November 8, 2010

Nancy Pelosi Has My Vote for Minority Leader

Incredibly, outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi is going to run for minority leader when the 112th Congress reconvenes next year.

As a good Republican I cheer this decision and wants her to get the position...

Nancy Pelosi

... but if I was a Democrat I'd be despondent.

At least two Democrats, Heath Schuler (NC-10) and Jim Matheson (UT-2) agree. Said Schuler:

"We weren't successful with me as quarterback, so I lost my job," said Shuler, a former Washington Redskins quarterback whose team won four games and lost nine with him as a starter. She's so smart she recognizes that it will be difficult to recruit the candidates she needs to win back the House," added Shuler, a member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition that lost more than two dozen members Tuesday.

Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah), a moderate, also called for a new direction. "We need to shake things up," he said in an interview with Bloomberg News.

Having made many mistakes over the years, I've gotten to be pretty hardheaded in the candidates I choose to support. In the past I've let my heart overrule my head, and I wasted time working for and cheering on people who didn't have a snowball's chance of winning anything. This year, for example, I saw right from the start that Christine O'Donnell didn't stand a chance, and I wouldn't have wanted her in the Senate anyway. I said this in the comments at a few conservative blogs and took some heat for it, but I didn't back down and was proven right.

Nationally, there are people I love and cheer, but wouldn't want to see run for political office.

I admire Sarah Palin for many things. It was one of the thrills of my life to see her from maybe 40 feet away at a when she came to my home town for a campaign rally a week before the 2008 election. I gave her book, Going Rogue, a good review. And I'd pay money to go see her again at a rally or fundraising event again. But there's no way I want her to run for political office again. If she foolishly runs for president next year, I'll pull out all the stops to prevent her from getting the nomination.

The reason is that her negatives are sky high (negatives, a polling thing). She's terribly controversial, loved by many and hated by many. The Democrats could run a wino off the street and she'd still lose because people would come out of the woodwork just to vote against her. Palin is best just where she is; as opinion shaper on the right, and headliner for rallies.

Ditto for Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is probably one of the smartest people on the plant. He knows his history backward and forward, and he can speak with authority on virtually any subject. Intellectually he runs rings around just about anyone.

But like Palin, his negatives are sky high. Newt is the person you want as a policy adviser, but not as the candidate.

They're what are called "lighting rods" for criticism.

Lightning Rod Strike

In 1995 Oliver North ran for U.S. Senate on the Republican ticket from my home state of Virginia against a weak incumbent Democrat, Chuck Robb. North lost not because anyone liked Robb, but because they didn't want North. I remember the "North Never!" (they went something like that, anyway) bumper stickers.

Back to San Fran Gran Nan

Whether Democrats and liberals (not always the same thing) like Pelosi or not is not relevant. The question they have to ask themselves is "Will she be effective as the minority leader?" Frankly, I can't see how that answer could possibly be "Yes."

The fact is that she is damaged goods, and has become that lightning rod for criticism that is fatal to a political career. She's easily mocked, and is just the face of the Democrat Party that we on the right so want to present to the public in our next campaign.

In 2006 and 2008, my local Congressman, Frank Wolf (R-VA-10) ran against Georgetown professor Judy Feder. Feder was the picture of the angry liberal woman who thought herself smarter than anyone else. She was strident and unlikable. Wolf easily beat her each time, and by slightly more in 2008 than in 2006, if you can believe that.

In an entertaining editorial today, the editors of the Washington Times agree with me that Pelosi is the best choice for the job of minority leader. Following are excerpts:

EDITORIAL: Run, Nancy, run Pelosi gets the Republican vote for House minority leader The Washington Times

After last week's midterm meltdown for Democrats, outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would seek the position of House minority leader in the new Congress. The Washington Times enthusiastically endorses her candidacy.

Mrs. Pelosi will bring the same clarity of vision to the position of minority leader that she did to the speaker's chair. For those voters confused about the state of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, Mrs. Pelosi will reassure them that it doesn't exist. For those who ask if Democrats are interested in responsible fiscal policies to draw down deficits, Mrs. Pelosi will banish any such thoughts. For those wondering whether Democrats in Congress can move further to the left without control of both chambers, Mrs. Pelosi will respond with a resounding "Yes we can."

Mrs. Pelosi is the perfect symbol of strident resistance to the will of the American people that Democrats seem eager to project. She can be counted on to fight to the last trench to defend all of the wretched excesses - or as Democrats stubbornly call them, "accomplishments" - of the rejected 111th Congress. She is fully in tune with the hard-line liberal rump leftover from the previous governing majority and can better give President Obama the opportunity to continue along the path that has seen both his party's fortunes and his job approval ratings fall from historic heights. Mrs. Pelosi brings the outlook, the track record and the public approval ratings to keep Democrats solidly on their current course toward oblivion.

Mrs. Pelosi promises more of the same for Democrats, especially with Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, continuing to mismanage the Senate and Mr. Obama digging in his heels at the White House. If recent experience from their midterm shellacking is a guide, this familiar Democrat leadership team will be very good for the new Republican majority. The least popular, most polarizing speaker in memory can bring the same qualities to the role of minority leader and present the American people with painfully clear choices going into the 2012 election. If Nancy Pelosi didn't exist, Republicans would have to invent her.

Fortunately, we don't have to.

Posted by Tom at 9:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

July 5, 2010

The New Black Panther Voter Intimidation Case - A Coverup by the Obama Administration?

Here, I believe, is the raw video from election day (Nov 4) 2008. Two members of the New Black Panther Party are engaged in obvious voter intimidation outside a polling location in Philadelphia PA:

The police come and take the Panthers away

Finally here is a news report from shortly afterward in which Fox News interview the cameraman in the first video

This editorial in the Washington Times was what prompted this post:

EDITORIAL: Media blackout for Black Panthers
Explosive racist allegations ignored by poodles in the press
by The Washington Times

Where is the New York Times? Where is The Washington Post? Where are CBS and NBC? A whistleblower makes explosive allegations about the Department of Justice; his story is backed by at least two other witnesses; and the allegations involve the two hot-button issues of race and of blatant politicization of the justice system. A potential constitutional confrontation stemming from the scandal brews between the Justice Department and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A congressman highly respected for thoughtfulness and bipartisanship has all but accused the department of serious impropriety. By every standard of objective journalism, this adds up to real news.

Or it would be real news if a Republican Justice Department stood accused. It would be real news if the liberal media weren't mostly in the tank for our celebrated but failing first black president.

Tomorrow, the Civil Rights Commission will hear long-awaited testimony from J. Christian Adams, who resigned from the Voting Section of the Justice Department after the department improperly ordered him to refuse compliance with the commission's lawful subpoena. Mr. Adams first told his story in public in these pages on June 28 and later did two major interviews with Fox News' Megyn Kelly. In those appearances, he flatly accused the Obama Justice Department of adopting an unlawful, immoral policy identified in previous Washington Times editorials - namely, enforcing civil rights laws against white perpetrators who victimized minorities but never against black perpetrators who victimize whites or Asians. If this is indeed the policy, it makes a scandalous mockery of the cherished American principle of "equal justice under the law."

All these allegations stem from what should have been a slam-dunk voter-intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party videotaped in menacing behavior outside a Philadelphia polling place in 2008. The Obama Justice Department dropped or seriously reduced all the charges or penalties in the case after it already effectively had been won. Mr. Adams' former colleague, longtime award-winning civil rights lawyer Christopher Coates, has been reported on multiple occasions to have backed Mr. Adams' version of events and of the Obama team's openly discriminatory policy.

If the department's motives are not racial or racist, Justice officials surely appear political. One of the Black Panthers against whom the department declined to press charges was an official poll watcher for the Democratic Party and an elected local party official. The department dropped charges just four days before another election, allowing him again to serve as a poll watcher.

Mr. Adams says the official most directly involved in dropping the case, Steven H. Rosenbaum - whose ethics have been subject to judicial sanction - refused to read his own team's legal briefs before deciding to dismiss the case. Mr. Adams accuses Thomas E. Perez, head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, of providing false answers in testimony to the Civil Rights Commission.

On a parallel track, The Washington Times has reported strong circumstantial evidence suggesting that department officials may have consulted the White House before dismissing the case. That possibility, too, cries out for investigation.

These broad policy questions and suggestions of political chicanery are important. Do we have a nation of laws equally applied to all, or is justice being reduced to raw politics? Investigating such questions is the essence of the news business. Failure to look into such a scandal is evidence of the institutional corruption of the much-ballyhooed "fourth branch of government," a supposedly independent media.

I'm not quite sure who the "congressman highly respected for thoughtfulness and bipartisanship" cited in the first paragraph is, but it could be my own Rep Frank Wolf (R VA-10) is certainly well-respected and has been at the forefront of this issue. He has been pushing for answers from Attorney General Eric Holder's Department of Justice, which has been stonewalling.

This is perhaps the most obvious case of voter intimidation since the end of Jim Crow. Yet the Obama Administration doesn't care. Why? We need answers.


Hans A. von Spakovsky is a former commissioner on the Federal Election Commission and a former counsel to the assistant attorney general for civil rights at the Justice Department. In this post over at NRO he demolishes the excuse some leftists are giving to cover for the Obama Administration; that the Bush Justice Department "downgraded" the original charges so it's all much ado about nothing:

...the latest claim, according to Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and others, is that the "charges against the New Black Panthers were downgraded by the Bush Department of Justice [inasmuch as] the decision not to file a criminal case occurred before Obama was even in office." This "downgrade" talking point is apparently supposed to excuse the Obama administration's decision to dismiss virtually the entire civil voter intimidation case and to neuter the injunction sought against the one remaining defendant so substantially that what was left was little more than a minor annoyance.

These claims by a nonlawyer betray a fundamental ignorance of the difference between civil and criminal prosecutions and a total misunderstanding of how things work at the Justice Department and the Civil Rights Division. First of all, although the Civil Rights Division has a Criminal Section, the vast majority of its voting-rights prosecutions are civil cases conducted by the division's Voting Section. Whenever someone violates the Voting Rights Act and does so in a way that is potentially both a civil and a criminal violation, the division must decide whether to proceed first with a civil or a criminal case. With most voting cases, the decision is usually to go with a civil case, particularly if there are elections coming up in the near future. That is because civil cases have a lower burden of proof and give the government the opportunity to obtain almost immediately a temporary injunction to stop the defendants from engaging in the same wrongful behavior as the case winds its way through the federal courts.

Another point: These same liberals are making the false claim that the Bush administration failed to file similar charges against members of the Minutemen, "one of whom allegedly carried a weapon while harassing Hispanic voters in Arizona in 2006." "Allegedly" is the correct term to use: While I was not at the Justice Department in 2006, I have talked to sources inside the Civil Rights Division who were and who have first-hand knowledge of the facts of this matter. The Voting Section sent lawyers to Arizona to investigate these allegations. They were told that the people in question (who were apparently there with some sort of English-only petition) did not enter the polling place and stayed outside the state-imposed limit around polling places where campaigning is forbidden. No one (including Democratic poll watchers) saw them talking to any voters while they were there -- nor could the lawyers find any evidence that they prevented or discouraged anyone from entering the polling place (which is directly contrary to the witnesses in the NBPP case, who testified that they saw voters approaching the polls turn around and leave when they saw the Panthers blocking the entrance to the polling place).

Posted by Tom at 8:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 4, 2009

If You take the King's Shilling, You do the King's Bidding

We knew this was coming:

Obama Caps Executive Pay Tied to Bailout Money

President Barack Obama on Wednesday imposed a $500,000 cap on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving taxpayer bailout money and promised new steps to end a system of "executives being rewarded for failure."

Obama announced the unusual government intervention into corporate America at the White House, with tax cheat Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at his side....

The pay limit comes amid a national outcry over huge bonuses to executives who head companies that seek taxpayer dollars to remain afloat. The demand for limits was reinforced by revelations that Wall Street firms paid more than $18 billion in bonuses in 2008 amid the economic downturn and the massive infusion of taxpayer dollars.

The limit would apply to top-paid executives at the most distressed financial institutions that are negotiating bailout agreements with the federal government. It also would apply to other banks that receive aid, but they could get around the limits by publicizing to shareholders plans to exceed the salary cap.

This is exactly why bailouts are so bad. Once you take aid from the government, you are beholden to them.

These business executives are playing right into Obama's hands. What idiots. The left pretends to be outraged, but I think many are secretly happy as it gives them the excuse they need to set a "maximum wage," something they've wanted for decades.

We've all seen the stories. Bonuses paid to executives of companies who are losing money and laying off employees. Expensive trips, private airplanes, manicures and spas seem to be the rule.

The situation on Wall Street has gotten so bad that even the pro-business Washington Times editorialized that these "business excesses are disgraceful."

I've run into conservatives who say Obama is violating property rights on this matter. But that's only true in cases where he tries to impose these things on businesses that are not taking government money. More to it, this is about greed, which I also remind conservatives and Christians is also a sin, there being many passages about it in the Bible. To paraphrase Justice Potter Stewart, I may not be able to define greed, but I know it when I see it. And the American public knows what it sees.

If you come to me complaining that you can't pay your mortgage, and I loan you a few thousand dollars, I had better not see you going out to the movies or taking a vacation until you've paid me back.

Right now executive pay is only being capped for companies that take bailout money. As with most things government, I think it'll slowly spread. Once the left gets there way here, they'll come up with other reasons to cap pay all across the board, regardless of whether the company takes bailout money or not. For example, next they'll say that any company that gets a government contract must cap executive pay. Then...who know where this will end.

And years from now, they'll look at the corporate executives who paid themselves bonuses and such while their companies were failing, and say "It is you who are to blame."

Saturday Feb 7 Update

That didn't take long. Financial Week reports that House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank wants to set pay caps for all corporations:

Congress will consider legislation to extend some of the curbs on executive pay that now apply only to those banks receiving federal assistance, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said.

"There's deeply rooted anger on the part of the average American," the Massachusetts Democrat said at a Washington news conference today.

He said the compensation restrictions would apply to all financial institutions and might be extended to include all U.S. companies.

Give these guys and inch and they'll take a mile.

Posted by Tom at 9:30 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 14, 2005

Pictures worth a Thousand Words

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