Until Election Day
November 17, 2008
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"As the son of an immigrant who found the American Dream in an auto factory in Detroit, I know that the dream is still alive. It lives in every city and every suburb. And it lives in every coal miner, accountant, school teacher, young professional and auto worker."
Saul Anuzis, Wall Street Journal Op-Ed
"The future of the Republican Party is in the hands of the party's grass roots. In the months to come, some of us will be concentrating on organizing the people who are the real base of the party and fighting to restore the party's values as represented by my father's administration. What we stand for is worth fighting for. And it is what will save the party of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan."
Michael Reagan, Human Events Op-Ed
OBAMA ON 60 MINUTES...promises Republicans in his Cabinet? This will be interesting...I hope he really does plan on reaching out and trying to build some sort of consensus on policy.
SO MUCH FOR UNITY...Democrat Senators are pushing to dump fellow Democrat Joe Lieberman (D-CT) from his Chairmanship of any committees for backing McCain. I guess "independence" and "bi-partisanship" isn't in the works for Democrats now that they are "in charge".
MCCAIN AND OBAMA TO MEET...Senator John McCain will meet with President-Elect Barack Obama in Chicago today. They will discuss ways and options of cooperating on policy initiatives to move our country forward
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TODAY'S TOP STORIES
The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.
GOP's Future Is In Its Grass Roots
by Michael Reagan
There are a lot of meetings going on among some Republicans trying to figure out what went wrong on Election Day and how the party needs to respond. None of them involve what the media like to call the base, the folks at the grass roots whose votes, after all, determine the outcome of elections.
The gatherings get a lot of media attention because the media mistakenly believe that the people attending them represent the grass roots of the GOP. They don't. What they represent is the coterie who led the party into eight years of ignoring the traditions and principles of the party pursued so avidly by the Reagan administration, with which they have the effrontery to identify themselves.
By MICHAEL COOPER
MIAMI - In small meetings at the homes of conservative activists and bigger ones at research groups, in conference calls and on blogs, and at gatherings like the Republican governors' conference that just ended here, the questions have been the same: Nearly 30 years after Ronald Reagan ushered in a period of conservative ascendancy in American politics, how should the movement re-energize itself? And how can conservatives chart a path back to power after this month's Republican defeats?
Some conservatives want a return to basics, arguing that President Bush abandoned conservative principles by expanding government and driving up spending. Others draw just the opposite conclusion, warning that Republicans have tried to appeal to too narrow a base and that the party must update the focus of conservatism, especially at a time when voters are thinking more about issues like jobs and health care than about abortion and gay rights. The debate has been simmering among veteran conservative leaders, a younger crop of conservative writers and thinkers who want to modernize the movement and the Republican officials vying to become forces in a party that suddenly has no leader now that the Bush administration is at an end.
With selection by their caucuses as minority leaders, two small-town Up North lawmakers have ended the grip that downstate population centers have on the four top leadership posts in the Senate and House. Sen. Mike Prusi, of Ishpeming, after narrowly defeating Sen. Buzz Thomas, of Detroit -- by two votes, says one source -- will take over as Senate Democratic Leader when Mark Schauer, of Battle Creek, goes to Congress in January. Although old records are sketchy, Senate staffers believe him to be the first Upper Peninsula senator to win the post.
While the legendary former state Rep. Dominic Jaccobetti, D-Negaunee, never served as caucus leader, his 1955-95 service -- much of which was as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee -- defined Up North legislative clout. Other former northern legislative leaders of note include ex-Sen. Mitch Irwin, of Sault Ste. Marie, and ex-Rep. Pat Gagliardi, also from the eastern Upper Peninsula (Drummond Island), both Democrats.
Why Bankruptcy Is the Best Option for GM
Chapter 11 would better preserve the valuable parts of the company than an ad hoc bailout.
By MICHAEL E. LEVINE
General Motors is a once-great company caught in a web of relationships designed for another era. It should not be fed while still caught, because that will leave it trapped until we get tired of feeding it. Then it will die. The only possibility of saving it is to take the risk of cutting it free. In other words, GM should be allowed to go bankrupt.
Consider the costs of tackling GM's problems with some kind of bailout plan. After 42 years of eroding U.S. market share (from 53% to 20%) and countless announcements of "change," GM still has eight U.S. brands (Cadillac, Saab, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Saturn, Chevrolet and Hummer). As for its more successful competitors, Toyota (19% market share) has three, and Honda (11%) has two.
GM has about 7,000 dealers. Toyota has fewer than 1,500. Honda has about 1,000. These fewer and larger dealers are better able to advertise, stock and service the cars they sell. GM knows it needs fewer brands and dealers, but the dealers are protected from termination by state laws. This makes eliminating them and the brands they sell very expensive. It would cost GM billions of dollars and many years to reduce the number of dealers it has to a number near Toyota's.
Options all grim for GM's workers
Jobs will be lost no matter what solution is found to woes
Bailout. Bankruptcy. Merger. Those are terms being bandied about as lawmakers, analysts and others try to figure out how to help keep automakers in business. Too bad "none of the above" isn't an option.
General Motors Corp. and its two Detroit-area rivals - Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC - face grim futures as Congress prepares to take up a multibillion-dollar-bailout package Monday. Plunging sales brought on by gas prices that topped $4 a gallon earlier this year and a continuing credit crunch have battered the industry. Locally, GM's dire situation has raised the most concern. With about 6,000 workers at four facilities in the Lansing area - up to 700 of whom will lose their jobs early next year amid a companywide layoff - and more who work at suppliers, the Detroit automaker's survival is as crucial here as it is nationwide.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and the Democratic Party seem to be in a race to see who can flaunt more money at more suppliants in quicker time with less thought.
When the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department decided to put $30 billion into Bear Stearns in March, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said they were "pleased" with their efforts to "promote liquid, well-functioning financial markets." There were no warnings from the two financial chiefs that more trouble was ahead.
In July, Congress started asking questions about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Mr. Paulson said: "Their regulator has made clear that they are adequately capitalized," even as a former Federal Reserve president warned they were already insolvent. A month later, Mr. Paulson admitted $200 billion (and maybe more) would be needed to bail out the two mortgage giants. From there the landslide began. There was $700 billion to buy toxic mortgages and other assets from banks. Another $25 billion in loans went to the American automotive industry. Taxpayers were paid $168 billion in stimulus checks in February. All told, the federal government has shelled out $1.148 trillion on top of a $454 billion-closing-budget deficit.
Democrats Shouldn't Rush on Labor Legislation
Union-friendly rules don't always help employees.
By ARIELLA BERNSTEIN
The labor movement has announced that it will push passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) in the first 100 days of the Obama administration. There is even talk of adding it to President-elect Barack Obama's stimulus legislation, to reduce the spotlight on the issue. This haste is a mistake. I am a Democrat who has worked at both the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), two agencies that figure prominently in this legislation. I believe we need a better understanding of the problems before signing on to this bill as the solution.
The Employee Free Choice Act has three main components: certification of a union as the bargaining representative if a majority of employees sign authorization cards; mandatory arbitration on the terms of a contract if the parties cannot reach agreement; and stronger penalties for unfair labor practices during a union organizing campaign or while the parties are negotiating a first contract.
Proponents say a quarter of union campaigns result in the illegal firing of at least one employee, and that more than a third of newly certified unions never reach a contract with the company. Opponents say that a secret-ballot election is a time-honored American tradition and that mandatory arbitration only encourages irresponsible negotiations.
A real plan for economic growth
Republicans offer alternative to spending binge
Monday, November 17, 2008
In talking with President-elect Barack Obama after his historic election, I shared with him my sincere hope that we can work together in the months and years ahead toward solutions that address the significant challenges facing our nation. The most pressing challenge is the state of our economy and its impact on American workers and their families.
Both parties have promised to look for common ground in the effort to find solutions to our economic troubles. We should start that search by listening to the American people. Public opinion polls show the American people believe cutting taxes for families and small businesses is more likely to "stimulate" the economy than increasing government spending, and they've got it right.
Cantor says GOP is no longer 'relevant'
Urges real solutions on health care, economy
Monday, November 17, 2008
Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, poised to ascend to House Republicans' No. 2 leader this week, said the Republican Party in Washington is no longer "relevant" to voters and must stop simply espousing principles. Instead, it must craft real solutions to health care and the economy.
"Where we have really fallen down is, we have lacked the ability to be relevant to people's lives. Let's set aside the last eight years, and our falling down in living up to expectations of what we said we were going to do," Mr. Cantor told The Washington Times in his district office outside of Richmond. "It's the relevancy question."
As chief deputy whip, Mr. Cantor, 45, was the logical choice to move up when Republicans' current whip, Rep. Roy Blunt, stepped aside - something Mr. Blunt announced days after Republicans lost at least 20 seats in the House.
The $639 Million Loophole
Obama's riches, and the humiliation of campaign reformers
We're fresh off the most expensive election cycle in history, in which the winning candidate raised record amounts of money while opting out of the campaign finance limits. With victory in hand, Barack Obama's allies now want to return to the alleged virtues of public money. If there was ever a demonstration of the folly and hypocrisy of campaign finance reform, this would be it.
The GOP is using this demonstration to make another constitutional challenge to McCain-Feingold, and we're glad to see it. That's the upshot of two lawsuits filed Thursday by the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C. and Louisiana, challenging campaign finance restrictions including the 2002 McCain-Feingold law. The rules were intended to limit the influence of money in politics, but we now have the proof of three election cycles showing they haven't. Instead they have made election money less transparent, restricted political speech, and helped create a cottage industry of election lawyers and shadowy political groups.
November 17, 2008
CHICAGO (AP) - Once campaign rivals, President-elect Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are ready to talk about how they can collaborate on issues facing the country. A private meeting, slated for Monday at Obama's transition office in Chicago, will be the first since Obama beat McCain, the Republican candidate, in the Nov. 4 election. The meeting comes as Obama, who resigned his Senate seat on Sunday, has been interviewing some of his one-time political opponents to help him run the country.
Advisers to the former candidates have said they don't expect Obama to consider McCain for an administration job. The two will be joined by Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a McCain confidant, and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, an Illinois Democrat Obama has chosen as his White House chief of staff. Emanuel and Graham have worked together before on issues on Capitol Hill, and Graham jumped to Emanuel's defense when Republicans criticized his appointment as Obama's chief of staff.