News and Commentary for March 12

12 Mar
After yesterday's special election in Florida's District 13, I think it's safe to say that the Democrats should be very, very scared.

After yesterday’s special election in Florida’s District 13, I think it’s safe to say that the Democrats should be very, very scared.

Stories of the Day

News like this makes me want to do my happy dance. “The problem for Obama and Democrats in this poll is that his personal likeability no longer keeps his overall numbers afloat. The “personal feelings” rating for Obama is now 41/44, with 15% neutral, in this poll. At the beginning of October, Obama scored 47/41, and before the August “red line” debacle it was 48/40. The “very positive” rating in this survey of 21% is the lowest of the series; a year ago it was 30%, and at the time of the last election it was 34%.” NBC/WSJ poll shows Obama approval at new low of 41%

This is one strange and very sad story. “Now and then there is a news story so fascinating that I really want to write about it, but there is one catch: I don’t know any more about it than the average man in the street. That is the case with the most mysterious story of the day, the fate of Malaysian Airlines flight 370. But how can anyone resist indulging in a little speculation? The big news, of course, is the Malaysian military’s revelation that its radar indicates that the airplane made almost a U-turn at about the same time that its transponder stopped sending signals. The airplane was last spotted at around 29,000 feet, a little less than normal cruising altitude.” The Mystery of Flight 370

January prediction. “It’s rare in politics that anything other than a presidential contest is viewed as a “must win” — but the special election in Florida’s 13th District falls into that category for Democrats. A loss in the competitive March 11 contest would almost certainly be regarded by dispassionate observers as a sign that President Barack Obama could constitute an albatross around the neck of his party’s nominees in November. And that could make it more difficult for Democratic candidates, campaign committees and interest groups to raise money and energize the grass roots. Fundamentally, the district, left vacant by the death of longtime Republican Rep. C.W. Bill Young, looks competitive but has a slight Democratic tinge. Barack Obama carried it 52 percent to 48 percent in 2008, but he had a more narrow victory four years later, when he won 50 percent to 49 percent. But fundamentals are only a small part of the Democratic advantage in the district this year. Campaign-related factors should strongly benefit the Democrats, as well.” The Race Democrats Can’t Afford to Lose

So it’s a big deal… “In the closely-watched special election in Florida’s District 13 between Democrat Alex Sink, a well-known former statewide candidate, and Republican David Jolly, a less well-known and–some said–mediocre candidate, the Associated Press has declared Jolly the winner.” Big Win For Republicans in Florida

“Republicans shouldn’t have won tonight. Their candidate, 41-year-old David Jolly, was easily caricatured as a former congressional staffer and Washington lobbyist. He was vastly outspent by Democrat Alex Sink and her allies, and ran a shambolic campaign that was ridiculed behind the scenes by GOP operatives. Sink was a moderate female who had carried the district when she was running for governor, just over three years ago. As Florida’s chief financial officer, she outshone Jolly in terms of government experience. But Jolly was for total repeal of Obamacare and Sink was, well, nuanced in expressing her opinion that the law could be “fixed.” Voters weren’t buying that. Turnout was high for a special election and the enthusiasm was clearly with GOP voters. Democrats stayed home in greater numbers.” Tonight’s Special Election Sends National Signals for Fall

“This was a closely watched election in which the Democrats invested lots of money and effort (Jolly was significantly outspent) and recruited a prominent candidate — their former nominee for Governor. Although the seat has been held for years by a popular Republican, Obama carried the district in 2012, albeit very narrowly, as did Sink herself in her 2010 run for governor. I discussed the numerous advantages Sink possessed in this post.” And this: UPDATE: Dave Wasserman, the editor of the non-partisan Cook Political Report and certainly not a Republican operative, says ‘If Dems couldn’t win an Obama congressional district with a solid candidate against a flawed R, expect a rough November.’” Sink sank, Obamacare suspected

“While Democrats were facing a very unfavorable playing field for taking back the House in 2014, this swing district, comprising most of Pinellas County, Florida in and around St. Petersburg, was one they absolutely needed to win to have a shot. It’s now likely impossible for Democrats to pick enough seats in November to even have a chance of regaining the House of Representatives.” Jolly Night for GOP as Dems Sink in Crucial Special Election

“The problem for Democrats will be that ObamaCare literally impacts everyone, and overwhelmingly in bad ways — by making insurance and health care more expensive, and doctors less willing to take new patients. That’s not true of the issues that Democrats would rather discuss than ObamaCare; even income inequality, the big theme of Democrats since the State of the Union speech, is aimed at benefiting a small percentage of the population. Plus, ObamaCare was literally the Democratic effort on supposed health-care inequality, so it’s not really changing the subject at all. They have little choice but to fight on “enemy terrain,” and even a big money advantage won’t help.” Scarborough: FL-13 upset shows 2014 will be “historic” Dem loss

“The biggest influence of the outcome will almost certainly be fundraising. Democrats are going to have a much harder time persuading donors to open their pocketbooks to Senate and congressional campaigners in hopes of holding their Senate majority, and the prospects of a Democrat takeover of the House are now very slim indeed. No one will publicly say so, of course, but the instinct of lefty moneybags will be to put their chips on a Hillary Clinton 2016 presidential campaign. It must be noted that the Libertarian candidate pulled in 5% of the vote. It is hard to know which side was hurt more by this potential spoiler vote. But Libertarians are shaping up as a possible swing vote, depending on whether Republicans can distance themselves from social conservative issues more than Democrats can avoid the Big Government taint.” David Jolly’s huge 2% victory in bellwether congressional special election

Note to Mr. Axelrod: Young people are not your puppets. “Former White House senior adviser David Alexrod said Wednesday that the lesson to take away from the special election in Florida’s 13th District is that problems with Obamacare motivated the Republican base and that Democrats need to figure out how to fire up theirs — minorities and young people.” Florida special election results: David Axelrod explains David Jolly victory

Mr. Axelrod, this why millennials should never vote for a Democrat ever, ever again. “Barack Obama has let down millennials economically in every way possible: high unemployment, sickening health care reform, skyrocketing living and energy costs, staggeringly high student-loan debt and a national debt of $52,948 per capita. Plainly, the many challenges facing my generation are culminating in an economic and generational time bomb.” Obamanomics Is Ticking Time Bomb For Millennial Generation


Transparency. “Under the Obama administration, more than half of those removals that were attributed to ICE are actually a result of Border Patrol arrests that wouldn’t have been counted in prior administrations,” said Rep. John Culberson, Texas Republican. “Correct,” Mr. Johnson confirmed. That would mean that in a one-to-one comparison with the final years of the Bush administration, deportations of those same people under Mr. Obama had actually fallen, according to immigration analysts who have studied the data.” Deportations come mostly from border, DHS chief says

Big Government

Mr. Government, we don’t need you as much as you think. “Who knew that American poetry was in such desperate shape, tottering on the brink of oblivion without massive government intervention? Just a couple of years ago, Senate majority leader Harry Reid was worried that Republican budget cuts would spell the end of the Cowboy Poetry Festival. Now House minority leader Nancy Pelosi lauds Obamacare for enabling Americans to quit their jobs if they want to “write poetry.” The federal government spends $154 million per year to support the National Endowment for the Arts, which funds, among other things, poetry. We even have a government-subsidized national Poet Laureate, Natasha Trethewey. Without the federal government, there might well be no poetry at all in the United States. Sarcasm aside, insisting on such support is emblematic not just of a federal government grown too large, costly, and involved in ever more of our lives, but of the ethos of modern politics. Nothing good, it seems, is going to happen without government action. The reality is that most government programs are at best a failure and at worst do positive harm to society and the people they purport to help. Civil society — that vast conglomeration of activity undertaken by individuals in the absence of government coercion — has proven to do the most good. Take, for example, efforts to help the poor. Despite spending more than $18 trillion since the start of the War on Poverty — nearly $1 trillion last year alone — government welfare programs have failed to significantly reduce poverty rates. Despite this demonstrated record of failure, welfare advocates insist that there is no alternative to an ever-growing welfare state. Without government welfare programs, millions of Americans would be starving in the street. There is a deep belief that if government did not intervene, Americans would never show compassion on their own.” Governing for Poetry: Can nothing be done without the public fisc?

Common Core

From someone speaking from experience. “Democratizing access to higher education in the U.S. is a noble goal, but the new SAT will further highlight the disparities between the haves and have-nots.” The New SAT Will Widen the Education Gap


Intimidation. “But it’s all about discouraging other rich people from donating to Republicans, lest they be demonized too. But, as a great man once said, get in their face and punch back twice as hard. You get more of what’s rewarded, and less of what’s punished. So punish this.” JAMES TARANTO: Speak of the Devil: The silly, sinister campaign against the Koch brothers.


“Former IRS official referred to the Tea Party cases as “very dangerous” and expected legal action because they were ‘itching for a constitutional challenge.’” ‘We’re Going to Get Creamed’: Lerner Emails Paint Picture of Planning 501(c)(4) Scrutiny

“The House of Representatives came one step closer Tuesday to holding former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress. As Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa (R., Calif.) prepares to call a committee vote on the matter, the body released a report intended to build the case that Lerner has obstructed the work of Congress by providing false and misleading information to the committee and refusing to testify before it.” House Closes In on Lerner: A new Oversight Committee report lays out obstruction case against the former top IRS official.

The Left

Read the whole thing. This: “Back in late February, a new contract document revealed that the Department of Health and Human Services would be paying $60 million for the computer cloud that supports back-end data sharing for and state Obamacare marketplaces, more than five times the amount in the original contract. This week HHS revealed that the contract has been further revised — to roughly $120 million, now more than ten times the original $11 million value of the contract when Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services first awarded it in 2011. In most professions, when you end up spending ten times what you budgeted, the consequences are swift and severe. Heads roll. Responsibilities are reassigned. Budgetary authority gets yanked. This, of course, is not how things work in the federal government.” And this: “That argument is strongly disputed, but the Obama administration has proven the flip side of the coin: Liberals’ belief in the inherent goodness of a far-reaching federal government drives them to avert their eyes from its wildest abuses, even when it’s occurring right in front of them. Waste and mismanagement are ignored, dismissed, downplayed, and excused, because confronting it too directly would undermine the central tenet of their worldview: That the federal government is an irreplaceable tool for making the world a better place.” Why Liberals Can’t Govern: Those who believe in the inherent goodness of government avert their eyes from its abuses.

I covered this yesterday, but I wanted to remind you again of how insane the Left is. “And how on Earth can the New York State Nurses’ Association oppose construction of a new outpatient treatment facility that will, among other things, provide employment for lots of nurses? Check out their Twitter feed. It is completely insane.” A New Low For Liberal Haters?

Media Bias

“Attkisson is nearly alone within the broadcast media in pursuing Obama scandals, like the Benghazi attacks that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans; the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal that left U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry dead; and the Solyndra scandal that wasted over a half-billion dollars of taxpayer money on a failed solar-panel maker. Last year, her computer was mysteriously hacked.Whether it’s network corporate sponsors who don’t want to anger President Obama, or news editors who love Obama’s agenda, we’re all in trouble if investigative reporting focusing on the president is persecuted into marginality.” Attkisson’s CBS Departure Shows Big Media’s Bias

“Murrow has excellent company in Sharyl Atrkisson. But because the Left dominates so many aspects of our culture today, the brave reporter cannot expect the same panoply of honors, at least not soon. But perhaps when the Obama administration is but a memory, and when the full cost of its foreign policy blunders, its mishandling of the economy, and its disastrous takeover of the health care system are understood, Ms. Attkisson will receive the honors her courage and integrity merit. Perhaps the most fitting award would be the Edward R. Murrow Award.” Echoes of Edward R. Murrow in Sharyl Attkisson’s departure from CBS News


If Obamacare is such a good thing, why does the Obama administration continue to gut and postpone it? “ObamaCare’s implementers continue to roam the battlefield and shoot their own wounded, and the latest casualty is the core of the Affordable Care Act—the individual mandate. To wit, last week the Administration quietly excused millions of people from the requirement to purchase health insurance or else pay a tax penalty. This latest political reconstruction has received zero media notice, and the Health and Human Services Department didn’t think the details were worth discussing in a conference call, press materials or fact sheet. Instead, the mandate suspension was buried in an unrelated rule that was meant to preserve some health plans that don’t comply with ObamaCare benefit and redistribution mandates. Our sources only noticed the change this week.” ObamaCare’s Secret Mandate Exemption: HHS quietly repeals the individual purchase rule for two more years.

President Obama

A president who will never take responsibility. “Well, President Obama did it again in a speech Tuesday night. He was trying to dodge blame once more for the ineffectiveness of his leadership and administration realistically addressing the country’s genuine challenges at home and abroad after 1,876 days in the White House. Fresh from another golfing vacation during the Crimean crisis and a happy photo-op party with NCAA basketball champions, the busy Obama told the crowd: “What’s holding us back is politics. What’s holding us back is an atmosphere in Washington that puts a premium on saying no; puts a premium on an eye towards the next election instead of delivering on behalf of the American people.” Yeh, those darned old politics. They’ll get you every time. Here’s the catch: While Obama was blaming politicians for keeping their eye on the next election instead of their current job responsibilities, the commander-in-chief was ignoring his current responsibilities to keep his eye on Manhattan Democrats, who anted up $32,400 each for — wait for it! — the next election on Nov. 4. Oops!” Obama, yes, Obama denounces pols who ignore their job to campaign all the time

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