Archive for January, 2011

CNN Poll: Most Americans don’t blame Palin for AZ shootings

The results of a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday show that while leftist bloggers and many in the biased national media blame Sarah Palin for the shootings in Tuscon, a majority of Americans do not.

Politico’s Andy Barr reported these findings, but pushed them down into the the sixth paragraph:

Former Alaska GOP Gov. Sarah Palin was widely vindicated in the poll for posting a map on her PAC’s website last year showing cross-hairs on Gifford’s district, as well as the district of 19 other members. Some on the left pointed the finger at Palin following the shooting, but only 35 percent of those polled said Palin deserves any blame. Fifty-nine percent said she deserves little or no blame

Barr made the lede of his story instead about Americans’ attitudes regarding gun control. Those attitudes have not changed after the shootings, an outcome which comes as no surprise to anyone but theDemocrat/Media Complex. A majority of Americans have always supported their Second Amendment rights as guaranteed by the constitution. Perhaps Politico was hoping a sea change or something.

Charleston Daily Mail blogger Don Surber commented:

I don’t think the network brass got what they wanted.

Asked how much Sarah Palin had to do with it, 15% said not much and 44% said she had nothing to do with it — even though the question was loaded (“A map on Sarah Palin’s website that marked 20 congressional districts, including the district by the congresswoman who was shot…”).

That’s 59% who do not blame her.

Among independents, 58% did not blame her.

That means this has not hurt her — to be crass about a national tragedy.

So where did those surveyed place the blame for the shootings? According to Joe Newby at Examiner.com:

Most of those polled – 70 percent – said the underlying cause was “resources available to deal with mental illness.”

Shortly after the shooting, many on the left, including some in the media, pointed a finger at Sarah Palin and the use of crosshair graphics on an ad. As a result, Palin has seen an increase in death threats, while some have used Twitter to spread death wishes.

Once again Americans have been ill served by the nation’s press. A national dialog on getting help from mental health professionals to those who need them would have been constructive, and Gov. Palin and her family certainly didn’t need the death threats. Even liberal The New Republic admitted that the liberal media “botched” its job of reporting on the Arizona tragedy, but Ethel C. Fenig at American Thinker explains that TNR’s analysis is itself “an example of how the media botched the real story of the Arizona shooting.” In other words, the media botched the explanation of how they botched their reporting.

- JP

Taxpayers to lose big on auto bailouts

Remember all of the optimistic rhetoric from the Obama administration about the bailout of Geneeral Motors? A year ago Steven Rattner, the former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry said “recent progress at GM gives reason for optimism that it may be possible for taxpayers to get every penny back.” A few months later, Larry Summers, who was then the director of the White House National Economic Council, said “There is a real prospect of (the Treasury Department) recovering most if not all of its investment” in GM. President Obama boasted in November that “American taxpayers are now positioned to recover more than my administration invested in GM.”

But the Congressional Oversight Panel reported Thursday that by selling 45% of the stock it had in GM, the Obama administration has “locked in a loss of billions of dollars and thus greatly reduced the likelihood that taxpayers will ever be repaid in full”:

Bailout defenders had thought that GM’s IPO would show critics that the government could make money on the bailout. But when “Treasury received a price of $33 per share,” it sold “well below the $44.59 needed to be on track to recover fully taxpayers money.”

That seems clear enough. But those justifying the bailout will ignore taxpayers’ losses and focus instead on the panel’s statement that the aided companies are “on the path to financial stability.”

According to the report, taxpayers also lost $600 million when Treasury sold its interest in Chrysler Financial. A Detroit News story states the obvious: “The Treasury Department may not have been vigilant enough in watching over its investment”:

Treasury sold its interest in Chrysler Financial in May, allowing Cerberus Capital Management LP to sell the bulk of the company and its loan portfolio in December to Toronto-Dominion Bank, in a $6.1 billion deal.

“Treasury’s hasty unwinding of its position in Chrysler Financial, in which taxpayer returns appear to have been sacrificed in favor of an unnecessarily accelerated exit, (was) further compounded by apparently questionable due diligence,” the report said.

Which brings to mind the quote attributed to Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.”

- JP

Twilight of the czars?

A number of House Republicans submitted a bill this week to eliminate the position of “czar” in the federal government. Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana and 28 of his GOP colleagues introduced the legislation to do away with the informal, paid advisers President Obama has employed over the past two years.

The legislation, which was introduced in the last Congress but was not allowed to advance under Democratic control, would do away with the 39 czars Obama has employed during his administration.

The bill defines a czar as “a head of any task force, council, policy office within the Executive Office of the President, or similar office established by or at the direction of the President” who is appointed to a position that would otherwise require Senate confirmation.

Republicans had complained about the president’s use of czars to help advance his agenda in Congress. In particular, the GOP had harped about the personal history of Van Jones, the president’s czar for “green jobs,” over past comments Jones had made about Fox News came to light. Jones eventually resigned.

Another prominent czar over the past year was Carol Browner, the president’s energy and environmental adviser. She helped head up efforts in response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the ultimately unsuccessful effort for an energy and climate bill from Congress.

Republicans introduced several bills to eliminate czars in the last Congress, but similar legislation could conceivably advance in the House now that the GOP controls the chamber.

Franklin Roosevelt had seventeen appointees not confirmed by the Senate in his administration, but no president from Eisenhower to George H. W. Bush had more than a relative handful of the policy overseers. The number of czars has escalated under the three most recent chief executives. Bill Clinton appointed seven of them, and George W. Bush had twenty-seven. A partial list of the current czars is here.

Is this measure more than just a symbolic gesture on the part of the Republicans? Maybe. But Congress has ceded authority to the executive branch over the years, and a number of conservatives are determined to reverse the trend. If the effort fails in the Senate or is vetoed by the president, then the House could move to eliminate funding for the czars’ salaries and their various expenses. Though some Democrats will complain about the effort, getting rid of our czars would certainly be more humanely accomplished than by the methods the Russians employed to remove theirs.

- JP

Heck of a job, Gibbsy…

Jeff Zeleny reports at the NY Times that White House press secretary Robert Gibbs announced Wednesday that he will resign his position to become “an outside political adviser” to the president and his re-election campaign:

Mr. Gibbs said that he intends to leave the podium in early February. His successor has not yet been decided, he said, but will likely be announced within the next two weeks.

President Obama, who is in the midst of making final decisions on the first major reorganization of his administration, said in a brief telephone interview on Wednesday that Mr. Gibbs would remain a close adviser and “will continue to shape the dialogue politically for many years to come.”

“We’ve been on this ride together since I won my Senate primary in 2004,” Mr. Obama said. “He’s had a six-year stretch now where basically he’s been going 24/7 with relatively modest pay. I think it’s natural for someone like Robert to want to step back for a second to reflect, retool and that, as a consequence, brings about both challenges and opportunities for the White House.”

The departure of Mr. Gibbs is part of a series of moves inside the West Wing as the president prepares for a new phase of his administration. The internal shuffling also could bring a new White House chief of staff, a decision the president is expected to make by week’s end, with an announcement as early as next week.

Moe Lane quips that Gibbs…

“…is going to have some nebulous job defending whatever dumb idea the President comes up with that day, just like before – only now Gibbs will be doing it in places where people can actually interrupt him when he says something particularly egregious. In other words, he’s still going to be a dolt, but one who won’t get the same deference that Gibbs is used to getting, thanks to his (soon-to-be-former) position of trust and authority.”

Perhaps Gibbs’ greatest contribution to the Obama presidency was his ability to avoid answering questions, as Vicki McClure Davidson points out.

“Heck of a job, Gibbsy!”

- JP