They saved your right to continue to use Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulbs if you so choose. We won’t all have to sit in our living rooms bathed in the Orwellian florescent glare of the over-priced alternative bulbs favored by devotees of the modern cult of Gaia.
The shutdown-averting budget bill will block federal light bulb efficiency standards, giving a win to House Republicans fighting the so-called ban on incandescent light bulbs.
GOP and Democratic sources tell POLITICO the final omnibus bill includes a rider defunding the Energy Department’s standards for traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy efficient.
DOE’s light bulb rules — authorized under a 2007 energy law authored signed by President George W. Bush — would start going into effect Jan. 1. The rider will prevent DOE from implementing the rules through Sept. 30.
But Democrats said they could claim a “compromise” by adding language to the omnibus that requires DOE grant recipients greater than $1 million to certify they will upgrade the efficiency of their facilities by replacing any lighting to meet or exceed the 2007 energy law’s standards.
Fueled by conservative talk radio, Republicans made the last-ditch attempt to stop federal regulations from making their way into every Americans’ living room.
“There are just some issues that just grab the public’s attention. This is one of them,” said Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.). “It’s going to be dealt with in this legislation once and for all.”
Our self-appointed lords and masters on the left were not pleased.
White House… communications director Dan Pfeiffer [was] saying Wednesday that the House GOP plan would “undercut environmental protections.”
On Twitter, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) wrote: “I strongly oppose that language. I hope it’s deleted from any final bill that we pass.”
“This is just another poke in the eye,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.).
Conrad Black observes the liberal media redirecting its fire from Herman Cain in the direction of Newt Gingrich, and shrugs indifferently. It is already obvious to any intelligent observer (like Mr. Black) that Barack Obama (absent divine intervention) has no real hope of being re-elected and that the election of 2012 is destined to be a genuinely transformative election, sweeping all of the consequences of the election of 2008 onto the ash-pile of history.
For me to achieve a degree of optimism from this procession of accident-prone Republican candidates might seem aberrant or a worrisome sign of cabin fever, but it isn’t. The grace of revelation came in two mighty flashes of celestial light, a few seconds apart, thunder to follow closer to next November. Whatever obloquy may be rained down on the well-tended topknots of the Republican hopefuls, it will not excuse or reelect the administration described by one commentator a few weeks ago as “the worst since before the invention of electricity.”
This administration will have produced $5 trillion of deficits, which will have the economic consequences of a 500 percent increase in the money supply in four years, without any serious effort to suggest how it is going to close the spigot, much less repay any of the accumulated debt. Only someone more familiar than I with the most fantastic realms of fiction could find adequately recondite metaphors for this level of fiscal irresponsibility. There has not been a hint of entitlement reform; no interest in a reforming budget or in changing the actuarial assumptions or vesting conditions of Social Security; no comprehensive analysis of municipal, county, or state debt, as Harrisburg, Pa., and Jefferson County, Ala. ($3 billion) went down in the last two weeks like tenpins; nor an effort to tackle the $1 trillion student-loan debt bomb. The administration continues its glazed pall of official prevarication in a reassuring monotone.
There has been no serious effort even to make the 10 percent token reduction in the projected decade of deficits required by the outcome of the debt-ceiling fiasco. The president clings to his arithmetic of the 99 percent and cozies up to the infantilists of Occupy Wall Street (even as he continues his dalliance with the stragglers among his limousine-borne Wall Street groupies). And Treasury Secretary Geithner, having been struck dumb like Zechariah in the temple for the last two years, recovered his voice to exhort the impecunious Europeans to join America in the St. Vitus’s Dance of spending confected trillions of virtual electronic dollars/euros. ...
At least Herbert Hoover acknowledged that a depression was in progress, and Jimmy Carter spoke of a malaise (of which his presence in the White House was the principal symptom). The president and other administration spokesmen seem supremely confident that all they have to do to retain immersion rights in the public trough for another four years is hammer the piñata about the 99 percent and incant the name of the preceding president.
As long as there is an alternative that can speak and tie up its shoelaces in the morning, I do not believe that this administration can be reelected. It is so unrelievedly incompetent that its fecklessness is more a matter of sadness and embarrassment than of the rage that engulfed George W. Bush. This, I surmise, is why the liberal establishment, the Times editorial writers and columnists, the Hollywood groupies, the rich fundraisers, don’t detect that the ship is sinking, and still squeal with delight as the Republican challengers fail to generate more than tentative or reluctant enthusiasm. But they are reading the wrong dials; there will be a Republican nominee. The country will not reelect this mockery of an administration, and whoever the Republican is will be elected and inaugurated, even if he has operated an open-air dog kennel on the wings of an airborne aircraft while groping relays of stewardesses.
And the other illuminated revelation, which came swiftly after the first: The voters will not only be disposing of a failed administration; they will be approving the Republican platform, which will call for radical tax simplification and reduction, entitlement reform, serious health-care reform, real spending reductions, incentives to increased domestic oil production and natural-gas use, and an absolute commitment to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear military power.
It will be a drastic reform program that will signal that the United States is awakening like Brünnhilde, however unlikely the Siegfried, finally resuming world leadership, acting on its budget and current-account deficits, and behaving like a Great Power and a textbook case in self-government for the first time since President Bush Senior. The effect of the change will be electrifying. ...
The new president may have an imperfect CV and too-perfect hair; Speaker Boehner may surpass Mr. Obama’s historic favorite, Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh, in his proclivity to burst publicly into tears; the White House may be as boring and banal as it was under George W. Bush (though that is unlikely, especially in syntactical matters); but America will lead in policy terms, if not in the personality of its leader. Problems will be addressed and the mere anarchy of abdication compounded by smug official sophistry will no longer be loosed upon the world. Mr. Churchill’s bust may come back to the Oval Office, and FDR’s address at D-Day, including the godly references that the Bureau of Land Management feels disrupt the spirit “of the elegant memorial,” may yet be displayed there. The night will end and glorious will be the dawn, in Washington. I have seen the future, and in it, people work.
I reluctantly watched some of last night’s GOP debate.
How did the Republican Party get tricked into adopting a television entertainment-based pre-primaries system in which an astonishing superfluity of candidates, many with no realistic chance of winning the nomination, are invited to respond to questions selected by intensely partisan representatives of the liberal mainstream media, obviously chosen with the intention of inflicting the most damage to Republican candidates, individually and in general? Who is running the Republican Party that goes around agreeing to have our party’s debates hosted by MSNBC and CNN? Let’s fire that guy fast.
It’s obvious to lots of Republicans that this endless series of “Welcome to the Thunderdome” debates in which gleeful liberal commentators invite GOP candidates to enter the arena and beat up on one another is not the best thing in the world for us.
Last night, we saw again how these debates are conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation with the media’s version of GOP orthodoxy used as a weapon to bully candidates into knuckling under instead of arguing their own positions with anyone daring to speak independently (as Rick Perry did in an earlier debate) being Gotcha’d, awarded failing performance grades and described as having made a gaffe.
Republicans have been successfully mau-maued by liberals, and by our own dumbass law-and-order petite bourgeois wing, into making illegal immigration, really insane Anti-Hispanic immigration nativism, a bedrock, party identifying issue. Rick Perry, who excelled originally in having a more intelligent and honest perspective, was seriously damaged and finally bullied into mouthing typical politician’s platitudes on the same issue.
Perry attacking Romney for “hiring illegal aliens.” (Romney used a lawn service, instead of mowing his own lawn. His lawn service—like most lawn services throughout the country—employed low-skilled Hispanic workers, some of whom were not legal immigrants. The horror! You can, I think, divide Republicans on immigration politics between those accustomed to have enough money to employ a lawn service and those who mow their own lawns.) This was a depressing low point in the debate, particularly since it was combined with an unseemly competition to display manliness by trying to talk over one another. Romney actually kind of won by invoking civility.
Romney, I thought, was definitely the candidate one would prefer to hire to play the role of president in a movie. Herman Cain continues to surprise. He is far more articulate and capable of holding up his end of a policy debate than many professional pols. He also tends to be the best dressed guy on stage. His double-breasted blaser and bright yellow tie was a refreshing change from the classic candidate’s dark suit and red (maybe blue) power tie.
Ron Paul openly indulged in class warfare politics of envy, manifesting once again the appallingly common perfect congruence of what calls itself “libertarianism” and leftism. Why is this guy even there?
Santorum was surprisingly good, and he seems to be receiving too little attention and appreciation. He ringingly defended traditional American culture and values, and he came up with a clever argument (“I won running as an arch conservative in a swing state. If you can win in Pennsylvania, you can definitely beat Barack Obama.”) as to why he would be a superior candidate.
Bachmann looked and sounded good, but her hypermoralism didn’t really fit in, and I did not hear her very much.
Gingrich is definitely the wittiest and best debater of all the candidates. Unfortunately, like Bachmann, his presence and participation was really just that of an afterthought. If all these absurd debates really were deciding something, Gingrich ought to be winning.
Perry is significantly less smooth and practiced, less comfortable under the microscope, and less glib. He does not seem to know how to move fluidly off his prepared game plan, and he seems a bit abashed about his regional accent. Herman Cain has fun using ethnic dialect and accent when he wants to. Perry clearly feels at a bit embarrassed at having a heavy Texas drawl and is trying to minimize it.
Republicans need to start encouraging unserious candidates to quit wasting everybody’s time. Get Ron Paul, Huntsman, Bachmann, and Gingrich out of there as soon as possible.
Republicans ought to hold debates in friendly venues with friendly or completely neutral moderators.
Watching last night’s debate, I suppose I thought Romney and Herman Cain both demonstrated why they are doing well, Perry demonstrated what his problem has been, and beyond that, I thought I was not much the wiser. I am not persuaded that we ought to be nominating Mitt Romney. I see no point in the presence or participation of a lot of those candidates. I am not sure that these numerous debates may not be doing more harm than good.
Stephen F. Hayes says Rick Perry won last night’s Republican presidential debate in Iowa without even showing up.
They’re happy tonight in Austin.
It’s one of the most predictable and tiresome of the many presidential debate clichés: The candidate who didn’t participate won because the others were so weak. And yet that was the case in the Republican presidential debate here Thursday night. A Republican presidential field often described as weak seemed to confirm that conventional wisdom in a debate that featured many tough questions and many more weak answers. Rick Perry, who will announce his bid for the presidency on Saturday.
Meanwhile, over at Twitter, I find that a rickperryfacts Twitter feed, collecting jokes along the lines of the Chuck Norris jokes, has been created.
Latest example: There are signs when you enter Texas warning the bears not to feed Rick Perry.
Pat Buchanan left mainstream Conservatism for the Paleocon fever swamps some years ago, and has rarely ever made much sense since, but today the old Pat Buchanan is back and in fine form. In fact, Buchanan identifies precisely the tactics of bluffing and intimidation that the mouthpieces of the establishment are using to try to frighten the Republican leadership (which holds all the cards) into surrendering on tax increases to the impotent, discredited-by-reality, and sinking-daily-in-the-polls democrats. Pat Buchanan is right: the level of shrillness of the MSM commentariat is directly proportionate to their desperation. They know they’re losing.
By refusing to accept tax increases in a deal to raise the debt ceiling, Republicans are behaving like “fanatics,” writes David Brooks of The New York Times.
Anti-tax Republicans “have no sense of moral decency,” he adds.
They are “willing to stain their nation’s honor” to “worship their idol.” If this “deal of the century” goes down, as he calls the Barack Obama offer, “Republican fanaticism” will be the cause.
“The GOP has become a cult” that has replaced reason with “feverish” and “cockamamie beliefs,” writes Richard Cohen of The Washington Post. The Republican “presidential field (is) a virtual political Jonestown,” the Guyana site where more than 900 followers of the Peoples Temple drank the Kool-Aid that Rev. Jim Jones mixed for them.
Does anyone think this an appropriate description of such mild-mannered men as Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman?
“The GOP’s Hezbollah Wing Is Now Fully in Control,” screams The New Republic over a recent lead editorial.
Other columnists charge the GOP with holding America “hostage” by refusing to accept tax hikes to avert a default on the debt.
What to make of this hysteria?
The Establishment is in a panic. It has been jolted awake to the realization that the GOP House, if it can summon the courage to use it, is holding a weapon that could enable it to bridle forever the federal monster that consumes 25 percent of gross domestic product.
To bully and blackmail the GOP into surrendering the weapon and betraying its principles and signing on to new taxes, that establishment has unleashed rhetoric more befitting a war on terror than a political dispute.
For how, exactly, are Republicans threatening the republic?
The House has not said it will not raise the debt ceiling. It must and will. It has not said it will not accept budget cuts. It has indicated a willingness to accept the budget cuts agreed to in the Biden negotiations.
Where the GOP has stood its ground is on tax increases. ...
The Republican Party has not said it will refuse to raise the debt ceiling. It has an obligation to do so, and will.
The House has simply said it will not accept new taxes on a nation whose fiscal crisis comes from overspending.
If the GOP keeps its word, raises the debt ceiling and accepts budget cuts agreed to in the Biden negotiations, the only people who can prevent the debt ceiling’s being raised are Senate Democrats or Obama, in which case, they, not the GOP, will have thrown the nation into default.
It is the establishment that is resorting to extortion, saying, in effect, to the House GOP: Give us the new taxes we demand, or Obama will veto the debt ceiling and we will all blame you for the default.
Katie Thompson, blogging at Cornell Law Prof Bill Jacobson’s site, makes the case for Rick Perry.
I think myself that Perry seems to be acceptably conservative, and he strikes me as a potentially stronger candidate than Romney, Pawlenty, and the others currently in the race. Perry has available as a powerful argument the fact of Texas enjoying spectacular growth in jobs, at a time when the only other place in the country that is in the same situation is Washington, D.C.
My first choice for GOP nominee would be Paul Ryan. Ryan has done more to address the key economic issues which are going to be the focus of the 2012 race than anyone else. But Ryan (so far) isn’t running. The governor of the state excelling the rest of the country, by a wide margin, in economic growth is a very plausible second choice.
Katie Thompson makes also the telling point: Rick Perry is everything Barack Obama is not. And that’s exactly what voters want.
On the box it comes in it says “For Sale to Texans Only.” It says “Coyote Special” on one side of the barrel and “A True Texan” on the other side of the barrel. The top of the barrel has a Texas star and a Coyote howling to a full moon.
There are all those other Republican candidates, whose names are vaguely familiar, but about whom one knows next to nothing. Looking over the news this morning, I noticed omens and portents pertaining to the candidacy of Jon Huntsman, so let’s start with him.
Mark Halperin, for instance, blogging at the New York Times, says that prominent movement conservative C. Boyden Gray has signed on board the Huntsman campaign in an influential role. Halperin draws from Gray’s affiliation the reasonable conclusion that GOP conservatives may be preparing to back Huntsman as the more conservative alternative to “moderate” front-runner Milt Romney.
Less positive from my own perspective, is a basically typical New York Times magazine puff piece by Matt Bai, treating Huntsman surprisingly sympathetically.
So, I turned to Google and spun up the Wikipedia article on Huntsman. Aha! Governor of Utah, that’s who he is.
He’s a Mormon, just like Mitt Romney. (Basically good. Mormons are crazy, of course, for subscribing to a 19th century Sci Fi religion but, hey! Mormons are also rock-ribbed tribal Republicans, gun-owning, capitalism-defending, fiscal conservatives, respectable and hard-working people, typically a lot more clean living than I am.)
He’s from Palo Alto, California. (We can look on the bright side, and recognize that he must therefore be well acquainted with how nice it is to have lots of money, the economic significance of technology, and the left coast dystopian future American needs to make every effort to avoid.)
He speaks Mandarin and became ambassador to China for Barack Obama, whom he (perhaps, in consequence) makes some effort to avoid attacking.
He supports same sex civil unions, but not Gay Marriage.
He has a good record of governing as a fiscal conservative, and he apparently does not demagogue on immigration.
He does, however, believe in Global Warming, and he signed one of those bogus initiatives to curb “greenhouse gases.” (So much for being such a great technocrat. In my view, Global Warming is a litmus test demonstrating both scientific literacy and real conservative principles, or the lack of both. I would not be happy voting for any Republican with a record of support for AGW superstition. This one is a big deal in my book.)
If you believe the Times’ story, he is under the influence of one of John McCain’s less-reliably-Republican advisors, a guy named John Weaver, a political pro and rival to Karl Rove, who has a hankering to move beyond all the tedium of political principles and ideology and on to mass market appeal via “bigness.”
By bigness, Mr. Weaver evidently means something resembling Ronald Reagan’s ability to attract the support of moderates and to occupy an effective leadership position that could get the country as a whole behind him. In my view, Reagan’s success was achieved by explaining what he meant to do, and why, and winning the argument. The alternative view, which the Times likes, means simply dropping all the theory and the principles off the sled and running as a pragmatic technocrat who solves problems. Amazing, isn’t it, the way the establishment intelligentsia always goes running to the shelter of good old-fashioned American anti-intellectualism and pragmatism, when it finds that it is losing the theoretical argument?
So, on looking closely at Jon Huntsman, I see that some good people whom I seriously respect are in the process of joining his team. He looks like a decent guy in most respects, but his record features strong support for the leading pseudo-scientific stupidity of our time, indicating that he is either a fool or an opportunist. (On which same basis, we know what Newt Gingrich is, for instance.)
He has hired a political strategist who is the personal embodiment of all the worst features of McCain-ism, a guy so bad that McCain evidently got rid of him during the 2008 campaign.
The stories are contradictory. Mark Halperin suggests that back-room forces of movement conservatism are planning to support Huntsman to prevent the too-moderate Romney becoming the nominee. Yet, we also have evidence that he is planning to run explicitly as the non-conservative in the race for the GOP nomination.
There is a bit more reason, judging by the volume of mainstream media sympathetic coverage, to suspect that the latter theory is the more likely. The strategy of running as a non-conservative will make the New York Times respect him, but I rather doubt myself that it will succeed in delivering the GOP nomination.
Alex Pappas, at the Daily Caller, quotes Bill Kristol on the unfinished GOP presidential race field.
Mitch Daniels’ announcement that he’s not running for president means Republicans may turn up the pressure on dream candidates like Jeb Bush, Paul Ryan and Chris Christie.
“It would be unfair to call the current field a vacuum,” said William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, in a blog post. “But it doesn’t exactly represent an overflowing of political talent.”
He predicted that “the odds are better than 50-50 that both Rick Perry and Paul Ryan run,” referencing the Republican governor of Texas and Wisconsin congressman, respectively.
Kristol also speculated that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton “may not feel they have to decide until after Labor Day—or maybe even until October or even November.”
In, in alphabetical order: Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum.
Probably in: Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman.
Probably not in: John Bolton, Sarah Palin.
Out: Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee, Mike Pence, John Thune.
Declared out but still being wooed: Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Paul Ryan.
Hugh Hewitt is taking the bizarre position that everything is hunkydory. By his lights, the GOP has a strong field of candidates, and besides “the top two contenders—Romney and Pawlenty—have essentially locked up the campaign talent and the money commitments necessary to mount a traditional campaign.”
Barack Obama clearly doesn’t agree with Hewitt about the GOP field. As the New York Post reports:
President Obama’s re-election campaign is trying to dig up dirt in the Garden State.
Despite New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s repeated pronouncements that he will not seek the GOP presidential nomination, Obama operatives are compiling a dossier of what they call “opposition research”—material that could be used to damage Christie if he changes his mind, The Post has learned.
The Obama campaign is trying to keep its efforts from public view, concerned they would only elevate Christie’s already impressive standing within the Republican Party, sources said.
I think Bill Kristol is dead on and Hugh Hewitt is dead wrong.
No member of a field consisting of Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Jon Huntsman obviously represents a serious challenge to a polished and articulate incumbent democrat.
Of the actually known candidates in that list, Newt Gingrich is demonstrably unreliable on policy and in performance, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum are too socially conservative, Ron Paul is a pacifist isolationist, Mitt Romney is a liberal from Massachusetts, and Tim Pawlenty (from liberal Minnesota) has a very mixed record as well.
To win in 2012, the Republican nominee is going to have to offer a serious alternative to Obamanomics. We can hardly defeat Obamacare with the record of a governor who created a similar system in his own state. Americans want prosperity restored. They do not, in general, desire to elect a president primarily devoted to a counterrevolution in public morals.
Paul Ryan is the best possible choice, it seems to me. The Ryan budget proposal represents the only serious alternative that anyone has proposed to the current out-of-control entitlement system. The choice between balancing the federal budget and national bankruptcy and decline is what the election needs to be about, and Paul Ryan is the best qualified Republican to argue our case to the American people.
Donald Trump is manifestly not all that bright. Educationally, he makes Sarah Palin look like Erasmus, and he has truly execrable taste: running to the Mafioso Miami school of interior design and that signature combover hairdo. But he has lately been doing great in Republican polls, while amusing a lot of the country by taking potshots at the mystery of Barack Obama’s unwillingness to release his long-form birth certificate.
David Brooks describes why Donald Trump strikes a deep cultural chord.
[T]here has always been a fan base for the abrasive rich man. There has always been a market for books by people like George Steinbrenner, Ross Perot, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Bobby Knight, Howard Stern and George Soros. There has always been a large clump of voters who believe that America could reverse its decline if only a straight-talking, obnoxious blowhard would take control. ...
He is riding something else: The strongest and most subversive ideology in America today. Donald Trump is the living, walking personification of the Gospel of Success.
It is obligatory these days in a polite society to have a complicated attitude toward success. If you attend a prestigious college or professional school, you are supposed to struggle tirelessly for success while denying that you have much interest in it. If you do achieve it, you are expected to shroud your wealth in locally grown produce, understated luxury cars and nubby fabrics.
Trump, on the other hand, is utterly oblivious to such conventions. When it comes to success, as in so many other things, he is the perpetual boy. He is the enthusiastic adventurer thrilled to have acquired a gleaming new bike, and doubly thrilled to be showing it off.
He labors under the belief — unacceptable in polite society — that two is better than one and that four is better than two. If he can afford a car, a flashy one is better than a boring one. In private jets, lavish is better than dull. In skyscrapers, brass is better than brick, and gold is better than brass.
This boyish enthusiasm for glory has propelled him to enormous accomplishment. He has literally changed the landscape of New York City, Chicago, Las Vegas and many places in between. He has survived a ruinous crash and come back stronger than ever.
Moreover, he shares this unambivalent attitude toward success with millions around the country. Though he cannot possibly need the money, he spends his days proselytizing the Gospel of Success through Trump University, his motivational speeches, his TV shows and relentlessly flowing books.
A child of wealth, he is more at home with the immigrants and the lower-middle-class strivers, who share his straightforward belief in the Gospel of Success, than he is among members of the haute bourgeoisie, who are above it. Like many swashbuckler capitalists, he is essentially anti-elitist.
Now, I don’t mean to say that Donald Trump is going to be president or get close. There is, for example, his hyper-hyperbolism and opportunism standing in the way. ...
But I do insist that Trump is no joke. He emerges from deep currents in our culture, and he is tapping into powerful sections of the national fantasy life.
In my own hyper-elitist way, I am every bit as anti-elitist (when our so-called elite is in question) as Donald Trump, and I have been enjoying the spectacle of Trump giving Obama a hard time.
I’d be delighted to have the GOP National Committee agree to give Donald Trump a special bit of air time late on election evening of November in 2012 to point his index finger, and on behalf of America, say “Barack Obama, you’re fired!”
But Donald Trump falls decidedly into Glenn Reynolds’ syphylitic camel category of candidates. We just have to hope hope that The Donald is sufficiently patriotic to get out of the way of a more serious Republican contender and does not decide to play the role of a Perot.
Pete Robinson reflects gloomily about Republican prospects, noting that the Republican base is bound to dwindle as the national illegitimacy rate skyrockets. (AEI article:)
Forty years after the Moynihan report, the tragic saga of the modern black family is common knowledge. But the tale of family breakdown in modern America is no longer a story delimited to a single ethnic minority. Today the family is also in crisis for this country’s ethnic majority: the so-called white American population….
Consider trends in out-of-wedlock births. By 2002, 28.5 percent of babies of white mothers were born outside marriage in this country. Over the past generation, the white illegitimacy rate has exploded, quadrupling since 1975, when the level was 7.1 percent. The overall illegitimacy rate for whites is higher than it was for black mothers (23.6 percent) when the Moynihan report sounded its alarm….
Today no state in the Union has an Anglo illegitimacy ratio as low as 10 percent. Even in predominantly Mormon Utah, every eighth non-Hispanic white infant is born out of wedlock.
Pete discusses these demographics over dinner in Hanover, New Hampshire with Mark Steyn, who points out that the dramatic changes to the American national character can be readily observed even in rural Northern New England.
For miles in every direction, Mark noted, lay country that until just a few decades ago represented the heartland, so to speak, of the flinty, resourceful, independent Yankee spirit. Now? “You’ll see lovely girls in the local high schools,” Mark said. “When you come across them again five years later, they’ll each have three children by three different fathers.” Then Mark told a story.
In colonial times, it was against crown law to cut down any pine that exceeded a certain girth—twenty-some inches, as I recall—because all such trees were reserved for the use of the Royal Navy, which required a ready supply of masts. Every time you see a colonial house with floorboards more than two feet wide, you’re witnessing an artifact of the American spirit—an act of rebellion. Mark pointed to the floorboards in the restaurant, some of which were certainly more than two feet wide. “Two centuries ago,” he said, “the families in these parts were felling trees in defiance of the crown. Today they’re raising their children on welfare checks.”
Woe to us all.
It probably is worth noting that both of the last two presidents elected by the democrat party may not have been born in wedlock. William Jefferson Clinton, given the name William Jefferson Blythe III at birth, is widely rumored not to have really been the offspring of the traveling salesman William Blythe II who perished in an automobile crash three months before Bill Clinton’s birth. Barack Hussein Obama is certainly of illegitimate birth, as his parents’ marriage was bigamous and invalid.
Barack Obama, Sr. had married Kezia Aoko aka “Grace” in 1954 and had already had two children, prior to his attending the University of Hawaii and marrying Stanley Ann Dunham in 1961. No divorce from Kezia ever occurred, and Barack Sr.’s first wife Kezia is still alive today.
The budget plan introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan actually represents a serious effort to fix the entitlements crisis and close the enormous gap between government income and expenditures. I do not believe that I have ever seen, in my lifetime, so courageous a piece of legislation. Wall Street Journal
One can see the dramatic impact of this one hundred degree shift in politics in the fact that it immediately forced the New York Time’s substitute-for-a-conservative David Brooks right off the fence, and transformed him into a full-throated supporter.
Over the past few weeks, a number of groups, including the ex-chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers and 64 prominent budget experts, have issued letters arguing that the debt situation is so dire that doing nothing is not a survivable option. What they lacked was courageous political leadership — a powerful elected official willing to issue a proposal, willing to take a stand, willing to face the political perils.
The country lacked that leadership until today. Today, Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, is scheduled to release the most comprehensive and most courageous budget reform proposal any of us have seen in our lifetimes. Ryan is expected to leap into the vacuum left by the president’s passivity. The Ryan budget will not be enacted this year, but it will immediately reframe the domestic policy debate.
His proposal will set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion. It will become the 2012 Republican platform, no matter who is the nominee. Any candidate hoping to win that nomination will have to be able to talk about government programs with this degree of specificity, so it will improve the G.O.P. primary race.
The Ryan proposal will help settle the fight over the government shutdown and the 2011 budget because it will remind everybody that the real argument is not about cutting a few billion here or there. It is about the underlying architecture of domestic programs in 2012 and beyond.
The Ryan budget will put all future arguments in the proper context: The current welfare state is simply unsustainable and anybody who is serious, on left or right, has to have a new vision of the social contract.
The democrat-controlled Senate will probably decline to endorse moving to a sustainable federal government, but Congressman Ryan has framed the 2012 Electoral Debate. This is a budget that Republicans can campaign on.