Conservative Wanderer

“A troubled and afflicted mankind looks to us, pleading for us to keep our rendezvous with destiny; that we will uphold the principles of self-reliance, self-discipline, morality, and, above all, responsible liberty for every individual that we will become that shining city on a hill.” — Ronald Wilson Reagan

Democrats Giving Up On Retaking The House?

Jim Geraghty reprints an NRCC email with some interesting details:

IN NOVEMBER 2010, THE DCCC SAID IT WAS TARGETING 61 DISTRICTS CARRIED BY OBAMA: “The DCCC has identified 61 seats currently held by Republicans in districts that Barack Obama won in 2008.  ‘Republicans won a lot of seats they have no business winning,’ said a top Democratic strategist. ‘It’s going to be a full-on recruitment cycle [and] Israel is the perfect person for that.’” (Brian Beutler, “Blue Dogged: Meet Steve Israel, The Incoming Chair Of The DCCC,” Talking Points Memo, 11/23/10)

EARLIER THIS MONTH, THEY SCALED THAT BACK TO 37 SUBURBAN DISTRICTS: “Representative Nancy Pelosi’s selection of Mr. Israel to lead the Congressional campaign had much to do with his district, a swath of Nassau and Suffolk Counties where Democrats hold a modest registration edge but independents decide elections.  The path to retaking the House, both say, leads through 37 similar suburban districts, home to nine million independents who voted for President Obama in 2008 but deserted the party in the 2010 elections.” (David M. Halbfinger, “L.I. Congressman Leads Uphill Charge Toward a Democratic House,” New York Times, 03/19/11)

NOW, THE DCCC HAS BEEN FORCED TO FOCUS ON ONLY 14 DISTRICTS: “The Democratic Party is taking aim at 14 freshmen Republicans in the House, of 87 elected, whom it deems the most vulnerable…the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is focusing on districts where Mr. Obama and Senator John Kerry both won as presidential nominees and where Democrats have a registration advantage.” (Jennifer Steinhauer, “Hardly Settled in House, but Already in Hot Seat,” New York Times, 03/27/11)

ACTUALLY, THEY EVEN GOT THAT NUMBER WRONG.  IT’S 13 DISTRICTS WON BY KERRY, NOT 14: “All told, 63 Republicans in the 112th Congress will hold seats that President Obama carried in 2008 and, of that group, 13 will hold seats that Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) also won in the 2004 presidential race.” (Chris Cillizza, “The Obama Republicans,” The Washington Post’s “The Fix” blog, 11/11/10)

This is good news for the GOP, however, never–I say again, never–underestimate the ability of the Grand Old Party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Here’s A Radical Idea: Restrict School Superintendents’ Salary To That Of The Governor

And yet that proposal is actually getting pushback:

Everything’s bigger in Texas – so the saying goes. It especially rings true for super-sized public school superintendent salaries in the Lone Star State. The Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators are sponsoring the rally on March 30 at the Capitol.

This week, hundreds of school board members and superintendents will rally in Austin opposing any cuts to education funding in Texas.

TASB has said that as many as 100,000 teaching jobs must be cut in order to make up for the $9 billion in proposed state education funding cuts.

We disagree. School districts have ample room to make cuts on spending outside of the classroom, without eliminating teaching positions or short-changing students.

In Texas, 214 superintendents take home an annual salary more than the Governor of Texas, whose salary is set at $150,000 a year. If superintendents in Texas were paid no more than the Governor, schools would save $20 million each biennium.


Beaumont ISD has less than 20,000 students enrolled in the district, yet is home to the highest-paid superintendent in the state. Dr. Carrol Thomas takes home an annual base salary of $347,834. That is two-and-a-half times more than what the governor of our state earns!

So why should a school superintendent make twice what the governor does? The responsibilities of the governor are far heavier than that of a school superintendent, and that’s not arguable.

But, of course, the usual defenders of pigs in the public trough are trying to keep this common-sense proposal from being enacted, because it would dry up their political warchest.

Your Tax Dollars At Work: $600,000 Fairy And Gurgling Toad Sculpture

Are we sure this is what we really need to be spending our federal tax dollars on right now?

A $600,000 frog sculpture that lights up, gurgles “sounds of nature” and carries a 10-foot fairy girl on its back could soon be greeting Defense Department employees who plan to start working at the $700 million Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. this fall. That is unless a new controversy over the price tag of the public art doesn’t torpedo the idea.


According to the Corps, the artwork was the city’s idea. A city official, however, said that Alexandria officials didn’t demand art, but just asked that public artwork be included in the structure. What’s more, the official said that the $600,000 is federal money, and that no Alexandria funds will pay for the art.

Just wait, some Democrat is gonna try to defend this spending as necessary for national security.

Obama Authorizes Secret US Support For Libyan Rebels

And speaking of the so-called most transparent administration:

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter.

If you want to know why this is such a big deal, just replace “Barack Obama” with “George Bush,” and appropriate changes to change Libya to Iraq wherever possible, and then imagine what the reaction of the lefties would be.

Double standard, anyone?

Obama Accepts Transparency Award–In Private!

Irony time:

President Obama finally and quietly accepted his “transparency” award from the open government community this week — in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday.

The secret presentation happened almost two weeks after the White House inexplicably postponed the ceremony, which was expected to be open to the press pool.

This time, Obama met quietly in the Oval Office with Gary Bass of OMB Watch, Tom Blanton of the National Security Archive, Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight, Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Patrice McDermott of, without disclosing the meeting on his public schedule or letting photographers or print reporters into the room.

The new Official Mouthpiece Of The Administration tried to put a good spin on it, tho…

“This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past, and he’s been committed to that since he ran for President and he’s taken a significant number of measures to demonstrate that,” Carney said in a testy exchange with Fox News reporter Wendell Goler on March 16.

Of course, Carney’s job is really hard, when he has to cover up things like this:

The Obama administration censored 194 pages of internal e-mails about its Open Government Directive that the AP requested more than one year ago. The December 2009 directive requires every agency to take immediate, specific steps to open their operations up to the public. But the White House Office of Management and Budget blacked-out entire pages of some e-mails between federal employees discussing how to apply the new openness rules, and it blacked-out one e-mail discussing how to respond to AP’s request for information about the transparency directive.

But, hey, we’ll give him an award anyway, right, just because he has a “D” after his name.

Hang On To Your Hats, Government Shutdown May Be Coming

Whether it’ll be good for the Democrats or the Republicans, or a disaster for both parties has yet to be seen, but the line appears to have been drawn in the sand:

A short-term spending measure expires on April 8. A partial government shutdown looms without further action by Congress by then. Even so, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., told reporters during the day “time is up” and there will be no more stopgap measures without the larger agreement Republicans seek.

Democrats seem to be thinking that it’s still 1995, but there are an awful lot of differences, and so it may not turn out the way the 1995 shutdown did.

Your Depressing Economic News Post

Here’s some stories that will probably make you reach for a bottle of your favorite beverage:

Inflation Worries Push Consumer Confidence Lower:

Rising prices at the gas pump and in grocery aisles are starting to crimp shoppers’ outlook.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index fell sharply from a three-year high in February, reversing five straight months of improvement.

The decline raises questions about Americans’ ability and willingness to spend in coming months.

Home Price Declines Deepen In Major US Markets:

Damage from the housing bust is spreading to areas once thought to be immune.

In at least 14 major U.S. metro areas, prices have fallen to 2003 levels — when the housing bubble was just starting to inflate. Prices will likely drop further this year, making many people reluctant to buy or sell. That would push down sales and prices more.

Housing Market: 13% Of All U.S. Homes Are Vacant:

High residential vacancies are killing many housing markets, as foreclosed homes sit on the market and depress sale prices and property values.

And it’s only getting worse: The national vacancy rate crept up to just over 13% according to last week’s decennial census report. That’s up from 12.1% in 2007.

“More vacant homes equal more downward pressure on home prices,” said Brad Hunter, chief economist for Metrostudy, a real estate information provider.

Tell me again how the economy is recovering, Mr. Biden?

Democrat Message Coordination Revealed!

There’s a very good reason Democrats all sound like parrots when it comes to their talking points… the talking points are pre-planned (emphasis added):

Moments before a conference call with reporters was scheduled to get underway on Tuesday morning, Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat in the Senate, apparently unaware that many of the reporters were already on the line, began to instruct his fellow senators on how to talk to reporters about the contentious budget process.

After thanking his colleagues — Barbara Boxer of California, Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over how to cut spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John A. Boehner of Ohio, the speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. “I always use the word extreme,” Mr. Schumer said. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.”

And it’s not just one report that says that Schumer let the cat out of the bag, there’s a second:

Schumer instructed the group, made up of Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, to tell reporters that the GOP is refusing to negotiate.

He told the group to make sure they label the GOP spending cuts as “extreme.”

“I always use extreme, Schumer said. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use.”

Someone must have finally told Schumer that the media were listening and he stopped talking midsentence.


The four senators came on the call after Schumer abruptly went silent and followed Schumer’s script closely.

Yes, there’s a reason that Dems almost always use the same terms… they rehearse them beforehand. And then, like good little robots, they march out and follow the program.

Must-Read On The Deficits

Keith Hennessey has a must-read article about deficits, and why they’re only part of the whole budget picture:

Almost all elected officials of both parties will tell you (and believe) that deficits are bad, that they don’t want to shift financing costs to future taxpayers. Yet they have a political incentive to do so, since they gain the political benefits of promising all sorts of government stuff today, and they have an incentive to avoid the political costs of imposing higher taxes on today’s voting taxpayers.

And while the public debate centers around budget deficits, the first allocation question is harder to resolve. The deep philosophical and partisan split in the American fiscal policy debate is mostly about the relative sizes of the government and the private sector, not about the allocation of the cost of that government between the present and the future.


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