EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for February 11, 2011
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In case you missed it, Leon Panetta was called before Congress today and asked to explain exactly what in the world is going on over in Egypt. His answer was, essentially, “No worries, Mubarak will be stepping down by the end of the day.” As you may have noticed, that did not happen. This raised the rather obvious question of where the Director of the CIA got this thoroughly erroneous information that he gave to Congress. It turns out, he got it from the same place the rest of us got it: from watching his television.
Rumor has it that House GOP freshmen and the conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC) led by Jim Jordan beat the snot out of House Republican leadership and that the leadership is working on getting to $100 billion in cuts.
If that happens, it is great news – but there remains a big problem.
The problem is that by being so timid, Republicans are making their overall fight to cut spending all the more difficult. We all know that any cuts proposed will be painted by Democrats and a willing media as draconian and unfair. The poor will be out on the streets, food will be taken from children, etc…
That is why it was (and remains) so critical that Republican leadership get on the offensive immediately. They need to make the case for spending cuts, and that the $100 billion is nothing more than a first step of many more to come. To do otherwise means that we are going to just have more of the same – token cuts to pacify the base, or the Tea Party folks – but no real commitment to changing the culture of reckless spending that permeates Capitol Hill.
The American people gave Republicans license to cut – but Republicans will have to work very hard to do it and explain why it’s important as time goes on.
Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) is throwing in the towel and retiring from the Senate.
Much speculation will be had over the next few weeks about who to endorse and who to support.
Let me be up front and just say I endorse Jeff Flake for the United States Senate.
Now . . . now we just need to get him to run. Details. Just a detail.
Today’s business news contains two seemingly unrelated stories, both on the energy front. The first tells the tale of Range Fuels’ foray into cellulosic ethanol, the process of making ethanol fuel, not from foodstuffs but from waste products such as wood chips. Even with government assitance with financing and with a Congressional mandate requiring customers to use their inferior fuel, Range Fuels’ project is a bust, to the tune of $250 million, a good bit of that taxpayer money.
The Republican spending cut plan was thankfully moving in the right direction, but that it is not yet where it needs to be to comply with the Pledge to America. In the view of many conservatives, that pledge was clear with respect to how the $100 billion number would be arrived at, especially with respect to defense spending. Republicans promised not to rely on defense cuts to meet their goal, but now Republican leadership is pushing back.
Leadership’s argument is that the Pledge never specifically said “nonsecurity,” but rather “troops” and “veterans” and thus, the latest proposal from the Appropriations Committee meets the $100 billion target as promised.
Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has decided not to step aside and will in fact stay in power until the elections in September. Early reports today indicated that he would resign the presidency, and hand over power to his Vice President, Omar Suleiman.
When the estimated three million energetic Egyptians who had gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in anticipation of Mubarak’s ouster learned of his decision, anger erupted across the crowd and tensions immediately rose. The demonstrators had been chanting “down, down Hosni Mubarak” as they carried anti-Mubarak signs and watched the speech on a large sheet acting as a projection television.