Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Daily Headliners--McClatchy connects Bush SCHIP veto with $190B war funding, Bush fulfill's Mencken's prediction, Domenici to retire, HRC's laugh

Let's get into today's Daily Headliners.

Bush veto strategy threatens Republicans: This is a great McClatchy story that shows both the connection of the Bush administration's veto on the $30 billion SCHIP bill while also insisting that Congress continue to finance $190 billion for the unpopular Iraq war. This type of strategy could damage the Republican Party in the upcoming elections. According to McClatchy;

Polls suggest that Bush's budget battle could be a loser for his party. Two new polls — one nonpartisan and one sponsored by a labor union — showed that solid U.S. majorities want to cut the financing for the war and increase spending on children's health insurance.

Democrats and allied interest groups know it. They're launching ad campaigns to increase pressure on Republican lawmakers in vulnerable seats to support the increased spending — or face great risk in next year's elections.

"This is a fight that Democrats ought to welcome, that Republicans ought to fear," Democratic pollster Geoff Garin said.

"The battle over spending priorities is the most important fight since the showdown over privatizing Social Security," said Gerald McEntee, the president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "I don't think we need to remind Bush who won that battle."

Bush's political motive is clear: He wants to restore his party's reputation as fiscally conservative after six years of letting domestic spending grow faster than it did under Democrat Bill Clinton.

Thus, a president who didn't veto a single spending bill in his first six years in office now vows to veto not only more spending for children's health insurance but nine other spending bills as well. Bush says Congress mustn't spend more on domestic programs than the $933 billion he requested for fiscal 2008. The Democratic-led Congress wants to spend $22 billion more than that — less than 1 percent of the federal budget. On this difference rests his nine-bill veto threat.

The American people seem to line up against Bush, particularly as he appears to link the two controversies by sending Congress his request to finance the Iraq war at the same time that he's vetoing the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

There is a huge amount of hypocrisy here within the Bush administration. The McClatchy story notes that Bush "wants to restore his party's reputation as fiscally conservative after six years of letting domestic spending grow faster than it did under Democrat Bill Clinton." The problem for President Bush is that his entire fiscal policy rests on two issues here--the first is the Bush tax cuts approved at the beginning of his administration, and the second is the emergency supplemental funding of his war in Iraq. Both of these policy decisions have resulted in the explosion of the Bush budget deficits and the almost $4 trillion of the $9 trillion debt that the U.S. has accumulated. I don't think that President Bush really cares about the Republican Party, or the fiscal irresponsibility he has caused on both the GOP, and the country as a whole. President Bush's main interest is to keep the Iraq war going until after January 2009, when he can dump the entire mess on his successor. So what does this have to do about President Bush's veto of the SCHIP expansion bill? Who can really say? Perhaps Bush believes that the SCHIP bill is a backdoor to socialized medicine, or that he wants another political showdown with the congressional Democrats to show just how much of a bully he is. Or perhaps he is so completely out of touch with reality, that the only thing Bush really cares about is his war and the salvaging of his failed legacy that Bush will oppose everything that may just derail the war and his failed legacy.

McClatchy also completely destroys President Bush's reasoning for the veto of the SCHIP bill. You can read the rest of the McClatchy story here.

Commentary: Bush fulfills H.L. Mencken's prophecy; This McClatchy commentary by Joseph L. Galloway is just wicked;

It took just eight decades but H.L. Mencken's astute prediction on the future course of American presidential politics and the electorate's taste in candidates came true:

On July 26, 1920, the acerbic and cranky scribe wrote in The Baltimore Sun: " . . . all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most easily (and) adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

My late good buddy Leon Daniel, a wire service legend for 40 years at United Press International, dredged up that Mencken quote several years ago and found that it was a perfect fit for George W. Bush, The Decider. MSNBC's Keith Olberman highlighted the same quote this week. A tip of the hat to both of them, and to Mencken.

Just go and read the rest of the commentary.

Domenici to retire next year due to health concerns: This is a little surprise story through MSNBC:

WASHINGTON - Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico intends to retire at the end of his term next year, closing out a 36-year career in Congress, Republican officials said Wednesday.

The officials said the 75-year-old Domenici intends to make a formal announcement on Thursday in his home state. They spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid pre-empting the six-term lawmaker.

Domenici would be the fifth Republican senator to decline to seek a new term, giving Democrats an opportunity to expand their majority in the 2008 elections. GOP Sens. John Warner of Virginia, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Larry Craig of Idaho and Wayne Allard of Colorado have previously announced plans not to run again.

The New Mexico Republican had earlier signaled a desire to run for re-election, despite coming under criticism this year over his role in urging the administration to fire U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

A Domenici adviser said the prospect of a potentially difficult race in what is expected to be a difficult year for Republicans was not why Domenici decided to retire. Instead, lingering concerns about his health are the main reason for his decision.

I think Domenici's health concerns are a cover story for Domenici's involvement in the U.S. attorney scandal. Domenici may have realized that a reelection in 2008 would have thrust his involvement in the attorney scandal, and the congressional ethics investigation into his involvement, back to the front pages of the news. Instead of trying to explain himself on the attorney scandal and the ethics investigations against him, Domenici decided it was better to leave now due to "health" concerns. Either way, it is another open senate seat for the Democrats to capitalize on.

Kurtz analyzes Hillary Clinton's laugh: I found this story through Shakesville, and I'm just amazed by it. According to The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz;

Forget the cleavage. It's now about the cackle.

No joke: Hillary Clinton's laugh is now being analyzed, scrutinized and, yes, mocked as if it were a sound barrier on her glide path to the Democratic presidential nomination: Is it real? Is it fake? Is it a diabolically clever attempt to portray her as a human being?

What a hoot.

Jon Stewart, setting the pace for political journalism, kicked things off last week by assembling a grab bag of giggling and guffawing when the senator appeared on all five Sunday talk shows, from a barn outside her Chappaqua, N.Y., home. As Clinton was seen bursting into belly laughs-- sometimes oddly and abruptly -- at queries by the likes of Bob Schieffer and Chris Wallace, the "Daily Show" host likened her to a robot switching into chuckle mode when aggressive interrogators needed to be neutralized.

Suddenly, everyone wanted a piece of the punch line, examining whether The Laugh met some vaguely defined standard of acceptability.

"Depending on who you ask," ABC's Kate Snow said on "Good Morning America," "Hillary Clinton is either having a really good time out on the campaign trail, or she's the master of a shrewd political skill disarming her critics with the gleam in her eye and a roar straight from the belly."

Apparently, the corporate MSM pundits don't have anything to say about Hillary Clinton's political policies, or even what her views on the issues are. Instead, the pundits feel it is more important to over-analyze HRC's laugh, than what is going on within her mind. And here I would have to blame the corporate MSM and their outright greed for ratings and profit. For analyzing Hillary's laugh could generate more ratings and profits to the corporate MSM balance sheets, than analyzing Hillary Clinton's views on political issues. In addition, analyzing Hillary Clinton's political positions takes a lot of time reading, researching, and thinking about the issues and her positions--that's too much work for the pundits. So we get this rather stupid story generated by pundits who are too lazy to work, and a corporate MSM that values profit over the need to keep the American public informed with honest reporting and analysis.

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