Same Old Crooked WTTW 2 Against 1 Game but Hackett Wins. Fox 1 Against 1 Fairer: Hackett Wins There, Too!
Q. Let’s takeWTTWfirst.ThatwastheChicago Tonightpanel on the suspension of Fr. Michael Pfleger by the Cardinal…also the hurry-up beatification of JPII. You’re referring to Mrs. Mary Anne Hackett, president and CEO of Catholic Citizens of Illinois. A. Yes. There as per usual we had the usually lopsided structure of two liberal Catholics…knowing and having interviewed both adversaries I would judge Barbara Blaine is more nominal than active… against one. Both belong to the Catholic Left. Robert McClory is a teacher, journalist and resigned priest who’s written a laudatory book about Pfleger. McClory…a former assistant at St. Sabina’s pre-Pfleger who left the priesthood to marry… has in the course of thirty years aligned himself with the most leftward fringes of radical heretical theology: a Hans Kung-style supporter of “participatory democratization” of church structure to the extent that the holder of the papacy is only first among equals and oft-times hardly that. The rock of Peter becomes only one aspect of Church governance, sharing with bishops and…ahem….”theologians” who hold equal sway. McClory has long been an opponent ofHumanae Vitae, an advocate of relaxed strictures on abortion, a devotee of an ultra loosened concept of mortal sin…under a slanted version of what normally is known as “Fundamental Option”-- where one can only commit it if he pronounces abject alienation from God—else a good Act of Contrition will clear it up…a supporter of women priests, a more “humanitarian” concept of gay rights. In essence his concept is diametrically adverse to the 2,000 plus years of authentic dogmatic theology. The second participant for the Left was Barbara Blaine of SNAP (Survival Network of Those Abused by Priests) who should not have participated in the Pfleger discussion since pedophilia and child abuse is not been involved in that melee—just the matter of priestly obedience and insubordination. She was obviously there to weigh in on later-discussed issue about JPII’s style of church governance…but she pitched in also on Pfleger where her clerical pedophilia views were not relevant. She was included because executive producer Mary Field feels that on every issue—politics, economics, urban policy, whatever—it is mandatory that there should be a thumb on every scale to tip discussions to the Left…believing that the marketing formulae of the station would be compromised by equal access to ideas. However it could be said that the panel moderator, Eddie Arruza that he made a conscientious effort to include Hackett’s views. Just a shame that the station feels so insecure it can’t run a one-on-one show…but that’s good old Mary Field and her so-called employer Danny Schmidt (salary: $450,000 flavored by taxpayer largesse which he is zealously eager to retain) for you.
Q. NEVERTHELESS MARY ANNE HACKETT DID WELL?
a. I call her the best lay expositor of the Catholic faith in any TV panel whom I have ever seen. I don't like to use the commonly applied word "apologist" because it can be so closely tied to the word "apology".
HER PERFORMANCE HERE ONCE AGAIN RATIFIES THE JUDGMENT I MADE WHEN WE FORMED “Catholic citizens of illinois” that we must get somebody to run this who in addition to being a superb manager is an extraordinarily good communicator. AT THAT TIME MARY ANNE WAS RUNNING ILLINOIS RIGHT TO LIFE—AND SOMEBODY MENTIONED TO ME, “you mean somebody like mary anne hackett!”
“NO,” I SAID, “I DON’T MEAN SOMEBODYLIKEMARY ANNE HACKETT—I MEANmary anne hackett!” FORTUNATELY SHE TOOK ON THE RUNNING OF BOTH ORGANIZATIONS FOR A LONG TIME. UNDER HER LEADERSHIP CCI HAS GROWN IN SIZE AND INFLUENCE. BEFORE WE BEGAN, TV STATIONS AND RADIO 0UTLETS WERE ROUNDING UP ANDY GREELEY AND OTHERS TO EXPRESS A SO-CALLED “catholic position.” now we seem to have at least a beginning chance at defending the church and authentic doctrine
Q. what about the portion on whether jpii should be beatified this quickly?
A. Here mcclory fought the idea, serving up the dense soup of hans kung-flavored theology…OBVIOUSLY CALCULATED TO MIS-LEAD ARRUZA THAT THIS IS PART OF CHURCH DOGMA… charging that jp ii had tried to reverse the flow of church governance to pre-vatican ii. quite unconvincing FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE READ KUNG AND KNOW MCCLORY.
on clerical abuse where barbara blaine weighed in, i think there is no doubt that the church hierarchy here and in rome knew of the derelictions and swept them under the rug—i’ll CONCEDE That. MY GOD YEARS AGO WE HAD A BISHOP IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS WHOSE DERELCTIONS WERE UNCOVERED BY MY PAPER,THE WANDERER,WHO NEVER DID GET CANNED…AND WHO WAS ON THE ALTAR WHEN HIS SUCCESSOR WAS INCARDINATED. AND THEN, OF COURSE, THERE’S WEAKLAND, EX-ARCHBISHOP OF MILWAUKEE WHO MISAPPROPRIATED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO PAY OFF HIS MALE LOVER…FOR which I WOULD IMAGINE SHOULD TODAY BE IN JAIL. NO COSMETICS CAN COVER THESE DERELICTIONS.
AND it goes far beyond jpii although i don’t think any objective study would show him SHARING BLAME—not for BLINKING AT the abuses but relying on untried psychology and pschiatric studies that argued deviances could be cured.
all sides…liberals as well as authenticists…have been slow to recognize that allowing the seminaries to be flooded with lavenders created the mess—reflective of the decadent liberalism that invaded the church…which, candidly, mc clory by his advocacy of relaxed codes had not inconsiderable to shape. I think of kicanas the ex-rector of Mundelein who told the media if he had to do it over he'd once again ordain Dan MacCormack...after which he was promoted to Auxiliary Bishop here...Bishop of Tucson...was elected No. 2 at the USCCB with George and very nearly succeeded him as President.
Frankly, i think JP II and his predecessors…and many bishops here including George… were asleep at the switch. But then with respect to the late Pope, beatification and canonization does not imply human impeccability—else we would not have gotten peter who denied Christ three times, would we? My personal preference however would have been to hold off the beatification. i keep asking: what’s the rush? NOBODY SEEMS TO HAVE RESPONDED ADEQUATELY TO THAT QUESTION.
Q. How did the Fox debate go?
A It was curtailed but it was one-on-one and fairer. there mary anne was faced with a theologically illiterate oracular black man who thought the whole Pfleger issue was a muffling by the Cardinal of PFLEGER’S RIGHT TO free speech.
q. Did you have a chance to see other news shows on the Pfleger issue last night?
q.In addition to Fox’s general news coverage at 9 pm. I caught NBC-tv channel 5 at 6 p.m. there was the same old Pfleger biographer mc clory on film…his face clotted with anguish at ‘the great loss of MICHAEL’…with no designation that MC CLORY is a resigned priest. there was utterly no reflection of the other side of the issue THAT FAVORED THE CARDINAL…the liberals of channel 5 made sure of that.
But the worst on channel 5 was Msgr. Ken Velo, Bernardin’s ex-driver and very close friend who was eulogist at his requiem mass…the Validictory you’ll remember that preceded the gay men’s chorus’ serenade of the BERNARDIN before he was dispatched to his final eternal destination.
Why Velo was included on channel 5’s coverage was a mystery since he is a vice president of De Paul and has had nothing to do with the issue administratively. But he spoke fondly of ‘Michael’ and followed the script that his loss would be grievous for the archdiocese. I haven’t been able to fathom Velo’s exact job for De Paul except to guess possibly it’s to bestow a kind of unofficial imprimatur for the lamentable pro-gay-advocacy trend that has been going on there including offering ‘queer studies 101’ to freshmen who at a tender age are most vulnerable in their lives.
Q. Do we have Donald Trump to thank? A. Yes. It took somebody like him who moved the birth certificate issue from bloggers to the mainstream media due to his visibility. What jarred the whole thing loose was Obama’s falling poll ratings….and specifically the astounding figure showing how many Americans really doubt he was born in this country at all. But in the end, the thing that kept it going over two years was the White House’s cavalier inoculating the press with the snide comment that such speculation was nutso. That was Axelrod’s fault. If they had done this when it surfaced, it wouldn’t have caused such a furor. They could have defused it at once. Q. Does this give Trump a boost in Iowa? A. It certainly adds to his being a celebrity. He’ll register up there in Iowa and the national polls but that’ll be of short duration. For now, he has every right to pat himself on the back—but so far as getting him the GOP nomination, no. He has his own gaudy past to account for and the erratic things he’s said. But for now give the devil his due. Q. Big news day—now the Pleger thing where Cardinal George has suspended him and also his faculties. A. The letter George sent Pfleger was excellent—a masterpiece. I say: Better late than never. I fully expect the Crying Towel liberals…including theSun-Timeseditorial board, Carol Marin and Laura Washington…both nominal Catholics and whose grasp of theology is wafer-thin…will weep copiously: This man has done wonderful things for the community! Nuts. A priest is not supposed to be a community organizer. He was ordained to be an authorized mediator who offers a true sacrifice in acknowledgment of God’s supreme dominion over human beings and in expiation for their sins. His mediation is the opposite of the prophets. They communicated from God to the people. The priest mediates from the people to God. He reflects and in a very real sense represents Christ who is God and man, the first priest of the New Law who offered Himself once and for all on the cross—a victim of infinite value who continually renews that sacrifice on the altar through the ministry of the Church. All the faithful share in that priesthood by their baptismal nature…and are enabled to offer themselves in sacrifice with Christ through the Eucharistic ministry…offering the Mass as they internally unite themselves with the outward offering made by the ordained priest alone. Any community action the priest does is incidental but the above described is his principal role. It does not mean trotting out like a carnival barker in vestments during a Sunday sermon imitating Hillary Clinton…nor does it involve shouting over a megaphone to a legally constituted business owner acting within the law: Come out of there or we’ll drag you out like the rat you are!...We’ll snuff you out! When I say it’s way overdue, I mean in past years the Archdiocese has allowed itself to be humiliated by this hot dog…made a fool of. The story of Pleger is that of an unruly showboat who went to a decadent “spirit of Vatican II” seminary and so entranced the teaching staff there that he was allowed to slip out, neglect his studies and cruise out to Chicago to do his “community organizing” (read: Left wing shannigans) work and get credit for it. He was ordained but is a veritable illiterate in theology. Thereupon he bamboozled the weak Archdiocese into doing his things at Sabina’s undisturbed. He shamelessly politicized his ministerial work and developed a nose for media exposure that fed his massive ego. His subordination of his Church to his personal media-centric needs is shown by his frequently demonstrated willingness to shuck the Church and concentration of what he really wants to do with the rest of his life…be the Great White Hope of the Black Community…continue to be a power in The Squid by being able to mis-lead simple followers who like a good razzle-dazzle to enliven their Sunday mornings instead of spirituality. His departure will not affect the Church. His congregants are less than 10 percent Catholic anyhow….conceivably troop up to the altar to receive the Sacrament unworthily…and are eager to follow him to either a theatre, an appropriated vacant church or storefront to swing, sway, clap and intersperse shouts of “Amen!” suited for a political rally rather than a divine liturgy which they and he pollute with their sacrilege. Expect the Sulking Sultan of Pout…Rev. Jesse Jackson…as much a charlatan as Pfleger…to “invite” this pinwheel of political self-indulgence to PUSH. They belong together. Meantime, congratulations Cardinal George.
Does the GOP Go After Obama Without Evangelical Troops—Just the Country Club (Who’ll Likely Forget to Register and Vote, God Help Us)? Q. Who are the Neo-Cons Who Tout Daniels? And what issues are they forgetting? A. Paradoxically a majority of philo-Semitic journalists and opinion-meisters most solicitous of political foot-soldiers to beat Obama so as to elect a Republican president who among other issues would be prone to defend the future of Israel…in which I am to be at least passively counted (Israel to my taste anyhow ranking well down the list of things I want a conservative president would support) …are stupidly blind to the source of such indispensable people-power. These are the evangelical Protestants (certainly not secular or semi-observant Jews nor conservative Catholics). Evangelicals believe implicitly that the future of their salvation and of the world’s is tied to the continuance of Israel…and when Israel was founded in 1949 and survived attempts of Arab nations to drive it into the sea…a religious determinism was inculcated in the evangelicals to see that the doughty little nation succeed. Therefore it is not understandable to me such influential commentators such as Charles Krauthammer fails to understand the utter necessity of returning filial love of evangelicals who embrace pro-life, anti-gay rights etc. with at least a modicum of support for those issues. But no, Charlie the Kraut whose very determinative presence on TV demonstrates his first love…approaching a dual-fealty (U.S. and Israel) is geared to what he adjudges as our success in the Middle East gives no ground. In fact he is for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. Daniels is a remarkably successful governor who brought his state back from the fiscally dead. Moreover he is an expert on the U.S. budget having served as OMB director under Bush II. In addition he has a sparkling pedigree as a pro-lifer. My problem with Krauthammer is this. Are you so wrapped up in your personal secular neuter morality—your obsessive worry that somehow Christians may force their opinions on the country …particularly in gay-rights on non-practicing Jews… that you can’t understand the implications of what Daniels has said? Specificallyignoring the fact that this abstruse little balding auditor lookalike of Syrian extraction…so dull a speaker you will have to watch the wall-paint dry… has given the finger to all discussion of social issues in a presidential campaign were he to be the Republican nominee? Do you apprehend, you otherwise brilliant but on this issue ineffably dumb Charlie Kraut, that this will deprive the GOP in 2012 of many thousands of evangelicals who otherwise pound the pavements, go door-to-door, run the phone-banks, stuff the envelopes, speak to Sunday congregations, write pamphlets, compose letters to the editors, call radio talk shows? Moreover do you not understand that a unilateral truce on defense of social issues by Daniels willnotreceive treatment in kind from Obama and the Democrats? That they will certainly not stop saying that conservatives want to slaughter women, that they want to arrest women who procure abortions. That it will not stop the military gay-rights campaign marching under the banner of Human Rights to invade the precincts? To all of these things your precious Mitch Daniels will be mute? Finally do you understand…even remotely in your closed secular-dominated mind…that even if a president who could somehow be elected without reference to the social issues…would still have to deal with matters that involve them on virtually a day-by-day basis? Example: There comes a vacancy on the Supreme Court which could either topple the one-vote majority—depending on what side of the bed Anthony Kennedy gets up on a crucial morning. A President Daniels—to keep his pledge—dismisses abortion and gay marriage as unworthy of consideration. I guess my question to you, Charlie Kraut, is this. Are gay and unrestricted abortion rights so dear to you that the 2012 chance to ditch Obama, set right the economy and continue to preserve Israel worth your fear that abortion will be severed and gay rights negated? I mean it. Which comes first for you, Charlie Kraut? Your eagerness to continue indubitably secular along with your pro-Israel buddies…or changing the direction of this country whereby you’d have to accept a bit of social conservatism? You’re a brilliant guy, Charlie Kraut. I marvel at your foreign policy sophistication, your mastery of the health care issue stemming from your expertise as an MD and psychiatrist. Why the hell can’t get grasp this and get it through your granite noggin that this election thing is not zero-sum? Q. Is it just Charlie Kraut? A. No. But Norm Podhoretz’s got the message. He says just as when Moses came down from the mountain carrying the stone tablets and saw the Israelites dancing around the golden calf, led by his brother Aaron and God whispered in Moses’ earwhat a stiff-necked peoplemost contemporary Jews have surrendered the Torah for the liberal secular state. ButThe Weekly Standardpeople are largely with Charlie Kraut. Even Stephen Hayes who nods obediently to Charlie’s support for dumping Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Then there is the Cheshire Cat boss, Billy Kristol. He has a little more savvy than Charlie Kraut and says maybe a good pro-lifer running for veep with Daniels could balance things. Yeah, right, Billy. So far as I can tell Fred Barnes is okay—but damned quiet. I can tell you—unless theStandardcrowd puts defense of Israel on a par with social values in support of a candidate, which means dumping this Short Stuff Harley-Davidson riding Syrian, they’re going to in effect be the greatest allies Obama will have. Q. And is it just theWeekly Standardcrowd? A. No. There is the upper reaches ofThe Wall Street Journal. Q. Now that Haley Barbour is out and Ron Paul is in, what do you think of the Republican presidential list? A. I’ve never thought all that much about Haley Barbour. If anyone was a deadringer for the TV cartoon of a fat Mississippi sheriff with a puffy red face, sweat dripping off his nose, leaning at the open car window of a black driver he stopped saying in that orotund grits and chintlings Yazoo voice`Pears to me you’re in a heap-a-trouble, boyI haven’t seen a better gift for Obama to face. That and an ex-tobacco lobbyist who whenever he goes to D.C. hangs out at the old firm. He’s echoed Daniels on ditching all mention of social issues…which discounts his great reputation as a political strategist in my mind. He’s about to announce he will be chairman of Mitch’s expected presidential run which causes Charlie Kraut’s and Billy Kristol’s hearts to beat rapidly in three-quarter time. My prediction is that this crowd with the exception of Pawlenty…who just might catch fire I-hope-a-hope-a-hope…needs reinforcements. And of course you know my hope—Christie and Ryan. Q. Why not Ryan for President? A. A House member…particularly one this young however brilliant...can’t really do well running nationally: too inexperienced. No administrative experience. I can see Pawlenty and Ryan. But the field has to be broadened.
Q. In the first issue, you’re talking about the forthcoming beatification of John Paul II.
A. Yeah. I take nothing away from him and admire him hugely…met him once very briefly when he came to St. Louis…supported his efforts to return the Church to liturgical authenticism and theological tradition. Moreover his world leadership with Reagan, Thatcher and Walesa against Soviet Communism classify him as one of the great Popes. But why the rush? John Henry Cardinal Newman, a preeminent scholar of the Church, had to wait one hundred years from his death to be beatified.
Everything else in the Vatican…including the urgent need to either fire the editor of the so-called “official Vatican newspaper”L’Osservatore Romanoor ditch the paper—which on occasion contradicts Catholic teaching and has the temerity to pick the top 10 rock-and-roll recordings of all time—becoming a vulgar near-scandal—goes at a snail’s pace. Try writing the office of Catholic education there about the flagrant doings of De Paul incardinating a course in homosexual appreciation…Queer Studies: 101…and complainants here are still waiting for an answer five years later while the bishop-boob who ran the show arrogantly avoided an even cursory reply and later got promoted for unique service to the Church. If JP II is a saint, he is so—and is canonized in heaven.
To my mind there are a few questions unanswered that have never been categorized by this fast-moving Vatican. One has to do with grievous administrative laxity on reaction to evident cases of child abuse and pedophilia. We’re told it’s because JPII’s experience in Communist Poland involved from attempts by Soviets to apply calumny against good Polish priests in order to make them less effective in Poland. Okay, maybe so but the West isn’t and never was Poland or the USSR. The same excuse doesn’t…and shouldn’t…be applied.
The second is the lamentable sloppiness involved in one of the most vital jobs a Pontiff has: the naming of bishops to carry on the evangelization. There is no doubt whatsoever that this tenure was a low-point in the appointing of bishops who let the Church down. I was told by a once very-high up functionary that dossiers of applicants for the bishopric were prepared with great care only to have JPII repeatedly and carelessly pick the first sheet off the stack. Right or wrong? You won’t get the truth from good old George Weigel who wrote the authorized biography…checked with the Curia.
Third, while the aptly named Rembert Weakland OSB who took $240,000 of Milwaukee archdiocesan money to pay off a male lover to be silent, was consecrated by Paul VI why was no penalty leveled under JPII when his homosexuality and deviant theology became rampant? (In fact why was this viper who should have been stripped of his rank and sent to jail allowed to publish a book capitalizing on his homosexuality and glorifying himself in a statuesque portrayal where he basks with Mary and the
Child Jesus at his lavishly resigned cathedral…where he had also constructed a baroque throne for himself front and center while you have to search fruitlessly for the tabernacle…why was this self-same ogre allowed any role at all in the investiture of his successor? This is not to lay it all at JPII’s feet but years of inattention to the frolicking Weakland came on his watch.
Fourth, why were the seminaries here and overseas allowed to go to seed both in the laxity of their admissions and their teachings? The fact ignored by Ms. Maureen Dowd, Carol Marin and others is a simple truth not remotely covered by the supine press which dispenses deliberate misinterpretations of which they by their abject co-conspiratorial cooperation are guilty. The fact that thousands of young people were victimized by homosexuals…lavenders attracted to pre-pubescent males…who had been allowed into the priesthood by willing gay moles supposedly guarding the entry doors of the seminaries, being tribute to the lax propaganda done up by Dowd, Marin and others who justify homosexuality as a justifiable alternative lifestyle—following the liberal political lexicon the two subscribe to.
Whether politically correct appeasers like Dowd and Marin like to admit it or not—and they don’t since they are Leftist ideologues--the fact is that while not all…not even a majority…of homosexuals are child abusers,a preponderant majority of child abusers are homosexuals. USA Todayhas written an unchallenged piece revealing that of 1,200 pre-pubescent boy-men who have been abused by priests, 91% of the victims were male. Don’t get me going further on this.
Q. Ah but you have. Now we have another issue—of a far different type.
A. Shoot. I think I know what it is.
Q. A fair number of people question your support of a dream ticket of Gov. Chris Christie for president and Rep. Paul Ryan for vice president on the basis that Christie in the past supported a variant of gun control, Cap and Trade and appointed a Muslim lawyer to a state judgeship.
A. I haven’t seen the statements nor reviewed the qualifications of the Judge but let me point out a quirk in some conservatives…more than I would like to admit. Here we are facing $13 trillion in debt, have a radical leftist in the White House embarking on what could well torpedo the economy and wreck us as a nation…and we have the opportunity however remote (since Christie in particular has eschewed any thought of the presidency for 2012) that we can defeat the aposthesis of all evil…immoral (one who is so abortion he snuffed the life out of Born Alive bill allowing babies born of botched abortions to suffer unto their deaths without nourishment or comfort)…because at one point or other Christie had espoused a wrong statement on gun control and Cap and Trade. Now let me put the following in bold face.
Good God, people, have you lost your mind? Don’t you have the faintest inkling that not all political stands are absolutes—that one can change and is not forever to be disqualified because of issues that can be easily amended? Are you that obtuse that you feel if a guy has freckles he is forever sent to Hell with angels armed with fiery swords guarding our gates so they cannot return—as shown in the familiar Michelangelo painting of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel.
Have you so closed your minds to the possibility of human redress that you have forgotten that Reagan as governor signed the most liberal abortion law in the nation—more liberal than the one Nelson Rockefeller signed in New York…and that Reagan abjured his action (to me and others)….was taken back by social conservatives and became one of the great exemplars of social tradition?
When…oh when… are you guys going to renounce that lamentable kid stuff where what you may do in one circumstance on an economic issue is equated on the same level as the salvation of the economic foundation of the country and the turning back of the abortion culture.
It’s time for you to grow up, smell the coffee…and for God’s sake try to adopt a political maturity….at least pretend you have it…for a time as climactic as ours.
Can It Work? Not if Paul Ryan Gets on the Ticket for the Defense.
Some day after we’re all dead, revisionist historians will calculate that this 44thpresident, Barack Obama, in addition to being the worst president from the standpoint of patriotism pro-U.S. motivation, was the most inept.
They will likely cite as Evidentiary One, his utter failure to craft a budget. The American people would have been informed about this incompetence long before this but the national media, accustomed to its role of running interference for him on his murky background, scant evidence of scholarship, mysteriously unavailable college records and dearth of classmates who knew him in Indonesia schools as well as Occidental, have covered up his ineptitude once again.
As this is one of the few places you’ll get the news straight about this so-called genius’ deficiencies, consider his two—yes, two—budget addresses.
Obama’s Two Phony Budgets.
The first one was delivered as the Constitution provides, last February. He forecast that it would reduce the $14 trillion deficit by a trillion. But the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office which examines such things as economic assumptions and baselines, said: Uh-uh, sorry Mr. President. It won’t reduce the deficit by a trillion over 10 years but using your assumptions we can tell you it willhike the deficit by $2.1 trillion.
Then Wisconsin’s Republican congressman Paul Ryan, a numbers whiz whom Obama earlier had praised, produced a counter-budget and submitted his numbers, economic assumptions and baselines to the CBO for scoring i.e. getting approval for using the right forecast. Ryan’s is a very tough budget but since worry about the deficits are high on the public mind right now, his roadmap convinces many that it’s the kind of tough, bitter medicine the nation gets to get back on a solid track.
The CBO gave Ryan’s masterwork a full frisk and said its assumptions are right on the mark: If followed as Ryan wrote it, his budget will reduce the deficit by$4.4 trillion over ten years. Ryan had set into place a master framework so we will be moving ahead to eradicating the entire deficit of $14.5 trillion within the following five years. Ergo: This 41-year-old kid working with a constricted House staff and directing the study himself showed up the entire Obama administration, its treasury secretary Tim Geithner (who was found to be in arrears on his own income taxes), budget director, Commerce Department and auxiliaries, getting a perfect score from the CBO which the Obama people couldn’t get.
Now as we all know, Barack Obama wants to get reelected in 2012 which is why he hired William Daley of Chicago as his chief-of-staff. Daley believes that the only way Obama will win is by demagoguery the way FDR did in 1936 by condemning the “economic royalists” and the strategy Harry Truman used in 1948 to condemn the rich no-good members of Big Business “special interests.” The fact that Bill Daley made $32 million in wages last year serving those special interests is apart from the case.
Well, Paul Ryan has been getting so much attention with his counterbudget, that Bill Daley, the Chicago boss’ son, decided that Obama should make another pass at a budget---but this time use it as a campaign document to fire up the listless troops in Obama’s base: the liberal papers likeThe New York Timesfrom which every “mainstream” news oracle takes the lead—from Brian Williams of NBC to Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos of ABC, to wide-eyed Katie Couric and Bob Schieffer of CBS (Schieffer known particularly as an eager recipient of every liberal line).
So Daley and his crew drafted out a story line for the new budget. It came close to what Teddy Kennedy on June 21, 1987 said would happen if Bob Bork got confirmed for the Supreme Court. “Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchlldren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”
Similarly before a single budgetary statistic was collected, Bill Daley had his speech writers say that in his counter-budget, Paul Ryan would give us “a fundamentally different America…than what we have known throughout our history.” America would be a fundamentally different country than we have known. Autistic and disabled children would be turned out into the street and left to tend to themselves. Moreover just to drive a car in America would be precarious since collapsed bridges would go unrepaired: the country would be on the brink of stagnation.
When he re-read the rhetoric, Bill Daley figuratively rubbed his hands in satisfaction. Now to pump in figures that would cut the deficit and keep the massive superstructure of New Deal-originated social benefits augmented by LBJ’s Great Society plus the $1 trillion worth of ObamaCare.
When the figures were pumped in, crafty Bill Daley ordered that the economic assumptions should be based on 12 years—not 10 as all other presidents and Paul Ryan did—this to confound the CBO from making a line-by-line comparison. With the most shoddy work of guest-timating, Daley concluded that Obama’s new budget would cut the debt by $4 trillion (the same as Ryan had calculated only taking two years longer to accomplish). The figure could be accomplished by hiking taxes on the rich, which thrill the hearts of the Left which were becoming disenchanted with Obama. Then like dispatching a schoolboy, he sent Obama off to make the speech last week at D.C.’s George Washington University.
Now it just so happened that the statistical wizard of the Congress, Paul Ryan, wanted to catch Obama’s speech. When he showed up at the college auditorium, Ryan was ushered by White House minions down to the front row where he would sit right under Obama’s nose. Obama had two teleprompters rolling so that he could turn his head right and left and appear like he was talking conversationally. He spoke for 43 minutes, blasting Ryan as unfeeling, almost un-American.
He kept his eyes from making contact with Ryan. And when the speech was over, two things were clear. One, Obama wasn’t going to negotiate anything but two would use the speech not as an economic document but as a campaign broadside to get reelected.
The liberal media was titillated. Sweet little Katie Couric was overjoyed andThe New York Timesgushed that it was so-o-o-o good to have the old lefty Obama back in the ring again. So far so good for Obama and his guru Bill Daley.
Except then something bad happened. Standard & Poor, the nation’s leading credit rating agency, read the Obama speech and became so pessimistic about the evident failure to get consensus on the deficit that it warned there is a 1-in-3 chance that this country will lose its impeccable AAA credit rating on debt in the next two years.
And then something worse. Sitting in the front row, Paul Ryan wondered where Obama got his figures, his economic assumptions which enabled him to claim he would cut the deficit, slap higher taxes on the rich, and return the country to economic solvency—because the assumptions sure didn’t square with what Ryan had found. So the next day he called the White House to get the verification.
Guess what? The White House had no official verification—just a reiteration of the unsupported numbers on the bottom of its press release. Next Ryan called the Congressional Budget Office to see if this nonpartisan entity could defend the numbers Obama and Bill Daley conjured up. No, said the CBO: Obama used twelve years—a highly unusual projection instead of the 10 years everybody else including Ryan had used. Aha. No mystery why Bill Daley used twelve years—to cover his tracks and to keep the CBO from contradicting Obama as it had in the first go-round.
But Bill Daley’s twelve-year instead of 10 year ploy wasn’t working. Standard & Poor smelled something fishy and instead of putting the issue to be, the rating agency by capturing SuperBowl style publicity guaranteed that the signal issue of 2012 will be Obama and Daley’s hoaky budget of floating numbers vesus Paul Ryan’s legit budget projection.
The House GOP’s Phony CR.
But lest you believe the Dems have a monopoly on phony-ness, consider the Speaker Boehner Continuing Resolution aka CR that averted closing down the government. Remember the Tea Party’ers and a large number of freshmen conservative congressmen wanted Boehner to cut $100 billion off the 2011 spending list. He said he wouldn’t do it. All right, they said—how about $67 billion. He tried and couldn’t get agreement from the Dems.
But he announced he could cut $38 billion. Rush Limbaugh wasn’t buying that—saying the amount was too miniscule. But $38 billion…if they werereal cuts…was something at least so most of the House GOP majority was willing to go along—until they looked at the numbers and found that the sacrosanct Mr. Boehner had in his own inimitable way played games with the numbers to arrive at $38 billion.
It turned out there were all kinds of fudging…$2 billion from unused highway construction funds that couldn’t be spent because some states couldn’t scratch up matching funds…a “savings” of $4.9 billion from a one-time unspent fund on housing that was due to expire anyhow…a $3.2 billion “cut” from the Children’s Health Insurance program unspent because some states weren’t able to qualify. A few billion of unspent funds left over from the 2010 census. In other words it’s like me telling my wife I just saved us $279,000 by my decision not to buy a new Lamborghini.
The hard outlay of savings…again totaled by the Congressional Budget Office…said what was really saved was a meager $352 million. Well the Tea Party and the new members threw a fit that hit the fan. Fifty nine mostly conservative GOP members decided to vote
no. Boehner had to appeal toDem Whip Steny Hoyer to give him enough Dem votes to make up the difference. So 81 Dems joined 179 Republicans to save Boehner’s lying hide. But Hoyer’s nominal boss Nancy Pelosi said she still thought the cuts were too drastic and disavowed the CR and Hoyer.
That’s the tale of two factions—one led by a duplicitous Bill Daley pulling the strings for Barack Obama but getting sandbagged by Standard & Poor and the other by a fibbing John Boehner who got singed by the Tea Party and his own members. Couldn’t happen to more deserving two guys.
The conclusion this octogenarian makes is this: I’m old enough to remember the 1948 Truman-Dewey campaign where Truman was supposedly on the ropes until Dewey blew it. Deweyblew it because he was unwilling to defend the record of the Republican 80thCongress….unwilling because he was a rival of Sen. Bob Taft who crafted a monumentally good record which Dewey neglected to defend.
Hear me out now:The defining record of this Congress is the Paul Ryan-designed counter-budget to Obama’s which saves Medicare and removes ObamaCare. For Republicans not to have Ryan on the ticket…my druthers would be as vice-president with Chris Christie as president…would be folly. Do you think Romney would defend the counter-budget—he as the godfather of Massachusetts’ RomneyCare? Or Mike Huckabee? ANSWER: In anybody’s hands but Ryan’s the Ryan budget would go largely undefended…and Obama under Bill Daley’s expert guidance would win the game.
Ryan at 41 and a House member is indispensable for the ticket. If he were to be paired with Christie, a tough former United States Attorney and a brilliant governor, I think the duo would be unbeatable.
Q. What do you mean? A. The format is so incurably left-wing it wreaks of political correctness and apologias. It is a case of the Left having taken over complete control of the program agenda…due to the feminist alliance of Mary Field, Carol Marin and Elizabeth Brackett…the trio telling hopelessly pliable anchor Phil Ponce what he will do. Q. As for instance? A. Whenever the issue turns to same-sex marriage there is only one side presented—pro. They wind up Ponce like a robot…you can almost see the key sticking out of his back… and out he goes with that pasted on smile to mouth banalities while the hard aggressive salesmanship goes on. Remember State Rep. Deb Mell who “married” her lover? You’d think Marin was witnessing a theophany. Q. So you’d convert the fare to the right. A. Absolutely not. I’d have a debate—anything would be more robust than that old mushy liberal we-all-agree nya-nya-nya. Q. Such as…? A. Two experts on the federal budget debating the Obama second-cut version as delivered at George Washington University the other night and an advocate of the Congressman Paul Ryan counter-budget. Mary Field knows from her rolodex who to get on the Left. The Heartland Institute should have a good representative on the Right. To keep it straight, they should get someone other than (a) Marin, (b) Brackett or (c) Ponce to moderate: they’re so hopelessly indoctrinated by the Left they don’t understand what it is to be fair. Q. Who would it be? A. Any ordinary station announcer who has the intellectual mien of the holder of a high school diploma. Q. What other issues would you like to see? A. This should have been aired long ago. Pro and Con: Is the removal of Muammar Qaddafi in our long term interest? Also long ago: The growth of public employee unions and how legitimate or illegitimate they are—with emphasis on the Wisconsin imbroglio. Q. More! A. Sen. Durbin announced recently that he would hold hearings on anti-Muslim bigotry. Two sides equally represented. Should the debt limit debate feature a deal to force consideration of a balanced budget amendment or a constitutional limit on federal spending with a supermajority required to raise taxes? Pro-and-con. Q. Is something like this likely to happen? A.Decidedly not. But this is the stuff that could resurrect `TTW from its old Left-wing blues.
Which Means Obama’s Only Hope is Pinned to The Donald. But Even That Won’t Work.
Q. He says things bluntly which no one else says…such as steal Libya’s oil and enrich our coffers. Is that Trump’s appeal?
A. No—his appeal is that he has tremendous name ID from his network show “The Apprentice” which up to now anyhow swamps the polls.
Q. He’s the only potential candidate who refers to Obama’s missing hard-copy birth certificate from which there has never been an official response aside from saying it is meaningless.
A. A one trick pony—and even that trick is wearing out. You watch—his past and earlier remarks will catch up with him. He’s called for Universal Health Care, for example. He advocates America as becoming a true international outlaw nation—confiscating oil….theft in other words…from Middle Eastern countries where we have put down despots. You once thought Sarah Palin was a super-force to be reckoned with? Her avaricious quest for celebrity and her cynically packaging Bristol as a marketing commodity did her in. Trump’s will too. But give her credit, Palin has a somewhat unified philosophy of governance—contained in hard-to-listen-to high decibel screeches on the campaign trail.
Trump has no such discipline. He engages in bloviating examples of bravado….declaring for example that his net worth is bigger than Mitt Romney’s…mine is bigger than yours! The only salutary thing Trump could have contributed to 2012 would be to say in blunt terms what other more malleable candidates would or could not and retire to the wings after the nominating convention. He intends to run as an independent. He’ll be far less compelling than Perot. And he’s on the way to becoming the Class Clown. Wait til people find out George Soros bailed him out of a jam in 2008.
Q. You referred to Palin’s screeching on the campaign stump.
A.Did you catch that clip of her last night from Iowa? Bachmann’s is almost as bad. The female speaking voice is listenable only when it is well-modulated, in a conversational tone. As good as Laura Ingraham is substituting for O’Reilly she is cursed with a grating conversational voice. The models for voices and female TV presentation are all on Fox-- Martha McCallum, Shannon Bream…and the best of all, Harris Faulkner, a three-time Emmy winner, the winningest presenter of all who was the first African American winner of the Miss Minnesota title a few years ago.
As a matter of fact, since Reagan, all speeches by men and women come across as more effective when delivered calmly. Last night on Channel 11 there was a clip of Franklin Roosevelt speaking at the dedication of the Outer Drive Bridge in 1938—the famous “Quarantine the Aggressors” speech. He shouted it…his head tossed back in patrician style… which was startling given the changes that have occurred in elocution. Watching it from today’s vantage point, it was bluster and highly ineffective—not what it registered then.
In essence Roosevelt was doing a William Jennings Bryan. The historic style for politicians which lasted from the mid-19thcentury to Roosevelt, was that of Bryan circa 1893 when he electrified my Irish marble-layer artisan grandfather with the “Cross of Gold” speech at the old Chicago Coliseum. Intriguingly enough the last pol who tried it didn’t do too badly—JFK at his inaugural where he shouted “let us serve this notice to nations whether they wish us good or ill, that we will pay any price, bear any burden…” etc. Highly adaptable, Franklin Roosevelt was never excelled when he delivered his Fireside Chats where he spoke as a comforting father to children over the microphone from the Blue Room. It was that style which Reagan, an old FDR Democrat, took and adopted as his—whether he was speaking in a convention hall or elsewhere. Even when on the speaker’s stage he was angry, he raised his voice only slightly as “Mr.Green, I paid for this microphone!” Q. Back to The Donald. Is he poised to take over the Tea Party? A.Not on your life. He has no ruling philosophy whereas the Tea Party has. Trump makes it up as he goes along. That’s not Tea Party.
Q. By which you mean? A. I always thought that at 82 I couldn’t be fooled. Hah! The Boehner CR which the Speaker and his staff hailed as a great victory…supposedly cutting $38 billion from the rest of fiscal year 2011 budget was filled with fiscal gimmickery—as if I told my wife I “saved” $100,000 by not buying a new Mercedes. They “cut” $2.5 billion from highway funds that can’t be spent anyhow because of restrictions by other legislation prevent them from being spent.” More: “cuts” from unspent monies left over from the 2010 census. A total of $3.9 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance program that for technical reasons (the inability of most states to qualify) wouldn’t be spent anyhow. The spending bill produces less than 1% of the $38 billion promised by Boehner this year. Part of the misconception is something I should have known, having worked in the House as a staffer but which I forgot: It’s the House’s arcane and confusing way of mixing authorizations and appropriations. The lack of immediate budget-cutting punch is derived because the budget year is more than half over and cuts in new spending authority are slow to be reflected in deficit figures which may take a year or more to show up. Also $8 billion of cuts in domestic programs are zeroed out by automatic increases in defense spending. But Boehner knew this certainly and is guilty of rank misrepresentation. Q. If you were in the House and had known the full truth what would you have done? A. Opposed the CR and supported closing down the joint. Breaking off negotiations and really going for the shutdown. I don’t believe for a minute that a shutdown would hurt the Republicans singly—since even with Newt Gingrich’s great strategic lapses it didn’t interfere with Republicans retaining control of the Congress. Q. Does this mean you owe Rush Limbaugh an apology? A. Apologize my--! Q. Don’t say it! A.He’s of great value to the conservative movement because of his huge listenership. Like the proverbial stopped clock which is right twice a day. You say “no” enough when others say “yes” you’re bound to be right sometime. Apologizeto somebody whose sole political experience is just running his mouth and puffing a cigar sitting behind an artificially painted “golden” microphone who viscerally reacts to pump up the audience and who has never, ever been involved in negotiations himself? You know he’d argue pulling the plug if the cuts were real and hit $90 billion—just ten short of the Tea Party goal. He’d do this for audience appeal because he’s a marketing genius. The people I apologize to are the Tea Party’ers. I should have listened to their objections at the outset. Q. What’s Boehner’s future? A. I for one will never trust him again. He’s followed the age-old political rubric of overstating his case. The Tea Party’ers should burn his hide. One more and he will lose control of his caucus. As it is 59 Republicans voted against it—and I’d have been one of them.The thing I don’t like is that Boehner had to go supplicating Steny Hoyer, the Democrats’ minority whip to carry the day 260 to 167…and God knows how much he’s indebted to them. I really think this is a case of fraudulent misrepresentation. It’s as serious as old Charlie Halleck’s drinking for which they dumped him for Jerry Ford. The House Republican caucus ought to convene and give Boehner a reprimand. They really ought to scout around for a possible successor.
That’s Chicago Journalism Folks. All the Honesty ofPravda. It issomuch fun to see howChicago Tonight“analyzed” the Obama deficit speech last night with Carol Marin as moderator plus Lynn Sweet of theSun-Timesand Jim Warren, formerly of theTribuneand now of the Chicago News Cooperative, funded partly by WTTW which runs pallid pastel features inThe New York Times. Of course given that WTTW is up to its neck in the bag to Obama and the Democrats…theSun-Timesa wholly-owned subsidiary of The Squid and the reputation ofThe New York Timesit was no analysis at all but three committed lefties masquerading in journalistic garb gabbing about the exciting days to come in the 2012 campaign. Rather than do it as the late John Callaway would have—journalistically--with two experts debate the pros and cons of contrasting the Obama second-take version and the Paul Ryan initiative …WTTW’s ultra-liberal co-conspirators Mary Field and Carol Marin decided to feature only one side—Obama’s—with ecstatic, glistening-eyed liberal Sweetgussied up in finery to breathlessly cover the big social gala known as the Obama fund-raiser toeing the party line that Obama wasn’t going to raise a billion dollars, and the Cooperative’s limp-wimp Jimmy Warren telling us what his buddy David Axelrod had already told everybody who attended the City Club luncheon the other day.
All this while `TTW president Dan Schmidt was worrying he might lose his $450,000 job fortified with taxpayer money—which he has been busily lobbying for using `TTW resources funded partially by taxpayer money.
Not a word was said on the panel as to the probable cause why Vice President Joe Biden, sitting in the audience, was shown on TV sound asleep. Can’t blame him. He’d seen the movie before.
It was in fact the second go-round on the budget for his boss who flubbed his first with a gauzy pastiche of non-specifics. It was so in-substantive in content after Ryan’s presentation that the Commander-in-Chief had to hurry back to the rostrum. It didn’t occur to Marin to toss tough questions at Sweet on why Obama didn’t get to his own supposed alternative until the second half of the speech, after he covered his soak the rich demagoguery.
Nothing prompted Marin to ask the two to contrast the two proposals—Obama’s which involves tax-hikes and Ryan’s which doesn’t. Not a word was said about Obama’s tossing out numbers with no credibility behind them, that the issue was not what Obama alleged (for the 2012 campaign)—extension of the Bush tax cuts—and that Obama’s speech was 98% an attack on Ryan’s proposal.
Excitedly propagandizing for Obama as Sweet is used to doing in her paper, she was asked this super-tough hardball question by Marin:Does it matter whether or not the Obama campaign is run from Washington or not?
It gave Sweet the chance to gush the notion that Obama wants to sever from the Beltway and add an answer suited to the inside-Dem campaign logistician she is…pointing out it’s better to dispatch party luminaries to Iowa from here than from Washington.
Oh yes, indeedy, said the deferential Warren. In fact Axelrod told us[at the City Club]that he regards working in Washington as something like being encased in a submarine!
The dazzled Marin…ingrained with three decades of liberal talk with no conservative alternatives… took careful note of this response—all the while the differences between the two fiscal plans remained untouched.
Then the heavily rouged Sweet…having dolled herself up for the fund-raising gala…told us all how there can be absolutely no difference of opinion between Axelrod and his successor, David Plouffe.After all, they have worked together for years as partners in David’s firm. At the fund-raiser, she confided, Plouffe will introduce Mayor-Elect Emanuel and Emanuel will introduce the president.
God—that’s exciting as hell to know!
Jimmy the Limp Wimp made occasional mention of a tough time Obama may have in states which he carried in 2008…the only time he discussed the campaign in realistic terms… about which Sweet had nothing to say…and which Marin didn’t careenough to follow up.
Then it ended mercifully and the camera returned to the real heavyweight of the show, Phil Ponce.
Q. No, Limbaugh is displeased; thinks Boehner blew it. A. Rush is a great asset to conservatives but when he gets on a all-or-nothing crusade like this someone ought to remind him he has the nature of a big fat blowhard who’s only experience with negotiating has been to take calls from his agent to hear what multi-million-dollar fresh contract has been arranged. Honestly, this guy who is set up as the oracle for all conservative thought has never…ever…had to sit across a conference table with anybody. Q. You have? A. You betcha…in two states and D.C.: In Minnesota as a prime negotiator for a Republican governor facing a two-House Democratic legislature. In Illinois as a negotiator with Jesse Jackson staving off a boycott against Quaker Oats…in D.C. as an assistant Commerce secretary dealing for my program with a two-House Democratic majority in 1969…as number three in the Peace Corps—running it when the director and deputy were out of the country—and negotiating its appropriations with a two-House Democratic majority in 1970-71. I think Limbaugh’s valuable but seeing him sitting there pontificating like a fat Buddha in his studio, engulfed in cigar smoke rattling his cheeks about things he never had experience with is sickening. Q. What about the august Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox? A. The “for Freedom!” guy? One of those crazed libertarians ala Ron Paul who wants to suborn the CIA and defeat the Patriot Act all the while terrorists are conspiring—defended by our freedoms—to do away with all of us? Napolitano is another egomaniac who hopes to benefit from Glenn Beck’s departure. Q. What about Beck? A. You know—for the first several years he’s been on I rather liked him because in this historically illiterate age he taught history the way I learned it….the devastation liberals have made of this country. I must say I haven’t caught him recently when he started losing his audience—although his ratings are still something Chris Matthews would covet. Did George Soros, a Jew, make a deal as a kid with those who perpetrated the Holocaust in Hungary to save his hide? Search me. But I know Soros is a bad customer. Q. Changing the subject… A. Yes. Q. It wounds Fr. Pfleger to say this but if the Archdiocese kicks him out of St.Sabina’s he’ll leave the Church.
A. Those cookie pushers are living miracles…born without brains, backbone or guts. All they can do is parse-parse-parse because they’ve been told they’re the smartest guys in the room. God save the church from these accommodationists. as bob novak said “The church is really divine since it has endured for 2000 years with a coterie of jerk bishops like today’srunning it.”
Dramatic Shift in Budget Debate from White House to U.S.House. Q. Has the budget process has changed dramatically since you first went to work as a staffer in the U. S. House in 1958? A. Absolutely. When I went there then, at the tag-end of the Eisenhower administration, the course of action had been always in the president’s hands—and had been so since the days of Franklin Roosevelt: Meaning that the ball started rolling with the president: in his State of the Union where he outlined his vision and the budget address where he unfolded his schema on how to pay for it…tax revisions—either escalated up or laden with certain incentives. The debate would start there—with the president going first; often the presidential budget was just the starting point for debate: but let’s be clear—it was the starting point. That system was in place ever since the nation’s first budget chief, Charles Gates Dawes of Evanston (later to become vice president under Coolidge) initiated it under Warren Harding. And it has continued through the administrations of Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, GW Bush…until now. The Congress waited eagerly to get their hands on it—to either tear it apart or add to it….but whatever: the presidential budget was always the starting point. Until now. Q. What’s the change that occurred? A. First, the last State of the Union speech, the last one delivered by Obama was a laugh: a pastiche of hoary old slogans including the titleWinning the Futurewhich was a steal of Newt Gingrich’s early books. Second,the outrageously expensive and regimented ObamaCare bill which Nancy Pelosi described as something once we all—includingshe—understand, we will like…and the awful force-feeding of the medicine with Rahm auctioning off goodies to Louisiana (the Purchase) and Nebraska (the Cornhusker rape) to get it passed without a concern for the ever-growing deficit or looming national debt ended the historic pretext of the presidential budget and programs being introduced first and Congress then taking a whack at them. It led to the election of a Republican House, the chamber where appropriations begin and a strong reinforcement of Republicans in the Senate. Third,the 2010 Republican congressional victory led to the ascension of the first intellectual leader the GOP has had on substantial issues since Robert Taft [1889-1953]—41-year-old Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of House Budget. Q. How did Taft dominate Democratic and Republican congresses? A. By un-showy intellectual prowess. Everyone came to defer to him since he knew the most. He had a mind that scooped up facts like a vacuum cleaner. I came to Washington five years after his untimely death in 1953 but his intellectual influence was still strong. Wherever he served in the Senate....member of Finance….chairman of the Labor committee…co-chairman of the Joint Economic committee….Senate majority leader…his reasonable yet firm intellectual dominance was impeccable: his view of fiscal solvency as Finance and the Joint Economic committee which enabled him to put together a successful coalition with Virginia Sen. Harry Byrd…his crafting of the first revisionist labor reform legislation since passage of the early New Deal Wagner Act—Taft Hartley…his farsighted support of realistic anti-Communist yet not interventionist foreign-defense policy. Sen. Paul Douglas (D-IL) who didn’t agree with him on most issues except thrift (having said “being a liberal doesn’t mean one is a wastrel”) nevertheless grudgingly averred that he was “the uncrowned intellectual leader of the Senate.” Q. And you say the budgetary procedure has moved with the initiative going to Ryan rather than the president? A.Yes. The first initiative to supposedly “control” spending and the deficits coming from Obama was so weak…remember the long since abandoned “spending freeze” no one ever believed?...that since nature abhors a vacuum, the momentum moved to Ryan. Last week he fearlessly outlined a counter-budget which was so courageous that Obama was forced to do what no other president has done—announce via histop political adviser not his budget guy or economic guru, the successor to David Axelrod, David Plouffe, his 2008 campaign manager,that he would make a second try at a budget/economic speech: tacit recognition that he was outpointed by this young congressman. Q. But Paul Ryan’s blueprint has been described as draconian. A. It has but since the American people have come to recognize that our deficit and debt position is so draconian, realism….grasping the third rail that other politicians fear to touch..is needed. Q. What are the essentials of the Ryan blueprint? A. It starts with bold thrusts. It reduces spending by $6.2 trillion over the next decade and cuts the deficit by $4.4 trillion. A big part rests with the assumption that ObamaCare will be repealed which means that over the next decade this will cut $1.4 trillion in savings alone. It cuts the top income tax rate from 35% to 25%. He will cut $389 billion from Medicare over the next decade; at the same time he puts $735 billion less toward Medicaid. Discretionary spending on domestic programs is reduced by $923 billion. He makes two exceptions—national defense spending and Social Security which would be unchanged from the Obama budget. His plan shows that $1.1 trillion less than the next five years under the Obama budget and would add $3 trillion less to the debt than the Obama budget over the next decade. It would bring down the debt to $13.9 trillion by 2016 instead of $15 trillion under Obama and $13 trillion by 2016 compared to Obama’s $16 trillion and $19 trillion by 2021 under the president’s plan. Ryan would have $40 trillion in spending over the next 10 years compared to $34.9 trillion in revenues. Obama would spend $46 trillion in the coming decade while bringing in $38.8 trillion in revenues. The gradual nature of the Ryan plan can be seen this way: Ryan would still result in government spending $5.1 trillion more than it brings in in the next decade but this is less than the $7.2 trillion in deficit spending Obama has proposed. Ryan’s plan is gradual but radical since he maintains the impasse demands radical action. Under Ryan, the federal government will spend $5.8 trillion less over the next decade than it would under current law. Over a reasonable amount of time his blueprint would begin to reduce the size of the deficit relative to the economy and over the coming decades would not only balance the budget but would actually begin to pay off the principal of the debt. He would do this by cutting discretionary spending, reform the tax code to broaden the base and lower rates, block-grant some federal welfare programs including Medicaid to the states, repeal ObamaCare (already described), privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, cut back farm subsidies and corporate welfare and—most important—reform Medicare for those now younger than 55 from an open-end entitlement to a system of premium supports to subsidize the purchase of private insurance. One can argue with the details of the Ryan plan but this much is true:He…not the president…has set the standard of a debate which has at the end of the tunnel the prospect for a gradual return to solvency. Which means that the initiative has swung from the White House to the Republican House. This follows the widely heralded Republican victory under Speaker Boehner in negotiations with Obama and the Democratic Senate. Q. What are the reactions of key Obama allies to the Boehner-Obama-Reid deal that sent Obama scurrying to the Lincoln Memorial yesterday…sprinting up the steps to show his youth… to politick with tourists, trying to move into the limelight for some of the glory ala 2012? A. Understand when the negotiations began I was one who said something I still believe that if Boehner hit a sticky wicket it would be advisable to shut the government down. But in the negotiations Boehner came out the winner so dramatically that it wasn’t necessary no matter what some Tea Party purists believe. Friday’s deal cuts spending more than in any other single year on record--$78 billion more than Obama initially proposed. While domestic discretionary spending grew by 6% in 2008 (under George W. Bush) and 14% in 2009, this yearit will fall by 4%. For a party that controls only one House of Congress that’s a signal victory—and Boehner was right to accept it as well as the other goodies from a conservative point of view rather than moving to pull the plug. You only pull the plug as a last resort—not at this time. Q. But Boehner sold out the pro-lifers on Planned Parenthood, didn’t he? A. Quit this “sold out” stuff will you? That’s Captain
Queeg rolling-the-steel-ball-bearings talk. The District of Columbia which has the most excessive pro-abort record propelled by public funding has to drop it—returning to the days pre-2009 when the ban was lifted. As far as not removing all public funding for abortion, I don’t yield to anyone my near 40 years of activism on pro-life and in opposition to federal subsidies for Planned Parenthood but for the first time the Democratic Senate….sharply reduced in numbers…will have to vote on a rider that supports their contention which is greatly politically more desirable than feeding our enemies the notion that to end monies for PP we’d close the government down. That would be politically disastrous for the future and be a tragic setback for pro-life. This way we have the best of all possible worlds—a remarkable fork in the road from 70 years of liberalismplusin a country which is undergoing serious reappraisal of abortion, a vote by Senate Democrats that will be disadvantageous to them. As a matter of fact, if Boehner had rejected this deal he’d be repudiating his leadership. Plus the District of Columbia with the worst schools and in the grip of the teachers’ union gets a return to vouchers.Magnificent deal. Not perfect but one which can be defended on human attainability under Natural Law. Get over thisif we don’t get everything we want, we pull the plug, take our marbles and go home—to live in ignominy because of our legendary hard-headedness. Q. What is the reaction of the Obama press to what you call the Boehner victory and the Paul Ryan seizure of the political initiative? A. When I unfoldedThe New York Timesyesterday over the breakfast table the main editorial said:“The cuts to keep government running are far too large and the next battle could be worse.”The editorial said this: “The Republicans set the terms of the debate at every point and learned they can push the fumbling and fearful Democrats far to the right[sic]. ..[T]he Republicans did far better than they could possibly have imagined when the process began, winning $38.5 billion in cuts, more than even the House [GOP] leadership had proposed. That’s on top of the $40 billion in additional spending President Obama had originally proposed for this fiscal year which was dropped. About $13 billion will be cut from the Departments of Labor, Education and Health and Human Services…Democrats also agreed to the ideological demand of House conservatives that the District of Columbia be banned from spending any money for abortions, a cruel blow to the poor and largely African American women who need these services[sic]. “ Q. Wow—that’s theNew York Times? A. The paper that sets the agenda for liberalism in this country and which is scrutinized by the networks for what tone to take in their coverage. Then while I was munching my Quaker oatmeal squares, I turned to Paul Krugman’s column…the Nobel Prize-winner who is easily the most leftwing economist in the country, one of Obama’s great apologists and fervent supporter of ObamaCare. This is what he said yesterday morning in his column entitledThe President is Missing. “What have they done with President Obama? What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular?...Maybe that terrible deal in which the Republicans ended up getting more than their opening bid was the best he could achieve—although it looks from here as if the president’s idea of how to bargain is to start by negotiating with himself, making preemptive concessions, then pursue a second round of negotiations with the GOP leading to further concessions….But let’s give the president the benefit of the doubt and suppose the $38 billion in spending cuts—and a much larger cut relative to his own budget proposals—was the best deal available. Even so, did Mr.Obama have to celebrate his defeat? Did he have to praise Congress for enacting `the largest annual spending cut in our history…?”