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Friday, April 30, 2010

LOOKING FOR RESULTS

     Tim Kaine, the Chairman of the Democrat National Committee has announced that the Democrats will enter this Fall's elections as the "results party" and spend $50 million to spread the message and energize the party faithful. Getting "results" is generally a good thing. Getting results that actually work well, are financially sound and represent the will of the people is even better.

     The biggest "result" the Democrats will have to run on is of course the recently passed health care overhaul. They say that once the features of the bill are known that a solid majority of voters will approve. They are still waiting. The November, 2010 elections are creeping over the horizon and an April 15, 2010 poll shows that only 39% of respondents favor the health care bill, while 50% oppose. That doesn't sound like the kind of result a party would want to run on.

     Kaine didn't mention other "results" in his announcement but a short review might be revealing. The Obama "stimulus bill" qualifies. A January, 2010 poll shows 56% of respondents opposed and 42% in support. More recent economic data and political activism regarding the federal deficit and accumulated debt would not indicate a reversal of opinion has occurred.

     Some Democrat "results" are still pending: improvement in the unemployment numbers; closing Guantanamo; progress in Afghanistan; well maybe they should stay away from those issues.
The next major legislative enterprise is apparently going to be, if Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn't flip flop again, the so called Climate Bill. This is the morphed version of the Cap and Trade Bill that the Democrats passed in the House earlier but which couldn't attract much support in the Senate because of the predicted across the board increases in energy costs and in most things that are produced or transported by it. The new "kinder, gentler" bill has dropped the onerous "cap and trade" label in favor of the Climate Change Bill. If it qualifies as a "result", it will be because it is a bi-partisan bill, sponsored by Senators Kerry (D-MA), Graham (R-SC), and Lieberman (I-CT). Senator Graham hopes to generate support by explaining that it will include a mandatory, declining limit on carbon emissions in the electric-power industry while giving utilities the right to buy and sell carbon allowances. Cap and trade?

     According to the Wall Street Journal, "The lawmakers say their approach will win support because, unlike the House measure, it isn’t an economy wide cap. To neutralize opposition, the measure wouldn’t cover manufacturers for years and may exempt the oil industry. The bill would boost nuclear energy, clean coal, and offshore oil and gas drilling, and might block the Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to regulate greenhouse gases". The wacko environmental wing of the Democrat Party won't like any of that but the merits of the bill will be hotly debated in the Senate and again in the House. At this stage however, neither the bills supporter nor detractors see much chance of it passing and thus becoming a "result".

     Maybe the Democrats should give "Hope and Change" another shot as an election slogan, but go light on the “change”.

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