Category Archives: congress

What was wrong with Obama’s speech? Everything.

In presenting his so-called “Jobs Plan” to the Congress, President Obama was 100 percent in everything he is good at. 

1.  It was a well crafted and delivered  campaign speech — more fitting for the stomp than a joint session of the United States Congress.  There is no doubt that Obama can make a good speech.  It is hard to disagree with a lot of things he says.  However, what he does not say and what he does has little in common with his words.  This was not an exception.  It is a character trait.  He lies on a grand scale — a strategy that I suspect he learned under the tutelage of his Chicago Machine handlers.

2.  In that mode, he was naturally lacking in detail.  His repeated call for the Congress to quickly pass his self-proclaimed perfect plan before seeing if there is even a pig in the poke is outrageously arrogant.

3.  He reinforced his reputation as a strident philosophic and political partisan.  The speech was all about politics to the exclusion of economic realities.  Notice that he wants the taxpayers to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to feed money to his base, mostly the unions and government workers.  His promised assist to the millions of small businesses is a sop and any advantage will be wiped out by the negative impact of the increased debt and continuation of draconian regulations.  He is using the federal treasure and our children’s money in the hope of gaining permanent empowerment for his party and his radical left philosophy.  His unabated scheme is to make Washington and the White House more powerful at the expense of the people.

4.  He set up the same old trick that got us into this mess.   He wants to spend up to $500 billion more borrowed dollars with the claim that it is all “paid for.”  That is not just a lie, it is a dangerous and damnable lie.  According to Obama, the $500 billion will come from cuts in the envisioned increases in federal spending over the next ten years.  Under his plan, the federal budget will continue to grow, the deficit will surge to a new unfathomable level and our children and grandchildren will pay the price when the federal budget bubble bursts.  Even if he was well-intentioned, there is no way that he can guarantee that future congresses will follow through on even the cuts in proposed new spending.

5.  He played the shop worn “bleeding heart” card.  He wants to help the elderly, and children and keep teachers in the classrooms.  He carried forward the progressives’ favorite tactics — social division, class warfare and fear-mongering.  It is easy to talk about all the good things we could do with another trillion dollars or two.  But it does not take a degree in economics (and I have one, by the way) to understand that even our best intentions and most charitable instincts have to be carried out within the limits of our resources. 

So … if Obama knows all this, and I am sure he does, why does he pursue such destructive policies.  It is obvious.  His goals and objectives are purely political and partisan.  He and his ilk want to use the financial crises and public fear to gain more power for their idea of a ruling elite.  Yet!  That’s it, folks.  Remember, it was his senior advisor, Rahm Emmanuel, who opined that “no good crisis should go to waste.”

If you want to understand the Obama game, look at it this way.  let’s say I earned only enough money to pay 52 percent of my bills, so  I borrowed 48 percent of the money from the bank– and this has been going on for years until my interest payment to the bank each month is more than all my other bills.  Even though I am not sure of my income in the next ten years, I go to the bank and ask for another huge loan on top of all that I already owe — and I promise to repay them out of the additional money I hope to make in future years.  I suspect the banker would think I was stark raving mad — and I would be.  But this is exactly the Obama jobs scam.  He expects the American public to be suckers at least one more time.

No more post-speech autographs, puleeeeeez!

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I am not sure when it started, but I am sure it should be ended.

I am referring the President of the United States signing autographs on the floor of the Congress as he exits the chamber. It defines the word “tacky.”

Certainly, it makes the President and the event look bad. There has been significant notice of the fact that the State of the Union speech has become more of a political pep rally than a presidential report. In signing autographs on his way out, the President makes the entire event look like a campaign appearance. It is just not, as they say, presidential.

Even worse, though, is the gaggle of legislators begging for his signature on their souvenir programs. These are supposed to be serious minded legislators, contemplating the great issues of the day. Instead, they behave like teenie-boppers at a rock concert.

Some legislators even handed the President a stack of programs. And one fellow appeared to have an unrelated photograph for the President to sign. Has he no sense of propriety and dignity? At least the President was not suckered into that gambit. He refused to sign the photo.

Personally, I think the President should have made – and let us hope all future presidents will – a hasty, albeit dignified, retreat from the chamber with minimal glad-handing and autographing.

Lame Ducks and Dead Ducks

We all know that a “lame duck president,” or now, a “lame duck Congress,” refers to that period between the election of the “new” and the inauguration of the “new.” It is that period in which the “old” still govern, but from a much weaker or “lame” position. The upcoming special session of Congress is, therefore, a “lame duck” session.

 Recently, I coined a term to describe the Chief Executive of the United States as a “dead duck” President, defining a President whose party suffers such a horrendous defeat in the mid-term election that they lose an enormous power such that the President is mortally weakened and potentially unelectable for a second term. By my appellation, Barack Obama is now a “dead duck” President. (You can see the actual term and definition at the online Urban Dictionary, if you like.)

>OUTLOOK: Congress no slam dunk for Dems

>Now that the real election season is started, and what parties and candidates do and say has significance to the outcome, we can expect to see the GOP rev up the congressional election machine. With the presidential race on a track to victory, they can focus some attention on the congressional races — House and Senate.

Rather than allow the Dems to realize their heady dreams for substantial gains in the House and a veto-proof majority in the Senate, the GOP is ready to challenge them in every district and state. Funding will improve as prospects improve.

The “change” theme, so persuasively advanced by the donkey party is about to bite their own ass — in both usages of the word. If you don’t think so, just remember that the public’s opinion of the Congress is lower … yep, lower … than their opinion of the George Bush presidency.

Just as John McCain has burst the Democrat bubble of optimism at the White House level, the GOP has ever opportunity to burst it at the congressional level.

>REACT: GOP offers up another "gimme" to the Democrats

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Well, seems like all the Republican crazies are assembling in Illinois’ 11th Congressional District to give the seat to the Democrats. You have to give the GOP in the Land of Lincoln a lot of credit for ingenuity and perseverance. It is not easy to keep handing over election victories to opposition candidates who are way too liberal for the voters and represent arguably the most scandal ridden political machine in America. This is especially true in such “safe” districts as the 11th.

We have seen the GOP’s genius in turning over the 14th congressional seat to the donkey party — the seat once held by former House Speaker Denny Hastert. And we all remember how a virtually unelectable Barak Obama’s Senate career was launched first by the sexless scandal that knocked out candidate Jack Ryan followed by the incomprehensible stupidity of giving the nomination to kooky Alan Keyes.

Now the handlers of the Republican Party have seized the opportunity to surrender the 11th district seat, once held by Congressman Jerry Weller.

First, the powers that be picked another sprinter for the marathon. New Lenox Mayor Tim Balderman, and choice of the boys and girls in the back room, was handed the nomination only to quite the race before the first mile marker. This gave the local county chairmen (especially Will County Chairman Dick Kavanagh, who has 48 percent of the weighted vote) the chance to hand pick the candidate on behalf of the voters.

Apparently they could not risk retaining the seat with any one of half dozen winnable candidates. Rather, they concocted a silly notion that they would auction the seat off to the highest bidder. Okay. They did not call it an auction, but they said they would only pick a “self-funding” candidate – the guy putting up the most money. That sounds like an auction to me.

So, Kavanagh puts his muscle behind a rich road contractor named Martin Ozinga. Money was so important that the boys and girls in the back room did not care that Ozinga does not live in the district. It’s not a legal requirement, you know, but usually a good idea if you want to win.

They knew the Ozinga family has lots of money to throw around because they saw past donations from him, his father and the company they run. Let’s see … there is some $25,000 to Chicago Mayor Daley, $20,000 to Governor Blagojevich and another $25,000 to the Hispanic Democrat organization, the street army and patronage broker for Hizzoner, the Mayor. They are in the epicenter of the corruption investigation by the U.S. Attorney, as is the Governor. There are also contributions to such Dem candidates as Gery Chico, Paul Vallis and Senator Dick Durbin, just about the most liberal and strident partisan guy in the U.S. Senate. In other words, the GOP backroomers are going to hand the nomination to a guy who’s family is funding everything the majority of 11th district voters loath.

Why so much money to “the other side,” you ask? No mystery there. Road building and public works construction are among the seediest enterprises in the state. It is pay-to-play.

So, take your pick. The Ozinga family gives these guys tons of money because he believes in their philosophy and governing style (Ugh!), or he gives it to get to the front of the line for those lucrative, rip-off-the-taxpayers contacts (Arrrrrgh!). Either way, not something the voters can feel good about.

Of course, this kind of skullduggery cannot be performed in public. As soon as the opportunity to blow this election presented itself, a lid of secrecy was clamped down on the process. Potential candidates were sworn to silence, and even they were not provided a lot of information about “the process.” It was sort of a “silent auction,” if you will.

Despite all this, there was a chance, ever so slight, that Ozinga could win. Politics is full of surprises. The GOP could not afford that risk. So … some of the ideologues on the right have a great idea. They want to mount a write in candidacy. Since they would present a much more acceptable candidate to the voters, it is very likely that they can get a bunch of votes away from Ozinga — the coup de gras.

The conservative thinking has three motivators. First, to punish (well deserved) the leaders for picking Ozinga. Second, to actually win the seat with a candidate more like the district voters (hope springs eternal). Third, to assure Ozinga’s lose because they see no difference, and then can come back in two years to reclaim the seat with a true believer. The fact that reclaiming public offices has not been a GOP strong suit appears to be lost on them

So, there it is. The perfect political “storm” to achieve the virtually impossible — losing a safe conservative Republican congressional seat to a tax-and-spend, super liberal candidate who is a leader in the corrupt Illinois Democrat party. The 11th district could soon be represented by the type of politician most of the voters would not want living next door – and one of them doesn’t.

FOOTNOTE: The nomination will be made official on April 30. So there is a chance — ever so slight — that the GOP will come to its senses and nominate a more likely winner. Ozinga accepted the recommendation of the bosses with this statement: “After much prayer and careful consideration – and at the urging of Republican leaders, 11th District voters and my family – I have decided to run for Congress to be a positive part of the process of returning to the foundational truths established by our forefathers.” Where was the “fundamental truths” of our forefathers in those donations?

>REACT: Denny, we hardly knew ya.

>Illinois Congressman Denny Hastert will step down from Congress before the end of the year. He will leave with the distinction of having served longest in a position he well might never have held — Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time of his ouster in the wake of the 2006 Democrat election tsunami, Hastert was, with only 8 years incumbency, the longest serving Republican Speaker in American history. He also is among the most undistinguished speakers. (Ironically, he beat the record of fellow Illinoisan, Joe Cannon, who many consider to have been the most powerful speaker in American history.)

Hastert was an accidental speaker, gaining the office only after Newt Gingrich’s successor-apparent, Bob Livingston of Louisiana, was forced to admit some adulterous indiscretions in his past – suffering more from the hypocrisy, after having tossed some sizeable stones at President Bill Clinton on the very same subject.

To me, it is remarkable that in Hastert’s history making tenure, one can hardly find a significant accomplishment. While he may have presided over the Republican majority for eight years, he was never much of a leader on the national scene. Having hardly made a ripple in his own time, Hastert is not likely to endure in historic hindsight – his sole accomplishment being longevity.

In his original acceptance speech, Hastert set forth his priorities in what he called the “four big challenges” — Social Security stabilization, Medicare reform, economic security, tax relief, a leaner and more efficient government; stronger national defense, and improved K- 12 education. (Yeah, I know he called them the FOUR challenges, but hey, the guy was a wrestling coach, not a math teacher.) Regardless how you count them, by his own challenge, Hastert failed across the board. In addition, his promise to lead a more congenial Congress was quashed by some of the most acrimonious partisanship since before the Civil War. Under his leadership, Hastert not only lost the speakership, he lost the Congress.

While Hastert was initially considered a philosophic brother of his predecessor, Newt Gingrich, they differed dramatically in style, strategy and intellectual power. Unlike Gingrich, Hastert eschewed the spotlight. He seemed to consider public communication as more of an inconvenience of his office than an opportunity to advance his, or the GOP, agenda. For Gingrich, the speakership was an ideological soap-box to espouse unbending conviction, for Hastert it was a pragmatic position for collegial compromise. Gingrich risked survival for his great causes. Hastert seemed to have no greater cause than survival. Gingrich is known for changing the course of a nation. Hastert is known for staying the course. If Gingrich was Meet the Press, then Hastert was Let’s Make a Deal.

Even in Illinois, Hastert’s reputation as an old-style “good ole boy” leaves little for the home town boosters to cheer about. His most memorable actions were dubious accomplishments. He is remembered for passing over fellow Illinoisan, Phil Crane, from the chairmanship of the all powerful Ways and Means Committee –a disservice to tradition, Phil Crane and the people of Illinois. It was a decision that ultimately cost the Republicans Crane’s seat.

Hastert again proved himself to be the consummate insider when he joined the corrupt Illinois GOP establishment in attempting to derail the appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald as the new U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Illinois. This effort, too, ran against the longstanding tradition of conceding the appointment to the senior senator of the President’s party – in this case Senator Peter Fitzgerald (no relationship to the appointee).

This was not the only time Hastert had crossed swords with the reform minded young senator on behalf of the boys in the back (nee smoke-filled) rooms – led by the criminal administration of Governor George Ryan. Over Fitzgerald’s attempt as fiscal responsibility, Hastert served up sizzling “pork” for Ryan massive Build Illinois rape of the taxpayers. He tried to shut down Fitzgerald’s efforts to bring accountability to the third airport fiasco. He attempted to thwart Fitzgerald’s effort to prevent Ryan from making the new Lincoln library and museum another cesspool of political cronyism.

Hastert also discovered that his throw-back concept of insider leadership was a relic with little relevance for the modern political game when he botched the handling of the Mark Foley “boys are toys” scandal. He mixed collegiality with Pontius Pilate-like washing of the hands to avoid addressing the issue at the time it was brought to his attention.

Most people do not know of Hastert’s record breaking tenure. His loss of the speakership is largely unnoticed because his presence there was largely unnoticed. He will now retire from Congress with most of America never having known he was even there. Hastert’s only enduring image may be his rotund Nast cartoon physique.

When the inevitable book is written about the career of Denny Hastert, it will be a short tome – lots of pictures and don’t wait for the movie. After noting that he was the accidental Speaker, who stayed a relatively a long time, what more can be said?