About Author: neoavatara


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Detroit Love

As a native Detroiter, you gotta love this…unabashed devotion to a city that is sometimes very hard to love…


President Ronald Reagan’s Centennial

Ronald Reagan was born in a small apartment in the little town of Tampico, Illinois on February 6, 1911.  His early beginning would belie what his future held for him.

Many, on this day, will review Reagan’s great life…his upbringing; his stateside deployment in World War II; his rise as a radio and Hollywood star (the king of B actors).  His first foray into ‘politics’, as the President of the Screen Actors Guild.  And of course, his transitions from an extreme liberal to a Democrat, and ultimately to a stalwart conservative Republican who would redefine the meaning of Conservatism.  His initial introduction to national politics, supporting both Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon in the early years on GE radio, and ultimately to rise to prominence by becoming one of Barry Goldwater’s most vocal advocates in 1964.  Reagan would become Governor of California in 1967, would run and fail to obtain the Republican nomination in 1976, and succeed finally in 1980.  And of course, two terms as President of the United States.

All this is known history.

But Reagan’s real influence on America was much grander than this simple historical review can portray.

My personal political path is a perfect example.  My father immigrated to this country in 1970.  And as a foreign immigrant, he was, by default, a Democrat.  All immigrants are Democrats, no?  In the 1980 election, he supported Jimmy Carter, because…that was what he was expected to do.

Reagan changed all that.  Reagan converted many people like my father into conservatives.  Conservatives were a slim minority in the seventies.  Some polls put their numbers in the range of 20%, while liberals and independents were both in the range of 40%.  By the end of Reagan’s second term, conservatives were still third, but were almost on parity to moderates and liberals.

Reagan also converted blue collar Democrats (the famous Reagan Democrats).  This bloc of socially conservative labor union personnel migrated away from Democrats for the first time.  Even today, approximately 1/3 of labor union members are, in fact, Republicans.

The political dynamic changed dramatically as well.  People talk about Bill Clinton…but Clinton was a son of Reaganism, not of progressivism.  “The Era of Big Government is over”, Clinton famously stated in a State of the Union speech.  No progressive would have ever stated that before Reagan.  Clinton along with Congressional Republicans reformed welfare, slowed the growth of the government, and made the tax code more business friendly.  Who does that sound like more:  Reagan or Carter?

Obama now talks about following the Reagan political path.  He simply does not have the tools to do that.  For that, you have to have a moral center that you refuse to waver from.  Obama may be a moral man…but there is little that he is willing to negotiate on.  Is there anything that you would bet your life on that Obama would not be willing to negotiate away, in the right circumstance?

The transformative Presidents in American History (Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, FDR) had this quality.  John F. Kennedy may have as well, but tragically his Presidency was cut short.  But Obama doesn’t have that center.  He also doesn’t have the steel will the others did.  He could learn from Reagan…but he simply does not have the tools to do so.

So on this 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, what we really should appreciate is Reagan’s greatness.  Reagan had a simple and clear cut ideology that he lived by.  He followed that belief in all of his political dealings.  He compromised when necessary, and famously stated that he would rather get 80% of what he wanted than carrying his flag over a cliff.  His steadfastness and idealism, measured with practical common sense, was why he was a great American President.  His standard should be one that this President, and future Presidents, should live by.


Jobs Picture? Blurry, But Not Good

A little humor in a NOT so funny situation...

January jobs report declares the unemployment is now at 9%, although we only created 36k jobs, much less than the expected 140k jobs.

What gives?

The reality is ugly.   The jobs created was much less than expected, by a far margin.   It wasn’t even close.  Remember, we need to create approximately 150k jobs a month just to stay EVEN, with population growth and immigration.

So why a drop in the absolute unemployment rate?  Simple.  People are dropping out of the work force…thus artificially making the jobs number better.  In fact, you will see true improvement in the employment outlook when the unemployment rate rises…because that will mean more unemployed people will enter the job force, looking for jobs, instead of not even trying.

Things are worsening my friends.  Obama will spin it his way, but the truth cannot be denied.

P.S. – In related news, Canada, with a population 1/10th the size of the United States…created 69k jobs in January.  Canada has now restored all of the jobs it lost since the beginning of the recession.  The job rate increased to 7.8% versus 7.6% in December.   This fits my above argument, that as more people move into the workforce, the unemployment rate will increase.


Missed Moment? Obama, Bush and the Freedom Agenda

George W. Bush saw this, years ago.

President Bush, the visionary?

Well, certain facts are unassailable.  Bush, most avidly in his second inaugural address, clearly outlined the ‘Freedom Agenda’, where he stated that democratic rule worldwide was unavoidable and a future certainly, and essential to worldwide freedom.

Since then, we have seen varied success and failure of democratic movements around the globe.  This is most apparent in the Middle East, where countries such as Iran, Lebanon, Tunisia, and others have made some democratic reforms while failing to complete their democratic transition.  And even the much criticized Iraq and Afghanistan experiments continue their slow crawl to some type of democratic rule.

Liberals point to the failures, and criticize.  I point to the change, and see hope (sound familiar, Mr. Obama?).  These cries for freedom would have been unheard of 20 or even 10 years ago.  We are seeing unrest for a simple reason:  these countries, because of increased access to media, information, as well as seeing examples of potential freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq, are seeing a better way forward.  The modern democratic reality has begun to fall on the archaic Middle East.

Obama often ridiculed the Freedom Agenda.  In fact, his administration actively retracted from it.  Most clearly, Obama showed disdain for pushing democracy in the Middle East in his now infamous Cairo speech of 2009:

I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: No system of government can or should be imposed by one nation by any other.

That does not lessen my commitment, however, to governments that reflect the will of the people. Each nation gives life to this principle in its own way, grounded in the traditions of its own people. America does not presume to know what is best for everyone.

What does this mean?  Well, I personally think liberal extremist George Soros said it best:

[The above] language about “each nation gives life to this principle in its own way” was the administration’s way of saying, “We’ll be cool with how ever you decide to run your countries so long as the people in charge make some rhetorical concessions to democratization.” Since then, the administration has largely backed the status quo through strongman leaders like Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak. (Or did, until it became clear that Mubarak wasn’t so strong anymore.)

George W. Bush saw that this was not an essential component of American diplomacy, but an obvious evolution of humanities quest to be free.  Bush saw, apparently more than many of us, that this protest for freedom was coming, and America should be on the right side of history.  Bush, additionally, did not try to ‘impose’ American democracy on anyone; just look at Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon, which are nothing like a Jeffersonian democracy.  What he did argue for, though is for individuals everywhere to be able to fight for their individual quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…something that Obama did not so much believe.

Bush pushed many of these countries to make democratic reforms as far back as 2001.  Egypt is a prime case, where Bush, a close ally of Mubarak, used his influence to try to make Mubarak see the light…and he did, for a short time, until he reverted back to his totalitarian baseline.

So, as Egypt burns, the obvious question arises:  could we have avoided this?

I personally doubt it.  Totalitarian regimes must go through this painful period to mature.  It is a sad but true reality of life.  Those in power do not often give up the power willingly, and the rest of the people must fight for their rights.  Neither Bush nor Obama likely could have avoided these protest movements.

Mr. Obama generally has handled the Egyptian case much better than the Iranian riots two years ago.  Then, Obama looked impotent and confused, never really settling on a fixed position.  In the Egyptian crisis, he avoided supporting Mubarak from day one (the right decision), and then has slowly moved closer to the protest movement.

Obama’s clear mistake in this, however, was that Obama once again was really taken unawares.  It took the Obama Administration a week to get solid footing, and enough sense to send a representative to Cairo to gently nudge Mr. Mubarak from office.  They partially succeeded with Mubarak announcement that he and his son will not run for the Presidency this year.

But where they failed was in giving Mubarak a way to save face.   Pride is an essential component of the Arab psyche.  Mubarak stepping down in the face of the masses?  That would be the ultimate insult in the Arab world, and an impossible reality for a man like Mubarak to face.  And with the recent uptick in violence, it appears that Mubarak is simply not willing to accept Obama’s vision on this, for one simple reason:  he doesn’t trust Obama to protect him.

At the same time that Obama has lost trust in Mubarak, he continues to lose the Arab street as well.  For all the American political left’s bashing of Bush, the United States had a 30% favorability rating in Egypt…today, it is at 17%.   And after hearing the protesters speak, I doubt Obama’s popularity is even in the double digits anymore.  They, too, do not trust Obama to protect them.

So Obama is in a tough position.  Like every President in history, it is not wholly his fault.  But ultimately, we all know where the buck stops.  Obama now must nuance his position with Mubarak while, at the same time, building coalitions with the potential leaders of a new democratic government, as well as keeping ties with the Egyptian military intact.   The Administration should have been doing that from day 1, and the delay has cost them.  Only time will tell if they can now close the diplomatic gap that was created from their unpreparedness, lack of diplomacy, and ironically, their lack of vision.


Egypt: America’s Time Is Now

The Egyptian revolution of 2011 has been fascinating on many levels.  First, the ability of the Egyptian populace to rise up relatively peaceful and enforce change.  Second, the reserved action of the Egyptian military, and frankly, the Mubarak Government, who long ago could have changed this into a violent confrontation.  And thirdly, the reserved response of the United States, while making slow progress behind the scenes.

But for the United States, the moment to step into the limelight is now.

After Hosni Mubarak’s failed attempt at resolving the crisis by promising to step down in September when his term ends, the entire protest movement comes to a head.  The protesters, now largely voiced by Mohamed El Baradei, state clearly that they will accept nothing less than Mubarak’s immediate departure.  Mubarak seems reluctant to take that route.

And in an ominous sign, the military has voiced its opinion for the first time, telling protesters to end the demonstrations immediately.  The protesters so far have not heeded the call.  And on Wednesday, pro-government supporters have now joined the fray, and we are on the precipice of violence.  How long before the police and military step to, in the name of ‘peace and order’?

I have defended Obama’s actions so far.  There was little he could do, other than voice his weak opinion on the subject.  And for the moment, it was better he remained silent than voice his usual non-committal teleprompter speech.

However, we may soon reach an impasse, which only America can solve.  With the apparent deadlock between the protesters and Mubarak, time is running out.  The Egyptian government and their military cannot maintain the status quo forever.

I said in a piece late last week that Obama’s moment in this crisis would arise.  The moment is now.  Only America has the power and prestige to make an effect on the key players on both sides.

First and foremost, we must convince Mubarak that his time has come.  He must leave, and leave immediately.  Not September, not even weeks, but now.  The protesters will not accept anything less.

To the protest movement, we must state that their must be a transitional period before elections.  Egypt is not a country with democratic institutions.  Political parties must be organized, and allowed to mature, before a true election can be performed.  Otherwise, the election will result with a few power players, and most worrisome, the Muslim Brotherhood, will take an inordinate amount of power in a relatively unfair election.  That would be a poor result for Egyptians, and even a worse result for us as a nation.

Our role is twofold.  First, we use our political power and prowess to convince Mubarak and his supporters that there will be an orderly transition.  Like, the new Vice President, Omar Suleiman, will have to lead a caretaker government.  Suleiman is respected by the military, Mubarak supporters, and both America and Israel.  Suleiman also has no additional political support, and thus is not a longterm threat.  The military, the most powerful institution in Egypt, is likely to accept such a proposal.

America than must give its assurance to the rebel leaders that it is ultimately on its side.  We have so far not taken sides.  But there is no more time to waste.  Obama so far was smart not to get involved, but if stability is our goal, we must support the revolution.  It is clear the current government cannot sustain itself in its current form, and that a new government is necessary.  The time is now.

There are clear risks.  First, of course, is that Mubarak will somehow convince the military to support him, and crush the revolution instead of trusting the Americans.  The second is that the protesters will not trust the American solution, and will not allow for a transitional period, leading to even more chaos.

But there are similar risks with inaction as well.  And inaction in this case could lead to disastrous results.  Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must use their diplomatic talents to convince both sides that there is a path to peace and democracy without violence from either side.  Compromise will be necessary, but Obama supposedly won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his talents in this area specifically.   It is now time for him to earn that reputation.


UPDATE:  CNN’s Anderson Cooper apparently was assaulted and punched numerous times during Wednesday’s riots. Mubarak supporters are being blamed.


Challenger: 25 Years Later

There are few events of my childhood that I remember as starkly as the day that the Challenger exploded soon after takeoff in January 28, 1986.  Much like people remember the Kennedy Assasination 23 years before that, the incident was so shocking for so many young, especially because many were watching it live on TV because of the launch of the first civilian, a teacher, into space.

I felt a personal link to the tragedy.  Only a short few weeks earlier, I got to take my first visit to Florida, which included Cape Canaveral.  I saw Challenger, sitting on the launch pad, eagerly waiting its launch.

A quarter of a century later, space travel is still a frightening experience.  This past decades saw the loss of the Columbia Shuttle during re-entry.  We take for granted the space program, but the dangers lurk to this day.

As the shuttle program winds down this  year, it behooves us to remember the sacrifice and risk that our astronauts face as a daily routine.

President Ronald Reagan, in one of the the most memorable Presidential speeches in response to a tragedy, said it best:

The crew of the space shuttle Challenger honoured us by the manner in which they lived their lives. We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’


Egypt On Fire

The Middle East has been a tinderbox for decades.  In the past five years, we have seen significant uprisings in Lebanon, Iran, Tunisia, and now Egypt.  These protests all  have one thing in common:  people screaming for more self-determination.

The Egyptian riots are especially troublesome for the United States.  Egypt is one of our biggest recipient of military aid…more than even Israel.  In fact, some question whether Egypt as a nation could survive without American aid.

But that aid comes at a price.  Hosni Mubarak has been in power since 1981, taking control after the assassination of Anwar Sadat.  Mubarak’s stanglehold on the country wears thin, as he grows old, and rumors of his son ascending to the leadership position are rampant. Democracy activists feel this is their opportunity.  Mubarak is sick and weak, his son has yet to consolidate power, and with the economy in shambles, there may never be a moment such as this for Egyptian democracy.

Once again, the Obama Administration’s response is haggard at best.  Unlike the Iranian protests, where I and others severely criticized the President for his weak response, his tempered response at this time makes sense.  Ultimately, I believe we have to support the people of Egypt and not the regime, but this is a more delicate situation because of America’s long standing alliance with that country.

But at the same time, some of the comments coming from this Administration are absurd.  Vice President Biden on Thursday stated that Mubarak was not a dictator, and should not leave office.  That will be hard to swallow for Mubarak opponents.  Mubarak has been in power for 30 years, without serious opposition, and regularly jails his political opponents.  I wish someone would ask the Vice President what he would define as a dictator.

The opposition does not appear to be wavering.  Well known activists are outwardly claiming their support for their protests.   The most well known internationally would be Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, who returned to Egypt from Vienna on Thursday, and has called for Mubarak to resign .  He has said he would personally join the protests on Friday.

The question for the U.S. is clear:  as an ally of Egypt, is it time to slowly move Mubarak out?  Unlike with Iran and other hot spots, we have significant clout with the Egyptian regime.  Obama, like Bush before him, has said democracy is our ultimate goal, and self determination is a right of all.  If that is the case, maybe it is time we were more proactive.  Mubarak has not been a benign tyrant.  Egypt deserves better.

Obama is in a difficult position.  Unlike the Iranian protests, where I still believe he made a mistake by not declaring his support for the revolutionaries, in this case the United States has much to lose.  If Egypt falls into the wrong hands, it would further destabilize the region.  Obama must tread carefully, and so far, he has done little that I would be critical of.  But ultimately, a time will come when Obama must choose to stand with one side or another.  At that moment, we will see if Obama has the diplomatic skills to guide Egypt to the brighter future.  Ultimately, the question is whether Obama will rise to the occasion.


Now, Its The Conservatives Turn…

Lisa Benson, Townhall

President Obama had his chance to convince the American public of his way forward during his State of the Union address.  In a one hour speech, Obama largely ignored the biggest looming threat to America:  our deficit crisis.  This was the primary issue which cost Democrats the House of Representatives, and allowed John Boehner to become Speaker of the House.  The President’s tin ear is amazing.

So what now for Republicans?  The course is clear, as far as I am concerned.  Obama has presented a lot of rhetoric about controlling the deficit.  Now, this is where the rubber meets the road.  It is time for conservatives to shine.

How so?  Simply keep their promises.  If Obama means what he says, he will work with Republicans on the following:

1.  The Budget Deficit: First, Last, And Everywhere In Between

Republicans must focus on the deficit.  President Obama missed the golden opportunity of a lifetime.  Everyone knows our deficit is the iceberg on the horizon.  Obama has the popularity, trust, and backing of the American people to confront the issue, like no recent president.

And he voted ‘Present’.

Obama simply did not even confront the issue.  He had a few lines about the biggest looming threat to American stability and safety, and did not focus on any real solutions whatsoever.  For two years, we have heard from the White House that this President would confront the budget deficit.  And for two years, we leave disappointed.

But this is the Republicans golden opportunity now.

Obama has a lot of empty talk about reigning in spend.  Now, either make him walk the walk, or make him eat his words.

All signs point to worsening of our debt crisis.  The Congressional Budget Office, ironically on the day after the SOTU, released a report showing that 2011 will show the largest federal deficit in history: $1,480,000,000,000 in debt…or $1.48 trillion for those of you too lazy to count the number of zeros.   That is near 10% of GDP, the second largest debt in American history, only trailing fiscal year 2010.  The CBO predicts an additional $7 trillion in debt through 2021.

And it gets worse.  Assuming that Congress will make changes to the tax code and spending  that it always does (like continuing an exemption on the alternative minimum tax and continuing the yearly doctor fix for Medicare payments), the budget deficit would balloon to $12 trillion through 2021.

The CBO gets to the heart of the matter:

The longer the necessary adjustments are delayed, the greater will be the negative consequences of the mounting debt, the more uncertain individuals and businesses will be about future government policies, and the more drastic the ultimate policy changes will need to be. But changes of the magnitude that will ultimately be required could be disruptive.

That plays right into the hands of fiscal conservatives.  Obama and Democrats can whine about the disaster that will ensue if cuts are enacted…but the CBO now is steadfastly on the side of budget hawks.  It is time to cut as much as possible.  And if Obama stands in the way of that, so be it.

2.  Force the issue on entitlement

Remember, back in 2005, when George W. Bush tried to confront Social Security?  At that time, a young Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, suggested that it was unnecessary.  He stated that Social Security would remain solvent until the middle of this century.

Well, so much for that. The CBO on Social Security, 2011:

The Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday that Social Security will pay out $45 billion more in benefits this year than it will collect in payroll taxes, further straining the nation’s finances. The deficits will continue until the Social Security trust funds are eventually drained, in about 2037.

Previously, CBO said Social Security would start running permanent deficits in 2016. In the short term, Social Security is suffering from a weak economy that has payroll taxes lagging and applications for benefits rising. In the long term, Social Security will be strained by the growing number of baby boomers retiring and applying for benefits.

It is now time.  This will be a costly battle for Republicans…but it must be done for the sake of the nation’s future.  Democrats have neither the will nor courage to take the biggest fiscal bomb on:  entitlements and the defense budget.

Obama proposed $75 billion in cuts to the Defense Department over the next five years…or approximately a 3% cut.  Republicans must do better.  Yes, we are pro-defense, but we must make rational cuts to our Defense Department.  Some cost savings will obviously come from ending the wars, but there needs to be more comprehensive long term effort to restrain the military’s budget.

Social Security is actually the easiest to fix intellectually, and the hardest to approach politically.  Everyone on both sides of the aisle know what needs to be done:  gradual increase in retirement age; slow decrease in benefits, especially for the highest earners; and possibly increasing the social security tax income cap from $106,000.  I would also propose privatization of a portion of social security, but that is a hard battle to win.  But these changes could easily be made incrementally over the next 50 years, in order to protect our seniors and allow young earners the time to adapt to the changes.  These changes would basically make social security fiscally sound for a century or more.

And of course, the last entitlement is…

3.  Medicare and Obamacare.  Force the issue on health care savings.

Obama continues to argue that Obamacare will save billions longterm.

Of course, the government’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, disagrees.  In testimony on January 26th, Foster claimed that it is unlikely that Obamacare will hold down costs. Additionally, Foster claimed that some of Obama’s biggest claims regarding the program, including the ability of people to keep their current insurance, is false.

Obama and Democrats are frankly dishonest on this whole issue.  What Obama doesn’t tell you is that savings only comes if the Congress makes $500 Billion in cuts to future Medicare spending.   Considering the vicious attacks that Paul Ryan is taking for trying to cut Medicare spending by $5 Billion, or 1% of the original mark, this is a red herring.For example, Congress unsurprisingly maintained current fees to doctors, which they do every year.  The cuts were actually supposed to happen under Obamacare.  Cost:  $19 Billion.


It is time to force Obama’s hand.  Either he needs to show a budget that demonstrates the $500 Billion in cuts, or needs to find another way to get that savings.

Obama has also opened the door to tort reform.  Immediately, this minute, pass medical malpractice tort reform, which Obama suggested he would consider in the State of the Union.  Make him veto a plan with malpractice caps, and then we will see where he really stands:  with those worried about costs, or with the trial lawyers.

Together, focus on these three measures show a devotion the concept of fiscal conservatism.  Some of the measures, especially things like Social Security reform and Defense budget cuts, will be painful to our side.  But leadership does not come without sacrifice.  It is time to hold our representatives accountable.   The time is now.


Obama State of the Union: Largely, More Of The Same…

Tonight pretty much sums up the Obama Presidency.

We have members of Congress looking for ‘dates’ so they can look like they are civil.  We have a President who will talk about entitlements, and then will avoid proposing any major changes to those programs.  And then Mr. Obama will talk about deficit control, and no doubt will propose more ‘investments’ which will do more to worsen the deficit problem.

That, in a nutshell, exemplifies the Obama Presidency.  It is more theater than reality; more rhetoric than action.

But the show must go on.

Obama will move forward in the only way he sees; by further cementing his liberal legacy of the past two years, and hold off conservative efforts to derail any of that legislation.  As E.J. Dionne states, Obama plans to ‘Legislate, Hold, and Build’.

So, in other words, for Obama, it is simply more of the same.

The argument is simple:  Obama will try to sell his legislative victories of the last two years.  He will spend the remainder of his term attempting to convince the unconvinced American public that the Obama agenda is setting America up for long term wealth creation, job creation, and overall stability.

Good luck with that.

Obama’s rhetoric has been spot on for the past few months.  First, he compromised with Republicans on the Bush tax cuts.  Then, he called for civility after the Tucson shooting.  Tonight, he will talk about moving the economy forward.  For example, the NY Times points out that Obama began talking about the desperate need to foster competitiveness and innovation in the pursuit of American jobs.

The problem is, for Obama these words mean maintaining current government programs and spending.  And that, simply, is not where the American public stands on these issues.  The American public wants answers about the growing deficit…and Obama lacks any answers.

Obama’s big answer to the deficit problem?  A 5 year spending freeze.  That will accomplish virtually nothing, after Obama himself has increased government spending by 70% in two years.  The Obama plan would save about $15 billion a year over 5 years…or the equivalent of how much debt we as a country run up in about 4 days.  That is the definition of useless.

Liberals argue that maintaing the rest of  this spending is essential to long term job growth.  Someone, namely the President, is going to have to explain how many of these programs are going to cost jobs.  Fine.  which of the following are the big job producers that Democrats are going to argue for?

  • USDA Sugar Program. $14 million annually.
  • National Endowment for the Arts. $167.5 million annually.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities. $167.5 million annually.

Sure, there are programs that are much more controversial to cut, such as education programs.  But largely, these are programs that are good ideas…when you have the money.  And the American people have decided we don’t have the money, and are ready to turn off the spigot.

Democrats still don’t understand this political dynamic.  Americans don’t believe that government will save them, especially from their economic woes.  The public doesn’t blame Obama for the recession…but they also don’t believe he will provide solutions to get us passed the economic doldrums either.

And with that dynamic, the last thing Americans want to do is plow down several trillion dollars more in order to achieve…well, nothing.

So, let civility reign tonight.  Republicans and Democrats, happily dancing together, corsage in hand to their mate from across the aisle.  I am sure Obama will give a roundly lauded speech about hope, change, and civility.  But in the end, unless it is backed by real reform, it will amount to nothing.


The Long Road For Health Care Repeal Starts Here…

Today, the Republicans kept their first promise of this Congress, by passing a repeal of the Obamacare.

The long road begins here.

This is obviously largely symbolic. But symbols matter.  First and foremost, this was a key promise Republicans made to the American people in their quest to regain power over the House.  Promise made, promise kept.

My friends, let us be honest:  true and total repeal of Obamacare will be a long, hard slog.  The American people do not yet comprehend the long term damage that Democrats did by passing this bill.  This may take years, decades…and may be a battle that my generation will fight for the rest of their time.

But a few things are certain.  First, the public is on our side.  Significant majorities support repeal of this bill.  We don’t need to fight to convince Americans of anything, unlike the Democrats; they already align with our reality.  We simply need to keep the fight going, and keep demonstrating the falsehoods that made this bill possible.

Frankly, you simply should put Paul Ryan against any Democrat once in a while, and force them to fidget, like he made them do today in the House chamber:

This is a simple and complete evisceration of the budgetary realities of Obamacare.  No Democrat can withstand this barrage, because their is no defense.  Ryan simply takes the numbers, uses logic, and systematically demolishes every Democrat argument about the supposed cost-savings in this bill.

Additionally, this is only the first of several paths to the dismantling of Obamacare.  The courts are obviously the other.   26 states have now joined the lawsuit against the Federal Government, stating the bill is unconstitutional.  Along with the federal judge declaring it unconstitutional, these factors almost guarantee that at the very least, the individual mandate will go down in flames.

The second, and more difficult but also more permanent, is at the ballot box.  It would take massive luck and a level of competence I still don’t believe Republicans have, but taking the majority in the Senate, holding the House, and winning the White House likely would give Republicans the possibility of repealing the entire program by early 2013.  And of course, that would likely only come with use of reconciliation to remove the bill in the Senate and override a Democrat filibuster…a little bit of irony, wouldn’t you say?

So prepare yourselves for the long road ahead.  There is no short term fix to the enormous damage done by Democrats.  We must be stubborn, vigilant, and ultimately, we can succeed in this endeavor.  But today…today was the first step.

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