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5/28/2013
RINO Hour of Power: Political Potpourri
CATEGORY: Politics

Join us for another boredom killing hour for the RINO Hour of Power, with your host Rick Moran and original and forever beloved co-host Jazz Shaw.

Lots to talk about on the show tonight - scandals, Obama high on coke during Benghazi, and a teapot that looks just like Adolf Hitler.

Did I mention the scandals?

Joining the hosts to talk about these subjects vital to the survival of the American republic will be American Thinker editor JR Dunn.

The show streams live from 8:00 - 9:00 PM Eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

You can join us live by clicking the icon below or by clicking here.

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By: Rick Moran at 4:16 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

The Case Against Congressional ‘Comprehensive Reform’ of Anything

“Yes we can!” chanted visitors to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room when the final vote on comprehensive immigration reform of 13-5 was announced last Monday night.

Actually, we’d rather not.

Forget the particulars of the bill, which are, indeed, bad enough. It is the notion that a large dollop of American society can successfully be “reformed” by the stroke of a pen, with little consequence to this and future generations, that makes “comprehensive” legislation a symbol of bad and imprudent governance.

How bad and imprudent? The law of unintended consequences figures mightily into any comprehensive reform that seeks to predict what a particular situation will be like 5 or 10 years down the road. Anyone who doubts that need only look at Obamacare to realize that almost everything on which the administration sold comprehensive health care reform is falling apart. Also, most of the benefits promised not only will never be realized, but the bill will have created exactly the opposite of the effects intended. Costs of insurance will skyrocket, far fewer people will sign up for insurance via the exchanges than was imagined, and the legislation will have almost doubled in anticipated costs by 2020.

And yet, here we go again. “Comprehensive” immigration reform will hit the Senate floor, and the immigration system, groaning under the 800 pages already written with some promised amendments to come, could be entirely undone by the time the House and Senate are through with their “historic” reformation.

What is the impulse that drives politicians to eschew the common-sense idea of incrementalism — taking on problems piecemeal with carefully considered legislation dealing with one aspect of the question at a time?

Back in December, Jonathan Chait, writing in New York magazine, gave the classic liberal response to the idea of incrementalism as he skewered Senator Marco Rubio ’s preferred approach to immigration reform:

On immigration, meanwhile, Rubio is carefully positioning himself to oppose any potential deal. He is not coming out and immediately throwing his body in front of the legislative train. Rather, he pleads that we must not try to do everything at once and should instead try to reform immigration “step by step.” Of course, “step by step” is exactly the catchphrase Republicans used to oppose health-care reform. It’s a way of associating yourself with the broadly popular goal of reform while giving yourself cover to oppose any particular bill that has a chance to pass. You’re not against reform, you’re against this reform. It’s too much, too fast.

What Chait failed to add was that incrementalism isn’t dramatic enough or historic enough. There’s no such thing as “too much, too fast.” At heart, liberals like Chait and Obama are drama queens because, let’s face it, it’s so boring to have to get in the trenches and do the scut work of democracy by carefully considering legislation and its consequences before moving on and facing the next challenge. You don’t make history that way, by George, and what’s the point of winning elections if you can’t go down in the history books?

An exaggeration, to be sure, because what the president and many Democrats will say is that it is good, simple, practical politics to wrap everything up in one gigantic package and try to ram it through Congress. It’s just easier to fix big problems this way and the incremental approach would never work because some of what they want would never pass unless there were sweeteners added to buy the votes of politicians not inclined to go along.

But should it be “easier” to try and reform one-sixth of the U.S. economy? Shouldn’t that be extraordinarily hard to accomplish? As hard as Democrats think it was to pass Obamacare — and it didn’t have to be that hard with their huge majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate — it evidently wasn’t hard enough. We will be living with the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act for many years to come unless it is repealed.

The fact that we don’t know what those exact consequences will be is reason enough to drop the idea of comprehensive reform of anything. The New America Foundation’s Michael Lind, writing in the Washington Post in 2010:

The second reason comprehensive reform is problematic is that it assumes an ability to foresee problems and fix them in advance — a skill not necessarily found among mere mortals. The longer the time horizon, the greater the hubris of those who claim to be solving problems not just for today but for generations to come.

This overconfidence spans the political spectrum. For example, both liberal environmentalists and conservative deficit hawks rely on sophisticated models to predict dire threats decades away, whether a catastrophic rise in the Earth’s temperature or unsustainable entitlement spending. In each case, even slight changes in the variables can make the remote future look either scary or benign. But when scholarship gives way to advocacy, possible problems generations out are often presented as all-but-certain disasters — avoidable only by immediate action.

The way to avoid this trap is by embracing the lost civic virtue of prudence. Jefferson wisely said, “The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” Jefferson was well aware that imprudence in the use of public monies led to unintended consequences — the bane of good governance. When an exasperated Nancy Pelosi told a reporter in a response to a question of what exactly was in the ACA that “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,” the speaker of the House was not making idle chatter. She was dead serious, and to this day we still haven’t grasped the enormity of what Congress has wrought in “reforming” health insurance and the health care industry.

As a nation of tinkerers and problem solvers, some can’t resist comprehensive reform because its allure is in the illusion that any problem can be cured if we are bold enough, or have enough courage (or throw enough money at it). What we fail to realize is that solving some problems creates others. The last immigration reform that was passed in 1986 amnestied 3 million illegal aliens and slapped penalties on businesses that knowingly hired illegals. What was never foreseen was that in the intervening 27 years, the number of illegals would triple, crossing the border without documentation would be virtually decriminalized in many places, and businesses would continue to hire illegals because enforcement was lax.

And now, once again, we are ready to pass a slew of provisions to “solve” the problem of immigration that address so many different questions that the overall effect of the legislation on the future of America has become a crap shoot. The idea of incrementally addressing what needs to be fixed by proposing legislation separately to deal with border security, guest workers, streamlining the visa process, and even a “path to citizenship” for those already here illegally will not be attempted largely because adherence to the concept of prudence — once the hallmark of the American constitutional system — has been abandoned in favor of showy, headline-grabbing, history-making law.

When will we ever learn?

Article first appeared in PJ Media.

By: Rick Moran at 10:59 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

5/21/2013
RINO Hour of Power: Scandalpalooza

Join us for another slanderous episode of the RINIO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and special co-host Jeff Kropf.

The IRS scandal continues to blow up in Washington, but the president’s approval numbers haven’t been affected. Will the president continue to ride out the storm despite continuing revelations of wrong doing?

We’ll discuss that and other questions regarding the scandals with PJ Media’s Bryan Preston.

The show streams live from 8:00 - 9:00 PM Eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

You can join us live by clicking the icon below or by clicking here.

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By: Rick Moran at 3:20 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

5/14/2013
A Case for Impeachment? Not Even Close
CATEGORY: General

“May you be cursed to live in interesting times,” says the fake Chinese proverb. But this is getting ridiculous — and embarrassing, if you’re a conservative.

Liberals made idiots of themselves during the Bush years believing that every revelation that “proved” “Bush lied, people died” would rid the country of the smirking Texan by way of impeachment. The American people, in their righteous anger, would rise up and smite the illegitimate cowboy (and his sidekick, Darth Cheney), bringing down his regime — with the help of Democrats who only wanted what was best for the country. Of course, they never mentioned that with Bush and Cheney out of the way, the Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi would become president. Little details like that always got lost in the shuffle.

Recall the snark on conservative websites this idiocy elicited at the time. The right had a gay old time rattling liberal’s cages, making helpful suggestions as to which Marx brother might lead the effort to convict Bush and Cheney in the Senate, and other sound pieces of advice. A good time was had by all in portraying the left to be unhinged, out of touch, and out of their minds.

Bit now, the bottom rail is on top and it is the right embarrassing itself by pushing for the impeachment of President Obama. It’s hard to keep track of how many scandals have seen Republicans and conservatives calling for Obama’s head. The granddaddy of them all is, of course, the Birther issue and all its attendant trappings of conspiracy and intrigue. Then there was the “Fast and Furious” gun walking scandal where people have actually been murdered by guns sold to Mexican drug gangs by hapless ATF agents and overseen by incompetents in the Justice Department.

There’s much, much more. In an effort to be helpful, here is a website that has listed 100 potential articles of impeachment against the president. Some might think that 100 articles of impeachment is a stretch. Others may believe it’s a pretty good start. But perusing this list is like getting in a wayback machine and reading what the left was saying about President Bush at the time. It’s the same sort of madness and hysteria that afflicted liberals who could never quite separate their partisan desires from doing what was good for the country.

Now comes the attacks by terrorists on our diplomats in Benghazi on September 11 last year and the panicked, incompetent, and ultimately dishonest response by the State Department, the Department of Defense, the CIA, and the White House. Coming as it did in the midst of a close campaign for the presidency, the political overtones in that response resonate to this day. And several prominent Republicans and conservatives see in that response a reason to overturn the election of November 6, 2012 — to toss the votes of 65 million Americans into the gutter.

It isn’t just fringe players on the right who are serious about impeaching the president. Mike Huckabee said on his radio show recently:

‘When a president lies to the American people and is part of a cover-up, he cannot continue to govern,’ Huckabee said on his radio show Monday.

‘As the facts come out, I think we’re going to see something startling. And before it’s over, I don’t think this president will finish his term unless somehow they can delay it in Congress past the next 3½ years.’

Washington Times columnist and Boston radio host Jeffrey Kuhner believes the president should be impeached for allowing the Boston Marathon bombing:

The Boston massacre was a defining moment. It exposed Mr. Obama’s narcissistic and reckless approach to combating terror. There can be no illusions any longer — we are in a clash of civilizations between radical Islam and the West. Mr. Obama has denied this painful reality long enough. By burying his head in the ideological sands, he has made Americans pay a terrible price. It’s time he is held responsible for his gross negligence. It’s time that he be impeached. Justice demands no less.

WorldNetDaily has been running a petition since February demanding the impeachment of the president. Twitter’s #impeachment tag appears very popular with about a tweet a minute. That doesn’t include references to impeachment in tweets using #Benghazi, or #bigtimescandal which top the trending topics.

Form CEO of PJ Media Roger Simon got on the impeachment bandwagon long ago:

While we are making Watergate analogies, it’s worth noting this is far worse than that noxious moment in American history or the other recent impeachment episode — Clinton. In the former, some dumb zealots broke into the campaign headquarters of the opposition party in an election that wasn’t remotely close. Nevertheless, the paranoid Nixon destroyed himself by trying to cover up the idiocy. Clinton wagged his finger at us and lied about sex under oath, while his wife — an important figure in Benghazi where she has already been caught dissimulating — similarly lied by publicly blaming her husband’s philandering on the “great right-wing conspiracy.” (What power!)

Creepy behavior all around and certainly nothing remotely presidential, but, compared to Benghazi, no one died or was even injured. As far as I know, no one even stubbed a toe.

Benghazi, on the contrary, was an important battle in the Global War on Terror, which has now reached our shores more than once. It will undoubtedly do so again. Those who take this casually in the slightest are conscious or unconscious traitors or fools — or so self-interested as to be beneath contempt.

John McCain also believes that Benghazi is worse than Watergate, so Mr. Simon doesn’t stray far from the mainstream by making that charge.

What puzzles many is that in all this passionate rhetoric, there seems to be some words missing. Huckabee never mentions them. Simon didn’t include them. And in all those 100 proposed articles of impeachment against the president, the words never appear.

How can you impeach a president without mentioning “high crimes and misdemeanors?”

That’s the constitutional standard and for people who purport to love our founding document, there is precious little said about a serious case to be made that the lies, the incompetence, the political calculation, the whitewashing, and even the stonewalling and denial of documents add up to a reason to overturn the election and make Joe Biden president.

Michael Hirsh writing in the National Journal:

All this will no doubt come back to haunt Hillary Clinton should she decide to run for president; in some cases, she appeared to have been too removed from the events in Benghazi. Hicks at one point testified that that he personally spoke to Clinton at 2 a.m. on the night of the attacks, which makes the administration’s vague description in subsequent days even more suspicious.

But that hardly adds up to a cover-up. In the end, Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the chairman of the committee, may find himself digging yet another dry well, as he has done so many times. Even before he took over the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, with zero evidence in hand, Issa called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” In his relentless search for evidence (and headlines) since, he has found nothing to back up that statement, including his highly publicized and largely fruitless hearings last June into the the Justice Department’s botched “Fast and Furious” gun-tracking program.

Benghazi was a tragedy. It will, almost certainly, remain a political issue. What it is not – by a long shot — is a scandal yet.

That last by Hirsh may be more wishful thinking than cogent analysis. What the administration’s actions and omissions regarding Benghazi isn’t, by a long shot, is criminal or impeachable — yet. A scandal it surely is, especially after the testimony yesterday from three highly credible witnesses seriously contradicted the story about the attack and its aftermath coming from the White House. Even the House GOP report on Benghazi issued last month contains the germ of scandal regarding the way that the unclassified talking points were altered.

But an impeachable offense never makes an appearance in the report, nor did any of the compelling testimony yesterday come close to attaching direct blame for any of the transgressions mentioned — none of them impeachable –to the president. You can’t impeach a president for being a naive fool, or an incompetent boob. You can’t impeach a president because he chose aides, assistants, or cabinet secretaries who can’t, or won’t do their jobs. You can’t impeach a president for looking into a camera and lying to the American people. Nor can you impeach a president for playing politics with national security, failing to rescue Americans under attack, or going to sleep in the middle of a crisis.

It is embarrassing for so many on the right to talk about the “unraveling” of the Benghazi narrative being the “end of Obama’s presidency.” The fact is, even if the press went into a feeding frenzy over this story, fulfilling the dreams of Obama’s most strident opponents, and spreading the details of the scandal far and wide, it is doubtful that the public would be outraged enough to demand the impeachment of the president. Obama’s approval rating is still in the low 40’s and given his base of support, it is unlikely to drop into the mid 20’s — a number that eventually convinced Richard Nixon, with the help of GOP leaders who believed if Nixon stuck it out through a senate trial, it would destroy the party — to resign.

The last three presidents have all had to deal with the issue of impeachment from rabid partisans who care little about constitutional standards and less about the good of the country. Both left and right have made fools of themselves the last decade by treating the extraordinarily serious issue of impeachment as just another political tool, employing it as the ultimate attack — the WMD of political combat.

It is not edifying for the right to emulate the absolute worst tactics of their opponents. Yes, hold Obama and his administration accountable by getting to the truth of what happened in Benghazi. But unless real evidence surfaces that ties the president directly to an impeachable offense, it would behoove all of us to abandon the idea of tossing out the votes of 65 million Americans who returned Barack Obama to office last November.

By: Rick Moran at 4:02 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

The RINO Hour of Power: The Tax Man Cometh

Join us for another scintillating episode of the RINO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and special co-host tonight Rich Baehr of the American Thinker.

Washington’s scandal machinery is working at full steam as President Obama experiences the absolute worst week of his presidency.

Topping the list is the growing scandal of the IRS targeting conservative groups for harassment. The Benghazi issue also continues to give the president head aches. And yesterday, it was revealed that the Justice Department acquired 2 months worth of phone records from AP reporters without a warrant.

We’ll try to make sense of it all with Matt Lewis, columnist for the Daily Caller.

The show streams live from 8:00 PM - 9:00 PM Eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

You can join us live by clicking the icon below or by clicking here.

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By: Rick Moran at 3:05 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

5/7/2013
RINO Hour of Power: Benghazi Dreaming
CATEGORY: General

Subtitle of this next exciting episode of the RINO Hour of Power is “Everything you were too afraid to ask about Benghazi lest someone think you a right wing nut.”

Along with your usual host Rick Moran will be co-host Jeff Kropf. And our expert guest will be Washingtin insider Bridget Johnson, Washington editor of PJ Media.

The show streams live from 8:00 - 9:00 PM eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

You can join us live by clicking the icon below or by clicking here.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:46 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)