652 Days until Election Day
January 26, 2009
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
"The bill is an unholy marriage that manages to combine the worst of each approach – rushed short-term planning with expensive long-term fiscal impact."
– David Brooks, NY Time columnist on the stimulus package
RNC CHAIR’S RACE THIS WEEK…this Friday, we will elect our new National Chairman. I am one of six candidates running. By most observers and pundits analysis, I’m a "leading" candidate who seems to have more "second choice" commitments than any of the leading candidates. It should be an interesting multiple ballot process. I’ll let you know when the smoke clears.
MRP STATE CONVENTION…Just a quick note to let you know that the Michigan Republican’s website has been updated with State Convention information. For your reference in directing potential delegates to the site, the address is: http://www.migop.org/event.asp.
CPAC 2009 Timeless Principles, New Challenges…Register today for the largest gathering of conservative grassroots activists in the country! The American Conservative Union Foundation is pleased to invite you to participate in the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives. The 36th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will be held on February 26-28, 2009. http://www.cpac.org/.
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TODAY’S TOP STORIES
The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.
By SHARON OTTERMAN
Published: January 25, 2009
Republicans plan to test President Barack Obama’s commitment to bipartisanship as his $825 billion stimulus package heads to the floor of the House of Representatives this week, with the House Republican leader saying Sunday morning that many in his party will vote no unless there are significant changes to the plan.
"Right now, given the concerns that we have over the size of this package and all of the spending in this package, we don’t think it’s going to work," the House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, said on NBC’s "Meet the Press." "And so if it’s the plan that I see today, put me down in the no column."
While the plan can potentially pass the Democratic-dominated House without Republican support, it will continue to face opposition when it comes before the Senate, said Senator John McCain of Arizona, speaking on "Fox News Sunday." At least two Republicans will need to approve the bill for a filibuster-proof majority vote of 60.
Sun Jan 25, 2009 1:46pm EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday the federal government may need to pump more taxpayer funds into the faltering banking system and that taxpayers should receive equity as compensation.
Pelosi told ABC’s "This Week" program that "some increased investment" might be needed beyond the $700 billion approved last year under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, to stabilize the nation’s banks and get them to resume making loans.
Congress would require more oversight of any further bank bailout, the California Democrat said.
Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama’s electoral success has much to do with his grasp of the American mood. Democratic and Republican Americans coexist peacefully every day and are unanimously disgusted by the increasingly negative tone of our politics.
Obama revealed last January that he shared those feelings of disgust, in his masterful acceptance speech after the Iowa caucuses: "You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that’s consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that’s been all about division and instead make it about addition — to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States."
It is noteworthy and accurate that bitterness and anger consume Washington. The virtue of Americans is not in question; the virtue of politicians is.
Christopher Wills / Associated Press
SPRINGFIELD, Ill . — If there’s such a thing as a "normal" impeachment trial, the one that starts today in Illinois doesn’t qualify.
The defendant, Gov. Rod Blagojevich, won’t participate. He’ll be talking to Whoopi Goldberg and Larry King instead of facing the state Senate. And while the Democrat acknowledges his conviction is certain, he refuses to resign.
Blagojevich complains that the trial rules are unfair, but he and his lawyers didn’t try to influence the rules as they were written or afterward.
Democrat chairs committee writing key rescue, tax bills
S.A. Miller (Contact)
Monday, January 26,
A renewed ethics probe of Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York poses an embarrassing distraction for House Democrats, as the Ways and Means Committee that he leads will oversee House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s plans for an $825 billion economic rescue and a tax increase on wealthy Americans.
The slow-moving investigation of Mr. Rangel’s home finances, unpaid taxes and dodgy fundraising is now in the hands of Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat and the new chairman of the Committee on Standards and Ethical Conduct.
She has not signaled whether the committee will take up the probe begun last year or start anew. Either way, the inquiry overshadows Mr. Rangel as he takes a key position, as head of the House’s tax-writing panel, in tackling the recession and a looming battle over tax increases.
By JOHN M. BRODER and PETER BAKER
Published: January 25, 2009
WASHINGTON – President Obama will direct federal regulators on Monday to move swiftly on an application by California and 13 other states to set strict automobile emission and fuel efficiency standards, two administration officials said Sunday.
The directive makes good on an Obama campaign pledge and signifies a sharp reversal of Bush administration policy. Granting California and the other states the right to regulate tailpipe emissions would be one of the most emphatic actions Mr. Obama could take to quickly put his stamp on environmental policy.
Mr. Obama’s presidential memorandum will order the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider the Bush administration’s past rejection of the California application. While it stops short of flatly ordering the Bush decision reversed, the agency’s regulators are now widely expected to do so after completing a formal review process.
Andrew J. Puglia Levy, 01.26.09, 12:00 AM EST
Do we really want these detainees on American soil?
"I’d like to close Guantanamo. … [W]e are a nation of laws. Eventually, these people will have trials and they will have counsel and they will be represented in a court of law." So said not President Obama, but then-President Bush back in 2006. Obama may soon learn that those goals, set out in his recent executive order, are easier said than done. But the new president’s plans depart from our previous policy in one significant respect: He has opened the possibility that some of the detainees held at Guantanamo Bay will be brought to the United States.
That’s a scenario President Bush was never willing to allow. From when Guantanamo swelled with over 700 detainees from the battlefields of Afghanistan and elsewhere, the Bush administration repatriated hundreds to their home countries or willing third countries. Not every situation was perfect: Some of the transfers occurred with no consequence. Others resulted in detainees returning to the fight and taking up arms against American soldiers and their allies (The New York Times reported this weekend, for example, that one freed Saudi detainee has emerged as the No. 2 in al-Qaida’s Yemeni branch).
It’s Obama himself.
In 1994, congressional Republicans carried laminated copies of their Contract With America (tax cuts, term limits, etc.) in their pockets. They may now want to laminate President Obama’s inaugural address and carry it around.
This is not as silly as it sounds. Republican leaders believe the speech pleased them more than it did House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Obama’s "new era of responsibility" echoed the "Personal Responsibility Act," the third of the ten planks in the Contract With America. Obama also said that it’s not the size of government which matters but whether it works. Newt Gingrich coined that thought years ago. Obama lauded "risk-takers." Democrats want to tax them to death.
For the foreseeable future, attacking Obama will be counterproductive for Republicans. He’s both enormously popular and the bearer of moral authority as the first African-American president. So the idea is for Republicans to make Obama an ally by using his words, from the inaugural address and speeches and interviews, against Democrats and their initiatives in Congress.
By Matt Patterson
January 25, 2009
As George W. Bush fades from the world stage, many of his detractors are belatedly coming to appreciate that, for all his shortcomings, he has at least "kept us safe." And rightly so.
In the aftermath of that terrible September morning in 2001, few believed that the U.S. would go another seven years without an attack. And in ensuring that 9/11 was al-Qaida’s last successful strike on the U.S. homeland, Mr. Bush fulfilled the first duty of any commander in chief.
But in so fulfilling his duty, he has unwittingly become one of the most consequential leaders in world history. For the path from 9/11 led him to Afghanistan and then Iraq, a journey that saw the liberation of some 50 million souls from the grip of tyranny.
Monday, January 26, 2009
By Ruth Ann Dailey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Barack Obama may turn out to be a better president than the pro-life movement could have hoped for — though not at all in the way activists may have anticipated.
Like Bill Clinton, Mr. Obama made it one of the first acts of his presidency to sign an executive order that reinstates taxpayer funding for groups that provide and promote abortion overseas.
Unlike Bill Clinton, who signed a similar order with an in-your-face flourish the day before the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the savvier Mr. Obama waited until the day after the annual March for Life to overturn the perennial Republican funding ban. It was just a quiet Friday’s work, the news of it largely lost on citizens moving into weekend mode.