the Morning Briefing every morning at no charge.
The Senate’s power to pass on all appointments of Officers of the United States is explicitly enshrined in the Constitution. The one and only exception to this Congressional power occurs when the Senate is in recess. Despite the fact that, according to the Senate, the Senate is most emphatically not in recess, and despite the fact that they have been meeting every two days even over the holiday, the Obama administration has taken it upon themselves to declare that the Senate is in fact in recess and has made recess appointments to both the NRLB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.Please click here for the rest of the post.
If Rick Perry leaves the Republican race, there will not be a candidate in the field who authentically represents smaller government. While many conservatives don’t mind activist government so long as the ends are conservative, the willful use of activist government for conservative ends leaves in place a government perfectly capable of activist liberal government when conservatives lose.The only way to fully turn the tide of big government is therefore to support someone who is willing to scale back government. Unfortunately, the only candidate with both an agenda to significantly cut government and a record of actually doing so is the flawed candidate from Texas with a campaign no one can be proud of.But can he win? Yes. And should he stay in? Absolutely. If Rick Perry leaves, conservatives who want Washington out of their lives will have fully ceded the field to other men, mostly conservative, who are not as committed to the idea of “making Washington as inconsequential in our lives as possible.”What would it take though to get voters to look at Perry again? I think the only way he can go forward is to have a full throated and honest reboot of his campaign. To do that, he must clean house with a full on purge of his political and communications staff.David Carney, who I know and like, and Joe Allbaugh, who I do not know but admire, must both go. Ray Sullivan must go. Mark Miner must go. I would suggest even Tony Fabrizo, who just about everyone internally at the Perry campaign, regardless of faction, blames as the chief instigator of the recent Politico story must go.Perry has to demonstrate he recognizes just how terrible his campaign is. And that means people at the top level need to go. A lot of the Politico story was deadly accurate. The Perry team initially treated his campaign as running for Governor of Texas. He was underprepared and ill suited for debates. His communications strategy was and is a mess.Look no further than Mark Miner, his spokesman today, being asked about Governor Perry’s tweet that he was in and, instead of saying “I’ll get back to you,” conveyed uncertainty. The headline went from “Perry Stays In” to “Perry’s Staff Has No Idea.”But it goes much deeper than that and I would submit none of us can treat a Perry reboot seriously unless he actually does reboot. It goes much deeper than people. People is policy and this is ultimately about the policies Perry will champion indicated first and foremost by his leadership abilities to stop the suck in his campaign.Please click here for the rest of the post.
Rick Santorum has some pent up issues with Jim DeMint.Just a few weeks before DeMint stood for re-election on South Carolina’s ballot, Rick Santorum showed up in DeMint’s neighborood to tell everyone Jim DeMint was wrong on earmarks. “Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said the Constitution gives Congress control of the purse strings and that he supported earmarks for port deepening while a senator – the opposite of the position that DeMint is taking. But former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia said DeMint has shown “moral courage” in refusing to support any earmarks, including one that the State Ports Authority says is needed to study the deepening of Charleston Harbor.”Santorum went on John King USA on CNN tonight and again defended earmarks claiming “Jim DeMint did it too” without acknowledging DeMint repented and has since led the fight against earmarks. When asked about what he may or may not have said about black welfare recipients, Santorum defended himself by claiming he got earmarks for a black community in Pennsylvania.Get ready for conservatives to have to refight this critical fight against the gateway drug to big government spending.It’s not just Rick Santorum knocking Jim DeMint (!!!) when not hiding behind DeMint to claim tea party bona fides, Santorum is also going to have trouble in South Carolina because of his voting record. He opposed National Right to Work legislation.Please click here for the rest of the post.
On an annual basis, retail gasoline prices hit an all-time high in 2011. The average price for all grades was $3.576 per gallon, vs $3.299 in 2008.Meanwhile, the shale gas revolution has set the stage for declining prices per mmbtu of natural gas.The chart above shows the price of natural gas per million BTU delivered to the Henry Hub, a large pipeline interconnection point in Louisiana. The current ratio of oil price per barrel to gas price per mmbtu is about 33:1 ($100/bbl to $3.00/mmbtu), a historically low value. The energy equivalency is about 6:1.Before the impact of the shale boom, a normal ratio was about 10:1. On rare occasion, the ratio has been below 6:1 for brief times.Transportation and distribution add significantly to the price of gas at the retail level, but even there the gas price is about a 40% discount to oil on the basis of energy content.Please click here for the rest of the post.
According to CNN, both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are set to win 6 delegates thanks to their close 1-2 finish in the Iowa caucuses. Ron Paul fell to third place. He didn’t win, and he fell further and further behind as the votes were counted last night.Not one poll projected Ron Paul to drop to third, and PPP stuck to Paul being in first. I said those polls weren’t predictive. They weren’t. I was right.Please click here for the rest of the post.
Let me just say up front that Mitt Romney is far from my first choice among the current field. I think both Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman would be far better general election candidates and Presidents than Mitt Romney and I don’t really “get” the joke the state of Iowa has clearly foisted on the entire country by essentially voting for Santorum, but macabre humor has never been my thing. However, all objective evidence seems to indicate that the GOP primary electorate does not agree with me and that Romney has the clear inside track to the nomination, with only Newt posing a serious threat to his chances. While I certainly get that Romney as a candidate has many, many flaws, I honestly do not get the gnashing of teeth I am hearing today at the prospect of a Romney nomination. In my view, if he were to win the nomination, he would be our most conservative nominee since at least 1988.Please click here for the rest of the post.