Bipartisan budget compromise?
In an era of extreme polarization and partisanship, the mere suggestion of Left and Right coming together for the sake of the national interest may seem a little strange. But politics is often like that, as leaders take advantage of opportunities. The rock-solid conservative National Taxpayers Union and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group have released a joint report, "Toward Common Ground: Bridging the Political Divide to Reduce Spending." Hopefully, this will start the ball rolling and get both sides to set aside their bitter animosity and tackle the massive budget deficit that threatens to undermine our entire economy.
Speaking of fiscal policy, it would probably help matters if more Republicans would pay heed to David Stockman, who appeared on the Sunday morning talk shows and is bashing the Republican Party for failing to articulate a serious budget proposal. Many Republicans still resent Stockman for speaking candidly about the soaring budget deficits under the Reagan Administration. Make up your own mind by watching the "David Stockman: Heretic or truth-teller?" clip from the new CNN Parker-Spitzer show at youtube.com. (Hat tip to Facebook friend Andrew Murphy.) Kathleen Parker is one of the smartest and most gracious commentators on the national scene today, and I happen to agree with her almost all the time. So what's a nice girl like her doing on a show with a sleaze bucket like Elliott Spitzer?
And if you don't like David Stockman, maybe the TV ads by Pete Peterson's group will move you: OweNo.com. It features a faux political candidate making big promises, all of which are to be funded by running up the national debt and letting the next generation worry about it. Here's the tagline:
Hugh Jidette is running for President on a platform of increasing spending and cutting taxes without paying for them. How? One word. Debt.
Does that sound like a familiar agenda? Well, it should. Coincidentally, former President George. W. Bush's autobiography, Decision Points, is being published this week, and he has been making the talk show circuit, appearing with Matt Lauer on NBC's Today Show. I heard "W" conversing with El Rushbo on the radio on Tuesday, and he sounds relaxed and focused. Whether he has reflected on his administration's failures in fiscal policy remains to be seen.
Election 2010 update
Eight House races are technically still too close to call, but in some of those cases it's basically all over. In Virginia's 11th District, Republican Keith Fimian conceded to Democratic incumbent Gerald Connolly. At present, the Republicans have won at least 239, which is 21 more than the 218 seats they needed to take a majority. That is a net gain of 60 seats. The Democrats, meanwhile, have fallen from 255 seats to only 186. But apparently the Democrats have not noticed the huge reversal of fortune, because it looks like their caucus leader, Nancy Pelosi, has rounded up enough support to retain that position. So, instead of Speaker of the House she will be House Minority Leader.
On the Republican side, there was drama over Rep. Michelle Bachman's bid to become of of the party leaders. She just decided to drop her challenge to Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling (see MS-NBC), and House GOP leader John Boehner will be glad to have that headache gone. Bachman is known for saying some bizarre things, and there is even a Web site (Democratic, of course) devoted to that subject: michelebachmannsaidwhat.com.
I've updated the Congressional leaders table (which appears on the Politics blog page and elsewhere) with the tentative election results. I also replaced Robert Byrd's name as President Pro Tem of the Senate, about six months after the fact. After he died in late June, he was replaced by the ranking member of the majority (Democratic) party, Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii. Inouye gained national attention while serving on the Watergate committee under good ol' Senator Sam Irvin back in 1973-1974.
Is Obama a Keynesian?
Here's one of the funniest videos I've seen in a long time: youtube.com. No, folks, the question has nothing to do with the President's birth certificate.