Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Knives are Drawn - I.

The self-appointed Mullahs of Conservative Doctrine (as they interpret it, of course) have drawn out their knives are going after John McCain* (
for example). Here is the list of his offenses that the Mullahs find most egregious:

  • Immigration. The fracas of this fall's failed immigration reform left the stain that Mac supports amnesty for and is generally soft on illegal aliens. McCain did learn from this debacle that the problem of illegals now in the country cannot be addressed until the inflow of illegals is stopped (for the sake of intellectual honesty, this means ending all sources of illegal entry, such as expired visas, as well as physical border protection). McCain claims to have heard this message loud and clear. He advocates harsh penalties for businesses that knowingly hire illegals, deportation of illegals with criminal records, and a process to work out the rest of the disastrous mess caused by two decades of neglect. A true conservative would advocate that this process must be congnizant of an individual's freedoms and civil liberties, but many public conservative voices seek to kindle a directionless anger about the presence of illegal aliens with silence on the details as to how to implement a realistic path for repatriation or assimilation and citizenship. It's easy just to say no, but the problem is still there, and McCain is correct in saying that doing nothing on this part of the problem is de facto amnesty.

It is asserted that "Gang of 14" blocked appointment of conservative judges. Not so. What the "Gang of 14" refers to is the compromise reached by certain Senators to enable, without altering Senate rules on filibusters, Bush judicial nominations to be voted on. The result was that John Roberts and Sam Alito were confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court and a number of conservatives were confirmed to the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Absent the compromise, the Chuckie Schumer Democrat filibuster was halting the confirmation of Bush nominations. The only other alternative to the compromise was the so-called constitutional option altering filibuster rules. We do not know that it would have worked. We do know that with the compromise, critically important confirmations were achieved and the fillibuster rules were preserved for a time when there would be a Democrat Congress, which in fact was elected in 2006. At this point it is Chuckie Schumer who is complaining that it was the Democrats who got snookered by the compromise...

to be continued...

*Full-Disclosure: Endorsed McCain.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Mitt's Tax Fuzziness.

Mitt Romney has been trumpeting his 'git-er-done' record on taxes and budgeting. But as Annenberg's Fact Check shows, the record is not quite as good as Mitt claims:

  • Romney doubled "fees" (read TAXES) and changed corporate tax structures that hiked taxes by $500M.
  • Romney submitted budgets that cut personal income taxes. However, none of those budgets were adopted by the Massachusetts Legislature. Their state tax rate still stands at a flat 5.3%.
  • His budget cutting was essentially window dressing ($10M) except for cuts to higher and primary education ($400M)
  • He was able to close a $1.2B budget shortfall - no easy feat - but not the $3B he claims.

Romney has pounded McCain on his lack of faith on the Bush tax cuts, but the Republican Congress of 2001-2006 went hog wild with spending to cement their hold on power and paid the price. This is a real source of congnitive dissonance with many in the GOP who love cutting taxes but also love pork patronage.