Morning Action: Obama’s Theatrics
HAGEL. The possibility that Chuck Hagel will be nominated as the next U.S. Defense Secretary has become more secure, in part due to Sen. Richard Shelby’s (R-AL) new position on the matter, despite well grounded reservations many hold about the nominee. Reuters reports:
Shelby joined almost every other Republican senator a week ago in delaying a vote on confirming Hagel in order to allow colleagues more time to examine Hagel’s record, said spokesman Jonathan Graffeo.
He now will vote for a motion to stop debate, ending the delay, and in favor of the nomination, barring any surprises between now and a confirmation vote…
Fifteen other Republican senators signed a letter to Obama on Thursday asking that he withdraw Hagel’s nomination, saying they respected the military service of the decorated Vietnam War veteran but that he lacked the bipartisan support and confidence to serve effectively.
The White House said it still supported Hagel and expected he would be confirmed. The Senate is expected to vote next week.
Of course, the White House is the pot calling the kettle black:
The White House blasted what it called continued political posturing by Republicans.
Yet, the truth is, Republicans lawmakers’ concerns about this grossly under-qualified nominee are simply based on the incompetence and dangerous positions displayed by Hagel. It’s the President who is playing politics.
SEQUESTER. President Obama made phone calls to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). White House spokesman said they had “good conversations” but was thin on other details. USA Today reports that the President has waged an aggressive campaign against the spending cuts that he signed into law:
The phone calls come amid an aggressive Obama campaign warning Republicans to avoid sequestration — $85 billion in domestic and defense cuts to kick in March 1 unless the president and GOP strike an alternative debt-reduction deal.
Rich Lowry of National Review reveals the President’s theatrics for what they really are, a “lurid fairy tale.” He explains:
In the fight over the sequester, he is resorting to the tried-and-true (and tiresome) strategy of every official confronted with unwelcome budget cuts, from the commander in chief to a lowly bureaucrat toiling at some school district: maximize the scaremongering and pain.
In Hans Christian Andersen terms, Obama is the princess and the sequester is the pea. Over the next ten years, the sequester amounts to a $1.16 trillion cut, or roughly 3 cents on every federal dollar. If we can’t squeeze a couple of pennies out of every dollar, we might as well begin our great national bankruptcy proceedings right now.
UNIONS. The Heritage Foundation reveals that the federal government gives generous, taxpayer funded benefits to unions – even when they help to “bring down an American icon.” Heritage’s Ashe Show explains:
The union whose strike led to the bankruptcy of Hostess last year has just been awarded government benefits from a program few qualify for.
Last year, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union refused to accept concessions that would have kept Hostess in business. The company had tried to cut costs as it faced high labor expenses, rising ingredient costs, and decreasing sales. The Teamsters union accepted the concessions, but the Bakery union would not, choosing to strike. Unable to continue operating, Hostess filed for bankruptcy.
Now those who helped bring down an American icon will receive generous, taxpayer-funded benefits from the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. These generous benefits come in addition to existing unemployment insurance, job placement, and job training programs.