Speaking of Fiscal Conservatism

Gee- Who would have ever predicted this:

President Bush’s new budget will project that the just-enacted prescription drug program and Medicare overhaul will cost one-third more than previously estimated and will predict a deficit exceeding $500 billion for this year, congressional aides said Thursday.

Instead of a $400 billion 10-year price tag, Bush’s 2005 budget will estimate the Medicare bill’s cost at about $540 billion, said aides who spoke on condition of anonymity. Bush will submit on Monday a federal budget for the fiscal year 2005, which starts next Oct. 1.

Bush just signed the Medicare measure into law last month. While it was moving through Congress, Bush, White House officials and congressional Republican leaders had assured doubting conservatives that the bill’s costs would stay within the $400 billion estimate.

Some conservatives voted against the legislation anyway, and many of them are already angry that Bush has presided over excessive increases in spending and budget deficits.

“I’m not the least bit surprised,” said conservative Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., who voted against the Medicare bill in November and who said he had heard that the cost estimate would rise. “Historically, our estimates of what these programs will cost have been so far off as to be meaningless.”

Assholes. That really is the only comment I can come up with right now.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

First, some quotes:

Oliver Willis:

Dean’s stance on the war and civil unions are actually outliers on his past, which seems to be rife with fiscal moderation and mainstream stances on the hot button issues of the day.

Matt Yglesias:

Indeed, I think the case can be made more strongly — insofar as taxes are (morally) objectionable, it is more objectionable for the current generation to increase taxes on future people than it is for them to increase taxes on themselves. This argument, at any rate, ought to be just as persuasive to true, dyed-in-the-wool conservatives and libertarian hawks as it is to orthodox anti-war libertarians.

Some will retort that “the Democrats” aren’t any better about this, and I’ll happily agree that many aren’t, much as many Republicans are better than Bush on this score. On the other hand, many Democrats — notably Dean, who’s real quite fanatical about it — really are much better.

Tom Paine:

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has been portrayed by his Democratic presidential opponents as a man who is too angry, too loud and too Liberal. But according to a new book by the reporters who covered his administration, Dean’s fiscal record and policies were those of a textbook conservativeand Dean would be proud to say so.

The Washington Post, in an article titled “As Governor, Dean Was Fiscal Conservative:”

“I’m a fiscal conservative, and I believe in social justice,” Dean said in a recent interview. “I’m most proud of our fiscal stability — I left the state in better shape than I found it.”

Andrew Sullivan:

More evidence of the runaway federal government under Bush. The sheer profligacy of this administration continues to astound. If you’re a fiscal conservative, Howard Dean is beginning to look attractive.

Republicans for Dean in the Vanderbilt Torch:

Governor Dean is a fiscal conservative.

The Associated Press:

After seven years as governor, the Associated Press described Dean as “a moderate at best on social issues and a clear conservative on fiscal issues.” The news service added: “This is, after all, the governor who has at times tried to cut benefits for the aged, blind and disabled, whose No. 1 priority is a balanced budget.”

The Daily Kos:

I was just thinking this morning in the shower that we tend to over-rate the anger that fiscal conservatives feel at Bush for his complete betrayal of their ideals.

Some people seem to think ‘fiscal conservatives might leave Bush for Dean, because Dean has a record of balanced budgets, whild Bush has no such thing.’

You get the point. Now check this out:

Howard Dean will not air ads in any of the seven states holding elections next week, officials said Thursday, a risky strategy that puts him at a distinct disadvantage with high-spending rivals for the Democratic nomination.

With his money and momentum depleted, Dean decided to save his ad money for the Feb. 7 elections in Michigan and Washington state and, 10 days later, the primary in Wisconsin, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Hunh? Money depleted? Dean has raised more money than any other Democrat.

“The major Democratic contenders all have nearly exhausted their campaign treasuries; advisers say that even Mr. Dean, who raised an unmatched $40 million in 2003, has less than $5 million left. That leaves all the candidates largely dependent on attention from the news media to reach voters as they move from small venues and intensive personal campaigning to far-flung contests that play out almost entirely on television screens.”

Howard Dean- Fiscal Conservative. I guess it would be too much to point out that Bush made it past the first primary with his campaign and campaign finances intact. Say it again to yourself- Howard Dean, Fiscal Conservative. It just rolls off the tongue so smoothly yet means so little.

They Have Lost Their Minds

This makes absolutely no sense:

House Democrats yesterday proposed granting legal residency and the eventual option of U.S. citizenship to millions of illegal immigrants now working in the United States.

Laying out their own principles for revamping the nation’s immigration laws in response to what House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called President Bush’s “political ploy,” Democrats went beyond Mr. Bush’s plan for a temporary-worker program and called for a system of “earned legalization” for illegal aliens.

At a Capitol Hill press conference, Democrats proposed allowing illegal immigrants who have worked in the United States for a yet-to-be-determined minimum period of time to stay here and be granted permanent legal residency, creating a “pathway” to eventual citizenship.

“The president’s proposal is a political ploy, and not the solid foundation on which we can build an improved immigration policy,” said Mrs. Pelosi of California. “Democrats have a better way.”

Mrs. Pelosi said Mr. Bush’s recently proposed plan doesn’t create a meaningful way for illegal aliens to become U.S. residents or citizens; doesn’t reduce the backlog of U.S. citizens’ petitions on behalf of relatives who are here illegally; and doesn’t help tens of thousands of teenage illegals attend college here and eventually be granted legal status.

In addition to proposing measures to address those concerns, Democrats endorsed a temporary-worker program that would give foreigners the option to stay in the United States and eventually earn permanent legal status here.

President Bush’s plan, in contrast, would allow illegal aliens already here, as well as newcomers, to work in the United States legally for three years under a temporary-worker program. When their three-year permits expired, such immigrant workers would be required to return to their home countries.

Once back in their home countries, they could apply for legal U.S. status through the existing system. Under the Bush plan, the three-year work permits could be extended in some cases, but not indefinitely.

“The president wants to give [illegal aliens] a lot, but the Democrats want to give them the jackpot,” said Steve Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies.

There are only two ways to look at, as either a cynical ploy or additional bumbling by these clueless nitwits. Let’s examine the possibilities.

1.) A Cynical Ploy- While phrasing the President’s policy proposal on illegal immigration and undocumented workers a ‘political ploy,’ it is entirely possible that this is nothing but sheer cynicism on their part. One of the major problems that Democrats in general have is on perceptions of national security, and one of the major difficulties for a Democratic candidate is a credible rush to the center after proving he was a worthy leftist in the primaries.

With that in mind, it might be possible that they floated this ludicrous amnesty for illegal aliens proposal so that the Democratic nominee can come out lodly and denounce it, thus having a Sister Souljah moment. The candidate could then swerve to the right of Bush, and point out that not enough has been done to secure the borders, etc. This is the only way I can see this proposal in a positive way for the Democrats.

2.) Additional Bumbling from the Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight- There is a possibility that the hard left in Congress, led by Pelosi and Daschle, simply hate Bush so much that they created this short-sighted proposal just to have another opportunity to attack Bush and to do a little recreational race-baiting. If so, then they have cut off their collective noses to spite their faces.

Bush’s main problem on his immigration policy proposal was not that the center rejected it- it seemed to play fairly well with moderate to conservative Democrats, moderate Republicans and Independents were either sympathetic or agnostic. The people who were pissed were Bush’s base- social conservatives and the far right. It would seem to me that the last thing that the Democrats would want to do when Bush is proposing centrist policies is to propose a counter policy which is going to alienate their moderates while proving to Bush’s base that not voting for Bush could have far worse ramifications if the Democrats have their way. IN other words, unless I am reading this wrong, this proposal will do nothing but help Bush- it really does make him look like a moderate to both the centrist Democrats and Republicans and to the social conservatives.

There is a good chance that the Botox Cheerleader Pelosi and the Mild Mannered Moron Daschle just simply don’t get it. They really do believe their own rhetoric about an emerging liberal majority, and they mistakenly believe that everyone thinks like they do. If they do, they are forgetting that the reason they have won elections in the past is not because of their coalition of wacky interest groups, but because of the support of blue collar Democrats- often called Reagan Democrats. About 98% of Republicans understand the meaning of the term ‘illegal’ in the phrase ‘illegal alien,’ as does about 60% of the Democratic party. The 40% of the Democratic party that fails to understand this distinction consist of the hard left who are going to vote for Anyone but Bush, the several million illegal aliens in California that the Clinton administration already illegally franchised, and the dead Daley voters in Chicago.

I simply don’t know what these guys are thinking, if they even are…

The Real War Profiteers

This is not news to Balloon Juice readers, as we have been discussing the Russian, French, And German pefidy in regards to oil and Iraq for years. Check out this new bombshell:

Documents from Saddam Hussein’s oil ministry reveal he used oil to bribe top French officials into opposing the imminent U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The oil ministry papers, described by the independent Baghdad newspaper al-Mada, are apparently authentic and will become the basis of an official investigation by the new Iraqi Governing Council, the Independent reported Wednesday.

“I think the list is true,” Naseer Chaderji, a governing council member, said. “I will demand an investigation. These people must be prosecuted.”

Such evidence would undermine the French position before the war when President Jacques Chirac sought to couch his opposition to the invasion on a moral high ground.

Pretty nasty stuff:

The list quoted by al-Mada included members of Arab ruling families, religious organisations, politicians and political parties from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Sudan, China, Austria, France and other countries. But no names were available last night.

Organisations named include the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Communist Party, India’s Congress Party and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The United States and Britain launched the war on Iraq on 19 March, 2003 without UN approval after tense negotiations in the Security Council collapsed in the face of a veto threat from France. France’s relations with Britain and the US deteriorated to their worst point in decades over the Iraq rift, and have yet to heal.

Here is a slogan that does ring true- “Chirac Lied… People Died.”

Not Again, James…

It looks like papa’s got a a brand new bag. Again.:

James Brown was arrested today on a domestic violence charge after allegedly pushing his wife to the floor during an argument at the couple’s South Carolina home. The 70-year-old singer was nabbed by deputies with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office who responded to a 911 call apparently placed by 33-year-old Tommie Rea Brown. The woman suffered “scratches and bruises to her right arm and hip” during the bedroom dispute, according to investigators. Brown, who has a well-known history of arrests and bizarre behavior, was booked into the local lockup, where the below mug shot was taken. Last July, Brown took out an ad in “Variety” to announce that he and his wife had made a “mutual show business decision” to “go their separate ways.” It is unclear whether that anticipated separation and/or divorce has occurred.

The mug shot is priceless.

Democrat Talking Points

Will the Hutton Report and the Kay Statements slow down the Democratic talking points? It should:

Lord Hutton said that the central 45-minute claim contained in Mr Gilligan’s report could be proved to be wrong in future, but his allegation that the government knew it was wrong when the dossier was published was “unfounded” because intelligence chiefs did believe the source from which it came was reliable.

He described Mr Gilligan’s report as a “grave allegation” and a slur on the government’s integrity.

Mr Blair arrived in the Commons chamber soon afterwards, to a roar of support from his own backbenchers. He was cheered again as he rose to speak.

And then there is this:

In essence, Dr. Kay concludes that while Saddam never ceased trying to build sophisticated WMDs, he probably did not succeed. But Saddam himself probably didn’t know that because his scientists were lying to him and stealing much of the money he gave them.

More specifically, Dr. Kay says it is clear Saddam was attempting to develop nuclear weapons as late as 2001, but his scientists never got as far as Iran did, nor as far as we now know–to our astonishment–that Libya did.

Dr. Kay adds that Saddam was actively working to produce a biological weapon using the poison ricin right up until the American invasion last spring.

But as the CIA underestimated Saddam’s nuclear-weapons program prior to 1991 and Libya’s nuclear program prior to this year, so the CIA overestimated Saddam’s progress toward developing and amassing WMDs prior to 2003. This, Dr. Kay believes, is the result of U.S. intelligence relying on satellites, electronic eavesdropping, exiles, and U.N. inspectors, and failing to put agents in place within the Baathist regime.

Some people will misrepresent the complex reality that Dr. Kay has described. Some people will say that Saddam never had WMD, had no intention to build them and was never a threat.

But Dr. Kay knows what his work shows. “We know that terrorists were passing through Iraq,” he says. “And now we know that there was little control over Iraq’s weapons capabilities. I think it shows that Iraq was a very dangerous place. The country had the technology, the ability to produce, and there were terrorist groups passing through the country–and no central control.”

Don’t expect this to slow down the partisan catcalls (‘Bush lied- People Died,’ or ‘Seventeeen words,’ or my personal favorite because they are too damned cowardly to call him a liar- ‘Bush misled the country into war.’, especially considering that I heard Kerry last night making this a centerpiece of his campaign. Of course, the facts don’t matter- the election is what matters. And of course, we all know that when matters of foreign affairs and national security get in the way o a domestic election, the Democrats are not concerned with facts. Some might classify their spin as ‘truthesque.’

(via the Instapundit)

New Hampshire

I never thought I would say this, but right now I am just so burnt out on politics I didn’t even watch the NH Primary coverage. I see that Kerry won by large numbers, so here is my quick take on the candidates so far:

1.) Kerry– He won by a convincing margin, so congratulations are in order. I would post some of he things I don’t like about him, but it is so hard to take shots at him while he looks so cozy wrapped up in the American flag. Did you know that he was a VietNam veteran?

2.) Dean– Despite losing his second primary in a row, the Dean camp declared victory. I guess this is good news for the Panthers and the Patriots, who meet Sunday in the Super Bowl. Guess what, guys! No matter the outcome, you are both winners.

3.) Edwards– Probably the best candidate in the race right now, he seems to still be tied with Clark for third place. Edwards’s staple stump speech for the past month has been the ‘Two Americas’ schtick that seems to impress everyone so much. If he intends to be the Democratic nominee in 2004, one of these Americas better start voting for him. I guess he can take some consolation in the fact that if he does pull this out in the long run, the Northern Democrats will vote for a southerner in the General Election (see Clinton, Bill). The real trick will be for Kerry to get the south to vote for him, should he win.

4.) Clark– DOA. Skipped the Iowa cacus, and the best he could do is come in third or tied for third (or perhaps fourth- the numbers are not in yet). This guy is a loser, a crackpot, and a liar, and even with the Clinton lackeys (including the despicable Chris Lehane) and money machine, he is coming up short. Also, I have noticed he looks remarkably similar to someone from the past. You make the call:


Heaven’s Gate Leader Marshall Applewhite


Democratic Presidential candidate Wesley Clark

Both of these men, I might note, are not going to take their followers anywhere.

5.) Al Sharpton– It says alot about the Democratic party that this race-baiting huckster is even allowed on stage, let alone taken seriously. Unfortunately, none of what it says about Democrats is any good. Therefore, I officially endorse Al Sharpton.

6.) Dennis Kucinich– Think of someone with as much chance as Al Sharpton to become the next President, but think skinny, white, and vegan.

Thus concludes my NH Primary Coverage for 2004.

*** Update ***

It has been brought to my attention that I forgot to mention Joe Lieberman. I guess I share something in common with the voters of New Hampshire.