People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tim Kaine Makes My Hair Hurt

"When I was DNC chair, nobody ever asked me to say anything I didn't agree with or believe.  That's not how I operate, in my personal life or in my political life."
-- DNC Chairman Tim Kaine, April 6, 2011 -- 

Well, that's honorable.  So did Mr. Kaine, when he was DNC chair, "agree with or believe" in taking lobbyist campaign money?  Here he is, on April 28, 2010, bragging about the fact that the Democratic National Committee had banned lobbyist cash under his leadership:
Fundraising has been strong. And I want to point out ... [that] fundraising has been strong despite the fact that for the first time the DNC does not take money from [political action committees] or from federally registered lobbyists. That was a significant portion of our budget before I became chair. We are completely funded off individual contributions now, and yet we have been successful enough to be able to put unprecedented resources onto the field. [emphasis mine]
Looks like Kaine is a strong supporter of the ban on lobbyist campaign donations.

Or not.
Unlike DNC, Kaine will take money from PACs, lobbyists for Senate bid
By Ben Pershing, Washington Post

Newsflash — Timothy M. Kaine’s Senate campaign will accept donations from lobbyists and political action committees.

Actually, that shouldn’t be news at all. Nearly every candidate for Congress does the same.

But what makes Kaine a bit different is that he is running to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D-Va.) fresh off a stint as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. And the DNC under Kaine’s watch — at the behest of President Obama — did not accept donations from PACs and registered lobbyists.

Now that he’s running for Senate — and not working for Obama anymore — a Kaine campaign official confirms that he will be taking those contributions. [link]
Tim Kaine.  Against lobbyist money before he was for it.

So how does he resolve this conflict?  By doing the Democrat Shuffle.  From a Kaine spokesperson quoted in the Post article:

"As a candidate, Governor Kaine has always welcomed lawful donations from anyone who shares his vision for progress for Virginia and the nation.  No donors get special treatment and none ... [blah blah blah]" [emphasis mine again]

Tim Kaine has always been accepting of lobbyist campaign cash.

Is he lying about all this?  Not necessarily.

Is he a weasel?

Without doubt.

- - -

Oh, my.  Kaine has already lost the loony left when it comes to Big Donors' Big Money.  An MSNBC talk show host, writing for Daily Kos a few months ago, is not happy about this. Try to get past the whining:
Should Tim Kaine Be Fired?
By Cenk Uygur

When Howard Dean was the chair of the DNC, the Democrats were getting crushing victories. As soon as he left, the losses started piling up. Yes, circumstances also matter. When Dean was chair, it was easy to blame Republicans but now the Democrats own the national problems. Before the economy was the Republicans' problem, now it's the Democrats'.

But tactics also matter. Tim Kaine seems to be running the reverse 50 state strategy -- we can lose anywhere in the country. So, what's he doing wrong? He's gone back to the old days at the DNC, where all you do is raise money and hope that you can win without a message. This is principally the Rahm Emanuel strategy -- cave in to lobbyists, collect their money, choke off Republican fundraising efforts by better serving corporate America and win elections by outspending the opposition. The only problem is that it doesn't work. [emphasis mine]

Kaine should be fired for choosing the wrong strategy and getting the wrong results. [link]
And now, having adopted that same strategy of "serving corporate America" (as long as the evil monsters "share his vision for progress for Virginia ...") in his run for the Senate, Kaine accepts that which he wouldn't accept a few months ago.

Wondering by now just where Tim Kaine really is on all this?


The Law Is The Law

I get a kick out of hearing (Democrat) legislators here in the Commonwealth (and their buddies in the liberal media) whimpering about that.  The law is the law?!  We can't be having that!

Then change it, dumbass.

But don't evade it or pretend that it doesn't exist.

What's this all about?
State charity: Skirting the rules
Richmond Times-Dispatch

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's opinion about state contributions to charities has caused considerable trouble. Agency officials have frozen payments while they sort things out, leaving some nonprofits in a tight spot and others concerned.

Responding to a legislator's request, Cuccinelli issued an advisory opinion in January noting that the state constitution forbids the legislature from giving money to charitable institutions "not owned or controlled by the commonwealth." The opinion has drawn some angry responses, but it seems incontrovertible. U.Va. professor A.E. Dick Howard, who led the commission that wrote the current version of the state constitution, says the AG "got it right — the language is pretty plain."

That, did not stop lawmakers from doing as they pleased anyway. They often have skirted the constitution by deeming organizations historical or cultural groups, rather than charities. This sort of contempt for the governing document of the commonwealth invites citizens to view lawmakers in the same low regard.

There is a process for amending the state's constitution. It is used with some regularity. Those who think the state should be supporting private charitable groups are welcome to introduce a constitutional amendment. The hardship visited upon charitable groups is unfortunate, but they should direct the blame where it properly lies: with the legislators who exceeded their authority in the first place. [link]
Here's how Senator R. Edward Houck, Democrat, Spotsylvania, sees it. Or prefers to not see it, as the case may be:

What has set all this into motion is the attorney general’s opinion. I hope that level-headed people would understand that the opinion should not carry the day.”

So what should carry the day?

The law, dude. That's where you come in. And if it requires a constitutional amendment, write it and submit it for our approval.  It ain't rocket science and it ain't about Ken Cuccinelli.  Do your freaking job.

- - -

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office released the following statement on the subject:
I have been asked by several media outlets about the recent articles regarding state agency funding to certain charities being suspended because of the attorney general’s January legal opinion that charities cannot be funded by direct appropriations from the state budget. This email is to clarify this issue.

First, this office was asked for its legal opinion and it provided it based on the plain language of the Virginia Constitution: that charities which are not owned or controlled by the commonwealth cannot be funded by direct appropriations from the budget (see http://www.vaag.com/OPINIONS/2011opns/11-002-O'Bannon.pdf). Legal experts such as A.E. Dick Howard, who led the commission that gave us the current revision of the Virginia Constitution back in 1971 even said that this office was correct in its legal interpretation.

The attorney general’s official opinion merely stated what the law already is; it did not make new law. Official opinions are not the attorney general’s personal opinions. They are his legal analysis of what current law is, based on the law as written and any applicable court decisions. He does not make the law or change the law. In fact, the Supreme Court of Virginia has previously invalidated General Assembly budget appropriations to charities based on the language of the Constitution (these cases are cited in the opinion).

For those legislators who are disparaging the attorney general’s office for its plain reading of the state constitution, they should know they are the only ones who can change laws they don’t like. That power does not rest with this office.

Second, there is a growing misperception that this office is going through lists of charities, stating which ones can receive money and which can’t. That is not the case. When asked, our attorneys have worked with individual state agencies and have provided legal guidance on the scope of the constitutional prohibition, applying the law to specific facts presented to us by agencies without regard to the nature of the charity. But we do not have a master list of charities that we are “approving” or “not approving” for funding. That is not the job of this office.

Finally, although the state cannot donate money directly to charities, if charities are providing a contracted service to the state, they can be paid for that contract work, just like any other vendor. Some news outlets have reported that some agencies are working with charities to create contracts with deliverables that could change their relationships from those of handing out direct donations of taxpayer money to instead contracting for specific services.

Brian Gottstein
Director of Communication
Office of the Attorney General of Virginia
"For those legislators who are disparaging the attorney general’s office for its plain reading of the state constitution, they should know they are the only ones who can change laws they don’t like." (ouch.)   Don't like it? Fix it.

What's Up With Newt?

Let's stipulate up front: there is not a more articulate or engaged candidate (or soon-to-be candidate) on the Republican side of the debates that rage throughout the land than Newt Gingrich.  None.  When it comes to disputation, he's the master.

So what's going on here?
Newt Gingrich struggles to raise hard money
By Kenneth P. Vogel, Politico

Newt Gingrich raised a meager $53,000 into his political action committee in the first three months of the year, highlighting potential fundraising difficulties as the former House Speaker girds for a campaign for the GOP presidential nomination.

The PAC brought in about $34,000 in March, according to a report filed Tuesday night with the FEC, bringing its total haul for the year to $53,000, and its total since being created in late 2009 to $790,000. That pales in comparison to the $13.7 million raised in 2010 alone by Gingrich’s 527, American Solutions for Winning the Future, which won’t have to report 2011 fundraising figures until July. [link]
Gingrich's supporters will say - and they'd be right in saying it - that's it's too early to draw any conclusions from this.  That he's not even an announced candidate for the Big Gig.  That's certainly true.

But at one time he was the electricity that powered the GOP.  He was the champion of all things conservative.  Why isn't his candidacy on fire?

A couple of reasons.

One, there's that small matter of him being the champion of all things conservative (a political philosophy embodied in part by fidelity to marriage and an adherence to "family values") and, at the same cheating on his then-wife.  Uhhhhhhh ...

More important to me, though, me being a confessed Newt fan, he has gained a reputation over the years of being more of an opportunist than a stalwart conservative.  The cheating-on-his-wife-while-touting-faithfulness-in-order-to-gain-voter-support in the 90's aspect of his biography being part of it.

Most troubling is this:

When "global warming" was still cool (pardon the pun), there was ol' Newt, sitting on a bench with Nancy Pelosi (!) lecturing us, telling us that we need to adopt "clean energy" policy, and that we need to put pressure on Washington to save the planet.

I can't imagine anything being more embarrassing. And transparently opportunistic.

(One can even give Mitt Romney the benefit of the doubt and say his heart was in the right place when he dreamt up that albatross now known as Romneycare.)

So. Rather than being the "man from Hope" or "Mr. Hope and Change," Newt is now seen by many as being ... a politician.

Too bad. His career was so promising. And it's a shame, because he could have skewered the Democratic field in the upcoming campaign like no other candidate could, had he not made some serious missteps in his personal and professional lives.

But it's not to be. The emperor's new clothes have been exposed. And what we now see of Newt Gingrich is not a pretty sight.

- - -

We'll always be thankful to Newt Gingrich for his almost bringing about the only federal budget surplus in modern times, something that is of particular note in this age when we are heading toward insolvency because of out-of-control federal spending.  But that was light years ago.  Sorry.

With Enemies Like This ...

I have this recurring nightmare.  It goes like this.  I'm in a crowd and I'm asked by a reporter for a major newspaper what my thoughts were on a particular political topic and I come across on video that the entire world can watch as being a complete noodle.  A liberal noodle.  A seriously anal, liberal noodle.  A seriously anal, paranoid, liberal noodle.

Like this guy. 

Skip to the 45 second mark and watch the hilarity unfold.

"You are biased. You're proud of it. Don't pretend that you're not biased. Who are you?"


They Give Paranoia Its Name

First they feared "assault weapons."

Next it was "assault clips."

Now it's assault umbrellas that scare the crap out of them.

Soon it'll be assault shadows and assault bogeymen.

These people really need to man up.

Quote of the Day

Lest the Washington Post succeed in putting lipstick on the Planned Parenthood pig (see the fawning "In Montana and elsewhere, Planned Parenthood serves broad function"), here's Stacy C. James, president of Planned Parenthood of Montana, getting to the only thing that separates Planned Parenthood from every other "health care provider" in America (yes, the Post wants you to believe that the largest baby slaughterhouse in the United States is actually a provider of health care; resolve that if you can):

That said, I am so glad we do abortions. It’s not something I want to set aside. I am so proud that we provide this service, even though our primary goal is to prevent pregnancy.”

Suppose he's equally proud of the pap smears that Planned Parenthood provides?

Lipstick. Pig. Not.