Politics (page 1034)

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    Hanson explores the president’s curious about-face on deficit spending

    Victor Davis Hanson‘s latest column at National Review Online explains that opposition to President Obama’s budget proposals “reflects genuine puzzlement — and, yes, anger — over a president addicted to debt, who suddenly wants to preach to others about their responsibility to pay back what he…
    Mitch Kokai, July 28, 2011
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    Did Republicans silence Democrats this year in N.C. House debates?

    The House Republican leader's short answer to that question is "malarkey." I’ll warn you that the following memo from House Majority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, is heavy on descriptions of legislative process. If you’ve not endured a legislative debate, some of the references might make little sense. (If you have experienced a legislative debate, Stam’s account might inspire unwanted flashbacks. Beware!) The bottom line of Stam’s argument is that rules set out for the 2011 legislative session offered much more opportunity than in the past for the minority party to question and debate major pieces of legislation. In essence, Stam argues that the rules governing the previous Democratic-led House did more to silence debate than any overt actions Republicans took during this year’s session. Earlier this year, Carolina Journal detailed legislative efforts to improve the House rules. You’ll find the bulk of Stam’s memo below: At the end of June the House Democratic Caucus was circulating a memo to the press claiming its voice was silenced 32 times in contrast to 4 times previously. Yesterday they repeated this claim. Malarkey.
    Mitch Kokai, July 28, 2011
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    New Carolina Journal Online features

    Karen McMahan’s latest Carolina Journal Online report focuses on Democrats’ efforts to win control of the Wake County school board through this year’s officially nonpartisan elections. John Hood’s Daily Journal explores the history of Yankee immigrants to North Carolina.
    Mitch Kokai, July 28, 2011
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    Cato’s Tanner questions congressional commitment to ‘austerity’

    The great sage Inigo Montoya once quipped: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Montoya was referring to the word "inconceivable," but he could have been addressing members of Congress who utter the word "austerity." The Cato Institute's Michael Tanner explores the austerity of congressional debt-limit proposals in a new column for National Review Online: "It is clear we must enter an age of austerity,” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi mourned as she endorsed Harry Reid’s proposal for raising the debt ceiling. Austerity? Really? The Reid plan would theoretically cut spending by $2.7 trillion over ten years. Even if that were true, it would still allow our national debt to increase by some $10 trillion over the next decade. But, of course, the $2.7 trillion figure is mostly fiction. About $1 trillion of the savings would come from the eventual end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, savings that were going to occur anyway. Senator Reid might just as well have added another $1 trillion in savings by not invading Pakistan. Another $400 billion comes not from cuts but from assuming reduced interest payments. And, of course, there are $40 billion in unspecified “program-integrity savings,” meaning the “waste, fraud, and abuse” that is the last refuge of every phony budget cutter. The plan rejects any changes to Medicare and Social Security, despite the fact that the unfunded liabilities from those two programs could run as high as $110 trillion. But those liabilities generally fall outside the ten-year budget window, so Reid — unlike our children and grandchildren — doesn’t have to worry about them.
    Mitch Kokai, July 27, 2011
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    Barnes analyzes Obama’s role in the debt-limit drama

    Fred Barnes‘ latest Weekly Standard column examines the notion President Obama presents of being “the nonpartisan adult in the room in the struggle over raising the debt limit.” One might think from the president’s claim of aloofness that he acted as a fair and…
    Mitch Kokai, July 27, 2011
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    Barone examines new party identification numbers

    Michael Barone's latest Washington Examiner article dissects new data associated with voters' support for the two major parties. The Democratic party identification edge has been reduced to 47 to 43 percent. That's a 4-point drop for Democrats and a 4-point rise for Republicans since 2008. The Pew analysts note, as if they were analyzing a growth stock, that the Republicans' numbers haven't improved since 2010. But the 2010 numbers yielded a 52 to 45 percent Republican lead in the popular vote for the House. If -- and it's always a big if -- Republicans can maintain that standing in party identification, they should be in fine shape in November 2012, even with increased presidential year turnout.
    Mitch Kokai, July 27, 2011
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    New Carolina Journal Online features

    David Bass’ latest Carolina Journal Online report examines the future of the Voting Rights Act as a factor in North Carolina’s congressional and legislative redistricting plans. John Hood’s Daily Journal focuses on fairness in public policy.
    Mitch Kokai, July 27, 2011
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    AFP celebrates veto overrides, calls for more

    The N.C. House already had voted to override three of Gov. Beverly Perdue’s vetoes this week before Americans for Prosperity had its chance to rally in favor of veto overrides. Nonetheless, AFP North Carolina state director Dallas Woodhouse and his supporters gathered in front of the Legislative Building during the…
    Mitch Kokai, July 26, 2011