699 Days until Election Day
December 3, 2008
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"I'm excited to be the first race that leads us into the 2010 campaign because it'll be a tough fight."
- U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
REPUBLICANS WIN...SENATOR SAXBY CHAMBLISS OF GEORGIA...Congratulations and thanks to all who helped Senator Chambliss and Georgia Republicans hold on to this critical seat in the U.S. Senate. Thanks!
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TODAY'S TOP STORIES
The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.
Two Top Republican Strategists Offer Their Advice To Get The Party Back On Track
by Charlie Cook
Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008
The single most important factor that determines where American politics will go over the next two years is how President-elect Barack Obama fares in office. If he makes more than a few strategic or tactical miscues, his honeymoon will be abbreviated and Republicans will have the opportunity to bounce back from two consecutive disastrous elections. If the Obama administration does well, things obviously won't look so good for the GOP.
A key question to consider is whether Republicans can quickly address the fundamental problems facing their party, or whether they ignore or misdiagnose their problems and wait for Democrats to self-destruct. In several conversations with some of the smartest Republican pollsters and strategists, it's clear that many have a good fix on the problems of their party. However, there is considerable concern that many elected officials and constituent groups within the GOP are reluctant to hear the advice these consultants feel they need.
By John Stossel
If an athlete injures himself and suffers great pain, we'd recognize the shortsightedness of giving him painkillers to keep him going. The pain might be masked, but at the risk of greater injury later.
That's a good analogy for the inflationary policies now pursued by Washington. These policies may temporarily "stimulate the economy," but they also disguise and aggravate the underlying problems. We will all pay a serious price.
Policy makers have thrown caution to the wind. Twelve-digit dollar figures are tossed about casually. The other day, after Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson changed course -- yet again -- and announced that the Federal Reserve would commit $800 billion more in "new loans and debt purchases," The New York Times reported, "Fed and Treasury officials made it clear that the sky was the limit".
The fact that after more than 30 years of consistent mismanagement and decline, there is still any discussion on whether America should allow the significantly smaller Big Three automakers to fail is clear evidence that Washington has lost all common sense.
Why, when after more than three decades of continuous restructuring, GM, Ford and Chrysler have not been able to change their culture, high-cost basis and ill-conceived strategies, does anyone honestly believe yet another break would change anything?
Just because their situation has become even more precarious, it doesn't mean that they will be more successful going forward; more likely the opposite.
E.J. Dionne, Washington Post Writers Group: The House and Senate leadership is inclined to give the auto industry the $25 billion it seeks. But a top congressional aide said it is not yet clear that a bailout that large has the votes to pass both houses, let alone backing from President Bush. Plan B would involve passing enough assistance to keep the companies solvent until President-elect Barack Obama takes office.
Unlike the other bailouts, this one could provide a model for how management and labor might team up to create better companies in a fairer, more productive economy. If this happened, the taxpayers would get their money's worth. But if all that's on offer is a plan to buy the CEOs a few more months or years, they should drive back to Detroit empty-handed.
Dan Neil, Los Angeles Times' automotive critic: Let's avoid the euphemisms and have the courage of our supercharged Keynesian convictions. By nationalizing GM, we can aim the company's astonishing resources at one of the biggest public-policy problems we have: oil. Restructured and refocused, GM could build green vehicles by the millions in a few years and still have the capacity to build gasoline- and diesel-powered pickups (which we'll still need) ... and maybe even some Corvettes on the side.
A teetering General Motors Corp. says it needs $12 billion in cash -- a third of it by the end of this month -- and a $6 billion credit line to make it into next year.
Would it be enough?
Chrysler LLC, its monthly sales off worse than GM's, says it will need "immediate liquidity support" of $7 billion to reassure customers, encourage dealers and make it into next year. Would it come soon enough?
And Ford Motor Co., Detroit's darling of the moment, says it's OK for now. But it wants the ability to access up to $9 billion in government credit should, say, GM fail and take the entire domestic auto industry down with it in one cataclysmic collapse.
Governor says Obama indicated in meeting that package 'will happen.'
Mark Hornbeck / Detroit News Lansing Bureau
The promise of federal relief to states will temper the need for deep state budget cuts this month, Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday.
Commenting after a meeting between President-Elect Barack Obama and the nation's governors in Philadelphia, Granholm said a federal stimulus package will "lessen the need right now to do immediate, drastic cuts."
State fiscal analysts have estimated the federal stimulus package will mean more than $600 million to Michigan for Medicaid health care for the poor, enabling the state to use some general fund cash for other purposes. The package is being negotiated in Congress.
By Steve Fraser
December 1, 2008
On a December day in 1932, with the country prostrate under the weight of the Great Depression, ex-president Calvin Coolidge--who had presided over the reckless stock market boom of the Jazz Age Twenties (and famously declaimed that "the business of America is business")-- confided to a friend: "We are in a new era to which I do not belong." He punctuated those words, a few weeks later, by dying.
A similar premonition grips the popular imagination today. A new era beckons. No person has been more responsible for arousing that expectation than President-elect Barack Obama. From beginning to end, his presidential campaign was born aloft by invocations of the "fierce urgency of now," by "change we can believe in," by "yes, we can!" and by the obvious significance of his race and generation. Not surprisingly then, as the gravity of the national economic calamity has become terrifyingly clearer, yearnings for salvation have attached themselves ever more firmly to the incoming administration.
Health officials call for support
BY MEGHA SATYANARAYANA • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER • December 3, 2008
State health officials urged Michigan lawmakers to vote today in favor of a ban on smoking in public places, even if casinos and cigar bars would be exempt.
Nearly 80% of the public is behind the ban, said Greg Holzman, chief medical executive of the Michigan Department of Community Health. And with the final 2008 legislative session just weeks away from ending, acting now would still save most of Michigan from second-hand smoke.
"To me, it's disconcerting because it's still putting people at risk who work in the casinos, but to protect the majority of Michigan's population -- I'm not going to lose that," Holzman said Tuesday.
December 3, 2008
In the wake of speculation that she would be leaving her job to take a position in the administration of President-elect Barack Obama, Gov. Jennifer Granholm told reporters Tuesday that she hasn't "been asked to join the Obama team" and is "not aware of being vetted in any way."
Granholm, attending the National Governors Association meeting in Philadelphia, met privately with Obama briefly Tuesday to push support for federal loans to the Detroit automakers.
By Tony Blankley
From The Huffington Post and Daily Kos to National Review and The Washington Times -- and all the mainstream media in between -- commentators are puzzling over who the dickens President-elect Barack Obama really is. On the progressive left, they are beginning to fear he may not be for "redistributive justice." On The Wall Street Journal free market right, they are seeing in his economic team the possibility that he is really as safe for capitalism as a banker. Karl Rove has concluded: "(The) announcement of Mr. Obama's economic team was reassuring. He's generally surrounded himself with intelligent, mainstream advisers."
Those impassioned by the anti-war slogan "no blood for oil" are getting nervous. According to Politico, Jodie Evans -- a CodePink co-founder who, with her husband, helped raise a lot of money for Obama during the primary and general elections -- recalled her interaction with Obama: "It has gotten to the point where he sees me coming and before I am close he just keeps repeating, 'Jodie, I PROMISE, I will end the war, I promise I will end the war.'"