Archive for May, 2011

Palin seriously considering a run? Seriously?

I haven’t published a post featuring Sarah Palin for months now, and for good reason. It seemed pretty clear that she wasn’t going to run for president and was satisfied with reaping the benefits of being a minor cult figure on the right, and that seemed a good way for everybody to leave things.

However, my assumption may have been incorrect, as both Politico and the New York Times point out this morning. As Politico frames it:

The recent departures of Mitch Daniels and Mike Huckabee from the 2012 GOP field, combined with a flurry of recent moves by Palin—staff changes, the purchase of a home in Arizona, the Iowa premiere of a new feature-length film extolling the former Alaska governor—is rekindling speculation that she sees an opportunity in 2012 and may be thinking more seriously than ever about a presidential run.

John Ziegler, a conservative filmmaker and activist close to Palin, said he believes the ex-governor is closer to a run now than she’s ever been.

The $1.7 …

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John Edwards, Ed Schultz and Eric Bolling in Hall of Shame

I’d like to propose three items to include in the file labeled “Wrong is wrong,” and you have to pay the consequences.

First, from the WSJ:

“WASHINGTON — Justice Department prosecutors and lawyers for former Sen. John Edwards are in last-ditch plea agreement talks that could avert felony charges over alleged campaign-finance violations, people familiar with the matter said.

If the talks fail Wednesday, Justice Department prosecutors are expected to seek a grand-jury indictment against Mr. Edwards, these people say….

Prosecutors have been examining whether donors to various political entities affiliated with Mr. Edwards funneled money to a woman with whom Mr. Edwards had an extramarital affair and with whom he fathered a child, these people said. More than $1 million was allegedly paid to the mistress and to an Edwards aide who Mr. Edwards initially said was the child’s father. The money was allegedly aimed at keeping the affair quiet and avoiding problems for Mr. Edwards’s …

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On auto bailout, Romney performs rarely seen flip-flop-flip



Before we abandon the auto bailout as a topic, I’d like to focus a little more tightly on the interplay it has inspired between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, because there’s something about it that seems strangely familiar.

With the bailout now acknowledged as a rather remarkable success, Romney’s staff is trying to claim credit by pointing to an op-ed piece written by the former Massachusetts governor back in November 2008. As the New York Times reports:

“Mitt Romney had the idea first,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a Romney spokesman, citing the Times opinion article. “You have to acknowledge that. He was advocating for a course of action that eventually the Obama administration adopted.”

If you read the op-ed in question, you find there’s actually some truth to Fehrnstrom’s claim.

“It is not wrong to ask for government help, but the automakers should come up with a win-win proposition,” Romney wrote back in ‘08, stressing the need to tear up old labor contracts, …

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A revived Chrysler pays off last gov’t loan

From the Detroit Free Press:

“At 10:13 a.m. (Tuesday), Chrysler fully repaid the $7.6 billion in loans it owed the U.S. and Canadian governments.

The repayment comes more than six years sooner than required under an agreement reached in June 2009….

The Chrysler 300

The Chrysler 300

The Auburn Hills automaker, which few thought could rebound after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 30, 2009, received a total $12.5 billion in aid from the U.S. government under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to the U.S. Treasury.

With today’s transaction, the U.S. government has recovered more than $10.6 billion of that amount….

Even with the repayment of the loans, the U.S. government still holds a 6.6% ownership of Chrysler. The government could recover additional money when it sells its shares either through a public stock offering or by selling its stake to another investor.”

Of course, as Mitt Romney reminded us back in 2009:

“This is a very sad circumstance for this country, and it …

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In upstate NY, an early referendum on RyanCare

U.S. Rep-elect Kathy Hochul, D-NY

U.S. Rep-elect Kathy Hochul, D-NY

UPDATE: Democrat Kathy Hochul has won the seat, and Republican Jane Corwin has conceded. It wasn’t even all that close. The numbers I’m seeing put the margin at 47/42, with a third party candidate drawing 9 percent.

The Republican would have had to take almost every one of Davis’s votes to win. Politics doesn’t work like that, as the Siena poll cited below reports. It shows Jack Davis, the third-party candidate who had run previously as a Democrat, drawing roughly equal support from both parties. He was drawing 10 percent of district Democrats and 13 percent of district Republicans.

Bottom line: In a district where the GOP won with 76 percent of the vote in 2010, in a district represented by just three Democrats since the 1850s, the Republicans lost.


Many of you may remember Chris Lee. He was the Republican congressman from upstate New York — excuse me, the married Republican congressman from upstate New York — who was caught trolling …

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Where illegal immigration, business and the law collide

“Look, I’m not a criminal. I don’t go around breaking the law, because for one thing I have way too much to lose. I do everything by the book. But if this law goes into effect, I’m telling you I’m not going to follow it. I’m just not. Because I can’t.”

I was sitting at a restaurant bar, talking to its owner about the potential impact of House Bill 87, the illegal immigration bill. He had contacted me, asking if I wanted to hear “the economic perspective of a small business owner,” with the understanding that he would remain anonymous.

“Some restaurant owners who publicly opposed this bill have received death threats, leading me to want to stay below the radar,” he explained in the email. On that basis, we agreed to meet.

If the law survives legal challenge and goes into effect, the owner said, he would face two choices: He could obey the law, lose a very big chunk of his ktichen staff and be forced out of business; or he could evade the law and save his business.

“I’ve got my …

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The year the world changed, and no one noticed

Mark Schmitt, in a piece in New Republic, takes note of Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal to make 1956 the dividing line between two Americas: “Those over 55 will continue to benefit from one of the triumphs of social insurance in the Great Society, while the rest of us will be on our own, with a coupon for private health insurance.”

As a 1956 baby and member of the graduating class of 1974, I stand right on that dividing line. And I was particularly struck by Schmitt’s description of 1974 as a pivot point in American social and economic history:

“Look at almost any historical chart of the American economy, and you see two sharp breaks in the 1970s. First, in 1974, household incomes, which had been rising since World War II, flattened. Real wages started to stagnate. The poverty rate stopped falling. Health insurance coverage stopped rising. Those trends have continued ever since.

Second, a little later in the decade, around the time today’s 55-year-olds graduated from college …

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Herman Cain doesn’t take the presidency seriously

Did I mention that Herman Cain is not a legitimate candidate for president?

Last week, you may recall, Cain refused to reveal what his policy would be toward Afghanistan. We’ve been fighting there for almost a decade; more than 100,000 American soldiers are putting their lives on the line as we sit here, and Cain, a man who criticizes President Obama for not having a clear foreign policy, says he doesn’t want to “shoot from the lip” by suggesting what course this country should take next.

He says that once elected, he would talk to the experts and generals and come up with a plan about what to do. As I noted at the time, it’s the kind of answer Miss South Carolina might give in the beauty pageant Q&A. In fact, such a lack of preparation is downright disrespectful. Cain is offering himself as a potential commander in chief and asking people to take him seriously, yet the issue of American troops fighting and dying in a far-off land for almost a decade simply hasn’t been …

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In Joplin, another massive, deadly tornado strikes


I can’t recall another tornado season like this one.

Eighty-nine people are now dead now in Joplin, Missouri, the victims of a tornado six miles long and more than a half-mile wide that struck the center of the town Sunday evening. We can warn people when such storms are likely to emerge, and notify people when they do, but tornadoes this large and destructive leave you no place safe to hide.

– Jay Bookman

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Mitch Daniels latest Republican to bow out

This is a surprise and actually a disappointment:

WASHINGTON — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said early Sunday that he won’t run for president because of family considerations, narrowing the field in the race for the GOP nomination.

“In the end, I was able to resolve every competing consideration but one,” the Republican said, disclosing his decision in an e-mail to supporters. “The interests and wishes of my family, is the most important consideration of all. If I have disappointed you, I will always be sorry.

….“If you feel that this was a non-courageous or unpatriotic decision, I understand and will not attempt to persuade you otherwise,” he added. “I only hope that you will accept my sincerity in the judgment I reached.”

The Republican Party would have benefited enormously from Daniels’ presence in the race. And judging from their actions, a lot of top Republicans don’t seem very convinced that Obama is vulnerable.

– Jay Bookman

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