Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Battleground: Washington, DC

No, not like this battleground, but rather one that's starting up in Congress once again:

A budget dispute erupted into a full-scale battle Tuesday as President Bush vetoed the Democrats' top-priority domestic spending bill and the party's Senate leader threatened to withhold war funding if the president does not agree to pull out of Iraq.

The long-anticipated clash came to a head as Bush rejected a $606 billion bill to fund education, health and labor programs, complaining that it is too expensive and is larded with pork. Within hours, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) declared that Bush will not get more money to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year unless he accepts a plan to complete troop withdrawals by the end of next year. ...

... The president vetoed the appropriations bill funding the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education at the White House before flying here to lambaste Congress in a speech to local leaders. He said that the bill spends nearly $10 billion more than his proposed budget and includes more than 2,200 pet projects, or earmarks, such as a prison museum, a sailing school taught aboard a catamaran and a program teaching Portuguese as a second language.

"The majority was elected on a pledge of fiscal responsibility, but so far it's acting like a teenager with a new credit card," Bush said in his speech here. "This year alone, the leadership in Congress has proposed to spend $22 billion more than my budget provides. Now, some of them claim that's not really much of a difference -- the scary part is, they seem to mean it."

At the same time, Bush signed a $459 billion annual Defense Department spending bill that increases the Pentagon's budget 9.5 percent to fund operations other than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although that legislation also includes what he calls unnecessary spending, he said he considers it important to deliver money to the military in a time of war.

Democrats and their allies quickly attacked Bush for his veto of the education-health bill. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David R. Obey (D-Wis.) called it "pure politics," and the National Education Association, a teachers union, called it a "politically-motivated attack on children." Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean vowed that "Republicans will pay for it in next year's elections."

Politically motivated attack on kids? Oh give me a break. the amount of pork lined up in that bill was just one more example of the audacity of a Democrat-controlled Congress. And I'd love to see Harry Reid try to hold funding for the troops hostage again.

-- Democrats don't have a veto-proof majority int he House.

-- Democrats don't have a veto-proof majority in the Senate.

Those two points are what confound the Democrats continually. Without the majorities needed to "command" the executive, the Democrats threats are idle, at best. Howard Dean claims that we'll pay for this in 2008, and I can't seem to wrap my head around that idea given this report from the Politico last week showing that Democrats are concerned about 2008, and what could happen to their power in Congress. A close look at the latest Gallup numbers for congressional approval doesn't paint a rosy picture for the Democrats:

Amidst a swirl of public dissatisfaction about the Iraq war, the economy, government corruption, and with President Bush more generally, Americans went to the polls in November 2006 and voted enough Republicans out of office to give the Democrats majority control of Congress. A year later, Americans are as negative about the job Congress is doing as they were leading up to the 2006 midterm elections. And according to recent Gallup polling, Americans are distinctly negative about the Democrats’ handling of several front-burner policy issues.

The latest Gallup Panel survey, conducted Oct. 25-28, 2007, asked Americans to say whether they are “pleased,” “neutral,” “disappointed,” or “angry” about the way the Democrats in Congress have been dealing with seven major issues confronting the nation.

Overall, relatively few Americans are pleased with the Democrats’ performance on any of them. This ranges from 7% for the federal budget deficit to 17% for terrorism. Between 12% and 26% say they are angry about the issues. However, most Americans fall in between, with the plurality generally saying they are disappointed with congressional Democrats’ performance on each.

This is why if I were Democrats, I'd be more worried about my job security in 2008 than throwing bombs at republicans and the president. If the Democrats actually put forth sensible legislation, they wouldn't face a veto at every turn. If they'd quit trying to tie the hands of the commander-in-chief, who is trying to prosecute a war, they wouldn't face a veto every time they turn around. The simple fact remains that this is yet another temper-tantrum from the children in Congress, unhappy that they didn't get their way again.

The president made it a point in his SOTU address this year that he was going to rein in the excess spending, and that's through a veto. He knew the Democrats couldn't muster up the majority they needed to stop those vetoes, and he also knew that enough Republicans in both Houses could slow down the Democrats. Thus far he's been right.

the Democrats need to knock this off if they want to hold onto their seats in 2008, or even have a chance to hold the majority. They keep digging, and ignoring the fat that so many people in this nation aren't happy with them. And this goes to their candidates, as well. Promising to raise taxes, or proposing a raise in taxes to bail out Social Security, or pay for new social programs ($5000 to all new kids born, Senator Clinton?), etc. doesn't endear voters to them. Overspending our money doesn't win them friends.

This is why the Democrats completely misread the election results in 2006. Republicans weren't jettisoned because of their support for the war and the troops. they were rejected because they acted like the Democrats did before them, and like the Democrats are trying to act now. The voters got fed up with the overzealous spending of their money on more worthless projects, pork, and unneeded earmarks. If the Democrats aren't careful, they could go the way of the Republicans in 2006, and while it took us fourteen years to flush our majority, they will have done it in two years. (Sounds like another first for the Democrats, as if the low approval numbers weren't enough, huh?)

Publius II


Anonymous I like Portuguese said...

Actually, learning Portuguese is very useful. Portuguese is the third-most spoken European language in the world, after only English and Spanish (and ahead of Russian, French, German and Italian, which are more widely taught in the US). It's spoken in Brazil (the largest nation in South America, by both area and population), as well as in Angola, Mozambique, Portugal itself and a number of former Portuguese colonies.

I believe the center in question is located in Rhode Island, home to one of the nation's most significant concentrations of both Portuguese and Brazilian immigrants, so such a program strikes me as necessary and useful in training locals to communicate with these immigrants in order to help them transition into American life.

Thus Portuguese is hardly a frivolous choice for a language center -- I doubt its main purpose is just to prepare American tourists for their summer vacations in the Azores (NTTAWWT)!

November 14, 2007 at 2:08 PM  

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